The Life and Death of an Anglican Parish. The story of Holy Family Parish.
Or why we should all give to the Bishop’s domestic mission fund.
In the three or so decades our four children were being born and raised, Audrey and I would faithfully and gratefully return every summer to the hospitality of her parents’ ranch style home nestled in the coastal redwoods near the university town of Arcata, California. Audrey’s parents, Joe and Jackie Kasun, joined the Anglican Continuum about the same time Audrey and I did in the late 70s. Under the auspices of Bishop Robert Morse, my father-in law, Joe Kasun, a beloved History teacher and decorated WWII Hero, became a licensed lay reader and would lead morning prayer on Sundays when one of the visiting priests (mostly from the established Anglican parish over the mountains in Redding, CA) was unable to come. Audrey’s Mom was a renowned Economist and one of the great Christian culture warriors of the Reagan era, manfully taking on the anti-life, ZPG types of the that time with solid academic research, lectures, articles and books (see her “War on Population” by Jaqueline Kasun). Like Holy Family Parish, her life work affirmed the goodness of having and raising kids and showed the next generation that we need not fear the dooms day messages of “overpopulation” or to despair about having children. So, they christened their little Anglican Parish, “The Holy Family,” and it was where we worshiped each and every summer vacation for my entire Army career and then where Audrey and the kids worshiped for the year I was sent to Korea by the Army. Jackie, an accomplished pianist, would play the organ and Joe would lead Morning Prayer, while the Bishop would come up for Confirmations from time to time. That’s why to this day, we cherish a photo of the extended family of the grandkids lined up at the altar proudly with Bishop Morse and their grandparents, Jackie and Joe in appropriate liturgical robes and the boy-cousins arrayed as acolytes. The photo for me symbolizes both the love of our extended families and the love of our Lord as he has engrafted all of us into his Holy Family.
Unfortunately, a full time priest was never called and/or funded to come to Holy Family Parish, and so as the years went on, an aging parish slowly faded away; and when Jackie and Joe both died within three years of each other, the flame of the parish went dark. I am thankful still for Holy Family Parish and the people that we got to know and love there, but had they had some funds to call a priest, I am sure it would still be alive today providing a place for the locals to hear the gospel and worship with the historic Church Militant.
Bishop Grundorf began this Lenten fund drive to nurture and keep alive a “Holy Family Parish” out there that needs a full time fully trained Anglican Priest to continue in the Great Commission of our Lord. I ask you to please join Audrey and me and give to the fund this Lenten season as you are able.
For inspiration, read the letter from our Bishop on the missions bulletin board. You can also pick up a marked envelop there for your donation, or just put a check in the plate during lent with “Bishops’ Lenten Fund” notated.
– Paul Moruza