The Tale of Two Churches

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ANN STATES FOR TIME

HOLY CROSS CHURCH: The breakaway group boasts youth and righteous energy

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One might similarly argue that the local social fabric is not torn, just very strained. Poole says he looks forward to seeing Beach in the stands at high school football games ("I miss him"). But others speak of rumors bandied, invitations not received and phone calls unreturned. Some families have split up on Sundays, and others have fought. Irene Parker wanted to "follow my heart" and go to Holy Cross. Her husband, a St. Alban's vestryman, wanted to stay. "Todd and I had a huge fight, the biggest argument of our marriage," she says. "Todd said he didn't believe God meant to split our family. I read Scripture and prayed and decided to stay and fight for St. Alban's and the Episcopal Church."

St. Alban's held its 50th anniversary party in July. A good time was reportedly had. A few Holy Crossers showed up, although Beach was on vacation with his family, so he didn't. Bishop Alexander attended, though, and during his remarks pointedly observed that the congregation had returned the word Episcopal, which Beach had removed, to its church sign. Most of his listeners applauded. Some did not. In a situation like this, such moments are to be expected. Again and again and again.

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