The parish is also growing. Seventy-six members have been added this year, sources say, and ministry programs are being founded.
Armstrong said the turmoil has made him a better spiritual counselor to others, and his parishioners support the decision to leave the national body.
“It was sad to have to leave the Episcopal Church, but theologically we had to make that move,” said Shirley Waddill, 72, who has attended the North Tejon Street church for 18 years.
Phil Kilgore, 46, said even if Grace CANA loses the church property, the parish will continue. “Our clarity of purpose and sense of mission will translate to growth,” he said.
Meanwhile, Grace Episcopal has a weekly attendance of 250 and membership of more than 500, sources say. The 2008 budget is $400,000.
The congregation is a mix of liberal, moderate and conservative Episcopalians. O’Donnell, who is conservative, finds that a blessing.
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