I've been around churches a bit, and I must say that I was startled -- along with the members of his congregation -- to hear that the Rev. Terry Fox resigned yesterday from his church post. It wasn't that he left his position that was so startling, though. It was the way he did it.
The senior pastor at Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church, Fox lead his congregation for 10 years. Yesterday, he stood up at the church's 10:30 a.m. service and said he was resigning -- not in two months, a month, a week or even a day, but at the very instant he was speaking.
Ministers customarily warn their congregations when they are resigning to give a church time to find a good replacement. It's considered courteous. It's considered professional. Ministers, particularly senior pastors, don't just quit.
But Fox did.
The Wichita Eagle reports:
Fox, whose resignation took effect immediately, said he and church leaders agreed he should resign after 10 years as senior pastor. Neither Fox nor church officials would say what led Fox to resign.The story then goes on to imply that Fox is leaving to spend more time working to push his anti-gay, moralistic and discriminatory policies through government. That may well be true.
If so then why didn't Fox announce his intention months ago and give his congregation the time to go through an orderly transition? You would think that would be simple courtesy after all this time at the helm of the church he claims to love so much.
The Eagle also reports that "Fox said he is unsure whether he will serve as a pastor again."
I have no answers here. Only questions.
Fox was one of the main movers and shakers behind last year's vote that blocked same-sex couples from marriage, civil unions and just about every other legal right any couple might get in Kansas. I was one of the folks who fought then and continue to fight now to bring fair laws to this state.
I agree with my old friend Thomas Witt, chair of the Kansas Equality Coalition. Witt told The Eagle:
"Instead of focusing on anti-gay marriage, we wish Terry Fox would spend more time campaigning against the real threats to marriage, such as infidelity, abuse, poverty and divorce," Witt said.I am not a friend of Terry Fox. I never will be, but I do wish him the best. I hope he finds whatever peace he needs right now.