To The Daily Sun,

First, I want to thank The Laconia Sun for opening a dialog for St Joseph’s Church. The church is an outstanding work of art and architecture, especially the outside stonework and gorgeous stain glass windows viewed from inside, each of which is telling a story. The colors are full and complementary. The beams, the internal architecture are both lofty and intimate at the same time. It is an original work and these things together are not likely to be repeated. Citizens are welcome to come take a peek inside.

The way this situation is evolving is indicative of a much bigger picture of changing all over the world, hopefully for the better, for all of mankind. In the early history of the church it was men and women working together equally. “ Church” was the gathering of Christians in the homes of wealthy women and married couples. Both traveled to communities to teach. The only person in all of Scripture named who has the job of Deacon is Phoebe, a woman. Ministers were accountable to the communities they served.

In this day, in the 2 1/2 hour meeting at St Joseph’s Church to discuss its sale or destruction, Fr. Marc spoke the whole time. Then people protested and asked for a chance to speak. Most of the crowd passionately stood up and said please save the church. And here we are, ignored.

Since 1100 AD the Church developed a new definition of the term “ordination” based on the priest’s power to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. At that time, women were written out of power and responsibility and from the Church’s history. Church Historian, Gary Macy gives documented historical background in “The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination.”

The Church is changing. Since Vatican II, 50 years ago, eighty percent of the ministry in the United States is done by lay people. About 80 percent of that 80 percent are women. At the 2018, month-long meeting with Catholic bishops, it was concluded that the place for women at the Church’s decision making table was a duty of justice and the Church as a whole must recognize the urgency of inescapable change. The synod invited 267 cardinals, bishops, and priests and seven nuns. The seven nuns had no vote.

And here we are. When Fr. Marc was asked about the possible sale of the church in The Laconia Sun he said he would talk with the Diocese and his Advisory Group. He did not mention the parishioners. Father Marc has said that the building is only a building, we the people are the Church. I believe that each of us is a member of the Body of Christ, of the Church. Unfortunately, this "men only" hierarchical structure that developed is not inclusive of other members working together in decision making.

Bishop Libasci, Father Marc and Monsignor Dick, this is your opportunity to work together. We are responsible to each other. There is so much more we can do together. Together, we are the Church. As Monsignor Dick says: “ we are all “SOB’s” (sisters or brothers).”

Susan Curtis

Gilford

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