Skip to comments.AAC to Bishop Chane: You have failed to understand gravity of ECUSA's plight
Posted on 04/01/2005 6:02:37 AM PST by newheart
An Open Letter to Bishop John Chane From the American Anglican
Council of Washington, Inc. 13001 Brandywine Road, Brandywine MD 20613
March 31, 2005
The Right Reverend John B. Chane Bishop of Washington Mount St. Alban Washington, DC 20016
Dear Bishop Chane,
We write to you regarding your February 25th statement on the recent Primates' Meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland. In our considered opinion, you addressed the outcome of that historic gathering and the decisions arising from it in a way that failed to communicate the true seriousness of the matter for the Episcopal Church.
The fact that for the first time in the known history of such gatherings the Primates refused to share a common Eucharist with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is but one dire indicator of the gravity of our situation. The reporting that the Primates "put aside their differences to reach unanimous agreement" belies the actual dynamics of the meeting.
We agree that the communiqué is a compromise document that will not fully satisfy any party in the current controversy. However, your report fails to recognize that such a compromise was made possible only through the enduring grace and patience of the Primates. Their gracious action reflects great strength on their part.
The decisions at Dromantine further mark a profound change in the way the Anglican Communion is moving forward and those decisions cannot be downplayed. We believe it is vitally important that all Episcopal clergy and laity understand the impact of the Primates Communiqué in a forthright way, as the document has huge implications for the future of our church and the lives of countless faithful Episcopalians.
The formal and graceful wording of the Primates' Communiqué should not obscure the fact that the Episcopal Church has been severely rebuked for its unilateral actions and its future membership in the Anglican Communion is at great risk.
The Primates' statement that "...there remains a very real question about whether the North American churches are willing to accept the same teaching on matters of sexual morality as is generally accepted elsewhere in the Communion..." exposes misgivings that should be unsettling to all of us.
Episcopalians must be fully informed of the tenuous position of the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion where our faith has found its very essence since its inception. At a minimum, we believe members of the diocese should understand that:
The Episcopal Church has been reprimanded, given a firm "time out" to go back and reassess the actions it has taken which threaten to divide the worldwide body, and asked to explain the Scriptural authority behind those actions before the Anglican Consultative Council from whose membership the Primates requested it withdraw at this time.
Failure to provide a sufficient Scriptural argument or to repent of its actions could spell the ultimate expulsion of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion and separate us from unity with Anglican and other Christian bodies.
The 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 was firmly upheld by the Primates as the definitive standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality within the Anglican Communion. It is the Episcopal Church's continuing repudiation of this standard and flagrant teaching in opposition to it that places its membership in the Anglican Communion at such risk today.
The Primates reiterated that "autonomy-in-communion" is "the balanced exercise of the inter-dependence between the thirty-eight provinces and their legitimate provincial autonomy," This clear reminder was underscored by the Primates' request in the communiqué that all provinces "consider whether they are willing to be committed to the inter-dependent life of the Anglican Communion."
All Episcopalians in the Diocese of Washington and elsewhere should be made fully aware that the Primates' Communiqué offers ECUSA a clear choice. As one of our bishops has noted, "The choice in many ways is between a church captured by its culture and a worldwide Christian Communion." Obscuring the gravity of our predicament as your report has done instills a false sense of comfort.
The reality that ECUSA and the Anglican Communion are on the verge of permanently "walking apart" should prompt only the most forthright and candid presentation of the facts.
With faith in the Risen Christ,
The Officers and Directors of the American Anglican Council of Washington, Inc.
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