Skip to comments.Statement from the CT Six
Posted on 04/19/2005 7:50:49 AM PDT by sionnsar
For months we have sought a joint meeting with Bishop Smith, but he has refused each request. We, therefore, welcomed last nights meeting with a sense of hope for sincere and open dialogue. We went to the appointment in good faith prepared to listen and to begin a process toward positive resolution. We were hopeful of an atmosphere in which true negotiations might take place. Instead, we walked into a trap, a brutal and long meeting in which Bishop Smith attempted to coerce us individually into an admission that we had abandoned communion. As we have consistently maintained, we and our congregations stand united with the truth as revealed in Scripture as well as the teaching of Anglicanism upheld by the primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and some 70 million Anglicans worldwide. It is inconceivable to us that anyone could interpret our position as abandonment of communion as we have stated over and over our commitment to the communion.
Despite the good efforts of Bishop Scruton of Massachusetts to mediate discussion, Bishop Smith suspended consideration and conversation regarding oversight and related issues; he was intractable and unyielding; he sought neither reconciliation nor solutions but rather effectively demanded a verbal oath of allegiance. He warned us that in leaving the meeting, we offered proof of leaving the communion. The one request we made of Bishop Smith is that he withdraw his threat of inhibition as we seek resolution together. He refused. In his statement following the meeting, he reasserted the threat of inhibition based on his claim that we had not acknowledged his authority as bishop.
We have been clear from the beginning that we seek oversight as called for by the primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion in their statements of October 2003 and February 2005. It would seem by his actions last night that Bishop Smith does not acknowledge or embrace the authority of the primates and is intent upon continuing the rupture of the Episcopal Church. We grieve his intransigence, but rejoice that our hope is not in man but in God. We six priests and congregations stand together in unity of purpose and commitment to Jesus Christ. We feel the power and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, and we are confident that the Lord will lead and sustain us in this difficult time.
The Rev. Allyn Benedict, Christ Church, Watertown
The Rev. Ronald S. Gauss, Bishop Seabury, Groton
The Rev. Mark Hansen, St. Johns, Bristol
The Rev. Donald Helmandollar, Trinity, Bristol
The Rev. Christopher Leighton, St. Pauls, Darien
The Rev. Gil Wilkes, Christ and the Epiphany, East Haven
The fundamental organization for mission and life within the Episcopal Church is a geographical area called a diocese, whose head is its bishop. That principle was established at the first ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.
The historic ministry of the bishop is to be shepherd of a diocese. The shepherds staff that the bishop carries in worship symbolizes the bishops care, in the name of Jesus, for everyone in the diocese. The relationship to the whole diocese is fundamental for the Episcopal Church, no matter what the time or situation or issue.
For the past 11 months, six rectors of the Diocese of Connecticut, together with the leadership of the parishes they serve, have refused to accept their relationship with their bishop.
In the past year I have offered to arrange for another bishop to be their pastor and parish visitor. To date they have refused that offer.
Rather, the priests have demanded that the historic traditions we live by as a Church be changed for them and the congregations they serve. Their requirements would break the ties they have to the Diocese of Connecticut. What they expect I cannot grant, because of the responsibilities I have for all of the people and parishes of the diocese.
My hope has been that, gathered by Christ the Good Shepherd, we could meet in prayer and discernment to resolve the impasse before us. That even though we disagreed, we could go forward in the unity and Christian love that Jesus prayed for, for the sake of the Church and our work for God in the world.
I reminded the rectors of the six parishes of their ordination vows in this church, that they would serve together with [their] bishop. Communion with the bishop is a precursor to consider other matters that are before us. By leaving the meeting tonight without acknowledging my authority as their bishop they have placed themselves under threat of inhibition by refusing to live within their vows. I regret that we were unable to reach accord this evening. I shall continue to pray for them.
I thought Snith doesn't believe in a "pre-emptive strike"
>>Instead, we walked into a trap<<
This came as a surprise? This whole situation is like "ecclesiastical AIDS." You know, folks, I think we might just be going a little too easy on these priests. Face it...they engaged in "risky behavior" by putting themselves under the authority of these ungodly people to begin with. They remained under that authority for God knows how long, compromising & cooperating with the Revisionist's agenda every step of the way. Like the promiscuous homosexual, they, too, became "sick" through these illicit relationships. Now that they've finally found some conscience, they seem to think very unfair that they are paying any price for their disobedience to God & His Holy Word. The REAL victims in this whole sordid mess are the sheep that THEY (not Smith) led astray. They were the ones preaching heresy from the pulpit every Sunday. They were the ones spoonfeeding Smith's propaganda to the people of God. Let them take their lumps & when they turn back to God with broken spirits, humble & contrite hearts, then we can all in a spirit of Christian love & forgiveness, step in to bind up their wounds.
I'd like to recommend a fantastic book for Bishop Smith to read. It's called "Joshua" and it's by Father Joseph F. Girzone. I am sure many are familiar with it. As a young boy going to Bishop Seabury Church, one of the six parishes of concern under the very wise direction of Fr. Gauss, I remember this book sweeping through the church similar to the way The Purpose Driven Life is doing now. Everyone read it and loved it. I just recently found it and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Bishop Smith may find a correlation between he and the aristocrasy of the Church in this book. Then again... He might not.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.