Skip to comments.New "Letter of Agreement" for Clergy and Vestries in Diocese of Florida [Warning]
Posted on 08/22/2005 6:09:04 PM PDT by sionnsar
In the Episcopal Church, most dioceses utilize Letters of Agreement which represent an ecclesial contract between the Bishop, Vestry and Rector. Such agreements specify the terms of call, compensation, scope of ministry and other matters. Bishop John Howard has recently distributed a revised "Letter of Agreement" for use in the Diocese of Florida which includes a section entitled "Rector's Allegiance to Episcopal Church." The wording of this section is found below:
SECTION H-RECTORS ALLEGIANCE TO EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Rector acknowledges his/her allegiance to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, also known as the Episcopal Church, (the Church) and to the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Florida (the Diocese). The Rector submits to the authority of the General Convention of the Church and the Convention of the Diocese. The Rector accedes to, recognizes and accepts the Doctrine, Discipline and Form of Worship of the Church and the Constitution and Canons of the Church and of the Diocese, as may hereafter be amended from time to time. In the event of any conflict or inconsistency between the organizational documents of this Parish and the Constitution and Canons of the Church and of the Diocese as may be amended hereafter from time to time, the Constitution and Canons shall control and govern. The foregoing provisions may not be altered or deleted without the written consent of the Bishop.
The Diocese of Florida continues on a death spiral into the hard ground of repression. No parish, priest or diocese should ever feel smug that they are safe because their leader is orthodox, because you are never more than a heartbeat away from disaster, as Florida has shown us in the transition from orthodox Bishop Jecko to orthodox Bishop Howard. Howard has now sent to his clergy a new employment contract letter which contains a loyalty paragraph, which causes the signer to promise to accept any future changes in diocesan or national canons no matter what. It is titled "SECTION H RECTORS ALLEGIANCE TO EPISCOPAL CHURCH." Howard is not only pressing new clergy to sign this, but we are told is pressing seated incumbents to sign it as well. I believe only a foolish or a very desperate person would sign this document. When funds run short next year, the new canons could dictate that every rector make a kickback directly to the bishops fund, and you better do it because you signed away your freedom and rights. What if the National Canon's, in the form of liturgical revisions, mandate some liturgy which is at odds with the rest of the Anglican Communion? What about basic first amendment rights such as speech and assembly - are these Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms signed away by a priests or parishes acquiescence to this "Allegiance" clause?
--Source: The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson
But "The Rector accedes to, recognizes and accepts the Doctrine, Discipline and Form of Worship of the Church and the Constitution and Canons of the Church and of the Diocese, as may hereafter be amended from time to time." just sends shivers up my spine, no matter what organization with which I might be affiliated.
"Our way or the highway. Now and forever. Amen."
Insert the following clause at the end prior to executing the agreement:
...provided the Constitution and Canons, as may be amended from time to time, and as stated or as interpreted by the Bishop or any other member of the Church hierarchy, are not in conflict with, nor contradict or obfuscate, the Word of God as defined in the Bible, KJV, attached hereto as Exhibit (1), and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, attached hereto as Exhibit (2).
Why bring Jesus and the Bible into it? How intolerant of you!
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