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An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church from the Bishop of Quincy
American Anglican Council ^ | 9/12/2005 | The Rt. Revd Keith L. Ackerman

Posted on 09/12/2005 7:05:50 PM PDT by sionnsar

Beloved in Christ,

I greet you in the Name of the only One who has brought Salvation to the world, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In these last few weeks we have witnessed absolute devastation in a part of our country where our witness as Episcopalians has been quite significant. Our brothers and sisters are in great need, to such an extent that it is impossible for most of us to comprehend even the smallest percentage of the emotions and pain God’s people in these places are experiencing. One of the realities in living in a large country is that it is possible for us to adopt an attitude that either makes us oblivious to anything other than what we experience daily in our own setting, or in the extreme, apathetic and cynical.

In the Acts of the Apostles we read of the ministry of deacons and the Church as a whole as it ministered to the needs of God’s people. Ironically it is not until later that the Council of Jerusalem met to deal with the internal struggles of an emerging Church. What is clear, however, is that the Church was totally committed to preaching, teaching, and ministering to those who were in need. There is simply no ecclesial or corporate need that can match the devastation incurred by our people as a result of Hurricane Katrina. I believe that we must follow the example of the Apostolic Church, and rearrange our corporate lives as a Church in order to meet the urgent needs of the people who are victims of the Hurricane. With this is mind I offer several suggestions for consideration as we consider ways in which we can assist financially those who have lost everything:

· Reduce the number of Deputies we send to General Convention. This is an unwieldy gathering, larger than other conventions that represent bodies significantly larger than the Episcopal Church. It is highly unlikely that when the General Convention was first planned that the planners would have intended that it become such a large and unmanageable gathering. Barring the relative impossibility of getting both Houses to agree on this reduction, encourage each Diocese to make canonical changes that would result in sending only two clergy and two laity to General Convention.

· Reduce the number of days at General Convention by four days. Not only are these Conventions exhausting, but they assume that everyone can take two weeks out of their life every three years. As a result many who would otherwise be willing to be a Deputy cannot attend due to the massive time commitment

· Look seriously at the amount of money that is spent for travel as it relates to our various meetings, particularly those numerous meetings held between General Conventions. Let us utilize technology that is now available to create “virtual meetings.”

· Reduce the number of committee meetings held each year and stay at modest facilities such as Retreat Centers, rather than expensive hotels.

· Consider having General Convention every five years instead of every three years.

The reality is that the amount of money that would be saved by what I have proposed could then be used for significant ministry, and it would be a witness to the Church and to the world as to what our priorities really are. In my opinion a “business as usual” approach in the days in which we live calls into question how serious we are about the use of our resources as stewards of all that God has entrusted to us.

I recognize that my proposals are not original, and I recognize that many reading this letter have better proposals than I. I only ask that we recognize that the various tragedies we as a nation and as a church have experienced in the past few years may be an opportunity for us to rearrange our ecclesiastical priorities. My fear is that ecclesiocratic realities may very well overshadow the mission imperative and opportunities that lie before us.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Rt. Revd Keith L. Ackerman, SSC
Bishop of Quincy

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 09/12/2005 7:05:52 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: sionnsar
· Reduce the number of Deputies we send to General Convention. This is an unwieldy gathering,

Should read:

· Reduce the number of flaming homosexual, adulterer, Deputies we send to General Convention. This is an unwieldy gathering,...

2 posted on 09/12/2005 7:15:21 PM PDT by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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