Skip to comments.Orthodox rector receives Pastoral Direction from Florida Bishop ("cease and desist")
Posted on 11/23/2005 8:49:08 AM PST by sionnsar
JACKSONVILLE, FL:(11/23/2005)--The orthodox rector of Grace Church, Orange Park in the Diocese of Florida has received a Pastoral Directive from Bishop John Howard telling him to cease and desist fundraising for a new church he was planting as it had not received his blessing or encouragement.
The Rev. Dr. Samuel C. Pascoe had posted a document at Grace Church's website urging his parishioners to fund a new non-profit organization called "New Grace Church", the money to be used to start a new Anglican Church. He also said it had the "blessing and encouragement of the Bishop."
VirtueOnline obtained a copy of the letter from a source in the diocese in which Howard tells Pascoe to "retract in full your statement concerning funding of this new congregation as outlined in the October 27, 2005 letter and to inform each donor to this fund that contributions do not have my permission, blessing or acquiescence. Howard also told Pascoe that he had to inform the vestry that this "New Grace Church" was not created with my "blessing" or "encouragement" as stated in your October 27th letter, and that he was to have no further involvement whatsoever with the fund or its sponsoring organization".
Pascoe had written a tract titled: Transformation: The reformation of Grace Church, Orange Park." In it he stated that with the blessing and encouragement of the Bishop, he had created a new non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation temporarily called "New Grace Church." Gifts to this new fund are tax-deductible were a charitable contribution, he had written. "This fund is completely separate from the Diocese of Florida. Money in this fund will be used to start the new Anglican Church here in the Orange Park area."
"Any money given to Grace Church as a parish within ECUSA will belong to the diocese, whether NGC stays in the current building or not. If you would like to give to this new "New Grace Church" fund, you may do so starting Sunday, October 30."
"Within the near future we will be taking pledges for 2006 for both the "old" ECUSA Grace Church and the "New Grace Church." This will give both entities a better feel for what the next year will look like and how much money each group (church) will have to operate."
Howard saw this as a betrayal. "Your lawyer, David Dearing, represented to me when we met on Wednesday Oct. 19th, that no action would be taken by Grace Church, or any of the other churches, to fund future ministries as congregations no longer in the Diocese of Florida, except by mutual agreement. You have never received my agreement to create a new entity nor permission to solicit donations. I do not give you or Grace Episcopal Church that permission or consent."
Howard then warned Pascoe that he was not to use the church facilities to raise funds for the new venture, make announcements in church, send letters use e-mail distribution lists or give to others to utilize mailing or e-mail lists, or take any action which would diminish your responsibilities of current loyalties to the Episcopal Church.
"If you wish to begin a new Episcopal congregation, you must first seek my permission and that of the Congregational Development Committee; If you wish to begin a church of another denomination, you must voluntarily renounce your orders and resign your position as rector of Grace Church."
Howard then accused Pascoe of a serious breach of his ordination vows in the statements he had made. The bishop said Pascoe could discuss with his congregation departing from the Episcopal Church (and from Grace Church property) in preparation of beginning a new church not affiliated with the Episcopal Church but he warned Pascoe that he did not have authorization to participate in any money raising for this venture. "This Pastoral Directive addresses core concerns of the doctrine and discipline within our Episcopal Church and this Episcopal Diocese of Florida."
Howard concluded his letter to Pascoe saying the Pastoral Directive was a "solemn warning" telling him that it was directed to matters which concern the doctrine and discipline of this church, "your manner of life and behavior." He then gave Pascoe three days to comply with the Pastoral Directive. Pascoe told his parishioners that the situation was "rapidly evolving" and to stay tuned.
Another example of ECUSA tyranny.
Oh noooooooo. I know Sam Pascoe as well as I know Phil Ashey. Maybe better! I knew Sam when he was a teenager.
I'd be happy to draft up something for the local church to use which would meet the letter of the bishop's requirements but which would probably leave him very unhappy. It would probably greatly increase the funds coming into New Grace.
Go for it, if you are so led!
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