Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Open Letter to Southern VA [ECUSA]
Moving Mountains ^ | 12/05/2005

Posted on 12/05/2005 4:08:36 PM PST by sionnsar

Too many Episcopalians are being purposefully kept in the dark about what is going on in ECUSA and the Anglican Communion. Too many clergy, revisionist and orthodox alike, feel like it is better to keep their parishioners in the dark about what is really going on for fear of dividing their parishes and losing members and contributions.

Well, that is not true for three parishes in the Diocese of Southern Virginia! The clergy and vestries at Messiah, Chesapeake; Christ Church, Emporia; and Grace Church, Purdy not only keep their own people well informed, they want to get the word out to everyone in the Diocese. These brave believers are defending the Gospel by writing a letter with all the basic facts about the crisis to the Diocesan Newsletter for everyone to read.

WVAnglicans has endured a "hatchet job" or two at the hands of our Diocesan newsletter editor (see previous entries on this site for examples). Well, the folks at Southern Virginia's Jamestown Cross, did this group one better. They refused to publish the letter at all! According to one of the group's Sr. Wardens, "We were told by diocesan officials that the the letter was too long, and the content inappropriate, for the newspaper."

The Sr. Warden went on to explain that the group requested to purchase the Diocesan mailing list to send the letter out via USPO to each member of the Diocese. At first, they were given permission, but, then the Diocese changed its mind saying that the Diocesan resources should not be used in that fashion, and also citing the fact that at least one of the parishes had not paid its apportionment or allowed the bishop to visit.

With the permission of Messiah Parish's Rector and Sr. Warden, we here at Moving Mountains are pleased to publish the full text of the letter on the Internet, and we ask your prayers that everyone from the Diocese of Southern Virginia (and the rest of the world) finds this letter on the Internet, so that they can know what is really going on and make the necessary preparations for an uncertain future. We pray that the Diocese's censorship of this letter will result in even greater circulation and readership. WV Anglicans congratulates the clergy, vestries and members of these three churches for their bold and brave stand. We are honored to help get the word out about this important letter that follows the example and mandate of Christ to speak the Truth in Love.

August 17, 2005

To: Our Brothers and Sisters in the Diocese of Southern Virginia

From: The Vestry of the Church of the Messiah, Chesapeake
The Vestry of Christ Church, Emporia
The Vestry of Grace Church, Purdy

We write this letter to you today, because as Ezekiel writes of the responsibilities of the watchman, we are called to alert you to the crisis occurring within the church we all love. We believe that there are many who are unaware of what is occurring within the Episcopal Church, and we want to ensure that you are informed.

At General Convention 2003 (GC2003), the Episcopal Church approved the selection of a non-celibate homosexual man as the Bishop of New Hampshire. At the same time, a resolution was passed by the convention declaring that the blessing and celebrating of same-sex unions was “within the bounds of our common life.”

In a direct violation of Scripture and historical Anglican teaching and tradition, with these two declarations, the Episcopal Church has crossed a line that will possibly separate it forever from its relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion. With the exception of Bishop David Bane, the entire delegation of the Diocese of Southern Virginia – your delegates – voted unanimously in favor of both of these acts. Are you, as a member of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, in agreement with this? Are you aware that these two acts have caused grave concern among the majority of the provinces of the Anglican Communion?

One of the hallmarks of the Episcopal Church is that it is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. 70 million people call the Anglican Church their home in the Body of Christ. The preamble of the constitution of the Episcopal Church, adopted in October 1789, reads, “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.”

Being a “constituent member of the Anglican Communion” means that we are to be an essential part of the communion; adhering to a common set of doctrines and beliefs. Yet, because of the actions of GC2003, the Episcopal Church now stands on the threshold of being removed from this fellowship. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion pleaded with the Episcopal Church, saying that consecrating Gene Robinson as a bishop would “tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level.” Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church pressed on with its own agenda. Are you, as a member of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, prepared to be put out of fellowship with the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion?

After GC2003, the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed a commission to report to him on the legal and theological implications of the decisions made at GC2003, as well as similar actions approved in the Anglican Church of Canada. The report, known as The Windsor Report, was released in September 2004 and states that even though the Anglican Communion had made its position known on the ordination of those involved in same-gender unions, the Episcopal Church, by electing and confirming such a candidate in the face of the concerns expressed by the Anglican Communion, has deeply offended many in its own church and in the wider Communion.

In regard to the Episcopal Church commending the development of public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions, The Windsor Report goes on to say, “many people within the (Anglican) Communion fail to see how the authorization of such a rite is compatible with the teaching of scripture, tradition and reason. In such circumstances, it should not be surprising that such developments are seen by some as surrendering to the spirit of the age rather than an authentic development of the gospel.” The report goes on to say, “We believe that to proceed unilaterally with the authorization of public Rites of Blessing for same sex unions at this time goes against the formally expressed opinions of the Instruments of Unity (the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Lambeth Conference) and therefore constitutes action in breach of the legitimate application of the Christian faith as the churches in the Anglican Communion have received it.”

In February of this year, the Anglican Primates (the archbishop or chief bishop of each Province of the Anglican Communion) met in Ireland where they accepted The Windsor Report and asked that the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Canada, voluntarily remove themselves from the membership in the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) for a period of three years, until the next Lambeth Conference in 2008. During this time period the Episcopal Church is asked to decide whether or not they are willing to commit themselves to the worldwide Anglican Communion and its teachings, tradition and reason.

Just a few months ago, in June, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) met. The ACC, as one of the four Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion, has the role to facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion, exchange information between the Provinces and churches, and help to coordinate common action. It advises on the organization and structures of the Communion and seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church, including ecumenical matters. During the ACC meeting, the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) was without a voice because of the Primates’ decision to ask them to withdraw from all ACC activities until 2008. The membership of the ACC confirmed the Primates’ decision to not give ECUSA a voice or a vote until the Lambeth Conference in 2008. Our representatives were only allowed to observe and to present their justification for the consecration of Gene Robinson and the blessing of same-sex unions.

After the ECUSA defense, the Archbishop of Tanzania released this statement: “I must acknowledge my personal disappointment at the presentation given by ECUSA. While there was an eloquent description of the view that we must embrace what we have always considered to be unholy sexual practices as gifts from God, there was little or no recognition that a significant part of the Episcopal Church rejects this understanding and stands firmly with the rest of the Communion in our historic faith and teaching. Where is their voice? Why did we not hear their story?”

The Episcopal Church has not listened to its own members. A recent study by the Episcopal Church Foundation found that only 20% of the lay members of the Episcopal Church fully endorsed the decisions that led to the consecration of a non-celibate homosexual man as the Bishop of New Hampshire. That same study indicated that almost 85% of the senior wardens and clergy report that their congregations see themselves as part of the broader Anglican Communion. Yet the leadership of the Episcopal Church has determined that it will go its own way. Are you, as a member of the Episcopal Church USA, willing to go along with ECUSA and break away from the worldwide Anglican Communion?

Even in our own diocese, members of our delegation to the General Convention are making plans to separate from the Anglican Communion. IN the May 1, 2005 edition of Episcopal Life, James Bradberry, lay delegate to GC2006 from our diocese, writes that our departure from the Anglican fellowship would not be an excommunication, but would be a liberation. He goes on to say, “I would hate to think of our severance from the worldwide Anglican Communion – but in another sense, separation would be exciting.” Are you, as a member of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, aware that at least one of your elected delegates considers separating from the worldwide Anglican Communion “exciting?”

If not, then we urge you to let your voices be heard. The actions of GC2003 go beyond “inclusiveness” because they fail to recognize the authority of Scripture and the centrality of God’s Word to our theology and faith. Do you believe that Scripture can be reinterpreted in order to fit a social agenda or to satisfy a small minority within the church? If not, then this is your chance to speak up! Ask your rector what he or she believes. Ask your Vestry where they stand. Ask your delegates to Diocesan Council what they believe. Ask them if the fact that ECUSA is heading for separation from the worldwide Anglican Communion concerns them. Ask them if they fact that ECUSA is ignoring the authority of Scripture and hundreds of years of Anglican tradition worries them.

Before ECUSA finds itself removed from the rest of the Anglican Communion, and you and the Diocese of Southern Virginia along with it, we ask you to consider this – is this what you want?

If you do not want to see the Episcopal Church separated from the worldwide Anglican Communion, then we would like to provide you with additional information about how you can make a difference. You can contact us:

By Email at

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: ecusa; fallout; generalconvention; homosexualagenda; homosexualbishop; schism; virginia

1 posted on 12/05/2005 4:08:38 PM PST by sionnsar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ahadams2; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 12/05/2005 4:09:28 PM PST by sionnsar (†† || To Libs: You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sionnsar

Interesting. I of course do not know the legal structure of this diocese, but I suspect that the laity are considered members of the Church and by devolution of the diocese and the national Church. If this is so, it is likely that as members under the law of Virginia they have a right to the "membership list. If so, they could sue in state court to get it. I have a little familiarity with this process as that is what was used to get the GOA mailing list during the "Syridon War" to get the word out about that very flawed hierarch and his cronies to all the Greek Orthodox in America. The lawsuit was hard fought and won by the people seeking the list.

3 posted on 12/05/2005 4:36:23 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: sionnsar

The list should remain private. The members can obtain public lists of clergy members, these are published.

4 posted on 12/06/2005 6:25:19 AM PST by Raycpa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sionnsar

My Diocese, the Diocese of Chicago, publishes the names and addresses of all the parishes in the Diocese on their web site. I bet your diocese does, too. That wouldn't reach all the members, but if you sent out letters to those addresses addressed to "Rector", "Senior Warden", "Junior Warden", "Treasurer", "Secretary", "Organist", etc., you'd probably hit someone who'd bring it to the attention of the rest of the parish.

5 posted on 12/06/2005 7:34:52 AM PST by RonF
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RonF

That's a good thought.

6 posted on 12/06/2005 7:48:10 AM PST by sionnsar (†† || To Libs: You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

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.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson