Skip to comments.HANDS AND PLOWS AND LOOKING BACK
Posted on 01/17/2006 8:49:43 PM PST by Huber
Here's another indication that an Anglican split will be the best thing that could possibly happen to conservative Anglicanism. Sam Pascoe, rector of Grace Anglican Church of Orange Park, Florida, writes his parish:
As I write, I am in Birmingham, Alabama, at the Anglican Mission in America Winter Conference. I am here with Janie Simpson (our Senior Warden), Travis Greenman and Rob Sanders (Associates), Karen Allen (our Children’s Ministry Coordinator, and Roberta Harkey (parishioner). Many other clergy from the area are here as well including Jim McCaslin from All Souls, Neil Lebhar from Church of the Redeemer, Eric Dudley from St. Peter’s Church and Jim Needham from St. Luke’s in Tallahassee.
Even though Grace Church is not officially part of the Anglican Mission, it is a very encouraging to be part of such a conference. It is well-organized and well-attended, with over 1,000 souls from 32 states and several foreign countries. There are also nine Archbishops from the larger Anglican Communion. Together they represent over 1/4 of the Anglican Communion. And, they are firmly united in the conviction that churches such as Grace must continue to prosper and not be bullied about. With that background, let me report to you some of what has been happening over the last several days.
First, last weekend was glorious. It mirrored our Lord’s passion in that on Friday we died to our old allegiances to the Episcopal Church. Then, on Sunday, we were resurrected as an Anglican Church in full communion with the rest of Anglican Christians around the world through the ministrations of Bp. Thomas Johnston and the Province of Rwanda, Africa.
On Tuesday, January 10, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Florida met and voted to recommend to the Bishop of Florida (Johnson Howard) that I be "inhibited." Thus, if I were an "Episcopal" priest, I could not perform any priestly functions within his jurisdiction. The bishop did, indeed, move to inhibit me. I received official notice of Johnson Howard’s action today.
Of course, Mr. Howard no longer has any authority over me because I am not an Episcopal priest. He no longer has any authority of Grace Church because it is not an Episcopal congregation. So, while interesting in an odd sort of way, Mr. Howard’s actions are irrelevant to my life as a priest or our life as a congregation.
Word also leaked out of the meeting that the Standing Committee gave serious consideration to "padlocking" our church. Happily, this idea was rejected. One idea that was not rejected, apparently, was that Johnson Howard petition the Archbishop of Canterbury to discipline Archbishop Immanuel Kolini for receiving us into the Province of Rwanda. We have not received any official notification that this has happened, but it would be consistent with Mr. Howard’s approach. I will keep you posted.
Finally, you may have seen a letter sent by Mr. Howard to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida regarding what has been happening. It was a long missile of an epistle, full of half-truths and false assurances, crying "peace, peace, when there is no peace" and, finally, misquoting our Lord’s Great Commission to prop up a shaky agenda. It makes one sad to read it.
What are the implications for us? None, really. We have received our marching orders. We have a renewed commitment to mission and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have an enormous, God-sized task before us. It is what whimsical management types call a "Bee-HAG," a "Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal." Our opportunity and our calling is way too big and way too important to be hi-jacked, side-tracked, or distracted by minor irritants and momentary afflictions.
We are often faced with choices. These often involve choosing between the momentary and the momentous. Those choices create momentum. We at Grace Church have made our choice. We have chosen to be involved in momentous causes, not momentary distractions. We have momentum for mission and ministry. We have set our face like a flint.
Yes, we are standing firm, but we are not standing still.
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