Skip to comments.For the Record (Alice Linsley on women in the priesthood),
Posted on 02/25/2006 6:16:26 PM PST by sionnsar
Today a friend informed me that she read my reflection On the Brink, originally posted at Pontifications and VirtueOnline. She wanted me to send this link to her priest friend in Virginia who is struggling with whether to stay in ECUSA. So I went to David Virtues site and while I was there I read the comments.
I was amused to discover that I am Rector of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Versailles, Kentucky. (An easy mistake to make. I was rector of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Lexington until November 2003.) While I love and support the Anglican congregation in Versailles, I do not worship there at this time, nor lead adult classes there. In the past four months I have taken to wandering and have worshiped at Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Mission in America churches. I have a disciplined daily regimen of prayer and scripture reading and am working through my extensive library of prayer books. (Presently I am praying through the Orthodox Prayer Book that is used at the Holy Protection Orthodox Monastery in Saskatchewan.) In all of this I am attempting to step away from the fray for a time of rest and discernment. This may be one of the most difficult things Ive done because I find busy-ness easier than stillness and prefer friendly company to self-searching solitude.
A comment at Virtues site made me realize how confusing my decisions must seem to those who dont know me. Im not concerned with justifying my decisions, but I do want the record to be clear on what motivates me to leave the priesthood. It is not, as some have suggested, a way of striking back at my bishop. It is because I have come to believe that women should not enter the priesthood.
As an orthodox person who believes it is important to keep Scripture and Tradition in tension, I cannot in good conscience continue to function as a priest. There are many reasons. First, as Anglo-Catholics correctly maintain, there is no precedent for women priests or bishops in either the West or the East. Second, the Evangelical wing approves this practice on the basis of flawed exegesis of Scripture (a result of separating Scripture from Tradition and uncritical acceptance of ECUSAs enlightenment). Third, ECUSA never submitted the question of women priests to the Anglican Communion for deliberation. As with the ordination of Gay and Lesbian clergy, it framed the issue as a matter of social justice and presented it as a fait accompli.
ECUSAs errancy and how the 1979 Prayer Book contributed to that bodys meltdown are addressed in numerous essays Ive written and posted at www.descants.classicalanglican.net over the past year. Those who have read my essays at Brad Drells blog know that I have been struggling with the question of the priesthood for some time. The crisis in ECUSA has forced me to re-examine many things. Renunciation of my priestly vows is necessary because I no longer believe that I should be a priest and because I want to break all association with ECUSA. Were it possible to set aside my vows as a priest and reaffirm my vows as a deacon I would do that, but this would be an impossible arrangement under Bishop Sauls.
What does the future hold for me? Im still discerning the way Im to go. The brand of Anglicanism that feeds me
a reformed Catholicism that worships according to the historic formularies
doesnt have an expression here in Kentucky. Perhaps it never will have and that too may be a blessing. As a priest, Ive put too much stock in the organization, and too little in my relationship with the Lord. For the record, I intend as a layperson to seek a more healthy relationship with Christ and his Church.
I, Alice C. Linsley, having been ordained a Priest in the Episcopal Church on the 27th day of June, 1988, voluntarily and with full knowledge of my rights, duties and privileges, pursuant to Title III, Canon 18 (1) of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church (2000) hereby renounce the vows I took in my ordination as a priest. I renounce my priestly vows because I no longer believe that women should be ordained to the priesthood and because I intend to affiliate with a Christian community that upholds Catholic Orders.
I ask that the Rt. Rev. Stacy F. Sauls, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, accept this voluntary renunciation and recommend to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Lexington that it be accepted and that I be released without prejudice from the obligations of the Ministerial office of Priest; and that the Standing Committee of the Diocese sign the document and enter it into the records of the Episcopal Church.
Alice C. Linsley
To Alice Linsley:
Go in Peace to love and serve the Lord!
She is great woman of conscience and humility. As a Catholic, who is in shock at the liberal developments in my faith, I applaud those in your tradition who take stands and follow their consciences. May the peace of the Lord be with you. V's wife.
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