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ECUSA & AC Network dioceses and parishes: Who has departed? Who will separate? And from whom?
The Prayer Book Society [1928] ^ | 4/03/2006 | The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon

Posted on 04/03/2006 12:25:38 PM PDT by sionnsar

A discussion and Prayer starter….

Thousands wait with baited breath to see what will occur at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in mid-June 2006.

Within the small but active Anglican Communion Network of ECUSA-based dioceses and parishes, it is commonly asserted that, if there is no real and obvious U-turn on matters relating to sexuality by the General Convention in June 2006, then the plan of the Network is certainly NOT to depart (and become, for example, like the AMiA) but to stay in place with the claim, “We have not left the ECUSA, the ECUSA [as an institution] has left the Anglican Communion.” And “We are the orthodox and they are the revisionists.”

The cry, “We have not left them; they have left the real ECUSA/the Anglican Communion” is not new. Members of the Prayer Book Society used it when they kept on using the classic, received, historic Book of Common Prayer (1549-1928) of PECUSA after 1979 when a book with the title “The BCP” (but in reality a book of varied services and doctrines, like the English ASB and Canadian BAS) was made the official prayer book of ECUSA. It was also made within the Episcopal Synod in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Making this claim has both advantages and weaknesses as a mindset and a slogan. Here are some of them.


  1. It claims the higher ground by stating that the “enemy”, the majority of ECUSA, has left behind the true religion of the denomination, going in search of a more progressive, liberal religion. While the majority has moved on, so the minority has stayed put and thus can expect support from other provinces of the Anglican Communion.
  2. It offers to the Anglican Communion, through its various instruments of unity (Archbishop of Canterbury; Lambeth Conference of Bishops, Anglican Consultative Council and Primates’ Meeting) the opportunity – in the short or long term – to make it clear by action or inaction that the real Anglican Province in the USA is that represented by the Network and the real Primate is Bishop Bob Duncan. This way the Network does nothing but waits for others to act, and if they do move in a positive way then the REC, APA and AMiA (for example), as common cause partners, can become part of the new unit as a province of the Communion.
  3. It gives to the Primates of the Global South the immediate opportunity to declare their solidarity with the Network and to declare they are not in any form of communion with the majority of ECUSA.
  4. It keeps all the salary, pension and health insurance benefits intact for the Network bishops and clergy.
  5. It probably also preserves the use of churches and graveyards, to which the laity have many special ties, intact.
  6. It saves all the messiness of moving out and creating a new entity. It is thus comforting to laity and clergy.

Weaknesses or Disadvantages:

  1. It makes the Network bishops and leadership to be persons without courage for they appear to be simply taking a stand and then leaving others to make and do the difficult and demanding decisions. They simply sit and wait, and meanwhile do not declare themselves out of communion with those whom they describe as “revisionist” and thus do not invite problems.
  2. It identifies the Network wholly with the religion of ECUSA before the advent of the innovatory sexuality agenda (say the religion of ECUSA before 2000). That is, it commits the Network (at least for the present) to the revisionist religion introduced systematically in the ECUSA from 1970 through to the end of the century – for the details see the 64 page booklet Episcopal Innovations, 1960-2004 (2006).
  3. It casts serious doubts on the theological and moral decisions taken from the late 1970s by those traditional Episcopalians (e.g., Continuing Anglicans, AMiA and so on) who left the ECUSA, not because of the modern sexual agenda, but because of other, more serious innovations like the rejection of the historic Formularies in 1976 & 1979, the ordination of women in response to the pressures of the feminist movement, the absorption of the divorce culture with easy re-marriage in church, and so on.


The point needs to be made and considered that the Network is right now not the primary loyalty of its ECUSA-based bishops and parishes. It is a secondary, voluntary association with self-imposed rules and discipline – as was the Episcopal Synod which promised much and delivered little in the early 1990s. The primary legal and ecclesial commitment of the ECUSA bishops and clergy in the Network is to the Church whose leaders they call “revisionist” and which we know as the ECUSA. Their whole standing and accreditation comes from the fact and reality of the ECUSA as a legal denomination. They all seem content to call themselves “Episcopalians” and “Episcopal” clergy and so they should for the ECUSA is still a respectable ship to sail in and work from.

However, what they seem not to recognize sufficiently clearly is that it is the ECUSA as an Institution through its General Convention, Executive Council and House of Bishops that is (by classical Anglican standards) revisionist and apostate. They are all part of this entity even if they stay away from meetings; and, further, and most significantly, since they accept most of the revisionist agenda and innovations from 1970 to 2004, they are themselves truly revisionist, even though they all protest against the sexuality innovations and a very small number of them protest against women as bishops (and also in some cases women as priests).

This point may be illustrated by asking these sample questions which all point to revisionism in doctrine and discipline:

Which Network bishop has publicly stated that he will not abide by the Marriage Canon of 1973 and the doctrine of Marriage in the Marriage Service of the 1979 prayer book but will seek to keep to the earlier canon of marriage in order to uphold a real doctrine of marriage?

Which Network bishop has publicly stated that the title of the 1979 prayer book is false and what the ECUSA ought to have done (moral duty) was to call the 1979 book by such a name as “A Book of Alternative Services” and thus keep in place the classic BCP in its latest US edition of 1928 – as did other provinces?

Which Network bishop has publicly stated that the repudiation of the classic Formularies (historic BCP, Articles of Religion and Ordinal) in the 1970s by the ECUSA and the adoption of new ones (i.e. whatever is contained in the 1979 book) was a most serious departure from historic Anglicanism and a rejection of Reformed Catholicism as the Anglican Way?

With regret, I have to say that the writing on the wall suggests that the Network, like the Episcopal Synod before it, has a bark that is worse than its bite. Or, that it makes claims of “orthodoxy” that are not verifiable in the reality of the nature and history of the Episcopal Church in last century and this!

I dare to suggest to Network members that it is not enough to proclaim positively that Christ is Lord, that the Scriptures are authoritative and that the Creeds are true, and, negatively that the ECUSA’s innovations in sexual doctrine and practice are immoral and that those who support them are “revisionist”. This confession is true but VERY insufficient for Anglicans.

What is required by the Network in order rightly to lead in renewal is to accept the fullness of the Reformed Catholic Faith which is the Anglican Way and which requires (a) the adoption of the historic and classic Formularies under the authority of the Holy Scriptures; and (b) the repudiation of the major innovations of ECUSA since 1970. Right now the doctrine of the ECUSA-based Network clergy and laity is by canon law clearly in the 1979 book – a book of varied services and doctrines – and not in the historic and classic Formularies, for the ECUSA has repudiated these.

I suggest that this real U-turn, which demands holy wisdom and courage from the ECUSA-based bishops and clergy, can only be approached in the spirit of submissive and fervent prayer – please visit for further suggestions.

I realize that in writing these lines I represent a very small minority of committed Episcopalians/Anglicans in the USA, but I would be most gratified to be shown clearly and really where I am wrong in my evaluation of what has occurred within the ECUSA since the 1960s (with of course roots into earlier periods). Please read EPISCOPAL INNOVATIONS 1960-2004 and tell me – available from or from 1-800-PBS-1928, or by pdf from

Thank you for considering these matters.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon

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

1 posted on 04/03/2006 12:25:40 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; axegrinder; AnalogReigns; Uriah_lost; Condor 63; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 04/03/2006 12:26:24 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Libs: Celebrate MY diversity! | Iran Azadi 2006)
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To: sionnsar
It's "bated", not "baited". The verb "bate" is related to 'abate', to lessen or reduce (it is related to "beat"). "Bated breath" means to hold your breath while waiting (as in the related phrase, "don't hold your breath" while waiting for something to happen).

Don't mean to be pedantic, but I've seen this one misused over and over recently, and the Rev. Dr. should know better.

. . . all of which has nothing to do with the fact that I agree with him on the points he makes in this article. All I see in the future of the ECUSA is more waffling, compromise, and delay by those who should know better.

Glad we didn't wait -- my daughter was a freshman in high school when all these rumblings started, and she's due to graduate in 6 weeks and go off to college. And still no resolution.

3 posted on 04/03/2006 1:32:45 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother

Yes, I saw that too. But it's not the first spelling error I've seen from him.

4 posted on 04/03/2006 2:03:02 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Libs: Celebrate MY diversity! | Iran Azadi 2006)
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To: sionnsar

Bottom line...if you are in communion with heretics, you are an enemy of God!

5 posted on 04/03/2006 3:00:47 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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