Skip to comments.An Open Letter To The Delegates From The Diocese Of Connecticut To The General Convention
Posted on 04/13/2006 10:29:58 PM PDT by sionnsar
Maundy Thursday, 2006
An Open Letter To The Delegates To General Convention From The Diocese Of Connecticut.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I write to you as a member of the Convention of the Diocese of Connecticut. This Pentecost I will be celebrating twenty- five years as a priest in the Episcopal Church. I have been canonically resident in our diocese for the last sixteen years and for fifteen years was a parish rector in Stamford. I have served the diocese in a number of ways, including a term as president of the Standing Committee.
I am gravely concerned about the decisions in front of the General Convention this June. It is my prayer that the General Convention will say yes to the requests contained in the Windsor Report and do so in a straightforward and unequivocal way. It is clear that rejecting the provisions of the Windsor Report would mean a break with the world-wide Anglican Communion. This would be very sad. Among other things, the breaking apart of our communion along cultural and racial lines would be a counter-sign to a dimension of the Gospel, to the good news that God is creating a new people in which the barriers of tribe and nation are being overcome.
Nearer to my heart because of my own labor in the ministry is the reality of the local parish church. If Windsor is rejected it will break not only our fellowship with the Anglican Communion, it will further break the communion and fellowship in many, many parishes across our diocese and our Church. The divisions in our Church run more through parishes than between parishes.
I accept that those of you who are in favor of the actions of General Convention 2003 and the election of the bishop of New Hampshire sincerely believe that this is an issue of Gospel justice. I want to say to you as a parish priest with long standing that the legislative victory of the last General Convention does not begin to represent the mind of our Church at the parish level. The efforts at dialogue and consensus building on this issue in our own diocese have been well- intentioned but inadequate. Many, many people in our Church and in our diocese feel profoundly that they have been neither consulted nor heard on this issue.
If the Windsor Report is rejected, I believe that there will be a further loss of membership, a deepening cynicism about diocesan and national polity on the part of many clergy and laity, and a further withdrawal by many clergy and laity from church life above the parish level. A real schism of the Episcopal Church would be unavoidable. I do not predict massive defections from the church if Windsor is rejected, but I do predict very serious consequences. Many parishes will be weakened beyond the point of viability. If there is a schism, the result will be two institutionally fragile churches with an impaired capacity for mission on all fronts.
But I do not urge the acceptance of Windsor for prudential reasons only, though these issues deserve serious weighing. I urge acceptance of the Windsor Report because it provides an opportunity for diligent consultation. I know that there has been debate about homosexuality in the Church for forty years. Diligent consultation within our Church, within the Anglican Communion, with our ecumenical partners and especially at the parish level has not been characteristic of these discussions. Without this diligence, we are dishonoring the bonds of affection in the body of Christ and the baptismal ministry of thousands of our people.
I urge acceptance of Windsor so that there might be time and space to build the Church up. Within the time and space which would be provided by the acceptance of the requests that our brothers and sisters in the communion have made of us, it would be possible for us by Gods grace to heal some of the sad divisions that have overtaken us and to build our church up rather than break it apart. It seems to me that there can always easily be time to break the church apart. The time to build up is more elusive. I pray you will seize the moment and vote for Windsor.
Your Brother In Christs Service
The Rev. Leander S. Harding, Ph.D.
Ping to read later
Isn't this the whoie point of the encroachment of apostacy, heresy, paganism, homosexuality, hedonism and secular humanism into the church?!? Why is the writer so accepting as to overlook the nefarious intent of these revisionists?
I find the same "see no evil" posture among the more outspoken conservative leaders of the ELCA. They sound like Senators ("my esteemed colleague, my dear friend from the great state of Virginia..."). Just as we must never question the patriotism of a politician, no matter how despicable, it seems to be a norm that one mustn't question the sincerity of a fellow cleric no matter how mendacious his/her agenda.
I believe BTW that this is a profound weakness of the modern American church in general, the inability to call things (like evil) by their rightful names.
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