Skip to comments.Letter to Clergy and Sr Wardens of Diocese of Montana from AAC President
Posted on 05/02/2006 6:02:22 PM PDT by sionnsar
April 25, 2006
(American Anglican Council logo)
The Revd Canon David C. Anderson
Dear Fellow Episcopalian,
On April 21, 2006 you received a letter from Bishop Brookhart addressed to the Senior Wardens and Priests of the Diocese of Montana. Because it contains many inaccurate statements, I feel the need to reply to both Bishop Brookhart and those to whom he was writing. Although the American Anglican Council (AAC) did not participate in the mailing or the manufacture of the DVDs that the bishop references, he makes remarks about the AAC that might well mislead you. We trust that his remarks were made out of ignorance of who we are rather than any malice on his part.
He commented, The ACN is the child of the American Anglican Congress (AAC), a group formed ten or fifteen years ago as a needed counterbalance to the apparent hegemony of the "liberal" wing of our Church. The AAC was formed ten years ago in 1996, and the letters stand for the American Anglican Council; the American Anglican Congress is unknown to us, although some years ago there was an organization that was called the US Anglican Congress.
My organization, the American Anglican Council, did indeed help form the Anglican Communion Network, at the suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury in private conversations with me and another individual in Lambeth Palace, but the ACN has emerged as a separate entity. If you visit their website, you will see that they are very much a part of the Episcopal Church; all the ACN bishops sit with Bishop Brookhart in the Episcopal House of Bishops. Bishop Brookharts remarks are therefore somewhat misleading, which is unfortunate.
Your bishop goes on to say, Today, the AAC and the ACN are actively calling for division and schism in the church. In fact, both groups, the AAC and the ACN, are saying that the Episcopal Church itself at the Minneapolis General Convention in 2006 initiated schism within the Anglican Communion based on the Episcopal Churchs actions. Twenty-two of the thirty-eight Provinces of the Anglican Communion have declared impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church. This is a fact that the bishop didnt mention. All of us as Episcopalians have already been excommunicated from the largest portion of the Global Communion, and probably no one told you. I have today read the letter from the Rev. D.O. Smart that your bishop takes issue with, and factually, everything Fr. Smart says is true, although the truth does sting and hurt.
Bishop Brookhart goes on to say, This (schism) stands in clear contradiction to the teaching of the New Testament, where unity is a cardinal virtue for Christians, even in the face of doctrinal and ethical disagreements. Also, the ordained people who joined this chorus of division are in clear contradiction of their ordination vows. Bishop Brookhart is partly right; the New Testament does uphold unity, as does the witness of the early church; however, heresy steps ahead of schism by the time of the Church Councils, when key doctrines of the Church were being distorted and changed. Today, as in the time of the early councils, departure from settled Christian doctrine clearly evidenced at General Convention 2006, means that heresy, at least on the part of leading segments of the Episcopal Church, is the cause of the schism that has already happened. Your bishop should know and have mentioned this. Since those who have caused the schism that is already present are the Episcopal Churchs top leadership themselves, whether they have violated their ordination vows or not is an interesting point.
The bishop excoriates both the AAC and the ACN for being judgmental, without any proof or citation, and in doing so, seems to become angry and judgmental just as he accuses others of having become.
Bishop Brookhart seems concerned that Fr. D.O. Smart isnt an Episcopal priest, and indeed he isnt, he is a priest in good standing within the Anglican Communion under the Province of Uganda, Diocese of Kampala, and his bishop is the Primate of the Province, the Most Reverend Henry Orombi. On the other hand, I am an Episcopal priest of some 35 years, in good standing, having been in the Episcopal Church all of my nearly 62 years. I can tell you that the dire state of affairs in the Episcopal Church is known throughout most of the communion, but is often kept from the people in the pews by bishops and other information gatekeepers for fear of the response.
Your bishop continues, I recommend if you or your congregation are a part of these organizations that you give careful consideration to revoking your membership in these groups. In fact, if you are concerned about the problems in the Episcopal Church, the AAC and the ACN are some of the few places where you can hear and read the truth that the official Episcopal Church is afraid to tell you.
I have served in the great state of Montana, high wide and handsome that it is. Earlier in my life I worked in Glacier National Park, and then served in Northeast Montana as a circuit-riding priest, and I know that the men and women of Montana have a right to have the truth and make up their own minds. We have truthful publications that you can find at our website, www.americananglican.org, and you can download them for free and print and copy them to friends. One document is called Equipping the Saints, and is particularly useful.
With best wishes and praying Christs blessing on all of us,
Yours in Christ,
The Revd Canon David C. Anderson+
President, the American Anglican Council
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
*Note: The Bishop of Montana's original letter to his diocese appears on the AAC Blog here.
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