Skip to comments.Vicar of All Souls Episcopal Regarding GC2006
Posted on 06/06/2006 5:19:12 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Vicar's Letter for June 2006
By the Rev. V. Creighton Evans, Vicar
General Convention 2006 will take place from June 13, 2006, through June 21, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio. This will be the first time the Episcopal Church has had a chance to respond to the Windsor Report. Let me remind us that this crisis is not about sex. Yes, the sexuality question has become the flash point of contention. However, the true issue is the question of Authority. Do we recognize the authority Holy Scripture has over us as Christians and do we seek to live according to what Scripture says or not?
Some accept the authority of Holy Scripture. Others embrace reason and personal experience over Scripture. The tension between these two positions ruptured at our last General Convention in 2003 when the Episcopal Church consented to the election of an openly and actively gay man as bishop in the Episcopal Church. As such, a crisis was created in the Episcopal Church that has torn the very fabric of the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, appointed a special commission called the Lambeth Commission to address the crisis created by the Episcopal Church. The Lambeth Commission produced a report called the Windsor Report. The Windsor Report seeks to maintain the highest level of communion/relationship between all the various provinces of the Communion and requested the Episcopal Church to do several things (for what was requested of the EC, visit our web page and read my article, The Meaning of the Windsor Report). This coming General Convention will be the first time the governing bodies of the Episcopal Church (House of Bishops and House of Deputies) have met to respond to the Windsor Reports requests.
Most traditional members of the Episcopal Church see the requirements of the Windsor Report to be minimal. However, it is quite possible, if not likely, they will be too much for the Episcopal Church to accept. In any case, the final conclusion of the Windsor Report is that if the Episcopal Church does not respond in an acceptable way to these requests, then it will be understood that the Episcopal Church has chosen to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal Church has been losing members for decades. Presently, we are listed as 2.3 million members in the United States. However, our current Average Sunday Attendance is presently listed as less than 800,000 people. If the general rule applies that Average Sunday Attendance is normally 50% of your actual membership, then it is reasonable to conclude that our actual membership in the Episcopal Church is closer to 1.6 million rather than 2.3 million. Since, General Convention 2003 priests, people, and even entire Churches have been leaving the Episcopal Church at an alarming rate. The situation appears to be getting worse since our last General Convention and not better!
While no one can say what is to come, we should not be surprised if the Episcopal Church follows its usual pattern of embracing the process and seeking to respond in the spirit of Windsor. However, this is not a matter of process, and the spirit of Windsor is not the same as saying yes or no to the requests found in the Windsor Report. In other words, the Episcopal Church likes to interpret reports in a way that is favorable to its own agenda. As such, it is likely to respond in a way that fails to comply with the requests of the Windsor Report. The language will be eloquent. There will be loud declarations that we have done as we were asked to do! However, it will be up to the leaders of the Anglican Communion and the other Instruments of Unity to decide if the Episcopal Church has complied with the requests of the Windsor Report or not!
Yes, this is a very serious matter and prayer is the key. Pray for our coming General Convention, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion. Pray unceasingly. God have mercy on us all! Amen.
The Rev. V. Creighton Evans, Vicar
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