Skip to comments.Why I've joined the Reformed Episcopal Church
Posted on 11/13/2006 5:31:27 PM PST by sionnsar
Preamble: The text that follows was sent by email to the mailing list of the Southern Ohio chapter of the American Anglican Council, most of whom are Episcopalians or former Episcopalians who are actually in Southern Ohio. Courtesy copies also went to leaders of other chapters and orthodox Anglican groups. Contextually, this would be best read as a letter from me to fellow orthodox Anglicans in Southern Ohio. Even though my ties are now formally cut with The Episcopal Church, I plan to continue the work of communications for the AAC chapter, Stand Firm, and as an independent orthodox Anglican communicator, but without the pretense of still being a member of ECUSA in any standing.
In November 1976, thirty years ago this month, my wife, Jan, and I were confirmed in The Episcopal Church by the Rt. Rev. Robert Terwilleger, bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Dallas. The idea of The Episcopal Church being Anglican, reformed, and catholic was a good fit for me. Although as a youth I had been confirmed in the Presbyterian Church USA, my home church was really the Protestant Base Chapel, though protestantism always seemed to clash with my early schooling at the Sacred Heart Convent in Montevideo, where I even got to serve as an altar boy. So, I rejoiced in becoming an Anglican catholic. In 1979, I received my first Lay Readers License. In 1980, I started to serve on the vestry. As we moved around I continued to serve on vestries and to serve as a Lay Reader, being licensed almost continuously in the three dioceses we lived in until I revolted in November 2003 leading a fairly large group of faithful out of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church to a safe haven under the care of Christ the King Reformed Episcopal Church.
I had not really taken special notice of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) until the previous year. In December 2002, I attended the Anglican Congress in Atlanta. The meeting was co-convened by Bishop Robert Duncan, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and Bishop Leonard Riches, the presiding bishop of the REC. The meeting was attended by about a dozen different US and Canadian Anglican jurisdictions with the intention of continuing a movement that was leading faithful North American Anglicans towards unity. (The REC and Anglican Province of America (APA) were already traveling a course leading towards an actual merger of their two jurisdictions.)
Since the Anglican Congress, the REC and APA, together, established formal ties of communion with the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The REC and APA also became part of the Common Cause, a formal alliance of orthodox Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America with the Anglican Communion Network. The REC and APA are also partners in the Anglican Federation of America along with the Anglican Mission in America and the Anglican Church in America.
Locally, Christ the King Reformed Episcopal Church has shown itself to be a body of faithful Anglican Christians that has embraced those who are fleeing The Episcopal Church without reservation or demand.
In the meantime, the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio continues to fully embrace the apostasy of The Episcopal Church. One congregation, St. Paul's, Chillicothe, had its rector and most of its members leave and form the Chillicothe Anglican Fellowship, an AMiA congregation. Of the remaining 80+ congregation, it does not appear that there will be any further movement to leave or even protest the innovations of The Episcopal Church. With one exception that is not in the Dayton-area, the few orthodox priests remaining serve in liberal or conflicted congregation. Of all the Episcopalians in the greater Dayton-area, only another handful have left their congregations in the last three years. For the most part, those few have scattered to various other churches though some have just dropped out altogether. Perhaps only another small handful might be expected to leave later as the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion continues to deteriorate.
Most of the people who followed me in 2003 have either joined or plan to join Christ the King REC or have already gone elsewhere. I no longer have a need to pretend to be an Episcopalian in exile for it seems clear that the overall battle for The Episcopal Church in Southern Ohio has been waged and lost. It is time to move on; it is time to fish or cut bait. I am, therefore, happy to formally join Christ the King REC, and through them continue to do whatever work that God will call me to do.
This does not represent a compromise. I believe that the Reformed Episcopal Church is the best of all possible choices. Having separated from The Episcopal Church in 1873 it has not been infected by the wasting disease that plagues The Episcopal Church and is not internally in conflict with a disloyal and unworthy opposition that would seek to drag the REC into the ways of the world. The REC is a leader in bringing forth unity out of the current Anglican diaspora and without compromise has crafted strong alliances intended to ultimately unify Anglicans in the western hemisphere who will uphold the faith that has been received from the saints. The REC supports and is supported by the orthodox primates of the Anglican Communion in a Biblical unity based on a common faith. Thanks be to God.
Ping to read later
There is an REC church in Manhattan, and I have been in an apartment that shares a courtyard with the church. From what I could hear, the service did not sound very much like a traditional Anglican Mass.
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