Skip to comments.[The Rev. Dr.] Sam Pascoe to the Jacksonville Times-Union
Posted on 12/09/2006 6:36:23 PM PST by sionnsar
The Saturday, December 9, issue of the Times Union carried a story about the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Florida attempting to, in a sense, "unordain" six Anglican priests. As one of those six priests, I want to go on the record as saying that Bp. Johnson Howard has neither authority nor reason to issue such a decree. I and the other five named priests remain fully functioning priests in the world-wide Anglican Communion. We are under the authority of Anglican bishops and archbishops. We are recognized as such by all Anglican bishops including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the churches we serve are in full communion with the Anglican Communion and, indeed, the great majority of Christendom.
In the language of the ordination service itself, our ordinations were to the whole Church. In fact, the service itself says "...you are to be ordained a priest in Christs holy catholic (a Greek word meaning "universal") church." Similar phrases are used repeatedly in the service of ordination. The first vow an ordained person makes in the Anglican Communion is a promise to "be loyal to the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." Note well that our first loyalty is to Christ. Any contemporary church is merely the recipient of doctrines, discipline, and worship from those who have gone before. We are recipients and stewards of a great gift, not the creators of it.
After this and other promises have been made in the presence of witnesses, Gods presence is invoked in this prayer: "Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to [the person being ordained], fill him with grace and power, and make him a priest in your church."
Anglicans believe what the service itself teaches, that the God of the universe, through His Spirit, "makes" the person a priest. If so, how can any bishop, by simply writing a letter, without even a hearing or a trial, claim to undo what we say God Himself has done? None of us six priests have ever renounced our callings, nor our ordinations, nor have we been accused of any behaviors which would make such revocation needful. In fact, as I said, we are and remain fully functioning, fully credentialed, fully recognized priests in the Anglican Communion. At least the rest of the Church seems to think so. Thus, tragically, Bishop Howards unnecessary, unilateral, and punitive action has increased the growing chasm between the American Episcopal Church, which he represents, and the rest of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
Providentially, in mid-January at least 8 of the 32 world-wide Anglican archbishops will be in Jacksonville to celebrate what the Anglican Church is doing in North America. Our parish (Grace Church, Orange Park) and I as its rector, have been asked to act as a host for this gathering of world-wide Anglicans. Literally thousands of people will be coming from all over the world. I invite anyone who has questions about the status and vitality of the ministries of the six priests named in this deposition to come and talk with these Anglican archbishops. Come and see what God is doing in His Church and in this communion. We are standing firm but not standing still.
The Revd Dr. Samuel C. Pascoe
Rector, Grace Church (Anglican)
Orange Park, Florida
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