Skip to comments.Reflections on Moving Forward [TEC]
Posted on 01/14/2007 4:24:55 PM PST by sionnsar
As Eye See It : Reflections on Moving Forward - by David C. Anderson Posted by David Virtue on 2007/1/14 12:30:00 (348 reads)
Reflections on Moving Forward
by The Rev'd Canon David C. Anderson
A few months ago I made a decision that was life-changing for me, but before I share that, let me give you some background. Not that I actually remember it, but some 62 years ago I came into the world, born into a world that was still at war, and into a family separated in distance by the demands of that war.
My father and mother had both joined the Episcopal Church in Albany, Ore.; and I was, when time permitted, baptized at the small local Episcopal church.
I was raised in a Christian family and we always went to church together, even through my college years. I was confirmed as an adolescent at Ascension and St. Agnes Church in Washington, D.C., by Bishop Angus Dun, and late in my college years felt called to the priesthood.
I attended Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) and was ordained deacon and priest by Bishop William F. Creighton of Washington, D.C. As a deacon, I served a curacy at Christ Church, Kensington, Md., and then, as a new priest, I was enticed to go to northeast Montana to take three churches at once.
The Bishop of Montana, Jackson Gilliam, played on my youth, desire for advancement, and naivety, and said, "David, I know that you would like to be rector of your own church ... and if being rector of one church is good, being rector of three churches is three times better." Off we went on a grand adventure.
My wife, MaryAnne, and I served in Montana, then went to Wyoming and served St. Andrew's Church in Basin, and then in the course of time became rector of Emmanuel Church, Rapid City, S.D. After almost 16 years in the colder northern country of the United States, God took pity on me and sent me to St. James Church, Newport Beach, in southern California, where it was never too hot, never too cold, and always full of activity.
The Diocese of Los Angeles was a shock to my theological system. Having grown up believing in the Bible, and having been blessed by my education at VTS during a time when the faculty still believed in the historic Christian faith, and having served wonderful people in four states where the orthodox understanding of the Christian faith was normative; moving to Los Angeles where basic tenets of the faith were frequently challenged was an eye-opening experience.
My parish was thoroughly orthodox and biblically literate, but other than a few other outposts of orthodoxy in the diocese, the theological climate of the diocese told me that a great division was coming.
I didn't know when, but I knew that it would come. That was in 1987, and for nearly 20 years I have worked to reform and renew The Episcopal Church (TEC) and to bring it back to the orthodox Christian faith.
Within TEC, I have seen the person and work of Jesus Christ questioned and relegated to an option among many in the journey to God. I have seen the authority of Holy Scripture give way to the authority of the culture and the popular vote.
Since my retirement from active parish ministry and during my work with the American Anglican Council (AAC), I have seen the continued degeneration of historic Christian faith and Anglican understanding in the American Episcopal Church, and I have sadly watched the orthodox church of my childhood disappear from the landscape.
With orthodox dioceses, parishes and clergy now under constant attack by the prevailing powers of the Episcopal Church the hope for the future lies with the global Anglican Communion and, more specifically, the Global South Primates, who robustly live out the Christian faith in the Anglican model.
On November 1, 2006, All Saints' Day, I asked for my Letters Dimissory to be sent to the Province of Nigeria, and, specifically, to my old friend and long time co-laborer in the vineyard, Bishop Martyn Minns. I am now a Nigerian priest in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), and this is home.
I have a most orthodox and pro-active Primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola, to look up to, and a church that is excited about sharing the truth of Jesus Christ with others and seeing the church grow. I leave many good friends still in TEC, and, indeed, my mother, one of my daughters, and a grandchild are still there also; and I am concerned for their well-being and spiritual safety.
My son and his wife and one daughter, her husband and family preceded my departure from TEC. I have a hope, a vision, of a soon-to-be-united orthodox Anglican entity in North America. I am not exactly certain how this will transpire, but I feel confident that within a few years it will happen, and I believe this is worth working for the rest of my life.
The American Anglican Council, of which I have been the president for six years, will continue to work in three defined areas just as before my move to CANA. The AAC is working with those still in TEC for the foreseeable future, those planning on and in the midst of leaving TEC, and those who are fully out of (including those who have never been in) TEC.
The AAC will continue to work both domestically and internationally, even as our Board of Trustees has representatives from both TEC and overseas jurisdictions. The AAC will continue to also work with the Common Cause Partners.
I believe the issue of timing and how long to stay in TEC is one that each person and parish has to answer individually, but it is a question that will grow more significant each month. It may be that the global Anglican Communion will provide a way for those in TEC to remain safe, but until that happens, we want to stand with those in harm's way and help defend them.
If the Anglican Communion doesn't make such provision, all orthodox TEC churches will need to leave eventually! In my 62 years in TEC, I didn't change-the church did. I have understood and shared the same Gospel throughout my life, but the church that I served left me behind as it rushed headlong into beliefs that do not appear to be either Anglican or Christian.
It came time for me to change trains, and All Saints' Day was a good day to do it. Do I have regrets about 62 years in the Episcopal Church and approximately 35 years in ordained ministry in TEC? No.
I gave my Lord and my church my best, but TEC didn't wish to repent or be reformed or renewed. The future is before us, and the time is now. Let us reform and renew the global Anglican Communion and fight alongside other orthodox Christians for the uncorrupted truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us join together for this purpose!
--Canon David C. Anderson is President of the American Anglican Council. He is based in Atlanta, Georgia
Good article. He couldn't be more clear in his position.
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