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Laodiceans [Florida]
Midwest Conservative Journal ^ | 5/22/2005 | Christopher Johnson

Posted on 05/22/2005 2:47:16 PM PDT by sionnsar

John Howard throws in the towel:

Northeast Florida Episcopalians rejected on Saturday moves by conservatives to distance their diocese from the Episcopal Church USA after Bishop John Howard declared his flock will no longer be distracted by the homosexuality controversy that has consumed its energies for nearly two years.

Conservatives watched in dismay as the resolutions and candidates they supported were roundly defeated during the 162nd convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. Some speculated the outcome could be the final straw for those who are upset their denomination elected an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Howard would love it if Florida conservatives would plow under their consciences.

Howard opened the convention with a sermon that called for reconciliation between the diocese and those theological conservatives who demand the Episcopal Church repent for its actions.

"We may disagree and have heated conversations, but I insist we remain engaged ... and never, ever leave the table to which God has called us," Howard said.

And Howard revealed what he truly values.

But he quickly added that efforts at dialogue will not come at the cost of dividing the diocese, diverting it from its gospel mission or ending its relationship with the Episcopal Church.

"Those who feel you must leave, I say, follow your conscience," Howard said. "But if you leave I will not follow you. I cannot follow you because I am charged with guarding the unity of this church."

These are the sorts of resolutions Florida Episcopalians couldn't bring themselves to approve.

On the table during the Jacksonville-based diocese’s convention were a handful of resolutions calling for the diocese to distance itself from the Episcopal Church and to strengthen ties with the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the denomination is a part. All those resolutions were defeated.

The first sign of the convention’s direction came in mid-morning, when delegates defeated a resolution to allow congregations that may leave the diocese to retain ownership of parish property.

Another resolution urged the diocese to declare itself "in serious theological dispute" with the denomination because the Episcopal Church is "in contradiction of Christian moral standards."

That measure, which also asked the diocese to seek oversight from the Anglican Communion, was voted down.

So Howard has no theological problem with ECUSA whatsoever?, it's not that.

Lay delegate Johnny Sarber of Calvary Church in Jacksonville, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said alternate leadership is necessary to distance itself from the "sexual immorality" condoned by the Episcopal Church.

But retired Bishop Charles Keyser, interim rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Ortega, countered that the resolution would marginalize Howard’s effectiveness as an orthodox bishop at the denominational level.

One assumes that Charles Keyser doesn't read the papers since John Howard's "orthodoxy" is a highly speculative concept and his "effectiveness as an orthodox bishop at the denominational level" has been non-existent up to now.  Then there's this.

A resolution asking Howard to refrain from receiving communion with the gay bishop, the Right Rev. V. Eugene Robinson, was withdrawn. Another, prohibiting the diocese from forwarding parish money to the denomination, was defeated.

It's probably premature to state that Florida has gone over but things don't look good at all for conservatives there.

Another key item of business Saturday was the election of deputies who will represent the diocese at the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church. That convention is considered to be pivotal because the denomination could decide to reverse course or continue its recognition of actively gay clergy and same-sex unions.

"The ultra-conservative candidates were not elected," Paul Van Brunt, a spokesman for the diocese, said of the four lay, four clergy deputies and eight alternates who were chosen.

"Ultra-conservative" probably meaning orthodox Christian.  Things got a bit testy at one point.

There was a heated moment during the afternoon session when a priest announced from a microphone that he had been "physically assaulted" by a layman who was upset over the priest’s public support of another priest who had left the diocese and the Episcopal Church. As the two men leveled the charges at each other, Howard pointed to both and demanded an end to the shouting.

"Enough, enough, enough," Howard said from his seat behind and to the right of the podium.

The national motto of the Episcopal Church these days.  Florida conservatives were hammered across the board and knew it.

Episcopalians who wanted the diocese to take a tougher stance against the denomination Saturday were disappointed, but not surprised, at the outcome of the day’s voting.

"We expected all these things to go down," said lay delegate Lynn Lindsay, a parishioner at All Souls Church in Mandarin. "The deck is stacked against us."

The Rev. David Sandifer, vicar at Calvary Church in Jacksonville, said he was saddened by the outcome of Saturday’s voting.

"The difference in our diocese is not whether it [the denomination] has erred, but to what degree we ... identify ourselves publicly with the Episcopal Church USA," Sandifer said.

The Rev. Neil Lebhar, rector at the Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, said the day’s outcome "may well be [the] straw that breaks the camel’s back for some."

And their bishop is delusional.

But during his morning sermon, Howard said the diocese, the denomination and the Anglican Communion share a common future.

"We will remain Episcopalians and we will remain Anglicans," Howard said. "We will reject any movement and any resolution that would deter us from that course.

"We are not going to sacrifice either part of that identity," he added. "We must remain both -- and we will."

Howard announced that he will no longer allow the Robinson controversy to consume his time and that the diocese "from this day forth" will dive head long into ministry issues such as prison outreach, youth ministry and the continuing construction at Camp Weed.

I've got some bad news for you, John.  The Robinson controversy is going to continue to consume your time whether you want it to or not.  And there will come a day, hopefully very soon, when you will have to decide whether you want to be an Episcopalian or an Anglican.  Because you will no longer be able to be both.

For my part, I hope Howard chooses the former.  From what I understand, the Bishop of Florida was never all that much of a conservative to begin with.  And I'd rather not share a tradition with anyone as spineless as John Howard.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 05/22/2005 2:47:16 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; wagglebee; St. Johann Tetzel; AnalogReigns; GatorGirl; ..
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-7 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 05/22/2005 2:47:45 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Newsweek lied, people died.)
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To: sionnsar
I figured this was where things were going the Summer leading up to Vicky Gene's big day.

I don't have any proof but I kept getting the feeling that all this was managed and arranged long before it came to a head. The scope of the crisis may have surprised them but they were ready for the conservatives long before this current crisis.

What lead me to this feeling (and that is all it really if) was a Website for orthodox Episcopalians that I read about in my local paper. The moderators keep pulling threads and post that were on target and on topic claiming they were off topic for example I was citing a book written about the role of Homosexuals in the early church. This Book by a man named Boswell (Catholic) also wrote a highly controversial book claiming the early church had same-sex unions. Considering the crisis in the US and Canada I really have no idea how these books were off topic. I was alerting people to the source of the trouble.

There was also a feeling of a forgone conclusion to the website. I keep getting the feeling it was set up just for the purpose of letting conservatives think they were behind a movement for reform, yet it was clear to me they were not going to go anywhere and even the "oversight solution" would not be a deal breaker. Damage control seemed to be the mission not reform.

I dropped out, I didn't take them seriously anymore.
3 posted on 05/22/2005 3:04:09 PM PDT by Mark in the Old South (Sister Lucia of Fatima pray for us)
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To: sionnsar

Bp Howard continues to call himself an orthodox bishop, but he has yet to tell us what he, as an orthodox bishop, has done and will do about the crisis in ECUSA. While it is commendable that he would like to focus on other things (outreach, growing churches, etc), it is sheer negligence to say that he will not let this crisis consume any more of his time. If he won't exercise leadership in these matters, then he has no right to complain about those in his diocese who do (whether they be orthodox or revisionist).

4 posted on 05/23/2005 4:58:39 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: sionnsar

The article's title, "Laodiceans," is hardly descriptive. You might want to consider putting in brackets a bit more of an explanatory title

5 posted on 05/23/2005 8:39:28 AM PDT by dangus
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