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Seven Florida Churches to Request Alternative Episcopal Oversight from their Bishop
American Anglican Council ^ | June 16, 2005 | Clergy of the affected churches

Posted on 06/16/2005 7:51:22 PM PDT by kaehurowing

Seven Florida Churches to Request Alternative Episcopal Oversight from their Bishop Source: Anglican Fellowship of Florida (Diocese of Florida Network of Churches) Date: June 16, 2005

Dear Friends in Christ,

As you know, we have been working with other congregations to find the best way forward for us in the light of the continuing departure of ECUSA leaders from the faith once delivered to the saints. Now that the Florida Annual Convention has come and gone, the time has come for action. Clergy representing the seven congregations mentioned below are meeting with Bishop John Howard today at 2:00 pm to ask him, according to procedures set forth by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to grant us alternative episcopal oversight (AEO) from another bishop who is acceptable to us. Since I am speaking on your behalf, I wanted you to know the contents of the letter that we’re giving to Bishop Howard today. Therefore, I’m sending this to you while we’re meeting with him. I will keep you posted.

What follows next is a statement that essentially characterizes the thoughts of all seven of the clergy represented in our Anglican Fellowship of Florida (AFF):

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For the past several months a group of priests in our diocese, along with the Vestries and Mission Boards of our congregations, have been seeking the Lord together concerning our relationship to the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. As most of you know, we have struggled for some time with the gradual drift of much of the Episcopal Church away from the traditional understanding of the Christian faith based on the authority of Scripture, in favor of a more amorphous spirituality in tune with the thinking of our culture. This came to a head at the Episcopal Church’s national convention in 2003, where it approved the consecration of a practicing homosexual man as bishop, Mr. V. Gene Robinson, and authorized the blessing of same-sex unions, in direct contradiction of clear Biblical teaching and 2,000 years of Christian practice. As most of you also know, our joint conviction has been that we cannot in good conscience remain in fellowship with and under the authority of church leadership which condones these actions. Finally, most of you are aware of the strain this has placed in our relationship with our own diocese, since it continues to forward funds to support the programs of the national church, and since our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. John Howard, continues to share in Eucharistic fellowship with all of its bishops, including Mr. Robinson and those who supported his consecration.

Following our diocesan convention in May, the leadership teams of our congregations have decided the time has come for us to seek alternative episcopal oversight for our churches. These are: Church of the Redeemer, All Souls, and Calvary, in Jacksonville; Grace, in Orange Park; St. Michael’s, in Gainesville; Community of Life, in Tallahassee; and a new group forming in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Anglican Fellowship. By taking this step, we are expressing that we can no longer continue to be tied to the unbiblical teaching and actions of the Episcopal Church’s national leadership, and that we desire to stand unequivocally with the vast majority of Anglican leaders worldwide who affirm that the actions of the Episcopal Church have placed it outside the bounds of Biblical and traditional Christianity.

In March of this year a communiqué from the gathered primates of the Anglican Communion called for a “Panel of Reference” to “protect the integrity and legitimate needs of groups in serious theological dispute with their diocesan bishop” (Primates’ Communiqué, Par. 15). The process of appeal to this panel calls for churches to first approach their bishop to seek adequate alternative oversight. In light of this, we as Rectors and Vicars of our congregations are meeting today with Bishop Howard to request such oversight. A copy of the letter we are presenting to him is included with this mailing, and explains more fully the reasons for this action. If we are unable to come to an agreement with Bishop Howard about the requested oversight, we will then make our petition to the Panel of Reference.

As you can imagine, this has not been an easy process nor an easy step to take, and we are saddened to make this request of Bishop Howard. While we disagree with him about what relationship faithful Christians ought to have to the national leadership of the Episcopal Church, we continue to regard him as our brother in Christ, with whom we share a common commitment to the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith. Likewise, we take no delight in the turmoil that our action is likely to cause in this diocese, which we love dearly, and in which we continue to have many close friends and partners in ministry.

The question that many will no doubt be asking is, “why now?” In truth, several of our congregations have barely been able to hang on this long, while some would be willing to wait a little longer before taking this step. But together we have felt that indeed this is God’s time for us: the Windsor Report was completed last October, laying out clear expectations for the Episcopal Church, expectations which it has shown no signs of meeting; the Primates of the Communion met in February, and, amongst other things, opened the door for this appeals process through the Panel of Reference, in cases of “serious theological dispute”; finally, and most significantly, our own diocesan convention was just held in May, and there both our Bishop and a strong majority of delegates expressed their commitment to fully support the Episcopal Church, now and into the indefinite future, whatever its sins or theological errors.

We together ask for your prayers during this time. We do not know exactly what the future holds from here and we are not naïve about the fact that it will probably become more difficult rather than easier for us as we follow this path. Having said that, all of us as leaders of our congregations feel a tremendous peace about where the Lord has brought us to, a thankfulness for the uncommon unity He has given us together, and a complete confidence that He is reigning over every aspect of this, even as He is over our own congregations. We are never safer than when we are in the center of His will.

“Now to Him who is able to establish us by the Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ…so that all nations might believe and obey Him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).

Yours with you in His service, The Rev. Jim McCaslin, All Souls Church


The Rev. Neil Lebhar, Church of the Redeemer The Rev David Sandifer, Cavalry Church The Rev. Samuel Pascoe, Grace Church The Rev. C. Alexander Farmer, St. Michael’s Church The Rev. James Needham, Community of Life The Rev. Robert Sanders, Jacksonville Anglican Fellowship

Next I want you to see the letter we’re giving to Bishop Howard this afternoon:

June 12, 2005

The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Florida 325 Market Street Jacksonville, FL 32202

Dear Bishop Howard,

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus.

We as clergy and leaders of several congregations have made a difficult decision in this difficult time. We hereby request that you provide adequate alternative episcopal oversight for us so that we can continue with clear consciences in our ministries. Our diocesan convention strongly endorsed the recommendations of the Windsor Report, among which was one for alternative oversight (Sections 150 & 151). The Primates’ Communiqué likewise recognizes the principle of alternative oversight (Paragraph 15). We base our request on these two documents.

We have two concerns that provide the basis of our request. First, as we have shared with you in the past, we concur with the many Primates who believe that Scripture prohibits believers being at table with V. Gene Robinson and Bishop Griswold. This is based on our obedience to St. Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 5 and, as such, is consistent with the ordination vows. We believe that your public commitment to remain at the Holy Table with them ties us as priests and congregations to the “yeast” of immorality and false teaching in an unacceptable way. We are convinced that this is a salvation issue, for we believe the consecration and ministry of V. Gene Robinson repudiates traditional teachings about repentance, grace, sanctification, holiness and discipline regarding the sacraments.

We also represent congregations whose leadership bodies have decided that they cannot financially pledge to this diocese at this time because the diocesan budget, with your encouragement, includes support of the programs of our national church, especially those connected to the office of the Presiding Bishop. We believe that it is poor stewardship to give resources to national ministries that have been exercised in ways that directly damage our bonds of affection with the Anglican Communion. Not only did Bishop Griswold consecrate V. Gene Robinson, but he has hired staff personally committed to an agenda opposed to the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 including at least one staff member who is a self-declared lesbian priest. Scripture commands us not to partner in such ministries. (Ephesians 5:7) For our diocese to provide for ECUSA programs that have drifted away from the Scriptures and sometimes the gospel itself (for example, a pagan liturgy was hosted on the Episcopal Church website), we perceive to be disobedient to St. Paul’s command. Many of our Anglican Communion partners are now likewise demonstrating the state of impaired fellowship by refusing to receive funds from our national church.

The oversight we request, again in the words of the Windsor Report, “must be sufficient to provide a credible degree of security on the part of the alienated community” (Section 151). We assume this security would include assurances that non-pledging parishes would not face a change in their parish status, nor vicars in their employment. None of the applicable canons appear to be mandatory in their application.

Based on the above, we ask that you grant to another bishop oversight over us which in addition to confirmation includes clergy discipline, employment and succession. Needless to say, we ask for a bishop who is not at table with Mr. Robinson and Bishop Griswold, and whose diocesan budget does not include giving to the national programs. We ask that this episcopal oversight be in place until after this diocese has a chance to make decisions for its future in the Anglican Communion following Lambeth 2008. If the Episcopal Church leadership truly repents as you and we hope, we can then move forward again together.

We wish to both remain in the Anglican Communion and continue our ministries in good conscience. We believe that adequate alternative episcopal oversight makes both possible. We commit ourselves to attempt reconciliation with you and other diocesan leaders once the period of the oversight has satisfactorily begun, as recommended by the Windsor Report.

We ask that you respond within a month of receiving this request so that we can move forward together in creating this oversight.

We sincerely regret that we have to make this request, and hope for a long-term resolution that does not damage our ministries or yours. You remain in our prayers in this difficult season.

Sincerely in Christ,

The Rev. Jim McCaslin, All Souls Church The Rev. Neil Lebhar, Church of the Redeemer The Rev David Sandifer, Cavalry Church The Rev. Samuel Pascoe, Grace Church The Rev. C. Alexander Farmer, St. Michael’s Church The Rev. James Needham, Community of Life The Rev. Robert Sanders, Jacksonville Anglican Fellowship

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: aac; anglican; depo; ecusa; episcopalmeltdown; fallout; homosexualagenda; homosexualbishop; robinsonslegacy; schism
I sense a rush starting for the exit doors.
1 posted on 06/16/2005 7:51:23 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: kaehurowing

to Admin. Moderator:

Sorry, I thought I had posted this to the Religion forum. Can you please move. Thanks.

2 posted on 06/16/2005 7:53:46 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: kaehurowing

This has been in the works for a while.

3 posted on 06/16/2005 7:56:57 PM PDT by jess35
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To: sionnsar


4 posted on 06/16/2005 8:27:32 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: ahadams2; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; wagglebee; ...
Thanks to kaehurowing for posting and PAR35 for pinging this.

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

5 posted on 06/16/2005 9:14:16 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || Airbus A380: the Big Pig)
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To: sionnsar

If Arlin were still with us, I'd be telling him that the Rev. Neil Lebhar used to be an Assistant to Bishop Howe, when Bp. Howe was Rector of Truro. Neil left in 1989, to go to Redeemer. It was Neil I called when my Mom died in the very early AM of Jan. 23rd, '88 and I'll never forget his compassionate words to me, nor the meaningful verses he read, and the sound of his comforting voice.

Truth be known, I've been expecting this.

And more yet to come..........

6 posted on 06/17/2005 10:02:12 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (NAVCOMSTAROTA - RIP)
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To: TruthNtegrity

I say "good for them." Of course, if they have a loser Bishop like Bishop Ohl in Texas, they'll be kicked out.

But that's not so bad! Our church is out and we're growing like wildfire ---- disaffected childhood Episopalians are coming out of the woodwork to pray in a school gym!

7 posted on 06/21/2005 8:49:26 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan
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