Monday, July 31, 2006


Seven Diocesan Bishops Unify in a appeal to Canterbury - "A kairos moment, a crossroads of Church history"

BB NOTE: Extraordinary address from Bishop Bob Duncan, Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. He tells the ACN Council today that the seven diocesan bishops have unified in their appeal to the Archbishop of Canturbury and sent that appeal to Rowan Williams during the week of July 16. The appeal includes:

•disassociation from “innovating” ECUSA

•spiritual cover through re-assignment of the tasks normally assigned to the Presiding Bishop

•recognition of Communion standing from Canterbury as required in the ECUSA constitution

•commitment to accountability under the Constitution and Canons as an “enduring” ECUSA, and;

•the creation of a practical “cease-fire” in the American Church such that the Communion Covenant process might run its course.

Bishop Duncan says: "Needless to say, we are hopeful about the Appeal, if not necessarily optimistic. This is a kairos moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, especially as regards the evolving role of its leadership by the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Canterbury can find a way to recognize the spiritual legitimacy of the claim of the Network Dioceses (and of the Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses) – together, one would hope, with the wider fellowship of emerging “Windsor dioceses” — to be that part of ECUSA that has “not walked apart” from the Communion – that has sacrificially and faithfully stood for what is the Communion’s articulated teaching and for what are the accepted boundaries of its order – then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be “gatherer” and “moral voice” of the Communion. To do this, he must bring along a strong majority of the Primates and of his own House of Bishops, for he is no pope. But do this he must. If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them. Our prayers are with Rowan Williams now more than ever. It is a kairos moment, a crossroads of Church history. "

Moderator Bob Duncan addresses Anglican Communion Network Annual Council

Network Council: Moderator's Address

The warmest of welcomes to one and all: to the distinguished representatives of our international partners – Archbishop Justice Akrofi of West Africa, Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, Bishop Marcelino Rivera of Northern Mexico, Moderator Don Harvey and Bible-Teacher for this Council David Short, both of Canada – to our beloved brothers and sisters of Common Cause in the United States, to the press and media, to the leaders of Anglican Relief and Development and our Anglican Global Mission Partners, to the Bishops, Deans and Clergy and Lay Representatives of our Network Dioceses and Convocations, to the staff serving us, and all others who have come in whatever capacity as guests and friends: You are well come. We want your stay in these days to be great days of worship, of labor, of re-commitment and of refreshment. Let any of us who are your hosts know what we can do to make it so.

Isaiah 43

14 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I will send to Babylon and break down all the bars, And the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentations. 15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.” 16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, 17 who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: 18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21 The people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.


Network Dean Bill Murdoch has been sounding a clear trumpet call since January: the time has come for a “reformation of behavior” among the orthodox: among orthodox Anglicans and among all the orthodox Christians of the West. Fr. Bill, just one month ago, preaching at an historic ordination of three church planters deployed to New England and the District of Columbia, said that this reformation would be characterized 1) by an embrace of holiness centered on both virtue and fruitfulness; 2) by a commitment to radical discipleship; and 3) by leaders concerned to “leave a ministry behind.” The phrase “reformation of behavior” was a gift to us from our dear brother Rick Warren of Saddleback Church (California) in his November address to the Hope and A Future Conference.

We are gathered for the Third Network Council, and we have come a very long way. The first and chartering Council met at Christ Church, Plano, Diocese of Dallas, in January of 2004. The second Council met at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, Diocese of Fort Worth, in April of 2005. Now we meet at Pittsburgh in July/August 2006. In some measure, all of these Councils have been about a reformation of behavior.

Many who are gathered here will recall the extraordinary manner of decision making employed at the Plano Council. We operated as bishops, priests and laity together. We operated as a unicameral assembly. Diocese by diocese we reached consensus, and even unanimity: every article of the charter was adopted without final dissent, even though there were difficult and, at times, even painful, debates. I have never in my whole life presided over a gathering that was so obviously under the Holy Spirit’s sovereign sway. Do you remember the moment when we agreed to respect one another in our differences about the ordination of women? Thirty years of bitter division slipped away and we stood and sang the Doxology. This was a reformation of behavior: a national assembly meeting and deciding in a manner reflecting what we see in Acts 15.

At our Bedford Council we spent nearly all our energies on mission, both domestic and foreign. The leaders of the various mission agencies, who are gathered in Anglican Global Mission Partners, could scarcely believe that we were actually committed to giving so much attention to Jesus’ charter to his Church in Matthew 28. Yes, it is true, this Second Council fell back into old patterns as we attempted to draft a “Windsor Covenant,” but the dominant focus on mission in the gathering was another significant reformation of corporate behavior.

This Pittsburgh Council is about many things, all of which have to do with the Network’s defining vision of a “biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America.” The are many practicalities to attend to: elections, funding, relations with our Common Cause partners; children and youth initiatives, church planting developments, global missionary efforts; the aftermath of General Convention, Network-wide anxieties, significant actions in response; a coherent path-forward through the tumult and uncertainty of this next chapter of our lives as faithful Anglicans in a hostile domestic environment. But as your leader, your Network Moderator, as I enter this third year of what our Charter spells out to be an initial three-year term, I have no greater hope for this meeting than that the embrace of this reformation of behavior will have been, and will ever-increasingly be, our hallmark. “How those Christians love one another!”… “How they love their Lord!”… “How they sacrifice for the good of the world!”

The call to us is to be the Church at its best, no matter how hard the times. The call to us is to be ourselves at our best, as our God asks and the Holy Spirit enables. No greater achievement will be possible for this Council or for our movement, than this reformation of behavior. Fruitfulness and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control [Galatians 5:22–23]) are inseparable. It is why “innovating ECUSA” has failed so miserably, and why we have often failed, too. Of course we have called on them to repent, but we, too, are every bit as much in need of repenting. Our struggle is not about sexuality, it is about sin. The “fix” is not about them, it is about us. The whole world is drawn to the Body of Christ when the Body of Christ looks like Jesus, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else [John 12:22]. Perhaps they have not looked like Jesus, but neither have we. A reformation of behavior: now…and among us… This must be at the center of our future together.

What has Happened?

Innovating ECUSA has walked apart. The clarity we prayed for has been given. We would have preferred repentance and return. It was what the Anglican Communion had asked and what many of us, in General Convention and before, had worked for.

The verdict from virtually every quarter, from global Christian observers to the secular press, that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has “walked apart” means that the international and domestic situations are both changing very rapidly now. The Living Church described the events of the week following the General Convention in this manner:

No Calm after the Storm

Under normal circumstances, the days following the conclusion of a General Convention are a time of quiet…. Not this year. The week of June 25th turned out to be one of the most significant weeks in the history of the Episcopal Church, with developments occurring on an hourly basis. During the week, we began to see what appears to be the unraveling of The Episcopal Church, with dioceses asking the Archbishop of Canterbury for oversight, and the archbishop himself presenting a possible plan for realignment.
It all started with the announcement that Christ Church, Plano, Texas, was leaving The Episcopal Church. Then came…”The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican” [from Archbishop Williams.] …

The archbishop’s reflection had been released only a day when the Diocese of Newark announced…a non-celibate homosexual person [among its nominees for bishop.]…

Later that day, the rest of The Episcopal Church learned that the Diocese of Pittsburgh [had joined] Fort Worth in asking for alternate primatial oversight. Pittsburgh …[also] asked to be removed from Province 3 and to be placed in a non-geographic province...

Within hours of the Pittsburgh announcement on June 28, two other standing committees – South Carolina and San Joaquin (joined later by Central Florida and Springfield) – also announced they were petitioning the Archbishop of Canterbury for primatial oversight, and two or three other dioceses seemed ready to make similar moves.

Finally, on the same day, it was announced that the Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, Va., was elected a bishop by the Church of Nigeria.

[These] are early factors in the eventual realignment of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion…

No one can any longer say that “nothing is happening,” though some, despite all this evidence to the contrary, remain prisoners to that mantra. These last three years have seemed interminable, and the anxieties are only heightened by this latest break of the logjam.

While nothing can compare to the week of June 25th, the perspective one gains on the work of the Network, and that of our circle of allies and partners, by looking back to August, 2003, leaves one understanding that a great deal has happened in the intervening three years, a great deal that has brought us to this present moment of far more visible change and action.

8/5/2003 – 20 bishops appeal for intervention 8/7/2003 – the Archbishop calls an “extraordinary meeting of the Primates” 10/7–9/2003 – the Plano Conference: “A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission” 10/16/2003 – the Primates ask ECUSA to retreat from “tearing the fabric” 10/17/2003 – Rowan Williams speaks to four US bishops about a “Confessing Network” 11/2/2003 – consecration in New Hampshire Nov/2003 – Anglican Global Mission Partners organized 11/20/2003 – Memorandum of Agreement to form the Network (Heathrow Airport) Dec/2003 – Steering Committee appointed from 12 dioceses; convocational system devised 1/20/2004 – The Network is chartered by representatives of 11 dioceses and 6 convocations 1/25/2004 – Moderator seated at Archbishop Orombi’s enthronement in Uganda Winter/2004 – AAC begins service as Network secretariat Mar/2004 – Moderator’s Cabinet formed
May/2004 – Network office opened in Pittsburgh Jun/2004 – Common Cause Announced Jun/2004 – convocational, transfers and ordinations bishops in place Jun/2004 – Network team testifies to Lambeth Commission Jul/2004 – Anglican Relief & Development Fund established Aug/2004 – Convocation of Anglicans in North America inaugurated by Nigeria Aug/2004 – 3 Los Angeles congregations transfer overseas/ process begins by which 100 congregations come under Uganda, Kenya, So. Cone (incl. Recife), Cent. Africa Oct/2004 – Windsor Report released Oct/2004 – Network Moderator addresses All Africa Bishops Conference Feb/2005 – Common Cause Roundtable I Feb/2005 – Dromantine Primates Meeting and Communique Mar/2005 – Confirmations at Bath, Ohio Mar/2005 – Common Cause Roundtable II May/2005–- Network Bishops and Deans stand with Connecticut Six Jun/2005 – Common Cause announced Jul/2005 – Network ends financial dependence on AAC Sep/2005 – Network Moderator and Team included in Third South-South Encounter/ Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes all in Network as members of the Anglican Communion 11/10–12/2005 – Hope and A Future gathers in Pittsburgh Jan/2006 – Network staff additions in church-planting, children/youth, communications Feb/2006 – Common Cause Roundtable III Apr/2006 – Network’s International Conference comes into existence Jun/2006 – ECUSA General Convention re-confirms its “walk apart”

Despite our anxieties and our sense of how long and hard these days have been, would we not now say with the Prophet Isaiah, that our God has indeed made “a way in the wilderness and a stream in the desert?” Or, looking back to Hope and A Future, can we not see that there has been a cloud by day and a pillar by night?

Three Initiatives for the Days Ahead

It has been very hard indeed to speak of some “plan,” except in retrospect about “God’s plan.” The central reason for this is that we are part of a system, the Anglican Communion, whose reins we do not hold. We have done our part, initiating and responding as the Lord has led, but ours in just a part, a portion, of the story and the cast. This is very hard for us to admit, and even harder for us to accept. Our preference is for a “microwave church,” nearly instant results, on our terms, at the moment we desire. Let’s face it: It is the culture of the micro-wave that has gotten ECUSA into the troubles that have beset her, and we, too, have embraced that culture. The Bible is filled with stories of people who wanted God to act now to deliver, and to deliver on their terms. One of Scripture’s main messages is that God can be trusted for the results in His time and on His terms. A very big piece of the reformation of behavior that is being asked of us is in this matter of impatience and need for control. We dare only risk “plans” from the framework of trust and of repentance, or God will find it better to keep us in the wilderness or the exile, as He did with His people so long ago…and has done with the faith-less in every generation.

Having said this, I can risk talking about plans for the days ahead.

The structures of the Network have evolved with changing needs. One of the structures that emerged early in the life of the Network was the Moderator’s Cabinet. Members of the Cabinet have been: David Anderson (Secretary of the Network), John Guernsey (For the Deans), Ed Salmon (For the Bishops), Martyn Minns (International Concerns), Kendall Harmon (Strategic Initiatives), and Rose Marie Edwards (Intercessors). Larry Crowell, Wick Stephens and Daryl Fenton have each, in turn, shared in the Cabinet work. Bill Atwood of Ekklesia has shared in Cabinet discussions regularly. This key advisory panel has worked with me weekly for two and a half years now. Right after General Convention it was clear to the Cabinet that the work immediately ahead of us lay in three areas of endeavor. I want to speak to each of these matters now.

First, there is the matter of the appeal of seven Network Dioceses for an extra-ordinary pastoral relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a relationship that most have described as “alternative primatial oversight.” After the Bishops and Standing Committees of the seven Dioceses lodged the request, the Bishops of the seven Dioceses worked together on a submission to Lambeth Palace which unified and developed the original requests.. This fourteen page submission, including appendices, was transmitted in the week of July 16th. The purpose of the appeal was:

•disassociation from “innovating” ECUSA
•spiritual cover through re-assignment of the tasks normally assigned to the Presiding Bishop

•recognition of Communion standing from Canterbury as required in the ECUSA constitution

•commitment to accountability under the Constitution and Canons as an “enduring” ECUSA, and;

•the creation of a practical “cease-fire” in the American Church such that the Communion Covenant process might run its course.

Needless to say, we are hopeful about the Appeal, if not necessarily optimistic. This is a kairos moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, especially as regards the evolving role of its leadership by the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Canterbury can find a way to recognize the spiritual legitimacy of the claim of the Network Dioceses (and of the Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses) – together, one would hope, with the wider fellowship of emerging “Windsor dioceses” — to be that part of ECUSA that has “not walked apart” from the Communion – that has sacrificially and faithfully stood for what is the Communion’s articulated teaching and for what are the accepted boundaries of its order – then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be “gatherer” and “moral voice” of the Communion. To do this, he must bring along a strong majority of the Primates and of his own House of Bishops, for he is no pope. But do this he must. If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them. Our prayers are with Rowan Williams now more than ever. It is a kairos moment, a crossroads of Church history.

Many Network priests and deacons have – during the last three years – been charged with “abandonment of the Communion of this Church,” and – without trial – “deposed.” Happily, the rest of the Anglican world has not judged them deposed and they have found themselves warmly received and enfolded by leaders of the Global South, leaders who have had no difficulty determining which were the faithful Anglicans. With the conclusion of the 75th General Convention, a new chapter opens. Now, four California bishops have asked an “investigation” of a bishop, one here among us, our own John-David Schofield, also for “abandonment of Communion.” Bishop Bill Cox, functioning for bishops of Uganda and of the Southern Cone, has found himself “charged” of late by the Bishops of Oklahoma and Kansas. Canadian Network Moderator, Bp. Don Harvey, has been informed in recent days that he is will face charges of “invasion,” charges brought by none-other than Michael Ingham, the bishop who can be credited with the actual “launch” of the Canadian prologue to the full-blown Anglican crisis brought about by the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire. We are at a crossroads of Church history. What is Anglicanism? What is essential to the proclamation of the Christian Faith? Who will lead in the Communion? Will our whole Communion divide? Who can claim the patrimony? The Archbishop of Canterbury has but a brief window of opportunity – at least for a moral judgment — before the situation in the United States and Canada collapses into the anarchy of high profile ecclesiastical presentments and civil lawsuits, a collapse that may come in any case, but the depth of which may be greatly lessened if he, within the limitations of a conciliar church, can find a way to speak. Part of the kairos nature of this moment is that the Global South Primates meet in mid-September – those who have stood with the Network again and again — and we can be sure that they will not be voiceless on our behalf or on behalf of “the Faith once delivered to the Saints.”

Whatever Canterbury does or does not do – believes he can or cannot do — in response to the Appeal, the Network Dioceses will endure. We are “enduring ECUSA.” That is our claim and that is our legal ground. Consider this: “Innovating ECUSA” went so far as to embrace a symbolic change of name at this most recent General Convention. That part of ECUSA has now asked to be known as TEC (The Episcopal Church). Did not anyone notice? We did…

The second post-General Convention initiative articulated by the Network Cabinet has to do with Network Parishes in Non-Network (particularly Non-Windsor) Dioceses. The Network has always had to operate and plan in two very distinct arenas, the Network Dioceses and the Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses. In light of the results of General Convention it seemed clear to the Cabinet that the best path forward in innovating or hostile dioceses is to enable negotiated settlements between “the two churches under one roof” based on fairness, equity and Christian principles. The settlement arrived at between the Vestry of Christ Church Overland Park and the Diocese of Kansas, more than a year ago, was a pre-cursor of this direction. Such negotiations are now underway in many places across the country. Just days ago the vestries of St Stephen’s Anglican Church, St. Charles Anglican Church and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, finalized an agreement with the Diocese of Olympia, an agreement that I believe all would hail as “based on fairness, equity and Christian principles.” In the Diocese of Virginia, a group of parishes and missions, led by the venerable (they date to the period of the American colonies) parishes of Falls Church and Truro Church – a group of congregations larger in number than the number of congregations of at least a dozen American Dioceses – has begun a season of “forty days of discernment” to pray about their future. We applaud these developments. We encourage those Dioceses engaged in lawsuits with their parishes, and vice versa, to embrace this “more excellent” way.

In the short-run these negotiated settlements, as in the case of the Washington State congregations, may lead to rescue and oversight by a Province of the Global South. In the longer run, there is no question that these congregations will form the nucleus of new missionary dioceses in union with the Network Dioceses (“enduring ECUSA”) and in partnership with the jurisdictions of Common Cause, as the vision of a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America – in God’s time – becomes a reality, and as “innovating ECUSA” fades away.

The third work articulated by the Cabinet in the post-General Convention Anglican Communion is the need to take the next steps in building “coherence” among the Communion partners presently overseeing congregations in the United States, congregations now overseen by dioceses or initiatives of the Provinces of Rwanda, Uganda, Southern Cone, Kenya, Central Africa, and Nigeria. As a matter of first importance, I have begun discussions among key domestic leaders of each of these Provinces or initiatives, having first advised the respective Primates, to lead toward a working arrangement that might best be described as an inter-related and provisional “missionary district.” One person who will certainly be present to these developing discussions is Martyn Minns, who upon consecration in Nigeria in the very near future, will necessarily leave the Network’s Cabinet. Martyn, we congratulate you, we pray for you, and we thank you.

Is there a plan? Yes,…to the extent that our God has again moved the cloud of covering for protection by day and the pillar of fire for light by night. Is our God making “a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert?” Yes. Is it some grand, over-arching plan? No, it never has been and never could be, at least not so long as we choose to remain faith-full,… admitting that we are not in control, only that He is. Is it good enough? With Him it is more than enough! Have we not learned that we can trust Him for today, and for tomorrow, and for the end? All this is a part of that all-so-necessary reformation of behavior.

The Business of this Annual Council

The systems of the Network have been fluid, to say the least. That was by design. Our Charter was designed to describe what we could see at the beginning, and to allow us the flexibility to develop as the Lord showed us the way. The Bishops were the first of the dramatis personae. Though often spoken ill of, they have acted decisively at precisely those moments where their mandate to guard the Faith and protect the Unity was on the line.

Then came the Steering Committee, initially appointed by the Bishops. The Steering Committee were the first visionaries for the Network, putting together the structure that became the Charter. They did incredible work in the early months. Then they became the legal “trustees,” holding the authority to act between Councils. They admit affiliates and partners, an ever-increasing stream. They shape budget. They have met monthly by telephone in most seasons. It is time to imagine a more significant role for them again. As we hold discussions in this Council about marriage and holiness and prayerbook and mission, what I am imaging is that the issues and directions we articulate in small groups here will be commended to Steering Committee Task Forces (expandable by additional at-large participants) for work between now and the next Annual Council. We will elect half of the Steering Committee to two-year terms at this meeting. The other half will hopefully be returned for the second year of their two-year term. At the Bedford Council Meeting we worked to achieve a balance between clergy and laity on the Steering Committee. We need to continue that work, and we need to increase the number of women, both lay and ordained (for those dioceses having ordained women), serving the Steering Committee. And in this, as in all things, we need our racial mix to reflect what Revelation tells us we will enjoy in heaven.

I have spoken of the Cabinet, my day-in and day-out advisers, among whom great wisdom abounds. I have mentioned Martyn Minns and his new call. I must also point to Bishop Ed Salmon who is at the point of retirement as Bishop of South Carolina. The time is ahead when the Cabinet will suffer a loss here as well. In the meanwhile, Ed’s work gathering the wider fellowship of Windsor Bishops and at my side in dealings with the whole House of Bishops, as well as with much of the global Communion, especially in the Church of England, has been of incalculable value to the movement which is the Anglican Communion Network.

The Network Deans are my heroes. They have borne the heat of the day and the brunt of the battle: John Guernsey, Bill Murdoch, Jim McCaslin, D.O. Smart, Bill Thompson and Bill Illgenfritz, with Ron MacCrary and David Moyer as predecessors to two of them. They are the creative engine and the battlefield officers of so much that we have become. Reflecting those they serve, they are, today at least, now half “in” and half “out” of ECUSA. I know a great deal about what it is right now to hold two full-time jobs, and so do they. My most extra-ordinary brothers I salute you. John Guernsey, who is fondly known as “dean of deans” (thus serving on the Cabinet), will share the Chair during parts of this Council meeting.

When the Network was chartered, two offices were established, that of Moderator and that of Secretary. The terms specified were for three years. Just as at the Bedford Council we looked at the annual terms of Steering Committee members, and made adjustments to achieve stability and clergy/lay balance, so it would be wise for this Annual Council to discuss its intentions about matters of re-election and of process of nomination. Similarly, we might address the reality of the International Conference of the Network, with its ever-increasing number of congregations under oversight by dioceses of the Provinces of Uganda, Southern Cone (including Recife), Kenya and Central Africa, looking to see whether the International Conference ought to be represented in our Annual Councils in the same way the dioceses and convocations are.

On the last morning of this Annual Council we will give an initial consideration to the Common Cause proposed theological principles and mission commitments. Already much discussion has been devoted to their significance and refinement, both by the Common Cause working group charged with their development and on the internet. We, too, will enter that discussion at this meeting. This, too, is an aspect of our reformation of behavior. Bishop Ray Sutton of the Reformed Episcopal Church will help to guide us as we seek steps to incarnate our shared vision of a “biblical, missionary, and united Anglicanism in North America.”

One of the great miracles of God’s grace and provision has been the funding of the Network. From the almost limitless benefaction of the American Anglican Council in the first eighteen months of the Network’s life to the present day there has always been enough income to sustain and, as appropriate, grow the work. Don’t stop… This Council will look again at the basic funding formula that is recommended to dioceses and congregations, which we have not done together since the early days. My basic advice is that which I learned in the years of ministry in North Carolina: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There are so many areas in which our God “has made a way through the wilderness and streams in the desert,” and this is one of them. To God be the praise and glory. This, too, has represented a reformation of behavior.

Domestic and Global Mission

The Anglican Relief and Development Fund was another of God’s sovereign provisions. What organization would begin its life by also founding a relief and development agency? With the leadership of Fr. Greg Brewer of Good Samaritan Paoli, and with key leaders of Geneva Global who were parishioners of Good Samaritan, ARDF was born. From the beginning the Network embraced a vision of 50/50 giving, spending at least as much on mission – in all its forms — as we spent on ourselves. ARDF was created to serve the poorest of the poor in special partnership with our Bible-believing Anglican brothers and sisters of the Global South. As an instrument of Jesus’ love, the Anglican Relief and Development Fund’s mission is to see real life change come to the suffering and the poor in some of the most challenging parts of the world.

Since its inception ARDF has approved and funded a multitude of development projects and relief efforts all over the globe. These projects, with durations of 12–24 months, were funded directly to local implementers who are able to facilitate sustainable life change for local residents. In 18 months, $2 million in projects have been funded. This includes 42 development grants, 4 relief projects and 13 tsunami projects. These 59 projects have spanned 20 countries on three continents providing assistance for famine, food security, water and sanitation, healthcare, education, youth at risk, HIV/AIDS, evangelism and Christian leadership. These projects have provided life change not only in living conditions, but also in Christian spiritual formation in areas of the world where the Father is at work in a special way.

Can. Nancy Norton succeeded Dr. Kirk Burbank as Director of ARDF last summer. Nancy will address us during this Council. Can. Norton’s contribution to what the Network is, is immense. What I am very pleased now to announce is that the Rev. Mike Murphy of the Anglican Mission in America has accepted the role of Chairman of ARDF, succeeding Dr. Peter Moore, who has done a magnificent work in our launch. The Rev. Simon Barnes of Geneva Global must also be mentioned as a key, and continuing, bearer of the work and the vision. ARDF’s newest primatial trustee, the Most. Rev. Justice Akrofi, is here among us.

Tonight’s banquet will feature presentations by the Council representatives of Anglican Global Mission Partners. AGMP grew out of the ashes of the Global Episcopal Mission partners after General Convention of 2003. AGMP is the Network’s coalition of mission agencies, both domestic and foreign, that is another key aspect of our commitment to transform the world with and for Jesus Christ. At the Bedford Council the Network also entered into a special missionary relationship with the Province of South East Asia. When this Pittsburgh Council concludes I will be heading out to Cambodia, alongside Archbishop John Chew, to ordain as priest a young man who is a sacrament of that partnership, and who, with his wife, are missionaries of one of the AGMP societies.

Domestic church-planting efforts, bearing fruit everywhere, will also be highlighted during this Council meeting, as will our new initiatives in the formation of children and youth. You will see both Tom Herrick and Jack Gabig as very much present to this meeting, and of the whole national effort that each represents.

Last Things

Little of what I have reported to you today would have been possible without the incredible staff the Lord has provided to the Network. This, too, has been “a way through the wilderness and streams in the desert:” Daryl Fenton, Wick and Pam Stephens, Nancy Norton, Tom Herrick, Jack Gabig, Lisa Waldron, Jenny Noyes, Jen McDonough. We also need to thank the Diocese of Pittsburgh for their inestimable gift in unselfish willingness to share their bishop for this national and international effort. I want to thank the Chapter and people of Trinity Cathedral, as well, and their Provost, the Rev. Can Catherine Brall, for making this great facility open to us, as it is for the thousands who come in and out its glass doors day by day and year by year, from all over the nation and all over the world. To the cathedral staff and diocesan staff and to the volunteer staff for this meeting I also express our gratitude. All of you are regularly, and at this moment, yourselves at your best.

All of this is about that reformation of behavior that, by God’s grace, has made a good beginning among us.

(As I conclude let us rise and sing Hymn 637, “How Firm a Foundation,” the text of which is, in part, shaped by the 43rd chapter of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, with verses from which this address began.)

The Anglican Divide: Richmond Dispatch Editorial on Bishop Lee's "Center Aisle"

BB NOTE: Interesting editorial from the Richmond Dispatch on the "Center Aisle" and it's meaning now in the current Anglican Divide. Someone also said that once the worship service is underway, the next time the center aisle is used is for the recessional.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Sunday, July 30, 2006

During the Episcopal Church's General Convention, the Diocese of Virginia published an online newsletter. The "Center Aisle" reflected not only Bishop Peter Lee's personal approach but also via media -- the beloved middle way that has played such a positive role in the Anglican tradition.

The metaphor works -- to a point. During church services, the clergy and choir stride down the center aisle, accompanied by some of the most beautiful music in hymnody, to their appointed places before the congrega- tion. Parishioners can enter through the center aisle yet may not tarry there. The pews lie to the left and the right. To sit down, believers must turn in one direction or the other. No one decides to sit on the left or the right based on his ideology, of course; the point here is metaphorical. The center aisle is crucial to ritual but it does necessarily lead to the middle.

Now consider other configurations for auditoriums. Many churches and most spaces for the performing arts use the four-aisle system. Two aisles border the walls; two other aisles divide the seating area. The best and highest-priced seats usually lie in the center section. After entering from the left or the right, a person seeking a prime location must turn toward the middle. Even if they don't occupy the center, individuals using the aisles along the wall still must move toward the middle. Not only that, but the person in the left aisle must turn right; the person in the right aisle must turn left. Epsicopal churches have side aisles as well. Yet while at least some parishioners move toward the middle, the center aisle itself does not serve as a conduit to moderation.

Perhaps the metaphor of a center aisle explains not why Anglicans are coming togther but why they seemingly are pulling apart.

Kendall Blogging from ACN Council in Pittsburgh

Click the link above for living blogging from the floor of the third annual ACN Council in Pittsburgh.

President Bush sets the record straight

Here's President Bush this morning, putting the current crisis in the Middle East back into perspective:

"As we work with friends and allies, it is important to remember this crisis began with Hezbollah's unprovoked terrorist attacks against Israel. Israel is exercising its right to defend itself. And we mourn the loss of innocent life, both in Lebanon and in Israel. We're determined to deliver relief to those who suffer; we're determined to work to resolve this crisis.

"To achieve the peace that we want we must achieve certain clear objectives: Lebanon's democratic government must be empowered to exercise sole authority over its territory. A multinational force must be dispatched to Lebanon quickly so we can help speed the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people. Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon.

"This approach will make it possible what so many around the world want to see: the end of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel, the return of the Israeli soldiers taken hostage by the terrorists, the suspension of Israel's operations in Lebanon and the eventual withdrawal of Israeli forces.

"The current crisis is part of a larger struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror in the Middle East. For decades, the status quo in the Middle East permitted tyranny and terror to thrive. And as we saw on September the 11th, the status quo in the Middle East led to death and destruction in the United States, and it had to change. So America is opposing the forces of terror and promoting the cause of democracy across the broader Middle East.

This task is long, it is difficult work, but it is necessary work. (Applause.) When democracy spreads in the Middle East the people of that troubled region will have a better future. The terrorists will lose their safe havens and their recruits, and the United States of America will be more secure. The hard work of helping people realize the benefits of liberty is laying the foundation of peace for generations to come."

George W. Bush, July 31, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Harry Potter!

July 31 is Harry Potter's birthday. If Voldemort doesn't do him in come the yet unpublished (but currently being written by Jo Rowing) Book Seven, Harry should be 26. Click on the headline above to learn more about him.

Harry Birthday, Harry!

California Crack-Up: Looks like it's time to read "To Kill A Mockingbird" again.

Reflecting on the California Crack-Up.
Looks like it's time to pull out the old copy of "To Kill A Mockingbird." And the film with Gregory Peck is excellent. You can get your copy of the film by clicking on the headline above and the book at

“‘I don’t like it Atticus, I don’t like it at all,’ was Aunt Alexandra’s assessment of these events. ‘That man seems to have a running grudge against everyone connected with the case. I know how that kind are about paying off grudges, but I don’t understand why he should harbor one-he had his way in court, didn’t he?’”
-To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

So Swing threatended Schofield and when Schofield refused to be bullied, Swing retaliated by bringing Schofield up on charges

Read the rest of it by clicking on the headline above. Warning: Do not read on full stomach.


Quote of Day: Could we have said it better?

“We take no position on Scripture or theology or morals. We are just Episcopalians."
-Donna Bott

Donna Bott is a leader of "Episcopal Voices of Central Florida", a group of progressive activists who oppose the decision by Bishop John W. Howe and the elected leadership of the Diocese of Central Florida to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for oversight following the 2006 General Convention in Columbus.

Post-Columbus: ACN Annual Council begins Monday. Will "formalize a foundation for our shared faith and ministry," says Bob Duncan.

Episcopalians seek to heal old wounds

Meetings hoped to end 130 years of division

Sunday, July 30, 2006

By Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Biblically orthodox Anglicans will meet twice in Pittsburgh during the next three weeks to cement ties among conservative Episcopalians and several factions that have left the denomination over the past 130 years.

Both gatherings will be led by Pittsburgh Episcopal Bishop Robert W. Duncan Jr. Participants will develop and approve theological statements of faith and ministry.

Monday marks the third annual meeting of the Anglican Communion Network. It will run through Wednesday at Trinity Cathedral, Downtown. Bishop Duncan is moderator of the group of diocesan leaders and congregations that has aligned since 2004 in response to actions by the Episcopal Church which they believe violate Scripture. The group has some 200,000 members.

About 80 representatives -- two clergy, two laity and the diocesan bishop or convocational dean from each of the network's 10 dioceses and six regional convocations -- will consider theological tenets that, Bishop Duncan said, would "formalize a foundation for our shared faith and ministry as orthodox Anglicans in North America."

The second gathering, from Aug. 16-18, will bring together representatives of nine Anglican groups, including the network, who will vote on those tenets. Those representatives are known as the Common Cause Roundtable.

The groups include the American Anglican Council, Anglican Essentials Canada, Anglican Mission in America, the Anglican Network in Canada, the Anglican Province of America, Forward in Faith North America and the Reformed Episcopal Church. They represent as many as 80,000 people.

"These are Anglican jurisdictions that have not really known each other over the years," Bishop Duncan said. "In fact, we actually are very much unified. Not in legal terms, but there's a great spiritual consonance among us."

These so-called "continuing churches" separated from the Episcopal Church for various reasons during the past 130 years.

The Reformed Episcopal Church, for example, broke away in 1873 over issues of excessive ritualism and relations with other denominations. Today, it has about 13,400 members in the United States and several foreign countries.

The Anglican Mission in America, on the other hand, was formed in 2000. It is a missionary outreach of the Anglican province of Rwanda, one of the 39 members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and has between 15,000 and 20,000 members.

The proposed seven-point theological statement includes affirmations that the Old and New Testaments are "the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation" and acceptance of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion "as foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses."

The articles, established in 1563, are the defining statement of the Anglican Church. The Episcopal Church considers the Thirty-Nine Articles a historical document and does not require members to adhere to them.

The Episcopal Church is the American arm of the more than 70-million-member Anglican Communion and has about 2.3 million members.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What would Bishop RIdley say? Bishop Schofield confirms: Four liberal California bishops charge him with "abandoning the Communion"

Episcopal bishop confirms he is under investigation

By Frank Lockwood

The Bishop of San Joaquin, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, confirmed Friday evening that he is under investigation for allegedly "abandoning the Communion" of the Church.

In an interview with Bible Belt Blogger, the central California bishop said the allegations are "absolutely" false. "We're not leaving the communion," Schofield said, adding that he remains a committed Anglican. He vowed to fight the charges, which have been brought by four other California bishops.

Speaking by phone from Fresno, Schofield said his critics are using an unusual strategy to remove him. Instead of bringing a standard ecclesiastical indictment (called a presentment), they are using Title IV, Canon 9 of Episcopal Church law. "If it were a presentment, there would be a trial and I could defend myself," he said. Instead, his fate may be decided in the House of Bishops. If a majority of the bishops decide he has abandoned "the communion of this Church", then he would be removed as a successor to the apostles.

Typically, Title IV, Canon 9 is used to remove someone who has openly renounced "the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship" of the church or who has joined another religious body.

Schofield, a bishop since 1988, leads one of the most conservative diocese in the nation. Since the 2003 ordination of openly-gay bishop Gene Robinson, Schofield has taken steps to distance his diocese from the national Episcopal Church. According to a Fresno-based group named Remain Episcopal, the San Joaquin diocese eliminated all funding for the national church beginning in 2004. Remain Episcopal says the diocesan convention has also amended its constitution to eliminate "unqualified accession to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and the authority of the General Convention." Translation -- if the governing documents of the national church and the San Joaquin diocese conflict, San Joaquin's rules would trump.

In a June 22 letter obtained by Bible Belt Blogger, then-Bishop of California William E. Swing said that the changes in the San Joaquin diocese's constitution could make it harder for dioceses to win lawsuits against renegade parishes in the future. Such litigation is already taking place in California and elsewhere.

The constitutional amendments, Swing warned, "will create chaos for all of us for all time."

Schofield told Bible Belt Blogger that he isn't trying to cause legal difficulties for neighboring California dioceses. "I can simply say that the actions taken by our diocesan convention over the last two years were done with an eye toward protecting the people of San Joaquin, without a single thought of any consequences beyond the diocese."

San Joaquin was one of seven dioceses who appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this summer for alternative oversight, rejecting the leadership of Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori. With the Episcopal Church facing possible ouster from the worldwide 77-million-member Anglican communion, the San Joaquin diocese has also asked the Archbishop to recognize it as legitimately Anglican -- no matter what happens to the Episcopal Church as a whole.

The Anglican communion is made up of 38 churches who trace their roots to the Church of England. Of those, 22 have restricted or completely severed ties to the Episcopal Church since Robinson's ordination. Critics warn that the Episcopal Church's actions may cause lasting damage to the international body.

Few bishops have been more critical of the church's national leadership. In a pastoral letter earlier this month, Schofield criticized what he called "the arrogance and rebellious spirit manifested by the Episcopal Church" and warned that "chaos and turmoil have overtaken" the 2.2 million-member denomination. Theological liberals, Schofield suggested, "have chosen not only to walk apart from Anglicanism and, perhaps, Christianity itself."

Frank Lockwood, 39, is the Herald-Leader’s faith and values reporter. He has been the paper’s Washington DC correspondent and was its Northeastern Kentucky bureau reporter. Frank is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Idaho College of Law. In 2004, he received a Knight Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Friday, July 28, 2006

U2 to publish book "In their own words" in September

It will be the definitive U2 story. It will have stories never before told and photos never before seen. It is ‘U2byU2’ and worldwide publication is just two months away, on September 22nd.

For the first time each member of U2 – and manager Paul McGuinness - has told their own story from their earliest childhood memories to their first meeting with each other, from those opening chords in Larry’s kitchen to becoming the biggest band in rock’n’roll.

Ever wondered what it’s like being in a band with your school friends for your entire adult life?

Ever wanted to have a conversation with the band themselves ?

‘U2byU2’ is the ultimate conversation with Adam, Bono, Edge, Larry and Paul McGuinness in which they tell their own side of the U2 story.

Featuring more than 1500 images including previously unpublished photographs from the personal archives of the band, this hefty 350-page tells the U2 story from the perspective of those who know it best – and it brings it right up to date in 2006.

‘U2’s story is an extraordinary one and we are proud to be publishing this book.’ said Trevor Dolby, Publishing Director of HarperCollins Entertainment. ‘U2byU2 is a book not just for the fans but for everyone interested in music and modern culture.’

Nominees for Bishop of South Carolina Announced

NOTE FROM BB: Here we are! Ellis is terrific and wise and I've known Steve through our work as Alpha Regional Advisors - he's a visionary and passionate for the Gospel and evangelism. Not sure about Mark - St. Stephen's in McKeesport was a bit odd when I visited it after he left - I was on my way back from a course at TESM and and it was, shall we say, an unusual experience. But I can give my wholehearted support to Ellis and Steve. May God give the leaders of South Carolina wisdom and discernment as they make their choice for their next bishop. Ellis and Steve are remarkable men who love Jesus and have a biblical and evangelistic vision for His Church - I don't know how I'd choose. Well done, South Carolina!

Nominees for Bishop Announced
July 27, 2006

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce to you that the Standing Committee has concluded its work. The required background checks have been accomplished. The psychological exams required by canon law have been satisfactorily completed, and we are now free publicly to announce the names of those we shall nominate for the position of Bishop of South Carolina.

They are:

The Rev Canon Ellis Brust of Atlanta

The Very Rev. Mark Lawrence of Bakersfield, CA

The Rev. Steve Wood, Rector of St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant

I am grateful to Fr. Greg Kronz and the Search Committee for their months of hard work.

I am also grateful to the many others who allowed their names to be considered. We have many faithful priests in South Carolina, and we are all blessed by their many gifts of leadership.

Please study carefully the material enclosed with this letter.

Please pray diligently for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Delegates to the Special Convention and all canonically resident clergy eligible to vote will gather at St. Philip’s Church, Charleston for the “walk about” on September 9. Registration will begin at 8:00. The actual program will begin at 10:00 sharp. Each nominee will make a brief opening statement, followed by responses to prepared questions from the Standing Committee. There will also be ample opportunity for members of the clergy and lay delegates to ask questions of any of the nominees. There is limited space available at the “walk about” for other members of the diocese who are not delegates.

The election will take place at St. Philip’s Church the following Saturday, September 16, beginning with the Holy Eucharist at 9:30

Registration materials for both of these events have been sent previously to every congregation. If you for some reason have not received your registration materials, please contact Randy McPhail in the Diocesan office (843-722-4075).

Grace and peace,

Fr. Dow Sanderson, President
Diocese of South Carolina


The Reverend Canon Ellis English Brust

The Rev. Canon Ellis English Brust is Chief Operating Officer and Chaplain to the President of the American Anglican Council (AAC) headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Canon Brust is committed to proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ; to upholding traditional Christian teaching; and to implementing the apostolic model of equipping the saints for works of ministry through evangelism, discipleship, worship, personal spiritual growth and stewardship. He has a passionate desire to serve Jesus Christ and the church as an effective and visionary leader.

In his current position, Canon Brust oversees the day-to-day operations, strategic planning, resource development and spiritual oversight of the AAC, as well as providing pastoral care to the staff. Canon Brust also represents the AAC in its domestic and international diplomatic ministries. Prior to joining the AAC, he was Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, where he assisted Bishop Stephen Jecko in administration, strategic planning and congregational development of the 75 churches in the diocese. Ordained in 1984, he has served parishes in Midland, Crockett, Katy and Longview, Texas, and has been elected and appointed to numerous diocesan and community leadership positions.

Canon Brust holds a master’s in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas. He has written devotions for Bible Reading Fellowship and other publications and is a frequent retreat leader and parish consultant. Canon Brust has been a conference speaker in the United States, United Kingdom, Cuba and Nigeria. He is married to Cynthia, a native of Winnsboro, South Carolina; they have two children: Rebecca, 20, a senior at Converse College; and William, 17, a junior in high school. Canon Brust enjoys reading, writing, music, golf, spending time with his family, and relaxing at their cottage in western North Carolina.


The Very Rev. Mark J. Lawrence

A fifth generation Californian, and a native of Bakersfield, he attended local public schools, wrestled in high school and college, graduating from California State University, Bakersfield in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. After earning a Master of Divinity from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in 1980, Fr. Lawrence has spent his entire ordained ministry in parish work. After his diaconal year 1980-81, which he spent assisting in a newly planted church in suburban Fresno, California, and as chaplain at Fresno State University, Bishop Victor Rivera appointed him as the vicar of St. Mark’s Shafter, an Anglo-catholic congregation in the rural San Joaquin Valley. The three years he was vicar the Sunday attendance grew by 65 %. He also served as chairman of the diocesan Church Growth Committee and was a delegate to Provincial Synod.

In 1984 he was called as Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, located in the aging, depressed and declining steel mill region in the Monongahela Valley of greater Pittsburgh. While the region continued to face economic and demographic decline, in the 13 years he served as rector, the parish grew in average Sunday attendance by over 50% and in communicant strength by over a 100 members. The congregation also sponsored an innovative ministry to “street people” and in 1991 established the Mon Valley Tri-Parish Ministry, where Fr. Lawrence put together a clergy staff to oversee two smaller churches in the region—St. John’s, Donora and Transfiguration, Clairton, Pa. He also served extensively in diocesan duties—Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, Chairman of the Board of Examining Chaplains, Cathedral Chapter, Calvary Camp, and was the liaison with the Anglican Diocese of Chile. He also participated on several community boards from the McKeesport Hospital Ethics Committee to the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.

In 1997, after 13 years in McKeesport, Pa, he was called to be rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Bakersfield, California - his home parish in his hometown. Here too the parish has grown by over 50% in average Sunday attendance and the annual budget by 150%. He has also served as rural dean, on Diocesan Council, Board of Examining Chaplains, and lectured in Anglican and Episcopal Church History at the San Joaquin School for Ministry, (a joint venture of the diocese, TESM and the Fresno Mennonite Seminary). He has served as a deputy to General Convention in 2003 and 2006.

He is a member of the Order of St. Luke, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and has been active in Cursillo.

He was married to Allison Taylor in 1973. They have five children, and six grandchildren. All are active in parish life and Christian ministry.


The Rev. Stephen D. Wood

Ministry Leadership
Rector, St. Andrew’s Church, Mt. Pleasant (2000-present)
Rector, St. Mary’s Church, Goose Creek (2005-present)
Associate Rector and Chief of Staff, St. Luke’s Church, Bath, OH (1996-2000)
Vicar, St. Anne-in-the-Fields, Madison, OH (1991-1996)

Diocesan Leadership
Evangelism Commission (2001-2003)
Commission on Ministry (2001-2005)
Ecclesiastical Court (2004-present)
Standing Committee (2005-present)

Regional & National Leadership
Anglican Communion Network Council Member (2005-present)
Alpha North America, National Core Leadership Team (2005-present)
New Wine International, USA Leader (2002-present)
The Order of Mission, North American Senior (2004-present)
Alpha Regional Advisor (1997-present)

Other Ministry Leadership
Changing Families Ministries, Board of Directors (2002-present)
Drawing Near to God Ministries, Board of Directors (2002-present)
Onward to Omega, Board of Directors (2004-present)

Community Leadership
Wando High School, School Improvement Council (2003-2006)

Master of Divinity, Virginia Theological Seminary (1991).
Bachelor of Arts in History, Cleveland State University (1986).

Family: Wife – Jacqui. Sons – Aaron (20), Tim (16), Nick (13) and Sammy (9).

Outside interests: family activities, cycling, hiking and reading.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Ancient words, ever true, changing me and changing you."

Ancient words, ever true, changing me and changing you.”

By Martyn Minns, Rector, Truro Church, Fairfax, VA

I am sure we all have had the experience of a particular song or piece of music capturing our imaginations, and then seeming as if it were on constant replay-mode in our minds. We sang one such song last week, and I have been singing it ever since: “Ancient words, ever true, changing me and changing you.”

It is a beautiful song written by Lynn DeShazo, a Christian songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. This song reminds us of the amazing gift of the Scriptures: “Holy Words of our faith handed down to this age, came to us through sacrifice; O heed the faithful words of Christ.” The Scriptures are a great gift.
But, how are we to read them so as to avoid the problems where people twist Scripture to fit their own biases and prejudices? Also, how do we avoid the dangers of thoughtless literalism that leads people to use the Bible to support the inhumane practices of slavery and the ongoing subjugation of women?

Let me suggest a few principles that have helped me use these Ancient Words to guide my life.

1. Prayerful humility: It is God’s Book inspired by God’s Spirit. If we are to hear God speak, we need to pray before we read.

2. Context: The Bible is written to real people in real history. While there are many timeless truths contained within its pages, we do well to understand the original setting.

3. Literary styles: Some portions of the Bible are recorded history, while others are poems, and still others are wise sayings—all true but we need to recognize the various styles and read them differently.

4. Big picture: It’s easy to focus on a few favorite verses, but we need to understand them within the meta-narrative (the overarching story) of the Bible.

5. Find yourself in the story: The Bible is not a book to be held at arm’s length, but one that is designed to dig deep into the recesses of our hearts and minds.

Ancient Words ever true, changing me and changing you!

"Lumos!" now underway in Las Vegas

(Now this would be an excellent location to blog from - wonder if KJS will check in or is she passing it up to be the featured keynote speaker at the 7th Annual Cornelius Fudge Celebration Dinner at the Marriott?)

The Toronto Star reports:
Teachers and academics descend today on one Sin City hotel being transformed this weekend into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a Harry Potter conference.

Among about 1,200 muggles flying in on planes — not brooms — for the academic conference, called Lumos 2006, are about 40 Canadians, including teacher/librarian Deanna Lombardi.

Her main mission is to bring back a little more Harry Potter magic for her students at St. Michael Catholic Academy in Thornhill.

But for this über-fan, the convention work won't be a hardship.

Lombardi, who has a collection of Harry Potter striped scarves, calls the event "a Harry Potter playground for adults."
She's studied the Lumos program rigorously and is eagerly looking forward to a talk by Tom Morris, author of If Harry Potter Ran General Electric, and another roundtable discussion on "Moral Alignment in Harry Potter."

Between dozens of teacher-geared sessions such as "The Hogwarts Model: Educational Theory and Practice in the Harry Potter Novels," there will be water quidditch at the hotel pool and live chess in the evenings.

Lombardi is among the growing number of educators who have seized on the popularity of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels to encourage her students to read.

She uses the books in her Grade 5 novel studies and says they are among the most popular in the St. Michael's library.
"The Harry Potter books literally fly off the shelves. I'm having to repurchase them. Some haven't been returned," she said.
"In Harry we see the virtues of courage and strength. He's had to overcome so many difficulties and challenges in life. That's a great lesson for children to get nowadays."

Lombardi's favourite in the novel series is the fourth volume, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

"The Triwizard Tournament, the uniqueness and the ingenuity of just developing something like that ... " she says, her voice trailing off.

"For J.K. Rowling to actually write that and create it, it really gives the readers a lot to visualize."

But until Sunday, Lombardi won't have to depend on her imagination to see Rowling's world. At Lumos, she'll be immersed in a rendition of Harry's world in which a hotel room becomes the Great Hall and convention delegates are assigned a house, each with a common room for mingling and relaxing.

Lombardi has requested membership in the Gryffindor House. "It is the house that the brave and daring belong to. Of course, it's also Harry Potter's house — who wouldn't want to be part of the chosen one's house?" she said prior to leaving for Vegas.
Evenings at Lumos will feature Hogwarts night classes and feasting. Muggles — humans to those who haven't read Harry Potter — and wizards will dine on padfoot stew, Aunt Petunia's violet pudding and cornish pasties.

The hotel pubs will be pouring Butterbeer, Morsmordre margaritas and Pansy Parkinson's frilly pink martini.

"The Episcopal Church, one of the most historically significant churches in America, is on the verge of implosion," says Dallas newspaper.

The Episcopal Church, one of the most historically significant churches in America, is on the verge of implosion. It has endured schism before but nothing like what it faces today. Its "civil war over homosexuality," as The New York Times put it, threatens not only to divide its 2.3 million members but also to separate it from the 77 million-strong global Anglican Communion.

Once viewed as the Republican Party at prayer, over the past 30 to 40 years the Episcopal Church has morphed into something else altogether, losing much of its membership along the way. The turning point was 1976, when the church began ordaining women to the priesthood, and in the three years since Robinson's election, it has lost the numerical equivalent of a congregation a day. With Sunday attendance hovering around 800,000, the church has come to represent less than 3 percent of Anglicans worldwide and a little more than 1 percent of American Christians, making it, as the writer Allen Guelzo recently put it, "statistically negligible on the horizons of both American Christianity and the Anglican Communion."

A month after Robinson's election, conservative Episcopalians from around the country gathered at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas to effect a "course correction" within the church. At that meeting, which David Roseberry organized, priests and bishops spoke openly about the possibility of schism. Because of that meeting, and the outcry within the global Anglican Communion over Robinson's ordination, the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a report calling the American church to repentance. While the report did not condemn Robinson's election, it did say the Episcopal Church should consult the broader Anglican Communion before making major decisions. (The Episcopal Church is a semi-autonomous entity within the Anglican Communion. It recognizes the Archbishop of Canterbury as its worldwide leader, similar to the pope but without as much authority.)

Instead of apologizing, the American bishops went the other way, electing Katharine Jefferts Schori presiding bishop last month at their 2006 General Convention in Columbus, Ohio. Schori had not only supported Robinson's ordination, she had also blessed same-sex unions and on more than one occasion referred to Jesus as Our Mother.

Like a tear in fraying fabric, the rift between liberals and conservatives within the Episcopal Church and the broader Anglican Communion widened at that moment, possibly beyond repair. To many, it seemed a slap in the face, a direct affront to the wishes of the global church. In response, Anglican leaders in Africa, where the church still has the militant zeal of a missionary organization, declared an end to their association with the Episcopal Church, even if it meant forgoing millions of dollars a year in emergency food and other aid.

So far, six American dioceses, including Fort Worth, have rejected Schori as their leader and have asked to be placed under the oversight of an Anglican archbishop outside the United States. It could result in a most unusual outcome: a U.S. diocese reporting to a bishop in Africa.

Read the rest by clicking the headline above or go here:

Monday, July 24, 2006

Anglican Alert: Code Yellow

I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow


Click the headline above.

TEC Division Continues - Ft. Worth Standing Committee Submits Resolutions to Leave Province VII of The Episcopal Church


July 24, 2006

FORT WORTH, Texas – The following Resolution was unanimously adopted today by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and will be presented to the Diocesan Convention in its annual meeting on Nov. 18, 2006.

WHEREAS the Archbishop of Canterbury in light of the actions of General Convention 2006 has proposed that the “best way forward” for the Anglican Communion is to have in the future both “constituent” and “associated” members, necessitating “ordered and mutually respectful separation between ‘constituent’ and ‘associated’ elements” within local Churches; and

WHEREAS the stated aim of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion as provided for in the Constitution of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America; and,

WHEREAS the Bishop and Standing Committee believe it necessary for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to dissociate itself from those actions of the 75th General Convention which constitute a decision of the Episcopal Church to walk apart from the Anglican Communion; and,

WHEREAS the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth in good faith appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and the Panel of Reference for immediate alternative Primatial oversight and pastoral care so that a unifying solution can be found to preserve an authentic Anglican community of witness within the United States of America and provide pastoral and apostolic care to biblically orthodox Anglicans in this country regardless of geographical location;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, pending final ratification by its 24th Annual Convention, withdraws its consent, pursuant to Article VII of the Constitution of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to be included in the Seventh Province of the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth consists of 55 congregations serving 24 north central Texas counties. The major cities in the diocese include Fort Worth, Arlington, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Wichita Falls, Grand Prairie, Richland Hills, Brownwood, and Stephenville. The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker has served as the third Diocesan Bishop of Fort Worth since 1995. The diocese enjoys companion relationships with the Dioceses of Northern Malawi and Northern Mexico.


Note from BB

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Can we go now? New PB chats up CBS: "Change is happening," Jefferts Schori says, "whether they are interested in that change or not."

Change is happening whether you like it or not, the new PB says. From her example as Bishop of Nevada (which embraced the blessing of same gender unions) we know what that "change" includes. TEC is not backing down, she made that abundantly clear. It's on to the brave new world, so get out of the way.

When asked why she won't support biblical principles regarding human sexuality, Jefferts Schori said "Jesus invited everybody to the table - to the great feast - and for us to say that some people are not fit to come to that feast is not our task." So go ahead and live your life any way you like it - just make sure it feels good - and ya'all come on down.

"People who have been unhappy - this is another piece that may offend them," she told CBS News. "Change is happening whether they are interested in that change or not." So much for the Listening Process. Either get on the train or jump off.

When asked about the innovations employed by the Episcopal Church, she said that they have "offended old ways of understanding who should be in charge. Should it be white men who should be in charge or not?" So it is about power after all.

Sorry guys. These boots were made for walkin' and they're walkin' all over you.


Is this the Big Top - or just Over the Top?

From the "Did I miss something or is this actually in the Book of Common Prayer" file. Click on the headline above and see how The Episcopal Church (TEC) now celebrates the Eucharist at one of the premier Episcopal Churches in the United States (Trinity Wall Street). Is this what they really mean when they say that God is doing a new thing? Note to KJS: How about a Clown Consecration?

David Roseberry: $10 million spent on GC-2006; New Presiding Bishop disagrees with Jesus; ECUSA clearly moving in another direction ...

From "A Matter of Mission," by The Rev'd David Roseberry, rector, Christ Church Plano.

I have assessed the mission of the Episcopal Church and it is clear that they are going in another direction. Sometime in 2006, the 300 millionth citizen of the U.S. will be born. Our country has seen enormous population increases over the last few decades. Yet, during that time, the Episcopal Church has lost members and is losing its foothold in the American culture. ECUSA now has fewer than 800,000 attendees each week in their 7,200 churches. There are (on average) 37 pupils in an Episcopal Sunday School.

And I might add that in the middle of this unprecedented decline – and quite likely the cause of the decline – is that the church has been engaged in endless debates and conflicts about sex: sexual identities, sexual expressions, sexual lifestyles and sexual freedoms. And with this comes a whole package of teaching, theology and core convictions that have moved ECUSA outside the Christian mainstream.

It has been monotonous. And now as I look back on it, it has also been self-centered and very expensive. The 2006 General Convention cost around 10 million dollars! I have come to believe that the country does not need one more agency or institution demanding or defending sexual freedom. It needs a missionary church with a clear message about Jesus Christ and the Cross.

But it is not just the mission emphasis that is different. It is also the message. The message of the church is the energy that propels its people into the world to make disciples and teach them to obey the commands of Christ. Christ is the message. It is all about Christ: His work on the Cross, His life and teaching, the impact of His life upon the lives of all who follow Him, and His death and resurrection, ascension and coming Kingdom. The message of the Gospel is a message simply about what God has done in Christ. The church has no other point to make until that message is clearly understood and clearly proclaimed.

There were lots of opinions about Jesus in His own time. His work and wonders were well known. He could draw a crowd for a sermon and for lunch! People had interest and fascination with this teacher/healer from Nazareth. But Jesus never cared about being famous and well known, like a celebrity. He wanted to be known for who He truly was: the Son of God. Only after the disciples understood the true identity of Jesus Christ would they comprehend the purpose of His life. And, when Peter gets it right at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus then reveals the final outcome of His life: death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. (Matthew 16)

The point is very simple. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus gave His life for the sins of the whole world. No one comes to the Father except through the Son. (John 15) Or, put another way, “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:11)

In an interview with Time magazine, the Presiding Bishop-elect was asked a question about the necessity of belief in Jesus for eternal life. Read and mark her answer to this question: “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.” This is a different message than Jesus’ message concerning Himself. (John 15) The Presiding Bishop-elect disagrees with Jesus. Her answer is incorrect at almost every level, but it is very revealing. She sees that Christianity is about a practice and not a person. Her metaphor of a “vehicle to the divine” actually reduces the Trinity down to a limited partnership between “the divine” who receives and Jesus who brings. It is a denial of the co-equal and co-eternal nature of the Trinity. (This “vehicle” language is totally foreign to Judeo-Christian teaching.) It is a different message.

These then are two key differences between where Christ Church is going and where the direction and agenda of the Episcopal Church is going. They are different … stunningly different. And these differences are just the beginning of the divergence. When I think about the dichotomy of these two issues alone I realize that we have no other choice but the one we have chosen.

Click on the headline above to read entire piece.

Bishop Busters - Coming to a Diocese Near You

Inspired by suing the laity and bullying their clergy, four California bishops gang together to form "Bishopbusters Inc - You Got a Wheel Chair, We Got Title IV." For more information call the firm of Swing, Mathes, Bruno & Lamb. Patent pending.

Remembering Two Bishops of Virginia: Meade and Moore

There was a time when the Diocese of Virginia was sliding into obscurity. The laity was leaving in droves to the Presbyterians, the Baptists, and the Methodists. The remaining churches were falling into decline. How did the Virginia revive from the brink of disaster?

The year was 1814 when a clergyman by the name of Richard Moore became both rector of a church in Virginia and the bishop. Bishop Moore was "a man of strongly Protestant and evangelical outlook," a history of the Episcopal Church in Virginia describes the early bishop. His preaching brought people to Christ. He revived parishes, founded an evangelical seminary, and turned his attention to overseas mission. He was followed by another robust evangelical bishop, William Meade. Their vision for preaching the scriptures, of centering the diocese on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of evangelism, of standing firm for truth in the House of Bishops - their vision revived the Episcopal Church in Virginia. How far we've traveled from the foundation of the church to what it is now, today.

Here's an excerpt from the history of the Diocese of Virginia from

"In 1814, the Rev. Richard Channing Moore of New York, the first man ordained by Bishop Provoost, was persuaded to accept election as rector of Monumental Church in Richmond and as Bishop of Virginia. A man of strongly Protestant and evangelical outlook, Bishop Moore was a gifted and eloquent preacher. There is a story about a congregation that listened spellbound to one of his long, 19th century-style sermons, and when it was over, demanded that he preach another. When that homily ended, they called for another. After the third sermon with supper time near, Moore declared that he had preached enough!

"An able and tireless leader, as well as a great preacher, Bishop Moore crossed and re-crossed the Commonwealth, reviving parishes, replacing the reprobate priests who had come in during the early years of the century, and building up the financial support of the Church. Virginia's second bishop's episcopate was marked by the founding of the Virginia Theological Seminary and of the Diocesan Missionary Society.

"In 1829, the Rev. William Meade was elected and consecrated assistant bishop and, until Bishop Moore's death in 1841, gave his diocesan bishop immense help in reviving the Church in Virginia. Bishop Meade was a prolific writer of letters, prayers, devotional guides, and of historical articles that were later collected in Old Churches and Families of Virginia. Historians and genealogists owe Bishop Meade a great debt for collecting and depositing many of the colonial parish registers and vestry-books with Virginia Theological Seminary.

"By the time Bishop Meade became third Bishop of Virginia in 1841, he was himself in ill health and another assistant bishop was chosen, the Rev. John Johns, D.D. Bishop Johns was the first bishop to be consecrated in Virginia, at Monumental Church in Richmond, October 13, 1842. By the time he became fourth Bishop upon Meade's death in 1862, the Diocese had assumed a leading position in the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States and was large, wealthy, and strong in every respect, its evangelical character and witness owing to the tireless ministry provided by Bishops Moore and Meade.:


And here is an excerpt from the sermon preached at the consecreation of William Meade by Bishop William White of Pennsylvania. Could this be preached today at a consecration in Virginia?

"Every age has its peculiar dangers, and ours has not the least of them; consisting of the corruptions of many within, and the enmity of many without; and creating especial calls on the conscientious professors of the Gospel, to defend it by their zeal, and to adorn it by their lives. But there is one danger common to all times and places--that of falling short of the standard of Christian morals which it prescribes; and consequently of the life and immortality which it has brought to light.

"In order to prevent this, let every one consider the Gospel as resting on his conscience a weighty trust; comprehending truths which were designed to make him "wise unto salvation;" promises, by which he should become a partaker of the divine nature; and precepts, rendering him "thoroughly furnished unto all good works." These, with whatever they imply of instruction to guide us to our duty, and of grace to enable us to discharge it, are a part of the trust, which gave a ground for the admonition in the text."

William White, August 19, 1829

The rift in the Anglican Church comes to Northern Virginia

THE ACCELERATING RIFT over homosexuality in the nearly 80 million member global Anglican Communion has finally reached directly into the Washington, D.C. area.

A conservative Episcopal priest in suburban Fairfax, Virginia, has been elected a bishop by the 18 million member Anglican church of Nigeria. The Rev. Martyn Minns of the 1,700 member Truro Church in Fairfax City will preside over the handful of churches for Nigerian expatriates in the United States. But more may ultimately be involved.

Also last month, Truro Church informed Virginia Bishop Peter Lee that it is entering a 40 day time of "discernment" over its relations with the U.S. denomination. Other large Episcopal churches in Virginia besides Truro, including the historic 2,000 member Falls Church, are likewise considering their ties to U.S. Episcopalianism.

"We will be seeking God's will about whether continued affiliation with the Episcopal Church is compatible with Scripture and with our affiliation with the global Anglican Communion," Senior Associate Rector Frederick Wright announced to the Falls Church congregation. "As Anglicans, we would not expect to become an 'independent' congregation," he explained, but would affiliate with "another Anglican body."

More than 20 other Virginia congregations may belong to what Rev. Wright called a "coalition of churches" seeking discernment. Both Truro and the Falls Church date to the mid-1700s--George Washington joined in the creation of both. The Falls Church, for which the surrounding city was later named, also retains its sanctuary, which was built in the 1760s. The Declaration of Independence was read from its steps. During the Civil War, Union soldiers desecrated the sanctuary, using it as a stable.

Truro Church lost its earlier sanctuaries to the Civil War and fire. But its current office space housed Union General William Stoughton until that he was abruptly awakened and captured by the Confederate partisan John Mosby, who also made off with a gaggle of Union horses. ("I can replace the general, but I cannot replace those horses," Abraham Lincoln is said to have remarked.)

WHY ARE THESE venerable old Episcopal congregations pondering a departure from their denomination after 200 years? And why is the Anglican Church of Nigeria in the picture?

Three years ago the U.S. Episcopal Church elected its first openly homosexual bishop, Gene Robinson. Forty percent of the denomination's bishops voted against Robinson. But Virginia Bishop Peter Lee supported him and has likened the acceptance of homosexuality in the church to the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Conservative dioceses and congregations appealed to the global Anglican Communion, which is headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in England and includes Global South bishops. Unlike the declining U.S. church, which has lost 1 million members over the last 40 years, these Third World churches are surging. Anglicans in Nigeria alone outnumber U.S. Episcopalians by nearly 10 to 1.

The global Anglican Communion had asked the U.S. church to abstain from electing more homosexual bishops. But the Episcopal General Convention, meeting last month in Columbus, Ohio, elected a new presiding bishop who is firmly committed to homosexual clergy and church rites for same-sex unions. Conservative Episcopalians realized that compromise had become impossible. Many of them now hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury will eventually acknowledge a new Anglican church in North America that would exist alongside--or perhaps even supercede--the old Episcopal Church.

Churches like Truro and the Falls Church, along with other conservative congregations in Virginia, are robustly evangelical--and growing. They do not wish to remain indefinitely in an increasingly liberal U.S. Episcopal Church.

Surely George Washington, George Mason, and other prominent Northern Virginia Anglicans never conceived of Episcopal debates over homosexuality when they founded their churches. The Episcopal Church even managed to avoid schism over slavery and during the Civil War. Anglicanism in Virginia has survived since Jamestown in 1607.

But conservative Episcopalians have chaffed for decades under liberal church leaders who disregarded historic Christian beliefs about sexual ethics, the Bible, and even the identity of Jesus Christ. To continue an orthodox Anglican presence in Virginia, many conservatives want to de-align from the declining liberal religion in the United States and re-align with growing Christianity in the Global South.

The end result may be that much of Virginia Episcopalianism will end up looking to Nigeria, rather than Richmond, for leadership. The slave-owning Episcopal gentry of 18th century Virginia would be shocked. But the irony is an enjoyable one.

From The Weekly Standard. By Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Bible for Dummies - Great Teaching Series from Jay Slocum

Click on the headline above to hear the Rev'd Jay Slocum in the first of his teaching series on how to figure out the Bible. The course is terrific - for newbies and oldies! Check it out!


Diocese of Central Florida Letter Appealing for Alternative Primatial Oversight

The Most Reverend and Right Honorable
Rowan Douglas Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
& Primate of the Church of England
Lambeth Palace

Dear Archbishop Williams:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This letter is an official appeal on behalf of the Bishop, Standing Committee, and Diocesan Board of the Diocese of Central Florida. We seek Alternative Primatial Oversight and mediation in the dispute between the Diocese of Central Florida and our Province, The Episcopal Church.

The Diocese of Central Florida finds itself in a serious dispute with The Episcopal Church, and in particular, we protest the actions, inactions, and errors of our 74th and 75th General Conventions, specifically:

1. The 74th General Convention’s consent to the election to the office of Bishop of a man living in a same-sex relationship, and his subsequent consecration, with the Presiding Bishop as his Chief Consecrator.

2. The 74th General Convention’s declaration that “local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.”

3. The 75th General Convention’s incomplete and therefore inadequate response to the Windsor Report and the Communiqué of the February 2005 Primates’ Meeting, most notably, its failure to effect a moratorium on same-sex blessings.

4. The 75th General Convention’s elevation to the office of Presiding Bishop-elect and Primate of The Episcopal Church, of a Bishop who advocates in word and deed the above mentioned errors, and a person who will therefore further breach the bonds of affection within the Communion.

The Diocese of Central Florida has made every effort to be reconciled to our Province. We have consistently called The Episcopal Church to its Constitutional commitments to the Lord, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and the Anglican Communion. We have done this through the statements and resolutions of our Diocesan Conventions, the efforts of our Deputations to General Conventions personal attempts at persuasion and encouragement to faithfulness, and through the Bishop of Central Florida’s proactive engagement on the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops, and within the House of Bishops itself and the General Convention. All of our efforts have been to no avail.

The Bishop and elected leadership bodies of the Diocese of Central Florida have repeatedly affirmed our commitment to remain in full communion as a Constituent Member of the Anglican Communion. We have enacted the recommendations of the Windsor Report in their entirety. Lambeth 1998 Article 1.10 remains our official teaching and practice with respect to human sexuality.

We embrace wholeheartedly your own recent reflection, Challenge and Hope for the Anglican Communion. We recognize the way forward through this crisis for the Anglican Communion will take some time to reach resolution. We are fully committed to the process of developing an Anglican Covenant, and we will wait patiently for the Holy Spirit to work through the Communion to resolve this crisis.

However, we are facing a pastoral emergency within our own Diocese right now. We are losing members in all orders of ministry and we have even lost one entire congregation, approximately two-thirds of another, and one-third of still another. Our ability to carry out the Great Commission is hindered as many members withhold financial contributions due to uncertainty regarding the future of The Episcopal Church. The focus, time and energy of our most gifted clergy are being diverted away from mission and ministry by this crisis. Our witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is strained by these errors, and the controversy and conflict they have produced.

Therefore, we are making this appeal to you for Alternative Primatial Oversight. We urge you to recognize this is a necessary measure to prevent further loss of members, money, and ministry. Such Oversight will provide temporary structural stabilization to allow us to focus once again on the twin priorities of the Diocese: the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

Official support and counsel from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Panel of Reference and the Primates of the Anglican Communion will provide much needed security and encouragement to the people of the Diocese of Central Florida. Resolute and swift accountability of The Episcopal Church to the wider Anglican Communion will enable our Diocese to remain faithful to our primary identity, calling and vocation. We understand this crisis to be a test of our willingness to submit to the Lord and his Word, and to one another, and we pray we may be found faithful in our weakness.

The Diocese of Central Florida acknowledges its allegiance to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. We confess him as Lord, and we look to him with hope for the future.

We await your reply, and commit our prayers and love for you in these very challenging times for our beloved Communion.

Warmly in our Lord Jesus Christ,

The Rt. Reverend John W. Howe, Bishop;

The Reverend John Liebler, President of the Standing Committee

cc: The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
cc: The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori