Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Letter to the Parish: Truro

From Mr. Jim Oakes
Senior Warden, Truro Church
Fairfax, VA

An Open Letter To Truro Parish

November 15, 2006

Dear Truro Family,

After an extraordinary period of prayer, conversation, study, listening, and reflection, the Truro vestry made some momentous decisions this past weekend. I’m writing to give you more information about those decisions, and to talk about the steps that now lie before us.

As we have gone through our discernment period seeking to hear the will of the Lord regarding our relationship with the Episcopal Church, the vestry has met in a series of retreats considering these issues, hearing from many of you, and praying together.

Our last retreat occurred this past Saturday. We heard from John Yates, the Rector of The Falls Church, about their progress in facing these same questions. We wrestled with alternatives. And then, after another time of prayer and repentance, we voted unanimously to recommend to the Truro congregation that we sever our ties with The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the Anglican District of Virginia, an association of Virginia churches who are joining together to realign traditional Anglicans in Virginia. The district is part of CANA (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America), a branch of the Anglican Communion within the Church of Nigeria.

We have informed the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, of the vestry's decision. As a congregation, we are following a protocol, approved by both the Diocese’s Standing Committee and Executive Board, that sets out a procedure for congregations who are considering whether to sever ties with The Episcopal Church.

It is with great sadness that this step has been taken. For us, as well as you, this has been a time of suffering, as though watching a loved one slowly perish. But it is a necessary step, and it is time to take it.

In the end, the vestry cannot make this decision alone - the congregation must do that. In order to hear the will of the congregation on this question, we have called a congregational meeting to take place beginning on December 10, at which you will be asked to approve this recommendation by the vestry. If the recommendation is approved, we will then take immediate steps to carry out this decision and to align ourselves with CANA.

This is an historic point in the life of Christ’s church. We ask that you make serious plans to vote on what may be the most important decision that most of us will ever make about our future as the Truro family. Please be assured your vote counts. I have been greatly encouraged to hear of seminarians and overseas mission partners who are planning to make special trips home to cast their vote on this question, and I truly hope that we will all take this responsibility just as seriously.

We will be providing you with a great deal of additional information about our recommendation, and are scheduling a number of rector/warden forums to give you an opportunity to discuss this issue with your leaders face-to-face. Please take advantage of these opportunities, and please continue to pray as we prepare for this important next step in our life together.

To God be the glory!

Jim Oakes
Senior Warden

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