Chasm between splinter groups and The Episcopal Church widens
January 13, 2007

The Episcopal Church stays its course

In This Issue:

Consecration of Bishop Elect Mark Lawrence postponed

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of SC announced this week that the 2/24/07 scheduled consecration is postponed until after Easter. The necessary majority of consent from Bishops and Standing Committees has not yet been achieved.
Comments from Standing Committees not giving consent include:

-- According to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Kansas:

"... Father Lawrence refuses to commit to keeping his diocese within the Episcopal Church unless the Episcopal Church surrenders its autonomy with its “ethos of democracy” and the “heresy” of a national church and conforms to the decisions of the primates of the Anglican Communion.

"A vow to conform to the doctrine and guard the faith and unity of the Episcopal Church cannot be conditioned by a candidate for bishop on doing so only if the Episcopal Church conforms to his beliefs concerning church governance or church doctrine. A bishop is certainly free to advocate for changes in church governance or doctrine, but he or she must be willing to conform to the decision of the Episcopal Church once that decision has been made by the church. We also are deeply disturbed by his statement that the Presiding Bishop would not be welcome at his consecration. One cannot vow to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the church and at the same time state that the Presiding Bishop would not be welcome to attend his consecration.

"A bishop of the Episcopal Church cannot precondition his or her acceptance of the authority of the Presiding Bishop on whether the Presiding Bishop conforms to certain beliefs of that bishop. It is with deep regret that we must withhold our consent to the ordination of Father Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina because, for the reasons set forth above, we are not satisfied that he will 'conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church' and 'guard the faith, unity and discipline of the Church.' ”

-- According to the Diocese of Bethlehem:

“Father Lawrence’s own words suggest rather that he would work with those who would expel the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. We do not see how Father Lawrence can claim to promise to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. He would see himself as a bishop of the Anglican Communion and not of the Episcopal Church. However, we are only in the Anglican Communion by virtue of our being a part of the Episcopal Church.”

Episcopalians delay ordination of bishop-elect - P & C 1/13/07

a house divided - P & C Faith & Values Report 1/7/07

In the 1/7/07 Faith and Values Section of the P & C a series of articles about the Episcopal Church were published. Journalist Adam Parker describes in detail and with perspective the splintering off of a group of Episcopalians in a Network which disagrees with The Episcopal Church on many issues. This split was predicted in 2003 by Network strategists. Quoting from the P & C article.

"On Dec. 23, 2003, Geoff Chapman, senior pastor of St. Stephen's Church in Sewickley, Pa., and active in the network, wrote a letter to select members of the church summarizing the work of the council's Strategy Committee. He asked recipients to keep the letter confidential, but it was leaked to the press.

"Our ultimate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil committed to biblical faith and values, and driven by Gospel mission," Chapman wrote. "We believe in the end this should be a 'replacement' jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism, emerging from the disastrous actions of General Convention (2003)." And he went on: "We seek to retain ownership of our property as we move into this realignment."

Two stages are defined in the letter:

Stage One -----would consist of a "spiritual realignment" during which efforts would be made to build up the network and its support structures, "creatively redirect finances," and refocus on gospel initiatives. It would enable congregations to keep their buildings, Chapman wrote.

Stage Two ---- would involve forging closer relationships with church leaders outside the United States, and reaching negotiated settlements concerning property, jurisdiction, pastoral succession and communion.

"If adequate settlements are not within reach, a faithful disobedience of canon law on a widespread basis may be necessary," Chapman wrote.

The Episcopal Church and its internal critics are now in Stage Two. The Diocese of San Joaquin announced Dec. 1 that it was repudiating its membership in the Episcopal Church, a step in the process of realignment. And the Diocese of South Carolina elected Lawrence its new bishop in September. Lawrence, a priest in the San Joaquin diocese, has indicated a willingness to break away from the national church if it fails to adhere to Scripture.

"I shall commit myself to work at least as hard at keeping the Diocese of South Carolina in the Episcopal Church as my sister and brother bishops work at keeping the Episcopal Church in covenanted relationship with the worldwide Anglican Communion," Lawrence wrote in a Nov. 30 response to a question posed by bishops and standing committee members."

The complete set of 1/7/07 P & C articles are included in the Document Link below.

Faith & Values - 1/7/07 Section Summary

13 churches Virginia Episcopal congregations join Nigerian Anglicans

Heathsville, VA now has two St. Stephen's churches. One is Anglican, the other Episcopal. The two were one church until last month, when 75 percent of St. Stephen's congregation voted to leave the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia to affiliate with Nigeria's Anglican Church. That group has changed its name to St. Stephen's Church (Anglican).

Those who wanted to remain Episcopalians have reorganized as St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

When Bishop Lee met with the Episcopal members of St. Stephen's after the vote to sever ties with the denomination, he urged the group to be patient on the matter of property. He reminded them that the title to the buildings of St. Stephen's is held in trust for the diocese.

In the past year, 13 churches have severed ties with the Episcopal Church and the Virginia diocese. The remaining Episcopalians at St. Stephen's are the first to reorganize as a congregation and elect a vestry.

The Diocese of Virginia announced Jan. 9 that it will not renew the 30-day standstill agreement it reached with the clergy and members of nine congregations that voted last month to leave The Episcopal Church and associate with the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

The terms of the agreement were set to renew automatically unless one party notified the other seven days prior to the expiration of the agreement.

The leadership of the Diocese of Virginia – Bishop Peter James Lee, the standing committee and the executive board – will meet after the expiration of the standstill agreement to determine their next course of action, the diocese said in a written statement. Specifically, the standing committee must decide the status of the clergy from the departed congregations. In turn, the executive board must consider whether to attempt to recover the property through litigation.

VIRGINIA: Episcopal parish reorganizes, elects new vestry

Leaders of The American Anglican Council (AAC) leave The Episcopal Church

AAC President Transfers Canonical Residency to mission of the Nigerian church called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) with 21 parishes in North America......

The Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, President and CEO of the American Anglican Council, recently announced that he has transferred his canonical residency from The Episcopal Church (TEC) of the United States to the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), the U.S. missionary branch of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. The switch, places Canon Anderson under the oversight of Bishop Martyn Minns

The Rev. Ellis Brust, former Chief Operating Officer The American Anglican Council (AAC) has become of President of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), under the Anglican Province of Rwanda..........................

Rev. Brust was probably the most politically charged of the nominees for Bishop of SC because of his long-term involvement in activities aimed at undermining the Episcopal Church.

Less than a month after the Episcopal election in South Carolina, Brust announced that he was leaving the Episcopal Church and taking the position of President of the Anglican Mission in America.

Most Network parishes in South Carolina belong to the AAC.

St. Stephens Church Charleston resolves to support The Episcopal Church


WHEREAS, the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has, at its recent Annual Diocesan Convention, affirmed the request of the Standing Committee of the Diocese to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury for “alternative primatial oversight” (more recently re-phrased as alternative primatial “relationship”) thus requesting that a Primate from a foreign country (and thus not a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States) take charge of this diocese; and
WHEREAS, a preponderance of the members of the parish of St. Stephen’s Church in Charleston, its Vestry and Clergy, have affirmed their commitment to remain fully and wholeheartedly loyal to and affiliated with the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States; and

WHEREAS, along with five other parishes of this Diocese, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church at our most recent diocesan convention voted to remain fully and wholeheartedly loyal to the continuing relationship between itself and the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States; and

WHEREAS, The Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church (as adopted continuously by the General Conventions of 1789 through 2000) has always maintained strict independence of this Church from any other province of the Anglican Communion and thus not subject to edicts or interventions of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or any other Primate or Province of the Anglican Communion; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Vestry and Clergy of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, hereby ratifies and affirms the votes of its duly elected delegates to the 2006 Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina not to seek alternative primatial oversight (or relationship), and that St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church will continue its relationship with the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States; and further,

BE IT RESOLVED that St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, by vote of its Vestry and Clergy, disassociates itself from any request on the part of the Diocese of South Carolina, its Bishops, Standing Committee, and Convention to establish a relationship with any Primate of the Anglican Communion as well as its continuing participation in the organization currently known as the Anglican Communion Network, or any other such organization whose purpose it might be to seek further breaches within the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States; and, further,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vestry and Clergy of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina affirms its historic commitment to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, the authority of its General Convention, the pastoral authority and leadership of its Presiding Bishop and Primate, and that St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church shall remain loyal to the doctrines, canons and polity of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, and that this resolution is offered with all due respect to all our brothers and sisters in Christ who agree or disagree with our position.

(Adopted this the 26th day of December, 2006 being also the Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr)



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