Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anglicans in Upheaval

In contrast to yesterday's post...

From a USA Today article:

A potential courthouse showdown looms this week between 15 Northern Virginia churches, including two that predate the Revolutionary War, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

At stake are beliefs neither side will compromise, millions of dollars in properties and legal precedents that may reverberate nationwide.

In the past six weeks, the 15 conservative churches voted to withdraw from the diocese. The diocese is part of the liberal-leaning, 2.3-million-member Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the 77-million-member Anglican Communion, which is more theologically conservative.

[...] Even if a financial and real estate agreement could be reached, there's no talk of closing the spiritual gap.

The Episcopal Church, now headed by the Anglican Communion's first female presiding bishop, Jefferts Schori, takes a more metaphoric and cultural view of the Bible and welcomed an openly gay bishop in 2003. That's when long-simmering concerns of conservatives boiled over. Since then, nearly three dozen churches, including Truro, have aligned with Anglican archbishops in Africa and South America who take a stricter view of Scripture and who do not ordain female or gay priests, much less bishops.

These parishes are not leaving without counting the cost. Our church lost its land, church building and a rectory when we left; we have been meeting in a high school for the last 14 years or so. I pray that the work of God will continue in these parishes, with or without their buildings; but I sure hope that they get to keep them.


The reports from the AMIA conference, which Papa Rooster and many others on our church staff are attending, have been exciting. It is looking more and more like the Episcopal Church is going to be cut out of the the worldwide Anglican communion and left to their liberal lonesomes, unless Rowan Williams--the Archbishop of Canterbury and historically viewed as the leader or "first among equals" of the Anglican Communion--decides to take England and join them. I gather that's unlikely, but the heat will be on him in about three weeks. That's when there will be a meeting of the primates (leaders) of the Anglican Church worldwide, and they've been hinting, in their addresses at the AMIA conference, that Santa has got something delightful that he just can't wait to leave under the tree! (I am paraphrasing a conference participant, but the implication is that after that meeting, The Episcopal Church will--one way or another--be on its own.)

I hope I'm nutshelling all this correctly. (If anyone knows enough to affirm or correct me, could you also tell me when it stopped being ECUSA and started being TEC? Did they strategically change their name at same point?)


This was not the focus of the conference, and the attendees have heard great messages from J.I. Packer and Becky Pippert (remember Out of the Salt Shaker?) among others. There has been discussion about our community vision and the right time to introduce it; there has been lots of prayer for Papa Rooster. He has received much encouragement and some prophetic words to ponder. We may even have a name for our church plant.

He gets back late tonight...and leaves again tomorrow afternoon. I never feel this way, but I almost wish we didn't have to go to church tomorrow morning! I miss my hubby.


Amy said...

I don't have any more to add, but I'm with you wondering what will happen next.

Anonymous said...

Thought of you, J, at the conference. Appreciated Rooster's prayers and friendly support for my favorite speaker. I'm sorry you couldn't be there, but you didn't miss any good Florida weather. You can borrow my DVD of Becky's talk sometime. M

At A Hen's Pace said...


Thank you, I'd love to hear Becky's talk! E said it was great.

Barbara G. said...

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council has been using the acromyn TEC for a while now. They fficially changed from ECUSA (Episcopal Church-USA) to TEC (The Episcopal Church) at the 2006 General Convention. Since the Episcopal Church includes several overseas dioceses (Haiti, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Europe, etc.) they felt that having "USA" in the name would be seen as nationalistic and exclusive by those non-US dioceses. TEC also displayed 16 different national flags on the podium at GC2006 representing all their dioceses to show that The Episcopal Church still counts as an "international" church, even if they do get bounced out of the Anglican Communion.