An Open Letter from the Episcopal Synod of America to all faithful people in the Anglican Tradition.
In spite of the faithful efforts of many bishops and deputies, within and beyond the Episcopal Synod of America, the Episcopal Church in General Convention assembled refused to uphold orthodox doctrine and restore godly discipline, while acting to persecute the faithful. The Convention has thereby created substantial impediments to the practice and advance of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Convention refused to affirm the biblical standards of sexual morality by:
* Failing to approve the Kuala Lumpur Statement.
* Promoting continued study (with the prospect of eventual approval) of the blessing of same-sex unions.
* Allowing diocese to extend insurance coverage to ‘domestic partnerships ’ of clergy and lay employees.
* Rejecting a proposed canon requiring all ordained people sexual fidelity within marriage and abstinence from sexual relations outside it.
The Convention refused to restrain or discipline those who flout such standards.
By passing amendments to Title III, the Convention also provided canonical authority for the persecution of those who cannot accept the ordination of women as priests and bishops, contradicting the basic Anglican principle that the Church cannot demand of her people what cannot be proved from Scripture.
The 72nd General Convention has passed judgement on itself.
If has become clear to us that the Episcopal Synod of America must more fully and thoroughly continue in its mission to 'be the Church’, proclaiming the Gospel and shepherding the faithful. We see our faithful pursuit of this mission as an essential element in the emergence of an orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in America. We are delighted that many others share this vision.
We are not leaving anything or going anywhere. While praying and working for the revival of the Episcopal Church, we have planned for a number of years for a new Province, a structure which would proclaim true doctrine and allow us to go forward with the work God has given each go us. We have said from the beginning that we intend to be the Church/ We will continue to be who we are. We have waited patiently for the right moment, and now is the acceptable time.
In working to establish this Province:
* We have diocesan bishops who have declared with whom they are in communion. Their dioceses constitute the centrepiece of our community of faith. When faced with canons which violate their informed consciences, they will obey their consciences. Those dioceses will continue to be the Church; in effect, to function as the core of the Province we have wanted to be.
* We invite parishes outside the geographic boundaries of those dioceses to apply for episcopal oversight, as their situation requires. Bishops of the Synod and of the American Anglican Council have stated their readiness to respond to such requests. Should action be taken by a local ordinary against a Synod parish for requesting oversight, this community will consider that action to be of no force and effect. We acknowledge that some parishes find it necessary to seek corporate separation from the institutional Church, and pledge our solidarity with them.
* We call upon all orthodox Episcopalians and orthodox associations and ministries to join us in this task of renewal, revival and rebuilding.
* We are encouraged by the support we have already received from overseas bishops and provinces of the Anglican Communion, and we will work energetically to extend our fellowship and work for the Gospel with them.
* We welcome association with jurisdictions of the Continuing Anglican Movement, the National Catholic Church (formerly the Polish National Catholic Church), the Charismatic Episcopal Church and other judicatories. We invite them to meet us in discussions designed to lead to concordats of intercommunion. We look forward to closer association with these jurisdictions.
Freed form the necessity for expending our efforts in the vain attempt to reform an institution which we believe has lost the desire to be reformed according to God’s revealed will, we anticipate our common future with confidence and hope. We invite all Christians of good will to join us as together we turn toward our mission in the fields which are ripe for the harvest. We pray the blessing of Almighty God, the Father the Son the Holy Spirit, upon this effort and all who make it.
The Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont Pennsylvania, July 29, 1997.
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