"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Florida Six" Pulling Out

Titus One Nine passes along this report:

Six North Florida Episcopal congregations long at odds with their denomination over homosexual ordination and same-sex blessings are leaving the Jacksonville-based Episcopal Diocese of Florida.

The congregations — three in Jacksonville and one each in Orange Park, Gainesville and Tallahassee — will negotiate with Bishop John Howard over property rights, benefits and other issues to try to avoid litigation and to quit the Episcopal Church USA by the end of the year, the Rev. Neil Lebhar, rector at the Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, said Tuesday. “It’s our expectation that we will leave with our property,” said the Rev. Sam Pascoe, rector at Grace Church in Orange Park. “Our first choice is to negotiate, but we are willing to litigate.”

Howard was unavailable for comment but his chief of staff, the Rev. Canon Kurt Dunkle, said the “Holy Spirit-filled” negotiations so far have been limited to “how it is we will discuss whether you want to remain Episcopal or not.”

The decision to leave capped nearly two years of growing tension between the six congregations and the diocese….

This event is unusual only in the number of parishes departing from ECUSA at the same time. Hardly a month goes by that a parish here or there doesn't leave. But half a dozen at once makes one sit up and take notice. It is a little more than eight months until GenCon 2006. Only time will tell how many will "jump ship" before the fireworks of next summer.


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