"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, November 15, 2006

Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin Lays It On The Line

Read the entirety of this letter from Bishop Schofield of the Anglican Communion Network. He doesn't pull any punches. The most impressive section follows (boldface highlights are added):

What Will The Constitutional Amendment Do? The proposed constitutional amendment will reaffirm our commitment to the historic Anglican Faith and our membership in the Anglican Communion and our relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury without having any direct ties to The Episcopal Church. We will continue to worship in the historic Anglican tradition as we have for the past 100 years and without fear that the actions of TEC will disenfranchise us from the rest of the Communion.

What Changes Will You See If The Amendment Passes? First, you will be surprised by the changes you will not see. You will see no change in the worship services; they will follow the historic Anglican Faith as they always have. The prayer book and hymnals will remain the same. You will worship and attend services in the same buildings. Your clergy will remain the same. Best of all, Holy Scripture will continue to be our ultimate authority. What will change? The flag; the word “Episcopal” will most likely be replaced with the word “Anglican;” Our delegates and clergy will not attend the TEC General Convention. On the other hand, the Diocese could experience rapid growth if the amendment passes. For example, there are many large parishes in southern California which have seceded from TEC and have expressed interest in affiliating with an Anglican diocese headed by an American bishop. Initial discussions with a number of priests and parishes indicate a desire to find a way to become part of an orthodox diocese in Communion with the rest of the Anglican world and with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Is Our Place In The Anglican Communion Assured? Yes. First, we have a commitment from the Southern Cone (Archbishop Greg Venebles) that the bishops of his dioceses are open to our joining their Province. Second, the Global South, representing 80 percent of the Anglican Communion, issued a public statement known as “The Kigali Communique” in which it pledged to “take initial steps toward the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA.” Diocesan representatives have been invited to meet with Primates of the Global South November 15-17, 2006, to begin work on this plan. The Diocese could be the vanguard of a new 39th Anglican Province in North America. At present, there are seven or more dioceses lined up behind us waiting to follow our leadership example.

Are There Risks? Yes, of course. TEC is highly litigious and will likely file lawsuits in the California state courts seeking to take our property away. Our lawyers tell us we can successfully defend ourselves but there are risks inherent in any litigation. There will be significant costs of defending such lawsuits. However, property considerations are, and should be, secondary to our spiritual salvation and well being. Ours is a spiritual decision which should not be driven by property issues. We can seek guidance from the parable of the rich young man in Matthew 19: 16-22.

Is there risk to our clergy? There has been considerable risk to me which is one reason why the release of this information comes just a few weeks before our Annual Convention. If you have been following the news, you know that standing strong for the Lord subjects one to reprisals and persecution from the leadership of TEC. I have been repeatedly threatened for my opposition to the heresy of the American Church. Formal charges were levied against me this summer by four California bishops.

Immediately after a clergy wide meeting this October about the proposed constitutional amendment, the chancellor to the Presiding Bishop, David Beers, phoned and threatened to take action against me and Diocese. Clergy concerns over pensions they have been accruing are real. Yet, those with pensions of five years or more have vested (or protected) insurance against losing anything that is already due to them. Those who have been with the Pension Plan of the Church fewer than five years may be surprised to learn that other financial institutions are prepared to offer similar plans with a vesting taking place from the first day of participation. Clergy already assured of pensions that could be capped at the present level would also be able to add to their pensions in a new plan


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