Bishop Howe of Central Florida Withdraws from Network
At this point, now that the Common Cause Partnership has been recognized by GAFCON as the nucleus of the much longed-for new, orthodox North American province, it is inevitable that the ACN (a key member of the CCP--Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh heads up both efforts) will begin to lose those member dioceses that have no intention of departing from TEC. Bishops Duncan and Iker have made it clear that they believe it is time for their dioceses to depart, and San Joaquin has already left. And there is every reason to believe that the diocese of Quincy will also depart from TEC this fall. Today--even before the potential departures of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, and Quincy--the majority of the ACN's members are no longer inside TEC, and if the ACN were to form part of the new orthodox province (as the leadership of the Network clearly intends and I enthusiastically support) it is clear that TEC-loyal members of the ACN cannot remain so. The day is now upon us when Network dioceses will have to choose where they stand. Are they committed to the "inside strategy" or are they willing to risk complete separation from TEC, even if it means lawsuits and reduced financial resources?
As my post on Western Louisiana below indicates, in that diocese the bishop is about to ask his leadership to make a crucial decision--should they stay inside TEC or try to pull out colletively as a diocese? Before the end of the year every diocese that has any claim to being "orthodox" will have to make the same decision. Those dioceses that decide to continue the "inside strategy" will certainly no longer be able to support the ACN as a member of the soon-to-be-recognized "Common Cause province." By the end of the year I expect several more presently Network-affiliated dioceses to withdraw rather than remain within the ACN and foster the formation of a new North American province.
Personally I believe the "inside strategy" will accomplish nothing more of significance in the future. There is zero chance that "reform" of TEC in an orthodox direction on any of the disputed issues is possible. Orthodox Anglicanism within TEC will be nothing more than a shrinking, persecuted minority over the next few years. Within a decade no truly orthodox bishop-elect will have any hope of gaining the necessary consents to be consecrated as a bishop inside TEC. And once the orthodox bishops are gone, the orthodox parishes will disappear a few years later.
The fact that some of our orthodox brothers and sisters will be left behind inside TEC saddens me. I sincerely hope that the "inside strategy" folks change their minds before it is too late and join us in the new province. That way they will continue to enrich orthodox Anglicanism in North America for years to come.