"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.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bishop Howe of Central Florida Withdraws from Network

It really comes as no great surprise at this point, but it is today reported that Bishop Howe of Central Florida has withdrawn his support from the Anglican Communion Network ("the ACN"). It turns out that in June the leadership of his diocese had, at his suggestion, stopped sending its financial contributions to the ACN. They redirected those funds to the Anglican Communion Institute, a group that is committed to staying inside the Episcopal church for the long haul in order to continue working for "reform." Bishop Howe insists he will not leave TEC. The bishop says, "As I outlined in my Pastoral Letter, I remain committed to working as faithfully as possible from within The Episcopal Church and in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury."

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.


Blogger An Anglican Cleric said...

I agree. In the end, all that may be left of the CCP could possibly be the REC, AMiA, FiFNA parishes, and those diocese that have already left or are in the process of leaving. This may work out for the best, for those that oppose WO to the priesthood will be in the majority and the rancor over that issue may be short lived.

8:49 PM  
Blogger REC CHIP said...

Anglican Cleric,

I wish what you said was true. But I think that CCP will continue to include CANA (which allows Women's "ordination), the American Branch of Kenya (allows WO) and the American Branch of Uganda (allows WO). Also, AMiA has a "part" which allows WO.

Pittsburgh (ACN) also does.

The REC, FiFNA, San Joaquin, Ft. Worth, Quincy don't.

I still think that things are "up in the air" over CCP and WO.

12:28 AM  
Blogger texanglican said...

It seems pretty clear to me that the new province will be one in which we have to "live within the tension" on WO for quite some time. It is likely that from the beginning the numerical majority (in both numbers of clergy and number of parishes) will be from jurisdictions that do not ordain women to the priesthood (though I am not sure how it breaks down in numbers of parishioners--some of those CANA parishes are pretty big!).

But the fact that neither side has anything like an overwhelming numerical dominance does have an "up" side. It means that it unlikely the WO issue will be settled by "brute force" as it has been within TEC over the last decade. We shall be forced to sit down and reason together on a way to hold together while respecting one another's consciences, without trying to dominate our partners.

If you are looking for a short-term solution on the WO issue, the new province won't provide one. But over time the issue may be resolved in a grown up fashion. Let us pray that is so.

7:57 AM  
Blogger J. Gordon Anderson said...

I am in +Howe's backyard, and the word on the street is that he is under the PB's thumb because he's not in the financial position to retire, and his wife is really ill.

How do the majority of REC clergy and laity feel about CCP? The big problem between the APA/REC merger was that the bishops were behind it, but most of the people were not. I hope that's not the case with the REC and CCP.

3:45 PM  

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