The CCLEC (Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church) has responded to the ESA's plan for developing a separate province within the Episcopal Church. My comments in [brackets].
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To quote from the ESA Open Letter:
"We are not leaving anything or going anywhere. While praying and working for revival in 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 of us. We will continue to be who we are. We have waited patiently for the right moment, and now is the acceptable time."
We applaud the formation of a new PROVINCE, and "a structure which would proclaim true doctrine and allow us to go forward with the work God has given each of us" -
Is calling soon of an Assembly in order? We of CCLEC pledge to help get
the NEW province underway, and the structure established. We urge the 6 point
proposal listed in the CCLEC statement be taken into consideration in all
PROPOSITIONS FOR A COMMON FUTURE AND WITNESS
1. That without hindering any other efforts of recovery already under way, a congress of those faithful persons, parishes, and dioceses that hold to the Biblical Faith within the Anglican Tradition, and now find themselves homeless in the United States because of the apostasy of the Episcopal Church, be called for the purpose of prayerful, deliberate action towards their reorganization as an Anglican Province of North America.
2. That the goal of such a province be the recovery of the original plan of the Church in America as a communion of jurisdictions united by a common faith, with a common doctrine, discipline, and worship. [I assume this refers to the nature of the Church as a "federation" of autonomous dioceses who are in communion with one another. E. Fox.]
3. That the express basis of this common faith be the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation, and with no one passage of Scripture set against another; the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds; the decrees and definitions of the General Councils; the writings of the Fathers; the 39 Articles for the settlement of certain perennial controversies; and the 1662 Prayer Book as the summary expression of the previously enumerated authorities in matters of life, doctrine, and worship, by which both the 1928 and the 1979 Books of Common Prayer will be permitted and interpreted.
[I would add that we must come to terms with the epistemological issues - not merely stating our "position", but using the gifts of due process and honest truth-seeking which God has bestowed upon His people to show why we believe we have the truth. If we say that we believe in objective truth but do not show any good evidence for our beliefs, we will find ourselves shortly in the same boat which we are now trying to leave. We must learn to connect faith and evidence, revelation and reason. That is God's way -- "Come, let us reason together...." E. Fox.]
4. That the proposed province be the instrument for seeking mutual recognition and aid among the other provinces of the Anglican Communion.
5. That the constitution of the proposed province include a provision that the ownership of real property be governed by neutral principles of civil law, contract, and deed, and otherwise forbidding one ecclesiastical entity to sue another for the control of property.
[An essential "check and balance" in our system must be the local ownership of property, and that the diocese must own only the property pertinent to its own functioning. We are a "top-down" episcopal structure with respect to doctrine and discipline. And we must therefore be a "bottom-up" Church with respect to resources and materials. We need to study the check and balance system of the American federal constitution -- for the benefit of the Church and for the benefit of Christian participation in our civil society. The check and balance system came right out of Scripture, not out of secular sources, as demonstrated by The Theme is Freedom by M. Stanton Evans. E. Fox.]
6. That no consecration to the episcopate take place within the proposed province until an ecclesiastical constitution is mutually agreed to, jurisdictions are outlined, and proper certificates of election obtained.
Links to helpful sites:
AAC - American Anglican Council - an attempt to unite the Biblical based Episcopal ministries into a cohesive body for action at General Convention. May have Gen Con info on their site.
ESA - Episcopal Synod of America - working with AAC
Diocese of Pittsburgh - Has other helpful links to Gen Con info.
Back to General Convention 1997 *** Back to ESA 1997 Convention
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