[From the Rev. Richard Cantrell, Moultrie, GA.]
At our vestry meeting this past Sunday, the question was asked, "What actually is the ESA's plan. I saw that there needed to be a coherent clear and credible simple statement of the plan. So Pete Moriarty and I have worked on it by e-mail this past week. Here is the final form of the summary of the plan as of August 22, 1997.
Of course as things develop the plan can and probably will be modified.
In Christ, Dick+
Summary of the ESA Plan in response to the 72d General Convention of ECUSA
* Our strategic goal is the establishment of an Orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion in North America, a province which is not connected with the Episcopal Church.
* Our strategic plan for reaching that goal is to "be the Church" in a coordinated way without regard to the Episcopal Church:
"It has become clear to us that the Episcopal Synod of America must more fully and thoroughly continue in its mission to 'be the Church', proclaiming the Gospel and shepherding the faithful." [The Good Shepherd Statement]
"There are a couple of differences, here, when contrasted with our statements and actions of the past. We will no longer speak of a mission to 'be the Church within the Episcopal Church', for we have concluded that the institutional Episcopal Church has lost the will to be reformed. This is what we mean when we say it is our intention to be the Church, proclaim the Gospel, and shepherd the faithful: we will do that without regard to implications of the institutional Episcopal Church." [D. P. Moriarty, Qs & As, 8/18/97]
* We intend to "be the Church" together with other faithful people in the Anglican Tradition:
"Open Letter from the Episcopal Synod of America to all Faithful People in the Anglican Tradition" [The Good Shepherd Statement]
"We are encouraged by the support we have already received from overseas bishops and provinces of the Anglican Communion, and will work energetically to extend our fellowship and work for the Gospel with them."
[The Good Shepherd Statement]
"We welcome association with jurisdictions of the Continuing Anglican movement, the National Catholic Church (formerly the Polish National Catholic Church), the Charismatic Episcopal Church, and other judicatories. We invite them to meet us in discussions designed to lead to concordats of inter communion. We look forward to closer association with these jurisdictions." [The Good Shepherd Statement]
* We intend to establish missions where necessary, with or without the permission of the local Episcopal Church bishop:
"Individual believers in hostile parishes, and those who currently have no orthodox parish home, are encouraged to seek a compatible local community, or begin efforts to build one. In this activity, we have the support of the American Anglican Council and the North American Missionary Society. The former offers a place of succor for those witnessing in the structures of the General Convention, and the latter offers aid in planting new congregations." [The Good Shepherd Statement]
"This missionary effort to plant new congregations can be undertaken with, or without, permission of the local ordinary." [ESA PresidentÕs Opening Address]
* As we practice being the Church together we expect to emerge as a separate corporate reality.
"We have diocesan bishops who have declared with whom they are in communion. Their dioceses constitute the centerpiece of our community of faith. The convention delegates of these four dioceses met together last Thursday for prayer and to discuss how they might more effectively provide mutual support to each other. When faced with canons which violate their informed consciences, they will obey their consciences. Those dioceses will continue to be the Church; in effect, to function as the core of the province we have declared ourselves to be." [ESA President's Opening Address]
* The things we do corporately are likely to produce confrontation with the Episcopal Church, which will sharpen the distinction between us.
"The Synod is taking action to respond to a request from St. Paul's Brockton, Massachusetts, to provide episcopal oversight there, as St. PaulÕs has withdrawn from the Diocese of Massachusetts. We expect that there will be other such visitations as appropriate requests from parishes come in." [D. P. Moriarty, 8/18/97]
The Diocese of Ft. Worth, last November, passed on the first reading a constitutional amendment declaring that actions of General Convention which are contrary to Holy Scripture and the Apostolic teaching of the Church shall be of no force or effect in that diocese." [Foundations, Jan/Feb 97]
* God willing, by the time our bishops arrive at the Lambeth Conference next year, it will be clear that we are an orthodox provincial reality in North America.
"We will take our case to the Lambeth Conference of Bishops next summer and to other Provinces throughout the Communion who are supportive of our cause." [Statement of Solidarity]
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