Anglican Essentials Canada writes open letter to ACC bishops

Firstly, a bit of news and prayer request. At the Anglican Church of Canada General Synod this year, I will be the Essentials communications coordinator. What this will involve, and what we have coming is still under development. I will let you know more as I am able do so.

I would ask for prayer for us Essentials volunteers and families ahead and during General Synod, as we are running point in a spiritual war. The flak is as real as the war and we need as much prayer cover as possible over the next few months. This is not a wasted effort – this cover is essential if we are to do His work. So please, as you are called, remember us in your prayers.

At this time Essentials have issued an open letter to the ACC bishops that I copy below. Look on it as a last call.

April 10, 2007
Dear Bishops,

Greetings to you in this season of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This letter is an expression of grave concern that the motions recently proposed by the Council of General Synod for debate at this summer’s meeting will lead us to exclusion from the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Primates, in their Dar es Salaam Communiqué, clearly request that The Episcopal Church and, by implication, the Anglican Church of Canada reaffirm Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as the teaching of the Communion on human sexuality and also that the necessary assurance is made that we will not authorize the blessing of same-sex unions. It is clear to us that unless you, as a House, call us back from the edge we will lose our place as a full member of the Communion that we hold dear. If that does not happen it appears likely that the following events will unfold:

1. If motions 3-5 are passed, it will be understood that the Anglican Church of Canada has chosen to “walk apart” from Canterbury and the International Communion. “Communion” (koinonia) is not a human creation but a gift of the Holy Spirit. We know that living in “communion” is difficult but it does require us to make decisions in mutual submission and in an ordered way. The willingness to settle the issue of same sex blessing as Communion members does not appear to have a place in these motions. If we will not make clear our willingness to remain within the Communion it will be determined that we have walked away from it.

2. If these motions are passed we will be on our way to changing the Marriage Canon. Changing the Marriage Canon to include all those legally eligible to marry will, as mentioned above, result in our walking apart from the Communion. Also, it will result in our departure from the received teaching of the Church through the ages and from our current fellowship with other denominations. It is not within our authority to make this change on behalf of the Christian Church.

3. If the motion for ‘local option’ returns to the floor and is passed, our Church will be ministering in contradiction and division. Firstly, the unrecognized fact is that a vote for local option will declare that God does in fact bless same sex unions. We cannot say in one church God blesses such unions but in the church down the street that God does not. The contradiction is illogical and unworkable. Secondly, ‘local option’ will plunge the Anglican Church of Canada into an extended period of the most painful and diversionary turmoil. At every level of church life – national, diocesan and parish – votes will be forced which will divide God’s people and bring discredit to the cause of Christ in the world.

4. If resolutions 3-5 put forward by CoGS FAIL to pass, we are left in almost as much danger. UNLESS General Synod has the opportunity to debate and vote on one or more clear motions in SUPPORT of the Primates specific requests in Windsor, and again in the Dar es Salaam Communiqué, simply defeating the CoGS motions produces nothing more than continued confusion, debate and uncertainty. The Primates have explicitly requested clarity and may interpret continued ambiguity as a choice to walk apart. General Synod delegates deserve a clear unambiguous choice: to walk with the Communion or to walk apart. “Choose this day.” We urge you to hold fast to the advice that you gave to General Synod at your House of Bishops’ meeting on October 26, 2006 that the Marriage Canon should not be revised. We also ask that you would bring to the floor of Synod a motion clearly affirming those marker points of Communion as set out by the Primates’ Dar es Salaam Communiqué. This will clearly assert our desire to walk in communion with Canterbury and the worldwide Anglican Church as opposed to “walking apart” from it.

We understand the matters before us as a Church are complex but we fear that the recent set of resolutions proposed by the Council of General Synod for debate constitutes an adventure in ecclesial brinkmanship. We acknowledge the heaviness of the responsibility which God has placed upon your shoulders and we assure you of our prayers as you work to preserve the unity and integrity of the Communion which has been entrusted to you.

Yours in witness to our risen Lord Jesus Christ,

The Rev’d Canon John Paul Westin
Co-Chair, Anglican Essentials Canada
Chair, Anglican Essentials Federation

The Rev’d George Sinclair
Co-Chair, Anglican Essentials Canada
Chair, Anglican Network in Canada

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12 Responses to Anglican Essentials Canada writes open letter to ACC bishops

  1. Pauline Bettney says:

    You have the prayer support Peter. Please pray for us in Kingston tomorrow as we have a day long session with Victoria Matthews and Colin Johnson on the Windsor Report and the St. Michael Report. A bit late in the day, but we have young, strong orthodox Priests here who are willing to stand. Every day I seem to say to God “What a mess!”, but it has to be His timing and His way, and so we progress along the journey slowly but surely in His Will.

  2. Good man, Peter. You will have your hands full at General Synod. Many prayers for you.

    Prayers are also needed this weekend as ++Rowan meets with our primate, metropolitans, and House of Bishops. Lord, have mercy.

  3. faithwalk says:

    You’ve got our prayers Peter!

    One by one the bastions of faith weaken, their foundations crumble and they fall to the ground. Compromise begins ever so subtly sometimes, but eventually there comes a point where it is an outright rejection of divine truth, choosing the wisdom and ways of the gods of this age, over that of the Eternal One True God who is Holy, Righteous and unchanging.
    May God grant repentance!

    Be blessed and strengthened in the Lord Jesus Christ and you take a stand for His Truth! We stand with you in prayer and intercession Peter, we are in a war. Unseen though it may be, the battle rages intensely on every front.

    Jesus grace and peace to you today!

    Susan

  4. white rabbit says:

    Sounds a bit like the Laodicean Church to me:–

    “We cannot say in one church God blesses such unions but in the church down the street that God does not. The contradiction is illogical and unworkable.”

    While I don’t believe in homosexual marriages I don’t believe in women priests either so I really could not join the Essentials movement. Sorry, but if women keep pushing into mens jobs then many men have to go homo to get some tender loving. Women can force their way into mens clubs but woe betide any man that tries to get into a womans club. Sorry but nothing essential about women priests. Frankly, I am surprised that Essentials goes along with the feminist movement that is so successfully undermining the West, the church included.

    I stand to be corrected as usual.

  5. Peter says:

    Pauline – you have (had_ the prayers. I hope it went well!

    Scott – Thanks! Do we know how it went this weekend?

    Susan – Thanks too! While the old structures are dead and rotting, God is raising up a new thing. Our call is to simply be obedient….

    white rabbit – I think there is room for both opinions in the Essentials movement – though I understand that not everybody agrees. Anyways, it’s the only show in town N of the border…..

  6. white rabbit says:

    Peter,
    I agree that there is room for both opinions in the church but I dread the day that there are two Anglican churches. Rome survived its decades of the two popes (or was it three?) and I am sure our Anglican Church will survive too. I subscribe to both the Anglican Journal and the Anglican Planet. I take communion from the women and even the homosexuals that the bishop sends around from time to time. I don’t think I have taken communion from a divorced or remarried priest but who knows.
    I can’t change anything but as our American cousins used to say, “I think you (not you) are full of beans but I respect your decision to say it.”
    Jesus knew full well that the temple priests were going to kill him but he still said that the widow that gave them her last two mites will have a great reward in heaven. I guess we just have to wait as prophecy unfolds and………?

  7. Pauline Bettney says:

    Peter – it was a good day in that at last the people in the pews are waking up. Both Bishops are progressives (Victoria Matthews surprised me), but people were shocked and there will be a meeting on Wednesday.

    The 11th hour posting is lovely. I will continue in prayer and pray for God’s will to be done at General Synod. People are fighting back. The letter from 25 academics is up on Magic Statistics and Stand Firm. The Bishops Meeting starts tomorrow so we should uphold that in prayer too.

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  9. Peter says:

    white rabbit – hopefully the only two churches will be the conterfeit and confessing varieties…..

    Pauline – I wondered about Victoria Matthews, what did she say that would make you think progressive? Just curious…..

  10. Pauline Bettney says:

    Peter – she said she was going around to churches to explain that this should be a decision based on theology but she didn’t give us any except the Male/Female example and did same gender union continue on from that original example to reflect God’s desires. I found her totally confusing. We did exercises on what was doctrine and what wasn’t doctrine (core doctrine). I gave up and two priests I was sitting with couldn’t figure out what she was asking either.

    There was a lot of the listening and openess to diaglogue – the church has changed it’s mind on so many things in the past i.e. WO, marriage. The final straw was when she said with marriage being in such disarray in the culture maybe we could learn something from the faithfulness of same-sex unions! She had good things to say about Gene Robinson too. My husband and I stayed until 2.30, but having had Colin Johnson and his pro-gay interpretation of Windsor and then Victoria Matthews urging us to copy same-sex unions, we left.

    Peter – I hope June settles something because I am finding it harder and harder to take this heresy from the Bishops of the Church. They never ever talk about former homosexuals and their transforming experiences. I have sent for a few copies of Zacchaeus Booklet from their website and shall concentrate on the good news. Not much help but I really didn’t understand too much.

  11. Peter says:

    It sounds confusing indeed. I had heard from some people that she was orthodox – though like many bishops held her cards close to her chest. Would that we have more bishops who would take a firm stand and clearly display who they are!

  12. Pauline Bettney says:

    Peter – one Priest said she was orthodox but was trying to toe the party line. I am avoiding the blogs for awhile to calm my Spirit. I continue to pray diligently though.

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