Reminder of Kendall Harmon’s recent comments about Anglican Reasserters who have Left TEC

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
And, if you’re following what’s happening, what you’re seeing is the conservatives who have left, now that they’re out, and their identity was defined in part by what they were against as well as the Gospel they were for, trying to figure out how to live together, and how they should live, has actually been harder than they thought, and they’ve actually started to divide among themselves. And so, one of the current tragedies is the group that has left looks very American and very Protestant and very chaotic. And that just has to owned on the front end. I wish it were different, but they are having a hard time cohering and working together. And that is a problem not simply for them, but also for the other conservatives in the Episcopal Church, because they have said, essentially, “this is the faithful way to do this and you need to come join us.” And I just need to tell you that, in all sorts of ways, and I say this with a very sad heart, it’s not attractive. They’re really struggling. So that’s one side.


Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican Church in North America (ACNA)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing Parishes* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyEcclesiologyPastoral Theology

28 Comments
Posted May 2, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Uh Clint wrote:

The Continuum went through this struggle years ago, with people having difficulty focusing on what lay in front of them as they obsessed over what they had left behind.  The lack of strong organization and authority in the early years also led to a great deal of political infighting, as well as attracting many opportunists who wanted to be clergy, but whose calling was not from God, but from their own egos.

The only real remedy for this is time, experience, coming to grips with the reality that the old must be truly left behind, working to eliminate politics, and putting structures in place to ensure that the clergy serve the church, rather than try to run it.  Granted, that’s asking nothing short of a miracle - but Christ has performed more than a few miracles in the past, and the present state of the Continuum (focused on “classical Anglicanism”, the faith as practiced for centuries; gradually reuniting; and having shaken out most of the politics and princely clergy) shows that it can be done.

As a Continuuer myself, the best advice I could give would be: Make practicing your faith the most important thing within your parish, diocese, and jurisdiction.  It’s easy to become embittered, or to spend more time criticizing those who didn’t leave than to focus on living the faith you left in order to preserve.

May 2, 10:51 am | [comment link]
2. evan miller wrote:

As a member of what was perhaps the first parish to leave TEC after the consecration of +Robinson, I agree 100% with what Kendall.  That said, he is soooo fortunate to be in the dioces of SC.  Had I been there, I’d still be in TEC.

May 2, 10:59 am | [comment link]
3. MichaelA wrote:

“and they’ve actually started to divide among themselves.”

ACNA thus far is not remotely like the Continuum, and it is far too early to suggest that it will be.  In fact, I venture to suggest that the latest developments indicate it is less likely to go that way.

I appreciate that some people who have remained in TEC have been just waiting for ACNA to fall apart.  I am not saying that Canon Harmon is one of those.  But I suggest we all restrain our urge to rush to swift judgment. It is simply too early to call this.

“their identity was defined in part by what they were against as well as the Gospel they were for”

Every true Christian is defined to some extent by what he is against, as well as what he is for.

“because they have said, essentially, “this is the faithful way to do this and you need to come join us.””

Yes, some have said that. Equally, some who have remained in TEC have said that that is the only faithful way.  There are also many (including the Global South primates, I might add) who see value in both paths.

May 2, 11:05 am | [comment link]
4. okifan18 wrote:

All you have to do is look at the recent activities with AMIA to see that what is spoken of is dangerously present.  There are now three AMIA groups in a sense—those with chuck murphy, those with terrell glenn and rwanda, and some coming into acna.

That is only one of many example.

May 2, 11:14 am | [comment link]
5. Timothy Fountain wrote:

And as Kendall was perhaps too modest or charitable to “reassert” here, a recent interview revealed that he’s been beaten up far worse by the leavers than by reappraisers in TEC!

May 2, 11:55 am | [comment link]
6. Clueless wrote:

Praying for all of you.  It is unbearably sad.  I feel particulaly sorry for the reasserting bishops.

May 2, 12:19 pm | [comment link]
7. episcoanglican wrote:

“trying to figure out how to live together, and how they should live, has actually been harder than they thought”
—This may be true for some. But for others of us, we saw it as a miraculous move of the Holy Spirit that we actually came together to form ACNA at all. History shows that division in the church leads to further division. Many of us within the ACNA have expected more problems than we have had. It would be naive of anyone watching what is happening from outside or within ACNA to think that we wouldn’t have troubles or to point at the troubles and say “see.” The real issue for many of those in ACNA is that the inherent problems of following the ACNA path were for many the only option. Those safely within a Diocese like South Carolina should, thus far, count themselves very fortunate. But the tide has not stopped rising and they too may find they have no other choice than to embrace the inherent problems of an ACNA path with its attendant characteristics, some attractive, some not. But at least the history of AMIA will be a very helpful warning bell. We might also see the hand of God in this unseemly mess of AMIA. God will bring about his purposes no matter what individual agendas we try to insert into the pattern.
This is just to say that there are more perspectives than the one Kendall points out…

May 2, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
8. francis wrote:

1. SC has an option.  Someone living in WDC or OH does not, and have not had for 40 years.  There can be two faithful options in dealing with TEC.  2. AMiA is not ACNA.  The sins of AMiA cannot be blamed on ANCA when, in fact, ACNA has developed their structure to include AMiA from the beginning.  So painting ACNA with the AMiA disposition is both a wide and improper stroke.  3. So, in fact, both options available in dealing with TEC tend to treat the ‘other option’ in the same way.  Truce time yet?

May 2, 1:04 pm | [comment link]
9. Teatime2 wrote:

I agree entirely with Canon Harmon’s words. I don’t mean criticism against the good souls involved. The intrinsic problem with taking such actions is that the process is, to some degree and at some level, always political. And when it is political, it becomes part of the identity, unfortunately. As in, this is St. Brigid’s Anglican Church, formed by “reasserting Anglicans” who left TEC, I wonder what they think about such-and-such new flavor. It’s self-perpetuating.

That goes both ways, of course. There are folks on the other side, I’m sure, who would much rather return to a quieter, more neutral and prayerful existence but their names will always be part of the “new thing” and the expectation of them may be to participate in other “new things.” Such is the nature of the beast.

It reminds me of my son when he was small, especially around Christmastime. He would get so revved up that he would spin between people, toys, food, activities and we would try to get him to return to a normal, steady state. In frustration, he would wail, “but I CAN’T, I don’t know how!” He would unwind gradually in fits and starts until he just slumped into sheer exhaustion. I think we’re starting to see the wind down and the slump in this situation.

Coming from the RCC as I did, I don’t believe there is a church that has it completely right and behaves well even most of the time. They simply don’t because they’re comprised of infuriating people. I’ve seen the RCC held up as a paragon and wonder if the folks who hold it in such esteem and thinks it ponders moral issues with complete orthodoxy all of the time have read that particular church’s wrestling with abortion in previous centuries. Thomas Aquinas made some very shudder-worthy pronouncements about “ensoulment” and “female” souls, in particular. I don’t recall it rupturing the church.

Do I think that much of what the reappraisers are asserting is wrong-headed? Yep. But I think their “wrong-headedness” will be borne out over time and I see no need to march out of my parish home singing, “Onward Christian Soldiers.”  I am fed there, I find community there, and I don’t have to know or agree with the opinions of everyone in the congregation, just as my friends are far from being carbon copies of myself. The clergy don’t preach heresy and they’re very dedicated.

We Christians exist in and generally recognize a rather unusual time continuum. Our central act of worship simultaneously puts us in a place more than 2,000 years ago within present time and with the whole company of Heaven. In Jesus, we have all of Creation history dwelling with us in this time and space.

When you consider that, it seems rather difficult to put so much stock in and emphasis on a very tiny (in the grand scheme of things) group of wrong-headed people in the church and their rather silly arguments and activities. IMO, a strong reaction to them gives them far more power and importance than they actually hold and/or deserve. Time, history, and probably even the sciences will eventually bear out the problems with their “reasoning” and arguments.

May 2, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
10. Jim the Puritan wrote:

Some of us are going through “deja vu all over again.”  In the late nineties I couldn’t take it any longer and left for a Biblically centered PCUSA church that has steadily grown since I started going (we are about three times the size we were when I first started attending, and actually have had to move to a new site because we outgrew our former sanctuary).

And yet now we find the same agents of Satan, and all the same games and lies being played out in PCUSA.  We are told to be inclusive, to have “conversations” with those who may hold “different but equally valid views,” to honor “local options” to depart from Scripture that won’t impinge on our rights and beliefs, and see all the rest of the poison that has destroyed TEC.

Right now my church is safe, we are in an orthodox presbytery, but I know it’s only a matter of time before Satan is at our doorstep.  We all tend to be too polite, but Scripture specifically tells us to call these people out as evil, and throw them out of the church (e.g., I Cor. 5:11).  Our failure to do that has led us to where we are today.

The only thing I would counsel is that, no matter where you are at, the only way to combat these things is by prayer and by making people knowledgeable of Scripture.  We have fallen to Satan’s wiles because, through his pastors and priests, he has been able to keep people ignorant and separated from God’s power.  Where Satan controls a church, he gives just enough of a facade of Christianity to inoculate people from the real thing.  So start a prayer group and Bible study at your church, and if your church tries to block that you know it is time to leave.  (Something I have seen personally in the past 12 months, when I offered to help a friend start an Alpha course at his TEC church, a proposal which was immediately shut down by the rector as not compatible with TEC.)

May 2, 2:43 pm | [comment link]
11. Milton wrote:

I hope a link to T19’s sister blog Stand Firm in Faith is not inappropos here on a related post:
Why North American Anglicans are the Way We Are

May 2, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
12. Sarah wrote:

RE: “But the tide has not stopped rising and they too may find they have no other choice than to embrace the inherent problems of an ACNA path with its attendant characteristics . . . “

Oh, I can think of another choice for the Diocese of South Carolina—and that is that if they get kicked out of TEC [a 50/50 possibility in my opinion] that they not “embrace” an “ACNA path” at all but simply sit quietly and in strength, allowing other parishes, clergy, and laity outside of their diocese to affiliate with them.

That is my hope of their path, as their joining the “ACNA path” would be a non-starter for many in TEC who are salivating over being a part of the Diocese of South Carolina sometime in the future as TEC continues to melt down further.  And for SC to become a part of ACNA would weaken and harm South Carolina as a diocese, and I don’t want that for either me or its bishop or its laypeople and clergy.

RE: “I appreciate that some people who have remained in TEC have been just waiting for ACNA to fall apart.  I am not saying that Canon Harmon is one of those.  But I suggest we all restrain our urge to rush to swift judgment. It is simply too early to call.”

No, most of us don’t notice ACNA *enough* because we’re busy with our own issues within TEC—but when “news” comes along—like oh say:
—about the filioque clause
—about the horrendous canons and Constitution, enshrining power in the bishops and making laity effectively powerless
—about Yet Another Bishop—“bishops” who weren’t even Anglican at the time of election or only for the previous two years—amongst the 45 or so bishops for ACNA’s 724 congregations
—about the acceptance of clergy and parishes from other jurisdictions that were *woefully* inadequate in discipline and order with the result that ACNA has many such parishes and clergy
—about the willingness to accept “as many as 150 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations that are considering a move to the ACNA”
—rampant charismaticism, to the extent of depending on “words of knowledge” and “prophecies” from random exhibitionists for “strategy” or wisdom—and all the incredible naivete and poor theology and anti-intellectualism that goes along with that
—the incredibly shrinking and shifting parishes—a little discussed secret amongst AMiA and ACNA; literally obliterated by loss of numbers.  [For just one example of this see this post—the writer in question is on the *third* plant now—the second one which he mentions is gone]: http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/sf/page/16208
—the introduction through FACA of now some five continuing entities as “ministry partners” of ACNA, which also means that such parishes in those entities are listed in the ACNA church database—considering the huge . . . huge . . . discipline and order issues in those provinces, my mind simply boggles. Has the APA, the ACA, The Diocese of the Holy Cross, and the EMC really all signed on to the theological principles of ACNA?  Why would ACNA wish to advertise the parishes of those four entities and imply a congruence between the FACA and the ACNA parishes when there is very little to none.

We’re not waiting for ACNA to fall apart—we *know* it will last forever.  We’re just watching in horror as every six months or so things get worse, not better.

Of course, that’s true with TEC as well.

I talk with ACNA folks all the time—I have friends all over the US in ACNA parishes—people who had no other option if they wanted to maintain their Anglican worship within an Anglican entity—and I get many emails from them and we have had many long phone conversations.  It’s not just we TEC people who are noticing these things. A whole lot of laity are deeply concerned—and it’s those people—my friends—about whom I’m concerned the most.

May 2, 4:33 pm | [comment link]
13. Randy Hoover-Dempsey wrote:

Thank you for posting this Kendall. Here’s a part of your presentation that I liked:
“I mean, think of Jeremiah, they lost their worship identity, they lost their main worship place, the temple, they lost their country. I mean, you talk about loss, that’s a lot of loss. And so, what you feel as the result of a loss that great is “I’ve had a great loss, I need to have great compensation.” Right? That’s the instinct. And it’s very understandable, right? I lost the temple, I’m going to rebuild the temple. They’re in no position to do that. But you can understand emotionally and personally why they want to.

And Jeremiah says something that is remarkable in the twenty-ninth chapter. He says the opposite, he says “you’ve experienced a great loss. The way forward is to be faithful in small things, because by being faithful in small things in your own local context, God will build the future and the hope that He has for you.” So here’s what he says at a practical level in chapter twenty nine, in the midst of that verse I quoted to you: “Build houses, get married, raise faithful children.” I mean, talk about dinky. “Hey, what do you mean, we lost our temple, this is terrible.”

You think about that story, when they return, which is, if you know that story, seventy years later it is only because of the faith of those parents and those marriages and those children that they had a faith to return with. See, it only seems little to us because we’re looking at it from our perspective. But to God, faithfulness in little things is never a little thing, but in a time of judgment and exile it’s absolutely crucial. And that is where I find hope.

May 2, 4:37 pm | [comment link]
14. Sarah wrote:

I loved that section as well, Randy.  It’s very practical and helps me focus on “one day at a time” work and faithfulness.

May 2, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
15. episcoanglican wrote:

“Oh, I can think of another choice for the Diocese of South Carolina—and that is that if they get kicked out of TEC [a 50/50 possibility in my opinion] that they not “embrace” an “ACNA path” at all but simply sit quietly and in strength, allowing other parishes, clergy, and laity outside of their diocese to affiliate with them.

That is my hope of their path, as their joining the “ACNA path” would be a non-starter for many in TEC who are salivating over being a part of the Diocese of South Carolina sometime in the future as TEC continues to melt down further.  And for SC to become a part of ACNA would weaken and harm South Carolina as a diocese, and I don’t want that for either me or its bishop or its laypeople and clergy.” —- this is just bizarre myopic thinking… And seems to direct hostility and derision in all the wrong directions.

May 2, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
16. tjmcmahon wrote:

““Oh, I can think of another choice for the Diocese of South Carolina—and that is that if they get kicked out of TEC [a 50/50 possibility in my opinion] that they not “embrace” an “ACNA path” at all but simply sit quietly and in strength, allowing other parishes, clergy, and laity outside of their diocese to affiliate with them.”
Do keep in mind that each and every parish that does so brings with it a huge lawsuit, depositions of the clergy, etc.  In how many states can the diocese defend itself simultaneously?  It just makes South Carolina a mini ACNA.  At the Communion level, they will be recognized only by those who already recognize ACNA, so the functional difference will not exist- they become just one more continuing Anglican Church.
The diocese of South Carolina currently survives because the state Supreme Court is wiser than that of some other states- and this has derailed the usual TEC tactics so far- they can’t leverage the property over the heads of the congregations.  But the question remains whether South Carolina will be able to withstand the challenge that will come if the 50-50 scenario plays out.  Because the first thing TEC will do will not involve a property lawsuit, it will be the deposition of +Mark Lawrence- and we have no court ruling that says TEC cannot remove him as bishop.
Beware arrogance- TEC really is out to get you, they have deep pockets, and a more potent arsenal than some here are giving them credit for.  Watch the canonical changes at the next GC.

May 2, 10:31 pm | [comment link]
17. RalphM wrote:

I’m always ready to cheer on +Lawrence and I wish the DioSC well.  Not sure why those outside of ACNA spend a lot of time trying to ID problems in ACNA.  Is it because of a need to justify staying in TEC?  Those of us in ACNA made a choice: stay with TEC which is rotten at the top or go with a group that is trying, however imperfectly, to follow Christ.

May 2, 11:46 pm | [comment link]
18. evan miller wrote:

All of the points Sarah makes in 12 above are very valid and worry me a great deal.  For some of us, ACNA is the only option out there and I work and pray for its success, but that doesn’t mean I am blind to the very real perils we face, among which are those things Sarah mentions.

May 3, 9:32 am | [comment link]
19. Sarah wrote:

RE: “this is just bizarre myopic thinking… “

Right—because it’s bizarre and myopic of somebody to not want the Diocese of South Carolina to hurt itself by being a part of Yet Another Anglican Entity that has made deeply flawed and harmful decisions about its identity.  The gall of someone like me wishing that!

RE: “It just makes South Carolina a mini ACNA.  At the Communion level, they will be recognized only by those who already recognize ACNA, so the functional difference will not exist- they become just one more continuing Anglican Church.”

Hi TJ—it’s odd to me that you would equate any US Anglican entity outside of TEC as “mini ACNA.”  Of course there can be Anglican entities outside of TEC that are not “mini ACNA.”  My listing only part of a very very large list of the decisions that ACNA has made regarding its identity does not in any way imply that those issues are necessarily part and parcel of being “an entity outside of TEC.” 

They are not.

RE: “Not sure why those outside of ACNA spend a lot of time trying to ID problems in ACNA.”

RalphM, perhaps because there are those inside ACNA who state “they have no other choice than to embrace the inherent problems of an ACNA path with its attendant characteristics” thus implying that the poor choices that ACNA has made regarding its identity are somehow inevitable “inherent problems” and that embracing “an ACNA path” is the only option if what is not inside TEC.

Evan, thank you for your clear-eyed, matter-of-fact vision of reality.  There aren’t a whole lot of people within ACNA who will say such things publicly. Though there’s only one way I can imagine being a part of an Anglican entity should I leave TEC [and it’s a long shot, regarding the Diocese of SC], I understand that others believe it is necessary for them to be a part of an Anglican entity in the event of departure from TEC, and in that case, they simply don’t have many choices. I don’t begrudge any orthodox Anglican the truly painful choices that they are having to make, though I’m certainly not going to put a happy face on the options confronting all of us.

May 3, 10:20 am | [comment link]
20. victorianbarbarian wrote:

Part of the argument the Diocese of Fort Worth has been making in our lawsuit defense is the characterization of TEC’s polity as an association of independent dioceses.  A similar characterization seems to be behind Sarah’s suggestion that the Diocese of South Carolina, if forced out of TEC, to “simply sit quietly and in strength, allowing other parishes, clergy, and laity outside of their diocese to affiliate with them.”  I’m not sure that ACNA is any tighter than that view of TEC’s historical bonds, and my impression is that it is in fact looser (I may be wrong but haven’t really noticed much local impact).  I suppose that the point in which it will really start having an effect is when (1) Bishop Iker retires or otherwise has to be replaced, and (2) when and if a new Prayer Book gets adopted.  From ground level (well, actually from the choir loft), it looks pretty much like what I think Sarah is suggesting.

May 3, 11:22 am | [comment link]
21. bettcee wrote:

My concern about the future of both the ACNA and TEC is not their organizational difficulties but that the church should show concern for the welfare and guidance of children and young people who are, after all, future church leaders. TEC as an institution does not show much concern for the Christian education of children but there are times when it seems to me that some conservatives also get caught up in institutional problems and lose sight of the importance of leading children in the paths of Christian righteousness.
I can easily understand why parents have taken their children out of a church in which the leadership willingly leads children astray from Biblical teaching and glamorizes Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transvestite behavior. I am glad that the ACNA is there for Christian parents who want to educate their children as Christians and protect them from being influenced by those who would tempt them to experiment in dangerous and unhealthy behaviors. I am grateful that Bishop Lawrence is providing a safe place in the diocese of South Carolina, and regardless of the organizational problems of the ACNA, I believe that they are serving God’s purpose by providing a safe place for children to come to Christ.
Matthew: Chapter 19
12 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

May 3, 3:30 pm | [comment link]
22. jamesw wrote:

tjmcmahon:  I agree with Sarah’s comments in #19.  My problems with the ACNA have nothing to do with the fact that they departed TEC but rather with how it is conducting itself post-departure.  I still think that it would have been much better if the North American Anglican diaspora had been content to live in temporary arrangements as exiles for a time.  So much about the ACNA seems to me to be slap-dash, knee jerk reactions to events, without a great deal of thought given to long-term consequences.  This isn’t because it is no longer part of TEC, but rather the path that its leadership chose to follow.

This doesn’t mean that we either should or shouldn’t be a part of the ACNA, but surely, there are plentiful grounds for constructive criticism.  What is done today in North American Anglicanism will have profound long-term effects.  With the ACNA flip-flopping all over the place, loathe to insist on firm boundaries, we all need to ask ourselves what this will mean for the long-term?  So far, Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Diocese of South Carolina has been the only sane haven in a crazy world of North American Anglicanism.  I would hope that would continue in the unfortunate circumstance that the fools running TEC would expel that noble diocese and its bishop.

May 3, 7:03 pm | [comment link]
23. tjmcmahon wrote:

James W (and Sarah),
On re-reading this, it is something of a ramble, but here goes-
I entirely agree that the formation of ACNA was “slapdash” and that it has numerous problems.  I was merely pointing out that if the diocese of South Carolina were to either leave or be thrown out of TEC, it would not make much sense for it to set itself up as “yet one more continuing church” in the Anglican world, and that from the point of view of the Communion, it would not have any more official recognition by the current Communion structures than ACNA does.  And that parishes trying to leave TEC to join such an entity would bring upon themselves the same legal assault as they would by joining ACNA.
ACNA’s root problem is that the entities that it encompasses have never decided to be a unified Church, and instead, have adopted a screwy network model in which you can have 4 (maybe more) jurisdictions in the same place, two of which are geographic and 2 of which are more like affinity groups.  That is to say, there is an REC diocese, overlayed by an “ACNA diocese” (not actually sure how they delineate that, since the REC diocese is also an ACNA diocese), with an Anglo Catholic parish over here that comes under the Diocese of All Saints, a CANA parish over there that is perhaps joining the ACNA diocese but wants to keep its Nigerian connections, and then additional “mission partners” like AMiA thrown into the mix.  This just makes the lack of theological and ecclesial cohesion evident.
In general, I’ve thought that the Anglican orthodoxy movement in North America has been continuously 6 months to 2 years ahead of itself since the first Common Cause meeting.  Some moves- like San Joaquin, Quincy and Ft Worth leaving TEC, were forced, but the majority of steps taken were anticipatory.  So as a whole, it appears to be pushing the divisions in the Church, rather than responding to actions of TEC.
The other problem is this idea that you just include EVERYBODY, and that this is thought a good idea.  Hence, in the early days, every bishop who was remotely orthodox was a Windsor bishop, and Common Cause sought to include anyone and everyone who could use the word “Anglican” in a sentence- and this philosophy was extended into ACNA- I suppose to make it look bigger on paper- quite honestly I don’t know how many bishops and jurisdictions there are, but agree it is too many.  Given the size of ACNA, it needs 5 or 6 dioceses, and perhaps 2 or 3 suffragans per diocese to handle the square milage.
However, these issues do not in any way offset the main reasons people have left TEC- (lack of) validity of Sacraments, desecration of Sacraments, preaching of heresy, abuse of power, teaching of heresy- especially to children, lack of discipline of those who have sponsored child abusers, including the PB.  And given my choice between disorganization and heresy, I choose disorganization. 
Again, the choice different people make is going to depend on circumstances.  If I were in S Carolina, I would probably be an Episcopalian.  For that matter, C Florida, or Springfield, or 4 or 5 other places.  If there were one parish anywhere in driving distance trying to remain in the Church (the real one), I would probably be an Episcopalian.
But I am not in S Carolina or one of those other places.  I am in a place where an Episcopal “priest” can say “You will burn for eternity for rejecting the all inclusive love of Jesus Christ” to a layman, where the bishops and priests I respect are referred to as “homophobic misogynists” in church meetings, and where Buddhist prayer rugs are in sanctuaries and the Koran can be substituted for the words of St. Paul.  When the last priests who connected me to the Church were deposed by TEC, I went too.  Essentially, I faced the choice of being in communion with +Keith Ackerman or Katharine Jefferts Schori.  Choice was too easy.
There are no “Communion Partner rectors”, no DEPO, no tolerance of orthodox Christianity. 
So, I am in the ACNA, sort of- the closest congregation is still several hours away, but there are bishops and priests out there who will answer my email, as opposed to the local TEC bishops.
ACNA will either mature (hopefully quickly) and face its issues, or it will dissolve like the continuing churches did, into a whole lot of little entities hanging on to the word “Anglican.”  TEC will either reverse its direction and reinstate orthodox Christianity as its core doctrine, or it won’t.  My task is to do what I can to get ACNA to mature and stabilize- and if I can work out my own disciplinary problems with the Church (marriage 11 years after divorce having removed me from being “in good standing”- discipline in ACNA is perhaps stricter than you think it is), maybe get back on the path to trying to establish some form of actual Anglican witness in these parts.  Some others may work to reestablish orthodoxy in TEC, while yet others may bear witness to the Truth if TEC continues on its current path and collapses around them.

May 4, 10:43 am | [comment link]
24. evan miller wrote:

#23
TJ,
You have articulated my position perfectly, though I am fortunate to have several ACNA parishes nearby, including the one I serve as a member of the vestry and have served as delegate to our diocesan Synods and Conferences.  Here in KY there are two parishes and one plant that are in the ACNA Diocese of the South, one parish in the ACNA Diocese of All Saints, one parish in the ACNA International Diocese, one that is unaffiliated (was under Diocese of the Holy Spirit but has female priests on staff and therefore won’t go to ADOTS), several AMIA parishes in who knows what state of affiliation, and a handfull of continuers.  Oh yes, there’s also a fledgling plant that is leaning toward another ACNA diocese, the name of which I can’t recall.  Ad this is just those I’m aware of.  This incoherence is unsustainable.  It is madness.

May 4, 11:05 am | [comment link]
25. jamesw wrote:

tjmcmahon:  I am heartily in agreement with your post #23.  I can see many instances in which I could be associated with an ACNA congregation as well as with a TEC congregation.  My point is that we should not be drawing clear lines, but rather wherever we are - be it TEC or ACNA - work towards the long-term viability of a robust, orthodox North American Anglicanism in a context that we can be fed with the authentic Gospel.

May 4, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
26. Sarah wrote:

TJ,

I agree with much of your comment above in #23. Just in order to be clear, the parts that I disagree with are:

RE: “I was merely pointing out that if the diocese of South Carolina were to either leave or be thrown out of TEC, it would not make much sense for it to set itself up as “yet one more continuing church” in the Anglican world, and that from the point of view of the Communion, it would not have any more official recognition by the current Communion structures than ACNA does.”

I agree that it would not have any more official recognition by the current Communion structures than ACNA does.  But it would not have to “set itself up” either.  It would merely need to stand still, whereas for it to *join* ACNA would merely place it further into a solid stream of dysfunction.  Why on earth would a healthy, whole diocese wish to do that?  I can’t imagine.

RE: “And that parishes trying to leave TEC to join such an entity would bring upon themselves the same legal assault as they would by joining ACNA.”

Absolutely—no question about that.  But parishes, individuals, and clergy—especially many of the individuals and clergy—think that ACNA is a permanent wasteland [see my comment #12] and not at all solely because of “disorganization.”

RE: “ACNA’s root problem is that the entities that it encompasses have never decided to be a unified Church . . . “

I disagree with this.  I think the root problems lie far far earlier than its geographic/diocesan decisions, though those decisions are symptomatic.

So we get back to this. My issues with ACNA aren’t “disorganization”—that’s way way way too surface a descriptive adjective for the chaos and dysfunctionality I see.  “Disorganization” can be overcome and changed.  The stuff I see [and listed above] is, in my opinion, permanent and intrinsic to the dna of ACNA.

May 13, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
27. bettcee wrote:

It is pretty obvious that The Episcopal Church has just as many organizational problems as does the ACNA so it seems to me that we would be wise to cooperate and support other Anglican organizations regardless of what we think the outcome of their struggles as a church will be.
As an individual I will continue my friendship with members of the ACNA just as I will remain friends with members of TEC because I believe that we, as Christians, are meant to be of the Body of Christ.
My biggest problem with TEC is that no one  seems to be concerned with the fate of children who are raised to believe the things that are taught to them by TEC’s leadership and although many individual churches may endeavor to teach children Christian belief in the Bible and the Parables of Jesus, children will inevitably be taught the pseudo Christianity that is espoused by the Presiding Bishop and other liberal theorists if they remain in The Episcopal Church as they grow older.
It seems to me that it would be wise to maintain healthy, non-adversarial, contact with those who have left to go to the ACNA in the hope that we can, together, find a way to pass on the faith as we have received it to future generations.

May 13, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
28. Jim the Puritan wrote:

#27—We had a discussion in one of my Sunday school groups about this recently.  We talked about the dangers of “inoculation churches,” churches that teach just enough about pseudo-Christianity that young people are inoculated into believing they don’t have to come to church or do anything in their lives, yet still will be considered “good Christians” who will go to heaven no matter what they do or not do.

May 14, 12:11 am | [comment link]
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