A Statement from the Deputation of the Diocese of Central Florida on General Convention 2012

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of Central Florida is committed to making disciples of all nations and loving one another as Christ loves us.

The Deputation from the Diocese of Central Florida has an extraordinary sense of sadness and disappointment that the Episcopal Church has chosen to adopt a provisional rite for same-sex blessings.

We recognize that to the vast majority of those members participating in the councils of General Convention, this represents progress. To us, it represents a step back from the clear teachings of Holy Scripture and a disregard for the unity and teaching of the Church.

Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized marriage between a man and a woman as a divine ordinance for the ordering human relationships. For that reason, he sternly warned against human interference with marriages. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 19:4-6)

The 77th General Convention’s decision represents denominationalism. In matters of ethics and morals, we have shown blatant disregard for the unity of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. However, we in the Diocese of Central Florida stand in solidarity with our communion partners within the Episcopal Church and within the Worldwide Anglican Communion who “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) . We deeply lament the costly repercussions that these decisions will have within the Episcopal Church and for Anglican Christians around the world especially those under anti-Christian totalitarian regimes.

The actions of General Convention also represent a departure from the rubrics and worship of the Book of Common Prayer and the stated Canons of the Episcopal Church. These liturgies are not recognized in the Diocese of Central Florida as being consistent with either the laws of the State or the canons of this Church on Marriage. The Book of Common Prayer says, “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God. In the Episcopal Church it is required that … the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the canons of this Church.” (p. 422)

While we are greatly saddened by the General Convention’s action, we are not discouraged. We know that we are called by God to “stand firm”. If any are discouraged, let us bear one another’s burdens and cast our cares on the Lord in prayer for one another. Our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord gives the strength and hope needed to serve without compromise within the Episcopal Church and the world, “for our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh”. (Ephesians 6:12) Our faith is not in the human institutions of the Church, but in the unwavering faithfulness of Jesus Christ our Lord—his grace is sufficient.

We stand behind our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Gregory Orrin Brewer, in his endorsement of the minority report known as the Indianapolis Statement.

The Rev. Charles Holt, Chair
The Rev. Phylis Bartle
The Rev. Danielle Morris
The Rev. James Sorvillo
The Rev. Eric Turner
Mr. Charles Armstrong
Mrs. Anneke Bertsch
Mr. Sid Glynn
Mr. William Grimm, esq.
Mrs. Sonya Shannon

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012TEC BishopsTEC ParishesTEC Polity & CanonsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral Theology

8 Comments
Posted July 13, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Stefano wrote:

Is there a way for faithful dioceses to disassociate from the church of the General Convention and reassociate with each other as members within the Anglican Communion? Or would this require an anthema from the Primates to proceed?

July 13, 7:52 am | [comment link]
2. Ralph wrote:

Four dioceses have left TEC, and TEC is spending millions in an attempt to sue them into oblivion. The departed dioceses are spending millions to defend themselves.

These dioceses are part of ACNA, which some of the Anglican Communion primates recognize as a province.

July 13, 8:33 am | [comment link]
3. SC blu cat lady wrote:

Stefano, It has already happened as Ralph stated above. The kicker is that ACNA is not recognized by all provinces in the WWAC.  To some that makes very little difference. To others, it is hugely important.

July 13, 8:57 am | [comment link]
4. Cennydd13 wrote:

Stefano, my diocese, the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, was the first to leave, and yes, we have been sued for our money and property.  The Episcopal Church is finding that it is one thing to sue a parish, but it’s quite a different thing to sue an entire diocese in California.  At the same time, we are heavily into church-planting (missionizing), and we’re growing.

As a reult of former Archbishop of the Southern Cone Gregory J. Venables’ inviting us to come under their temporary protection until the ACNA was officially organized, up, and running, we were and still are (unofficially, no doubt) members of the Communion, albeit “through the back door,” so to speak.  In our services at our local church, we include both ++Robert Duncan of the ACNA and ++Hector Zavala of the Church in the Southern Cone in the Prayers of the People as our archbishops.

When our foiurth bishop +John -David Schofield was “deposed” by the imaginary “Presiding Bishop” of TEC, he and the others who were supposedly “deposed” were and are still “bishops of the Anglican Communion in good standing,” according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan D. Williams.  I don’t think that has changed.

July 13, 1:51 pm | [comment link]
5. The Lakeland Two wrote:

Dio of CFL won’t leave.  But know that there are revisionist forces trying to make headway in it, too.

July 13, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
6. NSHANDS wrote:

O that our bishop and deputation from southwest Florida felt the same way. ugh….. I’m tired….

July 13, 5:16 pm | [comment link]
7. MichaelA wrote:

“The kicker is that ACNA is not recognized by all provinces in the WWAC.  To some that makes very little difference. To others, it is hugely important.”

Is it really “hugely important”?  Is there anyone who stays in TEC purely because of the Anglican Communion thing? 

And for that matter, TEC is now out of communion with a large number of provinces, who instead are in communion with ACNA (the church to which Cennydd’s church belongs).  The Anglican Communion as a crucial issue is dead.

July 14, 3:50 am | [comment link]
8. MichaelA wrote:

Sorry, I should clarify my last: The official Anglican Communion as defined in some records in the Anglican Communion Office is dead.  But the real Anglican Communion, i.e. the communion and fellowship between like-minded provinces all over the world, is very much alive.

July 14, 3:51 am | [comment link]
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