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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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We are ordained leaders in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and we write to our fellow Anglicans across this Church in this season of great importance concerning our future. We are glad followers of Jesus Christ, working for the mission of his Gospel, and have for decades labored for the reform and renewal of the Episcopal Church under Holy Scripture and through the Holy Spirit. We are deeply thankful for this call upon our lives; we love the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we love this Church.
We write in a season where it is evident that differences of faith and practice have torn our Church and our Communion, perhaps beyond mending. We have all experienced this rending in painful and personal ways.
The presenting issue is the question of human sexuality, but underlying issues go deeper, to the very heart of our faith, including our understanding of the Triune God, the devastating impact of the fall upon human nature, the unique work of Jesus as the only Savior of the world, our understanding of God’s Gospel mission to the world, the interdependence of our Communion, and – above it all – the final authority and full trustworthiness of Holy Scripture guiding us through these matters. Though our faith is in concert with the majority of our Communion and the historical roots of our Church, we now find ourselves fundamentally divided from the majority of the leadership in the Episcopal Church over these issues of first importance.
We have noticed a widespread and growing trend in The Episcopal Church: in many places congregations and dioceses are no longer free to recruit, develop or choose leaders who share their faith and values; mandatory diocesan assessments are used to fund causes that many believe are in opposition to their own principles; and, if the trend continues, acceptance of behavior Scripture reveals to be immoral and destructive will be soon required. Litigation and presentments are being widely used against congregations and their leaders who in conscience resist or who seek the freedom to realign with other parts of our Communion. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that opposition to classical, creedal, biblical theology and to our ministries is being orchestrated from the highest levels of the Episcopal Church. We wonder if we really are welcome here.
Mindful of Jesus’ guidance we have worked to bring our concerns to the leadership of the Anglican Communion. We have been heartened by the broad attention and support we have received. We hoped that the Lambeth Conference, the Windsor Report, and the Tanzania Communiqué would provide a workable way forward for our ministries and the Anglican Communion itself.
We were stunned by the rapid, summary dismissal of the Tanzania Communiqué by our House of Bishops and Executive Council early this year. We understood this to signal a decided rejection of Communion authority, of our most deeply held values, and of our future ministries. We believe there shall be no viable long term future for our ministries in this church unless we make unacceptable compromises on matters of first importance. Many of us sense we are being compelled to realign. All of us believe we must act to protect the churches and people we serve. We now fear for the future of the Anglican Communion itself.
We do not want to act in haste or in a spirit of judgment. We are concerned that the history of the Church is littered with the wreckage of strife and division, and we do not wish to add to the ruins. We are mindful that our own hands are not clean in the development of this history, and are particularly brokenhearted over the pride that has too often accompanied our witness. We beg God and others across our Church for the forgiveness we need and for the opportunity for a different future than the one we fear is rapidly coming upon us. More than anything we wish to see God’s Gospel healing upon our Church.
We have an urgent request for our leaders as they take counsel in the months to come.
In all humility, with all prayer, and with great respect for the importance of your leadership in God’s Church, we beg you, implore you, to reconsider and comply with the unanimous requests of the Anglican Primates in the Tanzania Communiqué.
We believe this plan to offer the greatest and perhaps last opportunity for a much needed halt in the rending of our Church and for the ‘grace space’ that might offer us a different, ordered, and hopeful way forward.
We shall be much in prayer in the coming weeks, seeking the leading and help of Him whose grace upholds us all.
The Rev. John P. Bailey, Vicar, St. Andrew’s Church, New Kensington
The Rev. Ronald J. Baillie, Vicar, Church of the Good Samaritan, Liberty Boro
The Rev. Dr. James Bauer, Priest, Indiana
The Rev. Douglas R. Blakelock, Rector, St. Mark’s Church, Johnstown
The Rev. Dr. Dennett Buettner, Priest in Charge, Church of the Savior, Ambridge
The Rev. Stanley Burdock, Rector, Christ Church, Brownsville
The Rev. Donald W. Bushyager, Assistant Rector, St. David’s Church, Peters Twp
The Rev. Geoffrey W. Chapman, Rector, St Stephen’s Church, Sewickley
The Rev. James Chester, Deacon, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Dr. Ruth E. Correll, Assistant & Chaplain, St. Francis Church and Day School, Potomac, MD
The Rev. Dr. Daniel F. Crawford, Rector, St. Thomas-in-the-Fields Church, Gibsonia
The Rev. John T. Cruikshank, Rector, All Saints Church, Brighton Heights, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Dallam G. Ferneyhough, Priest-in-Charge, St. Luke's Church, Georgetown
The Rev. John E. Fierro, Rector, St. Paul's Church, Monongahela
The Rev. James Forrest, Associate Rector, St. David’s Church, Peters Twp
The Rev. Matthew Frey, Rector, Church of the Advent, Brookline
The Rev. Dr. Jack Gabig, Director of the Children &Youth Initiative, Anglican Communion Network, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Canon Mary M Hays, Canon Missioner, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rev. John Heidengren, Rector, Prince of Peace Church, Aliquippa
The Rev. Marc Jacobson, Priest, Manila, Philippines
The Rev. Sam Jampetro, Church Planter, Coraopolis
The Rev. Paul Johnson, Assistant, Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Carrie Klukas, Deacon in Residence, Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas, Rector, St. Martin's Church, Monroeville
The Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies & Mission, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge
The Rev. Canon John A. Macdonald, Director of the Stanway Institute for World Mission & Evangelism and Assistant Professor of Mission & Evangelism, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge
The Rev. Canon Dr. J. Douglas McGlynn, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Parish Ministry, Nashotah House Theological Seminary, Nashotah WI
The Rev. Christine McIlvain, Deacon, Christ Church, North Hills
The Rev. Peggy Means, Assistant Rector, Christ Church Greensburg and Associate Priest, Seeds of Hope Church, Bloomfield
The Rev. Jonathan N. Millard, Rector, Church of the Ascension, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Gary D. Miller, Rector, Church of the Holy Innocents, Leechburg
The Rev. James C. Morehead, Assistant Rector, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, Pittsburgh
The Very Rev. Dr. Peter C. Moore, Dean Emeritus, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge
The Rev. James C. Morehead, Assistant Rector, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Jeffrey Murph, Rector, St. Thomas Church, Oakmont
The Rev. Andrew Ray, Assistant Rector, Fox Chapel Church
The Rev. David B. Rucker, Rector, All Saints Church, Rosedale
The Rev. Rebecca C. Spanos, Deacon, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Elaine Storm, Assistant Rector, St. Philip’s Church Moon Twp
The Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity School for Ministry, Ambridge
The Rev. David D. Wilson, Rector, St. Paul’s Church, Kittanning
The Rev. Karen Woods, Deacon, Seeds of Hope Missionary Fellowship, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Michael D. Wurschmidt, Rector, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship, Pittsburgh
The Rev. Dr. Mark Zimmerman, Rector, St. Francis-in-the-Field Church, Somerset
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Parishes Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Theology: Scripture
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