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Bishop's Address
page 2

 

Resolution #1, which is before us today, affirms this identity and reminds us of our primary mission: to uphold and propagate the historic Faith and Order of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. The primary source and the ultimate authority for all that we preach teach and believe are the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, as expressed in the Apostolic Teaching of the Church of the ages.

Second, we are here today because of two specific, deeply controversial actions of the 74th General Convention of the Episcopal Church which have precipitated a serious crisis in the Anglican Communion and have created a pastoral emergency that is very alarming, both here in the States and abroad. By voting to confirm the election as bishop of a non-celibate homosexual man, a New Hampshire clergyman who is divorced, the father of two children, and now openly living with his male lover, and by giving tacit approval and permission for same-sex blessings to be performed in the Episcopal Church, the Convention has rejected the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion and of the church catholic for over 2,000 years. Furthermore, it is important to note that these decisions were made contrary to the expressed opposition, conveyed to us beforehand, prior to the Convention, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, by the Primates of the Provinces of the entire Anglican Communion, by the 1998 Lambeth Conference of all Anglican Bishops in the world, and by the Anglican Consultative Council (which is comprised of clergy and lay members from each Province). These are called the "Four Instruments of Unity" in Anglicanism. They are the four principal means for holding us together and for maintaining our unity as a Communion of Churches of the Anglican Tradition in the midst of our great diversity.

There are 38 Anglican Provinces (which, generally speaking, might be called "national churches") throughout the world, comprised of some 80 million Christians. As you know, the Episcopal Church is but one of these Provinces, with only about 2.2 million members - which is less than three percent of the entire Communion. However, it is the only Province in the world to approve of a practicing homosexual to serve as a bishop, and it is the only Province in the world to legitimize the blessing of same-sex relationships. These actions were taken, sad to say, without regard for what the rest of the Communion was saying to us in advance and with little regard for the damage they would do to the unity of the Church. Both actions are contrary to the expressed mind of the Anglican Communion and, indeed, of the overwhelming consensus of worldwide Christianity - Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox alike. No other major Christian body in the world has done what the 74th General Convention has done. Therefore, we must conclude that in both of these decisions, the General Convention has departed grievously from the clear teaching of Scripture and of the Church.

 

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