QUINCY: Bishop Writes Pastoral Letter in Response to Primates Meeting
To Be Read In All The Churches
March 14, 2007
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6).
To the Beloved Clergy, People, and Companions of our Diocese:
We write to thank each of you who have been diligently praying for direction for our Diocese at this very difficult time in the life of our Church, our Diocese, and the Anglican Communion, and to ask you to remain steadfast in those prayers.
The statements of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, meeting recently In Tanzania, have made it clear that in some essential areas of theology and practice the Episcopal Church has moved outside the bounds of apostolic teaching and practice as received within the Anglican Communion and has not made a fully acceptable response to the Windsor Report.
If you have not read the Primates’ Communique, you can find it, and the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant, at the following link, http://www.aco.org/primates/downloads/index.cfm or your priest can obtain a copy for you.
The Primates, in a more-than-gracious gesture, have again pleaded for reconciliation within the Communion and offered the Episcopal Church a final opportunity to stop, repent, and return to acceptable Christian teaching and discipline. They have set a deadline of September 30th for a response. If the House of Bishop does not make a clear and “unequivocal” covenant to abide by the requirements of the Windsor Report by that date, we expect there will be timely further action by the Primates.
Some of you, like us, have concerns and questions about the proposals set out in the Communique. We continue to assess these proposals, but we need to hear from you. We will hold three special Deanery Convocations in the next few weeks to which all of you are invited. The time and place of each Convocation will be published via our email servers, our website, and by announcement in each church. The Bishop and members of the Standing Committee will be present at each Convocation. We urge you to take part so that we may hear from you, and you may hear from your brothers and sisters around the Diocese. You will help us chart our course of action in the coming months as we await the response of the House of Bishops. It is especially important that members of your Vestry or Bishop’s Committee and your elected Synod delegates make every effort to attend their Deanery Convocation so that they are fully informed.
We must be mindful that the struggle of the present moment goes beyond the internal difficulties of the Episcopal Church. The actions of 2003 General Convention have endangered the unity and trust of the Anglican Communion itself. These actions have escalated into a crisis which we can not avoid and which we must address in the interests of the unity and faithful witness of the Diocese of Quincy.
Most importantly, we want you to know that as we wait, we are not waiting passively. As we honor the request of the Primates to give the leaders of the Episcopal Church one final chance to amend their course, we, your Bishop and Standing Committee, will be diligent to assure the Diocese of Quincy a secure home with faithful Anglicans in America, and around the world.
We appeal for your continued patience. Let us continue to encourage one another, and not lose hope. If at times we feel “stuck,” we might remember St. Paul in prison. Some of his most powerful witness came during those times when he was the Lord’s “ambassador in chains.” Nothing must prevent us from proclaiming the Gospel.
Our prayers for the Lord’s intervention must be unwavering, so let us join St. Paul in exhorting one another to prayer:
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us directly with your thoughts and concerns. We each pledge to you that we will speak boldly on behalf the Gospel – and our Diocese -in the coming months.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Rt. Rev’d. Keith L. Ackerman, SSC Bishop
The Very Rev’d. John R. Spencer President of the Standing Committee
The Rev’d. Jim Marshall, Obl. OSB
The Rev’d. Robert Dedmon
Mrs. Lois Shawl
Mrs. Joan Quigg, Obl. OSB
Mr. Robert Fairman
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