Friday, March 08, 2002

Letter for Publication in Church Times

Dear Editor,

May I commend Pat Ashworth for a clear and accurate report (8 March) about the inhibition of the Revd Fr. David Moyer of Rosemont by the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison.

I know the situation of the conservative parishes in Philadelphia reasonably well and have preached several times in recent years in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, during frequent visits to the city.

What I think needs to be made clear to English readers about the way in which David has been inhibited by the Bishop is the following.

First, it has been done under the abandonment canon of the ECUSA and this canon is intended to refer only to those who have left the communion of the Episcopal Church. Fr. Moyer has not left either the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion.

Secondly, under this canon, Bp. Bennison can proceed directly to deposition without an ecclesiastical trial, so long as he has the support of the Diocesan Standing Committee (which he presently does), thus denying Fr. Moyer a forum in which to be heard and present his case. In a country that celebrates human rights this is wholly deplorable action by the Bishop.

Thirdly, what the situation in Philadelphia illustrates is the character of the new religion of the autonomous ECUSA province. This refuses to tolerate either classical Anglo-Catholics or Evangelicals or any clergyman who seeks to uphold traditional, creedal orthodoxy and who will not support the lesbigay agenda. There is no comprehensiveness left in the greater part of the ECUSA.

We wait to see whether the Primates' Meeting in April will have anything useful to say about the persecution of biblically-minded Episcopalians by their own Church.

Yours truly,

The Revd Dr. Peter Toon, The Rectory, Biddulph Moor, Staffs.

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