Saturday, January 31, 2004

The C of E chases after the ECUSA in sexuality

The Church of England is heading in much the same direction as the Episcopal Church of the USA, that is, towards the complete adoption of a new form of Anglican faith, worship, morality and discipline. And it is all occurring because church leaders believe that human rights of all kinds must be respected and celebrated, and that each person deserves to find fulfillment in terms of self-worth, self-expression and self-development. Their thinking and believing does not begin with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the human condition of sinfulness before this righteous and holy God, but with the supposed rights and needs of human beings, whose happiness is paramount for a “God of love”.

The motion below -- put forward by the Dioceses of York and Ripon & Leeds, having already been passed by their respective Diocesan Synods -- is to be debated in the second week of February 2004 by the General Synod of the C of E. It surely reflects the loss of confidence in the received doctrine and practice of holy matrimony and also suggests a sense that the Church is not only in the world but is also as far as possible to be of the world -- certainly not against the world.

'That this Synod

(a) believe that the provision in law of a contractual relationship, other than marriage, between two cohabiting adults is socially desirable, that such relationships exist and will continue to exist whether approved by the State and the Church or not and that the absence of a legal contract for such a relationship is a potential cause of injustice and misery; and

(b) request the Archbishops' Council to investigate and explore the issues involved in contractual partnerships, other than marriage, between two cohabiting adults and to report to the General Synod.'

The background paper to this motion gives the following justification:
'For the Church of England marriage is the norm and we might wish that everyone were either married or celibate. But all the social trends show that marriage is less and less the union of choice. The Church of England should support justice and fairness for all, regardless of whether they are living in the kind of partnerships we see as the ideal.'

Apparently the basis of this kind of proposal is that (a) marriage is a relationship and an ideal (note, not a state of life & relation of order commanded by God and required by natural law) and so is an option; (b) the Church should not force its kind of relationship and its ideal on those who do not wish to strive for it; and thus (c) the Church should help people to form the partnerships they desire and help to provide them with a proper legal basis.

What in essence is different here from the ECUSA acceptance of cohabitation of both same-sex and opposite-sex partners? The C of E chases after the ECUSA!

The whole reality of what used to be known as SIN and the HOLY GOD is missing from this kind of thinking. God is there to bless our arrangements if they are sincere and according to what we deem to be peace and justice. We have made God into a Deity who approves of this kind of thing!

It is worth recalling that the British Parliament in this session will also be asked to pass into law provisions for legal rights and protections for “gay” couples. The Church is being asked to provide the Name of God to support the secular provisions of sinful man.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge;

The Presentation of Christ in the Temple:

commonly called The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary February 2.

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle: Malachi 3.1-5 The Gospel: St Luke 2:22-40.

Jesus was presented in the Jerusalem Temple at the age of forty days, according to the requirement of the Law of Moses for a first-born male child. There he was greeted by both Simeon and Anna and thus there was a meeting of the five – these two, Mary, Joseph & Jesus.

From the fourth century, this event has been commemorated in the Church by a festival which was first simply called in Greek, Hypapante (the Meeting). Later in the Latin West it has been called “The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and “The Presentation of Christ in the Temple.” The word, “Candlemas” is a northern European name for the festival because there had long been a procession with lighted candles at the mass on this day.

The Gospel reading describes the bringing of Jesus by Mary and Joseph to the Temple and their offering of a sacrifice as required by the Law (Leviticus 12:8; Luke 2:24) after the birth of a first-born son (Exodus 13:2,15) . It continues by presenting Simeon, a devout Jew, who was waiting to see the Messiah of his people. On seeing Jesus, he knew that he was looking at the Messiah and so taking him in his arms, he praised God and uttered the prayer we now call “Nunc dimittis.” Then Simeon turned to bless Mary and Joseph and prophesied concerning the messianic vocation and work of Jesus. This small group was then joined by Anna, a godly widow, who also was waiting for the advent of the Messiah. After she had seen Jesus and also recognised him as the Messiah, she thanked God and spoke of the him as the Messiah to many people.

The Epistle reading from the prophecy of Malachi speaks of the Messiah coming to the Temple of the Lord to purge and to save. “The Lord whom you [Simeon & Anna] seek shall suddenly come to his temple…”

The reason why there has been a profuse use of candles in the keeping of this festival over the centuries is simple. It is to proclaim by visible sign the words uttered by Simeon concerning Jesus, “ a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.”

The Collect in The Book of Common Prayer (1662 & 1928) is ancient and comes from the Latin through the history of the Western Church into English for the English Prayer Book of the sixteenth century. True to the original intention of the Feast, the whole emphasis in this prayer is upon Jesus, who was the center of attention in the Temple on his fortieth day. It is the commemoration of the first appearance of the Lord of the temple in the temple, that temple which he came to love, from where in his boyhood he found it so difficult to tear himself away, and the very temple that he honoured so highly as to cleanse twice during his ministry (John 2:13-18 & Matthew 21:12-13).

Of course, Mary, his mother, is there in the background, for after all she had given birth to the Messiah and, as a faithful Jewess, she had to offer sacrifice for her own ritual purification after giving birth to her first-born son. This is why in the West the feast has been also named for her.

Let us now turn to the actual content of the Collect.

"Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty." God the Father is both all-powerful and all-alive. He is not merely everlasting but everliving. And he is “Majesty,” a most appropriate word here as what is being remembered actually happened in the temple of Jerusalem, the LORD’s earthly palace in the time of the old covenant. He is the “great King over all the earth” (Psalm 47:2). Did not Isaiah see “the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” with the train of his robe filling the whole temple (Isaiah 6: 1)?

"That, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh." As Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God, One Person made known in two natures, divine and human, he is both of one substance with the Father and also of one substance with us. He shares our human nature, our humanity, our flesh and blood. As the infant of 40 days he appeared in the temple as boy, as human, as flesh, but Simeon and Anna were given eyes to see also that he was/is the Son of God who has taken to himself our human flesh.

"So we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts." We fervently ask the Father for the sake of his Son and by his Holy Spirit to assist us in our self-examination and penitence that we may know his forgiveness and cleansing, and thus approach him with purified hearts.

Perhaps here we can think of infant baptism followed later by confirmation and whole-hearted commitment to the Lord and his work. In such baptism we are presented by sponsors/godparents and then later we take unto ourselves the promises they made for us and we receive the strengthening of the Lord in order to be full and active members of his Church.

The ending of the Collect, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is the only use of “by” in the Collects of the editions of the Prayer Book from 1549 to 1662 in this way. Usually it is “through Jesus Christ.” Perhaps it was directed against any idea of addressing intercession to the Blessed Virgin Mary by making it absolutely clear that Jesus is the sole and only Mediator between God and man.

One final comment. As the festival occurs in Epiphany, the season wherein the emphasis is upon the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, at his Baptism, and in other ways, it fits into this theme, being his earliest manifestation inside the house of his heavenly Father.

The Rev'd Dr Peter Toon

unity in worship! which worship?

from Fr Kim's email list (
Bp Bookhart of Montana told a reporter:

<< "It's not that everybody believes the same things morally or theologically for that matter — it's that we all agree on our same form of worship," he added. >>

A friend comments -

Does "same form of worship" mean using the '79 Book of Prayer? If so, the statement is not quite true, as there are so many forms in that Book. As Dr. Peter Toon has often noted, calling it an "Alternative Book of Services" would have been much more appropriate.

The more significant question raised by the above: if worshippers don't believe the same things morally or theologically, who (or what) are they worshipping?
<< While the course of events has unfolded more on a national level, The Right Rev. C. Franklin Brookhart, Episcopal Bishop of Montana, said the state diocese and local Episcopal churches are feeling a ripple effect as attendance drops and local parishioners look to their clergy for help in sorting through the controversy.>>

How sad - some people never quite get it!! Lord have mercy....

A church dividing?
By LAURA TODE - IR Staff Writer - 01/29/04

The ordination of an openly gay Episcopal bishop forced a wedge in the Episcopal Church as more conservative members denounced the decision and moved to create what they call a church within a church.

While the course of events has unfolded more on a national level, The Right Rev. C. Franklin Brookhart, Episcopal Bishop of Montana, said the state diocese and local Episcopal churches are feeling a ripple effect as attendance drops and local parishioners look to their clergy for help in sorting through the controversy.

According to Brookhart, the group behind a new "church within a church" movement, which would essentially split the Episcopal Church in the United States, is the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the international Anglican Communion, and the Network emerged from the longtime conservative American Anglican Council, a once-informational group within the Episcopal Church that emerged about 15 years ago to counterbalance an emerging liberal movement in the church.

The orthodox Network was formed after the ordination of the bishop of New Hampshire, V. Gene Robinson, who is openly gay. Since then, the Network has grown to include bishops, clergy and parishioners from 12 of the church's 106 dioceses.

The group, which has since drafted a charter and theological statement of belief, makes up less than 10 percent of the Episcopal Church, Brookhart said.

The Network's attempt to form a church within a church is in response to a legal issue that would prohibit secession by any Episcopal churches from the nationally organized church. If any church decides to break away from the Episcopal denomination, it would be forced to forfeit all church property, including buildings, foundations and investments; clergy would also lose their salary and pensions.

In Montana, Brookhart said two churches have expressed interest in the Network, with one priest taking up the cause and several parishioners joining the new church within a church movement.

While Brookhart said he is not in favor of Robinson's ordination, he said he views the actions of the Network and the American Anglican Council as schismatic — forcing a wedge into the Episcopal Church, which has always been open to opposing viewpoints.

Brookhart describes the Episcopal Church as a "broad church" in terms of the range of viewpoints held among church leaders and parishioners. Still, Brookhart said, the church has remained strong in its sense of community.

"It's not that everybody believes the same things morally or theologically for that matter — it's that we all agree on our same form of worship," he added.

Montana is no exception. According to Brookhart, the state's Episcopal priests are not aligned in their stand on Robinson's ordination, and don't always agree on the interpretation of scriptures that some believe condemn the gay lifestyle. But Brookhart said, as far as he's concerned, those differences in opinion are OK.

Brookhart said the way he reads the scriptures, the Bible condemns the gay lifestyle.

"But I'm not interested in tolerating in any way abuse, prejudice or injustice toward gay people," Brookhart added. "The Episcopal church welcomes gay people."

Brookhart and Robinson are friends; close enough that Brookhart said he has had the chance to discuss the issue with Robinson and tell him that he disagrees with the church's decision to ordain him as a bishop.

"I can support him as a fellow Christian and as a fellow believer, but there is this aspect of his behavior — and I emphasize behavior, not being — that causes me concern," Brookhart said.

Over the coming weeks, Brookhart has planned a series of meetings across the state to explain his position on the issue, and to discuss with clergy and parishioners the ongoing national discussion surrounding the controversy.

The Episcopal Church has always been progressive in addressing current issues, and does so openly in a public forum, Brookhart explained.

"It looks messy, but the truth is we are discussing what we believe the will of God to be," he said.

With Episcopalians confused and concerned, Brookhart said he hopes that tradition of openness continues with the Montana meetings. Attendance and offerings have dropped at churches across the state, Brookhart said.

Still, Brookhart believes the Episcopal Church will continue, despite the controversy, but sorting out differences could take years.

"We are going to come through this together, basically together and basically okay, but it's going to be a while," Brookhart said.

Until then, Brookhart has encouraged his clergy and church members to concentrate on love and unity, the virtues central to the New Testament.

"Whatever we do we need to do it together in love," he said.

Reporter Laura Tode can be reached at 447-4081 or by e-mail at

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Important Announcement --- The PBS grows a new leg

(Note: due to problems with our server, this announcement is appearing here; it will be on our front page shortly--jg)

The Board of the Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A. has resolved to seek by God’s help and guidance to bring into being:


There is no intention whatsoever that this fellowship shall be a denomination or an ecclesial jurisdiction.

Rather, the plan is that this fellowship promoted by the Prayer Book Society of the USA will be:

A voluntary association of parish churches, congregations and mission stations that are committed to the historic Anglican Way and united in using an edition of the classic Book of Common Prayer: e.g., the 1662 BCP, the 1928 BCP, or the 1962 Canadian BCP. It will be non-denominational and embrace the variety of Anglican groups.

The purpose is:

To create and to develop a means of contact and fellowship between churches from different jurisdictions and denominations in order primarily to encourage & support each other; and then, in fellowship, as the Lord leads and enables, to find in prayerful conversation and study improved ways to serve the Lord in such areas as worship, teaching, preaching, evangelism, church planting and music, and particularly how to commend the use of the classic BCP to others.

How it would work:

The churches – high and low, big and small – would be held together in the first instance by an annual meeting of representatives, a website, a mailing of a newsletter and by a semi-annual magazine.

The maintaining of the web-site, the production of the newsletter & magazine and the general administration would be initially provided by the Prayer Book Society until the Fellowship became mature enough to begin to provide its own minimal office space and organization.

The newsletter & magazine would be sent in bulk to the member churches for internal distribution there.

Each parish or congregation would pay an annual membership fee and having paid this, it would be eligible to send two representatives to the annual meeting of the Fellowship, where means would be gradually developed for the administering and growth of the Fellowship as need arose and opportunities came along.

It is probable that initially parishes of less than 50 members would pay $100.00, more than 50 but less than 100, $200.00, 100-200, $300.00, and over 200, $400.00 a year. For this they would receive bulk mailing of the newsletter and the magazine. (Initially these publications would be subsidized by the Prayer Book Society for the membership fee would not cover their costs while the Fellowship was small & growing.)

It is proposed that this Fellowship be inaugurated by Whitsuntide/Pentecost of 2004 and that the first annual meeting of reps from member churches be in 2005.

Hitherto the Prayer Book Society has been primarily a voluntary society of individual members. It has stood on this one leg for 30 years! Now it seeks to stand on two legs – providing both for individuals and for congregations.

In order to learn more and to become a member church, please call 1 800 PBS 1928 and leave your full name and address so that you can be contacted by a member of the Board.

January 28, 2004.

(The Revd Fr. David Kennedy, President, & the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon, Vice President)

Primates respond to an Anglican Communion Institute theologian

January 28, 2004

Response of Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini and Yong Ping Chung

We issue this Response, as archbishops of the Anglican Communion, to the January 2004 document written by The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner entitled "A call to accountability: the parable of the AMiA." The document demands a direct and clear response. It is incorrect in its facts and troubling in its spirit.

The author’s obvious and unwarranted hostility obscures his message, but it appears that he objects to three things: (i) some suggested refusal of accountability by the Anglican Mission in America, (ii) a perceived damage to the orthodox witness in the Diocese of Colorado and creation of obstacles faced by ECUSA’s opposition by the clergy and laity who are now in the Anglican Mission in America, and (iii) an asserted autonomous "self-ordering" by the Anglican Mission and its leaders.

We know that this error-filled document has recently been sent out all over the world on the Internet. It presents false allegations about the Anglican Mission in America and is full of distortions of the actual facts and gross misrepresentations of the events related to the founding and existence of the Anglican Mission in America. It is an attack by a parish priest in Colorado upon the actions and motives of three archbishops (++Tay and ourselves, ++Kolini and ++Yong) of the Anglican Communion. We – as the sponsoring archbishops of the Anglican Mission in America – reply to this "parable" in the name of honesty.

From the very beginning under the direct oversight of two Anglican Communion archbishops, the AMiA has concentrated and focused on the Gospel work we, as Christians, are called by God to do. We have sought not to get involved in criticizing and slandering the work and policy of other orthodox bodies. Though we have not been perfect in this regard, it is the desire of our heart. We want to work together. Despite the difference in approach and policy, we – as the Anglican Mission’s two primates - keep urging and exploring ways for orthodox groups in the United States to so work together for the sake of the Gospel. The battle in America is bigger than any one of us can do.

Let it be clearly and strongly stated that since its inception in July 2000, the Anglican Mission in America has been under our primatial authority. Its leadership has been accountable to us. It is beyond our comprehension that anyone at this point could be questioning that reality. The fact is that many of our colleagues who urged delay in a response to the crisis in ECUSA have since acknowledged that our action was necessary. In addition, the international understanding, encouragement and support for the Anglican Mission in America and its reason for existence continue to grow.

Blaming AMiA for the state of orthodox Anglican witness in the United States is inconceivable. Should we ask orthodox clergy to submit to a corrupt institution and weak or apostate bishops? Let it be said that the Anglican Mission in America is our response to the unilateral actions by the Episcopal Church in the United States over the last forty years in drifting away from the authority of Holy Scripture and the centrality of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. The blame for that which is happening in ECUSA and in the Anglican Communion should be placed at the feet of those in ECUSA who have turned away from Biblical Truth and the counsel of Lambeth 1998.

This attack on the Anglican Mission in America is based, in its essence, upon the tired, old arguments of institutional unity over Scriptural Truth, and, as such, we believe that it is simply wrong. Archbishop Tay has stated that "Biblical unity must come from being in Christ." I (Kolini) have said that "Biblical unity is found only at the foot of the Cross. The Gospel and its commands come first, then unity."

The charge of autonomous "self-ordering" by those faithful Christians in the Anglican Mission in America is both offensive and inaccurate. Those who have taken the time to meet with the godly men and women who have taken up this challenge know the truth. Those who, for whatever personal reasons, choose to slander the character of others say more about themselves than those they would harm by their words.

The document by Dr. Radner is not a "parable." It is a scandalous broadside attack against orthodox and faithful Christians within the Anglican Communion who took action in January 2000, almost four years ago to the very day in the consecration of missionary bishops, to provide a way for faithful Christians to remain in the Anglican Communion. The members of the Anglican Mission in America – at all levels - have taken seriously the admonitions of the New Testament (some of which are contained in Attachment One) to keep away false teachers, be not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, to come out and be separate from those who are not of God and to condemn (i.e., anathema) such. To attack these bold Christians who have sought to follow these Scriptural commands is not helpful. The document in question is apparently shaded by a personal bias and misunderstanding of the purposes by someone who was not a party to the events surrounding the founding of the Anglican Mission in America in July 2000.

It is of interest that Dr. Radner has publicly expressed in his statements at previous SEAD Conferences in Charleston, SC that the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s was a mistake. Therefore, many of his present comments are understandable in light of this unfortunate perspective, the essence of which is that institutional unity should be paramount above doctrinal orthodoxy. These comments against the Protestant Reformation from an Episcopal priest, benefiting from that very Reformation, are inconsistent at best.

It must be also noted that for Radner to compare ECUSA’s lack of discipline of apostasy and heterodox teachings and actions to the founding and Gospel-mission of the Anglican Mission is simply absurd. We must ask: Who is he – a parish priest in Colorado – to take it upon himself to attempt in such a public and provocative manner to make such an outrageous and erroneous accusation? In any event, the Anglican Mission is not a rejection of Christian accountability, but rather a personification of it under our primatial authority and accountable to us.

As the arcbishops of the Anglican Mission in America, we believe that blatant false teaching and doctrine as well as practice should not be accommodated by remaining in fellowship with those who espouse such. Efforts at drawing analogies from the Old Testament or 16th and 17th century history should not thwart what Holy Scripture admonishes. The foundation of the Anglican Mission in America is Biblical and in fact agrees very much with the witness of the Early Church.


The consecrations of Bishops Rodgers and Murphy were foreshadowed in the letter produced at the international meeting in Kampala in November 1999 of archbishops and their representatives from nine or ten Anglican Provinces. I (Kolini) chaired that very meeting. The letter statement resulting from that Kampala meeting clearly stated that "We assure you, too, that among us are those ready to respond to specific and urgent situations which may arise in the months before the Primates’ Meeting in Portugal from 23rd to 28th March. Parishes and clergy under threat because of their loyalty to the Gospel and to Anglican standards must be supported, and we will play our part in such support."

The pleas for intervention continued after the Kampala Meeting. In addition, the report of the fact-finding bishops to Presiding Bishop Griswold’s invitation to "come and see" became public in December 1999 after that Kampala Meeting; it was, according to The Church of England Newspaper, "damning" of ECUSA. Archbishop Tay and I (Kolini) acted in response to these continued pleas and the worsening situation in ECUSA.

I (Kolini) chaired those meetings, and I sat in on all of the conversations – both among everyone and privately along with Archbishop Tay among the Primates. I (Kolini) was also one of the consecrators in Singapore in the end of January 2000. The statement from that meeting warned that if nothing was done soon that actions would be taken. Thus, for anyone who was not present to now claim otherwise as to what was forewarned and transpired is disingenuous.


On January 29, 2000, the consecrations of two American clergymen to become missionary bishops of the Province of Rwanda to the United States took place at the hands of Archbishops Tay and myself (Kolini) as well as three other bishops of the Anglican Communion from two other countries than ours. This was a pastoral effort to help keep good Christians who were leaving ECUSA within the Anglican Communion and to charge them to carry out our Lord’s Great Commission. Many would have left the Anglican Communion altogether but for the establishment of the Anglican Mission in America.

The Anglican Mission in America was not established until six months later in July 2000 at a meeting in Amsterdam. We were there. We insisted on accountability and have received it at all times since then. Also, it is noteworthy that present in Amsterdam and supportive of the endeavor was The Most Rev’d Harry Goodhew, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan of the ECUSA Diocese of Pittsburgh who is now the Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.

Let us be clear in light of Radner’s premise, since both the consecrations in January 2000 and the founding of the AMiA in July 2000, every congregation and all clergy have been under our oversight. The Anglican Mission is not "self-ordering," as erroneously asserts. The congregations and clergy of the Anglican Mission in America are accountable to us! To declare or to imply otherwise is wrong.


Additionally, Radner should know – but fails to acknowledge – that there is nothing "tenuous," as his incorrect terminology would lead one to think, about the ties between the AMiA and the Province of Rwanda. Prior to the consecrations of January 29, 2000, the House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda approved at its meetings on January 13-14, 2000 "to have Missionary Bishops in place to see that the negative forces that prohibit God’s flock (Christians) from coming to know Jesus." This Resolution followed a September 1999 Resolution supporting me (Kolini) in my "struggle against those who do not believe that the Scriptures are the true Word of God." Radner owes the House of Bishops in the Province of Rwanda an apology for his misleading statements.

Furthermore, the bishops of the Anglican Mission in America are seated missionary bishops in the House of Bishops of the Province of Rwanda. The Anglican Mission in America is fully supported by me (Kolini) as its archbishop, by the House of Bishops of our Province and by the Provincial Synod of the Province of Rwanda. It is pertinent that there are more Anglicans worshiping on Sundays in my (Kolini) tiny nation of Rwanda (with a population today of about 7,000,000 since the genocide of 1994) than in ECUSA in the huge United States with a population almost forty times that size.

Also, the "parable" overlooks the reality that the synod of South East Asia, by its Resolution of February 26, 2000 in firmly upholding the 1998 Lambeth Resolutions 111.1, 111.5 and 1.10 on Biblical Authority and Morality, respected the principles upon which Bishop Tay had acted in the consecrations of January 2000. The Province of South East Asia recognized that "the AMiA is placed directly under the Most Reverend Datuk Yong Ping Chung, the Archbishop of the Province [though not formally involving the Province of South East Asia." Thus, I (++Yong) am authorized to provide oversight to the Anglican Mission as well.


It is appropriate at this point to note that the purpose of the Anglican Mission in America exists to glorify God and to serve, grow and multiply local churches that love Jesus Christ and reach the world He died to save (John 3:16-17; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:14-47). The goal is to so glorify God by building an alliance of congregations in America which are committed to gathering, planting and serving dynamic churches in the Anglican tradition. The AMiA is not focused upon the institutional and church politics of ECUSA. The Anglican Mission is seeks to so glorify God by building an alliance of congregations in America which are committed to gathering, planting and serving dynamic churches in the Anglican tradition. The focus is upon the 130,000,000 unchurched Americans who make up the largest English-speaking mission field in the entire world.


Radner would do well to read some of the recent endorsements of support from Primates of the Anglican Communion for the growing work and expanding witness of the Anglican Mission in America. For example, The Most Rev’d Dr. Diropka Balufuga Fidele, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Congo and Bishop of Bukavu and Kinshasa Dioceses, has this month written as follows:

"We come here to bring to you the support of the House of Bishops and the Christians of Congo, not just the Anglicans, but all the confessing Christians of Congo, for your courage, having stood firm in the traditional faith of the Anglican Church, and in the doctrinal foundation: The Bible ...."

"The Archbishops Emmanuel Mbona Kolini and Yong Ping Chung were also persecuted [d]ue to their support of the creation of AMiA (which defends a just cause) ... AMiA courageously followed the right path and today we see the results. We must courageously reject all that is against the Word of God and seek His will."

"The initiative of AMiA is a prophetic vision. Today’s sad events in ECUSA seek to break a communion that has been built for five centuries, through the living out of the Christian orthodox faith, based on the Bible. My hope is that the missionary work of AMiA and all those who choose the orthodox faith will save the Anglican Communion ...."

"I also want to once again reassure you of our sincere support, our prayers and our hope for the success of this winter conference [January 14-18,] 2004. Our great hope is to see AMiA prosper and become a powerful instrument of mission and witness to the Risen Christ in the United States and around the world. May the work of the Holy Spirit continue to be visible in AMiA ministry."

The understanding of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Congo and their Archbishop comfort us at times of attacks like this being leveled against us. We very much appreciate Archbishop Diropka’s support and prayers as well as those of the House of Bishops in the Province of the Congo.


Radner goes on to muse that the "evangelical ravages cannot be to embrace some alternative autonomy." This statement needs to be placed in perspective.

The Anglican Communion is in a period of realignment. Such is quite clear for all to see from the actions deemed necessary by numerous seated Archbishops and/or their Provinces, of which at least nine have now declared broken or impaired communion with ECUSA. As a result, the Provinces of Rwanda and South East Asia do not stand alone in offering orthodox spiritual covering for faithful Anglicans in the United States:
- Radner is also implicitly criticizing the work of the largest Province of the Anglican Communion, Nigeria, in its establishment of the Church of Nigeria in the United States.
- Radner is implicitly criticizing the work of the Province of South India which has for decades sponsored churches in the United States.
- Radner is implicitly criticizing Archbishop Bernard Malango of the Province of Central Africa for providing an ecclesiastical haven for a persecuted priest and congregation from a heretical bishop in the United States.
- Radner is implicitly criticizing the Archbishop of Kenya for also providing spiritual covering for clergy and congregation in the United States.
- Radner is further implicitly criticizing the steps by the Province of the Southern Cone and the Diocese of Bolivia in recently providing oversight for two congregations in the United States.
Radner has been selective in his criticism, but his reasoning is at odds with the efforts of many in the Global South to hear and to respond to the cries for help by the orthodox faithful in his country.

The historical underpinnings of Radner’s positions against both the Protestant Reformation and the Anglican Mission in America are misguided. Radner seems not to realize that the practice of overlapping jurisdictions is not foreign to Anglican polity and was not introduced by Archbishop Moses Tay and me (Kolini) in consecrating as Bishops John H. Rodgers, Jr and Charles H. Murphy III in January 2000 and in the subsequent founding of the Anglican Mission in America in July 2000.

Overlapping jurisdictions have existed in the Anglican world since 1745. Furthermore, the 1968 Lambeth Conference declared: "the demands of a new age suggest the wisdom of also consecrating bishops without territorial jurisdiction but with pastoral responsibility." Bishops should not be territorial monarchs, but pastors to specific people wherever they may live. For over 300 years, there have been multiple jurisdictions, over-lapping jurisdiction and bishops for people of different races, cultures, theologies and political parties. The British Parliament long ago set into place laws authorizing two Anglican Churches in one locale. Attachment Two discusses this matter in some detail. The current examples of over-lapping or non-geographic bishops and jurisdictions are numerous.


In mentioning at length the situation in Colorado to try to make some sort of case for remaining in an apostate institution, Radner overlooks specific Scriptural admonitions in this regard. Some important Scriptures are contained in Attachment One to this Response. Surely Radner is not placing holding together one apostate, man-made institution above the call to follow these Scriptural admonitions?

As to Colorado, we have been told that this same Diocese – before the AMiA was even established and before any Colorado clergy left to join it - voted down the Lambeth 1998 Resolutions on Biblical authority and human sexuality. This is not, in our estimation, the actions of "a moderately conservative diocese," as Radner would lead one to believe.

Additionally, Radner has his facts wrong when he states about the Anglican Mission that "initially they had no [bishops] in America" to whom the local Colorado clergy could be accountable. Radner fails to understand the plain facts that:

- The consecrations of Bishops Rodgers and Murphy in Singapore took place in January 2000.
- The Anglican Mission in America was not founded until July 2000.
- No Colorado clergy left ECUSA for the Anglican Mission until after the General Convention of ECUSA in July of 2000.
- Since its inception, the AMiA clergy and churches have been under our authority and accountable to us.

Thus, Radner’s argument in this regard as well is without merit.


Radner incredulously comes to the opinion that "the AMiA represents, therefore, one aspect of ECUSA’s and the Communion’s internal malaise." Of all the things that can be said about the Anglican Mission in America, contributing to any "malaise" within ECUSA and the Anglican Communion is not one of them.

Radner mentions in his document that accountability involves being "charitable." However, we see no charity in the pejorative language he uses in his "parable." Throughout he uses inflammatory language. This is sad.

We also find it quite interesting that Radner references "mutual accusations and recriminations" when it is he who has participated in these very acts since 2000 and is still doing so in his document of January 2004, almost four years after the Singapore consecrations. We would encourage him to live into the Kingdom Norms which he signed and is dated November 29, 2000 of "honoring one another’s ministries in word and deed, even where disagreement exists," "to consulting personally where malice is alleged or perceived" and "to not speak ill of one another" as well as "to working together in mission." It is time to cease attacking those who have left an apostate institution in accordance with the above Scripture admonitions and in order to seek to carry out the mission of the Gospel and its Great Commission. The issue should be Christian faithfulness, not institutional or political repercussions.

We would hope that Radner could let go of his obvious anger over these long-past events and move forward with us in the Gospel mission of the orthodox in the United States. We invite him to do so. Preaching unity while sowing seeds of division serves no godly purpose.

This Response has been written to set the record straight regarding the Anglican Mission in America in the face of the false allegations, the distortions of the truth and the gross misrepresentations contained in The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner’s "A call to accountability: the parable of the AMiA." We have sought to clarify matters for those who may have read that document.

In Christ,

The Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini.
Archbishop of Rwanda and Bishop of the Diocese of Kigali

The Most Rev’d Yong Ping Chung,
Archbishop of South East Asia and Bishop of the Diocese of Sabah


Galatians 1:6-8: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

Romans 16:17-18: "I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people, are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naïve people."

II Corinthians 6:14-7:1: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. "I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

II Thessalonians 3:6: "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us."

II John 7-11: "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work."

Isaiah 5:20: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter."


It is observed in "An Apologetic for the Anglican Mission in America: The Basis of Anglican Unity: Territory or Faith?" that in 1745, Parliament recognized two Anglican churches in Scotland. One church was the Scottish Episcopal Church; the other was the Church of England in Scotland. The House of Lords in 1849 debated whether the chapels in Scotland using the Church of England Prayer Book may have their own hierarchy. The Scottish bishops asked Parliament to discipline the English and Irish bishops who supported the English chapels in Scotland. Parliament declined to do either. It noted that the law allowed two Anglican jurisdictions in Scotland, each in communion with the Church of England. English and Irish bishops provided Episcopal oversight, on theological grounds, for these chapels until 1923 when the separation ended. In 1871 a legal opinion was given on the question as to, "Whether a Bishop who has held a See in England, Ireland, India or the Colonies will, in accepting the office of Bishop over the congregations of members of the Church of England, protected and allowed in Scotland, commit any Act of Secession or Disqualification in reference to the Church of England?" The answer provided was that it would not.
As the Apologetic also reports at length, canon law, custom, history and tradition clearly support the method of sending missionary bishops from one part of the Communion into another.

Current examples of over-lapping or non-geographic bishops and jurisdictions include:

§ England/Wales: The Provincial Episcopal Visitor or "Flying Bishop" program. This allows a parish to seek alternate episcopal oversight for reasons of theology.
§ Australia: The Diocese of Sydney has planted parishes in neighboring dioceses, retaining oversight and jurisdiction.
§ Bishops for the Armed Forces in the United States and Australia exercise non-geographic oversight of military and prison chaplains.
§ New Zealand/Aotearoa: Five Maori dioceses, created for the indigenous people of this area, overlap the seven dioceses created for the descendants of European settlers.
§ South Africa: The Order of Ethiopia maintains parishes independent of its system in the Province.
§ United States: The Church of South India (CSI) has 20 parishes in the United States and Canada with oversight held by the Moderator of the CSI
§ Arabian Gulf: The Church of Pakistan sent a missionary bishop to the Arabian Gulf to work with expatriate Pakistanis in the diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. The CSI also maintains parishes in the Gulf under the oversight of the Bishop in Kerala.
§ The American Church has a diocese in Europe and the Church of England has its own diocese in Europe. These are in addition to the Portuguese and Spanish national Churches. One can attend an American Cathedral in Paris or an English Cathedral in Paris.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Distinctives of the Anglican Way

(a discussion starter for concerned and committed Anglicans in the USA)

The Anglican Way is the Reformed Catholic Faith & Polity as it was received, experienced and stated by the Church of England in the period from 1549 to 1662. It represents an attempt by a National Church to recover the Faith and Polity of the Early Church by setting aside accretions of doctrine, discipline and worship, especially of the medieval period. This Faith & Polity is based on the Holy Scriptures and is expressed in liturgical and doctrinal form in three Formularies – the Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and The Ordinal [all three of these have been bound together as one book since 1662].

By colonization and by missionary work this Faith & Polity spread around the world, and so now there is the Anglican Communion of Churches, some 38 self-governing national or regional Churches. What has united the Churches apart from a common heritage and links to Britain has been the acceptance of at least two of the classic Formularies (some constitutions only declare the classic BCP & ordinal).

In terms of commitment to the authority of Scripture and the doctrine of the Creeds (Apostles’ & Nicene) the Anglican has no disagreement with the Presbyterian or the Lutheran. In terms of the availability of gifts of the Spirit from the exalted Lord of the Church, the Anglican need have no disagreement with the Charismatic or Pentecostalist. In terms of the centrality of the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day for the Lord’s people the Anglican need have no disagreement with the Roman Catholic.

However, in the providence of God and particularly since the mid 16th century, there have been differences of worship, doctrine and discipline between Anglicans on the one hand and Presbyterians, Lutherans and Roman Catholics on the other. This may be expressed another way in terms of Anglican distinctives, those principles which set Anglicans apart, not as superior or inferior Christians, but rather as different in worship, doctrine and polity from their brethren in Christ of other traditions.

The polity of the Anglican is of the National Church and then of the fellowship between and amongst National [or regional] Churches of the same faith and practice. Within each Church there is a college of bishops, together with presbyters and deacons under their rule. Over the international Communion of Churches there is no Pope or Patriarch. Thus the Polity is different from the R C Polity and in some regards like the Polity of the Orthodox Churches.

The worship of the Anglican is according to a set Liturgy and historically this has been found in The Book of Common Prayer. In the post 1970 period there has been added to this classic BCP, collections of alternative services in modern language. The doctrine of the latter is normally required to conform to that in the classic Formularies. In all this change a distinctive of the Anglican Way remains that of being a Church which uses liturgy – old or new – which is stable and printed and which is intended to be more than the mere local expression of local feelings and concerns. The Liturgy is intended to be catholic and adapted to local needs (e.g., in the music and intercessory prayers).

The doctrine of the Anglican is meant to be (as expressed through space and time) the same basic dogmas and doctrines as believed, taught and confessed in and by the Early Church. Thus the importance of the Creeds and the rulings of the early Ecumenical Councils. The Services within The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal sought to reflect this doctrinal emphasis and content. There is, however, one further element in the Formularies which may be regarded as a faithful development of doctrine articulated during the Protestant Reformation. This is the doctrine of justification by faith – that a sinner is saved not by his works or good intentions but by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and being reckoned by God the Father as righteous in Christ by the merits of Christ, the Saviour.

It is important to state that the content of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral is not intended to be a statement of the distinctives of the Anglican Way. Rather, it is intended to be the basic negotiating standard for union of Anglican National Churches with say Lutheran or Methodist or Presbyterian Churches.

And the so-called Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion (e.g., the Meeting of Primates annually and of all Bishops every ten years) are not meant to replace the Formularies as the basis of unity, merely to emphasize the means by which unity amongst diverse Churches can be practically maintained.

With respect to the disordered state of the Anglican Way in the USA, it is probably the case that there cannot and there will not be a growing together into unity by those who call themselves Anglican in the USA (i.e., those within and those outside the ECUSA in a variety of associations and federations) until each group returns to the basic distinctives of the Anglican Way with genuine informed and zealous commitment and, in so doing, treats its other emphases (e.g., excessive anglo-catholic claims and devotion or excessive Presbyterian-like views of Episcopacy or abandoning of liturgy in favour of ex tempore type worship) as belonging only to that group and not of general adoption.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge

The Banality of the English Translation of the Latin Services

Patient friends,

Those who are concerned about the poor quality of the English used in translations of the Latin Mass since 1970 in the R C Church should read, I am advised;

"Theological Principles that guided the Redaction of the Roman Missal" by Lauren Pristas in THE THOMIST Vol.67, 2003.

From this article they will learn that first of all the Latin text created in 1969/70 was an inferior one and from this bad foundation have also sprung bad translations. (Anglicans also know that their R C brethren set in this period a bad example of banality which regrettably was followed in much liturgical writing and bible translating by English-speaking Anglicans & Protestants!)

Happily the Congregation for Divine Worship in the Vatican is looking into this matter of the quality of the Latin and of the translations from it thoroughly.

If anyone can get a photocopy of this essay for me I shall be most grateful. Maybe it is on line at a website, but I do not know where to look.


The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle: Romans 12:6-16 Gospel: John 2:1-11 (BCP1662, not 1928)

In addressing, God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, the Church recalls that not only is this Lord God the Creator of all that is, but he is also the sovereign ruler of all that is. He governs all things in his providence and does so in such a way as to allow for the exercise of the wills of human beings, even when they rebel against his law.

Since the Lord our God does actually rule and guide all things at all times in all places, then he can hear the petitions, prayers and supplications of his people wherever they be within his created order, and whatever language they speak. So it is most appropriate for the Church to ask him in his great mercy and compassion to hear the prayers of his people, whether they are private or public, uttered or unexpressed.

One supplication that Christians make daily (see the Second Collect for Morning & Evening Prayer) is for the peace of God, the peace that is experienced deep in the soul and that passes understanding, remaining there in trial and tribulation. Christians need God’s peace not one day or one week, but all the days of their life on this earth, where they are pilgrims and sojourners, labourers and ambassadors, servants and soldiers for the kingdom of heaven. Further, they hope for peace on earth and good will towards men, as the angels sang.

And all prayer, private and public, arises to the Father Almighty by one route, through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, and by the energising presence and power of the Holy Ghost, who dwells in the souls of true believers.

The Epistle reminds the congregation of the spiritual gifts given unto it from the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit. They are to be used to manifest and make known Jesus, his Gospel and his way of life.

The Gospel continues the great theme of Epiphany, the Manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah, Saviour and Son of the Father. By the miracle of the turning of water into wine, Jesus performs a sign which points to his real and true identity. He shows himself to be – in the words of the dogma of the Church – One Person made known in two Natures, divine and human. Jesus is obviously a person to whom Mary speaks and whom Mary knows well, her Son. Yet the miracle reveals that he is a complex Person, more than Man while also being Man. He reveals the Father.

The Manifestation of the identity of Jesus at the first miracle in Cana of Galilee is linked in Christian celebration with his Manifestation when visited by the Magi and when he was baptized by John in the Jordan. On all three occasions his true identity was made known and manifested in Epiphany.


The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge

Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Episcopalian Preference

In FIRST THINGS (November 2003), there is a good essay by Philip Turner entitled, “The Episcopalian Preference.” It attempts to identify the background to the choice and consecration of a “gay” man as the Bishop of New Hampshire by the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. There are some very important insights in this essay and there are a couple of major omissions.


1. The Episcopal Church from the 1960s presented itself as an enlightened alternative to the moral and theological rigidities of Rome and the enthusiasm of evangelical Protestantism. It embraced an enlightened religion tuned into the latest trends within secular, liberal culture. So, it is not surprising that the notorious & heretical Bishop James Pike of California was neither prosecuted nor disciplined in the late 1960s by the House of Bishops or by the General Convention of the Church. Gone by the 1960s was the notion of this Church as the Bridge between Rome and Geneva, Rome and Wittenberg.

2. The office of Bishop began to be used from around 1970 as a prophetic lever or instrument to pry or to shake people free from the incrusted and outdated doctrines and positions of the past. The illegal ordination of women in 1974 and then the illegal ordination of “gay” women and men from 1977 onwards were examples of actions by bishops claiming to act prophetically to relieve the oppressed and downtrodden. In fact, the ordination of women and then of sexually-active homosexual persons became a “justice” issue to be taken up and furthered by a “prophetic” episcopate.

3. The Episcopal Church has absorbed a new kind of innovative, western morality where each human being is seen as an individual, who is wholly unique, as a self that has a particular history and needs, and as a person who has particular rights that allow him/her to express his/her individuality and to pursue well being. And for human being as moral agents who see themselves as individuals, selves and persons, sexuality becomes, along with money, both a marker of identity and a primary way of expressing the preferences that define identity. Therefore, what is called “sexual orientation” and its expression are seen as very important in the new moral order.

4. The sirens of modern sound so sweet to the Episcopal Church because it has lost a full sense of the transcendence God and has majored on the immanence of God, so that its theology is either pantheism (the mind or essence of the world is God) or possibly panentheism (the world is included within the being of God). Thus the standard type of sermon is as follows: “God is love; God’s love is inclusive; God acts in justice to ensure that everyone (all types) are included; we should work with God as co-actors and co-creators in this great drama in making the world what She/He desires it to be.”

5. The God of the Episcopal Church is the Image of the ideal society that the new moral order points to – the inclusion of preference. God is the all inclusive one. She/He is loving inclusion, the affirming of preferences, and that is all – no hatred of sin and loving of holiness and righteousness! The God of this Church is simply an idol, the projection of the new moral and social order, worshipped by the members.


The adoption of a new Liturgy in the 1970s and the calling of it by the name reserved in history and within the Anglican family for a unique type of prayer book. Instead of calling its production of a collection of new services by a title that was true to the contents – A Book of New Services, or A Book of Alternative Services – the Episcopal Church committed an act of piracy and used the name of the very Book that it ceased to authorize and use, The Book of Common Prayer. Here was a defiant act against the moral order of truth and against the Anglican way of sacred tradition and usage. This act of piracy had repercussions which still affect negatively the Episcopal Church for it has strengthened the commitment to enlightenment and rebellion against the God of “our fathers”.

The symbolic power of the ordination of women, at first illegal and then legal from 1976, to show that received divine order was being overthrown and a new order, that of autonomy to choose this or that innovation and to prefer this or that scheme, had arrived. Had the ordination of women not occurred as it did then there would not have been, hard on its heels, the ordination of active, homosexual persons. Neither would the cry for non-excluding or inclusive language for humanity and then for God had reached the pitch that it did in the 1990s.

I do recommend this Essay for serious reading by those who are trying to understand what has happened to the Episcopal Church which had 4.5 million members in 1965 and now has short of 2 million, when the population of the USA has gown by 25 per cent or more.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge

Southern Cone (South America) Writes To ECUSA

The Most Reverend Frank Tracy Griswold
Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

8th January 2004

Dear +Frank,

This comes with a prayerful greeting from the Southern Cone in Jesus’ name.

As you can see from the attached statement, the decision of ECUSA to consecrate Gene Robinson, a person sexually active outside marriage, and to declare by resolution that same-sex blessings are "in bounds," has left us no choice but to recognize the situation which you have created. That is one of a profound impairment of communion.

Our deep sadness comes on two fronts. First of all, you have done what you had no right to do. You have represented as God's blessing your promotion of an unbiblical agenda. You must know that the overwhelming majority of the people in this province view that as absolutely scandalous. Our concern is very great for those who embrace the deception you foster. Spiritually, it is a terrible place to be.

In addition, you should know that many of us in the provinces you obviously consider to be of little consequence are also deeply offended at the arrogant, strident and unilateral action ECUSA has taken. This is doubly problematic because you personally have been so critical of your own government's failure to be collaborative in international affairs. Is stridence only a problem when you happen to disagree with the action? Could you not at least have discussed your convictions and underlying principles with your fellow primates before the final steps were taken?

With deep regret, I must also inform you that the Province of the Southern Cone is designing a process for certification of missionaries. Candidates will have to demonstrate their commitment to orthodoxy in order to be acceptable for ministry here.

Surely by now, you must see the folly of what you have done. The implications are staggering. Hardly a day goes by without international mention of more consequences. It is my fervent hope that you will repent. The mercy of Jesus knows no limit.

I continue to pray that you will turn away from the course you have taken and turn to the "faith once delivered to the saints."

With great sorrow,


The Most Reverend Gregory James Venables
Primate of the Southern Cone

To ECUSA and the churches of the Anglican Communion from the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone of America.

In the Name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

The recent unilateral actions of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) in consecrating a bishop who is sexually active outside marriage, and the recognition of same-sex blessings have created a deeply painful and divisive situation and devastated our Christian witness. In the light of Tradition, it reveals a misinterpretation of the clear witness of God's Word and a deaf ear to the heartfelt pleas of the entire Communion. When the economically powerful church in America acts, it attracts worldwide attention; and despite repeated warnings, ECUSA's leaders have shown selfish indifference to the difficulties and confusion their actions have now brought this and other provinces.

Their action is a clear departure from the moral teaching, practice and common understanding of the Anglican Communion, clearly expressed by the Lambeth Conference of 1998. Following the example of Jesus we are open to all people, but we reject as sin those acts which separate us from God and from each other. ECUSA's action has forced painful division in the Communion and is a schism of their own making. Because by its precipitous action it has fomented needless division and denied the Tradition of the Church catholic, we believe that ECUSA cannot represent the Anglican Communion in any legitimate or moral sense.

As a consequence, this Province now shares only a profoundly impaired communion with ECUSA and, in faithfulness to the Word of God, we cannot accept this consecration as a valid one. Impaired communion means that we cannot share fellowship, ministry, Eucharist or gifts with those who have affirmed or participated in the consecration of Gene Robinson, nor with those who perform or permit blessings of same-sex unions outside historic Christian marriage, nor with any clergy who are sexually active outside marriage.

We give thanks to God for the bishops, clergy and laity of ECUSA who have stood firm against these unacceptable acts. We remain in full fellowship, ministry and Eucharistic celebration with them. At the same time we are deeply concerned about increasing reports of pressure and persecution against those who hold fast to the Scriptures and the historic faith through retributive applications of canonical and secular legal procedures. Missionaries desiring to serve in our Province must reject the erroneous decisions of ECUSA and must affirm traditional scriptural norms.

It is our hope and earnest prayer that ECUSA will come to its senses, repent and turn back from its schismatic actions; but without renouncing their present position there is little hope of it. As a Province we believe institutional unity in meaningless unless it is based in the truth of the Holy Scriptures.

May God have compassion on His church.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The First Sunday after the EPIPHANY

O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee: and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: Romans 12.1-5 The Gospel: St Luke 2.41-52

Having prayed since the Feast of the Epiphany to be given the grace to contemplate the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in heaven, five days later the Church makes two further and inter-connected petitions of her heavenly Father, the Lord our God, in the name of her Saviour and Mediator, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The first is that God will receive in mercy and compassion the desires, vows and prayers of his people who supplicate, with bended knee, before him. However, the Church does not ask God to answer them as asked, but rather to receive them and then in the judgment of his perfect wisdom and mercy to respond to them for the true good of his people. For, if God gave to his people merely what they desired and asked for, he would not be a merciful God, since we often desire and ask for that which is not for our short-term or long-term good!

The force of the verb “grant” in prayer is that of “give and supply for no other is able to do so.” Of God the Church asks that she will be inspired by the Holy Ghost to recognize and see what is her duty according to the divine will, and that, further, she will have the will and strength to perform that duty in its totality.

In relating to God, we need to know him, to perceive by his inspiration what is his will and then knowing the will, to perform and do the same. It is so easy for us to assume that our own best human wisdom and insights are in fact God’s will for us and his Church. Such an assumption is best avoided and in its place there should be a humble recognition that we need to know from God what is his purpose and plan, and then we need his help to fulfill the same!

The appointed Epistle calls for wholehearted commitment to the Lord and his service by each and every member of the congregation of Christ’s flock and that they all be conformed to his perfect will. The Gospel provides us with an example of the developing consecration of Jesus to the Father’s will and his growing sense of being uniquely the Father’s Son. Thus he is the One to whom we go in order to know and come to the same Father.

Because of the Gospel lesson, this Sunday is sometimes called “A Feast of the Holy Family”.

A final comment. If the original Latin prayer in the Gregorian Sacramentary had been translated literally by Archbishop Cranmer, it would have been something like this:

“O Lord, we beseech thee, regard with the compassion of a heavenly Father the fervent desires of thy people, who make their supplications unto thee, that they may both see what things ought to be done, and may have strength to fulfill what they see. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

It will be observed that each prayer seeks the same blessings from the one and the same Lord God.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge;
Vice-President of The Prayer Book Society of America

Friday, January 02, 2004

Twenty-Five years on: The Irish Church follows the liturgical innovation of the American Church

(The Rev’d Dr. Peter Toon, M.A., D.Phil., Oxon.
Minister of Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne’s, Brown Edge, Staffs.)

What is The Book of Common Prayer? The answer until recently was straightforward in the Anglican Communion of Churches. It is an edition in English or another language of that Prayer Book which was approved by King and Parliament in England in 1662 for use in the Church of England and in the British Empire. Later, each of the provinces of the Anglican Communion either prepared its own edition of the BCP 1662 to relate to the public realities of its region & culture, or it simply used the BCP 1662 itself.

From the 1970s another type of Prayer Book emerged in the Anglican Family, that which may be called “A Book of Alternative Services”. This contained multiple Rites for Holy Communion and several for the Daily Office. The Rites themselves were usually offered in both contemporary language and traditional language. In England we are familiar with this new genre through The Alternative Service Book (1980) replaced by Common Worship (2001).

Behind the scenes during the last thirty or so years there has been a determined effort by some liturgists and bishops in the West/North of the Anglican Communion to redefine “Common Prayer” (see for full details Chapter 2, “Common”, of my recent book, Common Worship Considered, a Liturgical Journey Examined, Edgeways Books, 2003). Because of the confidence generated by this process of redefining Common Prayer in terms of structure & shape with basic minimal ingredients, the Synods of some member Churches of the Anglican Communion have decided to transfer the title, “The Book of Common Prayer”, from the historic, classic editions of The Book of Common Prayer (1662 or based upon it) to a modern “Book of Alternative Services”.

It will not be a surprise to learn that it was in the USA that this major and far-reaching innovation began. There appeared in 1979 what was called “The Book of Common Prayer according to the use of the Episcopal Church” and the publicity surrounding it stated that it was the new edition of the American Prayer Book, which appeared first in 1789 and was minimally edited in 1892 & 1928. However, anyone who opened this new Book dated 1979 knew that it was not a new edition of the historic, classic Prayer Book, for it belonged instead to the new genre, the “Book of Alternative Services”. Instead of doing what the Church of England did and retaining The Book of Common Prayer and placing alongside it, but lower than it, a “Book of Alternative Services”, the Episcopal Church redefined “Common Prayer”. From now on, this expression did not refer to a familiar and historic Book with set texts for public prayer, which had been hallowed by constant use, but rather it referred to a Book in which were certain basic and minimal common structures and ingredients. Further, the Episcopal Church by this innovation dramatically rejected the historic Formularies and adopted new ones (Prayer Book & Ordinal) and thus its doctrinal basis for worship, doctrine and discipline was also changed.

Regrettably, there was little if any condemnation from outside the USA of what was both an act of piracy and an innovation in worship & doctrine, and so it is not surprising that other provinces in part or in whole followed the example of the American Episcopal Church – e.g., the Church in Wales in 1984, the Church in the West Indies in 1995 and the Church in Ireland in 2004.

With respect to The Book of Common Prayer for use in the Church in Wales (1984) it has been said that it is a modern prayer book in traditional language. We may add that there are some grammatical mistakes here and there where new texts have been created in supposed traditional language. Mistakes apart, this is not the traditional Book of 1662; but rather a new Book wherein the services are of a modern structure/shape with a mixture of traditional and modern contents, but everything is in so-called traditional language. The old title is preserved and used because this Prayer Book is now the Chief Formulary of the Church in Wales. Alongside it, there are official Alternative Services in modern English.

The Book of Common Prayer: The Church of the Province of the West Indies (1995) is very different from the BCP of 1662. First of all, it is in contemporary language and secondly the structure and content of its Rites are modern, like the Rite Two contemporary language provision of the American 1979 Prayer Book. Though the BCP 1662 is still used on a few Islands in a few churches by a bishop’s permission, the classic BCP is no longer the Formulary of the Church.

In May 2004, the Church of Ireland will begin to use its own new Book of Common Prayer according to the use of the Church of Ireland. Unlike the West Indian Book but like the American Book (and also like the English Common Worship) it contains Rites both in traditional and contemporary language. Thus there are two basic forms of the Service of Holy Communion, one based on the text of the BCP of 1662 and one following the modern structure and contents. The latter has three Eucharistic Prayers and many variations for season and circumstance. The former has dropped the use of “the Holy Ghost” preferring “the Holy Spirit”. Also there are two basic forms of Morning & Evening Prayer, one based on the BCP 1662 and one similar to the modern Rite in the American & West Indian Prayer Books.

At the official website of the Irish Church we read that: “The Church is again to have one unifying Book of Common Prayer, including within its covers material in both traditional and contemporary language. It is to be hoped that parishes which hitherto have worshipped more or less exclusively in one idiom will now, at least occasionally, try out material which is in a different style to what they normally experience.” Here the conversion of the title “Book of Common Prayer” is fully evident. There was a time not long ago when the Irish Church had one Prayer Book, its own edition of the basic BCP of 1662. This went through two editions, those of 1871 and 1926. Then came the era of trial, experimental and new services during which time the Irish Church produced the Alternative Prayer Book (1984) and then the Alternative Occasional Services (1993). Now selections from the two streams, the BCP & the innovative, are bound together into one volume and the old, traditional name of The Book of Common Prayer is used for the new collection. This new Book also becomes the chief Formulary of the Irish Church.

I predict that this trend – of pirating the name – will soon be taken up by provinces in Africa and Asia. When this occurs, the historic use of the title The Book of Common Prayer will be used only by a tiny minority in the British Isles, North America and Australia. We must act now to prevent the growth of this regrettable development!

January 1 2004