Saturday, November 24, 2007

ACC/Primates Consultation following the New Orleans meeting of the TEC House of Bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written (Nov 20) to Anglican Communion Primates and members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) with a summary of their individual responses to the outcome of September House of Bishops meeting of the Episcopal Church (USA). He made it clear that he was not at this stage advancing his own interpretation of these responses. He will include his own reflections in his (annual) Advent Letter to the Primates in December.

For the responses go to:

A PDF is also available here:

Comment from PT for what is it worth!

If I were the Archbishop having these responses on my desk, and seeking to ascertain the mind of the Communion of Churches, I think I would allow myself to think that a majority of the thirty-eight members of the Anglican Communion of Churches think that the American Episcopal Church has done enough to make it reasonably clear that it is on the right road—that is, it is seeking to abide by the terms of the Windsor Report and process. Thus I would suppose that there ought not to be any question of its place in the Anglican Family and the presence of its bishops at Lambeth 2008 (with the possible exception of Gene Robinson and those who were his consecrators). I would note that the only serious opposition to this position is that of the Global South Primates & Provinces so-called, and that they represent about one-third of the total number of Provinces.

So I think that I would go out of my way to speak to each of the Global-South Primates and urge him to come to the Lambeth Conference with his bishops, in order to ensure that there is truly a full expression of the variety of mindsets in the Communion expressed there.

In that these responses from provinces have strengthened the hand of the Archbishop of Canterbury and weakened that of the Global South in a political sense, Dr Williams has greater freedom than earlier to take right action for this crisis.. In charity, therefore, Dr Williams ought to dis-invite the consecrators of Robinson and urge the Global South to attend, and bring along their missionary bishops from the USA with them.

The point I make is that politically now Dr Williams can afford to be generous and, further, it is much more important for the Global South to be at Lambeth than the small group of American bishops (which are not more than 5% of the whole House) who “consecrated” Robinson.

I personally share much in terms of doctrine and devotion with the Global South; but I think that they are wrong to stay away from Lambeth 2008. However, if after going, they come to the conclusion that the present Anglican Communion is ICHABOD then they can then create a new form of global Anglicanism, into which they can receive the emerging new North American Province. But they must surely go the route of Lambeth 2008 truly to come to this conclusion.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon
President of the Prayer Book Society 2007

Anglicanism in USA – can we learn from the past?

Suggestions for considering benefits arising from secession and schism in the USA scene.

Whether we call what is going on in American Anglicanism or Episcopalianism right now in late 2007 by the name of “renewal” or “dysfunctionality,” we are in a state where, it would appear, examining aspects of, or episodes in the past history of, the Anglican Way may be of help.

For example, before the major secession of the last few years, accompanied by the entry into the American scene of African provinces, there were two secessions that cry out for careful examination—in the hope we can learn from them.

First, there was the secession in 1873 that led to the formation of The Reformed Episcopal Church, which claimed to be what The Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. was failing to be—genuinely Protestant and genuinely Evangelical.

And then there was the secession in 1977 which led to the formation of The Continuing Anglican Church (which soon divided into several distinct parts or jurisdictions). This claimed to be continuing what The Episcopal Church (the new name of The Protestant Episcopal Church) was discarding—the use of the classic Book of Common Prayer and the male-only, threefold Ministry.

In 1873 by far and away the majority of committed Evangelicals—bishops, clergy and laity—stayed in The Protestant Episcopal Church; likewise in 1977 the majority of those who wished to retain the classic Prayer Book and the male-only, threefold Ministry stayed in The Episcopal Church. However, in each case the secessions caused great shock to the “system” of Episcopalianism.

Interestingly in 2007 the present form of The Reformed Episcopal Church (now high-church evangelical!) and one part of the Continuing Anglican Church from 1977 are in Common Cause, sharing a common doctrinal statement.

I suggest that the Common Cause would benefit from a series of regional conferences where the origins and effects of these two Secessions were examined, not in order to learn from history as such but rather to become more aware of the nature of secession and schism and its possible long-term realities. And this with a view to act wisely in the present and near future.

I say this because the continuing secession of the last several years—following the Gene Robinson consecration—has been uniform only in one thing, that they came out of The Episcopal Church. As they headed out, they went into the arms of one of many waiting embraces; thus we have congregations aligned with a great variety of overseas bishops and also others organized as mission stations of overseas provinces. It is an amazing phenomenon and was predicted by no-one.

After the 1873 secession there was virtually no sub-dividing of the movement and the Reformed Episcopal Church has remained generally united; but WHY?: After the 1977 secession there was sub-dividing within a very short tine and this has occurred often since 1978 also; but WHY?

There are competent historians around who could provide the background and basic stories so that there could be useful joint discussion and common learning one with another and from each other. We could get to the bottom of the two WHYs!

Why do we need to learn? The answer is simple. Because the complex secession that is still going on in late 2007 is controlled by powerful centrifugal forces and is experiencing few centripetal ones—and this is as one would expect from the facts of the case, where an apostate Church exists, and souls flee in all directions for their salvation. However, very soon the real work must begin of bringing together those who are right now getting themselves organized into associations that, I fear, will not easily be given up or dismantled. The existence of the Common Cause is good, but it is only a small beginning.

So I propose that there be several regional conferences to explore the facts and reality of secession and to think positively of how secession can be turned to moves to godly unity in truth in the present situation.

Thanksgiving 2007 Peter Toon

Praying for RAIN—in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina

In mid-November 2007, the Governor of Georgia publicly prayed for rain. There is no doubt but that Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina continue desperately to need rain, although there have been showers recently.

In the historic Book of Common Prayer (1662) the first prayer under the heading, “Prayers and Thanksgivings,” which follows The Litany, is “For Rain.” This points to a deep sense within godly people of that time, that everything in the created order came to them by the sovereign mercy and providence of God. (We today have generally lost this profound sense of dependency, and so to pray for rain is something that we are somewhat embarrassed to do.)

In the American edition of this Prayer Book, The Book of Common Prayer (1928), the prayer “For Rain” comes in the middle of the “Prayers and Thanksgivings,” while it seems to have disappeared from the Canadian Book of Common Prayer (1962). Happily it is in the 1979 Prayer Book of The Episcopal Church in the traditional form found in the American 1928 Book.

Here it is from the 1662 Book:

O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ hast promised to all them that seek thy kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, all things necessary to their bodily sustenance: Send us, we beseech thee, in this our necessity, such moderate rain and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth to our comfort, and thy honour; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Then, also from the 1662 Book (and apparently only here of the Books mentioned) there is a Thanksgiving “For Rain.” It was expected that God would answer prayer and that it was right and good to give him thanks for the “joyful rain.”

O God, our heavenly Father, who by thy gracious providence dost cause the former and the latter rain to descend upon the earth, that it may bring forth fruit for the use of man: We give thee humble thanks that it hath pleased thee, in our great necessity, to send us at the last a joyful rain upon thine inheritance, and to refresh it when it was dry, to the great comfort of thy unworthy servants, and to the glory of thy holy Name; through thy mercies in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the first Prayer, we notice that the Petition for rain, “Send us, we beseech thee…,” follows the humble recognition before God that his promise to us to meet our needs has a divine condition—that we seek FIRST his righteousness and kingdom. And the verb, “beseech,” points to humble servants addressing their King, recognizing that they have no rights before him and therefore must implore his mercy.

Whether this prayer is generally suitable for praying for rain by the folks in the three States is questionable. But in that it may be and in that the majority of the same folks address God as “You” here is the same prayer in a modern form:

O God, our heavenly Father, you who by your Son Jesus Christ promised to all those who seek your kingdom, and its righteousness, all things necessary for their bodily sustenance: Send us, we pray you, in this our great need, such moderate rain and showers, that we may have water to drink, for our homes, gardens and fields, and also receive the fruits of the earth to our comfort, and your glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

As I drove along the South Carolina Coastal road, also in mid-November, I noticed that the many golf courses there (some 36 between Charleston and the North Carolina border) were all using an abundance of water to keep their greens really green! Would there be a water shortage if these did not exist?

May God in his mercy cause the rain to fall upon these States and others which also desperately need rain.

Thanksgiving Eve, November 21, 2007 Peter Toon

Anglican Communion—how is one a member?

[I raise a matter that is already being asked in the Courts of the USA and will be asked over and over again in the next decade.]

Some organizations are made up of individual persons, others are made up of corporate bodies, while others have both individual persons and corporate bodies in membership.

The Automobile Association is composed of thousands of individual motorists, who pay a fee to join. The United Nations is as its title indicates an association of nations. A political party both has corporate members (e.g., a trades union) and individual members.

In the case of the United Nations, an individual person may claim that he is a member only as he sees himself as a citizen of a country, which itself is a member. But in reality he is not a member as an individual person.

Now to the Anglican Communion of Churches—how is one a member of this religious organization and fellowship? The answer seems reasonably straightforward.

As the Name, “Communion of Churches,” clearly indicates it is an association, a federation, a communion of multiple, individual [and autonomous] national Provinces (Churches), each of which makes a certain commitment to inter-dependency when it joins the Communion. Membership of this organization is restricted, by the very nature of the case, to National Provinces/Churches. Individual parishes, and individual dioceses, are not by the nature of the case eligible for membership. Only as part of a regional whole can they be members and then only in a derivative sense.

Thus, a baptized Anglican person may say that he is a member of the Anglican Communion of Churches only in the sense that being a member of a parish and diocese in an autonomous Province, he is thereby, being within that Province, within the Anglican Communion.

In recent times, especially in the U.S.A., it has been claimed that individual dioceses and individual parishes, by a kind of determination of their desires and wills, and through association with kindred spirits in overseas Provinces of the Anglican Communion, are within the Anglican Communion. However, if it is the case—and it seems to be so as explained above—that the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of Provinces or National Churches then this claim appears to be without foundation.

But, it is asked, what if a congregation is within a Mission or Network established by an overseas Province, and that overseas Province is in the Anglican Communion of Churches. Is this congregation entitled to say it is in the Anglican Communion? The answer is not easy to supply for the case is complex.

The Episcopal Church is a Province of the Anglican Communion and, while not a few other Provinces would like to expel it, the fact of the matter remains that TEC is in the Communion, and is in it as a Province (a collection of dioceses). The Networks and Missions and Dioceses from overseas Provinces currently invading and working within the territory of TEC are not recognized, indeed they have been asked to depart, by the TEC. The Archbishop of Canterbury takes the same position.

Since only Provinces are members of the Communion of Churches, then one has to decide whether the outposts of overseas Provinces within the American Province (acting totally contrary to the rules of the same Communion) can be legitimately counted as truly an integral part of the overseas Provinces within this situation.

As there is no Anglican Court of Appeal to determine this matter, there are, and will be, differences of opinion. One may note in passing that those who belong to the outposts of overseas Provinces in the USA will give their claim of membership a stronger form, if they do not begin from the position that their local congregation and network (or diocese) is within the Anglican Communion; but, rather, always make it clear that the overseas Province to which they belong is, and that they are part of it , not by first of all an act of their wills but rather by the will of the Synod of that Province. In other words, if they simply begin from themselves with their claim and right to be inside the Anglican Communion (rather than in a kind of no man’s land) then they are on extremely weak ground. They will be heard in the USA but hardly at all overseas.

I truly hope that in charity at this late hour the Archbishop of Canterbury invites the missionary bishops of Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda to Lambeth 2008, even if he believes that their presence on US soil is both unnecessary and unfortunate. I say in charity because their canonical and legal right to be there is an open question, as the presentation above makes reasonable clear.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon
President of the Prayer Book Society 2007

PATIENCE—the required Anglican Virtue if there is ever to be a new Province in North America.

Not a few former Episcopalians, now known as Anglicans, in the U.S.A. seem to believe that there could be a new Anglican Province in late 2008 or early 2009, after the Lambeth Conference (July 08) and its fallout.

Such a belief and hope are impossible of fulfillment. Those who persistently hold them will be very disappointed.

Why? The answer is something like the kind of answer given as to why a major highway cannot be built across the whole U.S.A. in one or two years. There is too much work to be done and by its nature it has to be done slowly and surely or at least not quickly; and there are too many obstacles to surmount, too many problems to solve, to many enemies to defeat and too many internal relations and bonds of affection to create and solidify.

Let us approach the hope for a Province another way and ask: What are the “raw materials” and the “building blocks” for this proposed new structure and association and federation?

n general terms, these are what is known as the Partners in the Common Cause. The latter is a new and fragile organization composed of dioceses, jurisdictions (small denominations), networks and interest groups, from inside and outside both The Episcopal Church and The Anglican Church of Canada. The present fellowship and cooperation within Common Cause is right now very far from the complex unity that will be required to make a Province acceptable to the Anglican Communion of Churches. In 2007 C.C. is at a very preliminary stage of growing together in maturity and trust.

One could say that right now Common Cause is like a Mall where all the resident businesses agree to be in the same place and work within the same hours and general conditions, so that shoppers can readily come in and out. In contrast, a Province can be compared to one of the big shops in the Mall, which has one management and various departments, all within the same building and structure.

So what kind of things have to happen for Common Cause to become a Province—that is to be in a position to be accepted as a potential Province by the larger, global, Anglican Family? Here are some of the things needed:

Each of the C.C. denominations, jurisdictions, and networks not in TEC or ACC has to go through a set of procedures to get approval from its own authority structure for sacrificing at least some of its autonomy and sovereignty in order to be part of a new entity. Right now some of these groups are actually making big plans to expand and as it were “do their own thing.” The Nigerian-based CANA and the Rwanda-based AMiA, for example, are both consecrating new bishops either to meet present pastoral needs or to expand their numbers. These big plans have the look of minimum 5-year but more likely 10-year plans.

Each of the dioceses planning on seceding from The Episcopal Church is going through a slow and complex process to leave this Church, and then they are planning joining a Province overseas (e.g., Uganda or Southern Cone)for an undefined time. Again several years of process are in view here and those years may be extended by legal action from The Episcopal Church’s New York office. It would seem that these (four) dioceses are critical in terms of supplying the major part of the basis of a new Province and so without them a viable Province seems out of the question.

All the groups in Common Cause are committed to its Theological Statement. In this the classic Anglican Formularies are central. However, right now not a few of the groups in Common Cause practically deny these classic Formularies by publicly being committed to other innovatory Formularies. This is so with the several dioceses within TEC, who remain committed to the Constitution and Formularies of TEC; and it will remain so with them if they join the Southern Cone, where again the 1979 American book is dominant. For the present TEC dioceses to shed their 1979 heritage and become fully orthodox by using classic Anglican Formularies will be a long and painful process!

Since the proposed American Province will be utterly unlike any other Province in the present global Anglican Communion, it will take great wisdom and skill to create for it a suitable constitution and then persuade Provinces abroad to accept the new entity with its innovative constitution. It will be like no other, simply because it will be a federation of semi-autonomous and partially competitive groups, who will be competing for the same converts in the same towns and streets. In fact, it will be a totally new model of unity or at least of cooperation within an ecclesial entity as understood within Anglican terms. It may even be too innovative every to get off the ground!

In conclusion:

To create from the present fledgling Common Cause an autonomous and inter-dependent Province in North America of the Anglican Communion is a task that is enormously difficult and time-consuming. It cannot be done in less than 3 years, maybe in less than five or even ten.

Indeed, bearing in mind the entrepreneurial skills of some of the major players—especially in CANA and AMiA—and recalling the powerful centrifugal forces of American religion and culture, many rational persons would say that it is impossible, and that at best, what will occur is loose kind of federation of Anglican groups who meet irregularly to cooperate in various ways on matters of shared concerns.

So, let us be clear, for this to become a reality and to go from Common Cause to Anglican Province, there will need to be an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit making God’s people—especially the laity who are the majority and the payers of the bills—both willing and able to bring this thing to pass and to do so in the day of His power.

This is why PATIENCE with PERSEVERANCE and a lot of CHARITY and WISDOM are needed.

The Revd Dr Peter Toon November 18, 2007

Fine Letter from Bishop of Fort Worth

(Fort Worth is considering leaving TEC and joining another Anglican Province. The Presiding Bishop wrote to say they must not do this and could not do so, and if they tried then they are in trouble….P.T.)

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Katharine,

I have received your letter of November 8th and am rather surprised by your suggestion that I have somehow abandoned the communion of the church and may be subject to ecclesiastical discipline. Such a charge is baseless. I have abandoned nothing, and I have violated no canons. Every year at our Chrism Mass, I very happily reaffirm my ordination vows, along with all our clergy, that I will be “loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” (BCP, pages 526 and 538)

It is highly inappropriate for you to attempt to interfere in the internal life of this diocese as we prayerfully prepare to gather in Convention. The threatening tone of your open letter makes no attempt to promote reconciliation, mediation, or even dialogue about our profound theological differences. Instead, it appears designed to intimidate our delegates and me, in an attempt to deter us from taking any action that opposes the direction in which you are leading our Church. It is deeply troubling that you would have me prevent the clergy and laity of this diocese from openly discussing our future place in the life of the wider Anglican Communion, as we debate a variety of proposals. As you well know, the polity of this Church requires the full participation of the clergy and lay orders, not just bishops, in the decision making process. It grieves me that as the Presiding Bishop you would misuse your office in an attempt to intimidate and manipulate this diocese.

While I do not wish to meet antagonism with antagonism, I must remind you that 25 years ago this month, the newly formed Diocese of Fort Worth voluntarily voted to enter into union with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. If circumstances warrant it, we can likewise, by voluntary vote, terminate that relationship. Your aggressive, dictatorial posturing has no place in that decision. Sadly, however, your missive will now be one of the factors that our Convention will consider as we determine the future course of this diocese for the next 25 years and beyond, under God’s grace and guidance.

In closing, let me be very clear. While your threats deeply sadden us, they do not frighten us. We will continue to stand firm for the unchanging truth of the Holy Scriptures and the redeeming Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whatever the costs. I shall continue to pray for you, as I trust you will pray for me, in the difficult days ahead.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth

Anglicanism worldwide—our view distorted by the American religious situation

What I suspect and fear at the present time is this:

That too many of us look at The Global Anglican Way and the Lambeth Conference of July 2008 from within the perspective of the religious freedom which is a major characteristic of the U.S.A. as a nation. That is, we assume as part of our evaluation the expression that religious freedom has taken in the U.S.A. since its birth in the 1780s.

The American Viewpoint & Mindset

This means that we accept the right of any group anywhere to assemble and to preach and practice any form of Christianity that it chooses—as long as it does not challenge public order and decency. Thus in terms of the Episcopal denomination, TEC, we affirm the right of people to leave it and, having left, if they so choose, to create their own kind of Episcopalianism (Anglicanism). We do not expect them necessarily to liaise or work with other seceders for that would challenge their religious freedom. So we end up accepting as an American thing, the existence of a growing number of forms of The Anglican Way with a large variety of allegiances and emphases. Further, we accept—somewhat amazingly and probably because we think we shall benefit from it long term—the invasion of U.S.A. religious territory by bishops serving foreign masters and setting up satellite churches, with headquarters in Africa.

And we apparently see all this as normal; and we say, “This is how it is in the U.S.A.; we should not expect it to be different; this is our freedom.” Happily, at the same time we are also sufficiently realistic to believe that it is good for “birds of a feather to flock together” and we are happy to see organizations like Common Cause that seek loosely to unite some of the variety. But, in the end, we rejoice in the vast variety of autonomous Anglican groups, denominations, jurisdictions, networks, satellite churches and missionary dioceses as being true to the American dream and its freedom—something we are proud to advertise to the world.

From the U.S.A. to the wide world

One of the effects of living in and breathing in this local U.S.A. situation is that our evaluation of both the global Anglican Communion and the woes right now of the Archbishop of Canterbury tend to be skewed. That is, we seem to be glad that the Anglican Communion is falling apart; that Archbishop Akinola is making all kinds of noises about this falling apart and of the “orthodox” not attending the Lambeth Conference 2008. In other words, our living in division and variety as the norm for religion in America makes us think that unless there is appropriate division and variety in the global Anglican Communion then it is not healthy or on the right path. For it to be unified seem odd!

So those who presently shout the loudest for breaking it up, for not attending Lambeth 2008, and for seeing as the norm a competitive situation of Anglicans against Anglicans, tend to earn our respect and admiration; and those who plead for maintaining some unity and especially for ALL attending Lambeth 2008 at least to talk (it is a Conference after all) seem only to earn our criticism or even condemnation.

What we can do now humbly and graciously

Let us be clear. It is much, much easier to destroy than to build; it is much, much easier to secede than in seceding to create a unified new reality; and it is much, much easier to condemn Dr Rowan Williams than to pray earnestly and faithfully daily for him, that he may be given not only wisdom but courage also to do the right thing. It is also much, much easier to cry “revisionism” and justify the alphabet of Anglican churches in the U.S.A. than to live in the fear and love of God seeking to unite differing brethren under One Lord, One Baptism, One Faith and One Father in heaven.

Let us not by our errors and mistakes cause, or help to cause, the global Anglican Communion to cease to exist, becoming a variety of competitive and injured parts, It has played, and it can play, a purpose in God’s holy providence and mission in the world for the salvation, sanctification and edification of millions. Let us seek to do all we can to help The Anglican Way be renewed, reformed and set on fire with the love of God in Christ Jesus in order to serve God both globally and faithfully. If a few parts of it have to be shed or let go because they will not bow to the authority of the Lord Jesus then let it be so; but, let not the loss of one or two diseased parts cause us to allow the break up of the whole Family and Communion.

“Unity in Truth and Truth in Unity” is a theme we may care to reflect upon—and for its explication we may wish to read Ephesians with John 17 as a starter.

If American Anglicans lose the global Anglican Communion they lose something that ought to be precious—a deep and profound sense of belonging to a jurisdiction and branch of the visible one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. This branch originally grew as Ecclesia Anglicana from patristic roots to the Church of England to a global Communion.

Remembrance Day, 11th of the 11th 2007.

Seeking some perspective on Anglican divisions in the USA and beyond with respect to Sex and Truth

I invite my readers to read what follows calmly and slowly and to reflect upon it seriously before sending of a response. Thank you.

We begin with the self-proclaimed homosexual bishop of New Hampshire.

Let us consider this as a starter: If, when the protest about Gene Robinson’s consecration as bishop had begun, those doing the protesting (and claiming to be “orthodox”) had engaged in real self-examination, then perhaps the break-up of the Anglican Communion in the last four or five years would not have occurred—or at least have taken a less dramatic development. And there would have been much more truth, charity and desire for unity present today.

Sexual relations

What do I mean? That, had the “orthodox” adopted a full biblical and traditional doctrine of sexual relations rather than a restricted doctrine, then the judgment of the Lord would have come down upon many of us, not merely on active homosexual persons. And, that, had we allowed their/our own thumbs to point with the Word of God to ourselves, then we would have seen many others sins—sins which are not only the equivalent in terms of wickedness before God, but also, through their presence in The Episcopal Church over two decades or so, had actually paved the way for the homosexual aberrations of the 21st century {See for details my Episcopal Innovations, 1960-2004, from] .

Take the notorious trial of a decade or so ago in Wilmington, Delaware, of an assisting Bishop in Newark Diocese. He was charged by ten so-called “orthodox” bishops (led by Bishop Stanton of Dallas) of acting contrary to Canon Law by ordaining a man who was living in an active sexual relation with another man. I was present at the trial and sat by his third wife—for this bishop was a serial monogamist—and those around her were somewhat surprised that the ten bishops had turned a blind eye to the biblical teaching of one wife in one flesh union for life, and that they apparently only considered his ordaining of an active homosexual man as something to get concerned about. I recall one of the lawyers saying: “The ten bishops have abandoned the teaching of Jesus on divorce and remarriage, being in favor of what Jesus opposed, and so why cannot they see that this new reality of same-sex unions is also OK before God.” To reply to this was not easy. [To this day to my knowledge only one of the ten bishops has admitted he made a mistake in going after the wrong target in this immoral man.]

We all know that a very large percentage of clergy and people in the “orthodox” community of what is now called The Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause are divorced and remarried; and while it may be possible to show that some of these, in particular some of the laity, are within biblical and patristic guidelines for approval for church offices after suitable penance, it is impossible on solid grounds to claim that divorced and remarried clergy should be active in pastoral ministry, for their lives deny their supposed vocation as the shepherds of Christ (see the Ordination Service for Priests in the BCP 1662, 1928 & 1962)!

But what has been done about this laxity in marriage discipline? Virtually nothing. And what has been done about the general acceptance of couples living together before marriage or instead of marriage, and being fully acceptable for church membership and offices? Nothing Then there is the whole question of the use of sex for pleasure and self-satisfaction and indulgence inside or outside marriage, making full use of artificial birth control to avoid any procreation—something with the marriage service in the 1979 prayer book of TEC can be seen to allow or even encourage..

So let us be honest. Homosexual genital relations are not the only sexual sins in the church today and to focus only on them, and to ignore the most serious overturning of marriage that has been and is occurring, is not to be either reasonable or fair. The new form of “Christian Marriage” offered and practiced in Anglican circles today tends to be very different from “Holy Matrimony” as it is in the classic Anglican tradition (see the Preface to the Service of Holy Matrimony in the BCP 1662 and Canada 1962).

The Church of God is called to teach a full doctrine of sexual purity and relations and to implement all of it!

But sexual relations are often the focal point of a general abandonment of truth with the acceptance of half-truth or even less, error.

Error in place of truth

This lack of concern for truth is manifested very clearly in many of the decisions of the General Conventions of The Episcopal Church decisions which often the “orthodox” run with. An obvious example is the clear and deliberate LIE adopted by the General Convention in 1976 & 1979 to call what was everywhere known as a book of varied services and varied doctrines by the ancient title of “The Book of Common Prayer,” and at the same time to dump in the archives the received and actual Book of Common Prayer (edition of 1928). One may reflect that had it not been a church engaging in lies but a corporation doing so, then lawyers would have been actively pressing that the new Prayer Book be given a title true to its content, not a title taken by an act of piracy, and the original title left for the original product!

The 1979 Prayer Book is truly in Anglican terms a “Book of Alternative/Varied Services” and deserved a title to convey this reality. That it has been called the BCP, that it has been accepted as a Formulary an Standard of doctrine {“the law of praying is the law of believing”}, and that the “orthodox” are as committed to it as are the so-called “revisionists” tells us much about where we the “orthodox” are. I have heard of no moves by the “orthodox” to demote this 1979 Book and give it a proper title, while also bringing back the authentic American edition of the real BCP, that of 1928. Both these acts are needed if there is to be TRUTH.

To make matters worse—and this is really tragic— some of the major supporters abroad of the “orthodox” in the U.S.A. also participate in this act of deceit and promulgating error, which they learned from the U.S.A, and may not seriously yet have thought about.

The 1979 Book as The BCP is used in its Spanish translation very widely—not wholly—in the dioceses of the Southern Cone and certainly by Buenos Aires, where Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables is based. So the errors of TEC guide the law of praying of dioceses in the Southern Cone!

Something like the 1979 Book—but without the Rite One type of services—is used in the West Indies and called “ The BCP”—and the Archbishop, Drexel Gomez, has been a major supporter of it. Again, the law of praying is a law that is much inferior to the classic BCP even though it claims to be the BCP!

Then to crown everything, Nigeria, which has been the most vocally critical of TEC via Peter Akinola, has a book like the 1979 which it also calls “The BCP” and it has imported this text into the USA for its CANA to exist alongside and compete with the 1979 text amongst the “orthodox”. So in the USA we now have two acts of piracy embedded in liturgy on offer to the “orthodox” and embraced by some of them as “truth.”

Let us be honest with ourselves and honest before God and the received Common Prayer Tradition of The Anglican Way—which is a precious tradition without which there would be no Anglican Way. If we do not appreciate the classic Prayer Book (The BCP) and the classic Ordination Services (The Ordinal) and want to throw them overboard, let us at least pay them some respect by not using the historic and classic title, The BCP, belonging to them, for our modern, temporary and mixed-value service books, which were in reality designed to dumb-down or change the classic doctrine and devotion of the classic BCP and Ordinal.

And let us in charity not forget the Rowan Williams calls the real BCP the BCP and the other alternative service book in England, Common Worship (previously ASB1980); Whatever his other errors he is truthful here, as are also the Canadians for whom their equivalent of 1979 is BAS or the Green Book!

Concluding thoughts

One can go on to list other examples of where the so-called “orthodox” are no different in reality from the so-called “revisionists” and thus we, the “orthodox,” need to be most careful both in judging others and in tearing apart the Anglican Communion, in order to present and defend our own “revisionist orthodoxy.” For what we espouse and commend is often far from the classic standards of the traditional Anglican Formularies and from the Word of God as that was received and taught by the Fathers.

It is not too late to begin to put things right…. November 10, 2007

Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth is duly warned

(The reasoning of the Presiding Bishop and her legal advisers appears to be that the Episcopal Church is like the USA wherein no state can withdraw; thus if a Diocese attempts to leave the Episcopal Church then it is brought before the central court and the rebels are punished and new officers installed! Certainly the Polity of the Episcopal Church from 1785 has been modeled loosely on Congress, but this present claim is a big stretch. --P.T.)

Fort Worth bishop receives notice of possible consequences if withdrawal effort continues
By Jan Nunley, November 08, 2007

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has made public another letter of warning sent to a bishop actively seeking to withdraw his diocese from the Episcopal Church.

The letter to Bishop Jack Leo Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth notifies him that such a step would force her to take action to bring the diocese and its leadership into line with the mandates of the national Church.

The first of the letters was sent to Bishop Robert Duncan of the Diocese of Pittsburgh on October 31. Letters to other bishops will follow.

Fort Worth's diocesan convention, meeting November 16-17, is set to consider the first reading of a constitutional amendment that would remove accession to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention, as well as several canonical amendments that eliminate mention of the Episcopal Church. Iker has indicated his support and approval of the amendments.

A similar canonical change was approved on first reading by the Diocese of Pittsburgh's convention November 2-3, despite a warning letter written by Jefferts Schori to Pittsburgh's bishop.

In December, the Diocese of San Joaquin is scheduled to hear the second and final reading of its constitutional accession amendment.

If these and related constitutional changes go forward, the Presiding Bishop could ask the Title IV Review Committee to consider whether the bishops who have proposed and supported them have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

If the Presiding Bishop presented materials to the Review Committee regarding potential abandonment by those bishops, and if the Committee agreed that abandonment had taken place, the bishops would have two months to recant. If they failed to do so, the matter would go to the full House of Bishops. There is no appeal and no right of formal trial outside of a hearing before the House of Bishops.

If the House concurred, the Presiding Bishop could depose the bishops and declare the episcopates of those dioceses vacant. Members of congregations in the diocese remaining in the Episcopal Church would be gathered to organize a new diocesan convention and elect a replacement Standing Committee, if necessary.

An assisting bishop would be appointed to provide episcopal ministry until a new diocesan bishop search process could be initiated and a new bishop elected and consecrated.

A lawsuit would be filed against the departed leadership and a representative sample of departing congregations if they attempted to retain Episcopal Church property.
Appointed to the 2007-2009 Title IV Review Committee are Bishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina (president), Bishop Suffragan Bavi E. Rivera of Olympia, Bishop Suffragan David C. Jones of Virginia, Bishop C. Wallis Ohl Jr. of Northwest Texas, the Rev. Carolyn Kuhr of Montana, the Very Rev. Scott Kirby of Eau Claire, J.P. Causey Jr. of Virginia and Deborah J. Stokes of Southern Ohio.

The text of the letter follows.

8 November 2007
The Rt. Rev. Jack Iker
The Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth
2900 Alemeda Street
Fort Worth, TX 76108

Dear Jack,

As you are undoubtedly aware, it is my view that recent amendments to your Diocese's constitution violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese maintain an "unqualified accession" to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. I have now reviewed several proposed constitutional amendments that will be considered at your forthcoming diocesan convention. It is evident to me that several of these proposed changes would further violate the Church's Constitution, while some other proposed changes would undo the problems created by the earlier amendments. It is clear from your public statements and from what I understand your position to be regarding these matters that you endorse the first set of changes. Your statements and actions in recent months demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from the Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention to adopt the proposed amendments that will bring the Diocese's constitution into agreement with the Church's Constitution and Canons.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however, they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori

Amen & Amen: The critical importance of “Amen” in the authentic worship of The Anglican Way

For us today, the use of “Amen” can be commonplace in public worship and have little meaning other than being the way of completing a prayer. But it was much, much more than this for the English Reformers, led by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, and, I suggest, it ought to be much, much more for us today.

In The Book of Common Prayer (editions of 1552, 1559, 1662, 1928 & 1962) when the Minister alone says publicly a Prayer then the “Amen” at the end is printed in italics to indicate that all present are to say it. However, when the Prayer—e.g. The General Confession of sins—is said by all, Minister and people together, then the “Amen” is in regular type, indicating all say it.

“Amen” is from the Greek and means “truly.” So at the end of a Prayer, when said by all, it has the meaning: “we agree; this is really our prayer; these are our praises, thanksgivings, petitions and intercessions.” By “all” is here intended not merely the accumulation of the individual persons, but also the assembly as the local Body of Christ and Household of God and Faith.

For the laity, worship in the pre-Reformation Church of England was primarily attendance at the Latin Mass. Here the laity was expected to get on with itsr own individual devotions via Rosary or Primer as the priest at the altar offered the Mass in Latin. Only at one point were they expected to leave their individual prayers (indicated by the bell) in order to watch and listen to the priest; and this was when he raised aloft the Host (the Sacring) and then said the Pater Noster. For the laity, it did not matter that they had no understanding of the Latin Service, all they needed to know was that it was offered by the Priest for himself and them and their duty was to pray their own prayers as he did his duty. Their active participation nor their salvation were required for the Mass to be the Mass.

Cranmer and his associates saw worship very differently as a corporate activity and they were deeply committed to making it possible for the laity to understand the whole service and to give their assent to the prayers offered on their behalf. This is why they moved to the use of English and emphasized the importance of the “Amen.” Thus the people, having heard the prayer and believing it to be the expression of their thoughts and feelings, said in unison, “Amen.” Or, after saying the prayer with the Minister, they joined him in saying, “Amen.” Since worship was seen as the act of the Body of Christ, Minister and People had all to be involved and to be so in harmony and unison.

The Reformers went back to the Early Church to look for justification in the writings of the Fathers for their emphasis upon the corporate nature of worship. They often quoted St Chrysostom’s advice: “Unless the unlearned understand what you [the Minister] pray, he is not edified, and neither can he give consent unto your prayer; you throw your words to the wind and speak in vain.” For them the Roman, Latin, medieval Mass was not only erroneous in doctrine but it also “threw words to the wind.” They wanted to do much better, true to the Bible and the Early Church.


Today, in a culture where the holding of private opinions, and particularly on moral and theological matters, is seen as an aspect of maturity, the place of the “Amen” (as being approval for the content of the Prayer) is automatically seriously challenged—and is so whether the Prayer be the ex tempore prayer of the Baptist preacher or the reading of a Collect by an Anglican Priest.

It is probably the case that many churchgoers do not see saying “Amen” as giving their approval before God and one another to the content of what they have heard. For them, it is merely and only a ritual expression and the right thing to do.

However, if we engage in a biblical study of the use of “Amen” we quickly realize that it was a word used by Jesus himself: “Truly, truly [= amen, amen] I say unto you…” (John 14:12; 16:20 etc.). Our “Amen” is not to be used lightly and this fact ought to make us careful both to read set prayers in advance before saying the “Amen,” and to listen carefully to ex tempore prayer before providing our “Amen.”

The “Amen” remains the unique moment when all the assembled Body of Christ can unite in offering their Prayer to God the Father in the Name of his Son and by the Holy Spirit. But its proper use and effectiveness require a general doctrinal and moral agreement in the congregation.

At the end of his The City of God, St Augustine looks forward to the life of heaven and writes: “All our activity there will be Amen and Alleluia. There we shall rest, and we shall see; we shall see, and we shall love; we shall love and we shall praise. Behold what shall be in the end, and shall not end.” November 8, 2007

Southern Cone Offers 'Safe Haven' for American Dioceses

(See report below.
If Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy etc go to the Southern Cone then what happens to the Common Cause Association in the USA which is reputed to be moving under Global South Guidance into a Province?

Maybe the Southern Cone is a temporary thing only for the dioceses….

One point needs making, I fear. The 1979 ECUSA Prayer Book in Spanish reigns supreme in the Southern Cone and so it will be a natural move for ECUSA dioceses which while claiming to be orthodox still use the un-orthodox and flawed 1979 book as their liturgy and formulary! -- P.T.)
Southern Cone Offers 'Safe Haven' for American Dioceses
Dioceses that wish to secede from The Episcopal Church because of disputes over doctrine and discipline will be given an ecclesiastical home in the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone.

Meeting Nov 5-7 at St. Paul’s Church, Valparaíso, Chile, the Southern Cone synod voted to extend the province’s jurisdiction to North America, allowing dioceses and other ecclesial entities to affiliate with the province.

The Provincia Anglicana del Cono Sur de América is comprised of the dioceses of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Northern Argentina. The Diocese of Bolivia already has provided pastoral oversight to several dozen congregations in the United States comprised of former members of The Episcopal Church. In addition, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone exercises a personal prelature over former members of the Diocese of Recife (Brazil).

Bishop Venables told The Living Church the offer of a provincial home for traditionalist American dioceses merely recognized the existing splits within the church. He said the Southern Cone was not precipitating a crisis or invading The Episcopal Church, but was offering a safe haven within the Anglican Communion for those wishing to flee.

By a supermajority, delegates to the Valparaíso synod voted to permit traditionalist North American dioceses to affiliate with the province. The vote goes a step beyond Bishop Venables’ intervention in Brazil, and marks a major shift in the ecclesial structures of the Anglican Communion.

In 2005, Bishop Venables extended his personal primatial oversight to Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and 40 priests of the Diocese of Recife after they had been deposed by the Brazilian church for contumacy.

Bishop Cavalcanti and his supporters, representing more than 90 percent of that diocese’s members, were issued a “statement of support” by Bishop Venables that recognized their “ordinations and ministries, and provide a special status of extra-provincial recognition by my office as Primate of the Southern Cone until such time as the Panel of Reference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Anglican Communion has, in some way, adequately addressed this crisis.”

The Nov. 7 vote permits dioceses as ecclesial entities, not merely individuals, to join the province.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Pittsburgh noted the Southern Cone was one of a number of provinces offering a home to American dioceses. On Nov. 2 Pittsburgh adopted the first reading of an amendment to its constitution that stated the diocese “shall have membership in such Province of the Anglican Communion as is by diocesan Canon specified.”

Up to five dioceses of The Episcopal Church may affiliate with the Southern Cone. In December, San Joaquin’s diocesan convention will vote on a second reading of a secession clause, allowing the diocese to join other provinces -- a move Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has called unlawful.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said Archbishop Rowan Williams had no comment at this time on the Southern Cone vote

(The Rev.) George Conger

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Language to address GOD, the LORD

Some serious ideas for consideration

Christian worshippers who speak English have the choice in the U.S.A. of two forms of English-for-prayer. One [TELP] has been around since the sixteenth century and was universally used until the 1960s; and the other [CELP] has been around since the 1960s and is nearly universally used in 2007. Though the choice is real, it is like the difference between shopping in a mall and supermarkets, one the one hand, or shopping in hard-to-find specialist shops, on the other.

TELP stands for the Traditional English Language of Prayer as found in, for example, The Book of Common Prayer (1662), The King James Bible (1611), the Hymnody of Charles Wesley, and the Poetry of George Herbert. Its most obvious characteristic is the use of “Thou” as the second person singular.

CELP stands for the Contemporary English Language of Prayer as found in modern Roman, Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist Liturgies, in recent translations of the Bible and in modern songs and choruses sung in churches. Its most obvious characteristic is the use of “You” as the second person singular.

In the U.S.A. today one can make these generalizations, I think:
  • No congregation anywhere uses TELP consistently for the whole Service—Bible reading, prayers, hymns, sermon and notices. (In contrast many use CELP consistently.)
  • Less than 1% use TELP for a major part of the Service, that is for Bible reading, prayers and hymns. The Sermon and notices are always in CELP.
  • Up to 80% sing the occasional hymn in TELP because it is not available in a suitable modern form and the traditional has appeal.
  • Up to 40% say the Lord’s Prayer in TELP (R.C’s especially who are the largest denomination in the USA).
  • Amongst Anglicans and Episcopalians (with circa 1 million attending church regularly and more at Christmas!) not more than 5% use TELP in the sense of No 2 above. Many of this number are in the small Continuing Anglican denominations.
  • CELP is not uniform or of one type; it comes in various versions according to who creates it and for what purpose. E.g. much of the R C usage is geared for global use of English speaking peoples and so tends to be “dumbed down.” And much of the evangelical-charismatic-experientialist use is aimed at the perceived common denominator and so is also “dumbed-down.”
  • Though there are signs of a desire to return to either the Latin Mass by Catholics or the TELP by Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists, the trend is still that of the triumph of CELP virtually everywhere, including the vast Southern Baptist denomination.
The modern evangelist probably has to accept what has happened and seek to present the Gospel in CELP, but for those who have a sense of Tradition and Heritage and the Communion of Saints (who are alive!) the erosion and loss of TELP is a most serious matter, which they often ponder.

For to cease to be acquainted with, or to read, or to be familiar with the TELP cuts off a people from a massive treasury of devotion and doctrine in prose and poetry, together with music forms created for it. As yet there is nothing remotely like this vast reservoir of excellence available in CELP.

In many areas of life we can well manage without the knowledge, ways and means of the 16th or the 17th or the 18th centuries—e.g. in medicine and surgery—but the life of the soul before God, individually and corporately, is a different matter; for here most surely we have much to learn and much to gain from the great treasury there written in the form of TELP!

And there is one important area I may single out as a sphere where only the TELP works (because as the experts would say of its special register) as genuine “God-language.”

I refer to the standing of creatures, specifically fallen, sinful and disobedient creatures before their Creator and Judge the Holy, Almighty Lord God. TELP speaks much of the fear of the Lord and has worshippers often “beseeching” the Holy Father and also often asking Him to “grant” this or that blessing. TELP excels at providing the opportunity and ethos of reverence and awe before God, for it comes out of a context when society was hierarchical and proper respect was due to those above you in the Lord!

In contrast CELP belongs to the sphere of human rights and a general emphasis upon leveling, and so it cannot handle the “vertical” relation of holy fear and reverence but has to transmute it into something near to a “horizontal” relation. Thus it is that “the fear of the Lord” is hardly heard in 2007.

Further, the addressing of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as “Thou/Thee” allows for the New Testament emphasis upon “filial fear” that is the combined relation of both holy fear and holy intimacy which belongs uniquely to those who are in Christ Jesus and adopted children of God.

So I suggest that wise people will say that we cannot let go TELP and the forms in which is it expressed—BCP, KJV, Hymnody, Poetry, Doctrine & Devotion. We must keep it for we need it and we are the losers if we let it go. It is like giving up the family name, the family tree, the family history and the family heirlooms.

May I invite my readers to obtain and read Neither Archaic Nor Obsolete: The English Language of Prayer, by Lou Tarsitano & Peter Toon –from in UK and Europe and from in the USA and Canada.

May I also suggest that one very good idea—suggested by my learned friend Ian Robinson—is that in every major town/city there should be at least one center of excellence, that is one church, where the TELP is used within classic forms of liturgy and bible translation for the glory of God and the edification of the people. For Anglicans this means the use of the classic BCP, KJV, Hymnody and so on. How about the Anglican Communion Network and Common Cause making such centers part of their strategy!

Dr Peter Toon Wednesday Nov. 7

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Lady Presiding Bishop and the Gentleman Bishop of Pittsburgh

Note from P.T.: This correspondence (read letters below) reveals various things, but only on one do I wish to focus here. The relation of the “Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.” to give it its original and constitutional name to the dioceses of which it is made up.

Obviously the dioceses (or the colonial churches of the 1780s) existed before the PECUSA and it was their coming together that made it possible to create the PECUSA, which then self-consciously called itself “a denomination.”

During the Civil Way southern dioceses withdrew for a while and then after the War they returned to PECUSA.

Certainly over the centuries since the 1780s more and more authority and power have been given to the center so that it is now more than the agreed mind of the participating dioceses; that is the center (called “the National Church”!!!!!) has a life of its own seemingly virtually apart from the consensus of the dioceses. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the creation of the large office of the Presiding Bishop (who over the last fifty years has been without a diocese and thus freed to go here and there and do this and that not formerly possible for a PB—thus be a kind of CEO).

Even as it was the voluntary coming together of the colonial churches that made possible the origin of PECUSA, so it ought to be the case that a diocese of PECUSA can by orderly means withdraw from PECUSA to be independent or choose a new allegiance. What the lady presiding bishop seems to be saying is that there is no longer a way for a diocese to withdraw in an orderly manner from the PECUSA because the rights of the center now are such as to not allow rights to an individual diocese to be able withdraw. That is, withdrawal can only be by expulsion from the center or the center in advance giving permission to withdraw.

Whether it is good for Pittsburgh to leave is debatable; that it ought in an orderly manner to have the solid right to leave seems to be a right that in the USA should be universally accepted (especially by a Church which lays so much store by “rights”.) Liberal progressive religion of the type favored by the lady presiding bishop often carries within its apparent emphasis on human dignity and rights a kind of totalitarianism for it so intensely believes in its principles that it feels obliged to enforce them where possible.

We need a carefully presented account from a competent historian of the PECUSA of the relative authority and powers of the dioceses in relation to the center and vice versa.]
Bishop Duncan Responds to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Bishop Robert Duncan responded today to a letter from the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop.

1st November, A.D. 2007
The Feast of All Saints

The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
New York, New York

Dear Katharine,

Here I stand. I can do no other. I will neither compromise the Faith once delivered to the saints, nor will I abandon the sheep who elected me to protect them.

Pax et bonum in Christ Jesus our Lord,

+Bob Pittsburgh

- Posted November 2, 2007 -
Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan
The Rt. Rev. Robert DuncanEpiscopal Diocese of PittsburghPittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,
There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.

It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop.

I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori

The Revd Dr Peter Toon
President of the Prayer Book Society 2007