August 8, 2003

From figueroa Sat Aug 9 01:17:29 2003
Subject: GC Report 8/8 (last)
To: philemon
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2003 01:17:29 -0400 (EDT)

Dear faithful AAC members and friends and guests,

Report from the General Convention at Minneapolis - meltdown day 4 night

My dear friends,

The debacle known as the 74th General Convention is over. Afterwards, I attended an end of campaign banquet with the AAC. It was great to be able to do that. I covet that experience for all of you.

In the words of The Rev. Canon David Anderson, the AAC president, "we stand at the fulcrum of history." One church ceased to hold itself under the authority of God. It has started to die. A rescue mission will be launched for the faithful remanent. This will take some time to sort out, perhaps 12-24 months, but action has started.

During the day today, The Archdeacon, Jim Hanisian, sent a pastoral letter from Bishop Thompson "to be read in all congregations on Sunday."

I find the letter completely unsatisfactory. It basically says that Gen. Convention passed some difficult stuff and now it's time to play nicely with each other.

Because of its importance in this discussion, you will find it pasted in below my name.

The Episcopal Church has departed from the Faith, Doctrine, and Worship that is appropriate for any church that dares to be called Christian and Biblical. It is the Episcopal Church that has departed from us, and I will not follow where it is going.

There is a wonderful outline on the AAC General Convention web site that summarizes, "What just happened?" "What do we do next?" "Do's and Don'ts" and "What is Plano and what will happen there?" at:

Here is the scoop:

A rescue mission from the Anglican Primates has been requested on our behalf by Bishop Robert Duncan in concert with other AAC bishops. His statement is at:

A rescue mission is being launched:

The Concerned Anglican Primates called for a meeting in September

The Archbishop of Canterbury has convened an emergency meeting of the Anglican Primates on October 15/16 to address the actions of General Convention.

In the meantime, a meeting will take place of the leaders of the faithful remanent at Christ Church, Plano, TX on Oct 7-9. Details of the plano meeting are found at the bottom of I will be there.

If you have any doubts or questions about what has happened, start reading. A suggested reading list on the web starts immediately below: Kendall Harmon's Blog Spot (read everything here) AAC's General Convention web site. Canadian Prayerbook Society's Classical Anglican Net News General Convention web site A good place to get all the news that's fit to print, and more, plus David Virtue's unique brand of humor and hyperbole.

I leave here for home tomorrow and will be home Sunday evening. If you feel compelled to talk, you may call me on my cell phone 937-409-8674.

Andy Figueroa

Pastoral letter to be read at all services on August 10:

My brothers and sisters in Christ:

I am writing to you from the 74th General Convention of our church gathered in Minneapolis.

I thank you for your prayers that have surrounded our deputation and the entire convention. In this convention, we have addressed a number of difficult and important issues. The matter that has received the most attention in the press and caused anxiety and concern among some members of our Church is the confirmation of the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire. From what we learned in the hearings and through other conversations, it is clear that Gene Robinson is an able and competent priest of the church and highly regarded among the people of New Hampshire, where he has served for 28 years.

I did not vote to consent to Canon Robinson's election, because I believe the Church is still struggling and has not spoken with clarity or finality on the issue of homosexuality. However, I will not associate myself with those who seek to divide the Church over this matter. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I look forward to our continued conversation about this issue both within the House of Bishops and across the wider Church, including the Diocese of Southern Ohio. In the meantime, I also look forward to welcoming Bishop-elect Robinson as a colleague and to working with him for the mission that Christ has set before us. As I have sat and listened and watched this convention move forward, with the many-sided conversations, respectful deliberation, and occasional anger, fear and threats, I give God thanks for the Diocese of Southern Ohio and our common mission. We are a diverse diocese. We do not agree on everything. But we are in agreement that the mission of Christ is our primary calling and that our commitment to Christ is revealed in our love for one another. I thank you, and I thank God for you.

St. Paul writes, "God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, has given us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5.18). Reconciliation always is a matter of urgency for the church. Now is the time for us to resist any infighting so that we might together, in the name of Christ, minister to a severely divided and fractured world. The urgent challenges of poverty, war, injustice and children at risk demand our attention, prayers, and faithful service. More than ever, the world needs the witness of the Church moving forward in unity for the sake of God's kingdom.

In the name of Christ,

Herbert Thompson Jr.
Bishop of Southern Ohio

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