Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2003 01:26:58 -0400 (EDT)
From: email@example.com (Andy Figueroa)
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Notes on: "A Place to Stand - A Call to Action," Dallas, sent from Dyersburg, TN, while taking the long way home from Dallas.
Flash: You can add your name to the document developed in Dallas at the AAC's web site, http://www.americananglican.org/ The full text is at the end of this email.
This email contains 1. some of my personal reflections, 2. a bit of followup on Wednesday's message, 3. some important related links, and 4. some full text articles, in that order.
Most of the print media news that resulted from the Plano/Dallas meeting has an unfavorable headline or spin; something like "Angry conservatives seek to split church over full inclusion of gays." This is not helpful and is likely to be used against us. General Convention split the church be departing from the historic faith. We have not split the church and we are not leaving. We are appealing for intervention from the Anglican Communion to call upon the Episcopal Church to repent from what it has done, or, failing to repent, to begin a realignment of Anglicanism in North America. This is not about gays, homosexuality or morality. It is about submission to Biblical authority in all things. Reading the text of the various addresses given at the Dallas/Plano meeting will help you prepare to defend yourself and others from those who may chose to contend against you and us.
On the up side, much of the radio/TV news about the meeting was objective and some downright favorable. Glory be!
Patience is called for: Realignment of Anglicanism in North America will take a longer time than will be easy and can be expected to be very messy at times. Hang tough!
Note that the letter from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith The Vatican, was officially on Behalf of Pope John Paul II. This is the first ever RC endorsement of a reforming group in another church.
Some useful web links:
John Burwell's journal of "A Place to Stand..."
Doug LeBlanc's story at Christianity Today
Kendall Harmon's notes for his address
October,week 2, October 8, see Primates Will Act ..."
Full text articles:
One Dallas Conference Story (posted but not written by Kendall Harmon)
The sense of God's presence and working in our midst here is astounding, and while no one description can do it justice, sometimes stories help.
I talked to my friend the Rev. Dr. Ashley Null tonight and we agreed that part of what is going on here is that people have a profound sense of being given a home. It is safe, they are loved, they have a message, they can be who they are.
Last night after worship I bumped into my friend Steve Bamberger who is in part working security detail. He said he had a story for me. During worship, he was told by several people that there was a man who seemed emotionally disturbed, and needed to be watched. Steve saw where the man was and began to approach him quietly.
The closer Steve got the more his initial impression began to change. He could see the man in a monk-like costume rocking back and forth. When Steve finally got close enough, he realized that the man was not disturbed. Instead, he was sobbing uncontrollably.
When Steve waited long enough for the man to calm down to become more still, even though the man was still weeping, Steve said, "Are you o.k.?" "The man said: "Yes." Steve said: "Why are you crying?" The crying monk-like figure replied: "Because I dedicated my whole life to serving God in this church and I felt I had wasted myself for nothing. And now, I have come to realize, I have not wasted myself, and that there is a place for me."
And I wept when Steve told me that story. Dorothy was right in the Wizard of Oz, there is no place like home.
The lobby of a Dallas luxury hotel filled with Anglicans isn't many people's idea of a revolutionary cell, but that's exactly what it is. The conservative Episcopalians gathering here this week to protest the national church's approval of an openly gay bishop aren't merely disgruntled traditionalists. They may be on the losing end of this particular issue within the Episcopal Church, but their meeting is worth considering in the context of a worldwide struggle that may transform Christianity in this century.
We won't take sides here, but we do urge you to pay attention, because what's happening in Dallas is momentous. It has attracted the attention, and engaged the passion, of Anglican leaders throughout the Third World. This is neither solely an American nor solely an Anglican concern. As one veteran church journalist put it on the eve of the conference, "What we're seeing here is Philip Jenkins' thesis in action."
Religion scholar Philip Jenkins argues that the global Christian community is split between an increasingly liberal (and demographically shrinking) version of the faith in the West and an aggressively conservative (and demographically exploding) version in the Third World. "During the past half-century," he writes, "the critical centers of the Christian world have moved decisively to Africa, to Latin America and to Asia."
The numbers are astonishing. Owing to both a high birthrate and evangelical success, by the middle of this century the world's leading Christian nations in terms of population will be the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria. Christians here and in Europe are a relatively tiny part, and the concerns many of them have, especially regarding gender and sexuality, simply don't exist elsewhere.
Meanwhile, many Third World Christians are in a struggle with radical Islam, whose preachers compete for converts in part by denouncing Western churches as morally decadent. In Nigeria, the Philippines and other flashpoints of religious conflict, the survival of Christian communities depends in part on strength in numbers.
Next week, the archbishop of Canterbury convenes a summit of the heads of national Anglican churches, some of whom have sided with American conservatives. Differences are going to be hard to reconcile, and there are likely to be significant implications for a century that Mr. Jenkins and others foresee as wracked by intensified religious conflict. The traditionalists gathering in Dallas this week may be waning within the Episcopal Church, but seen from a global perspective, they may be, for better or worse, a sign of the future.
DALLAS -- Like an angry Old Testament prophet, the Rev. David Anderson raised a wooden staff before the crowd of 2,000 dissident Episcopalians in a Dallas hotel ballroom Thursday.
"Pharaoh," Anderson shouted, "Let my people go!"
The crowd joined in with hoots and cheers, as the conservative American Anglican Council took a decisive step in rebuking its denomination's election of an openly gay bishop.
At the close of its three-day meeting, the group released a proposal to create a new conservative Anglican church in the United States -- one that would replace the 2.3 million member Episcopal Church, USA.
They hope to present their proposal next week to Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, in London.
Williams, head of the 70-million member worldwide Anglican Communion, has summoned the leaders -- or primates -- of the church's 38 geographical provinces to an emergency meeting Oct. 15-17 at Lambeth Palace.
The extraordinary gathering was announced after conservative bishops from Africa, Asia and South America objected angrily to the approval of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire at the U.S. church's General Convention in Minneapolis last August.
The dissident group's proposal asks Williams to:
. Form a "a new alignment for Anglicanism in North America."
. Discipline Episcopal Church, USA bishops -- including Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold -- who voted for the confirmation of Robinson.
. Allow conservative bishops to claim like-minded members from other dioceses across the country.
The proposal also demands the reversal of Robinson's election.
"You are standing on the fulcrum of history," Anderson said, still clutching his staff. "Press forward. Press hard."
Bishop Stephen Jecko of the Diocese of Florida energized the crowd by reading from an exchange of communications between himself and Griswold. Griswold did not attend the Dallas meeting, and the four observers he sent were barred by organizers.
"Your attempts to posture a reconciling public image in the church are absurd . . .," Jecko read from a letter he had written Griswold.
Griswold responded, Jecko said, by saying he didn't treat Jecko's anxiety over Robinson's confirmation lightly.
Jecko's response: "I am neither fearful nor anxious, and your condescending attitude is demeaning and offensive."
Griswold, who is one of the 38 primates meeting with Williams in London, issued a statement from church headquarters after the meeting.
"It . . . concerns me deeply when Christians use inflammatory rhetoric when speaking of one another or issue ultimatums," Griswold wrote. "In such a climate, mutual pursuit of ways to build up rather than tear down is made more difficult, and the vast deposit of faith upon which we all agree is obscured."
Conservative leaders are confident that many primates from provinces in Africa, Asia and South America will endorse their proposal.
"The primates find this [Robinson's election] intolerable and unacceptable," Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said. "If the primates do nothing, the result will be a devastated Episcopal Church."
About 60 members from the Diocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Georgia were in attendance.
They included clerical or lay representatives from St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Marietta; St. Alban's in Monroe; the Church of Our Savior in Atlanta; St. Andrews in the Pines in Peachtree City; Trinity Church in Columbus; and All Saints' Episcopal Church near Marietta.
What follows is the full text of the final statement approved by the meeting in Dallas. You can add your name to the endorsers by going to the AAC web site,http://www.americananglican.org/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 9, 2003
Bruce Mason, AAC Media Officer
A PLACE TO STAND: A CALL TO ACTION
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
As Anglican Christians committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, under the authority of Holy Scripture, and members of God's one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church:
To the glory of God. Amen.
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