(A press release received via email).
The Annual Synod of the Diocese of Quincy’s meeting November 7-8 in Quincy, Illinois, has voted by strong margins to realign itself with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, breaking its ties with The Episcopal Church in the US. On two key votes more than Â¾ of the clergy and lay deputies voted in favor of the realignment.
The move came after several years of prayer and discernment about the diocese’s relationship with The Episcopal Church. Many in the Quincy Diocese, both clergy and lay people, have been at odds with the national leadership and other dioceses over the authority of the Bible, church order and discipline, and the church’s moral standards and teaching on Christian marriage.
On the vote to disaffiliate from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, 75% of the clergy and 82% of the lay deputies voted in favor. On the subsequent vote to realign the diocese with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone the vote in favor was 92% in the clergy order and 87% in the lay order.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Fr. John Spencer, press officer for the diocese. “We have talked and prayed about this for a very long time. But we take our relationship to the Anglican Communion very seriously. Since 2003, over half the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been in a state of broken Communion with The Episcopal Church. By realigning with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, we are now back in full communion with the majority of over 75 million Anglicans around the world.”
Canon Ed den Blaauwen, incoming President of the Standing Committee, said the focus of the diocese will remain on mission. “Our churches and our diocese will continue in mission and ministry locally and around the world. We feel much at home under the oversight of Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, who has warmly welcomed us into affiliation with that Province,” den Blaauwen said. “We are once again back in full fellowship with our brother and sister Anglicans.”
Shortly after the votes were taken, Canon den Blaauwen, who acted as chairman for the Synod, read a letter from Archbishop Venables welcoming Quincy as a member of the Province of the Southern Cone.
Bishop Keith Ackerman who retired from leadership of the diocese on November 1, spoke to the gathering Friday afternoon just before the synod convened. Quoting the Epistle of Jude, he encouraged them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ and the historic faith of the Christian Church as they considered the momentous decisions before them.
“While the votes show there was very strong support for this decision,” Fr. Spencer said, “we realize this was not a unanimous decision.” By a separate action, the synod made provision for a nine months grace period during which a congregation or member of the clergy might consider withdrawing from the diocese in order to stay in the Episcopal Church. “It is a matter of allowing everyone to follow their consciences in these very difficult times, without recrimination,” Spencer said.