Dear Friends in Christ:
I am writing to you with news that may not be surprising to some, but may require some explanation for others. After over 13 years of discernment, I will be chrismated and received into the Eastern Orthodox Church on Orthodox Pentecost, June 7th. I will be making my church home at St. George Antiochian Cathedral in Oakland (Pittsburgh) along with my husband Chris, who was received in November 2007, my oldest daughter Meredith, my son-in-law Josh, my grand-daughter Katherine, and the child soon to be born into their family. Though my husband and my daughter became Orthodox before me, our attraction together to the Orthodox Church began several years before our move to Pittsburgh.
I understand that some will not understand why I am doing this, since we have worked together for the health of the Anglican communion, and since many Anglicans are now realigned and looking towards the recognition of a newly formed North American province. Please be assured that my efforts for our communion have always been wholehearted, and hopeful. Once the leaders of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada made it clear that they were not prepared to walk with the historic Church and the rest of the Anglican communion in areas of ethics and doctrine, the Realignment seemed to me the most authentic response for faithful Anglicans: unrepentant heterodoxy must be given a clear answer. While in Jerusalem and Jordan I was very encouraged by the ability of leaders with different expressions of Anglicanism to listen and to learn from each other, and was optimistic that the interplay between evangelicals, charismatics and anglo-catholics would bring about something very good. I pray that God will continue to guide Anglicans who care about orthodoxy and right practice in the Anglican communion.
At the same time, I have wondered for several years about the possibility of our continuing together, given the foundational differences that we have in our understanding of the Church, of the sacraments, and of the place of tradition. Recent developments, including the continuing autonomy of AMIA within the proposed new Province, suggestions that we can continue in parallel with TEC, Primatial statements that expressed satisfaction with the last Primates’ meeting when it seems to contradict GAFCON, and continued attention to pragmatics rather than to the nature of the Church have been very problematic, in my view. All the while, I have been drawn for some time in a compelling manner towards the Eastern Christian tradition, and have gained deep appreciation for its apostolic claims, its ancient theologians, its healing disciplines, its sacramental spirituality and its rich liturgical tradition. Despite my temptation to stay and fight for the Anglican way, it seems clear to me now that I must go where the Lord is directing me.
I have been an Anglican for a quarter of a century, and am grateful for all that this communion has given to me””a sense of the mystery of God’s love, awe and joy in the liturgy, a grasp of the breadth of God’s Church, its purpose in mission, and its faithfulness in witness, even in very difficult times. I owe so much to many brothers and sisters, and to special fathers (and mothers) in Christ! You are in good hands with leaders in the realignment, Bishop Duncan and others. I hope that you will not be disappointed in me, but will bless me as I do what I believe God has been drawing me to do for over a decade. God willing, we will in time find ourselves in a single faithful and united body, fulfilling the Lord’s “high priestly” prayer for us! Be assured that I will continue to pray for you in your courageous stand for the gospel and the truth. I love you all, and will miss worshiping with you and working with you on a regular basis.
The Peace of Christ be with you all,