[ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church

By Philip Turner and Ephraim Radner
In what way will our General Convention respond to subversion of our church’s governmental forms, common purposes and Gospel character? Viewing these events and trends in the full light of day we are bound to ask ourselves and others the question put to St. Peter by the crowd to which he preached. “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Peter’s answer was “Repent”””turn around. Given the acrimony and bitterness that now characterizes TEC’s common life it would seem that a turning from our combative ways is certainly called for. As a church we certainly need a fresh start, but a fresh start must begin somewhere. Our analysis of the present treatment of our Constitution and Book of Common Prayer points to this place. Let us pull back and, in the processes of change, adhere to the boundaries the constitution has provided us so that change can come about decently and in order, rather than by slight of hand or the sheer exercise of power.Read it all

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

15 comments on “[ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church

  1. Dick Mitchell says:

    All well said. I am an active member of my parish and my TEC Diocese, but I view TEC as essentially a lawless organization, that seeks to use its canons to throttle its critics but ignore canon law when the progressives find them inconvenient (e.g., communion without baptism). If all this passes, we will have the canons set one standard and the BCP set another: how symbolic of the chaos that is today’s Episcopal Church.

  2. MichaelA says:

    A good witness by Dr Turner and Dr Radner. When it will bear fruit is in the Lord’s hands, but I am sure that it will.

  3. Adam 12 says:

    Not only has the Constitution and Book of Common Prayer undergone “treatment,” but virtually all of the sacraments have been redefined. I appreciate the fortitude and perseverance of those fighting this from the inside, but I also remember a childhood mentor saying that “if you want to find God, go where good people are.”

  4. CSeitz-ACI says:

    Adam 12–yours is a kind sentiment. We also want to go where the good people are — and we have found them, inside the struggles God may ask of all of us. The Global South gives witness and hope to us all. Places where Christian witness is hard but is freely given. That is a “good people” place.

  5. Fr. Dale says:

    Are these prophetic voices or are these voices simply providing a historical paper trail of what has happened to TEC.

  6. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel says:

    Fr. Dale. Reading the prophets of the OT, I’m not sure there’s any difference between prophetic witness and historical paper trail.

    To bear witness, publicly and repeatedly as the folks at ACI characteristically have, places them in the tradition of the OT prophets. They give the Word of the Lord to an obstinate, unresponsive people. They have declared in the open the shameful things that have been done in secret (lest God’s judgment come upon their own head!), all the while pleading that it really could be different because we serve a merciful God who does not desire the death of sinners, but that they would turn from their sins and live. This activity is bound to create a trail of paper — and tears! — over time.

    I, for one, am deeply grateful for their work.

  7. Fr. Dale says:

    “I’m not sure there’s any difference between prophetic witness and historical paper trail.” That actually was my point. I also appreciate the acknowledgement of the Global South. They might as well be speaking to Canterbury also.

  8. MichaelA says:

    One can have both prophetic witness and a paper trail: Jeremiah 36:23-25, 27 – 32. 🙂

  9. CSeitz-ACI says:

    ACI works closely with +Mouneer and the GS and I mentioned their witness as critical for the Communion and for us in the west.

    “Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching amongst my disciples” was Isaiah’s present and future vocation, as God’s word would be opened for generations yet to come.

  10. Undergroundpewster says:

    If only GC would listen to these prophetic words and not try to paper over the trail.
    [blockquote] The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. Ezekiel 33:1-33 ESV[/blockquote]

  11. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel says:

    Thanks for clarifying, Fr Dale (#7). I did not hear that in your post.

  12. Katherine says:

    I will pray for those of you still in ECUSA through this General Convention. I am very dubious of the outcome, but God sometimes surprises us.

  13. CSeitz-ACI says:

    #12–I doubt there will be any positive outcomes, but if your prayers are for support of those bearing witness, I am confident they will be of great value. An ‘outcomes driven’ approach is I believe not something anyone is leaning into, unless the ‘outcome’ is exposing the New Episcopal Church fully in its unvarnished form.

    God raised up prophets in Israel to bear witness. They were ruthlessly treated and they had no final ‘success’ in diverting judgment. But when judgment fell, one can see in the opening chapter of Zechariah, after the judgment, an appeal to them for all they said and for their benchmark for a new day.

    Please do pray. It is easy to drift into an earthly success orientation. But God is God. This is His Body, created by His Son. Our duty is to be faithful to Him. He will take care of His church if we are faithful.

  14. Katherine says:

    Your faithful witness is always of value no matter the outcome.

  15. CSeitz-ACI says:

    Katherine — I know you know that. So God must receive with joy your prayers. They will undertake what God wants. Thank you!