Historic Christ Church Congregation Affirms Vestry Decision to Continue in the Anglican Communion

October 14, 2007- Savannah, GA. By a decisive margin of 87% the congregation of historic Christ Church voted overwhelmingly to affirm the vestry’s September 30, 2007 decision to place itself under the pastoral care of The Rt. Reverend John Guernsey, Rector of All Saint’s Church in Woodbridge, VA and a bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion’s province of Uganda, Africa. The action followed a prolonged process of disciplined prayer and discernment.

“It saddens us that The Episcopal Church (TEC) has chosen to walk apart from the rest of the Communion. We have been an Anglican parish since the founding of the Colony of Georgia, and it is important to us that we continue to participate as members in good standing with the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion,” said Steve Dantin, Senior Warden.
TEC, the U.S. “branch” or province of the worldwide Anglican Communion, received a final call from the Anglican Communion to return to orthodox Christianity and to signify the same by taking certain actions no later than September 30, 2007. TEC failed to comply, and thus it abandoned the communion previously existing between TEC (including the Diocese of Georgia) and Christ Church. Therefore, Christ Church appealed to Bishop Guernsey and Archbishop Orombi for their pastoral care and oversight, which has been granted.

“This has been a long and arduous journey,” said Dantin. “It was gratifying to see the large number of parishioners participate in this process. Our congregation has spoken clearly.”
Along with 33 other Anglican congregations in the U.S., Christ Church is under the authority of Archbishop Henry Orombi of the Province of Uganda, which has a membership of 9.5 million people. Christ Church is one of over 1,000 congregations representing more than 200,000 U.S. Anglicans and 1,200 clergy who are associates of the Anglican Communion Network, an ecclesial, Anglican body in the U.S. Christ Church is also an affiliate of the American Anglican Council, an advocacy group for Anglican orthodoxy in the United States.

“We look forward to working to build a biblical, missionary, and united Anglicanism in North America,” said The Reverend Marc Robertson, Rector of Christ Church. “In the meantime nothing is changing at Christ Church. Our location, mission, ministry, education and worship services are continuing as usual.”

Founded in 1733 with the establishment of the Georgia colony, Christ Church is the Mother Church of Georgia and the oldest continuous Christian congregation in the state. Christ Church predates the establishment of The Episcopal Church in the United States and the Diocese of Georgia. Early rectors include British evangelists John Wesley and George Whitefield. Located on its original site on historic Johnson Square in downtown Savannah, Christ Church continues as an active and thriving congregation.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Georgia

36 comments on “Historic Christ Church Congregation Affirms Vestry Decision to Continue in the Anglican Communion

  1. Harvey says:

    Well I wonder if the PB is going to sue this Parish since it was a functioning thing even before the Episcopal church of America was in existence?

  2. Brian from T19 says:

    Continue in the Anglican Communion

    How many times do we need to go over this? They may indeed continue to be Anglican, but they are NOT continuing in the Anglican Communion.

  3. robroy says:

    #1: [url=http://new.kendallharmon.net/wp-content/uploads/index.php/t19/article/6706/ ]Yes[/url].

  4. robroy says:

    [blockquote]They may indeed continue to be Anglican, but they are NOT continuing in the Anglican Communion.[/blockquote]
    So says Brian. But over half of the world’s Anglicans disagree. (That’s 38 million to 1.)

  5. Br_er Rabbit says:

    “38 million to 1.”
    Well actually, Brian’s not that alone. You’d at least have to count David Booth Beers.

  6. Rolling Eyes says:

    Brian, how so? And, what makes you think TEC is doing anything to remain in the AC, much less Anglican, much less Christian?

  7. Jeffersonian says:

    The trickle becomes a flow now. How many lawyers does Dave Beers have on retainer right now? Well and good. When the flow becomes a flood, not even TEC’s riches will be able to pay the fees of their attorneys nor the upkeep of the facilities they manage to retain. Let’s take this dirty, corrupt organization down by a thousand cuts.

  8. Brian from T19 says:

    Well I wonder if the PB is going to sue this Parish

    While I think it is a bad idea, I can give you a 100% absolute guarantee that she will.

  9. Brian from T19 says:

    Rob Roy, Br_er Rabbit and Rolling Eyes (and all others who continuen in this false belief):

    It’s not actually 38 million to 2 (me and DB-B) because our opinion is insignificant.

    But next in status and of significantly more clout to you orthos is none other than Sarah Hey who offers this analysis:

    While understanding the desire to leave ECUSA, and deeply respecting the articulate, bright, courageous, rather liberal Martyn Minns [yes, he’s pretty liberal], I have deep concerns about the start of CANA.

    Please hear me. Understanding and empathy and respect for the members of CANA are very different from believing that the start of CANA may not have been the “best plan” for a unified, coherent, ordered Anglican Communion.

    Now we delve into a bit of history — history which I have laboriously articulated over countless threads in the past years, [and which apparently no one cares about, except when they are offended over some perceived slight].

    Back in 2000, when the Primates of Rwanda and Southeast Asia created a missionary activity called the AMiA in the U.S., and consecrated two bishops the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, did not recognize those bishops’ ministries as bishops of the Anglican Communion for several reasons.

    First, there is a “one province, one geographic region” principle [although actually there are some notable exceptions to that rule], which is based on Lambeth resolutions from 1988 and 1998, which in turn were based on much earlier “assumptions”.

    — The Lambeth Conference of 1930 articulated the formal definition of the “Anglican Communion” in a resolution as “those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury” with three characteristics, among them that they are “bound together” “by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference” and that they are “particular or national churches”.

    — Resolution 72 of the 1988 Lambeth Conference reaffirmed “its unity in the historical position of respect for diocesan boundaries and the authority of bishops within these boundaries”.

    — Both resolutions speak to the general principle that the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes one church within a region as the “official” franchise of the Anglican Communion within that region.

    Second, only those bishops in the one province of a geographic region that is the “franchise of the Anglican Communion” are in communion with Canterbury.

    Third, and finally, only those in communion with Canterbury are in fact in the Anglican Communion — that is, they then are invited to participate in the “councils of the church” that is the Anglican Communion. There may be Anglican entities that are connected to provinces of the Anglican Communion — but that is not the same thing as being within the Anglican Communion and recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Thus, the only Anglican entity in the USA that is in communion with Canterbury and is thus a part of the Anglican Communion is an Episcopal parish in an Episcopal diocese. An ECUSA parish, in an ECUSA diocese.

    Were a bishop of an alternate Anglican entity within the U.S. to be recognized as in communion with Canterbury, that would be the de facto establishment of an alternate province within the region of the U.S. There would then be two Canterbury-recognized Anglican entities within one geographic territory. But that creation of a Canterbury-recognized alternate province of the Anglican Communion has not, in fact, occurred . . . yet.

    which can be found here:


    with more here:


    But even if you don’t believe that 38 million to 3 is enough, all you need to do to see where you stand is to look to the only one that matters (as far as the Anglican Communion is concerned): the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He is the final authority on the Anglican Communion and as Sarah points out, his is the only determining vote.

    So I’ll take 38 million to 1, if the 1 is the only one who counts.

  10. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “How many times do we need to go over this? They may indeed continue to be Anglican, but they are NOT continuing in the Anglican Communion.”

    Yeh . . . I don’t get it either. It’s a simple fix, too, in the language. I’ve come to believe that people really don’t understand how the Anglican Communion is organized — a Lambeth-defined communion where parishes MUST be in a province recognized by Canterbury as the SOLE province in that region [unless special permission by BOTH provinces is given]. That SOLE province in the region is [whether we like it or not, and I certainly do not] ECUSA.

    Parishes and dioceses could easily resolve this ridiculous rhetorical challenge by simply saying “Christ Church Congregation Affirms Vestry Decision to Leave TEC and Connect with Anglican Communion Province of Uganda.”

    Then they could simply state that they wished to be recognized as Christian Anglicans by the 18 Anglican Communion provinces who no longer recognize TEC as such.

    The truth is . . . to be *in* the Anglican Communion, with one’s bishops invited to Lambeth, and one’s laypeople recognized as potential nominees for service on the ACC [for instance], etc, etc, one must adhere to the Anglican Communion’s rules for membership. But to be in official and formal relationship now with certain provinces of the Anglican Communion, one must leave TEC.

    Those leaving TEC are deciding that they would like very much to be connected with a faithful and Anglican province of the Anglican Communion and recognized by 17 other provinces. . . and they’re okay with not being formal members of the Communion by virtue of their not being in the only province in the region recognized by Canterbury. I just wish parishes and dioceses would clearly state this stuff rather than skirt it when they leave ECUSA — it just makes it all the more powerful.

    Regardless of the headline semantics I am happy for Christ Church.

  11. Brian from T19 says:


    Sorry for the cross-post.

    I too am happy for them if they are happy and where they want to be.

  12. Sarah1 says:

    I think increasingly, though, as Brian indirectly and accidentally points out, people are saying “hey . . . we don’t need to be members of the Anglican Communion as long as we are connected to an Anglican Communion province, and the provinces that we deem to be Anglican and Christian recognize us as such.”

    Ultimately — always given the caveat of Canterbury suddenly deciding to spring into action — there will be two communions, one the “Anglican Communion” and the other a Confessional Anglican Federation”, I expect. And the latter will be by far the larger, most likely. . . . . Not that that matters to the liberals of course . . . as they prefer the “quality” over “quantity” any day.

    Five progressive Episcopalians clinking champagne glasses and congratulating one another on their inclusiveness trumps Christ Church Savannah and the Province of Uganda any day! ; > )

  13. Sarah1 says:

    That’s okay, Brian . . . as I pointed out, it’s an easy wording fix and I suspect that five years from now, that’s what everybody will be saying since they’re all going to then be denouncing the remains of the “Anglican Communion” anyway. ; > )

  14. Brian from T19 says:

    Well, Sarah, I think you raise the only legitimate concern for those voting, which is why I always try to point this out. If you voted to leave thinking you would remain in the Anglican Communion AND not being in the Anglican Communion is significant to you then you should have been provided that information up front.
    But, I agree that to 99% of those leaving, this is a distinction that would not affect their decision.

  15. BillS says:

    Thank you Brian and Sarah. The best metaphor I have heard is that we at Christ Church are in a life boat to get away from the sinking ship of TEC until a new orthodox Anglican province in the US is viable. The future is uncertain, but the important thing was to get in the life boat.

    The life boat may be imperfect, in that it is not technically a recognized part of the AC. But at least we are attached to an orthodox province that believes in the primacy of the Bible that is a recognized part of the AC.

    Wording change, recognition of John Gurnsey by the ABC, recognition and acceptance of the Anglican Province of North America, may at some point in the future bring us back into full inclusion in the AC. In the meantime, we are safely in the lifeboat of the Province of Uganda, and it floats.

  16. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “But at least we are attached to an orthodox province that believes in the primacy of the Bible that is a recognized part of the AC.”

    Yep — and I suspect that everybody voting to leave has this has their main advantage to departing Dodge as rapidly as possible. I get exactly what you are saying.

  17. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Good luck BillS – what a tragedy that things have come to this point.
    I have visited Wesley’s Chapel and home in London, complete with his ‘prayer closet’. It probably post-dates your church.

  18. Jeffersonian says:

    Just being under an Anglican Archbishop is sufficient for me, and frankly I’m not particularly taken by the current occupant of Canterbury and his non-leadership, so his recognition disappoints me about as much as yet another Rams loss today.

    We have an excellent domestic Bishop, our theology remains orthodox as does our liturgy. We have episclopal visitors from Rwanda, we have a mission there, we support any number of projects that are improving the lives of our sister parish and diocese. We are beginning a capital drive that will see a new church, parish fellowship hall and school rise in the coming months.

    Our life with fellow Anglicans has never been richer, Canterbury or no Canterbury. Rowan Williams has made Lambeth a shoulder-shrug. The life of the Anglican Communion no longer depends, or even draws energy from that sclerotic relic on the Thames.

  19. Jeffersonian says:

    Amen, BillS #15.

  20. robroy says:

    Yes, we have rehashed this before. And again, I ask if whether Trinity Church in Tilton, NH is part of the Anglican Communion. (For their depressing statistics, see [url= ]here[/url]. Probably the question of being part of the AC will soon be moot for them.) Is Anglican Communion-ness defined by one’s bishop? Are the poor people of Zimbabwe not our Anglican brothers and sisters because of the sins of their church’s leader?

    Has the ABC ever said the unfortunate [i]laity or churches[/i] in Zimbabwe are not Anglican? Has the ABC ever said the unfortunate [i]laity or churches[/i] in New Hampshire are not Anglican? Has he ever said the fortunate individual CANA or Uganda in America [i]laity or churches[/i] are not Anglican? Has he said that the Anglicans in Europe with overlapping oversight between Britain and America are not Anglicans?

    So the ABC’s vote is debatable. For now, I will take his silence on this matter as confirmatory that the individual churches or laity are indeed part of the communion albeit with “irregular” oversight. And I hold to the statement that 38 million would call the people of the Christ Church, Savannah their [i]Anglican[/i] brothers and sisters (as do I).

  21. AnglicanFirst says:

    I really think that we must try to understand what “being in communion really means.”

    For me, “being in communion,” literally means that through the sacrament of the Eucharist (for which I have prepared myself through spiritual introspection and personal confession), means that I have the opportunity to come into the spiritual presence of Jesus Christ.

    The spiritual introspection and confession, so to speak, ‘paves the path’ for my spiritual encounter in the sacrament.

    To be “in communion” as a parish, diocese, or a national church of the Anglican Communion means much the same thing, but in the collective sense of being an organizational member of the Body of Christ.

    The national and most diocesan leaders of ECUSA have sinned. These ECUSAn leaders have defied the admonishments of their brothers and sisters in Christ in much of the Anglican Communion.

    ECUSA’s leadership has maintained a charade. A charade in which they profess that they are in communion with the Anglican Communion, but their behavior and duplicity betrays them.

    Therefore, the question of provincial authority over a geographical region becomes moot.

    What is important in any geographical region of the Anglican Communion is not the primacy of an established episcopal structure, but, whether or not, that structure is truly serving Christ.

    And with a second “therefore,” Who is truly part of the Anglican Communion?

    Is it local church that follows Christ or a national church, that through the actions and statements of many of its senior clergy, questions the divinity of Christ, radically interprets Scripture, engages in polytheism, supports the forces that reduce the concept of a man-woman-child family, encourages aberrant sexuality, etc.

  22. John316 says:

    So sad, they list a 2006 membership of 700 with a solid ASA of 300, but at this point in 2007 the report is that only 172 voted to leave, (with another 24 voting against) less than 200. We pray this move will stop this dramatic hemoraging of members over the course of this year.

  23. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “I really think that we must try to understand what “being in communion really means.”

    I agree that “in communion” is a totally different thing from being a part of that institution called “The Anglican Communion.”

  24. Sarah1 says:

    In the old days . . . sadly . . . being “in the Anglican Communion” meant necessarily that all provinces, dioceses, and churches were also “in communion” with one another.

    But now — thanks to two of its provinces — that is no longer spiritually the case.

  25. Id rather not say says:

    [blockquote]In the old days . . . sadly . . . being “in the Anglican Communion” meant necessarily that all provinces, dioceses, and churches were also “in communion” with one another.

    But now—thanks to two of its provinces—that is no longer spiritually the case. [/blockquote]

    Actually, Sarah, if being “in communion” means “interchangeability of orders”–and historically that’s what is [i]has[/i] meant–then “being in the Anglican Communion” has not meant actually “being in communion” for some time, and it isn’t just the fault of two provinces.


  26. robroy says:

    [blockquote]In the old days . . . sadly . . . being “in the Anglican Communion” meant necessarily that all provinces, dioceses, and churches were also “in communion” with one another.[/blockquote]
    Anglican communion has become like Jumbo Shrimp, Microsoft Works, etc. But, I suppose, the demise of the AC is actually [i]old news[/i]. ;-P

  27. Sarah1 says:

    Hi IRNS . . . you will not be surprised to discover that that is not at all the definition I was using, although I certainly understand that it is a part of the definition of Anglo-Catholics.

    Good news, though . . . ECUSA is not able to be spiritually “in communion” even by my MUCH LOWER standard of “in communion”.

  28. Sarah1 says:

    And yes . . . that inability to be in spiritual communion by my much much lower standard of communion is very much the fault of two provinces.

  29. The_Elves says:

    [i] It appears that this thread is veering off topic. Let’s return to the original post, please. [/i] -Elf Lady

  30. ann r says:

    #22, with an ASA of 300, probably a goodly number of those are under voting age. Add to that those who are away at college, ill at home, out touring the fall color, and those willing to go along with either status, and a vote of 200 is not at all to be sneezed at.

  31. Terwilliger+ says:

    Until we move beyond the “who’s in and who’s out” club mentality, sadly the real concerns about being in union and fellowship with Christ, and His mission, will get looked past for all our parochial mindedness. Though I am in a Province in the Anglican Communion, I sure hope that no orthodox believer thinks that they must hitch their wagon to Rowan Williams or even the office he holds. The Archbishop of Canterbury cannot offer life to others – not even for himself – and the issues facing the Communion are spiritual life and death issues. But I do worry about all the bantering about “who’s in and who’s out of” official recognition with the Archbishop of Canterbury just as much as I would be if the same voices were concerned with whether or not one has to have apostolic fellowship with the Holy Father in Rome. In short, don’t betray the Kingdom of Christ for a form of religio-cultural nostalgia .

  32. dwstroudmd+ says:

    The laity has spoken! Long live the laity! All hail the laity!

    Surely the PB and her legal beagles cannot go against the vaunted polity of the ECUSA/TEC. The laity really controls it all…even at GC 2006 because they voted for BO33.

    Wanna bet?

  33. The Anglican Scotist says:

    I just do not see how this could be efficacious, even if counterfactually were it so the congregation would have been happier.

    They do not have the power to do this–unless you think their bishop has ceased being a bishop, or that there could not be Christian sacraments in the diocese.

  34. robroy says:

    [blockquote]They do not have the power to do this–[i]unless you think their bishop has ceased being a bishop[/i]…[/blockquote]
    The proverbial nail on the proverbial head, you have hit.
    [blockquote]Bishop – Will you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church of God?
    Answer – I will, for the love of God.[/blockquote]

  35. Pb says:

    Our bishop has seen this as a few people who can not remain in the TEC. He has offered a chruch to 25 persons who wish to remain. 24 voted to remain. 25 folks can not remain our old plant and historic building located in an urban historic distirct. Nor can the diocese of GA. Be careful what you ask for.

  36. sophy0075 says:

    PB has hit the nail on the head. Bishop Louttit, our PB KJS, and other the other bishops who have initiated lawsuits against those committed to following the true faith, once received, are pursuing a “fox and the grapes” approach. To reference the “mother” analogy used by a parishioner who objected to the vote we ultimately took, if TEC is the “mother,” then she is a child abuser. The reasserters are not filing the lawsuits; it is the TEC bishops who unfortunately are more concerned about property than proclaiming the good news of John 3:16 and John 14:6.

    Being a member of Christ Church (God bless our priests, deacons, and vestry!) I, for one, am delighted that my family and I have a lifeboat.