Saturday, August 08, 2009

Open letter from the Right Rev. Peter D. Robinson

Currently on the UECNA website.

AN OPEN LETTER CONCERNING THE
2009 GENERAL CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

It seems that every General Convention of the Episcopal Church is marked with a further departure from orthodox Christian teaching and traditional Christian morality on the part of that body. This year, in spite of the pleas of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in defiance of the resolutions of 1998 Lambeth Conference, the Episcopal Church voted to resume ordaining practicing homosexuals to the Episcopate and to prepare liturgical rites for the blessing of same sex unions. This further move away from orthodoxy must cause great pain to our brothers and sisters in Christ within TEC who still hold to the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, and must also bring the sad realisation that the cause of orthodoxy is a dead one so far as the leadership of TEC is concerned. I am sure that orthodox Episcopalians will be searching for a new church home as a result of the General Convention's decisions.

It seems almost redundant to state that the United Episcopal Church of North America unreservedly condemns all departures from traditional Christian teaching and morality as laid down in the Scriptures, in the Creeds, in the decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, and in the writings of the Early Fathers. The UECNA continues to uphold and teach the faith once delivered to the Saints, and sees as its particular mission the transmission of this Faith to future generations. In particular, I would like to draw attention to the fact that, along with our sister jurisdictions the Anglican Catholic Church and the Anglican Province of Christ the King, the United Episcopal Church of North America maintains the Biblical and traditional doctrines concerning Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony as reaffirmed down in the Affirmation of St Louis - the founding document of the Continuing Anglican Movement.

I would like to invited all Episcopalians who feel disenfranchised by the decisions of the latest General Convention of the Episcopal Church to visit their nearest traditional Anglican Church. You will be warmly welcomed, and will hear the Catholic and Apostolic faith preached and the sacraments celebrated according to Christ's Institution and the Anglican tradition.

Yours sincerely,
+Peter D. Robinson

The Right Rev. Peter D. Robinson
Bishop-suffragan of the United Episcopal Church of North America
St Paul's Anglican Church
600 West Hillside Avenue
Prescott, AZ 86303

23 comments:

Alice C. Linsley said...

A good letter and certainly the invitation should be given. However, this reminds me of the story of the Rich Man who asked that a message be sent to his brothers and was told by Abraham "They have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them." (Luke 16:29)

Anonymous said...

I live in a county, one of only one, maybe two counties, in our entire state that never had an Episcopal parish. I was raised in the UMC, and grew up on the liturgy from the BCP in the back of the Methodist Hymnal.

I first attended the Episcopal Church in college, and being a high church sort of person, loved it. That was in the early 1980s. I liked the Rite I services from the 1979 "BCP" (I now call it the 1979 book after discovering the true 1928 BCP). After college I still attended the UMC because there was no Episcopal parish where I grew up and still live. I had never heard of a split in the Episcopal church, the Affirmation of St. Louis, the controversy over the introduction of the 1979 book, etc.

After being an active United Methodist for about 38 years, including lay preaching, serving as organist/choir master, etc., I found things were changing. The UMC was getting into praise services and bands, and abandoning liturgical worship with organ and choir. The official UMC liturgy was changed from the beautiful words of Cranmer from the BCP, to the Novus Ordo ecumenical liturgy, which I found very inferior to, and quite "dumbed down" from the Cranmer BCP.

An Episcopalian friend had received an invitation to attend an ACC mission formed in our community by a couple who moved in from out of state. The friend, more open-minded than many Episcopalians I know, said the ACC was a good church, especially for someone like me who loved the old BCP liturgy in the Methodist Hymnal.

Anyway, I attended the ACC mission for the first time on Easter Sunday five years ago, and I have only missed one Sunday since then. However I attended another ACC parish that one Sunday, so I could honestly say I have never missed a Sunday in the ACC in five years plus.

In the last five years, I have only managed to get two of my Episcopalian friends, many of whom don't attend church regularly because there isn't a local parish, to attend the ACC. Why?

Since 1978, apparently Episcopal clergy have been propagandizing TEC members in 3 ideas: 1. The continuum churches are guilty of schism, which is worse than heresy. 2. The continuum has invalid Apostolic Succession. 3. Therefore continuum Holy Orders and sacraments are invalid.

I have decided that these arguments were untrue when examining the evidence, and from my own spiritual discernment that I find the Holy Spirit to be real to me in the sacraments of the ACC.

Down deep, these Episcopalians really still love, and fondly remember, the 1928 BCP. But, they still can't seem to get away from the propaganda that they have been taught for 30 years. I keep praying for them. I have convinced two to worship with us. I urge all of you to add these people, and others like them, to your daily prayers and prayer offices.

It is a wonderful invitation from Bishop Robinson. But it will take lots of prayer, and lots of invitations, encouragement, and personal contact and testimony from a personal friend already in the continuum to convice many of them that we are actually a valid, real church.

I encourage us all to pray, to invite, to encourage and to make personal contacts. I know from personal experience that this is required, and it won't happen over night. It took 4 years to convince two Episcopalians I know to attend the ACC.

I will say that it was worth effort. I am so glad to worship with these friends. Just remember, it takes effort to being TEC members into the continuum.The effort has to be made by laity. TEC members have been propagandized against the continuum clergy. One of the biggest tasks we face it to get them to be able to accept the continuum clergy as having historic succession.

BCP Catholic

Fr. D. said...

Bishop Peter Robinson is one of the good guys, so to speak. I have followed his posts over the years on other sites we have exchanged e-mails and we have spoken on the phone. He has proven to be both well read and a gentleman.
Having stated all this I must however, agree with Alice Linsley.
The problem that I have encountered with many Episcopalians who attempt to enter the Continuum during most of the last two decades is that most have already accepted so much unacceptable baggage IE: W/O, watered down liturgy, liberal social agendas, etc. Again most in my experience have demonstrated extreme ignorance regarding such basics as the necesity of Apostolic Succession, the nature of the Church,Sacraments, etc. Many attend for a while, but become uncomfortable with traditional Christianity and pine for the buildings and trappings of their former allegiance and soon fade away.
During my nearly twenty years experience as a full-time ACC priest I have noted that the folks that come,learn and stick it out are mostly from either the R/C Church or conservative Protestant bodies. Conservative Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists et, al often make the best converts and conversion is what those still in the Episcopal Church need. The latest Episcopal Church focus on practicing homosexual ordination is merely the natrual outcome of the basic heresies committed decades ago. It is sad, but they ought to know better, but most do not.
FWIW,
Fr. D.

Anonymous said...

After reading Father D's post, I need to make clear something I alluded to, but perhaps didn't make clear enough.

Father D made a good point. Many laity in TEC have accepted the 1979 book's Rite II liturgy; praise bands; in some cases they have accepted liturgy without Prayers of Confession and totally lacking in any sort of humility before God or any sort of penitential nature (which most TEC Priests will tell you the 1979 Rite Liturgy wants to get rid of); Intinction Cups (rather than the Chalice); etc.

Only those TEC members who still remember and love the 1928 BCP, and still love classic Hymns and music are really worth the effort trying to convert to the continuum.

The ones who love the Novus Ordo Rite II, praise bands and modernistic music, avoiding any sense of penitence, intinction cups, etc., will more than likely never be able to convert to the continuum.

I save my efforts, and have been successful convincing, those who love the 1928 BCP and traditional Hymns and music, to convert. The others, I realize, are really not worth much effort other than a casual invitation.

As a former Methodist, who knows many other Methodists who have converted to the Continuum, I can assure you, that United Methodists who are well-educated enough to know that Wesleys were sacramentalists, and among the founders of the sacramental revival in the C of E, are good candidates to convert. Less than 10% of UMC parishes offer weekly communion. The offering of weekly communion is a major reason many sacramental/liturgical United Methodists, like myself, are drawn to Anglicanism.

The classic BCP is another.

Every addition of the Methodist Hymnal ever produced has included the liturgy from the BCP. Sadly, though, the last Hymnal (1989) included the Novus Ordo as the primary liturgy and the BCP as an alternate. The seminaries have been teaching UMC clergy to not use the BCP liturgy as well, just as Episcopal seminaries have been training Episcopal priests to not use Rite I (that reminds laity of the 1928 BCP).

BCP Catholic

poetreader said...

The invitation to Episcopalians, as to others, needs to be clear and open. For that, +Robinson is to be highly commended and, indeed, imitated. However, one of the real faults of the Continuum has been our tendency to put our major emphasis on attracting disaffected Episcopalians. Sure, they are a part of the "whole world" to whom our Lord has commanded us to preach and teach, but they are a small part. We are surrounded by those who will not accept Jesus Christ as Savior, and by those who may have some kind of minimal faith, but so deficient as not to feed their souls.

The Episcopalian may indeed be one object of our outreach, but only one among very many; and, just as Our Lord found the well-known sinners to be a more fertile field for his labors than the obviously religious Pharisees, and as St. Paul, though always presenting his message to the Jews, always quickly moved beyond them to approach the Gentiles, so we may find that our efforts have often been misdirected.

ed

Albion Land said...

Something I have discovered since entering Orthodoxy is that the vast number of converts are coming from evangelical Protestant backgrounds -- people who are fairly orthodox with a small-o who have discovered the catholic faith.

Fr. Steve said...

I'll say this. Don't count them out. I come from a Independent Charismatic church to the Continuum. I spent 10 years in the Methodist Church during the 80's, but have been for most of my life in either a Pentecostal or Charismatic (there is a difference) church.

My point is, even if they are used tot he modern praise music and the dumbed down ligurgy, they will be able to adjust.

I do happen to agree that the best converts come from the Baptists, Conservatives Lutherans and Methodists. The Baptists get their background in the Bible from an early age, and can more quickly piece things together. In fact, we have recently had a Baptist come to our church, and she has jumped in with both feet.

We need to evangelize everyone. But we do need to make ourselves available to the Episcopalians, who are suffering through their church becoming a heretical ghost of its once-great self.

Brian Davies said...

But what can we 'lost sheep' do who are many, many miles from even a regular AC TEC church?

Brian Davies
Diocese Upper South Carolina

Canon Tallis said...

"But what can we 'lost sheep' do who are many, many miles from even a regular AC TEC church?"

Brian,

You can do just what those who heard the Apostles run into the street on Pentecost and were converted by them. Start your own mission. Get the necessary copies of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal and start saying Daily Morning and Evening Prayer and invite any and every one you can think of to join you. When they come give them a job, something to do which needs doing. Find your closest ACC or UECNA bishop and find out what you need to do to get an occasional priest to celebrate the Eucharist. Go to Abebooks.com or an equivalent and acquire and read the Anglican classics which Fathers Hart and Kirby have quoted from. Press them on your friends but make sure you get them back. Acquire the necessities for a private chapel. Find out to sing the offices and the litany. And don't stop.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Absolutely! Pursue righteousness by the Anglican Way. God will help you.

Tom said...

Brian,

If you will email me at
frtomva [at] gmail.com, I can send you electronically a very good guide to starting a continuing Anglican mission. This manula has ben used by several parishes in our diocese as their 'roadmap' for beginning a mission.

Tom McHenry+

Anonymous said...

Brian:

There are plenty of sermons written by Ed Pacht, and others, for lay readers to use when there is no priest available. The link is found here on the continuum. These would be extremely useful for beginning a mission.

Or the address is

www.sermons4layreaders.com

Thsi wonderful resourece is excellent for starting a new mission. These sermons provide doctrinally correct, sound Anglican preaching.

BCP Catholic

poetreader said...

BCP Catholic:

Thanks for the promo.
I certainly hope the sermon collection comes somewhere near to your praises. You've pointed out just the purpose it is intended for. Fr, John Hollister approached me to ask if I could possibly undertake such a project. It's been rewarding.

ed

Canon Tallis said...

BCP Catholic,

It seems that you have your work cut out for you because it it seems that it is up to you to teach the TEO folks that:

1. Heresy is worse that schism.

2. The orders in the Continuum are both regular and valid, while those in TEO and ACNA are questionable and almost certainly invalid.

3. The orders and everything which sacramentally depends upon them in TEO are almost certainly not merely invalid but blasphemous.

I know that you know these things but you have probably not voiced them out of a false politeness. You don't want to hurt the feelings of those who are endangering their souls by still clinging to a false hope of TEO. But the antidote to the spiritual death of their souls - in short, their damnation - may be your telling them why the things which TEO has told them are simply not true but a denial of what we are taught by the apostles.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I assume that Canon Tallis uses TEO to mean The Episcopal Organization, inasmuch as it does not deserve to be called a church. Am I right?

Anonymous said...

Canon Tallis:

The people from TEC that I have been recruiting to join the ACC are people who haven't been to church in TEC in many, many years. Some of them aren't even current on the latest happenings in TEC. They have lived 28 miles from the nearest parish of TEC and haven't been involved in years.

My approach has simply been to convice them that the Continuum has validly ordained clergy and valid sacraments; that we are following the spiritual path of the 1928 BCP, etc.

There is little to be gained by pointing out the current problems in TEC, as they aren't attending TEC anymore. To insult the memory of a church that they grew up in and loved would be counterproductive. My goal is to show them that the continuum is the continuation of that church they loved, and that it is now present in the community where they live.

BCP Catholic

Sandra McColl said...

Where heresy goes to the heart of sacramental order, heresy IS schism.

Oh dear! The veriword is 'prizesh'. Is it short for something?

poetreader said...

An extremely healthy attitude, BCCP. All too often we tend to define ourselves by what we oppose, but it is not such negative thoughts (however accurate) that lead us to heaven, but the positive faith in Him who dies and rose for us, and the posotive embracing of the means of grace that He has left us.

Of course we are called upon to oppose what is wrong, but that is not our mission here -- it is to proclaim Jesus Christ and Him crucified, as the only real answer to the hunger of souls.

ed

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

Of course, your are right. You are almost always right which is one of the reasons that I take such delight in this blog.

And Sandra, you also are so very right in that if we are to obey St Paul, we can not stay in communion with those who are heretical.

BCP Catholic, then your problem is to simply get them to church so that they can see for themselves. Find a social occassion if you can. My problem is why they ceased going to church in the first place.

Sandra McColl said...

Actually, Canon Tallis, while I heartily agree that it is the orthodox position not to associate oneself with heretics, I'm saying something more here. What I am meaning to say is that the perpetration of a heresy that strikes at the heart of sacramental order is in itself an act of schism.

Canon Tallis said...

And that is precisely what I believed you to be saying and what the apostles were speaking to. Sorry, I did not do a most exact bit of expressing myself.

Lack of sleep.

charles said...

Dear BCP Catholic,

Please tell me which Methodist prayer books contained the Anglican liturgy? Which version of liturgy 1928 or 1662? What would be the most old fashion Methodist prayer book that can be picked up that is not super modernist? Still in print?

thanks!
sicnerely,
charles

Anonymous said...

Charles:

The Methodist Church did not have a seperate prayer book. However, the Liturgy from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, with slight revisions to fit the situation in American without a monarch, etc., was always in the back of the Methodist Hymnals. The Methodists always preferred one book with Hymns, Psalter, and Liturgy, in one book, instead of the confusion of more than one book.

The last Hymnal to include the BCP Liturgy was the 1964 Methodist Hymnal, officially still in use until the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal was published. In the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal, the BCP Liturgy was included as an alternate liturgy, actually updated from the 1662 to the 1928, in some ways. In 1989 United Methodist Hymnal, the Novus Ordo ecumenical liturgy was adopted as official liturgy.

However, many parishes still use the 1964 Methodist Hymnal. Some even use older versions of the Hymnal.

The UMC, when it adopts new official liturgy, does not force anyone to abandon any former liturgy, or a former hymnal. Once a hymnal, or liturgy, is authorized, it is permanently authorized. Unlike ECUSA bishops who forced 1928 BCPs to be burned, the UMC has always recognized the importance of allowing congregations to continue to use older liturgies/hymnals if they so desire.

The original book from 1784, an edited-for-America version of the 1662 BCP (without prayers for the monarch etc.), Psalter, and Hymns, called the "Sunday Service of the Methodists In North America" is still authorized, still in print/for sale from the Order of St. Luke, and can be used.

BCP Catholic