Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Action Call

Heads up, all you Episcopalians in Network dioceses and parishes! You're on the agenda of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council meeting next week.

According to this story from Episcopal Life Online about next week's Council agenda, the National Concerns Committee (NAC) has been charged by House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson to
discuss the situation of Episcopalians in certain dioceses and congregations who disagreed with their leadership's desire to part from the Episcopal Church. [Committee Chair John Vanderstar] told ENS that he had asked Council members for any information they had on relationships that had already developed between those Episcopalians and the wider Church. NAC will review that information and discuss how the Episcopal Church might reach out to those Episcopalians and "tell them that the Church supports them so they don't feel so isolated."
Council will meet June 11-14. If ever there were a time for Via Media members and others suffering in Network dioceses and parishes to get your heads together and come up with specific ways the Episcopal Church can support you, now is that time.

John Vanderstar chairs the National Concerns Committee. You can find the committee charge and other documents at this page. Committee members are listed here.


Blogger Saint Pat said...

Thanks, Lisa. It's good to know they haven't forgotten us people who involuntarily live in Network dioceses! I must draft an e-mail.

6/06/2007 10:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I hope you will, Pat. I hope very many of you folks will! You can speak about the realities that the rest of us just don't know.

6/06/2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger C. Andiron said...

"Oh! It's awful! They PREACH the GOSPEL. They actually BELIEVE in the incarnation and the atonement! The HORROR of it all!"

You mean 'realities' like that?

6/07/2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

C. Andiron, I'm not sure what you're trying to say in that comment.

I hope you're making the quite valid point that there are liberals who are preaching the Gospel, who believe every word of the Nicene Creed, who are preaching transformation and urging holy lives ... and who are, indeed, nonetheless ostracized and suffering because they disagree with their diocesan on adiaphora. And that is indeed horrible.

6/08/2007 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is that there are many people in Network dioceses who disagree with the stand on the Network. There are also people who live in "liberal" dioceses who feel isolated and marginalized by the majorities there. The Executive Council would do well to focus on how these dioceses deal with their respective minorities, rather than simply move into a "War Room" mentality on how to deal with the Network.

6/11/2007 1:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I've addressed this concern in a comment on an earlier post, but let me say this again.

"Anonymous," I don't perceive that the Executive Council is moving into a "war room mentality" for dealing with the Network. Instead, I hope they will finally address the pastoral and episcopal needs of people and parishes who have felt abandoned by TEC over the past four years.

I agree there are conservatives in liberal dioceses who feel isolated and marginalized. However, most of those have received immense and very public support from the Network, from the AAC, from retired bishops nominally in our Church, and even from primates flying in from the Global South. We've seen it time after time in the last four years. When a conservative parish wants to rebel against its liberal diocese or its "heretical and apostate bishop," there is no shortage of support. Retired conservative bishops come in to do confirmations or ordinations in those parishes. And a good many of those parishes have gone outside our polity to get "alternative oversight" or even claimed to pull out of the Episcopal Church to align with Uganda or Rwanda or the Southern Cone or CANA or AMiA. Just look at the nationwide gathering of bishops who went into Connecticut to express support for those six priests and (as conservatives like to term it) "poke the Episcopal Church in the eye."

Compare that to the situation of the liberal parishes I know in Network dioceses. So far as I know, there is not a single liberal parish that has sought "alternative episcopal oversight" from its conservative bishop. So far as I have heard or read, the liberal parishes in Network dioceses have received absolutely no visible, tangible support from the Episcopal Church nor from mainstream Episcopalians throughout our church. It seems to me the Episcopal Church has done nothing to show its support for those loyal Episcopalians who want to remain in TEC, while residing in dioceses like Fort Worth and San Joaquin that are trying to change their constitutions to leave TEC. I think it's shameful that we have left our brother and sister Episcopalians to fend for themselves.

I'm also struck by this contrast. The self-proclaimed "orthodox" all over this church are quick to declare their bishops "heretics" and "apostates" and seek alternative episcopal oversight. Have you noticed that (with only a couple of exceptions) Episcopalians in Network dioceses aren't doing the same? They're acknowledging their bishops' authority, welcoming their conservative bishops to do confirmations, meekly accepting their bishops' whittled-down slate of acceptable priests. Their most dramatic steps have been to pass resolutions or take action to declare their intent to remain within the Episcopal Church. Pained as they may be, they are working within the system. They are voicing their disagreement with the schismatic actions, seeking to remain within our Church. That is all.

Mind you, I'm not privy to the inner workings of the church hierarchy. But I am guessing that our Presiding Bishops (past and present) have been loathe to "intervene" in Network dioceses on behalf of faithful Episcopalians. By contrast, the dissidents allied with the Network, CANA, the AAC, etc. have taken every opportunity to express their opposition to our Church – grabbing headlines, crossing boundaries, even (in Virginia) installing a dissident priest as a Nigerian bishop in the U.S. The Network produced the hate-mongering Choose This Day video, while our Church has endeavored to maintain charity.

And I believe that's why it is incumbent upon our Executive Council this week to consider the plight of those loyal Episcopalians in the dioceses that are threatening schism. Those loyal Episcopalians have been offered no support, and it's time that changed. It is time – and well past time – that our national church leadership offered outward and visible support of the Episcopalians who are marooned in dissident dioceses.

6/11/2007 7:03 PM  
Blogger David said...

Well past time, indeed. A big "Amen!" to Lisa from the Dio of Dallas.

6/13/2007 11:14 AM  

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