22. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Thu Oct 2 02:44:32 EDT 2003
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Letter writer misread canons
As a canonist of the (Episcopal) Canon Law Institute, I I must write to
contest two points in the Rev. Canon Gary Hall's Sept. 17 letter
written in response to the improper defrocking of a faithful priest,
the Rev. David Moyer of Rosemont.
First, Canon Hall would have us believe that presiding Bishop Frank
Griswold has no authority over local bishops in a church that
nonetheless claims to be hierarchical. I would simply cite the canons
in Title IV, which give the presiding bishop full authority to assemble
a review committee to evaluate pending charges against arbitrary or
misbehaving local bishops. A draft of five pending charges against
Bishop Charles Bennison has been in presiding Bishop Chancellor David
Beers' hands since May 16, 2002.
Second, Canon Hall would have us believe that the canons require Bishop
Bennison himself to visit every parish at least once every three years.
The canons in Title III are clearly to the contrary. This duty may be
delegated to another deputized bishop, and this delegation procedure
was the norm in this diocese under Bishop Bennison's predecessor.
Indeed, it was Bishop Bennison's reneging on his promise to continue
the use of this canonical procedure that triggered the whole problem.
The simple proof of Canon Hall's misreading of the church canons is
that if Bishop Bennison had canonical grounds to try the priest he
defrocked, he would not have needed to resort to misuse of the canons
to dismiss a faithful priest without trial.
David W. Rawson Willistown
As is so often the case with revisionists of the faith, the Rev. Canon
Gary Hall has missed the mark on both of the points he raises. First,
the bishop of the diocese is not "autonomous." He is subject to the
canon law of the diocese and of the Episcopal Church. Moreover, at his
consecration, he promises to "share with [his] fellow bishops in the
government of the whole Church; [and] sustain [his] fellow presbyters
and take counsel with them" (from "The Ordination of a Bishop" as
contained in The Book of Common Prayer).To be "subject," to "share,"
and to "take counsel" do not provide a basis for being "autonomous."
As to the second point, the heart of Bishop Charles Bennison's
"obligation as bishop of the diocese" isn't about visiting parishes in
his diocese. If the bishop were a true pastor of his flock, he would
make accommodations for parishes such as Good Shepherd and Rosemont,
just as bishops in other dioceses have done.
In fact, what "goes right to the heart of his obligation as bishop of
the diocese" is the bishop's sworn promise at his consecration to
"guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church" (from "The
Ordination of a Bishop") - something that Bennison has clearly been
unwilling to do, especially with regard to Good Shepherd.
The fact that he withheld information from the standing committee of
the diocese about his plans to depose the Rev. David Moyer bears
eloquent testimony to the bishop's failure to keep his ordination vow.
The Rev. Vernon A. Austin Philadlephia
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ!
Thank you for your persistence in keeping us abreast of what is
happening behind closed doors of the ECUSA. We laity, who are referred
to as the primary ministers of the church, have been ignored in the
decision making process. Even the process set up for General Convention
is one that is designed to keep 98% of the laity out of the loop.
In recent years I have advocated that the laity vote with their
collective pocket books and reduce giving to the church in a way that
cuts funding to liberal dioceses and to the National Church in NYC.
I now believe it is time for the laity to vote with their feet and
leave the ECUSA to avoid the false teaching and its affect on our lives
and those of our families. Go to where the Word is taught and preached.
We are all first Christians saved by God's grace in giving His Son for
our salvation. After this we are associated with a particular
denomination. Remember, there is no saving grace in Apostolic
Succession, which is of such grave concern to our bishops and clergy.
God transcends such foolishness.
David, I am 76 years old and have served our Lord through the ECUSA in
many capacities. In my parishes I have served as vestrymen, Jr. Warden,
Sr. Warden, Lay reader, liturgical assistant and the choir. In the
diocese I served on the Department of Lay Action in Chicago and an
Evangelism Commission in MA.
I helped establish a Cursillo community in the Diocese of MA. I was on
the Board of Faith Alive twice and held various offices in the
Brotherhood of St . Andrew including President. I coordinated Faith
Alive Weekends in Province 1 and Canada. I have been to Great Britain
to try and help resuscitate the Church of England Men's Society that
replaced the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.
I have been to Africa several times and helped build and fund an
orphanage in Uganda. My wife and I still support three orphans there
and are supporting the establishment of another ministry to the widows
and orphans in Mukono, Uganda. In other words, I have been involved.
This week, on the 19th, Margaret and I celebrate our 50th wedding
anniversary. We were married in Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford, CT
where just last month the first same-sex marriage took place with the
blessing of the Bishop of CT.
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness
and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with
darkness?" 2 Cor.6:14.
By God's Grace, Robert F. Kirschner Massachusetts
LEAVE IT ALL BEHIND, SAYS CHURCH GROWTH CONSULTANT
I am a church growth consultant in western Washington State. There are
many congregations in the ECUSA who may be inclined to transfer to a
conservative province or the AAC. I am worried that the ties of
property and material possessions may overwhelm the message that a
clean leaving would be intended to convey. In other words, if a
congregation seeks to leave ECUSA for theological reasons, adherence to
Scriptural integrity, or supposed obedience to God, but then turns
back, like Lot's wife and says, "But I really want to take my stuff
with me," that places the dioceses in the position of being gracious
(and looking like the righteous ones) or fighting (and likely winning
in many cases). This is a lose/lose situation for the conservative
congregations. A court battle is costly and they have relinquished the
moral high ground of their separation.
In contrast, the choice to place God first, above all else, before all
material possessions, even those beloved trappings of our worship, puts
all of our conservative congregations in a mission-mode. You are
completely dependent upon Almighty God, and if you look statistically
across all congregations, the greatest growth in people and energy is
in those "homeless" congregations, meeting in schools, storefronts,
community centers, etc.
The battle for buildings and land, more than the vote for Bp. Robinson,
will destroy the church, both conservative and liberal.
Blessings, Laura Faley Congregational Life Ministries
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