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ATTLEBORO, MASS: All Saints, Attleboro, Leaves Episcopal Church, Joins AMiA

ATTLEBORO, MASS: All Saints, Attleboro, Leaves Episcopal Church, Joins AMiA

By David Virtue

ATTLEBORO, MA: All Saints Episcopal Church, a 500-member orthodox congregation in the ultra-liberal diocese of Massachusetts, has voted through its rector and vestry to leave The Episcopal Church and affiliate with the evangelical Anglican Mission in America. This is the second parish following St. Paul's, Brockton that has left the TEC for the AMIA with its rector the Rev. Dr. Jim Hiles.

"It's been coming for some time," said The Rev. Dr. Lance Guiffrida, 54, parish rector, citing the Episcopal Church's moral and theological stances that have significantly departed from Holy Scripture.

"Our case is before the Diocesan Standing Committee. We have had no comment from the bishop's office," Guiffrida told VOL.

"We are hopeful; we are looking to negotiate the acquisition of our property. They have agreed to meet with us and that is a positive sign," he said.

Asked if he would fight for the property in court, Guiffrida said, "We won't go to court; we are prepared to walk away."

"The vote by myself and the vestry was unanimous," he said. Guiffrida told parishioners in an Oct. 1 letter that the leadership was seeking negotiations with the Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, III SSJE.

They are requesting that Bishop Shaw issue a transfer of Letters Dimissory for Fr. Lance to the Province of Rwanda, allowing them to maintain their Anglican Orthodox identity. This would be effective November 1, 2006.

Bishop Shaw had earlier given them permission to join the Anglican Communion Network of Churches.

All Saints has historically and presently maintains the apostolic and biblical truths, values and beliefs of the Christian faith. Two of the highest and most cherished of those beliefs and values are that salvation comes through Christ alone, and the Bible has always been and is now at the centre of Christian belief and life, it is the Church's supreme authority, and as such is a focus and means of unity, says a statement at their website.

"This is the clear and unequivocal teaching of the Christian church, historically and presently. It is also the clear and unequivocal teaching of the Anglican Communion, historically and presently," writes Guiffrida.

These are, and remain the foundational truths upon which the Christian faith stands, and without which, there is no true Christianity, he said.

"The vast majority of the Bishops of The Episcopal Church, and the Bishops of the Diocese of Massachusetts, do not believe salvation comes through Christ alone, nor do they believe the Bible is the supreme authority of the church."

"The vast majority of the Bishops of the Episcopal Church, and the Bishops of the Diocese of Massachusetts, believe they have received new revelation from the Holy Spirit to establish a new and prophetic religion, similar to and built upon Christianity, but which is neither historic nor Orthodox Anglican Christianity."

"We believe we have been called to heal wounds, to reunite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way," said Guiffrida. The parish also boasts some 80 young people under the age of 18.

All Saints is one of the largest parishes in the diocese, and while their departure would not cripple the diocese financially, as multiple departures have done in the Diocese of Florida, their leaving sends a loud signal that revisionist dioceses remain vulnerable to godly parishes that believe the care of souls outweighs The Episcopal Church's bankrupt theology. The diocese of Massachusetts is riddled with gay clergy.


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