COLUMBUS, OH: "There must be a change in ECUSA'S trajectory..."
By David W. Virtue with Auburn Traycik
In the 144 weeks since General Convention 2003, close to 140 congregations have left the U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA) because of its revisionist drift, says American Anglican Council (AAC) President, David Anderson.
True, he said, ECUSA officials say their records do not show that big of a loss. Anderson accounted for the disparity, however, by noting that, in a number of cases, most of a congregation has left but some stay behind, and ECUSA still counts those remnants among its congregations.
"When a congregation decides they want to leave, there are always some who disagree," he noted. ECUSA is still counting a church in Monroe, Georgia, from which most members left, even though it is empty, he said. One side counts it as having left it the other side counts it as having stayed.
Some of these seceded congregations have gone to the Anglican Mission in America, found allegiances with overseas Anglican primates, or joined other parts of the Anglican Diaspora.
Anderson said that, in his observation, faithful Episcopalians alarmed at the direction of their church tend to vote three times. They participate in dialogue, and no one listens to them. They vote with their wallets, and people say we don't care. Then they vote with their shoes, and that is a loss to those who stay behind.
Since 1965, an average of 35,000 persons has left ECUSA each year, he said. That is an average loss of 700 members a week.
What is the root of this?
Anderson said it goes back way before Gene Robinson to California Bishop James Pike, and the House of Bishops being unwilling to discipline for his heresy in the 1960s. The resultant and now prevailing mindset is to make up your own theology and make it market friendly. Most of the seminaries have been overtaken by the DIY theology, and the faithful remnant hanging on in ECUSA grow fewer with each General Convention.
So where is our future? Does the other side mean to listen to us? There is no past record of them doing so, he said. Instead, they have tried to silence us, remove us, or keep our people from being promoted to holy orders, he maintained.
He recalled that he had sent eight people to the Diocese of Los Angeles' Commission on Ministry. The first was a Hispanic female, but as she was a faithful, believing Anglican, she was told "you're not our kind of people." He sent seven more candidates, all of whom were rejected, whereupon he stopped.
"In the aggregate, they do not intend to let us reproduce." And in the so-called listening process, revisionists do not want to hear the stories of homosexuals living within God's Word, or of those who have experienced healing from same-sex attractions.
If there is to be a listening process, "all should speak and all should listen," Anderson said.
"How will we be treated in the future?" Anderson asked. He felt that that could be discerned as different resolutions stand or fall at this General Convention, and by what trajectory the church is on as the convention concludes.
If faithful Episcopalians are to persevere and prosper, he said, "there must be a change in the trajectory of the church."
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