FCA2009: Lord Carey Blasts American Episcopal Church at Orthodox Anglican Meeting
Former Archbishop of Canterbury calls TEC actions "lamentable"
By David W. Virtue in London
July 6, 2009
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey today blasted the American Episcopal Church. In a note to 1,600 participants at the Fellowship of Continuing Anglican conference he said that his visits to different parts of the world reveal grievous hurts to the Body (the Anglican Communion) caused by the lamentable actions of TEC in 2003.
That was the year V. Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual living in a partnered relationship, was ordained bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire.
"In such a situation, your witness, your courage and your commitment to the gospel are grounds for hope," said Carey.
"You are already facing suspicion and hostility from various quarters because of the launch of FCA in England. Nevertheless, attempt to build the strongest bonds of communion with the rest of the Anglican family.
"Remain steadfast in truth, and compassionate in unity. And be prepared to go the extra mile for others."
Her Majesty the Queen, Governor of the Church of England also wrote to the conveners expressing encouragement and "good wishes to all concerned for a successful and memorable event."
After the Jerusalem conference, GAFCON leaders wrote to the Queen expressing their concerns for the Anglican Communion. They also expressed their loyalty to her as the Supreme Governor of the CofE, arguing that the pressing need was for the Anglican Church to remain faithful to the biblical gospel. She replied that she "understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did".
Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sent a one line statement, "I shall be glad to hold all of you in my prayers for the occasion."
Other Church of England bishops were more expressive and adulatory in tone about the FOCA conference.
Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester wrote, "I warmly welcome the fact that Be Faithful is happening, I look forward to continuing to serve alongside you all, and I shall have you all in my prayers."
Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, wrote saying. "I send my warmest greetings, and the assurance of my support. Events in North America are developing progressively, and it is essential that we stand publicly and clearly with the emerging Province of orthodox Anglicans."
Paul Butler, Bishop-elect of Southwell and Nottingham, said, "I was glad to be a part of the gathering in Jerusalem last year and am sorry that I cannot be with you today. The mission that God has called us to of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed must keep leading us forward. We all need to stand together for this good news. We may differ on some matters but standing together under the authority of Scripture for the Lordship of Jesus Christ is vital."
Donald Harvey, Moderator Bishop of the Anglican Network in Canada and a Diocese of ACNA, said, "I write in my capacity as Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada to convey to those gathered in London our warm wishes and the assurance of our prayers throughout the next few days. "Because of our mutual involvement in GAFCON just a year ago, we know many of the leadership who will be meeting at this time. Indeed, our Movement here in Canada has been enriched by so many of you and will continue to be as move together under the new banner of FAC in the days ahead." "It is a joy to be part of this great Fellowship and although we are separated by a vast ocean, we are with you in heart and mind as the events unfold." The Rev John Coles of the New Wine Network wrote saying, "This is a follow-on to GAFCON last year, at which I was present along with others from the UK. A conference is becoming a movement. Having talked again to Henry Orombi (Primate of Uganda) when he was with us for our Leadership Conference, I am sure this is an important movement. It's important for us to show solidarity with orthodox and persecuted Anglicans in North America; it's important for us to show that there is a strong group of orthodox Anglicans in the Church of England; and it's important for us to stand together against the slow but steady conforming influence of secular humanism within the Church of England."
Richard Turnbull, Principal, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who is traveling in the US addressing scattered conservative Anglicans in the San Francisco Bay Area where church planting is in action, wrote saying "Our faithful North American Anglicans are deeply grateful for the support of fellow confessing Anglicans in the UK. One fellowship had met today in a community school for the first time - having been forced from their building."
Turnbull said he heard moving stories of oppression and persecution. "The Lord honours those that honour Him. We have little concept of the depth of suffering endured on the ground by our faithful brothers and sisters. They are suffering a second and equally scandalous 'great ejection.' They deserve our full and open support, not vacillating and begrudging, not hedged or qualified a thousand times."
We must stand alongside them, he said.
The letters are reminiscent of one famous letter sent by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who wrote a letter on behalf of the Pope John Paul II to some 4,000 orthodox Episcopalians gathered in Plano in October 2003.
In a look back in history, Ratzinger wrote, "I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ's Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith from England to my own forebears in Germany.
"The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcend the borders of any nation. With this in mind, I pray in particular that God's will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself."
The letter bypassed then Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold making it one of the greatest single embarrassing moments in his ecclesiastical reign.
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