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PLANO PLUS: Eastern Meeting Of Episcopalians Eclipses Dallas Gathering

PLANO PLUS: Eastern Meeting Of Faithful Episcopalians Eclipses Landmark Dallas Gathering

First Report By Auburn Faber Traycik
The Christian Challenge
January 9, 2004

IT WAS CALLED as a follow-up to October's Dallas (Plano) meeting--where
some 2,700 conservative Episcopalians gathered to stand for the faith and
seek a way forward after the watershed Episcopal General Convention--but its
registration has well exceeded that of the Texas confab.

"Welcome to Plano-East!" the Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints'
Church, Woodbridge, Virginia, near Washington D.C., told the enthusiastic
congregation assembled this evening at Woodbridge's huge Hylton Memorial
Chapel. The January 9-10 gathering, meeting under the theme "A Place to
Stand, A Call to Mission," is being sponsored by the Virginia and Washington
chapters of the American Anglican Council (AAC).

"We are nearly 3,000 strong," Guernsey said, with bishops, clergy, laity
and seminarians, persons of all ages, "from 45 dioceses in 25
states–including, praise God, New Hampshire!"–home to Vicky Gene Robinson,
the actively gay cleric the August General Convention approved as the
state's next bishop.

The turnout is the more remarkable considering that there was less lead
time or publicity for "Plano-East." agreed AAC media officer Bruce Mason.

IT SEEMS A GOOD GAUGE of the gathering strength of the nascent Network of
Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, the movement of North American
faithful that started to take shape in the wake of the convention's
endorsement of Robinson and of optional same-sex blessings. While the
actions capped some 25 years of liberal revisionism in the Episcopal Church
(ECUSA), they were for many the most biblically clear-cut. Because they
defied what the vast majority of Anglicans see as the plain teaching of
scripture--teaching repeatedly affirmed by Anglican leaders in recent
years--ECUSA's decisions, and the subsequent consecration of Robinson, have
led to a crisis and breakdown in communion across the global church.

"We are here to worship Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life," and
to "gather and unite around His leadership, " Guernsey said in his welcome
address to "Plano-East.". We are here for "solid biblical teaching, for
fellowship and mutual encouragement," to"offer hope" to the next generation,
and to gain insights into Anglican realignment and the emerging Network, due
to be formally inaugurated January 19-20 in Plano, Texas.

"We are here to pray for our broken church," he went on.

"We are not here because of what we are against, but of what we are for—the
transforming love of Christ," he said. He welcomed any persons present who
may disagree with the AAC.

The evening's gathering and worship had begun with robust, foot-tapping
praise songs, and, after Guernsey's remarks, led into the Eucharist service,
with Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan preaching and celebrating.

In his moving sermon, Duncan elucidated obvious parallels between the
situation of ECUSA conservatives and the gospel for the day, the story of
Jesus walking on the water, and Peter's attempt to walk out to Him. The
disciple began to sink when he became afraid and looked away from Jesus. The
scripture says the Lord "reached out his hand and caught him. `You of
little faith,' he said, ` why did you doubt?' And when they climbed into the
boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him..."

Saturday's session will begin with Morning Prayer and Bible study led by
the Rev. Dr. John Yates, rector of the Falls Church in Virginia. Among
others featured on the program Saturday will be the Rev. Kendall Harmon,
canon theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina; the Rev. Canon Martyn
Minns, rector of Truro Church, Fairfax, Virginia; Diane Knippers, president
of the Institute on Religion and Democracy; A Hugo Blankingship Jr.,
Chancellor of the AAC; the Rev. Thomas W.S. Logan Jr., rector of Calvary
Church, Washington, Andrew C. Pearson, director of AAC's Affiliates Ministry

Auburn Traycik is Editor of the The Christian Challenge

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