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Archbishop Beach urges caution on taking the marriage pledge: The Church of England Newspaper, November 28, 2014 November 28, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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Two leading American clergy, the Rev. Prof. Ephraim Radner and the Rev. Prof. Christopher Seitz have released a manifesto published on the website of First Things magazine, urging clergy to refuse to perform civil marriages in light of the changing definitions of marriage made by the federal and state government. The Marriage Pledge states: “The new definition of marriage no longer coincides with the Christian understanding of marriage between a man and woman. Our biblical faith is committed to upholding, celebrating, and furthering this understanding, which is stated many times within the Scriptures and has been repeatedly restated in our wedding ceremonies, church laws, and doctrinal standards for centuries. To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.” It encourages clergy to sign the pledge and “commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.” The call for clergy to stand aside as agents of the state has not received universal support from conservatives. The Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Foley Beach, urged restraint, writing: “It would be best for us to take counsel together before taking further action. Therefore I ask that you do not sign this pledge until as bishops, clergy, and lay leaders we have had more opportunities to pray about and discuss the legal, theological, and sociological ramifications of signing such a statement.”

Conservative TEC leader concedes defeat in America’s sex wars: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 5. October 15, 2013

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One of the leaders of the conservative remnant within the Episcopal Church has called upon traditionalists to acknowledge their defeat in the church’s wars over sexuality and seek a negotiated peace.

In a powerful address given last month to a conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Toronto Pan-Anglican conference, the Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz, Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto and a scholar with the Anglican Communion Institute said “the question for conservatives [now] is about encouragement. Will we be allowed to walk the well-worn paths of the faith,” he asked “or must we follow the trailblazers”, the advocates of change.

The culture and the majority faction within the Episcopal Church held a different moral worldview. It was “no longer a matter of saying the new ways are wrong. That point has passed. “

“We are in a new time. It is now here. We can see a before or after” in the Episcopal Church since the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003 and in the rise to power of Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2006. “Traditional Anglicans have lost a battle.”

There is now “no single understanding” of the faith. New Prayer Books will emerge that will solemnize gay marriage. Prof. Seitz noted the question for conservatives is not whether they can stop this but if the majority will allow “two rites [to] exist side by side.”

Encouragement for the conservative remnant “would be allowing the status quo ante. Not a new church allowing traditional Anglicans” a home, but the existing churches giving conservatives “the moral space and right to exist.”

“Will dioceses and parishes be permitted to do what has been done before,” he asked. Will we be given the “moral space to conserve our traditions? Can bishops let go of parishes? Can dioceses choose to say no? Can we [as Episcopalians] remain a valued and trustworthy expression of the church catholic?”

To do this “it may be necessary to change the office of Presiding Bishop, reform the General Convention, rewrite the Book of Common Prayer” or enact other “constitutional reforms”, he said.

But “if reforms are not enacted it would end the conservative presence” in the Episcopal Church, he said.

Seek peace with honor in the TEC wars: Anglican Ink, October 6, 2013 October 6, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Ink, The Episcopal Church.
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Toronto: Conservatives should seek terms for a negotiated peace to the Anglican wars, the Rev. Canon Christopher Seitz, Old Testament Scholar and Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe College in the University of Toronto and a leader of the Anglican Communion Institute told a conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Toronto Pan-Anglican Congress.

The battle had been lost leaving conservatives as “strangers in their own church,” he said, and “the question for conservatives [now] is about encouragement. Will we be allowed to walk the well-worn paths of the faith,” he asked “or must we follow the trailblazers?”

While engaged in the preparation of a commentary on the Book of Jeremiah while on a study leave at the University of Tubingen, Prof. Seitz stated it was his custom to tread the paths in the forests surrounding the town.  Warming upon this theme, he told the conference participants gathered at St Paul’s Bloor Street in Toronto that traditionalists are being told the “paths of our fathers are wrong paths” and our understanding of God’s plan for salvation has reached its “sell-by date.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Episcopal Church polity under scrutinty by the courts: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2012 p 7. May 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Fort Worth, Property Litigation.
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Seven bishops of the Episcopal Church have filed a legal brief with the Texas Supreme Court urging it to reject the theory that the General Convention or the presiding bishop holds metropolitan authority over the church’s dioceses.

In an amicus brief filed on 23 April 2012 prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute in the case of the breakaway Diocese of Fort Worth, seven bishops and three leading Episcopal scholars argued the trial court misconstrued the church’s constitutions and canons by holding that the Episcopal Church was a hierarchical body with ultimate power vested in the General Convention.

The 29-page brief stated that attorneys for that national Episcopal Church sought “to establish an alternative authority to that of the diocesan bishop” in their pleadings, which they said was contrary to the church’s Constitution and Canons.  Attorneys for the national church have argued the Episcopal Church possesses a unitary polity, where dioceses are creatures of the General Convention.

The ACI disagrees, citing the church’s history and constitution and canons.  Its friend of the court pleading follows upon their 22 April 2009 paper endorsed by 15 Bishops entitled Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church that stated the “fundamental structure of the Episcopal Church from the outset has been that of a voluntary association of dioceses meeting together in a General Convention as equals.”

Signing the document were the Bishops of Albany, Springfield, Western Louisiana, Dallas, the Suffragan Bishop of Dallas and the retired Bishops of Central Florida and Texas, along with the Rev. Christopher R. Seitz, the Rev. Philip W. Turner, and the Rev. Ephraim Radner from the ACI.

Canon lawyer Allan Haley observed the amicus brief filed in the Fort Worth case “must be both an embarrassment, and also no small irritant. After all, if the “Church” is at the top of the ‘three-tiered hierarchy,’ why can’t the “Church” keeps its bishops and clergy in line?”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.