We need to be praying for all orthodox Anglicans that still find themselves in the Episcopal Church (ECUSA). They have some hard choices to make in 2006.
Namely, they must decide how long they will stay in that denomination. And I honestly don’t know what to suggest as the best course of action. (Of course, I would be thrilled if a great many of them joined my Reformed Episcopal Church, but anyway . . . )
You can guess my view of ECUSA: It is apostate, though with strong pockets of vibrant orthodoxy. And pressures build month by month and year by year on those pockets to “reconcile” with apostasy or else. Like Christopher Johnson, I therefore feel the orthodox should not allow themselves to be forever strung along by exhortations to wait until this meeting or that. For in ECUSA, time favors the apostates as they gain and exercise more and more control. Being strung along from year to year, meeting to meeting may be the worst possible scenario. And that even goes for orthodox strongholds as the Diocese of Ft. Worth. Bishop Iker is a rock. But he’s not going to be bishop forever. Do you expect ECUSA to let another +Iker to take his place? I’m convinced even strong dioceses like Ft. Worth, Dallas, and Pittsburgh can’t wait too long.
Waiting until Lambeth ‘08 seems and indeed may be reasonable. But even if all goes well at Lambeth, there is no guarantee at all that actions taken there won’t be subverted. Frankly, I think that’s what happened to the Primates’ directive to form a Panel of Reference. What was a matter of “urgency” has now become a joke. I expect to see more of such subversion by other Anglican Communion authorities, including by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, after Lambeth.
Yet, it is possible that a place apart from apostate ECUSA will be provided for orthodox North American Anglicans within the Anglican Communion. And there are Primates and other leaders striving for that. As long as there is reasonable hope for such a resolution, a strong case can be made to sticking it out with the processes underway in the Anglican Communion.
And the history of those too eager to split denominations in the U. S. has not been a happy one. And, yes, my Reformed Episcopal Church has had a difficult history until recent years.
But there comes a point when conservatives sticking it out in a liberal denomination is a bit like having an Auburn booster club at the University of Alabama. It becomes pointless.
Are we at that point yet in ECUSA? I don’t know. And those faithful in ECUSA who are struggling with what to do have my empathy and prayers.