Sunday, June 25, 2006

GC ’06 Fallout: Bishop Duncan’s Letter Revisited

Bishop Robert Duncan’s pastoral letter sent out this week and read in many parishes this morning is quite the sensation and an encouragement to the beleaguered orthodox still in the Episcopal Church (TEC).

When I found out about it, I wanted to get it out to you good readers quickly. (And I know of only one blog that posted it before mine, he said smugly.) So my comments were brief. But now I have some further analysis:

1. This was the message that had to go out and quickly.

Even before the General Convention, orthodox Anglicans were fleeing TEC. And that was about to accelerate in the aftermath. I know that so many have been contacting bishops of my Reformed Episcopal Church to ask about the logistics of moving over to us that it’s been a stress on a number of them.

But, sadly, many or most of the fleeing orthodox were being lost to Anglicanism altogether. This is particularly the case with Anglo-Catholics. And TEC has been bleeding Anglo-Catholics with many more anxious to go. On one telling thread, someone commented that it would be unseemly for the Roman Catholic Church to appear to be poaching Anglo-Catholics. A number of A-Cs replied that the Romans were most welcome to “poach” them!

+Duncan knew that for the sake of orthodox Anglicanism in North America, to slow the bleeding, he had to say something strong and say it quickly.

2. Something big is indeed about to happen.

Frankly, it has to. If +Duncan were to make a statement like his letter, then little were to happen, that so exasperate the long-suffering orthodox in TEC that they would leave in droves. If little were to happen now, it would be a disaster.

I’m confident +Duncan knows this. He would not have sent out that letter unless he knew something good is about to happen.

(I think I just quoted a Bill Gaither song on an Anglican blog. Forgive me.)

3. Stick around.

This observation gets more personal. If you have suffered up to now as an orthodox Christian in the Episcopal Church . . . why??

Just kidding. But if you’ve stuck it out this long, don’t you owe it to +Duncan and the Primates and the orthodox in TEC and to yourself to stick around a few more months to see what shakes out? If what shakes out isn’t good enough to keep you around, then you can go if you like. But stick it out for a few more months. Something wonderful may be about to happen. But if you leave and burn your bridges, you might miss out.

And I have no vested interest in saying that. Heck, I’m REC and would love for our growth to accelerate. But Primates of the Anglican Communion, no less, are urgently conferring to see if they can provide a home for you. The gracious thing to do is to at least wait a while to see what the Lord and they provide.

4. Pray!

Yes, that’s a bit obvious, isn’t it. But this is a crucial juncture for Anglicanism. So do it! Thank you.

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