It is very hard to reply to Bishop Robertson's attack. One the one hand, he says that traditional Anglicans are a few malcontents, and good riddance as they leave. On the other hand, he says they are devious conspirators, trying to take over the diocese and force a way of life on people. I guess that's TEC leadership - throw out a bunch of inconsistent insults and hope something sticks.
For what it's worth, the American Anglican Council letter that went out was simply an invitation to take part in the AAC as a way for Biblically traditional folks to support one another. It included FACTS, from both diocesan and TEC publications, about the terrible membership and attendance declines afflicting the church, and documented actions and statements by TEC leaders.
Comment by Bishop Robertson of South Dakota, October 12, 2007 (http://www.diocesesd.org/ click on Information Exchange):
"Some of the clergy, some lay folks as well, were upset that a letter had been mailed out from a group of folks at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Sioux Falls, asking folks to leave the Episcopal Church and join their Anglican group. The usual reasons were cited for their leaving, the issue of human sexuality, same sex union blessings, our failure to interpret scripture as narrowly as they do, and they ask all of us to consider leaving the Episcopal Church and join their splinter group. I spoke about some of their concerns in my convention address.I believe that the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has addressed the HOB statement and finds that it has met the conditions set forth in the Windsor Report, which is the document being touted by these splinter groups as the standard for belonging to the Anglican Communion. Whether or not the Primates will follow the ACC's lead is questionable. But as I said at the convention, it doesn't matter, since the Primates do not have the authority to either ask or remove someone from being a part of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church in South Dakota will continue to be the Anglican expression of faith here in South Dakota. I suppose that some folks will be unhappy with that and will likely leave us. They can do that if they wish, and they can go with my Blessing. We, the Diocese of South Dakota, will use whatever resources we have to ensure that folks at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church will be able to worship in the Episcopal/Anglican tradition as they have since that church was started. As I said at the convention, this whole splinter conversation is not about being the church, it is about power, authority, biblical interpretation or rather the holding of everyone to one interpretation, and it is about control. It is about dishonesty and it's about holding one group accountable to one standard and another accountable to a different standard.I trust that you will see it for what it is worth, an attempt to force on the good people of this diocese, a way of life in the church which is at odds with the Anglican/Episcopal tradition as they have been expressed and handed down to us in this Diocese over time. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me.I am preparing a letter to be sent to all congregations in this Diocese concerning the House of Bishops statement at the New Orleans meeting in September. It can be made available but not read from the pulpit."
Comment by Fr. Timothy Fountain (posted by diocesan staff Saturday morning):
The preceding comment by the bishop is not accurate. American Anglican Council mailings are not sponsored by Church of the Good Shepherd. Good Shepherd did not pay for the mailing. The Vestry of Good Shepherd has not aligned the parish with any particular advocacy group in the church. Our financials, vestry minutes and all other records are totally open to diocesan staff at all times.
I do provide pastoral care to people who share a traditionally Biblical and Creedal practice of Christian faith. Several of them have been told to "keep their views to themselves" in other congregations of this diocese. The Presiding Bishop recently stated that the church needs "all of its voices" - that is not the actual practice in many settings.
Prior to convention, the diocese provided a list of congregations that don't turn in annual reports, lists of convetion delegates and other requested documents (I would add to this parishes which now ignore requests for letters of transfer). Good Shepherd holds to a much higher standard of honesty and cooperation than many congregations in this diocese. It is unfortunate that the bishop has characterized Good Shepherd in uncharitable and unflattering terms.