Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fly-over country

A blog reader emailed to ask why the Dakotas show no Anglican parishes on the Common Cause Partnership map.

My parish, Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, is a known Biblical orthodox presence. We have folks coming from towns an hour away, and even a few from out of state (we are near the Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska lines) because Biblical Anglicanism is hard to find around here. We get frequent visitors from out of state who pass through Sioux Falls on business, and find us on the internet for Anglican worship. Parish members were instrumental in forming the American Anglican Council/South Dakota chapter. (The CCP map only lists parishes - there are a number of active Anglican groups that don't show up on the map because of this).

But, the vestry has been unwilling to align the parish with any orthodox entity, even when it was still possible to do so and stay within TEC. Some of their decision was just plain fear of reprisal. Although it is not clear to me what the diocese, under current Canon law, can do to a parish church, the common belief around the diocese is that "something will happen." (And this belief is shared by moderate and even revisionist clergy I meet. The church here is ...uh... unusual).

In North Dakota, faithful Bishop Michael Smith, who is standing strong despite attacks, isn't counted as Common Cause because the diocese is not aligned with any entity other than TEC.

It is a sad time in North American Anglicanism. The failure of the Episcopal Church to engage The Dar es Salaam Communique or any other substantial plan to respect Biblically orthodox witness means that those who stay in TEC will not be recognized by orthodox groupings, and that those who seek orthodox affiliation will be punished by TEC.

1 comment:

David Handy+ said...

Well, Tim+, the vestry at Good Shepherd has plenty of good company. There are LOTS of vestries of conservative congregations that are running scared and being very cautious. You may be a "flagplanter," but not everyone is. But as +Bob Duncan the Lion-Hearted loves to say, "Courage breeds courage."

Actually, however, the intimidating and bullying tactics that TEC's leadership is using to try to keep a lid on the constantly deteriorating situation are bound to backfire on them sooner or later. And I hope it's sooner.

But their bark is worse than their bite. As with schoolyard bullies, all the bravado is just a front, a fascade, that covers up their deep insecurities.

Let's all be praying for the court case in Fairfax, VA tomorrow (Wednesday, May 28). That's the one where the 11 churches that went over to Nigeria's jurisdiction 18 months ago are fighting to keep their property. Judge Randy Bellows is hearing arguments from both sides over the constitutionality of the unique Virginia statute that awards the property to the majority of the congregation when a denominational split occurs.

The state Attorney General is assisting the orthodox congregations by defending the constitutionality of the 1867 VA law. But's it's not a slam dunk.

A victory for the CANA churches would be huge. It would deprive the TEC bullies of their biggest intimidating factor, the threat of taking away the property of departing parishes. At least in VA. And it might open the floodgates for many more churches to dare to leave.