The Chairman of Forward in Faith UK, Bishop John Broadhurst, attended the recent National Assembly of FiFNA in Mundelein, Illinois. The following documents and statements emerged from what was a very positive and forward-looking conference.
A Forward in Faith Statement
Forward in Faith/North America is moving to secure as soon as possible the services of a foreign-consecrated bishop who would minister to congregations and missions outside as well as inside the Episcopal Church.
An interim step under contemplation is the delegation of a retired FIF/NA bishop to serve as a missionary bishop.
A bishop serving in the United States but responsible to the primate of an Anglican province other than the Episcopal Church would provide traditional Episcopalians the kind of pastoral care the Episcopal Church has long refused them.
FIFNA’s goal, while similar to that of the Anglican Mission in America, is to gain the wider approval of primates within the Anglican Communion, with prayerful hope for the support of Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.
FIF/NA’s annual assembly, in Mundelein, Ill, October 28–31, voted to begin immediately accepting nominations for a new bishop.
Next year’s assembly, in August, will indicate its preferences among the nominees. Final names will be communicated to an overseas Anglican archbishop, to whom the new bishop, once consecrated, will be responsible.
FIF/NA said its representatives are in conversation with at least three overseas Anglican archbishops regarding a step that would fulfil the primates’ pledge at their meeting last March in Kanuga, NC, ‘to seek for ways to secure sustained pastoral care for all in our communion.’
Episcopal canon law gives bishops veto power over who functions in their dioceses. Orthodox parishes in dioceses like Washington and Pennsylvania, with revisionist bishops, are thus denied the care of bishops loyal to biblical faith and apostolic witness.
An orthodox bishop responsible to an overseas province of the Anglican Communion would not need permission from an American bishop to function within that bishop’s nominal territory. Thus parishes now languishing for lack of episcopal care – including congregations that have left the Episcopal Church in frustration over that state of affairs – could at last obtain confirmation and other sacramental ministries from a bishop who upholds the historic faith, practice, and order of the Church Biblical, Apostolic, and Catholic.
FIF/NA, formerly known as the Episcopal Synod of America, and representing more than 17,000 traditionalist Anglicans in North America, is a part of the worldwide Forward in Faith network of Anglicans.
Anglican bishops at the worldwide 1998 Lambeth Conference voted overwhelmingly in favor of ministry to isolated orthodox parishes. However, the Episcopal Church, and its presiding bishop, the Rt Revd Frank T Griswold, III, have firmly refused to move in such a direction.
The Church’s General Convention in 2000 moved in just the opposite direction, voting to send enforcement teams into three dioceses that affirm the validity of the all-male priesthood, after the pattern of Christianity for almost 2,000 years and the Episcopal Church itself until 1976.
A Statement by the Chairman of FIF/NA
As President of Forward in Faith (North America), I must express my personal outrage in regard to two recent events in the life of ECUSA. The Bishop of the Diocese of Delaware has quite clearly removed himself from Catholic Christianity as expressed in the Anglican tradition by his sanctioning of same sex blessings. His actions are a willful refutation of what the Church has been entrusted to teach and uphold in terms of biblical morality. It is the responsibility of all members of the Church to advance and submit themselves to what is contained in the revelation of God; and at the same time to raise their voices in protest when someone solemnly entrusted with guardianship of the faith and unity of the Church directly works against both. Bishop Wright has determined himself to be an interpreter of the moral discipline of the Church’s teachings in a way that only causes scandal, confusion, disunity, and offense to Christians everywhere whose calling is to proclaim and live by the whole counsel of God. It is absolutely outrageous for a bishop to set himself against the Church and her clear teachings.
The Bishop pro tempore of the Diocese of Washington has also engaged in outrageous actions against a priest of good standing who has the courage to speak the truth about the deplorable condition of ECUSA in many places, and at the same time upholds a position of theological integrity within the Anglican Communion. It is a frightening thing when a man of Fr Edwards’ obedience to the revealed religion of historic Christianity has been brought to the position of exclusion from exercising his priestly ministry because it is viewed as a threat to those in power. Here is a man who through a disciplined life of prayer and scholarship is willing to stand tall against innovations and aberrations that lead people away from God. If those who oppose his positions regard them as being unacceptable and harmful, why then are they not committed to loving and leading him into truth? It is obvious that many have stopped their ears to what he consistently preaches and teaches because it is offensive to their revision of the Christian religion. Nothing he preaches and teaches violates what the Anglican Communion has declared to be worthy of witness.
In these two recent actions, ECUSA continues to present itself as a Church without restrictions as to what certain individuals in positions of ecclesiastical power deem to be their personal and individual theological position. ‘What’s next?’ is the question of the majority of people who strive to hold on to their Church.
Forward in Faith will do all in its power – a power based in humility before the faith once delivered to the saints – to stand up for the biblical, Catholic, and Apostolic faith that all who have been baptized have solemnly promised to uphold, cost what it may.
With a heart of sadness, and hope in Jesus,
(The Revd Dr) David L Moyer SSC, President, FIFNA