David Chislett announces his removal from his parish in Australia
Letter from David Chislett
Dear brothers and sisters,
Find below Archbishop Aspinall’s ad clerum which went out around the Diocese of Brisbane today…
It is clear that the Archbishop’s action is not based on any perceived dishonesty on my part, or on my contravening of the Constitution, Canons, Rules or Regulations of the Anglican Church of Australia in the Diocese of Brisbane. Rather it is based on an entirely subjective interpretation of what is ‘grave cause’ to use the language of the Benefices Avoidance Canon.
I now believe that all Incumbents in the Diocese of Brisbane should worry about the security of their tenure in the light of this action; if they are wise, they will move in the Diocesan Synod to repeal the Benefices Avoidance Canon on the basis that it is unjust legislation, compared with, for example, the Tribunal Canon, and can be so easily used in such a way as to deny Incumbents natural justice. It is clearly out of step with the principles that undergird the laws of the State of Queensland and the Commonwealth of Australia.
I will be meeting with the Wardens of All Saints’ to work out the details of my departure from the Rectory. It is intended that there be a farewell service in a number of weeks’ time.
As I have said during the last few months, all that remains for each of us is the keep the Faith whatever the cost, to focus only on the Lord Jesus our Saviour and King, to be strengthened by his Word and his Sacraments and look to the future in faith, believing his promises.
In due course I will communicate with you at greater length regarding the future.
Yours in Christ,
+ David Chislett ssc
Ad Clerum from Philip Aspinall
Dear brothers and sisters
On 25 February 2005 I met with the Commissioners under the Benefices Avoidance Canon and referred to them a report that Father David Chislett had been consecrated a Bishop and was now a Suffragan Bishop in the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, which is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion. [There follow details about the make up and procedure of the Commission.]
The findings of the Commissioners were –
• Fr Chislett submitted to consecration and was consecrated as a Bishop in the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia.
• Fr Chislett has not been appointed a Suffragan Bishop in the ACCA.
• The ACCA is not in communion with the Anglican Church nor with the See of Canterbury.
• Fr Chislett was consecrated as Bishop in the ACCA in full knowledge that he was acting without the approval of the Archbishop.
• Fr Chislett’s conduct is sufficiently serious to fit within the characterisation of ‘grave cause’.
• The removal of Fr Chislett from the benefice of Rector of the Parish of All Saints’ Wickham Terrace is expedient, in view of the seriousness of his conduct in being consecrated a Bishop in the ACCA which is a church not in communion with the Anglican Church – and the Commissioners advised me accordingly.
After a great deal of thought and prayer, and taking advice from those around me, I have come to the conclusion that for the good of the Parish and of the wider Church in the Diocese and beyond, I should act on the advice of the Commissioners. Accordingly I have handed Fr Chislett today an Instrument of Deprivation as provided for in the Canon, which removes him from his position as Rector of the Parish of All Saints’ Wickham Terrace.
Fr Chislett in both his written and oral submissions to the Commissioners gave a detailed account of events in relation to the ordination of women in the Anglican Church since August 1977. The Commissioners record that Fr Chislett dealt ‘movingly’ with what he called ‘the crisis of 1992’, when the General Synod passed a canon which provided for the ordination of women to the priesthood. He told the Commissioners of the ‘pain and sorrow’ of those who had been ‘effectively unchurched’ by what had happened. He explained to them that it was after this 1992 vote Catholic Anglicans made it clear the only satisfactory way they could stay within the Anglican Communion was with ‘some kind of alternative episcopal oversight’ – a request that had been ‘steadfastly rejected by the Australian bishops’.
The Commissioners record that Fr Chislett made the point that the intention of his consecration was that he be consecrated a Bishop in the Church of God who would then have capacity to serve within both the Anglican Church and the ACCA.