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ACNA Parish Withdraws from C4SO Diocese and Lands in Limbo

ACNA Parish Withdraws from C4SO Diocese and Lands in Limbo
CEEC acronym led to confusion over Anglican Ink headline and accusations that one evangelical Episcopal Body was pro-homosexual

By David W. Virtue, DD
September 30, 2021

An ACNA parish in the Diocese of C4S0 -- St. Mary of Bethany Parish in Nashville, TN, has withdrawn itself and said they are joining with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, (CEEC) a denomination not to be confused with the Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Church (CEEC), because they claim the denomination they want to join is pro-homosexual.

Both have the same CEEC acronym causing confusion, with Archbishop Robert Gosselin, Metropolitan and Archbishop of the Continuing body telling VOL that, "we are not 'that' CEEC." The confusion stemmed from a bad headline on Anglican Ink and a statement that the Communion Episcopal group was pro homosexual.

However, Quintin D. Moore, Archbishop of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches said the congregation has not been accepted into their denomination and denies being progressive.

"We are not progressive in regard to sexual ethics. The Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches has been in existence for over 25 years. Our Communion maintains our unity at the Provincial level through our Instruments of Unity; with each Province having their own Canons much like in the Anglican Communion. The province in question has always had canons and they have always been very clear on the issue of marriage "as a lifelong covenant between and man and a woman." The CEEC has never abandoned a Provincial Canonical Structure. We remain very committed to traditional Scriptural understanding of sexual ethics," he told VOL.

He said he was "saddened" by the confusion the story caused and that this congregation had been received into the CEEC when it had not.

Equally incensed by the inaccuracy of the Anglican Ink story, Archbishop Robert Gosselin told VOL, "As the General Secretary for the "OTHER" CEEC -- we have NOT abandoned canonical rule and taken a "progressive stance on human sexuality issues."

"The Canons of the Continuing Communion contain specific doctrinal positions which prohibit the recognition of female bishops, homosexual marriages and the ordination of individuals who engage in homosexual, premarital, and extramarital sexual conduct. This position is in line with the biblical interpretation of the historic Church."

"The Continuing Evangelical Episcopal Communion, the canonically-ruled group that stayed the course, maintained our historic and biblical positions on human sexuality, same sex unions and the authority of the Holy Scriptures. Archbishop Foley Beach and I have spoken about this unfortunate departure, both of St Mary of Bethany Parish in Nashville, TN and also of a dozen or so churches who used to be in communion with us."

A "progressive stance on human sexuality issues" that ignores the clear teaching of scripture, the unequivocal history of Christianity as a whole and two thousand years of episcopal unity on this matter is NOT progressive -- It is sadly destructive and heretical, said Gosselin.

The rector of St. Mary of Bethany Parish, the Rev. Danny Bryant, wrote to his congregation informing them their parish council, had voted to withdraw from the Anglican Church in North America's C4SO diocese and is joining the Diocese of St. Anthony in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, due to theological disagreements with the ACNA's stance on same-sex blessings. The CEEC's progressive stance on human sexuality issues is a better fit for the church, wrote Bryant.

"The ACNA's emphasis that the world is in need of a church that is "always moving forward" to "extend" and "advance" God's rule with "boot camp" training and preparation is a fundamental difference in posture that does not align with the vision of St. Mary's of Bethany. In fact, it is a posture that many who come to our community are seeking healing and recovery from. To that end, this discernment process has led to the mutual and peaceful conclusion between St. Mary's and the ACNA that we should end our affiliation in order to produce the fruit of each one's calling without draining each other's nutrients."

"The council has voted 7-2 to allow gay Christians who are not necessarily called to celibacy and are nominated by the church to serve on the parish council. "I have decided to stop being the officiant at weddings in order to maintain a peaceful compromise," said Bryant.

Archbishop Moore in a letter to VOL, said no reception had been offered the parish. He said the letter by Bryant was only a letter intended for that local parish and they had not been received into the CEEC.


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