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DALLAS: Activist layman exhorts diocese to stand firm in the faith and Network

DALLAS: Activist Layman exhorts diocese to stand firm in the faith and affirm Network

Subject: Executive Council Vote on the Network

Richardson, Texas
Sunday, 7 March 2004

Dear Bishop, Executive Council Members, and Central Convocation Members,

I have been in prayer and reflection concerning the diocese's position on the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. I have read the March 3, 2004 letter to the Executive Council signed by the Rev. Chuck Treadwell and 16 clergy.

I too fear the polarization of the diocese; however, my analysis is that the actions of 74th General Convention have - in fact - already polarized the diocese and the country and the Anglican Communion at large. To believe otherwise is to deny the experience of every meeting and conversation I have had for the last six months; including the opportunity to discuss the distress felt by many Ugandans and international representatives at the enthronement of Bishop Orombi this past January at St. Paul's Cathedral, Namirembe, Uganda.

As part of my research, I re-read the bishop's remarks at the October 17th Diocesan Convention following the General Convention. The entire document can be found at: http://www.episcopal-dallas.org/address.htm. His conclusions seem particularly applicable to our Network discussion.

The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton Bishop of Dallas
October 17, 2003

ADDRESS TO DIOCESAN CONVENTION

We have lived with tension in this Church over sexuality for the past 26-plus years I have been involved in this Church. The General Convention decided that it was time to act - and thereby brought that tension to the breaking point. The Primates bear eloquent witness to how that fracture has impacted our whole Anglican family. What would it be like, I ask myself, if we could move on from this? Let me be clear - as clear as my statement on August 6. We will not become narrow or exclusive. We will be a welcoming Church to all who come to us. We will renew our interest in work among youth, planting new Churches, developing able leaders for the future. . We will redouble our efforts to help repair the damage done to our brothers and sisters abroad - beginning with dioceses in the 9th Province, and reaching beyond them. We will honor our Anglican heritage not only in worship, but in engagement with our communities and our world. We will educate our people to know their heritage and form them to worship with their minds and hearts as well as their lips. . We will give special attention to how the next generation of clergy, and the ones to follow, may be educated, trained and inspired to champion the Gospel - all of it. We will honor the ministries of one another - laity, deacons and priests - and accept that there will remain differences among us; but we will work together to demonstrate that the grace and love of God can heal, reconcile and renew His people.

The fact that we have been in dialogue over sexuality for much of the past 26 years .and the precipitous actions of the 74th General Convention. leads me to believe the time is now for the Diocese of Dallas to move forward with a new way to " honor our Anglican heritage not only in worship, but in engagement with our communities and our world" by endorsing the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes.

And, I am encouraged that we are in good company in this decision when I read the Archbishop of Canterbury's remarks made February 9th 2004 at the Church of England's General Synod. The full remarks are at http://www.anglicancommuniondioceses.org/cantuar040209.htm

In the Church of England's General Synod, 9th February Now the Primates in their statement in October called on provinces to make adequate provision for episcopal oversight in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury for those in conscience unable to accept certain dispositions made by their provinces. In line with that request from the Primates, I want to say that I remain fully committed to searching for arrangements which will secure a continuing place for all Episcopalians in the life of the Episcopal Church in the United States and I have been involved in working with several parties there towards some sort of shared future and common witness, so far as is possible. It is in that light that I've been following sympathetically the discussions around the setting up of a network within the Episcopal Church of the United States of America engaged in negotiating some of these questions of episcopal oversight.

Rowan Williams 2004

I am confident in the theological foundation of the Network and appreciative of the hard work which has gone into the formation of this important Communion presence in the United States. Thankfully, the majority of the Anglican Primates, who represent the majority of Anglicans worldwide, have pledged their support and ministries on behalf of the Network. The Network' s charter pledges it to remain in full communication with Canterbury and the Commission formed by him, and with the Primates and Bishops of the Communion who stand for and actively work toward the Communion's strengthening and mission.

Lastly, I revisited C.S. Lewis's, Screwtape Letters, and was reminded by Screwtape's advice to his nephew, Wormwood, telling him what he must do to gain the soul of a Christian for the underworld. This mostly involves "muddying the waters." That is: not allowing the "patient" to clearly see the truth. Thus we are shown how evil is overcome by simple, clear actions and thought.

Personally, I know how essential it is for all of us to be in prayer concerning God's direction on this key issue. We at Trinity Dallas are praying for the actions of the Executive Council and ask that you please add this decision to your congregation's prayer list. If you have any questions or comments, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you. Please contact me at any of the numbers below:

John B. Crosby, Jr.
Central Convocation Chair
1006 Blue Ridge Place
Richardson, Texas 75080
jadtech@airmail.net

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