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A review of a discernment statement of an ACNA parish that disaffiliated and left to join the Episcopal Church.
We were "misaligned" said the Rev. Shawn McCain Tirres


By David W. Virtue, DD
August 17, 2023

The Rev. Dr. Shawn McCain Tirres of Resurrection (church) South Austin in Texas wants you to believe that after a sojourn of eight years in the Anglican Church in North America, that it was all a "misaligned" mistake and the Episcopal Church was now a better fit for him and 80% of his parish.

He wrote at length about it here: https://covenant.livingchurch.org/2023/08/16/the-risky-work-of-change-our-parish-journey-of-discernment-toward-the-episcopal-church/

However, a review of his reasons for leaving the ACNA and moving to TEC do not hold up under scrutiny. In fact, they are misleading, pearl clutching, woke nonsense.

He writes: "The ACNA and many in our parish were unaware ... that we needed to discuss, especially regarding the treatment of women, people of color, and sexual minorities. And, while within contemporary Anglican politics there's a tendency to fixate on matters of sexuality (important as they are), I want to resist this oversexualized reductionism. Our concerns include sexual minorities, but range far wider. Most of the sexualization of the question of our affiliation has come from outside our parish, not within."

"As the rector, I could see and feel the misalignment with the ACNA as a whole mounting in ways that concerned the future of our parish. Simply put, it became clear that more would have to change for our parish to remain in the ACNA than if we were to find a new ecclesial home."

"Black and Brown leaders in our church pointed us in the right direction and applauded the risks we took. Women leaders and clergy shared their experiences of exclusion and harm in male-centric church cultures. Sexual minorities shared what it was like to be them and challenged overly simplistic assumptions about sexuality. It was humbling to be mentored by the sisters and brothers who had disproportionately borne these issues' costs. But like living sacraments, these beloved people were a means of grace to me. I found Jesus among them in a special way, present and at work, which meant that if we were to join him in that work, we had to keep going."

VOL: Allow me to untangle this. No ACNA diocese or parish has ever been accused publicly (or privately) of racism. There are multiple parishes that are racially mixed and we have an entire Nigerian diocese committed to people of color and those from the Global South. Color has never been an issue in the ACNA. One could argue that more people of color should be evangelized and brought into the ACNA, but that doesn't make racism an issue. Christian people of color more often than not like to worship with people of their own race. You will often see church signs that read "Korean Presbyterian Church" meets here. There is nothing wrong meeting with your own tribe. Still and all Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America and will probably remain so. What "right direction" is Tirres talking about? He does not elaborate.

Tirres drops this little gem; "Most of the sexualization of the question of our affiliation has come from outside our parish, not within." So, he is allowing wolves to come in among the sheep. Jesus had much to say about this. (Mt. 7:15). He is saying that Scripture is not good enough but the moral relativism of society and cultural norms transcends God's revealed will on sexual behavior!

Tirres also cites the sexual abuse investigation in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest as a breaking point. Well, as of now Bishop Stewart Ruch faces an ecclesiastical trial; it is not being swept under the rug. TEC has had multiple cases of sexual infidelity by its bishops and priests over the years. TECs soft touch with perversity is demonstrated by former Rochester Bishop Prince Singh whose documented abuse has not registered with Curry to invoke the disciplinary measures of Title IV, and Bishop Whayne Hougland of Western Michigan who admitted to committing a sexual indiscretion. He was placed on a one-year paid leave, but later resigned.

ACNA does not come close in numbers to TEC on these issues.

WOMEN: ACNA has maintained a two integrities policy on the ordination of women to the priesthood. Some dioceses do and some do not. In my former parish we had a woman deacon leave because she wanted to be ordained an ACNA priest. She found another ACNA diocese to make that happen. The parish sent her off with their blessing. ACNA will never ordain women bishops. That is hardly misogyny. It is based on 2,000 years of tradition, history, and Scripture. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes two types of deacons; permanent deacons and transitional deacons. Only men can be ordained deacons. The Orthodox Church takes the position that traditionally, women have been ordained to the diaconate but not to the priesthood or episcopacy. What the nature of "harm" is Tirres talking about? He does not say.

Tirres talks about "sexual minorities" singling out the LGBTQ crowd (but not mentioning them by name, but we know who he is talking about.) But what about the growing male/female unmarried heterosexual crowd; why are they are not included as a "sexual minority." Married couples are becoming fewer according to new statistics released by Pew and Barna.

Tirres writes: "Sexual minorities shared what it was like to be them and challenged overly simplistic assumptions about sexuality." Well, we have heard this song of victimization before. It is the tyranny of the pansexual lament. "Oh, woe is me, I am feeling excluded and nobody loves me." I know widows and divorcees who have made the same complaint, but they don't have the public ear as the pansexual crowd has.

Of course, what the LGBTQ crowd wants is affirmation for their behaviour not just for their orientation. They want the church to say, that sodomy is good and right in the eyes of God, when clearly Scripture says it is not. They whine and wheedle for acceptance and become the most intolerant of anybody who dare opposes them when they get it. Check what happened to Bishop Bill Love formerly Episcopal Bishop of Albany and how he was treated because he refused to bow to the Moloch god of sodomy over Resolution B012. Or take what just what happened to Charlie Holt in Florida. He was twice elected bishop but got cut off for false allegations about his stand on homosexual marriage and charges of racism. Tirres will come under the worst sort of tyranny in TEC in the name of inclusion and may well come to regret his decision. Tirres says homosexuals and lesbians are a "living sacrament." That is hardly in the vein of St. Paul who wrote in Romans 12:1; "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

Tirres is turning truth on its head for a "feel your pain" theology that is no theology at all. Moral relativism is not to be found in scripture. Holiness precludes any kind of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. Caving into modernity, emotive responses, and "I just have to be myself" is a one-way ticket to hell. We are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds which in turn transforms our behavior. No, I am not talking about perfection. Tirres nowhere mentions transformation as an option; the rallying theme of the ACNA.

"Our clergy more clearly recognized God's special concern for the poor, marginalized, excluded, and vulnerable." Is Tirres suggesting that the ACNA does not care about the poor and marginalized? The ACNA has a whole ministry in the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, the Mt. 25 Initiative and smaller ministries like EKKLESIA that has significant global outreach.

Those left behind who will not follow him, will have to find a new location.

Tirres will now eat the spiritual husks from TEC's table that offers them neither hope in this life nor salvation in the next. "If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!" cried the Israelites. Tirres and his tribe may yet get their wish.


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