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Report from AAC "Plano East" Meeting in Northern Virginia

Reports from AAC "Plano East" Meeting in Northern Virginia


Posted on 01/09/2004 10:48:03 PM CST

Ok, just come home from the most glorious Festival Eucharist I've been to
since "The Holy Spirit" conference in New Orleans, August, 1997.

The procession was several hundred Priests long, and 2 Bishops in
attendance: Bishop Duncan and Bishop M'Pango of Tanginika, who attended VTS
and was married at Truro Church (by Rt. Rev. John Howe, I believe, well, it
was during his time at Truro).

The sermon by Bishop Duncan was on the text of Peter and Jesus walking on
the water "and Jesus reached out and helped him into the boat" - that in the
same way, the Holy Spirt, Jesus, God - the Trinity are reaching out to us as
a group. I heard the doctrine of orthodoxy but not to Griswold or Williams
although at the announcement time, Bishop Duncan had 3 announcements one of
which was that Griswold and Williams would be iformed of this conference,
and the last was "flyover Bishops" that those who want to have
Confirmations, or send candidates for Holy Orders, or for Seminarians, these
Bishops would be available. Means to us at Church of the Apostles, Truro,
Christ the Redeemer, The Falls Church and Church of the Holy Spirit, Dale
City, that Confirmation can now proceed without having to invite Bishop Lee!

After the service ended, there was prayer in front for those wishing to
receive prayer, and the lobby/narthex was filled with clergy in informal
receiving lines welcoming those from their Churches or just those who wished
to have a word with them.

I confess that I went for prayer - during the end of the service I realized
that I was furious with Bp. Lee for doing this to us - anger that welled up
and spilled out of me. Having had a childhood friend who left the Episcopal
Church to become a Jewess, sent me the article on Truro Church, Martyn Minns
and the Bishop from the Sunday New York Times Magazine section. There was
nothing in the envelope with the article - nothing but it might as well have
had one that said, "Nah nah nah na!". And it was in this article that I read
that Bishop Lee was prodded to take this position by his wife who said,
"Peter, do you want to be part of the past, or part of the future?" And ON
THIS SCRIPTURAL BASIS of wifely reminders, he based his decision? Oh joy,
this just thrilled me to tears. NOT. BTW, the Bishop has gained a
significant amount of weight. He has always been trim and fit, and this
picture showed a double chin, a puffed face, and a belly! Must be eating to
salve the pains of dissension he's feeling, eh?

The article is available online - thank God I saw it before my apostate
friend sent it.

Tomorrow, 8:25 AM Morning Prayer starts, then there are panels of 5 - 10
clergy/lay throughout the day.

Interestingly, Martyn nodded in the procession in my direction - I was
standing in the narthex, to watch the procession - and saw David Harper who
of course never sees anyone except the person's back in front to him. Saw
Tom Herrick, vicar from Christ the Redeemer, the Mission Church from Truro -
in tough times because of disassociating outselves from Bp. Lee. I have no
idea where they got their money to make the Jan. salary budget. Hmm - saw
John Guernsey from Dale City, Phil Ashey formerly of Apostles, then
Pittsburgh somewhere, is now vicar at South Riding (an entire planned
community you've never seen off of Rt. 50 hard to pick a mile marker for you
to know where it is, when all you remember is forest, followed by more
forest, which is now houses, condominiums, and very expensive tony townhomes
and single-family homes, and a golf course designed by someone impressive
for very costly club fees.

I plan on taking notes during tomorrow's panel discussions as this is where
the ideas of separation will be presented.

I have had a foretaste of Heaven - the service was glorious, the
synchronized responses marvelous, and the rafters just rang with the precise
"amen's" of about 3000. I would estimate that the place was 75% full,
meaning about 3000 in attendance. Parking confirmed this, as busses were
required from 3 distant parking/hotel/motel locations! I arrived in time to
get one of the last spaces within the confines of the Hylton Chapel parking
lots without being in the extended area!

It was a joy to be among so many devout, joyful, orthodox conservative
Episcopalians. The Episcopal Church lives!

Freeper Report on Second Day of "Plano East" in Northern Virgina

Posted on 01/10/2004 8:05:26 PM CST


Today was started with a wonderful historical service in the Episcopal
Church, Morning Prayer. This daily office is said daily by Priests in our
Church and we don't celebrate it often enough in the Church. There are times
I wish every Eucharist started with Morning Prayer as did the Cathedral of
my childhood.

Opening comments were again delivered by The Rev. John Guernsey of All
Saints, Dale City, who welcomed us to a thoughtful consideration of today's

The day was a composite of panels presenting various topics for our
consideration. The call to Orthodoxy was a thread throughout them all, and
amazingly so, since they were given different topics with the instruction
"Come up with 3 questions" - which most followed and answered with Biblical
text, or song, or with Anglican precendent or history, or a call to remain
strong, that those who have embraced the results of GC 2003 have LEFT the
Church; that WE are the Church.

The final panel of the day included a young man from Christ the Redeemer who
delivered an impassioned plea for us to remember who we are, and to get on
with the central tenet of our faith - doing the work Jesus has us on earth
to do. This from one so young with almost stinging words, was received with
a standing ovation followed by prayer for all those 22 and younger. Hands
were laid on those who were in attendance by groups of those around them,
and prayer was spontaneous and repentant for having ignored the future of
the Church, our youngsters.

The theme throughout today was ever constant - do the work that Jesus sent
us here to do, and the "business of the Church", how we will align will come
out of that but not at the sake of it.

The Rev. Canon Martyn Minns summed this up at the end, giving as the
parallel stories of "Tex", "Ruth" and "Emily" - redemptive inclusivity,
radical transformation. Redeeming work done at the risk of reaching out to
the unclean, unwashed and outcast, but because they received the love of
Christ through one of us, they came to believe in God, accepted His Son as
the living Christ, and whose lives were radically transformed as a result.

Today, whether it was epistomological, historical, analytical, musical or
rhetorical, the love of Jesus and the focus on Him was made clear. Over and
over, we were urged to place our faith in the Bible, the Trinity, and get on
with getting on. These discussions interspersed with prayer and then with
song, drove the message deep: There is hope, there is life in this Church
(us) afterall; there is meaning to all of this when we keep our eyes on the
One who came to earth to show us how it's done, and that mission - the kind
of mission that evolves out of each and every one of us, is central to our
existence because living the great commission is more important than living
the social life of meaningless Sunday Church services.

With the focus back on Jesus, with the emphasis on mission and service,
there was a release of anxiety over "where do we go, what do we do now"
which morphed instead into "this is what we do, this is how we proceed", we
keep doing the work of Jesus and the mechanics of our Anglican Communion
here in America will be worked out. Time will help us work this out. The
pressure to see something, almost anything happen NOW was released into
peace and patience and committment to doing the work on earth that God has
for us to do.

When I entered the building this Morning, I wondered how I would ever feel
peace, ever feel contentment in being an Episcopalian in America. As the day
progressed, any anxiety or pressure to have something resolved today or even
tomorrow faded away, in to the certainty that our leadership is pursuing
with all alacrity that which would make us central to Anglicanism, without
worrying about splitting off from or or splitting up ECUSA. Who knew where
this would end today? With teenagers performing skits that showed the peer
pressure they could face about "that homosexual Bishop thing" which the
central character worked out to be the issue of Biblical authority rather
than a homosexual issue.

A fantastic witness was given by a man who is involved in a ministry to
those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle, as he told us his story and let
us see the pain of what he experienced, followed by the healing and love and
wholeness that Jesus has called him into. It was one of the most powerful
testimonies of God's mercy and grace I think I've ever heard. Like all of
us, his is a process of healing, but also like us, one that he has
recognized the choices he has to make and the fight he has to wage daily.
This is simply and remarkably, the kind of healing and wholeness that God
calls us all into.

In the theme of the day, I have 3 questions.

What did I like best? The singing. No, the panels. No, the skits the
teenagers did. No, the stories Canon Minns told. No, the congregational
prayer we were led in, in small groups. Okay, I liked everything.

Starting with the Festival Eucharist last night, to the Morning Prayer,
panel discussions, congregational prayer, group prayer, teenager skits, each
had a part to play in the fabric of the day that wove us to the final
conclusion - we can retain our rich Anglican heritage by standing firmly on
the Word of God and doing His work.

What did I Learn? I learned that we aren't headed to some major schism,
leaving consecrated property, splitting parishes apart, abandoning Priest's
and Bishop's retirement monies, and introducing incredible amounts of doubt.
We can continue with who we are, claiming the Biblical authority that we
have, and making some requests about our future that will progress slowly,
with thought and with care (and with legal help!).

What touched me most? Two things. One, the availability of the Priests and
Bishops, to talk with us - at breaks, at lunch, after the last session. With
so many white collars around, people could approach them and ask them their
most burning concern. If they didn't feel something had been answered for
them (most likely, it just hadn't been answered yet), they could address it
with the nearest Priest. I thought this openness and availability was
spectacular. No pedestals, or barriers to questions here.

Second, the pace of the day. I don't know how they did it, but the time from
8 AM to 4:30 PM just flew by, but instead of feeling like it whizzed past,
there was this sense of accomplishment, of peace, of contentment, of renewed
passion for ministry. I wanted to thank the heretical Bishops who voted for
the consecration of the errant Bishop in NH,to say a loud "thank you". Why?
Because bringing this many of us together in No. VA was a treat. The comfort
of familiar liturgy, the rhythm of treasured hymns and songs, the cadence of
the leaders' prayers, the assurance of steadfastness in our faith through
humorous stories and Biblical quotes led to a peacefulness that our
denomination is not teetering on the precipice of destruction, but instead
is focusing on a new emphasis, a call to righteousness. A call of

No matter what you call us, we are Episcopalians.

One final note. I heard two different numbers for attendance today. From the
panels, from the introductions by The Rev. Crocker, an Assistant at Truro, I
heard 3000 several times. From someone who did the computer print out for
name badges, I heard the number 3275.

So, let's just call it 3000+. Quite a turnout in this busy No. VA area where
there was suppostion that "not many would bother showing up". 3275 people
bothered to show up, and were rewarded for it.

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