Canadian conservatives plead case to sympathizers at U.S. conference

Published November 1, 2003

A three-day meeting of conservative Anglicans in early October denounced the Episcopal Church of the United States’ (ECUSA) approval of an openly gay bishop, called on the primates of the Anglican Communion to intervene in the United States and asked conservatives to withdraw financial support from the American church. About 30 Canadians attended the meeting, said Canon Charles Masters, national director of Essentials, a Canadian organization of traditionalist Anglicans. “They are very appreciative of Canadians. They had us come up to the front and welcomed us,” he said in an interview after the meeting, noting that he and Rev. Trevor Walters, from British Columbia , made a 15-minute presentation to the conference. He said he talked about the formation of Essentials and how the “foundation of orthodoxy was important to us,” and Mr. Walters gave an update on the situation in his Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster, where the governing synod last year said parishes may offer blessings to gay couples. Conference attendees were also aware that Archbishop David Crawley, who is senior bishop in the ecclesiastical (church) province of British Columbia and Yukon , had moved to discipline Bishop Terrence Buckle of the Yukon for offering episcopal oversight to parishes in New Westminster that opposed the diocesan move. Mr. Masters called the conference, hosted by the conservative American Anglican Council, “very impressive.” He said that “people are concerned at the direction the church is going” in liberalizing attitudes toward homosexuality. A statement released by the Dallas meeting referred to the actions of ECUSA’s General Convention, which last August approved the election of Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire and acknowledged that the blessing of gay relationships is “within the bounds of our common life.” The statement called the actions “unbiblical and schismatic” and called upon Episcopal church leadership to “repent of and reverse” them. It appealed to the primates of the Anglican Communion, who were to meet a week later, to discipline Episcopal bishops who have departed from biblical faith and order, “guide the realignment of Anglicanism in North America ,” and “encourage orthodox bishops as they extend episcopal oversight ? across current diocesan boundaries.” The statement also said attendees will “redirect our financial resources … toward biblically orthodox mission and ministry and away from those structures that support the unrighteous actions of the General Convention.” The 2,600 participants included 24 Episcopal church bishops and representations from 600 parishes. There are 7,347 parishes in ECUSA.


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