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History: Walking Apart

Source of version: 100 (current)

!The Path of the Episcopal Church
Here we chronicle the events and their dates leading up to the "Walking Apart" of the US branch of the Anglican Communion from the main body of both the Communion and the Holy Catholic Church.

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The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America (PECUSA) is also known as the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA), the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS), and The Episcopal Church (TEC).
!The Timeline

__1930__ [|Lambeth Conference passes Resolution 15], "The Life and Witness of the Christian Community - Marriage and Sex," making Anglicans the first major Christian body to approve artificial means of birth control.

__1943__ Revision to daily office lectionary removed selected "difficult" readings concerning homosexual practice. [|More information]

__1965-1966__ [,9171,841043,00.html|Heresy charges brought against Bishop James Pike], who had declared that “the Church’s classical way of stating what is represented by the doctrine of the Trinity is…not essential to the Christian faith”; Bishop Pike was censured, but there was no trial for heresy because the Church believed such a trial would give it an “oppressive image.” [|More information]

__1967__ Weakening position on [|abortion] appears to begin with 1967 General Convention Statement on Abortion.

__1968__ Membership in the Episcopal Church peaks ([|latest adjusted figures]). By 2005 there is a net loss of around one million members.

__1973__ General Convention, allowing pastoral concern to trump Scriptural teaching, replaced its annulment canon with a canon allowing remarriage after divorce, not limiting such remarriage to those cases that might be argued from Scripture. [|More information]

__1974__ Illegal ordination of women to the priesthood, [|the "Philadelphia 11."]

Background on [|the ordination of women.]

__1976__ General Convention approved [|Resolution B005], making the ordination canons for the three orders of bishop, priest and deacon equally applicable to men and women.

__1976__ General Convention of ECUSA approved Resolutions [|A068] and [|B101] calling for study/dialogue on sexuality and ordination of homosexuals.

__1976__ John Spong ordained Bishop of Newark, despite his [|denial of essential Christian doctrines.]

__1976__ Revised edition of the Book of Common Prayer approved (First Reading) by [|resolution A104.]

Background on [|liturgical innovation and prayer book revision.]

__1979__ Revised edition of the Book of Common Prayer approved (Second Reading) by [|resolution A133.]

__1979__ General Convention of ECUSA approved [|Resolution A053], reaffirming traditional teaching on sexuality and morality, stating, “we believe it is not appropriate for this Church to ordain a practicing homosexual, or any person who is engaged in heterosexual relations outside of marriage." This has never been overturned by subsequent General Conventions.

__1979__ Twenty revisionist bishops issued “Statement of Conscience,” rejecting [|A053.]

__1985__ General Convention of ECUSA [|approved Resolution D082] calling to “dispel myths and prejudices” against homosexuality.

__1987__ Panel of bishops dismisses heresy charges against Bishop Spong.

__1988__ General Convention of ECUSA [|approves Resolution D102] calling for the continuation of consultation/dialogue regarding human sexuality.

__1989__ Panel of bishops dismisses heresy charges against Bishop Spong.

__1989__ Bishop John Spong, Diocese of Newark, publicly ordains first non-celibate, openly-partnered, homosexual.

__1990__ Bishop Walter Righter, assisting in the Diocese of Newark, ordains a non-celibate homosexual deacon.

__1991__ Bishop Ronald Haines, Diocese of Washington (D.C.), ordains a non-celibate homosexual priest.

__1991__ During General Convention, the House of Bishops rejects efforts to censure Bishop Righter and Bishop Haines for the ordinations they performed.

__1994__ General Convention of ECUSA [|approved Resolution C042] calling for preparation of a report considering rites for blessings of same-sex unions.

__1994__ Bishop Spong drafted the [|“Koinonia Statement”] defining homosexuality as morally neutral and affirming support for the ordination of homosexuals in faithful sexual relationships (signed by 90 bishops and 144 deputies). [|See also Spong's 12 Theses.]

__1996__ The [|American Anglican Council] is incorporated.

__1996__ [|Both counts of heresy against Bishop Righter dismissed] in an ecclesiastical court, which declared there was “no clear doctrine” involved regarding the ordination a non-celibate gay man.

__1997__ [|The Kuala Lumpur Statement] is released by the Second Anglican Encounter in the South, upholding traditional theology on human sexuality. At General Convention, [|Resolution B032 to endorse the Kuala Lumpur Statement] was defeated in the House of Bishops 94 to 42.

__1998__ Lambeth Conference upholds Scriptural and traditional teaching on marriage and human sexuality in [|resolution 1.10.] Showing their dissent for resolution 1.10, 65 ECUSA bishops sign a [|pastoral statement to lesbian and gay Anglicans.]

__March 2000__ Primates’ meeting in Oporto, Portugal, issued [|pastoral letter] upholding the authority of Scripture.

__July 2000__ General Convention of ECUSA approved [|Resolution D039] acknowledging relationships other than marriage and existence of disagreement on the Church's teaching.

__March 2001__ Primates’ meeting in Kanuga, N.C., issued [|pastoral letter] acknowledging estrangement in Church due to changes in theology and practice regarding human sexuality, and calling Communion to avoid actions that might damage “credibility of mission.”

__April 2002__ Primates’ meeting at Canterbury [|issued a report] recognizing the responsibility for all bishops to be able to articulate the fundamentals of faith so as to maintain the Church in truth. See also: [|Appendix II to the report].

__Sept. 2002__ Anglican Consultative Council Meeting in Hong Kong [|approved motion] urging dioceses and bishops to refrain from unilateral actions/policies that would strain communion

__March 2003__ The [|Theology Committee of the House of Bishops concluded that]: "Because at this time we are nowhere near consensus in the Church regarding the blessing of homosexual relationships, we cannot recommend authorizing the development of new rites for such blessings. For these reasons, we urge the greatest caution as the Church continues to seek the mind of Christ in these matters." (Note: the full report appears to have been removed from the ECUSA web site.)

__May 2003__ Primates’ meeting in Brazil issued [|pastoral letter] stating “The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorisation of such rites.”

__July 2003__ In a [|letter to the Primates], the Archbishop of Canterbury warns that "certain decisions" on human sexuality could have "the effect of deepening the divide between Provinces"

__July 2003__ A [|gathering of over 60 worldwide Anglican leaders] warns the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA that, "should the Convention decide to confirm the election of Canon Gene Robinson as bishop or approve the blessing of same-sex unions or both, then we will convene within three months to confirm our view that ECUSA has thereby placed itself outside the boundaries of the Anglican Communion and that appropriate action will follow."

~~#FF0000:__August 2003__~~ The General Convention of the Episcopal Church [|defeated Resolution B001], which sought to affirm the authority of Scripture.

~~#FF0000:__August 2003__~~ The General Convention of the Episcopal Church [|voted to confirm Gene Robinson], a non-celibate, partnered homosexual man, as bishop of New Hampshire. The Archbishop of Canterbury responds, saying, "It is my hope that the church in America and the rest of the Anglican Communion will have the opportunity to consider this development before significant and irrevocable decisions are made in response," and [|calls for an extraordinary meeting of the primates] in London during October.

~~#FF0000:__August 2003__~~ The General Convention of the Episcopal Church [|approved Resolution C051] recognizing blessings of same-sex unions as “within bounds of our common life.”

__October 2003__ Nearly 3,000 orthodox Episcopalians met in Dallas at [|A Place to Stand] hosted by Christ Church Plano – received message of support from Cardinal Ratzinger, sent a strong message to Primates meeting.

__October 2003__ The [|statement released by the Primates of the Anglican Communion] at the conclusion of their extraordinary meeting in Lambeth Palace states, in part, “If his consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world, and many provinces are likely to consider themselves to be out of Communion with the Episcopal Church (USA). This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA).”

__November 2003__ V. Gene Robinson consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire. Presiding Bishop Griswold (who signed the primates' statement in London) is chief consecrator. [|The Archbishop of Canterbury issues a statement.]

__January 2004__ The [|Anglican Communion Network] is launched.

__March 2004__ ECUSA House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen issues a [|plan for Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO)] for “those in the church who find themselves in distress because of the actions of the 74th General Convention.” [|AAC declares DEPO a “no-go” in its response.]

~~#0000ff:ECUSA shows no restraint:~~

__March 2004__ [|Diocese of Washington begins to develop rites] for blessing same-sex unions.

__April 2004__ [|Retired Bishop Otis Charles “marries” his homosexual partner] in Pasadena, Calif. (The two have five previous marriages between them.)

__May 2004__ Bishop of Los Angeles, J. Jon Bruno, [|performs blessing of same-sex union.]

__June 2004__ Bishop of Washington, D.C., [|John Chane, performs blessing of same-sex union] for priest and his partner.

__June 2004__ [|Diocese of Vermont] issues proposed rites for blessings of same-sex unions.

~~#0000ff:The Windsor Report and beyond:~~

__October 2004__ Lambeth Commission releases the [|Windsor Report], reaffirming Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10 and the authority of Scripture as central to Anglican common life, and calls for moratoria on public rites of same-sex blessings as well as on the election and consent of any candidate to the episcopacy living in a same-sex union. [|Additional References]

__February 2005__ Primates meet in Dromantine, Ireland, to collectively examine the Windsor Report and [|produce a Communiqué] calling on ECUSA and Canada to “voluntarily withdraw” their representatives from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) until Lambeth 2008. Additionally the Primates requested a hearing at the June 2005 ACC meeting in which the two suspended churches (US & Canada) are to set out their thinking behind their recent actions.

__March 2005__ ECUSA House of Bishops meeting at Camp Allen, Texas, [|responds to the Windsor Report] request for a moratorium on election and consent to the episcopacy of persons living in same-sex unions, instead “pledge(s) to withhold consent to the consecration of any person elected to the episcopate after the date hereof until the General Convention of 2006,” (In other words, “If I can't play my way, I'm not going to play at all, so there!”). See also: [|A word to the church.]

__April 2005__ ECUSA Executive Council holds special meeting and, [|in a letter to the ACC,] announces they will send their delegation to the June ACC meeting for ''observation'' but not ''official participation.''

__June 2005__ At the [|Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham, England,] ECUSA makes a presentation, [|“To Set Our Hope on Christ,”] defending what amounts to a new gospel that is wholly incompatible with Scripture, thereby justifying, rather than repenting of, their actions. [|(Canada also makes a similar presentation.)] The ACC meeting also [| upholds Lambeth 1.10 teaching on human sexuality and endorses the Primates’ request] for ECUSA and Canada to withdraw their representatives from the ACC until the next Lambeth Conference.

__September 2005__ ['s_pressbrief.htm|Church of Nigeria Synod votes to change its constitution,] and “deleted all such references ... defining us with the See of Canterbury and replaced them with a new provision of Communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, ...”

__October 2005__ In its Communiqué The Third Anglican South-to-South Encounter in Egypt issued a harsh indictment of ECUSA and Canada and [|called for a common “Anglican Covenant”] among churches remaining true to Biblical Christianity and historic Anglicanism

__February 2006__ Global South Primates Steering Committee [|issues a communiqué] reemphasizing the seriousness of the crisis within the Communion and the need for ECUSA to repent and comply with the Windsor Report.

__February 2006__ Susan Russell, President of Integrity USA, [|marries her lesbian partner,] declaring beforehand that the action was “God willing and the primates notwithstanding.”

~~#0000ff:ECUSA General Convention 2006:~~

__June 2006__ The [|General Convention of the Episcopal Church] met in Columbus, Ohio. (Follow the link for details and early fallout.) The GC response to the Windsor Report amounts to rejection and repudiation; elects heterodox Presiding Bishop that is fully committed to the revisionist path chosen by the Episcopal Church on issues of sex and morality. Eight dioceses request some form of alternative primatial relationship.

~~#0000ff:Beyond General Convention:~~

__August 2006__ [|Martyn Minns consecrated as CANA missionary bishop.]

__September 2006__ The Global South Primates meeting at Kilgali, Rwanda, [|issue a communiqué] that laments, “We deeply regret that, at its most recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church gave no clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report.” but “We are, however, greatly encouraged by the continued faithfulness of the Network Dioceses and all of the other congregations and communities of faithful Anglicans in North America.” and “We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA.”

__October 2006__ The Presiding Bishop's chancellor, [|David Beers, writes letters] threatening legal action against the dioceses of Fort Worth and Quincy.

__November 2006__ In an escalating environment of threats and persecution, [|Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin, pulls no punches] in his response to the new Presiding Bishop, saying, in part, “The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God’s Word are forced to make painful choices.”

__December 2006__ [|Nine Virginia congregations,] including Truro and the Falls Church, vote to leave the Episcopal Church. Eight join CANA, the ninth accepting oversight from a global south primate. This brings the total number of congregations that have left the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to 13, with another two having congregational votes coming up in January.

__December 2006__ [|In a letter to the Primates,] the Archbishop of Canterbury explains his rationale for not withholding an invitation for the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to the Primates Meeting scheduled for February 14-19 in Tanzania, saying “I am also proposing to invite two or three other contributors from that Province for a session to take place before the rest of our formal business, in which the situation may be reviewed, and I am currently consulting as to how this is best organised.”

__January 2007__ [|Diocese of Virginia press release] announces lawsuits against 11 of the 15 departing congregations, continuing the ''scorched earth'' policy against dissidents apparently being orchestrated by the national church's New York headquarters. [ |Read guest editorial by Falls Church Sr. Warden], additional news stories [|here], and [|here], and [|Living Church interview with Bishop Minns].

__February 2007__
At the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 14-19 February, the [|"Report of the Communion Sub-Group] (on TEC's response to the Windsor Report)" was released on 15 February. The Report is a travesty that on clear reading states that TEC's response to the Windsor report meets the requirement. [|A comprehensive commentary on the Report] was released on 17 February on Stand Firm in Faith.

Very late __on 2/19, a communiqué was released__ from the primates of the Anglican Communion. You can find the entire communiqué [|HERE] or [|HERE]

The thrust of the communiqué is that it provides a short deadline, till September 30, 2007, for The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops confirm back to the Primates, that "the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention," and "that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent."

"If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion."

Also, to "respond pastorally and provide for those groups alienated by recent developments in the Episcopal Church," "the Primates will establish a Pastoral Council to act on behalf of the Primates in consultation with The Episcopal Church. This Council shall consist of up to five members: two nominated by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council."

Details of these and other important recommendations are found in the communiqué and the accompanying schedule, named ''The Key Recommendations of the Primates.''

For notable __reactions__ and __interpretations__ of the communiqué, and __additional details__, see the page [|Dar es Salaam communiqué].

__~~#FF0000:March 2007~~__
~~#FF0000:The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church reject the Dar es Salaam communiqué - request urgent meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury/Primates Standing Committee.~~

Meeting at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas, March 16-21, at the end of their deliberations on March 20, the House of Bishops issued strong rejections of the requests contained in the communiqué in a ''Mind of the House Resolution addressed to the Executive Council,'' a ''Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Primates Standing Committee,'' and a ''Public Statement from the House of Bishops.''

The referenced documents and comments can be seen at:

Strongly signaling its intentions to walk apart, the purpose of the proposed meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates Standing Committee may be to seek different terms of conformance, or to establish the terms of the divorce.

More details and fallout will follow.

For the latest current news and commentary, visit [|Stand Firm In Faith].

~~#999999:The initial sources used in creating this document can be found in: "Equipping the Saints - 2nd edition," an educational booklet produced in March 2006 by the American Anglican Council.~~