PRESS RELEASEPastor Zip missed the discussion and votes, but from conversations I had with friends after my arrival both pro and con moving from TEC to the Southern Cone, the report on Episcopal Life Online seems accurate:
The Diocese of Quincy, Peoria, IL
November 8, 2008
Fr. John Spencer, Media Officer
The Diocese of Quincy
For Immediate release
November 8, 2008
Diocese of Quincy Realigns With South American Province
The Annual Synod of the Diocese of Quincy’s meeting November 7-8 in Quincy, Illinois, has voted by strong margins to realign itself with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, breaking its ties with The Episcopal Church in the US. On two key votes more than ¾ of the clergy and lay deputies voted in favor of the realignment.
The move came after several years of prayer and discernment about the diocese's relationship with The Episcopal Church. Many in the Quincy Diocese, both clergy and lay people, have been at odds with the national leadership and other dioceses over the authority of the Bible, church order and discipline, and the church's moral standards and teaching on Christian marriage.
On the vote to disaffiliate from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, 75% of the clergy and 82% of the lay deputies voted in favor. On the subsequent vote to realign the diocese with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone the vote in favor was 92% in the clergy order and 87% in the lay order.
"This decision was not made lightly," said Fr. John Spencer, press officer for the diocese. "We have talked and prayed about this for a very long time. But we take our relationship to the Anglican Communion very seriously. Since 2003, over half the Provinces of the Anglican Communion have been in a state of broken Communion with The Episcopal Church. By realigning with the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, we are now back in full communion with the majority of over 75 million Anglicans around the world."
Canon Ed den Blaauwen, incoming President of the Standing Committee, said the focus of the diocese will remain on mission. "Our churches and our diocese will continue in mission and ministry locally and around the world. We feel much at home under the oversight of Archbishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, who has warmly welcomed us into affiliation with that Province," den Blaauwen said. "We are once again back in full fellowship with our brother and sister Anglicans."
Shortly after the votes were taken, Canon den Blaauwen, who acted as chairman for the Synod, read a letter from Archbishop Venables welcoming Quincy as a member of the Province of the Southern Cone.
Bishop Keith Ackerman who retired from leadership of the diocese on November 1, spoke to the gathering Friday afternoon just before the synod convened. Quoting the Epistle of Jude, he encouraged them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Christ and the historic faith of the Christian Church as they considered the momentous decisions before them.
"While the votes show there was very strong support for this decision," Fr. Spencer said, "we realize this was not a unanimous decision." By a separate action, the synod made provision for a nine months grace period during which a congregation or member of the clergy might consider withdrawing from the diocese in order to stay in the Episcopal Church. "It is a matter of allowing everyone to follow their consciences in these very difficult times, without recrimination," Spencer said.
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During the 45-minute debate on the resolution to leave the Episcopal Church, some speakers suggested that they could have a greater witness by "working from within," but the majority of speakers expressed disgust at the Episcopal Church, saying that what they were leaving did not represent the church they had been born into or once joined.The sermons preached at the Synod -- at Evensong by Bishop Peter Beckwith of the neighboring Diocese of Springfield shortly after the vote and at the Eucharist the next morning by Quincy Bishop-retired Donald Parsons -- wrestled with what the Synod had done, both pointedly lifting up that faithful Anglicans in the US, while deeply opposed to the leadership and direction of TEC, remain divided over staying in vs. leaving the Episcopal Church, at least as long as it remains the province of the Anglican Communion in the United States. Hopes are that a new, more orthodox province will be established fairly soon for North America.
The final speaker, a woman who was not fully identified, said "We need to make a choice. Is Jesus Christ our Savior or not?"
"I don’t feel like I’m leaving TEC, instead I feel like I am moving forward. I am convinced that by not leaving TEC, I will brand myself with the same heretical views of those who are running TEC now. This is the end. Right here. Today," she said.
The resolution said leaders of the Episcopal Church and actions of its General Convention "have failed to uphold the teaching and authority of Holy Scripture, have challenged or belittled core doctrines of the Christian faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican Communion, and have rejected the godly counsel of the leaders of the Communion."
Quincy is the third Episcopal Diocese, following San Joaquin (in central California) and Pittsburgh, to seek refuge in the Southern Cone, which is Anglican province covering Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The Diocese of Ft. Worth will be voting to join them later this week.