Communique from the GAFCON/FCA Primates' Council
In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen. We meet in the week after Easter, rejoicing again in the power of the risen Lord Jesus to transform lives and situations. We continue to experience his active work in our lives and the lives of our churches and we rejoice in the Gospel of hope.
From its inception, the GAFCON movement has centered on the power of Christ to make all things new. We have heard this week of the great progress made in North America towards the creation of a new Province basing itself on this same biblical gospel of transformation and hope. We have also envisioned the future of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans as a movement for defending and promoting the biblical gospel of the risen Christ.
Yet we are saddened that the present crisis in the Anglican Communion of which we are a part remains unresolved. The recent meeting of Primates in Alexandria served only to demonstrate how deep and intractable the divisions are and to encourage us to sustain the important work of GAFCON.
The GAFCON Primates' Council has the responsibility of recognizing and authenticating orthodox Anglicans especially those who are alienated by their original Provinces. We are also called to promote the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) in its stand against false teaching and as a rallying point for orthodoxy. It is our aim to ensure that the unity of the Anglican Communion is centered on Biblical teaching rather than mere institutional loyalty. It is essential to provide a way in which faithful Anglicans, many of whom are suffering much loss, can remain as Anglicans within the Communion while distancing themselves from false teaching.
At this meeting highly significant progress was made on the following fronts. Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) - The FCA in its initial stages is attracting membership by individuals, churches, dioceses, provinces and organizations involving millions of Anglicans. We are heartened by the large numbers of Anglicans who share a commitment to the theological formularies of true Anglicanism that provide a firm foundation for our faith. We have therefore reviewed the strategy and structures of the FCA to better reflect the demands now made on it. We were glad to receive from the FCA Theological Group their Commentary on the Jerusalem Declaration. We have established the FCA web-site, www.fca.net. We received reports from those involved in partnership development work in the Sudan and elsewhere. The FCA is committed to pursue our common mission through the establishment of regional chapters and networks of Anglicans who will strengthen and support each other. We rejoice in the development of an active branch of the FCA in the United Kingdom and the proposed launch on July 6th in Westminster Central Hall, London. The establishment of an Advisory Board of bishops, clergy, and laity from around the world reflects the growing breadth of support. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) - Careful consideration was given to the new Province in North America. We met with Bishop Bob Duncan and other key leaders. The emergent Province consists currently of approximately 100,000 Christians in Canada and the US who wish to continue in full membership of the Anglican Communion world-wide.
As a result of this process, we celebrate the organization and official formation of ACNA around the same principles that gave rise to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and now the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA). Though many Provinces are in impaired or broken communion with TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, our fellowship with faithful Anglicans in North America remains steadfast.
The FCA Primates' Council recognizes the Anglican Church in North America as genuinely Anglican and recommends that Anglican Provinces affirm full communion with the ACNA. Anglican Covenant- As the Jerusalem Declaration insists we believe that the existing theological formularies of Anglicanism provide an adequate basis for the restoration of the relationships within the Anglican Communion. While we support the concept of an Anglican Covenant, we understand that its adequacy depends on the willingness to address the crisis that has "torn the fabric" of the Communion. We welcome the Ridley Cambridge Draft Covenant and call for principled response from the Provinces.
Relationships -We value our relationships within the Anglican Communion and those with our ecumenical friends. Already, regional chapters and links are forming in many parts of the world with those who share the commitments expressed in GAFCON and FCA. We look forward in real hope to a positive response amongst the Churches, Dioceses and Provinces of the Communion to our call to enter into full communion with the new Anglican Church in North America. Only in this way, we believe, will the need for the so-called ‘cross border incursions' come to an end and a measure of peace restored.
We are especially grateful for the contributions made by the three previous gatherings of the Global South in Limuru, Kenya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Ein-Sukhna, Egypt, and the clarion sound of the "Trumpets." We look forward to sharing in gatherings in the future. Conclusion
We remain committed to the Anglican Communion and to being a faithful and creative voice for renewal within it to recapture a focus on Biblical teaching and mission. Though conscious of our inadequacies, in the light of Christ's resurrection power, we speak with confidence and seek only to serve the Lord, the people of the Anglican Communion and those who have yet to hear the lifechanging message of the Gospel. We are encouraged by the Word of the Lord. The Good News of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is our only hope and our focus. We continue steadfastly in our commitment to share the fullness of the Gospel in our nations and around the world.
Alleluia! Christ is risen: The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
London, April 16, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
The new president of the Episcopal Divinity School is openly gay and an outspoken advocate of abortion and "LGBT" rights.
The announcement on Monday, March 30 that The Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale was appointed as the sixth and newest president of Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, MA, has orthodox and pro-life Episcopalians shaking their heads.
Ragsdale, who is an outspoken advocate of abortion and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender) rights, was the unanimous choice of the Board of Trustees and will begin her duties on July 1, 2009.
In addition to the press release and public letter concerning the appointment, the EDS website also has a link to Rev. Ragsdale's sermon blog. There, the first sermon is entitled, "Our Work is Not Done." The content has been cited and circulated on a large number of pro-life and conservative Christian blogs. An excerpt follows:
"When a woman wants a child but can't afford one because she hasn't the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.
"And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion - there is not a tragedy in sight -- only blessing. The ability to enjoy God's good gift of sexuality without compromising one's education, life's work, or ability to put to use God's gifts and call is simply blessing.
"These are the two things I want you, please, to remember - abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done."
Currently, Ragsdale serves as Rector of St. David's Episcopal Church in Pepperell, MA. She is also President and Executive Director of Political Research Associates, that describes itself as "a progressive think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society."
The organization's website also indicates that one of their missions is to "expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights," particularly regarding the Christian and political right.
She has previously served on the boards of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Ragsdale, who is openly gay, was profiled by Rich Barlow of the Boston Globe in their March 5 edition. During that interview she stated, "I've experienced far more resistance and discrimination in the progressive community for being a Christian than I do in the Christian community for being a lesbian."
In his article, Barlow also stated that "she recalled that three women, spying her collar, once tried to keep her out of a meeting room for the National Abortion Rights Action League - even though she was a member of the league's board."
EDS trustee, The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw stated in a press release, "I am thrilled with the appointment of Katharine Ragsdale as the president and dean of EDS. She brings a wealth of small parish ministry to her new position and it is critical that the new president and dean be able to train and form parish priests for the growth of progressive parishes across the country. She brings a wealth of experience, talent and creativity to this new position."
In her acceptance of the position, Ragsdale said, ""EDS' commitment to the full range of diversity and not merely to inclusion but to transformation is at the heart of my own values and commitments. I believe that EDS grounds that work in the context of deep, thorough, nuanced theological education. The thought of leading and supporting an organization doing cutting edge theology and preparing lay and ordained leadership to serve God in the church and the world is very exciting."
Episcopal Divinity School, formed in 1974 with the merger of Philadelphia Divinity School (founded in 1857) and the Episcopal Theological School (founded in 1867), offers doctor of ministry and master's degrees, as well as certificates in theological studies. Located on an eight-acre campus just a few blocks from Harvard Yard, EDS is a member of the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of nine theological schools, seminaries, and departments of religion.
---Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online. He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church