Thursday, 10 January 2008
The Right Reverend Cyrus Pitman Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador has issued an ad clerum. You can read it in full as a PDF file here.
You can read more about it in this news report from the Toronto Star Anglican clergy told to declare loyalties:
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Thursday, 10 January 2008 at 7:01pm GMT
In what could be the start of real schism in the Anglican Church, a Newfoundland bishop is demanding clergy come to the provincial capital to declare whether their loyalties lie with him or his predecessor, the leader of a breakaway conservative movement.
“Attendance at these gatherings is mandatory,” Cyrus Pitman, bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador warns in a Dec. 18 letter to clergy obtained by the Star.
Clergy from Eastern Newfoundland’s 33 parishes are to be in St. John’s on Jan. 21 to restate their ordination vows and to get new licences, with a date for those from the six Labrador parishes yet to be set.
Clergy need a licence from the church to minister to a parish or perform marriages…
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Thank God for a Canadian Bishop, who like our American Presiding Bishop, "calls it as it is" and understands our Anglican heritage.
Hip, Hip, Hooray!
J. Michael Povey (The Revd)
Michael: yes, you're greatly blessed in your principled bishops in Canada. If only the C of E had some who would refuse to collude in its current culture of institutional hypocrisy and injustice.
What a delight to see Bp. Pitman demand of his clergy that they submit to his authority, as they agreed in their vows of ordination. Down here in the "south 48," we haven't heard all that much of the activity of our northern neighbors. It's refreshing to see Bp. Pitman frame the question to his flock that Martin Luther answered: where do you stand?
Good idea, let's have a "headcount" and see how many "faces" there are per body.
Wouldn't these priests normally do this every year anyway? (e.g., on Maundy Thursday? I think that's TEC diocesans' custom)
A very solid invitation to fish or cut bait. Excellent.
JCF -- Yes, I know that at least one Diocese -Connecticut- requires annual re-attestation to vows - it was my belief that many - if not most - other dioceses in TEC require the same. Anyone else aware of this requirement in the USA or in the UK or elsewhere? ettu
Cy Pittman is a Godly humble man. The issues he is confronting are not issues in this diocese. His consistent policy is that the Anglican Church has procedures for dealing with issues like these, and it is not for us, one small diocese, to go forging ahead in whatever direction on our own. We are part of something far larger. Thus, there has been no debate at Synod, we have gotten on with the business of addressing the real issues here on the ground: geographic isolation, difficulties in communication and transporation(the reference to a conference in Labrador is understood by everyone to be followed by "God and the weather permitting"), outmigration, the collapse of our traditional economic base, the massive decline in rural population, etc.. For at least four years he has been trying to figure out what to do about a small group of malcontents who have been sneaking around behind his back trying to organize a scism over an issue that is not on most people's radar. Honestly, most people in this diocese are still asking "What in the name of God is "the Southern Cone?" He stated in a pastoral letter that he will not prevent, but will not support, the formation of an Essentials chapter here. After their grandstanding last year during Diocesan Synod, he sternly rebuked those who would sow schism. It was notable that we had just heard a presentation about the difficulties experienced in one Labrador parish, with a 1 1/2 hour drive across it, roads often closed by snow in winter, and several communities accessible only by boat. It was glaring that the organizers of Essentials felt no need to assist their brother priest in his ministry to the people there, but would rather live comfortably in St. John's plotting against their bishop. He has taken at least two extended leaves to pray and meditate about this. He has been pushed to the brink. I just realized that the acid test for me over this issue is how the Right treats him. If they show him the respect he deserves, they will redeem themselves in my eyes. If they savage him as some kind of oppressor of the True Faithful, as I expect they will, this will be the final proof for me of how wrong they are, and of how far they have given themselves over to the lie.
Renewal of ordination vows is a custom in many dioceses in TEC and a requirement in some. In a diocese as numerically and physically large as Diocese of Va, it would be impractical to require this. Our bishops hold Maundy Thursday services at different locations in the diocese. They prepare and provide chrism for rectors to take back to their parishes. I've not been able to go to any lately, so don't know if renewal of vows is part of that or not.
Our Rector would have to swear allegiance to Duncan, which I aint' too pleased with! It would be ok if Duncan were making a honest pledge to TEC but as we all know the anly pledge he's made is to steal as much as he possibly can and sow dissent. Of course this is different than Bishop Pittman who stands by his vows. Could we get someone so wonderful here?
In my diocese, Western Newfoundland, an annual Chrism Mass with renewal of vows is not the practice. The big obstacle is distance and travel. Several parishes are 4 to 6 hours drive from the cathedral, and one parish is inaccessible except by air from early January to late April or early May. ENL & Lab is equally geographically challenged -- while the island parishes are no more than 3 or 4 hours from St. John's, the Labrador parishes are hours from each other, and the coastal parishes are accessible only by air.
The logical solution (which none of the three Newfoundland dioceses seems to have figured out) is to have the renewal of vows at the diocesan synod (annual or biennial, depending on the diocese).
"In my diocese, Western Newfoundland, an annual Chrism Mass with renewal of vows is not the practice."
From my home parish to Corner Brook for the Mass: 4+ hours drive, weather permitting. Mass itself: ~2 hours, return home: 4 hours. And this on Maundy Thursday. Imagine the uproar if there was snow and the minister got stuck and didn't make it back for Good Friday! I wouldn't want to be the priest facing down a congregation of PO'ed Newfoundland women!