The AAC and NACDAP have issued two statements concerning the dispute in Connecticut between the bishop and six conservative parishes.
First, this one announces that six prominent NACDAP/AAC clergypersons will preach this Sunday, one in each of the six parishes.
…Bishop Smith accuses the six of “abandonment of communion,” even though he has failed to provide evidence to support his charge and ignored the plea by Anglican Church leaders for restraint and latitude on the part of American bishops in conflict with their priests on fundamental issues of Anglican theology. Bishop Smith supports theological innovations regarding human sexuality embraced by the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church that are contrary to Scripture, to the traditional teaching of Anglicanism, and to positions firmly supported by the leadership of the Anglican Church comprising over 70 million members worldwide. The six Connecticut clergy and congregations targeted by Bishop Smith are biblically orthodox and remain faithful to apostolic faith and order upheld by the worldwide Anglican Communion…
Second, this one is an open letter from a total of seventeen NACDAP/AAC-related bishops (12 of them diocesans) addressed to the bishop and the standing committee of the Diocese of Connecticut.
…What are we to do? We have agreed as bishops not to cross diocesan boundaries. But was not this moratorium based on other moratoria being observed as well, and on the maintenance of status quo as regards actions against the conservative minority? Were not the commitments we made to one another at the March meeting of the House of Bishops also based on the assumption of the functioning of the Panel of Reference, called for by the Primates in February 2005? And was it not notification of their intent to appeal to the Panel of Reference by the six parishes, given by letter to the Bishop of Connecticut, that immediately precipitated the threat of inhibition and deposition of the clergy of those parishes?
We also ask: was Title IV, Canon 10, intended to be used against clergy who have resolutely maintained their commitment to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, as these clergy have? What about due process and right to ecclesiastical trials, both of which are denied when this Canon on Abandonment of Communion is used in this way? Who is it that has abandoned the Communion?
This is a painful letter for us to write. We pose much of this letter as questions. Is there some way to head off the terrible confrontation that now appears inevitable, not only in Connecticut, but also among us bishops? Please know that we are more than eager to be part of the resolution of this crisis in every appropriate way.
“The whole world is watching”, as we used to observe in the sixties. We do not seem to be commending the faith that is in us in any way that the watching world can appreciate or fathom. Whatever shall we do to reverse the course of the scandal that besets us?