NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Two groups of Episcopalians have issued statements which
imply that their followers will withhold financial support from the Episcopal Church in
response to the actions of the 65th General Convention. A third group denied the authority
of the Convention in the ordination matter, but did not address itself to possible repercussions.
A newsletter for the Tennessee-based Society for the Preservation of the Book of
Common Prayer calls on its supporters to employ a financial stick-and-carrot technique
to encourage use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.
The letter, signed by Walter Sullivan "for the Society," states:
"It is clear now that our most cogent arguments and most eloquent pleas have
fallen on deaf ears. Our only recourse is to make full use of the weapons that remain
to us: our money and ourselves. If the Church is to be saved, the minority which now
charts a disastrous course for her must be deposed. Where the Blue Book is used, withhold your money. If you can find a church where the Prayer Book is used, attend it. If
your rector uses the Prayer Book only part of the time, pay your pledge only part of the
time. And do not be misled by the argument that you are obligated to continue to give to
God. Of course you must give back to God a part of what He had given to you. But there
are many good churches and good Christian charities remaining in the world. Giving
to God does not necessarily mean giving to your parish."
And in the Diocese of Los Angeles, a group calling itself the Society of Anglican
Clergy states that surveys done in their parishes indicate that "our laity have given notice
so that we shall be forced to reduce or entirely withdraw financial support from the
diocesan and national church programs."
The Society is a group of 63 diocesan priests who, at an October 8 meeting,
rejected the approval of women to the priesthood and episcopate authorized by the 65th
General Convention of the Church in Minneapolis in September. Thirty-one of the
priests are parish rectors.
Their one-page statement asserts:
"We love the brethren; we desire the peace and unity of the Church. However,
in the matter of the General Convention's endorsement of the 'ordination' of women to
the priesthood and the episcopate, we state publicly that we conscientiously object and
will not acquiesce. We trust the Church to respect our conscience. "
In Mississippi, an ad hoc group which claims to represent 23 percent of the active
clergy of the diocese met recently in Jackson to issue a statement of conviction claiming
that the Convention action in authorizing the ordination of women to the priesthood and
episcopate was beyond its authority and therefore not binding on members of the church.
The 20 participating clergy and religious stated their intention not to participate in or
recognize any ordination or priestly act involving a woman.
The only name attached to their circulated statement was that of the Rev. Osborne
Moyer, rector of St. Columb's Church and convenor of the meeting. The statement
adds that the group will continue to meet to discuss "many concerns over the grave
errors being committed in the name of the Church."