St. Matthew’s Clergy Statement in Response to General Convention 2009
Over the last 10 days the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church met in Anaheim, California. With the departure from the Episcopal Church of a major portion of the conservative and orthodox voices over the past year, this convention was predicted to be characterized by a lack of theological balance. During the past few days, this prediction has been proven to be overly optimistic.
In a matter of days, the General Convention has absolutely denied the role of the Church as the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15), our position as a “constituent member of the Anglican Communion” (Constitution) and the sufficiency of Scripture as containing “all things necessary to Salvation” (Article VI of the Articles of Religion and the signed statement required for all ordinations, deacon, priest and bishop). Although the effect of these actions is immensely painful, at least now there is perfect clarity as to where our venerable denomination stands in the history of the Church.
Being in the line of the witnesses of the early Church and the reformation leaders Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, as your clergy we see this clouding of the Gospel light as an opportunity to shine even brighter for Jesus Christ. As Mordecai merely continued to be “the Jew” under the persecution of Haman and God prevailed (Esther) and as Latimer encouraged Ridley at the stake in Oxford with the exclamation of the power of proclamation provided by their martyrdom, your clergy will continue to stand firm for the Gospel in the context of the Episcopal Church until our voice is eliminated by God or the Episcopal Church.
To that end, your clergy have decided to publicly affirm the Anglican Covenant as most recently presented in the Ridley-Cambridge draft. We will also seek the mind of the Vestry in this matter. In addition, we will not officiate or otherwise participate in ceremonies celebrating unions between couples whose make up is other than one male and one female (with integrity between genetic composition and gender identity) with the intention of being life-long and monogamous. Likewise, we will not be a party to the ordination of any deacon, priest or bishop who is in a partnered gay, lesbian or transgendered relationship. At the same time, we vow to be faithful ministers of the Gospel to gay, lesbian, transgendered and transsexual individuals as fellow creations of God and needing the comfort of God’s true word and the loving care of his community, the Church. We declare that the authority of our ministry, teaching, preaching and life is and will continue to be God’s will as he has revealed it in Holy Scripture.
In terms of our canonical relationship with the Diocese of Virginia, we reaffirm our intention, expressed in our December, 2006 statement, to remain active in the diocese and take no actions with respect to church property or finances which, though prudent by worldly standards, would betray our conscience and trust in Almighty God. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19 KJV)
The Rev. Charles D. Alley, Ph.D.
The Rev. Mario Gonzalez del Solar, D.Min.
Assistant to the Rector