ACNA bishops vote for the status quo on women's orders [AnglicanInk]

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by World Press, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. World Press

    World Press Active Member

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    ACNA biahops.jpg

    ACNA bishops vote for the status quo on women's orders

    08 Sep 2017
    Author: College of Bishops

    A Statement from the College of Bishops on the Ordination of Women

    September 7, 2017

    PREAMBLE In an act of mutual submission at the foundation of the Anglican Church in North America, it was agreed that each Diocese and Jurisdiction has the freedom, responsibility, and authority to study Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, and to seek the mind of Christ in determining its own convictions and practices concerning the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood. It was also unanimously agreed that women will not be consecrated as bishops in the Anglican Church in North America. These positions are established within our Constitution and Canons and, because we are a conciliar Church, would require the action of both Provincial Council and Provincial Assembly to be changed.

    STATEMENT Having gratefully received and thoroughly considered the five-year study by the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders, we acknowledge that there are differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are acceptable within Anglicanism that may lead to divergent conclusions regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood. However, we also acknowledge that this practice is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order. We agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province. However, we continue to acknowledge that individual dioceses have constitutional authority to ordain women to the priesthood.

    COMMITMENTS As a College of Bishops, we confess that our Province has failed to affirm adequately the ministry of all Christians as the basic agents of the work of the Gospel. We have not effectively discipled and equipped all Christians, male and especially female, lay and ordained, to fulfill their callings and ministries in the work of God’s kingdom. We repent of this and commit to work earnestly toward a far greater release of the whole Church to her God-given mission. Having met in Conclave to pray, worship, study, talk, and listen well to one another, we commit to move forward in unity to carry on the good witness and work that God has given us to do in North America (Ephesians 4:1-6; John 17). We invite and urge all members of the Province to engage with us in this endeavor to grow in understanding the mission and ministry of all God’s people.


    Click here for the rest of the article:
    http://anglican.ink/article/acna-bishops-vote-status-quo-womens-orders
     
  2. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I expected this all along. The whole "discernment" process was a sham. Years of "study" on a subject already studied and debated to death over the past forty years. They always intended on maintaining the arrangement they began with when ACNA was formed.
     
  3. Shane R

    Shane R Member

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    So right Peteprint. Women leaders have always been a hallmark of Pentecostal churches. If the woman issue doesn't tear them apart, the unchecked charismaticism will.
     
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  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So I guess the Continuing churches aren't just the best option, their the only option.
     
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  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Not really. Most of us are perfectly safe in biblical dioceses. The official report even acknowledges that the WO position is against Scripture. Why they went on with the status quo is a mystery to me, likely to keep the ship together for another 5 years when it'll be a solidified province and we can revisit this again. I mean basically no one think it's the right thing, except for the vested interests.
     
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  6. Shane R

    Shane R Member

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    I see photos constantly with vested women and it made me suspicious of all of the people saying, "It's not widespread, just a few here and there." So I did my own research and found at least fourteen dioceses with resident women priestesses or canons that allow for them. I couldn't find information for the International Diocese, but otherwise it appears to be more like a 50/50 split than most of the ACNA apologists let on. Then there is this mythical moratorium that I hear mentioned from time to time. Yet, the Diocese of the Great Lakes just ordained some more last month. I bet they didn't have the votes now and I don't believe they will have them in five years to actually change anything - especially after the exodus that will occur in the next year or so.

    Dioceses with priestesses or canons that allow for them: Great Lakes, Pittsburgh, C4SO, ANiC, South Carolina, Cascadia, Christ Our Hope, Mid-Atlantic, Gulf Atlantic, New England, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Western Anglicans, Western Gulf Coast, Chaplaincy.
     
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  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Where is this research? I would argue that it's not a matter of which canons allow, but which canons expressely allow. For centuries it was not stated what the gender was, because it was always a man. Many diocesan constitutions remain without this language. The only actual issue I would argue is with dioceses that actually formally celebrate it, or bishops who explicitly advocate for it. For example Todd Hunter and Jim Hobby, and they are very few.
     
  8. Shane R

    Shane R Member

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    I was able to investigate all of the dioceses in about 2 hrs. time (except the aforementioned "International Diocese"). Most have their Constitution and Canons available on their website. Some very clearly have women in positions of authority in the chancery or over significant ministries as Canons to the Ordinary. Others supply a roster of their clergy on the website. And photos can be rather telling. It's not hard to get the lay of the land. But here is a representative canon, this one from Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic States:
    Any member of this Province who has been confirmed or received by a Bishop of the Province or another Province of the Anglican Communion; who has publicly affirmed the Fundamental Declarations set forth in Article I of the Constitution of the Province; and who feels called to the ordained ministry should seek the discernment of others to confirm that call. Initially, the prospective candidate should identify him or herself to the Rector of a Congregation or Vicar of a Mission in this Diocese.

    And later:
    No Deacon may be ordained as Presbyter prior to twelve months from the date of his or her ordination to the Diaconate except for good cause,

    Or this from Cascadia:
    Each member congregation may maintain its practice regarding women priests and deacons.
    Those dioceses which do not allow for it typically have a canon expressly limiting the Presbyterate to males. And the four REC dioceses seem to be the only faction that treats the deaconess as a consecrated lay ministry. The other dioceses "ordain" them as deacons without differentiation from the male postulants. But I see this idea that there are only five or six Diocesans that are ordaining women to the Presbytery; which are they, from an insider's perspective?
     
  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    A really interesting perspective from two insightful journalists with their ear close to the ground, showing why this was the best move possible for our still as-yet frail constitution. Although the anti-WO bishops had the vast majority, the decision made was to strengthen the authority of the communion as a whole, and move the (potentially fracturing) decision down the line by which point we'll be in a position to weather it:




    The five or six Ordinaries who are known to be in support of Women's Ordination (out of a total of 40+) are:

    Bishop John Guernsey, Diocese of Mid-Atlantic
    Bishop Jim Hobby, Diocese of Pittsburgh
    Bishop Todd Hunter, the charismatic Vineyard leader, Diocese of C4SO
    Bishop Bill Murdoch, Diocese of New England
    Bishop Bob Duncan, Emeritus

    I might be forgetting someone.

    +Guernsey and +Hobby run two of the most powerful dioceses in the Province. Also they are married to women 'priests'. If this move was made now, these two might have fractured the communion because of selfish reasons.
     
  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As you brought up earlier. The ACNA recognizes that women's ordination is against scripture. That should settle it, right?

    Look to the articles:

    XX. Of the Authority of the Church.
    The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

    If you tolerate W/O which is repugnant to God's word, what else will be tolerated in the spirit of unity?
     
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  11. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think it's important to think about how that phrase "against scripture" has made it into the official statement. This is just one man's opinion of course, but it is at least plausible given the context of everything.

    I don't think the pro-WO bishops think or thought that WO was against scripture. The standard liberal argument is that it is indeed fully consonant with scripture (based on erroneous arguments).

    So both parties, the yeas and the nays, came in there ready to do battle, and to potentially fracture. The nays had numerical superiority (as everyone knows), but they didn't crush the yeas and risk schism. Rather, they achieved unity, and in this moment forged a single body of bishops, whereas before there existed factions and parties. But since they still had clear superiority, they probably still forced this extra language into the final document. And that's how we have it now. Why the pro-WO bishops agreed to allow it is unclear to me; perhaps they were blown away by the charity shown to their side.

    So now the final document does clearly state that WO is against scripture. This was never stated before, and certainly absent from the Taskforce documents. Now going into the next conclave they will be forced to accept this document as the initial starting point. Anyone who schisms then is merely a bad actor and does not deserve to be in this fraternity of men who clearly would suffer violence to their conscience (the slavery clause in the constitution) to forge a unity.
     
  12. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    So it's an admission of guilt.
    *facepalm*

    Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
     
  13. Mark

    Mark Well-Known Member Anglican

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    anglican74, I must ask. Unity with what? Those that plainly ignore scripture? The ACNA holds to the 39 Articles, except when they don't.

    What we are witnessing is a replay of the TEC. In the 1960's Bishop Pike denied the virgin birth, resurrection, Sprong in the 70's (and still does till this day, Pike has gone to judgement). The Bishops did nothing. The first female ordinations were in violation not only of scripture but the then canons of the TEC. The Bishops did nothing. The Book of Common Prayer was gutted. Nothing. The watch word was "unity". Everything was for unity.

    Whenever heresy is allowed in, it infects the whole. The Bishops know this and do the same thing that was done in the past, for the sake of unity. Repeating the same mistakes and expect a different outcome? Can be a form of insanity.

    The Diocese of the Gulf Coast, Bishop Lebhar ordains women. 20% of his clergy are women. He did not make your list. You truly think he and those who think, in error, will change if the vote goes against them. That is not in the play book for political liberals nor the unorthodox in the Church. The new plant here in Pensacola, female clergy who was serving a Methodist Church prior to taking the plant. I went there. My REC Bishop told him I was available, but he went with a female methodist minister. I went to their understanding of Mass/Eucharist/Communion. Everyone recites the Eucharistic prayers while standing around the altar/table giving thanks for their pets. I witnessed it. I expressed my disgust. I told my Bishop and wrote a letter to Lebhar. My Bishop gave me permission to worship with the Continuing parishes in the area. Never hear back from Lebhar. This parish/mission meets at the local Messianic Jewish church. Some of those ladies are in American Heritage Girls with my wife and daughters. They are appalled at what they are witnessing. Their minister is preparing to eject the mission from his church. Their rabbi met with me, he wanted to know what Anglicans believed. He questioned if they, we, are Christian.

    This is the unity our Bishops want?

    St John wrote in his first Epistle about staying true to God, Christ and scripture. He tells us those that depart from us, were never with us. I know liberals and the unorthodox can twist logic and scripture. It is our duty to attempt to correct them. It is the Bishops duty to protect the flock. If they refuse correction and continue in heresy, we must separate. There can be no union with heresy.

    Go the the ACNA facebook page and look at how and what the pro WO people are saying. Read the communications of Bishop Hunter et al. They will not repent. Matter of fact they have banned people who oppose WO. They will separate if the Bishops stay loyal to scripture. Why wait? Why give them more time to infect the rest of the Church. In history the heretics were removed from the Church. They died a natural death as they were cut off from the true vine. Or they repented.

    I know the laity and many priest in the REC are up in arms about what the Bishops did. The leadership of the REC is in damage control mode at this very moment. I have emails from leaders telling priests to "watch what you say", "help your laity to understand". The REC leadership told us we were entering the ACNA and it would not be like the TEC. No womens ordination....then we must be part of them to change them.....then this. I know two REC Bishops who have left the REC and ACNA for the unorthodox and unbiblical positions of the ACNA. One to Rome, he ordained me Priest, one to the Orthodox Church and he took at least a parish with him. There went two votes against the heresy.

    The orthodox are constantly told to wait, wait, wait. It is never the right or a good time to enforce obedience to scripture, the 39 Articles, Canons of Councils etc. We are constantly told to accept blatant rebellion to God for the sake of unity. A unity that never seems to appear.

    There is a lot of damage control going on. You contend the Bishops did not want to end WO for the sake of unity. Their action is causing disunity, shock and scandal to the faithful. They are going to lose people. They need to decide if the want to lose the orthodox or the heretics. One side is going to walk. Their next actions will determine who leaves.

    And do not forget those Bishops who say they will not ordain, but allow female clergy. They can go to a pro wo Bishop, get "ordained" and return to the diocese. Bishop Iker of Fort Worth use to ordain women. He no longer does, but allows female clergy.

    The numbers are not adding up, but then again when did we start needing numbers to be true to Christ and His Church. Remember St Athanasius position....Athanasius contra mundo. We like St Athanasius must hold unity with God above unity with those who reject God's word. Regardless of how nice they appear to be.

    Blessings

    Fr. Mark
     
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  14. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Yes, it's not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. In charity we can say that it resembles the US in 1776, where there is a perfectly moral choice that leads to a fracture and eventual defeat, or an imperfect union which eventually becomes so strong that it can withstand a major dissention or internal strife without losing its singular status.

    Anglicans (and other mainliners), even Anglo-Catholics, have become so comfortable with schisms and parties that everyone has lost that vivid sense of actual physical unity across time and space. The Continuing Churches are especially notorious examples of this, where just like Baptists they schism and split and unify and schism again, at a moment's notice. Whatever else Rome does wrong, the one thing they do well is unity. Understand that this action, which is so imperfect to us, is a testament to the fact that Anglicanism is one again, in North America; and anyone who is not in the Province, doesn't know how to be Anglican (whatever else they may be perfect in on 'orthodoxy').


    I want to make the point from earlier, namely that the Taskforce failed to state that WO is against scripture. You and I may privately think it is, but it's never been stated in ANY official ACNA documents heretofore, and the notorious Taskforce did nothing to help it. Put together by Duncan and staffed with pro-WO radicals I'm surprised the Taskforce didn't do more harm than it did. We can now move beyond it and put it in the dustbin of history. But what we do have now is a statement that WO as against scripture, coming from the official statement of the House of Bishops. We must redouble our efforts over the next 3-4 years to remind our bishops, to make them remind their colleagues, because now we have an actual foot in the door on this, officially, when we never had before.

    True it's not a complete victory this time around. But the liberals never won in a single move either. They moved gradually, with one foot in the door, and then ten-fifteen years later with another, and then seven years with another. We should accept their strategy, namely that our victory must be incremental. We need to stop fantasizing that there will be one moment, especially early on when the bonds between Bishop and Dioceses are too weak to withstand a crisis. I firmly believe that now the 'early' stage of ACNA has passed, and we have entered maturity. Now if pressure is put on the pro-WO bishops they cannot squirm, for they were accepted despite inferiority and powerlessness.

    No objections from me there. But I would ask you to consider one thing: the "Bishop Pike party" this time are the orthodox. They have one foot in the door and there is no intention to relax from now on. I don't know anyone who is happy with this decision. It was done with a heavy heart, meaning that by no means is it over. But the balance of this debate, while still keeping unity, now went to the orthodox, for the first time, officially. The next time there is a conclave or a gathering of bishops, this report will be the first starting point for whatever else happens next.

    Next we can make the argument that If this is against Scripture, and it is our core doctrine that anti-Scriptural beliefs cannot be condoned, then what shall we do next? I don't see any of the liberals, including Hunter and Guernsey, preferring to reject Scripture to keep WO, even if they're married to it. Now they're all committed to it. So when this is revisited again in 3-4 years, it will be a discussion on a different level.

    I know this is moving much slower than we want, no debate from me there. But if we can learn the tactic of incrementalism from the 50 years of TEC, we should accept that this might take one or two decades to fully complete. Making a big proclamation and fracturing the Communion in 10 easy steps is not acceptable. We don't believe in multiple Anglican Churches. We cannot accept multiple Anglican jurisdictions. That's not being Anglican.

    I mean yeas. Unity is painful. Just because unity was abused doesn't mean we can follow the Anglo-Catholic route of schism. There is nothing Catholic about that. The watchword in the Donatist crisis was also "unity" where the Donatists wanted "perfection".

    In general I would agree with you. I know that the bishops are playing with fire, just like condoning slavery in 1776 was playing with fire and left many men with heavy hearts and an uncertain future. But they made the capital victory in establishing a government that could suppress errors, including slavery, 50 years later. Where in 1776 there was no government to speak of, in 1860 there was a government, and even then we almost didn't make it.

    In 2007 there was no ACNA at all. It didn't exist. In 2008, after the rhetoric settled down all you had was a bunch of disjointed Bishops and wounded parishes trying to find a common language, always with one foot out the door. There was no government to suppress heresy, or even to admonish one another. In the last 2017 Assembly on which I reported here, there were beginnings of a very strong governmental structure. In this vote there was a very strong unanimous stand by one sheer cemented body of bishops (howsoever wounded in private). It's a whole different world now. When we look at this issue again in 2021 or 2024, they will look back on this vote in 2017, remember the fact that this continued practice was unanimously stated to be 'against Scripture', and the next steps will be taken.

    No question that Neil Lebhar is one of the worst apples. I would say that he and Todd Hunter are the worst in the entire House, at present. What other names would you add to that list?

    But to balance your view I want to argue that Bishop Iigenfritz had to leave early because of the hurricane, and was very upset that this vote took place. Bishops like Sam Siemens and dozens othes have been about WO even before this vote took place. No one accepts what Lebhar is doing. But it's not like he's a newcomer, someone newly injected into the body politic, swaying the scales. He's been in this position for quite some time, and the reason the scales are where they are is because he was one of the biggest weights. He's not an addition to the problem, he is the problem. Apart from Lebhar and Hunter and a few others, this is not the case. Even Pittsburgh, for all of their liberal tendencies, has retained a lot of the proper Anglicanism with very decent liturgies, and vestments, and reverence. I reported from my last Assembly meeting that it has never been more reverent than now, at present. The direction is clearly going one way, and that is away from Lebhar's position on things. He's becoming irrelevant.

    Consider this also: there are fewer and fewer women priests in ACNA every year. Some bishops don't ordain women even if the canons allow it, because of the fact that they would be able to serve in only 25-30% of the dioceses. Women don't go into postulancy, because they don't want to be 'limited' to posts in only 25-30% dioceses. There are fewer and fewer women postulants.

    My argument would be that even though we didn't have a quick victory, we won a lasting institutional triumph, combined with the demographic and ecclesiastical inertia that are completely in favor of the orthodox.

    I would encourage you to watch the AnglicanTV episode as it's helpful in casting all this in a larger perspective.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  15. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Sorry edited my post above. Please remove this post if unnecessary.
     
  16. Shane R

    Shane R Member

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    ++Haverland, ++Grundorf, ++Jones, and ++Hewett are probably in awe of the gift they have been given in the past week. The ball is in their court to not squander this opportunity. At the very moment they are pulling themselves together, the ACNA is trying to burn the church down.

    As for the video, I watched that the other day. Kallsen is an ACNA cheerleader and Conger is STILL in TEC, so I don't take them too seriously. They discussed the statement in terms of what was expedient rather than what was right. I see people trying to spin this as a positive but, as I wrote above, if Holy Orders doesn't tear the ACNA apart, unchecked charismaticism will. People reach out to me every month, trying to find a good liturgy officiated by a vested man. . .
     
  17. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The problems with the Continuing Churches are institutional, apart from teaching heresies like praying to Mary and all the other stuff that was fixed. They have no youth, and they have no clergy. Did you know that ++Hewett has suspended all ordinations, because he had no postulants? In 10-15 years there will be a lot of Continuing funerals, and that will be the end of the Continuing movement. Additionally they have no contact with anyone Anglican outside the United States. They'd much rather hobnob with Polish Catholic Church or the Nordics or the Old Catholics than have partnerships with the Anglican Province of Singapore (now exploding in numbers), or any of the Africans (now exploding in numbers). Anglicans around the world don't know about them or care to know. And they don't care to know Anglicans around the world. They just want their Angelus and their Missal and the six candles altar, and a geriatric pension plan, and they're set.

    So do you think having 46 different Continuing jurisdictions is "right"? The sensus catholicus is dead in the Continuing movement.

    Anecdotal incidents are one thing, but the well known hard facts of the Continuers demographics and vocations crisis are another. Maybe if more people would ask you the Continuers would have a chance. As it is there won't be much left soon.
     
  18. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    anglican74, I empathize with you. As a High-Church, Laudian-type Anglican, I have little use for Marian prayers and missals. Once a church has dispensed with the Prayer Book, I find it difficult to see it as Anglican. By default, I have more in common with the Anglo-Catholics than the Evangelicals, but some (not all) Anglo-Catholics today seem little different from the Old Catholics. Since they have little use for the Articles and the Prayer Book, I honestly don't know why they don't merge with some of the Old Catholic bodies.
     
  19. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    @anglican74, I understand the desire to try to bridge the gap in a big tent, but I would also point out that Our Lord did not tell us to be good, he said "be ye perfect". However, WO doesn't qualify as either good or perfect-it is against scripture, which is God's public and general revelation to his church. Therefore, saying W/O is wrong is not a private judgment, it is God's judgment. "What hath light to do with darkness"..."if thy right eye offend thee cut it out"... "enter ye in at the strait gate"...doesn't sound like overlooking sin or heresy for the sake of unity is a very biblical concept.

    I would also remind you that the imperfect union formed in 1776 led to a deadly civil war less than a century later...fractures like this don't heal, they fester a infect.
     
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  20. Ide

    Ide Member

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    I have to say this is very disappointing. For a person new to the Anglican tradition and trying to find a church home this is all very distressing to see the fractures in the ACNA regarding WO and the problems it brings. I have met some very nice female priests, but I do not agree with WO and everywhere it goes it creates discord. I do not believe that it accords with scripture and does not show the fruits of the Holy Spirit- just look at all the endless problems it creates.

    Sometimes I think just becoming a part of TEC and trying to be a witness for orthodox Christianity is a good approach, other times I think it pointless given how far down the rabbit hole things have gotten. Even though I find myself loving the Anglican tradition, I don't know how to really trust in any of the church bodies given all the tumult we see. :(
     
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