Thursday, December 18, 2008

Episcopal Epiphany

As a follow up to the post below, Ephraim's Epiphany, I reproduce a letter published on Stand Firm. It speaks for itself. (Note: Tennessee and its bishop is described as a Windsor diocese and bishop ... so somewhere in range of sympathy with Ephraim Radner and the Anglican Communion Institute, not particularly in sympathy with the New American Province, and not necessarily agreeing with PB Schori and co).

The Rt. Rev. John Bauerschmidt
Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee
50 Vantage Way, Suite 107
Nashville, TN 37228

Dear Bishop Bauerschmidt,

My name is Juanita Barry and I am from the area near Sewanee called the Midway community. I was baptized in 1935 as a new Christian at a mission station of the Diocese of Tennessee which became St. James Mission Church in 1957. As a young girl the message of the Gospels was set forth to us by some of the best minds of the Church. The Rev. Haskell DuBose, son of The Rev. William DuBose, was the founder of this mission and named it Summit Mission in 1935. DuBose was assisted by energetic students from the School of Theology such as George M. Alexander, later Bishop of Upper South Carolina, and many, many others. The "theologs" taught us Sunday School, arranged for the Eucharist to be celebrated, taught us altar guild ministry, constructed a movable altar, played softball, had "box suppers" to raise money for a church, and served as models of Christian life as we met for services in the school house on Sundays. The Bishops of Tennessee sent forth into this mission field many who became leaders in the Episcopal Church. The Very Rev. David Collins, The Rt. Rev. Alex Dickson, The Rt. Rev. C. Fitzsimmons Allison are still among those living and contributing in retirement to the ongoing work of the Church. They and many others at different times preached and celebrated the Eucharist for this fledgling mission. The Very Rev. Fleming James was our preacher at times when he was Dean of the School of Theology and thrilled us with his wonderful accounts of his trip to the Holy Land. He had been appointed to work on the Revised Version of the Bible published in 1951. We have been richly endowed with these and many, many others.

I am a founding member of St. James Mission and was among the group of laypeople who petitioned for the admission of St. James as a full-fledged mission. I note that very few are left at St. James who signed that charter which was accepted by the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee in January of 1958. My years at St. James were filled with going to church with my husband and our four children and their coming to Christ in baptism and confirmation. My husband and I were members who did all we could to support the growth of St. James. Throughout the years we served as mission council members serving many times as senior warden, junior warden, treasurer, altar guild director, and as delegates to the conventions of the diocese. I was blessed with the honor of being a delegate to convention during your recent election as Bishop of Tennessee.

In 2003 the Episcopal Church began actions at General Convention that I found alarming. I then undertook the task of informing myself by reading, studying, following the various media outlets, networking with other orthodox Episcopalians, and attending Bible studies that solidly reaffirmed the Gospel message in the Anglican tradition. As you suggested, I attended forums on Communion Matters. In 2006 nothing changed at General Convention. Since then there has been more denial and betrayal of the 2000-year-old Gospel as practiced in the Anglican tradition in the Episcopal Church of the United States. These innovations include questioning the uniqueness of Christ and the continuing undermining of the authority of the Scriptures. As a result the Episcopal Church has elevated man above God in a gospel of social reform and humanism and established a new religion. The world wide Lambeth Conference of 2008 did nothing to discipline The Episcopal Church. Indeed, the prevailing opinion from Canterbury is not to discipline The Episcopal Church, and by default to bless these new actions that are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

As I continued to inform myself, the facts that were, for me, hazy to say the least, became focused. Many laypeople delude themselves into thinking that the innovations in The Episcopal Church do not affect the local work of the church. This congregationalism is not part of the “polity” of The Episcopal Church. What happens in New Hampshire or in California does affect the mission of the church in the Diocese of Tennessee, even when we designate ourselves as a “Windsor Diocese.”

I have come to see that the prevailing mindset of the majority of Bishops and Deputies to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church is to agree with the new religion. The canons have been misapplied in order in order to advance the agenda of the new religion. Many laypeople are uninformed while others are struggling to understand these "changes". We have been remiss in not asking what these changes are and standing up and fighting these destructive changes. We will repent of these sins of omission for the rest of our lives and answer for them as we are eventually judged in God's time.
The years from 2003 until 2008 were filled for me at first with alarm and then with grief. As I have already stated, I have studied and prayed for guidance. Finally, after 73 years at St. James, as of August 31, 2008 I made the very difficult decision to leave the Episcopal Church. Therefore, by this letter I request that my name be removed from the membership rolls of St. James Mission Church, and that my letter of membership be sent to Christ the King Anglican Church, P.O. Box 296, 1211 Dinah Shore Boulevard, Winchester, TN 37398. Christ the King Anglican Church (CANA) has given me refuge to heal and grow in God's grace in the beloved Anglican tradition in the hope of the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008.

My prayers are always for the people of St. James, the Diocese of Tennessee, and the Episcopal Church for God has given me so much and taught me how to truly love in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. In His love and peace I hold all of you. Recalling the words of my childhood baptismal and confirmation vows, may His love guide us in this very real battle against the world, the devil and the flesh.

Peace in Jesus Christ,

Juanita Barry

818 Old C.C.C. Rd.
Sewanee, TN 37375

Copy to: St. James Episcopal Church
The Rev. Linda Hutton
P.O. Box 336
Sewanee, TN 37375

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