For Episcopalians: A Call to Action
Why Should You Get Involved?
Not all bishops and priests can be counted on to “guard the faith, unity and discipline of the whole Church.” As the “priesthood of all believers,” how can laity not take their proper place in the life of the Church?
The future of the church for you, your children and grandchildren is at stake—this crisis affects every Anglican and Episcopalian; it is your personal crisis!
This crisis will not blow over—orthodoxy must be upheld.
This crisis is not unique to Anglicanism—secularism is advancing at an alarming pace.
The role of the laity extends far beyond faithful service in the life and worship of the local congregation. Laity also need to participate actively in the governance of the Church.
Laypersons are being excluded from critical decisions.
Laity can speak out with relative impunity and more flexibility than clergy.
What Can You Do?
- Pray for guidance and direction. The Holy Spirit does not tell everyone to do the same thing, even under the same circumstances.
- Analyze your parish. Is the preaching and teaching biblically orthodox? What about the parishioners? Are you being called to work to strengthen your TEC parish?
- Analyze your diocese. Is the diocesan leadership orthodox? What about the parishes and the laity? Can the diocese be strengthened or “turned around?”
- Join with Others to Take Effective Action
- Pray without ceasing. Consider organizing dedicated days of prayer and fasting or prayer vigils in homes or churches.
- Join the American Anglican Council (individuals and congregations).
- Establish an AAC chapter in your area if one does not already exist (contact the AAC Episcopal Desk for more information).
- Sign the Jerusalem Declaration and join the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (go to www.fca.net for more information)
- Gather and mobilize all orthodox laity and clergy in your geographical area for fellowship, prayer, Bible study, ministry and strategy. Work to build relationships and unity among the orthodox.
- Develop mailing lists (email and postal).
- Stay in touch and encourage one another.
- Establish a home church that upholds orthodox Anglicanism if there are no other alternatives in your community. The AAC Episcopal Desk has several resources to help you in the process of discernment and church planting.
- Consider attending the AAC’s regional “Blueprint for a New Church” conferences designed to help clergy and lay leaders develop united, missional, Anglican Churches.
Communicate and Inform
- Educate those who still “don’t get it.” Host Bible studies or coffees and help to inform others of this crisis and why it impacts them (use this and other AAC publications as your talking points).
- Sign up for AAC weekly email updates to stay abreast of what’s going on in the Anglican world.
- Develop classes in parishes to inform/mobilize members—copy and/or share these booklets and other resources recommended by the AAC. Consider using Ms. Kathleen Fairman’s curriculum “What (on Earth) is Happening in the Anglican Communion?”—a four-part, facts-based course helpful for informing a parish on any side of the issues. (available through the AAC)
- Commit yourself and your family to attend some type of Bible-based Christian education to help strengthen your faith. Consider teaching a class, leading a Bible study, or working with your parish leadership to strengthen the Christian education offerings.
- Assist in planning events in your area designed to inform Anglicans/Episcopalians. Consider speaking at such events.
- “Go public” and expose harassment and revisionist actions and statements in your church/diocese. As a minimum, inform the AAC Episcopal Desk so we can document these actions and statements. (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper to communicate a Biblically-orthodox opinion regarding news coverage and events in your diocese and the Anglican Communion.
- Educate others and direct them to the AAC.
Protect Your Clergy and Congregation
- Seek legal counsel.
- Work with lawyers (including consulting with the AAC legal team) to understand your canonical rights. Challenge bishops who step beyond the canonical boundaries.
- Always have legal counsel present for discussions with hostile rectors/vicars and bishops and at other significant meetings.
- Develop a civil employment contract for your orthodox clergy.
- Establish a “Scenario Task Force” to consider your options as a congregation and develop action plans accordingly.
- Redirect funds. Do not allow your pledges to go to a revisionist parish, revisionist diocese or the national church. If your parish is orthodox but the diocese is not, make sure your parish will withhold your pledge from the diocese and reduce its diocesan giving accordingly. Redirect your pledge to orthodox organizations/ministries as well as to Global South provinces which refuse TEC funds.
- Hold your rectors/vicars and bishops as well as Standing Committees accountable— schedule meetings to express a call for a return to orthodoxy.
- Flood the bishops’ offices and Standing Committee members with letters outlining your position and expectations.
- Work for orthodox individuals to be elected to vestry and diocesan council/conventions and for key diocesan positions such as the Standing Committee and Commission on Ministry. Orthodox parishes should work towards building a solidly orthodox vestry.