Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The American Anglican Council (AAC) has prepared this handbook to assist you as you participate in General Convention '09. Volume one includes an overview of where TEC stands in the Anglican Communion. We have included information on the apostate and schismatic statements and actions of TEC leaders that contradict biblically orthodox Christian belief or violate the requests of the various Instruments of Communion. A timeline is included to show you the defining actions that have torn the "fabric of Communion" to shreds. Volume two, to be published after the official Blue Book is released, will include analysis of the proposed resolutions as well as commentary on revisionist strategy at General Convention and how to respond to it.
TEC has repeatedly claimed to value its membership in the Anglican Communion while at the same time rejecting Communion requests to comply with the moratorium on same-sex blessings and the consecration of non-celibate homosexual bishops. TEC defied the Primates' 2008 request to cease all lawsuits and instead has initiated more litigation against departing parishes and dioceses. And now, as the Anglican Consultative Council prepares to present a final draft of the Anglican Covenant which would identify the limits of autonomy and the responsibilities of life in Communion, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has emphatically stated that this General Convention will not consider that covenant because there is not sufficient time. The Anglican Covenant has been under discussion for five years, and the latest draft has received substantial review and input from TEC dioceses as well as the Executive Council. It is likely that approval of the Covenant will be delayed until 2015 (or indefinitely) since any change to the Constitution and Canons requires consideration by two successive general conventions to be adopted.
The preliminary resolutions filed for General Convention (as of March 18, 2009) indicate that TEC does not plan on exercising gracious restraint by adhering to the moratoria. Of the 49 resolutions filed by dioceses or provinces, 21 advance the agenda of homosexual activists in the church. One resolution adds gender identity or the expression of gender identity to "protected categories" for ordination (C001). Nine resolutions conform the marriage canons to the language of civil laws permitting same sex unions (C019, C025, C028, C041, C042) or remove restrictions and/or authorize the development of liturgies for same sex blessings (C004, C009, C017, C031). Nine resolutions (C007, C010, C015, C024, C033, C036, C039, C045, C046) repudiate and reverse Resolution B033 from GC '06, which asked TEC to observe the Communion moratorium on any further consecrations of non-celibate homosexuals as bishops in the Church. In response to the 2008 elections in states where the traditional definition of marriage was affirmed, one resolution (C023) calls for Episcopalians to reject and work against Defense of Marriage statutes, and another (C014) authorizes a new Theological Study (i.e. revision) of Christian Marriage. There are no resolutions filed to support the consideration of the Anglican Covenant.
What can you hope to accomplish at General Convention to halt TEC's determined march away from true communion with Anglicans worldwide? First, educate yourself on the issues and resolve to stand firm for biblically orthodox Christian faith. Secondly, shine the light of truth on what is happening. Don't participate in compromises that water down or disguise the intent of resolutions. Do everything in your power to bring controversial issues to the floor and to a recorded vote rather than a voice vote. Don't allow TEC to make empty promises to the rest of the Communion.
Most importantly, please pray. Pray for clarity surrounding the actions of General Convention and for the truth to be revealed. Ask the Lord to give you strength, wisdom, love and humility as you serve him in this challenging task and difficult environment.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men [and women] of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Cor 16:13-14)
The AAC will stand with you at General Convention. We invite you to join us for daily worship services and Eucharist on Sunday. As in the past, we will monitor key committee meetings and report to you on the status of resolutions as they come to the floor. Our media team will report the unvarnished truth about what is and is not happening. We will provide a private meeting room where you can confer with other bishops and deputies. Our AAC Episcopal Desk will have a booth in the exhibition hall and we will have intercessors at the convention center. We will provide personal prayer and pastoral care, as needed. If there is any other way we can serve you, please let me know.
May God bless and sustain you
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson Sr.
President & CEO, American Anglican Council