8 Dec 2020
We wish to express on behalf of EFAC Global our dismay and distress at the findings of The Episcopal Church’s (TEC) Disciplinary Hearing against the Rt Rev William Love, Bishop of Albany, which have led to his resignation.
We wish to support unreservedly Bishop Love’s convictions about the church’s traditional teaching on marriage and his decision to uphold that doctrine in his diocese thus fulfilling his ordination vows.
It appears from the judgement of the Disciplinary Hearing that revision of the Book of Common Prayer (1979) to which Bishop Love gave assent at his ordination has taken place. We are aware that many members of EFAC USA are members of TEC and we are grateful that they seek to be obedient to the teaching of scripture and the church’s traditional teaching on marriage and human sexuality as summarised in the Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution 1:10. We believe the revised teaching of the BCP (1979) to be utterly contrary to that Resolution, and contrary to God’s word revealed in Holy Scripture.
We believe there are at least two aspects to this distressing episode which have wider implications for the Anglican Communion.
First, the theology and practice underlying the Hearing’s decision allows no bishop or parish priest to forbid worship within their diocese or parish which they believe to be contrary to God’s word. If this is the right inference of the decision, and if this theology and practice is to be recognised as legitimately Anglican by the global Communion, then the whole Communion is implicated in this approval of theology and practice which is contrary to God’s word. This outcome was foreseen by those who warned TEC that were they to pursue this revision in theology and practice after the passing of Resolution 1:10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998 it would lead to a tearing of the Communion at its deepest level. This is what has in fact happened.
Second, this being the case, and Bishop Love’s resignation being the latest outcome of this process begun so long ago, we ask that the next Lambeth Conference specifically address how the Anglican Communion, including her bishops and parishes can continue to be faithful to God’s word. We pray that the whole Anglican Communion be involved in this task, including those in the Global South network and GAFCON, and that a specific invitation to the next Lambeth Conference be given to the Anglian Church of North America (ACNA).
We grieve at this time of global crisis when the world needs Christ’s church united in mission and service more than ever, that we are distracted and diminished by our failure to be sanctified in the truth revealed in God’s word. We commit to continued prayers for Bishop Love, the Diocese of Albany, TEC and the Anglican Communion.