A Statement from ESA Bishops on the Episcopal Synod Action Plan

Episcopal News Service. January 24, 1992 [92021]

Many in the Episcopal Church have offered interpretations of the Action Plan adopted by the Synodical Council in November, 1991, that misjudge our intentions. The focus of the ESA Action Plan is to enhance the mission of the church, not to fragment it. In order to set the record straight, the bishops of the ESA, meeting on January 17, 1992, set forth the following points:

  1. We continue to encourage existing congregations who are able to hold and propagate the positions of the ESA while remaining in place in their Episcopal Church dioceses to do so. We express our gratitude and thankfulness for Episcopal Church bishops who are working to make this possible by adhering to the spirit of the House of Bishops resolution adopted in Philadelphia.
  2. Where there are congregations who believe it impossible to remain in place, the synod bishops will work with such congregations and their dioceses to improve their relationships where possible without violating the convictions of the congregation or the principles of the ESA. Such reconciliations would be facilitated by the implementation of the September, 1990, agreement by the presiding bishop to appoint a theological body to implement the Philadelphia resolution.
  3. The missionary diocese has been formed for those who have already left the Episcopal Church or find it impossible to continue under any circumstances. Far from being schismatic in nature or intent, the missionary diocese is a vehicle for such people to find their place within the Anglican Communion. ECUSA should not reject this project, but rather should assist us in its development.
  4. Since the announcement of the missionary diocese, we have discovered many evangelical and charismatic congregations and individuals never associated with Anglicanism who desire connection to the historic church. These persons might not find their way to Anglicanism through ECUSA presently, but, through the missionary diocese, a unique opportunity now exists for enhancing the growth and unity of the church.

We believe that Christianity is apprehended in its fullest in the Catholic faith. We further believe that the Anglican Communion embraces that Catholic faith without addition or diminution, and that for us it remains the highest and best way to live out that faith. Because of this conviction, we believe that the Synod Action Plan is worth pursuing in spite of the pains, anomalies, and ambiguities that frustrate us all.

The Rt. Rev. Stanley Atkins, retired bishop of Eau Claire; The Rt. Rev. A. Donald Davies, retired bishop of Ft. Worth; The Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney, bishop of Quincy; The Rt. Rev. Donald J. Parsons, retired bishop of Quincy; The Rt. Rev. Clarence C. Pope, Jr., bishop of Ft. Worth; The Rt. Rev. Paul Reeves, retired bishop of Georgia; The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, bishop of San Joaquin; The Rt. Rev. William C.R. Sheridan, retired bishop of Northern Indiana; The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, bishop of Eau Claire