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US Episcopalians and conservatives

by
15 December 2011

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From the Rt Revd Harry W. Shipps

Sir, — I very much regret the column by Dr Harriet Baber of San Diego, as it presents a very inaccurate picture of the Episcopal Church in the United States (Comment, 11 November).

That the Episcopal Church (at what supposed level?) views conservatives as “moral monsters” and that there is a “crusade against conservatives” is so untrue as not to be worthy of a response. With reference to the Bishop of South Carolina, the board inquiring about his alleged abandonment of the communion of the Episcopal Church has concluded that there is no charge against him.

That the Episcopal Church is a leading liberal American Church is not in dispute. The 1973 canons that allow for the mar­riage of divorced persons, the 1976 agree­ment to permit the ordination of women to all three orders, and the 2003 consent for ordination to the episcopate of part­nered homo­sexuals demonstrate that.

There are, however, many faithful Episcopalians who cannot in good faith go that route. They are free to leave the Episcopal Church and join one of the several “breakaway” groups. We miss their participation in the life of the Church. They must not, however, continue to use the property. The buildings and assets remain with that part of the congre­ga­tion wishing to continue in com­munion with the local Epis­copal bishop or for a new congre­gation.

Naturally, offenders will be taken to court, which in most all cases have ruled in favour of the Church. This was the case here in Savannah regarding Christ Church, founded by Charles Wesley.

I sincerely hope your UK readers will not view the Episcopal Church as does your American corres­pondent.

HARRY W. SHIPPS
(Retired Bishop of Georgia)
The Marshes of Skidaway Island
95 Skidaway Island Park Road
Savannah, GA 31411, USA

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