A REPORT ON
THE WAY FORWARD CONFERENCE
August 31st thru September 1st, 2004
By: Father Larry Winslow
The following material will represent a personal view of the subject conference and its results. Ann Varcoe has done an excellent job in keeping everyone informed of the detail of the conference. Thus, in producing this paper, it will be assumed that the information contained in Ann’s reports has been read and digested.
The Way Forward Conference was a milestone in the life of Canadian Anglicanism! It represented a point whereby Bible-believing Orthodox Canadian Anglicans said, “enough is enough!” While continuing in repentance for personal sin and the collective sin that allowed the current circumstance existing outside of, and contrary to, the Divinely Inspired Holy Word of God to develop, Orthodox Canadian Anglicans have come together in solidarity to stand-up for the Anglican Reformation Faith founded upon the restoration of God’s Word Living in Jesus Christ and Written in His Holy Word.
In the past Orthodox Canadian Anglicanism has existed in disassociated pockets spread across the country. It has been relatively easy for the revisionist liberal leadership to isolate each group and destroy them by ridicule or force. Of late, their efforts toward destruction have been frustrated by modern communications systems that provide immediate up-to-date information concerning their actions. And now, the larger country wide coming together of over 700 persons representing all facets of Conservative Orthodox Canadian Anglicanism involving, by representation, probably around 45% of Canadian Anglicans and circa 75% of the total income across the country (these are guesstimated figures at this point). Such a nationwide community is impossible to ignore and difficult to combat.
These Canadian Anglicans with strong leadership, including many faithful and courageous Clergy and Bishops (active and recently retired) are standing in the power of the Holy Spirit to serve God above all other forces being placed before them. The Anglican Communion Network of Anglican Dioceses and Parishes (ACNDP) and the American Anglican Council (AAC) from the USA support them. Also, the Worldwide Faithful Primates representing over 75% of the Anglican Communion are standing firm in offering their support and, as required, Temporary Alternate Episcopal Oversight. Further support came from England. Thus, while many Bible-Believing Orthodox Anglicans tend to feel isolated and alone (somewhat like Elijah when he was hiding in the cave on the mountain), God has provided a strong supporting network for His True and Faithful Church.
The Conference resulted in two organisations with one existing within and emanating from the other. The Federation embraces all persons who are standing firm for the foundational documents of the Holy Scriptures, the Traditional Creeds, and the Thirty-nine Articles of Faith. This involves Anglo-Catholics, Evangelical, and Charismatic Anglicans of all types who have come together to stand and fight for the true faith. Within this group and emanating from this group is the Network that will include those Anglicans who are being forced out of their Dioceses due to their Bible based faith or have simply said that the ACC has now gone too far and cannot be redeemed. This latter will provide Pastoral Care, Episcopal support, and Alternate/Replacement Episcopal Oversight to those who require it from within the Network.
Personally, this writer was surprised at the percentage of young clergy and laity present at the conference. The Revisionist Liberal Camp likes to portray opposition to their “avant-garde” “new way of thinking” as emanating from the “old fuddy-duddy” out of touch soon to be gone (one way or the other JJJ) faction that will always resist change. But, the power at the conference came from those who are going to be around for a long time plus those in attendance who are going to be leading the Church of the future.
The Way Forward Conference represents a beginning. The process is in its embryonic stages and cross-Canada representation has been established for each of these groups to provide foundational developmental processes. We can look forward to great things developing from this conference whether it involves the continuation within the ACC or apart from the current heretical structure.
International support expressed at the conference came from many sources.
Very impressive and all embracing support was presented by The Most Reverend Greg Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone, who spoke for himself and the faithful primates of the south who represent more than 75% of worldwide Anglicanism. Archbishop Venables stressed the need for the Church to get back to the basics of Holy Scripture and to move Christianity back from the subjective centred in self to the objective centred upon God where it belongs. He stated that we have lost the sense of the Holiness of God and the concept of human sin. In referencing Isaiah’s “Here I am; send me!” he emphasised the need to go slow and take the process of redemption of the Church one step at a time. Also, the Archbishop assured the gathering that he and the other primates are poised ready to help. All we have to do is ask and suggest how that help can be provided. We have already experienced one form of their help in the Anglican Communion in Canada (ACiC).
The Right Reverend Wallace Benn updated the conference on the United Kingdom situation – especially with relationship to the Jeffrey John fiasco. He even pointed out that, as with the Canadian Leadership, there is collusion within the Crown Appointment Commission to assist the revisionist liberals in the unholy quest. However, he the Bishop clearly stressed that the links between true believers in the Apostolic Faith will not be broken. Further, in awaiting the results of the Eame’s Commission, he clearly stated that we cannot accept a ‘fudge’ and the commission must take decisive action against heresies. He emphatically stated the need and willingness for the faithful Bishops to speak out. Finally Bishop Benn stated that the UK stands with us, prays for us, and asks our prayers.
Bill Atwood, the General Secretary of Ekklesia, a body dedicated to bringing faithful Anglicanism together, brought greetings and support from Archbishop Bernard Molango of Central Africa, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda. Bill then emphasised the need to stand strong in Christ even if it is costly. He reminded us that this is not about money or comfort but about Jesus. He called the conference to join together and strive for full faithfulness.
The Reverend Canon Bill Murdoch, Dean of New England for the Anglican Communion Network of Dioceses and Parishes within ECUSA brought further greetings and encouragement from those who are standing for the Truth in the USA. He talked about repentance being the best place for us to begin. Further, he encouraged the conference to stand for what we are “for” rather than what we are “against.” He stated that the US Network stands with us and invited us to stand with them. He posited that it is time to turn the battle around as we agree to stand together for Jesus!
The Right Reverend Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the ACNDP, brought us further greetings. He discussed a passage of Scripture that was sent to him upon his consecration. In referencing 1 Thessalonians 5:24 the Bishop emphasised the fact that we must be faithful to God and act as he calls us and “He will accomplish His Divine purpose in and through us.” He spoke about how God is acting in accomplishing the work of the US Network despite their human errors. In giving advice on how to get things done Bishop Duncan said we need to Give Up our control and let God do it; move forward together in a coordinated manner; and, Trust together in Mission ensuring that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached!
The Right Reverend Don Harvey, Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, introduced the subject of “Where to From Here.”
Bishop Harvey emphasised that the way forward must be characterised by Love for the Lord Jesus Christ and Love for the Anglican Communion. He pointed out that there are thousands of people supporting the cause in addition to the over seven hundred people attending the conference.
The way forward is not fully clear at this point. He called upon the Orthodox Anglicans to continue to preach and teach that Jesus is the Christ. Further, as plans are made, care must be taken not to set the bar too low. We need to change the Church that seems impossible to change but with God all things are possible. We need to be able to envision the changing of the world!
The Reverend Dr. Brett Cane, Rector of St. Aidan’s Church, Winnipeg, presented the concept of the Federation. In short, the Federation is aimed at bringing together Orthodox Canadian Anglicans across the country and within the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Federation will affirm that which is quintessentially Anglican in reaffirming what Christians have always believed. In short, once again, the work of Reformation must begin within the ACC. The Federation will act and speak as a National body supporting the Solemn Declaration and opposed to revisionist liberalism. This body will also work toward formulating and creating new provisions for oversight. It will provide a safe and encouraging place for all traditional Anglicans.
The Reverend Paul Orritt of Calgary then discussed the concept of the Network. He first talked about the discussion over words that took place at GS2004. And then he iterated that the meanings of words must be taken at face value not at an interpreted definition that could be subject to redefinition at a later date. The Network is made up of parishes and people who feel that the ACC has irredeemably crossed the line. Thus, they cannot remain within the ACC. For these people and parishes the Network, functioning within Worldwide Anglicanism and in conjunction with the ACNDP in ECUSA, would provide Pastoral and Episcopal Oversight through its Moderator, The Right Reverend Don Harvey. While intending to remain within the current ACC, if allowed by ACC, this Network would provide Alternate/Replacement Episcopal Oversight from active and/or retired Bishops together with necessary Pastoral Care and Sacramental Support. Continued contact with the Canadian House of Bishops would be achieved via active Bishops still sitting in the Canadian house.
It would be easy to argue with many of the establishing principles of both the Federation and the Network. However, they are works-in-progress and the represent steps required for the establishment of a unified Orthodox approach for Canadian Anglicans who remain faithful to the founding principles of Anglicanism. This needs to be applauded and encouraged as the process is begun.
Further, there is the awaiting of the findings from the Eames’ Commission under the Archbishop of Canterbury. With information recently received stating that it appears as though the commission will present a report that is prepared to take steps against the ECUSA and the ACC for their unilateral forays into unholy ground together with the information that states that Queen Elizabeth has told the Archbishop of Canterbury that the Anglican Communion cannot be allowed to break up over the current issues, there would seem to be considerable hope that a return to true orthodoxy is possible – even within the ACC.
However, such would require repentance, confession of sin, and stepping back by the strong revisionist liberal leadership in both organisations. And, with their determination to go forward even if it should be contrary to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission, the Worldwide Primates, the Holy Word of God, etc., and their lack of concern about the impending destruction of the ECUSA or the ACC, one has to wonder what it will take to turn around the apostate leadership. Nevertheless, we must move forward in the knowledge that “all things are possible with God.”
The work has been started! Now it will require the participation and support of Bible-believing Orthodox Canadian Anglicans in order to effect the same.
The road will not be a smooth one. As was continually pointed out at The Way Forward Conference, dedicated prayer and action will be required by all the faithful. Every attempt will be made by The Enemy to subdue, frighten, and destroy through threats and deception the movement supported by God’s Holy Word and the strength of God’s Holy Spirit. Only faithful and resilient stance for the Will of God over the arrogant egotistical apostasy of man will supply the conditions within which the Holy Spirit of God will work.
Such is the work of all those who are currently active in the Essentials movement plus all those who are sympathetic but have not yet begun to act. The Way Forward Conference is the beginning. The seven hundred plus persons attending the conference have placed the wheels in motion. The successful implementation of the movement depends upon all the faithful coming together in this effort. If the number of people estimated to hold these views earlier in this paper truly dedicate themselves to the restoration of the true faith centred in God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and if they are willing to stand before the apostate ACC leadership and the secular governments/courts of the land saying “Who are we to obey, you or God?” the work of Reformation will succeed!