March 23, 2017

July 3, 2015


Apologia

A “church” that preaches and blesses blasphemy cannot be a church. Nor can any Christian be a member of it.

The religious organization that styles itself “The Episcopal ‘Church’” now preaches and blesses blasphemy against Christ our Savior. Therefore it cannot be a Christian church. And I can no longer — though I grew up in it, and belonged for over sixty-five years — be a member.

The personal tragedy is that the parish church in which I grew up, and which I still attended as an Episcopalian, is as true to the faith once delivered as could be. Its rector and associate rector are both orthodox; one deacon has served for more than forty years. My heart grieves for what they will be going through over the next five years.

Many of the parishioners are close and long-time friends. They are simply unaware of what took place at the General Convention in Salt Lake City, and they will probably never hear of it. They will continue to come, Sunday after Sunday, and worship as they always have. And I may even join them — but now as a visitor.

I not only have to resign my membership; I have to resign my position as parish Chancellor, as well. I cannot remain in the former while the leadership and most of the bishops (including the one who heads my former diocese, as well as the resigned one who used to head it) are endorsing blasphemy. And I cannot remain in the latter position as that same leadership, aided by all those 129 bishops who voted for the Satanic rites, trample the Constitution and Canons and mock the Book of Common Prayer.

My own knowledge of the Constitution and canons, together with my knowledge of what actually happened in Salt Lake City, compels me to these decisions. The regular parishioners, totally unaware of what has taken place, will continue to draw salt and light from the worship services at Trinity. It is not my role to disturb their faith in the least; because they cannot endorse that of which they are unaware. And most of them, I feel sure, would be astonished by any claim that their faithful attendance was meant to endorse anything but the traditional orthodoxy they have always enjoyed in their church.

So while Trinity remains a church, the diocese of which it is a member, and the national organization of which the diocese is a member, do not. They have become a support group for the Zeitgeist, rather than for the Heilige Geist, and are now lost, truly lost.

Their paths will eventually diverge. They have to, for as Scripture teaches us, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” When that time comes, it could be very painful for my old parish. But if I am still around, I will assist them to the best of my ability to reach a safe harbor.

It would be suicidal of the bishop to try to force Trinity to adopt his blasphemous liturgies and blessings. He would end up with a largely empty building, and would lose about 10% -12% of his annual pledges. He knows this, I believe. But he himself may have to put his own cathedral chair on the line, when what he voted for in Salt Lake City becomes (as it must, in a few more years) mandatory. He has sown the wind, and will reap the whirlwind.

The Episcopal Organization first wrecked the Anglican Communion over gaydom, and now it has wrecked itself with blasphemy in the service of gaydom. Quite a track record for just a mere twelve years. I shall not shed any tears over it — it has become like a stranger to me. But I will still fight it in the courts, to the bitter end. If it be granted to vanquish such a dragon, the victory will be Christ’s, not mine. And meanwhile I shall do my best to keep from harm those who have for so long put their trust in me.


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35 comments

Dear Mr. Haley,

You will be in my prayers as you embark on the journey to a faithful ecclesial community.  As encouragement, I can only attest the peace which the similar journey of myself and my wife engendered. I recognize that your destination will likely not be the same as ours, but will also pray the Christ will grant you the same sort of peace as our journey has engendered for us. We are now living in San Antonio, TX, and are enrolled at Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, which was the inaugural parish in the U.S. for the introduction of the Anglican Use Liturgy in the Catholic Church (under John Paul II in the early 1980s..

I pray that God will bless you, and, lead you to that ecclesial body which he has doubtless prepared for you and your family.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[1] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 7-3-2015 at 03:22 PM · [top]

The question we all have had to ask ourselves is who is being glorified at our altars. Solemn reflection on that is sobering. Being indifferent is likely dangerous to our souls.

[2] Posted by Adam 12 on 7-3-2015 at 03:23 PM · [top]

I don’t know if it would be considered relevant in this forum—but at some point it would be very interesting to have a survey of where former Episcopalians are now. In what denominations have they found refuge? And how many years ago did they flee?

[3] Posted by JuliaInVa on 7-3-2015 at 04:33 PM · [top]

Please know that you, your family, and your parish are in our prayers May God be with you and yours during this time. Christ’s blessings.

[4] Posted by Blue Cat Man on 7-3-2015 at 05:15 PM · [top]

I am in a somewhat similar situation (the main differences being: relatively recent Episcopalian, in an orthodox diocese as well as parish).  But, as with Mr. Haley, I don’t see how I can remain a member of my parish in good conscience.  The Communion Partner bishops (my bishop being one of them), along with other signatories, think that a statement of dissent but also unity somehow covers a multitude of sins, or something.  No, it doesn’t.  How can there possibly be “unity”?  The notion is absurd.  If the majority’s action is not enough to defeat “unity,” is there anything that would be? 

The only thing I potentially disagree with in Mr. Haley’s post is going out quietly.  I am still thinking about how to proceed.  The situation in my parish seems to be different from his—- more people are aware of the situation and may not take this without forcing at least some discussion.

[5] Posted by watt on 7-3-2015 at 05:31 PM · [top]

Julia in VA - We left what was then called ECUSA in 1980, after the disastrous institution of the so-called “Book of Common Prayer” of 1979.  We found a Parish of the Anglican Catholic Church a few years later, and have never looked back.

[6] Posted by TheVicar on 7-3-2015 at 06:44 PM · [top]

There are surely many things to say and I just want to say one thing. Thank you.

I’ve greatly enjoyed your curmudgeonly provocations and been edified and educated by them. Thank you.

[7] Posted by driver8 on 7-3-2015 at 07:49 PM · [top]

Allan, It has been an honor and privilege to have had you beside me as a virtual presence (and in the flesh as well)  as I watched my diocese and parish walk away from the apostolic faith through the wide gate over the past decade. Given the 0% chance that my revisionist bishop will change (has there ever been a revisionist bishop who has repented?) my little stone bridge is now firmly in the hands of the enemy and will probably remain there until the money runs out. I know there are still many pewsters left in TEO who are clueless and blind to the revisionist heresy, and we have to continue to try to reach them, and I hope that you will continue to be a resource for them.

[8] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-3-2015 at 08:17 PM · [top]

Allan, even though you may no longer call yourself an “Episcopalian,” I do hope you will still consider yourself an Anglican, and remain enmeshed with the Anglican world—and maintain your presence in the blogosphere and on Anglican Unscripted. 

And I hope we will see you in your favorite seat in the Charleston Music Hall for Mere Anglicanism come January 2016.

[9] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 7-4-2015 at 08:11 AM · [top]

Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Dear Curmudgeon, God’s blessings be upon you as you obey Him. Your explanations of various events and actions have been most helpful over the years.

Our former church joined the AMIA in early 2006 and relinquished its property a couple of years later, after I had left because of other problems. My current church unexpectedly rose from the ashes and is in CANA. My husband decamped back to the Catholic Church he was born and raised in, so we worship separately except for Christmas and Easter. My sister recently joined the Catholic Church, but I can’t sign on to what you have to believe. The Mary beliefs were sidelined during my sister’s reception process, but they’re a huge issue for me, as well as things Matt has talked about that he understands much better than I do. C.S. Lewis’ comment that the divisions in the Church are a hissing and a scandal is a lived reality for me, and when I think about it it breaks my heart.

[10] Posted by Kay on 7-4-2015 at 08:12 AM · [top]

Allan, having grown up in your same diocese (St. Luke’s in Auburn), it is very sad to see what has happened to a once orthodox diocese in recent years.  Bishop Noel Porter, then Clarence Hayden were the bishops when I still lived there, and as far as I was aware, the diocese was fully orthodox.  It was 1968 when I came east for college, and never moved back into that area.  I was an Episcopalian for the 1st 58 years of my life, then left for CANA/ACNA.  We were in a diocese where it was impossible for a parish to remain orthodox and in the diocese.  It was a gut wrenching experience for us, as I’m sure this is for you.  Don’t let others remain in the dark.  If they really don’t know, they will find out soon, and wonder why you did not tell them.

Dcn. Warren Musselman

[11] Posted by Warren M on 7-4-2015 at 08:23 AM · [top]

As a former cradle Episcopalian, I can concur that the decision to leave the “church”, and renounce Holy Orders, was gut wrenching.  I recently went back to the Anglo-Catholic parish which raised me up to Holy Orders and it was a bittersweet experience.  Yes, the ceremonial of the liturgy and the fervent reverence in worship was still there; as were so many dear friends.  But, I had a profound sense of death there; a death that none of those present knew about.  Your words help frame that sense of death; while they carried on the faith once delivered to the saints, the structure which they were tied to was already in its self-imposed death gasps.  It is all so sad.  Many years ago, I knew I had nothing to offer the “church” that was walking away from me.  For my wife and I, we moved to CANA/ACNA and have been so blessed by that move.

[12] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 7-4-2015 at 09:46 AM · [top]

Allan,
Thank you for all you have done for all of us, and prayers for you and your family during what must be a very difficult time.

I reached the same conclusion several years ago, when TEC stepped over my own “line in the sand” by deposing all the Anglo Catholic clergy of Quincy, along with Bishop Ackerman.  TEC gave me a choice between remaining in communion with those good priests, or remaining in communion with KJS, VGR and KGTF. When the choice is that stark, it is not so difficult.

In a way, deposition of clergy is a blessing of sorts for them- TEC makes blatantly obvious to them that their theology is not longer acceptable, and they are no longer welcome.  TEC never throws out laity, at least so long as they put a little money in the plate (and even then, it is more a matter of peer pressure than excommunication).  We have to make up our own minds about when enough is enough.

TJ

[13] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-4-2015 at 10:16 AM · [top]

God bless you on your journey!  Also thank you for your faithful witness throughout these horrendous lawsuits, especially Quincy (my childhood diocese).

[14] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-4-2015 at 10:36 AM · [top]

Dear Curmudgeon,

Whatever you do, please do not stop blogging. It has been a temptation during these ordeals and in a Facebook and media driven culture to think that one is losing his or her rationality, and your blog entries have been pillars of sanity. Thank you and bless you!

[15] Posted by Adam 12 on 7-4-2015 at 10:42 AM · [top]

May God bless you, Mr. Haley, and may He guide you as He always has.

[16] Posted by Katherine on 7-4-2015 at 12:25 PM · [top]

I know how you feel A.S. I have been attending Holy Nativity in Plano for a few years now. It is a faithful parish in a faithful diocese. But I am currently in the process of considering whether I should get out now in spite of all of the above and also how convenient it is to attend a church so close to me. Any and all parishes of the ACNA are too distant from me and since I prioritize getting my rear in a pew each Sunday, i have held my nose regarding the national leadership in order to attend church regularly. But a few things have changed. Its not only the vote to authorize ssm. Our new bishop, while otherwise orthodox, has stated that he will not take the dio out of TEC as I had so much hoped that he would now that Ft Worth has won their case in court. It turns out that the search committee was also against leaving as apparently are most of the laity of the dio. I simply cant fathom their determination to stay within TEC anymore. If TEC means more to them than standing up for the truth, what then? Can anyone tell me why I should stay?

[17] Posted by StayinAnglican on 7-4-2015 at 05:25 PM · [top]

God bless you and be with you on your journey, Mr. Haley. It is so difficult to know what to do these days. Leaving a church you grew up in is not an easy decision. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that there is almost nowhere left to find the true faith handed down from Jesus. Even the Roman Catholic Church is at sea, with the Pope giving ambiguous signals that the media and liberals in general love to jump on and use to their own advantage, and with the “faithful” moving away from traditional teaching and embracing the idea of same-sex marriage and of the “right to choose.”

[18] Posted by Nellie on 7-4-2015 at 06:22 PM · [top]

When the heresy charges against Bushop Righter were dismissed in 1995 or ‘96’ I told people that I had not left the Episcopal Curch - it left me.  It took years of searching to find a church whose doctrines I coukd accept with out reservations.  In 2002 I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church. The Antiochian Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Church in America have become the home for many former Episcopalians.

I understand how you are suffering.  Even though I love my new home, there are times when I wish .... I wish I’d never been forced to leave.  There was much beautiful in the Episcopal Church.  I owe it a lot as it taught me so much.  There are times that I miss it just as one longs for a past childhood day.  But Wolfe was right, and you really can’t go back because what you remember so idyllically isn’t true anymore.  Nothing is as it was.  I weep with you and for you for what is lost.

May God bless you and guide you as you look for a new home.

[19] Posted by Dragonfly on 7-4-2015 at 06:25 PM · [top]

Let’s be frank. There is no one righteous, not one. And CERTAINLY no church nor denomination. Cone out, come out, people say. Well, in the secular world we are living in Babylon and there is no place to go except Egypt. I know and see the various denominations around me and would I become Roman Catholic? Orthodox? And so forth? They all have grave issues which would prevent me. I know so many of their skeletons and don’t want them, either. One of my dear friends left the Continuum because, as he said, he could no longer belong to a universal church with 800 members. Let’s face it, kids. There is nothing that comes from outside that defiles a person. It’s what comes out that defiles.

[20] Posted by A Senior Priest on 7-4-2015 at 06:38 PM · [top]

Thanks, Alan.  Strong statement.

And everyone who wants to “hope” that new PB Curry is the leader of a “Christian” church needs to read what you wrote.  Heresy and blasphemy are just that - and his nice sounding sermons and talk about Jesus are meaningless and worse.  They are leading the unsuspecting to hell.

[21] Posted by hanks on 7-4-2015 at 06:50 PM · [top]

My wife and I went through this process after the 2012 General Convention. It’s a difficult decision, especially when leaving a faithful parish, but for us it was time. We are now members of a ACNA/Reformed Episcopal Church where the worship is beautiful, the teaching is wonderful and orthodox, and the leadership is faithful. For each of us, the decision of whether to stay with TEC or when to leave will vary. Short of a miracle, nothing is going to save TEC, but for many of us ACNA is a great gift.

[22] Posted by Servant on 7-4-2015 at 07:00 PM · [top]

Six years ago this cradle Episcopalian wandered into an Orthodox Church one Sunday morning and heard, sensed,  the message, “You have come home.”  I struggled against this for a few months. Finally, one day I wrote out a list of my objections and presented it to God.  God’s response?  “I want your heart.”  That sure took the wind out of my sails.  I am still working on this. 

I decided to be obedient.  I have no regrets.  My suggestion is,  Ask God where He wants you. He will lead you on.

[23] Posted by DRLina on 7-4-2015 at 08:51 PM · [top]

TJ,
I totally agree. When the DBB moved against our bishop, Mark Lawrence, the standing committee was ready and had already written a resolution that immediately disaffiliated the diocese. When I found out what had happened, I was ready to say good bye to TEC having watched the agony of decision after decision for nearly 40 years leading TECUSA further and further away from Biblical Christianity.  You are absolutely right when TEC moves against faithful clergy to restrict, inhibit and depose them,  it makes the choice that much clearer.

Now, I wonder if the left is beginning to wonder about the results of deposing so many clergy.  Are they finally beginning to see that running off conservatives is not doing the Episcopal Church any good in fact, more harm than good has come from all these depositions. So they are trying to play nice and hope the conservatives will keep their money around awhile longer. I think that this may be the attitude among the bishops- not so much in the house of deputies.

Allan, As many have expressed their concerns, I will just say that God will lead you to where you should be and leave it at that.  Hope this time of prayer and discernment is not too difficult for you and your family.

[24] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-4-2015 at 09:18 PM · [top]

Oh how I wish there was a medium or large sized Orthodox church in my area that was welcoming to converts. My problems would be solved. But there are only small ones and they get so excited to see me and they want me to come to lunch etc. But you see I have an awful case of near terminal shyness. I dont like being the center of attention because then I feel the need to speak and then stupid stuff starts flying out of my mouth. I actually appreciate a congregation that ignores me. I know. Its pretty sad.

[25] Posted by StayinAnglican on 7-4-2015 at 09:26 PM · [top]

Perhaps you can speak to the priest in private Stayin’ and let him deal with the congregation.  It might be beneficial to have a one-one with him even if you weren’t shy.  But however you handle it, may Christ bless your journey.

[26] Posted by Nikolaus on 7-5-2015 at 09:10 AM · [top]

I belong to one of the Northern Virginia congregations that voted to leave the Episcopal Church in late 2006. Our church, like most of the other congregations, paid a heavy price and lost the property as a result, but we’ve moved on. It’s worth noting that even the largest of the “continuing Episcopalian” congregations in our area, Falls Church Episcopal, has to rent out their main sanctuary to another church in order to make ends meet.

Some of my relatives decided to stay in TEC despite the leadership’s departure from Scriptural teachings; others left. I have to be careful what I say when visiting family.

[27] Posted by the virginian on 7-5-2015 at 03:27 PM · [top]

Mr. Haley,
Thank you for the work you do for us in the ADSJ. I pray for spiritual stamina and continued protection for you.

[28] Posted by Fr. Dale on 7-6-2015 at 06:19 AM · [top]

“The bonds created in baptism are indissoluble, and we share one bread and one cup in the Eucharist.
We are committed to the Church and its people, even in the midst of painful disagreement.”  [Communion Partner Bishops]

“A “church” that preaches and blesses blasphemy cannot be a church. Nor can any Christian be a member of it.” [ A.S. Haley]

These two statements speak for themselves. I agree with Mr. Haley however.

[29] Posted by Fr. Dale on 7-6-2015 at 06:25 AM · [top]

My wife and are in the process reflection, prayer and considering leaving.  Our parish is faithful and loving but how much longer be fore gay marriages etc are forced upon that historical beautiful old church?

[30] Posted by Dave B on 7-6-2015 at 06:47 AM · [top]

God has a habit of toppling our idols so that we can see Him.  When confronted, I always replied that I would ride it to the bottom.  I was born into it and would die in it.  God had other ideas for me.  They are better than mine.  God doesn’t want any idol to stand between Him and us, even if it is the wonderful old parish, church that we have always belonged to.

Sexuality is now the idol of TEC, not God.

[31] Posted by DRLina on 7-6-2015 at 08:31 AM · [top]

Mr. Haley—I can’t think of a thing with which to disagree in what you wrote.

My focused feelings are for orthodox pastors in unfriendly dioceses. The Big Crunch will come for them in the next three years as the Episcopal organization deals with choices about tax-exemption.

Thank you for your years of analysis and for the pledge to continue to help those who are seeking freedom to practice their faith.

[32] Posted by folchal on 7-7-2015 at 10:49 AM · [top]

God bless you sir.  I hope we meet at Mere Anglicanism.  I’ll be looking at name tags!

[33] Posted by evan miller on 7-7-2015 at 01:36 PM · [top]

Thank you, sincerely, to all the commenters here who have been so generous with their understanding, empathy and appreciation—it means a great deal.

And to those who will be there—my wife and I have registered for Mere Anglicanism 2016, and we look forward to seeing you during the sessions.

[34] Posted by A. S. Haley on 7-7-2015 at 11:07 PM · [top]

YAY! Allan, Glad to hear you will be at Mere Anglicanism with your wife next January! From comments here, perhaps we need a Stand firm commenters get together at the conference? That could be fun to put names with faces.

[35] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-11-2015 at 03:50 PM · [top]

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