Support Affirming Catholicism

- Affirming Catholicism - North America to have presence at The Lambeth Conference 2008
- The Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee Elected Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Chicago
- Spring Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Affirming Catholicism Responds to Events of General Convention 2006
- Affirming Catholicism Responds to "Challenge and Hope"



At the invitation of the Rt. Rev. David Stancliff, the head of Affirming Catholicism UK, The Rev. Susan J. McCone, current Executive Director, and The Very Rev. Ronald T. Lau, a member of the Executive Board of Affirming Catholicism, who will become Executive Director in September, will be attending the Lambeth Conference. They will be part of the staff of the Affirming Catholicism presence in the Lambeth Marketplace, along with their colleagues from Affirming Catholicism UK. Mo McCone and Fr Lau represented Affirming Catholicism / NoAm at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham, England, in 2005 and at the General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, in 2006.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Patron of Affirming Catholicism NA, has generously supported the representation. Support has also been provided by the Rt Rev Orris Walker, Bishop of Long Island. The Rt. Rev Keith Whitmore, Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Atlanta and Chair of Affirming Catholicism N.A., will be in attendance at Lambeth as will The Rt. Rev. Christopher Epting, Director of Ecumenical Affairs for the Episcopal Church and a member of Affirming Catholicism’s Advisory Board.

In light of the recent discussions in the UK concerning the right of women to be consecrated bishops in the Church of England, as well as the other issues relating to gender and sexual preference assailing the Communion, it is particularly important for the voice of Affirming Catholicism / NoAm to be heard.

Following their return, Mo. McCone and Fr. Lau will report fully on their time at Lambeth on this web site.

This trip, which is costly and largely self-financed, will not be paid out of Affirming Catholicism’s regular funds. Anyone wishing to help defray the cost of is encouraged to make a contribution payable to Affirming Catholicism and mail it to:

Affirming Catholicism
P.O. Box 157
Washington, CT 06793


The Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, elected to be the 12th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

The Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, a member of the Affirming Catholicism Board, was elected November 10, 2007 to be the 12th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

Lee, 50, rector of St. Thomas Church, Medina, Washington, was elected on the second ballot out of a field of eight nominees. He received 203 votes of 345 cast in the lay order and 134 of 241 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 179 in the lay order and 129 in the clergy order.

Lee will succeed Bishop William Persell who is retiring with his wife, Nancy, to Cleveland in December.

Lee was ordained a deacon and priest in the Diocese of Northern Indiana in 1985, after earning the Master of Divinity degree from Nashotah House the same year. He served congregations in Indiana and Wisconsin before coming to St. Thomas in 2000. Lee and his wife, Lisa, are parents to two children.

The consecration is due to take place February 2, 2008, at the House of Hope, a 10,000 seat multi-purpose entertainment complex in Chicago.

Fr. Lee has served as General Convention deputy, 2000 and 2006; CREDO faculty; Steering Committee for Affirming Catholicism North America; Council of Associated Parishes; Restructuring Task Force for “The Anglican Theological Review”; North American Association for the Diaconate, board member.

He is a contributing author of the Clergy Wellness Report, published the CREDO Institute; Opening the Prayer Book of The New Church’s Teaching Series, and a contributing author to The Rite Stuff, a CD publication of the Church Hymnal Corporation.

Spring Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Gift of Communion: Is the Covenant of Gift of Grace...?
An Affirming Catholicism Conference
Hosts: The Church of the Good Shepherd, Raleigh, NC and the Diocese of North Carolina

Monday, April 28 10:00am RETREAT
12:05 Holy Eucharist
1:00 pm Lunch Provided at Church
2:00 pm RETREAT continues
4:30 pm RETREAT concludes
5:00 pm Evensong
6:00 pm Welcoming Cocktail Reception at Hotel
Dinner on your own (restaurant suggestions provided)
8:00 pm Hospitality Suite Opens at the Hotel - informal conversation about Conference hopes and expectations
Tuesday, April 29 9:30 am Morning Prayer at Church
10:00 am Announcements
10:30 am The Rev. Dr. Frederick Quinn, priest, author, retired foreign service officer
11:15 am Questions and discussions
12:05 Holy Eucharist
1:00 pm Lunch Provided at Church
2:30 pm The Rev. Dr. Randall Balmer, priest, professor, author
3:15 pm Questions and discussions
5:00 pm Evensong
6:00 pm Dinner on your own
8:00 pm Hospitality Suite opens at the Hotel
Wednesday, April 30 9:30 am Morning Prayer at Church
10:00 am Announcements
10:30 am The Rev. Dr. James Lemler, Rector, Christ Church, Greenwich, CT; former Director Mission, The Episcopal Church, former Dean of Seabury - Western Seminary
11:15 am Questions and discussion
12:05 pm Holy Eucharist
1:00 pm Lunch Provided at Church
2:00 pm Panel Discussion with Speakers
5:00 pm Evensong
6:30 pm Carolina Bar-B-Q Dinner
Thursday, May 1 10:30 am Holy Eucharist - The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, celebrating and preaching
12:00 Lunch/Conversation

Conference Cost: $475 (not including hotel)
Hotel: Clarion State Capitol Hotel (ask for Diocese of NC rate) 919-832-0501

June 2006
Affirming Catholicism Responds to Events of General Convention 2006
National Board Welcomes the election Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop

Affirming Catholicism, USA, celebrates the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. From its earliest day, Affirming Catholicism has affirmed the gifts of women in the ordained ministry, and we rejoice to see a woman become the leader of the House of Bishops. We believe her election represents a confirmation of a new approach to leadership and in the structure of power in the Episcopal Church. She will be a careful listener and an inspiring leader as she takes her place in the counsels of the Anglican Communion with her vision of a new way for the assembly of the Body of Christ to understand itself.. While we recognize that some of her fellow primates may be challenged by her presence among them, we are confident. that our common life as well as the Primates' conversations will be enriched by the different perspective Bp. Schori will bring to the assembly of the Body of Christ as it seeks to understand itself as the sacrament of Christ in the world.

The House of Deputies has had a history of strong female leadership, and we congratulate Bonnie Anderson on her election to lead that body. We are excited that for the first time in our history the two senior leaders of the Episcopal Church are women. We see these actions as an incarnation of our logo: "inspiration and hope".

We actually see inspiration and hope in many of the acts of the General Convention: in the presence of so many young people among the deputies and in the many youth delegations who attended as official observers from their various dioceses, certainly a sign of the present and future vitality of this church; in the commitment of the church to its mission of being the sacrament of Christ in the world by its inclusion of .the Millennium Development Goals as integral parts of its program and budget. Most especially, we feel inspiration and hope in the open and generous way that the General Convention worshiped and prayed as it carried out its business.

We respect deeply the struggle in which the church engaged in order to respond responsibly to the Windsor Report. Communion is important to us as Affirming Catholics. We must admit, however, that like the church there is divergence among us with respect to Resolution B033. Our members who sit in the Houses of Bishops and Deputies cast votes both for and against its provisions that urge standing committees and bishops to refrain from consenting to the election of bishops "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." We are profoundly aware of the pain experienced throughout the church in the struggle over this measure - but among the deputies and bishops, in particular. We hope that it will be applied equally to both heterosexual and homosexual persons elected to the episcopate.

The rationale for passage of B033 was to provide room for a conversation to take place around the issue of human sexuality. The Episcopal Church and the Lambeth Conference has been calling for that conversation for 30 years. The actions of the Episcopal Church at its 2003 General Convention accelerated that conversation. The passage of B033 shows the determined willingness of the Episcopal Church to continue that conversation despite the considerable difficulties

One of our clergy members who was dismissed from his position many years ago for being gay, said this about the debate: "Those many years ago when I was fired over something I couldn't change, being gay, I entered a place of pain so deep that it almost cost me my life. In those days, not all, but most of my friends, my liberal friends, in the church disappeared, and I endured that pain alone. Now I look at the whole Episcopal Church in the form of the General Convention choosing to pick up that lonely pain I experienced and to share it. We are all suffering together over this and that is a miracle; it is somehow sharing in the transforming paschal mystery of Christ. That," he says, "is the stuff of inspiration and hope."

Affirming Catholicism is a movement in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion called to witness to the generosity of the Reign of God being made present in our midst through the riches of the catholic tradition in our Church. We believe that God has spoken, is speaking and will continue to speak to the assembled body of Christ in scripture, sacrament, prayer and human experience. Such a dynamic understanding of God's revelation in Jesus Christ implies development and change. Affirming Catholics profess that the church is being called to demonstrate a more progressive approach in relation to issues of social justice, the environment, gender and sexuality.

June 2006 Affirming Catholicism Responds to "Challenge and Hope"
National Board finds Archbishop's Reflections Deeply Disturbing

We have read the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent reflection paper entitled "The Challenge and Hope of being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion" and are deeply disturbed by it.

Bishop Keith Whitmore of Eau Claire, President of the National Board of Affirming Catholicism in the Episcopal Church, stated for the Board, "While we welcome the Archbishop's declaration that 'the idea of an Archbishop of Canterbury resolving any of this by decree is misplaced, however tempting,' we believe that what he has written will be taken by many as the Archbishop's final word on this matter and foster division." "Affirming Catholicism is a voice for Inspiration and Hope in the Episcopal Church," Whitmore went on to say, "and we believe that the life of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Communion are much more hope-filled than the Archbishop's words might suggest."

In "Challenge and Hope" Archbishop Williams has set forth a plan for dividing the communion into Churches who subscribe to some yet undeveloped covenant and would form the core of the communion around which would circle 'associated' provinces in orbits of varying degree of closeness.

Although he states in his cover letter to the primates of the independent national churches that "these reflections are in no way intended to pre-empt the necessary process of careful assessment of the Episcopal Church's response to the Windsor Report" but "are intended to focus the question", we believe that his reflections, in fact, do the opposite. They hasten the structural disintegration of both the communion and of national churches within the communion by inviting groups to choose sides.

We hasten to point out that the covenant to which Williams refers has yet to be developed and we seriously doubt that the necessary number of provinces would in fact adopt it. Provincial autonomy is a constituent fact of the Anglican Communion and will be defended by many provinces.

We in the United States are particularly aware of the destructive power of structural division within the body of Christ. We live in a religious landscape that is littered with over 3,000 different religious institutions with a separate existence. To be sure not all of them are Christian, but the overwhelming majority are protestant Christians who fracture over nearly every disagreement. All types of issues have been raised historically to the level of doctrine and splits have occurred again and again in order "to keep the church unpolluted". The result is thousands of religious bodies professing the gospel but based on a negative premise and that premise is "you are not good enough and are in error and we must protect the church against you."

The demon of schism, once admitted into the church's life, is hard to cast out. It is our experience that such churches tend to divide again and again. We point with sorrow at the multiple divisions of the so-called "continuing Anglicans" in this country that split from the Episcopal Church over liturgical reform, race relations and the place of women.

We believe that the gospel is much stronger than that represented by the "divide-to- protect" view. We believe Jesus' proclamation of the reign of God stands powerfully against this view. We believe that the reign of God is present in all of the world that God has created. And therefore we believe that God in Christ is present in our current difficult debate. We recognize that Christ in the gospels tells us that he comes not to bring peace but division or a sword. And so we trust that Christ is present with us in this time of division and suffering and that in it we are partaking of the paschal mystery of his suffering and death and his resurrection, the mystery into which we are baptized, the mystery through which inspiration and hope become present realities.

Affirming Catholicism is a movement in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion called to witness to the generosity of the Reign of God being made present in our midst through the riches of the catholic tradition in our Church. We believe that God has spoken, is speaking and will continue to speak to the assembled body of Christ in scripture, sacrament, prayer and human experience. Such a dynamic understanding of God's revelation in Jesus Christ implies development and change. Affirming Catholics profess that the church is being called to demonstrate a more progressive approach in relation to issues of social justice, the environment, gender and sexuality.

MOUNT CALVARY RETREAT CENTER AND MONASTERY, Santa Barbara, CA (Mar 28, 2006) Affirming Catholicism, a movement within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, today announced a variety of new activities designed to further its mission of sustaining dialogue and learning that inspires and builds hope for everyone. Affirming Catholicism is board concluded its three-day retreat at Mount Calvary, where clergy and lay leaders worked to clarify the organization is mission and detail a range of activities over the next several years. ”Our church and its people live in tumultuous times when deep questions abound about our place and direction in the world.” said the Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore, Bishop of Eau Claire and President of the Affirming Catholicism/USA board. He continued, “Affirming Catholicism grows out of the recognition that God is still speaking. Our church, all its members, must continue to discern God's direction through listening, dialogue and prayer. We see our role as continuing to facilitate and foster a sense of inspiration and hope in our church through understanding of the Bible and our Book of Common Prayer as well as entering the mystery of the sacraments.”

“One of our hopes is that we might help the church and its people hear the voice of God still speaking so that we may embrace the fullness of our generous tradition,” said Bishop Whitmore.

Affirming Catholicism in the Episcopal Church is the American church is branch of the international movement. The movement began out of a recognition that a dynamic understanding of God is revelation in Jesus Christ implies development and change. Affirming Catholics believe that the Church is being called to demonstrate a more progressive approach in relation to social justice, the environment, gender and sexuality. But new approaches must stand in the light of gospel truth and the catholic tradition as we have received it.

The board also announced that in addition to its biennial national conference, Affirming Catholicism is available to conduct regional and local conferences or forums, quiet days and retreats. Affirming Catholicism conferences begin with a day of retreat to form a praying community. The conference then continues in the context of a community of prayer and liturgical celebration. It also is launching an initiative to identify other groups in the church which share its aims.

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A LETTER FROM BISHOP EPTING: "A Statement Regarding the 'Other' AAC"



Anglo-Catholics enjoy 'pickles, pop tarts and cutting-edge catholicism' at conference

May 23, 2003

by Christopher Epting (ENS)

"Catholic Evangelism" was the topic for the sixth biennial conference of the movement known as Affirming Anglican Catholicism, held May 19-22 at Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, Quebec.

Described as "the new catholic movement with the Anglican and Episcopal Churches ... call(ed) to a mature, living Christianity where Scripture, Reason, the Sacraments and Catholic Tradition make sense of our lives today," Affirming Catholicism is under the patronage of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and in the United States, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold.

Affirming Catholicism conferences in North America have traditionally begun with a brief retreat, and this year's was led by Bishop Geralyn Wolf of the Diocese of Rhode Island. Her dramatically presented meditations were drawn from her recent experiences on sabbatical, during which she lived with the homeless in an attempt to re-discover what she called her "first love for Jesus, lived as an inner-city parish priest in Philadelphia." Wolf reminded participants that their Anglo-Catholic forebears in the late 19th and early 20th centuries knew the lives of the poor and homeless because they lived among them and engaged in radical social action to change their conditions. "The people saw that and followed them. Maybe that's what we ought to mean by 'Catholic Evangelism,'" Wolf commented.

Pickles versus pop tarts

Dr. Ellen Charry, a systematic theologian teaching at Princeton and a convinced Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, gave the major keynote address of the conference. She contrasted what she described as an "atonement" theology of salvation with a "participation" theology, while acknowledging that both are biblical and part of the tradition. Drawing a trajectory from Irenaeus through Richard Hooker, she described this "participation soteriology" as fully Trinitarian, drawing the one saved into the very life of God, while atonement soteriology is more Christocentric and Cross-centered, often using the language of substituting Christ's death for the one sinners "deserve." Believing that "participation" theology is more compatible with catholic teaching and "atonement" with the more Protestant, Charry playfully entitled this section of her paper "Pickles or Pop Tarts." In this case, "pickles" describe the process of the "slow God" who transforms us over time in a process of sanctification. "Pop tarts" illustrate the activity of a "fast God" who converts us instantly in the experience of justification.

In her final section, Charry postulated that if the early centuries of the church's life could be described as "the age of bishops," and the medieval period as "the age of monks," then the modern day is "the age of the laity." Since "all people are theologians, the task of the church is to help them become more sophisticated and theologically literate ones," she said.

A few practical suggestions for parish practice in this new age included:

--Full immersion baptism in large fonts with running water;

--Processing the newly-baptized with their baptismal candles around the church and outside to symbolize the new light kindled for this darkened world;

--Celebration of baptismal (not birthday, or ordination) anniversaries in church;

--Creation not only of a Book of Occasional Services, but a "Book of Home Services" so that families and individuals can celebrate liturgically events and ministry in daily life.

Cutting edge catholicism

Practical catholic evangelism was also the theme of a presentation by Bishop Keith Whitmore of the diocese of Eau Claire entitled "Cutting Edge Catholicism." Focusing particularly on the "missing generation in our churches" (sometimes called Gen X), Whitmore challenged participants to make connections between the Church's rich tradition and the thought world of these young adults in their twenties and thirties.

"For a generation raised on Star Wars and now captivated by the two Matrix movies, an alternative reality is not such a stretch," Whitmore stated. "We need to remember that we 'Baby Boomers' are the last vestiges of the Enlightenment. Gen Xers want an experience of God, an experience of the numinous, which they will reflect on and theologize about later. Our liturgy and worship can do that if we make it accessible to them."

'Maternity ward' for new Christians

The conference concluded with a lecture by Canon Stephen Cottrell from the Church of England and author of "Catholic Evangelism," one in a series of books published by Affirming Catholicism in the United Kingdom. Acknowledging the very low church attendance and participation in the Church of England, Cottrell said that it had caused his church to raise serious questions about just how to be the church in a "post-Christian" society--one which will be seen in North America as well. He encouraged participants to learn from insights gleaned even in evangelical circles today that evangelization does not occur in a straight line from contact to conversion to church membership, but rather from contact through nurture into conversion and membership."Does your parish have a 'maternity ward' for the birthing of new Christians?" he asked. Programs like Alpha and the more catholic Credo as well as catechumenate programs will be increasingly important in the coming years, Cottrell believes.

Worship highlights at the conference included Solemn Evensong and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Montreal, and a Solemn High Mass in Christ Church Cathedral presided over by Archbishop of Montreal Andrew Hutchinson.

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