10/11/2006

Pulling the plug on LEAC (pronounce leak)

Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion has sounded an alarmist signal and sent out invitations to a wide range of email recipients to come to a conference they are holding in Orlando in November. The Conference assumes that the Episcopal Church is a lost cause and “non-Christian poison.”

LEAC is part and parcel of the realignment strategy to replace the Episcopal Church, as currently constituted, with some other entity and to have that entity recognized in the Anglican Communion as the fully “constituent” member of the Anglican Communion in the United States and perhaps in all of North America. In this regard its work is fully in line with the Network and the Common Cause Partners.

It is a volatile, incendiary and militaristic in its language and it purposes.

The Conference name, “U. S. Pan-Anglican Renewal and Restoration Conference” tones down its belligerent stance considerably. But here are phrases from its online materials (highlights mine):

  • LEAC’s action initiatives may be likened to getting the mule’s attention with a hearty swat with a 2 X 4.
  • Wakeup calls and reconciliation dialogue are necessary, regardless of the means used
  • Together, they will honor three timeless Anglican attributes which are the watchwords of the conference underwriter, Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion: TRUTH + CLARITY + COURAGE.
  • The teachers are four courageous orthodox bishops, heads of traditional organizations, attorneys and a dozen lay, clerical soldiers.
  • The national event is principally for rectors, wardens, church attorneys, diocesan standing committees and cadres of lay parishioners who will soon undertake the hardest teaching task in Episcopal history. That is overcoming revisionist influences in the U.S. church for the strongest possible survival of Scripture-based American Anglicanism.
  • the best hope to preserve a large, robust Anglican presence in America.
  • Every soul we save from non-Christian poison is a victory for Jesus.
  • With deployment of the teachers’ educational models and strategies across the country by cadres oriented at Orlando, there is a better chance for survival of more than a tiny remnant in Anglicanism in America.
The conference is underwritten by Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion. It is co-sponsored by: ANGLICANS UNITED, ANGLICAN PROVINCE OF AMERICA, VIRTUEONLINE. The underwriters and sponsors of the conference are uniformily convinced that the Episcopal Church is a boat dead in the water.

LEAC, according to its own brochure, “is a nonprofit tax-exempt coalition of American Anglicans faithful to the Trinity and pre-eminence of Scripture.”

So the co-sponsors of the LEAC meeting are an organization many of whose board members are parts of non Canterbury related ecclesial bodies, a church not part of the Anglican Communion, and a person mostly committed to the idea that the Episcopal Church is beyond salvage.

Here are the things LEAC believes you should know:

1. The American Episcopal Church has abandoned Christianity.
2. The Anglican Communion remains our Christian home.
3. LEAC Rises Up to preserve with you our Christian faith and values.


Here is where LEAC thinks things stand, following General Convention 2006.


“LEAC will engage all of its energies and resources to rescue, for a new or
surviving Anglican Communion province in America, as many as possible of our brothers and sisters who may innocently be trapped or highjacked in a non-Christian ECUSA as it schismatically separates from the Anglican Communion.”

Here is what it proposes to do:

Under the heading, “Less Talk, More Education, More Action "
"LEAC plans to create an information flow that will stimulate discussion on unpleasant issues and, hopefully, delineate areas for realistic approaches to reconciliation. Being 100% laypersons, LEAC may be able to facilitate discussions in many parishes where the laity in the pews have never been encouraged to rise to explain where they stand. Some of LEAC’s action initiatives may be likened to getting the mule’s attention with a hearty swat with a 2 X 4. to direct attention to the depth of the issues being debated. Without clarity and focused reconciliatory action, the only alternative appears to be formal division between ECUSA and the Anglican Communion.”


So cadres are being formed and trained to spread out across the church and convince members of the Episcopal Church that they must choose between “non-Christian poison” (i.e. the Episcopal Church) or a new improved Anglican presence in North America. They will do so “with a hearty swat with a 2x4.” They will do so “regardless of the means used.” Their watchwords (predominately displayed on their publications) – “three timeless Anglican attributes …: TRUTH + CLARITY + COURAGE.”

There is every possibility that the 80% of Episcopalians, that LEAC is trying to beat some sense into, and speaks of as “the portion of our Episcopalian brothers and sisters who appear ambivalent, uneducated, unconcerned or simply quiet in the face of their church’s most momentous the Reformation” will not be pleased to be called ambivalent, uneducated, unconcerned or quiet. If so we can hope they will reject this project out of hand.

And yet I believe we need to take LEAC seriously in its intent and call it for what it is: an effort to mount scare tactics to drive people from the Episcopal Church. And I must admit having members of the church I belong to wacked by a 2x4, or other necessary means, by cadres who believe I am part of a “non-Christian poison,” and who want members of the church to believe the same, “ain’t that pretty at all.”

There is enough twistedness to go around, but there is no reason why members of the Episcopal Church - members of local churches who are not ambivalent, uneducated, unconcerned or quiet, but rather purposeful, knowing, concerned and active in the Gospel - should put up with this nonsense.

This conference is held by people who believe they are the life boat. So be it. But there is no reason for us to stand by. Perhaps the life boat is leaking.

Pulling the plug on LEAC begins by refusing to affirm their beginning proposition, that the Episcopal Church has abandoned Christianity. Not having done so, there is no need for their life boat, one filled with cadres, 2x4’s, necessary realignment of mind and heart, and o yes, timeless Anglican attributes. There is no need to give way to thugs.


6 comments:

  1. Perhaps the most astounding feature of this meeting of wild-eyed reactionaries is the two sitting bishops of TEC who are headlined as speakers. It is well past time to ask these schismatic princes of the church to resign their chairs and donate their generous pensions to the poor. The rest of this crazed endeavor simply needs exposure to the oxygen of common sense; the "80%"
    aren't stupid and will provide the Christian soldiers "clarity" in this crudely crafted battle.

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  2. A friend and colleague of mine received just such an "invitation" recently. She issued a very polite, but firm, response which I thought was very good.

    You can read it here: http://janellen.blogspot.com/2006/10/no-thank-you.html#comments

    And yes, she gave me permission to give that link.

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  3. So LEAC "prepares parish leaders for the most important task of their church careers -- educating their flocks to decide whether to stay in the Anglican Communion"

    Blimey. Talk about losing your sense of proportion - not to say mission.

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  4. I love this bit, from their page on starting a chapter:

    3. DEFINE YOUR TARGET. Determine the reliably orthodox people you will start with. (“Start me with 10 who are stout-hearted . . .”) Members of AAC and Episcopal Witness quickly recognize the importance of the LEAC initiative. (LEAC publicly supports both groups, so there is no competition among the organizations.) Outside of present advocacy groups, it may not be easy to get even loyal orthodox parishioners to openly choose sides. State your purpose clearly. By all means, forget the chapter idea if you believe you need to present LEAC as clandestine or surreptitious. (Again, Truth, Clarity, Courage always.) One to six to start and a stabilized goal of at least 20 might suit you. Hopefully, there will be more than one parish with vigorous representation.

    Where to begin?! "Choose sides"?! "Clandestine"?!

    What happened to Christians living and operating in the light? It looks like this group is pretty committed to dwelling in darkness if necessary.

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  5. Groups like this are such an abomination. I remain essentially an orthodox, traditional and 'old-school' theologian -- and I resist much of the whacky innovations of recent times. But, I also subscribe to a big-tent, comprehensive, and evolutionary vision of the Church of God in Jesus Christ and in the Anglican tradition. I have great sympathy for evangelical Anglicans, and always have. As well, a great respect for Anglo-Catholics. But I have no respect at all for subgroups within the Church, regardless of their purported theology, who comport themselves like Political Action Committees, 'Lobbies,' or quasi-revolutionary juntas. Groups like LEAC operate in that vein -- and they are to be condemned. I have seen enough to know, that not every conservative is this sort of turkey -- just as every liberal is not plotting a 'gay-gnostic' takeover. But for groups truly believing that military imagery, covert ops, and divide&conquer tactics are of the Kingdom -- I say, "Go ahead and make my day -- by going (away) in peace."

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  6. the maoists had cadres, too.

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