The AAC Blog has posted a letter from The Rev’d Dr. Sam C. Pascoe, Rector, Grace Church (Anglican), Jacksonville, Florida, responding to the notice of deposition he received.
It is an odd letter in which it becomes clear that Dr. Pascoe needs to read the fine print a bit more carefully.
He writes, “I have received a "Pronouncement of Release of Obligation of Priests and Deprivation of Right to Exercise the Gifts and Spiritual Authority Conferred in Ordination" signed by you and others and dated November 27, 2006. It seems this dismissive missive is intended to deprive me of my right to exercise ordained ministry. The ground of this proposed deprivation is my supposed "abandonment of the communion of this church." With all due respect, the grounds of my deposition are not valid.
I have neither abandoned the communion of this church nor have I renounced my orders as a priest in this church. I have continued to exercise ordained ministry within this communion and, by God’s grace and gifting, I will continue to do so.
I am an ordained member of the Anglican Communion. I exercise my ministry under the authority of Anglican Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, Primate of L'Eglise Episcopal au Rwanda, a province of the Anglican Church in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
The “abandonment of the communion of this church” in our canons precisely concerns The Episcopal Church, not some larger amorphous entity, such as, for example the Anglican Communion, or some fiction like, “the Anglican church.
Dr. Pascoe’s statement, “It seems this dismissive missive is intended to deprive me of my right to exercise ordained ministry” is correct regarding the Episcopal Church. He may not exercise an ordained ministry as a priest of this Church. In less heated days his deposition would mean that he would not be given license anywhere else in the Anglican Communion without the concurrence of the bishop who deposed him. But these are heated days indeed and the niceties of the past are seemingly of less value.
Archbishop Kolini ought to be forewarned, priests who flaunt such matters in one Church will do it in another.
No one, by the way is “an ordained member of the Anglican Communion.” Where does he get such nonsense?
None of us freely exercises our ministry as priests exclusive of license. We may be priests forever after the order, etc… but we exercise that ministry by license. Dr. Pascoe’s license has been taken away regarding the Episcopal Church, for he has abandoned the communion of this church and found his place in a church.
He argues that the “communion” being referred to in the canons is the Anglican Communion. It does not. It is the communion of people in the Episcopal Church. He has indeed abandoned communion with the Episcopal Church by becoming a clergy member of another church without the permission of his own bishop and as a result of his decision that he is not held to the vow taken regarding the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church.
This has nothing to do with his being a priest. It has nothing to do with the legitimacy of his new found church. It has everything to do his continued membership in the clergy of the Episcopal Church. He has abandoned the ministry of this church.
And speaking of fine print:
In the last paragraph of this letter he says, “Archbishop Kolini will be at Grace Church on January 21, 2007, to preach, baptize, confirm, and celebrate. I am sure he would be willing to affirm the validity of my status as an ordained person in the Anglican Communion with you at that time. Also, providentially, at least eight other archbishops of the Anglican Communion (all of whom recognize the validity of my orders) will be in Jacksonville about that same time.”
Does anyone know why the Archbishops are meeting there?