More information has come out about the process taken by the Diocese of Quincy in the decision by most of its clergy and lay delegates to Synod to leave the Episcopal Church.
The Synod met and the first order of business was to vote to leave the Episcopal Church. At that point they ceased to be clergy and lay representatives of the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, but rather a free association of like minded people who were then accepted into the Province of the Southern Cone as a diocese recognized as in formation or perhaps fully constituted. There is no indication that the meeting shifted gears, from being the Episcopal Church Diocese to being a new entity in the Southern Cone.
Meanwhile, continuing to meet, seemingly without out interruption concerning the authority of the Standing Committee, the chair and leadership, they proceeded to make several decisions. The whole list can be read in the ENS article HERE.
Among those decisions was this, reported by ENS:
"One of the first orders of business for the new diocesan structure was an announcement by den Blaauwen that members of the clergy formerly canonically resident in the Diocese of Quincy would receive a certificate indicating they were now clergy of the Southern Cone. He told those clergy who wished not to affiliate with the Southern Cone to write the word “rejected” on the certificate, along with a signature and date."
The assumption of this announcement was that unless clergy indicated otherwise they were now clergy of the Southern Cone. From their standpoint, unless the certificate is rejected the clergy are part of the PSC. The consequences regarding their standing in the Episcopal Church will become known quickly. While there may be other alternatives to charges of abandonment, those will be, as in San Joaquin, brought fairly soon.
The Synod also voted to give "a nine-month “grace period” during which any congregation may, by a two-thirds vote, withdraw from “the Synod of this Diocese” and stating that the Bishop and standing committee will work “diligently, in good faith and with Christian charity, with any member of the clergy who might wish to seek canonical transfer to another diocese of the person’s choice.” This means, one supposes, that a clergy person could accept the certificate now and transfer later, having thought the matter out further. That of course is not clear. What is clear is that congregations (not the clergy) have a bit of a grace period. Clergy cannot expect that period to go by with their being in the Southern Cone and not confronted with having abandoned the communion of this Church. No one will like that very much, but there it is.
Another resolution of the Synod-however-formed was to create "a new Canon on Worship, which prescribes allowed versions of the Holy Scriptures and indicates that the bishop shall approve a “recognized edition of the Book of Common Prayer for standard use in the diocese;”
It will be of some interest to know just what edition of the BCP will be approved for standard use. The order and lectionary of the 1928 book satisfies neither the catholic sensibilities of a post Vatican II period nor the biblical richness provided by the lectionary reading cycle and three reading provision in the Holy Eucharist. At this point the ordination rite of the 1979 BCP is the one under which almost all clergy were ordained, and the baptismal covenant is more or less a norm in all churches. So 1928 is not the likely choice.
Surely the 1662 BCP is not going to be the book of choice, unless of course the 1800 members of the Diocese are keen on relearning an increasingly unusable language base and a Eucharistic Liturgy that is seriously deficient, given liturgical renewal.
Perhaps the intention is to affirm 1979 as the standard use. We shall see.
The Bishop, Clergy and lay representatives of the Diocese of Quincy, most now in some sort of ecclesial structure in the Province of the Southern Cone, have left, but in a shambles.
It is sad to see. Yet it is clear that the Bishop as the teacher of the people and clergy has been leading them in this path for a long time. The assembled leadership was told by resolution that "the leaders of the Episcopal Church and actions of its General Convention “have failed to uphold the teaching and authority of Holy Scripture, have challenged or belittled core doctrines of the Christian faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican faith, have refused to conform to the agreed teaching and discipline of the Anglican Communion, and have rejected the godly counsel of the leaders of the Communion.” They got this really sick information from somewhere. From who else than the Bishop?
The now retired bishop of the now seriously wounded Diocese of Quincy has a lot to answer for.