Received by email:
A PASTORAL LETTER
THE RIGHT REVEREND DONALD F. HARVEY
BISHOP AND MODERATOR
My dear friends in Christ Jesus:
When the history of our Church is written, the date of June 16th will receive very special mention. It was on that day, nine years ago that a relatively few members of the Synod of New Westminster made the fateful decision that they no longer were able to remain in a church that was showing itself unfaithful to the Word of God. They felt that as precious as unity was, it still came secondary to truth and that the time had come to put their strong faith into action.
Little did they realize when they took such a step, the world wide ramifications that would follow. Their brave action not only led to the formation of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW), but it galvanized other concerned Anglicans right across North America into action, ultimately giving rise to the launching of the Anglican Network in Canada and just a little later into our Province of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). But it all officially began when some of you made that first historic step.
And now, nine years later, on June 16th the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that it will not entertain our request for an Appeal to address the injustices we are suffering. While the occasion will be remembered with great sadness, very quickly, I feel, it will become obvious that God has been in control throughout, not that we ever doubted it, and that this is yet another step in our mission to restore the Anglican Church in our land to be faithful to the Word of God as expressed in Holy Scripture and its historic formularies.
As convicted as we are that we are doing the right thing, still these will be very painful days as we say good bye to buildings we have come to love and cherish as being so much a part of our own spiritual journey. But to suggest that we remain for the sake of the property is, for most of us, as insulting as it is impossible. As Churchill once said, albeit in another context, “What kind of a people do they think we are?” Don’t they realize that when it comes to maintaining the “faith once delivered to the saints” the word compromise is not in our vocabulary?
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples, no longer hesitant or afraid, rushed from the security of their property, the Upper Room, out into the world to “turn it upside down”. It is my belief that June 16, 2011 is the beginning of another great opportunity for us to proclaim anew “the wonderful works of God”.
The prayers of our Anglican family in Canada, in North America, and throughout the world are with those of us who are directly affected by this decision which involves us all. But just as the events of this day, nine years ago, were a spark that ignited a flame that went beyond our wildest imaginations, so may the Christ-like manner in which we handle this decision be an encouragement to so many of our brothers and sisters who are struggling to find courage to take action against something they realize is dreadfully wrong in the church where they have remained.
Over the next weeks and months as decisions are carried out in Vancouver, Abbotsford and Ottawa, and as we await cases in other parts of Ontario, may we be like the apostles in Acts, Chapter 5, verses 41 and 42:
And they departed from the presence of the council [courts], rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his Name;
And daily in the temple and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
To Him be the Glory, now and always, AMEN.
My fellow Bishops and the Archdeacons, who were meeting together on June 16, join me in greeting you at this time.
Your Bishop and Moderator,
June 16, 2011