THE ESSENTIALS COUNCIL
Of the Anglican Church of Canada
THE WAY FORWARD conference, Ottawa, September 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 13, 2004, TORONTO, CANADA
In what has become its most productive year since its formation in 1994, the largest orthodox Anglican coalition in Canada, the Essentials Council has successfully hosted a national conference called THE WAY FORWARD, August 30th through September 1st, 2004, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. THE WAY FORWARD conference follows other recent Essentials' efforts to support all orthodox Anglicans in Canada through its national interactive television conference, FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS on February 28th '04, and its significant presence at the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod in St. Catharines, Ontario, in May of this year.
The conference birthed several key strategic initiatives, including the establishment of two complimentary bodies whose interim steering committees were elected and commissioned on the last day of the 3-day event.
The first of these structures has been temporarily named THE FEDERATION, and is a nationally inclusive, representative body of all orthodox, conservative Anglicans in Canada who are presently within the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). The Essentials Council is the founding body of THE FEDERATION, and the establishment of this expanded council will bring valuable advisory input that will more effectively speak for all similarly committed Canadian Anglicans.
The second body is referred to as THE NETWORK, whose Steering Committee and members are in communion with all orthodox Anglicans in Canada and in the Anglican Communion. They have representatives who sit on the FEDERATION Council and they specifically seek to care for those Canadian Anglicans who are already at the point of impaired communion through the actions of the General Synod or their Dioceses. In addition, the Network Steering Committee will seek to establish connections and networks to ensure that all Canadian Anglicans have the ability to remain fully Anglican during any re-alignment of the Global Anglican Communion, which may occur after receipt of the Lambeth Commission report. Bishop Don Harvey of the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador affirmed that upon his retirement at the end of November 2004, he would become the full time Moderator of the Network.
These two bodies are committed to a renewed Anglicanism in Canada with the open support and encouragement of a growing number from the global Anglican Communion. There is a renewed sense of National and International interdependence and discussion of a range of options in respect to leadership (Episcopal and otherwise) for the emerging structures of the future.
This has been an unprecedented year of activity for the Essentials Council. THE WAY FORWARD conference, responded to the heartfelt needs and cries of faithful, biblically orthodox Anglicans throughout Canada to become more unified and active in standing for the integrity and sanctity of orthodox Scripture in its historic, foundational and vital role within the Anglican Church of Canada", Reverend George Sinclair, Chair of the Essentials Council and Ottawa resident.
"There's no question that our partners (a term that emerged through the February television conference referring to all who would stand with Essentials in their orthodox}') were shocked by the undertakings of the General Synod of '04 when an earlier motion to defer the blessing of same sex unions to 3-years of theological study, was later trumped by an overarching amendment affirming the integrity and sanctity of committed, adult same sex relationships. In a very real sense, THE WAY FORWARD conference responded to the real peril arising for our community as a result of the profound disparity with Scripture and the historical precepts of the Anglican church of which this declaration was but the most recent in a continuing trend away from historic orthodoxy!", Reverend Charlie Masters, National Director of the Essentials Council.
The Essentials Council staged the 3-day event at Bethel Pentecostal Church in Nepean, a suburb of Ottawa, in order to support the anticipated turn out. Their hunch proved accurate as registrations topped 700, including guests and presenters. Despite the planned rigour and deliverables of the watershed event, the conference was not all business. In fact many reported THE WAY FORWARD to be an inspiring experience, promoting corporate and personal spiritual growth through its presentation of worship in music, Eucharist and teaching, and through the unique fellowship of its delegates, representative of a national mosaic from every Province and Territory within the Dominion of Canada.
THE WAY FORWARD proved inspiring and encouraging through the excellent keynote speakers from Canada, including Bishop Don Harvey from the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, and Essentials Council executive members, the Reverends George Sinclair, Charlie Masters, Dr. Brett Cane, Paul Orritt, and Michael Edward. Parishes of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW) were represented on the podium by their Chair, Rev. Dr. Trevor Walters, as well as the Reverends David Short and Dan Gifford.
"The conference was an immensely positive and encouraging experience for all of us from the Anglican Communion in New Westminster. It demonstrated again the true unity and communion that we share in the gospel as Anglicans, and revealed the depth of conviction and care of so many in Canada for the historic orthodox faith once for all delivered to the sajnts. It was a testimony to the godly ministry of the Rev. Tom Robinson who created the vision for Essentials in 1994. "Reverend David Short, St. John's Shaughnessy, Vancouver, B.C.
Many key international guest presenters also came in support of orthodoxy in Canada. Their presence and teaching demonstrated the urgent international nature of the crisis in the Canadian Anglican church. Such guests featured Archbishop Greg Venables, Anglican Primate of the "Southern Cone", and included Bishop Bob Duncan, Moderator of the American Communion Network (ACN), Bishop Wallace Benn, a key member of the steering committee for UK based Anglican Mainstream (Britain's equivalent to the Essentials Council), Reverend Dr. Bill Atwood of Ekklesia, and Reverend Bill Murdoch, Dean of the New England convocation of the ACN.
Perhaps one of the most poignant and inspiring aspects of THE WAY FORWARD program was a worship service on Tuesday evening hosted by the Reverend Dr. Murray Henderson under the heading, "Pastoral Care for Persons with Homosexual Orientation". This stirring event featured deeply personal testimonials from former practicing homosexually oriented people who gave powerful witness to the restorative and transforming power of Christ in their lives. They bravely spoke of the journey that, with God's help, they had successfully made in discovering their own wholeness and purpose in Christ's service as, now married, heterosexual people. Guest speakers included the Reverend Dawn McDonald, Reverend Don Alcock and Daryle Duke.
"THE WAY FORWARD conference represented a departure from other previous Essentials events in that every delegate registered by first acknowledging the founding articles of the Essentials Council in 1994, and a statement of repudiation regarding the amended motion of General Synod pertaining to the "sanctity" of same sex relationships. The conference was closed to the Press given the need for many disenfranchised orthodox Anglicans to have a "private family meeting" in a safe environment where ideas could be expressed and gestated before being announced" Doug McKenzie, Conference Director and Strategic Advisor to the Essentials Council.
Additional announcements are anticipated soon regarding the evolving roles and structures of the Steering Committees and the initiatives arising from THE WAY FORWARD Conference.
The Essentials Council, founded at Montreal in 1994, is a coalition of the three main orthodox groups within the Anglican Church of Canada; Anglican Renewal Ministries, Barnabas Anglican Ministries, and Prayer Book Society of Canada (representing traditional Anglicans). The Council was originally founded upon the "Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials", which affirmed the biblical orthodoxy of classical Anglicanism. Subsequently, the Essentials Council has sponsored and presented several conferences, has worked to uphold biblical Christianity at four General Synods, and has been in the vanguard of the struggle against revisionism in the Anglican Church of Canada. The council's stated mission is to call the Anglican Church of Canada to embrace and live by its orthodox Christian Heritage under the renewing guidance of the Holy Spirit.
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