Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Meeting in South Africa

UPDATEArchbishop John Hepworth responds.

I rely on second-hand sources for the following information on the Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops meeting here in South Africa:

1. Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Rejects Ordinariate (Virtue Online)

The end came swiftly for Archbishop John Hepworth in Johannesburg when the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) College of Bishops accepted the resignation of their leader after a long battle with the wounded, self-inflicted Australian Primate who had sought entry for himself and his church into the Roman Catholic Church.

A majority of the TAC College of Bishops met at St. George Conference Center outside Johannesburg, February 28 – March 1, 2012 to discern a new direction for the embattled Communion. They elected Indian Archbishop Samuel Prakash as Acting Primate.

Twenty active bishops with 12 voting in session voted that the TAC would remain fully Anglican. A news release said that while it receives, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, the TAC College of Bishops has voted as a Communion to decline the invitation.

Before he left the US for South Africa Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh wrote VOL to say that he fully anticipated a course would be charted that is unambiguously Anglican and under leadership that will uphold and teach, by word and example, the faith of Christ crucified. “You may be certain that I will do my best to ensure that any decisions provide for the spiritual safety of God’s faithful people.”

Every Bishop and Vicar General in the Traditional Anglican Communion was invited to attend this meeting. Of the twenty active bishops, twelve voted in session. Nine of the twelve churches were represented.

This meeting of the College of Bishops was long overdue,” said the bishops. “Over the past two years, several members of the College of Bishops had requested of the Primate an urgent meeting of the College. Anglicanorum Coetibus or the Apostolic Constitution had never been discussed or debated within the College of Bishops. Meetings of the College of Bishops had, in fact, been scheduled at least twice over the past two years. Most recently, a meeting was called by the TAC Primate for mid 2011. This meeting was canceled abruptly by the Primate. Accordingly, the meeting in Johannesburg was voted to be the overdue meeting of the College of Bishops.”

The College of Bishops voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Hepworth as TAC Primate by resolution that states: “it is resolved that he cease to hold the office of Primate immediately. Archbishop John Hepworth vacates the Office he has held since 2003, along with the individual appointments which are the prerogatives of that Office. Such offices and positions are now vacant and subject to reappointment.”

Archbishop Samuel Prakash, as the senior active Metropolitan, was elected Acting Primate by acclamation. In so doing, the entire assembly expressed complete confidence in Archbishop Prakash, who was consecrated Bishop in 1984 and currently serves as Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of India. Archbishop Prakash was one of the original founding Bishops of the TAC.

Bishop Michael Gill of Cape Town was appointed Secretary of the College of Bishops. During its three day meeting, the College of Bishops passed several resolutions relating to the International Anglican Fellowship, Episcopal Oversight and Ecumenical relations between Continuing jurisdictions. The College of Bishops resolved to commit itself to Mission and Evangelism, recognizing that the central purpose of God’s people is to bring others to Christ.

Earlier in February Archbishop Hepworth, sensing that his day was done as leader of the TAC issued a “Pastoral Letter” over the pending split accusing some of his fellow bishop of “bullying” and canceling arrangements which they had entered into.
“Clergy and laity have been bullied and threatened with expulsion.” He also accused them of schism. “A minority of the bishops plan to meet shortly in South Africa with the openly published agenda of expelling all those who are at the various stages of discernment of the offer of the “fullness of Catholic Communion” contained in the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict XVI.”

However it was a majority of the college of Bishops who met in Johannesburg and they were unanimous that Hepworth must go.
Hepworth pled for tolerance and said Anglicanism has always aspired to tolerance. “Even the persecution of Catholics in England was balanced by tolerance and respect in missionary regions. Anglo-Catholics and Evangelical Anglicans sustained a mutual respect and restraint in spite of vigorously asserting their positions. Opponents found this a weakness. Those of us who experienced it found it a strength.”

However Hepworth’s battle with Rome and his charges that he had been homosexually seduced by three priests hardly endeared him to Rome’s leaders. He also blasted a Roman Catholic archbishop for interfering with his parishes in Canada. In the end Roman Catholic officials told him politely that he could enter the Roman Catholic Church as a layman. Hepworth refused the offer.

Hepworth says the majority of TAC remain loyal to their oaths and promises on doctrine and discipline and to himself. “They are determined to protect their people and minister to them as they make decisions and undergo processes that cannot be hurried any more than outcomes can be foreseen.”

He included bishops and senior clergy, in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Torres Strait, Australia, Africa and India, who are determined to continue their ministry, to respect the ecclesial bonds that exist between them, to sustain their Christian friendship even as some of them succeed (with their clergy and people) in being pioneers of Ordinariates that will grow, if they are of God.

Hepworth said they would meet with him shortly to celebrate their bonds of Christian commitment, and will take steps to protect their ecclesial identity.

2.  TAC College of Bishops in South Africa (English Catholic)

This arrived in my mailbox about the meeting in South Africa. I have no information other than what is given below. We await a list of those present at the meeting.

* * *

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2012

THE TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

The members of the Traditional Anglican Communion (hereafter referred to as TAC) College of Bishops met at St. George Conference Center outside Johannesburg, South Africa between February 28 – March 1, 2012 for the purpose of transacting the business of the Church and of discerning a new direction for the Communion. The business was conducted strictly in accordance with the TAC Concordat.

The College of Bishops, the highest legislative body within the Communion, affirmed by resolution its faithfulness to the TAC. The TAC will remain fully Anglican. While it receives, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, the TAC College of Bishops has voted as a Communion to decline the invitation.

This meeting of the College of Bishops was long overdue. Over the past two years, several members of the College of Bishops had requested of the Primate an urgent meeting of the College. Anglicanorum  Coetibus or the Apostolic Constitution, for example, had never been discussed or debated within the College of Bishops. Meetings of the College of Bishops had, in fact, been scheduled at least twice over the past two years. Most recently, a meeting was called by the TAC Primate for mid 2011. This meeting was canceled abruptly by the Primate. Accordingly, the meeting in Johannesburg was voted to be the overdue meeting of the College of Bishops.

Members of the College met in a spirit of prayer and with a desire to discern God’s will for the TAC. A majority of active Bishops and Vicars General who hold voice and vote attended the meeting and made several decisions of immediate import to the TAC.

The College of Bishops voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Hepworth as TAC Primate by resolution that states: “it is resolved that he cease to hold the office of Primate immediately.” Archbishop John Hepworth vacates the Office he has held since 2003, along with the individual appointments which are the prerogatives of that Office. Such offices and positions are now vacant and subject to reappointment.

Archbishop Samuel Prakash, as the senior active Metropolitan, was elected Acting Primate by acclamation. In so doing, the entire assembly expressed complete confidence in Archbishop Prakash, who was consecrated Bishop in 1984 and currently serves as Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of India. Archbishop Prakash was one of the original founding Bishops of the TAC.

Bishop Michael Gill was appointed Secretary of the College of Bishops.

During its three day meeting, the College of Bishops passed several resolutions relating to the International Anglican Fellowship, Episcopal Oversight and Ecumenical relations between Continuing jurisdictions. Several appointments were made by the Acting Primate. There was a strong feeling among the members of the College of Bishops that a new direction had been taken by the TAC.

The level of attendance at this College of Bishops meeting was exceptional. Every Bishop and Vicar General in the Traditional Anglican Communion was invited to attend this meeting. Of the twenty active bishops, twelve voted in session. Nine of the twelve churches were represented.

Finally, and most importantly, the College of Bishops resolved to commit itself to Mission and Evangelism, recognizing that the central purpose of God’s people is to bring others to Christ. Several moving statements were made by members about the need to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world deeply in need of hearing it. A program of equipping the saints for the work of Evangelism was supported by the College of Bishops with enthusiasm.

 

2 thoughts on “Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Meeting in South Africa

  1. I’m a French Catholic, living and praying to see the Unity between my brothers in Christ from Anglican traditions and the See of Peter, and I’m so sad to read these last news.

    I ask you Father: what’s next ? Is the College of Bishops ready to work with Rome ? All of them signed the Catechism of the Church, did they ?

  2. Personally, I think that if TAC and so-called Continuing Anglicans want to stand and continue, they should resolve to become what they were, Anglicans, who are High Church and “Catholic”, as was the early Tractarian and Oxford movement. It was Newman who tried to put the Roman cast on the movement. Btw, I still have several old books of sermons by both Edward Pusey and John Keble. Certainly both were Anglican Churchmen! And we should note also, that many of the High Church Anglicans (past and present) have been very friendly with the EO or Orthodoxy.

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