[In via e-mail.]
16th July 2012
The Vicar General & Administrator
The Very Reverend Owen Buckton FSSM
Thanks be to God, we continue to move forward toward stability for the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia and I would like to thank you for your loyalty to all we have built upon when we gathered and worked harmoniously and honourably with our First Bishop Albert Haley, continuing the patrimony of our much loved Anglican expression of the Catholic Faith through the ACCA. You will be aware that we are in damage control, and much work remains to be done to restore real confidence and regain the respect that was partially lost… I ask your prayers and your continuing support over the coming months.
The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC)
I have personally been very grateful over the past few months for the support and encouragement of Acting Primate Archbishop Prakash and Bishop Gill, who are honourable and holy men who uphold us in their prayers. Further, we are constitutionally bound to the TAC, according to the provisions of clause 3.4(a) of our Constitution:
This Church is and shall remain in communion with all Churches admitted to the Traditional Anglican Communion under the terms of the Concordat as amended at the meeting of the College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion on August 27, 1992, so long as such communion is consistent with the Fundamental Declarations set forth in this Constitution.
Further, clause 10 of the Constitution provides that clause 3 may only be amended by a special canon of National Synod ratified by each of the State synods. Therefore, until we have virtually unanimous agreement around Australia, we are effectively stuck in the TAC—and I’m grateful to God that we are…
As we move from damage control mode to ‘open for business’ and ‘rebuilding’, it is necessary to announce appointments to positions made necessary by the Constitution for the good governance of the church. These appointments are made on an interim basis until such time as Synod has had the opportunity to discuss management in the long term.
Clause 7.5 of the Constitution provides:
There shall be a Registrar of the Diocese (who may be a clergyman or lay person) who shall be custodian of those documents of the Church which merit permanent preservation.
Since ‘shall’ has the same meaning as ‘must’, we need a Registrar, and I am delighted to announce the appointment, or, should I say, re-appointment of Fr Graeme Mitchell FSSM, who is, I expect, well known to you all. I have charged him with looking into the issue of your registration as marriage celebrants…
Fr Graeme is also something of a technological whiz, and in that capacity is reactivating the ‘OzTAC’ Yahoo Group, which you and your Synod lay representatives should all join…
Clause 7.3 of the Constitution provides:
There shall be a Chancellor of the Diocese, who shall be a solicitor or barrister admitted to practise by the Supreme Court of a State or Territory of Australia, or a graduate in law from a recognised University. The Chancellor shall be appointed and may be dismissed by the Bishop unless by canon the National Synod determines otherwise.
Accordingly, I announce the appointment as Chancellor of Dr Sandra McColl, BMus (Hons), LLB (Hons), MA, PhD (Melb), MLitt (Oxf), Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia, who practises as a solicitor with an old firm in central Melbourne. Sandra is also a Member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia, and counts among her friends in professional circles liquidators and forensic accountants. I do hope you will get to know Sandra and her unique sense of humour in the OzTAC group or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
I for one don’t envy her lot, spending her business hours with lawyers and liquidators and her after hours among clergy. I do therefore ask you to uphold her in your prayers.
Clause 7.4 provides:
In the event of both the Bishop and the Vicar-General being absent from the Diocese for a period exceeding one month or of both the Bishop and the Vicar-General being unable through illness or other serious disability or incapacity to act, the Chancellor shall assume the management of the Diocese pro tem, and may appoint a priest as Acting Vicar-General who shall share with him responsibility for taking whatever measures may be necessary to maintain the good order and continuity of the life of this Church…
We need to hold a National Synod in order to discuss and formalise issues including those raised in this letter, and to make provision for future, long-term management by those who do not plan to join the Ordinariate…
Further, this Ad Clerum is not confidential and I encourage you to share it with your congregation and especially your wardens and Synod representative.
I hope that the revival of the OzTAC Group will promote communication throughout the diocese…
It is also my sincere prayer that those who have left us over the past few years may seek to rejoin us in order to assist in the rebuilding process and to co-operate in doing the Lord’s work among the people of Australia. There are many souls in this country hungry for the knowledge of God without knowing it, and for those of you who are truly lovers of souls there is a large harvest to be reaped if only we can turn our focus from our recent difficulties back to our God-given purpose.
I want you to know these have been long and difficult times for both Bishop David Robarts and myself as Administrator of our diocese as well as for the Acting Primate of the TAC, Archbishop Samuel Prakash, and Secretary to the College of Bishops, Bishop Michael Gill, and indeed for the College of Bishops of the TAC.
Your prayers and those of the faithful throughout the whole TAC have sustained us.
May Our Blessed Lord keep you in His tender love.
Father Owen Buckton FSSM
Vicar General and Administrator.
Best wishes and prayers to them as they embark on the rebuilding process ‘down-under’. And a special congratulations to Sandra, a long-time commenter on this blog, and a lady who likes to keep me on my blogging toes!