An American priest who spearheaded a display of defiance against the hierarchy of his church—the Episcopal Church—has said the action was not intended to prompt a schism within the denomination.
On November 26, several conservative bishops from abroad took part in a confirmation service organized at David Moyer's parish church in a suburb of Philadelphia. The very presence of the bishops at the service was a challenge to the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church, since the bishops had been initially invited by Moyer without the permission of the local bishop, Charles Bennison of Pennsylvania, and officiated in a service outside of their dioceses—a violation of church law. (Bennison eventually did invite bishops.)
Moyer told ENI that the confirmation service was a "signal event of bigger and better things" yet to come by conservatives within the church. "It was a symbolic act that demonstrated the solidarity of Anglicans around the world" in the cause of traditional church teaching.
Moyer is president of Forward in Faith, a traditionalist Anglican group, and as a parish priest has refused to accept Charles Bennison's authority as bishop, saying he is a false teacher whose liberal theological positions are "contrary to the teachings of the Anglican Communion."
The service was rooted in church tradition and on one level was hardly confrontational. Though the foreign bishops had described their visit as a response to a pastoral emergency in the U.S. church, there was little mention of the occasion's significance during what was a formal occasion of evensong and confirmation for adults and young people in Moyer's parish, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.
Officiating at the service were Archbishop Maurice Sinclair ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more