Members of two Episcopal organizations opposed to the denomination's ordination of women priests have issued a declaration of "common cause" that also says they "may be compelled" to pursue different courses in acting to maintain their common beliefs.
The joint declaration came from members of the Evangelical and Catholic Mission and the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen.
The ECM is pledged to work within the Episcopal Church to reverse the ordination decision. The FCC plans a Sept. 14-16 congress in St. Louis to present "spiritual principles and ecclesiastical structure of the continuing Episcopal Church."
The declaration adopted by the dissident group reiterates several arguments of those opposing women's ordinations. It also sets forth views on abortion that are more rigorous than positions adopted by the church's General Convention in recent years.
". . . The Episcopal Church's life and witness are dependent on the validity of its sacraments and upon the integrity of its faith as definitively set forth in the Nicene Creed," the declaration maintained. "The Episcopal Church acting alone has no authority whatever to alter the faith and order of the church catholic . . . This includes the ministry instituted by Christ and established by the Apostles. The Church's priesthood, to be apostolic, must be male . . ."
The declaration also asserted that "the church must proclaim that human life from the moment of its conception is inviolable by man, allowing those narrow exceptions which moral theology has made . . ."
Approving the statement were eight bishops, including the Rt. Revs, Stanley Atkins of Eau Claire, ECM president: A. Donald Davies and Robert Terwilliger (diocesan and suffragan bishops of Dallas), William Folwell (Central Florida), Addision Hosea (Lexington), Paul Reeves (Southern Georgia), William C. R. Sheridan (Northern Indiana), and Charles Gaskell (Milwaukee).