August 3, 2017
Beloved in Christ:
I write at this time to ask for your prayers as the College of Bishops prepares to meet in Conclave next month (September 5-8) in Vancouver. Our task will be to consider the report of the Task Force on Holy Orders.
Many are criticizing the report because it does not advocate a way forward. I am not among them. The Task Force was comprised of clergy and laity, male and female, charged with the responsibility to report on the theology of Holy Orders and to articulate the biblical and theological arguments for and against the ordination of women. In that, the Task Force was successful.
There are a number of articles being posted on the Internet by those who presume to know the outcome of the Conclave. To be sure, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but I think speculation is unhelpful. Obviously, my hope and my prayer is that the orthodox position will prevail, but I simply don’t know. And neither does anyone else.
While I cannot assure you of a positive outcome, I can assure you of a sincere effort by your bishops to advocate for the orthodox position as stated in the Declaration of Common Faith and Purpose of Forward in Faith North America:
I accept the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the Unity of His Church. I affirm the Christian ministerial priesthood as male, and that the churches of the Anglican Communion have no authority to change the historic tradition of the male priesthood. I pray that God grants me the strength and ability to uphold the Church’s Order, both materially and spiritually as concerns the ministerial priesthood of His holy Church. Accordingly, I will reject any and all actions that might signify acceptance of a deviation from the Church’s Order regarding the Christian ministerial priesthood.
For the last forty years, I have been engaged in the struggle for Catholic Faith and Order in the Episcopal Church and now in the Anglican Church in North America. If I have learned anything, I have learned to be patient and to wait upon the Lord. I ask you to join me in prayer for this very important meeting of the College of Bishops.
Whatever the outcome, let us stand together for Evangelical Faith, Catholic Truth, Apostolic Order and Godly Life.
Faithfully yours in the service of Christ and His Church,
Bishop Bill Ilgenfritz