Final Stages

I received this announcement (see below) this morning from the Anglican Communion Network concerning their intent to replace The Church Pension Group as their source for retirement, medical, life, and property insurances. Since many of them believe that The Episcopal Church is apostate, the Church Pension Group is also by association.
I remember Fr. Wright, long-time history professor at General Theological Seminary (my seminary), who related a story about his mentor. During the controversies surrounding the approval of women’s ordinations in the 1970’s, the more traditional side of the Church, especially a good part of Anglo-Catholics, could not accept the ordination of women to the priesthood. Many clergy and some parishes left and “poped” or “crossed over the Tiber.” Fr. Wright told me that his mentor, who in principle was opposed to the ordination of women, ask him, “Robert, do you know where I stand on women’s ordination?” Fr. Wright’s mentor then added, “I stand with the Pension Fund!”
There were a lot of people who “stood with the Pension Fund” over the years when our Church did things (both liberal and conservative things) that they did not approve of. Now, with this announcement, the Network moves to remove this means by which we often remained together despite our differences until cooler heads prevailed.
This is a final stage in their preparation to form a new denomination after General Convention 2006 in Columbus – if it comes to this, which I hope it does not.
I continue to be assounded by the fact that for so many Christians in this country that despite everything else, and I mean anything and everything else, that we may agree on, the issues of homosexuality and same-sex unions have now become the litmus test of whether one is a Christian or an apostate heretic. So much money, time, energy, and disregard for the impact on the lives of so many is put into recreating a wheel that if taken to its full extent will only lead to more and more division. The Charismatic Evangelical Anglicans and the Anglo-Catholics will not hold together. The pro- and anti-women’s ordination crowds will not hold together. Once division (schism) begins, it will only continue in the schismatic groups. History has shown us this fact. Yet, we waste all the time, money, and energy and learn nothing from history. The forces that oppose the advancement of the Gospel are rejoicing!
Here is the announcement:

Network Announces Retirement Plan for Clergy
The Anglican Communion Network is pleased to announce the rollout, effective April 1, of its Qualified Retirement Plan for clergy. ACN-related clergy who are not in or otherwise eligible for the Church Pension Fund of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) are invited to enroll.
The Plan Provider selected by the Network is American Funds, highly regarded in the investment community with more than 70 years of investment experience. The Plan is a defined contribution plan and provides for annual contributions by employers of up to 20% of compensation. Covered clergy have the option to contribute additionally to the plan in accordance with federal regulations.
Contributions are vested when made, and the benefits, which are transportable, can also be augmented by rolling over into the Plan other portable retirement accounts. The plan was launched on April 1, but arrangements can be made to apply the plan retroactively to January 1, 2006.
Application forms for parishes, clergy and other organizations to join the Network are available online at Applications to enroll in the Clergy Retirement Plan can be obtained by contacting Lisa Waldron, ACN Director of Accounting, at or by calling 412-325-8900 x102.
In addition, the Network anticipates announcing a retirement plan for lay employees, property and casualty insurance programs for parishes and organizations, and a group health insurance program before the end of the year. In connection with these efforts, the Network is gathering input from its members to help with the development of a health care benefits plan. Network affiliates and partners are invited to download a health insurance survey form at Completed surveys can be faxed to 412-325-8902 or mailed to 535 Smithfield Street, Suite 910, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
“We are excited that we are now able to offer the retirement plan for eligible clergy,” said Wicks Stephens, ACN Chancellor. “We hope by year’s end to be able to offer a whole range of benefit options for our Network constituencies, both clergy and lay.”