To past and present clergymen and laity of the Diocese of the West, Anglican Church in America:
Whenever I read the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), I try to plug myself into the story. I ask myself how I have responded to the proverbial wounded traveler that I have encountered on life's journey. Have I demonstrated compassion like the Samaritan outcast, or have I just passed by the wounded like the priest or the Levite, in denial of the existence of the man in crisis lying in the road?
I would submit to you that our fellow priest and brother, Fr. Christopher Kelley, is one such man who has fallen amongst thieves, and been stripped and wounded. His wife Mary Alice, his daughter Elizabeth and his son Andrew have been even more severely wounded in their relative vulnerability.
Fr. Kelley and his family have endured the most surreal persecution that could possibly befall the most miserable of all clergymen and their families in this litigious nation of ours. There is a veritable lynch mob that has seized control of St. Mary's, Hollywood for the last year. They have harassed Fr. Kelley and his family through actions tantamount to terrorism, and hounded them out of his rightful cure, their parish and their home. These evil people have garnered a semblance of ecclesiastical legitimacy by seducing avaricious ACA clergymen to lend their imprimatur to their despicable crimes. Together, clergy and laity have accused Fr. Kelley of all manner of conduct unbecoming a clergyman, tried him in a ecclesiastical kangaroo. They have even hauled him into secular court to prosecute him under civil law, and yet every one of their accusations has been utterly bogus.
Rightful members of the vestry and other humble members of the parish have been excommunicated and barred from the Holy Eucharist at St. Mary's. They, too, have suffered persecution at the hands of these false brethren. The violation of the rights of these innocent people is absolutely inexcusable.
If I were still affiliated with the Diocese of the West or the Anglican Church in America, I would be distraught at the fate that has befallen the Kelleys and the vestry of St. Mary's. I would be utterly ashamed of my association with my diocese and denomination and would seriously consider using whatever authority I had as a priest to appeal for sanity in Fr. Kelley's case, and mercy for the whole Kelley family. As it is now, I regret ever having been a part of the ACA DOW.
As Lent approaches, I implore you to consider this appeal in your prayers and to do whatever you can do to see that justice is done and mercy prevails for the Kelleys. Remember that all of us will stand before our Judge one day. I urge you to make your voice heard by the standing committee of your diocese, and by the clergy and lay usurpers of St. Mary's, Hollywood.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Lawrence B. "Chip" Wheeler
P.S. Just so that you know that I speak only as a friend and former DOW colleague of Fr. Kelley's, I would like to make it clear to you that, after two years of regular participation in worship and fellowship in the local Catholic diocese, I have decided not to join the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter or associate myself with the Roman Catholic Church any further.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
AN OPEN APPEAL FOR MERCY
This comes from Fr Chip Wheeler of Honolulu. I'm as puzzled as he is by the silence in the ACA.