Daily Archives: September 21, 2007
Baby Blue has the goods. Must reading. Here’s an excerpt. Wow.
…My friends, you may believe you have discovered a very difficult truth from that of the majority in the Anglican Communion. It not just about sexuality, but about your views of Christ, the Gospel and the authority of the Bible. Please forgive me when I relay that some say you are a different church, others even think that you are a different religion.
I understand that it is difficult for you in your context to accept the standard teaching of the Anglican Communion. This is why you refused to accept Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10. You also ignored all the warnings of the Primates in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Your response to the Windsor Report is seen by the Primates as not clear. You cannot say you value being a member of the Anglican Communion while you ignore the interdependence of the member churches. The interdependence is what differentiates us from the other congregational churches. I would like to remind you and myself with the famous resolution 49 of the Lambeth Conference of 1930 which declares “the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of churches that … are bound together not be a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference.” With respect, I have to say that those who would prefer to speak of laws and procedures, constitutions and canons, committees and process: you are missing the point! It is our mutual loyalty and fellowship, submitting to one another in the common cause of Jesus Christ that makes us of one Church on faith and one Lord.
It is clear that your actions have resulted in one of the most difficult disputes in the Communion in our generation. You may see them as not core doctrinal issues. Many like me see the opposite but the thing that we cannot ignore is that these issues are divisive and have created a lot of undesired consequences and reactions. For the first time in centuries, the fabric of our Communion is torn. Our energies have been drained and our resources are lost; and it is difficult for both of us to continue like this.
My friends, if you really believe that the truth revealed to you is different from that shown to the rest of the Communion, then you need to uphold that claim with boldness even at the risk of losing unity. If you think it is right and necessary to ordain and consecrate practicing homosexuals and that you should bless same sex partnerships or even marriages, you should be true to what you believe is right and accept the consequences.
However, if you appreciate being members of the global Anglican family, then you have to walk along side the members of your family. Those who say that it is important to stay together around the table, to listen to each other and to continue our dialogue over the difficult issues that are facing us are wise. We wholeheartedly agree with this, but staying around the table requires that you should not take actions that are contrary to the standard position (Lambeth 1:10) of the rest of the Communion.
Mary says there is “more coming” and Matt+ is also blogging this for Stand Firm. Awesome.
Here’s the link for Matt’s post at Stand Firm: http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/6132/
Go to this page and then scroll down to bottom left for the video / audio section.
Phillip Aspinall: It’s true. There is no power to expel, other than possibly the Anglican Consultative Council, and that’s a long and somewhat complicated process itself. No, the question here is not someone coming in with a big stick and a quick fix to sort it all out. What we’re dealing with is a family of committed people, struggling together to discern the truth and find the way forward. No-one is expecting a quick fix and once-and-for-all solution for all time from the meeting this week in the United States. Rather we hope that in conversation and prayer and mutual discernment, we might be able to see constructive next steps.
Stephen Crittenden: We’ve been told that the Archbishop of Canterbury intends to ask the Episcopalian Bishops two questions in New Orleans. Presumably those two questions are likely to be Do you have any intention to stop consecrating gay bishops and Do you have any intention to stop blessing same sex unions?
Phillip Aspinall: Yes, I haven’t been advised by the Archbishop of Canterbury about two particular questions that he intends to ask, though clearly the meeting is in response to the requests made by the Primates in Dar-es-Salaam earlier this year, and certainly the Primates did seek clarification on those two matters you raise from the American House of Bishops, and conversations will go on about those two things. The first one, in relation to the moratorium on the consecration of active gays that was in the Windsor report and followed up by the Primates, there’s a fairly clear indication already been given by the General Convention last year. The General Convention resolved to call on bishops to exercise restraint by not consenting to the election of such people. Now what the Primates have asked is for the House of Bishops to indicate that that resolution is one that they take seriously and will stick by, and I think if that kind of assurance is given, then the substance of that request will be met.
Stephen Crittenden: But that could well be tested in the near future with this election in Chicago.
Phillip Aspinall: Yes I think we need to understand that there have been several Episcopal elections in the United States since the Windsor Report was published and since the Primates issued their requests. As I understand it, there have been gay candidates in several of those elections and none of those candidates have been elected. So in fact, a moratorium has been instigated at least to this point.
You can watch it at Anglican TV or Stand Firm.
12:30 Central / 1:30 Eastern / 5:30 p.m. London etc.
For the first time at least since World War II, women and men who married in the late 1970s had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later.
“We know that somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of marriages dissolve,” said Barbara Risman, executive officer of the Council on Contemporary Families, a research group. “Now, when people marry, everyone wonders, is this one of those marriages that will be around for awhile.”
But David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, a marriage research and advocacy group, said he was struck that the percentage of people who celebrated their 15th anniversary had declined. “This seems to be saying more recent marriages are more fragile,” Mr. Blankenhorn said.
About 80 percent of first marriages that took place in the late 1950s lasted at least 15 years. Among people who married in the late 1980s for the first time, however, only 61 percent of the men and 57 percent of the women were married 15 years later.
Among currently married women, non-Hispanic whites were the only group in which a majority had marked their 15th anniversary.
The survey by the Census Bureau, in 2004, confirmed that most Americans eventually marry, but they are marrying later and are slightly more likely to marry more than once.
From Bishop Epting’s blog:
[CORRECTION: the elf sincerely apologizes for originally mis-attributing this to Bp. Pierre Whalon. The two bishops’ blog feeds are adjacent in my RSS feed and so even though the link was to Bp. Epting’s blog, I saw the name Whalon and wrote that without thinking.]
Quite a roller coaster of a day yesterday. Our first time, as Episcopal bishops, to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury to talk face-to-face about our ongoing issues in the Anglican Communion.
We began with a festive Eucharist in the hotel with a great sermon by our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori and the lusty singing of hymns from “Holy, holy, holy” through “There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place” (and, perhaps surprisingly, there is!) to “O Praise Ye the Lord!”
Then, we entered into table discussions and open plenaries sharing our Hopes and Concerns for this meeting. My hope was that we could find a way to assure the Communion that we will do what General Convention has asked us to do by exercising restraint in consenting to the election of bishops whose manner of life will produce additional strains on the Communion. My concern is, that nothing we do will be enough for some ”” in our own House and in the Communion.
The afternoon continued with a brief address by Archbishop Rowan Williams and two questions to wrestle with: how far can we go in accommodating the request of the Primates’ Communique and what kind of “shared episcopal leadership” (within our own House) would we find possible and helpful. Lots of pain and anguish from all sides in the open discussion which followed. But it was good for Rowan and the other Primates and visitors from across the Communion to see the kind of respectful and thoughtful conversation we can have together.
I learned nothing really new. No conversations we have not had before. But it was good for our overseas colleagues to engage with us. It would have been helpful for the Archbishop to have done this three years ago.
The Reverend Susan Russell has been named as the only gay member of the Episcopal Church delegation charged with defending recent church actions (the election of an openly gay bishop and the recognition of same-sex unions by the Episcopal Church)
Integrity was instrumental in winning two controversial votes at the church’s 2003 General Convention: consenting to the election of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion and formalizing the acceptance of liturgies blessing same-sex unions in the Episcopal Church.
Ummm”¦ Have we not been hearing over the last years and over the last two days from the TEC House of Bishops that they needn’t really enact any kind of moratorium on the blessing of same sex unions because General Convention had not really approved same-sex unions? Integrity of course recognizes the reality of what happened at GC03(hat tip: AM).
The AP wanted to know, “who is going to decide whether the Episcopal Church has responded to the Dar Es Salaam Communique”¦?” Bishop Rabb said, “it is the Primates who will have to decide that.”
I agree. The Primates asked for the Windsor Report, they received it and modified it slightly in Dromantine, and then in response to the TEC’s response to Windsor and Dromantine, they issued the Tanzania Communique. Now the American House of Bishops is meeting in response to the Primates Tanzania Communique and before their September 30th deadline. So where is the Primates meeting on the Anglican Communion schedule? That would seem to be quite important–KSH.
A highly controversial move by the Diocese of Sydney to allow lay presidency has been postponed until after next summer’s Lambeth Conference.
The Diocesan Synod, meeting this week, decided to defer further debate on the issue after the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, had been asked a committee of officials
to issue licences to senior lay people and deacons which would allow them to celebrate Holy Communion. If Sydney went ahead, it could cause a split with the rest
of the Anglican Communion who see the move as a lurch towards congregationalism.
Leading the prolay presidency vote is John Woodhouse, the principal of Moore Theological College in Sydney. He suggests that the diocese uses current church laws,
effectively by-passing the need for the diocese to apply for legal authority ””which would probably not be granted by the national church. The decision to delay the debate has
been welcomed by many church leaders. Some American liberals argue that if they are in danger of being excommunicated from the communion then, in the same manner, so
should Sydney if they chose to be irregular over an issue such as Holy Communion. Why should lay presidency be considered more irregular than the acceptance of
[non-celibate] gay priests, they question.
But another issue is that if Sydney vote for lay presidency they could damage vital links with other conservative dioceses who would otherwise serve as allies against the ordination of [non-celibate] gay bishops in the rest of the communion.
–This article appears in this week’s Church of England Newspaper, the September 21, 2007, edition, on page 5
Resolution Offered by Windsor Bishops (+Jenkins Resolution)
[Stand Firm writes] This is a statement crafted during the last meeting of “Windsor Bishops,” and we’re told forms the basis of the resolution Bishop Jenkins is going to propose. However, we’ve also been told that he’s been “consulting” with bishops Bruno and Chane to make it more palatable to them. The document has been circulating among the bishops at the meeting here in New Orleans.
Resolution offered by Bruce MacPherson, Russell Jacobus, Geralyn Wolf, and C. Franklin Brookhart
Read it here.
We’ve been trying to post this but technical problems are preventing the text from appearing here. So head on over to Stand Firm!
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori began the first plenary session with an announcement that eight bishops had accepted her invitation to serve as episcopal visitors. Other than the names, no further details were given and there was no follow-up discussion.
Some of the eight episcopal visitors who spoke with reporters for The Living Church were equally uncertain of the scope of the proposal or how it would be implemented. None of those surveyed by TLC said they knew the identities of the other seven ahead of time. To a person, they said their primary reason for accepting was a willingness to be helpful at what they considered a critical time.
“The Presiding Bishop is open to considering more episcopal visitor invitations,” said the Rev. Charles Robertson, Canon for the Presiding Bishop. Canon Robertson said the Presiding Bishop envisioned the episcopal visitor plan being potentially applied in a wide variety of circumstances for parishes and dioceses. He noted it would be possible to discuss the plan in greater detail, including a consultative contribution by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, after Archbishop Williams’ final session with the bishops Friday morning.
[Bishop Charles] Jenkins, the Louisiana bishop, said before the meeting that he sees middle-grounders “willing to make sacrifices. . . . I see something spiritually happening.” But the letter he released showed the complexities: “We reject as sinfully faulty those actions that would splinter this Communion,” it says, also calling for alternative leadership “satisfactory to those who plead for such oversight.”
It is unclear what an acceptable middle ground would look like. For some, halting the ordination of gay clergy and same-sex blessings would be enough. Others think the theological chasm is too wide .
This month, the Pittsburgh diocese outlined steps to leave the Episcopal Church if the U.S. bishops don’t adhere to the dictates outlined in February. Divisions of some sort are expected in Fort Worth, San Joaquin, Calif., and Quincy, Ill.
Northern Indiana Bishop Ed Little said he thinks the requests made in February are appropriate. He said he does not plan to leave the Episcopal Church but is looking for a compromise. But how to do that, he asked, for example, on the question of authorizing same-sex unions?
“Is there a middle ground, where we retain the clear teaching that we are not authorizing the liturgy, but some folks are cut some slack? I’m not sure how that is done,” he said this week.
The Very Rev. Martha Horne, who recently retired as dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary, the largest Episcopal seminary, said the search for compromise goes beyond the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.