Daily Archives: July 25, 2009

Andrew Carey: Waiting on the Archbishop …

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, one of the few leaders of real stature left in The Episcopal Church of the USA, plays his cards close to his chest in a recent interview with Anglican TV . After General Convention’s decisions to rescind the so-called moratoria and press ahead with same-sex blessings he indicates that his diocese will be looking in the coming months at how they are going to strategically place themselves both in The Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion.

What this really means is that conservative Episcopalians who remain in the American Church will need to find some way of distancing themselves from their own Church without placing themselves in the sort of anomalous position in which the recently formed breakaway Anglican Church in North America finds itself. The point for Bishop Mark Lawrence is that dioceses like his need to be part of the solution as far as Anglican renewal and reformation is concerned rather than outsiders to the discussion. He acknowledges though that this is going to take a long time to clear up with the Anglican Instruments of Unity meeting so infrequently. He says, “I suppose what many people are waiting for is the Archbishop of Canterbury to weigh in. Waiting … waiting …

–This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, July 24, 2009, edition, on page 15 (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

In Georgia Episcopal General Convention draws mixed response

Tyee Island Episcopalian Jamie Maury was “uplifted” by news from the Episcopal General Convention that the church had authorized bishops to bless same-sex unions and consider official prayers for their ceremonies.

He was disappointed to learn representatives from his diocese voted against those decisions.

“I thought it was our time, but it’s not, not in the Diocese of Georgia,” said Maury, coordinator for Episcopal gay and lesbian advocacy group Integrity Georgia.

“We’re still sitting in the back of the temple, or the back of the bus, as far as they’re concerned.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

NewsOK: Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma explains his vote on gay issue

[The Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny]… said DO25 was a statement about the ordination process and that recent news headlines and broadcasts proclaiming it as an end to the moratorium are “rather inaccurate.”

“As we understand, that moratorium is in effect until such time as a vote takes place that changes that,” Konieczny said during a recent telephone interview.

“As we understand it, until such time as the House of Bishops and standing committees confirm somebody who is in an openly gay or lesbian relationship, that moratorium continues to be in effect.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

The Two Presiding Officers of General Convention wrote Rowan Williams twice in two days–why?

Back on July 16th the Presiding Bishop and Bonnie Anderson wrote Archbishop Rowan Williams about the General Convention. (An ENS article on this is here). This, however, in a flurry of confusion inside the Episcopal Church’s leadership as to exactly what had occurred, even though such confusion was not shared by the majority of the mainstream media and the Episcopal Church activists for the new theology of human sexuality, was not enough.

So on July 17th the Presiding Bishop and Bonnie Anderson wrote Archbishop Rowan Williams again about the General Convention. (An ENS article on that is there).

Can anyone name a time previously in Episcopal Church history when this has occurred? It not only looks desperate but it speaks poorly to the level of clarity in what is being done. If you need to explain your explanations, if you need to use words and then more words to explain your words, the issue of what you are actually doing and why comes even more strongly to the fore. Let your yes be yes and your no be no as a standard is being missed, and for a Christian community that is a very sad thing indeed–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

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Richard Kew: Tired, Postmodern, and a Generally Depressing Convention

As a bishop friend said to me in a personal email from Anaheim a day or two ago, the trend seems to be for TEC to become a stand-alone American denomination rather than part of the worldwide church. Clearly, the presence and advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury for a few days meant little or nothing to the majority of the House of Deputies. As the same episcopal friend also said, those who are for inclusion do not seem to realize that for a large chunk of us that means exclusion — although we certainly have no desire to be excluded from catholic Christianity through the Communion.

This whole exercise is not about sexuality or sexual behavior, but is fundamentally about what we believe the Christian faith to mean and be about. When it comes down to it, it is about our attitude toward Jesus as God’s Son, the nature of the Trinity, divine revelation, Christian obedience, and holiness of life. The cavalier attitude of the Presiding Bishop to the creeds and their recitation is evidence that she considers the likes of me as pedantic has-beens rather than those who are on the cutting edge — but the cutting edge of what?

Yet the truth really is, as you look around the world, that those who are pushing this worn out postmodern melange and calling it Christian are increasingly the has-beens. They seem to have tied themselves to the coat tails of the last dribblings of the least attractive side of the Enlightenment, and it is entirely likely that they will disappear down the drain with them. I say this as an Episcopalian who lives in England and now functions as part of the church under great pressure.

The church in England is wrestling to adapt to an altogether more secular and hostile climate than exists in most of the USA, and what is interesting, I don’t see postmodern Christianity standing up very well in such an environment. It is a limp and aging rag.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, General Convention, Parish Ministry

Anglican Journal: In Canada, the Deep divide over sexuality continues

The decision by the diocese of Niagara to offer same-sex blessings has drawn mixed reactions from Anglicans in Canada.

Similarly, backlash over the recent decision by the Episcopal Church (TEC) to affirm the openness of “any ordained ministry” to gay and lesbian people and to develop more liturgical resources for same-sex blessings reflects the continuing deep divide over sexuality in the Anglican Communion.

“As a bishop, I cannot recognize the legitimacy of what Niagara is doing,” said Bishop Bill Anderson of the diocese of Caledonia. “I sadly conclude that Niagara has chosen to walk apart, and is therefore in a state of impaired communion.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The Presiding Bishop's statement on the legal issues in litigation in the Diocese of San Joaquin

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

A Message from David Anderson about General Convention 2009

Repercussions from the Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention in Anaheim, California continue to reverberate around the USA and the world. Any analysis of TEC’s actions requires a “new think” dictionary so that one can understand what they say versus what they mean. When they say “generous pastoral care” or “generous pastoral response” for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean generosity which is extended to everyone (unless we include “generous legal persecution” as an element of said generosity).

When reading material from the dominant revisionist side of TEC, constantly ask yourself what they mean by these new words and word structures that they are coining-they are almost never what the plain English meaning would suggest. Regarding the passage of D025 which affirmed the church’s intent to permit gay bishops, the TEC official news organ reported the next morning that the previous moratorium represented by B033 from 2006 was overturned. This accidental revelation of the truth by their own media was viewed with alarm by the political spinmeisters working with President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson and Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, and the article was quickly followed the next day by assurances that although the words in D025 said that all orders of ministry would be open to all people inclusive of gay, lesbian, etc., it didn’t overturn B033 which said that the church wouldn’t ordain such to the episcopate. On which day was TEC telling the truth? Then the legislation was passed which authorized marriage/same-sex union rites to be done on a local diocesan level as part of a “generous pastoral response.” All of this happens while the top leadership marginalizes the few orthodox bishops, clergy and laity left in TEC and stresses that TEC wants to be a part of the global Anglican Communion, but on their own terms.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, House of Deputies President, Media, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Michael Paulson (Boston Globe): Church weddings for gay Episcopalians?

In Tuesday’s paper, I had a story taking an early look at what the Episcopal dioceses in the states where same-sex marriage is legal — New England and Iowa — will do now that the Episcopal Church, at its general convention last week, granted more leeway to bishops in those dioceses. The bishops I spoke with said they are still pondering their next steps, but they are clearly looking for ways to go further than they have in the past in allowing celebrations of same-sex weddings in Episcopal churches.

Read it carefully noting the details of the communications quoted from Episcopal Bishops.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

A.S. Haley on the Latest in the San Joaquin Legal Fracas

Surprisingly, the court’s decision to grant the motion is no longer the bad piece of news it would have been had it happened on February 25, or shortly thereafter. I write this post immediately after receiving word of the court’s ruling, in order to forestall the impact of the trumpet-blaring from Bishop Lamb, his supporters, and the Episcoleft blogworld that will now inevitably follow.

The reason why the ruling is not bad news for the defendants any longer is quite simple: the case itself has moved on. The parties are no longer concerned with the second amended complaint, which was the subject of the court’s ruling. The plaintiffs have now filed, and the Schofield defendants have now answered, their fourth amended complaint in this case. That fourth amended complaint contains whole new theories about the alleged collusion between the various defendants (including the Bishop’s law firm) to remove property from the Episcopal Church (USA) and its allegedly still-existing diocese.

A motion for summary adjudication of a single cause of action, just like a motion for summary judgment on an entire complaint, is framed by the pleadings that are at issue in the case — meaning the most current pleadings. It is, therefore, in my view a meaningless act to grant adjudication with regard to the second amended complaint, since it is no longer the operative pleading.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin

The rector of Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston Writes His Parish

Like all people, I am susceptible to the occasional situational depression. Along life’s journey, it is inevitable that we will encounter disappointment, suffering and hardship. It is natural to be emotionally impacted by painful things. But apart from the ordinary ebbs and flows of life, I am by nature an optimist. Like the old farmer who was asked if he could explain the theology of the Book of Revelation, the simple answer God wins is a sufficiently adequate response for most of life’s persistent questions. For that reason, I certainly take church “politics” and General Convention shenanigans seriously, but I don’t think that I allow them to dwell oppressively in my heart. My friend Keith Lackey, having endured decades of watching the futility of Georgia Tech football, remarked to me not too long ago, I have reached the stage in my life where I do not allow 19 year olds to ruin my weekend. We Gamecock fans have not reached that point of maturity and spiritual growth, but I am delighted for Dr. Lackey! And if I can borrow his phraseology, I have reached the point where I will not allow General Convention to ruin my faith! I do not believe that it is simplistic to believe that God still plans great things for his church. Jesus wins and indeed has won. The Church of the Holy Communion is an exciting and vibrant place to worship, serve, and proclaim the Gospel, and it will continue to be so. You may all be comforted and assured of that.
Having stated my cheery optimism in our ultimate destination let me say just a word or two about the present situation. First, it is important to declare that our disagreements are not primarily about human sexuality. Have you watched the little television interview with Bishop Lawrence I sent via e-mail? If not, please do so. It is excellent. His diagnosis is that the Christian Church is losing the culture wars because we have often spoken against certain behaviors as if they occurred in isolation. The divorce rate among Christians is not statistically different from the divorce rate among non-Christians. The same goes for the percentage of abortions, infidelities, etc. etc. So when one group of Christians seeks “acceptance and accommodation” for their own behavior while denying such acceptance for the behavior of others, is it any wonder that our tone sounds preachy and hypocritical? On that front, we will never gain an inch of ground until we are honest about the reality of sin, our own compromises with Christian moral standards, and the grace of God alone which can heal. Then, and only then will our witness to the Biblical and theological principles that undergird our understanding of human sexuality make any sense to a hurting and broken world.

So, if sex isn’t precisely the problem, what is? The answer: Authority and Ecclesiology. What is the Church? Where does it get its authority? That is where the fault line actually is to be found. Do you remember the complaint and criticism of American foreign policy a few years ago (at the beginning of the war in Iraq)? You Americans have imposed your will without consideration of the thoughts and feelings of the rest of us! I think it is fair to say that whether one agrees or disagrees with the strategy, we would all have to admit that the perception was that Americans had acted unilaterally and with arrogance. Whether or not that is actually the case, I will leave to your private opinion and History to determine. But if you will, I would like to suggest that the same potentially problematic methodology is in play here. In politics, it was generally those with left-of center sympathies who were the loudest critics of unilateralism. But in church affairs, those with a decidedly left-of-center emphasis have employed precisely the same tactics that once outraged them”¦and may I say, with disastrous consequences.

Protestant Congregationalists can have all the diversity they please, because there is no “higher” authority than each local congregation. Catholic Christians are “Catholics” precisely because they believe in a Catholic or universal and common faith held by all people, at all times in all places. The American Church cannot have it both ways. We cannot claim to be a part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, and at the same time reject with callous impunity the feelings and sensibilities of the vast majority of the family”¦ or if we do, we should not be surprised if there are consequences.

So what next? A response from the Archbishop of Canterbury will surely follow. When? I could not say. +++Rowan, like God and St. Peter does not count slowness as some count slowness. But even the parousia is still expected.

Secondly, Bishop Lawrence will meet with the Deans and Standing Committee.
Thirdly, he will meet with all the Clergy on August 13 (even vacation will not prevent me from attending that!)
And finally, I am calling a Congregational Meeting for September 20 (after 10:30 Mass) so that we all may share our hopes, concerns and opinions.

In the meantime, we shall do as we ever do, celebrate the Holy Mysteries, preach the Word urgently, in season and out, love God with all our heart”¦ and try as very best we can, to love all our neighbors as ourselves.

With prayers, love and blessings,

–The Rev. Dow Sanderson is rector, Church of the Holy Communion, Charleston, South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Conflicts

Lydia Evans on General Convention 2009: Through a Glass Darkly

Just how did this darling of mainline Protestantism reach the point where she faced an all-time low in membership and a staggering budget deficit?

Inclusivity gave way to affirmation, with an emphasis on social justice to the exclusion of evangelism. In the interest of casting a wider, more inclusive net, TEC leadership began to marginalize more moderate and conservative voices, resulting in an exodus of members and a substantial decrease in diocesan giving. Ultimately, the break with centuries of Anglican tradition, coupled with a greater emphasis on trial liturgies, brought an end to common prayer. And ironically, the departure of conservative leadership led to a perception of greater theological homogeneity within the Church.

As a result, diversity of interpretation has been replaced with theological innovation. The Anglican symphony of voices has been overshadowed as Episcopal leadership seems to speak with una voce, in a bitter lament to move beyond the paternalism of B033 and forward to equality. In fact, the passage of the moratorium in response to the Windsor Report was such strong medicine to many in the Church that, in the last three years, they have begun to whine like children confined to their rooms by their global guardians. Imperialism has reared its head, with church leadership noting their significant financial support to the wider Communion. So much for Matthew’s exhortation to give in abscondito.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention