ACI believes that, on the basis of the Constitution and Canons of TEC and their historical substance and meaning, dioceses have the power to withdraw from General Convention. We do not deny that there are probably legal complications involved in exercising that power, most of which are untested. But granting this””and defending the constitutional structure that might permit a San Joaquin or Pittsburgh or Fort Worth to withdraw as well as opposing as uncanonical the means by which bishops of these dioceses were disciplined””is not the same thing as approving of specific decisions here and there.
And there is a fundamental difference between what is at stake in CP dioceses adopting the Covenant and the actions of the dioceses mentioned above: in the former case, the dioceses in question would (and should) adopt the Covenant on the basis of their powers as laid out by the Constitution and Canons of TEC itself for its own dioceses. There is no question here of “leaving” TEC, but of TEC dioceses doing what they are meant to do.
Brian seems to think that doing this would cause a free-for-all among anglican churches in the world. But what is at issue is precisely that TEC’s polity is DIFFERENT from the polity of most other anglican churches. And its “provincial” personality exists only according to this unusual, even unique, polity. That personality operates according to individual diocesan decision-making, which either coheres or does not with the collective that is designated by the General Convention. The former shapes the latter, not the the other way around in terms of “hierarchical” powers.
Of course, not everyone agrees with this interpretation of our Constitution. But our argument is that is it not up to the Instruments of Unity to interpret our Constitution and Canons on behalf of American dioceses. Over and over, the Instruments have prescinded from such a task, and on principle. Unless the constituional question is resolved amongst the members of TEC themselves, it will finally be resolved in the civil courts of the United States. That, in fact, seems to be path now being taken.
Until such time, we have two vying interpretation as to who has the “authority” to adopt the Covenant within TEC: we argue that only dioceses can do this, in any final way; others have argued that only the General Convention can do this. No other Anglican Church has in fact exhibited such a disagreement, and none is anticipated given the shape of other churches’ constitutions. Those provinces who do end up adopting the Covenant will finally have to make the decision themselves as to who they will recognize as Covenant partners amongst those American Anglicans who formally express their desire to be party to this Covenant. But nothing now prevents, from a legal point of view, TEC dioceses from such formal expressions apart from General Convention. Nothing. It is not illegal, it is not rebellious, it is not unAnglican, it is not a declaration of war, it is not impertinent: it is rather the exercise of diocesan responsibilities, with its bishop, to remain faithful (as we see it) to the Anglican commitments of its formation and vocation.
We must go further, however. Theologically, the provincial system is itself flawed, or at least many believe it is, and I have argued along these lines recently in my paper “The Organizational Basis of the Anglican Communion”. These flaws are ones that have increasingly been noted within the Communion itself, despite our generally (but not uniformly!) provincial organization. The Christian Church ought properly to be ordered, I have argued, according to what I call “pastoral synodality”, which is episocopally centered and structurally ordered along what amount therefore to diocesan lines. Cultural, regional, and political considerations ought not to define the character of these structures, but rather the persuasive pastoral witness of self-expenditure that discples of Christ provide. There are good historical and theological reasons for seeing matters this way, and the Anglican Communion itself, I would argue, has long been evolving in this direction, and away from the national-provincial structures that were pragmatically and often unthinkingly and problematically adopted in the wake of colonial expansion and then ecclesial and national independencies. I would prefer to see the present turmoil less as a simple matter of a clash of theological commitments, than as the transformational pains of a more faithful adaptation to the Church’s intrinsic order.
It so happens that TEC’s Constitution is shaped more in accord with the character of pastoral synodality than some other Anglican churches! But it is not surprising, therefore, that this very Constitution and its implications is now being subverted by those whose theological commitments demand the justification of nationalistic and/or cultural priority over the authority of particular sanctified witness that pastoral synodality represents. That is, TEC’s leadership is promoting a new understanding of the Episcopal Church, and one that contradicts our Constitution, that demands subservience to a purported cultural revelation that General Convention has arrogated to itself and the PB the power to impose. The subversion is one of political convenience.
Any attempt to defrock bishops or priests who seek to uphold our Episcopal Constitution in opposition to these subversions would be meaningless in substance, and practically so unless and until any court ruled in favor of the defrockers. CP dioceses and bishops should adopt the Covenant when its text becomes recognized, and assuming its acceptability. If other covenanting churches do not wish to receive these dioceses and bishops as full covenanting partners, that will be to their shame.
Daily Archives: September 11, 2009
“THE FOOT is still in the door, even if it is being squashed very painfully,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said last weekend when he was asked about the Church’s participation in public debate. He did not think that the Church had yet “dropped off the radar”.
Dr Williams was in dialogue with Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye and panellist on the BBC’s Have I Got News for You, at an event during “The Gathering”, a series of activities for all ages at Canterbury Cathedral.
Mr Hislop described the difficulty that Dr Williams faced with the media when people called for a moral lead from the Church. “When the Archbishop of Canterbury says anything, they say, ”˜Shut up,’” he suggested.
Dr Williams responded that “the leadership thing is a problem.” It was “a matter of trying to remember that when you’re speaking from the Church you’re trying to give some sort of critical perspective to try and show someÂthing”. The Archbishop admitted that he was “not brilliant at sound-bites”.
The Dallas Episcopal Diocese’s stockbroker-priest scandal is getting uglier.
A second clergyman is leaving his pulpit, at least temporarily ”“ and he fired a parting shot Thursday at parishioners who have accused him of misconduct related to their investments.
“I’m going to respond aggressively to these charges,” said the Rev. Raymond Jennison, adding that he is contemplating legal action. “I feel I’ve been defamed.”
Jennison said he asked Bishop James Stanton for a 90-day leave of absence from his part-time post at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Garland. The bishop, he said, granted the request without showing emotion.
Officials at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, being built on the site of the World Trade Center, said they want people worldwide to submit 9/11 images, video, and personal stories to the institution’s Web site.
The unrestricted digital archive at www.911history.org, dubbed “Making History,” permits anyone to contribute material. Offensive content may be flagged by others viewing the site. Memorial employees would determine whether it should be censored, museum president Joe Daniels said.
“Public participation is critical to building the historical record of the events of 9/11,” Daniels said at a news conference yesterday across from the construction site in lower Manhattan.
The world tends to give its fullest attention to anniversaries that end in zero or five — not eight. There will be bagpipes and drums in New York. The president will lay a wreath at the Pentagon. Most of the nation will take a collective pause and move on.
But for those like Birdwell and Haynes, directly touched by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, every anniversary is a powerful reminder of grief, and, as years go by, a kind of healing.
Birdwell was burned over 60% of his body. Today, he is retired from the Army and running a ministry for burn victims he founded with his wife.
Haynes was the Pentagon chaplain, coming up from a meeting in the basement when he heard chaos and spent the next 24 hours ministering to people who kept asking, “Why?” Today he is at Ft. Jackson, S.C., counseling combat troops.
“The key thing for those who lived it versus watched it, is the nation will recognize an anniversary,” Birdwell said. “But when I look in the mirror and see the scars, I can concentrate on the terrible nature of what happened or I can concentrate on the Lord’s grace in our lives.”
Haynes said that, despite all the evil that happened during 9/11, one of the positive things that happened as a result of the attacks was the good it brought out in people.
“It was just an outpouring of love from the American people,” he said. “Everybody was just supportive of one another. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.”
Haynes said he feels privileged having been at the Pentagon during 9/11, being able to serve those in need of spiritual support. He said that although it was a trying and tiring time, his faith helped him meet the demands.
“I believe that God gives you strength. And I believe in the power of prayer. There was a lot of prayer going on,” he said. “A lot of people just wanted to hear some positive words. I felt like that was my duty. I had to do that. I had to be strong for my fellow comrades and employees in the building. I believe that God prepares us for stuff, and I believe that God had me there for a reason.”
The taxi is blowing down FDR Drive, heading south, Ground Zero a mile or so ahead. Jay Winuk is letting a humid breeze blow in through an open window as he considers his dead brother’s legacy and the meaning of 9/11.
For eight years, he and fellow public-relations executive David Paine have worked to make the anniversary of the terrorist attacks a national moment of something other than sorrow, something other than the day, amid thousands of other tragedies, Winuk’s brother Glenn died while trying to rescue people in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Now on the cusp of a huge success, with congressional and presidential approval officially recognizing Sept. 11 as a day for people to do a good deed — any good deed — Winuk is adamant about what he doesn’t want this day to become.
“We do not want this to become a federal holiday,” he says in his soft voice. “Holidays tend to become three-day weekends, barbecues, going to the beach and white sales. We never use the word ‘holiday’ for this. It’s not about taking a day off and doing something fun. It’s a day for reflection and for action.”
Eight years later, this is an example of what Sept. 11, 2001, has become for a generation that’s too young to remember much, if anything, about that day: It is an educational DVD, a 167-page textbook, a black binder of class handouts titled “A National Interdisciplinary Curriculum.” In Room C215 at Lincoln High School, images of the collapsing Manhattan skyline are now a classroom “warm-up exercise.” “Militant,” “imploding” and “rubble” are boldfaced vocabulary words for students to memorize. Homework assignments and essay questions ensure that Sept. 11 will indeed be remembered by millions of schoolchildren, if with a new sense of detachment.
From the personal to the preserved — this is the uncomfortable transition that time requires of all great tragedies. Anthony Gardner, whose brother died on the 83rd floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower, conceived of a Sept. 11 curriculum as a tribute to the victims. He partnered with two professors in Manhattan, who partnered with an education company in San Francisco, which partnered with a cadre of researchers and copy editors, who sent the final product to a handful of test schools nationwide last week.
Remember that the more personal and detailed accounts make the most interesting reading.
Lauren Manning’s handshake is strong, almost bionic. You might think it was a byproduct of decades of playing tennis and golf. But her grip has been painfully relearned, and bolstered with more titanium pins than she cares to count.
On a hot summer day, she wore flirtatiously high-heeled sandals, creased white trousers and a long-sleeved blue blouse, leaving only feet and hands exposed. So much of her skin is still stippled with scars. “My tattoos,” she said with a rueful smile, as though they were an indelible remnant of a carefree youth. Only in her case, she noted, they cannot be “lasered off.”
On Sept. 11, 2001, Mrs. Manning ”” newly married, the mother of a 10-month-old boy, at the top of her profession on Wall Street ”” was met by a fireball as she strode into the lobby of the World Trade Center.
On a day that New York City hospitals waited to be overwhelmed by casualties, only to realize that most people either perished in the collapse of the twin towers or streamed out into the holocaust of ashes largely intact, she was among the oft-forgotten few who were severely injured yet survived.
In the face of 3,000 dead, it was easy to overlook the relative handful of people like Mrs. Manning, who was burned over 80 percent of her body and spent weeks on the brink of death, then months at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
On Monday this week, the last of the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was buried. Because no remains of Michael Ragusa, age 29, of Engine Company 279, were found and identified, his family placed in his coffin a very small vial of his blood, donated years ago to a bone-marrow clinic. At the funeral service Michael’s mother Dee read an excerpt from her son’s diary on the occasion of the death of a colleague. “It is always sad and tragic when a fellow firefighter dies,” Michael Ragusa wrote, “especially when he is young and had everything to live for.” Indeed. And what a sobering reminder of how many died and the awful circumstances in which they perished that it took until this week to bury the last one.
So here is to the clergy, the ministers, rabbis, imams and others, who have done all these burials and sought to help all these grieving families. And here is to the families who lost loved ones and had to cope with burials in which sometimes they didn’t even have remains of the one who died. And here, too, is to the remarkable ministry of the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, who played every single service for all 343 firefighters who lost their lives. The Society chose not to end any service at which they played with an up-tempo march until the last firefighter was buried.
On Monday, in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, the Society therefore played “Garry Owen” and “Atholl Highlander,” for the first time since 9/11 as the last firefighter killed on that day was laid in the earth. On the two year anniversary here is to New York, wounded and more sober, but ever hopeful and still marching.
This is a long download but an important file to take the time to listen to and watch. There are a few pieces I would have wished to do differently in terms of the choices for specific content, but the actual footage and the music is valuable.