Daily Archives: July 5, 2010

Ephraim Radner–Owning one’s actions with grace: Bishop Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Williams

….the whole question of diversity and communion more broadly has been a consistent Anglican concern, at least since the late 18th-century English bishops required of the nascent Episcopal Church that she reorder her Prayer Book (e.g. replacing those parts stricken from the Americans’ proposed version of the Apostles’ Creed), if she wished to have her ministers and bishops “recognized” through a process of continuous succession with the English Church. It was still a question when the first Lambeth Conference met and resolved that “it is necessary that [newer Anglican churches] receive and maintain without alteration the standards of faith and doctrine as now in use in [the Church of England]”, echoing in this instance TEC’s initial commitments from 1786. The bishops then explained that, nevertheless, “each province should have the right to make such adaptations and additions to the services of the Church as its peculiar circumstances may require”. Immediately, however, the bishops noted a proviso, “that no change or addition be made inconsistent with the spirit and principles of the Book of Common Prayer”, a standard that, if rather loose, at least pointed to a text. Further, the bishops insisted more concretely, “that all such changes be liable to revision by any synod of the Anglican Communion in which the said province shall be represented”. And here, obviously, “representation” is not viewed as a veto power for one’s own interests, but rather as a participatory role bounded by unitive action.

One can argue whether this Lambeth resolution was consistently followed through in a strict sense. And so, with respect to the broader diversity-unity question, the Communion has tended to address difficult issues on this score as they have arisen, rather than through a strict censorial mechanism, whether constitutional or confessional. But does this lack of a defined template that can measure when diversity becomes “too much”, or when the “recognizable becomes unrecognizable” indicate that in fact there is no means of discernment at all? Certainly not, since the dynamic of recognition ”“ unity and separation ”” has performed this task quite adequately: when one church is no longer recognized as representing other Anglicans before the world, diversity has exceeded the measure of unity.

And, indeed, if the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, based on whatever means by which he has made this determination (in this case, years of consultation) no longer recognizes TEC as representative of the Communion that ”“ for TEC and many other Anglican churches ”“ is substantively defined by their bonds with him, then it is a simple descriptive fact that TEC’s particular convictions have undercut common Communion commitments. There is not some other mechanism that awaits application to reveal this fact. Indeed, the claim made by the Presiding Bishop that a Covenant is needed first before this can be done, ”” and therefore it cannot be done now ”” only underscores TEC’s choice to move to the side of previously acknowledged means of discernment regarding appropriate Christian diversity with the Communion, and to claim a kind of Communion chaos on this matter that even more desperately seeks some kind of covenantal resolution.

Finally, what are we to make of the fact that the Presiding Bishop and other leaders of TEC have long sought to undercut the strength of local diversity within the American Church ”“ there are vast swaths of no-go zones in TEC for traditional and conservative Episcopal clergy and scholars, imposed quite consciously by bishops and the committees they lead? Or that they have now put in place disciplinary canons (the revised Title IV rules) that would give the Presiding Bishop the arguably unconstitutional power to inhibit fellow bishops without prior consultative permission? None of this suggests a stable understanding of the relationship between diversity and Christian unity, despite claims to the contrary in her Pastoral Letter. While the diversity-unity question deserves (and has received) significant Scriptural and theological scrutiny, its practical import is nonetheless contained within these kinds of “actions”, as Lund put it: one judges the character of a tree of unity by its fruit, if always somewhat retrospectively.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Identity, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

ACI–ACC Standing Committee: Five Things That Should Be Done Now

A year ago, after analyzing carefully the chaotic vote on the Trisk amendment in Jamaica, we expressed the “hope that this will further demonstrate to the Communion the corrosive effect the current conflict and the efforts of those who seek to defeat or disable the Covenant are having in the Communion.” We have to conclude, however, that in the past year this hope has not been realized and the corrosion has only spread. Many of the primary players at Jamaica are now on the Standing Committee itself and they freely denounce and try to subvert the very Covenant they are to administer. TEC’s Presiding Bishop, like Dr. Fitchett calls the Covenant “un-Anglican,” challenges the Archbishop of Canterbury’s understanding of Pentecost and dismisses canonical requirements of the Church of England as “nonsense.” In reply, a Lambeth Palace official noted pointedly that one of the statements made by the Presiding Bishop was not true. The Secretary General notes that TEC does not “share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion” and that some Communion discussions are “at the point of collapse.” The Secretary General interrupted his vacation to meet with TEC’s Executive Council at its request only to be treated rudely while he was there and ridiculed after he left. Five resignations have been reported by the ACC Standing Committee in the last six months, and the Secretary General described its last meeting as the “worst meeting” of his life.

The Communion can hardly tolerate another year like the last one. It is essential that the Communion have structures that work in the midst of ongoing crises in several churches of the Communion. The corrosive effect we spoke of a year ago must now be addressed as a matter of urgency. Five things are needed….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Instruments of Unity

In Charleston, S.C. East Side Episcopal chapel resurrects mission

The mission is twofold.

On July 7, St. John’s Chapel on Hanover Street becomes an official “mission” of the Episcopal Church, which by definition will provide ongoing financial support and direction.

But the chapel has its own mission to reach out to the East Side community, assisting girls and women especially. Since before its consecration last October, St. John’s has set itself the task of providing a safe haven for learning and worship and empowering its members to transcend the particular hardships of daily life, according to its vicar, the Rev. Dallas H. Wilson Jr.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry

Siege of Charleston was key Revolutionary War battle

For six weeks, the city held off enemy troops, fighting the longest siege of the war to preserve the freedom of a newly founded nation.

Now, thousands of people walk the site every day without even realizing it is a battlefield — the largest in South Carolina — or the role it played in the holiday the country celebrates today.

“I’m always amazed when I give tours that people don’t realize there was a major battle here in 1780,” said Carl Borick, assistant director of the Charleston Museum and author of “A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780.

“The siege is important. It was the largest battle in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., History

From NPR: Forgotten Facts from the U.S. War for Independence

Self proclaimed know-it-all A.J. Jacobs talks with Scott Simon about lost facts and heroes from the American Revolution.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Daniel Deagler: How a Founder got date wrong

ohn Adams predicted that July 2nd would be the most memorable date in American history ”” a date that “will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival … to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

He got everything right but the date. The 4th day of July 1776 is indeed the definitive date in American history. Nothing else comes close. When we hear 1776, we are invariably reminded of the Founders in Philadelphia and the noble purpose and principles of our nation’s beginning. We tend to call our national birthday not Independence Day, but the Fourth of July, and that name floods our minds with lifetime memories of flags, marching bands, red, white and blue bunting draped on picket fences, hot dogs, potato salad, friends, family and fireworks.

So, why would Adams think it would be the 2nd day of July that would burn itself indelibly into our national soul?

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., History

July 4th Open Thread

— What’s your favorite 4th of July memory?
— For what are you most thankful as an American?
— What are you praying for our country today?

(Written for the majority American readership; others please feel free to chime in; heaven knows we need your prayers–KSH)

Posted in Uncategorized