Category : — Statements & Letters: Bishops

Prayers for those affected in the Orlando Shootings

Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America: Call to Prayer

Please join me in praying for the victims, dead and wounded, and their families of the horrific shooting attack at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding: Deal graciously with those affected, in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Greg Brewer, Bishop of the TEC Diocese of Central Florida: A Reflection on the Attack on The Pulse Nightclub

I had to work to take it in. My natural reaction was to keep the horror of this event at a distance- keeping my heart safe from grief and outrage. But slowly, and as an answer to prayer, the sadness, the weariness, the empty silence of mourning poured in. Someone said that the deeper the grief, the fewer the words. That’s how I feel. Words of condolence have little value in the face of this carnage. For right now, all we can do is grieve, pray and support the families of those who have died the best we can.

I will leave it to others to look for someone to blame. Instead ”“ right now ”“ all I want to do is to stand beside, pray, and love as best I can. There will be time later raise questions about security, gun violence, and homophobic rage. There is no justification for this atrocity. I categorically condemn what has happened. Better solutions must be found.

What I do believe is that love is stronger than death. The promise of resurrection brings courage, and the promise of “a new heaven and a new earth” should fuel all of God’s people to help build a better world.

“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Vatican: Pope Francis decries Orlando massacre and prays for victims

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops

Persecution: An interview with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali

Via Anglican Mainstream we discovered this video interview with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. It’s 28 minutes long. He focuses on how persecution is escalating beyond persecution of individuals and churches to attempted genocide of entire communities and ethnic groups.

Here’s the link should the embedded video not play properly.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Resources: Audio-Visual

Diocese of South Carolina Convention – Links Roundup

Here is a list of recent stories with news, sermons, resolutions, etc. related to this past weekend’s convention of the Diocese of South Carolina:

Featured Entries:
The Diocese of South Carolina Formalizes Wordwide Anglican Ties at 2014 Convention

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Address to the 223rd Diocese of South Carolina Convention

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Message Regarding Resolution R-3 for the Upcoming SC Convention

Other Posts:
A Whole lot of Pictures from the South Carolina 2014 Convention (#223)
Wonderfully Encouraging Camp St. Christopher Video from SC Convention
John Barr’s South Carolina Convention Sermon, “I am the Door”
Kendall Harmon’s recent SC Convention Presentation on the Jerusalem Declaration
(Local paper) Diocese of South Carolina accepts provisional oversight from Global South primates
Proposed Resolutions for the Diocese of South Carolina Convention upcoming this Fri/Sat
More Detailed Information about the upcoming Diocese of South Carolina Convention

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Resources & Links, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Featured (Sticky), Sermons & Teachings

GAFCON Chairman's Pastoral Statement

To the Faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and friends
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council

29th January 2014

”˜”¦by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God’ 2 Corinthians 4:2

…We cannot therefore allow our time and energy to be sapped by debating that which God has already clearly revealed in the Scriptures. Earlier this week, the English College of Bishops met to reflect upon the ”˜Pilling Report’, commissioned to reflect on how the Church of England should respond to the question of same sex relationships. Its key recommendations were that informal blessings of such unions should be allowed in parish churches and that a two year process of ”˜facilitated conversation’ should be set up to address strongly held differences within the Church on this issue.

While we should be thankful that the College of Bishops did not adopt the idea of services for blessing that which God calls sin, it did unanimously approve the conversation process and this is deeply troubling. There has been intensive debate within the Anglican Communion on the subject of homosexuality since at least the 1998 Lambeth Conference and it is difficult to believe that the bishop’s indecision at this stage is due to lack of information or biblical reflection. The underlying problem is whether or not there is a willingness to accept the bible for what it really is, the Word of God.

At Lambeth 1998, the bishops of the Anglican Communion, by an overwhelming majority, affirmed in Resolution 1.10 that homosexual relationships were not compatible with Scripture, in line with the Church’s universal teaching through the ages, but the Pilling Report effectively sets this aside. The conversations it proposes are not to commend biblical teaching on marriage and family, but are based on the assumption that we cannot be sure about what the bible says.

I cannot therefore commend the proposal by the College of Bishops that these ”˜facilitated conversations ”˜ should be introduced across the Communion. This is to project the particular problems of the Church of England onto the Communion as a whole. As with ”˜Continuing Indaba’, without a clear understanding of biblical authority and interpretation, such dialogue only spreads confusion and opens the door to a false gospel because the Scriptures no longer function in any meaningful way as a test of what is true and false…

Read it all

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Featured (Sticky), GAFCON II 2013, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Diocese of Europe: Message to Norwegian bishops

Bishop David [Hamid]’s letter says:- Dear Bishop Helga, dear Bishop Ole

On behalf of the clergy and people of the Church of England Diocese in Europe I want to send this message to express our sorrow and to convey our deepest condolences to our sisters and brothers in Norway, following yesterday’s massacre in the centre of Oslo and on the nearby island of Utoya. We are aware that there has not been such an act of violence to strike your nation since World War II, and that in a nation of just under 5 million people, a tragedy of this dimension will affect the whole population. That the gunman sought to attack the nation’s youth, gathered to think and reflect together about issues concerning the future of the country, adds to the pain of this immense tragedy….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe, Norway, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(ACNS) A statement from the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion in Japan

On the 11th of March at 2:46pm, the biggest earthquake ever to hit Japan struck just off the coast of the Tohoku region. This caused a tsunami and fires that brought massive devastation to a very wide area. This unimaginably strong earthquake triggered an explosion at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear reactor. The people living in the area around that and the No. 2 reactor have been evacuated. The stories and images constantly broadcast by the media have left people lost for words, unable to describe the sheer scale of the unbelievable devastation caused by the earthquake, tsunami and fires.

We see homes devastated, whole towns that were swallowed by the tsunami, and houses that continue to burn because fire fighters are unable to reach both the properties and the people who were the victims of this catastrophe. With hearts filled with grief and helplessness we see people who are mourning their lost loved ones and others who search tirelessly for missing family members. There are so many who have lost their homes and possessions. Towns and villages were obliterated by the tsunami, everything was gone in a second.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Asia, Japan

Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves explains her absence from the recent Los Angeles Episcopal Consecrations

For myself personally, I rejoiced at Mary and Diane’s election. I would have been happy to get just one more woman bishop in California – but two! It was like Christmas! I knew though that many did not share this joy, and that included people in our partnership and in my diocese. After weeks of prayer and conversation I realized I had an opportunity to make no one particularly happy, but importantly to act in a way where the integrity of everyone’s deeply held beliefs – and their very beings – could be honored so we might remain at the table. In our system, it is consents that allow a bishop to be ordained. I consented to Mary’s election without hesitation. The laying on of hands makes a bishop, and in other provinces where there is no consent process like ours, this is a very key symbol. It took awhile, and as +Michael said, I did not come easily to the decision of not attending on Saturday. But the truth is, Mary and Diane had plenty of bishops to get the job done, and my hands were not needed there on May 15th. They were needed to reach other places and so I did.

As people have emailed me or blogged their anger and concern it seems that people think I was pressured by my partner bishops. Indeed, they made a request – as did many in the Anglican Communion of our entire church – for us not to consent or consecrate Mary. While listening is an important part of our partnership, we respect one another’s autonomy. Hopefully we the body of Christ all make prayerful decisions with one another in mind. You may not like the decision I made, but let me be clear, it was mine to make, not +Michael’s or +Gerard’s.

My gesture of not attending on Saturday was received graciously by both partner bishops, and we will just have to see what the future holds for our unusual and extraordinary relationship.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology

Bishop Shannon Johnston of Virginia on what Resolution D025 Means (from the backup blog July 21)

Kendall posted this on the backup blog, but it hasn’t yet been posted here. — elves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYJyG1PqHD8

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

A Letter from Bishop Shannon Johnston of Virginia on General Convention 2009

Resolution C056 calls for gathering theological and liturgical resources with respect to offering the Church’s blessing for same-gender unions, which will be brought to the next General Convention in 2012 for study and consideration. The fact is that several states have legalized gay and lesbian unions, and others will likely follow suit. This resolution responds to that reality. It also allows bishops the exercise of personal discretion in providing for a “generous pastoral response” for gay and lesbian persons in the Church. I voted in favor of this resolution because I am convinced that it is both realistic and right. Monogamous same-gender unions are now a reality, and we should provide for the Church’s response, with blessing or without. The resolution allows for either. Bishops must also have the ability to respond to what is actually true in all the various locales and contexts in which this Church ministers. It is important to remember, however, that no official rites of blessing that wholly sanction same-gender unions have been approved for the Church. In fact, it would take years to develop such rites.

It is not so much the actual content of these two resolutions that may be problematic. The potential for difficulty follows from interpretation of the resolutions. The plain reality is that very little is actually changed by either one of the resolutions in themselves. Both statements address what is already true in the life and witness of the Episcopal Church. The Convention is overwhelmingly of the mind that the Episcopal Church will be the stronger for the realistic and clear perspective of these resolutions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Gene Robinson Describes some of the Internal Workings of the Same Sex Blessings Resolution

Then, the Prayer Book and Litury legislative committee brought to the floor of the House of Bishops (where such legislation originates) a resolution that called for the development of liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender unions, along with a generous flexibility in the use of rites in those civil jurisdictions where marriage equality is already (or may become) a reality. The debate was vigorous and positive. It looked as if we were going to move forward. Then a bishop rose to propose that legislating this issue was counterproductive. It was moved to send this to a small working group to come up with a “better way.” This motion passed, and I feared that this move was an attempt to get us to do nothing, or worse, to make our own statement as bishops, completely sidestepping the fact that we were meeting, not as a lone House of Bishops, but as the General Convention, which includes laity and clergy.

In an effort to forestall this move, I signed up to be a part of the small working group (Presiding Bishop Katharine had invited any who wanted to be a part of the group to volunteer). What followed was perhaps the most signficant “moment” of the Convention for me.

We met late into the night on Wednesday night. Some 25 bishops representing the entire spectrum of opinion, from the most conservative to the most liberal. On Wednesday night, using the style of the African Indaba process from the Lambeth Conference, we each simply spoke about where we were on this issue. NEVER in my six years as a bishop have I experienced the holy speaking and holy listening I experienced that night. Each bishop in turn spoke their truth — the pain and difficulty they’ve experienced in their dioceses as a result of the controversy, the personal burdens they’ve shouldered, the pain of gay and lesbian people in their dioceses who are not sure whether they are valued as full members of this church and their pastoral needs as children of God. Each spoke of what they needed to go home with. Each was honest and vulnerable about what they could give up for the good of the whole. It is hard to describe the vulnerability and honesty with which each bishop contributed.

We took all this to our prayers and to bed, and returned at 7:00 the next morning to decide what all this meant for the resolution before us. The vulnerability and honesty continued in this working session. What resulted was a resolution to bring back to the House that represented that group’s “best way forward,” although there was no attempt to lock anyone into voting for it or to commit to every word.

At our afternoon session, the resolution was presented, along with a brief account of our precious time together. Then we talked about the resolution at our tables of eight, for close to half an hour. Then the debate began. There were a few amendments offered — some passed, some failed. But the resolution we had crafted remained reasonably intact.

Just as we were nearly ready to vote, a bishop rose and proposed “discharging” the resolution (in effect, NOT voting on it and making it “go away”). This move to not deal with the issue failed by a substantial (3 to 1) margin. It seemed clear that the Bishops knew that we could not duck out of this one. A roll call was requested, so no bishop could hide behind a voice vote. The time had come to declare ourselves. When the resolution came to a vote, it passed by a whopping 3.5 to 1 margin. Interestingly, some of the bishops who had voted to make the whole issue go away, when finally having to vote, voted “yes!” There were some bishops who voted “yes” who had NEVER voted “yes” on any gay-affirmative resolution before. This vote was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone seemed stunned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

The Bishop of Dallas Writes His Clergy about General Convention 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in the Diocese of Dallas,

I write to you in response to the actions of the recent General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in Anaheim, California. Some in the diocese will be pleased with much that happened, while others will view with alarm some of the resolutions passed.

I feel compelled to speak a word to the Diocese of Dallas concerning three actions in particular. The first two gathered the most press attention and later comment. Members of our Diocese as well as Anglicans throughout the Communion are particularly concerned about these actions, which took the form of resolutions.

The Communion at large has been looking for a clear word from The Episcopal Church as to whether we will continue to honor the moratoria on developing rites for the blessing of same sex unions and consenting to the election to the episcopate of a person living in a same sex relationship. These moratoria were first suggested in the Windsor Report of October 2004 and were occasioned by the consecration of a bishop in The Episcopal Church living in a non-celibate same-sex relationship. A pledge, known as B033, to “exercise restraint” in giving further consents to such persons was adopted by the Convention of 2006. And while the 2006 Convention did not declare a moratorium on blessing rites for same-sex unions, it nevertheless turned away several resolutions calling for development of such rites. The Primates of the Anglican Communion took note of these actions with gratitude at their meeting in 2007 (Dar es Salaam), but requested greater clarity. That clarity would come in 2009.

It is clear from the resolutions passed, as well as from the floor debate in both Houses, that it is the intention of the leadership of The Episcopal Church that the moratoria requested by the Communion are no longer binding. Although a number of commentators, among them bishops, have maintained that the moratoria themselves were not specifically addressed, it is clear that both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops view their previous pledge as cancelled.
It was the stated desire of both Bishops and Deputies that this General Convention speak clearly to the Communion concerning “the reality of where this church is.”

Resolution D025 reads (in part): “That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call [gay and lesbian persons in lifelong committed relationships], to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church” and further declares that it is competent to deal with these calls in its own “discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church.”

Resolution C056 reads (in part): “That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th General Convention”.

While it is true that neither of these resolutions deal explicitly with repudiations of either previous actions of the Convention or of specific requests made of our Church, it is also quite true that their intent is plain. The 2006 resolution had called for restraint on giving consent to the consecration of any bishop “whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.” That concern is now completely absent in D025, and the only criteria in making such decisions are entirely internal. As for C056, the operative word is “develop.” The plain sense here is to “create,” “produce,” or “promote.”

C056 also resolves that bishops “may provide generous pastoral response” to meet the needs of same-sex couples, and this, before providing any theological support for the rites themselves. This appears to give a “green light” to local, unilateral action, and is already being so interpreted by a number of bishops.

Taken together, this is de facto a repudiation of the repeated requests directed to us by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates of the Communion, and the Anglican Consultative Council. It is also, I would argue, a repudiation of a previous actions of our own General Convention, in 1991, which mandated a “pan-Anglican” and ecumenical consultation on these matters, because “these potentially divisive issues which should not be resolved by the Episcopal Church on its own.” (1991-B020)

Although these resolutions deal specifically with matters concerning same-sex relationships and persons living within them, I want to remind you of the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury in his paper following our 2006 General Convention (“The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today”):

“And, to make clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about ‘inclusion’, this is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against – and so it is a question about how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures.”

There are many gay and lesbian members of our congregations. Some long for the day when the Church will recognize and bless their relationships. Others among them do not. Add to these a number of people who are considering whether they can even remain in The Episcopal Church any longer. Ministry in these circumstances can be agonizing indeed. The churches of the Diocese of Dallas will, I trust, continue to be a place where all are welcome. We all kneel on level ground before the cross of Christ.

But the larger question is what it means for “the Church” to make these decisions: is it right or good, or even possible, for a congregation, a diocese, or even a province of the Universal Church to make its own way and claim to give “the Church’s blessing” ”“ or God’s? Discerning the mind of Christ surely must mean doing this together. The Christian faith is something we receive, not legislate. Our own Book of Common Prayer recognizes that “the bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. And Holy Scripture commends
it to be honored by all people.” (BCP, p. 423)

In the meantime, we need to be clear about where “we are” as a Diocese:

  • The Diocese of Dallas will continue to hold up and proclaim the apostles’ teaching that is the ground of Christian fellowship, and the foundational promise of our Baptismal vows.
  • We will continue to stand with the larger Church in affirming the primacy of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage and the call to holiness of life.
  • We will not consent to the election of a bishop living in a same-sex relationship, and we will not allow the blessings of same-sex relationships in this diocese.
  • We will continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, engage in mission at home and abroad, plant new congregations and make disciples of our Lord.

These commitments are in keeping with the historic teaching of the Holy Scriptures as held by the vast majority of the Anglican Communion, and, for that matter, the Church throughout the centuries.

I mentioned earlier a third significant resolution passed by the General Convention. Resolution D020 “invites” the dioceses and congregations of the Episcopal Church to study the proposed Anglican Covenant and “to consider the Anglican Covenant proposed draft as a document to inform their understanding of and commitment to our common life in the Anglican Communion.” I commend this study to our churches and I intend to give a prominent place at our Diocesan Convention in October to such a consideration.

Bishop Lambert and I will be conferring with the Standing Committee and the Clergy of this Diocese on these matters. In the meantime, please know that we will continue to stand with the larger Communion and the historic Church in upholding the apostolic faith and fellowship.

It is imperative that we as a Diocese commit ourselves to one another and work together for the building up of God’s kingdom. At no time in the life of this Church has it been so critical for the community to stand together to carry the message of the Good News of Christ to a broken world. We cannot live in isolation from one another but must find ways to work with and support one another in our common mission and ministry. Now is not the time to “run for cover” but to step out in the name of Jesus Christ and continue to worship, work and witness for the glory of God.

Faithfully,

–(The Rt. Rev.) James M. Stanton is Bishop of Dallas

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Peter Lee (Virginia) on General Convention 2009

From here:

Dear Friends,

The most lasting impact of the 76th General Convention is likely to be an increase of initiative and energy in local congregations and dioceses. The sharp budget cuts in the three-year budget of the General Church will have a painful impact on some faithful staff members, but will shift the focus for mission to the local church, rather than the local church waiting for initiatives from the General Church.

The emphasis on local ministry is a proper expression of the principle of subsidiarity, whereby mission should occur at the level closest to the people who are called to engage in that mission.

Local mission is also enhanced by resolutions which the secular press has incorrectly interpreted as necessarily damaging our worldwide relationship and as following the agenda of a gay and lesbian lobby. Instead, what the Convention did is to reaffirm that the ordination process is under the control of local bishops and dioceses, while stressing that access to that process is open to all baptized persons.

The Convention also invited local churches and dioceses (as well as churches elsewhere in the Communion) to collect liturgical and theological resources regarding same-gender blessings. Recognizing the unique pastoral needs of those dioceses in jurisdictions where same-gender marriage or civil partnerships are legal, the Convention affirmed that a generous pastoral response is needed.

The emphasis on the local did not deter the Convention from adopting both a denominational health plan for the whole Church and a mandatory lay employee pension plan, both of which, in the long run, will strengthen the local church.

Faithfully yours,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Peter James Lee is Bishop of Virginia

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

The Bishop of Mississippi Writes About General Convention 2009

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury

We do not concur with any action taken that would be interpreted by the larger Communion as divisive, dismissive of our larger Anglican Communion or schismatic. The outgrowth of the decisions of the General Convention has yet to be ultimately determined as to its impact on our common bonds of affection that we should all share, and honor, as part of the worldwide Anglican family.

Some will clearly share the assessment of His Grace, Bishop N.T. Wright that The Episcopal Church has, by its most recent actions, chosen to “walk apart.” It would be our hope that if you share that assessment, that you would also share Bishop’s Wright’s counsel to “”¦not forget the ”˜Communion Partner’ bishops, who doggedly loyal to their church, and to the Windsor Report as expressing the mind of the wider Communion, voted against the current resolution. Nor should we forget the many parishes within revisionist dioceses (and, for that matter, worshippers within revisionists parishes) who take the same stance,” (The Times, 15 July, 2009). Again, let us categorically state, that we believe our ties to both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion must remain solid and unfettered by any action, resolution or statement that would in any way further tear the very fragile fabric that is now our Anglican family; and therefore would not support any such action, resolution or statement.

Lastly, we reaffirm our pledge of support for the unfolding Covenant process and it is our hope that Part IV of the Ridley Draft will soon be revisited and approved as a pathway for not simply Provinces, but Bishops, Dioceses and individual parishes to renew their commitment not only to the Anglican Communion, but to those vital pillars that in the end, draw us all together, rather than cause further division.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

A Transcript of Bishop Mark Lawrence's Anglican TV Interview

As we’ve spread the Anglican understanding of Christianity around the world we’ve been slow to put into place structures that sufficiently govern the spread of Anglicanism. With the spread of the Internet and intercontinental travel, we find ourselves playing catch-up with the “flat world” and as we’re playing catch-up there’s those who want to hold on to old methodologies of government that just are not sufficient for the 21st century. My contention is that what we are in the midst of right now ”“ what is at stake ”“ is not just Anglicanism in North America; it is Anglicanism throughout the world.

I have not been and we in South Carolina do not see ourselves as somehow or another reforming the Episcopal Church. The landscape of Anglicanism is shifting all the time and this General Convention will shift it once again. What is at issue now is the survival of the Communion, and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform people’s lives rather than the gospel of inclusivity that is also aggressively being spread. And so as I look at our role in the Diocese of South Carolina, we are to work for the shaping of Anglicanism in the 21st century, and we need to find and remain and stay in that place that will give us the most leverage in doing that.

In the domestic landscape you have two entities. You have TEC [The Episcopal Church] and the Anglican Church in Canada, which from my perspective is promulgating the gospel of inclusivity that would displace the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what we know of as the core doctrine of the Christian faith. That entity would export, or would like to export this uncatholic teaching about Christ and His Church. Then you have in ACNA, a confederation of people that (speaking for myself), I do not see a fullness of catholic ecclesiology there. There seem to be some groups that are so wedded to their personal identity (even though their personal identity may have only been around five or ten years) that there is a hesitancy to surrender that identity. So what we have almost is a codified (and I hate to use the word) schism that looks of prenuptial agreements: “I’ll enter into this but I’m not going to surrender myself fully to one another.” Thomas Brown described [them] centuries ago: Those who schism with others who lightly bond among themselves. What those in ACNA have to get over is that unwillingness for mutual accountability, surrender and responsibility.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

The Bishop of Atlanta on General Convention 2009

Human sexuality – Several dozen resolutions on some aspect of human sexuality were submitted to the Convention by dioceses, parishes, and individuals across the church. The Convention, working through its legislative committees on World Mission and Prayer Book and Liturgy, combined most of these resolutions into two.

The first of these — Resolution D-025 — has been widely reported in the press. The press coverage has essentially said that the Episcopal Church has approved the ordination of gay and lesbian persons. Well, no, this Convention took no such action. What this resolution did was simply to reaffirm our own Canons. Back in 1994, the General Convention created a Canon that opened access to the ordination processes of the church — for all holy orders — to all baptized persons. This has been our canonical position for fifteen years and it is consistent with the baptismal theology of the Book of Common Prayer. Discernment for holy orders is serious business and should be. In the Episcopal Church we take such discernment with the utmost of seriousness. There is no “right” to ordination for anyone. Our Canons are clear that all baptized persons are to have access to discernment processes. Whether any persons actually gets ordained is a much more complicated set of questions. To summarize: the principal thing this resolution does is simply to affirm that when our church makes decisions on who can and cannot be ordained, we will discern those decisions in accordance with our Canons. The Canons on these matters have not changed since 1994.

Some will ask, does this ignore the request of the Windsor Report for a moratorium on the election and consent to gay or lesbian partnered priests to the episcopate? Some would say so; I don’t think so. I don’t find the moratorium concept at all helpful, but unless and until a diocese of the church elects a gay partnered person to the episcopate, and the church gives its consent, there is, practically speaking, a moratorium in effect. And again, the only thing this Convention has said is that when any such decision comes before the church, the decision will be made according to our own Canons. The Convention simply clarified that “state of the question” to those who have been asking. The Convention changed nothing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Anglican TV Interviews South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence about General Convention 2009

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Ted Gulick saying General Convention 2009 did Not do what in Fact They did

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Epting Says General Convention did not Do what in Fact They did

3. Did not repeal B033 (last Convention’s resolution which asks bishops and standing committees to exercize “restraint” in consenting to the election of any bishop whose “manner of life” would cause additional strains on the Anglican Communion.)…

5. Authorized the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to work on designing rites for the blessing of same gender unions which would need to be brought back to the next General Convention for possible authorization in “trial use.”

6. Did not authorize any “public rites” for such blessings at the present time. The point of working on these for the future is so that we can get our theology right on these to know what we are actually doing as a church. This is crucial because the society is moving so quickly toward “gay marriage” and the church needs to be clear about what we think we are going when, and if, we bless such civil unions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Still More from the Bishop of Alabama on General Convention 2009

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

The Bishop of Texas on General Convention 2009

Both resolutions (DO25 and CO56) will, I am most certain, place strain on the Anglican Communion. Reactions I’ve received support this belief. However, we need to give the communion time to respond, and we need to listen to our Archbishop as he speaks to us about his thoughts and reflections on the events of General Convention.

My [no] votes represent where I believe the majority of our diocese is right now; though I know it does not reflect the totality of who we are as a community. Press releases, news stories, and magazine articles can never carry the fullness of that reality, nor can they capture my desire to be shepherd to all my sheep in the diocese.

We remain part of the Episcopal Church. That’s my stance. I also intend to maintain the same balance as Don Wimberly, that we also remain active, constituent, members of the Anglican Communion.

I am committed to the Windsor Report recommendations and process which include a moratoria on blessings and elections of partnered gay clergy to the office of bishop.

I am committed to the Covenant and a process.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

The Bishop of Northern Indiana on General Convention 2009

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for the many expression of encouragement and prayer over the past two weeks. General Convention is a long, exhausting, and “stretching” experience, and your support has been both a blessing and a source of strength. The Latin term is sine qua non (without which not). In other words, I couldn’t do it without you and your prayers.

Your General Convention deputies – the Rev. Ben Jones, the Rev. Richard Lightsey, the Rev. Dan Martins, the Rev. Henry Randolph, the Rev. Carolyn Jones (who, as an alternate, replaced Fr. Richard during the last two days of Convention), Pam Harris, Charlotte Strowhorn, Christopher Wells, and Scott Wright – were a superb and prayerful team. It was a joy and a privilege for me to serve with them.

In my first report, written just before the opening gavel, I predicted that human sexuality would dominate General Convention’s deliberations. That turned out to be the case. Two questions were particularly pressing: Should we in some fashion overturn a resolution from the last Convention (B033) which asked for restraint in ordaining persons as bishops whose manner of life would pose a challenge to the unity of the Anglican Communion? And should we authorize liturgies for the blessing of same sex unions? These questions did not exist in isolation. The Anglican Communion itself – through the four Instruments of Communion (the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lambeth Conference; the Anglican Consultative Council; and the Primates’ Meeting) – has asked the Episcopal Church to effect a moratorium in these areas until a new Anglican consensus emerges.
The debate surrounding these questions was both intense and respectful. Bishops and deputies listened carefully to one another as we struggled with painful and sometimes divisive issues in which no obvious middle way seemed possible. In the end, General Convention passed two resolutions regarding the questions before us.

Resolution D025 deals with the matter of ordination. While it does not directly repeal B033 from 2006, D025 clearly implies that the church has moved to a new place: “Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships [committed same-sex partnerships] have responded to God’s call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst; and be it further Resolved, That the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.” “Any ordained ministry” would include, of course, the ministry of bishops. I believe that this resolution in essence rejects one of the moratoria requested of us by the Anglican Communion. I do not believe that any other interpretation is possible from the plain sense of its words.

On the matter of the blessing of same-sex unions, General Convention also moved away from a Communion-requested moratorium on authorizing liturgies. Resolution C056 asks the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to “collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for such blessings and “report to the 77th General Convention” in 2012. The resolution goes to say that “bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church.” In other words, as a kind of interim step until liturgies have been formally approved by General Convention, bishops may go ahead and authorize liturgical forms for the blessing of same-sex unions. Again, this resolution clearly steps away from a Communion-requested moratorium.

Both resolutions passed with overwhelming majorities (D025, with a margin of 99-45, with two abstentions; and C056, 104-30, also with two abstentions). In both cases, I voted with the minority. I did so with sadness. Gay and lesbian Christians are beloved members of our diocese, and I am grateful to be their chief pastor. I’m profoundly aware that my vote may be painful to many of them. And so, in explaining the reason for my vote, I must also – and rightly – reaffirm my love and care for them.

The Windsor Report, a 2004 document produced by the Lambeth Commission appointed at the request of the Primates, ends with these sober words: “There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together” (Sec. 157). I am deeply concerned that the actions of the 76th General Convention may represent a significant step in that tragic direction. The Episcopal Church, at its highest decision-making level, has turned its back on the pleas of the Anglican Communion and has pressed forward when the Communion urges restraint.

Yet I write these sober words with a sense of hope. After the vote on C056, a group of bishops, about twelve of them, gathered to write a statement in which we could together affirm our dual commitment: to remain loyal members of the Episcopal Church, obedient to its constitution and canons; and to remain at the same time loyal members of the Anglican Communion, in communion with the historic See of Canterbury. Together we drafted the Anaheim Statement, and one of our number – Bishop Gary Lillibridge of West Texas – read it to the whole House of Bishops on behalf of all of us. Our statement was received by our colleagues, particularly those who had voted in favor of D025 and C056, with respect and appreciation. So far, about 34 bishops have joined us in signing the statement. I’ve appended it to the conclusion of this report.

Many bishops told me how grateful they are that those who oppose General Convention’s actions are willing to remain engaged and to make their convictions known. Perhaps the clarity achieved at this convention, as painful as it is for those on the minority side, will help us to speak with honesty and integrity to one another, and help us as well to find a way to honor the conscience of all. I am also hopeful that a way can be found, for those dioceses of the Episcopal Church which agree to the Communion’s requests, to remain in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Archbishop Rowan himself, in a letter written to Bishop John Howe in 2007, said: “Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of unity with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.” The Diocese of Northern Indiana is on record as embracing the Windsor Report and the moratoria requested of us by the Instruments of Communion. Our commitment is to say Yes to the Episcopal Church and to sharing in its life and ministry – and Yes to the Anglican Communion and a Catholic vision of worldwide, interdependent life.

Clearly, General Convention did much more than deal with human sexuality and Anglican Communion issues. Among other things, we passed a canonical change that will inaugurate a churchwide health insurance plan. Up until now, each diocese has been left on its own to negotiate health insurance for clergy and lay employees. Because the pool of employees is thus small, costs have been staggering. By making the entire Episcopal Church a single unit, we hope to bring down the cost. This will not happen overnight; but the convention’s action is the first step to reversing a difficult trend.

Second, General Convention approved a sweeping revision of Title IV in the canons, the section dealing with clergy discipline. In essence, the new section provides a disciplinary process that has greater possibility of a pastoral (rather than simply a legal) response when, most painfully, discipline is required.

Third, General Convention passed a resolution calling for extensive outreach to our Spanish-speaking neighbors – outreach that would include both church planting and the strengthening of existing Hispanic congregations. Our own experience with St. Thomas’, Plymouth (la Iglesia de Santo Tomas) shows us that Episcopalians can indeed do fruitful evangelistic work among Hispanics, and I am excited that the the church on a national level will be making this an important priority.

Fourth, General Convention wrestled with a significant shortfall in the Episcopal Church’s budget for the next triennium – about $23,000,000 less than what was received in the previous three years. Programs have been drastically cut, many positions eliminated at the Episcopal Church Center in New York, and a general belt-tightening is required at all levels. The Joint Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance did heroic work throughout convention in dealing with these difficult realities.

During August and early September, your General Convention deputies and I will be holding a series of regional meetings around the diocese, to give you a chance to hear from us and to ask questions. As soon as the details of those meetings have been worked out, we’ll place the information on this website. Meanwhile, please join with me in praying for the church:

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP, p. 528)

–The Rt. Rev. Edward Little is Bishop of Northern Indiana

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

Stephen Noll Responds to Bishop of Durham Tom Wright's article in the (London) Times

As for Bp. Wright’s concern about Anglican Church in North America, I am sure, knowing the Anglican Communion hierarchy, that there will be no rush to enfranchise ACNA or disenfranchise the Communion Partners remaining in TEC. But is it too much to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to reaffirm the Primates’ call at Dar es Salaam for the cessation on lawsuits for all orthodox in TEC and ACNA on threat of immediately withdrawing his recognition?

The big question for the days ahead is whether the two streams of the orthodox movement ”“ which had coalesced in the Anglican Communion Network in North America and the Global South coalition ”“ will begin to come together again. I believe their reunion, not at first political but spiritual and practical, is devoutly to be wished.

Let me point out two positive indicators for why this can happen….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Anglican TV Interviews Albany Bishop Bill Love

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Alabama bishop defends Episcopal Church statement in support of ordaining homosexuals

Many observers, both conservative and liberal, say the 2006 moratorium has been essentially overturned by the new resolution.

[Henry] Parsley disagrees.

“My view is that it doesn’t overturn the resolution from three years ago,” Parsley said. “It reminds the larger church where we are in terms of valuing the gifts of all our members.

“This does not repeal the moratorium; it says we’re open to all people. It affirms our relationships with the Anglican Communion and acknowledges that there are many who don’t agree. It’s very respectful. We continue to seek the mind of Christ.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

Bishop Mark Lawrence Writes to the Clergy of the Diocese Regarding General Convention 2009

I will be meeting with the Standing Committee, Deans and others after my return late Wednesday evening. I will be clarifying my thoughts and seeking greater clarity from the Lord in the intervening days. Please keep me in your prayers as you will be in mine. God has prepared us as a diocese to address this hour in the life of our Church””of that I am confident. It is not a time for alarm. It is a time for thoughtful and steady resolve. We face significant challenges. They are no longer the challenges of tomorrow they are the challenges of today. This cannot be brushed aside as if it is of little consequence.

There is an increasingly aggressive displacement within this Church of the gospel of Jesus Christ’s transforming power by the “new” gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity which seeks to subsume all in its wake. It is marked by an increased evangelistic zeal and mission that hints at imperialistic plans to spread throughout the Communion. This calls for a bold response. It is of the utmost importance that we find more than just a place to stand. Indeed, it is imperative that we find a place to thrive; a place that is faithful, relational and structural””and so we shall!

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

How the "Anaheim Statement" Bishops Voted

This may cross over into editorializing which we elves try not to do. But posting the roll call tables below, we couldn’t help but be struck by something.

We have extracted the voting information for the 27 bishops who are known to have signed the “Anaheim Statement,” from the larger table with all the roll call votes which is posted in the entry below. It seems very strange to us elves that a full one-third of these signatories claim to “reaffirm their commitment” to uphold the Windsor Process moratoria, while they voted FOR one or both resolutions (D025 and C056) that indicate TEC’s intention to breach those moratoria.

Remember, as per all our caveats in the entry below, the vote tallies here are unofficial. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, but the C056 data in particular is still off by two votes (among the full 136 bishops who voted).

You can read the full text of the Anaheim Statement here

It includes the line:
* We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.

Re-read D025 and C056 for yourselves, and please explain to this feeble-minded elf how one can have voted YES for D025 and C056 and signed this reaffirmation. We’re clueless.

–Elfgirl

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Data, Windsor Report / Process

UNOFFICIAL Tallies of Bishops' Roll Call Votes at GC09, and Anaheim Statement Signatories

Thanks to the work of a number of T19 readers, led by Karen B., here is an unofficial tally of all the Bishops’ roll call votes from GC09.

It includes the roll call votes for:

Resolution D025 (basically overturning B033 which urged restraint on consecration of further non-celibate homosexual bishops, etc.)

Rowe Amendment to discharge, (i.e. “kill without voting”) Resolution C056

Resolution C056 (allowing development of SSB liturgies and “generous pastoral response”)

— Also, the currently known signatories to the “Anaheim Statement” are noted.

The listing is based on vote by vote review of the audio files of the roll calls for D025 and C056, and also draws heavily on the Rev. George Conger’s report for the Living Church. (however the tally does not exactly match Conger’s tally. There are 3 or 4 differences based either on what was heard on audio, or other published reports of how a bishop voted.) There are detailed notes and links to sources at the bottom of the table.

Note: the totals for D025 match the published totals. However the totals for the Rowe Amendment and C056 are slightly off by 2-3 votes. There are several votes which are impossible to hear clearly in the audio files. So these tallies should be used with caution, although they are believed to be 99% accurate.

Please send Kendall or us elves any corrections. We will of course post the official tallies from TEC once they are released.

You can download/view the PDF version of the roll call tallies table here

We’re going to try to post the full table here on the blog, but that may be difficult. Check back in a little while.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Data, Windsor Report / Process

The Bishop of Arkansas Saying General Convention did not do what In Fact They did

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention

The Bishop of Arkansas Speaking in Favor of D025

From here:

One thing of which I stand in awe is how the early church was able to put into words God’s revelation of the Trinity and develop a creedal language 1600 years ago that has lasted down to the current age.

The revelation and the creedal language tell us of a Trinity that is mysteriously and intimately intertwined, with an unbounded reciprocal love. We do not understand its complexity, but we do see the results of that love; it is an outpouring of love for all of creation, especially an outpouring of love toward humanity, a love whose ultimate expression is in the love of Christ for humankind.

Likewise, the love of one human being for another, as creatures created in the image of God, is a complex and mysterious thing. Such love can take the form of friendship, or of what the New Testament calls agape, or of sexual love, to name but a few examples. Just as with the reciprocal love of the Trinity, we rarely understand human love, and sometimes are even frightened by it, as in the case of sexual love, because it is so personal, indeed, so intimate.

But we do see the results of such human love, as when the love of two people for one another causes them to reach out in love and concern for others. By saying that we will limit that love and concern for one another and, by extension, to others, simply on the basis of chromosomal make-up is fearful at best, and at worst a human obfuscation of the very mystery of the outpouring love of the Trinity.

I contend that we already have a theological rationale for moving forward in areas of human sexuality. In fact, we have had it for 1600 years, but only in this generation have the scales begun falling from our eyes. In ways that we frequently do not understand, we have a tangible glimpse of the divine love of the Trinity.

We need to witness to this generation, bringing good news now.

Proclaiming the good news is never a future event; it is always a present honor and responsibility. If we as bishops always want to wait for a more opportune time, I fear that we are forgetful of our ordination vow to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the conscience of our people.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention