Category : TEC Polity & Canons

The TEC Bishop of Albany Appeals his partial restriction by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

In accordance with Canon IV.7.10 of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, I do plan to appeal the above disciplinary action taken against me by the Presiding Bishop and in so doing, I will also be challenging the authority and legality of Resolution B012 passed at the 79th General Convention. I have already verbally informed the Presiding Bishop’s Office of my plans. This will soon be followed by an official written appeal as required by the Canons.

While I obviously would rather not have had disciplinary actions taken against me, and hope to see it overturned in the near future, I will abide by the restrictions placed on me by the Presiding Bishop during the appeals process.

With that said, as your Bishop, it is important that you understand I have not changed my understanding or teaching regarding the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The official teaching of this Church as outlined in the rubrics of the Marriage Service in the Book of Common Prayer is that: “Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God” (BCP 422.) Canon 16 of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Albany upholds this teaching and remains in effect until it is either changed by the Diocesan Convention, or is legally proven to be over-ridden by the legitimate actions of General Convention; none of which has yet taken place.

Read it all.

Posted in Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons

(TLC Covenant) Eugene Schlesinger–Things Fall Apart: Musings on TEC and Eucharistic Hospitality

There is a movement afoot in the Episcopal Church to remove our restriction that only the baptized receive Communion. In my new location, it seems to be diocesan policy not only to allow the unbaptized to commune, but to invite them explicitly to do so. Every parish my family has visited in the diocese has made it very clear that absolutely everyone is invited to the altar for Communion. I have found this grating, theologically. It disregards the proper sequence of initiation. It undercuts the long-standing historical practice of Christian churches. It renders incoherent any sort of claim to have a baptismal ecclesiology. Most important, it downgrades the central role of commitment to Jesus Christ and a life of discipleship to something optional. I’d heard of such things from afar, and now my eyes have seen them.

Recently, our family ventured a bit further north, into the Diocese of California, to a parish where the logic of Communion without baptism is being carried to its logical conclusion, which is also a reductio ad absurdum. The parish we visited did much well: the hymnody and chant were excellent; the liturgy, while using expansive language, remained fairly grounded in traditional forms. Then we reached the fraction anthem.

After a verse about Christ giving himself to his beloved in the bread, we turned a corner in which claims about breaking this bread with Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims were articulated. While I am confident that the intention behind these words was to be open and inclusive, to express solidarity among people of faith, its effect was to undo any sort of claims about Christ’s uniqueness or the necessity for salvation, as well as to colonize these other religious traditions, rather than respecting them in their diversity.[1]

The canons of the Episcopal Church are clear: no unbaptized person is eligible to receive Holy Communion at our altars (I.17.7). This creates a rather interesting contrast in the current church.

Having updated our canons (but not our doctrine, as set forth in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer) to make marriage gender-neutral, there is a movement afoot to bring Communion Partner bishops into line, so that the trial rites for marriage are celebrated in all jurisdictions. At General Convention, Resolution 2018-B012 provided a means for doing this while also respecting the consciences, teaching office, and liturgical presidency of bishops within their dioceses. William Love, the Bishop of Albany, has caused a furorwith his refusal to comply with the provisions of B012, prompting suggestions that Title IV charges be brought against him.[2] Leaving to the side the question of the precise canonical force of a resolution passed by General Convention, and, hence, the applicability of disciplinary charges, we must acknowledge that this outcry is in some tension with other realities in our church….

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Eucharist, Pastoral Theology, Sacramental Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons

Latest Developments in the TEC Diocese of Albany (I)–A. S Haley offers an Analysis: Bishop Love’s Last Stand

In his letter, Bishop Love details seven grounds for his opposition to the directive in that 8th Resolve. For purposes of this post, I summarize them in point-form here, but be sure to read the whole thing:

  • First: B012 contradicts God’s intent for the sacrament of marriage as revealed through Holy Scripture;
  • Second: B012 is contrary to the 2000-year-old understanding of Christian marriage as still reflected in the rubrics of the BCP, and in the Canons of the Diocese of Albany;
  • Third: B012 “is doing a great disservice and injustice to our gay and lesbian Brothers and Sisters in Christ, by leading them to believe that God gives his blessing to the sharing of sexual intimacy within a same-sex relationship, when in fact He has reserved the gift of sexual intimacy for men and women within the confines of marriage between a man and woman”;
  • Fourth: B012 encourages Episcopalians to engage in sexual behavior which is expressly forbidden in both the Old and New Testaments;
  • Fifth: By its false teaching and encouragement to sinful behavior, B012 is leading same-sex couples, as well as ECUSA itself, to come under God’s judgment (resulting in the precipitous decline in membership throughout the Church);
  • Sixth: B012 attempts to force Bishop Love to violate his ordination vows, as stated above, and would lead to schism and departures in his Diocese; and
  • Seventh: Succumbing to B012’s directive would render it impossible for Bishop Love to represent his diocese before the wider Anglican Communion and the whole world.

There is much more in the letter, including assurances to same-sex couples that scripture does not forbid close friendships or living together, only sexual intimacy (citing this article; see also the other resources linked on this page). As a consequence of the seven factors he identifies, Bishop Love closes his letter with this Pastoral Directive:

Until further notice, the trial rites authorized by Resolution B012 of the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church shall not be used anywhere in the Diocese of Albany by diocesan clergy (canonically resident or licensed), and Diocesan Canon 16 shall be fully complied with by all diocesan clergy and parishes.

Thus the lines are drawn, and the conflict caused by the actions of General Convention now invades the hitherto peaceful diocese of Albany. For instance, could Presiding Bishop Michael Curry now try to exercise his supposed authority to issue a “Pastoral Directive” to Bishop Love, requiring that he make the trial rites available to any in his diocese that request them? (Note that Resolution B012’s mandate does not take effect Churchwide until December 1.)
As I pointed out in this earlier post, it is extremely doubtful that the enactment of the provision in Title IV that purports to confer upon the Presiding Bishop metropolitan authority over his episcopal colleagues can be squared with the grant of all ecclesiastical authority, by Article II.3 of ECUSA’s Constitution, to a bishop within his own diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(TLC) C of E General Synod Turns to Mission

Throughout his talk, Idowu-Fearon emphasized the “vigorous and robust” character of the Anglican Communion, as it pursues the “apostolic mandate given by the Lord Jesus, to make disciples of all the nations.” Again and again, he referenced “missionary calling,” the “sacrificial offering” of generations of English Anglicans zealous for global mission, and the C of E’s contributions to the Anglican Communion.

“This is a wonderful, if complex, story that I hope will never be forgotten,” he said. “I hope you realize this, because it is a fact that the Church of England today is giving necessary, effective, and beautiful gifts to the wider Communion.”

The secretary general did not shy away from noting the difficulties Anglican Communion provinces face: “economic displacement and political uncertainty; family dissolution; refugees and migration; grinding poverty; and persecution,” but also “the dispiriting and destructive dynamic of Anglican conflict over human sexuality” and a worrisome fading of the “fertile energy of outward mission.”

He lifted up the 1920 Lambeth Conference as a potential model for how to respond to these challenges: the assembled bishops recognized that communion is founded in “the undeflected will of God,” who desires to “win over the whole human family.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Aggressive Title IV Action Against Multiple Bishops on Eve of Gen. Con. 2012, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Missions, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A S Haley on the recent developments with the Canonical Charges vs TEC Bp of Los Angeles Jon Bruno

Comes now Bishop Bruno, he of the forkèd tongue, and for a response to the charges files a motion to dismiss the Title IV proceedings against him in their entirety. His reasons stated are twofold:

(1) The complainants violated the confidentiality provisions of Title IV by disclosing the substance of their charges, and of ECUSA’s responses to them; and

(2) [Now get this] The complainants violated Canon IV.19.2 by resorting to a proceeding in the secular civil courts before filing their charges against +Bruno under Title IV.

Note that while +Bruno is technically correct that the earlier stages of the Title IV proceedings against him were confidential, the violation of that confidentiality by the Complainant (i.e., the members of St. James the Great) does not furnish canonical grounds for a dismissal of the charges. Under the Canon he cites (IV.13.9[a]), it is only misconduct “that the Hearing Panel deems to be disruptive, dilatory or otherwise contrary to the integrity of the proceedings” on the part of the Respondent (i.e., Bishop Bruno) or the Church Attorney that can provide grounds for the imposition of sanctions — which, by the way, do not include the dismissal of all charges, as +Bruno requests.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(Covenant) Jordan Hylden+Keith Voets–Is Christ-centered comprehension possible on marriage in TEC?

The bishop-elect of Dallas, George Sumner, observes that comprehensiveness, while often a point of pride for Anglicans, is in fact a difficult achievement, not to be taken for granted (“After Comprehensiveness,” Anglican Theological Review, Fall 2004). He writes:

We see that Episcopalians are fighting over same-sex relationships, and we assume that Anglicanism is comprehensive, and so we ask, what is the intellectual superstructure that allows us now to remain comprehensive? This is surely a mistake; we assume what needs to be shown. Comprehensiveness assumes that common and more central doctrines form a framework, an encompassing context into which lesser disagreements may be placed and so relativized. Such larger, often tacit, agreements keep a tradition in contention from descending into sheer incoherence. Anglicanism shows comprehensiveness when it achieves these goals of showing the more basic agreement, and so of putting disputes in context. Only pride would assume that such success is the essential quality of our tradition.

If what we mean by comprehension is some kind of embrace of a “larger truth” on this issue, Sumner writes, that is the kind of muddled nonsense we must avoid.

Even for Anglicans up is not down, and black is not white; we too should make our yes a yes. We are not exempt from the law of noncontradiction. Either same-sex relationships are a blessing from God, or they are contrary to God’s will. While our tradition may prove comprehensive in many respects, if there is such a disagreement we cannot be comprehensive with respect to it. To deny this is to make of comprehensiveness a kind of transitional object by which we lull ourselves to sleep.Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(AI) No conciliation in the bishop Jon Bruno/St James the Great affair

The misconduct complaint filed against the Bishop of Los Angeles by members of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach has been handed back to the national church’s disciplinary panel for bishops after the parties were unable to reach an amicable resolution.

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno appears to have adopted a scorched earth in dealing with complaints of bullying and dishonesty levelled against him by ignoring a request for the national church that he not prejudice the proceedings. Though all parties had been charged to “enter into this process in good faith,” the bishop’s attorneys have not relented in their legal campaign, and have sought to depose a Girl Scout leader whose troop had planted an herb garden at the parish, and the daughter of a woman whose ashes are interned at the church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

A look back to 2012–Bp Mark Lawrence’s address Guildford Diocesan Evangelical Fellwshp

The Presiding Bishop hired an attorney in the Diocese of South Carolina, who presented himself as ”˜Counsel for The Episcopal Church in South Carolina’. I said, wait a minute, according to our polity we are The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. I am the only one that has juridical or jurisdictional authority here. She has not spoken to me. She has not asked for my permission, and there is no constitutional or canonical authority that the Presiding Bishop has to hire an attorney to investigate me and the Diocese or South Carolina. We called a Special Convention; told the Presiding Bishop to remove the attorney. I have never received any notice from her ”“ it is four years later.

That brought us into a cold war with the national church, and in a cold war the difficulty is everything you do to protect yourself in a cold war, can be interpreted by the person on the opposite side of the cold war as an act of aggression. That goes for me towards them and them towards me and so we have lived with that for three years now.

I need to conclude because our time is all but up, mine is already past. In the Fall of last year, I was informed that there were 12 allegations brought against me that I had abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. And after 2 or 3 months, the Disciplinary Board for Bishops came back and said, there is not enough evidence – I think that is the simplest way to put it ”“ that I have abandoned the communion and so I will not be brought up on charges.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

A S Haley–On the recent Oral Arguments in South Carolina in the Episcopal Church Case

That left Chief Justice Toal, who despite all the tortuous arguments stuck to basic legal principles and analysis: a trust needs a settlor to be created, and the beneficiary of a trust is perfectly within his rights to quitclaim back to the settlor all of his supposed interest in the trust. (There was thus no “breach of the Dennnis Canon” when Bishop Lawrence signed individual quitclaim deeds to his parishes, on behalf of the Diocese as beneficiary of any trust interest that arguably may still have existed following the All Saints Waccamaw decision.) And South Carolina religious corporations are free to amend their governing documents — including a complete change in their charitable purpose — as long as they comply with the formalities required by South Carolina law.

To this observer, it seemed as though the Justices had not discussed the case with each other beforehand. And it also looked as though the Chief Justice had taken on the responsibility of writing an opinion in the case — since she was the one most weighed down with case files and briefs. But whether her opinion will be the majority one remains to be seen. I believe she has the confidence of Justice Beatty, who followed her before. And she may have Judge Kittredge in her camp, as well.

But both he and Justice Costa Pleicones seemed to have difficulty following the ins and outs of the arguments — thanks to the constant interjections by Justice Hearn on behalf of the Church of which she is an active member. She practically monopolized the argument with long speeches (not questions) that would have sounded more appropriate had they come from ECUSA’s attorneys. The resulting final impression of Mark Lawrence and his Diocese having had a rough time in the Court is almost entirely, in my estimation, due to the attempts by Justice Hearn to derail the case by returning South Carolina to the days of deference, as ECUSA argued in its briefs.

Whether her unprofessional and entirely partial tactics will succeed is a question that will have to await the Court’s opinion, which could be months away. I shall have much more to say about those tactics in my following post.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Historic Diocese of South Carolina Defends Its Property Against Another Episcopal Church Appeal

Diocese argues to South Carolina Supreme Court that a lower court decision dismissing outside claims on local church property is consistent with state law and constitutional precedent.

COLUMBIA, SC (Sept. 23, 2015) ”“ The Diocese of South Carolina today argued to the state Supreme Court that a judge’s February ruling that the Episcopal Church (TEC) has “no legal, equitable or beneficial interest” in the Diocese’s properties was correct and consistent with South Carolina law.

The argument came as the Diocese defended against the latest appeal by TEC, which seeks to seize local property. The denomination’s filings seek control of the Diocese’s 314-acre St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center, the Diocese’s historic identity, its accounts and the properties of 50 congregations that joined the Diocese in disassociating from the denomination in 2012.

During today’s appeal hearing, the Diocese and TEC would normally have had 20 minutes to present respective arguments, however due to the number of questions, more time was taken because of the vigorous debate.
“We are hopeful the Supreme Court will protect the fundamental constitutional right of South Carolina institutions and residents to choose with whom to associate,” said Rev. Jim Lewis, canon to the ordinary of the Diocese. “The lower court made clear that the Diocese could leave TEC and take its property. We hope this decision concludes the expensive, distracting efforts by TEC to use what feels like endless appeals to delay the inevitable outcome.”

The History of the Dispute

The dispute began when TEC attempted to remove the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop in the fall of 2012. The Diocese immediately disassociated from TEC, an action affirmed by its Diocesan Convention in November 2012. At that time 50 of the 72 congregations that made up the Diocese at the time and 80 percent of its members supported the disassociation.

TEC immediately attempted to claim the identity of the Diocese, with a rump group calling itself the Steering Committee using the Diocese’s registered service mark and announcing meetings of the diocesan clergy. In response to the attempted identity theft, the Diocese sought legal protection for the Diocese, its property and that of its congregations.

On Jan. 29, 2013, TEC agreed to a court-imposed temporary injunction preventing its further use of the Diocese’s identity. The final ruling by Circuit Court Judge Diane Goodstein, which supported the Diocese’s request and rejected TEC claims, made that initial injunction permanent and dismissed the TEC arguments “with prejudice”.

The Legal Background

TEC’s legal arguments can be distilled down to two related propositions. It claims to be a “hierarchical” church, with complete control of the entire organization located at its very top, much like the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the pope. It claims that, as a “hierarchical” church, the establishment clause of the Constitution prevents any court from challenging its ecclesiastical decisions.

Courts in South Carolina, Illinois, California and Texas have repeatedly found there are multiple and significant problems with these assertions in this case.

The first is the fact that TEC’s organizational structure is irrelevant to this case. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled clearly and repeatedly that in property matters like those involved here, courts may decide them using what is known as neutral principles of law, which means the court may not apply special conditions or rules that are different than those it would apply in normal property disputes.

An example of neutral principles was the 2009 decision of the All Saints Parish Waccamaw case by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The court said judges may decide the matter applying the customary laws of property ownership. The same principles were applied in the case of the Diocese.

Under neutral principles of law, several further crucial legal principles apply. First, it does not matter if TEC were hierarchical or not. That should be irrelevant under neutral principles of law. Second, TEC has no interest in the real, personal or intellectual property of the Diocese because no trust interest has been established to give it such a claim. Under South Carolina law, an express trust requires a written declaration signed by the party conveying that interest. No such document was ever executed by the Diocese or any of its parishes to convey anything to The Episcopal Church.

Similarly, though TEC has asserted trademark infringement as an issue in this case, the only infringement considered at trial was the denomination’s unauthorized use of the Diocesan service marks. The real issue was who has the rights to control the Diocese, TEC or those who have continuously been its leadership, in unbroken succession, all the way back to 1785.

About the Diocese of South Carolina

The Diocese was founded in 1785 by the parishes of the former South Carolina colony. Based in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Diocese is one of the oldest religious districts in the United States and counts among its members several of the oldest, operating churches in the nation.

The Diocese of South Carolina is recognized by Anglican Dioceses and Provinces around the world, many of whom have broken fellowship with The Episcopal Church, and in 2013 the Diocese joined the global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and entered into a formal relationship of Provisional Primatial Oversight with Global South Primates.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

A S Haley–Important Episcopal Legal Developments in South Carolina

Heading up the panel hearing the case will be Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal, who in that same position authored the Court’s unanimous 2009 opinion in the case of All Saints Waccamaw v. Episcopal Church, which I quoted and analyzed in this earlier post. Also serving on the panel will be Associate Justice Donald W. Beatty, who joined in the Waccamaw opinion. It is not known yet whether any of the other sitting Justices have recused themselves (two of them did so in the Waccamaw case); the fifth, Justice Kaye Hearn, assumed her seat on the Court after the arguments in the 2009 case.

Chief Justice Toal, whose religion is Roman Catholic, is no stranger to the concept of what makes a church “hierarchical.” In her opinion in the Waccamaw case, Justice Toal noted that South Carolina Courts are required to resolve church property disputes using “neutral principles of law” whenever possible. They may defer only to “the highest religious judicatories” when they have properly decided an issue “as to religious law, principle, doctrine, discipline, custom, and administration.” It should be noted that in her written opinion filed last January, Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein expressly found that there were no such bodies in the Episcopal Church (USA) that had outside jurisdiction over either the Diocese or any of its parishes.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Federal Judge hands TEC another setback as its new Diocese battles the historic one in Court

U.S. Judge Delays Hearing on Episcopal Church Appeal Demanding Identity of Diocese of South Carolina, Pending State Court Decision

Judge refuses to confuse the rightful ownership issue as it proceeds to state Supreme Court this week

CHARLESTON, SC (Sept. 21, 2015) ”“ A federal judge handed the Episcopal Church (TEC) and its local subsidiary, the Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC) a setback today when he refused the request to reconsider a decision about who rightfully owns the Diocese of South Carolina identity, trademarks and other intellectual property.

Bishop Charles G. vonRosenberg, who heads TECSC, has repeatedly alleged that the property and identity of the Diocese of South Carolina actually belongs to the Episcopal Church and was wrongfully taken by Bishop Mark Lawrence, who heads the Diocese which left TEC in 2012.
Federal District Judge C. Weston Houck originally dismissed vonRosenberg’s claim in 2013, recognizing that the essential issues of the Diocese’s identity would be resolved by the South Carolina courts. Last February, South Carolina Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein ruled the Diocese of South Carolina was, in fact, free to leave the denomination and keep its property and assets. TEC appealed that decision and the appeal will be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court on Sept. 23.

Meanwhile, TEC appealed Judge Houck’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appellate panel ordered Judge Houck to reconsider his earlier dismissal of the case using a different legal standard for that decision. The panel decision was largely procedural. It did not issue any opinions about the merits of TEC’s claim.

In today’s decision to delay any further hearings pending the outcome of a South Carolina Supreme Court decision about the case Judge Houck wrote, “Regardless of the [state Supreme Court’s] ultimate decision, Bishop vonRosenberg’s rights will necessarily be addressed and will be adequately protected in the state court action.”

He referred to the Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for Sept. 23, as “the parallel state court action.”

“Basically, the Judge is saying that if the Supreme Court upholds the state ruling the case will be dismissed,” said the Rev. Jim Lewis, Canon to Bishop Lawrence.

Houck applied the Colorado River Abstention doctrine to conclude that the factors in this case presented the “exceptional circumstances” to warrant abstention.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

***Reminder–For Yr awareness+Yr Prayers—Dio. of South Carolina Supreme Court hearing is Sept. 23

From here:

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke’s Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David’s Church; St. James’ Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John’s Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Conway; The Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Radcliffeboro; The Church of Our Saviour of the Diocese of South Carolina; The Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal); The Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston, SC; The Church of The Holy Cross; The Church of The Resurrection, Surfside; The Protestant Episcopal Church of The Parish of Saint Philip, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina; The Protestant Episcopal Church, The Parish of Saint Michael, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina and St. Michael’s Church Declaration of Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of St. Jude’s Church of Walterboro; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of The Parish of Prince George Winyah; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Church of The Parish of St. Helena and The Parish Church of St. Helena Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Parish of St. Matthew; The Vestry and Wardens of St. Paul’s Church, Summerville; Trinity Church of Myrtle Beach; Trinity Episcopal Church; Trinity Episcopal Church, Pinopolis; Vestry and Church Wardens of the Episcopal Church of The Parish of Christ Church; Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of the Parish of St. John’s, Charleston County, The Vestries and Churchwardens of The Parish of St. Andrews, Respondents. v. The Episcopal Church (a/k/a The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Appellants.
Attorneys: Allan R. Holmes, Sr. and Timothy O. Lewis, both of Gibbs & Holmes, of Charleston, David Booth Beers and Mary E. Kostel, both of Goodwin Procter, LLP, of Washington, DC, Blake A. Hewitt and John S. Nichols, both of Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, of Columbia, Thomas S. Tisdale and Jason S. Smith, both of Hellman Yates & Tisdale, of Charleston and R. Walker Humphrey, II, of Waters & Kraus, of Dallas, Texas, for Appellants. C. Alan Runyan and Andrew S. Platte, both of Speights & Runyan, of Beaufort, Henrietta U. Golding and Amanda Bailey, both of McNair Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, C. Mitchell Brown, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Columbia, Charles H. Williams, of Williams & Williams, of Orangeburg, David Cox, of Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, of Charleston, Thomas C. Davis, of Harvey & Battey, of Beaufort, Harry Easterling, Jr., of Bennettsville, G. Mark Phillips, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Charleston, W. Foster Gaillard and Henry Grimball, both of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, of Charleston, Keith McCarty, of McCarty Law Firm, of Charleston, William A. Scott, of Pedersen & Scott, of Charleston, Mark Evans, of Charleston, David B. Marvel and David L. DeVane, both of Prenner Marvel, of Charleston, John Furman Wall, III, of Mt. Pleasant, Allan P. Sloan, III and Joseph C. Wilson, IV, both of Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, of Charleston, Edward P. Guerard, Jr., of Mt. Pleasant, C. Pierce Campbell, of Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, of Florence, Robert R. Horger, of Horger, Barnwell & Reid, of Orangeburg, Saunders M. Bridges, of Aiken Bridges Elliott Tyler & Saleeby, of Florence, Lawrence B. Orr, of Orr Elmore & Ervin, of Florence, Francis M. Mack, of St. Matthews, Robert S. Shelton, of The Bellamy Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, William A. Bryan, of Bryan & Haar, of Surfside Beach, Harry Oxner, of Oxner & Stacy, of Georgetown, Susan MacDonald and Jim Lehman, both of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Myrtle Beach, Brandt Shelbourne, of Shelbourne Law Firm, of Summerville, Stephen S. McKenzie, of Coffey, Chandler & Kent, of Manning, John B. Williams, of Williams & Hulst, of Moncks Corner, George J. Kefalos and Oana D. Johnson, both of George J. Kefalos, P.A., of Charleston, Stephen Spitz, of Charleston and Thornwell F. Sowell, III and Bess J. Durant, both of Sowell Gray Stepp & Lafitte, LLC, of Columbia, for Respondents.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

[ACI] The New Episcopal Church: What Hath General Convention 2015 Wrought?

The time ahead

All this points to a time ahead of stress and uncertainty for Anglicanism in the United States. ACI believes that the following elements, however, must be recognized and acted upon if this time ahead is to prove fruitful rather than simply destructive.

First, we must acknowledge that TEC as a national body is no longer recognizably “Anglican” in an Anglican-Communion sense. A broad range of commonly defining features of Anglican Communion churches ”“ e.g. the Lambeth Quadrilateral, which makes Scripture the “rule and ultimate standard of faith”; the definition of Anglicanism specified in TEC’s own constitution and in 1930 Lambeth Conference Resolution 49 (i.e., “upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer”); other Lambeth resolutions including 1998 I.10; the Windsor Report and its moratoria that were subsequently adopted by all the Instruments of Communion; the framework of an Anglican Communion “Common Law” (as N. Doe and others have identified it), etc. ”” no longer exists in TEC.

Second, dioceses, bishops, priests, and laity who are currently members of TEC, but who do”‹ continue to hold their identity within the common Anglican elements noted above, need to set about, corporately and in a coordinated way, to work with the larger Anglican Communion for a way forward. That kind of work has, in the past, been subverted by a range of local and larger factors, including personal ones. Something different has to happen at this point, and both the American and Communion leadership concerned with this must work with a new consultative forthrightness and clarity.

Third, we believe that American Communion-minded Anglicans must formally call on Canterbury, and the Primates to respond to the need expressed above expeditiously and constructively. Past reticence, foot-dragging, deference to local politics, and simple failures to follow through are no longer viable ways forward.

Fourth, we urge friends and ecumenical partners to play a consultative, constructive and creative role in this process.

Insofar as TEC has claimed it has a life in the Anglican Communion it cares about, just to that degree it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to clarify what that might be, in the light of General Convention actions and the new self-understanding in NEC. General Convention has acted and declared its mind. What will the response of the Anglican Communion be?

Read it all, carefully

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Bishop Dan Martins: A Word on Holy Matrimony

I write to you here on a subject that elicits strong emotions. None should be particularly surprised by what I say. Many”“most, perhaps”“will be relieved and grateful. Some will be grieved and angry. It is my place to absorb both the gratitude and the grief with steadfastness of conviction and an abundance of charity. I invite each of you to read with care, patience, and precision”“and then to also absorb that which pleases you and that which disturbs you with the confidence of your convictions and a measure of charity beyond that which you think yourself capable of. Let grace abound.

The recent 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church promulgated under the “trial use” canon liturgical rites that purport to solemnize marriage between persons of the same sex, effective this coming Advent. This was a profound and tragic mistake. Marriage has certainly evolved considerably over the millennia of human existence. Different cultures and different eras have adapted it in a variety of ways. But there has always been one constant, something so self-evidently obvious that it has scarcely merited mention, and that is the element of sexual complementarity”“a marriage requires the presence of both sexes.

Marriage is not merely a human social construct, an institution that we created and are therefore at liberty to recreate and redefine as seems right and expedient

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Fulcrum Response to TEC’s 2015 General Convention

At its recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church (USA) redefined marriage in its canons and also authorised trial rites for same-sex marriage. Along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Fulcrum believes this is a cause for “deep concern”.

SUPPORTING: Fulcrum welcomes the Salt Lake City Statement by the Communion Partners and supports all within TEC who continue to combine “a commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters” with a determination to honour “the three moratoria requested in the Windsor Report and affirmed by the Instruments of Communion”. The Communion Partners are, along with ACNA bishops, graciously but firmly resisting what GAFCON identified as “the temptation to compromise with the surrounding culture” as are many of those in the Global South whose response to these developments includes the welcome affirmation that they “are against any criminalization of homosexuals”.

QUESTIONING: Fulcrum questions the Convention’s actions on various grounds:

– Have these major decisions been taken with enough theological debate and scrutiny either in TEC or across the Anglican Communion?

– Do these developments not disregard principles of mutual accountability and interdependence and the Principles of Canon Law Common To the Churches of the Anglican Communion (2008)?

– Has TEC not now made another canonical, liturgical and doctrinal departure from the Communion, beyond it previous action of blessing same-sex unions?

– Does redefining marriage in this way not go against the teaching of Scripture (including Jesus in Mt 19 and Mark 10), tradition and reason?

PARTICIPATING: Fulcrum encourages full participation in the Shared Conversations here in the Church of England but shares concerns about the process recently raised by the Church of England Evangelical Council’s Petertide Call to Prayer.

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

An Interesting Look back to 2007–Timothy B. Safford: William White in a Time of Turmoil

One factor in our current turmoil in The Episcopal Church and the larger Anglican Communion is the power and authority of bishops. One way to read the primates’ communiqué is as a rejection of the polity of The Episcopal Church that limits the power of bishops to make policy for the larger church. William White never proposed a distinct House of Bishops separate from the House of Deputies. For him, the clergy and laity meeting together, with their bishops, was adequate, as is still the case in diocesan conventions.

Born and educated in the democratic cauldron of Philadelphia, White did not object to the role of bishops elsewhere, but believed the new American church had an opportunity to return to its primitive roots when, before Constantine, the laity participated in the selection of their bishop, and before 1066, when the power of a bishop was not an extension of the power of the state. For the New England states, White’s new democratic Catholicism went too far. The clergy of Connecticut so objected to White’s proposal to have the first duly elected bishop of the United States consecrated by presbyters, temporarily, until proper Episcopal orders could be attained, they chose (without the vote of the laity) Samuel Seabury as bishop. He sailed for Canterbury, where he would not be consecrated, and then moved on to the non-juror bishops of Scotland.

Seabury believed that apostolic bishops, not a democratic process shared by clergy and laity, should determine the governance and worship of the emergent Episcopal Church. But for William White, who knew how difficult it would be to unify an Episcopal Church out of its very diverse parts, a method of choosing bishops was needed before the choosing could happen. For White, to do otherwise would be like electing George Washington the president, and then having him write the Constitution.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

TEC Bishop of Oklahoma discusses General Convention Same-Sex Marriage Vote

[Bishop Ed] Konieczky said he voted against a related measure that calls for a change in the the denomination’s canonical definition of marriage as a “union of a man and a woman.”

He said the resolution, which was eventually approved, calls for altering the current canon language to “gender-neutral language,” replacing “a man and a woman” with “both parties.”

In his letter to the Oklahoma diocese on the Sunday after the denomination’s vote on gay marriage, Konieczky said he voted against this language alteration because it places the denomination’s canon in conflict with language used in their Book of Common Prayer and the denomination’s constitution….

Konieczky said he did not think the denomination had done the necessary theological work to make the switch to gender-neutral language.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

George Clifford–Did TEC General Convention Same-Sex Marriage Decision Further promote Division?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A S Haley–Charges Filed against TEC Bishop Bruno by Clergy and Parishioners

The new charges will add to his recent woes. After the news came out that Bishop Bruno purportedly had arranged a “sweetheart” private deal with a developer — no bids or listing of the property, but just terms worked out with a single buyer who wants to erect a suite of expensive townhomes on the property — he received a letter from the original developer of Lido Isle (the area of Newport Beach where St. James is located), the Griffith Corporation. That letter informed him something he ought to have known already: that the property on which the church stands was gifted to the Diocese for use only for church purposes. Griffith stated that if he went through with the proposed sale, the property would automatically revert back to it.

The letter caused Bishop Bruno to instruct his attorneys immediately to sue the Griffith Corporation for “slander of title” — a rather heavy-handed response to the donor of one’s most valuable property. You can read the complaint and see the original deed of gift at this link — the deed restriction is for real, and the courts enforce them as written.

It will be interesting to watch this scenario play out — whether the Bishop can remain on top of the situation will require that he first rein in his attack dogs, and begin treating donors and parishioners for the valued assets they are. Meanwhile, some useful information is emerging. According to this letter to the Diocesan Standing Committee, Bishop Bruno told the parish that he was trying to recoup the Diocese’s litigation expenses (incurred in suing four former parishes, including the previous congregation of St. James) of Nine Million Dollars. That is five million dollars greater than I had estimated in tallying up all the costs of Church litigation, as reported in this post.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes, TEC Parishes, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Church of Uganda's response to TEC's General Convention and USA Supreme Court decision

Received by email

Statement by the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali on the recent decisions to change the definition of marriage by the United States’ Supreme Court and the Episcopal Church in the USA

The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States of America to change the definition of marriage is grievous. There is a saying, “When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold.” As a religious leader in Uganda, I want to assure all Ugandans that we will do everything we can to promote the good moral health of our people and resist such immoral viruses that may try to infiltrate our people.

Likewise, the most recent decision of the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) to change the definition of marriage is even more grievous. At best, it sprang from a desire to extend pastoral care to members of its church who experience same-sex attraction. Pastoral care, however, that is contrary to the Bible’s message is, ultimately, cruel and misleading.

The Church of Uganda broke communion with the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) in 2003 when they unilaterally changed the received Biblical and moral teaching of the Anglican Communion on ordination. The Primates of the Anglican Communion unanimously agreed ”“ including the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church ”“ that, should TEC proceed with the consecration as Bishop of a divorced father of two living in a same-sex relationship, it would tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level, which is exactly what has happened over the past twelve years.

In spite of TEC’s 2006 resolution that expressed their “regret” at “straining” the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion, they have, nonetheless, continued their march toward dismantling the Christian faith and morals, culminating in their recent decision to change the definition of marriage ”“ something that was “given by God in creation.”

Likewise, Jesus said, “At the beginning of creation God ”˜made them male and female.’ ”˜For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10.6-9).

The definition and meaning of marriage is not something that can be defined by voting. It is something that is given by God in general revelation and in special revelation, and it is for us as human beings and, especially, the Church, to simply receive and follow. The fact that 2+2 equals 4 cannot be changed by a vote or decree. Neither can the meaning of marriage between a man and a woman be changed by a vote.

What St. Paul wrote to Timothy is as relevant today as it was almost 2,000 years ago. “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” (2 Timothy 4.3-4)

The Church of Uganda was blessed to play a small role in the creation of the Anglican Church in North America as an alternative and biblically faithful Anglican Church in North America. Through our GAFCON fellowship, a number of Archbishops from Global South Provinces recognized the validity of the Anglican Church in North America, and we support them in their resolution to promote healthy and spiritually strong families and marriages between one man and one woman.

Sadly, the so-called “Instruments of Communion” in the Anglican Communion have not been able to restore godly order to the Communion, nor do they seem to have the will to do so. While we despair at the path TEC has taken and their imperialist commitment to export it to the rest of the Anglican Communion, we do not lose hope. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13.8) “We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Corinthians 4.5)

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali

Archbishop of Church of Uganda.

7th July 2015

Now available on the Church of Uganda website

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Reform: Response to the US Episcopal Church Resolution on Marriage

…In rejecting this definition of marriage, the bishops of the US Episcopal Church have rejected Jesus’ own teaching. As such, they have denied the faith they profess to teach, forfeiting any right to be regarded as true bishops of the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus warned us to “watch out for false prophets” who come in his name (Matthew 7.15, 22)

Their actions will entrench still further the division in the Anglican Communion. We are grieved at their dishonouring of Jesus’ name. We are distressed by their discouragement of faithful believers, especially those who struggle with same-sex attraction and those who live in cultures where pronouncements from liberal Western church leaders endanger their lives and discredit their witness to Jesus Christ.

We stand with faithful Anglicans in the US and around the world, who continue to pray to Almighty God: “grant, that all they who do confess thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and live in unity, and godly love.” (Book of Common Prayer).

Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Reply Brief Filed by Diocese of South Carolina in SC Supreme Court

Bishop William White of Pennsylvania, who first expressed the idea of a national association of state churches that later became TEC, outlined a plan “for organizing these Church of England congregations.” White was “very sympathetic to the notion that the individual state organizations and dioceses should have the full and open control of their own property and of their own government” (p.27)

Take the time to read through it all (74 page pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

Allan Haley: Apologia

A “church” that preaches and blesses blasphemy cannot be a church. Nor can any Christian be a member of it.

The religious organization that styles itself “The Episcopal ”˜Church’” now preaches and blesses blasphemy against Christ our Savior. Therefore it cannot be a Christian church. And I can no longer ”” though I grew up in it, and belonged for over sixty-five years ”” be a member.

The personal tragedy is that the parish church in which I grew up, and which I still attended as an Episcopalian, is as true to the faith once delivered as could be. Its rector and associate rector are both orthodox; one deacon has served for more than forty years. My heart grieves for what they will be going through over the next five years.

Many of the parishioners are close and long-time friends. They are simply unaware of what took place at the General Convention in Salt Lake City, and they will probably never hear of it. They will continue to come, Sunday after Sunday, and worship as they always have. And I may even join them ”” but now as a visitor.

I not only have to resign my membership; I have to resign my position as parish Chancellor, as well. I cannot remain in the former while the leadership and most of the bishops (including the one who heads my former diocese, as well as the resigned one who used to head it) are endorsing blasphemy. And I cannot remain in the latter position as that same leadership, aided by all those 129 bishops who voted for the Satanic rites, trample the Constitution and Canons and mock the Book of Common Prayer.

My own knowledge of the Constitution and canons, together with my knowledge of what actually happened in Salt Lake City, compels me to these decisions…

Read it all [We ask commenters not to instruct, encourage or suggest leaving or joining any church on T19]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Statement from the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas

…If marriage has been established by God in creation, as most of the world’s Anglicans believe, then no Church council or civil court can ever redefine marriage. This week’s attempt to do so will cause considerable concern worldwide, acknowledged by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his recent expression of “deep concern” about how the Episcopal Church’s actions will add to the stress and distress throughout the Anglican Communion. Of course, the constitution of the Episcopal Church defines us as “a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.” The Diocese of Dallas desires and intends to live out these words by respecting the Communion’s teaching on marriage and by upholding the Book of Common Prayer and the authority of God’s Word. We are grateful for the General Convention’s appropriate acknowledgement that trial rites will not be used in a diocese without the permission of the Diocesan Bishop.

The Diocese of Dallas has a canon on marriage that reads, in part, that “As used in this Diocese, the terms ”˜Holy Matrimony’ and ”˜Marriage’ shall refer to the exclusive physical and spiritual union of one man and one woman, by mutual consent of the heart, mind and will, and with the intent that it be lifelong.
The blessing of sexual relationships between persons of the same sex is prohibited in churches, missions and congregations of this Diocese; and clergy persons resident or licensed in this Diocese are prohibited from performing such blessings in any venue.”…

Read it all [pdf]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

Statement by the Central American and Communion Partner Bishops

…We are mindful that the decisions of the 78th General Convention do not take place in isolation. The Episcopal Church is part of a larger whole, the Anglican Communion. We remain committed to that Communion and to the historic See of Canterbury, and we will continue to honor the three moratoria requested in the Windsor Report and affirmed by the Instruments of Communion.

We invite bishops and any Episcopalians who share these commitments to join us in this statement, and to affirm with us our love for our Lord Jesus Christ, our commitment to The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion, and our dissent from these actions.

Read it all [pdf]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

(Wash Post) TEC approves religious weddings for same-sex couples after controversial debate

The bishops agreed to allow clergy to begin offering same-sex marriages using the new rites after Nov. 1. However, no clergy could be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage, and a bishop had the authority to forbid his clergy from celebrating gay marriages.

The former bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, explained to the bishops in Salt Lake City the accommodation meant that a conservative priest in a liberal diocese would incur no penalty if he refused to perform a same-sex marriage. The priest would, however, have to pass a couple seeking to be married on to another church or priest to perform the ceremony.

Priests in dioceses where the bishop forbid same-sex marriages may not solemnize gay marriages. A priest who did so would be liable for punishment for disobeying the bishop. A diocese that does not perform gay marriages must pass the couple on to another part of the church that permits gay marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Were TEC Bishops Voting on Same-sex Marriage in Order and Quorate?

From a comment on Stand Firm

For the record only (as it won’t actually matter, given the status of C/C).

129 votes is not the number required but well below it, according to the rules for voting a Trial Rite.

One needs a majority of all those entitled to vote ”” and that means, all retired Bishops, assistant Bishops, etc.

This was also pointed out in 2012. The Trial Rite vote technically could not have been achieved, and so the ”˜provisional rite.’

I mention this not because it will have any effect whatsoever. It won’t.

But anyone reading the c/c on the votes required for passing a Trial Rite will immediately see they did not get the necessary votes. Indeed, given the laxity now prevailing, no one even went to any effort to worry about the quorum.

When it is full steam ahead, it is full steam ahead.

Read it all and see also Vote by Roll Resolution A036 – Amend Canon I.18 Marriage

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

AU 190 – Canterbury not happy with TEC Same-sex Marriage Actions

George Conger [13:18]: I talked to an advisor to the Archbishop of Jerusalem, a Palestinian priest, an Anglican Palestinian priest, I talked to him the other day and we were chatting.

And he said, you know, what the Episcopal Church does – they may not understand this and frankly they may not be able to do anything about it – but when they do stuff like endorse Gay Marriage and all this, it blows back on us in the Middle East. We Episcopalians are no longer seen as ‘People of the Book,’ meaning Christians who follow the ways of Jesus Christ and whom Mohammed said we should allow them to live – we are becoming in their eyes like the Mormons, a sect, a splinter group not ‘of the Book’ because we repudiate what they see as being the words of the Bible. And what does that result in? They kill us.

With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

A Living Church report on General Convention–TEC Bishops Redefine Marriage

The Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely, Bishop of Vermont, reported the work of the special legislative committee on marriage. Five of the bishops on the committee recommended that a liturgy for blessing covenant relationships and “three liturgies of marriage be authorized for trial use in accordance with Article X.” The designation of the liturgies as being for “trial use” sets into motion the process of amending the Book of Common Prayer. Bishop Ely described this move as “the approach most faithful to our polity.”

He then described A054 as “a more practical ordering of Canon 18.” He noted, however, that the resolution had been amended in committee to include “a more robust declaration of intent” in line with the prayer book. He stated his belief that the proposed canon in A054 does not conflict with the prayer book, thus avoiding “a constitutional crisis.”

Read it all and there is more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons