Category : Episcopal Church (TEC)

A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Henry Hobart

Revive thy Church, Lord God of hosts, whensoever it doth fall into complacency and sloth, by raising up devoted leaders, like thy servant John Henry Hobart whom we remember this day; and grant that their faith and vigor of mind may awaken thy people to thy message and their mission; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

The Episcopal Church Releases its Latest Statistics

Read it all and make sure to look at all the accompanying data sets there also.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Data

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Paul Jones

Merciful God, who didst send thy beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in this and every land witnesses, who, after the example of thy servant Paul Jones, will stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Bishops

(AI) Texas Supreme Court to hear Fort Worth case

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Your Prayers Requested as mediation begins next week in the Mess between the Historic Diocese of South Carolina and the brand new TEC Diocese

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

South Carolina Circuit Court Hears Arguments on Betterments Statute and Orders Mediation

From there:

St. Matthews, S.C. (July 23, 2019) – Immediately on the heels of The South Carolina Supreme Court on June 28,  denying the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus submitted by The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC), Judge Edgar W. Dickson promptly resumed proceedings on the related legal matters.  The hearing on the Betterments Statute issues, which had been cancelled in March when the petition for Mandamus was filed, was held today in the Calhoun County Courthouse in St. Matthews, SC.

The Betterments Statute, under South Carolina law, provides the means for a party making good faith improvements to property they believe they own, to be compensated for the value of those improvements, if a court makes a final determination that another party is the true owner.   Many of the parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina can trace their unbroken history back to the colonial era of the state. During that entire time, there has never been any question of their unencumbered title to property or legal identity.  All have proceeded throughout their history with the maintenance and improvement of their properties with these assumptions.

The motion previously filed by TECSC asked for the dismissal of the case, primarily on the basis that it had not been filed in a timely fashion and that they were not actually taking ownership of the churches but merely exercising their trust interest in the property. The Diocese maintained that the court needed to decide which, if any, of the 29 parishes agreed (acceded) to the Dennis Canon before it could decide whether this case should proceed. As to the eight parishes that TEC and TECSC concede did not agree to the Dennis Canon, Judge Dickson asked Diocesan counsel to submit proposed orders making the finding that those parishes did not accede to the Denis Canon.

The five separate opinions that constitute the Supreme Court decision resulted in a fractured ruling whose interpretation is currently under consideration by Judge Dickson.  The effort to force a particular interpretation of that decision was the essential purpose of the recent Petition for Mandamus filed by TEC and TECSC which was denied by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2019.

Judge Dickson took the motion to dismiss the Betterments case under advisement. He also ordered the parties to mediate all the issues raised in the two state lawsuits referencing the relatively recent Supreme Court order which requires mandatory mediation in civil cases.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

South Carolina Supreme Court Allows Parishes and Diocese to Intervene and Denies Writ of Mandamus Petition by The Episcopal Church

Columbia, S.C. (July 1, 2019) – The South Carolina Supreme Court announced today that it has denied the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus submitted by The Episcopal Church (TEC) on March 22, 2019, seeking to compel Judge Edgar W. Dickson to rule in their favor. The Parishes and the Diocese of South Carolina (Diocese) responded on March 26, requesting the Supreme Court’spermission to intervene. On April 12 they submitted their Return to the Petition.

Today’s action by the Supreme Court allowed the intervention of all the parties whose property TEC seeks and confirms the arguments presented in the Return which they filed. The intent of the Petition requested by TEC was to have the Supreme Court require the Circuit Court to interpret the
Supreme Court’s August 2, 2017 ruling as TEC wished it interpreted. The Parishes and the Diocese opposed the Petition essentially arguing that the issues were before Judge Dickson who was using the discretion afforded him by state law to resolve them.

Read it all.


Update: Those interested in the very new TEC diocese of South Carolina pr on this may find it there.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Bishop Charles Grafton on Cornelius Hill for his Feast Day

From here:

Not unworthy of record among these devoted servants of Christ is the name of the Rev. Cornelius Hill. He was the oldest and last of the Oneida Chiefs and from an early age had taken his seat in the Indian Councils. He bore the name of Chief Onon-Gwat-Ga, or Great Medicine, and was one of the most influential in the tribe. He became converted to Christianity, studied at one time at Nashotah, was the interpreter in the Church for many years until the day of his death; was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood by myself; at one time was sent to the General Convention from this Diocese and was ever a most earnest and devoted and faithful Christian and Churchman.

It is owing, in no small measure, to his example and teaching that the tribe has so progressed in temporal civilization and in its spiritual life. There is, as it is well known, no remaining party of heathen on the reservation. The Indians are for the most part loyal and devoted children of the Church.

By their zeal and devotion they are, in many ways, an example to us white Americans. I cannot speak of Father Hill’s loving loyalty to myself without much feeling. His name will ever be cherished amongst his people and held in high regard in our Diocese.

Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

(JE) New Maine Episcopal Bishop Unilaterally Transitions Holy Spirit to “She”

The Rt. Rev. Thomas James Brown was consecrated Saturday as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of Maine at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland. The service was led by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

A video posted on the diocese’s YouTube channel showed participants, including Brown, calling the Holy Spirit a “she” during the recitation of the Nicene Creed. It is unclear if Curry said “she.”

An order of service provided by the diocese lists an unaltered version of the creed, but video of the service, in which only Brown and Curry are shown with microphones, captures the creed being recited as, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Who with the Father and the Son, She is worshiped and glorified. She has spoken through the Prophets.”

The original language for the Holy Spirit was adopted by the First Council of Constantinople in the year 381.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, TEC Bishops, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(Press-Herald) New TEC bishop ordained at service in Portland, Maine

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Posted in TEC Bishops

(AI) New TEC Diocese in South Carolina sues TEC’s insurance company for alleged wrongful payment of claims to parishes of the Historic Diocese of South Carolina

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship

Bishop William Love’s Address to The 151st Annual Convention of TEC Diocese of Albany

As I informed the Diocese after receiving the partial restriction, I plan to appeal the disciplinary action taken against me as well as officially challenge the legality of B-012 and bring clarity as to which has more authority when at odds with one another — a General Convention Resolution or a Diocesan Canon.

Unfortunately, my appeal is temporarily on hold, as I await a formal charge being brought against me. It has now been over four months since the Presiding Bishop took disciplinary against me, and to date, I have still not been officially charged with anything. I have asked (for my sake and the sake of the Diocese) that this process not be drawn out. I was told an investigation into the allegations made against me would be conducted and I should hear something in a couple of weeks. That was in the middle of February. It is now June. As soon as I hear something, I will let you all know.

At the end of our 150th Diocesan Convention, as I was walking Presiding Bishop Curry to his car, knowing the potential problems that might result from legislation that was coming before the upcoming 79th General Convention, I told the Presiding Bishop how much I appreciated him coming to be with in Albany and how it was my hope and prayer (as a lifelong Episcopalian) that there would always be a place in The Episcopal Church for bishops, clergy, laity and dioceses that were theologically conservative and orthodox in their faith. He said that was his hope as well; that he had been richly blessed by his time with us and that the Diocese of Albany has much to offer the wider Episcopal Church.

The jury is still out as to whether The Episcopal Church is truly welcoming, inclusive and diverse enough for those of us who cannot embrace TEC’s current progressive agenda. If we are to have a real place in The Episcopal Church, we must be provided a way to remain true to our understanding of Holy Scripture and the sacramental nature of the Church, and to differentiate ourselves from TEC’s progressive actions and beliefs that violate God’s Word (as we understand it), and are so offensive and problematic to the vast majority of the wider Anglican Communion and Body of Christ. Anything less is the equivalent of TEC’s enslavement of its conservative and orthodox members. For a Church that is constantly touting “justice issues,” I would argue it is currently doing a great injustice to its conservative and orthodox brothers and sisters.

Read it all.

Posted in TEC Bishops

(ENS) TEC Diocese of Michigan elects Bonnie A. Perry as 11th bishop

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

An ENS article: ‘South Sudanese in diaspora and in Africa garner renewed TEC attention’

Read it all.

Posted in --South Sudan, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sudan

Greenough White–Jackson Kemper: An Apostle of the Western Church

In the same report a “Catholic feature” of the mission is noted,–classes of adult catechumens, conducted by the brethren; and an intention of having weekly communions, “according to primitive practice,” is recorded. To this end the brothers had sought to secure the services of the good missionary priest, Richard Cadle, and to convert him into the Father Superior of their order,–but the worthy man shied at the novel honor. With funds that Hobart had obtained at the East a beautiful tract of land was bought about Nashotah (signifying “Twin Lakes”), and thither, in August, the mission was moved. The following October, Adams and Breck were advanced to the priesthood, and the latter was made head of the religious house. A few theological students answered to the lay brothers of Vallombrosa; they supported themselves by farm work, etc., according to the primitive method at Gambier. The community rose at five o’clock, had services (lauds or prime) at six and nine in the morning, on Wednesdays and Fridays the litany and on Thursdays Holy Communion at noontide, and services at three and half-past six o’clock in the evening, answering to nones and vespers. Now at length, as Breck wrote home with glee, he began to feel that he was really in a monastery. But within a year from that hopeful start it seemed as if the community would be dissolved. Adams had a severe attack of pneumonia, felt unequal to bearing the business burdens of the house, and returned to the East; Hobart lingered a few months longer, and then followed; and Breck began to think of moving further west.

At this period Kenyon College was in such financial straits that it was in imminent danger of being lost to the church,–but a mighty effort was made, collections were taken for it on a large scale among congregations throughout the eastern dioceses, and it was saved; but the extraordinary exertion resulted in a deficit in the missionary treasury that reduced many a poor minister on the frontier to pinching poverty.

One is startled to hear that in 1843 a medical department was annexed to Kemper College and already boasted of the formidable number of seventy-five students. The attention of the church was called to this Protestant Episcopal University west of the Mississippi, which “promised a rich return for its fostering care,” and seemed destined to “hand down the name of its beloved founder to other ages.” There were but a score of students, however, in the collegiate department, at whose first commencement the bishop presided that summer.

The good example set by his young itinerants in Wisconsin moved him to urge the appointment of two or more missionaries of similar type to operate in Indiana. That diocese now made another attempt to perfect its organization, electing Thomas Atkinson of Virginia as its bishop–but he declined. Its leading presbyter, Roosevelt Johnson, waived a like offer. Missouri diocese had similar aspirations and electoral difficulties, which it solved by throwing the onus upon the general convention, entreating it to choose a bishop. In 1843, Cicero Stephens Hawks accepted a call to the rectorate of Christ Church, St. Louis; and the favor with which he was received determined the choice of the convention. On the 2oth of October, 1844, (the day of Cobbs’ consecration), and in Christ Church, Philadelphia, he was consecrated bishop of Missouri by Philander Chase, now presiding bishop, assisted by Kemper, McCoskry, Polk, and DeLancey.

With this event terminated what is in one way the most interesting period of our hero’s life,–the dawn, or morning of his episcopate, with its wide and long vistas, its freshness and promise. Wonderful indeed was the accomplishment of those nine mystic years, especially when we consider that it was before the days of railroads,–that he had to toil painfully in wagons, on horseback or afoot along wretched roads over boundless tracts that the traveler now crosses smoothly, gliding at the rate of a mile a minute in a palace car.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

A Bp William Hobart Hare biography extract–“the Scriptures in their original texts had never been half a day out of his hands.”

In physical aspect Bishop Hare represented clearly, as any picture of him will show, what may be called the best Anglican type. The English churchman of gentle breeding, of native and acquired distinction, has rendered it familiar. Such men are born both to their appearance and to their profession. In the lineage of William Hobart Hare there was quite enough to account both for the outward and for the inward man. On each side of his parentage he was a son, immediately of the Protestant Episcopal Church; and, more remotely he sprang both from the New England Puritans and the Pennsylvania Friends whose beliefs and standards have played so important a part in the religious and political life of America.

His father, the Rev. Dr. George Emlen Hare, an eminent Biblical scholar, one of the American Old Testament Committee appointed under the direction of the Convocation of Canterbury in 1870 for the revision of the authorized version of the English Bible, was for many years a teacher in Philadelphia–first in a temporary professorship at the University of Pennsylvania; then at the head of the old Protestant Episcopal Academy for Boys, revived in 1846 by Bishop Alonzo Potter; and finally as professor of Biblical Learning and Exegesis in the Divinity School in West Philadelphia, of which he was the first dean. “From the period of his ordination,” it is written in a brief sketch of his life, “the Scriptures in their original texts had never been half a day out of his hands.” One sees him in memory, a typical figure of the scholar, formal, remote, known of those who knew him as demanding of himself the same exacting standard of industry and integrity that he demanded of his pupils.

–M.A. DeWolfe Howe, The Life and Labors of Bishop Hare: Apostle to the Sioux (New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1911), chapter one (my emphasis)

Posted in Church History, TEC Bishops

An article from ENS on the proposed Changed Budgetary formula discussed at the partial ACC Meeting

A new formula for setting the level of financial commitments from the Anglican Communion’s provinces approved May 4 by the Anglican Consultative Council has the potential to greatly increase the amount of money expected from The Episcopal Church.

Anglican Communion Chief Operating Officer David White acknowledged that the new annual formula, which is based on the number “active bishops” in a province multiplied by their average salary (including housing costs) multiplied by 10%, produces “the most extreme case of potential impact” for The Episcopal Church….

Historically, the Church of England (at 41.4% of the total income) and The Episcopal Church (at 21.9%) have been the two largest contributors to what is known as the Inter-Anglican Budget. General Convention has budgeted $1.15 million as its total 2019-2021 contribution (line 412 here).

White’s budget report says the ACC’s unrestricted spending budget in 2019 is about $2.3 million. “Given the consistent excess of ambition over resources,” the report says the budget needs a 5% annual increase in money available for unrestricted spending, as opposed to money contributed for specific programs.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Consultative Council, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

The TEC Communion Partners recently released Communiqué

Read it all.

Posted in Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology

An Easter Carol

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering ‘neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.
And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

–Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship, TEC Bishops

(Buffalo News) TEC Buffalo bishop retiring; it will share new leader with Pa. diocese

In the eight years since he took the helm of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, Bishop Bill Franklin has watched…[Average Sunday Attendance] plummet from 11,000 people to 8,000.

Like other Christian denominations, the Episcopal Church is grappling with its future in an era of falling church attendance. So when Franklin retires on Sunday, the diocese is taking a radical, first-of-its-kind step: Instead of electing a new leader, as it has done for decades, the diocese will begin sharing a bishop with a diocese in Pennsylvania.

The unusual move, which may become a model for shrinking, cash-strapped churches around the country, is an effort to right-size the bureaucracy of a shrinking organization and to realign both dioceses with modern culture, Franklin said. His replacement, 44-year-old Bishop Sean Rowe — already the head of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania — is considered a progressive, reformatory voice in a denomination that has publicly soul-searched for ways to stem its membership and fiscal losses.

Read it all.

Posted in TEC Bishops

A 2021 TLC Article on Harriet Cannon whose Feast Day is Celebrated Today

Harriet Starr Cannon was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 7, 1823. Both of Harriet’s parents died of yellow fever when she was 17 months old; she was left with her elder sister and closest friend Catherine Ann, then three years old. An aunt welcomed the two orphaned sisters into her home in Bridgeport, Connecticut — making for seven children in one house in this then-bustling mercantile center on Long Island Sound. As a young girl Harriet lost her sight in one eye in an accident, but all accounts point to a happy childhood despite many significant early setbacks. One relative described her as fond of dancing, “a great society girl and not at all religious.”

The decision to consecrate her life completely to God came in the wake of a personal tragedy. Catherine Ann Cannon married in 1851 and moved to California, intending for Harriet to join her when she had established a home on the West Coast with her husband. A telegram brought the news in 1855, just as Harriet was preparing to leave for the West, that Catherine had died. The event changed the direction of her life completely; later, she wrote: “You know, she was my all — neither father, mother, or brother. We were two, but were one — but if God had left her with me, I should not have been here.”

In New York City in 1856, the 32-year-old Harriet was received into the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, a parochial association of “evangelical sisters” who worked under the direction of William Augustus Muhlenberg (1796-1877) as nurses at his newly built St. Luke’s Hospital. Harriet thrived in her earliest medical and religious work among the poor. By 1863, however, conflicts with Muhlenberg’s collaborator and friend Anne Ayres, who was in immediate charge of the sisterhood’s activities, led to the withdrawal of four sisters and the essential dissolution of the order. (The last Sister of the Holy Communion died in 1940.)

Harriet was one of the four who left.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

A Prayer for the Feast day of Harriet Starr Cannon

Gracious God, who didst call Harriet Starr Cannon and her companions to revive the monastic vocation in the Episcopal Church and to dedicate their lives to thee: Grant that we, after their example, may ever surrender ourselves to the revelation of thy holy will; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), Spirituality/Prayer

A Letter from James Lloyd Breck to his Sister, July 22nd, 1850

Expect only a short letter, for I have much to do. It is a stormy morning. Our tent, however, holds well. The trench dug round about it leads off all the water, and we are left within perfectly dry. Our little house was to have been finished,–I mean the shell up, ready for use,–by the 15th of this month; but it has been delayed many days longer; yet we hope to enter it by the middle of this week. Until three or four days since, we had no bedding or buffalo robes. We had two tents loaned to us, but we pitched only one, so we put the other at night on the ground, and slept on it. Tell our excellent neighbor, Mrs. Myers, that both the overcoat and gown, which she gave to me, have been of the greatest service to me at this time. The most of my clothing was boxed up at Nashotah, and sent by another route from that which we traveled, so that I could make no use of it at this time, when it would have been so serviceable; but the above coat was strapped to the top of one of my trunks, and the gown was in it, so I felt thankful to her for several nights of greater comfort than I should otherwise have had. For the bed was rather hard under the best of circumstances; but, after two or three nights, I could sleep as soundly as I have ever, done in the best of chambers, and now it is nothing. This is Monday morning. On Saturday Mr. Merrick accompanied me to Cottage Grove, a point that we had not yet visited. Our road lay through an uninhabited country, which yet is the condition of most of Minnesota. Only here and there is a settler, and occasionally a settlement. This, though harder for us, is better for the Church. I mean to say, dearest Kate, that the earlier the Church enters a new country, the better it will be for the Church, after a few years. But I purposed telling you about our visit to Cottage Grove. This is a settlement of about twenty farmers, within a circuit of about five miles. We had an introduction to one of the settlers, but could not learn from him that there was so much as a single Church family in the settlement. There was no school-house consequently, in the event of an appointment, we should be under the necessity of holding Divine Service in a private house, and this would be rather a favor to us than the contrary. Finding that some one of the denominations had made an appointment for the next day, we made ours by invitation for the Sunday after next at 3 P.M., intending in the morning of that day to celebrate service at Point Douglass, which is eight or ten miles to the south, at the junction of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. We hope, under GOD, to establish the Church at the Grove and other like places, although several years may elapse before we can see churches arise, and communicants surrounding their altars. There is not a church or the first sign of the Church at that point. What a triumph if the Church can be brought to thrive there! With GOD rests what shall be done, yet we must employ our unceasing efforts to bring down the blessing. We had now walked about twenty miles to the Grove. It was also nearly two o’clock. What should be done? The next day was Sunday. Finding that we could not accomplish anything more here at present, we made inquiries after an English family that we learned was somewhere hereabouts, and found them to be living within five miles, and accordingly at once directed our steps thitherwards. Our road now lay over a prairie. The sun was very warm and we were tired, but on we traveled, thirsty enough to drink up rivers, for since morning we had drunk nothing but warm brook water or rain water. At length we reached a house, and calling for water, the man brought us a nice beverage of molasses, ginger and water, excusing himself by saying that the well was out of water, and that which he and the family used was warm. We drank, you may be sure, freely and safely of this. We were now within half a mile of the Englishman’s house, about the only English family as yet in Minnesota. We now quickly found our way to the log-cabin of Mr. Jackson, and the result of our visit was, that we remained under his roof the rest of the day and night, and in the morning at 10:30 o’clock held Divine Service, and preached to his family only. No appointment was made for others. Here was 4 quiet missionary visit, a seeking out in the wilderness the lost sheep of CHRIST’S flock. This old man (sixty years of age) for three years–the period that had elapsed since he left England, –had not had the opportunity of the Church’s services. He was d communicant, also his wife and daughter (married). The son-in-law had only been baptized in the Church, appeared to be attached to the Church, and engaged in the services understandingly. There was also a son (eighteen years of age) and a grandchild in the house, making six members of CHRIST’S flock under this one roof.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Terry Mattingly–After wars over Bible, marriage and sex: is Union possible for Reappraising Episcopalians and Methodists?

So far, leaders on the United Methodist left haven’t announced plans to leave. But that doesn’t mean that Episcopal clergy and other liberal Protestant leaders shouldn’t be prepared to help United Methodists who come their way, said the Rev. David Simmons of St. Matthias Episcopal Church in Waukesha, Wis., a leader in several regional and national ecumenical efforts.

“We have to start with the fact that lots of United Methodists are really hurting,” he said, in a telephone interview. “What we should be doing is providing a safe harbor. Our primary motivation shouldn’t be to grab members from other churches. … If we do that then we’re not being a safe harbor. We can’t go around saying, ‘United Methodists hare having trouble, so let’s recruit them.’ ”

Thus, Simmons recently posted an online essay entitled, “How to Deal With Methodists at your Red Church Doors” – referring to the front doors at most Episcopal parishes. His subtitle was even more blunt: “Don’t be a Jerk.” His suggestions to Episcopal leaders included:

* Remember that Methodists have their own traditions and history. It’s wrong to hand them a Book of Common Prayer and try to instantly “make them Episcopalians. … ANY language about ‘Coming Home’ or ‘Returning to the Mother Church’ is harmful, insensitive and historically inaccurate, since American Methodism and the Episcopal Church are both technically equal children of the Church of England.”

* “Lay off the smugness!” Episcopalians, for example, should not brag about “how much further ahead we are” on LGBTQ issues, noted Simmons. Some United Methodist congregations have “been way ahead of us in this in spite of the discipline of the UMC. … Don’t attempt to score cheap points….”

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology

A Fascinating Look Back at an old Thread on TEC (The Episcopal Church) numbers from 2007

Read it all. The whole piece as well as the links and comments are well worth the time. Of all the bits, I found this most revealing. If you look through the Christian Century article you see this quote:

[James B. Lemler, Episcopal director of mission] also said that officials were heartened that average Sunday attendance in 2005 did not decline as it did in the previous two years. The average Sunday worship attendance in 2005 was 787,000 people, down only 8,500.

Since that time, according to the most recent data available (from 2017) ASA has declined to 556,744, a decline of more than 29%.

Posted in TEC Data

TEC House of Deputies President Gay Jennings responds to the recent news about the spouses in same-sex marriages not being invited to Lambeth 2020

So, the situation in which we find ourselves is peculiar. The Archbishop of Canterbury is citing a resolution that does not set policy for the Anglican Communion as a reason to exclude same-sex spouses from Lambeth. That same resolution defines marriage as a “lifelong union.” However, the opposite-sex spouses of bishops who have been divorced and remarried have been invited to Lambeth. We are left to conclude that excluding same-sex spouses is a selective decision—perhaps even an arbitrary one.

Now, thanks to the intrepid reporting of Mary Frances Schjonberg of Episcopal News Service, we know that precisely two spouses are currently excluded from Lambeth. One is the wife of Bishop Mary Glasspool of the Diocese of New York, and the other is the husband of Bishop Kevin Robertson of the Diocese of Toronto in the Anglican Church of Canada. A third, the husband of Bishop-elect Thomas Brown of Maine—also known, for a few more months, as Deputy Brown—will be excluded assuming that the consent process to that election is successful.

In short, the universe of people directly affected by this situation is small. Very small. The Archbishop of Canterbury had already written to Bishop Glasspool and her wife and spoken directly to Bishop Robertson. And yet, Archbishop Idowu-Fearon wrote a blog post about it titled “The global excitement about the Lambeth Conference.” We are left to ponder why it was important for the Anglican Communion Office to make this situation very, very public nearly 18 months in advance.

One other thing: When Bishop Robertson and his husband were married late last year, after nine years together, we learned from media reports that they are the parents of two little children. I cannot overlook the fact that the Anglican Communion Office has created a public situation in which two children are learning that the hierarchy of the church considers their family to be a source of shame and worthy of exclusion. That makes me very angry. When little children are collateral damage, that is not the way of love.

If your internet spigot is similar to mine, and I imagine that it is, you’ve seen that there are a variety of opinions about what bishops and their spouses should do in response to this news. I leave that to the discernment of the bishops and their spouses. But there is the larger issue of how the rest of the Episcopal Church responds.

On Facebook, Deputy Winnie Varghese wrote, “I told an archbishop once that recent Lambeth conferences have done irreparable harm to the witness of The Episcopal Church to the most vulnerable in our society, poor, LGBTQI people of color, because if we show on the international stage that we won’t love our own people and our own leaders and their families, how could we possibly love them/us. … If you can’t invite everyone on equal terms, cancel. You’re not ready.”

I commend her entire post to you, and I agree with it. If we are not yet able to hold a global meeting of Anglican bishops and spouses to which everyone is invited, then I think we should not be holding global meetings of Anglican bishops and spouses.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), House of Deputies President, Marriage & Family, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(CEN) Andrew Carey–A diminished Lambeth Conference

It is absolutely no surprise that the Anglican provinces of Nigeria and Uganda [and Rwanda] have already stated that they do not intend to go to the Lambeth Conference in 2020.

This is entirely consistent with the view of many global south Anglican leaders that the fabric of communion has already been broken by the actions of North American Anglicans – initially by consecrating Gene Robinson as a practising homosexual bishop in 2003. The process of discipline that was begun through the Primates’ Meeting and the Windsor Report was rapidly abandoned and the can was kicked down the road. But it was plain to anyone that communion between Anglicans was so badly damaged that never again could Anglicans pretend to have an interchangeable ministry and common worship.

For 10 years after the consecration of Gene Robinson there were various attempts to put the show back on the road but even Rowan Williams’ valiant attempt to create an Anglican Covenant, which might help to set some limits to the diversity of Anglicanism, was rejected by the General Synod of the Church of England. I still cannot quite believe that Synod members humiliated their Archbishop in such a brutal way.

When Justin Welby picked up the pieces, he travelled tirelessly around the world meeting with Anglican leaders. It is clear he picked up the message that the Communion was ‘broken’ in a very fundamental way. But he concluded that, because Anglican leaders were willing to meet with him, they might be willing to start meeting together once again. It was a risk worth taking but it hasn’t paid off. The boycott by…[three] of the biggest Anglican provinces will stand. Like the 2008 Conference in which almost a third of bishops refused to participate, the 2020 conference will be a diminished gathering.

 

Can the Anglican Communion be saved?

 

In a fascinating essay the evangelical theologian Andrew Goddard agrees that the signs are not good for the Lambeth 2020.

The great risk facing Justin Welby, he argues, is that a failure to gather all the bishops of the Anglican Communion will mark the end of the Lambeth Conference as an ‘effective Instrument of Communion’. He cites four factors, which could equally be applied to the other instruments of communion – the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting – which are:

  1. The failure to discipline
  2. The Archbishop’s changed approach on invitations to the Lambeth Conference
  3. An unwillingness to explore the logic of impaired communion
  4. And the conscientious objection of a large number of bishops.

I admire Goddard’s optimistic outlook that the Anglican Communion can still be saved. He sees the Communion as breaking down, whereas my slightly more brutal approach is to say the faultlines are too great and can never be bridged. The damage limitation exercise that Archbishops must engage in is to keep all the parties talking but it is long past time to abandon the so-called instruments of unity/communion and the pretence that Anglicans are in the same ‘Church’ in any meaningful sense.

But where I mostly disagree with him is on the obscure but important point that Justin Welby is wrongly acting out of step with his predecessor by issuing invitations to the Lambeth Conference on a different basis. Readers will remember that Rowan Williams refused to invite Gene Robinson to the Lambeth Conference in 2008, but even this little gesture backfired because those who refused to attend weren’t opposed in any petty sense to one single bishop, but to a heterodox theology that led to his consecration.

But Rowan Williams was wrong to think that he had the power of invitation to individual bishops. In fact his invitations should have been directed to all bishops in good standing with their own provinces. It is an over-mighty Archbishop who thinks he can personally decide for himself who he is in communion with, and therefore who is in the Anglican Communion. Archbishops of Canterbury have never been this powerful.

One of the problems that resulted from the Gene Robinson crisis in 2003 was that Anglicans pretended they had powers that they didn’t. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s clear choice in 2008 was not the petty power to single out one particular bishop but the greater and properly exercised power not to invite the Episcopal Church of the USA because through its actions it had torn the fabric of communion.

That was the only way to save the Anglican Communion. Of course, he didn’t and the rest is history.

–This appeared in the Church of England Newspaper, 15 February 2019 edition, on page 11; subscriptions to CEN are encouraged

Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, --Justin Welby, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Marriage & Family, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

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