Category : Windsor Report / Process

Presiding Bishop describes Canterbury's sanctions as 'unfortunate'

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has described the decision by Lambeth Palace to remove Episcopalians serving on international ecumenical dialogues as “unfortunate … It misrepresents who the Anglican Communion is.”

Jefferts Schori’s comments were made during a June 8 press conference at the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod 2010 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Before the sanctions were imposed on the Episcopal Church as a consequence for having consecrated a lesbian bishop, Jefferts Schori said she had written a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams expressing her concern.

“I don’t think it helps dialogue to remove some people from the conversation,” she said shortly after addressing General Synod. “We have a variety of opinions on these issues of human sexuality across the communion … For the archbishop of Canterbury to say to the Methodists or the Lutheran [World] Federation that we only have one position is inaccurate. We have a variety of understandings and no, we don’t have consensus on hot button issues at the moment.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Living Church: Anglican leader's Letter Affects Five Episcopal Leaders

So far the proposed disciplines within the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter have affected only the Episcopal Church, but the letter also has raised questions for the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has informed two representatives of the Episcopal Church that they will no longer serve as members of the Anglican”“Orthodox Theological Dialogue. Those representatives are the Rev. Thomas Ferguson, the Episcopal Church’s interim deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations, and the Rt. Rev. William O. Gregg, assistant bishop of North Carolina.

Episcopal News Service reported that the decision affects the Episcopal Church’s involvement in all ecumenical dialogues involving the Anglican Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

David Jenkins on the Canadian Anglican Synod: Too much sex?

Here are the circumstances and the answers:

*Synod passes a motion that approves same-sex blessings. This would break the moratorium.

* Synod passes a motion that allows dioceses to decide for themselves whether to conduct same-sex blessings. This would break the moratorium.

* Synod passes no motion, but continues to ignore dioceses that are already blessing same-sex unions and those who are about to start. This would not break the moratorium.

The distinguishing feature of the last option is that it is not “formal”; the fact that what should not happen is happening is immaterial so long as it is happening informally. A secular equivalent would be a loose association of astute crooks committing uncoordinated burglaries, emboldened by the certain knowledge that the informality of their crimes insulates them from prosecution.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Ephraim Radner: Actions Now Have Consequences

What should be the ecclesial consequences for Anglican churches that have consciously rejected the “mind of the Communion” during this past decade? Many have waited a long time for Archbishop Rowan Williams to spell out his own views. Since 2007 he has openly talked of the costs involved in going one’s own way, however conscientiously, in opposition to the formally stated teachings of the Communion on the matter of sexual behavior and other key matters of doctrine and discipline. But what costs? The archbishop’s Pentecost letter has now begun the formal process of both laying out and setting in motion these consequences. This alone makes the letter significant.

Until this point, the archbishop has steadfastly followed two tracks in responding to the divisions of the Communion. First, he has formally initiated and supported Communion-based processes of consultation and evaluation leading out of the 2004 Windsor Report. By and large, and based on commonly accepted standards of doctrine and discipline around the Communion, these have consistently pressed for Anglican churches around the world to adopt and enforce moratoria on the consecration of partnered homosexual bishops, on the affirmation and permission of same-sex blessings or marriages, and on the cross-jurisdictional interference of bishops in the dioceses or provinces of another church. Through the Instruments of Communion ”” the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Lambeth Conference ”” as well as through representative commissions like the Windsor Continuation Group, the acceptability of this track has been reiterated over and over. Yet, for all that, there has never really been stable resolution emerging from these repeated requests for moratoria.

The archbishop’s second track has been to champion the Anglican Covenant….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Toronto Star–Canadian Anglicans try again to find same-sex blessings consensus

The head of Canada’s Anglican Church appealed Friday to hundreds of bishops, priests and laypeople that they not let talks on the thorny issue of same-sex unions further divide the church or take on the rancour of the past.

Rev. Fred Hiltz said at the opening of the General Synod that there are still varying opinions in the church about homosexuality, but that a new, more conciliatory approach might dull the passions around it.

“My hope clearly is that we will be able to continue this conversation, live with some difference and to do it with a degree of grace,” he said at the triennial gathering in Halifax.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

CNN–Archbishop of Canterbury slaps Episcopal Church for openly gay bishops

“He [Williams] knows he has to do something because he’s under pressure from all sides,” [Robert Lundy of the American Anglican Council] said. “But unfortunately, the step he’s taken in our view is not strong enough.”

Bishop Ian Douglas of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut called Williams’ statement “significant” but “not as punitive as it might have been.”

He said it was an affirmation of the three moratoria, and he made clear that other churches, not just the U.S. Episcopal Church, will be affected for having broken promises as well.

“Many churches across the Anglican Communion because of conscience or their belief in what the holy spirit is up to in their local context have lived beyond the moratoria,” Douglas said. “While the moratoria are still before us, such actions do have some ramifications. … If anything, I question the efficacy of the moratoria.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Windsor Report / Process

Ephraim Radner–Ten Years and a New Anglican Congregationalism

Why mince words here? For some years now ”“ since even before the Virginia Report of the late 1990’s ”” it has been stated formally over and over again that the structures of the Anglican Communion needed redefinition and rebuilding, so as to be able to function fruitfully. Key efforts were made to give direction to such reconstruction. A decade of failure, however, has simply borne out an already established and publicly stated fear.

But trying to set up alternative structures has not fared much better. If the recent Singapore meeting exposed a ten-year lapse in credibility for existing Communion structures, it also put the lie to any attractive claim for alternative structures that, in the past 10 years, some portions of the Communion have so assiduously been at work to erect: new provinces in North America; special “primatial councils” for common confessors; extra-jurisdictional missionary fiefdoms; episcopal netwoks of alternative oversight. Instead, the gathering proved to be what every other Anglican gathering has been in the past decade: in addition to faithful witness and counsel, also a time for political maneuver, secretive changing of agendas at the last moment, North Americans coming in and grabbing the microphones and running meetings, disagreements over this and that strategy and doctrine. That a common communiqué emerged at all was cause for surprise by the end; that it expressed little tangible except a shared dislike for Communion structures and for TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada was probably the most one could have predicted, which isn’t very much, let alone particularly edifying.

There are some obvious conclusions to draw from these ten years.

First, that Anglican Communion “structuralism” ”“ building offices and commissions and adjudicating bodies, in the wake of the 1963 Toronto Congress ”“ is at an end, at least in its presently imagined forms. This is true for the official structures; it is also true for the alternative structures. The drift now between national churches and confessional bodies is too great to ensure their continued functioning and support in any energetic fashion. Not that any of these structures, official or otherwise, are simply about to disappear; they won’t and they shouldn’t, given that they continue to provide important links to the wider Church and mission, and can, in any case, be renewed. But fewer and fewer really care for them, no one really trusts them, no one really wants to let them have power over their lives. If I were an employee of the Anglican Communion Office or of its shadow embodiments, I would look for a new job, if only for economic motives: the money is drying up.

Second, the Anglican Covenant is both a product of this descending drift, as well as a response to it….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Kendall Harmon: On Alice in Wonderland, the Episcopal Church, Richard Helmer, and Chastity

Being in the Episcopal Church these days means entering a vertiginous journey into the corruption of language. You see language which used to mean x, and in one Episcopal Church setting it is used to mean y, and then in another the same words mean z. One thinks immediately of the scene in Alice Wonderland (written as I hope you know by an Anglican deacon):

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

For a recent example of this manipulation of language to mean what it does not mean consider a piece on chastity by Richard Helmer .

Chastity, technically, is the refraining from sexual activity outside its proper context. For Christians, this has meant abstinence for those who are single and faithfulness for a wife or a husband who is married. This has been the standard for Christians throughout church history and still is for Christians worldwide today. None of this is to suggest that Christians have not struggled with sexuality, or that the understanding of sexuality and its proper use has not gone through interesting developments in the church’s life. It is also not to suggest that a very small minority of contemporary mostly Western Christians have not sought to challenge this standard. The leadership of TEC of course is part of this very small minority.

Richard Helmer is certainly correct to observe that “chastity deserves a thorough study by everyone presently involved in the tired crisis of the Anglican Communion.” It is just my hope that in doing so words are allowed to mean what the words mean and not what we want them to mean, whether in fact they mean what we say they mean or not.

One of the things you will hear in some circles of TEC is “sexuality is a sacrament.” This was actually explicitly said in a national church resource a while back.

It isn’t true, but like a lot of TEC leadership assertions these days, it contains partial truth. You may know that heresy is part of the truth masquerading as the whole truth–which is therefore actually an untruth. This statement about sexuality being “a sacrament” is an example of such a definition of heresy.

The truth is sexuality is like a sacrament and has sacramental dimensions, and it is from this vantage point that an important response to Richard Helmer can emerge.

You may know that in sacramental theology there is sometimes a distinction made between sacramental matter and sacramental form. The matter is the “stuff” or physical material involved in the sacrament, and the form is the words said and (sometimes) the sayer of such words, etc. Thus in baptism the matter is water, and the form is God’s threefold name (it can be by an authorized minister, but it actually doesn’t have to be).

We do not need to veer way off into sacramental theology at this time, the point is that in sacramental theology there is involved a what, as well as a who and how. This is not dissimilar to Thomistic ethical considerations, which tell us that any act’s moral determination comes from considering the act, the intention and the circumstance.

When these kinds of dimensions are considered, and one realizes that sexuality has many sacrament-like qualities, one can argue that sexuality is best understood by considering all its aspects, the what and the who and the how.

Now consider Father Helmer’s essay. Already one grows uneasy when one watches the essay begin without entering into the long stream of christian history in this area. What, one wants to ask, have all the Christians who have gone before us on whose shoulders we now stand, understood by this term chastity? One might have liked some Scriptural study and work as well. Instead we get a reference to chastity which has to do with “fidelity” and then a working definition as follows:

Chastity means setting aside dominance and control and seeking instead a new way to relate to the world and to God. He then goes on, quite revealingly, to say he is concerned about “a failure of chastity” which he then clarifies this way: “…I don’t mean sex outside the marriage. By chastity in marriage I mean the challenge of setting aside the stubborn drive to control or change person we most cherish.”

Now please understand that there is much in this discussion with which I would wholeheartedly agree. My concern here, though, is what this definition of chastity represents. It typifies the gnosticism present is all too much Episcopal Church thinking these days, where the how takes all precedence over the what, where form triumphs over substance. We hear talk of mutuality and faithfulness and encouragement and life enhancement and on and on and on. These are good things. But we cannot allow the how to bypass the what. We cannot allow intention and circumstance to dominate, and not ask about the act itself.

Alas, we are in a church which claims to be sacramental, but which is too often reductionistic.

Look at this paragraph from Father Helmer and see how it is all about the adjectives, is is all a world where how triumphs over what:

Chaste behavior has been in the quiet but transformative story-telling and building up of authentic relationships across the divides of gender, class, race, culture, sexuality, and ideology all across the Communion recently. Chastity allows us to be ourselves by allowing others to be themselves. Chastity makes it known when we are encountering oppression and articulates our needs as they arise. Chastity seeks honest accountability. Chastity sets aside the weapons and metaphors of war for an honest, authentic justice. Chastity endeavors to shed the harbored resentments and unmet wants of our brief lives and move forward in renewed relationship.

And what is the Alice in Wonderland outcome of such reductionism? Helmer asserts:

“Chastity has long been in evidence by those courageous, oft-threatened “firsts” of our faith who inhabit dangerous positions not for power or the quixotic pursuit of perfection, but simply by being who they are and following God’s call as best they can. The consecrations in the Diocese of Los Angeles are some of the most recent examples of this form of chastity.”

The problem here is that a woman in a same sex partnership by definition cannot be chaste, and would never have been considered chaste by our forbears. It flunks the test based on the what, no matter how much Father Helmer wants us to focus on the how. It is not just about the “form” of chastity, to have chastity one needs both form and substance.

In the world where words mean what they were given to mean, this isn’t chaste at all.

One more observation, as a kind of final irony. Even if I were to grant that it is all about form (and I don’t), this flunks the chastity test. Chastity is about “setting aside dominance and control” says Father Helmer. So many see in TEC’s actions exactly those two things, they see American unilateralism writ large.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Instruments of Unity, Sacramental Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sermons & Teachings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

CEN–Battle over American seat on the Anglican Consultative Council looms

Asked whether he would have to step down from the ACC’s Standing Committee due to his change in status from priest to bishop, Dr. [Ian] Douglas told CEN he would remain in place.

“Election to the Standing Committee by the ACC is irrespective of orders. Therefore, if I am elected the episcopal ACC member from TEC by the Executive Council in June, then I remain on the Standing Committee,” he said.

However conservatives have pushed for ACC chairman, Bishop James Tengatenga to replace Dr. Douglas, arguing that under the bylaws of the ACC a church cannot have two episcopal delegates. They state that upon his consecration as a bishop, Dr. Douglas ceased to be a clerical member of the ACC.

Read it all (subscription to CEN needed to do so).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Windsor Report / Process

Albert Mohler–“For the Sake of God” ”” Must We Surrender Sexual Morality?

There are several aspects of Ruth Gledhill’s argument that demand response. In the first place, it is shocking that she asserts with such breathtaking ease that the conservatives in the Anglican Communion ”” those who stand on clear teachings of the Bible, must give way to the liberals. There is no acknowledgment that this means the growing churches of the Anglican Communion surrendering to the agenda of the dying churches.

Second, the argument that an insistence on the importance of biblical sexuality means that these teachings are held to be more important than “the Resurrection, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Birth, and the Trinity,” is nothing less than ludicrous. The issue of homosexuality may now function to place persons “on the Christian spectrum,” but this is only because the liberal churches have forced the issue. Conservative Anglicans from Africa and South American did not raise the issue of sexuality ”” the Episcopal Church did.

One other aspect of this particular issue cries out for acknowledgment. One additional reason that the issue of homosexuality (and biblical authority) now functions so decisively is precisely because the liberal churches have already allowed liberal denials of everything mentioned by Gledhill on her list. It so happens that the churches that hold fast to those theological essentials are, almost without exception, the same churches that maintain biblical teachings on human sexuality. No real surprise there.

Third, the argument that the historic creeds and confessions and liturgies of the church do not mention homosexuality is obvious and simple ”” they did not need to.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Soteriology, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Windsor Report / Process

Michael Thompson (Anglican Journal)–Punishment without the requisite crime

In the work that bears his name, Gilbert and Sullivan’s wonderfully imagined Mikado purports “To let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime.” In their guest opinion column in the Anglican Journal (May 2010, p. 5), Catherine Sider-Hamilton and Dean Mercer have, on the other hand, already decided the punishment”“ “a second-tier status in the larger Anglican Communion.” It remains only to conjure up the requisite crime….

…the writers imply that the current conflict pits those who love and faithfully receive scripture against those who despise it, who find its teaching “oppressive and outdated.” But we know that those who support the blessing of committed monogamous same-sex relationships include many who know and love the Bible as living witness to the living God. And we know that as we receive and interpret scripture, the truth that emerges is often contested truth”“as for example, we come to divergent conclusions about the response that the God revealed in scripture invites to a question of sexual ethics and Kingdom ethos in the 21st century. Conflict and contested truth are not unfamiliar to Jesus’ disciples, and need not tear apart the foundational covenant of our common baptism into one body. We could renew a healthier and more faithful discourse by acknowledging contested truth and engaging in honest and charitable conversation about the practices, values and contextual realities that shape our reception and interpretation of scripture.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

ACI–Asking The Wrong Question: New Zealand and The Anglican Covenant

In the past the Archbishop of Canterbury has acknowledged indirectly that he has this authority. When he wrote the Primates in December 2006 concerning the upcoming meeting in Dar es Salaam, Archbishop Williams advised them that: “I have decided not to withhold an invitation to Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the elected Primate of the Episcopal Church to attend the forthcoming meeting. I believe it is important that she be given a chance both to hear and to speak and to discuss face to face the problems we are confronting together.” He indicated in this letter that this was his decision based on open questions about TEC’s response to the Windsor Report. Those questions have now been conclusively answered by TEC, and a different decision is now required if the Communion is to survive.

Separately, when Ian Douglas was consecrated bishop he was disqualified from membership in the ACC (and its standing committee) since that would give TEC two bishops among its three members, which is not permitted under the ACC constitution. As The Church of England Newspaper reports, both TEC and Douglas take the position that he can be elected in June to the episcopal seat of the retiring Catharine Roskam (who continues to serve under ACC rules until just before the next meeting) and thereby remain on the ACC standing committee. But this result would violate ACC rules, and this position entails in any event the recognition that his current clerical seat has been relinquished by his consecration to the episcopacy. In other words, his seat on the ACC standing committee is already vacant, and he cannot resume that seat if he is elected to Roskam’s seat, which would not take effect until the next ACC meeting in any event under ACC rules (Resolution 4:28). Under the ACC bylaws (Article 7) the standing committee is now required to appoint a clerical member to fill the seat on the standing committee formerly held by Douglas.

Indeed, there is a precisely analogous situation in Canada to that of Douglas and TEC. Stephen Andrews, like Douglas, went to ACC-14 in Jamaica as a clergy member for his first meeting. After ACC-14, Andrews was consecrated bishop by the Anglican Church of Canada. Canada understands that Andrews ceased to be a member of the ACC upon his consecration and therefore that he has now been replaced by his clerical alternate. Indeed, Andrews was elected bishop before ACC-14, but his consecration delayed until after the meeting in Jamaica (we are told) precisely because Canada understood the ACC implications of his consecration. If TEC is permitted to circumvent the ACC rules to keep Douglas on the ACC and its standing committee, especially after the decision to disqualify Uganda’s chosen ACC representative at Jamaica, any remaining trust in the ACC will be lost forever.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

ACNS–Continuing Indaba: web pages now available

The arrival of Continuing Indaba on the Internet as part of the Anglican Communion web site makes visible the preparatory work already in hand for the series of pilot conversations between dioceses from different parts of the Communion to take place during 2010 and 2011.

Visitors to the new site will find an outline of the project,, which explains its origins as located within an African conversational method for resolving real or potential conflict through mutual listening and debate. The process emerges from the Indaba-style format used at the 2008 Lambeth Conference which is now being expanded to enhance the world-wide Anglican Communion in its quest to intensify relationships in the cause of shared mission.

These pages carry news of the initial series of ”˜hub’ meetings around the world during late 2009 and early 2010 whose remit is to develop resources which can guide and inform the model conversations between participants from dioceses from across the world.

There is also a growing library of the resource papers generated from and through the ”˜hubs’ in order to make them as widely available as possible for those wishing to follow the development of the Continuing Indaba conversations planned for 2010 and 2011….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

John Shepley (New Directions): Unity before truth

What has been exercising the minds of Anglicans in recent years, as the culture wars over human sexuality have raged, is the relationship of Unity and Truth. How to reconcile radically divergent opinions in a single communion?

Some have put a premium on Truth ”“ and so have been prepared to take unilateral action or to cross ecclesial boundaries in order to uphold it. Others have openly preferred Unity. Heresy, as one American bishop tersely put it, is to be preferred to schism.

And there has been no respite. No sooner had the crisis over women in the episcopate subsided than another conflict took its place ”“ over the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of practising homosexuals….

The Windsor Report (2004), instead of addressing this pressing issue head on, chose by procedural sleight of hand to avoid it:
”˜The mandate of this Commission has been to examine, and make recommendations in relation to, the formal results, in terms of our Communion one with another within Anglicanism, of the recent events which have been described. We repeat that we have not been invited, and are not intending, to comment or make recommendations on the theological andethical mailers concerning the practice of same sex relations and the “blessing or ordination or consecration of those who engage in them [italics theirs].

Having outlined the problems, and sketched the deeper symptoms we believe to lie beneath them, it is time to examine more fully, in this Section, the nature of the Communion we share, the bonds which hold it together, the ways in which all this can be threatened and how such threats might be met.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Identity, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Fulcrum Leadership Team: TEC has Chosen; Where now do Anglicans go from here?

It is important that this is not simply a matter of disagreement about biblical interpretation and sexual ethics although these are central and important. It is now very clearly also a fundamental matter of truth-telling and trust. In September 2007, at the Primates’ request and after meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, TEC bishops confirmed they would “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion”. They made clear that “non-celibate gay and lesbian persons” were among such candidates.

When asked recently how they could therefore now proceed to confirm Mary Glasspool in the light of that assurance, one TEC bishop said this simply expressed where the bishops were in 2007 and they may be somewhere different now. At least where they are now is crystal clear. Both moratoria have been rejected. In addition, TEC is pursuing legal actions, with widespread concern its leadership intends aggressive action against the diocese of South Carolina which upholds the Communion’s teaching….

….the situation is now such that it may be better for the Archbishop simply to state ”“ as one of the Instruments and a focus and means of unity – that TEC as a body has rejected the Communion’s repeated appeals for restraint, made false promises, and confirmed its direction is away from Communion teaching and accountability. It has thereby rendered itself incapable of covenanting with other churches and made it unclear what it means when it claims to be in communion with the see of Canterbury and a constituent member of the Anglican Communion.

Although decisive action is necessary, Archbishop Rowan’s limited powers within the Communion and his laudable desire to keep on going the extra mile to enable dialogue mean many think it unlikely. Some long ago gave up on him. Many, however, both within the Church of England and the wider Communion (particularly in the Global South which meets next month) have been patient and sought to work with him by supporting the Windsor and covenant processes. They need now to make clear that unless he gives a clear lead then all that he and others have worked for since the Windsor Report and all that is promised by the covenant is at risk because of the new situation in which TEC has placed us.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Michael Poon–The Anglican Communion as Communion of Churches and the Anglican Covenant

The paper aims to draw out the historic significance of the Anglican Covenant for the Anglican Communion. It begins by examining the nature and reasons of the “ecclesial deficit” of the Anglican Communion. It points out that the ecclesial status of the Anglican Communion has never been clarified. The Anglican Communion arises historically as an accident. It has never been constituted as an ecclesial body. The paper traces the transformations in the Anglican ecclesiastical map amid powerful global undercurrents in the second half of the twentieth century. It reflects on the emergence of the status of the See of Canterbury as “focus of unity” of the Anglican Communion. It proceeds to point out how uncritical adoption of the term “instruments of unity” from Protestant ecumenical dialogues led to confusion and mistrust among Anglican Churches. The paper then explores the potentials of communion-ecclesiology for the Anglican Covenant. It goes on to argue that the Anglican Covenant, grounded in the New Covenant, provides the canonical structure of the Anglican Communion. It constitutes the particular Churches to be a confident Communion of Churches. The inter-Anglican structures of the Anglican Communion should in fact be the ecclesiastical embodiment of the Anglican Covenant.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Analysis, Church History, Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

ENS–Mary Glasspool receives required number of standing committee consents in unofficial tally

Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool has received the required number of consents from diocesan standing committees to her ordination and consecration, pending verification by the presiding bishop’s office.

The Diocese of Los Angeles announced March 10 that Glasspool had received 61 standing committee consents, in an unofficial tally. A majority of consents, or 56, were required from standing committees in the Episcopal Church’s 109 dioceses.

“I give thanks for the standing commitees’ prompt action, and for the consents to the elections of my sisters,” Los Angeles Bishop Diocesan J. Jon Bruno said on March 10, referring to both Glasspool and Bishop-elect Diane Jardine Bruce.

“I look forward to the final few consents to come in from the bishops in the next few days, and I give thanks for the fact that we as a church have taken a bold step for just action.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s office has yet to verify the official number of bishops with jurisdiction who have consented to Glasspool’s ordination and consecration.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Windsor Report / Process

An Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles news Release on the Consent Process for recent elections

The Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce has received the necessary consents to her election as seventh bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles, officials have confirmed.

Meanwhile, Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction continue to provide their consents to the election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as the diocese’s eighth bishop suffragan.

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles — offering its weekly update of consents received from counterpart Standing Committees in 109 other dioceses of the Episcopal Church — said on Feb. 17 that in the past 43 days, of the 56 total votes needed, Bruce has received 56, and Glasspool, 45.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Nathan Baxter to the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

I am writing to share with you my decision to give my consent for the consecration of the Rev. Mary Glasspool, bishop suffragan elect, in the Diocese of Los Angeles. What follows address both the considerations of my decision and also my interpretation of related Resolutions of The Episcopal Church, including C056 and D025 of the 2009 General Convention. In the consent process of an Episcopal election, the Church asks all bishops with jurisdiction and all Standing Committees to review the election process and discern the candidate’s suitability as a bishop for the entire Church. Only in a few cases are there questions about the suitability of a candidate or the election process. On such occasions, it has been my custom to inform the diocese of my conclusions.

Throughout her 30 years of ordained ministry, the Rev. Mary Glasspool has been faithful and consistent to the ministry, doctrine and teaching of the Episcopal Church. This includes her current ministry (since 2001) as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Maryland. In the one area where there is controversy, she has been unquestionably faithful to the spirit of the Church. I have known her for many years, and I have known her to be an excellent priest, pastor, administrator and servant of the church. What I have read of her writings, her preaching, her guidance of parishes in discernment for either deployment or congregational development of their mission has deeply impressed me. Her efforts in formal theological continuing education have reflected a desire to grow theologically as a leader in the Church. Her commitment to Jesus Christ has always been clearly expressed in her ministry. As I have been in discernment about consent for consecration, I have had extended conversation with bishops with whom she has served. It is their experience that she has been effective and well received by all clergy and parishes of her diocese, including those of decidedly conservative convictions. Canon Glasspool has been invited to lead vestry retreats and mutual ministry reviews in all parishes of the diocese. She has gained a common and mutual respect with all church leaders in her diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Windsor Report / Process

Mike Watson–Whither the Diocese of Texas?

There are more developments than just one that raise questions about the future of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. The one singled out for discussion here relates to the 161st annual Council of the Diocese, to be held on February 12 and 13 in Killeen, Texas. According to the material presented in The Texas Episcopalian and in the Journal (Volume I) and other material published on the Diocese’s website, one of the items on the agenda is a resolution that, among other things, accords honor to gay and lesbian relationships and states that God is made known in and through such relationships.

It is not so surprising that such a resolution would be proposed, but it is seems quite irregular that the resolution would originate from, and be recommended by, a majority of the Diocese’s committee on resolutions. Under the canons, the resolutions committee, appointed for each year by the bishop at the preceding Council meeting, has the duties of receiving and processing resolutions, conforming them to proper usage, ranking them by importance, and making recommendations if they so determine. The canons do not assign to the resolutions committee any role of drafting and presenting resolutions on behalf of itself.

In this case, the action taken by the committee was apparently in response to two resolutions received from a group of five individuals, including the Very Rev. Joe Reynolds, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral and the Rev. David Boyd, Rector of St. David’s, Austin. One of the resolutions put forward by this group upholds same-gender couples living in committed relationships, saying the relationships are characterized by “the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.” The commentary accompanying the resolution affirms the integrity of such relationships and that some persons in these relationships are “in all ways faithfully participating in Diocesan life.” In putting forth its own resolution, the resolutions committee stated (as published in Volume I of the Journal) that it intended to preserve the spirit of the two resolutions that had been submitted by the group, while doing so in “a true and complete statement of unity and inclusion.” According to material on the Diocese’s website, in response to the committee’s resolution, Dean Reynolds, Fr. Boyd and the other proposers have withdrawn their original resolutions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Windsor Report / Process

The Bishop of Southern Virginia says no to Controversial Los Angeles Suffragan Bishop Election

Everything I know about Mary Glasspool assures me that she is an experienced, faithful priest with extensive diocesan experience and strong leadership skills. I believe she would make a wonderful bishop and that she is an excellent match for the Diocese of
Los Angeles. Her election there was logical and appropriate.

Nevertheless, it is clear to me that the ordination of an openly Gay woman to the episcopate will – at this time – have a serious negative impact on our relationship with the wider Anglican Communion, and that it may very well strain – to the breaking point – those bonds of affection which we have come to value with others, even with those who may agree with us. This, in turn, would limit or damage our future ability to offer leadership to the wider church around matters of sexuality and social justice, as well as limit our participation in shared programs for mission.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Windsor Report / Process

Anglican Communion Institute–The Anglican Communion Covenant: Where Do We Go From Here?

We have learned today from Bishop Mouneer Anis that he has submitted his resignation from the former joint standing committee. Following so closely the release in December of the final text of the Anglican Communion Covenant, this resignation underscores the extent to which the Anglican Communion is at a major crossroads. At this decisive moment, however, substantial doubts have been expressed both publicly by Bishop Mouneer and privately by others as to whether this committee, now the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, is the appropriate body to coordinate the implementation of the Covenant. These concerns point to the steps that we believe are necessary to restore the Communion so badly damaged by actions in North America over the last decade. In what follows, we seek first to outline the current structural challenges to the Covenant’s initial implementation. This will involve some important, if technical, analysis. Only then, however, can we make clear what, in our mind, these necessary steps for implementation are.

In summary, and on the basis of our continued conviction that the Covenant itself as currently formulated is a positive, faithful, and necessary basis for the renewal of the Anglican Communion and its member churches, we argue that:

1. The final Covenant text envisions a Communion of responsibly coordinated Instruments, ordered episcopally, that the current ACC-led standing committee is in fact undermining;
2. The current ACC standing committee is not necessarily the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” indicated by the Covenant text, and cannot therefore automatically claim the authority it seems to be assuming;
3. The current ACC standing committee has little credibility in the eyes of a large part of the Communion and ought not to be claiming the authority it seems to be assuming;
4. Those Churches of the Communion who move fully and decisively to adopt the Covenant must work with a provisional and representative standing committee, continuous in membership with the other Instruments, that will direct the implementation of the Covenant in a way that can eventually permit a Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to be formed as envisioned by the Covenant text.

read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Instruments of Unity, Windsor Report / Process

A Key Letter from Primate of the Middle East Mouneer Anis Explaining his Resignation from the JSC

…I have come to the sad realization that there is no desire within the ACC and the SCAC to follow through on the recommendations that have been taken by the other Instruments of Communion to sort out the problems which face the Anglican Communion and which are tearing its fabric apart. Moreover, the SCAC, formerly known as the join Standing Committee (JSC), has continually questioned the authority of the other Instruments of Communion, especially the Primates Meeting and the Lambeth Conference.

Some may say that the provinces within the Anglican Communion are autonomous, and each province is free to make its own resolutions. While I agree and accept the autonomous nature of each province, I believe that the participation in the decision making process that affects the life of the Anglican Communion should be for those who show respect in word and deed to the whole Communion – not those who turn their backs to every appeal and warning.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Windsor Report / Process

Mary Eberstadt in First Things:Is the end of the Anglican Communion itself now in sight?

Once in a while comes an historical event so momentous, so packed with unexpected force, that it acts like a large wave under still water, propelling us momentarily up from the surface of our times onto a crest, where the wider movements of history may be glimpsed better than before.

Such an event was Benedict XVI’s landmark announcement in October 2009 offering members of the Anglican Communion a fast track into the Catholic Church. Although commentators quickly dubbed this unexpected overture a “gambit,” what it truly exhibits are the characteristics of a move known in chess as a “brilliancy,” an unforeseen bold stroke that stunningly transforms the game. In the short run, knowledgeable people agree, this brilliancy of Benedict’s may not seem to amount to much. Some 1000 Church of England priests may convert and some 300 parishes turn over to Rome””figures that, while significant when measured against the dwindling numbers of practicing Anglicans there, are nonetheless mere drops in the Vatican’s bucket.

But in the longer run””say, over the coming decades””Rome’s move looks consequential in another way. It is the latest and most dramatic example of how orthodoxy, rather than dissent, seems once again to have taken the driver’s seat of Christianity. Every traditionalist who joins the long and already illustrious history of reconversion to the Catholic Church just tips the religious balance more toward Rome. This further weakens a religious communion battered from within by decades of intra-Anglican culture wars. Meanwhile, the progressives left behind may well find the exodus of their adversaries a Pyrrhic victory. How will they possibly make peace with the real majority of Anglicans today””the churches in Africa, whose leaders have repeatedly denounced the Communion’s abandonment of traditional teachings? Questions like these are why a few commentators now speak seriously about something that only recently seemed unthinkable: whether the end of the Anglican Communion itself might now be in sight.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

BB from New Zealand Chimes in on the Covenant

(Please note that this response refers to the thread below on the blog on which there are currently over 50 comments. If you have not read that thread I would encourage you to do so–KSH)

This thread must be one of the best T19 has witnessed, IMHO. Thank you to the many participants: I have benefited greatly from the discussion – not least the rigour and candour of much of it. Even if I disagree with those who do not favour the Covenant Process …!

In my present little part of the Lord’s vineyard, we have a really intriguing situation developing. For New Zealand is not generally known for its conservative style Anglican ethos (ven if it does have a strong CMS history)!. Yet, as we face the run up to its General Synod in May this year, some lines are starting to be drawn which will determine our long term future, for better or ill.

The Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia runs a quarterly national magazine called [i]Taonga[/i]. The name is Maori for “prized treasure”, a reference to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. The latest Advent edition ran two articles on the Anglican Communion Covenant, one pro and one against. As with this Church’s official response to the RCD, it mostly wants a ‘bob-each-way’ – even as it tries to be fair in its debates! See http://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/ and the third set of links beginning with “Dr Williams hails latest Covenant”.

I refer the T19 readership to these links especially since the article in favour reaffirms some of the stronger points made in this thread, while the one against – by a retired bishop please note – shows very starkly why the AC seriously needs such a mechanism as the Covenant, to arrest the dribbling into the sands of endless ideological pluralism. And it is clear to me at least the GS leadership has grasped this western ideological nettle very firmly, to refute it, as it seeks to bolster the Covenant Process to achieve an AC that still might be a vessel of worth in the Lord’s hands for the global mission of the Church in the 21st C. Enjoy!

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Windsor Report / Process

Ephraim Radner offers some Thoughts on Rowan Williams, the Covenant and recent Anglican Meetings

From here:

I have had my own disappointments and outright disagreements with Canterbury’s chosen course of action at various points over the last few years, and I have shared this with him personally. Where some have urged a “bolder” response to TEC, within the limits of his ecclesial and moral authority, I have urged the same thing. But I categorically reject the charges made here that he has set about to undermine agreements made among the Primates, as at Dar es Salaam, or to manipulate and ignore legal processes such as those in place at the ACC last May.

In the first instance, RW was personally a key player (not the only one) at getting the Dar agreement nominally accepted, through face to face persuasion on the floor, as it were. That has been stated by several GS primates present at the time. But the agreement was also made possible by the compromise work of primates who were not personally disposed to aspects of its content, e.g. Australia. The Dar agreement, in other words, was intrinsically fragile, based as it was on temporary dynamics and uncertain internal commitments. The sense of Lambeth, it soon became apparent, was that its prosecution was thereby vulnerable from the start, and at the first sign of withdrawal of strong support outside of the meeting, Lambeth decided that pressing the agreement concretely would be counterproductive to the agreements actual aims. These “signs” included TEC and AMiA both immediately rejecting key provisions, and their allies quickly standing behind them.

I believe that RW gave up too quickly, choosing instead (as he has consistently done) to rebuild alternative consensus for change through other groups (e.g. the Windsor Continuation Group). This is fair game to debate and criticize, it seems to me. But the notion that RW was the skunk in the patch here is, to put it bluntly, a matter of sinners throwing stones. The Primates Meeting had already proved to be, in certain respects, a place where bishops behaved badly, and the fact that it was judged to be a weak reed should surprise no one. I don’t believe it needed to be left at this place, but again, that is matter for debate.

As for the ACC, we all know that the running of this meeting was a procedural disaster that has set back the ACC’s credibility enormously, fanning the flames of suspicion by all and sundry. No one can mitigate that loss of trust or the justifications in general for that loss. But there is a long way between such generally well-founded worries about the ACC’s ability to do its job fairly and well, and condemning this or that individual with deliberate and malicious intent. “Manipulation” there was, I would think, although any precise assessment of blame is not possible to come by. And Canterbury’s role in this demonstrates confusion””albeit deeply regrettable confusion””rather than strategic subversion. Furthermore, the outcome with respect to the Covenant strikes me as a sign of recognition of this fact: amazingly expeditious revision, and starkly restrained in its focus. People don’t seem to admit mistakes much anymore in public; but the manner of this outcome adds up to an admission of sorts. That is my read of the matter, and I don’t think it is particularly pollyannish. Not, that is, in the face of the anti-Stalinists and anti-Czarists faced off against each other.

I remain convinced that those leaders””bishops, clergy, and laity””who can order their service to the church for the long haul, steadily and solidly faithful, ordered, engaged in commonly established processes of ecclesial life, honest and charitable, and perseverant in their commitments within and for the sake of the people shared (not just locally), will prevail. That is a promise of the Lord, it seems, to “those who endure to the end”. People like Abps. Chew and Mouneer Anis presently, or Gomez recently; and others. And, for all my concerns about this and that, Rowan Williams too has demonstrated a perserverence that is bound to his faith in Christ Jesus as Lord, and not to self-interest. From that certainly I can be strengthened. So should others be, whether or not they can affirm his decisions in this or that particular matter.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

Kenneth Kearon Clarifies questions related to the Anglican Constitution

The views of the Primates were sought at the Primates’ Meeting in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2007.

The change (in effect a change to the Constitution) required approval in principle from a majority of the provinces, and the Standing Committee just before ACC 14 in Jamaica in 2009 noted that the requisite number of approvals had been received. The change to the status of the Primates’ Standing Committee with respect to the ACC and its Standing Committee came into effect when approvals had been received. The company itself is now in the process of registration with the Charity Commissioners.

Read it all. Please note that it is unclear when Nick Kniseley quotes “the Secretary General’s response,” what, exactly, Nick is quoting from (that is, is it a personal letter or email to Nick, someone else, a group of people, or what exactly–KSH?.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Instruments of Unity, Windsor Report / Process

Committing to the Anglican Covenant: An analysis by the Anglican Communion Institute

…there apparently is a new ACC constitution (now referred to as Articles of Association) that changes the membership procedures for the ACC. This new constitution (which has not been made public) also applies in some way to the adoption of the Covenant by other churches.
11. On the second question, “who can invite,” the Covenant is explicit in saying that this may be done by the “Instruments.” On its face, this means that any of the Instruments, e.g., the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Primates’ Meeting, could issue such an invitation, which would then invoke the procedures indicated: approval by the Standing Committee and consents from the Primates.

12. None of this is meant to suggest that such an invitation is necessarily imminent, but the procedures are far more flexible and responsive to developing circumstances than many have been led to believe.

13. With these principles in mind, we urge all churches and dioceses interested in committing to the life of mutual accountability and interdependence required by the Covenant to adopt and affirm the Covenant as soon as practicable and communicate their decisions to the Communion and its churches. We note that paragraph 4.1.6 provides that “This Covenant becomes active for a Church when that Church adopts the Covenant through the procedures of its own Constitution and Canons.” Thus, the Covenant will become active as soon as member churches begin to adopt it, and the Global South churches have indicated their intention to begin doing so as early as April 2010. By committing to the Covenant, a church or diocese will immediately begin to share in the Communion life represented by the Covenant even as the formalities of the Communion Instruments necessarily will take longer to implement.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Bishop John W. Howe Writes His Diocese on The Anglican Covenant

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Anglican Covenant is now in its “final” form, and it has been distributed to the Provinces of the Communion for their consideration. It is not greatly different from the third draft that we saw several months ago. I believe that the first three sections are an excellent – truly excellent – summary of what Anglicans believe and have in common. The full text is available at: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/commission/covenant/final/text.cfm

Section four is in a sense what the whole exercise has been about. The drafting of this Covenant was first proposed in the 2004 Windsor Report which was produced in response to the Primates’ concerns over the election and consecration of an openly non-celibate gay man as Bishop of New Hampshire.

It has been a lengthy process, and it will not be concluded soon. But section four of the Covenant outlines a process by which the majority of the Communion might be able to declare that a given action on the part of one of its member Churches (such as the consecration of an openly non-celibate homosexual bishop) is or would be “incompatible with the Covenant” and there might then be “relational consequences.”

From the beginning of the Covenant drafting process the Archbishop of Canterbury has been clear that he hoped we would create a Covenant that each member Province could voluntarily decide to “opt into” or not. He has envisioned a “two tier” or “two track” Communion in which those Provinces that choose to “opt into” the Covenant remain in “constituent membership” in the Communion, and those Provinces that “opt out” of the Covenant move into “associate membership” – something which he has compared to the status of the Methodist Church: it has an Anglican heritage, but it is really a separate denomination.

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council has said that the earliest time in which TEC as a whole can officially consider the Covenant is the General Convention of 2012. But, in his response to my inquiry on behalf of our Diocesan Board, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that dioceses are certainly free to “affirm” the Covenant if and when they choose to do so.

The Covenant has created a procedure by which those Provinces that “opt into” it can take action on behalf of the Communion as a whole to declare that certain actions are outside the bounds of our corporate life, and while the “relational consequences” are not spelled out in the Covenant itself, they clearly are foreshadowed by those Provinces which have declared “impaired” or “broken” communion with The Episcopal Church over the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire.

Both our Diocesan Board and our Standing Committee have already affirmed the first three sections of the Covenant, and there is a Resolution to be considered by our 41st Convention next month to do likewise. Now that the fourth section has been finalized Fr. Eric Turner (who proposed the original Resolution) will offer a substitute Resolution that the Convention affirm the Covenant as a whole.

I have repeatedly said that I believe the only hope for the Anglican Communion is in following the Archbishop’s lead in drafting and adopting this Covenant. I now urge the delegates to Convention to study it and affirm it on January 30.

It remains my personal commitment to uphold the Covenant, and I give you my assurance, again, that I will never consent to the election of a bishop (or for that matter a priest or deacon) living in a relationship of sexual intimacy other than marriage as the Book of Common Prayer defines and understands it (one man and one woman, in Christ).

Warmest regards in our Lord,

–(The Rt. Rev.) John W. Howe is Bishop of Central Florida

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

Statement from West Texas Bishops on the election this past weekend in the Diocese of Los Angeles

From here:

As you may be aware, on Saturday, December 5, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected the Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as one of two bishops suffragan elected in that diocese over the weekend. This election, like all elections to the episcopate, must receive a majority of consents from bishops exercising jurisdiction (that is, diocesan bishops) as well as diocesan Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church within 120 days of the election. In response to this election, the Archbishop of Canterbury released the following statement on December 6: “The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole. The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications. The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”

Previously, the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in June 2006, passed resolution B033 that called “upon the Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on the communion.” There was much conversation at this year’s 76th General Convention in Anaheim about whether the actions of the 2009 Convention had repealed B033. We are mindful of the statement of this summer’s General Convention that acknowledged that “members of The Episcopal Church, as of the Anglican Communion, based on careful study of the Holy Scriptures, and in light of tradition and reason, are not of one mind, and Christians of good conscience disagree about some of these matters” (resolution D025). We reiterate our belief that The Episcopal Church should exercise the restraint called for by the Anglican Communion and, likewise, will not consent to this election.

This election in Los Angeles comes at a time when we are expecting, within the next few weeks, the release of the final draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant, which seeks to guide our common life as a communion of churches. Our diocese, through actions at Diocesan Council and statements from our leadership, has consistently affirmed our support of the requests of the wider Communion in these matters, as well as the ongoing Anglican Covenant process.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, Windsor Report / Process