Daily Archives: September 22, 2007

Jonathan Sacks: God's forgiveness empowers us to take risks

It’s the most famous pun in the history of the foreign office. In 1842, Major General Sir Charles Napier, commander of the British army in India, was ordered to quell an uprising in a province called Sindh, today the region around Karachi in Pakistan. He succeeded, and sent back a message consisting of one word, Peccavi, which is the Latin for ‘I have sinned.’

Puns aside, the hardest thing to say in any language is just that: I have sinned. I did wrong. Forgive me. Which is why, in Judaism, we have Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins this Friday night.

For us, it’s the holiest day of the year, and it is given over to saying in a hundred different ways, I have sinned.

It isn’t easy to do. But it’s essential to a happy life. I have seen marriages fail, families split apart, friends become estranged, whole communities divided, all because neither side was prepared to say: I got it wrong. Forgive me.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Judaism, Other Faiths

This American life tells the Story of Sam Slaven

I am having one of those days where things line up in a pattern in an amazing way. This show tells a remarkable story of repentance, and it just happened to be what I listened to on Podcast during my run this morning:

Sam Slaven is an Iraq War veteran who came home from the War plagued by feelings of hate and anger toward Muslims. TAL producer Lisa Pollak tells the story of the unusual action Sam took to change himself, and the Muslim students who helped him do it

It is also an incredibly powerful reminder of some of the real cost involved in the Iraq War.

Listen to it all (34 minutes and very worth the time).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Iraq War, Islam, Other Faiths

Notable and Quotable

with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm
smile at the storm
smile at the storm
with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm as we go sailing home
sailing sailing home
sailing sailing home
with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm as we go sailing home

Posted in Uncategorized

Internal bickering leaves Quad City Anglican churches in turmoil

The Rev. Steven McClaskey really didn’t want to retire right now from his pastoral post at Trinity Church in Rock Island.

Yet, he also didn’t want to risk losing his pension, which advisers and he felt was endangered, by the continued dispute between Episcopal Church leaders and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The two sides have been at odds since the 2003 consecration of the Rev. Gene Robinson, a non-celibate homosexual, as a New Hampshire bishop. The crisis escalated in 2006 when Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was named as the church’s presiding bishop.

Anglican archbishops issued a Sept. 30 deadline for Episcopal Church leaders to give “unequivocal assurances” that they will stop advocating teaching and practices “incompatible with Holy Scripture;” and would not consent any longer to consecrating bishops living in a same-sex relationship or blessing same-sex unions.

The Episcopal House of Bishops gathered Thursday and continue to meet this weekend in New Orleans to discuss the dissension, including a face-to-face meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

More Thoughts from Andrew Goddard

For me, the significance and urgency of these next few days and weeks is in part because of the clear and specific, time-limited requests to TEC from the Primates and their warning that “if the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion”. With Lambeth now less than a year away if there are indeed to be ‘consequences for…full participation’ it is clear the Primates will either have to eat their words or action will have to be taken by the Instruments sooner rather than later.

There is also the rapid rise in interventions within TEC and these now increasingly in the form not of taking parishes for a period under a foreign jurisdiction but of consecrations to the episcopate. When such consecrations began over 7 years ago, the then Archbishop of Canada, (in)famously remarked, “Bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of aggression”. There now looks dangerously like an episcopal equivalent of an arms race developing as Nigeria (having followed Rwanda in establishing a US mission wing with its own bishop in Martyn Minns) have announced four more bishops (despite CANA having only 60 congregations and 80 clergy requiring oversight), Rwanda another 3 AMiA bishops, while Kenya and Uganda have recently joined in and elected and already consecrated new suffragan bishops to serve American parishes under their province’s jurisdiction. Linked together under Common Cause and meeting as what looks like a potential proto-college of bishops just after TEC’s House of Bishops and just before the African provinces of CAPA gather in early October, it now seems TEC’s claim to be the sole structural representative of Anglicanism in the US is unsustainable, especially if a number of dioceses shortly seek to remove themselves and become part – as whole dioceses – of another Anglican province. While this is, of course, simply the latest in a long line of defections and breakaways over the last 30 or 40 years, the fact these are fully integrated into other provinces of the Communion and their leadership apparently committed to working together in mission and ministry mean we are now clearly in uncharted waters for the Communion and its unity. These “interventions by some of our number and by bishops of some Provinces, against the explicit recommendations of the Windsor Report, however well-intentioned, have exacerbated this situation” (Primates at Dar) and I wish they had not happened and would now be stopped. However, they will only come to an end and the bishops and congregations somehow reintegrated and made regular within an ordered church if the American bishops next week change course.

My hope and prayer is therefore obviously that TEC’s bishops will respond clearly and positively to the request of the Primates. That will require them to reverse their initial rejection of the proposed Pastoral Scheme (which rash rejection, to be honest, played into the hands of those eager for more interventions, certainly in the case of Kenya and Uganda who were happy to work with the Scheme as a means of providing oversight for their American congregations). They will also need clearly to give the assurances sought[1] as to the effect of the actions of General Convention 2006 (and I don’t think they are being asked to unconstitutionally usurp or ‘trump’ Convention but simply to interpret its ambiguous resolutions and to make commitments clearly within their remit as bishops – episcopal authorisation of rites and consent to elected candidates for the episcopate). Only this will enable the Primates at last to be “in a position to recognise that The Episcopal Church has mended its broken relationships”.

Sadly, this outcome looks highly unlikely and so serious thought needs to be given to what happens next. I look forward to hearing how you think the Communion should respond to such an outcome but suspect you will call for a recognition of provincial autonomy and diversity in secondary matters, the need for ongoing respectful dialogue on both sexuality and the nature and structures of life in communion (especially as regards the proposed covenant), and the importance of Lambeth 2008 as a place where such dialogue can take place and bonds of affection be strengthened. As I write that – please forgive me for putting the words into your mouth and correct me where I am wrong! – I realise that stated in those general terms and abstracted from our recent history I could agree. The difficulty is that, as with the majority of the Communion, I don’t at present see these as areas of legitimate diversity. I also honestly believe that if the dialogue and Lambeth conference we so urgently need is to be in the context of trust that will enable conversations to flourish and move everyone on from the current impasse then the American church must take the steps called for in the Windsor Report and reaffirmed consistently by all the Instruments of Communion.

What then do I think should happen if TEC fails to respond adequately? In one sense of course that is of little importance. TEC is responding to the Primates who in turn are simply following the mind of the Communion as expressed in TWR and its reception. It is, therefore, vital for the Primates as a body to determine – or at least be integrally involved in the determination of – the Communion’s response.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Andrew Carey: Schism is not the Answer

The next stage of the never-ending Anglican schism comes this week when the Archbishop of Canterbury and other key Anglican leaders fly out to New Orleans to meet with the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops.

Some might say that this is the crucial stage in the crisis given that the Primates at Dar es Salaam named September 30 as the deadline for The Episcopal Church to comply with the Windsor demands for repentance, a moratorium on same-sex blessings and ordinations, and alternative pastoral care for ”˜conservatives’ who are estranged from their diocesan bishops.

I have my doubts about how crucial this will be, given that the deadline seems to be meaningless. There is no scheduled meeting of any kind in the Anglican Communion to assess whether The Episcopal Church (TEC) has complied. Furthermore, it seems likely that the House of Bishops will attempt to convince the Archbishop’s party that it has indeed complied as far as it can but only a full General Convention can make the necessary response. The fact that there has already been a General Convention meeting last year which could barely even agree on what the Primates and Windsor meant in their demands, will be neither here nor there.

It seems clear that TEC, aided and abetted by the London-based Anglican bureaucracy is playing a long, tactical game. If the process, and the Anglican Communion, can just limp along from hurdle to hurdle without an overt split then the opposition will just melt and die.

The Episcopal Church will continue to downplay the crisis, no matter that scores of parishes are leaving, that dioceses are on the verge of breaking links with the whole edifice, and that African Primates are consecrating bishops and creating parallel jurisdictions in the US. It is business as usual, to the extent that the Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, even had the brazen cheek to stand for the Primates Standing Committee during their meeting in Tanzania, and got elected. She thus ignored the fact that TEC’s very status in the Communion is, at the very least, a secondary one according to the Windsor Process, until the demands are complied with.

I’ve heard more than one Primate during the past decade express frustration about their dealings with The Episcopal Church. They feel deceived after years in which the leaders of TEC refused to discuss the changes they were making in the whole area of human sexuality. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold would do anything to avoid conflict and assured the Primates that nothing had changed and the rapid technology of the internet was distorting what was really happening.

In reality, the technology of the internet ensured that all those who had an interest could see what was really happening in the Episcopal Church. And, let’s be absolutely
clear, it’s about much more than sexuality. Bishop Harold Miller put it very well in an article in the Church of Ireland Gazette earlier this month: “In so many ways, parts of the Episcopal Church have been losing deep aspects of their identity. If God is not Father, Jesus is not Lord, the Son is not unique, baptism is not necessary, the creeds are optional, repentance and sin are dated concepts and the atonement is marginalised or even rejected, where do we go from here? “The faith remaining will be a very different
faith from the Christian faith once delivered to the saints ”” and I, for one, am not going there!” he concluded.

He, like me, has seen incredible divergences between the faith widely held in The Episcopal Church and the faith of Anglicans elsewhere. For my part, I believe it is the baptismal liturgy of the 1979 Prayer Book that is the crux to understanding the direction of The Episcopal Church. In Anglicanism what you pray is what you believe, which is why Cranmer’s Prayer Book is the nearest we have to a unique foundational statement of theology. The US liturgy has much less of an emphasis on sin, repentance, deliverance and transformation than liturgies elsewhere. Wherever you go in The Episcopal Church you now hear the appeal to the Baptismal Covenant.

This is the real covenant Episcopalians are saying, and the foundational nature of baptism is emphasised to the point where it is held that all the baptised are equally entitled
to all the sacraments of the Church -including ordination. This kind of theology makes no demands of its adherents. The baptised are all equal members of the same club. No confirmation, or preparation, is necessary for admittance to communion, and there are increasingly fewer barriers to ordination. Thus there are huge numbers of divorced and remarried priests, and as many homosexuals in partnerships. This kind of theology in which sin, repentance, atonement is unfashionable has little need for Jesus and the Cross, which is why in the past I’ve described it as verging on unitarianism.

Any settlement of this Anglican crisis needs to face up to this divergence in theology. But it should be a compassionate and unity-building settlement. Demands for The Episcopal Church to be thrown out of the Anglican Communion are ultimately uncaring and uncalled for. The need is for the re-evangelisation of The Episcopal Church and this can hardly be accomplished by outright schism.

–This article appeared in the September 21, 2007 edition of the Church of England Newspaper, page 14

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Catharine Phillips: Rebuilding New Orleans

With permission–KSH.

When all the bishops
Have rebuilt New Orleans
Painted, dry-walled, hammered nails
I wonder whether they will gather
On Monday
And immediately see
They are as broken as New Orleans
We are as broken
As New Orleans
Even with the money poured in
And poured out

I wonder whether plaster dust
Will make a difference
In the complexion
Of the gathering
On Monday
Or will they all be showered
And mostly shaved
Present themselves whole and healthy
Proud of what they accomplished
(the ones who stayed)
Proud of what they accomplished
(the ones who left)
Proud and whole
And never broken
Two parts
Never broken

Catharine Phillips
September 21, 2007

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Hurricane Katrina

Ephraim Radner on what a Way Forward Even at this Late Hour Might Look Like

It is very interesting to see Ephraim’s comment this morning as I came across it after I wrote the entry below which came from some praying and thinking and bandying about ideas with some friends last might–KSH.

I cannot say with much certainty what Abp. Williams “really” wants in the midst of this mess. Perhaps he himself doesn’t really know. But one thing I am certain of: if the American bishops of all stripes””and their dioceses and clergy””could agree to some response to this situation that would get the larger Communion out from under this fight, he would think this the proper and acceptable course. EVEN IF IT MEANT THAT A LARGE PORTION OF TEC DISTANCED ITSELF FROM THE COMMUNION. He would not be happy with this, but he would find it acceptable, because it would be a way of dealing with a conflict that engaged the mature agreement of responsible Christian leaders, however difficult and costly. The current way of dealing with it””spreading it around the Communion like vomit with a rag””has proven not only costly, but scandalous.

My own hope, in light of this limited sense of the Archbishop’s desires, would be this: that the “Windsor Bishops” resolution be voted upon, and that, following that vote, there be an agreement worked out by which those who cannot, in good conscience (and here Abp. Anis’ plea provides a concrete possibility of direction), abide by the acknowledged teaching and discipline of the Communion, by which they will temporarily withdraw from the Communion’s formal councils for an undetermined time (5 to 10 years was the suggestion of Prof. Grieb at the last House of Bishops’ meeting, a suggestion greeted with much appreciation); and during this time, those dioceses committed to the Communion’s teaching and discipline will move forward with the Communion’s life, and those congregations and clergy in dissenting TEC dioceses will be put under the oversight of Communion dioceses. When this is done, a formal request will be made to the Primates that those providing extra-geogrpahical oversight give up that role, and fold their congregations back into the Communion-linked dioceses and oversight of American bishops. TEC will not cease to exist (though, as with the Communion, not all will participate in its formal life); it will, rather, exist in a state of partition.

This will not eliminate “diversity” from the Communion, or even dissenting voices from the councils of the Communion. We are well aware that there are many, outside of TEC, who are sympathetic with elements of her general drift. But these diverse voices will have agreed to abide by the common teaching and discipline of the Communion until such time as it is consensually altered (unlike many TEC bishops). They may indeed have an influence on any future Covenant proposal, but it will be an influence exercised within the constraints of common Communion submission. I would think that, once a Covenent is adopted””and I still believe it can and should be””and adopted in a form that is agreeable to those who are able, in good conscience, to live within this Communion as it now stands (and may yet stand), TEC, in its partitioned state, may be able to make a more final determination as to its desired role within the Communion.

As I said, a way forward like this would, in fact, be congruent in certain significant ways with commitments of Canterbury, Egypt (and probably other GS jurisdictions), and liberal TEC bishops (up to a point). If there is indeed “room” in the present moment to “maneuver”, I cannot see that I can be anywhere but in this kind of arena of possibility. To be sure, I believe such an arena is too constricting for many to accept.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Kendall Harmon: What Would a Radical Solution Look Like?

By request making this sticky. Look below for new blog entries. Also please note: Kendall has posted two updates to the original blog entry. See the end of the post.
I believe very strongly that one of the many tragic aspects of this whole Episcopal Church debacle in the last five years is that not only was the decision in 2003 wrong (and the way it was made wrong) but that nearly every major decision made by the TEC leadership since then has made it worse. The hard part about this is that when you keep failing to offer a sufficiently radical solution to a problem, the next time you face it it requires an even more radical solution.

I certainly wish to salute what the Presiding Bishop said in New Orleans: none of us is without blame in this mess. I have been trying to insist on this since General Convention 2003 and then my first address at Plano one: ALL of us are under judgment.

Perhaps, like me, you are wondering about Archbishop Rowan Williams’ calling for ‘room to maneuver’ and if there is any way forward now which is in the direction of a real, serious solution.

For myself, I will consider those in New Orleans serious when they consider offering the Anglican Communion something like this statement:

We realize we have caused huge damage to the whole Anglican Communion and therefore, we, as a body, voluntarily withdraw from coming to Lambeth 2008.

Now please note this means ALL the TEC Bishops. No exceptions. It would allow Dr. Williams to get nearly all (perhaps actually all?) the rest of the Communion to Lambeth, and it would show a sense of corporate responsibility for the wrong.

Yes, I know it is not perfect. I also know that it would only be PART of a solution and that there are many other questions which would have to be addressed. I also know it would only happen by divine intervention.

But only things LIKE THIS will really get us anywhere given the degree of damage, alienation, confusion and struggle.

I am praying for something along these lines because it will be a real tragedy if the third largest Christian family in the world falls into further disarray.

I see a lot of despair, anger, frustation and bewilderment out there. What I would like to see more of is constructive proposals for actually moving us forward. If you do not like my idea, then what is yours? Please make sure to propose something sufficiently radical which also might be achievable given the constraints. It is not easy, but it is important–KSH.

Update: FatherJake has taken the time to respond and Christopher Wells has some thoughts as well.

Another update: Marshall Scott had a lot of thoughts about this earlier of which (apologies, Marshall) I was unaware.

Update 3 [this one by the elves]: More discussion of Kendall’s proposal:
Matt Kennedy at Stand Firm
Giles Goddard at Inclusive Church
Jody Howard at Quo Vadis
Fr. Greg Jones at Anglican Centrist

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

AP: Anglican Head Downplays Split Over Gays

Still, there were moments of ….[tension?] Bishop Mouneer Anis told the bishops that their decision to consecrate Robinson created “one of the most difficult disputes in the communion in our generation” and that some “think you are a different religion.”

“If you appreciate being members of the global Anglican family, then you have to walk alongside the members of your family,” Anis said, according to a text of his remarks that was circulated.

Yet no one expects Episcopal leaders to completely reverse course. Theological conservatives are a minority in the denomination and some wish to stay in the church.

Williams will work with Anglican leaders and with members of the Anglican Consultative Council, an international lay-clergy panel, in evaluating whatever statement Episcopal bishops make before they end their gathering Tuesday.

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, head of a network of conservative Episcopal dioceses and parishes that are considering splitting from the Episcopal Church, said that Williams is “de-emphasizing the ultimatum piece to try to get the best results” from American leaders.

“A great number of the primates see that deadline very much as a real deadline,” Duncan said, “just as many of us had.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Boston Globe: Archbishop holds out hope for compromise

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said yesterday that the breakup of the Anglican Communion would mark an unacceptable “failure” and that he believes compromise is possible between opposing factions over gay rights.

After a tense morning of meetings at which an Egyptian bishop said some Anglicans now view the Episcopal Church as “a different religion,” Williams acknowledged “temperatures are very high” in the 77-million member global Anglican Communion. But he sought to tamp down talk of an imminent schism, saying that “despite what has been claimed, there is no ultimatum” facing the Episcopal Church, even though a group of Anglican leaders has asked that the American bishops promise to put a halt to some of their support for gay rights by Sept. 30.

“I think it would be rather an admission of defeat if we said that we were incapable of working together on the issues that divide us,” Williams said at a briefing. “Whether we’ll get to that point, I don’t know. I have to say, ‘God forbid,’ and mean it.”

Conservatives in the Episcopal Church, and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, have been furious with the Episcopal bishops over their decision in 2003 to approve an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire, a move that they say violates the Bible. Summarizing the mood, a Ghanaian laywoman yesterday told the bishops that in her country, homosexuality is viewed as “an abomination.”

But Williams yesterday urged unhappy conservative Episcopalians to try to stay in the church; he told a blogger from a Virginia parish that has affiliated with the Anglican Church of Nigeria: “I’d be rather slower than I think some of your friends have been to look for solutions elsewhere.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Times Picayune: Anglican leader downplays conflict

Fresh from a day and a half of closed-door talks in New Orleans with American and overseas Anglican bishops, the archbishop of Canterbury on Friday downplayed the risk that the Episcopal church faces imminent expulsion from the Anglican Communion over its inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians.

But the depth of overseas Anglicans’ displeasure was evident in remarks by a Middle Eastern bishop, who told the Americans that “some (Anglicans) say you are a different church; others even think that you are a different religion.”

Archbishop Rowan Williams said talks with U.S. bishops had helped him understand their theological reasons for wishing to sanctify faithful homosexual behavior. But closed-door exchanges between the liberal Americans and a delegation representing some conservative Anglican provinces overseas were often “uncomfortably hard,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

From the N.J. Home News Tribune: Episcopal church calls for civility

A deadline of Sept. 30 for compliance with the worldwide church was set earlier this year, when the Anglican Church called for the 2.4 million member Episcopal Church to renounce the blessing of same-sex marriages and agree to no longer allow non-celibate homosexuals to become bishops.

A majority of American bishops are not inclined to agree with the worldwide body, and the tension threatens to split a relationship between Episcopalians and Anglicans, and has already divided Episcopalians in the United States.

Citing the Rutgers’ women as examples of how to lessen tension, “was an appropriate comparison,” said Rev. Greg Bezilla, the Episcopal chaplain at Rutgers. He likened comments Imus made about African-American women at Rutgers to comments often made about homosexuals.

“For so many people who are gay or lesbian, they are used to being disregarded, and insulted,” said Bezilla.

Bezilla does not anticipate the Episcopal Church will yield to the Anglican demands. “My expectations are that the bishops will not accept any proposal that would infringe on their own autonomy and authority as national church,” he said.

“The truth of the gospel is that Jesus proclaimed acceptance for all, and that he broke down barriers wherever he found them,” said Rev. Karin R. Mitchell, the rector of the St. David’s Episcopal Church in Cranbury.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

From the Morning Scripture Readings

At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars….

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

–Psalm 75: 2-3; 6-7

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Roundup of Blog commentary — HoB Day 2 — part 1: The reappraisers

We’ve now added TWO updates at the end. Please check them out.

Trying to scan the blogs tonight and there is just WAY too much information and commentary out there to begin to try and post a lot of separate entries, or even many excerpts or highlights. What follows is an attempt to capture some of what caught our eye around the blogosphere tonight.

We’ll start tonight on the reappraising side of the aisle since we assume many of our readers are less up-to-date with reading the commentary from that perspective.


Jim Naughton’s Day 2 roundup is here at Episcopal Cafe.

Here’s the section that jumped out at us from his report:

One bishop we spoke with said a member of the Joint Standing Committee had offered a private apology for Archbishop Anis’ remarks.

All three of the people we spoke with said the mood of the bishops after the morning session was glum because most of the speakers seemed to be pushing them toward an either or choice between conscience and unity.


Integrity has a very short blog entry entitled HoB Update: “Pastor Rowan” speaks, focused on a question asked of the ABC at today’s press conference:

[John Gibson writes:] I asked +Rowan what word of hope he had for the gay and lesbian baptized. He repeated assurances of the communion’s stated opposition to discrimination against gay and lesbian persons. I followed up and asked whether that opposition to discrimination applied to the world outside the church but not within the church.

He answered it was a matter of how people perceived a person’s “choice of a style of life” and how that affected what level of role that person was “eligible for” within the church. (”˜Choice’ of a ”˜lifestyle.’ Flashback to the 70s.) He also said we’re concerned with the appropriate limits of pastoral response to gay and lesbian people.


Scott Gunn at Inclusive Church focuses his latest blog entry on +Marc Andrus’ statement from yesterday [which Kendall’s posted below]. After posting +Andrus’ statement, Gunn shares his personal opinion:

All that is true. However, we cannot expect to talk about justice and experience and think that we will nurture conversion among the wider Communion. We Americans had better start talking about biblical and traditional grounds for our innovation.

Obviously, writing for a blog called by the name “InclusiveChurch” and affiliated with IC in the UK, I favor the full inclusion of GLBT Christians in all aspects of the life and ministry of the church. However, I support this “new thing” because I believe this change — and it is a departure from the historic practice of the church — is warranted. I believe this change is warranted on scriptural grounds, and I believe it is warranted on grounds of tradition. And, finally, my experience tells me that it’s the right thing to do.

This elf appreciates Scott’s honesty here, and wishes all would be similarly clear about their positions. But we can’t help thinking there’s a contradiction or oxymoron in what Scott writes. In one sentence he admits that the GLBT agenda is a “departure from historic practice,” yet in the next believes it can be supported by tradition? Is there such a thing as “traditional innovation?” (our word, not his, but that seems to be what Gunn is trying to claim is possible.)


Susan Russell loudly (with 4 exclamation points) cheers on Gene Robinson. Susan writes:

It is time to name it as unconscionable for a people of God committed to seeking and serving Christ in all persons and repecting the dignity of every human being to continue to perpetuate a defacto sacramental apartheid precluding the full inclusion of the gay and lesbian baptized in the Body of Christ.

And it is time to recognize the clear truth that there is no compromise short of our explusion which will satisfy the Tribal Council convening to vote us off the Anglican Island.

Those are my two cents.

Those who are praying for clarity are certainly getting it in spades tonight from Susan!

Susan’s following post is also of interest. She watched the Anglican TV live feed of the press conference (and offers her thanks to Kevin) and notes what she thinks to be the takeaway quote:

That said, the “take away” quote of the day award goes to Archbishop Williams for “There is no ultimatum involved.”


Susan R. is clearly not alone in thinking the “no ultimatum” quote is the takeaway quote of the day. We’ve seen it all around the web on both sides of the aisle. Notably, both Fr. Jake and Simon Sarmiento highlight that quote in their blog headlines:

Jake: Canterbury: “No Ultimatum”

Simon at Thinking Anglicans: Archbishop Williams says “no ultimatum”


We could have missed something (and please comment if we did!), but we didn’t see many blog entries on the reappraising side of the aisle that dealt in much depth with the plethora of proposed resolutions that were posted today by Stand Firm (though Thinking Anglicans did cover these. Thanks Simon.) Nor did we see much commentary on Archbishop Mouneer Anis’ remarks. Yes, Jim Naughton commented about Apb. Mouneer’s remarks (seeking to discredit them, it seemed). But for example in NINE posts so far today at Thinking Anglicans, not one mention of Mouneer? That seems hard to believe, so maybe we really did miss something.

Similarly we saw nothing on +Mouneer at Jake’s or Integrity’s blog or Susan Russell’s Hello? Anyone listening? Maybe we’re being rude and impertinent to ask this, but, what’s the point of inviting the Primates to come and speak to you if you’re going to ignore what they say? Just wondering.

There’s lots on +Gene Robinson. And +Marc Andrus, and now +Kirk Smith and their statements. But nothing on +Mouneer or Apb. Aspinall of Australia. It really seems like many in TEC only want to listen to themselves.

And yes, this is elfgirl writing her own opinion (Hope that’s ok Kendall). I’m not speaking for Kendall. But this stuff needs to be pointed out in my opinion.


(Note: please forgive my lack of using titles (“the Rev’d” etc.). I’m working quickly trying to get this done before I need to call it a night. No disrespect intended. Short and simple is just easier at the moment, especially since I don’t necessarily know the exact status (clergy, lay) or titles of all these bloggers.)


Although his focus is on ++Rowan, Fr. Jake actually quotes parts of Jim Naughton’s post from “The Lead” — so there is a mention of the fact that +Mouneer spoke and that the bishops didn’t like it. Here’s Jake’s excerpt of Jim (ellipses are in the post at Jake’s exactly as they are posted here, I’ve cut nothing):

…(Presiding Bishop) Anis was the most confrontational. The bishops we spoke with were depressed by his presentation because it contrasted so sharply with the flexibility expressed in private conversation by other members of the delegation…

…One bishop we spoke with said a member of the Joint Standing Committee had offered a private apology for Archbishop Anis’ remarks.

Right. So +Anis was confrontational. But what did he say??? The reappraising bloggers aren’t telling us or their regular readers.


UPDATE 2: Ok, it gets even more interesting. The reappraising bloggers are one thing. After all, most blogs aren’t meant to be comprehensive news sources. Bloggers cover what interests them, what they have something to say about. So maybe they choose to ignore +Mouneer. I can live with that. But ENS?

ENS has 4 stories posted under today’s date, Sept. 21.

Archbishop of Canterbury ‘encouraged’ by bishops’ meetings By Pat McCaughan, Sep 21, 2007

Raise prophetic voices against poverty, Paul Farmer tells bishops By Mary Frances Schjonberg, Sep 21, 2007

Archbishop Rowan Williams’ opening remarks at September 21 news conference Sep 21, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury gets a taste of New Orleans By Mary Frances Schjonberg, Sep 21, 2007

Anyone want to guess how many times the names Mouneer Anis or even Australian Primate Aspinall appear in these 4 articles? If you guessed ZERO, you get the gold ring! Nope. Not one mention of either Primate. No mention of +Morgan who supports TEC’s agenda. No mention of any of the Joint Standing Committee or their remarks that I can find at ENS today.

And yet, we have an 800+ word feature on some medical anthropologist and his remarks. Simply unbelievable.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Baby Blue has a video clip of today's press conference remarks by ++Rowan

For those of you like this poor elf who missed Anglican TV’s live stream of today’s press conference with Rowan Williams, despair not. Baby Blue has come to the rescue. Here’s the link: http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2007/09/press-conference-with-archbishop-of.html

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Latest News, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Resources: Audio-Visual, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Anglican bloggers video roundtable 8 central / 9 pm Eastern (??? status unclear)


As of 9 p.m. Central, still no roundtable. Kevin’s having trouble rounding everybody up… stay tuned. We’ll post info as we get it, but it’s looking doubtful that this will be tonight.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Bishop of Arizona Writes His Diocese on the House of Bishops Meeting

I am writing this afternoon from New Orleans where I am attending the House of Bishops’ Fall meeting. What hangs over us a bit like a cloud””and in fact we are expecting to be hit with a severe tropical storm tomorrow””are the decisions we must make after having met with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who departed this afternoon after spending about 8 hours in conversation with us.

I must confess disappointment at most of that dialogue. The Archbishop spent most of his time listening, and only about a half hour speaking to the concerns that were raised. He was asked some rather pointed questions including why he had not invited Bishop Gene Robinson to the 2008 Lambeth conference, and what was he going to do about those Primates who had invaded dioceses in this country. Archbishop Williams chose instead to talk mostly about the nature of the office of bishop, which he understands to be “a servant of common discernment, keeping the most people at the table as long as possible because truth can only be found in conversation with the greatest number of the faithful”. That may be true enough, but what about a bishop’s obligation to protect the forgotten and stand with the oppressed?

In broad terms he asked us to postpone our own church’s agenda in favor of peace in the larger Communion. That desire was more strongly expressed by four members of the Anglican Advisory Council who spoke to us this morning. They again urged us to consider affirming in some way what was asked of us by the Primates at their February meeting in Dar Es Salaam, namely to refrain from consecrating openly gay bishops and approving same sex blessings; offer alternative primatial oversight to dioceses who wish it; and allow our church to be monitored by a council made up of other Provinces. Most of us feel again the frustration of being caught in the conundrum of wanting to walk with our world-wide partners without turning our backs on our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Many of us also believe we have already done all we can to appease those who differ with us in these matters. It seems we are being given a “Sophie’s choice,” being ask to pick who we love more. Whatever choice is made, people will be hurt. Even the option of refusing to choose can be interpreted by both parties as rejection.

Up to now we have had the chance to revisit the same old hurts and frustrations.
On Monday we will see what we can do to create some kind of a response.

In the meantime, we are going to (literally) put on our work gloves and spend tomorrow in the 9th Ward of the City. On Sunday we will worship at various parishes. Perhaps having a time-out to work and pray together will allow us, as the Archbishop asked, “to find a way to surprise the world.”

–(The Rt. Rev.) Kirk Smith is Bishop of Arizona

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Anglicans United Cherie Wetzel's latest report from New Orleans (#5)

Cherie Wetzel has a wonderfully detailed report out this evening (her 5th dispatch) which contains quite a lot of detail about ++Rowan’s interaction with the HoB. We received it by e-mail. Eventually it will be online at Anglicans United. But since it’s not yet online, we post it here in full. I found the section about Abp. Aspinall particularly surprising.

HOB Report #5 Late Friday Afternoon, September 21, 2007

Good Evening. The meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury has ended. The Press was given good access to all the major players and the House of Bishops has moved on to the next segment of their agenda: the Millennium Development Goals (MGD’s). They are in session right now discussing diocesan participation in the MGD’s and how the money will be applied.

From all reports, this morning’s session was a surprisingly candid exchange of information between the members of the House, the Archbishop and the invited guests from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the Primate’s Council. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane Australia, spoke to the House, telling them that they must reassure the Communion that they will live into the resolutions passed at General Convention last year. He asked what the rest of the Communion was to think when they vote to refrain from authorizing same sex blessings and 14 bishops quietly (but publicly) authorize rites to be used in their diocese and give permission to their clergy to perform same sex marriages as a pastoral care issue. Aspinall asked, “What good is your vote? How do we trust you?”

The same point applies to B-033 when both Houses (Deputies and Bishops) voted, “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 communion.” Within 2 hours, 20 bishops said they would not comply with this vote and subsequently, 9 dioceses repudiated B-033 at their annual conventions.

With the inclusion of the known lesbian, Very Rev. Tracey Lind in the bishop’s race in Chicago, Dr. Aspinall’s question to the House is valid. And necessary.

I was told that the Archbishop became irritated when several bishops continued to complain about the African bishop’s border crossings, saying that they had violated the Windsor Report and were not chastised. They felt the criticism they received on the gay issue was unfair when other provinces were also in violation of the Report.

In his prepared statement for the Press, the Archbishop stated, “It has been a valuable opportunity to listen carefully to the thinking of the bishops here on the problems that face the Communion ”¦.I think that in the light of the conversations we have come to a better understanding of the House in response to the questions and proposals f the Dar es Salaam Primates’ Meeting. Hope that the House, equally, has understood more fully that those questions and proposals were meant to achieve. The House will continue to reflect on them over the weekend.”

One of the ACC members opined that the US Church, post Revolutionary War, when they applied to join the Communion, agreed to alter the words of the Nicene Creed to conform to norms and standards of the Communion. This prompted the question, “You sought and took our counsel before. Why are you
refusing to take our council now?”

Another ACC representative from Central Africa questioned why TEC went ahead with the confirmation of and consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop, New Hampshire, without consulting with the rest of the Communion. She said, “I had to live with what you did in America in my home town in Uganda. It was very difficult for me. If we are a Communion, we will act with regard to how our actions affect the others, not in spite of how our actions will affect others.” (These two
people requested they be quoted anonymously.)

I understand that the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson addressed the Archbishop directly. I do not wish to misquote him and will attempt to get a statement from him today or tomorrow.

And so, the House will have a workday tomorrow. Most are assigned either to house demolition, or medical care or reconstruction from 9:30 to 2:30. Since that tropical storm has just been given a name and is expected to land here tomorrow, those plans may be changed. Many bishops and their wives are assigned to pastoral duty on Sunday. The Rt. Rev. James Adams, Western Kansas, will be at the Free Church of the Annunciation on Sunday for Confirmation, and baptism. (This church is out of their neighborhood and building and are using this name for now. They are an Episcopal parish.) Bishop Charles Jenkins was at Annunciation 2 months ago, but another group of people is ready to be confirmed, so Bp. Adams will don the cope and mitre and confirm, celebrate, preach and baptize. Busman’s Holiday!

I am going to end this piece with remarks Bishop Adams made to me after the meeting. Archbishop Aspinall was at his table and after the discussion yesterday, was encouraged to speak clearly to the whole house so ALL would understand why the Communiqué asked the questions they did.

Bishop Adams said, “If they don’t get it now, they weren’t paying attention. No one could have made it clearer. Our discussion yesterday included the term ”˜catholicity’ and the definition of that includes full inclusion. So the question remains if those who disagree with the rest of the House will be extended full
inclusion or merely tolerated ”“ or less than tolerated. Will there be a place in The Episcopal Church for me?”

I assured Bp. Adams, who is one of the really good, Godly men in this House, that all of you want to know the answer to that question, too. Will there be a place for those who disagree with the majority in this Church? Can the bishops and clergy dial back on the rhetoric and be truly ”˜inclusive?’ Or will they continue to drive the Biblically orthodox out the doors? This is the test of their integrity (and I don’t mean the gay lobby group.)

The House will be back in session on Monday and these issues will get full attention. The joint meeting of the Primate’s Council and the Anglican Consultative Council representatives, to discuss what they heard in their conversations at this meeting, will continue through the weekend.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is on his way to Armenia, and there was a passing reference to communicating with him on Tuesday, when the House releases their statement. The Archbishop did not know today if the Primates would meet and evaluate what our House produces next week. His statement, “They haven’t produced anything yet, so I can’t say.” With Lambeth only 9 months away, and so much riding on the invitation process, a decision on that issue will have to be made within the next 3 months.

We have waited many years for the meeting that just took place. We have prayed many hours for God to rescue and resurrect this Church, starting with ourselves, one person at a time. We have stayed so that we can continue to speak for the Lord Jesus Christ who is the same today as He was 2000 years ago. He is not “a way” but “The Way to the Father.” And that is not putting God into a little box; it is allowing God to BE GOD.

We must be prepared to stand on what we Know, Know, Know a while longer. Answers will come and the resolution of this situation is very near. Do not be overcome by fear, or doubt; they are not from God. Remember to pray. That is our weapon of choice. And be of good courage, because He has overcome the world and will overcome these present troubles, too.

More interviews and reports tomorrow from this meeting as they are available. I bid you peace and a great weekend.
Cherie Wetzel reporting from New Orleans

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Christopher Wells: What Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said after Tanzania

Q&A #1: from New Jersey, by phone (at 18.35ff. on the telecast): “I keep hearing about a deadline of September 30, that it’s a line in the sand. I’m not sure what happens if no action is taken by September 30th.”

KJS: “A decision not to decide is also a decision”¦. What is likely to happen is that we would be excluded in some way from the councils of the Anglican Communion. My guess is that the Archbishop of Canterbury will respect the will of the majority of the primates expressed in this communiqué, and impose some sanctions in that regard.”

Nunley: “And what does that mean for the church?”

KJS: “What it means for the church is we lose our voice at the table; we might lose our voice in that conversation. It could mean that we lose our ability to influence, our ability to share experience, our ability to challenge people to consider other options, in our conversations with other leaders around the Anglican Communion.”

#2: from France, by email (19:47ff.): “A hypothetical question that no one wants to answer, but: Could the Episcopal Church go it alone?”KJS: “I don’t think this church is ever alone. We have many, many partners around the world, partners in mission, partners in theological discussions. The body of Christ is never meant to be divided up into pieces; and I think that’s the underlying struggle in this”¦.”

#16: from Cedar Falls, Iowa, by phone (37:38): “Good morning. I’m here with my partner”¦. And, Bp Schori, you’ve stated that the communiqué is a gracious offering to us to have some space to work. But in reading it, it feels like, to us, that the answers are already specified for us that we must meet. The primates have not accepted what we’ve done in Convention; the sanctions are already specified: for if we do not do A, B, and C, this is what’s going to happen. So, in reading it, we don’t feel like there’s much space or much graciousness; it feels very harsh. Thank-you.”

KJS (38:27): “I understand that and I share some of that sentiment; Americans don’t like anybody to tell them what to do; that’s part of our DNA. At the same time, to live together in Christian community means that each member takes seriously the needs and concerns of the other members. And it is in that sense that, I think, what we’re being asked may have some gracious elements in it. It is a response that is asked for a season, until the Covenant process is completed. And if this church decides that it wants to continue to be a partner at the conversation table in the process of creating that Covenant, we have some expectations set before us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Living Church: Concluding His Visit, Archbishop Seeks to Lower Expectations

Concluding his visit with the House of Bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sought to diminish expectations and the implication that there are consequences for The Episcopal Church for failing to provide the assurances sought by the Anglican Communion’s primates last February.

Archbishop Williams spoke at a press conference Friday as he wrapped up a day and a half of private conversation in New Orleans with the House of Bishops and representatives from the joint steering committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council,

“Despite what has been claimed, there is no ”˜ultimatum’ involved,” Archbishop Williams said, reciting from memory a written statement distributed to reporters. “The primates asked for a response by September 30 simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the house likely to be formulating such a response. The ACC and Primates Joint Standing Committee will be reading and digesting what the bishops have to say, and will let me know their thoughts on it early next week. After this I shall be sharing what they say, along with my own assessments, with the primates and others, inviting their advice in the next couple of weeks.”

In response to a question about the significance of his brief visit, Archbishop Williams said it “probably would not make much difference on the whole,” adding that he came away greatly encouraged by the bishops’ determination to continue together in relationship. Archbishop Williams also said there was “room for maneuverability” in an acceptable response from the bishops.

“Unfortunately [the primates’ requests in the communiqué] have been seen as demands and intrusions” by many of the bishops, he noted.

Read it all.

Update: A brief Boston Globe article is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Telegraph: Archbishop accused of 'dehumanising gays'

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s hopes of averting schism in the worldwide Anglican Church are foundering after he was accused of dehumanising gays by the openly homosexual bishop Gene Robinson.

Dr Rowan Williams is holding two days of crisis talks in New Orleans in an eleventh-hour effort to persuade the bishops of the American branch of Anglicanism to reverse their pro-gay agenda.

But insiders said that a number of the liberal bishops were in no mood to capitulate, and any compromise that they might eventually accept was unlikely to placate conservatives who want them ousted.

Documents leaked to the Daily Telegraph suggest that they may agree an ambiguous form of words that will fall far short of the unequivocal reassurances demanded of them, leaving Anglicanism on the brink of collapse.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Ruth Gledhill: Peter Akinola 'blows the fourth trumpet'

His thoughts for the future? He recited a Nigerian proverb: ‘What the night portends, the moon will indicate it.’ He said: ‘For the past 10 years, the communion has been speaking loud and clear that what Ecusa is doing is not right. Ecusa has sadly never listened to anyone. If they now choose to listen to Rowan Williams, Allelujah! We will celebrate! But they have never listened to anyone. Even the communique we issued in Dar es Salaam, after much pain, after much labour, they refused to honour. We will see if they will give up their agenda, the new religion they are creating. They can say one thing, but then in the churches they keep on doing the same thing.’

He said he had received an unofficial response to his and his bishops’ request that the Archbishop of Canterbury postpone the Lambeth Conference. ‘He has not written officially. But all the indications are that Rowan Williams has firmly anchored his hope in the Lambeth Conference. He seems to believe firmly that the Lambeth Conference is the solution.

‘We believe very differently. We have told him quite clearly that there is no point in coming together in a climate of fear and distrust when bishops cannot be in communion with each other. We felt we should first have healing and then rejoice together at Lambeth. Apparently, he thinks differently. We have done quite a lot to save the communion. But if it does not want us, we will stay away. We do not believe it is appropriate for us to come together with other bishops when we are in broken communion.’

So will there be a separate church? ‘I do not want to sound prophetic here or paint a gloomy picture. I do not think it will break up at this point since we are still walking and talking and praying. It is still hoped that somehow some day the good Lord will save his church from further fragmentation.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts