Daily Archives: September 28, 2007

Common Cause Partners Press Release: Anglican Bishops Take First Steps to New Structure

Anglican bishops from ten jurisdictions and organizations pledged to take the first steps toward a “new ecclesiastical structure” in North America. The meeting of the first ever Common Cause Council of Bishops was held in Pittsburgh September 25-28.

The bishops present lead more than 600 Anglican congregations. They formally organized themselves as a college of bishops which will meet every six months. They also laid out a timeline for the path ahead, committed to working together at local and regional levels, agreed to deploy clergy interchangeably and announced their intention to, in consultation “with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted,” call a “founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union,” at the earliest possible date agreeable to all of the partners.

“We met deeply aware that we have arrived at a critical moment in the history of mainstream Anglican witness in North America. God has led us to repentance for past divisions and opened the way for a united path forward. To him be the glory,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, convener of the council.

The full text of the bishops’ joint statement follows:

Common Cause College of Bishops Statement

In the Name of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, to whom belong all might, majesty, dominion and glory.

We, the College of Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership, meeting together in Pittsburgh, September 25-28 in the Year of our Lord 2007, solemnly affirm this agreement.

In the grace, mercy and power of God, and in repentance for past disunity and disharmony, in thanksgiving for our full reconciliation in the Lord Jesus Christ, to give expression to our unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church as Anglicans in North America, and for the sake of our mission to extend the Kingdom of God, nurture faithful disciples through Word and Sacraments, seek the lost, and partner globally with other orthodox Anglicans, we hereby commit to do the following:

1. In order to achieve greater unity and strengthen our partnership in the Gospel, we the undersigned commit ourselves to the Common Cause Partnership as set forth in the Articles of the Partnership (see Appendix 1).

2. We declare clearly that we are taking this as a first step in the formation of the “separate ecclesiastical structure” in North America called for at Kigali in September, 2006.

3. In consultation with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted, we intend a founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union (see Appendix 2).

4. Those presently-participating bodies which have not yet joined the Common Cause Partnership will decide at the next meeting of their legislative bodies, either to enter the Partnership or leave full membership in Common Cause, becoming observer bodies. It is expected that all presently-participating bodies will be able to enter the Partnership.

5. We will work together on the regional and local levels and avail ourselves of the various ministries of the Common Cause Partners. We will deploy clergy interchangeably as outlined in the Articles of the Partnership. We are free to invite our fellow bishops in this College to share episcopal acts and our sacramental life.

6. The College of Bishops will meet every six months in order to accomplish our stated objectives. The leading bishop of each Partner will serve on a Lead Bishops Roundtable, which may be expanded as they may determine. The Roundtable will advise us in matters referred to it (see Appendix 3).

7. We are committed to the Great Commission. We will make disciples who make disciples and plant churches that plant churches, not resting until the millions of unreached souls in North America are brought to Christ, until all groups on the earth have indigenous churches firmly begun within them and our Lord returns in glory.

8. We ask our Chairman to inform the Primates of the Anglican Communion of these commitments in the hope that our emerging common life will commend us to them as full partners.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Common Cause Partnership

The Bishop of Virginia on the House of Bishops New Orleans Statement

The formal response to the Primates’ Communiqué was adopted late Tuesday by the House of Bishops by a virtually unanimous vote. It reflected our very deep appreciation of the Anglican Communion and our strong desire to maintain and nurture our role within it, while asserting our determined commitment to include gay and lesbian persons in our common life. In our statement, the bishops reconfirmed our vote at the 2006 General Convention 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.” This reconfirmation constitutes our continuing agreement with that resolution and acknowledges that such language pertains specifically to non-celibate gay and lesbian persons. We also repeated our pledge not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action. We noted that we hope to draw upon the benefits of the Communion-wide process of listening to the experiences of gay and lesbian persons.

We commended our Presiding Bishop for her plans to provide episcopal visitors for dioceses at irreconcilable odds with her own ministry as Primate and we support her commitment to consult with the wider communion in pastoral matters, seeking creative solutions that are in accord with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. We supported the Archbishop of Canterbury in his desire to include the bishop of New Hampshire at next year’s Lambeth Conference. We called for commitment to the civil rights, safety and dignity of gay and lesbian persons. We deplored the incursion of uninvited bishops into our dioceses.

No one achieved everything he or she wanted in our statement. To your Virginia bishops, our traditionally centrist attitude seemed to be the prevailing attitude of the House of Bishops. We share the viewpoint of many of our brother and sister bishops that our response to the Communiqué meets the requests put to us by the Primates.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

The Bishop of Rhode Island on the House of Bishops Meeting

The addresses from our Anglican partners were at times painful to hear. As they shared the spiritual and political shape of their dioceses, a sobering spirit descended upon the room. Each in turn, expressed sincere gratitude for the gifts that we have shared in Communion, and the continuing generosity of our Province. On several occasions we were reminded, “Your country and your Church have so much, and to those to whom much has been given, much is expected.”

On more than one occasion we were reminded of our political power in the world arena, and how we wield it with little concern for others. One person reminded us that we infiltrate long-standing cultural norms through television, movies, internet, fast food restaurants, cigarettes; securing profits while compromising the fabric of other societies. Many contend that The Episcopal Church is doing the same.

Most of us were humbled by the comments, others thought they were too accusatory.

The process for addressing the issues before us: consent to non-celibate gays and lesbians to the episcopate, and the blessing of same-sex unions, was challenging in its own right. We tried to by-pass legislative action on resolutions, saving a vote for the final message from the House. It’s a good idea in theory, but was quite cumbersome in practice.

Read it all.

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

Terry Wong: Why the TEC House of Bishop’s Statement will not ”˜mend the torn fabric”

Given the pain the Communion has experienced, a repeated call for active listening process, though Windsor-compliant, is foolhardy as it will tear dioceses and Provinces apart (thus Church of England Synod’s refusal to table the issue), let alone Lambeth Conference. I don’t disagree with the need. But time needs to be given for the tear to heal and it is pastoral and leadership madness to deal with this divisive issues after all the pain it has caused and will cause if it remains in the forefront of how the Communion relate together. TEC HOB’s requests for this underlines their determination to ”˜converse to convert’ and remain actively in the communion processes to convince the rest of then world that their actions are right and ”˜prophetic.’ It is a bizarre reaction to the crisis they have caused.

The fabric remain as torn as it did in 2003. Unless some HOB bishops has the leadership guts to lead TEC out of her current direction, fudging the issues will only continue the pain and division in the Communion. It is best that those who are determine to pursue the 2003 action indicate clearly their desire to ”˜walk apart’ so that the rest of the Communion can move on with her life and core business. Perhaps the Covenant can do the work to mend the net and for TEC to return via that channel. This will truly ”˜save the Communion’, a phrase that has been bandid around but it is obvious that most seem concern to ”˜save TEC’ and help her keep her status as an official member of the Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

We are Looking for Diocesan and Parish Responses the the House of Bishops Statement

Please do not assume we have seen them and pass them along. Full text by email preferred, url is o.k. if you are in a hurry–thanks.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

The Bishop of West Texas on the House of Bishops Meeting in New Orleans

…The two of us, and several others, sought repeatedly – in public and in private – for clarity and directness in our response. In our view, we should have answered the questions simply and straightforwardly, and any other comments we wanted to make should have been issued separately. As one bishop noted to the House, we were asked left-brain questions and we offered right-brain answers.

Take a look at all the entries and be aware that there is more coming.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Andrew Carey: Further Troubles Ahead

The best that could be hoped for from the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans was clarity. In fact it was this that the Primates in the Dar-es-Salaam meeting earlier this year were particularly requesting after a decade of obfuscation.

Firstly, the General Convention resolutions of last year were ambiguous in their response to the call for a moratoria on same-sex blessings and the consecration of so-called ”˜partnered homosexuals’. As usual the Bishops and deputies of the Convention gave themselves a large amount of wriggle room to pursue their own agendas. Thus we had the spectacle at one of the House of Bishops press conferences this week of the Bishop of Los Angeles, Jon Bruno, earnestly informing the press that same-sex blessings had not been authorised in his diocese. It later came to light that they were routine in his diocese and he had even presided at one himself. In other words, they didn’t need authorisation because they were an accepted part of diocesan practice.

So in some senses, the eight-point plan adopted by the Bishops and thrown as a lifeline to the embattled Archbishop of Canterbury might be seen as a move forward towards this clarity and honesty that is so badly needed.
The Bishops reiterated the General Convention resolution which promised restraint in the election of bishops ”˜whose manner of life’ presented a challenge and spelled out helpfully that this included practising homosexuals.
They also promised not to authorise public rites of blessing, but clung to the get-out clause that allowed a diversity of pastoral responses to gay men and lesbians. In other words, plenty of wriggle room there.

Another crucial response which was required in the Primates’ Tanzanian demands was a scheme of alternative Episcopal oversight. It is here that the American Bishops chose to raise their two-fingered salutes to the rest of the ”˜Americans and Europeans are religious in different ways’ Communion by rejecting any notion of ”˜alternative’ oversight in favour of modifying their ”˜delegated oversight scheme’. The trouble is that this has never worked because it has never had the confidence of those it was established for. The Bishops accepted some degree of outward influence on the ”˜delegated’ scheme giving Presiding Bishop Schori the decisive role in taking this forward.

And then comes a list of demands from the House of Bishops. Find a place at the Lambeth Conference for Gene Robinson and we’ll send a delegation to the Archbishop of Canterbury to help him do so ””presumably the heavy brigade to twist Dr Williams arms behind his back. End incursions by African Archbishops onto American soil and protect the human rights of lesbians and gays throughout the communion. This latter point in a sense is the least controversial to western ears, but badly needs saying in parts of the world where homosexuality is still criminalised and gays face persecution and violence. However, with its credibility as a Church which values the opinions of the wider body in absolute tatters, I’m not sure that The Episcopal Church’s voice can be heard on this fundamental point.

The eight-point plan, endorsed almost unanimously [We now know this is not true, thought what is true exactly remains murky–KSH], promised no consent for any more gay bishops, no public blessings, and the adoption of a plan for Episcopal visitors to conservative parishes which cannot accept their liberal bishops. On reflection, the House of Bishops statement goes some way towards answering the demands of the Tanzanian communiqué, but probably not far enough. It will certainly not reassure Primates who are already marking out territory in the United States and will not roll back the incursions there.

We are left with chaos and we are all left with the blame. Firstly, so-called ”˜conservatives’ in the US and elsewhere have not stood united together in opposing changes in theology which have led us to our current pass. Secondly, liberals have played fast and loose with scripture. When they have failed to change the mind of the Church they have resorted to placing facts on the ground, and accomplishing their agenda by dishonest manoeuvres rather than open theological debate in the councils of the Church and communion. Sadly, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his advisers have made two recent catastrophic errors. In sending out Lambeth
invitations to all US bishops they ignored the weight of the Windsor Report towards a distancing of Gene Robinson, and the coconsecrators from the councils of the Communion.

This has introduced confusion into a process which was absolutely clear from the time that the Windsor Report was published. Secondly, during the time of negotiation last week with the House of Bishops, Dr Williams openly declared that September 30, which the Primates had set as a deadline for response, was no ultimatum but merely a convenient date following the House of Bishops meeting.

It is clear that this is not a view shared by many of his fellow primates and does not reflect the language of the communiqué itself. This declaration however gives an open signal that Dr Williams himself is not prepared to lead the Communion in any proper sanction against The Episcopal Church. We can therefore expect further tragic fragmentation in the coming months.

–This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, September 28, 2007, edition, page 15

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

So What Really Happened in New Orleans?

“After a half day of discussion and tinkering with the language, the bishops adopted the resolution with only the Bishop of Pennsylvania, Charles Bennison voting against ”” and an undisclosed number of bishops declining to vote.”

–from the front page article in today’s Church of England Newspaper

This statement is incorrect. We now know that Bishop Salmon said no audibly. The Bishop of Dallas did not vote for it (he was already gone). The Bishop of Central Florida did not voice support either (he so told the Boston Globe). A late and rushed voice consensus vote on something this important was not helpful–KSH.

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

Philip Powell–Kids These Days: What they don't want from the Church

Teach the apostolic faith full on”¦no compromises on basic doctrine or dogma. This generation of college students can smell an intellectual/spiritual weasel a hundred miles away. They would rather hear the bald-faced Truth and struggle with it than listen to a priest/minister try to sugar-coat a difficult teaching in the vain search for popularity or “hipness.”

Preach the gospel full on”¦ditto. Tell it like it is and let the students grow in holiness. Yes, they will fail. Who doesn’t? But let them fail knowing what Christ and his Church expects of them. Lowering the moral bar comes across as expecting too little from them. What does that say about the Church’s view of our future ecclesial leaders? They can’t cut it, so we have to shorten the race.

Give them charitable work to do”¦present this work as a kind of “churchy social work” and they will not stay away in droves. I regularly cite Matthew 25 as my scriptural backing for asking them to do volunteer work in the community. Frankly, They have been beaten with the Social Justice-Work stick all their lives and most of what they hear sounds like the socio-economic engineering agenda of a modernist, socialist political party. This is attractive to some, but my experience is that students yearn for a chance to do something Truly Good for their community. If their leaders loudly and proudly attach volunteer work to the Gospels as a an exercise in charity rather than an experiment in social engineering, they will come.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Teens / Youth

The Bishop of Southern Ohio on New Orleans: "We have said nothing new"

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Now that the House of Bishops meeting has ended, and I am back home among you, I want to share a few thoughts on the work we did, and particularly on the statement we produced. As you may know, I was one of the eight bishops who wrote this statement, which developed over several days as each draft was discussed by the whole House and further refined by the writing group. Apart from preaching and celebrating at a local parish on Sunday, this process of drafting and revising took up all my waking hours from Friday evening until Tuesday afternoon. So it is fair to say that my experience of New Orleans is essentially my experience of that process.

I went to New Orleans afraid that the House would not maintain the high level of civility and mutual respect that marked our meeting last March.

On the one hand, I worried that the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury might provoke angry words directed against him and the other primates. On the other, I feared that bishops on different sides of the same-sex unions debate might become rancorous toward one another. None of this happened. Rowan Williams was welcomed with respect and warmth, as were the members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates, whom we had invited to sit with us in our deliberations. As for how we related to one another, I was struck by the kindness, care and mutual understanding that informed the House’s discourse from beginning to end. We are a community of bishops that is passionately devoted to the worldwide Anglican Communion and committed to our unity and fellowship with one another as members of the Episcopal Church.

The meeting was largely shaped, in my view, by our conversations, both formal and informal, with our Anglican Communion guests. What emerged for all of us was a firmer grasp of how the Primates and the ACC viewed the Episcopal Church and what they were asking of us as its bishops. I was surprised to discover that, for the most part, we are held in high regard by our brothers and sisters in the Communion, and our participation in the Communion is very highly valued. Moreover, while there is frustration and anger that we have, in their view, acted precipitously and disrespectfully in consecrating a partnered gay bishop without consulting with the larger Communion, there is also an appreciation that the Episcopal Church is forcing a Communion-wide conversation about homosexuality that is long overdue. What our guests were asking of us was clarity about two things: (1) the bishops’
interpretation of B033, the 2006 General Convention resolution regarding the election of partnered gay bishops, and (2) the bishops’ current approach to the blessing of same-sex unions.

The statement that we produced is our attempt to answer those two questions succinctly and transparently. We have said nothing new. Those who were dissatisfied with B033 for going too far or not going far enough will be equally dissatisfied with the present statement. However, what we have said as a House arises in the context of renewed hope for a conversation with our Anglican partners that honors all members of our Church. I am heartened by this hope, and I pray that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters will also find encouragement in this.

My ardent desire for this Diocese is that we will continue diligently to embrace our fellowship with one another across the differences that both challenge and enrich us. We all have a witness to share, and we all are in need of having our perspective broadened by the witness of others. By God’s grace, and through your prayers, a step was taken in New Orleans toward recovering the possibility of an Anglican Communion capable of facing tough issues with mutual forbearance and readiness to learn from one another. That possibility will become a reality as it is lived into on the ground. God bless us in Southern Ohio, as we play our part in that adventure.

–(The Rt. Rev.) Thomas E. Breidenthal is Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

Notable and Quotable

From here:

“Bishop [Neil] Alexander [of Atlanta] said that he hoped for a ”˜clear and unambiguous’ statement from the bishops. Well, judging by the initial media response, the statement released Tuesday night falls short of ”˜clear and unambiguous,’” noted respected theologian Dr. R. Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of America’s pre-eminent evangelical leaders.

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

Conservative Anglicans See No Change in 'American Problem'

What The Episcopal Church had hoped to be a “clear and unambiguous” statement has left both sides of the Anglican divide dissatisfied, with some saying the Episcopal bishops are again dodging their response to avoid losing their place in the global communion.

“I’m saddened but not surprised,” said the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, missionary bishop of the Anglican breakaway CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America), in a teleconference on Wednesday. “I think basically they ducked. The response they’ve offered does not clarify as was requested.”

Read it all.

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

From the AAC: What The Tanzania Comnmunique Asked for, and What the Bishops said in New Orleans

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

William McKeachie: Truth, Unity, and The Church of Christ

In its report of the recent meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church ”“ in post-Katrina New Orleans, of all places ”“ the Associated Press accompanied its article with a color photograph of several vested bishops taking part in a rendition of “When the Saints go marching in”!

Considering what had, or more importantly had not, transpired at that meeting, my first reaction on seeing the photograph was to recollect a poem by the late T. S. Eliot entitled The Hollow Men. On further reflection, and taking into account the visually gender-correct prominence of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in the front row, I was at length struck by the realization that the entire Anglican process of “compromise” since the publication of the Windsor Report in 2004 has been all too much like the re-arranging of deck chairs on the Titanic.

Although I have commended the Christian virtue of patience as we watch and pray during this time of a New Reformation, it is becoming more and more questionable whether the present Archbishop of Canterbury, in his repeated reluctance to assume the risk of prophetic leadership, is able or willing to see what is lurking in the ecclesiastical waters rising around him. But is there not now a clear irreversibility to The Episcopal Church’s institutional descent into apostasy? Even if the Windsor process has so far taken the form of indecision and procrastination, the imperative of decisiveness is now, with the collapse of any common witness on the part of the so-called Windsor bishops in this country, looming over us.

Those seeking to re-arrange the ecclesiastical deck chairs want to persuade us that the disagreements in the Anglican Communion are “really” about polity, power and the purse rather than doctrine, theology, and biblical faithfulness.

It is, of course, to the Devil’s advantage that Mammon should seem to trump God!

In any case, it is certainly mischievous at best for anyone to try to lay the blame for schism on those, like the Diocese of South Carolina, who have gone so many extra miles in seeking to repair the breaches in the Anglican Communion which have developed and widened so relentlessly in recent years. After all, it is not traditionalists who have broken faith with the biblical teaching of the 1998 Lambeth Conference or two thousand years of Christian moral consensus. It is not we who have played fast and loose with the content of the creeds or the conciliar tradition of the church catholic. It is not we who have sundered communion and continuity.

Of all the inordinate and self-deluding aspects of Anglican pride about the “genius” of our have-it-both-ways ecclesiology ”“ having our cake and eating it too ”“ perhaps the most enduring (but, by the same token, the most insidious) has been the notion that, as heirs equally of the Catholic Tradition on the one hand and the Protestant Reformation on the other, we of the “middle way” would never, ever have to choose between doctrine and historicity, creeds and continuity, Chalcedon and Canterbury, or even between the Bible and Baal.

But the ruling oligarchy of The Episcopal Church is forcing such choices by its willingness simply to lie about the present state of affairs ”“ in which the Presiding Bishop, when questioned directly, declines to affirm the uniqueness and universality of Christ as savior of the world; her chancellor resorts to litigious legalism in order to prevent conscientious conservatives from seeking theological safe havens; the General Convention claims putative “autonomy” understood in a modern and revisionist sense unknown to the Church Fathers or the English Reformers; and increasing numbers of clergy impose the substitution, in liturgy and life, of political correctness for orthodox doctrine.

The evidence for all of this is legion, but it remains willfully unacknowledged by the majority of American bishops, by the national leadership of The Episcopal Church, or by the staff of the Anglican Communion Office in London and the Anglican Centre in Rome.

In 1999, Archbishop Rowan Williams’s predecessor, Archbishop George (now Lord) Carey made an eloquent plea on behalf of “The Precious Gift of Unity” in a lecture here at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston. But as Lord Carey himself has come to recognize, the failure to heed that plea began with seeds sown not by upholders of orthodoxy but by those who thought unity could be separated from truth.

On the contrary, unity “in Christ” can only exist as rooted and grounded in the biblical, doctrinal, and moral truth of God’s trustworthy Word . It is otherwise a sham.

–The Very Rev. William McKeachie is Dean of the Cathedral of Saint Luke and Saint Paul in Charleston, South Carolina

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

Episcopal leaders struggle to find a clear message

At some point, he said, the Episcopal Church’s leaders must clearly state, once and for all, what they believe and why they believe it. If they want to remain part of the Anglican Communion, they need to be honest with the other churches.

“My friends, if you really believe that the truth revealed to you is different from that shown to the rest of the Communion, then you need to uphold that claim with boldness even at the risk of losing unity,” he told the bishops. “If you think it is right and necessary to ordain and consecrate practicing homosexuals and that you should bless same-sex partnerships or even marriages, you should be true to what you believe is right and accept the consequences.”

The Egyptian bishop was not the only person calling for doctrinal clarity, even if clarity would cause pain. One outspoken progressive said it’s time to admit that same-sex blessings are common in many U.S. dioceses and that Episcopal leaders are moving toward open advocacy of the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual clergy.

Same-sex blessings are “happening all over the place, with official sanction of diocesan authorities in a few places,” noted Father Scott Gunn, at the Inclusive Church weblog. “We’re trying to have it both ways here.

“We should either come out and say what we’re doing and why (with strong biblical and theological support), or we should stop doing it. If we take the first option, let’s face the consequences, if any. It is neither honest nor helpful to do something and then say we’re not doing it.”

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of Tennessee on the recent House of Bishops Statement

I am grateful to the clergy and people of the Diocese of Tennessee for your prayers and other support during the recent meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. I have been conscious that this support, a sign of our communion and common life in the Body of Christ, has upheld me during a time of stress in the life of the Church. I give thanks for you, and pray that you too are upheld in your ministry by God’s life-giving power.

Our time of gathering in New Orleans with the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting was not an easy one. The visible signs and continuing effects of the devastating hurricane of two years ago were evident; the weighty subject of the Primates’ February Communiqué and our response to it was in the forefront of most minds. The Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Joint Standing Committee shared with the House of Bishops the global context of recent actions of the Episcopal Church and the effects of these actions on the life of the Anglican Communion, and also charted a possible way forward for our common life together as a Communion. These perspectives were difficult for some members of the House of Bishops to receive, yet these perspectives shaped the response of the bishops.

In a most positive part of our time together, members of the House of Bishops and spouses along with our Communion partners had the opportunity to join in the work in rebuilding New Orleans. We also shared in a joyful ecumenical service of thanksgiving during which almost one million dollars from the dioceses of the Episcopal Church was presented to the Dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi. We discovered, as well, the continuing vibrancy of many communities on the Gulf Coast, in the midst of a situation that continues to be very difficult.
The House of Bishops has now given its response, one that went much further than I thought possible for the House to provide the clarifications requested by the Primates’ Meeting. The clarifications concern the requested assurances on the blessing of same-sex unions and on the consecration to the episcopate of persons living in a partnered same-sex union sought by the 2004 Windsor Report. The issue before the Episcopal Church is to provide the assurances requested by the Report that will allow the common life of the Anglican Communion to continue. I believe that the principal question is no longer just whether the Episcopal Church desires to continue to walk with the Communion, but whether the Communion itself has the will to continue together. There is much here at stake that goes beyond the Episcopal Church.

It is now the responsibility of the Instruments of Communion to evaluate our response. The Communiqué was addressed to us by the Primates’ Meeting, and I believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates’ Meeting will be making recommendations to them. Many interested parties will offer their own evaluations, but the assessment of the Communion as a whole through the Instruments of Communion is the crucial one for Communion-minded people.

Part of being members of a Communion of Churches is that our own opinion of whether we have addressed adequately the concerns of others is not decisive for the future of our relationship. These matters are the business of common discernment throughout the Church. I have written before of my passion for Jesus’ Church, a worldwide phenomenon with roots firmly planted in the earliest times, growing and reaching out to the future. I have called you to a deeper consideration of the Church, “that wonderful and sacred mystery” (BCP, 291), and I call you again to reflect on the importance of Christian community. My commitments are unchanged. In the midst of challenge, I pray for good discernment, graceful conversion, and at all times the mercy of God.

(The Rt. Rev.) John Bauerschmidt is Bishop of Tennessee.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops

African archbishop says Anglican church still faces 'gay' crisis

An influential African archbishop said Thursday that the Anglican church was still in crisis despite the US Episcopal Church agreeing to halt the ordination of gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions.

Benjamin Kwashi, archbishop-elect of Jos province in Nigeria, insisted that the gay crisis was “not resolved” by the statement by US church leaders.

“The statement by the U.S. Episcopal bishops should be taken with extreme caution,” Kwashi told Nigerian media.

“The US bishops have not said anything different from their earlier liberal stance, which supports same-sex unions.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops