Fulcrum Response to the Statement from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

We believe that the response from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church to the three central questions asked by the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam has been ”˜yes, no, and no’:

Ӣ Yes to the withholding of consent to the consecration to the episcopate of people living in same-sex unions
Ӣ No to the cessation of the practice of some bishops covertly allowing the blessings of same-sex unions, even though a public rite has not been authorised
Ӣ No to the proposed Pastoral Scheme and Pastoral Council, even though a scheme of Episcopal Visitors is still being clarified

Furthermore, we believe that there is a series of further ”˜no’s to the other concerns that Primates wanted them to address, in particular a complete silence on the Covenant process.

This follows from our careful analysis of the House of Bishops statement and a detailed comparison of it with the requests made by the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

We conclude that the Archbishop of Canterbury should:

Ӣ underline the sections in his invitation to the Lambeth Conference concerning the importance of the Windsor Report and the Covenant process
Ӣ disinvite the bishops of the Episcopal Church who are not willing to work with these tools
”¢ work forwards from here with the ”˜Windsor Bishops’ of the Episcopal Church, who have done their best to hold the high middle ground, to provide acceptable pastoral oversight for conservative parishes and dioceses
Ӣ urge again the cessation of litigation on all sides

Read it all. Although this is certainly better than Graham Kings’ initial response, I do not think this correctly interpets the document, I am sorry to say. Of the three major requests the bishops said, yes, sort of, but on our terms, and with the expansive language used against Mark Lawrence by some kept in, not the precise language of windsor, then they said no and on to 2 and three.


They also did and said nothing about the lawsuits

They insist on two things that they said were necessary in precise and clear terms

AND (in my mind worst of all)

They pretended the two nos were yeses, and misrepresented the degree to which their first yes was qualified.

By any fair evaluation, this is ANYTHING BUT responding fully and adequately to what was requested of them. Yes, they tried hard. Yes they worked together more than in the past. But this was a last ditch effort to seek to enable healing in a very deep wound, and, alas, it is nowhere near enough–KSH.


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

20 comments on “Fulcrum Response to the Statement from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

  1. azusa says:

    I agree. I hope ‘Fulcrum’ will devote its energies and undoubted intelligence to calling a spade a spade, and stopping its arcane attacks on conservative evangelicals while bending over backwards to accommodate those who have departed from the biblical faith.

  2. azusa says:

    To clarify: a website can’t be held accountable for all who post on it, but the small number who post on ‘Fulcrum’ seem to be mainly ‘post-evangelicals’ or even post-Trinitarians. And while ‘Fulcrum’ remains *officially against homosexual relations (you have to search to find the statement), most of those who post are not – like Charles Read or Simon Butler. That’s their preorogative, but in what sense is that ‘evangelical’? OK, there’s Ralph Blair and others using the word …..

  3. Adam 12 says:

    Thank you, Kendall, for having us look at the truth in statements–even our own–rather than being baited by platforms like this.

  4. William#2 says:

    Alas, sounds a bit winsome for me in this context. TEC denigrates God’s word written routinely; rebels against Him in both deed and word; teaches others to rebel against Him; and denies through its leadership that Jesus Christ is the only means by which we are saved. It goes beyond charity into the realm of folly to say this is anything other than what it is. Moreover, TEC did not assent to ANY of the Primates requests. Saying I will exercise “restraint” is simply not the same as saying “I will not do this,” especially when one adds to it the voluminous affirmations of gay people and their behavior included in the bishop’s statement.
    Many have their own agendas to support and stay in TEC and thus look for ways to say that compliance was partially made. But the rest of us will not be fooled.

  5. Rev. J says:

    Does anyone know what happens now? Are the primates going to meet and respond in the near future? Does anyone know what the consequences will be for TEC? Was there any meat in the ultimatum given by the primates? Is is just another “wait and see” thing?

  6. Doug Martin says:

    The larger question is “what now”. Having filled the week since the HOB meeting and declaration with reports of and commentary on dissenting opinions as to whether they did or did not meet the Primates “requirements” in their response, it is clear that dissent exists. What, Dr Harmon, do you suggest as a path forward? Do you renounce your vows to the Episcopal Church and go forward as part of a splinter group into a void where there is no certainty that the present Communion will recognize you and your fellow travellers as other than a self professed “Anglican”, or do you choose to swalow hard and continue to preach Christ’s message on your own terms within the EC?

    On separation, the message from the Primates was “we also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from the Episcopal Church without its consent”. If declaring yourself another church and taking the property with you is not “alienating” it, I cannot imagine what is.

    The message in the Communique was a call to “healing” in spite of the clear individual preferences of some for a “new Anglicanism”. We need to get on with one or the other.

    Where do you take your stand?

  7. JonR says:

    Kendal, as is every Anglican priest ordained into the church of God. Not a particular national church. We swear obedience to our ordinary only in all things canonicaly lawful. When our ordinary steps outside the bounds of orthodox christianity we are no more bound to obery than anyone else.

    The fact that the TEC sees itself as an international church with overseas provinces, indicates that a showdown with the ABC is inevitable. Traditionally any ‘overseas’ provinces are directly under Canterbury.
    Jon R

  8. Athanasius Returns says:

    Regularly mark these words friends:
    [/blockquote] …it is nowhere near enough [/blockquote]
    and repeat them in context to your clergy, staff, bishops, fellow parishoners until which time we ALL realize the work before us and move forward in the upward call of Christ Jesus; NOT in TEC’s direction of cultural syncretism.

  9. Lapinbizarre says:

    Wishful thinking notwithstanding, the Dar Es Salaam communiqué does not address “the practice of some bishops covertly allowing the blessings of same-sex unions”. What the communiqué asks is that the House of Bishops “make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144)”. The request refers specifically and only to the authorization of such rites by the bishops, not to the execution of unauthorized rites at parish level.

    As regards “did and said nothing about the lawsuits”, that section of the communiqué which relates to lawsuits continues “We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations”. In this context it is pertinent, under the heading “Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander”, to raise the issue of property at Falls Church and Truro, VA, and Grace Church, Colorado Springs and to inquire into the access afforded “continuing Episcopalians” at those and other properties.

    Closer to home, it is also pertinent to inquire into the current state of play at All Saints, Pawleys Island. Has the diocese of South Carolina suspended its suit against that congregation?

  10. Connecticutian says:

    #9, the DeS Communiqué does in fact address pastoral SSB:

    21. However, secondly, we believe that there remains a lack of clarity about the stance of The Episcopal Church, especially its position on the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for persons living in same-sex unions. There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.

    It is true that in the section outlining specific requests of the HoB, the request does not explicitly mention covert blessings, and the uppercase “R” in Rite might be taken to infer official public Rites. But even here, the request does not limit itself, and moreover the HoB had members of the Primates JSC explaining to them again that this equivocation was of concern to them. And as Elizabeth Kaeton and others have pronounced, they are in fact employing public Rites with the cooperation of their bishops.

    1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144);

    Note also: neither “in their dioceses OR through General Convention”. The HoB did not agree to that; rather, they agreed (perhaps) UNTIL General Convention.

  11. Connecticutian says:

    #9, one more thought: Why would we seek to address the consequences of the matters at hand before we seek to address the primary causes themselves? If ECUSA would concede to being a Christian Church in the Anglican Communion, issues of property and lawsuits would largely go away… except where ECUSA’s hardball tactices have already irrevocably poisoned the relationships. Even here, there is nothing constraining the GC from behaving as Jesus would, regardless of how their opponents behave. As Bishop Duncan has tried to do, the GC can say “go in peace, we wish you no harm.”

  12. Kendall Harmon says:

    Unfortunately for you #9 the word or is in that section of the communique. It is not simply general convention which is the concern, but diocesan authorization and practice. That is why they use local pastoral provision in para 21. The diocese of Vermont is a good example of authorized diocesan blessings.

  13. Kendall Harmon says:

    And further to #9:

    The Primates at Dromantine continued this language, focusing on “public rites” and the episcopate. However, and this is where I agree with Dr Harmon, the statement adopted at Dar es Salaam returns to the language of Lambeth, and removes any reference to “public rites” (except in the footnote that references the Windsor Report); and in the final recommendations substitutes the request that Bishops “not authorise any Rite of Blessing.” The position on ordination seems to hold at the Windsor/Dromantine level, restricting ordination only regarding the episcopate.

    I think it is important that we be very clear what we are being asked to do concerning same-sex blessings, and not try to weasel around the matter. If we do not choose to comply with the exact request, let us frame our rationale for not doing so, rather than pretending that we have complied.


  14. Doug Martin says:


    It’s a wonderfully philosophical position, but read the BCP for the ordination of clergy. If your perspective were true, we could just wander down the block and get a good Baptist minister when we needed someone to fill in on Sunday.

  15. Jody+ says:


    I think you do a disservice to JonR. He never suggested that our ministries were practically interchangeable with every other Christian denomination. However, if you take your own advice and start a bit earlier in the text (p 510), you will see that the preface to the ordination rite in the 1979 BCP, which has been present in every BCP since 1549, states that the orders of ministry are not the exclusive property of the Anglican Church (or, therefore, of the Episcopal Church.) The Episcopal Church has no authority in and of itself as the Episcopal Church to ordain anyone, only the one holy catholic and apostolic church can confer orders (and presumably the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church are able to do so by virtue of their membership in the larger Church).

    While we may not “wonder down the block and get a good Baptist minister when we needed someone to fill in on Sunday,” we certainly recognize the validity of those ordained by Bishops in apostolic succession–their communions having maintained the three orders that were God’s gift to the whole Church. The fact that our ministers are not interchangeable with all such communions is an accident of history and institution–something to be repented of and worked to resolve within the divided church–and is not a statement that somehow any denomination has the authority to create a new order of ministry other than that which was given to the Church.

    What you describe is akin to saying that two people who do not speak the same language can’t communicate while JonR is describing the gift of language itself.

    Anyone ordained is ordained as a Priest is ordained as a Christian Priest and only secondarily as a priest in a particular communion. That’s why we don’t “re-ordain” those who come from traditions with apostolic succession anymore than we’d re-baptize any Christian baptized in the name of the Trinity with water.

    Our canons themselves recognize this in Title III, Canon 11 Sec. 5 where it relates the guidelines regarding those clergy who have been previously ordained in other communions:

    [blockquote]Sec. 5 (a) Thereafter the Bishop, being satisfied of the person’s theological qualifications and successful completion of the examination specified in Sec. 2 and soundness in the faith, may:
    [blockquote](1) Receive, with the advice and consent of the Standing
    Committee, the person [b]into this Church in the Orders to which
    already ordained by a Bishop in the historic succession[/b]; or
    (2) Confirm and make the person a Deacon and, no sooner than
    four months thereafter, ordain as Priest, [b]if the person has not
    received such ordination[/b]; or
    (3) Ordain as a Deacon and, no sooner than four months
    thereafter, ordain the person a Priest conditionally (having
    baptized and confirmed the person conditionally if necessary)
    [b]if ordained by a Bishop whose authority to convey such orders
    has not been recognized by this Church.[/b][/blockquote][/blockquote]

    That last bit, about Bishop’s whose authority to convey orders has not been recognized by this Church was most likely intended to deal with the situation of [i]episcopi vagantes[/i], or to communions that the Bishop had some questions about that couldn’t be resolved.

  16. simon.cawdell says:

    Thank you for linking to our article. I must take serious issue with your editorial comment underneath, some of which misunderstands the context of the response in the publication of the three documents we have put out, the response linked above, the short comparison of the requests of the [url=http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=237]Primates at Dar and the House of Bishops at New Orleans[/url] and the major article by Andrew Goddard [url=http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=238]Half Empty? Half Full? Too Little? Too Late?[/url]
    In these documents we make clear our profound scepticism of the HoB reply in a considerable number of ways.
    We also note the number of issues in which the HoB has not responded. Our Comparison Document first point is this:
    [b]1. Lambeth 1.10
    Dar es Salaam: Lambeth 1.10 is the Communion standard on sexual behaviour
    New Orleans: no mention of it.
    [i]This is a significant omission.[/i][/b]
    You note our recognition that the answer to the Primates is essentially a refusal to agree over same sex blessings, and we add to this by our next point where we note that it is conditional on future GC resolutions. We are not unaware of the essential hypocracy of this, given that no resolution can pass GenCon without the consent of the HoB.
    Further on we note the absence of any mention of the Covenant (point 4), the fact that they do not use the word [b]moratorium[/b] of the consecration of sexually active homosexual clergy as bishops despite the invitation to do so (point 7), the failure even to address the litigation (point 9), the failure to mention or recognise the ‘Camp Allen’ principles (point 10), and the naive suggestion that the present Bishop of New Hampshire should play a full part at Lambeth 08 (point 11). The major article by Andrew Goddard expands on all these points, and more.
    Graham Kings has stated [url=http://covenant-communion.com/?p=196]elsewhere[/url] the his initial comment was a very first reading, made an hour after publication of the statement, as he made clear in response to posters in your original link to his comments (apologies for the absence of a link but this seems to have disappeared from your system). As Theological Secretary of Fulcrum he is fully in accord with the responses we have published corporately.

  17. Doug Martin says:

    No disservice intended but the fact remains that the “solemn declaration” in the BCP states “…I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church.” Not CANA, ACN, AMIA, or any of the other refugee bands. I believe the example was rightly set by the recent resignation of Bishop (?) who explicitly left because he could no longer uphold that vow. And more power to him, I wish him, and all the others who make these choices the very best. Truly, God bless them. They are pursuing their view of the True Faith. But the time has come to stop whining and move on. “Fish or cut bait”.

  18. simon.cawdell says:

    I have found the link to Graham’s defence of his first response on T19 [url=http://new.kendallharmon.net/wp-content/uploads/index.php/t19/article/6480]here[/url] following the publication of Andrew Goddard’s article (which was actually published three days after the Fulcrum response). See comment 8.

  19. Jody+ says:

    That may be, but that doesn’t mean that a person who cannot abide changes in doctrine which they did not swear to is renouncing their ordination or call anymore than we would say that an RC priest who is received into the Episcopal Church has renounced theirs. They may be renouncing the institution and should resign their position, but I believe renouncing their orders is theologically untenable from an Anglican understanding of Holy Orders or the nature of the Church. If one is convinced that a Church which doesn’t recognize our orders is the fullness of the Church, then they certainly should resign their orders–which is the case with the Bishop you cite.

    Unless of course we truly believe that The Episcopal Church is the One True Church. You haven’t yet responded to the fact that we ordinarily receive those ordained in apostolic succession, thereby recognizing their orders. If we applied the logic you insist upon, we would “re-ordain” everyone, since they would have renounced their orders when they left the human institution (these days I’m tempted to say corporation, but perhaps that’s just my cynicism) they were a part of before.

  20. Lapinbizarre says:

    And All Saints, Pawleys Island (#9, final paragraph)?