Category : Sept07 HoB Meeting

A.S. Haley–South Carolina: a Case Study in How to Tear a Church Apart

It is ironic indeed that Nick Zeigler would invoke the specter of Fort Sumter in a book published just before the current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church sent her attorneys and investigators into the Diocese of South Carolina. One would think that she would be highly grateful to Bishop Lawrence for managing to hold his Diocese together after the fractures caused by the rift with All Saints Waccamaw, and the loss of the use of the Dennis Canon as a tool for intimidating the faithful in South Carolina. The parishioners of the Diocese have no sooner put that matter behind them, however, than the Presiding Bishop lets herself be seen further stirring up old divisions and strongly-felt emotions, with no evident clue as to her utter folly in doing so.

Alas, when it comes to the leadership at 815, one can but lament: what else is new? They must want it this way, and they will reap what they sow.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

A.S. Haley–South Carolina: a Case Study in How to Tear a Church Apart

It is ironic indeed that Nick Zeigler would invoke the specter of Fort Sumter in a book published just before the current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church sent her attorneys and investigators into the Diocese of South Carolina. One would think that she would be highly grateful to Bishop Lawrence for managing to hold his Diocese together after the fractures caused by the rift with All Saints Waccamaw, and the loss of the use of the Dennis Canon as a tool for intimidating the faithful in South Carolina. The parishioners of the Diocese have no sooner put that matter behind them, however, than the Presiding Bishop lets herself be seen further stirring up old divisions and strongly-felt emotions, with no evident clue as to her utter folly in doing so.

Alas, when it comes to the leadership at 815, one can but lament: what else is new? They must want it this way, and they will reap what they sow.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Presiding Bishop, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Andrew Carey: Words not what they used to be in the post-Windsor Anglican Communion

In the American House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans when The Episcopal Church faced its deadline to deal with terms like moratoria, ”˜words’ were fiercely debated. How far could the House of Bishops go to deliver words which might placate the Anglican Communion without giving anything away? This was a studied course of dishonesty.

Now we have the most egregious example of all in the declaration by the Canadian diocese of Ottawa that it will allow a parish to perform same-sex blessings in order to ”˜discern’ the way forward. Needless to say, it’s an odd kind of ”˜discernment’ to do something you are not agreed upon in order to reach agreement. It seems like a recipe for division and conflict.

Furthermore, the diocese claims that it is not violating the moratorium on samesex blessings. “There is nothing in the moratorium that says we cannot continue to discern,” said Archdeacon Ross Moulton of Ottawa. It seems unnecessary to point out that the very meaning of the word ”˜moratorium’ rules out this kind of discernment. But Archdeacon Moulton has a different dictionary it seems.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

Living Church: Encouragement for Fort Worth Laity

…[Dr. Michael] Howell presented a detailed account of the actions of The Episcopal Church that have precipitated a worldwide crisis and the response of the four governing instruments of Anglican Communion.

“The Dar es Salaam Communiqué called the Episcopal Church’s response to Windsor Report inadequate,” Howell said. “It asked for responses from the House of Bishops, but the bishops refused [the Primatial Scheme and call for a moratorium on same-sex blessings]. Then in New Orleans the Archbishop of Canterbury inserted a new process involving the Joint Standing Committee. He refused to call a Primates Meeting and deferred the discussion until the Lambeth Conference, which now is organized so that no resolutions will emerge.” The result of all this, Howell said, is that “GAFCON bishops have lost faith in the structures of the Communion.”

Before the concluding question-and-answer period, three members of the Remain Faithful executive board made brief presentations based on sections of the group’s 25-page position paper, Evidence that Demands a Decision, published in June. Cora Werley, a member of Trinity Church, Fort Worth, discussed revisionist understandings of Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture. David Weaver, a member of St. Alban’s, Arlington, spoke about the polity and origins of The Episcopal Church and the ancient understanding of the diocese as the “organ of union” in the church. Jo Ann Patton, a member of St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth, spoke of the pattern of innovation in The Episcopal Church, seen in its handling of women’s ordination and human sexuality issues, that begins with a violation of canons and progresses to permissiveness and then required practice.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Worth a Careful rereading–Kendall Harmon: Honesty or Obfuscation in New Orleans?

I would only update it a little and call it Honesty or Obfuscation at Lambeth and it applies completely. By the way, anyone remember who came out AFTER the New Orleans House of Bishops meeting and said that the report written about what was happening was incorrect because there were same sex blessings occurring in various parts of the Episcopal Church? Yes–it was Gene Robinson–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

ACI: Description and Comments on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2007 Advent Pastoral Letter

About what situations is the Archbishop here concerned? The context of the proposal ”“ ”˜unanswered questions’ with respect to NOLA ”“ indicates that the main issue is TEC’s (and perhaps other churches’) relationship with the Communion: how far does her claim as ”˜Anglican’ go when in fact her teaching and practice have clearly departed from the Communion’s? However, the mention of Windsor’s recommendations and extra-jurisdictionally ordained bishops, also indicates that the Archbishop is aware that various responses to TEC’s clear departure from Communion teaching and practice has also obscured the character of Anglican identity more broadly and of common authority. These issues must also be addressed, rather than allowed to further dissipate a common mind. The Archbishop recognises ”˜much unclarity’ over ”˜who speaks for the Communion?’ and says this needs resolution ”˜urgently’: ”˜the people of the Communion need to be sure that they are not placed in unsustainable and damaging positions by any vagueness as to what the Communion as a whole believes and endorses, and so the issue of who represents the Communion cannot be evaded”¦Not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship’.

This last concern, which is surely a weighty one, faces into the current dissolution of the Communion’s ”˜common voice’ through a host of unilateral decisions that clearly affect teaching and discipline both. Not only are churches like TEC and certain bishops and dioceses in Canada knowingly moving ahead with innovations that run counter to everything that Anglicans have together articulated and decided, but in doing so they are wittingly undercutting the very notion of common identity, character, authority, mission, and concern. Those responding to these actions have, in their turn, if with a certain reactionary rationale, ended up moving forward in ways that do not represent common decision-making within the Communion and that may, in fact, further the dismantling of Anglican identity. To pursue such destructive innovations unilaterally, and still call oneself ”˜Anglican’ has put into question the very notion of Anglicanism itself as a divinely called church within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church into which we are called to grow with other Christians.

The group that the Archbishop proposes offer recommendations about this challenge, as it affects several churches and the Communion as a whole (including how Lambeth Conference may operate) cannot be some judicial tribunal. Nor, however, can it be a repeat of the Panel of Reference that, despite careful work, has been unable to direct any major conflicts it has examined towards fruitful resolution. It appears that the Archbishops himself, given his own role as the articulator of the Communion’s mind, and gatherer of her chief pastors, has accepted his role as moral leader for the Communion especially in this time of crisis. He will, again, seek to bring concrete recommendations before the council of Anglicanism’s bishops for the sake of the Communion’s common ordering. This is yet another indication that the Archbishop has decided that the Lambeth Conference must be a truly conciliar decision-making body for the Communion.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Church of England Newspaper: US Bishops fail to convince primates

The Primates have returned a vote of no confidence in the Episcopal Church. Lambeth Palace reports that a majority of primates have rejected the conclusions of the ACC/Primates Joint Standing Committtee (JSC), and have told the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams the Episcopal Church has failed, in whole or in part, to honor the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué.

The majority rejection of the JSC report comes as a blow to Dr. Williams’ hopes to avert a showdown between the liberal and conservative wings of the Communion. It also marks an unprecedented repudiation of the competence and judgment of the central apparatus of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Following the publication of the positive assessment by the JSC of the actions of the New Orleans meeting of the US House of Bishops, Dr. Williams wrote to the primates asking “How far is your Province able to accept the JSC Report assessment that the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops have responded positively to the requests of the Windsor Report and those made by the Primates in their Communiqué at the end of their meeting in Dar es Salaam?”

Of the 38 primates, including the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, Lambeth Palace reported it had received 26 responses, and no reply from 12. Of the 26, 12 stated they could accept the JSC’s findings, 12 stated they rejected the JSC’s findings, while three offered a mixed verdict, and one said it was continuing to review the matter.

Read it all.

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

Anglican Journal: Schism plans develop after U.S. meeting

The split between liberal and conservative Anglicans grew wider in September as bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church reaffirmed their denomination’s more-inclusive stance on homosexuality and a breakaway group of bishops moved to form a “new ecclesiastical structure” in North America.

About 150 Episcopal Church bishops met in New Orleans from Sept. 20 to 25, along with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, several primates (national archbishops from other countries) and members of the international Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). At the end of their meeting, the American bishops issued a statement that they said was the best expression of a position on which all present could agree. (Several conservative bishops had left the meeting early.)

Read it all.

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

Christian Challenge: Did the Episcopal Church Bishops Clarify All Questions in New Orleans?

WHATEVER IS DRIVING Dr. [Rowan] Williams’ strategy, it would seem in the wake of the HOB meeting to have reached a crossroads. The primatial jury is still out, of course, but it is already evident that the HOB statement will not fly with a significant segment of the global church. The Communion’s future will pivot heavily on how Williams now handles key matters going forward.

Of course, even Archbishops of Canterbury must contend with historical forces beyond their control. In all probability, TEC’s long recurrent role as artful dodger of orthodoxy, even if it has slightly receded for now, has set in train fragmentation and realignment among Anglicans that cannot now be averted.

This is a lengthy article but there is some material in it not available elsewhere and it is well worth the time–KSH.

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

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish of Utah

In the end, we issued our response to the Questions and Concerns raised by our Anglican Communion Partners. This document (see Internet reference 2 below) has met with acceptance by most of our visitors; however, it did not satisfy the very conservative primates or bishops in our church and the larger Communion. They are working to set up their own Anglican body. The liberals were not happy with it either, even though on the critical issues of giving consent to the election of partnered gay bishops and blessing same sex unions, we said little more than was said at the General Convention of 2006. The writing team worked on endless drafts of our report to accommodate the views and phrases to which the majority of the House could agree. Our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said more than once, “No one is going to get everything they want.”

Two further elements in our response did ease the way for many of us. One was the expression of our “fervent hope” that the Archbishop of Canterbury would find a way to invite Bishop Gene Robinson to the Lambeth Conference next summer and to assure his full participation. Also, with our Presiding Bishop’s appointment of Episcopal visitors to dioceses not willing to receive her, we called for an immediate end to diocesan incursions by uninvited bishops in accordance with the Windsor Report and consistent with the statements of past Lambeth conferences and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church. We have not heard any response from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

For myself, I found the spirit of the Community of Bishops (as we call ourselves) much diminished since our meeting last spring. From that meeting we issued a statement profoundly descriptive of who we understand ourselves to be, absent the pressures of ‘compliance’ to the demands of the newly rising structures of authority and the doctrinal positions newly called the “standards of teaching” of the Anglican Communion. What we did in March was much like what our own deputation did in response to the Dar es Salam Communiqué, that is to say it was proactive and declarative, not defensive or reactive.

Read it all.

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

Executive Council Resolution on the New Orleans House of Bishops Meeting

Via email:

Resolved, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, expresses its appreciation to the House of Bishops for undertaking the monumental task of trying to clarify the conflict between the canons of the Episcopal Church and the demands raised by the Dar E [sic] Salaam communiqué, and be it further

Resolved, the Executive Council affirms with the House of Bishops the essential and renewed study of human sexuality as noted in the “listening process” of the Lambeth Conference of 1998, and be it further

Resolved, that the House of Bishops’ statement exacerbated feelings of exclusion felt by many of the lesbian and gay members of our church by defining Resolution B033 from the 75th General Convention to include lesbian and gay people, and be it further

Resolved, that by calling particular attention to the application of B033 to lesbian and gay person [sic], it may inappropriately suggest that an additional qualification for the episcopacy has been imposed beyond those contained in the constitutions and canons of the church, and be it further

Resolved, that while B033 focuses on the consent process for bishops, the broader impact is to discourage the full participation by lesbians and gay persons in the life of the church and enshrine discrimination in the policies of the Episcopal Church, and be it further

Resolved, that the Executive Council acknowledge with regret the additional pain and estrangement inflicted on lesbian and gay members of the church, and we pledge to work toward a time when our church will fully respect the dignity of every human being in all aspects of the life of our church.

Update: Ralph Webb has some comments on this here.

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

Support for US Bishops Wanes in Australia

General Synod was given the opportunity to record their own opinions in small group meetings. They heard the case for the Americans put by Robert Fordham, Australia’s representative on the global church’s top decision making body called the Anglican Consultative Council. The case against was presented by the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen.

It appeared that Dr Jensen’s speech was well-received by General Synod delegates.

“I am sure that the American response was well-intentioned,” he said. “But it has not yet healed the rift which opened as a result of their actions in 2003, because those actions arose from a way of looking at the world which most in the Communion believe to be unbiblical.”

During small group discussion, there was widespread concern expressed at the American response from across many Dioceses.

Read it all.

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

Archbishop Peter Jensen on the American House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans

How has the verdict of the Joint Standing Committee been received around the world? The Church of England Evangelical Council headed by Bishop Benn has dissented from it. Those American Bishops and Dioceses who have been planning to leave The Episcopal Church have not been stopped in their tracks. A large group of African Primates ”“ representative of the people who posed the questions ”“ have said, ”˜on first reading we find it to be unsatisfactory. The assurances made are without credibility and its preparation is severely compromised by numerous conflicts of interest. The report itself appears to be a determined effort to find a way for the full inclusion of The Episcopal Church with no attempt at discipline or change from their prior position.’

Why this dissent from the Joint Committee? It would of course be best to have the whole Dar Es Salaam communiqué, but, failing that, here are the two questions which were put to the Americans for an answer by September 30th:

”˜In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

1.make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their diocese or through General Convention (cf TWR, 143, 144); and
2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (cf TWR, 134);
Unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion (cf TWR, 134).’

We only have time to look at the response to the first request. The wording of the reply certainly does not give the assurance that is sought. The Americans were asked to restrain General Convention from authorising a Rite of Blessing; they could do this, I am told, by exercising what amounts to a veto; but they undertake only to refrain ”˜until General Convention takes further action’, a different proposition altogether. In fact the Primates used, and stressed the word unless, the Bishops replied with ”˜until’. The difference tells us something about the enthusiasm of many Americans to see these developments agreed to. In short the different heart of the Americans and the different heart of their critics is not going to understand these words in the same way even if they were not ambiguous. This is not black-letter dispute over words.
The Primates already knew that no rite has been approved as yet by General Convention; the Americans observe that the majority of bishops ”˜do not make allowance for the blessing of same sex unions.’ But that concedes the very point at issue. This is a practice allowed by some Bishops at least; perhaps many. The consequence is, then, if I understand the situation correctly, at least one American Bishop, though a believer in same-sex blessings, has now forbidden them occurring. He understood that even permitting them was not an option. But they will still occur elsewhere. Thus Bishop Chane of Washington is reported in Washington Window, his own newspaper, as saying, that, ”˜the Diocese of Washington does not have an authorised rite for blessing same-sex relationships. However, he added that the statement passed by the bishops will allow for such blessings to continue in the Diocese.’

And here are the honest reflections of Bishop Gene Robinson on what has occurred. ”˜Let me also state strongly that the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates misunderstood us when they stated that the HOB in fact “declared a moratorium on all such public Rites.” Neither in our discussions nor in our statement did we agree to or declare such a moratorium on permitting such rites to take place. That may be true in many or most dioceses, but that is certainly not the case in my own diocese and many others. The General Convention has stated that such rites are indeed to be considered within the bounds of the pastoral ministry of this Church to its gay and lesbian members, and that remains the policy of The Episcopal Church.’

I believe that this is what Canon Kearon was referring to when he spoke of the need for some episcopalian bishops to consider their position in the Communion. It already dents the modified rapture of the Joint Committee in saying, ”˜The Communion should move towards closure on these matters, at least for the time being,’ It certainly justifies the response of Bishop Mouneer and others. The matter is not resolved.

Read it all.

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

Two Bishops In Kentucky on the Recent House of Bishops Meeting

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

Christian Century: Episcopal alternative formed; Africans urge Lambeth be postponed

Duncan said that the Diocese of Pittsburgh is scheduled to vote in early November on the first step in severing ties with the Episcopal Church.

The loose federation, with its own College of Bishops, hopes to garner favor domestically and abroad by using an “if we build it, they will come” strategy, according to Peter Frank, a spokesperson for Duncan. However, issues such as the ordination of women””some of the groups ordain women, some do not””remain to be decided, according to the Common Cause Council.

Bishop Martyn Minns, who heads the Nigerian-related Convocation of Anglicans in North America, told a telephone news conference September 26 that the participants “have different styles and approaches, but not differences” in doctrine.

The African “mission” links to dissident Episcopalians have been called “incursions” by the archbishop of Canterbury, but Minns, the former rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, disagreed. “These are replies to the cries of help from this country.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sept07 HoB Meeting, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts