Thinking Anglicans

options and scenarios

Updated Friday morning and again Friday evening

Ruth Gledhill has a blog entry today that is mostly about the Recife situation. While not wishing to minimize the significance of that topic, I did find the second part of her article even more interesting:

…The Anglican Communion is in deep crisis. The General Convention in the US could see the ratification of the election of a gay or lesbian Bishop of California. Convention will also debate where Ecusa goes now in response to the Windsor Report. The outcome will determine whether Gene Robinson and the bishops who consecrated him are invited to Lambeth 2008. My guess is that when the invitations go out later this year, some of the US bishops and suffragans might be invited with observer status only, rather as the Ecusa delegates attended the ACC meeting in Nottingham. But beyond not inviting people and issuing public rebukes, there is very little Dr Williams can do with respect to Ecusa if the North Americans do decide to follow their liberal consience, as seems likely.

Meanwhile, work is going on to examine the ACC constitution for a way forward. The constitution is framed to allow new members to be elected into the Anglican Communion but there is no mechanism for expelling anyone or inviting them to leave.

It is to debate issues such as this that Dr Williams has convened a meeting at Lambeth Palace on 24 April to examine the ‘options and scenarios’ for the ‘post-General Convention period’ in the Anglican Communion. Those invited include the Bishops of Durham, Winchester, Exeter, Manchester, Norwich, Bristol and the Dean of St Paul’s as well as representatives from the Church’s mission agencies and Anglican Mainstream. They will discuss the implications for the Church of England and how the ‘Instruments of Unity’ should respond to whatever happens in Ecusa this summer.

In his letter of invitation, leaked to me, Dr Williams’ head of staff Chris Smith says the roundtable discussion concerns the ‘next critical months’ in the life of the Anglican Communion. ‘This is too important a set of issues to allow events to overtake us,’ he says.

My source, who is not one of those invited, interprets it this way: ‘The wording of the invitation makes it fairly clear that Lambeth is expecting no backtrack from Ecusa and is therefore working out how to manage the oncoming schism.’ …

The Bishop of Exeter was present at the recent ECUSA House of Bishops meeting, as noted here. No doubt the July General Synod meeting will be hearing more about all this. (General Convention dates are 13-21 June, General Synod dates are 7-11 July.)

Update 1 The Living Church has also noticed Ruth’s report, see Bishop of Exeter Represents Canterbury at House of Bishops Retreat.

Update 2
Ruth Gledhill has published more, see Schism looms, Exeter warns US bishops

Update 3
On Saturday, The Times had this short piece Archbishop holds talks over fear of a schism.

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MerseymikeDaveTobias S Haller BSGJ. C. FisherPrior Aelred Recent comment authors
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J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

“My guess is that when the invitations go out later this year, some of the US bishops and suffragans might be invited with observer status only” On what *basis* could ++Rowan do that? (beyond, “I’m the Archbishop of Canterbury, and I don’t have to explain”) At the ACC meeting in Nottingham (2005), TEC (and the AngChCanada) were *invited NOT to send voting delegations*: it was all *voluntary* (and the two national churches took up the invitation—which, in hindsight of the votes taken at Nottingham, would seem to have been a mistake). How would the ABC officially withdraw voting status from… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

This is a question from America – what is Anglican Mainstream? Do the individuals invited represent a spectrum of churchmanship and progressive/conservative views? I suppose as is often the case that representatives of gay and lesbian Anglicans are not invited?

Thanks.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Cynthia, read their own description of themselves at
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/whoweare.asp

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I see that Anglican Mainstream is affiliated with our own AAC. Why should they be the only ‘interest group’ invited? Having seen documents from the AAC, it is clear they wish to replace TEC as the ‘brand name’ Anglican church in the US, and that they have no interest in dialogue, listening, or anything other than taking over this church. They are unscrupulous in their methods, and would turn TEC into a monovocal confessional conservative church in which only the like-minded would be welcome. GLBT people and ordained women would not be welcomed, to be sure. They represent a vocal… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

If the leaked information is accurate (not a foregone conclusion, without alleging that Mrs. Gledhill is not passing on accurately what she received), there is something troubling about this. Why Anglican Mainstream and not Changing Attitudes? As am American I need to ask do the bishops identified show a full spectrum of opinions, or a particular leaning? I have said repeatedly here that I believe we should work toward reconciliation, even if ultimately we fail. If the meeting planned does not represent a spectrum of opinions, has even ++Rowan lost faith in the effort for reconciliation and communion? This seems… Read more »

Dirk Reinken
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Dirk Reinken

While I’m more optimistic for the health of ECUSA, I’m increasingly pessimistic for the Communion as a whole. Given the April 24 meeting, I think for the first time I can see England severing communion with the United States – something I had thought nearly impossible. What disturbs me the most is that senior English bishops get invited to discuss how the instruments of unity should respond to whatever evolves over the next few months. Of what value are the instruments of unity (and what respect can they command?) if they are to take direction from certain English bishops –… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

WHEREAS we don’t know which candidate will be elected in California, and WHEREAS we don’t know whether the elected candidate will be confirmed by General Convention, and WHEREAS we have no idea which of the myriad proposed, rumored, imagined responses to the Windsor Report will be embraced by General Convention, and WHEREAS we don’t know by what yardstick (or whose yardstick) that response will be judged, and WHEREAS the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada might not be the only provinces judged to be on the wrong side of the Windsor Report BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED… that we… Read more »

Anna
Guest

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the resolution before us and second the comments of the gentleman from the Diocese of Washington.

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

I am utterly amazed that Anglican Mainstream are invited to this meeting. They are not the ‘mainstream’; their own statistics confirm they are a tiny, extreme minority. See those stats here: http://frontparlour.blogspot.com/2005/12/anglican-fringe-dribble.html What on earth are they doing there without representatives from other, opposing interest groups? This is shocking bias. If this is true, then there is no hope for reason to prevail during these ‘next critical months’. What is Williams thinking? This is farcical, risible, pointless. Any residual respect I had left for this man has now evapourated. I agree (in plainer terms) with Bishop Dirk’s suspicion above: the… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The key anonymous sentence in this report is: ‘The wording of the invitation makes it fairly clear that Lambeth is expecting no backtrack from Ecusa and is therefore working out how to manage the oncoming schism.’ As Ruth has not published the complete wording of the invitation, it is hard to judge whether that is indeed an accurate description of it. The Living Church reports that Lambeth has refused to comment. It seems to me that it would be sensible for Lambeth Palace to plan for a whole range of future events, including the possibility that ECUSA does provide a… Read more »

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

I think those that are urging caution about this report are probably right to do so. The fact is, that we know about one meeting which Rowan is holding in April, I’d be surprised if there weren’t other meetings to discuss the future of the Anglican Communion. The situation with regard to issuing invitations to the Lambeth Conference is that these are within the Archbishop of Canterbury’s gift. I doubt though that he could cherrypick the bishops of a particular province unless he had the agreement of that province. My opinion is that he would have to invite all or… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

It is not frequent that I find myself in full accord with Andrew Carey, but I think he is quite right in his comments here — the line-up reported for this particular meeting certainly seems to have a decidedly “conservative” slant — this not not mean that there will not be other meetings with groups that have other opinions — and even more importantly, the notion that the ABC can decide which bishops within an independent province should or should not be invited to Lambeth is unlikely (which is not to say that he might decide not to invite any… Read more »

FriarJohn
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FriarJohn

It should be noted that, as I recall, Ms Gledhill’s sources have been off the mark before. Either that or she’s in “prespin” mode where she’s trying to spin a story before all the facts come out.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

I would like to suggest a reason no commentator has yet mentioned for inviting primarily conservative clergy to the April 24th meeting: namely, that these are the clergy who have voiced the strongest objections to TEC’s actions at GC 2003. It seems reasonable to think that they would be prepared to accept a fairly narrow range of actions and resolutions from GC 2006 as the needed evidence that TEC is working in good faith with the provisions of the Windsor Report, while the Bishop of Southwark, for example, might be prepared to accept a much broader spectrum of actions. I… Read more »

Tobias S Haller BSG
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Tobias S Haller BSG

In line with what Charlotte notes, it may well be that the ABC is calling these leaders together to alert them to his wish, as previously expressed, to have as many people at the table as possible, and to plead with them not to overreact and withdraw their participation should that be the case, as they have threatened to do.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Charlotte:

I see the logic of your suggestion. And I’m not concerned specifically about the opinions other than those of the Archbishop and of General Synod as a whole. I would still hope and pray that he would seek consultation representing the whole of the Church of England, in multiple meetings if that’s more reasonable.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Sadly, “preview” does not help when you still see what you intended to say — the above should read “– this does not mean that there will not be other meetings with groups that have other opinions — ” (which at least makes sense, even if it turns out not to be true).

OTOH, the thought that a handful of reactionary bishops & political action groups in England should dictate internal policy to an independent province of the WWAC is mind boggling &, I believe, entirely unprecedented.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Tobias —

An interesting speculation — it is certainly true that the ABC keeps saying that he wants as many people as possible at the table — but if trying to invite all has the consequence that some will definitely stay away, thus reducing those present to a smaller number than if he had exercised pre-emptive exclusion, then what?

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

One phrase used in Langrish’s speech to ECUSA’s HoB highlights the disordered perspective the church hierarchy has in relation to the issue of homosexuality. In referring to ECUSA treating people of same sex attraction as wholly equal with heterosexual people before God – that is, not seeing homosexuality as a bar to intimate, loving relationship or membership of the priesthood or episcopacy – the church officially sees that as acting: “in a way that injects further difficulty into the life of the communion”. So, the difficulty experienced in the lives of millions of GLBT men, women and children around the… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

God, I’m depressed. 🙁 While I appreciate getting the gist of +Exeter’s speech (to TEC’s HofB), I would appreciate in the future, Simon, your excerpting all sources quoted by Ruth Gledhill, directly to *here*. After reading her latest round of TEC-bashing, I have decided to consign her to the netherworld of T19 and VirtueOnline, and not pollute my mind w/ anymore whispers from the Father-of-Lies. >:-( But back to +Exeter again (whether or not he speaks for the ABC). He seems to be saying “Yeah, TEC, go ahead and do your conscientious & prayerful consideration of Scripture, Tradition and Reason,… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

The ABofC has shown that he does not wish to alienate faithful Anglican Christians even though he disagrees with them. So it seems reasonable to assume that the ABofC’s meeting with “conservatives” will be matched by one or more with “liberals”. However I worry that his “Listening” to the conservatives has more to do with determining the absolute minimum that ECUSA could get away with, whereas discussions with “liberals” will focus more on how the conservatives might be moved “forward”. So, if I were in the conservative meeting I would be wanting to ask ++Rowan how we could help the… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear AM And JCF, Don’t forget that same-sex sex is hardly the only sexual behaviour that is considered sinful. You are not alone! Is the church “oppressing” and “sacrificing” people who want to divorce their spouse to marry someone else who they now love ? What about people who want multiple partners, or people who are in love with their siblings ? Is it “non-Christlike non-love” to call people to self-denial in every area of sexuality – or just in the area of homosexuality ? Each one of us in the Church must submit all aspects of our personality to… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

“Is it “non-Christlike non-love” to call people to self-denial in every area of sexuality – or just in the area of homosexuality ?”

So you’re saying ALL HETEROSEXUALS ARE CALLED TO CELIBACY (no exceptions), Dave? Must have missed that…

IT
Guest
IT

Forgive me, Dave, but it seems to me there are an awful lot of divorcees in the pews and no one is talking schism….

Let’s not even talk about the hateful bigotry of comparing my faithful, monogamous partnership with incest and pedophilia. Why am I not surprised.

steven
Guest
steven

Dave:

Thanks for your comment. Its always nice to have a bit of sanity injected into the “debates” at TA. It is definitely a breath of fresh air.

Steven

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

If John Milton is right about angelic nature, and we humans will be like the angels when we are in heaven, then we certainly will have sex, and our pleasure will not be bound by the limitations of particular organs, and, not only that, if we are indeed like Milton’s angels, we will be able to assume either gender to do so. You may find this in “Paradise Lost.” But perhaps that would be much too racy reading for the neo-neo-Puritans.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear JCF, Everyone who has any sexual desire outside those that sanctioned by Christ and the Apostles are called to [try to] abstain from sin if they want to follow Christ – not just homosexuals ! Dear IT, I would want nothing to do with a Bishop who had divorced to remarry either ! And I *didn’t* mention pedophilia… just other “equal consensual” sexual options ! So why is it “hateful or bigoted” to even mention same-sex sex alongside them ? Aren’t they all called sins in the Bible because they are sexual behaviours that are against the “created order”… Read more »

steven
Guest
steven

Cynthia: It’s been a while since I read “Paradise Lost”, but I don’t recall any gender switching in Milton. I’m not even sure that sexual organs were involved. If I remember correctly, the angelic body was of such a refined and subtle nature that some sort of mutual interpenetration of bodies could take place. Hmmm. An interesting turn for the discussion to take. I suppose I’ll have to drag down my copy and refresh my memory on the subject. Steven P.S.-Milton was definitely heterodox in some respects. For example, he certainly seems to present the “Son” as not being coeternal… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

I can’t help thinking that Ruth Gledhill and I have read different versions of the speech by the Bishop of Exeter. On blogofdaniel.com I am trying to get some interpretations on what the follwing passage might mean. I think it is a stretch to call it a warning about impending schism. But I am not quite sure what would constitue a more accurate characterization. The passage: “I suppose one of the major challenges for the Episcopal Church now has to do with whether there are enough of you to stand on broadly the same ground, holding a range of opinions… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Perhaps those who are so fascinated with other peoples’ sex lives might find joining the Shakers a pleasant relief. Of course, I think there are only about two elderly Shakeresses alive these days, since they did take celibacy seriously!

Prior Aelred
Guest

Jim — That is puzzling — the North American Churches are to disenfranchise their members who have a same sex orientation because of Windsor, but the ABC & the primates have both already rejected the larger role for the ABC that Windsor called for & no one seems to have done any work on a workable Covenant (which must either be vague enough to be pointless or precise enough to guarantee schism since it will prevent necessary adaption) & the boundary violations have increased rather than abated — the Windsor Report was supposed a starting point for discussion addressed to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The Windsor Report is hardly “a shared vision” untill ratified by the different churches or Provinces.

Marshall Scott
Guest

I just finished reading the address, and many things about it struck me; and I want to address a couple. First, while he was there to offer greetings and give an address, he is very clear that he is giving is personal opinion. There are points at which he talks about facts, as opposed to his opinion. I don’t see any significant points where he says anything amounting to, “Rowan says,” or “our House of Bishops says,” or “General Synod says….” I’m not suggesting that Rowan didn’t send him for a specific reason; but I still don’t want to read… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I agree with Marshall Scott that the meaning of “repentance” is obscured by the bishop’s clarification — also odd that none of the English bishops seems to find anything wrong with the WR when none of the English contributors to “Gays and the Future of Anglicanism” could find anything good to say about it, either historically, theologically or pastorally.

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

Jim & Marshall: glad to see that I’m not the only one confused by +Exeter! ;-/ “Dear JCF, Everyone who has any sexual desire outside those that sanctioned by Christ and the Apostles are called to [try to] abstain from sin if they want to follow Christ” So, we’re down to semantics, again: what do you mean by “sanctioned”? (a very strange word admittedly, which can mean *either* “approved” or “prohibited”! It’s right up there w/ “cannot advise”…) Like many, many faithful Anglicans—all around the world—I am convinced, via my prayerful consideration of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, that Christ, through… Read more »

Tobias S Haller BSG
Guest
Tobias S Haller BSG

In light of all of these warnings, it is good to remember that in 2000, at their Porto meeting, the Primates issued a Communique stating:

“We believe that the unity of the Communion as a whole still rests on the Lambeth Quadrilateral: the Holy Scriptures as the rule and standard of faith; the creeds of the undivided Church; the two Sacraments ordained by Christ himself and the historic episcopate. Only a formal and public repudiation of this would place a diocese or Province outside the Anglican Communion.”

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear JCF, I don’t doubt that you are convinced that you can bless something that the Bible’s writers called sin, but I don’t think that you would convince any of them ! And sadly, I wouldn’t call someone a faithful Anglican if they weren’t [trying to be] a faithful follower of Christ….as described in the New Testament. “Anglican” describes a *Christian* church – would-be-followers of the Christ who walked on earth and told us to baptise people and teach them to obey everything He had commanded. If ECUSA percieves itself to be autonomous, a self-defining socio-cultural group for religiously inclined… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

‘True Anglicans’. If thats people like you, Dave, then no thanks – but clearly there are many other people who are also Anglican.

Personally, I don’t want to be part of the same church as conservatives, so unless there is a split, I will be permanently counting myself out.