Thinking Anglicans

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The Anglican Communion Office issued this statement:

A group of bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop to review the current landscape of the church in view of conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury had received a request from seven dioceses for alternative primatial pastoral care and asked that American bishops address the question. The co-conveners of the meeting were Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia and John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Other participating bishops were Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O’Neill of Colorado. Also participating was Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.

Rowan Williams issued this response:

It’s a positive sign that these difficult conversations have been taking place in a frank and honest way. There is clearly a process at work and although it hasn’t yet come to fruition, the openness and charity in which views are being shared and options discussed are nevertheless signs of hope for the future. Our prayers continue.

The Associated Press reported on this as follows:

NEW YORK — Episcopal bishops at odds over homosexuality ended a private meeting Wednesday saying they had failed to reach agreement over dioceses that reject the authority of the church’s incoming national leader, who supports gay relationships.

The 11 bishops said they “were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward,” although they recognized the need to accommodate the dissenting dioceses.

“The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us,” the bishops said in a statement. They did not say whether another meeting was planned.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the world Anglican Communion, had asked the U.S. bishops to hold the talks. He is struggling to keep the Anglican family unified despite deep rifts over whether same-gender partnerships violate Scripture…

Later version of this report: No Deal at Episcopal Meeting

Bishop Duncan issued this statement to the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Bishop Robert Duncan thanked the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and from across the Church for their prayers and support during the just-completed meeting of Episcopal bishops in New York. The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has not led to a mutually agreeable way forward.

“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request,” he added.

Bishop Duncan encouraged the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to continue focusing on the local mission of their churches in the days ahead. “In season and out of season, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love to share with the people of southwestern Pennsylvania and all the world. As I said after General Convention this summer, pray, but don’t worry.”

Bishop Duncan issued this statement to the Anglican Communion Network:

Pittsburgh, PA —Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, thanked the people of the Network for their prayers and support during the just-completed meeting of Episcopal bishops in New York. The meeting, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has not led to a mutually agreeable way forward.

“It was an honest meeting. It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church,” said Bishop Duncan, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request,” he added. Among the many items discussed in New York was the fact that even if fulfilled, the APO request only deals with the situation of those in Network dioceses. While that situation is important, a far more desperate situation exists for congregations in non-Network dioceses. Bishop Duncan made it clear that as moderator of the Network, he will make every effort to see those needs fully and honestly addressed.

Bishop Duncan encouraged the people of the Network to continue focusing on the local mission of their churches in the days ahead. “In season and out of season, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ’s love to share with all the world. As I said after General Convention this summer, pray, but don’t worry.”

The Living Church has a report with some additional fragments of information: New York Meeting of Bishops Yields No Agreement:

Despite producing the draft of an agreement, the group of bishops meeting in New York City from Sept. 11 to 13 failed to reach any conclusions or consensus.

…The group produced a draft statement last night shortly before adjourning. Afterward each side made final changes. When they met again this morning they were unable to reconcile the two versions, according to several sources who had been briefed on meeting details…

The Episcopal News Service has issued a lengthy report, Meeting on primatial oversight adjourns without agreement. A few extracts:

…”We’re hoping to call another meeting later this fall to continue to wrestle with the issues,” Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori said after the meeting concluded, adding that there is a “general commitment” among those present at this week’s meeting to attend a subsequent meeting.

“It has occurred to me that it might be helpful to expand the group slightly so that it’s not too large but includes the variety of perspectives” that exist, Jefferts Schori added.

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Jefferts Schori both said after the meeting ended that the conversations that took place were valuable. “According to some of the participants, it was for them the most fruitful exchange they’ve been able to have,” Griswold said.

Jefferts Schori called them “open and frank, sometimes challenging conversations, but very healthy ones.”

…Jefferts Schori said that the sessions helped her begin “to get a sense of the diversity of the context in which this church functions,” that there are diverse perceptions and that “diocesan landscapes are not uniform.”

Griswold echoed that understanding, noting the sessions showed the diversity that exists “even among people who are sometimes characterized as of the same mind.”

…”The great value in this meeting was the ability to have face-to-face conversations with people who frequently are caricatured by others,” Jefferts Schori said after the meeting. “Communicating on the internet about such issues relieves us of the incarnate necessity of engaging our neighbors.”

A further ENS release says Participants, observers reflect on bishops’ meeting in New York and includes reactions from Bishop Lipscomb, Bishop Duncan, Bonnie Anderson, and Christopher Wilkins.

Reuters has Gay issues again stump Episcopal church leaders. It includes this:

But Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, a meeting participant and moderator of the conservative, 200,000-member Anglican Communion Network, said “this is the first real admission that the church is broken in two parts, both of which claim to be the Episcopal church”.

He told Reuters the worldwide Anglican primates would take up the oversight question in a February meeting, and he predicted that a “staggeringly high” number of Episcopalians could eventually align with a different Anglican leadership.

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ruidhsusanDavid Rowett (= mynsterpreost)StevenSimon Sarmiento Recent comment authors
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Steven
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Steven

As Marshall remarked on a previous thread, there are no surprises here. What would have been a surprise would have been if they had actually accomplished anything definitive. However, I hope they will continue on meeting in this same way. What often happens in negotiations is that the initial meeting is unproductive, but — after the parties separate — leads to additional ideas on how apparently insuperable obstacles could be overcome and/or bypassed. Further meetings can often lead to compromises and settlements based on resolutions that were not even part of original discussions. Of course, further meetings can also lead… Read more »

Paul Davison
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Paul Davison

“two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church”? Does that mean Bishop Duncan is proclaiming that his group is TEC to the exclusion of anyone else? I don’t doubt that’s where he’s been heading for a long time, but isn’t this more open than before? Would those of us that are in the majority in TEC say that he has openly abandoned the church? What is left to negotiate?

Richard
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Richard

The mention is both of Bishop Duncan’s statements about “two groups claiming to be the Episcopal Church” gives credence to the fact that he and his supporters wish to create a sense that this is a real fact. Thus they can continue their real effort to undermine the Episcopal Church and its leadership with a view to making themselves the legal entity that is entitled to the title “Episcopal Church” and the properties that they have their eyes on, let alone the power they crave.

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

For those of us majority Episcopalians deeply apprehensive of this meeting (based upon what happened at GC w/ measure B033), the *lack* of agreement is actually encouraging.

We need to keep TEC, and the AC (laity and clergy *as well as* the bishops) in our prayers…

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Obviously, the ‘theatrical arts’ specialists, aka Network bishops, as per +Duncan’s statement, see themselves as the ‘true’ Episcopal Church detached and separated from the General Convention and no longer bound by the Constitution & Canons of the same. What further evidence is needed to proceed with presentments against them to free loyal Episcopalians in Network dioceses from their delusional, deceptive and malignant bishops?

Neil
Guest
Neil

John Henry – if you were my Diocesan bishop and I was a priest opposed in good conscience to the ordination of women and in favour of +Duncan’s traditional ways (though I am not!) would you treat me in a non-delusional, non-deceptive, and non-malignant way? You must know that most so-called ‘liberal’ bishops in the CofE are far from that in their treatment of opponents?

Michael Povey
Guest
Michael Povey

Bishop Duncan is disingenuous to say the least.

There are NOT two groups claiming to be the Episcopal Church.

There is the Episcopal Church.

And there are a number of Diocesan Bishops who are rebelling against the constitutional and canonical norms of that Church.

+ Robert is one of them. He is a dissident rebel and should be named as such.

Michael Povey

Steven
Guest
Steven

New postings since my first. One of the things I note is the suggestion of Schori to add more folks to the negotiations. In my experience this can often be the end of any negotiated settlement, and maybe this is what she intends. After all, “broadness and inclusivity” are certainly favored by increasing the number of people involved. Its not something one can object to in this context, nonetheless, it would almost certainly end any chance for agreement. Time will tell. Also, its kind of interesting to note the level of vituperation flowing from many of the posters here. One… Read more »

John Henry
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John Henry

Neil, diocesan bishops can be more accommodating to individual priests who, in good conscience, cannot accept WO and the inclusion of gays/lesbians as long as they still accept the ‘discipline’ and ‘polity’ of the Episcopal Church. It’s an entirely different matter when one is dealing with bishops of TEC who no longer accept the authority of the GC and its Constitution & Canons. If those bishops had any conscience/integrity, they would resign their offices rather than aspire to “stealing the franchise” and/or engage in any other kind of destructive behavior to the Church that elected them to the episcopal office.… Read more »

John Henry
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John Henry

According to the ENS, ++Frank T Griswold and +Katharine Jefferts Schori took the proverbial ‘high road’ commenting on the outcome of the New York meeting. They are to be commended for that. Contrast their behavior with +Robert Duncan’s in the latter’s announcement via the Network, claiming for the Network equality with TEC to energize his schismatic base!

Ian Montgomery
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Ian Montgomery

There is a canonical Episcopal Church and it seems another apostolic Episcopal Church. Hence two Episcopal Churches. I claim that the canonical Episcopal Church has abandoned aposolic Christianity and so has has the PB elect by her own statements. I choose to be part of the Apostolic Episcopal Church represented by +Duncan and not the unitarian universalist canonical sect that TEC has become. I join + Duncan and his colleagues is fighting for the Aposolic Faith in a denomination that has abandoned apostolic Christianity. I rejoice that the majority of the rest of the AC are supporting us in this… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

“Also, its kind of interesting to note the level of vituperation flowing from many of the posters here. One would think that reconciling the opposing parties in the TEC was not a worthwhile and Christian goal” Steven “…and he predicted that a “staggeringly high” number of Episcopalians could eventually align with a different Anglican leadership.” Reuters/Duncan Reconciling opposing parties? Just sounds like Duncan/Network plans and politics and MORE underlying threats to me! Oh, you mean TEC factions that continues to welcome everyone at OUR Episcopal Church? Steven, do you think this New York meeting was the first stage of the… Read more »

John D
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John D

It is beyond absurd to hold that +Duncan desires “reconciliation”, Steven. Why not be truthful and admit that the Network schismatics REALLY do desire schism?

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

{sigh} Sometimes it feels like I’m beating my head against a wall, when even the secular press buys into the patently *anachronistic framing* that the “reasserter” side propagates. Hello, Rachel Zoll, AP? “nontraditional views on gay clergy”? Or “Bible verses on gay sex”? How can there be any such thing, when there are NO Bible verses or “traditional views” on gay clergy, gay sex—or “gay” anything else?! {sigh} ***** So often from TEC’s schismatics, I hear this “Why shouldn’t parishes take what they built, over the generations?” inquiry. I want to hear the FACTS about that. Famously, MOST Episcopalians are… Read more »

Craig Goodrich
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Craig Goodrich

Michael: … And there are a number of Diocesan Bishops who are rebelling against the constitutional and canonical norms of that Church.

… And there are a number of Diocesan Bishops who are rebelling against the doctrinal and ecclesial norms of that Church.

So what’s new?

NP
Guest
NP

yep – cannot pretend that +Duncan is not a rebel in the context of ECUSA today…..

..but he is mainstream in the global Anglican Communion and will clearly be part of it going forward.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Neil
Your comment about “so-called liberal CofE bishops” has me entirely confused (perhaps due to the number of negatives preceding).

Could you explain more clearly please.

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

NP said
“he (=Duncan) is mainstream in the global Anglican Communion and will clearly be part of it going forward.”

And this forward-looking alignment includes ++Malango and +Harare? Should ‘the split’ come, I wonder whether everything will indeed be sweetness and light in the Global South’s ‘Anglicanism Heavy’.

bob
Guest
bob

Fact:

My particular parish existed prior to the establishment of our diocese or the Episcopal Church (TEC). We built and paid for ourselves a very substantial new sanctuary, classrooms costing a very substantial sum all within the last 15 years. Over the last 25 years the congregation has grown from under two hundred to over 2,000. We received ZERO dollars from the diocese or TEC. Should we decide to leave TEC should we be allowed keep that property?

It is a simple question.

Marc
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Marc

Bob It is a simple question. The simple answer is no. The answer is no because, again, you and so many others are mistaking stewardship for ownership. When I choose to leave my current parish and serve another (which will probably happen before Christmas), am I to take with me all that I have had a hand in building over the past seven years in this current parish? No! No, because I don’t own any of the assets of the church. You and the vestry are stewards, not owners. The church is the owner. If you try to take things… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Bob, For whom did you build the church? Yourselves? Then it’s yours, I’d say. TEC? Then it belongs to TEC. At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, I’ve always been taught that churches are built as a statement of faith and a gift to God. Of course, if you built it for God, then the question of “Who owns it if we leave?” becomes problematic. You are not dividing up “our” property like in a divorce, you are arguing over who gets to control God’s property, something that should, I’d say, be approached with a great deal of humility, not something… Read more »

bob
Guest
bob

I concur that humility seems to be lacking on all sides. I visit blog sites of the various factions and see a tremendous amount of “intemperate” language that I don’t not care to repeat. In our case, we built it to the Glory of God and dedicated it on Pentecost Sunday. We use it for outreach and service to our entire community. We had plans to build a community center as well but shelved them until this dispute is settled. Settling these issues on a case-by-case basis may be time consuming but in the end may be the fairest way.… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Ian: Good points. John D: Re: They desire schism. No, like everyone else involved in this dispute — including you, Griswold, et al. — they want their principles and beliefs to govern the outcome and flow of events. Splitting up TEC is a very bad second place outcome for all involved. Like taking most cases to trial, there are lots of risks for everyone and most likely no clear “winners” in the short range. (Or at the least, lots of pain in the process). The only reason people are at the table (on either side) is because they are trying… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

David Rowett – the ABC has been pretty clear on Harare – you will not find +Duncan and friends defending behaviour the Bible condemns.

(although some in the US, if they want to be consistent, should condemn the ABC for “interfering” in another region??)

Bob
Guest
Bob

Fortunately, I live in a diocese where our bishop has great sympathy and understanding for those on the many sides of this issue. He understands these are matters of deep conscience for all concerned. If a break occurs I have every confidence that justice will be tempered by mercy and understanding. That temperance simply appears to be missing from your quick and absolutist statement.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Simon – yes I see the confusion…sorry!
My point was that many so-called ‘liberal’ bishops are fiercely illiberal in their treatment of their opponents, and might be accused of behaving in a similar way John Henry claims the Network bishops act. He said ‘delusional, deceptive, and malignant’.

However, he makes a good point in his reply.

ruidh
Guest

“I claim that the canonical Episcopal Church has abandoned aposolic Christianity and so has has the PB elect by her own statements.”

What a completely absurd statement! Neither TEC nor KJS has ever made any statment which can be construed as a denial of the historic creeds. For over 100 years and at least until recently, the Anglican Communion has considered the creeds to be a sufficient statement of faith. I’ve read the statements by KJS that the conservatives consider scandalous and I find nothing objectionable there and certainly nothing which contradicts the creeds.

Why does this calumny continue?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Neil
Please, can you cite an example of a *CofE* bishop’s unreasonable action for me?

Steven
Guest
Steven

ruidh:

The term “apostolic christianity” is certainly broad enough to include more than what is set forth in the creeds. Thus, from a logical standpoint, your argument falls flat on this point. Moreover, Christianity has always been considered to include more than what is set forth in the creeds. If not, there would be no need for Christian belief in or adherence to any moral code whatsoever (as none is set out in the creeds).

Steven

Neil
Guest
Neil

Simon – yes, plenty…like appointing priests in favour of the ordination of women to parishes which are not… with a tacit/sometimes explicit understanding that resolutions are to be rescinded. At the same time resisting the appointment of priests opposed to the ordination of women…and if they are appointed insisting on promises prior to licensing that no resolutions ever be put, whatever the wishes of the parish. Re John Henry’s language – neither side has a monopoly of nastiness. Perhpas people need a little more respect for the fact that both sides presumably are trying to discern the mind of God… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

Steven, your repeated *overstatements* (what IS this, what ISN’T that) leave me gobsmacked…

Simply repeating arguments, and declaring them undisputed TRUTHS, cannot make them so. :-/

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Neil
This is thoroughly off-topic for the article here, but that’s not an example. That’s a general statement. An example is a named bishop and a named parish situation at a particular date. I’ve genuinely never met one. I’m quite prepared to believe they happen, if somebody can cite an example.

ruidh
Guest

“The term “apostolic christianity” is certainly broad enough to include more than what is set forth in the creeds.”

Oh no, on the contrary, it includes much, much less than is in the creeds. All of the Greek speculation on substances of the persons would be, well, just so much Greek to them. I find there very little evidence that much trinitarianism was actually apostolic. The apostles never expressed their faith that way.

If first century Christianity is your standard of orthodoxy, well then the Anglican Orthodox don’t have it either.

Steven
Guest
Steven

JC: I’m not certain in what way you think I have erred, but since I’m on the way out of town for a while, I don’t suppose I’ll find out. PS-“gobsmacked” is . . . bad? Ruidh: I’m also not sure what you object to in my prior statement. The phrase “Apostolic Christianity” certainly contains and covers more than the Creeds. For example, it covers vast amounts of material (including moral behavior) that is not covered in the creeds. One indicator of this is the length of the NT (setting forth the writings of the apostles on “Apostolic Christianity”) as… Read more »

David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)
Guest
David Rowett (= mynsterpreost)

Steven said:
To say that “apostolic Christianity” was completely non-trinitarian, is to make the Nicene Creed a complete innovation.

There were Christians in C4 who believed that might be the case. Arians believed themselves (eg) only to be continuing the tradition of Dionysus of Alexandria, and the fairly extreme subordinationism of many Eastern Christians, among whom we can number Eusebius of Caesarea, may well have found the ‘unscriptural) homoousios too much to swallow.

‘Apostolic Christianity’ then, is a rather amorphous and rancorous phenomenon which was greatly and radically developed. I’m not sure that as a category it’s that helpful

ruidh
Guest

“The phrase “Apostolic Christianity” certainly contains and covers more than the Creeds. For example, it covers vast amounts of material (including moral behavior) that is not covered in the creeds.” Any church in a time or place contains things which are of the essence of the Church and some things which are adaptations to the culture of a particular time and place. It would be just as inappropriate to try to reconstruct in the 21st C. first century Christianity in all of its detail as it would be to try to reinvent Christianity over anew from scratch. The Church, through… Read more »

susan
Guest
susan

ruidh is relief indeed…comprehensive vision much needed.

ruidh
Guest

Thank you, susan. But that was written 4 months ago. Perhaps it’s the northern hemisphere winter, but I’m much angrier and much less concilliatory today.