Thinking Anglicans

Is Dallas seeking any other primatial oversight?

Updated again Friday evening
Dallas Bishop clarifies request for ‘alternative primatial oversight’

The Diocese of Dallas has apparently withdrawn its application for alternative primatial oversight. That is what it says on the Diocese of Pittsburgh website. Confused? I am, but read it yourself here:

…the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has released the full text of the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight (APO). The appeal, which lays out the request of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Joaquin, South Carolina and Springfield, was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury on July 20. It explains why the dioceses involved believe that APO is necessary and what that oversight might look like. Since July, Dallas has withdrawn its request, but Quincy has joined the other appellants.

On the Dallas diocesan website, you find still present the following, dated 3 July:

To this end, we call upon the bishop to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a direct primatial relationship with him for the purpose of mission, pastoral support, and accountability.

The Diocese of Dallas just completed its annual convention. All kinds of details about this meeting can be found on the website of the Bishop of Dallas and now on the diocesan site also. But there is no mention there of this matter that I could see. And I am told that the topic was never mentioned during the convention proceedings. This in itself seems very strange.

According to ENS in Convention refuses to sever relationship with the Episcopal Church:

The Diocese of Dallas’s 111th diocesan convention, meeting October 20-21 at the Southfork Ranch Event and Conference Center, refused proposals to remove all reference to the Episcopal Church and General Convention from its constitution, place the diocese specifically in relationship with the Anglican Communion, allow a parish to break from the diocese “upon concurrence of its Rector and at least two-thirds of its Vestry” and allow breakaway parishes to retain title to their property.

“Separation is never a strategy,” Dallas Bishop James Stanton said in a convention speech, according to an October 22 report in the Dallas Morning News.

“Those who depart the church are not, I think, fulfilling Christ’s call but are fulfilling the expectations the world has about the church, that we cannot really get along,” he said. The diocese’s website does not yet have a copy of Stanton’s address.

After the convention, Stanton told the Dallas newspaper that his call for church unity would apply to the denomination only if it follows “the teachings of the apostles.”

The Dallas Morning News reported Diocese says no, for now, to Episcopal split.

Update Thursday evening
This page from the Church of the Ascension in Dallas may shed some further light on the issue:

…At the end of the meeting Bishop Stanton stated that he, and in his opinion 80% of those he has met with, disapproved of the way Convention was run and/or disagreed with some of the outcomes. He then stated that, despite reports in the press to the contrary, he has not rejected the authority of the Presiding Bishop or anyone else. He shared with us his concerns that he feels we will loose some parishes maybe even prior to the convention. The uncertainty many of us felt about the role our Bishop would play in the ‘disassociation movement’ was diminished by his announcement that he was not going to leave the Episcopal Church whatever the outcome of the Diocesan convention in October, and that he was bound by our Canons and Constitution. Bishop Stanton further said that he acknowledges and accepts that Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori is the duly elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Further, he has not and will not ask the Archbishop of Canterbury for oversight from an Anglican leader instead of being under the umbrella of the American church.

Jim Naughton has also said he is confused about this, see Significant or merely curious?

Update Friday morning
The footnote 2 to this speech by Bishop Robert Duncan reads:

2 Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield have appealed for Alternative Primatial Oversight or Relationship. The Bishop of Dallas has withdrawn from the request, but the Bishops of Albany are considering joining the request.

The addition of Quincy was reported earlier. The possible addition of Albany is news. It is interesting that the references are to bishops rather than to dioceses.

Further research reminds me that what Bishop Stanton said (scroll down for his pastoral letter) on 5 July was this:

2. They [Standing Committee] ask me to “appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a direct primatial relationship …” Several dioceses have called for “alternative primatial oversight,” as you well know through news reports. I will discuss a direct relationship with the archbishop. This will be for the pastoral support of our mission, and assurance of our place in the Communion. I must emphasize that this relationship will be consistent with our constitution and canons, both of the diocese and of the General Church.

And yet, according to the Living Church:

Overseen by the Bishop of Dallas, the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, the 14-page petition for relief was sent to Lambeth Palace last month after Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams requested the dioceses to consolidate their requests for assistance.

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17 years ago

The “separation is never a strategy” quote is taken from the address available in full here:'s_Future.htm

David Huff
David Huff
17 years ago

The following is a comment from a resident of the Diocese of Dallas seen on the (odious) “Virtue” Online website:

“Being with one of the parishes ‘on the way out’ there is one fact to consider – Jim Stanton has never asked for alternative primatial oversight. Rather he requested a direct pastoral relationship with the ABC. So this fact would account for the wording in the Diocese of Pittsburg news release.”

Marshall Scott
17 years ago

I had already seen the ENS article. It sounds like there is not such unity in Dallas as has been implied about, say, San Joaquin or Fort Worth. This story, along with news from the diocesan convention of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, suggest that at least some conservative bishops are responsive to differing voices. It may not change the course of the next generation, but it’s a nice change for the time being.

Cheryl Clough
17 years ago

I think there are a lot of souls deliberating and networking behind the scenes. The next Lambeth Conference is going to be interesting. It is going to be hard to be fully informed or aware of what is happening because a lot is being done behind the scenes, and there continues to be a lot of deliberate refusal to enter into some debates. Some examples are these articles linked from Australia’s Victorian Anglican website this week:,,20639440-1242,00.html?from=rss Apparently God stopped moving after Jesus’ earlier resurrection encounters. Events such as SE Asian Tsunami, Nias, Katrina, Wilma/Alpha/Noreaster & Pakistani earthquake… Read more »

17 years ago

What is true of Dallas is true of the Diocese of Central Florida. There is no such unity here, either. As to the probable consequences of the requests for APO: it is worthwhile to read Matt Kennedy’s article “Ecclesiology: The Achilles Heel of Orthodox Anglicanism?” at Fr. Kennedy argues that connections with Canterbury are not essential: “[T]he idea of breaking with an historic see or with a province or bishop tied to an historic see cuts to the very heart of what has traditionally divided Reformed/evangelical Anglicans and Anglo-catholics. “There seem to be four basic opinions on this matter.[…]… Read more »

17 years ago

I had the opportunity to hear Bishop Stanton speak to the Vestry at our progressive church in August. He went out of his way to say how he had been misunderstood concerning Bishop Jefferts-Schori, and that he was not asking for Alternative Primatial Oversight but rather a direct relationship with the ABC. I asked him whether there would be any difference in the relationship with Bishop Jefferts-Schori than with previous Presiding Bishops. He said no. Yet that doesn’t seem quite right. He seems to want something besides the normal relationship with the PB, and it is not clear at all… Read more »

David Huff
David Huff
17 years ago

I’ve slept on this whole issue, spoken to some friends both lay & clergy, and think I’ve come to grips with it this way: As mentioned, Bp. Stanton never did specifically ask for “AlPO,” but rather for a “direct primatial relationship” with the ABC. This leads me to conclude several things: 1) It accounts for the wording in Bp. Duncan’s recent posting on the Pittsburgh website. 2) It allows Bp. Stanton to spin things like he did to the people of Ascension as a moderate, mainstream parish in our “Network” diocese. 3) It avoids the problematic concept of “AlPO,” which… Read more »

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