Thinking Anglicans

APO: the David Beers letter

The Living Church published a news report on Monday 30 October which was headlined Presiding Bishop’s Chancellor Threatens Fort Worth, Quincy Dioceses.

This contained only two selected short quotes from the letter itself, but substantial comments from the Bishop of Fort Worth including the phrase: “The timing of this letter is shocking,”

Later, on the Stand Firm website, Bishop Iker wrote that:

The Beers letter is dated Oct. 19th and came by regular mail to my chancellor’s law office. When a copy was faxed to me from his office on the 27th, I then faxed it to Lambeth Palace, so the Archbishop would know what was in the works. Alas, Katharine had been there for her visit with the ABC that very day but had already departed. +JLI

[Comment: isn’t it weird that such communications are sent by ordinary mail and not electronically? I didn’t realise facsimile technology was still in common use.]

Huge dialogue ensued on the usual blogs: Jim Naughton provides all the links here, and adds some comments of his own. None of the blog commenters had of course read the full text of the letter,but nevertheless many people denounced this action in very strong terms, and generally blaming the new Presiding Bishop, whose term of office begins today, for behaving outrageously in sanctioning such a letter.

Today, a senior priest in Bishop Iker’s diocese, Chris Cantrell, has published just that. It turns out to be a piece of milk toast.

[Salutation omitted]
Several persons have told me recently that they believe that your diocese, within the past few or several years, has amended its Constitution in some way that can be read as cutting against an “unqualified accession” to the Constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. First of all, could you please send me a copy of your Constitution so that I can have first-hand knowledge on this score.

Second, if your diocese has indeed adopted such an amendment, then, on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, I want to express the hope that your diocese will promptly begin the process of amending its Constitution to declare clearly an “unqualified accession” as Article V of the Church’s Constitution plainly requires. If your diocese should decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance.

With warm regards,
David Booth Beers

I shall be pleasantly surprised if anyone now apologises for their earlier remarks.

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Susan YCheryl CloughRobin DSimon SarmientoFord Elms Recent comment authors
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Cheryl Clough
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The comment about avoiding the internet isn’t a surprise. It wasn’t that long ago that others were suggesting avoiding electronic distribution as things had a habit of getting into the “wrong” hands. Tit for Tat. Looks to me like someone is calling the bluff, on in poker, asking people to play their cards. Good way to make sure people get what their hand is worth, not their ability to make out that their hand is worth more than it actually is. Also, in past experience, I have found that sneaky covert players often will start behaving themselves when they know… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The new conserve blogs are vigilant for signs – hints even, it would appear – that the new PB will either fall encumbered into any number of the presumptive either/or definitional traps they so dearly love to comprehensively describe the church or the world; or that she will be easily provoked into some sort of veering from her stated plans for enacting this or that piece of invite to reconcile.

Both are defined as anathema, but the PB just keeps stepping along anyway.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Re: Use of ordinary postal service. A couple of possible reasons for this. One is that email is not necessarily secure or stable. Another is that just as subpoenas must be delivered in person, there may be legal reasons for making such a request by USPS. That’s just a guess. As for the likelihood of apologies, I suspect none will be forthcoming. It is very hard to back down from such pronouncements. Right now I am teaching ‘King Lear’ in one of my classes, and we have read the bit where Lear says he will exact such vengences, he will… Read more »

Christopher T. Cantrell+
Guest

If it is such milk toast, then why bother?

Columba Gilliss
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Columba Gilliss

My advice to anyone corresponding with Iker and others who agree with him is to release a copy as widely and publicly as possible at the same time you send it. That is the only way to prevent being cut-and-paste quoted.
Columba Gilliss

Kurt
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Kurt

I think that regular mail was used for symbolic purposes. Just as the request for a copy of the Constitutions. Pro forma.

David Huff
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David Huff

Simon commented, “It turns out to be a piece of milk toast.”

Indeed. But when you’re desperately trying, as is the Diocesan leadership in Fort Worth, to cast yourself in the role of “hapless victim,” you’ll grasp at anything, eh ? ;->

Richard M
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Richard M

Cynthia

Interesting your comment on Lear. According to Horace Rumpole (long my hero in matters of poetry and, of course, bloodstains), Lear’s threat is pointless because it is not specific and cannot be carried out – so it’s an empty threat that allows his enemies to continue. I recall it as
“I shall do such things… I know not what
But they shall be the terrors of th’earth”
(apologies to W Shakespeare for any errors)

Lear, of course, ends up (metaphorically) castrated and literally blinded. Perhaps the threats from some commentators might be shown to be equally as empty?

Wade Bond
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Wade Bond

Look out, boys. There’s a new PB in town. And she doesn’t take kindly to schism.

;o)

Marshall Scott
Guest

There is, of course, a clear and simple answer to the question of why Chancellor Beers would act now and not earlier. He has only become answerable to the new Presiding Bishop now. It is only now that she *could* ask for this. Bishop Griswold clearly did not ask for this. The greater question is why. He has been notable for working toward reconciliation and giving the benefit of the doubt. While Fort Worth’s decision to change the diocesan constitution was no less questionable then than now, there had been no discussion about actually leaving the Episcopal Church until now.… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

(Tongue firmly planted in cheek) But why should anyone apologize, it’s patently obvious she’s planning to strap them to crosses, wrap them in tarred cloth, and light the streets of Dallas with their burning bodies. Either that or uses them in the Colosseum as lion food. What? There’s no Colosseum in Dallas? Oh, well she’ll have to build one. Maybe she should build Catacombs so they can say Mass there and hide from the horrible forces of Empire. I can’t wait to see how the persecution complex spins this one.

And, again, please read sarcasm into the above.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Does the USPS normally take eight days to deliver a paper letter from New York City to Fort Worth, or did the chancellor not treat the letter as urgent when it arrived?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I think Griswold was right to leave it to Schori to handle. After all, many moves and public statements have been made against her since her election, far beyond what Griswold ever dealt with. It is appropriate that she handles them. Because if she has to rely on her predecessor or an outsider to “rescue” her, then she isn’t fit for the job. On the other hand, I was amused at the reminder of what ended up happening to King Lear. Some of my contemplations in the last day about negligent men comes in a double pronged question. Firstly, can… Read more »

Robin D
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Robin D

Yes, Simon, it’s supposed to take about 3 days, but 8 calendar days for snail mail to make it from from NYC to Texas is not unheard of.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

And just because some souls insist on a biblical underpinning. Go read Job 41 (especially 41:1-3). It appears that God is pretty good at charming an angry beast.

Susan Y
Guest
Susan Y

RE: USPS delivery times.Here’s some perspective. It took my sister’s birthday card 10 days to go 200 miles (states next door to each other) from my house to hers. I posted it Oct. 14. She received it Oct. 24.