Thinking Anglicans

update on the Panel and Fort Worth

Since my previous report on this, there have been some further developments:

Pat Ashworth reported it last week in the Church Times under Panel gives comfort to Fort Worth.

Jim Naughton had asked Did the Panel of Reference do its homework? and Katie Sherrod had written It’s All About Gender.

Today, ENS reports that Bonnie Anderson the House of Deputies president writes Panel of Reference to clarify misconceptions. The report includes the full text of the letter, which had also appeared in leaked form yesterday.

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Weiwen
Guest

As I have stated on my own blog, the Panel of Reference has, as far as I know, no binding authority on the Episcopal Church. They have only advisory authority. However, we should take their advice under consideration. They wish us to clarify our canons, perhaps settling the question of whether Bishop Iker is to be deposed or not. My response is that we should prayerfully consider deposing him. The Panel of Reference states that refusal to recognize women’s ordination is a “recognized theological position.” My response is that acceptance of slavery was also once a “recognized theological position,” and… Read more »

David Walker
Guest
David Walker

There’s one aspect of all these debates that gives me increasing unease – the constant reference to the “polity” of TEC. Is there a fundamentalism here at least as great as that which the conservatives hold? If this “polity” means that all differences have to head to the law courts, if it means that the Windsor Report cannot be complied with, if it means that the expressed concerns of the wider Communion must always come second, and that the conclusions of the Reference Panel have to be rejected, then perhaps the “polity” is itself the problem. At least the scriptural… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Weiwen wrote: “However, these facts did not make slavery right, or the supporting theological position any less wrong.”

Quite. There are plenty of people held in slavery throught the Bible, but no ordinations to the priesthood ;=)

laurence
Guest
laurence

Speaking as a Brit in UK the TEC polity does not appear to me to be a problem. It is godly, has been thought out over time and is clear. The AC panel of reference, meetings of primates, and Abc are by contrast advisory, having not polity. The Anglican consultative Council does have a constitution and is by nature CONSULTATIVE….. TEC has a noble anglican history and credentials, and is a great witness. If I could become ‘an overseas member’ from London, I most certainly should. TEC has suffered appalling and unwarranted interference from without. WE all have much to… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“There’s one aspect of all these debates that gives me increasing unease – the constant reference to the “polity” of TEC. Is there a fundamentalism here at least as great as that which the conservatives hold?” In a word, no. It is the conservatives who wish us to violate or set aside due process. So – should TEC encourage the ABC to set up a panel of reference to help Nigeria reconsider the way it elects bishops? Should TEC urge the ABC to set up a panel to help the Provinces that don’t ordain women to anything to reconsider their… Read more »

Peter O
Guest

Dave / Cynthia,

I think what’s far more interesting about Anderson’s letter is that in asserting the independence of TEC from the rest of the Communion (as in telling the Panel that it doesn’t really matter what they think as TEC will do what it wants anyway) they are de facto abandoning any sense of catholicity.

Richard Lyon
Guest
Richard Lyon

“Maybe, just maybe, if the polity ain’t solving the problems it’s time to find a new one.”

If the Anglican Communion is going to exercise control and jurisdiction over the affairs of national churches, then its polity is the one that would have to be changed. In the time line of history it is a relative newcomer to the scene. It really has no power to do anything. Rowan Williams and his associates seem to be engaged in a major game of mission creep. Kudos to Ms. Anderson for calling them up short on it.

Jim Naughton
Guest

Peter O.,

Please explain to me how pointing out that an advisory body has made ill-informed recommendations constitutes an abandonment of catholicity.

Jim Naughton

Simon Cawdell
Guest
Simon Cawdell

I have to confess to more than unease about the House of Deputies response to the Panel report, as also to the comments above. There is something deeply totalitarian about both in that they do not allow for the faithful consciences of others on this issue. There is even the whiff of hypocrisy as the same voices are clearly in a minority with regard to human sexuality in the Communion, but yet wish to suggest that they do not conform to the will of the majority in this matter. You cannot jump both ways at once.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

There is also an incipient phyletism here. We speak of “national churches” as though Church and Nation are linked somehow. This is as a result of our acceptance of the “Imperial” model of Church, nurtured no doubt our Anglican heritage that made the link pretty clear, and the near congregationalism of some for whom the episcopate is just some sort of administrative officer.

Richard Lyon
Guest
Richard Lyon

“they are de facto abandoning any sense of catholicity.”

A notion that national churches do not have independence runs along the lines of Roman Catholicity. That was abandoned during the reign of Henry VIII.

How long before we are told that the ABofC is invested with plentitudo potestatis.

Simon Cawdell
Guest
Simon Cawdell

Peter O is quite right, in that this is an explicit statement of autonomy above communion. TEC has been in this position for a while, but it is still an abrogation of its previous doctrine (voted through by convention) not to undertake any innovation without proper consultation, which placed communion above autonomy. The old view is the right one.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I am amused by David Walker’s disregard for the polity of TEC. Sadly there is a growing feeling amongst Anglican bishops that the decisions of the Church in one place – that is the bishops, clergy and lay people acting in Holy Synod – are of a lesser order of importance to the decisions of bishops acting together (but alone) elsewhere. America remains the only country to discus the Windsor Report in detail at its governing Assembly. The Church of England I note has not done so, rather it was deftly manipulated into giving tacit support for it as a… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“You cannot jump both ways at once.”

Perhaps, Simon C, you’d then like to correct a Certain Someone who once said, “Rend unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s, and unto God what is God’s”??? ;-/

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘There is something deeply totalitarian’ about those whose words and actions are anti-gay. Especially in their refusal to ‘allow for the faithful consciences of others on this issue’ –especially when those ‘others’ are those most involved –namely lgbt people and our families and close friends and fellow-congregants. Yes, the treatment of lesbian and gay people by many anglican leaders around the world has the stench ‘of hypocricy about it.’ The C of E certainly tries to jump (curious term) both ways at once on the lives and loves of lesbian and gay folk. (c.f. The authorisation of lesbian and gay… Read more »

Ann Marie
Guest

Simon, Is anything to do with God really uniform. God is unpredictable by humans precisely because God is not completely knowable by humans. There cannot help but be ambiguity in how we follow God. Unfortunately, the “faithful conscience” of some on issues of human sexuality would deny a fair number of God’s children as full participants in working toward God’s kin-dom. This has become increasingly clear as the issue has expanded beyond GLBT to WO. I can’t tell you enough how that “faithful conscience” pains me when it denies that the Spirit’s call to me for ordination is real solely… Read more »

Simon Cawdell
Guest
Simon Cawdell

Ann Marie, Thank you for your considered response. I do not deny the difficulty of respecting the ‘faithful consciences of others. Whilst have have not experienced it quite as you have I am married to an ordained priest, and so am not unaware of the difficulties. I totally disagree with Bishop Iker on women’s ordination, but I would be distressed beyond measure at the thought of either an attempt to depose him, or following his retirement an attempt to withhold a bishop to that diocese in line with its theological view. It would seem to me to be a human… Read more »

Weiwen
Guest

Simon, As I stated, I wish the church should prayerfully consider deposing Bishop Iker. I would certainly shed no tears. If Iker were simply referring any woman who expressed an interest in ordination to the Diocese of Dallas, that would be one thing. However, Katie Sherrod’s post indicates that he and his priests vet the potential clergy before referring them. Given their hostility towards women’s ordination, this constitutes a de facto barrier. On top of that, Iker has the gall to claim his plan is adequate, and that no church in Fort Worth has tried to call a female priest… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

It appears to me that now that the Episcopal polity has largely decided to go in a direction that the “reasserters” do not want to go, then they want to ditch the polity. We should remember that for a long long time, the polity of the Episcopal Church was very much against the full inclusion of LGBT Christians. I can remember conservatives invoking “breach of polity” over the first ordinations of women. Bishop Righter in Newark was charged with breach of polity in his heresy trial for knowingly ordaining a partnered gay man. The Diocese of New Hampshire may well… Read more »

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

Re: polity being used when convenient by ‘reasserters’ I am reminded of the late James Barr’s observation about ‘maximal conservatism’ in biblical studies, whereby the insights of biblical critics were applauded whenever they headed in the direction of conservative thinking, but the underlying principles which led the scholars to such conclusions were never accepted as authoritative or valid. Thus an opportunistic use of scholarship resulted which was principle-free (other than in the onserving of the necessary principle of upholding the correctness of ConsEv positions). Looks like the same modus operandi is being applied to this thing of polity, to be… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

Eckhart Tolle’s book A NEW Earth has light to shed on the re-discoveryof the feminine in our times, and the purose of GOD.

It also sheds light on the terrible things being said and done in Church and society. And even points towards healing of our ills…….

Pluralist
Guest

>Jeremy Bentham would be most disapproving!< I’ll have a word with him, he’s still in his display box.

Yesterday’s Radicals chapter two is the Affinity Shown in the Approach to Higher Criticism so I’ll see if there is anything relevant.

JPM
Guest
JPM

Weiwen, there might soon be good reason to depose Iker, along with quite a few others.

http://blog.edow.org/weblog/2007/01/pittsburgh_a_small_but_potenti_1.html

This has the potential to become very interesting.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Thanks for this link JPM.

This is a very interesting development!

It could easily put the final nail in the coffin of Windsor.

Pluralist
Guest

There is a nice quote with many current overtones regarding pressure for theological conformity and reticence, against which Professor Jowett (with a J) states:

“not to submit to this abominable system of terrorism which prevents the statement of the plainest facts and makes true theology or theological education impossible.”

Letter written by Benjamin Jowett to Dean Stanley, reproduced in Wigmore-Beddoes, D. G. (1971, reprinted 2002), Yesterday’s Radicals: A Study of the Affinity between Unitarianism and Broad church Anglicanism in the Nineteenth Century, Library of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 28.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Hm. Jowett is hardly the name to bowl over the conservatives. As a contributor to Essays and Reviews in 1860 he was at the heart of a similar heresy hunt by conservatives, who fired off “remonstrances” and “synodical condemnations” (they sound much more lethal than mere “covenants”). There was a trial before the Court of Arches and an appeal to the Privy Council, not to mention a declaration drawn up at Oxford University and signed by 11000 clergy. Nowadays all we can do is blog…