Thinking Anglicans

Presiding Bishop writes warning letters

Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA has written to Robert Duncan Bishop of Pittsburgh. The full text of this letter has been published by ENS and also appears here, below the fold.

According to Episcopal News Service similar letters will follow to other bishops who are actively seeking to withdraw their dioceses from the Episcopal Church.

Read the full report by Jan Nunley Presiding Bishop reaches out to bishops attempting to withdraw dioceses.

…Of those dioceses considering “realignment,” Springfield appears not to have yet acted, and Quincy declined in its recent diocesan convention to pass a proposed canonical revision.

Fort Worth’s convention, meeting November 14-15,is set to consider the first reading of a constitutional amendment that would remove accession to the Constitution and Canons of the church, as well several canonical amendments that eliminate mention of the name of the Episcopal Church. Jefferts Schori intends to send a letter to Bishop Jack Iker, who advocates these changes, before the convention notifying him that such a step would force her to take action to bring the diocese and its leadership into line with the mandates of the national Church.

A similar canonical change is set to come before the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s convention November 2-3, and Jefferts Schori has written to Pittsburgh’s bishop in this regard (see link to letter cited above).

In December the Diocese of San Joaquin is scheduled to hear the second and final reading of its constitutional accession amendment, a proposed act that may prompt “more dramatic action” beforehand…

A year ago, the Presiding Bishop also wrote to Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin.

Letter from the Presiding Bishop to Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan
Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church — by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased — and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

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NP
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NP

I guess this has been coming for a while an is no surprise…….as some pointed out to me earlier in the week, Luther was excommunicated……..

NP
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NP

KJS: “It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it.” Has she noticed the grief TECUSA has caused in the AC since the fabric of the Communion was deliberately torn in 2003??? It grieves most of us in the AC that any Anglican bishop would choose to “tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion” after being begged not to do so by ALL the Primates of the AC. So, she wants order in TECUSA but to stay in the AC with freedome to disrupt it at will with no… Read more »

Paul Bagshaw
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Archbishop Rowan’s letter to Bishop John Howe referred to the national church as an “abstract reality”. The Presiding Bishop, on the other hand, is clear about the substantive reality of the national church, given form in the Constitutions and Canons which govern all its members. People who do not like rules have three options: to buckle down, to work to change them, or to leave. They cannot simply pass their own rules in mid-air, so to speak, and then lay them down like trump cards as though they’d won the trick. The abstract reality of the national church has every… Read more »

NP
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NP

Paul says “People who do not like rules have three options: to buckle down, to work to change them, or to leave. They cannot simply pass their own rules in mid-air, so to speak, and then lay them down like trump cards as though they’d won the trick.”

Does this go for people who do not like the rules / requests of ALL the Primates in the AC too?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

NP:

The difference being, of course, that TEC has rules about what its constituent parts (dioceses) are supposed to be and do…the AC–no matter how much you may wish it were different–has no such rules about its constituent parts (provinces and national churches).

Tim
Guest

NP scripsit: “It grieves most of us in the AC that any Anglican bishop would choose to “tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion” after being begged not to do so by ALL the Primates of the AC.”

Really? Since when did “ALL the Primate of the AC” have a say in when TEC appoints a bishop?

Your statement is full of your typical spin. Removing `most of us’ as unsubstantiated, pondering the gratuitous lexiphany of `”tear the fabric”‘ and `begged’ which I don’t recall happening and `ALL the Primates’… did you actually say anything?

bls
Guest

NP, perhaps the church ought to think for once about the grief and despair (and death and destruction) it has caused, and continues to cause, homosexual people – for absolutely no good reason. Perhaps it ought to think about how its (allegedly) literal reading of the Bible destroys innocent people and keeps them away from God’s healing graces. Thank God that the secular world is changing, at least, and that the church is now looked on by so many with disdain for its actions and “policies” in this area. And no wonder that people are voting with their feet by… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“the grief and despair (and death and destruction) it has caused, and continues to cause, homosexual people” The anti-gay rhetoric is usually explained as “compassion” for gay people. It is intended to convert us, to “convict us of sin”. Our refusal to respond to it is not a natural human reaction to insult and threat, but in fact is evidence that God has abandoned us to our sin and hardened our hearts. I doubt you’ll find any openness whatsoever to the idea that the Church has somehow ever wronged us, certainly not any acceptance that She is harming us now… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

This letter isn’t a surprise, nor, really, is its tone. There are some who have been calling for such statements, and for real consequences, for some time. Still, I continue to be concerned about “abandonment of communion.” I certainly believe the bishops in question wish to abandon the communion of the Episcopal Church. At the same time, what that means, and what that might mean as contrasted with abandonment of the the communion of the Anglican Communion, continues to be murky. On the other hand, the Canons of the Episcopal Church are clear that violation of discipline (so, Constitution and… Read more »

Dallas Bob
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Dallas Bob

Though I am pleased and heartened by Presiding Bishop Schori’s letter and Chancellor Beers’s comments, I still remain skeptical about their follow through. For example, look at these words and think about Christ Church in the Diocese of Dallas. “The second category of cases involves diocesan leadership negotiating with congregants who wish to leave with Episcopal Church property. Agreements have been made with congregations in Dallas, Kansas, Olympia, Quincy, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Critical to these negotiations, in the Presiding Bishop’s estimation, are the requirements that congregations not invite a primate or bishop from another province of the Anglican Communion… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Well, here is the reality of the national Church contrasted with the relative abstract nature of the Anglican Communion. It’s the “unity of canon law”.

NP
Guest
NP

Brilliant arument Tim…”if I remove all your words, you do not say anything”

bls – the bishops of the AC have said that certain things are “incompatible with scripture” in Lambeth 1.10….if we ask them again, they will say so again…. there is very good reason to stick tos scripture (see 1 John 1-2)

Ford – last week, you told people not to make out they were suffering as some really suffer in Nigeria etc….now you are saying things like “Even jailing us is defended as consistent with Scripture”……

John Henry
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John Henry

“Since when did ‘ALL the Primates of the AC’ have a say in when TEC appoints a bishop?” A good question, Tim, to refute NP’s argument for the spin nonsense that it is. I would add: since when did all the Primates of AC have a say in the Crown appointments of English bishops and cathedral deans? Does TEC appoint bishops for Nigeria? Now that the Donatist Abp. and Metropolitan of Nigeria intends to consecrate four bishops suffragan in the U.S. on December 9, 2007, in defiance of the Windsor Report, will ++Rowan Cantuar have enough testosterone to put his… Read more »

Malcolm+
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Malcolm+

Of course, NP, your purported equivalence might best be described in words not appropriate to this forum.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church has canonical authority to discipline bishops of the Episcopal Church.

By contrast, the Primates of the Anglican Communion (collectively) have the canonical authority to gather, to share, to pray and to comment. The most manifestly do NOT have the canonical authority to discipline anyone at all.

JCF
Guest
JCF

++KJS to TEC’s schismatics: “Prick me (us—the “General Convention Church”), do I not bleed?”

Lord have mercy!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Ford – last week, you told people not to make out they were suffering as some really suffer in Nigeria etc….now you are saying things like “Even jailing us is defended as consistent with Scripture”……” Um, NP, the jailing of us to which I referred IS about Nigeria! They want to jail us there, at least the leaders of the Church do. Furthermore, you are the one who defended it as consistent with Scripture! Your exact words as I remember, in reference to this being approved by +Akinola were “He’s being consistent”. I am not making out that I am… Read more »

Kurt
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Kurt

“… it is high time for the people and clergy of the CofE, who respect Anglican traditions, to intercede with H.M the Supreme Governor of the Church of England to remove the cleric so limp and unsuited for the office of Cantuar.”— John Henry

Amen, Fr. Henry! If I were a Brit, rather than a Yank, I’d be standing outside my parish church each Sunday morning with a petition to that effect!

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

I loved your posting Paul. No, there are no hard and prescribed paths at this stage. Things are moving too fast. The reality of GLBTs and those who would advocate for them is we have been choosing to buckle down, reform or leave for centuries. The conservatives didn’t mind that when the only choices were buckle down or leave. Their concern is that we actually might succeed in reformation. I still scratch my head over concerns of gay monogamous bonding blessings. How does telling two men (or two women) that they are blessed to attempt to “live happily ever after”… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Okay NP, let’s decode a bit. Conservative believers are grieved – yes, but about what, exactly? We get tag phrases posted, about tearing the fabric of the communion, persecution of traditionalists, and the like. Decode. Con-Evo Realignment folks are grieved – and that is putting it rather mildly, don’t you think? – that they cannot blithely continue on their merry traditionalistic way, trash talking queer people at every possible opportunity in society and in church life. Are the rest of us supposed to pretend not to notice that they are bearing false witness against queer neighbors? Are we supposed to… Read more »

mark
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mark

The Anglican Church was born in the decision of a national church to assert its right to govern itself rather than to submit to the dictation of a global hierarchy in Rome. It seems to me that attempts to give to the Anglican Communion and/or the Primates an oversight role in respect of national churches is, in effect, to undo that seminal decision and revert to the status quo ante. On a second point, I keep wondering how the position of those Primates and others that they will not have communion with those who support or countenance or tolerate the… Read more »

David Wh.
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David Wh.

Bp Schori wrote: “It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it.” I suspect that the remaining faithful Bishops in TEC are just a little grieved too… that Bp Schori and others have lead TEC into rejection of more and more Christian faith and teaching – in favour of some sort of humanistic self-affirmation religion – just a religious version of the zeitgeist. So why does she think they are still a “church”? How much of this do they now believe and obey: “All authority in heaven and on… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

TEC *is* going, David Wh.: wherever Our Lord Christ leads! 😀

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“”All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ?” Please point me to anything, ANYTHING, in the Bible in Jesus’ words–not Paul’s, not some other epistle-writer, but Jesus’ words–about homosexual activity. I know of no “commandment” from Jesus except these two: You shall love God with your… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Loved your comment Cheryl, I think some are a-fi’xn to get a BIG spanking!

trog
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trog

Another salvo fired in the Episcopal War. Frankly it is a break in the tedium of the shouting “IT’S ABOUT LOVE!” and “YOU DON’T LOVE ME!”

Of course, as the bishops battle, the Presiding Bishop has the advantage of the canons and no one is above the law.

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

David Wh. – you seem to forget that Athanasius was on the outer for a good deal of the debate in his generation about the nature of the Trinity. The only plentiful and meaningful precedent the Early Church has to offer any age is that doctrine is not a static body of teaching, but rather, that it is clearly a continuous ‘work-in-progress’. After all, Jesus also told his disciples that there was much that he had to tell them that they could not bear at the time, and would send the Holy Spirit to guide them in the way of… Read more »

Anthony W
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Anthony W

“just a religious version of the zeitgeist” – David Wh.

Why is a religious version of the zeitgeist intrinsically bad? What was the Oxford Movement? Or Restoration Anglicanism? Or 1st Century Christianity?

Dennis
Guest

David Wh writes: There is plenty of historical precendent from the Early Church for Bishops to be removed for not teaching and upholding the true doctrine of the Church. EXACTLY! And this is exactly why Robert Duncan should be degraded from the office of bishop. He teaches a new doctrine designed to please the ears of those who have confused right wing politics with Christianity. This is the point we have been making all along. Not only are the so-called traditionalists not teaching Christianity, they are teaching a new doctrine based on modern political theories. And the bishops who aid… Read more »

NP
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NP

drdanfee says “Okay NP, let’s decode a bit. Conservative believers are grieved – yes, but about what, exactly? We get tag phrases posted, about tearing the fabric of the communion, persecution of traditionalists, and the like.” Dan – we are grieved that any bishop or any HOB should seek to justify behaviour the AC bishops collectively have said (and would say again if asked) is “incompatible with scripture”…..therefore, we are grieved by false teaching and false teachers who demand to stay in the AC (because they pay some bills) and retain the right to teach and promote positions “incompatible with… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Pat – read the ABC’s letter to +Howe.
The ABC says TEC’s “status” in the AC is not decided……does sound like there might be some authority which you do not want in the AC to say that people who go the opposite direction might not be considered faithful members?

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“does sound like there might be some authority which you do not want in the AC to say that people who go the opposite direction might not be considered faithful members?”

Show me where such “authority” is documented. Show me where it says…anywhere…that the AC has the right to tell a constituent member how to operate within its own boundaries.

NP
Guest
NP

Pat – I show you verses, you revise what they say. Now you want to be shown some other written proof…… Well, TWR and Tanzania all imply consequences for non-comliance but those are not specified as the AC is, as usual, making it up as it goes along…..but you realise TECUSA since 2003 has already been in the sin bin? Now, the ABC says its “status” is not decided…. you can ask for constitutions which do not exist but you will still have to deal with the reality of what the AC Primates say on the TEC HOB NO response…..if… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Sorry NP, it just will not wash rationally. How odd is this continuing claim that the negative reading of scripture – preached as settled, closed, and undoubtedly against the ethical and other bests that modern queer like offers both queer folks and the rest of the community – is the bottom line in believer discernment. The tested facts available tell us clearly that the Primates got it wrong, thanks mainly to rightwing lobbying at Lambeth 1998 on behalf of the incompatible bit in 1.10. Of course Lord Carey helped all that right along, since we are supposed to be adult… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“TWR and Tanzania all imply consequences” NP, I imply that your manifestly unChristian treatment of those who disagree with you will have consequences. Does that give me authority? How then does the implication of consequences on the part of Windsor, Dromantine, and Dar give them authority? You continually trot them out as though you believe they actually have authority to do anything. They can threaten to punish TEC. They HAVE threatened to punish TEC. They will in all likelihood punish TEC. They might even kick TEC out of the Communion. In short, I see no reason to say you are… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – the issue is not whether I am right or wrong…the issue is whether Lambeth 1.10 is right when it says certain behaviour is “incompatible with scripture” i.e. whether God sees certain things as sins or good and holy.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Given the plural Anglican Communion hermeneutic dilemmas of this thread in conversation yet again with NP and others of similar mind/heart, I risk wondering if the following Ekklesia linked essay on fundamentalisms may provide some additional research info in good aid of our clarity about our differences and our church life issues as believers. See: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/research/070201 Do not mean to post off topic, yet this underlying issue of hermeneutic claims, frameworks, and implicit de facto choices being made which get simultaneously denied or ignored in favor of simply claiming some allegedly plain meaning of scripture – well isn’t that theme… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Thanks Choirboy Ford alludes to why with reference that some soul’s “manifestly unchristian treatment of those who disagree with you will have consequences”. To keep the bible in it. Yes, God does spank naughty children. Isaiah 19:22 “The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.” Then there is Paul’s rebuke to Annias in Acts 23:3 ““God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

NP, if the Saskatchewan Legislature passed a bill stating that all consumption taxes in the United Kingdom should be halved, would the UK be required to halve all consumption taxes?

No. Of course not. The Saskatchewan Legislature does not have the authority to dictate tax policy in the United Kingdom.

Likewise, the Primates of the Anglican Communion can say whatever they like. They have no juridical authority, and anyone who says they do is lying.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Malcolm, That the Primates have no authority is true. But are you saying that this means they will not get their way? Ford said on this thread: But, and here’s the point you don’t seem to get, even if and when these things come to pass, your holy trinity of Windsor, Dromantine, and Dar still do not have the authority to do these things… Getting your way won’t mean you are right…. Bullies can simply assume authority. If they get their way it’s unimportant to them and to the bullied whether they were “right” in an abstract sort of way.… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

NP wrote: “Dan – we are grieved that any bishop or any HOB should seek to justify behaviour the AC bishops collectively have said (and would say again if asked) is “incompatible with scripture”…..therefore, we are grieved by false teaching and false teachers who demand to stay in the AC (because they pay some bills) and retain the right to teach and promote positions “incompatible with scripture” But they are wrong, NP, just as you are. I have told you so many times. Ever heard of The Emperor’s New Clothes, NP? It’s the exact paralell. The Emperor was naked. There… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Maybe we should invoke Paul’s scene before the Sanhedrin aka Acts 22:30 to 23:11 Paul’s rebuke to the high priest who ordered him to be struck in the mouth? “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Paul quite eloquently and effectively solved his problems with the Sandhedrin by proving that they were not obedient in the law, and highlighting the inconsistencies in their theology. Just as today, there are those who claim to have authority of all realms… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

Erica, you are correct that bullies will assume authority. And if bullies are not challenged, their illicit claims of authority gather the credibility of precedence.

At the end of the day, it will be the Akinolists who are the schismatics. If they leave, they have initiated schism. If they purge the rest of us, it is nonetheless they who have initiated schism.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Malcolm,
Whenever I hear people say that the bullies don’t have the authority to do what they do I fear that those who say that believe that this alone will keep them safe. There’s a naive reliance on legal niceties and a lack of understanding that the law can be subverted and changed if enough people participate.

I suppose it depends on what liberals want. Fight to stay in the Communion, or sit back expelled but content in the knowledge that they were right.

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

Goran said on 3 Nov 2007:
“The sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity have been forged, NP. Forged.”

Taken out of context, or even in context, such sniping would only be for some a sign that liberals are professing a different religion that ostensibly uses Christian words.

And many mainstream Christians, even those who hold liberal beliefs, would disagree with such assertions. I would urge caution in saying something this blunt, even if I am aware of where it is coming from.

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

I agree, Erica, that we need to challenge the “conservatives” continually, unendingly, aggressively and uncompromisingly. At the end of the day, they will lose. They may lose quickly or thy may lose slowly, but they will lose. Indeed, Akinola’s ego-driven excesses may already have cost them whatever limited chance they may have had to dictate the terms of Communion membership. CAN has already given Big Pete the slapdown, as has CAPA. Increasingly, even hard line conservatives are distancing themselves from his excesses. But part of our unremitting defence against the bullies is to expose their lies – including and especially… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Then NP ony has to say it’s too long. That’s always acceptable, the way things go (by the present standards of exegetics).

So sorry. I have studied the matter – you can do it too.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Göran
“So sorry. I have studied the matter – you can do it too.”

Seeing that most of us clearly can’t – are there any other publications that lay out your findings (and those of others, I presume) in a concise way, or have you published a comprehensive development of biblical writings and their translations?

If not, I can understand at least some of NP’s frustration (although not his superior tone.

NP
Guest
NP

Goran says “But they are wrong, NP, just as you are. I have told you so many times”

This is Goran’s reponse to me quoting the bishops of the AC in Lambeth 1.10…..

Goran – you talk as if you are a respected biblical scholar…..and as if the bishops of the AC are not or are inferior to you in their knowledge of greek and hebrew…..

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Erica, it only takes the effort…

The idea that it’s not doable is mere pretence.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Göran, The rest of the world works in a way that experts disseminate their knowledge and don’t expect everyone else to become experts too. If I want to continue to earn a living and look after my family I have no time to learn Greek, Hebrew and Latin and to start reinventing the wheel for myself. Isn’t there are point where, if you genuinely believe you have discovered something that isn’t widely known, you ought to make it known (and open to peer review)? Just saying “I know and you can do it too” may be right, but is not… Read more »