Two new articles arising from the recent Williams/Howe correspondence:
PARISH IS THE BASIC UNIT OF THE CHURCH IN AMERICAN ANGLICANISM by Rev. Dr. Tim Smith and Rev. George Conger.
The Parish is the basic unit of the church in American Anglicanism. Local property rights prevailed throughout early American Anglicanism. Centralization of control using the corporate model which began to be used in the early 1900s – has failed the purposes of the Church. Any new order should return to the foundational roots of American Anglicanism…
On 14 October 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida full text here… The Archbishop appeared to remove the national church and province from any significant role in his understanding of Anglican polity. He also seemed to suggest that a ‘Windsor-compliant’ diocese would be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, separate from the relationship of the diocese to its province.
In a letter to Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh, by contrast, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori makes very clear that the national church and its constitutional structures are a very sharp reality.
Timothy Bartel takes issue with the Archbishop:
What are we to think of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent letter to the Bishop of Central Florida, which asserts that ‘any diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the [Anglican] Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church’? According to Lambeth Palace, that letter was ‘neither a new policy statement nor a roadmap for the future’ of the Communion. It was written simply to discourage conservative clergy and parishes in Central Florida and elsewhere from forsaking a ‘Windsor-compliant’ diocesan bishop and seeking refuge in foreign jurisdictions—and it simply repeats ‘a basic presupposition of what the archbishop believes to be the theology of the Church’, namely, that ‘theologically and sacramentally speaking, a priest is related in the first place to his or her bishop directly, not through the structure of the national church’…