Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON, NEAC and an alternative province

Two pieces recently on Daily Episcopalian.

Adrian Worsfold wrote Taking over the Church of England.

…Why is GAFCON like Militant? Because a core group maintains control as a reaction to the failure of other Evangelicals to get their way in the wider Western Churches. It then infiltrates to force its agenda. Even at the Conference itself, that jumble of oddities called the Jerusalem Declaration was born in a back room – it was leaked even before the assembled could give it the rubber stamp. GAFCON itself was planned by annoying the local Anglicans in Jerusalem because of their opposition to its divisiveness.

In Britain came the entryism into one of the theological colleges and the scattering of much of its evangelical staff, replaced by hardliners and the agreeable. The same man, Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has chaired the recent National Evangelical Anglican Consultation, in which, without notice, and without a right to amend, a pro-GAFCON motion was put to the meeting. The assembled would not have it, and refused to give it a vote. The result is that the CEEC will vote for it anyway on the spurious basis that it represents Evangelicals. Perhaps the CEEC once did, but as ever the hardliners continued to attend when others dropped away – it is how the entryists work…

George Clifford wrote An “alternative” province? Why not?

Until two weeks ago, I strongly advocated the Anglican Communion refusing to establish a new province in North America and mandating that provinces cease violating provincial boundaries by conducting ministries or establishing congregations within the Episcopal Church’s jurisdiction.

Then I read that the Episcopal Church had spent in excess of $1.9 million in 2008 on lawsuits connected to the departure of parishes and dioceses from this Church. Daily I read about critical needs for healthcare, food, sanitation, and shelter in the United States and abroad. I see the spiritual illness and death that afflict so many. I remember that Anglicans have wisely never claimed to be the only branch of the Christian Church.

I started to wonder, Was I wrong? Why not another North American province?

Also, Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote at the Telegraph Squabbling evangelicals need to find a united voice.

…Now it’s the evangelicals who are fighting amongst themselves.

In truth, the unity that was central to their success in forcing the gay cleric, Jeffrey John, to stand down as Bishop of Reading has long gone.

With hindsight this may be viewed as something of a pyrrhic victory as it led to a splintering in the evangelical movement: Anglican Mainstream and Fulcrum emerged from the 2003 row to represent the conservative and more ‘open’ factions.

The simmering tensions spilt over at the recent meeting, held at All Souls Langham Place – the church which was home to the evangelical doyen John Stott for 30 years.

Lacking such an inspirational and unifying figure, they have been reduced to bickering and squabbling.

Richard Turnbull, the chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council, was heckled by a group led by Graham Kings – a leading member of Fulcrum, and his opposite number as it were.

While some there found this childish and inappropriate – more befitting the floor of the Commons than a church, it is nevertheless easy to appreciate their frustration…

61
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
61 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
34 Comment authors
Pat O'NeillIain BaxterFord ElmsbobinswpaJPM Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Is George Clifford suggesting that TEC should not defend itself from the uncanonical, illegal taking of its property? Would he likewise suggest that TEC should not defend itself against a bishop who appropriated diocesan property to his own use?

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

George Clifford’s piece is well-meaning but wooly-minded stuff. The AC’s recognition of an “alternative province” would have no effect on TEC’s legal claim on the properties seized by “departing congregations”. The $1.9 spent in litigation this year was spent because those departing congregations refused to accept what is stated unequivocally in the notorious Chapman Memo, that “recent litigation indicates that the local diocesan authorities hold almost all the cards in property disputes and clergy placement if they want to play ‘hardball'”.

ettu
Guest
ettu

When a break-in occurs at George Clifford’s does he not expect he shall have recourse to the law? If his accountant swindles him does he not expect…….?

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

From the moment I became involved in the Episcopal Church, I was told that parishes held their property in trust for the diocese and TEC itself. No one is stopping disaffected members from leaving. If they are horrified at women priests, modern language in the BCP, or gay priests, no one is stopping them. But the buildings and property aren’t theirs to take. The disaffected want to eat their cake and have it too. They want to seize that which is not theirs and have TEC quietly walk away. That $2 million wouldn’t have been spent on lawsuits if the… Read more »

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

I wonder how much the absconding ones are spending on lawsuits? Duncan spent at least 100,000 US dollars (250,000 pounds sterling) for lawyers. I think that number might actually more and that’s just for the diocese of PIttsburgh. Wouldn’t be cheaper for these disaffected to just find new property (preferably with large open spaces for praise bands, projection screens, jumping hand raisers and those fall on the floor and speak in tongues. Yes, this does happen in some Pittsburgh churches). I’m sure they’d make out in the end and we could have an amicable divorce (it’s hard to sit in… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

It is the height of HYPOCRISY for G Clifford to use the funds that TEC has used in DEFENSE of its canonical property, as some kind of “cause” why it should lose its claims!

The schismatics want to kill TEC, and then whine to the Primates that they’re orphans!

Lord have mercy…

CanadAnglican
Guest
CanadAnglican

So, if George Clifford has his way, TEC should just give in because wrongdoing should be rewarded or those who want to leave and take their property should have their way just because they say so. If that were the case, anyone who wanted to take their property for any reason at any time should just have it for the asking., since bullies and blackmailers must always be appeased.

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

I suppose it is “wooly minded”, but Jesus said something about turning the other cheek. Must we continue to fight over property when the poor are suffering? Let them rent the properties for $1 a year and get back to the work of the Gospel.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Jesus said turn the other cheek to insult and attack, not to theft.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Other way around SWPA Bob- more like 40K pound sterling.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“…Then I read that the Episcopal Church had spent in excess of $1.9 million in 2008 on lawsuits connected to the departure of parishes and dioceses from this Church” – George Clifford – These law-suits must have been defended by someone – at the same expense presumably. Where, I wonder, did that money come from? Except that we all know whence it came, and is still coming from – the limitless pockets of the rich American Fundamentalist manipulators of the re-Asserters! I wonder, George, what really changed your mind? Surely it was not about the money begin spent? On the… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

$1.9 million is peanuts.
The case for an alternative province is just that these people want to stay on in the AC, and surely this must be accommodated. I think it is a little paranoid to talk of entryism. They have moved to a position in which they are comfortable and with which the rest of the AC may be most comfortable too. As all sides continue to develop and change there may be fusions where now there are fissions, and keeping all parties under the Anglican umbrella favours that prospect.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Spirit:

The problem is the conditions under which they wish to remain…one of them being that they get to keep property that isn’t theirs, the other being–apparently–that the rest of us abide by THEIR rules as to gays and women, especially gays.

The first is theft, the second is blackmail.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

The answer to Bobinswpa’s question “I wonder how much the absconding ones are spending on lawsuits?” will almost certainly be found in Newton’s third law of motion – “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

BillyD
Guest

“Jesus said turn the other cheek to insult and attack, not to theft.”

Well, I seem to remember that he said something about if someone wants your coat, to give him your shirt as well.

I’m not of the opinion that defending Church property is wrong, but as long as we’re going to bandy Christ’s words about we might as well be accurate.

Columba Gilliss
Guest
Columba Gilliss

What is entryism?
Who or what coined the term?
Columba Gilliss

Pluralist
Guest

It’s smoke filled rooms time regarding the aftermath of NEAC…

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-am-dalek.html

JCF
Guest
JCF

But it isn’t a “coat” they want, BillyD.

I think a better analogy is this: say one carries a knife (for cleaning fish, and picking your teeth—-preferably not in that order!)

Now you’ve just seen a Bad Guy stick his own knife into *another person*, leaving it there—he then comes to you and says, “Give me your knife!”

[If you think this analogy is over-the-top, just ask the LGBTs of California what “Houses of God” (so-called) can be put to use for. Lord have mercy!]

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Try this for a definition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entryism

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I think we all feel thoroughly exhausted by the bile that passes for argument and dismayed by the costs associated with those seeking to separate themselves from TEC, so I have the greatest sympathy for George Clifford who would like to turn his back on all of it and concentrate on our calling. Here in the UK however, charity law would not allow me to turn my cheek or my back if I was a trustee and someone was walking off with the assets for which I was responsible. Even if the persons were well intentioned and intended to set… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Thanks for the article, Simon. Is “entryism” more of a British term? (this side of The Pond, I would just think of it as “subversion”) I’ve also encountered a form of unintentional entryism, which I call (TM!) “group-flux regression”. This is when a large number of people join a (loosely-structured) organization, en masse but unorganized, and want to revisit (often quite basic) decisions which have already been made. In my experience, it’s very destructive to the original purposes which gathered the group in the first place (then again, when a few people show up for a “Is Anyone Interested in… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Pat commented “The problem is the conditions under which they wish to remain… that the rest of us abide by THEIR rules as to gays and women, especially gays.” It’s more than blackmail. It’s demanding that souls remain in churches where they are insulted, scapegoated, violated, shunned, and abused. It’s demanding that souls have no point of refuge from abuse in the bigger world. We are meant to be able to go to church to get a break and reprieve from the violence and agression of an “ungodly” world. From personal observation, the secular state in Sydney Australia is doing… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Well, I seem to remember that he (Jesus) said something about if someone wants your coat, to give him your shirt as well.” – Billy D – Modern hermeneutics might have us believe that Jesus, here again as so often in his discourses, was speaking a parable. The outcome of what Jesus was suggesting here might well be that such an action could ‘pile heated coals upon the heads’ of those who are in receipt of such an exchange. Now, would that utlimately please the robbers? This is one of the problems, isn’t it, of taking the Scriptures at their… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Wearily I will say yet AGAIN that the litigation in Virginia was BEGUN by the Neo-Africans, the morning after all of their congregations voted to depart, and all of the filings were identical. What a strange coincidence! It would have been the height of irresponsibility for the Diocese of Virginia not to defend those lawsuits. That property was held in trust for TEC. The generations of people who contributed to the maintenance, development and upkeep of those properties certainly assumed that they would remain within TEC. The folks whose familiy members’ ashes are or will be placed in my own… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Obviously entryism involves a range of strategies used in a variety of contexts, sharing common invasion and take-over goals. The time period involved also seems crucial. So far as USA goes, I think it quite fair to say that the right has been using similar strategies to hard-line realign at least two recent successful take-overs, one the USA Republican party which can lay little claim to being at all the big tent Republican Party it has sometimes at least aspired to be, and of course, that other blatant success, the invasion/take-over of the Southern Baptists, who were certainly conservative enough… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

I agree with Cheryl Va’s opening two senteces of the paragraph after “It’s more than blackmail.” The absconders or entryists (or thieves?) want nothing less than to be regarded as “the” authority on what is moral and what is not. On what is biblical and what is not. They cannot stand the fact that others have the truth as well. They are so appalled at the thought of two men or two women loving each other in an ethical or moral way, including common concepts regarding fidelity and monogamy, that they refuse to recognize the humanity of the people in… Read more »

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

Thanks for the correction. I meant the figures the other way around but I couldn’t quite process it that way. Lapin thank you for this. “The answer to Bobinswpa’s question “I wonder how much the absconding ones are spending on lawsuits?” will almost certainly be found in Newton’s third law of motion – “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Again I was a little off the processing. Ron+ I’ve often wondered why Jesus spoke in parables. He must’ve wanted us to use our “little gray cells.” In other words thanks for pointing out that parables are… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“Thanks for the article, Simon. Is “entryism” more of a British term? (this side of The Pond, I would just think of it as “subversion”)”–JCF

Actually, it has quite a respectable American aspect, too, JCF, which as a former Trot I can attest: The French Turn.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Turn

Pluralist
Guest

This is useful. It will be possible to talk about Evangelicals and the GAFCON Turn. So when they undergo the GAFCON Turn there is a shift in loyalties and a greater emphasis on separation and international episcopacy.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Martin, we have similar laws on this side of the Pond. Leaders of the church have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that funds given to the church continue to be used for the church — not for some subset of dissatisfied members. Our canons and civil laws are quite clear about the alienation of property from its intended use. Here in NY, for example, if a church wishes to sell a piece of its property — even, for example, a lovely house across town ceded to the church in the will of a deceased member — the permission… Read more »

John
Guest
John

I agree with ‘Spirit’. There is a sense in which these people wish to remain Anglicans – they aren’t endlessly, boringly, self-demeaningly, flirting with ‘the Holy Father’ to deign to regard them. We should give them space. We should be confident that eventually – actually, rather soon – WO and full recognition of the legitimacy of principled homosexual relationships will win out. There is cause for hope here rather than despair. Despite all the crude, superficial indications to the contrary, ‘Anglicanism’ will survive and prosper, because, acually, it’s the only sane way to ‘do church’. Enormously encouraging that liberal RCs… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

I’m afraid, John, that it’s more than just the ‘gay’ thing. The departing purists are also resisting the hermeneutical study of the Bible Perhaps this is at the root of their problems with the ‘modern’ Church. It’s almost (for them) that to move in any way from the assumption that the Gospel is always a counter-cultural message, is to betray what has been set in stone for a by-gone age. Scripture, Tradition and Reason, each needs to be brought to bear on our teaching and living out of the Gospel for today. To believe that development of human knowledge has… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the Gospel is always a counter-cultural message” I think it is, the problem is in defining what culture it is against. Let’s be honest, there is the culture of power and wealth that wants everything to stay the same and can coerce the fearful into obedience. There is the “me first” culture that says that My rights and concerns are paramount and I must fight for them to my dying breath, and justifies its position with talk of “freedom” and “justice”. Neither side will brook any opposition. Then there are the indigenous cultures, the smaller cultures, what we usually understand… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

The sanctimony about property issues is so laughable. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: unless those who defend denominational property rights call on the ABC to hand over the keys to Westminster Abbey, the Canterbury Cathedral, and hundreds of other buildings to Rome – not to mention gold and property taken from the Holy See in the 16th century – they have zero credibility. Let me put it this way, unless you’re willing to trade the Truro Church for the Canterbury Cathedral stop whining. The fact of the matter is that these lawsuits will work their way… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

Joe, have you read the Chapman Memo?

susan
Guest
susan

I’m a very new Anglican. According to most posters here, I’m of the absconding, thieving, hateful, abusive, blackmailing and thoroughly villainous/naughty/wicked sort of Anglican . . . but I agree 100% that we should walk away and leave whatever property you want. There are more important things at issue; squabbling over property seems shameful . . . .

Tobias Haller
Guest

Joe, three things. First, I don’t know where you get any idea of sanctimony. This is a question of law, not piety. Second, yes, this will work its way through the courts, perhaps even to SCOTUS, and 90% of the cases will favor TEC, because of its clear claim not to ownership but to trusteeship of the property. The idea that the current membership of any given parish or diocese somehow “own” the parish or diocese is not in keeping with either most civil or any canon law. This goes back way before the “Dennis Canon” which, like it or… Read more »

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

I thought this quote quite telling…”Richard Turnbull, the chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council, was heckled by a group led by Graham Kings – a leading member of Fulcrum, and his opposite number as it were.”

So Christ-like! Just makes you wanna join your nearest church.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

Fr Ron & Ford are on to something important about the precise frame of ‘counter cultural.’ A PRAXIS speaker I once heard suggested ‘culture critical’ as a less reactionary alternative.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

‘culture critical’ Yes, it might well be a better term. What we are supposed to be “counter” to, as far as I can see, are those things that are not attributes of the Kingdom. We must also remain mindful of the ways our fallen humanity can lead us astray in discerning these things. So, we cannot ally ourselves with any earthly culture, since we have to be critical of all of them. “Liberals” and “conservatives” alike fall prey to this, from the conservatives who believe capitalism, democracy and the free market are some sort of God given state to those… Read more »

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

Myn : It really depends on how you define counter-culture. I would think counter culture would deal more with how we’ve all got into this financial mess. The idea of borrowing money to make more money seems to be the sin of greed (at least IMHO). Now if I watched Fox News (for UK friends, very, very conservative) this may not be called a sin. It’s like orthodox women clergy (esp those opposed to ordination of GLBT members. They pick and choose what’s acceptable. There are so many areas which we can be counter-cultural. I would think including everyone (regardless… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I’m a very new Anglican. According to most posters here, I’m of the absconding, thieving, hateful, abusive, blackmailing and thoroughly villainous/naughty/wicked sort of Anglican . . . Posted by susan” (proudly)

Call you anything but “gay” eh?

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Bob – “Richard Turnbull, the chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council, was heckled by a group led by Graham Kings – a leading member of Fulcrum, and his opposite number as it were.”

This first appeared as a quote over on Anglican Mainstream (not exactly Fulcrum’s best friend), has never been alleged anywhere else despite extensive blogging and press coverage, but seems to have been picked up by the Telegraph. I asked Graham about it on the NEAC thread on Fulcrum.

All I can say is, don’t believe all you read in the papers…

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“…squabbling over property seems shameful . .”

So is squabbling over people’s private relationships. Terrible to break a church over it.

Malcolm+
Guest

Ford: “those who consider Mary the first Communist”

As in:

Sing we a song of high revolt!
Make great the Lord, his name exult!
Sing we the song that Mary sang,
of God at war with human wrong.

He calls us to revolt and fight
with him for what is just and right;
to sing and live Magnificat
in crowded street or walk-up flat.

Ford ELms
Guest
Ford ELms

Malcolm,

Precisely. It’s where the Gospel overlaps with Socialism, which isn’t surprising, since Socialism developed in Western Europe, where the culture has been informed by Christianity for over a thousand years. Trouble is, some people behave as though that convergence means that Christianity is Socialist, some sort of “government of the Gospel”. It’s exactly paralleled by the conservative belief that Western style consumerism and democracy are also God given.

Phil
Guest
Phil

Yes, JCF, I agree completely about how it goes when “a large number of people join a (loosely-structured) organization, en masse but unorganized, and want to revisit (often quite basic) decisions which have already been made. In my experience, it’s very destructive to the original purposes which gathered the group in the first place.”

Obviously, you missed the irony.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Tobias, below is a response to your comments in turn: First, I seriously don’t care how the courts decide. I have no dog in this fight, except that I hate to see Christians squabbling over money in secular courts. Such behavior brings disgrace on the Gospel, which is precisely what Clifford was trying to say. Perhaps the question to both sides ought to be: Would you be willing to suffer loss if it meant the advancement for the Kingdom of God? Second…Oh please…the Reformation [in England] during the 16th century had more to do with the king’s libido and greed… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Joe, if I believed that simply giving up the trusteeship of church property to those who were walking away from the Episcopal Church was in fact advancing the kingdom, I would agree with you. Sadly, I see few signs of kingdom-orientation in the language or attitude and actions of those who are leading this departure. I see a great deal of fear and anger, self-justification and projection, not the signs of the Spirit. So, for me, this is not just about the property, but about the good of the church. I guess we will have to disagree on the Reformation.… Read more »