The two organisations jointly sponsored a conference last week in Houston, Texas. You can find more information about the conference here, and in this Living Church news report, Archbishop Carey: TEC Likely to ‘Clean Out’ Conservatives.
Their own About Us page says:
In light of our understanding of the integrity of the Dioceses of The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Visitors concept announced by the Presiding Bishop, we have considered a need to maintain and strengthen
- our ties with the Anglican Communion
- our fidelity to the canonical realities, integrities and structures of the Episcopal Church
- and our exercise of our office as a focus of unity.
We believe such ties will provide the opportunity for mutual support, accountability and fellowship; and present an important sign of our connectedness in and vision for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as we move through this time of stress and renewal.
And the page also discusses Purpose, Scope, Participants, and Transparency. The Primates listed are: Tanzania, West Indies, Jerusalem and Middle East, Burundi, Indian Ocean.
Earlier statements published in the name of the CP group include Common Cause and a New Province.
CP and ACI now intend to publish a formal document shortly, signed by perhaps 18 CP bishops, entitled Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church which argues in detail that TEC is not a hierarchical body and that individual dioceses are autonomous entities. In particular they argue that individual dioceses are free to sign up to the proposed Anglican Covenant, and that it is not necessary to leave TEC and join ACNA in order to do that. The presumption here is that TEC itself will not do so, or at least not in 2009.
Mark Harris has reported on the existence of a thread of emails about this plan, see Heads Up: Lawyer McCall and “Communion Partner” bishops play the diocese card.
The CP bishops and ACI also plan to press ahead with a plan for a priest in Colorado, named as The Revd. Theron Walker, Rector of St Philip In the Field, Sedalia, to request a visitation from the Bishop of South Carolina, as a CP Bishop. Below the fold, are extracts from two of the emails which give full details of this.
The other main concern is seeing to a visitation in the name of CP, something now long overdue. We are hoping that Theron Walker requests a CP visitation from +Mark Lawrence, asap, and +Mark will request that +Salmon go in his place, as a CP Visitor. I understand from Philip that +Wimberly has also volunteered his services, as has +Hathaway.
I would request of your advisory group that a series of these visits be planned, asap, and with some sense of organisation, perhaps using these three men. It was usefully pointed out that the places needing support are precisely those where the Bishop is very unclear about his support of Covenant, and so the parishes under him that want this are left to themselves, either to buckle under or leave with the help of AAC/ACNA.
In point of fact, this is not really the case in B-ham with Limehouse, as +Mark reminded me. That said, any parish that wants to underscore their commitment to covenant and CP needs a way to show their people that CP is the way to do this.
The negotiating of this takes place between a CP bishop and the respective Diocesan, but the advisory group of CP can start setting the matter in motion. Only in this way will the PV scheme have a proper foundation, and otherwise it may be stalled for a season. We can however show Lambeth that this way forward works, (if it does), and help parishes resist leaving as the only way forward.
1) The CO priest will request of +SC, as a CP Bishop, a ‘visitation’,
2) the purpose of which is to prevent his parishioners from concluding that the only route for them is joining ACNA (which will be happening in CO soon) because their Diocesan is not foregrounding his covenant commitments and indeed has ordained an openly homosexual priest, etc, but also has said he means to create space for others’ views, etc;
3) +SC will phone +O’Neil and ask that this request be honored and seek to persuade him of its importance,
4) +SC will ask +Salmon to visit, and will indicate to +CO that +Chane is using Salmon in this way in DC.
At issue here is said parish understanding that they have some connective tissue to a covenant their Diocesan may wish to avoid, without challenging the Diocesan as to his authority, and so underscoring a way to remain in TEC and not leave for ACNA but also to affirm Communion life and differentiation.
Importantly, +SC reminded us that he does not want to get into a quid pro quo situation that, having implemented something like this, the PB makes sure he reciprocates when SSBs pass in General Convention and he is forced to let a proponent of the same do a visitation in SC. Hence, using +Salmon.
But also, hence, the importance of the Pastoral Visitors. They need to come into play in time as independent of deal-making and/or mild forms of extortion.
…at issue here is a) the need to show +RDW and others that CP works at a practical level, and that we have tried, b) that we have not done this by asking something of the PB is is not her right to give, but have worked bishop to bishop, c) that the PVs can in time occupy the space—it is hoped—modelled by the CP initiatives in this regard.
IMPORTANTLY, the visitation in CO, should it happen, needs to be labelled by all as a CP initiative and not just a single ad hoc thing (as in DC).