THINKING ANGLICANS

American bishops visit Lambeth

ENS has a report about the visit of seven bishops of the Episcopal Church USA visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury. Read Canterbury hosts seven Episcopal bishops for private meeting.

The bishops attending the meeting were Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, Gary Lillibridge of West Texas, Edward Little of Northern Indiana, Bill Love of Albany, Michael Smith of North Dakota, James Stanton of Dallas, and Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana.

A spokesperson in the Lambeth Palace press office confirmed that Williams had hosted the seven Episcopal bishops, but said that the meeting was private.

When asked for his reflections on the meeting, MacPherson told ENS that the bishops will have “something forthcoming soon.”

The Living Church reported recently that two additional bishops had signed the Anaheim Statement to which reference is made in the ENS story. See Anaheim Statement Continues to Gain Supporters.

The Rt. Rev. Charles E. Jenkins, III, Bishop of Louisiana, and the Rt. Rev. Harry W. Shipps, retired Bishop of Georgia, have endorsed the letter affirming their loyalty to the Anglican Communion in the wake of the adoption of resolutions C056 and D025 ending the moratoria forbidding the consecration of partnered gay clergy as bishops and the authorization of rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.

However, Bishop Jenkins also was one of the bishops who voted against D025 but in favor of C056. He later said he voted for C056 because his colleagues had responded well to his plea for graciousness. “I felt I was honor-bound to vote for it because these bishops had done what I had asked them to do,” he said. ” I felt that the process was a ray of hope for The Episcopal Church.”

For the earlier list of 34 signatures, see here.

For the text of the statement, see here.

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina recently made a lengthy address to his diocesan clergy about the stance towards TEC that he believes his diocese should now take. You can read that in full here.

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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

If there is any part of Bishop Lawrence’s statement that rankles me, it is this: “• Baptismal Theology detached from Biblical and Catholic doctrine. The phrase heard frequently at General Convention 2009 was “All the sacraments for all the Baptized”. One suspects that great Catholic teacher of the 4th Century, St. Cyril of Jerusalem would have been unconvinced for he wrote tellingly of Simon Magus, “he was baptized, but not enlightened. His body was dipped in water, but admitted not the Spirit to illuminate his heart. His body went down and came up; but his soul was not buried together… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

If there is any part of Bishop Lawrence’s statement that rankles me, it is this: “• Baptismal Theology detached from Biblical and Catholic doctrine. The phrase heard frequently at General Convention 2009 was “All the sacraments for all the Baptized”. One suspects that great Catholic teacher of the 4th Century, St. Cyril of Jerusalem would have been unconvinced for he wrote tellingly of Simon Magus, “he was baptized, but not enlightened. His body was dipped in water, but admitted not the Spirit to illuminate his heart. His body went down and came up; but his soul was not buried together… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

Bishop Lawrence knows well that under South Carolina law he will lose pretty-well everything if he plays the Secession game, so he’s going for a Secession-in-all-but-name strategy.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

I’m a TEC progressive believer. Hint, Bishop L of SC: Stop bearing false witness about me; about my beliefs; about the alleged reasons for my beliefs. You’ve quite mistaken. Corrections? Gee, so many, it’s hard to put them all in a brief post, fully. Okay. Trinity? Shame on you bishop for repeating this fake canard. Struggling with language concerns about to make male/female generic references in our changed view of equality between men/women is is NO WAY a categorical rejection of Trinity. Like lots of the rest of your false witness, you jump too far, fast in your smug presupposing.… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

2. Progressive Hint, Bishop L of SC: Stop bearing false witness about me. Corrections? Gender talk=bait and switch. First, accuse believers of groveling unduly before modern studies of gender. The main point is still that women are equal in depth, value, and humanity to men. One way we’ve worked is a classic college graffito: A women needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. It’s a thought experiment, duh. An intoxicated rush to false witness in service of spin doctored condemnations, inflates a thought experiment, designed to get us into a stance for valorizing women as fully human, into… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

How have we managed for all these years, without Bishop Lawrence to tell us who is (and is not) ‘Really’ Christened ? !

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The bishops attending the meeting were Mark Lawrence of South Carolina, Gary Lillibridge of West Texas, Edward Little of Northern Indiana, Bill Love of Albany, Michael Smith of North Dakota, James Stanton of Dallas, and Bruce MacPherson of Western Louisiana.” – ENS Report – Am I mistaken, Or have any of these Bishops in TEC already threatened to leave TEC if their demands are not met by the ACC and the Archbishop of Canterbury? Having watched a video of the recent meeting of AAC bishops, I seem to remember some not so salubrious remarks about the ABC’s lack of initiatives… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

I’m still skeeved that ?Lillibridge—an OUTLIER if ever there was one!—was the *single* “TEC” representative to Lambeth’s Windsor Continuation Committee. With a friend like ?Lillibridge, TEC doesn’t need enemies. >:-/

Bp Pierre Whalon
Guest

I wonder why people believe that General Convention ended the moratoria, despite the letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from the number 1 and number 2 of the Episcopal Church affirming that nothing has changed? I voted for D025 because it described where the Episcopal Church is today: in disagreement. And as I helped to craft C056, substituting for the original, I know that it does not end the moratorium on the creation of public rites of same-sex blessings. It seems that both sides have partisans who want the moratoria to end now. But we are not there, and saying… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Bishop Lawrence quoted a translation of St Cyril of Jerusalem referring to Simon Magus (Acts 8:9ff): “he was baptized, but not enlightened. His body was dipped in water, but admitted not the Spirit to illuminate his heart. His body went down and came up; but his soul was not buried together with Christ nor with him raised.” Which seems to be what an elder generation termed the “Status controversae”, the presenting issue, and asked: “Since when has baptism been the ticket to ordination in the Church?” Which, however, no one claims. Baptism is though the one requirement, which leads directly… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“who are we–as fellow sinners–to determine whether some other person has “admitted not the Spirit to illuminate his heart” at baptism? What gift have we to discern another’s heart?” While I agree in principle with this, I can’t escape the idea that to be a Christian is to be SOMETHING, it is to believe and attempt to follow SOMETHING. If there is no mechanism within the ecclesia to define that or to in some way or another require that those who claim to follow that SOMETHING actually do follow it, then what’s the point? I mean to say, it’s pretty… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“the number 1 and number 2 of the Episcopal Church” {JCF:Must.Resist.Temptation.To.Juvenile.Rejoinder. You’re not at MadPriest’s! ;-X} But seriously, Bishop Whalon, I’m interested in this (rather novel?) interpretation of TEC’s polity. Is the Presiding Bishop supposed to be “number 1 of the Episcopal Church”? Because I’ve honestly never thought of this PB, ++KJS, or any PB (since my baptism in ’62, adolescent confirmation in ’77, so I’ve seen a number of PBs now) in that way. [Is Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, then “number 2”? And is that a “We’re Number 1!” assertive kind of number 1, or… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford “If there is no mechanism within the ecclesia to define that or to in some way or another require that those who claim to follow that SOMETHING actually do follow it, then what’s the point?” Good question! So the ecclesia was righ when it decided to burn witches. The ecclesia was right when it supported slavery. The ecclesia is right now when it said that gays cannot be Christians. I read the examples you quote and I am afraid that I agree with some of them. But then – many years ago, others would have agreed with the mores… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

3. Hint, Bishop: Stop false witness. Corrections? Bible power? Third time, shame on you, bishop. I’d bet you already know by now: Progressive believers are not disagreeing with you about the authority of scripture. You accuse again, but are testifying falsely. Again. We disagree indeed, for very good reasons – about matters of faithful believer reading, interpretation, critical scholarship, and above all right now – about that hot button, pesky target group of dear modern global neighbors, the queer folks. Especially in western democracies, where society has grudgingly, painstakingly agreed (without much real support from churches and religions?) to refrain… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

I take your point, Ford, but we’re not talking about outright actions such as murder (or even adultery). We’re talking about taking a different position on an interpretation of a particular set of scriptural passages.

Surely we can agree that such a disagreement is not enough to claim that the person we disagree with was not really baptized?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I take your point, Ford, but we’re not talking about outright actions such as murder (or even adultery). We’re talking about taking a different position on an interpretation of a particular set of scriptural passages.

Surely we can agree that such a disagreement is not enough to claim that the person we disagree with was not really baptized?

JPM
Guest
JPM

How on earth did God manage to do His job before Mark Lawrence came along?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The wild card in the mix, of course, is the ACNA. Despite the word “Anglican” in their title (and on the signs in front of their churches), it could be plausibly argued that the ACNA, technically, is not Anglican. Not yet, at any rate. But they are aligned with GAFCON, which represents the overwhelming majority of the world’s actual Anglicans. So they are part of a matrix that is capable of putting immense political pressure on Lambeth Palace. I suspect the seven bishops and Dr Williams are discussing this fact as well.” Dan Martin, Virtue-on-line – One thing Dan Martin… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

4. Hint, Bishop: Stop false witness. Corrections? Baptism theology, gone wrong? Gee, bishop. Where have you been all this time? The change point is surely: We have now known baptized queer folks, up close and personal for several decades of honest church life in TEC. In our extended family networks, too. In our work teams, too. At school, too. We have seen about as much evidence of God at work in their daily lives and committed adult intimate relationships, as we can see among the heterosexual believers we know. So? Like the New Testament example of the Holy Ghost falling… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

4a. Dying to self? Hamartia, Metanoia, change for the better? Again, you lean hard in closed, nasty directions. Queer folks have spent years in many instances, dishonestly pretending to be heterosexual so as to blend in with church life, and avoid stirring up controversies. Pretending, dishonesty, lying – all were touchstones of very bad habit for queer folks among us. When some queer stuff did get expressed, it was typically embodied in the lowest, meanest, underground, sleazy sort of way possible. After all, that was exactly what all queer stuff was supposed to be – low down, unethical, dishonest, unhealthy,… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

5. Hint, Bishop: Stop false witness. Corrections? Sexuality? Confusing tactics? The air in your talk is thick with confusing spin doctor tactics, I guess, bishop. You are surely doing your own part to confuse issues? You talk about one part of scripture being used to spin and confuse the application of another part of scripture. But, here is the key spin, so confusing. You are completely leaving out the empirical changes which are the reason we mainly felt compelled to revisit how we looked at sexuality, human nature, and marriage in our own era. I think you are confusing these… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

6. Hint, Bishop: Stop false witness. A word about not being discriminating enough in believer discernment, bishop, if I may. You loudly accuse believers of not being careful or discriminating when it comes to the new welcome extended to honestly Out, high functioning, ethically committed queer folks in progressive church life. Yet, all along, you have seen fit to be utterly, blissfully unengaged with any of the changed science that is helping to drive progressive believer changes. I can’t tell if you think that ignoring science is a best way to do a closed, conservative theology these days. Or, whether… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Oh do be scrupulously fair, Doctor Dan. We don’t know the good bishop’s real mind on the tricky subject of divorce and re-marriage! Nor do we know what he really thinks about contraception – 2 matters that seem to have squeezed past the empirical closed shop mentality of the pre-Raphaelite sodality in the Church. Surely issues of gender and sexuality were fixed by the true and enduring facts of Adam and Eve? Trouble with that though, is that nobody can find out from Scripture where Cain found his wife. Was she also the daughter of Adam and Eve, or did… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“You are the one who is deeply suspicious of the secular world.”

Secular societies have just as long a list of wrongs. They have denied women the vote, or indeed any legal rights at all; jailed, electrocuted, drugged, and murdered homosexuals; carried out numerous acts of genocide; declared women insane for “sexual incontinence”; incited innumerable wars, stolen children from their families and forcibly deprived them of their languages and cultures, and on and on. Are you sure the secular world is any more worthy of your trust than the Church?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Are you sure the secular world is any more worthy of your trust than the Church?” I think the real point is that we have to discern true values, regardless where they may surface first. It’s not good decrying the secular world just because it isn’t the ecclesia, and it’s no good ignoring the good that comes from religion just because it’s not modern. The 3 legged Anglican stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason shows how it should be done. But the real key is that we have to be open to the fact that in any new discernment process,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Incidentally, I did not mean to imply that the church has to accept every new development in society and that this is a more or less given process. But it is true to say that any new development in society throws up a new question for the church and causes it to examine carefully a position it has previously held without giving it much thought. And so it is, in theory, completely possible for the church to enter into a discernment process and to emerge later holding on to past truths, but these will have been re-examined critically and affirmed… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“And I’m only talking of an idealised version of church here, not of the actual one made up of people as varied as in the secular world – some power crazed, some blind to anything but their own views, some amazingly spiritual and insightful.” But that’s what the Church IS. The idealized version is what we strive for, not what we have achieved, or likely will this side of the parousia. “much engagement with the new thinking in society.” And part of that has to take into account society’s hypocrisy. In what follows, I am running the risk of agreeing… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford I cannot talk about an idealised version of anything.I live in the real world and I have to contend with what is actually there. I agree that society doesn’t always get it right, I don’t think I ever said it did. But as for most people just following along – is this really different from most people in the pews? It sometimes strikes me that you have this idea that there is a society “out there” that is full of reckless individuals who are only out to do as they please, and then some of those people go to… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The problem I have with your insistence on giving all power of moral insight to the church” I’m not. I just don’t accept the concept that society is in any way “progressive”. Society is quite capable of regression, and of convincing itself that that regression is actually progress. What will people in 500 years think is backward about us that we think is so “progressive” now? I see no more reason to trust our “enlightenment”. They were just as sure of their “enlightenment” 500 years ago. Many in Germany in the 40s thought the Nazis were enlightened too. And that… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

But you’re still not answering the crucial question. Does the Holy Spirit blow and do people hear him? If so, does that only happen in the church and what evidence is there for it? Or does it also happen in society and do church and society have to work hand in hand?

That it’s difficult is beyond doubt. That neither always gets it right is also beyond doubt.
But complete pessimism and not seeing any good anywhere isn’t helpful either.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“But complete pessimism and not seeing any good anywhere isn’t helpful either.” Not what I’m doing. We see “as in a glass, darkly”. God is of course not limited in where He speaks the Still Small Voice, but I believe the Church is in a better position to hear that voice than a society that doesn’t even know to listen, let alone what it’s listening for. Surely your “what is the evidence” question is not meant to imply Christianity hasn’t done any good in 2000 years, is it? The Church doesn’t always get it right, obviously. My problem with your… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“As to your question of what evidence there might be for the Church hearing God’s voice, I’d say Western society as a whole.” Whereas what I’m seeing is that a tolerant Western society is trying to foster an inclusive church in the West, whereas intolerant African societies are fostering churches where Archbishops can support truly horrific laws for gays and their supporters while still be seen as shining Christians in their countries. You talk of Christian values that have shaped Western society, but you are not giving me a single example where, in the last 100-200 years, the church has… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I certainly do not trust any body, be it “society” or “church” to get things right” Neither do I Erika. Religion is predicated on the idea that there is ultimate truth. I believe that it is more likely that that truth can be perceived by people who believe that it exists. They are more likely to do that if they practice the principles laid out by that truth, as far as they can perceive them. The Church has not been good at doing that, but there have always been individuals in the Church who have. Don’t confuse the Church with… Read more »