Thinking Anglicans

Presiding Bishop issues pastoral letter

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a pastoral letter to the Episcopal Church, in which she refers to the Pentecost letter from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and urges continued dialogue with those who disagree with recent actions “for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.”

The full text of the letter is below the fold. It also deals with the proposed Anglican Covenant. The covering press release continues:

In his May 28 letter, Williams acknowledged the tensions caused in some parts of the Anglican Communion by the consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool and the ongoing unauthorized incursions by Anglican leaders into other provinces. Glasspool is the Episcopal Church’s second openly gay, partnered bishop.

Jefferts Schori acknowledged in her letter that “the Spirit does seem to be saying to many within the Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

“That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety.”

Note: the error discussed in the comments below has now been corrected in the original ENS published copy, and therefore this copy has been conformed accordingly.

A pastoral letter to The Episcopal Church

Pentecost continues!

Pentecost is most fundamentally a continuing gift of the Spirit, rather than a limitation or quenching of that Spirit.

The recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury about the struggles within the Anglican Communion seems to equate Pentecost with a single understanding of gospel realities. Those who received the gift of the Spirit on that day all heard good news. The crowd reported, “in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power” (Acts 2:11).

The Spirit does seem to be saying to many within The Episcopal Church that gay and lesbian persons are God’s good creation, that an aspect of good creation is the possibility of lifelong, faithful partnership, and that such persons may indeed be good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the Church, as baptized leaders and ordained ones. The Spirit also seems to be saying the same thing in other parts of the Anglican Communion, and among some of our Christian partners, including Lutheran churches in North America and Europe, the Old Catholic churches of Europe, and a number of others.

That growing awareness does not deny the reality that many Anglicans and not a few Episcopalians still fervently hold traditional views about human sexuality. This Episcopal Church is a broad and inclusive enough tent to hold that variety. The willingness to live in tension is a hallmark of Anglicanism, beginning from its roots in Celtic Christianity pushing up against Roman Christianity in the centuries of the first millennium. That diversity in community was solidified in the Elizabethan Settlement, which really marks the beginning of Anglican Christianity as a distinct movement. Above all, it recognizes that the Spirit may be speaking to all of us, in ways that do not at present seem to cohere or agree. It also recognizes what Jesus says about the Spirit to his followers, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:12-13).

The Episcopal Church has spent nearly 50 years listening to and for the Spirit in these matters. While it is clear that not all within this Church have heard the same message, the current developments do represent a widening understanding. Our canons reflected this shift as long ago as 1985, when sexual orientation was first protected from discrimination in access to the ordination process. At the request of other bodies in the Anglican Communion, this Church held an effective moratorium on the election and consecration of a partnered gay or lesbian priest as bishop from 2003 to 2010. When a diocese elected such a person in late 2009, the ensuing consent process indicated that a majority of the laity, clergy, and bishops responsible for validating that election agreed that there was no substantive bar to the consecration.

The Episcopal Church recognizes that these decisions are problematic to a number of other Anglicans. We have not made these decisions lightly. We recognize that the Spirit has not been widely heard in the same way in other parts of the Communion. In all humility, we recognize that we may be wrong, yet we have proceeded in the belief that the Spirit permeates our decisions.

We also recognize that the attempts to impose a singular understanding in such matters represent the same kind of cultural excesses practiced by many of our colonial forebears in their missionizing activity. Native Hawaiians were forced to abandon their traditional dress in favor of missionaries’ standards of modesty. Native Americans were forced to abandon many of their cultural practices, even though they were fully congruent with orthodox Christianity, because the missionaries did not understand or consider those practices exemplary of the Spirit. The uniformity imposed at the Synod of Whitby did similar violence to a developing, contextual Christianity in the British Isles. In their search for uniformity, our forebears in the faith have repeatedly done much spiritual violence in the name of Christianity.

We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.

We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue, particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures. We note that the cultural contexts in which The Episcopal Church’s decisions have generated the greatest objection and reaction are also often the same contexts where women are barred from full ordained leadership, including the Church of England.

As Episcopalians, we note the troubling push toward centralized authority exemplified in many of the statements of the recent Pentecost letter. Anglicanism as a body began in the repudiation of the control of the Bishop of Rome within an otherwise sovereign nation. Similar concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control led the Church of Scotland Scottish Episcopal Church to consecrate Samuel Seabury for The Episcopal Church in the nascent United States – and so began the Anglican Communion.

We have been repeatedly assured that the Anglican Covenant is not an instrument of control, yet we note that the fourth section seems to be just that to Anglicans in many parts of the Communion. So much so, that there are voices calling for stronger sanctions in that fourth section, as well as voices repudiating it as un-Anglican in nature. Unitary control does not characterize Anglicanism; rather, diversity in fellowship and communion does.

We are distressed at the apparent imposition of sanctions on some parts of the Communion. We note that these seem to be limited to those which “have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion.” We are further distressed that such sanctions do not, apparently, apply to those parts of the Communion that continue to hold one view in public and exhibit other behaviors in private. Why is there no sanction on those who continue with a double standard? In our context bowing to anxiety by ignoring that sort of double-mindedness is usually termed a “failure of nerve.” Through many decades of wrestling with our own discomfort about recognizing the full humanity of persons who seem to differ from us, we continue to work at open and transparent communication as well as congruence between word and behavior. We openly admit our failure to achieve perfection!

The baptismal covenant prayed in this Church for more than 30 years calls us to respect the dignity of all other persons and charges us with ongoing labor toward a holy society of justice and peace. That fundamental understanding of Christian vocation underlies our hearing of the Spirit in this context and around these issues of human sexuality. That same understanding of Christian vocation encourages us to hold our convictions with sufficient humility that we can affirm the image of God in the person who disagrees with us. We believe that the Body of Christ is only found when such diversity is welcomed with abundant and radical hospitality.

As a Church of many nations, languages, and peoples, we will continue to seek every opportunity to increase our partnership in God’s mission for a healed creation and holy community. We look forward to the ongoing growth in partnership possible in the Listening Process, Continuing Indaba, Bible in the Life of the Church, Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the myriad of less formal and more local partnerships across the Communion – efforts in mission and ministry that inform and transform individuals and communities toward the vision of the Gospel – a healed world, loving God and neighbor, in the love and friendship shown us in God Incarnate.

May God’s peace dwell in your hearts,

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

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Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

Arghh! Will someone respectfully tell Bishop Katharine that it was the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopal Church which consecrated Seabury and not the Church of Scotland (which is presbyterian).

It would be good if she knew the difference before pitching up at the Scottish Episcopal Church synod in Edinburgh in a couple of weeks.

Apart from that, full marks.

John (1)
Guest
John (1)

Thank you, Bishop Schori. Thank you, thank you.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” This is the thing that so many–both within and without the Anglican Communion–do not want to hear…and not only on the subject of same-sex relationships. They are closed to the idea that the Spirit still speaks to the Church and those within it today, that… Read more »

William Benefield
Guest
William Benefield

Good point Kelvin but it works the other way too -how many times have I seen writers/press in the United Kingdom either refer to our Episcopal Church as “the Episcopalian Church” or ‘The Episcopal Church of the United States’ – there is no Church of the United States – we have separation of church and state based upon our constitution and an ‘Episcopalian’ is a person who attends an Episcopal Church.

christopher seitz
Guest
christopher seitz

The Church of Scotland is the established Kirk and it had nothing to do with non-juring Scottish Episcopalians. Seabury was an ardent Tory, and would have served as a Chaplain for the British Army. He was no founder of an American Church. Til the end of his days he is said to have referred to the church as the Church of England in America. He wanted to be ordained in the Church of England, and it was the oath of conformity that led the English to dissuade him. When the non-jurors consecrated him in Aberdeen, he sailed back to Canada… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“The uniformity imposed at the Synod of Whitby did similar violence to a developing, contextual Christianity in the British Isles. In their search for uniformity, our forebears in the faith have repeatedly done much spiritual violence in the name of Christianity. We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.” – TEC Presiding Bishop – Well said! Bishop Katharine. And how eirenically you have set forth the provenance and experience of the progress from PECUSA… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

Christopher Seitz wrote: “The morale in this story is that once you ignore the literal/plain sense of scripture, you move into a mindset that permits you to tinker with all past records. Now we have a Seabury who chopped down the English Cherry Tree and created The Anglican Communion, after he threw a sovereign over the River Tay. The moral of the story is that what never was (an Anglican Church),never shall be. On that point our morale is simply wonderful, and our expectations glorious; those who inhabit the world of literalism of scripture, inhabit a dream state of their… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Dr Seitz is a noted scholar yet he inexplicably misreads Dr Jefferts Schori’s letter. The letter refers to the consecration of Seabury by Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen – Arthur Petrie Bishop of Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness and John Skinner, Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen on behalf of the Scottish Episcopal Church. And as I understand the letter it is what is in the heart of the consecrating Church and bishops that might at that bitter time echo “concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control” – not in the mind or heart of Seabury. As Prof Seitz… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I’m writing from Loyalist country. Christopher Seitz’s conclusions about Seabury are a selective oversimplification of a time and situation that was anything but. The War of Independence has been referred to as the last English civil war. It divided families and communities. Benjamin Franklin’s son William was a loyalist. Benedict Arnold (who notwithstanding his switcheroo), fought bravely first for the Patriot’s and then for the British. Canadiens from Quebec comprised a unit in the Continental Army (2nd Continental Congress). Many Loyalists who opposed the patriot cause stayed behind in the new United States, despite a very difficult post-war reception,and became… Read more »

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

As a Vatican II Catholic, we have only dreamed that a remarkable woman such as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori would one day be our Bishop of Rome and lead the Church into a new awakening such as the Second Vatican Council envisioned. She is a true leader and her beautiful pastoral letter sets a truly good example of what it means to be a shepherd watching over her flock. The Holy Spirit never stops breathing fresh air and new ideas into the Church as it did with Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council was no accident and I have… Read more »

Larry Bradford
Guest
Larry Bradford

Christopher, re: “The morale in this story. . .”: I presume you meant “moral” instead of “morale”. But my principal point is directed to “. . . once you ignore the literal/plain sense of scripture. . .”. Had you qualified this part of your statement with a parenthetical, “in my opinion” or “as I read scripture” then your claim would be grounded where it rightly resides–in your own definition of what is the “literal/plain sense of scripture”, to which you and everyone else is entitled. To do otherwise is to say, in effect, “I know what scripture means and others… Read more »

jacques snicket
Guest
jacques snicket

Kelvin – your statement about the Scottish Episcopal Church misses the point and is bombastically semantic. Christopher – No where in the letter did the Presiding Bishop say anything about Seabury founding an “American Church,” nor did she “describe Seabury as the great Independent American.” She simply said, “Similar concerns over self-determination in the face of colonial control led the Church of Scotland to consecrate Samuel Seabury for The Episcopal Church in the nascent United States – and so began the Anglican Communion.” At most, you can say that she was being imprecise by calling the Scottish Episcopal Church the… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Oh fah! One small slip – that others have made on this list – about the confusing nomenclature of churches in Scotland.

Otherwise, a slam dunk.

MarkBrunson
Guest

“The morale in this story is that once you ignore the literal/plain sense of scripture, you move into a mindset that permits you to tinker with all past records.”

What a bizarre reading.

Perhaps the *moral* is that once you start worshipping ink and paper you forget living people, or God, or a world, or how to think, or how to be unafraid of the unknown.

Long way around to your elbow for a non-starter, there.

Malcolm+
Guest

Speaking of rewriting history, Christopher, I see that you are in your element doing exactly that. Whatever political outcome Samuel Seabury may have preferred during the unpleasantness of 1775-81, he accepted that he was no longer a British subject and freely accepted the citizenship of the United States. As a churchman, he sought the necessary things for an ecclesiastical institution in the tradition of BUT SEPARATE FROM the Church of England. While he would certainly have preferred that the 13 Colonies continue united to the Crown, that ship had long sailed. The Seabury of your depiction was a fantasist completely… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Geez, christopher seitz: that’s a whole lot of nothing to hang on a simple typo!

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

It would be a shame if nomenclature debates took away from the import of what +Katherine is saying.

However, …

…in reply to William Benefield, it seems not unreasonable in Scotland, at least, to refer to ‘The [US based] Episcopal Church’. After all, locally here, to refer in conversation to the Episcopal Church means the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The hijacking of the word ‘The’ was as colonialist an act as they come when there are other Episcopal Churches in the Anglican Communion.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘human kind can not stand very much reality’

Pluralist
Guest

Yes there is a mistake that misdirects the traffic. Read simply, this is one missile directed at the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is targeted and it hits the target. Surely she has a clearer understanding of Anglicanism than he, given the totality of its history, its variety, its innovations in some places and resistances in others, and his complete innovation of trying to impose centralised direction of what is and what is not legitimate. Christopher Seitz makes one intellectual leap there – indeed it is nothing more than a cheap point – from some comments the Presiding Bishop made to… Read more »

Rev. Simon Russell
Guest
Rev. Simon Russell

How strange there is so much about the identity of the church in America, rather than the issue that is causing such world wide distress. I did find the reference to ‘colonial’ telling. Having worked alongside American christians (evangelicals) in Europe I am dismayed at how much their brand of christianity is culturally bounded and transmitted as the christian norm. (The American dream) I suspect that the Presiding Bishop and the prevailing theological teaching is in the same mind-set. I am reminded of a teenager kicking their heels at a parent/grand-parent because they insist they know best- alas I am… Read more »

John B. Chilton
Guest

Thank you, Martin Reynolds, for setting straight Seitz’s misreading. Following up on your tip , the link is here http://www.scotland.anglican.org/index.php/about/history_chapter/6_risings_and_persecution/ “The oath of royal supremacy proved too difficult a problem, however, and he came to Scotland and was consecrated in Aberdeen on 14 November 14 1784, the first Anglican bishop to serve outside the British Isles. It was the beginning of the world-wide Anglican Communion of Churches. [also there is a portrait shown of Seabury with the caption “First bishop of the Anglican Communion”]” How ironic and sad that Rowan Williams wants to return to days when the church persecuted… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Except, Mr. Russell, we are still not telling the other provinces they have to do it our way, but they *are* telling us we have to do it their way. One could say your reference to “parent/grand-parent” is telling: what makes you think that anyone, simply because they are European and not from the U. S. knows better for us than we do? We are not better than you, but we *are* equal, and the nasty little shot at “America” – which encompasses more than the U. S., btw – as a “teenager kicking their heels” says more about a… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Christopher Seitz has developed his views at greater length in the dialogue over at
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/30414/

Andrew Gerns
Guest

Dr. Seitz says: “The morale (sic) in this story is that once you ignore the literal/plain sense of scripture, you move into a mindset that permits you to tinker with all past records.” This coming from a founder of the group that has worked to re-write the polity of the Episcopal Church and the nature of the Anglican Communion and the history behind them in order to forward their own theological ends? The ACI is all but built on an exaggerated reading of one line in the Preamble of Constitution of the Episcopal Church and turned it into an imagined… Read more »

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Brava, +Katharine! You are my hero!

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

I very much doubt that there will be any rioting in Scotland over this letter.

However, I’m sure they’re breaking dishes and throwing furniture at Lambeth Palace.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Readers may also be interested, in case they missed, in the PB’s letter on the oil catastrophe in the Gulf, posted on May 26th on Huff Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bishop-katharine-jefferts-schori/lessons-from-the-gulf-oil_b_591160.html

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

I am not a member of “Titus” and don’t wish to be, so I won’t comment there. A cursory reading, however, makes one feel that (some) people who post there are disrespectful, sexist, and illiterate-at least as they choose to be. An early poster complains that there isn’t a word of scripture in the letter. Not only does the PB quote Acts and John, she gives the references. It’s easy to see mysogyny and homophobia in those circles, but they can’t seem to get past it. The PB is always “Ms. Schori”, which is not only calling her some kind… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

We are indeed very privileged to have one third of an entire institute participate in our discussion!

BobinSWPA
Guest
BobinSWPA

Kudos to ++KJS. The recent comments by the ++ABC, Bishop Andrus and ++KJS reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies: ” I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it.
We’re a knowledgeable family. (A Lion in Winter).
Is all this banter overkill?

christopher seitz
Guest
christopher seitz

History writing (and its motivations) is a fascinating topic and here is a good example in Bishop Seabury. The fact that the SEC does its own version of history-writing on its 21st century web account only underscores the point. Seabury is a figure who languished in historical obscurity (in Scotland and in the United States), probably because he was such a Tory and did not serve well as an image of Founding Father. Also, much controversy surrounded him, as he insisted on a loyalist version of Episcopalianism unsuited to the Independence theme Americans warm to, and had his struggles with… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

The Rev. Mr Russell wrote, “Roll out Gamaliel.” As a non-Anglican, you may not be aware, but many of us in the Episcopal Church said long ago to other churches in the Communion, “Roll out Gamaliel. Do not feel the need to imitate or be bound by us, but stay in communion with us as we live this out and discern (further, for we started discerning before we made any changes) whether God is in this.” I went so far on this site of suggesting that the Episcopal Church could be the “Research and Development” locus for the Communion. We… Read more »

Doxy
Guest

Keep trying to distract and confuse over historical nonsense if it makes you happy, Dr. Seitz.

But the truth is that +KJS has proven herself–and by extension, TEC–to be far more “Anglican” than +Cantuar or that rump group you lead.

Must be mighty painful to be so thoroughly schooled by a woman. In fact, it appears to have robbed you of anything useful to say–which we all know is why you are writing dissertation-length posts on a minor error.

My grandmother always says “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” She’s a wise woman–you ought to take her advice.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Goodness, Professor Seitz: such resort to 20th Century history to challenge 20th Century history. However, the questions should relate to 18th Century and 19th Century actions. Notwithstanding his personal animus to Bishop Provoost, did Bishop Seabury not take his part in the formation and leadership of the Episcopal Church from the beginning? Did not his leadership result in the Eucharistic Prayer from the Scottish Episcopal Church becoming the prayer in the Episcopal Church’s first Prayer Book? Did he absent himself from the Consecration of Bishop Clagget, or from the first meetings of the General Convention? These are hardly the actions… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

It it comes to who started the Anglican Communion, it can’t really be England, at least as far as America is concerned. The Act of Parliament that permitted Canterbury with other English bishops first to lay hands on Americans to make American bishops stated explicitly: “[B]e it hereby declared, that no person or persons consecrated to the office of a bishop in the manner aforesaid, nor any person or persons deriving their consecration from or under any bishop so consecrated, nor any person or persons admitted to the order of deacon or priest by any bishop or bishops so consecrated,… Read more »

c seitz
Guest
c seitz

Marshall–‘unhappy recalcitrant’ is your language. Loyalist anglican is mine. The PB used the language of ‘self determination vs colonial control.’ This is mythical. Seabury did not stand against ‘colonial control’ and he wanted dependence and continuity. That is how he has been remembered. Even the epiclesis was the effort of Scottish episcopalians to link themselves to antiquity, via the Mass of St John Chrysostom. Seabury was be the perfect example of Communion accountability and interdependence, and not autonomy. The record: Conformed to the Church of England 1730, recommended by Timothy Cutler (one of the Yale Converts) and ordained 1730 in… Read more »

c seitz
Guest
c seitz

PS–This tidbit from Todd Granger: According to Arthur Middleton (in Fathers and Anglicans), it was Martin Routh, “one of the most interesting and remarkable figures that has ever appeared in Oxford” who at the age of twenty-eight advised “the envoys of the Anglican Church in America” (presumably Samuel Seabury) not to accept episcopal consecration from Danish bishops (because of their irregularity as an invalid succession), saving them from “taking a step which would have been fatal to the catholicity of their church” by directing them to the Scottish Episcopal Church for the creation of an American episcopate. Seabury wanted to… Read more »

c seitz
Guest
c seitz

This note just forwarded to me:
“In 1789, the GC passed a resolution proposing that Seabury (now recognized by the GC), White and Provoost consecrate a fourth bishop (Bass from Mass.) subject to the non-objection of Canterbury. The ABC was notified and objected (not public) so in fact the fourth bishop (Madison of Virginia) was later consecrated in London by the ABC.” Hard to see the founding of the Episcopal Church as a declaration of independence. One also recalls the preface to the first BCP in the US, ‘far from intending in any way to depart…’

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

I recommend folks read Bp Skinner’s sermon preached at Bp. Seabury’s consecration. It is the spirit of the Scottish Episcopal Church that was bequeathed us more than just a bishop. I am somewhat surprised at the assertion that somehow history is a singular reading. As the historian and liturgist Robert Taft, SJ reminds us, history-writing is more about us and what the past says to us than simply facts in the past. That is interpretation is involved. Assertions of a literal and plain reading often ignore or conceal how these readings too are being employed in interpretation to understand and… Read more »

c seitz
Guest
c seitz

Of course interpretation is involved, as well as falsification, over-interpretation, under-interpretation. But no historian works on the idea that Ghandi, Moses, and Lincoln are contemporaries, because we live in a time when the past consists of 50 years. The fate of Seabury ebbed and flowed. But there was a Seabury and one can speak of a record about him and indicate which historical accounts are better than others. Actually, with the scanner and the internet that is now easier than ever: the primary sources can be located easily, including the correspondence between the American Bishops of the churches in CT,… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

This is like the voice of sanity and grace. While others urge a “cutting off”, this group of Christians recognises our unity is in Christ, and has the grace to recognise the image of God in those they disagree with. There is no “cutting off” off advocated – only shared faith in diversity. Another interesting point she made: “We look forward to the ongoing growth in partnership possible… the myriad of less formal and more local partnerships across the Communion…” Exactly. Here in UK, just because it might come to be said by some: “***We*** are no longer in full… Read more »

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

One of the tricks of the Anglican Right is on full display in this set of exchanges. Our Presiding Bishop made a mistake in her essay that is easy to make and frequently made by educated people. It is easily corrected and surely is easy to forgive. Starting from that, the list is descended upon by people who leap upon this mistake and have totally distracted us from her arguments, one of which is that our theology of the Spirit informs us that the third person of the Trinity is always with us, developing our understanding of God and God’s… Read more »

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Well this has been a lovely graduate seminar. Back to reality, now. Our PB has finally pushed back. Many of us have waited for this for many years. Our church is finally standing up to the bullies in England and elsewhere. While history debates can be a fun aside, perhaps we can pause for a second to celebrate this new spirit of courage in our church.

John B. Chilton
Guest

Christopher refers, just for example, to this passage from Skinner’s sermon, “Such is the interesting subject presented to our notice in the passage of scripture now before us: and that I may be able to do as much justice to it, as the limits of a short discourse will allow, I must endeavour to confine myself to that divine account of pure ecclesiastical authority, which is here so briefly narrated. According to this rule, I shall be obliged to consider the christian church in the same simple light, in which we at present view that part of it, whereof we… Read more »

jdd
Guest
jdd

C. Seitz is apparently willing to compromise his own postliberal bona fides in order to further his agenda–and this raises significant and disconcerting questions as to what his agenda really is. Someone, like myself, whom he would no doubt (wrongly) judge incapable any longer of reading Scripture without reference to a general principle external to it, certainly should not have to remind him that Hans Frei was insistent that the meaning of a narrative is communicated in and through the narrative itself—that is, its character, setting, and plot—and decidedly not by appeal to the distinct—even if unique—consciousness of its central… Read more »

jdd
Guest
jdd

What is more: this contradiction raises significant questions about the his role in the plot we now see playing out. What are we to make of so much apparent pleasure on display in Seitz camp at the thought of a breach in that communion? A charitable response to ++Schori would at least extend her the dignity of granting her a different interpretation of the meaning of a common narrative. It would view that difference as one regarding the interpretation of a common narrative-history, rather than attempting to divide himself from her by way of a performative contradiction of his own… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

While it is true that the founders of the American Church were anxious not to upset any apple carts with Canterbury, and were anxious about proceeding with consecrations against England’s will (as in the case of Madison), this has nothing to do with dependency. Moreover, there was some significant interest expressed in the desire to merge the Scottish and English lines of succession, and this was soon accomplished in Claggett of Maryland. Dr. Seitz very selectively quotes the 1789 Preface, on the matter of our shared history with England. In keeping with the actual “political” topic at hand, however, it… Read more »

Doug
Guest
Doug

Good Heavens no, JPM! It’s only a quarter of an entire institute. Don’t forget the lawyer!

fils de simon
Guest
fils de simon

Dr. Seitz: I greatly enjoyed reading Bruce Steiner’s biography of Seabury, subtitled, ‘A Study in the High Church Tradition.’ I am not an historian so I have no way to assess the scholarly merit of the book; however, it does give a more nuanced reading of Seabury’s significance than you do. Surely, the crucial point is that with the beginning of an American episcopate in the new republic it becomes possible for the first time for a national church to be Anglican without being subject to the Crown. If Steiner is right, this was an outcome that Seabury himself thought… Read more »

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

I see that our PB has been allowed a do-over. Episcopal News Service has released a corrected version of her pastoral letter here:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_122615_ENG_HTM.htm

Now, perhaps, we can move the conversation past the silly season to address matters of substance.