Friday, 7 April 2006

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion

The awaited ECUSA report on Windsor has been published. You can download One Baptism, One Hope in God’s Call The Report of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a 444k pdf file.

This, and other papers for General Convention 2006 can be downloaded from this page

The official press release is here.

An html copy of the wording of the resolutions (only) is here.

PDF files containing preliminary translations into Spanish and French of the summary, and the resolutions can be found here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 7 April 2006 at 9:45pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

I have had time to read but not yet fully digest the entire response, but it appears to me to be an heroic attempt at moderation by a diverse panel to address with respect the legitimate concerns of all the differing points of view in TEC & the WWAC -- a genuine attempt to avoid schism -- I expect this to be a disappointment to the bomb-throwers at the extremes -- will be sure check back to see if further comments bear out my prophecy -- & Merseymike doesn't count -- his POV is a given! :)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 12:08am BST

Just a quick glance at the resolutions makes me think Prior Aelred is correct. It is a moderate attempt at holding us together.

I didn't see anything on the crossing of diocesan boundaries without permission which should be addressed.

The idea of an "Anglican Covenant" still makes me uncomfortable.

We shall see what convention does with these resolutions.

Posted by: Rev. Kurt Huber on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 12:47am BST

It looks balanced, spiritually healthy/loving/welcoming and snit/sin/fear-free to me AND it also "suggests" a extra keen opening-up and pondering space for when the Holy Spirit revisits (especially in the Diocese of California) *us* during ALL upcoming elections.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 3:51am BST

On the whole disappointing regarding future consecrations after the hopefulness generated by the letters from a few bishops. +Exeter's warning that this will not meet the expectations of the worldwide community is probably correct. The moratorium has to be real or it is not a moratorium. Perhaps the test is to be in the confirmation process and not in the elections.

Posted by: Ian Montgomery on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 2:24pm BST

As a gay person, I find the resolutions on blessings and elections troubling. It is not pleasant to feel expendable. Nobody ever asked the sop how it liked being fed to Cerberus. It doesn't feel good, and, in light of recent actions by the network, I don't think it will preserve unity in TEC.

I find the notion an an Anglican Covenant very troubling. Had I wished to belong to a church with a central magistrum [sp?] I would have become a Roman Catholic.

No mention of episcopal boundary crossing seems to me an act of cowardice.

I suspect that this document falls far short of the total capitulation that the leaders of the network etc. want. Their most recent press release is about their new pension plan, which suggests to me that they are in fact planning to abscond.

And this makes me wonder why TEC should bother with more appeasement.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 4:15pm BST

Maybe to look good and say 'well, we tried, but you weren't willing to meet us halfway'?

I'm quite sure it won't be enough for the conservatives, so, yes, lets hope the split is still on!

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 6:48pm BST

Merseymike, you are just being reasonable to prove me wrong!

Cynthia -- I apologise -- at another site I posted:
"I know this proposal does say to the LBGTQ members of the Body of Christ that they are vestigal organs & that is wrong -- but I think that we are currently in the period of blowback & need to know when to speak & when to be silent -- several years ago a bishop who will remain nameless met with some LBGTQ persons in his diocese to talk about blessing unions & said something along the lines of, "I agree with you & I could authorize rites tomorrow & could force this, but I think it would be much better if the people of the diocese come to the point of thinking that it is the right thing to do." Maybe he was conning them, but they were persuaded (it was one of them who told me about it). Will it work? I don't know. It seems to have the wingnuts in a tizzy, so I think it is worth a try!"

Also this:
"At the moment it seems that the Bishops would not consent to another partnered gay or lesbian, so the "extreme caution" wording simply acknowledges that situation for the time being -- Exeter's insistense on & explanation of the use of the word "repent" (a word not used in the WR but in the statement from the English bishops) made no sense to me, but if Humpty Dumpty insists on word games, so be it -- for me the most problematic part looks to be the Anglican Covenant, which I see will be either too vague to mean anything (my hope) or lock things down so tightly that a future schism over some principle becomes inevitable (which is probably true in any case)."

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 8:58pm BST

A few people here and about have questioned why there is no mention of border crossings in this new report. My guess is that it is because this report is intended to suggest how the *Episcopal Church* (not, e.g., the GS) is to respond to the WR. Border crossings are covered in the WR and not perpetrated by the EC so there is no reason to address it. Just my guess.

Posted by: Marc on Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 4:11am BST

There is reference to diocesan boundaries in proposed resolution A163: -
Resolved, That the 75th General Convention urge continued attention to the proper maintenance of historic diocesan boundaries and the authority of the diocesan bishop.

This comes in the section of care for dissenting minorities. DEPO has been one of the most difficult issues as while it can work in some places where the bishop has charity in others a request for DEPO has brought persecution. The Panel of Reference was expected to bring some of this to light and give help and assistance but that Panel is dead in the water. When I spoke to a member of the same earlier this year they had done little as there were no referrals nor a real timetable to do anything helpful.

In the last 3 years the lack of charity in some cases has led to these boundary crossings that while deplored and done as a last resort, have saved the lives and ministry several clergy and given opportunity for several congregations to survive without the ministrations of a predatory bishop.

We shall see both how GC2006 deals with these resolutions and then and more critically the responses not just of the Primates but of the local congregations and clergy. US Christians vote with their feet and their wallets. Of course that works both ways, but so far the losses have been fairly significant and there could be more departures as so many are waiting to see if ECUSA falls into line with the AC as understood by the Primates, not as understood by ECUSA. Meanwhile border crossings are a fact of life now as significant congregations have sought sanctuary with alternative oversight having given up on DEPO because of its shortcomings as practiced.

The ACN move to provide a pension plan for ACN clergy is another move that makes it "safer" for clergy to seek alternate oversight as they can freeze their ECUSA pensions and move to another plan. Many have suggested that all that keeps some clergy ECUSA compliant is the pension fund!

The reality of border crossings generally is that there is now an alternative network of Anglican congregations in full communion with some Lambeth/Canterbury acknowledged provinces of the AC. The CANA initiative from Nigeria is the most recently developed one of these and looks as if it will grow significantly. The other provinces what are significantly giving alternate oversight are Uganda and Kenya. These are in addition to Rwanda and SE Asia who sponsor the AMIA community, which thus far has no Canterbury recognition.

I suspect that for ECUSA to make a huge deal of these and the boundary crossings they manifest would further inflame the passions and continue the state of impaired or broken communion that already exists with 22 of the 38 provinces of the AC. My sense is that the ECUSA report and recommendations is hoping to do what it can to restore Communion where it is either impaired or broken. Maybe I just hope so! On this one we are subject to the judge and jury of the Primates and the rest of the AC. It is ECUSA which is in the "dock."

Posted by: Ian Montgomery on Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 11:10am BST

"On this one we are subject to the judge and jury of the Primates and the rest of the AC. It is ECUSA which is in the "dock.""

Ian, I answer to *one judge and jury*, who is Christ Jesus: I suspect the rest of TEC feels the same!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 8:57pm BST
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