Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Canterbury on B033: 'grateful' but 'not clear'

The Archbishop of Canterbury tonight issued a statement,following the adoption by the General Convention of Resolution B033.

He said he was ‘grateful’ to the Bishops and Deputies for the seriousness with which they addressed the issue, and for their hard and devoted work. He added that ‘it is not yet clear’ whether the adopted reolutions are enough to satisfy the requests of the Windsor Report.

The statement in full reads:

I am grateful to the Bishops and Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (USA) for the exceptional seriousness with which they have responded to the request of the Primates of the Anglican Communion that they should address the recommendations of the Windsor Report relating to the tensions arising from the decisions associated with the 74th General Convention in 2003.

There is much to appreciate in the hard and devoted work done by General Convention, and before that, by the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, in crafting the resolutions. This and the actions taken today show how strong is their concern to seek reconciliation and conversation with the rest of the Communion.

It is not yet clear how far the resolutions passed this week and today represent the adoption by the Episcopal Church of all the proposals set out in the Windsor Report. The wider Communion will therefore need to reflect carefully on the significance of what has been decided before we respond more fully.

I am grateful that the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and ACC has already appointed a small working group to assist this process of reflection and to advise me on these matters in the months leading up to the next Primates’ Meeting.

I intend to offer fuller comments on the situation in the next few days. The members of Convention and the whole of the Episcopal Church remain very much in our prayers.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 21 June 2006 at 9:59pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

Poor ABofC, "Why me, Lord" would be my reaction!

Anyway I think that the proposal and rejection of A161 will be the telling issue. If there was no need for a moritorium on gay-partnership blessings why was it proposed by SEAC, and in A161 to the end ? And if B033 is truly a moritorium on consecrating "gay-partnered bishops" why is it weaker language than A161 ?

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 12:02am BST

"It is not yet clear how far the resolutions passed this week and today represent the adoption by the Episcopal Church of all the proposals set out in the Windsor Report. The wider Communion will therefore need to reflect carefully on the significance of what has been decided before we respond more fully."

"adoption...of all the proposals set out in the Windsor Report" BY JUST THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH???

When the heck is the "wider Communion" going to "reflect carefully" on how ***THEY*** are failing to adopt all the WR proposals (w/ their frequent diocesan-boundary invasions, to say NOTHING of failing to live up to the "Listening" pledge)?

++Cantuar's mealy-mouthed hypocrisy is *disgusting*. >:-0

If the meeting at Lambeth has a *shred* of human decency---and Christian morality---it would ONLY be if +Gene Robinson is at its CENTER!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 12:31am BST

Why expect anything more from Williams?

Its clear this won't be enough for conservatives, but no doubt it will be enough to let the whole saga drag on for another couple of years.

Its blatantly obvious to me that I have no shared beliefs with conservatives, and that there is absolutely no logical reason why liberals and conservatives should continue to share the same denomination.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 12:49am BST

I pray for Rowan Williams. He has quite a burden. He is being tested at this time. Money or Faith. I hope he choose Faith.

Posted by: janice on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 1:08am BST

Sorry, JCF - all this was perfectly predictable a week ago, but GC has gone ahead regardless.

GC can do whatever it likes for ECUSA: but it can not dictate to the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 1:50am BST

Between the meddlings of +Durham, +Rochester and ++York you'd think the CofE would have thought they'd done enough TEC kicking and intimidation. Now we have that millymoused, bushybrowd, Duncan looking ABC saying "She will be a problem for our collegiality" and "this isn't enough."

Look MR Williams, you haven't asked anyone else do live up to their part of the bargain, you treat us in TEC like bad school boys (who should be sent down but you can't, who'd pay the bills?) and can't even stand up for your friends ie. Jeffrey John+.

I agree JC with you but the fact is +VGR won't even be asked to Lambeth!

Posted by: Robert Christian on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 4:01am BST

All too late now.

10 ECUSA network diocese left ECUSA yesterday, and have appealed to the ABC to recognised them.

The Global South's position is completly consistent and clear.

The ABC is being told, NOW, in no uncertain terms
that he has no choice except to recognise Duncan and the Network - and excommunions Shori and all of ECUSA by the end of the week - or the Global South, Wright, Rochester & Sentamu will do the job for him

Posted by: Sinner on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 8:39am BST

Like I said a while ago, it took a man from the "left" to deal with "Militant" in the Labour party and it looks like it is going to be an ABC from the left who has to deal with the Anglicans' militant minority of liberals. The ABC has a horrible job, made much worse by his old friends using his watch to push their agenda.

JCF writes, "If the meeting at Lambeth has a *shred* of human decency---and Christian morality---it would ONLY be if +Gene Robinson is at its CENTER!" - not sure how GR and "Christian morality" can be equated.....that is if one still looks to the Bible for a definition of Christian morality.

Who is qualified to be a bishop (or a vicar, for that matter)?
Just look at Titus Ch1v7-9: "For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound [5] doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."

As I have always tried to say, this debate is not about one persecuted group. I am sorry it is focused on one group which does not need more pressure, I realise. The issue is that there are at least two Anglican churches: one wants to accept Biblical authority and one wants to reject it on certain issues. This is not going to be reconciled.

I respect ECUSA people with whom I disagree for not fudging it. It is not worth the fudge - everyone suffers when forced to stay in an abusive marriage. Better to go it alone.

Sadly, going it alone for "Anglican liberalism" just means slow extinction as "inclusive" ECUSA shrinks by 35,000+ per year. Even in England, the ABC knows that Alpha produces church growth and "liberalism" has produced nothing but decline for decades.

Anyway, I am liberal on this issue: let everyone who wants to join ECUSA take their building and join and be funded by ECUSA going forward. Let all their "conservative" people join the rest of us (with their buildings etc). Let's get on with our lives.


Posted by: Nersen on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 10:04am BST

Then he would also have to excommunicate a good number of the Church of England too!

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 10:44am BST

Merseymike-

This is the point you still have not answered:
Anyone who styles themselves 'liberal' or 'conservative' has no claim to scholarly credentials, and therefore no claim to be heard. Why? Because they are saying they know how they will conclude in advance of examining and weighing the issues. (How can they know this?) This being the case, there is no point their examining or weighing the issues at all. But if they do not do so, they will not have thought about the issues, and therefore have no claim to be heard.

People who really honestly weigh issues may easily find themselves coming to a mixture of so-called 'liberal' and 'conservative' positions. Most likely (as any standard deviation table will indicate) they will also come to a fair number of conclusions in the middle.

Polarised conclusions (liberal and conservative) arise, one suspects, out of people's wants, conveniences and ideologies. All the less reason to listen to them. When someone is unremittingly liberal or conservative, and shows no evidence of weighing different factors, then let us not listen to them.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 12:21pm BST

"GC can do whatever it likes for ECUSA: but it can not dictate to the Anglican Communion."

General Convention and the Episcopal Church have no intention of trying to 'dictate to the Anglican Communion.'

Point to one resolution, one speech, one sermon deovered at GC in which we tried to make the Anglican Communion do anything. We don't try to mess in the polity of other constituents of the AC. The same cannot be said for some of them regarding us.

The bullying has come from some members of the Communion and some nosy-parker C of E bishops. The bullying has come from bishops violating diocesan borders.

Talk about Alice Through the Looking Glass!

WR was not legislation. It was a report asking for a response. We responded. If you don't like the answer, engage in further dialogue or, as another writer said, get off the pot.

C

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 1:26pm BST

“10 ECUSA network diocese left ECUSA yesterday, and have appealed to the ABC to recognised them.”—Sinner

If true, this is great news! Now Duncan et al can finally be deposed! Of course, Anglophile American tourists might beg to differ, but most Episcopalians will welcome the opportunity to get rid of them.

Posted by: Kurt on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 1:46pm BST

Alan Marsh, I'm not sure I understand you. What is ECUSA trying to dictate to the Anglican communion? As I understand it, we have only asked for the freedom to worship as the Holy Spirit leads us, and we have not asked any province that is unwilling to join us. From here it feels very much like the dictating is going the other way around.

Posted by: Ruth on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 2:40pm BST

Ah, yes excommunication. Now there is Christian witness for you, vigorous, apocalyptic, orthodox, brave, heroic, .... running like a rabbit from fear of women and queer folks and scientists and university rhetoric specialists and poets and artists and any unchurched person with enough moxy to still value themselves, while blathering on and on and on about pure theories of Apostolic authority, handed down by sacred tribal touch only among humans with penises.

If you cannot stand the heats of diversity, then instead of taking a break from the kitchen stoves where difficult menus are being cooked and the clamors of a starving world are ringing in your ears, you anxiously pull the fire alarm and shout confusion while people trample one another in search of exits from a manufactured emergency. (That is mainly what queers, or women, with power are, don't you see? I am sooo tired of playing this school yard game, which is mainly about bullying and who has God's authority to beat up whom. The point of queer power is positive living, not this endless game of orthodox Anglican preening display and Icky Other Bashing.)

Vilify. Vilify. Vilify. Vilify. Now, let me see. I know I have some tar, some feathers, and a few old torches lying around here somewhere. I had a temporary attack of typical Anglican tolerance, manifested by typical Anglican fudge-itis; but do not worry, I am all better now, and ready to burn people at the stake for not agreeing with me. Bishop Duncan of Pittsburgh should have been elected Presiding Bishop for the next nine years; but I forget, he didn't bother to run. I think he knew he had already been elected to a higher calling, i.e., realignment. He is running for PB of the Orthodox Anglican Church in USA, OACUSA?

Canterbury will preside. But I still wonder if Canterbury will really enjoy presiding. Shake hands with women and queers, dear Rowan, as you say goodbye to us. This moratorium on sharing power with gays or women or scientists or whomever else joins our conversations is desperate on its surface, and bears a deep heart of fear beneath its loud claims to all important Apostolic certainties. Canterbury has quite a ministry stretching before it, as it realigns to lead as nominal head that has itself been realigned. Who's next on the target group lists? I guess, scientists, now that the shoe has dropped against women, along with gays.

Gee, I bet you never imagined Canterbury being reduced to a brand name label market function. I didn't, but now I see I should have seen it coming.

Read up on human fear, disgust, and loathing. Read up on power, and how power corrupts.

Truth is, we are all still here, together. Trying to follow Jesus and love our neighbors as ourselves. Be seeing you, round the planet.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 3:55pm BST

drdanfee

Rhe issue is not you, any group, any prejudice....the issue is whether we accept the authority of the bible or not.

Some do not want to accept the authority of the Bible and claim the Holy Spirit is leading them into new ways (which is unlikely as that would be contradicting what he inspired in the Bible).

some want to make up new rules (even for ordained people) - they joined a club they thought would always tolerate them breaking the rules and pay them despite their decades of failure, financial burdens on everyone else and dwindling congregations -but they have pushed too far, sadly for him, on a liberal ABC's watch

The ABC can see, I am sure, that even in dear old England, Alpha fills more churches and leads to more church plants than "Spongism" which only empties churches - looking at the evidence. This is why he cannot go with the "Spongites" - even "inclusive" ECUSA is losing people at a rate which will lead to extinction in the not too distant future.

So, for the survival and health of the church, the experiment of the last century looks as if it is teaching us all that rejecting God's word and his authority over us for our own rules while we being "churchy" is not the way to go......the "liberal" ABC can obviously see this.

But, its not about hating you, any group of people, any orientation. It is all about the authority of the Bible - this is the heart of the disagreement

Posted by: Nersen on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 5:13pm BST

re:"...dictate to the Anglican Communion"

Goodness! It should be clear now that GC cannot dictate to the Episcopal Church, or any diocese within that church, let alone the Anglican Communion. I see the point often made that the TEC represents a very small percentage of the world's Anglicans, under 3% I believe, and as such should have little voice in defining "Anglicanism." I quite agree. Could the world not find something else to occupy its attention? We would be quite happy, I expect, to be ignored.

If we are in error, allow us to reap the fruit of our own error and learn. We will come back to the "orthodox faith" in time and be the smarter for it. If we have stumbled into some bit of new insight into God's plan, we'll know that in time and be able to share it with the rest of the global church.

In the meantime, I don't see where anyone, either in the US or outside, is bound to follow the example of New Hampshire. We ought to be easy to ignore, being so small and evidently foolish. (oh, I forgot, *the money*, that's what makes our little church such an issue. If money has distorted our relationship with our sibling churches, then we should be rid of it. Let's just "give it all to the poor and follow Christ.")

Perhaps we can agree on a policy of "no dictating" and make that a keystone of our covenant.

Posted by: GA Dean on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 6:57pm BST

Something needs to be clarified for me. When did "The Windsor Report" become a binding document on the Anglican Communion. My understanding is that it is a "report" which yet needs to be studied, replied to, and accepted by the autonomous churches that make up the Anglican Communion.
Suddenly the WR seems to have acquired some "authoritative" nature that I do not yet see it having.
Any thought?

Posted by: Rae Fletcher on Thursday, 22 June 2006 at 10:25pm BST

ECUSA and GC live in a dream world called the USA. They imagine themselves to be pioneers, to lead the way on civil rights, to have evolved intellectually and theologically ahead of the world outside, and to have a unique relationship with the Holy Spirit which is not vouchsafed to any other denomination, or even to other Anglicans. They proclaim autonomy as a cardinal virtue - they no longer accept the Body ecclesiology of the now discredited St Paul, although they are quick to misinterpret Galatians 3.28, in a somewhat fundamentalist manner, in support of their androgynous world view.

All this is perfectly typical of the multiplicity of independent sects in N America which lay claim to unique insights or gnoses. It is a (relatively) free country and they are free to define themselves however they wish.

The problem is that ECUSA also insists, for reasons now probably not unconnected with the Dennis Canon and the law of real estate, that it is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, but on its own terms.

It asks the Anglican Communion to accept that ECUSA is infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit, whether it is the election of a diocesan bishop, or the ramblings of a General Convention, and that the rest of the Communion lags behind. Nevertheless it insists that whatever innovation it comes up with, whatever part of the common Anglican identity it repudiates, the Anglican Communion must accept the will and the wisdom of ECUSA.

That is what I mean by dictating to the Anglican Communion. An Episcopal parallel to the Bush administration, reimagining the world in its own image and demanding that everyone else fall into line with a version of reality which is shared only by those who are economically dependent on the USA, or under current military subjugation.

The Anglican Communion is however a voluntary society, whose identity consists first and foremost in a common understanding of scripture, doctrine and holy orders. It is and remains a broad church, but there are limits to the flexibility even of a broad church, and it is impossible for it to conform to the whims of one minor member, or in the final analysis, to recognise ECUSA any longer as being authentically Anglican.

ECUSA has tried to impose on the episcopate of the Anglican Communion a man whose lifestyle expressly defies the scriptural requirements for a bishop, as a divorced man now living in a sinful relationship with another man. It has now approved for consecration another candidate whose is twice divorced and thrice married. It has elected as its presiding bishop a minister whose ordination has no scriptural warrant. It has placed a secular view of civil rights above the teaching of the bible concerning sexuality, marriage and family. It has explicity or implicitly rejected the authority of scripture on any number of occasions.

Its actions are those of an independent sect, not those of an interdependent province within a wider Communion. Its attempt to dictate the nature of Anglicanism has failed, except within its own borders. Its departure from the Communion is its own responsibility, having been presented with the options and having made its choice.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Friday, 23 June 2006 at 12:31am BST

"It is all about the authority of the Bible - this is the heart of the disagreement"

Exactly - although the actual argument is over whose understanding of the bible message is correct. What galls me is the arrogance of the bible literalists who feel that they are the only ones who "know" what the Bible means.

Give me a break! If you are so convinced of your understanding of the bible, AND also of your belief in the absolute truth of the same, then why don't I see you stoning your children, or refraining from eating shrimp or not shaving.

The Bible was written in a culture where metaphor was the norm, so it is our challenge to determine what is metaphor and what is fact.

The only "person" who knows what the Bible really means is God (Jesus and the Holy Spirit). The Bible is written by human hands (and our versions of the bible have been transcribed so many times by so many people that we argue over its meaning). Our different translations of the Bible conveniently translate difficult texts to suit the theology of the translators.

So lets not accuse each other of not believing in the Bible - we all pick and choose what is neccessary and what is no longer important.

For Christians, the Gospels are considered the ultimate authority and Jesus always stood on the side of the marginalised, and he made no mention of homosexual behaviour or problems with women in leadership roles. So who are we to put words into Jesus' mouth.

Posted by: Charles on Friday, 23 June 2006 at 1:04am BST

One of the recurring "big lies" in several of the comments above is that the "liberal" church is shrinking in population. A careful analysis will show that in fact most urban progressive churches, particularly the "inclusive" ones, are in fact growing again quite nicely, thank you. Young families in particular are flocking to these churches. There is some great data now showing how ultra-conservative denominations are starting to lose population like the mainline churches did in the past two decades. Our particular "broad church" branch has grown from 400 to 800 members in just four years - and like many ECUSA churches, small in size, is bursting at the seems. The local conservative branch is poorly attended and declining. For some of the posters here, these facts won't matter and they will continue to perpetuate that "big lie," but thoughtful folks will appreciate the dynamism of a progressive inclusives churches in America's urban centers.

Posted by: Byron on Friday, 23 June 2006 at 4:08am BST

Oh dear -- my bad -- am I the only person who thought it amusing that ++Rowan would suggest that a statement from someone else was "unclear"?

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 23 June 2006 at 3:20pm BST

Byron:

Good for you! That should make you even more willing to fairly accommodate the needs of those who want to depart and take their buildings with them. After all, you DON'T need them. They are merely holding you back with their traditional ideas and attitudes and you can continue to grow, grow, grow unencumbered by such.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Friday, 23 June 2006 at 5:15pm BST

No, you are not alone in this Aelred ! Thanks for pointing it out ! :-)

Posted by: Myfanwy on Friday, 23 June 2006 at 5:22pm BST

Three cheers for Prior Aelred! Why didn't ++Rowan Cantuar attend GC2006 himself rather than send emissaries? His emissaries, especially +Tom Dunelm's pompous intrusion (by letter), largely determined the 'undesirable' outcome of TEC's responses to the WR, with Americans inevitably recalling the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party.

++Rowan Cantuar (as well as the 'purist' terminator of Abuja) might greatly benefit from reading ++Michael Ramsey's 1977 Nashotah House Lectures (The Anglican Spirit, ed. Dale Coleman [1991]).

Said the 100th Cantuar:

"May I add a cautionary note? While holiness is both a fact and a potentiality, it is impossible to enforce the holiness of the church by rejecting people who do not conform to certain moral canons. That has been tried often in the history of the church... When one says that the church is meant to be holy and therefore we will exclude those who are not holy, the inevitable happens. You can turn out the fornicators, the murderers...; you can turn out sinners of every kind, but you cannot turn out the sin of pride. This sin, the most deadly of all, is always present but not always easily identifiable. So if you are going to purge the church of sinners, you will need to purge it of the sin of pride and turn everybody out..." (p.124).

Posted by: John Henry on Saturday, 24 June 2006 at 6:28pm BST

John Henry --

Thank you for the quotation from ++Ramsey -- it would have improved my homily this morning!

The 100th ABC was one of the greatest men it has ever been my privelege to meet. I look back & say, "There were giants in those days!" I sincerely hope that someone in the future (& thus with greater perspective) will be able to look back at our day & say the same.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Sunday, 25 June 2006 at 4:00pm BST
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