Saturday, 9 September 2006

APO document published

The Connecticut Six website has published in PDF format the full text of:
AN APPEAL TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
By the Bishops of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield (20 July, A.D. 2006).

This is the consolidated document previously mentioned.

It consists of a main document (4 pages, reproduced in full below the fold here) and several appendices:

APPENDIX A (pages 5 and 6) html copy here
Functions and authority of the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA under Title I of Canons

Appendix B (pages 7 and 8) html copy here
Theological Commitments of the Petitioning Bishops

APPENDIX C (pages 9-13)
Concerns about the Presiding Bishop-elect html copy here.

AN APPEAL TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
By the Bishops of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin,
South Carolina, and Springfield (20 July, A.D. 2006)

The Situation

There are effectively two churches under one roof. The common roof is called the (Protestant) Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Separation of the two churches became all but inevitable and irreversible at the General Convention of 2006. Both hold principled, but irreconcilable, religious views. Both claim to be the Episcopal Church where they are.

One church has a revolutionary character. The other church has the character of evangelical and catholic via media. One church leads the way in Anglican Communion innovation. The other church seeks submission to the common mind of world Anglicanism. Significant parts of one church seek elimination of its conserving minority and confiscation of that minority’s patrimony. The other church would gladly negotiate fair and graceful terms of co-existence, or in a worst-case scenario, disengagement.

Seven dioceses are seeking to reshape their life together as dioceses — faithful to what the Episcopal Church has been and submitted to what the Anglican Communion has taught - under the oversight of a Canterbury appointed Commissary, temporarily exercising some of the responsibilities normally assigned to the American primate. Some of these dioceses have requested “alternative primatial oversight.” One has requested “a direct pastoral relationship.” One has requested “alternative primatial relationship and, as appropriate, oversight.” While worded differently, what these requests seek in common is a special relationship of pastoral care and accountability under the Archbishop of Canterbury described more fully below. We anticipate that these seven dioceses may be joined in this request by at least two other dioceses in September.

Given the hostility now being expressed by ECUSA’s majority leadership – suggesting among other things that our “dioceses be declared vacant” — we see the special relationship for which we are appealing as the best means of preserving the status quo and balance among American dioceses, both progressive and conserving, until the longer-term issues can be decided. For the next several years, while negotiated settlements or court proceedings may run their courses state by state across the United States, and while development of an Anglican Communion Covenant edges forward among the Provinces of the Communion, these seven dioceses propose to function separately from the ECUSA majority, but under the Constitution and Canons of ECUSA as received.

The minority ECUSA church needs protection. The request is not a request to enter into the legal affairs of the Episcopal Church, except that the Constitution of the Episcopal Church and of the several dioceses all require “constituent membership” in the Anglican Communion and “communion with the See of Canterbury.” These are matters determined not by us in the United States but by Canterbury and the rest of the world, so it is to Canterbury and the rest of the world that we must turn.

Are the seven dioceses, all Network Dioceses, “constituent members of the Anglican Communion?” Are the seven dioceses, all Network Dioceses, “in communion with the See of Canterbury?” Can the precedents and the structures of the Communion find the means to “acknowledge the standing of” and to “protect” — through an affirmation of legitimate Communion status and the extra-ordinary creation of a Communion Commissary during the present crisis - the witness of these Windsor-compliant Dioceses, and any other dioceses that may choose to join us, threatened by a hostile and litigious ECUSA majority?

The Appeal

The appeal is for a Commissary under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury, charged with responsibility for general supervision, direction, gathering, pastoral care and accountability concerning ourselves and our dioceses.

We seek acknowledgement that the Dioceses that have made this appeal, all dioceses of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes, are legitimate and recognizable dioceses of the Anglican Communion in their several locations, at least insofar as the Communion is concerned. We also seek recognition that as dioceses fully submitted to the Windsor Report, we should be given status in the Communion that is at least the equivalent of that accorded the majority of dioceses of the Episcopal Church, a majority that has failed to embrace the Windsor Report.

We seek provision of a Commissary, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, preferably in episcopal orders, to act as our point of connection to him and to exercise general supervision, direction, gathering, pastoral care and accountability on his behalf.

We seek to remain faithful to the Constitution and Canons of our several Dioceses, and to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church as the basis of church order, church life and church discipline, limited only by the rejection of innovations inconsistent with evangelical truth and catholic order, with special reference to the teachings of the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998, and to the Windsor Report of 2004.

“Nuts and Bolts”

We seek to remain accountable to the wider Church. We believe the tasks constitutionally and canonically assigned to the Presiding Bishop are for the good order of the Church.
Because of the spiritual and disciplinary nature of the tasks, however, it is clear that neither the present nor incoming incumbent can exercise these tasks fairly or impartially on our behalf. The tasks are listed in Appendix A.

We imagine that a Commissary might be appointed to exercise these responsibilities over us and on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This is a provisional (transitional) arrangement until (1) such time as our future as dioceses is settled in the US and (2) the status of the two ECUSA churches here - progressive majority and conserving minority — can be sorted out vis a vis Anglican Communion membership and covenant.

We propose that the Commissary be in episcopal orders and have standing and understanding of the American situation, with a theological consonance with the group of dioceses being overseen. We could imagine that a former primate like Maurice Sinclair or retired bishop like Stephen Jecko might serve in such a role very well.

We believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury could reasonably approach the present and incoming Presiding Bishops, seeking their willingness to refrain from objection to this plan. While intensely distasteful to the ECUSA majority, this plan (1) offers a “cease-fire” that would be broadly appreciated in the Communion; (2) would be seen by Canterbury and the rest of the Communion as a positive action by the ECUSA leadership in what has, to date, seemed like intransigence and arrogance on the part of the progressive majority; and (3) does not preclude negotiated settlements or court actions by any of the parties in the American dispute. Whether the Presiding Bishop or Presiding Bishop-elect agree to remain neutral for the good of the Communion is a matter that should be offered to them, but their refusal to cooperate should not be permitted to block that which is minimally protective of the ECUSA minority and maximally to the good of the Communion. It is our contention that ECUSA has passed the point of being allowed to continue to define the terms.

Statement of Common Faith and Commitment of the Requesting Dioceses

The Bishops making this appeal reaffirm our common faith in the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and our common commitment, both to the Anglican Communion and to one another.

Without equivocation, we embrace and submit ourselves to the principles and recommendations of The Windsor Report. We are Windsor Bishops. Likewise, we are Lambeth Bishops, who fully endorse the clear teaching of the Communion as expressed in the resolutions of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Of particular importance to the current crisis that faces us are Resolution 1.10 on human sexuality and Resolution III.2 on the unity of the Anglican Communion.

Appendix B offers an expanded theological statement prepared as a part of this submission.

Some of us support the ordination of women as priests and bishops as a legitimate development in the historic faith and order of the Church, but others among us do not, finding insufficient warrant in Holy Scripture, and no warrant or requirement in the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, to justify such a change in the historic practice of the Church. We are, however, all in complete agreement as to the moral authority of the Lambeth resolutions.

While recognizing the difficulties presented by our theological differences on the issue of women’s ordination as priests and bishops, we are mutually committed “to live together in the highest degree of Communion possible.” To maintain our unity, we uphold the principle of “open reception” as defined by the Eames Commission on Women in the Episcopate, recognizing that in the end the Church ultimately may accept or reject the practice of ordaining women as priests and bishops. In the words of Resolution III.2, we “affirm that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, are both loyal Anglicans,” and “that there is and should be no compulsion on any bishop in matters concerning ordination or licensing.”

Why Now?

Too much energy continues to be spent on the fight. All of us who love the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ yearn to refocus our efforts on mission. That, of course, is the greatest response to “Why Now?” But there is more.

This is a kairos moment for the Episcopal Church and for the Anglican Communion. The comprehensive picture emerging from General Convention actions and inactions, as concerns the Windsor Report in particular, is more than sufficient for a judgment that it is continuing its “walk apart.” Appendix C illustrates the Presiding Bishop-elect’s commitment to the present direction of the majority.

For Network churches in non-Network dioceses the conclusion is that it is time to negotiate separation from ECUSA. With no new options introduced, this separation invariably takes the form of affiliation with a diocese of the Global South, whether Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Central Africa or Southern Cone.

Furthermore, for leading congregations in Network dioceses (e.g., Christ Church, Plano, Texas, in the Diocese of Dallas) there is an unwillingness any longer to be associated with the Episcopal Church.

In practical terms, this means that the strongest congregations of Network dioceses are contemplating leaving their dioceses unless there is some way for the dioceses themselves to be sustained in a meaningful way by a direct relationship to the Communion. Departure to the Global South by these congregations will have the dual effect of deepening the incoherence of Anglicanism in the United States and weakening, perhaps fatally, the Network dioceses.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has historically played a pivotal role in the life of the American Church, including consultation on the Book of Common Prayer and in securing the episcopate. The present Archbishop has now given the whole of the Communion a compelling vision in his “The Hope and Challenge of Being an Anglican Today.” We ask him to consider this appeal in the hope that we can together respond to his leadership, avert the incoherence and fracturing already suggested, and work toward a new day within a Covenant that will bear fruit.

The seven dioceses that make this appeal are faithful Anglican dioceses. We stand with the rest of the Communion in Faith and Order. Can the existing systems of the Communion find a way, in this extraordinarily challenging moment, to provide for our recognition and continuity in the face of the aggressive innovation embraced by the majority of our own Province, whose leaders seem to us determined to bring about our elimination?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 5:06pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

I read the 'evidence' for their unhappiness with the PB-elect, and all I can see in her answers to questions, her comments, that they cite with averted eyes and quivering hearts, is evidence that she stands firmly in the progressive center of TEC.

She's for inclusion of all of God's children, for feeding the hungry, caring for the homeless, prisoners, the ill - WOW! What a shock! Are the quivering hearts all for keeping food from the hungry, water from the thirsty, keeping the homelsss out of shelter? Is THAT what they mean by their so-called 'orthodoxy?'

And she probably didn't cite Dame Julian in her sermon because she thought educated Episcopalians would recognize the source.

My late mother would look at that document and say, what a lot of prissy old women they are!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 6:04pm BST

This is wonderful!
The list of “allegations” against the American PB-elect is the best thing I’ve read since “1066 and All That” when I was eleven and it seems to be written in a similar vein – but, wait a moment ……. Perhaps this is itself a spoof! A spoof written by Fr Jake or Salty Vicar to pour opprobrium on the dissident bishops of TEC and make them appear witless and feeble – I do hope not!!
If it is the real thing - I can only imagine the guffaws of laughter coming from a study deep within the ancient walls of that fortress palace on the South bank of Father Thames.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 7:18pm BST

Call it "chromosomal politics".

The PB-Elect doesn't have a Y chromosome. She believes that faithful Episcopalian *couples* may have 1, 2, or none.

On this basis, does the APO minority demand its effective independence, from the democratic (and Godly!) polity under which they were constituted as *Episcopal* dioceses... :-(

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 7:20pm BST

Martin
It certainly puts conservative criticism of the document ECUSA presented to the ACC in Nottingham in a new light :-)

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 8:00pm BST

And what do you suppose they would think of that radical document, the Magnificat? Oh well - the left-wing unorthodox ramblings of another mere woman, I guess.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 8:09pm BST

I especially love how one of their two quotes from +KJS that they label "On B033" is from an interview for The Witness in April -- months before B033 was so much as a twinkle in +Dorsey Henderson's eye!

Posted by: Sarah Dylan Breuer on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 8:13pm BST

Wow. The list of the PB-elect's quotes sure is damning...nothing like theologically sound, reasonable, mature reflection to make someone look like a heretic.

Sigh.

Posted by: Aaron on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 9:24pm BST

True, Simon – quite true!
I take it all back!!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 10:06pm BST

This all so very odd -- a rejection of the authority of the Genereal Convention of The Episcopal Church as legally constituted from its inception. Dioceses are not independent entities that can (or cannot) be in communion with Canterbury apart from The Episcopal Church. They are part of The Episcopal Church whose authoritative body (i.e., the Genrral Convention) creates, divides or suppresses them. Diocesan property is held in trust for the national church (just as parishes do not own their property as individual congregations).

One would think that somebody in these dioceses would know these basic facts.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Saturday, 9 September 2006 at 11:48pm BST

I haven't seen such pearl-clutching since the Joan Crawford marathon on American Movie Classics!

Posted by: New Here on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 12:08am BST

I like how the citations list is almost entirely online resources. And frankly, we all have a limited understanding of the Reign of God, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard what the Father has prepared for those who love Him."

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 12:13am BST

It is nice to have a detailed, explicit list published - (but IS this absolute and comprehensive? Classical? Orthodox enough to stand unaltered, even for nine years? A veritable Malleus Maleficarum?) - of all the various alleged ways the PB-elect does not meet new conservative muster.

Otherwise, who would have guessed that she was anything other than a gifted, intelligent woman, with a big big heart and a big big mind, chosen ever so prayerfully and ever so wisely to lead us by the GC delegates? Imagine, hoodwinking all those intelligent, caring people at GC - including all the new conservative TEC bishops who voted for her as PB. It would boggle the common sense mind if it were not so palpably, obviously, conservatively replete with what comedian Stephen Colbert calls, Truthiness.

I am looking forward to looking back on all this, nine years or so from now. You know, when all the new conservative predictions that TEC will become nothing but a New Age Coven of pagan believers have been put to the slightly longer test.

You go girl. If these people dislike you so much, you must be doin somethin right.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 1:57am BST

Earlier this evening I posted an excerpt from these documents to the Episcopal Voices of Central Florida website.

Several people have asked to see the evidence that the document titled "Concerns About the Presiding Bishop" is real. They also wonder whether the Bishop of Central Florida is in fact connected with it. I hope that some on this list will be able to provide answers to that question.

I have also given them a link to the "Connecticut Six" website, on which the document originally appeared, and I will post this question on other websites which have linked to the document.

Posted by: Charlotte Pressler on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 3:36am BST

“ …submitted to what the Anglican Communion has taught.”

How is this? The Anglican Communion is not a legal subject, nor has it ever been a teaching body.

“Are the seven dioceses, all Network Dioceses, “constituent members of the Anglican Communion?””

Every time the word “constituent member” is used, there is deceptive word-play at work:

Nowadays 38 Anglican church Provinces, formerly (mostly) British Colonies, around the world _constitute_ the Communion of Anglican churches.

These 38 churches/Provinces (and only these 38) may be called _members_ of the Anglican Communion of churches.

Of the 38 Provinces or churches, 4 are _constituent members_ which is that they f o u n d e d the Anglican Communion in 1867, agreeing upon the first Lambeth Conference to be held that year (incidentally, the Communion only just was an Anglican-Lutheran Communion, for the Archbishop of Upsala was invited but declined).

The 4 _constituent members_ of the Anglican Communion are the Church of England and the Canadian church, its daughter (which was made a church organization of its own that same year, upon the change of status of Canada from British Colony to the Dominion of Canada), and the Episcopal church of Scotland and its daughter church the American Episcopal church.

These 4 churches (and only these 4) are the _constituent members_ of the Anglican Communion. No one else.

“Are the seven dioceses, all Network Dioceses, “in communion with the See of Canterbury?””

It follows from the above, that the 7 Network dioceses (along with all other Anglican dioceses) are not _members_ of the Anglican Communion in their own right, nor are they immediately “in communion with the See of Canterbury” but only mediately, through being dioceses of their own church/Province.

I follows equally, that the 7 Network dioceses are not immediately _members_ of the Anglican Communion, but only mediately, as long as part of their Province, one of the 4 _constituent members_ of the Anglican Communion of Churches.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 7:35am BST

Of their concerns with the PB, item lists #2 and #4 made me snort my Scotch! How very.....well, two faced. As to her not sharing a commitment to the Archbishop's vision of a covenant, well, I get the feeling she's in the majority on that one.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 10:15pm BST

Having reviewed Appendix C, let me say how very happy and impressed I am that the bishops of the church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, had the discernment to choose this remarkable women to head our church -- we are truly blessed.

How can people refuse to see that this is the Gospel of Jesus that they are rejecting? It truly baffles me!

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 10:54pm BST

I think it's quite interesting that the report wants to begin with the Baptismal Covenant, especially since most Anglicans don't know it at all, and those who do know it (including the Church of England, where it is used in Common Worship) don't use it in the same way. I've reflected on that on my blog at http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=20406961&postID=114602054737358479 and at http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=20406961&postID=114616668783475207. Since the Common Cause statement put forward by the Anglican Communion Network focuses on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which certainly did not include the Baptismal Covenant, wonder at the choice. It seems to suggest that they indeed want to both inside and outside the Episcopal Church, as do their comments on Consitution and Canons.

They seem to establish a hierarchy among the clauses of the Covenant. They especially want to separate "Apostolic teaching and fellowship" from its expression in "seeking and serving Christ in all persons." Most of us would not see them as separate at all. Today's epistle in the Lectionary of the 1979 Prayer Book was from James: "Show me your faith apart from works, and I by my works will show you my faith." That seems apt in the face of trying to separate the content of faith from seeing it expressed in the world. But that is the consequence of separating the clauses of the Covenant, rather than seeing them as integrally related.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Sunday, 10 September 2006 at 11:39pm BST

It also appears to me that the Seven Bishops have not been listening very carefully to the Archbishop, who has said time and again that he will do nothing -- and feels he _cannot_ do anything -- outside the existing legal structures of the existing churches; hence this call for a meeting among those who can actually try to make some make-do effort under the Sir Humphrey-like watchful eye of a representative from England.

Speaking of which, this all does seem to resemble a lost episode of Yes, Minister in its own perverse way; particularly the tortures suffered by the English language in the efforts to twist ++KJS's language into the vilest heresy (worhty of schism), and to nuance the already highly nuanced prose of ++Rowan into a stark declaration of independence.

I still pray for a good outcome; and do not think the Dissatisfied Seven have done themselves any service with this Appeal to an authority who has already said, "Who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?"

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 11 September 2006 at 12:08am BST

I'm about to reiterate my earlier appeal. The liberals and moderates of the Diocese of Central Florida absolutely refuse to believe that their bishop, John Howe, had anything to do with the "Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury." They believe it is an Internet hoax. They insist that their bishop would never, never say such things.

I have tried in vain to convince them that the "Appeal" is a real document and that their bishop really signed off on it.

So: could some of you usually reliable sources say something that might convince them otherwise?

I am of course intrigued as well as baffled by their response -- the term "Stockholm Syndrome" comes to mind.

Posted by: Charlotte Pressler on Monday, 11 September 2006 at 1:49am BST

Wow! Thanks to the CT Six for convincing me that I will TRULY love having this woman as my PB! What a magnificent summary of all that I believe and stand for, in both the spiritual and temporal universes! I wonder how similarly pleased the ABC will be with this list of.....whatever? Certainly sounds like the way he used to (?) express his own convictions. Thanks CT Six!!!

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 11 September 2006 at 4:32am BST

Goran,
Really there are only 3 constituent members of the Communion. The "Church of England in the Dominion of Canada" (now the "Anglican Church of Canada") did not come into independent existence until 1893, the first Canadian General Synod. In 1867 Anglicanism in the new Dominion of Canada consisted of the Province of Canada (Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes) and the Province of Rupert's Land (the West), both overseas provinces of the CofE.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Monday, 11 September 2006 at 4:07pm BST
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