Thursday, 14 September 2006

two bishops comment

Updated again Friday evening

Episcopal News Service has a report on four bishops comments: in addition to those below, they have Bishop Mark Sisk and Bishop James Stanton, see More bishops offer reflections on New York meeting

Here’s a third bishop, Bishop John Lipscomb Bishops fail to reach consensus over ‘primatial oversight’ issues

First Bishop Peter Lee:

A letter to the Diocese of Virginia from the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, Bishop

September 13, 2006

Dear Friends:

As you know I have just completed a three-day meeting which I co-convened with Bishop John Lipscomb of the Diocese of Southwestern Florida at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The purpose of our meeting was to address the many complex issues that face our church as one of the 38 autonomous provinces of the Anglican Communion and of the Communion itself.

You no doubt will have read the statement we adopted this morning which says, in effect, we have not reached a conclusion. I feel as though I am writing you with that sentiment an awful lot these days. While each of us in that meeting and many church observers are finding this process frustrating, especially as we operate in a culture which desires quick, decisive action, I am reminded of the lesson from the Epistle of James this past Sunday and the call to us to be quick to listen and slow to action.

In that spirit, I want to share with you my sense of hope coming out of this meeting. While it is true we did not reach a conclusion, the level of candor and charity shared in our meeting was remarkable. I am hopeful that as we continue to meet, the Church will reclaim its historic generous orthodoxy and its respect for diversity and offer the Anglican Communion an example of faithfulness in unity and mission.

I am grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his care for our Church at this time and the sensitivity with which he has asked leaders of our province to assemble to address the complex issues within our Church. I look forward to our next meeting.

Faithfully,

Peter James Lee
Bishop of Virginia

Second, Bishop Jack Iker:

BISHOP IKER COMMENTS ON THE NEW YORK SUMMIT

Another meeting has come and gone, with no clear results or final resolutions. Another “conversation” has taken place, where diverse views were exchanged, but no unified way forward could be discerned.

So where does that leave us? Well, it does not leave us in the same place as where we began! We have moved further along the path to the difficult decisions that ultimately must be faced, in every diocese and in every parish. Certain options have been discarded; others remain open.

I am grateful that the New York summit provided an opportunity to “clear the air” in face-to-face encounters among bishops who stand on opposite sides of the issues that so deeply divide us. It was helpful to say what was on my heart and mind and to hear directly from the other side as to how they see things. It was not always a pleasant exchange of views. At times the conversations were blunt and even confrontational. Nonetheless, what needed to be said was said and heard, in a spirit of honesty and love. That being said, it is my sense that the time for endless conversations is coming to a close and that the time for action is upon us. I am not interested in having more meetings to plan to have more meetings.

Our appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight is still before the church, and provision must be made for the pastoral need we have expressed. The initial appeal from this diocese was made to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates and the Panel of Reference. (We soon withdrew our request for consideration by the Panel of Reference due to its apparent inability to act on any of the petitions that have been placed before it over the past year or so.) When six other dioceses made very similar appeals, we consolidated them into one joint appeal and submitted it to the Archbishop of Canterbury in late July.

After prayerful consideration and consultation, the Archbishop called for the New York summit, which took place on September 11-13, 2006, in hopes of finding an American church solution to an American church problem, but to no avail. We could not come to a consensus as to how to recognize and respond to the needs expressed in the appeal. So back to Canterbury it goes, as the principal Instrument of Unity in the Anglican Communion, but this time with a renewed emphasis on appealing also to the Primates of the Communion as a whole and not to Canterbury alone. The Primates Meeting is a second, very important Instrument of Unity in the life of worldwide Anglicanism. We ask for their intervention and assistance when they meet in February.

Some have balked at the terminology of our appeal requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight, pointing out that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church does not really have canonical oversight of any of our dioceses in the first place. While I can see their point, nonetheless the official job description for the PB is “Chief Pastor and Primate,” and it is this role that we seek to have exercised on our behalf by an orthodox Primate of the Communion, and not just someone other than the Presiding Bishop-elect of ECUSA. We require a Primate who upholds the historic faith and order of the catholic church and is fully compliant with the recommendations of the Windsor Report as the way forward for the Anglican Communion. Only in this way will we have an unclouded primatial relationship with the rest of the Communion.

Thank you all who prayed so fervently for us in our deliberations in New York City this past week. I am sincerely grateful for your encouragement and support. Your prayers were indeed answered - and are being answered still, in ways that are yet to be revealed.

Please note that a very important gathering of “Windsor Bishops” will be held at Camp Allen in Houston next week, from September 19-22, and that I will be present for those discussions. This is a much larger consultation that includes all Bishops who fully support the recommendations of the Windsor Report and believe that General Convention made an inadequate response to what the Report requested of ECUSA. The Archbishop of Canterbury is fully aware of the purpose of this meeting, and two Church of England Bishops will be present to share in our deliberations and then report back to the Archbishop on what took place. Please do pray daily for us as we consider next steps to be taken in pursuit of the unity and mission of the church.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
Holy Cross Day

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Comments

Well, there appears to be a clear disconnect between Bp. Lee's take on things and that of Bp. Iker. Good grief.

Lois Keen
Connecticut

Posted by: Lois Keen on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 6:44pm BST

The American solution to an American church problem exists, Bishop Iker. It is called complying with the canons and constitution. If you don't like that option, leave, but let those in your diocese who wish to remain in TEC and the Anglican Communion stay. Leave the keys on the table and don't let the door hit your back on the way out.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 7:28pm BST

+Lee's "I am reminded of the lesson from the Epistle of James this past Sunday and the call to us to be quick to listen and slow to action . . . I am hopeful that as we continue to meet, the Church will reclaim its historic generous orthodoxy and its respect for diversity and offer the Anglican Communion an example of faithfulness in unity and mission."

versus

+Iker's "it is my sense that the time for endless conversations is coming to a close and that the time for action is upon us. I am not interested in having more meetings . . . provision must be made"

WWJD? (Softball question!)

Lord have mercy...

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 8:01pm BST

This whole stage of the process reminds me of a couple in the throws of a divorce. At this point, the eventual outcome seems certain. But neither side wants to move out and give the advantage of status quo to the other and we're reduced to we're fighting over the silver and who gets the relatives at Christmas and Easter.

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 8:23pm BST

Seen from a slightly different perspective, I haven't changed my (rather traditional) theological views, nor ecclesiology. I'm a cradle Anglican/Episcopalian.

Why is it, that *I* am suddenly seen as no longer an Anglican? I'm staying in my ECUSA parish, part of a liberal diocese, yet Bps Duncan & Iker seem to think *I* subscribe to a "new religion". No, it's the same one and the Episcopal Church is the same church as far as this lowly layman can tell. That would be the same comprehensive church I enterred at my baptism.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 8:35pm BST

I have to say I was sympathetic for awhile to these "reasserter" types in their campaign to retain their churches. But they are so arrogant and so willful - presenting lists of what they "require" - that I have lost any desire to take their side on anything. Cynthia is right: what they should do is go. Just go.

I will no longer speak up for them; my sympathy is gone. This is all based in pure bigotry, it's finally crystal clear. If Bishop Iker and his movement is so committed to their own agenda - if TEC is so contaminated by Gene Robinson and Katharine Schori that they can't bear to stay any longer - then they can leave and start from the ground up, just like other movements do.

They need to leave.

Posted by: bls on Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 9:09pm BST

>I am not interested in having more meetings to plan to have more meetings.

What's this? Petulance, or just another flash of impatience? Is this crew finally getting the message that the entire Communion has already acceded to a frightening round of "meetings" initiated in response to THEIR pleas [which were taken seriously] in an effort to find some way of satisfying THEM?

But these are not reasonable gentlemen. And now there is every indication that no meeting of minds was ever possible. If it is true that they require a special Primate, I suppose there are at least seven candidates. Let them fight it out -or accept the benevolent leadership of His Holiness Peter : Abuja. It is however very doubtful now that they can ever acheive "unclouded primatial relationship with the rest of the Communion".

It is past time for these arrogant dissidents to do the right thing and make some noble sacrifice on behalf of the whole. If they truly cannot abide taking their rightful place in TEC, it is indeed time to act in accord with their rhetoric and stop holding all to ransom.

Regrettably, there is also every indication that this will not happen. Fr. Iker's allusion to "ways that are yet to be revealed" suggest that they can and probably will continue forcing further "meetings" - but the end is in sight. The clock is ticking, and some time within the next 15 months [I guess] the invitations to Lambeth will be issued and then all this nonsense will come to an end.

That some in their current disappointment are already starting to bad mouth ++Rowan may also indicate that they know they don't have any right to tell him who to invite to his shindig.

Posted by: Cal McMillan on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 1:44am BST

I also note the discrepancy between both Bishop Lee's and Bishop Jefferts Schori's responses from Bishop Iker's. For the former, "frank and honest" discussions are the grounds for relationship, for "the highest communion possible." For Bishop Iker they are a distraction. That suggests, actually, that he agrees on what "frank and honest" discussions can mean. The difference is that he wants none of them.

I was also somewhat disappointed with Bishop Lipscomb's understanding that AlPO was like DEPO, intended to be temporary. The Network voices have long said that DEPO was not sufficient, because in fact it was temporary, and was intended as an opportunity to seek reconciliation. They have made no suggestion that AlPO might be a temporary respite, allowing time to seek reconciliation. DEPO, too, was insufficient because it was only delegated pastoral oversight, and not redistributed jurisdiction. One can only expect, then, that requests for AlPO are also requests for redistributed jurisdiction, with no hint that this might be temporary.

It appears that they have lost hope and/or interest in the possibility of persuading the majority of Episcopalians. Perhaps they also fear being persuaded, at least somewhat, toward agreement with the majority of Episcopalians. I can believe that for many, perhaps most, this is not really about real property. This is about patrimony, about the "true" definition of Anglican. This is about patrimony; and like the Prodigal's older brother, they are distressed that the Father might welcome all his children, however distressed or ragged or different.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 2:45am BST

I find it absolutely hilarious that the request for Alternative Primatial Oversight is now being called ALPO for short. For those outside the U.S., Alpo is an inexpensive canned food for dogs. I'm not drawing any parallels, but do I really need to?

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 7:00am BST

Every congregation probably has someone like Jack Iker, alas. Strikes me from a distance as having a personality disorder, and what has called a crazy-maker in 'The artists' way'.

People like this go on and on making demand after demand --and nothing ever meets their need. They drain and demoralise all around them, and at the end of the day have the pleasure of feeling let down and victimised.

He doesnt want all this "conversation", all this 'talk'. Yet, next week he is meeting with another group of similarly disturbed and disturing people --notice how they both hide and reveal their project of dissatisfaction by calling themselves 'Windsor bishops' (the irony). Having appealed to / bother Canterbury he now intends to appeal to all Parimates--bother more people and muddy the waters, obfuscate , confuse ---and later BLAME!
Rowan is right to keep weell away ! All pastors will recognise this, along with any who've tried to manage or run any kind of community or organisation. Iker and co will abuse and confuse on and on and on, until someone with authority says,"Stop! Enough already! Stand in the naughty corner." Meanwhile he go on bullying and pulling the wings off butterflies.

In UK a good number of such folks are at least corralled within FiF., etc., and their dioceses are saved from their crazy making, quite a bit, as they tend to have flying bishops, and keep to themselves. Their diocesans must heave a sigh of relief. I am now practiced at spotting such folks, and at giving them the widest of wide births ! (Remember: 'pearls befpore swine; and rending').

They need to be told, "enough is enough". "Are you staying and behaving(that is doing the job you are paid for, )--or going to find another job elsewhere?"

Posted by: laurence.roberts on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 9:17am BST

Question - and I may just have missed this - is there somewhere a list of those invited to and attending Camp Allen? Thanks. TGIF!

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 12:55pm BST

Part of the problem with more meetings for poor Bishop Iker and his sort? These meetings, unlike the network new conservative meetings of recent past memory, are more public, and will get reported out to the rest of the communion at all levels of believerhood - lay, priest, and bishop - in a varied and transparent manner.

If Iker is afraid of diversity, and his remarks clearly demonstrate that he finds it distasteful to have to boat responsibly in those theological waters, then we may begin to suspect Bishop Iker and his sort are maybe equally afraid of everything coming to light with a range of diverse commentary evoked in response. A worldwide conversation about any of these conflict matters is just what they do NOT want. That would move things away from the question, How shall we who are exclusively right police and punish those others? To, How shall we Anglicans agree to disagree while we continue in common worship that is common witness, and common Tikkun?

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 3:05pm BST

Bp Iker wrote, "We require a Primate who upholds the historic faith and order of the catholic church and is fully compliant with the recommendations of the Windsor Report as the way forward for the Anglican Communion. Only in this way will we have an unclouded primatial relationship with the rest of the Communion."

Uh, OK. So, in the words of the Rev. Andrew Grimmke, "We require an alternate leader who strictly follows a set of recommendations, one of which is that there be a moratorium on alternate leadership. We require a primate who will uphold the historic order by ignoring the historic order."

Paging George Orwell. Mr. Orwell, you are wanted at AAC/ACN headquarters...

Posted by: David Huff on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 3:07pm BST

As frequently seems to be the case with this new conservative realignment campaign strategy - the leaders oscillate between loudly declaring some pet orthodox redefinition to be exclusively and finally true, and telling us that words are useless and false tools, in favor of acts to enforce punishment and suffering upon others who are defined as outside the orthodox fold. Their deep point is not that progressive believers think differently. Everybody already knows that. Their deep point is that they cannot be bothered to live, pray, or work in a world that has to be responsibly shared with - yuck - people who do not conform to their legal-penal authority.

The heat of the moment is those changes in what we know about sexuality and human nature, probably starting with the discovery of sperm/egg fertilization (displacing entirely the church's favored homunculus theory of the Medieval period), and continuing on to our current practices in family planning, and strategies for intergrating trans-gender people or intersex people into our global human community. Along the way, we more or less gave up on the innate inferiority of women to do anything except what a man told them to do. Marriage became a relationship of equality and love, and lovemaking that blessed us all as its joyfulness spilled over into worship and service, and the incredibly fashionable property rights that defined parents and children were also displaced by faddish new views of a basic child protection right, independent of parents to surprising extent.

So we now come to communion polity and worldwide powers, and new conservatives declare that words mean nothing, compared to their final laying hold of new Anglican police power/police actions. The point of policing? To punish/exclude people who conscientiously disagree with them. To avoid having to share opportunities or resources with people who differ from them.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 3:24pm BST

ALPO was AlPO when first used by Fr. Jake I believe. Did anyone really think the Network folks had any intention of meeting anyone from the other side halfway on this and work towards an amicable resolution. They have decided they know the mind of God and will not have it any other way but their own. Case closed.

815 needs to get going after +KJS is installed in November and ask them whether they intend to abide by the constitutions and canons of the church, to work with their brothers and sisters in Christ to reach a common ground or baring that just agree to disagree over some of these issues and get on with the really important things we face and if that isn't possible tell them it's time to go. As I've said before, let the parishes within the diocese decide where their loyalties are and for those who chose to go let them make an offer to buy the property if they want it. Otherwise wish them well and let us be done with this.

Posted by: Richard III on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 5:10pm BST

Wrote Richard III: "They have decided they know the mind of God and will not have it any other way but their own. Case closed."

I would add: Knowing the mind of God, the +Duncan, Iker, Peter Abuja folks are GOD!

Posted by: John Henry on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 8:00pm BST

"Rowan is right to keep weell away ! All pastors will recognise this, along with any who've tried to manage or run any kind of community or organisation. Iker and co will abuse and confuse on and on and on, until someone with authority says,"Stop! Enough already! Stand in the naughty corner." Meanwhile he go on bullying and pulling the wings off butterflies." Laurence R.

Yes, I think it's mostly "personality disorders" running wild and I believe these "crazy makers" will insist/demand that we keep "playing catch" with them until we put the ball down.

Faithful, fearless and emotionally well centered adults in OUR Church leadership must tell these angry "demanders" there are no more games to be played.

These "bullies" were given a fair and balanced hearing, a personal and loving welcome and another special invitation from OUR new Presiding Bishop Mom. Her arms were/are wide open with Christian love.

I don't think most of renigades (Texastalk) will be joining us at the Communion rail at The Episcopal Church in the near future as the rest of us humbly accept the "Gifts of God for the people of God."

I think these folks will find other friends elsewhere to play "catch" with or simply pick up their ball and go home.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 8:31pm BST

I am intrigued by +Iker's definition of who can feed them their ALPO: "We require a Primate who upholds the historic faith and order of the catholic church and is fully compliant with the recommendations of the Windsor Report as the way forward for the Anglican Communion."

Fully Windsor-complicant? FULLY? Then that will rule out +Akinola, +Venables, +Uganda, and all those other primates who have wantonly violated the spirit and letter of the Windsor Report with their border-crossings.

Who will be left to give these growling bishops their ALPO?

Posted by: Lisa on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 11:11pm BST

There are so many good comments here, but at one point David quoted "We require a Primate who upholds the historic faith and order of the catholic church and is fully compliant with the recommendations of the Windsor Report as the way forward..." I think there is a bit of wind in the sails in this position. When the recommendations of the Windsor report are heading in the same direction as their theological paradigms - then we should be good submissive Christians. When the recommendations and/or dialogue might be conflicting with their paradigms, then "...words are useless and false tools" (to quote drdanfee).

The comments about personality disorders are not completely unreasonable. But we should be aware that extremists can have disorders at both ends of the spectrum. Some of the disorders that would lead to such Macheveilian behaviour would be obsessive-compulsive or sociopathy. Both having a high need for control over reality or else reality is "not safe". Then there is also good old power mongering - and the longer they stay formally part of the communion the longer they can legitimately use the network's established communication channels to find other like minded souls to increase the size of their start-up alternative. Ignoring the question of ethics, it is more cost-effective to poach customers from a competitor than start fresh.

Again, I would like to see who is invited to Lambeth. Will it be open to all who were part of the communion, or will it be tailored to appease one faction (thus rigging the outcomes)? It is one thing to refuse an invitation to a wedding, it is another never to be given the option in the first place...

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 15 September 2006 at 11:18pm BST
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