Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Windsor bishops, ACI latest

Updated Tuesday evening
On the one hand, the Anglican Communion Institute Inc. has a new URL and a new website: http://anglicancommunioninstitute.com. It also has a new Treasurer and explains that “The Anglican Communion Institute is pursuing incorporation in the state of Texas”.

The most recent pronouncement from this group is A Visit From the Archbishop (dated 25 April). It is signed by Christopher Seitz, Philip Turner and Ephraim Radner.

Their previous article was Questions We Avoid At Our Peril.

On the other hand, the Living Church reports that seven bishops have issued a statement: Windsor Bishops Write Archbishop Williams, Set Meeting Dates.

See here for earlier articles on how many “Windsor bishops” there might be in total.

Update
Oh, I almost forgot: there was this article about the Anglican Communion Institute that I intended to link to once it became available to the public, and that happened last Friday: This is Andrew Brown’s press column in the Church Times dated 20 April 2007: What it takes to be an institute.
(Note: yes AB knows now (because I told him last week) that SDB is not yet a member of the clergy, so please save your comments on that.)
The Poor Man Institute site is here.

Tuesday evening
Jim Naughton has added his extended commentary on these matters, at 7 + ? =, including this:

…The steering committee’s cause has also been damaged by one of its own members. News of what transpires inside the Primates Meeting filters slowly through the Anglican system, so descriptions of Bishop Bruce MacPherson’s pointed personal attack on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the meeting in Tanzania is just beginning to achieve wide circulation. Observers say that MacPherson, who had been invited to the meeting to speak on behalf of the bishops who had endorsed the Camp Allen principles, characterized Bishop Jefferts Schori as the embodiment of everything that was wrong with the Episcopal Church. The comments, observers said, went well beyond the issues under consideration at the meeting and included a general condemnation of her beliefs and her ministry. MacPherson’s remarks made those of Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who spoke on behalf of the Anglican Communion Network, seem mild by comparison, observers said.

MacPherson, who is bishop of Western Louisiana, is entitled to his opinion of the Presiding Bishop; his fellow bishops are entitled to their opinion of him. After his performance in Tanzania, he may no longer be able to lead the coalition of moderate and conservative bishops that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ACI, and Bishops N. T. Wright and Michael Scott-Joynt of the Church of England, were attempting to will into existence before the meeting in Dar es Salaam.

The success of the Primates’ communiqué hinges on the existence of such a coalition. If it doesn’t exist, the fiction that a large minority of Episcopalians is crying out for the Communion to intervene in their Church’s affairs cannot be sustained. And what was once a clever plan to undercut the authority of the Episcopal Church’s elected leadership, empower a counter-establishment, and preserve the notion that the Communion will return to health as soon as Americans give up on the gay issue, unravels.

The supporters of this plan — which include the Archbishop of Canterbury and, it would seem, at least several key members of the Anglican Communion Office — have invested much in it. For reasons best known to themselves, they have been willing to pretend that the theological opposition in the Episcopal Church is much greater than it is. But there is no Plan B, so they are unlikely to abandon their delusions — if they are deluded, and not knowingly distorting the truth — lightly…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 8:55am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

Which side speaks with most conviction and persuasive force? The House of Bishops seemed to me to outclass Tanzania on that front. There may be a certain fragility in their commitment to progress and openness as they see it, but the case of the other side, even when backed with the Communique, has become so tawdry and whiny -- as well as so riddled with inconsistencies because of the selective nature of its vaunted Windsor compliance -- that I cannot see liberal churches finding any good reason to knuckle under to it. Nor can I see the Primates carrying through the threats in the Communique, since they are not sustained by any positive vision to lend conviction to their acts. So the Anglican Communion will agree to disagree, as heretofore.

Posted by: Joseph O'Leary on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 11:24am BST

"It is becoming obvious that the leadership of TEC means to move resolutely ahead with its mission of civil rights and inclusion, insisting that these are imperatives of the Gospel of Jesus Christ"

I have never understood how the German church could have sided against the Jews during WWII. I still don't understand it, but I'm horrified that so many Christians don't appear to have learned anything much since.

Can a Christianity that excludes civil rights ever be remotely credible?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 12:41pm BST

Great to see the Windsor bishops being brave!
The future of the AC in the US will be based on these people and CANA joining together.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 1:12pm BST

It is very important that someone obtain a full copy of this letter, rather than the condensed version of the Living Church article. Do the signees of the letter really refer to themselves as "the steering committee of the Windsor Bishops"? As has been pointed out elsewhere, a "steering committee" would indicate a full-time existence of the Windsor Bishops as a group, rather than just occasional meetings of those who wish to meet with Bishop Wimberly at Camp Allen. Thanks.

Posted by: Russell S. Knight on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 1:31pm BST

I think what's most interesting about the Living Church article is the bishops whose names do *not* appear. No +Duncan...no +Iker...no +Beckwith...etc.

Posted by: Derek the Ænglican on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 2:12pm BST

This isn't the complete letter referred in TLC but +Howe has much of it in his current diocesan newsletter: http://www.cfdiocese.org/news/news07/accord0507.htm

For some reason the name "Copperhead" keeps entering into my mind.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 2:14pm BST

Yes, this group is the steering committee for the Windsor Bishops coaliton.

Here is the full text of the letter:

The Most Reverend Rowan W. Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London SE1 7JU
ENGLAND

Your Grace:

Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ!

We are writing to you to indicate that despite the actions of the recent House of Bishops meeting, the Windsor Bishops continue to be strongly supportive of the Windsor Report and the process it recommends as we move forward in strengthening what it means to be a communion of Churches. We want to reassure you that we are committed to the Camp Allen principles and realize that, for us, they are the way by which we intend to remain united as we move forward in these challenging days. We also realize that the covenant process is critical to these discussions, and indeed is the focal point of the work now underway to define our life together. For us, neither of these commitments has wavered in light of the recent decisions by the House of Bishops. By this letter we want to reassure you of our continuing support.

You remain in our prayers and we ask for yours.

The Steering Committee of the Windsor Bishops:

Don A. Wimberly : Bishop of Texas
Bruce MacPherson : Bishop of Western Louisiana
James M. Stanton : Bishop of Dallas
John W. Howe : Bishop of Central Florida
Edward L. Salmon, Jr. : Bishop of South Carolina, retired
Jeffrey N. Steenson : Bishop of the Rio Grande
Gary W. Lillibridge : Bishop of West Texas

Posted by: George Conger on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 2:48pm BST

The Statement of the Canadian Bishops is not a patch on that of the TEC bishops .

What a disappointment. I hope the General Synod of Canada over-rules them.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 2:55pm BST

The new ACI website solicits the general public to make "donations" to the "ACI, Inc." No mention is made whether "ACI, Inc." has in fact been formed, whether it is a for-profit or non-profit entity, and whether or not donations will be tax deductible to the donor. Conspicuously absent is any reference to whether or not this new entity has applied to the IRS for recognition of any tax exempt status. As for the uses of the funds, the website says that the donations will be used for "travel and other costs." That certainly covers a lot of ground.

Posted by: Robert on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 2:57pm BST

All we keep getting from Radner, Seitz, and Turner is the same old conservative presuppositional stuff - whereby we are required to read Lambeth and the Primates Meeting and the like as juridical rulings. With them standing in the only special conservative knowledge/truth there is. Alas. Lord have mercy.

As if the conservative realignment had already happened universally, As if the big tent of Anglicanism had already collapsed because for them it already has collapsed because they alone know what the exclusive Anglican truth just happens to be.

Among the questions we can hardly avoid might be: Do these conservative believers so especially possess and follow the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Are they indeed the exclusive total of the body of Christ, or only one part - a conservative part - of that body?

All that recognizing the Windsor Bishops-CANA as a separate USA Anglican entity will accomplish is to effectively split the provincial church, offering at least one model for splitting the rest of the communion. This could offer liberal religous alternatives in the long run to provinces which now more or less lack them. The keen edges of splitting will cut both ways over that long run.

CoE will face these pressures next, just as soon as USA and Canada have been split or split off.

Finally, the special conservative Anglican narratives which now so often make human rights and human dignity entirely derivative and dependent narratives, well I predict that all of that will eventually return to haunt conservative believers in the future. Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 3:11pm BST

The ACI webpage now has a direct PayPal link. Why, if they were not to some degree supported by Grace Church, is this being done at this time?

I understood that the primates accompanying Williams would be members of the Standing Committee of Primates. If this is the case, it will by no means be a stacked deck - members of the committee are Mouneer Anis, the newly-installed primate of Jerusalem, Luke Orombi of Uganda, a hardliner, Phillip Aspinall of Australia, Berry Morgan of Wales, and Schori. So I'm curious to know what Andrew Brown is implying when he says "I think that there can no longer be any doubt on which side of the fence the larger part of the Archbishop has come down".

Posted by: lapinbizarre on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 4:28pm BST

"Why, if they were not to some degree supported by Grace Church, is this being done at this time?"

Ummmm, because they have broken with Grace Church and are no longer being supported by them?

"The new ACI website solicits the general public to make "donations" to the "ACI, Inc." No mention is made whether "ACI, Inc." has in fact been formed, whether it is a for-profit or non-profit entity, and whether or not donations will be tax deductible to the donor. Conspicuously absent is any reference to whether or not this new entity has applied to the IRS for recognition of any tax exempt status."

Nothing is tax deductable to the donor until the IRS has approved 503(c)1 status. Insufficient time has passed for that to have been granted. I think it's unlikely that their incorporation has yet been completed and that is a prerequisite for even applying for a 501(c)3 status.

Posted by: ruidh on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 7:25pm BST

Jim Naughton at Episcopal Cafe/Daily Episcopalian needs to come forward with a reliable source for his comments about Bishop Bruce MacPherson's so-called "personal attack" on Jefferts Schori. Without verifiable facts, Naughton's words are just rumors. If he has the facts, let him bring them forward. I am a communicant of the Diocese of Western Louisiana, and Mr. Naughton does not describe the Bruce MacPherson whom I know. (And, by the way, I'm a liberal, not a conservative like +MacPherson.)

Posted by: Russell S. Knight on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 9:35pm BST

My experience with 501C(3) status is at least a year down the road and some have waited for 2. The board of directors remains the same. This is the same group who provided supervision to Armstrong+. There is no Exec Director listed but a new treasurer. Armstrong+ stated that ACI went through 170,000 between 2003-2006 and the funds were used for travel expenses. It gives me great pause that the high board (still in place) nor Radner, Turner and Seitz never asked where the money was coming from, and never accepted any responsibility for its use (or misuse). And these folks expect others to have confidence in them?

Posted by: EPfizH on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 9:57pm BST

Mr. Knight, please see http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/2505/

"Along with a growing number, we are troubled deeply by the continued intransigence of not only General Convention, but also the presiding bishop with respect to the requests of the Windsor Report, and statements that are contradictory to the basic tenets of our Christian faith. The latter being repeated often when speaking publicly about The Episcopal Church as it relates to Christology, and her personal positions."

Posted by: ruidh on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 12:59am BST

The Church Times report says that Grace Church is in Denver. But it isn't. It's south of Denver 50 miles in Colorado Springs. The town is a national center of the Neo Conservative religious agenda that came in with the Bush administration. It's home to Focus on The Family, and discredited Ted Haggard's church. I'm in Denver and their inluence is clearly more sound and fury than fact.

Coincidentally, the Virginia separatists are a suburb of Washington DC where right wing Bush/Karl Rove operatives landed when they went with the Bush crowd to Washington. The political right is not separated from the religious right in this situation. They seem to stand and fall in sync.

Posted by: Curtis on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 3:04am BST

The Catholic News Service published an article today called "Pope says love, respect for life must lead to greater justice for all" Unfortunately, I can no longer hyperlink as they have tightened their copyright laws.

One passage in it alludes to an unreasonable tendnecy to hoard spiritual goods such as knowledge. But, as they note, these actually increase as they are shared.

What we are seeing is that the attempts to stifle and deny the theological developments in the US has deprived the world of spiritual interpretations that would have enabled us to respond sooner to the needs of the poor, the outcaste and the environment. It has also glossed over the existence of sibling souls in other dioceses and nations who would work on these issues, if they had encouragement from similar minded souls. We are not all meant to have the same gifts and talents.

As Prince Charles has said to a conference of 1000 UK business leaders. http://news.google.com.au/news?hl=en&ned=&ie=UTF-8&ncl=1115922688 If the policy makers, leaders and others want to procrastinate, that's their choice. But there is a planet to be saved, and we don't have to wait on the procrastinators to be doing our part. As Marks and Spencers have found out, doing our part can actually lead to credibility and enhanced performance.

Does anyone remember the compassion bidding "wars" post the 2004 SE Asian Tsunami?

It's time we had some justice and reverence bidding wars, where those of us who have the wherewithall to make a difference get on with doing it, and the recalcitrants can deal with the embarassment of joining the band wagon after everyone else did. Just as the US Episcopal Church did by being one of the first to adopt the Millenium Goals, and not waiting on the "never do's" to get on with getting the job done.

Will we suceed at 100% - nope. But I would rather be gunning for 90%, happy to make 20% and ecstatic if God gives us 75%. Better than doing nothing and explaining 0% to my suffocating grand children.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 11:48am BST

Speculation:

Anglican Digest #25 reported that there was a “secret meeting in Dallas last week of the Network”. On Monday, the 30th, a statement was released from the “steering committee. And Dan Martin+ of San Joaquin stated on Sunday the 29th that an announcement was coming soon from a group of “five” This begs the questions: “What Network Bishops were in Dallas? And what happened?

With the exception of +Howe, all of the “Steering Committee” members are Texans or share a common border with Texas. Is a “geographic” approach being taken by this group to a new province or district? (like Virginia’s “Anglican District)

The timing of the “five” statement coincides with +Akinola’s visit. Was this accidental or implying something more? +Schofield, +Iker, +Quincy, +Springfield, were not included in the Steering Committee. Is +CANA a factor in this?

What of +Duncan? Is he the 5th member of the alleged Dan Martin’s group? Possibly? But if this group goes to CANA, he would be subject to presentment, he would be required to swear personal allegiance to +Akinola, in accordance with the Church of Nigeria’s Constitution, and his claim to TEC/Dio Pittsburgh’s property would be compromised. No, Nigeria is not an option. He is not a member of the “Steering Committee.” Is he hoping to hold the Network coalition together? Is he expected to be its leader and “primatial vicar” on Sept. 30 despite the HofB’s resolution?

Has the “Windsor coalition,” in fact, broken down? There could be many reasons: 1. The materials the bishops reviewed at the Camp Allen HofB meeting in March 2. The “credibility gap” that may have resulted if Jim Naughton’s reporting of +MacPherson’s comments at Tanzania on the subject of ++Jefferts Schori is true? 3. Concern about Radner’s+ defection to the IRD and the scandal of the ACI’s monetary relationship to Grace Church and Armstrong+ in Colorado Springs. (Chris Seitz’s comment as ACI president: We’re just “Six guys with a website”) etc.

My hope is that the Windsor bishops will accept the original primatial vicar offer made by +Jefferts-Schori. It would give them a lot of latitude and probably comply with TEC’s Canons and Constitutions. Two groups of bishops with a representative of the ABC and +Jefferts-Schori met in Sept and Nov. to discuss the idea. See: http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002051.html Time has past. What were the arguments against the proposal? Do they still apply?

Posted by: EPfizH on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 4:09pm BST

Oh please...three AAC/ACN reactionaries (Stanton, Howe and Salmon), three who might as well be (MacPherson, Steenson and Lillibridge), and Wimberly. The "Windsor Bishops" my foot. This thing is, for all, practical purposes, a press release from the IRD/AAC/ACN.

Where are the signatures from the rest of the so-called "Windsor Bishops" ?

Posted by: David H. on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 5:19pm BST

For David H., you have hit the nail on the head. Who are the "Windsor bishops?" +MacPherson said he spoke for "around 24" bishops in Tanzania. Who were the twenty-four for whom he spoke? Who created, appointed whatever the "Windsor Steering Committee" reportedly represented in this most recent letter? How amorphous is this group? +Akinola and the GS Steering Committee insisted In November that one person be named to speak for those bishops willing to come under their (authority? guidance?) This resulted in the document called: "Secret Westfields Response, with names of the bishop co-signers other than +Duncan edited out. The groups that met with +Jefferts-Schori in September and again in November, (see my posting above) to discuss her primatial vicar proposal vastly changed in composition from one meeting to the next. Clearly a group of the "Windsor Compliant" were not happy with the Primates Tanzanian Communique. They voted with the HofB to oppose it. Therefore it is very difficult to get a handle on who the "Windsor bishops" are. I expect that +Duncan is working hard to line them up together but the problem he faces is that there really isn't any uniform ideology among them nor any firm idea of exactly how they are willing to be governed. This works for a somewhat fluid TEC willing to tolerate a lot of pluralism and shared authority, but it doesn't work well for either ideologues or autocrats who require conformity in theory or practice. When +Akinola and the GS demand that the "orthodox" speak with one voice, it's got to get complicated. These bishops must be asking: "Who made +Duncan leader?" "Who decided that only X Y and Z would be invited to a sit-down with the ABC or the PB?" "Who named these people to head 'the steering committee?' "I agree with this but not that". "I am shocked, horrified, (whatever the adjective) by the action taken by Y or the statement made by Z. Who decided that anyone else could speak or act for me?"

Posted by: EPfizH on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 7:56pm BST
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