Thursday, 3 January 2008

San Joaquin letter of support

This letter with 31 signatures on it has been posted at the website of the former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.

The list includes a number of Church of England bishops:

The Most Rev. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Matthias Medadues-Badohu, Bishop of Ho
The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
The Rt. Rev. Gerard Mpango, Bishop of Western Tanganyika
The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Ross Davies, Bishop of The Murray
The Rt. Rev. Keith L Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Peter Beckwith, Bishop of Springfield
The Rt. Rev. A. Ewin Ratteray, Bishop of Bermuda
The Rt. Rev. Michael Hough, Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley*
The Rt. Rev. John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
The Rt. Rev. Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough*
The Rt. Rev. Robert Forsyth, Bishop of South Sydney
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet*
The Rt. Rev. Lindsay Urwin, Bishop of Horsham
The Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes
The Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, Province of Kenya
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, Convocation of Anglicans in North America
The Rt. Rev. John Gaisford, lately Bishop of Beverley RETIRED*
The Rt. Rev. Edward MacBurney, lately Bishop of Quincy
The Rt. Rev. Roger Jupp, lately Bishop of Popondota
The Rt. Rev. David Silk, lately Bishop of Ballarat
The Rt. Rev. Nöel Jones, lately Bishop of Sodor and Man RETIRED
The Rt. Rev. Edwin Barnes, lately Bishop of Richborough RETIRED*
The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, lately Bishop of Eau Claire
The Rt. Rev. Donald Parsons, lately Bishop of Quincy

Among the Church of England bishops, one is a diocesan bishop, the others are either suffragans, or retired bishops, and several are current or former Provincial Episcopal Visitors.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 10:40pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

These English bishops have behaved scandalously, and should all be suspended. Can't General Synod or somebody censure them in some way?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 11:27pm GMT

The presence of current and former flying bishops makes one wonder whether this is all part of a cunning plan to get a third province by the back door. Its hardly 'Catholic' is it? But then Anglo Catholics aren't known for their catholicity. And what a curious mixture. Does the present Bishop of Ebbsfleet or any of the other other PEVs share anything but the title of Bishop with Peter Jensen. It's a completely different religion. And even curiouser. What stange bed-fellows they make with the misogynistic and (probably?) closet gay-anti-women tendency of the C of E cuddling up to the gay haters.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 11:38pm GMT

This introductory statement contains an unintended - but rather significant - error:

"This letter with 31 signatures on it has been posted at the website of the former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin."

There is no "former Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin" because the Episcopal Church makes no canonical provision for a parish - let alone a diocese - to leave the Church and retain property or assets held in trust for the larger Church. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Thus, because the Diocesan Bishop of San Joaquin and many (perhaps most) local clergy and laypeople have announced that they no longer wish to be part of the Episcopal Church, new leadership (i.e., a new Diocesan Bishop) will eventually be elected by those remaining in the Church, and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin will continue. True, it will continue perhaps with fewer members for the moment and burdened, no doubt, by the lawsuits made necessary by those who seek to take with them properties they previously held in trust for the entire Episcopal Church. But San Jaoquin will continue as a Diocese of the Episcopal Church, rest assured.

Most people at Thinking Anglicans probably realize this, of course, but it bears repeating, not least when some apparently question whether the "Member Churches" of the Anglican Communion are the Provinces themselves or the many, many individual dioceses of which the Provinces are comprised. Imagine for a moment, though, an individual diocese of the Church of England or the Church of Ireland, for example, suddenly declaring itself independent and, by the by, keeping all diocesan property for itself! I hardly think so...

Posted by: christopher+ on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 12:16am GMT

They don't come in any sort of order, do they?

Ballarat I know is in Australia (Thanks to S. Holmes Esq.), but what of the others? Any Americans?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 6:04am GMT

To Goran:
Pittsburgh, Quincy, Springfield

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 7:46am GMT

Christopher, thanks. Of course I know that and so do most who read this. The point I was intending to make was that the website is operated by those who have announced their departure, rather than by those who have announced their staying put.

I'll think of some clearer way to express this...

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 9:17am GMT

Richard Ashby wrote:

"What stange bed-fellows they make with the misogynistic and (probably?) closet gay-anti-women tendency of the C of E cuddling up to the gay haters."

Not probably, Richard. There is certainly at least one gay bishop in the list.

Strange bed-fellow indeed, to be cuddling up with the gay haters.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 10:19am GMT

...and how many WOMEN signed this?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 10:29am GMT

Colin Coward - "There is certainly at least one gay bishop in the list".

Is that based on the 1 in 10 people are gay statistic, or is one of the signatories known to be gay but closeted?

Posted by: Stephen Roberts on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 1:30pm GMT

Stephen, it's based on the knowledge that one of the signatories is gay and, apparently to those in many parts of the CofE, closeted. Well known in other parts, however.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 1:57pm GMT

The active TEC bishops noted are no surprise: all would like to take the same step (although one was stalled in diocesan convention). It's also interesting that the CANA bishops so style themselves, and not as bishops of the Church of Nigeria - Anglican. They seem to presume that a new province, and their leadership of it, is a foregone conclusion.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 6:01pm GMT

How bishops who believe in the real presence, the eucharistic sacrifice, baptismal regeneration , prayers for the dead and to the saints can join with evengelicals who repudiate those as un-Anglican and a betrayal of the 39 articles, and then pretend they are all orthodox...shows the holes in the bottom of the good ship Gafcon.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 7:26pm GMT

Saddened to see my diocesan bishop in this list. But also brought up short. + Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester is no fellow traveller with the flying bishops, for example. I'm left wondering what the purpose of this declaration is. Who is being addressed? It's not really San Joaquin, that's for sure. Is this meant to put pressure on ++ Canterbury, e.g. around Lambeth Conference invites?

Posted by: Philip French on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 9:04pm GMT

“How bishops who believe in the real presence, the eucharistic sacrifice, baptismal regeneration , prayers for the dead and to the saints can join with evengelicals who repudiate those as un-Anglican and a betrayal of the 39 articles, and then pretend they are all orthodox...shows the holes in the bottom of the good ship Gafcon.”— Robert Ian Williams

You can say that again! It boggles the mind!

Posted by: Kurt on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 9:10pm GMT

It may seem puzzling that a non-celibate gay bishop would sign the letter. The contrast between the open, transparent Bishop of New Hampshire and the more subdued gays of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the C of E shows the rich diversity of expression amongst gay Anglicans.

The main difference between TEC and the C of E seems to be that the former values transparency, the latter favours discretion. But the UK has undergone a huge social revolution since the last Lambeth: openly gay partnered people are to be found in prominent roles in most areas of public life. Why not the Church?

The Windsor Report criticises TEC for "public Rites for the Blessing of same sex unions", and confirming a bishop in an "openly acknowledged same gender union", as if "public" and "openly acknowledged" give rise to greater scandal than the existence of discreet non-celibate gay bishops and more numerous private same-sex blessings in the Church of England.

By aligning with diametrically opposed theological parties, gay Anglo-Catholics are sheltering in the safety of the closet. But tentative, or more dramatic, steps outwards will be supported. They will be more accepting of themselves, and this in turn will help them accept women bishops, who, when their time comes, will make the conditions for being Out more tolerable.

Isaiah Ch.49 v.9: to say to prisoners "Come out!", and to those in darkness "Show yourselves!"

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 12:37am GMT

There are four Australians in the list: Archbishop Jensen and his assistant, Robert Forsyth (South Sydney), and two diocesan bishops (Ross Davies of the Murray and Michael Hough of Ballarat). There are two others associated with this part of the world: David Silk, the retired bishop of Ballarat who has returned to the UK, and Roger Jupp who is a retired bishop of the church in Papua New Guinea. The first two are, of course, radical conservative evangelicals. The others are all, I think, of the 'Forward in Faith integrity' (as they would no doubt put it). The dioceses of Ballarat and the Murray (the latter was carved out of the former about 30 years ago) do not ordain women, but each is staffed by a significant number of gay priests (both closeted and partnered). The church in New Guinea would have no truck with either, I suspect, even though over the years many gay men have served that mission with great devotion and distinction.

As for Archbishop Jensen's ecclesiastical dress - well, he wore rochet and chimere at his consecration, but I have my doubts whether he has done so since. His usual dress is suit, collar and tie - I've never seen him in a clerical collar. He did appear on a stage at worship once (many Sydney churches are set up as auditoriums these days, including the cathedral) wearing shades. I don't think anyone was fooled into thinking he was cool!

Posted by: Rodney in Melbourne on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 12:46am GMT

Like Philip French I'm saddened, but not surprised, to see my Diocesan's name among the signatories of this letter. At a recent visitation I challenged him regarding his support of Bp Robert Duncan's flirtation with the Southern Cone.
However, it irks me that he is constantly asserting that the local Church is focused in the person of the Bishop, while making these forays into other lands. My concern is that his intervention is interpreted as having the support of his diocese. I for one disagree with him fundamentally. And I'm sure that *I* am not alone!

Posted by: Nicholas KERR on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 5:36am GMT

For those who wonder how far an English bishop can go in supporting border crossing, let's recall the General Synod question and answer linked by Thinking Anglicans a couple of years ago:

22. Mr Gerry O'Brien (Rochester) asked the Secretary General:

Is the Secretary General aware of any legal or other constraints which might inhibit a diocesan bishop in the Church of England from offering episcopal care to those outside the area of his territorial jurisdiction?

The Secretary General: Canon C 18 provides for every bishop to be 'the chief pastor of all that are within his diocese'. The effect of this is to make it unlawful for a diocesan bishop to minister in another diocese of the Church of England without authority, normally from the bishop of that diocese. There is no restriction under the law of the Church of England on the ability of a diocesan bishop to offer episcopal care to Anglicans outside the provinces of Canterbury and York. Were he, however, to do so without the authority required under the law of the relevant province, the question could arise whether he had, under our own law, engaged in 'conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders'.

See http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/gensynod/agendas/watn05.rtf

Posted by: badman on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 11:08am GMT

Thank you for the clarification Colin. How any one of the signatories in support of literalist "bible based orthodoxy" can be gay when his cohorts denounce homosexuality as a sin is disingenuous at best and hypocritical at worst. Rather reminds me of the case of Ted Haggard last year.

Like Nicholas and Philip, I'm very saddened to see my diocesan on the list.

Posted by: Stephen Roberts on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 12:38pm GMT

Hugh of Lincoln wrote:
"It may seem puzzling that a non-celibate gay bishop would sign the letter..."

Granted; but it might be that a celibate gay bishop might have felt they were able to sign it?

Posted by: Alastair Cutting on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 1:35pm GMT

Referring back to Hugh of Lincoln's comment about "gay Anglo-Catholics ... sheltering in the safety of the closet".

The closet isn't a safe place. The closet is a place of fear. It's where you are when you think your sexual identity is something other people will react against and reject you for.

It's the place you hide when you have yet to come to terms with yourself and love the whole of yourself as created and loved unconditionally by God.

It's a place where you live, terrified that someone will guess you are gay, dare to ask the question, or just make an assumption and act as if you are, placing you in an intolerably unccomfortable dilemma.

The closet is the place you live in fear that someone is going to delve into you your past and discover that you have one.

This is a deep fear for bishops who have a past and are terrified that photographs and old flames (and inappropriate encounters) can be produced NOW.

These bishops have been ordained either because those who recommended them for preferment were naive or because the priest had created an aura of sanctity around themselves.

The closet is anything but a place of safe shelter. I know because I was there once, and the difference after I came out is like being dead and now alive, trapped in fear and now released from sin, born again, free at last.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 3:35pm GMT

Wasn't there some kind of movement afoot in the
Diocese of the Murray to have +Davies removed?

Something Anglicans Online linked to from the Advertiser...

Has anything come of that?

Posted by: Oriscus on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 4:49pm GMT

"Granted; but it might be that a celibate gay bishop might have felt they were able to sign it?"

Because the church was so kind to Jeffrey John?
Let's not forget that this particular bishop is clearly not out, so he does not feel confident at all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 5 January 2008 at 5:30pm GMT

Oriscus

I don't know of any move to have Bishop Davies removed (but I'm not really in a postion to know or find out these days). The diocesan website has some reference to what seems to have been an issue about one of the clergy in the diocese, but it does not seem to have anything to do with the bishop.

Bishop Davies is, however, a bit of an outsider in the Australian church. He has close ties with the Traditional Anglican Communion, having given at least one of their Australian bishops (David Chislett) canonical residence in his diocese. I don't know about the more recent FiF/TAC episcopal ordinands from Australia (Bishops Robarts and Entwhistle). There are now four (perhaps five counting retirees) TAC bishops in Australia, which must be about one for every 50 members! These include the 'Primate', Archbishop Hepworth.

Posted by: Rodney in Melbourne on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 3:28am GMT

"The main difference between TEC and the C of E seems to be that the former values transparency, the latter favours discretion . . . the existence of discreet non-celibate gay bishops"


Oh come now, Hugh: "discretion" is marching in the Pride parade in your street clothes, not leather harness and feather boa.

What you're talking about (at least w/ the signer of this statement) is HYPOCRISY.

Old Testament or New, hypocrisy is a SIN (and so is looking the other way at it, as do the straight signers of the statement, who welcome the signature of the closet case!)

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 4:30am GMT

Oriscus - yes, there have been some *issues* in the diocese of the Murray, and +Davies has not been very willing to participate in any process to resolve them. Check this out:

http://www.voiceofthelaity.com/

Posted by: kieran crichton on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 5:47am GMT

By the way the good ship Gafcon has a time bomb hidden in the hold. Its called lay presidency...but its being cleverly hidden and will not be set off until after Lambeth 2008.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 6:42am GMT

If people want to scupper the good ship GAFCON, the best way is to expose the time bomb threat, and demand that an assurance is given that no province or diocese will move on this

Then you have checkmate with the gay blessers.

Apparently there is already de facto lay presidency in Sydney...which is incredible when you consider how the orthodox bemoan non sanctioned gay blessings.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 6 January 2008 at 5:28pm GMT

I am surprised that the publicised count of gay signatories amongst the bishops is set at one. Is this simply because we are not meant to count those who are not employed as bishops in their present posts?

It does seem that opposition to the ordination of women trumps all else in some circles. That Bishop Benn was chosen by the former Bishop of Chichester was due solely to that. Theologically they had and have nothing in common. I pray that Dr. Kemp will have the opportunity of repenting the power he has given to those who wish to 'complete the reform' of the Church of England.

Posted by: Commentator on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 11:34am GMT

Robert Ian Williams

Are you suggesting that those coming together in Gafcon are unaware of this "time bomb"?
Or is it a case of "don't ask don't tell"?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 1:19pm GMT

Yes Erika you are absolutelty right...thats what makes it so sickening. One can respect an opponent for a sincerely held view, but they are
dressing theirs up as Orthodox and BIblical...it is self deception (willingly entered into).

The Good ship Gafcon may have the lay presidency time-bomb ticking...but it will also hit an iceberg called self-deception

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 7 January 2008 at 9:27pm GMT

"it will also hit an iceberg called self-deception"

It already has. Let's give them the point for the sake of this post: homosexuality is sinful. They believe this to be a part of the Gospel. They believe this so strongly, that they have convinced themselves that lies, half truths, hyperbole, reviling of those who disagreee, construction of elaborate persecution myths to manipulate the weak, propaganda, all these things are also part of the Gospel, or at least part of how one spreads the Gospel. This is profound self-deception, don't you think?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 January 2008 at 1:26pm GMT
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