Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Communion Partners forge ahead

Communion Partners is an organisation of (non-TEC) Primates, TEC bishops and TEC rectors which is closely linked to the Anglican Communion Institute.

The two organisations jointly sponsored a conference last week in Houston, Texas. You can find more information about the conference here, and in this Living Church news report, Archbishop Carey: TEC Likely to ‘Clean Out’ Conservatives.

Their own About Us page says:

In light of our understanding of the integrity of the Dioceses of The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Visitors concept announced by the Presiding Bishop, we have considered a need to maintain and strengthen

  • our ties with the Anglican Communion
  • our fidelity to the canonical realities, integrities and structures of the Episcopal Church
  • and our exercise of our office as a focus of unity.

We believe such ties will provide the opportunity for mutual support, accountability and fellowship; and present an important sign of our connectedness in and vision for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as we move through this time of stress and renewal.

And the page also discusses Purpose, Scope, Participants, and Transparency. The Primates listed are: Tanzania, West Indies, Jerusalem and Middle East, Burundi, Indian Ocean.

There are lists of TEC bishops and of TEC rectors.

Earlier statements published in the name of the CP group include Common Cause and a New Province.

CP and ACI now intend to publish a formal document shortly, signed by perhaps 18 CP bishops, entitled Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church which argues in detail that TEC is not a hierarchical body and that individual dioceses are autonomous entities. In particular they argue that individual dioceses are free to sign up to the proposed Anglican Covenant, and that it is not necessary to leave TEC and join ACNA in order to do that. The presumption here is that TEC itself will not do so, or at least not in 2009.

Mark Harris has reported on the existence of a thread of emails about this plan, see Heads Up: Lawyer McCall and “Communion Partner” bishops play the diocese card.

The CP bishops and ACI also plan to press ahead with a plan for a priest in Colorado, named as The Revd. Theron Walker, Rector of St Philip In the Field, Sedalia, to request a visitation from the Bishop of South Carolina, as a CP Bishop. Below the fold, are extracts from two of the emails which give full details of this.

email 1:

The other main concern is seeing to a visitation in the name of CP, something now long overdue. We are hoping that Theron Walker requests a CP visitation from +Mark Lawrence, asap, and +Mark will request that +Salmon go in his place, as a CP Visitor. I understand from Philip that +Wimberly has also volunteered his services, as has +Hathaway.

I would request of your advisory group that a series of these visits be planned, asap, and with some sense of organisation, perhaps using these three men. It was usefully pointed out that the places needing support are precisely those where the Bishop is very unclear about his support of Covenant, and so the parishes under him that want this are left to themselves, either to buckle under or leave with the help of AAC/ACNA.

In point of fact, this is not really the case in B-ham with Limehouse, as +Mark reminded me. That said, any parish that wants to underscore their commitment to covenant and CP needs a way to show their people that CP is the way to do this.

The negotiating of this takes place between a CP bishop and the respective Diocesan, but the advisory group of CP can start setting the matter in motion. Only in this way will the PV scheme have a proper foundation, and otherwise it may be stalled for a season. We can however show Lambeth that this way forward works, (if it does), and help parishes resist leaving as the only way forward.


1) The CO priest will request of +SC, as a CP Bishop, a ‘visitation’,

2) the purpose of which is to prevent his parishioners from concluding that the only route for them is joining ACNA (which will be happening in CO soon) because their Diocesan is not foregrounding his covenant commitments and indeed has ordained an openly homosexual priest, etc, but also has said he means to create space for others’ views, etc;

3) +SC will phone +O’Neil and ask that this request be honored and seek to persuade him of its importance,

4) +SC will ask +Salmon to visit, and will indicate to +CO that +Chane is using Salmon in this way in DC.

At issue here is said parish understanding that they have some connective tissue to a covenant their Diocesan may wish to avoid, without challenging the Diocesan as to his authority, and so underscoring a way to remain in TEC and not leave for ACNA but also to affirm Communion life and differentiation.

Importantly, +SC reminded us that he does not want to get into a quid pro quo situation that, having implemented something like this, the PB makes sure he reciprocates when SSBs pass in General Convention and he is forced to let a proponent of the same do a visitation in SC. Hence, using +Salmon.

But also, hence, the importance of the Pastoral Visitors. They need to come into play in time as independent of deal-making and/or mild forms of extortion.

…at issue here is a) the need to show +RDW and others that CP works at a practical level, and that we have tried, b) that we have not done this by asking something of the PB is is not her right to give, but have worked bishop to bishop, c) that the PVs can in time occupy the space—it is hoped—modelled by the CP initiatives in this regard.
IMPORTANTLY, the visitation in CO, should it happen, needs to be labelled by all as a CP initiative and not just a single ad hoc thing (as in DC).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 1:37pm BST | TrackBack
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Dr. Carey refers to the difficulty in getting consents for the current Bishop of South Carolina. The difficulty was not because he is conservative. The difficulty was because of the careless way that the Standing Committee of that diocese behaved in soliciting and sending on the consents is a timely way to the Presiding Bishop. The problem was NOT with TEC liberals, but with the carelessness of SC. When they did it again, correctly and timely, the Bishop got enough consents [as he had the first time]. The difficulty was purely procedural.

I wish Dr. Carey and others would at least get their facts right. Oh well. How long did it take us to teach them that we elect, and do not appoint, bishops?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 2:40pm BST

Once again, I fail to see how an entity--such as a diocese--that owes its very existence to its creation by a larger entity--the national church--can claim that it is an autonomous entity. Have these bishops and rectors even READ the canons and charters they pledged to uphold when they were ordained and consecrated?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 2:52pm BST

¨I wish Dr. Carey and others would at least get their facts right.¨ Cynthia

The former ABC, Lord Carey of Clifton, always seems to have the ¨gift¨ for making Anglican Communion ¨matters¨ far worse than they really are...I can´t determine if the former ABC is simply bewildered or unfair, as in the case of the ramrodding of Lambeth 1.10 under his leadership, or simply UNWILLING to consider ALL Anglicans as fully human, loving, equal and on-the-ground participating members at the Body of Christ.

We, Lord Carey, are Christians much like you...we are flawed but CLEARLY know we ought be peacemakers and not troublemakers...we attempt to be more open, forthright and honorable in our daily lives, at Church, at work and beyond.

Lord Carey, please speak to ALL of us with words of healing with your past authority? Why not participate in positive worthwhile projects instead of ¨chiming in¨ with the on-going, and desruptive ¨jabs¨ and negative ¨speculations¨regarding internal TEC affairs?

Lord Carey of Clifton, LGBT Episcopalians/Anglicans have always, yes always sat quietly in the pews and listened to you and most even prayed for you every Sunday for years. Why do you, and other self-imagined MORE righteous, than us, Evangelical Episcopalians/Anglicans, say harmful and untrue things about us at The Episcopal Church and throughout the Anglican Communion?

Why do you attempt to harm us?

Primate Katharine Jefferts Schori WELCOMES everyone at TEC, she says ¨The light is on and the door is open¨ and certainly doesn´t wish to ¨clean out¨ anyone, conservative or not.

++KJS is a responsible leader who knows she must not only provide even-handed leadership at TEC as PRIMATE but must defend OUR FAITH from cynics, selfish scoundrels and worse, hypocrites and thieves.

Thank you

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 3:46pm BST

Cynthia, given Carey's record, it is probably too much to expect him to have his facts straight about anything.

After all, he is still running around repeating the standard schismatic claim that all our troubles began with Robinson in 2003 when, in fact, the Rwandan invasion of TEC began back in the 90s, something that we would expect Carey to be aware of, since he spoke against it at the time.

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 4:08pm BST

The odd thing about the Colorado visitation is that it is entirely consistent with Designated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) as adopted by the House of Bishops and as endorsed by the Windsor Report. Certainly, it would not be in and of itself a violation of historical precendents already in place. The assertion that this would be some incarnation of a Pastoral Visitors program is multiplying entities beyond necessity - unless one sees as a necessity undermining functional authority within the Episcopal Church. So, if the priest in question does make the request, the bishop of Colorado need only respond following the principles and language of DEPO, with no reference to Pastoral Visitors whatever, and this program is effectively undermined.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 4:13pm BST

Pat O'Neill,

Have you bothered to read the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church? The answer to that question is obvious, based on your comprehensively erroneous statement that "a diocese … owes its very existence to its creation by a larger entity."

Assuming that you are literate in the English language, it would apparently cause you no end of surprise to read the cited documents and discover that a diocese must first exist (it organizes itself as a diocese, surprise, surprise!), and have its own Constitution and Canons, before it is permitted to petition the General Convention of The Episcopal Church to be associated therewith.

Posted by: Keith Töpfer on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 6:35pm BST

"Importantly, +SC [Mark Lawrence] reminded us that he does not want to get into a quid pro quo situation that, having implemented something like this, the PB makes sure he reciprocates when SSBs pass in General Convention and he is forced to let a proponent of the same do a visitation in SC."

Ah, yes. The orthodite view: "What's mine is mine, what's yours is . . . not." (And yet THEY are the "victims" here?)

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 7:56pm BST

if the dioceses of the Episcopal church are autonomous entities, then so are the dioceses of the Church of England. And we should put that to work and perhaps make it obvious that we could peel a few away from Rowan and company.

Posted by: Dennis on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 8:14pm BST

I wonder if Lord Carey is looking forward to seeing these disintegrative tactics applied to the Church of England. (As they surely will be if this document is permitted to stand.) Would someone care to ask him for the list of Church of England dioceses he plans to represent in the House of Lords? (Someone ought to ask the retiring Bishop of Rochester the same question.)

Posted by: Charlotte on Wednesday, 22 April 2009 at 11:38pm BST


But if it does not receive permission from GC to join the national church, such diocese ceases to exist, at least as far as TEC is concerned. Becoming an Episcopal diocese requires the approval of GC...therefore the diocese is a creation of GC. Further, in the current situation, any new diocese is, per force, created by splitting off from an existing diocese--something only GC can make happen.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 11:14am BST

Keith, I could gather 9 friends, call ourselves the Albion Niners, and declare we're playing the NY Yankees next week...

...but if Major League Baseball doesn't recognize my team, we're hardly an MLB team now, are we?

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 23 April 2009 at 7:40pm BST

A passing notice, His Grace Gomez of West Indies is right in the big middle of all of this. How then can he help draft a new covenant to renew our raggedy bonds of affection, without risk of any conflict of interest?

Also, notice. Lord Carey is shuffling along in his usual dance steps.

Also notice. If conservatives are less frequently elected bishop from now on in TEC, it can only be because they have so often shown themselves to be divisive, in favor of collapsing a big tent TEC into a much smaller and more conformist little tent TEC. Oh, that, and the sad tendency for realignment leaders to indulge themselves with secret plots against non-realignment believers, power grabbing strategies, money, and property which does not outright belong just to them alone.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 24 April 2009 at 2:04am BST

"If conservatives are less frequently elected bishop from now on in TEC, it can only be because they have so often shown themselves to be divisive, in favor of collapsing a big tent TEC..."

At which point, Playing Victim, they can then cry "We're being pushed out of TEC!"

I swear, it's the ol' standby: the Patri-Matricide crying (to the ABC? GAFCON?) "Have pity on an orphan!"

Lord have mercy...

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 24 April 2009 at 8:22am BST

"Would someone care to ask him (Lord Carey) for the list of Church of England dioceses he plans to represent in the House of Lords? (Someone ought to ask the retiring Bishop of Rochester the same question.)" - Cynthia -

A moot point, Cynthia! Also, one very good reason for temporal peers to have to renounce their seat in the Lords when they have no further working relationship to their former job - which occasioned their elevation in the first place.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 24 April 2009 at 11:18am BST

"I wish Dr. Carey and others would at least get their facts right."

But it is in their best interests to get the facts wrong. Their support comes from the manipulation of fear: what will happen if the evil liberals get their way? Because even God is not strong enough to defend the Goaspel from such evil, apparently. So, Mark Lawrence's problems could be acknowledged to be the result of poor organization by SC or they could be presented as yet another example of persecution of the Faithful remnant from the evil liberal hoards. Now which one do you figure would be more effective at drumming up support for the conservative cause?

And Keith Topfer (sorry, can't do umlauts), never mind canons and constitutions, what about the catholic tradition that the conservatives so loudly claim to follow? Their ecclesiology is NOT in accord with that tradition, neither is their Christology, neither is their behaviour towards their fellow Christians with whom they disagree, neither is their behaviour in spreading falsehoods and misinformation about gay people, much less in seeking to jail us. So what is their claim to "orthodoxy" based on? For me, the issue is not whether or not they are in some fashioned "allowed" to take their properties when they leave, nor whether individual dioceses are able to break away or not. The issue is how their behaviour overall, of which this is but one example, puts the lie to their claims of "orthodoxy". They are Calvinist congregationalists, and the ACs in their midst better be careful. Once they've purged their holy little group of the fags and liberals, how long do you think the Evangelical majority is going to put up with such Romish things as the ACs get on with?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 28 April 2009 at 8:14pm BST
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