Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Communion Partners write to Lambeth

A letter has been published, signed on behalf of a substantial number of clergy, in support of the “Anaheim Statement”.

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The full text of this letter is copied below the fold. For the list of signatures to the attached Communion Partners Rectors’ Statement, follow the link above, or there is another copy at the Anglican Communion Institute site.

Letter from the Communion Partners to the Archbishop of Canterbury

104th Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace
London, England
SE1 7JU

Your Grace:
You will be sent a hard copy of this letter, statement and the list of signatories, but because of our desire to put this material in front of you soon, we are e-mailing this correspondence as well. We must share with you that this letter will also be made public via the trusted websites of the The Livng Church and The Anglican Communion Institute.

Enclosed, please find a statement of the Communion Partner Rectors who welcome and declare our appreciation for the witness of the over 30 Episcopal bishops who have signed the minority statement read in the House of Bishops at the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, California on Thursday, July 16, 2009.

Though we have been in touch with you throughout the last year and a half, we simply reiterate our deep desire and commitment to remain constituent members of the greater Anglican Communion. We, as we believe it to be well documented now, concur with your leadership, and that of Lambeth Conference and the ACC that the road to stronger bonds of affection amongst the members of the Communion is our shared commitment to our Lord and His Church, the instruments of Communion and the parameters and councils set forth in the Windsor Process, the three (at present) requested moratoria, the most recent Lambeth Conference, Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the unfolding Covenant Process, to which we are fully committed.

We do not concur with any action taken that would be interpreted by the larger Communion as divisive, dismissive of our larger Anglican Communion or schismatic. The outgrowth of the decisions of the General Convention has yet to be ultimately determined as to its impact on our common bonds of affection that we should all share, and honor, as part of the worldwide Anglican family.

Some will clearly share the assessment of His Grace, Bishop N.T. Wright that The Episcopal Church has, by its most recent actions, chosen to “walk apart.” It would be our hope that if you share that assessment, that you would also share Bishop’s Wright’s counsel to “…not forget the ‘Communion Partner’ bishops, who doggedly loyal to their church, and to the Windsor Report as expressing the mind of the wider Communion, voted against the current resolution. Nor should we forget the many parishes within revisionist dioceses (and, for that matter, worshippers within revisionists parishes) who take the same stance,” (The Times, 15 July, 2009). Again, let us categorically state, that we believe our ties to both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion must remain solid and unfettered by any action, resolution or statement that would in any way further tear the very fragile fabric that is now our Anglican family; and therefore would not support any such action, resolution or statement.

Lastly, we reaffirm our pledge of support for the unfolding Covenant process and it is our hope that Part IV of the Ridley Draft will soon be revisited and approved as a pathway for not simply Provinces, but Bishops, Dioceses and individual parishes to renew their commitment not only to the Anglican Communion, but to those vital pillars that in the end, draw us all together, rather than cause further division.

Toward that end and toward all of these matters, we pledge our prayers and support to you, to our Communion Partner Bishops and those Bishops who joined them in signing the Anaheim Statement, and to those Bishops who have made similar statements to their own Dioceses. Please let us know how we can further support you.

Faithfully, on behalf of the attached list of Communion Partner Rectors,

The Advisory Committee of the Communion Partner Rectors

The Reverend Dr. Charles Alley, Rector, St. Matthews, Richmond, Virginia
The Right Reverend Anthony Burton, Rector, Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas

The Very Reverend Anthony Clark, Dean, St. Luke’s Cathedral, Orlando, Florida
The Reverend S. Brooks Keith, Rector, Church of the Transfiguration, Vail, Colorado
The Reverend Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr. Rector, St. Martin’s, Houston, Texas
The Reverend Leigh Spruill, Rector, St. George’s, Nashville, Tennessee

The Communion Partner Rectors’ Statement:

July 22, 2009

We, the undersigned clergy in good standing in the Episcopal Church welcome and declare our appreciation for the witness of the bishops who signed the minority statement read in the House of Bishops in Anaheim, California on Thursday, July 16, 2009. We also express our on-going support for all the reaffirmations listed in that document, which read as follows:

  • We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538).
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship” which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in “interpreting the Gospel” which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.

We are committed along with said bishops to be a positive force for the spread of God’s Kingdom in this world; to pray for Christ’s Body, the Church, the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, all bishops and other ministers. We hold that as Christ’s Body, the Church is to be a “pillar and buttress of truth,” (1 Timothy 3:15) through which the Gospel is held high in witness and proclamation, and we pray for the reconciliation of all humankind through the saving life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

For more information about the Communion Partner Rectors, contact CPRectors@stmartinsepiscopal.org

list of signatures follows - use links above

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 7:27am BST | TrackBack
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Comments

'Some will clearly share the assessment of His Grace, Bishop N.T. Wright .....'

So encouraging to see Tom Wright being thus addressed.

How interesting that these well-informed bishops regard Wright as a primate.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 8:18am BST

Sociologically it is amazing how - with the rare exception - the geographical distribution mimics the Old South - just can't let those field hands get uppity I guess. Seriously there is a Bible Belt divide. Even one of the conservative leaders resident in New York State ( the "liberal" Northeast) is apparently originally from Mississippi - again the Deep South - and his rigidity shows forth clearly.

Posted by: ettu on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 12:09pm BST

"We do not concur with any action taken that would be interpreted by the larger Communon as divisive, dismissive of our larger Anglican Communion or shcismatic....Some will clearly share that assessment of His Grace, Bishop N.T.Wright, that The Episcopal Church has, by its most recent actions, chosen to walk apart"

- from the Letter to the ArchBishop of Canterbury by the (so-called) Communion Partners -

Such double-speak from the 'Communion Partners' is symptomatic of their obfuscation of their own complicity with former Bishop Duncan and co., in their refusal to accept that their own actions have done more to provoke schismatic action in the wider Church than anything else at this time.

Thier former disapproval of the Archbishop of Canterbury's seeming 'lack of action' on their behalf sits uncomfortably with their hypocritical protestations of loyalty to him and the Communion in the contant of this letter.

It is to be hoped that the ABC and the rest of the Primates of the Communion loyal to Canterbury will recognise this duplicity and refuse to accept the Partners' dismissal of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada from the fellowship of the Communion. Sadly, their letter demonstrates the lack of compassion towards the LBGT community that motivates their actions towards schism.

One also notes their lack of understanding of the niceties of Church custom, when they address the Bishop of Durham as 'His Grace'. Perhaps this is a direct result of having catapulted one of their own - former Bishop Robert Duncan - into the role of putative Archbishop, despite the lack of his confirmation in this role by a majority of the Primates oif the Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 12:28pm BST

ettu, if you will take a look at where the schismatic leaders are from, few are Southerners: Duncan is from Joizy, Iker's an Ohio carpetbagger, Schofield's from Massachusetts, Beckwith's from Michigan, Ackerman's from Pennsylvania, etc.

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 12:56pm BST

"it is amazing how - with the rare exception - the geographical distribution mimics the Old South"

A very notable exception are the churches in N. VA that are trying to steal TEC property, who are led now by English-born Martyn Minns, a "Missiionary Bishop" to the unwashed Ammuricans.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 1:33pm BST

"Florida, Texas, Texas, Florida" - the wealthiest of the conservative Southern states; scattering of signatories from other Southern states; very few from anywhere else in the Union. The 1860 Episcopal Church all over again, except that this time it's a different human rights issue they're on the wrong side of.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 1:43pm BST

Actually (Rev L Roberts) the signatories are, in fact, not bishops, but rectors. Many are rectors in the dioceses of bishops who signed the Anaheim Statement and/or are Communion Partner Bishops.

Yet they are petitioning the Archbishop of Canterbury to be recognized as being in direct communion with him -- communion on the parish level. That is the most curious part of this curious document to me.

ettu, you are right about the Old South flavor of all of this. Superimpose the map of breakaway and "dissenting" (Communion Partner, Anaheim Statement) dioceses on a map of 2008 election results by county in the United States and you'll get another interesting result. Breakaways and dissenters are almost all to be found in areas that voted for George W. Bush in 2008.

Posted by: Charlotte on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 2:31pm BST

Amazed that not a single signatory is currently in an Alabama parish, although i recognize quite a few former priests of our diocese. [Maybe that's why they are all former.]

Posted by: Jeff Allison on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 4:20pm BST

Jeff, Henry Parsley had a highly effective strategy for dealing with the Network: he threw them out of his diocese.

That is why I supported him for PB.

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 6:59pm BST

"communion on the parish level. That is the most curious part of this curious document to me."

Why would it be a surprise that a group whose heteredoxy includes, but is certainly not limited to, congregationalism, would not understand that the Anglican Church is not congregational? I mean, they've convinced themselves they're oppressed, they've convinced themselves that inability to affirm traditional Christology is actually "orthodoxy", they have convinced themselves that gay people actually choose their sexuality, could change if they want to, and that all the scientific evidence to the contrary is a liberal plot to suppress the Gospel, that lying and scheming are good Christian behaviour, and a whole lot of other things. If they are so deluded as to believe these things, then they can surely make themselves believe that congregationalism is somehow "orthodox".

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 9:18pm BST

JPM Leaders background unkown to me - their provenance a guess- although as mentioned one NYS leader is actually from Ol' Miss - however is it not telling that the soil where their leadership found support is basically in the Old South and newer regions not fully settled in the 1860's? I recommend "Albion's Seed" by Fischer for an interesting exploration of regional USA political and social variance based on the original British settlers and their backgrounds.

Posted by: ettu on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 9:20pm BST

No one voted for George W. Bush in 2008, since he was not running for anything. He did run in 2000, and won in the Supreme Court, and he ran in 2004 and won without question.

The problem is that all these schismatics are on the wrong side of history, as has been the pattern of most churches for a very long time. Remember Galileo until recent years.

Posted by: Andrew on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 10:29pm BST

Of the four dioceses that have purportedly seceded, all are outside the South (unless one wants to argue that Fort Worth is somehow Southern, a very desperate reach).

This is not to deny the role that Southerners have played in all this silliness, but there is an unfortunate tendency in America to pretend that everything bad in the country comes from the South (a bit of foolishness that requires us to overlook things like George W. Bush's very, very blue New England blood, California's role in giving the world both Nixon *and* Reagan, etc.), and I detect some of that in this discussion.

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 11:42pm BST

JPM I assure you I have very strong Southern connections and a love for the strengths found there but let us be honest about sectionalism - I do not have the link but there is a color coded map on ?Standfirm in faith done by a bloke who goes under the name of Robroy that clarifies the issue and is overwhelmingly colored for the conservatives in the SE of the USA - annoyingly he used pink for the rest of the country and blue for his favored kinfolk- I believe he presently resides in Colorado and do not know whee his mama and papa hail from. At least South Carolina did not fire the first shot this time.

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 12:33am BST

Perhaps it is overkill to continue on about sectionalism - or perhaps this is poor etiquette on Simon's blog - however the article I mentioned above was approx. "The Code Pink Church" posted Sunday 7/19 on Standfirminfaith - http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/24344 was the url and altho the discussion was interesting the internal link to the map itself was broken when I just checked it - I believe it was a very useful visual and the posts are illustrative of that point.

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 12:43am BST

Ever tried telling a Texan that he or she is not a Southerner, JPM? For myself, I have lived in the South close to 35 years and owe it no apologies.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 3:08am BST

Perhaps too much information - but the family genealogy of my in-laws has a great photo of an ancestor's photo in Texas still wearing his wartime pants from the late "War of Northern Aggression" taken as he and his wife left Georgia for Texas - some went as far as Mexico - I would not think he felt he and his descendant were not Southern to the core - they still have family reunions in GA - it is just plain silliness to deny the Southernness of Texas - and it is also ignoring the "elephant in the room" to try to discuss the schism in the USA without at least considering the sociology of the regions.

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 12:29pm BST

The challenge in this stage of our changes, as in all stages of our changes, is to keep letting things go along as transparently as possible, still pointing to God and Jesus of Nazareth and the great communities of saints.

I personally find agreeing to disagree a vital Anglican vitamin which helps power up that state-process we might call, transparency. The official letters flying about are efforts to be transparent, given the benefits of a doubt.

Nothing wrong with correcting all the spin doctoring, but the conservative realignment campaigning can get so thin and partisan in false witness of so many different types that we will never be all that well nourished by having to correct its intellectual bad habits, so often. Maybe our hope is that all truth telling can be rooted in that larger pointed sense of direction; we correct this or that because God is greater than all the bishops and archbishops and spin doctors.

Short of winding a whole lot of things in TEC, right back to say, 1955, there is precious little the recently concluded GC could have done that would not be exploited as fodder and fuel, weaponized to serve the aims of the ongoing conservative realignment campaign.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 6:55pm BST

"Of the four dioceses that have purportedly seceded, all are outside the South (unless one wants to argue that Fort Worth is somehow Southern, a very desperate reach)."

I was born and raised in Fort Worth. I assure you - it's in the South.

Posted by: BillyD on Friday, 24 July 2009 at 2:23pm BST
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