Thursday, 4 February 2010

ACNA and the Episcopal Church

Readers may recall this General Synod motion, which is being debated next Wednesday. And there is this amendment.

A paper rebutting the claims made about the Episcopal Church, compiled by me, has been issued to General Synod members.

That paper can now be read in full here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 5:03pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Simon: Thank you for both papers. I'm sure the Canadian one is as detailed, accurate, and measured as this. I hope those voting read, mark, and inwardly digest.

It is also a fact that the absconding Diocese of Virginia churches all did "40 Days of Discernment,' using the same materials, which pointed them in the direction they wanted to go, and that all of these churches, on the morning after taking a parish vote, filed exactly the same lawsuits in the Virginia courts. The Diocese of Virginia was obliged to DEFEND these suits. I might also note that in all of these churches, middle of the road or progressive members had been more or less driven out.

I know I keep harping on this, but I keep hearing and reading that the mean old diocese went unChristianly to the civil courts.

'T'aint so.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 6:07pm GMT

Simon, this TECophile says "Thank you!" for your spirited defense!
No one is stopping people from leaving TEC if they wish to do so. However, the -- dare I say it -- secessionists want to eat their cake and have it too. They want to take TEC property with them. These "grievous lawsuits" are only an attempt by TEC to hold onto that which is rightfully theirs.
I wonder how the CofE would feel if some members of a parish decided to not only affiliate with Uganda or Nigeria and declare their loyalty to those provinces, but to also declare that the parish property now was the property of the newly-affiliated province? If a bishop took an entire diocese, lock, stock, and barrel? I think they'd respond similarly to what TEC has done. I doubt they'd say "Oh, please do. And don't forget the silver, and here's new signature cards for all the bank accounts."

Posted by: peterpi on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 6:54pm GMT

Simon, thank you. I'm heartened to know that the members of Synod will have your excellent and informative paper in hand. Which of the members will choose to read and inwardly digest the truth of the polity of the Episcopal Church is another matter, but thank you again for your effort, which I appreciate more than I can say.

Posted by: Grandmère Mimi on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 7:10pm GMT

Thank you, Simon, for your piece on TEC. Although it is aimed specifically at those participating in the upcoming General Synod, it corrects many errors that are constantly repeated by ACNA, its predecessors, and its sympathizers in the U.S.

I do wonder why TEC itself has not, long before now, taken to refuting, in such a systematic manner, the false allegations leveled against it. Organizations like Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh have attempted what truth-telling they could, but they have had to concentrate on their own local disputes and have not had the resources or stature of TEC.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 7:17pm GMT

Interesting "rebuttal" Mr. Sarmiento. Of course, neither Mr. Beers nor Ms. Kostel might be suspected of colouring the facts to suit their client's interests, now, could they?

Pax et bonum

Posted by: Martial Artist on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 7:27pm GMT

Than you Simon for your work here and for three things in particular: 1. Your inclusion of analogs for UK synod members from their own system of religious property to US laws. This places the whole debate in a meaningful context for them. 2. Your discussion of trusteeship, a concern often noted by Tobias Haller and a huge concern in the US system but simply ignored by most who support ACNA arguments. 3. The reference to the Chapman memo. Unfortunately, it is probably overkill to swamp them with data, but, in addition to Chapman and certainly proving the agenda of the Network/Common Cause Partners and now ACNA are 1. The Alison Barfoot International strategy Memo 2. The Secret Global South Leadership Memo from + Duncan and The "Westfield's Response" document that are particularly significant. One wonders how long the CofE House of Bishops would put up with this kind of thing from its members. It wouldn't hurt to have a few copies ready to wave around if challenged?

Posted by: EmilyH on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 7:33pm GMT

Right on, Simon! Well done!

Posted by: Kurt on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 7:34pm GMT

When my late friend Francis Simons left the clergy of the Anglican Church he didn't ask for property or compensation or any such thing - well, he had changed his mind. But not only did he leave, he did it neatly and properly up to the last minute. On the Sunday he carried out his last Eucharist, told the congregation so, and the Monday he walked into his new office and his new ministry where he started expressing his views.

In he end, the Church is entitled to express its own views, either progressive or discriminatory. You can press for getting your own way, but once you go you do so as an individual. If others want to follow, that is also up to them as individuals.

Personally I think more denomination hopping not less would achieve more in the host Churches, but that is up to them.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 8:18pm GMT

Thank you for this very clear explanation, Simon. I hope that it counteracts the scales that seem to be on some CofE eyes regarding TEC actions.

Posted by: BillyD on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 8:41pm GMT

The ECUSA paper is very good; better, I think, than the one on Canada.

Lorna Ashworth's personal view on all this can be seen at http://www.allsaintschurch-eastbourne.com/Lorna-s-General-Synod-Update

An extract: "The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) consists of many parishes from Canada and the States who, rightly so, have separated themselves from TEC and its false teaching... We cannot continue to ignore the fact that faithful, biblical Anglicans are being hounded out of the church while we sit by and watch."

Mrs Ashworth also says "I am glad that learning is a lifelong process because otherwise we would all get board [sic] very quickly." And "I have been kept quite busy with additional Synod activities for which I am grateful to be a part of." I suppose correct spelling and syntax don't matter much, even if you are sitting on the Church of England Board of Education.

Correct information and clear thinking, however, do matter, and this is where Simon's paper is so useful.

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 8:58pm GMT

Excellent Simon, once again it's nice to be in the same Diocese (in some sense) or member of the same team or whatever we are - makes me stand up proud.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 9:01pm GMT

Simon, what a good and thorough defence of TEC's real polity and action regarding the schismatic activities of the ACNA 'shadow Church' in North America.

No doubt your invitation for General Synod delegates to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the truth about what has eventuated in the formation (and entirely spurious) defence of ACNA - contained in the contentious Private Members Motion before the Synod - will help to dispel any doubts about ACNA's duplicity in courting support from the Church of England for its ongoing quest for membership of the Anglican Communion.

Already on the web-site of 'Stand Firm' (a site which is rejected by my computer as 'junk mail') there are various opinions from the former TEC dissenters, ridiculing an explanatory defence of TEC's stance by the TEC Presiding Bishop's Office. So one must expect these vitriolic defences of ACNA to continue before and after the General Synod meetings.

No doubt, the 'Stand Firm' representatives, and the likes of David Virtue (Vitriol-on-line) will make their insidious presence felt around the courts of G.S. during the debate. One just hopes that the Church of England delegates will not be taken in by their forked-tongued duplicity.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 9:38pm GMT

peterpi writes: "I wonder how the CofE would feel if some members of a parish decided to not only affiliate with Uganda or Nigeria and declare their loyalty to those provinces, but to also declare that the parish property now was the property of the newly-affiliated province? If a bishop took an entire diocese, lock, stock, and barrel? I think they'd respond similarly to what TEC has done. I doubt they'd say 'Oh, please do. And don't forget the silver, and here's new signature cards for all the bank accounts.'"

Hear, hear. And while I think Simon and Canon Perry have done admirable and necessary work in their detailed rebuttals, I wonder whether a complementary effort might not also be needed with the members of General Synod -- an effort that communicates in a less lawyerly (mind you, I'm a lawyer, so that's no negative in my book ) way, e.g., a` la Madison Ave.

In other words, I'm picturing "what if" images or videos of, say, St. Paul's Cathedral with a CofE sign outside being taking down and replaced with a "Parish of the Anglican Church in the United Kingdom" sign. Or secessionist vicars in Bournemouth or Liverpool changing their signs accordingly and handing over keys to bishops from the Churches of the Southern Cone, Uganda, Nigeria. Images and videos that translate vividly into the CofE context what TEC and ACoC have had to live with, in such a way they can perhaps finally understand the situation-- and that they themselves are hardly immune, and are next on the menu.

Just FWIW...

Posted by: David da Silva Cornell on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 9:53pm GMT

Thank you Simon. Telling the TRUTH does matter. I thought it was essential to being a honorable person as well as attempting to face ones own twisted innermost spiritual dragons...I feel a little sick when I read the personal belief quotes from Lorna Ashworth...honest, sickened and filled with dread for her as only a victim of such arrogant abuse would fully understand.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 10:06pm GMT

Thank you for this excellent paper! I hope everyone attending General Synod will read it.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 10:11pm GMT

I read with interest this section:

"The paper complains about the liability vestry members may encounter when their congregation moves to disassociate from the Episcopal Church. While acknowledging that this is the law in Canada, the author appears not to understand that it is also the law in much of the United States (again, such matters vary from state to state but the liability of vestry members for their corporate acts is a matter of civil law not church law.) In those states where this is the case, vestry members are generally covered by Directors and Officers Liability Insurance, for that very reason. In fact, it is contrary to the policy of The Episcopal Church to seek financial remedies from laypersons, and it has never done so."

How fascinating to discover that when The Episcopal Church and The Diocese of Virginia separately and personally sued me and nearly 200 lay volunteers in Virginia after our parishes voted overwhelmingly to separate from The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, they never had any intention to "seek financial remedies."

So one then wonders, why did they sue?

bb

Posted by: BabyBlue on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 10:30pm GMT

Given what we see of Ms. Ashworth on her blog, I am afraid that all this talk of implied trusts and letters dimissory and neutral principles might be a little too much for her.

Posted by: JPM on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 11:05pm GMT

Wow..love your background paper Simon...yes, they deserve to be thrown out of their churches and thrown out of the communion. You will know them by their love.

Posted by: anon on Thursday, 4 February 2010 at 11:41pm GMT

BB--

One assumes that they sued in order to have you, and those whom you represent through being their leader, return the property that you collectively had appropriated. It's hardly seeking financial remedies merely to have it clarified that what you think you have, you do not now and never did have. No harm, here, really, is there?

Why, what did you think they were suing about?

I mean, really!

Posted by: Christopher (P.) on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 2:26am GMT

BabyBlue, as an aid to your memory, please see Cynthia G's post at the top of this thread.

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 2:43am GMT

Bravo Simon. Job well done.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 2:52am GMT

Nice attempt at muddying the waters, BabyBlue. But can you point us to the complaint against you? That way we can be clearer on what remedies were sought against you, individually, when you were sued.

If you were sued personally in order to ensure that you give up property that you had taken, then I would not regard that as seeking a financial remedy from you personally. I would regard that as the church seeking a return of its own property.

Perhaps you should have thought a bit about such consequences before you decided to take the church's property with you.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 3:28am GMT

"How fascinating to discover that when The Episcopal Church and The Diocese of Virginia separately and personally sued me and nearly 200 lay volunteers in Virginia after our parishes voted overwhelmingly to separate from The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, they never had any intention to "seek financial remedies." "

No No No. YOUR side filed suits. We filed in defence. That is a FACT. How can you keep on with these lies?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 3:53am GMT

Hy, Baby Blue, because they believed that you had violated the terms of your trusteeship, and suing is the appropriate way to try to get you to cease and desist. If they succeed, and you and your colleagues cease and desist, how much cash you and your colleagues actually have to pay is of incidental importance.

I believe you and your colleagues have violated the terms of your positions of trust. You and your colleagues do not believe that. However, since leaders in the Episcopal Church *do* believe that, the logic of suing to get you to cease and desist is clear. Certainly, you have not suggested that you would change your actions otherwise.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 4:31am GMT

Where in the canons does it say that a clergy member who wishes to go to another Province must complete "an exit process under the renunciation canon"? Has this requirement ever been applied to a priest or bishop who has gone to a "TEC-friendly" province?

As for the renunciation just being applicable to this church, the applicable canons say that the bishop or clergy member is "deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments conferred in Ordinations." That doesn't sound like it's limited just to TEC.

Posted by: Paul Powers on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 4:40am GMT

Thank you, Simon, for being willing to call lies lies and not get drawn into the semantic obfuscation that indecent ACNA relies on!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 4:55am GMT

Excellent all around!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 5:19am GMT

Paul -- On your second paragraph, are you from the UK? If so, please understand that there is no established church in the US. The Church of England was established in a few American colonies in the 1700s, but that ceased with the Revolution.

As a result, the canons of the Episcopal Church are not public law. They are simply the means by which the Episcopal Church governs itself.

Therefore a canon of the Episcopal Church can only have force within the Episcopal Church. So however the passage you quote might read, it is necessarily of limited effect.

What someone chooses to do after leaving the Episcopal Church is generally that person's business, and the business of whichever province or other denomination that person may join. The Episcopal Church might have a view, canonical or otherwise, on whether that person is still a priest. But if the person has left the Episcopal Church anyway, then those views have limited relevance.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 12:22pm GMT

Well, the evo/reasserter spin has now begun.

The usual suspects: (including TitusOneNine, and the British evo leader "Pageantmaster" at Stand Firm; I can't bear to read Anglican Mainstream or Reform) have ignored the existence of this paper. Instead, they talk up a much briefer memo circulated by Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori.

This leaves the impression that the only response is coming from TEC, and that the response consists merely of unsupported "talking points."

"Pageantmaster" is asking his troops to demand answers in the "case" of Bishop Henry Scriven, which is given a full and accurate treatment both in the Inclusive Church paper and the Church Times article.

So be prepared. This paper is detailed. The supporters of ACNA are refusing to acknowledge its existence. They have deliberately confused it in the minds of your audience with the TEC "talking points." The supporters of ACNA cannot refute it, so they have buried it.

I fear this disinformation campaign will be successful, and the members of Synod will simply brush your paper off, without reading it, as TEC "talking points."

(PS: Malcolm+, that's why I don't care for "public relations." And no, the ACNA supporters aren't lying, as you see. Lying is such a primitive technique -- no modern propagandist would bother with it.)

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 1:14pm GMT

Paul:

To your second point: the operative phrase is "deprived of *the right to exercise*." So, it isn't about whether God accomplished ordination in the person, but about whether the person is authorized to function in the Episcopal Church.

Which is apt for your first question: there is no institutional jurisdiction in the Anglican tradition higher or broader than the national or regional church (province). So, there is no reference *to* a broader ecclesiastical entity in our Canons because we have no authority to speak *for* any broader ecclesiastical entity.

Bishop Scriven is actually a case in point. He announced that he was leaving the Episcopal Church to return to the Church of England. There is no explicit process for a bishop or other ordained person to "transfer" from one province to another, because there is no broader institution within which to transfer. Bishop Scriven announced his decision to leave the Episcopal Church to return to the Church of England and the Diocese of Oxford. Now, he said neither "I renounce" nor "I resign;" but it is implicitly a resignation and a a renunciation of function *within the Episcopal Church*, there being no broader institution within which to function. Either the Episcopal Church, or the Church of England, but not both, without explicit request and explicit action on the part of a specific Episcopal dioecse and the House of Bishops, neither of which happened. So, in saying he was leaving (indeed, if I recall correclt, in saying he had already left) he announced renunciation *in this [the Episcopal] Church. The Presiding Bishop took him at his word and sent out a letter to announce and acknowledge it. Had she acted otherwise, it would imply either that she didn't believe him; or that he had requested continuing licensure within a specific diocese; or that the Episcopal Church and the Church of England were one body; none of which is factual.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 2:40pm GMT

BabyBlue is telling the truth. I recall she was afraid the TEC diocese of Virginia was going to go after her pet CAT (apparently BB isn't a believer in acquiring material goods) because of her vestry stewardship(?) at her breakaway Church home parish in Virginia...but, of course, as everyone KNOWS the diocese of Virginia DIDN'T HOLD her or her Cat responsible for anything (even just being catty)!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 2:55pm GMT

Mr. Powers, the canons of the Episcopal Church provide an explicit mechanism for priests to serve "temporarily outside the jurisdiction of this Church but in a Church in communion with this Church." (Canon III.9.6.e), good for one year. In order to transfer permanently, renunciation of the ministry "of this Church" as the canon you cite clearly states. The Episcopal Church can only speak for the Episcopal Church, and note that it is only the "right to exercise" ministry that is affected. This is why, should a priest who has so renounced choose to change his or her mind, there is no requirement for "reordination." This is true even in the case of deposition. All that is required is the Bishop's having been satisfied that the person has lived "in lay communion with this Church for not less than one year" prior to the request for Remission of the removal or deposition. (Canon IV.13.3)

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 3:52pm GMT

Paul Powers raises an interesting point about the use of the various canons to deal with those who have left the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Of course, the canons were drafted to deal with certain forseeable circumstances such as a cleric who moved to accept a call in another province of the Communion or a cleric who was leaving Anglican ordained ministry. It was not designed to deal with those who were claiming that they were both going and staying at the same time.

Perhaps there should be a third sort of process to address these peculiar circumstaances. In the meantime, both TEC and ACoC need to clarify that these people are no longer clergy of our churches. Since they are not legitimately transferring to another province (since the cross border incursions are illegitimate), the only available remedies are either for the cleric to relinquish or for the churches to depose.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 4:38pm GMT

Paul Powers asks an interesting question.

Can anyone answer this?

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 6:15pm GMT

Simon, you did such a wonderful job on this that I would like to give you a very special gift: http://www.cafepress.com/+archbishop_robert_duncan_ornament_oval,411374936

Where should I have it sent?

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 10:41pm GMT

I am very interested in this.

It seems a strange process, but I shall ask Prof Adams if she had to go through this when she was appointed to her Chair in Oxford.

I had imagined that this was a measure that had been "adapted" from its original purpose to accomodate the present unforseen situation and that it was at best an unhappy compromise. This has an unpleasant taste of undigested spin.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 10:48pm GMT

"At this stage of my term on Synod I am really beginning to feel a certain clarity that comes from gaining experience whilst on a steep learning curve. I am glad that learning is a lifelong process because otherwise we would all get board (sic) very quickly." - Lorna Ashworth -

"Beginning to feel..."? Well, this statement, at least, admits of some inexperience within the area of C.of E. General Synod procedures. Perhaps Ms. Ashworth should have allowed herself a little more time as a representative in synod before she opened her can of worms.

I see, from today's Catholic 'Tablet' that even the Roman Catholic Church is being urged to up-date it's understanding of God's gifting of human sexuality. So if even 'His Holiness' needs to be apprised of new revelations on this issue, in order to move his part of the Church Universal into the 21st century; then perhaps Ms Ashworth - a neophyte in the world of Church politics - will admit of the need for 'semper reformanda' (a well-known R.C. catch-cry post-Vatican II).

The trouble is, her urge to be noticed in her first synodical activity may just have overcome her natural shyness - to stir the pot for ACNA. That is, of course, unless she was pushed.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 11:44pm GMT

JPM, I'd tell you, but it would be profane on this site, and besides, hurt like h***.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 12:34am GMT

I'm sorry, but I'm a bit confused. Could you say more?

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 2:17am GMT

Father Haller:

Are there any earlier examples of the renunciation canons being used for clergy who took up positions in other Provinces? For example, when Frank Lyons became Bishop of Bolivia, was he required to renounce his ministry in TEC? Or when the Mexican dioceses in TEC became a new Province, were their bishops and clergy required to renounce their ministries in TEC? Are they, like Bishop Scriven (who, by the way, is in a Province that hasn't engaged in "border crossing" in the U.S.) barred from exercising episcopal or sacerdotal functions at a TEC parish, even if the bishop and rector approve?

Posted by: Paul Powers on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 5:06am GMT

Bishop Scriven has commented that the whole affair is a tempest in a teacup, but it might be well to hash it out and see exactly what did happen. Paul Powers's and Martin Reynolds's questions should be answered.

The standard procedure when a clergy member departs one diocese for another within the Episcopal Church is, of course, to give the departing clergy member letters dimissory to the new diocese. This assumes that both bishops are agreed on the clergy transfer and remain accountable to the same national church.

TEC had (as they say) a situation at the time Bishop Scriven was returning to take up his post in Great Britain. As Canon Barfoot had recommended they do in her memo (see above) dissident clergy in the Episcopal Church were unilaterally placing themselves under the jurisdiction of offshore archbishops, including Nigeria, Uganda, and Southern Cone. These clergy were being considered to have put themselves under the renunciation canons by their actions.

Let's keep in mind that this was the first step in a three-step process designed to replace TEC with an ACNA-like reasserters-only province in the Anglican Communion. The next step, the formation of a North American umbrella organization, ACNA, for all the dissidents, has also already been taken. The final step will be to win recognition for ACNA in the Anglican Communion at large as the "replacement province" for TEC and ACoC in North America. General Synod will consider facilitating the replacement of TEC by ACNA next week, when it takes up Mrs. Ashworth's motion.

Now, bearing in mind the chaotic situation at the time Bishop Scriven was seeking a transfer to the Church of England, if someone had asked someone else in the Episcopal Church offices, "How are we handling international transfers these days?" and received the reply "They're all coming under the renunciation canons," the anomalies in Bishop Scriven's "case" would be fully explained.

It looks to me like a procedural error of precisely this kind, and it would be best if the parties involved at TEC 'fessed up to it. In fact, I think they more or less have already. Didn't the Presiding Bishop apologize to Bishop Scriven?

Posted by: Charlotte on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 5:03pm GMT

Mr. Powers, several interesting questions. I don't know the answer to the first -- I do know that the principle is ancient: that ministry is to a particular cure / diocese / province. (For bishops, in the older days, and still now, nuptial imagery is used: hence the ring and taking the name of the diocese as a surname, as in "+Rowan Cantuar.") Ordination is not "at large" and clergy are linked to one particular place. When they move within a province, letters dimissory have always been provided. Moving to another province on a permanent basis is simply not provided for in our canons -- it likely should be. Whether "renunciation" was used in earlier times, I do not know -- but I do know that clergy who moved to another province were "removed" from the clergy list -- which is, in fact, the only actual consequence of the renunciation canon: see Canon III.9.11 for the specifics. As I noted above, TEC holds the orders themselves to be indelible, and all that is altered is the right to exercise the ministry.

Your second point raises a good question -- the answer is Yes. As you note, permission from the TEC bishop / rector is required, and if the person is a licensed and/or recognized bishop or priest of a Church in Communion with TEC, the relevant canon allows them to function as guests "on an occasional basis." (III.9.6.c.2.iv)

As I would hope that canon makes clear, the idea that clergy are "free agents" is part of the problem we are dealing with -- in fact there are rather stringent rules about ministering in a congregation or church that is not one's own.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 5:27pm GMT

In my previous note I should have bolded or other wise emphasized the notion of the "right" to ministry. Clergy have no right to exercise ministry outside of the bounds of their proper parish / diocese / province -- and permission to do so is required. "Removal" simply deprives a clergy person of the capacity to exercise ministry in the place to which he or she was ordained -- whether leaving ministry for secular life, or for another province. Whether able to exercise that ministry once more as a guest depends on the person having been received as a minister of a church in communion, and the permissions being granted for an occasional ministry.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 5:36pm GMT

Paul, Tobias will have a better handle on your historical questions, but I think I can speak to the second. Bishop Scriven, or the Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Mexico, or of the Churches of Central America, can function in an Episcopal Church with the appropriate permissions. Episcopal functions (confirming, ordaining, etc) would require the permission of the diocesan bishop. Priestly functions (eucharist, preaching) would only require the permission of the priest, at least for a one-shot event; although it would be best and clearest to have the permission of the bishop, and to ignore or fail to discuss this with the bishop would be extremely discourteous. If the diocesan bishop were to *deny* permission, the local priest could not overturn it. If the bishop were in the area for a function in another setting (a Baptist church, or a non-ecclesial event, for example), it wouldn't require anyone's permission; but, again, no greeting or contact would be considered discourteous and un-collegial.

Bishop Lyons is a case of particular difficulty. He came into American dioceses to function as a bishop in congregations that were not only competing with the Episcopal Church, but were purporting to leave the Episcopal Church with property, thereby violating their responsibilities as trustees (specifically in clergy and vestry, but also generally as a congregation) of assets held in trust for the work of the Episcopal Church. He was asked by those diocesan bishops refrain, and he refused. So, he not only violated courtesy, he also ignored issues of licensure. To the extent that Bishop Scriven has participated in activities of CANA churches (now part of ACNA), he has also raised these same issues.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Saturday, 6 February 2010 at 7:09pm GMT

JPM, you overlooked the most stylish gift available from ACNA - the very classy "Straight Bishop" tee-shirt.

http://www.cafepress.com/dd/35623818

It always seems to be about sex, after all, with these people.

Posted by: BillyD on Sunday, 7 February 2010 at 12:28pm GMT

Father Haller and Marshall: Thanks for your replies. I guess my problem is that Simon Sarmiento's paper gives the impression that use of the renunciation canons is standard operating procedure when a clergy member transfers permanently to another Province, but nobody's been able to point to any examples of their being used that way in the past. That, by the way, was the reason I cited the example of Bishop Lyons, who was originally a priest in TEC, but later became Bishop of Bolivia. My question was whether
the renunciation canon used when he went from TEC to the Southern Cone. Whether his later actions should result in his being barred from performing episcopal or sacerdotal functions in a TEC diocese is, of course, up to the bishop of that diocese.


Posted by: Paul Powers on Sunday, 7 February 2010 at 6:44pm GMT

Mr. Powers, I think the point of the paper is that use of the renunciation canon is s.o.p. _now_ -- I would guess that the transfer of clergy "out" from TEC was handled under the former canon III.21, which speaks of clergy "removing to another Diocese" and wishing to become canonically resident in that diocese; this canon also provided for clergy who had simply dropped out of sight or ceased to function but didn't let their bishop know -- the name of the cleric would be place on a public "Special List" for a number of years and then they would be declared removed without further action unless they manifested themselves to prevent it.

The canon was heavily edited in 1991 as part of a complete revision of Title III. The language about "removing to another Diocese" was itself removed, as was the "Special List" method. The provisions for a temporary ministry outside TEC remained, as did a new method of transferring from diocese to diocese within TEC.

But of course, in many of the current cases, there is no actual "removal" to another place -- and that would be the nub of the problem, even were the old canon to be in place. We are dealing (in many of these cases) with an anomalous situation: clergy transferring not their physical residence, but their allegiance -- in at least some cases to an entity that declares itself not to be in Communion with TEC.

It appears to me that use of the renunciation canon (or in the case of recalcitrance, the abandonment canon) is being applied uniformly. Since, as I note, its only effect is removal from the list of clergy -- however harsh the language may appear in terms of ministry (not order) -- and since that is the same as ever it was, I think Bishop Scriven (to whom this actually happened) has judged the situation accurately -- a tempest in a teapot.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 8 February 2010 at 12:37am GMT

For Paul Powers: As to your desire to differentiate Bishop Lyons, in his reaffiliation from TEC to Southern Cone, I wonder whether former Father, and later Bolivian Bishop Lyons ever tried -- as Duncan and others like him did -- to misappropriate property of The Episcopal Church.

Where theft is involved, could not the TEC response be different than when it is not involved?

If Bishop Lyons was not involved in such theft, then should it not be a more benign process for him?

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Monday, 8 February 2010 at 1:10am GMT

"...the most stylish gift available from ACNA - the very classy "Straight Bishop" tee-shirt."

That one's nice enough, but for "most stylish" my vote goes to the dignified and decorous "Find the Straight Truth" [sic] ACNA BBQ apron:

http://www.cafepress.com/+the_anglican_church_in_north_america_bbq_apron,408326956

Suitable for pig roasts, rotisseries, and all manner of burnings-at-the-stake of homosexuals and heretics?

Posted by: David da Silva Cornell on Monday, 8 February 2010 at 2:27am GMT

David, the apron is nice, but it lacks the biblical quotes of the tee shirt. It's strange that they left the tag line - "Find the Straight Truth at the, etc." I wonder if that's their official motto - yet.

The funny thing about the biblical quotes, of course, is that they argue as quite as strongly against +Schofield (who isn't married at all) as it does against +Robinson or ±Glasspool.

Posted by: BillyD on Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 1:33am GMT
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