Wednesday, 10 February 2010

General Synod - press reports of the ACNA debate

Updated Thursday morning to include more details of the motion and amendments and further press reports

Stephen Bates in The Guardian Church of England keeps distance from breakaway US conservative Episcopalians

Jerome Taylor in The Independent Church sidesteps gay issue at Synod debate

Avril Ormsby at Reuters UK Church stops short of communion with U.S. conservatives

For the record, the original motion proposed by Lorna Ashworth was

That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.

Synod amended this to

That this Synod
(a) aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada;
(b) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(c) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(d) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.

The amended motion was largely the proposal of the bishop of Bristol, on behalf of the House of Bishops, but paragraph (a) was added on a proposal from the Revd Andrew Dow (diocese of Gloucester).

The amended motion was carried by 309 votes in favour to 69 against, with 17 recorded abstentions.

There was an attempt to amend the motion to read:

That this Synod
(a) express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America;
(b) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(c) acknowledge these aspirations, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raise issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(d) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.

This was defeated by 166 votes in favour to 223 against with 2 recorded abstentions.

During the debate there were two procedural motions, one to move to next business and one to adjourn the debate, but both were defeated. If carried either would have brought the debate to an immediate end without a vote.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 10 February 2010 at 11:08pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

The amended measure is a clear improvement, so far as ACNA proving itself over time in global Anglican community, still nominally big tent more than small tent? The covenant is still yet, Not.

For one thing, ACNA has not yet ably demonstrated that it is either willing or able to be a good Anglican citizen, instead of being the pseudo-good-neighbor Anglican sort who pretends to be a good neighbor while insisting underneath that if everybody is not exactly conservatively conformed, then anything goes. Ditto, for groups like Reform, AngMain and others whose behavior clearly suggests that collapsing global big tents is a holiness necessity of our day of discontent, period.

Meanwhile, back on the USA ranches, South Carolina and its bishop are testing the hot waters as the rest of TEC calls for accountability from them as to their big tent abilities to be responsive and responsible to General Convention, and the other dioceses. So far, SC has mainly painted itself as a weary target and victim, indulging in self-serving narratives which simply presume that dioceses are autonomous and independent, regardless of which provincial hierarchical church could conceivably lay claim to trumping their allegiance.

What a novel trope to ring concerning subsidiarity and dispersed authority in church life? RW hasn't been all that helpful either.

The similarities of SC and ACNA are amazingly striking. Talking one business - either (A) I'm not leaving the church and/or plus (B) the church has left me - all the while actually doing things to define one's conservative-closed presuppositions as utterly foundational, no matter what. What a hot fever these IRD conservatisms comprise. It's all written down in the IRD schemes and memos and papers. Alas. Lord have mercy. And that same SC or ACNA fever is already coming to CoE, no doubts. Just witness the heated wiles of Reform and the AngloCaths when it comes to women bishops.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 12:37am GMT

Rancid, lukewarm (Rev. 3:16) fudge. Blech! }-0<<

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 2:23am GMT

"The General Synod - the church's parliament, meeting in london - passed a motion recognising the breakawy goup's (ACNA's) desire to remain Anglicans but declined to promise to ally with them in their ongoing wrangles with the mainstream US Church"
- Stephen Bates, The Guardian -

Apart from his neglect to mention the Anglican Church of Canada as part of the ongoing saga, Stephen Bates sums up the result quite well.

Listening to the debate, it was interesting that Bishop Mike Hill's (+Bristol) amendment to the motion survived other prospective amendments that would have further exarcerbated the problem ACNA's bid to find favour with the Church of England as representative of Anglicanism in the US and Canada.

Perhaps naturally - considering the C.of E.'s traditional desire to be seen as welcoming of anyone professing to attain to its cultural and theological church polity - it could be expected to express some sort of sympathy with the aims of ACNA to 'remain' Anglican. However, Synod members were not unmindful of their ties of friendship with both TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Bishop of Winchester (a soul-friend of ACI and other sodalities sympathetic to ACNA) expressed his view that there could be two expressions of Anglicanism working side by side in the US and Canada, while forgetting that it is ACNA who has resiled from that position in its schismatic action against TEC and the A.C.of C. This after sitting po-faced in synod during Archbishop Rowan Williams' apology to the LGBT community in his opening address.

All in all, the outcome of this debate in Synod was much better than one might have expected. At least, ACNA has a long road ahead of it to gain acceptance by the C.of E., as well as the whole Communion. Perhaps it could be a 3rd tier partner? This would seem like the Ordinariates position with the Church of Rome!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 3:31am GMT

Jerome Taylor in the Independent gets it totally wrong.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 4:36am GMT

An exercise in making something read like something, but examine it and it is virtually meaningless. It is a lesson to the proposer of the initial wrecking amendment: next time, be more subtle.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 5:15am GMT

Better than the thieving weasels deserve.

Posted by: dave paisley on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 6:48am GMT

That's funny, Father Ron Smith, I thought I mentioned the Canadians several times in the piece....

Posted by: Stephen Bates on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 11:04am GMT

Dave Paisley wrote: "Better than the thieving weasels deserve."

Amen, brother.

Besides, it really is nauseating that there were not enough good people committed to truth, and willing to differentiate the fantasies of the ACNA crowd as presented in the PMM, that they would not have dismissed those contentions as part of any response.

After all, once could "recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;" while still demanding adherence to objectivity, and while still rejecting utter hyperbole (and lies).

Why was that so difficult to achieve in the CofE's General Synod?

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 7:47pm GMT

Fr. Smith:

Indeed, it will be a long road of acceptance, but the threats to CofE remain. Elsewhere, we read of someone who hinted at more border crossings on another site--before his comment was taken down.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 9:38pm GMT

Stehen Bates. Yes, I'm sorry Stephen, you may have mentioned the Anglican Church of Canada elswhere in your article, but in the specific sentence of yours which I quoted, you ommitted them as being also part of the 'ongoing wrangles' with ACNA. You will perhaps pardon a mere cleric for suggesting that perhaps you could have said that the Wrangling of ACNA was with the Churches of North America. This would have included Canada.
Sorry for my pedantic maundering, Stephen. I did enjoy your article. Not only was it very good, it was also rather more objective than anything I've read by a certain lady journalist who writes a lot about the situation from a strictly evengelical perspective.

In response to your comment, Ren, I too saw that there was an article on 'another web-site' that threatened a programme of invasion of the Church of England - on similar lines to that which has occurred in North America - by certain of the African Provinces funded by US conservatives. I wonder why it was withdrawn so suddenly after it was first noticed on the web? Incidenatlly, I wonder whether anyone noticed the Blogger David Virtue skulking in the courts of General Synod? He could know something about it.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 9:47am GMT
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