Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Canadians decline to consecrate as bishop a former AMiA priest

The Anglican Journal reports: Worley will not serve as bishop of Caledonia, rules provincial HoB

The Rev. Jake Worley, elected bishop of the diocese of Caledonia April 22, will not be consecrated, after a ruling by the House of Bishops of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia and Yukon.

“As the Provincial House has registered its objection, the Rev. Worley will not be consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Caledonia in the Anglican Church of Canada,” reads a statement released Monday, May 15 by the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada. The statement specifies that, according to the canons (church laws) of the province, the decision is final. The diocese will now proceed to hold another synod to elect another bishop, it adds.

Last month’s election was held to find a successor for Bishop William Anderson, who announced in late 2015 his plans to retire.

The house’s decision has to do with Worley’s views on his involvement with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a collection of theologically conservative churches that was originally a mission of the Anglican Province of Rwanda.

In 2007, Worley, who was born and raised in the U.S., planted a church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as a missionary for the Anglican Province of Rwanda. (At some point after Worley left, that church joined the Anglican Church in North America, another grouping of conservative Anglican churches.)

The bishops began to discuss Worley’s views after a review of his service for AMiA, which, according to the statement, he performed “under license from the Province of Rwanda in the geographical jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church without permission of the Episcopal Church.”

“After many open and prayerful conversations, the majority of the House concluded that within the past five years the Rev. Worley has held—and continues to hold—views contrary to the Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada,” Archbishop John Privett, metropolitan of the province, is quoted as saying.

According to the canons of the diocese, the House of Bishops can object to the election of a bishop if “he or she teaches or holds or has within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.”

“The view he held and holds is that it is acceptable and permissible for a priest of one church of the Anglican Communion to exercise priestly ministry in the geographical jurisdiction of a second church of the Anglican Communion without the permission of the Ecclesiastical Authority of that second church,” Privett continues.

The bishops made their decision, according to the statement, after they “reviewed the Rev. Worley’s past actions, what he has written directly to the House, and what he said when meeting with the Provincial House of Bishops.”

The bishops, the statement says, met several times after Worley’s election last month, to “review the materials before them” and meet with Worley.

The statement concludes with a request by the House of Bishops for prayers, “especially for the Worley family, for the Diocese of Caledonia and all those who worship and minister there.”

Neither Privett nor Worley was immediately available for comment as of press time.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 7:56pm BST | TrackBack
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He also served for a while in the Church of Ireland:
https://www.ireland.anglican.org/news/4791/institution-of-the-revd-jake

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 8:08pm BST

The Journal's reference to the objection procedure being in the "canons of the diocese" is incorrect. It is the canons of the Province. The provincial canons are here:
http://www.provbcyanglican.ca/provincial-canons/
See Canon 4

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 10:14pm BST

Why was his candidature allowed to proceed so far as the election? Surely it would have been wiser to raise the issue before it got that far?

Posted by: Janet Fife on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 8:45am BST

At least the Anglican Church of Canada is actually doing something about banning homophobia in the Bench of Bishops.

Now that the chickens have come home to roost in the C. of E., what can we expect from the 'Mother' Church?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 at 10:34pm BST

@Janet Fife: there is no mechanism for the provincial HoB or other entity to remove a nominated candidate's name.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Thursday, 18 May 2017 at 2:47am BST

This is another situation where it would be very helpful to have a comment from someone with local knowledge, as there is clearly plenty going on between the lines, on both process and substance.
Frequently on these pages, especially when a matter of controversy arises around the selection of a C of E bishop, various voices have called for the election of bishops by the diocese concerned. I certainly share the view that this is the best arrangement, but it is worth noting that it can become messy when the person elected (strictly speaking, nominated) by the diocesan synod cannot meet the approval of the wider church. This happened in NZ 30 years ago when Canon Paul Oestricher was elected in Wellington, and was opposed by the bishops and diocesan representatives of the wider church. It is messy, and can cause much hurt, but any jurisdiction where bishops are selected in this way must have provision for approval by the wider church. I don't know if the nominees' names were made public in this case, but even if they were, there is always provision for nominations to be made on the floor of synod; it is quite possible that the provincial bishops did not know of Jake Worley's involvement until they heard the result of the election.
But to the substance: A google search tells me that the former Bishop, +William Anderson, was very vocal in his conservative views on issues of sexuality. He got in trouble early in his episcopate for providing a licence to a priest in Wyoming who had withdrawn from the Episcopal Church. As he planned his retirement late last year, it seems that +Anderson wanted to provide an opportunity for the diocese to consider recent decisions about equal marriage before electing his successor. He also attempted to arrange for the election of a Coadjutor Bishop before his resignation, but withdrew from that attempt in the face of accusations that such a proceeding would be uncanonical.
All of this tells me there is more to this than meets the eye. Clearly there is a strong (on this issue) conservative voice in the diocese, or Jake Worley would not have been elected. I wonder if the next synod is likely to choose another nominee with similar views, or might other opinions come to the fore. Is there anyone with local knowledge who might like to comment?

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Friday, 19 May 2017 at 3:22am BST

Under Anderson, the Diocese of Caledonia was in de facto schism from other dioceses of the ecclesiastical province, especially New Westminster under Bishop Michael Ingham. He made it clear that New Westminster clergy would not be licensed or welcome in the diocese. He boycotted consecrations of bishops in the province. He withdrew from participating in the Vancouver School of Theology. He became alienated from the Nishga and Haida peoples in the diocese who advised former missionaries he excommunicated to pay no attention to him and visit them anyway. Worley, his wife and one of his children were all Caledonia delegates at the General Synod last summer. They spoke vigorously against the change in the marriage canon and walked out when it was passed. (It is coming up for second and final reading in 2019 and quite likely will be passed.) I believe they said they would lead Caledonia out of the Anglican Church of Canada into ANAC/GAFCON if the marriage canon was changed. Therefore, they were very well known to all the Canadian bishops. My first reaction on hearing he was elected was to wonder if he would be approved by the BC and Yukon Bishops. The bishops' refusal was on grounds of potential for schism rather than theology per se. I am not sure he would even have welcomed many of the bishops to his consecration if it had taken place. The decision will not be well received by the diocese of the Arctic and a few other very conservative dioceses. But it was not totally unexpected.

Posted by: Terry Brown on Saturday, 20 May 2017 at 12:22am BST

Thank you, Bishop Terry Brown, for that information about the Diocese of Caledonia. It does seem that the removal of Mr. Worley from the possibility of episcopal ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada has, effectively, averted further scismatic movement in the A. C. of Canada.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 21 May 2017 at 11:23am BST

Too early to tell, Ron. The Diocese is holding meetings this week. They are not happy.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Monday, 22 May 2017 at 3:10am BST

Perhaps, for the moment, Father Ron, but what happens when they choose another conservative and the liberal dioceses tell him to take a hike too? The few remaining conservative dioceses in the US are also having this conversation, "Will the liberal majority allow any conservative to be chosen bishop again?" And when the "inclusive" church says, "No". Will the conservatives split, or just stop showing up, leaving empty churches behind? I get the feeling here and on other progressive sites, that many would rather people became atheists than conservative Christians.

Posted by: Chris H. on Monday, 22 May 2017 at 4:51am BST

Relevant to Chris H's question: this brings to my mind the case of South Carolina in the Episcopal Church. A bishop was declined on procedural grounds, and with concerns that he might want to lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. Since the declination was procedural, when he was elected again and procedural issues were better handled, there were still questions about his positions on issues in the Episcopal Church. He stated he would not take the Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church. Then, after some significant period, he stated, 'Actually, we can't work with the Episcopal Church." While it took some time for him to try to actually connect elsewhere, he has spent some time disconnected from the Episcopal Church (and there has been plenty of discussion about that here at Thinking Anglicans as well as elsewhere).

So, what possibility might there be for the election of a person who shares Mr. Worley's positions but has made no explicit public statement? Is there sufficient respect for the process, and for the decision-making capacity of the electing diocese, to allow a person's election to be confirmed who is "appropriate" in the thoughts of the electing diocesan representatives, when there is reason to question their position regarding the ACoC as institution?

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Monday, 22 May 2017 at 4:30pm BST

Chris H., the Canadian situation (a reason for opposition was that he'd led a parish out of TEC) plus the situation in South Carolina (where Mark Lawrence led some of the diocese out of TEC, though promising not to) is certain to give us "includers" pause about risking getting burned again. That's not hypocrisy, that's "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

Further, it's one thing to be conservative, but it's another thing altogether to impose it on LGBTQI or women inclusive parishes. That's the problem at the leadership level. Calling a conservative rector and being a conservative parish is easy. Having a bishop that won't allow liberals to act upon our conscience is another thing entirely. TEC has discerned that inclusion is the Way of Jesus. And if a conservative can serve without imposing exclusion, that would be fine. But it isn't the nature of conservativism, that nature seems to INSIST on abusing and oppressing people. I have no objections to a saintly conservative bishop (+Herbert Thompson was one), but excluders are out of the question in TEC.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 22 May 2017 at 5:20pm BST

I suspect that we can't have a true conversation on this issue on TA, as conservative members of the Diocese of Caledonia are unlikely to visit and comment on this website.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Monday, 22 May 2017 at 8:27pm BST

Many thanks to those much closer to the scene for the background info. I certainly feel much better informed.
I there are any members of the Caledonia electoral synod reading this, might I humbly suggest the name of Tim Chesterton for Bishop?

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Monday, 22 May 2017 at 8:46pm BST

You're very kind, Edward, but to be honest, I sincerely believe that the best job the church has to offer is 'parish priest'.

And anyway, Prince Rupert is 1,000 miles by road from my grandsons here in Edmonton, and that's just not going to happen!

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at 1:08am BST

Dear Cynthia,

The Diocese of South Carolina left as a Diocese. What is left is not a Diocese but a holding action called "TEC in SC."

The Diocese argued that as a Diocese they had the right to leave and so far the courts in SC have not ruled otherwise. The same situation obtains in the states of Illinois and Texas.

You may not like or agree with the polity argument they made, but it was one they argued effectively.

The polity situation in Canada is not the same. There is a sizeable conservative contingent in the Diocese of Toronto. They will seek to remain and also differentiate. How that works out we shall learn in the days to come.

You need to realise that a Diocese like Dallas has diocesan canons that as a Diocese were voted on and approved, including a canon defining marriage. This is not a hard right effort of a few to dictate terms, but an orderly outcome of diocesan prayer and decision making.

Now will this position be defeated in a GC action that rules diocesan canons null and void? We shall have to see. The same situation obtains in TN and Albany and CFL and Quincy. I doubt that the new TEC will tolerate diocesan canons to function any longer. The General Convention Church will most likely put a stop to the conservative position, save for individual clergy discretion. And of course in time that too will come to an end, just given realities on the ground and ageing clergy.

What happens in Toronto may be a different direction, and so too in Caledonia and elsewhere.

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at 10:46am BST

Dr. Seitz, the legalisms hardly matter, the semantics aren't worth it; in SC some left and some didn't. What is relevant is that Mark Lawrence promised not to take the diocese out of TEC and yet he did. The situation with Worley was that he had in the recent past promoted and participated in schism and border crossing. The Canadians found that unacceptable. Chris H. complained that this likely means that no conservative bishops will ever be consecrated. I suggest that a conservative who can live with diversity within their diocese is electable, but both TEC and the Canadians are likely to be cautious for good reason, past betrayals. I also note that there is something about current conservatism that INSISTS on oppressing others, which your complaints confirm.

For the record, I loved +Herb Thompson. He was very conservative on LGBTQI issues but allowed my parish to be wildly liberal. When he visited, he and I talked, resulting in subsequent invitations to lunch where we discussed our situations and positions, lovingly. He would take us to the fancy club in town where he was the only African-American who wasn't a waiter. We got the point, and accepted it with deep appreciation. And he listened to us, and he loved us, and he did not interfere in the workings of our inclusive and social justice oriented parish. We never changed each other's minds, but we loved one another and there was no coercion.

Somehow, the polarization in our world has grown to a chasm where love is lost, and somehow the church is ruined if one side can't impose it's view on all others. I wouldn't mind having conservative bishops like +Herb (just not in the majority). But they aren't like +Herb.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at 6:11pm BST

+Sumner received the necessary consents to become Bishop of Dallas without any real trouble. He credibly promised to remain in TEC, but had no intention of changing diocesan policy on same sex marriage. That was sufficient.

Posted by: Whit J. on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 3:42am BST

Dear Cynthia,

If you wish to discuss this I suggest you avoid bromides likes "legalisms" and "semantics". It telegraphs that you really aren't interested.

"I suggest that a conservative who can live with diversity within their diocese is electable" -- which is the case in every diocese referred to in the prior note, including the Diocese of SC. Everyone of these dioceses has what on your terms are "wildly liberal parishes" (you can clarify the adverb).

At issue is whether these dioceses can maintain their own discernment and canons reflecting that. If so, there will be diversity along the lines GC set in the last gathering.

My point is that it seems unlikely that will happen.

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 5:30am BST

I think we are having a difficult time understanding one another. I don't think that any bishop should have the power to rule against the inclusive views of the larger church in our province. Thus enacting their local canons, if they exclude women from leadership and LGBTI people from acceptance is not OK. Diocesans are not little popes. And so we agree that it's not likely to happen (bishops maintaining their own discernment and canons). Local parishes can be conservative. And I think that there is still room for bishops holding conservative views, as long as they can hold them while respecting the discernment of the inclusive parishes in their dioceses.

That was the Witness and ministry of +Herb Thompson. My parish there was extremely diverse, gay/straight/trans, rich/poor, black/white, addicted/recovered/never hooked, etc. It is a social justice parish that walked the talk, feeding the hungry, taking in the refugee, Witnessing for racial justice, and serving as a sanctuary for many. +Herb respected that about us, and sent seminarians to see it for themselves. He never, ever, voted for LGBTQI inclusion, but there was no question about his love and pastoral gifts, and he did not interfere with the inclusive church.

Clarifying "wildly liberal" means truly and deeply inclusive and fully engaged in social justice. It actually leaned Anglo-Catholic in liturgy, so not at all liberal in that department. However that is solidly in line with the Oxford Movement as we received it - high church/social justice oriented.

I don't mean to be glib when I use words like "semantics" and "legalisms." I'm just trying to avoid yet another conflict over perceptions of what happened in SC. The point is that TEC was betrayed by someone who promised he wasn't going to lead the diocese out of TEC. The Canadians were voting on someone who had already participated in schism, and Chris H. wonders why conservative bishops in TEC are unlikely.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 4:25pm BST

"had no intention of changing diocesan policy on same sex marriage. That was sufficient."

Whit J. You have given a fair summary. I think the same pertains, as grandfathered in, in CFL, TN, Albany, Quincy, and formerly in SC.

You will see from the remarks to which I was referring a different perspective. It will not be "sufficient" because for this commentator, in her august rendition, "I don't think that any bishop should have the power to rule against the inclusive views of the larger church in our province."

I wonder then what your take is? Mine is that her view -- which she believes is inclusive, soi-disant -- will prevail. She talks dramatically with language like "betrayal" to make the point she believes is otherwise transparent and without rejoinder.

But your comment suggests otherwise."That was sufficient." But the real question is, how durable is the "sufficient" you kindly propose? For Cynthia, it is a dead letter.

In her excitable view, "Diocesans are not little popes". But the Diocese of Dallas or Albany or CFL or Quincy or TN is not a "Diocesan" but rather Christian Episcopalians in discernment and prayer in a diocesan context. Once again, the "little popes" langauage is desparate, inaccurate, and borne of lazy thinking.

I pray that Canada and the CofE do not allow themselves to descend to this level of excitable rhetoric and can continue to think as Christian folk.

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 7:12pm BST

Edward,
I think that if Caledonia elects a different conservative, one who is willing to work collegially with the HoB and structures of the ACofC, there would be no problem with assents. When David Edwards was elected in Fredericton, about 2 years ago, there was no objection raised. He was the only bishop in the Province of Canada (the 7 eastern dioceses) to vote against the change in the marriage canon.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 at 8:46pm BST

Thank-you Jim, and yes, that would be my assumption too, albeit from a distance many times further from Prince Rupert than Edmonton is.
This was the serious point behind my light-hearted suggestion of Tim Chesterton for the position. I would have thought that someone who has consistently defended an Evangelical position in a predominantly "liberal" context, thus demonstrating at least a willingness to engage with those of different views, might be the sort of person who could help the Diocese of Caledonia find their way forward from the painful place where they find themselves.
But do not worry, Tim. You are quite right to prioritise for your grand-children, as I would for mine. With the grace of the Spirit, Caledonia will find someone else; our grandchildren do not have that option.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 1:14am BST

"lazy thinking" !!!

Dr. Seitz, the issues of social justice and power, as well as theology and power are well documented by thinkers such as Cornell West (here in Princeton). It's one thing to hold conservative views. Fine. It's quite another to exercise power in a way that is unjust and counter to the discernment of a church that genuinely finds that the Way of Jesus is the way of inclusion. An ecclesiology that calls for bishops who can ignore the mind of the larger church is truly the unconvincing position.

Calling my position "excitable" is code for shallow, unreasoned, with misogynistic overtones of "disagreeing while female."

Further, from another board, you likely know that I'm a musician. I possess the skills of analysis and pulling together complex music and text in multiple languages from a broad time period created in a number of cultural settings (that have bearing on the outcome). I learned it at two world class conservatories. I have news for you, theology and historical studies aren't that mysterious (interesting as they may be). The Biblical Canon and early church were developed by fallible men, none of whom knew Jesus and some of whom had an interest in aligning the church with empire. Brilliant as those guys may have been, they are products of their time and place. The gift of the Holy Spirit allows for continued revelation of the mind, heart, and spirit. Jesus never asked us to check our minds and hearts at the door. And it appears to me that the conservative position is the one that is crystalized, heartless, and seems to have amnesia about injustices at the hands of the church - something that should give us all pause from time to time.

That will be Maestro Cynthia, to you!

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 2:29am BST

"The Biblical Canon and early church were developed by fallible men, none of whom knew Jesus and some of whom had an interest in aligning the church with empire."

From Character of Christian Scripture (2011).

"Even Adolph Harnack understood this reality about the scriptural inheritance of the Elder Testament and its influence on the correlate New Testament. In commenting on Lessing he writes: '[Lessing] perceived that the New Testament as a book and as the recognized fundamental document of the Christian religion originated in the Church. But Lessing did not recognize that the Book from the moment of its origin freed itself from all conditions of its birth, and at once claimed to be an entirely independent and unconditioned authority. This was indeed only possible because the book at once took its place beside the Old Testament, which occupied a position of absolute and unquestionable independence because it was more ancient than the Church' (emphasis in the original; see Harnack, Bible Reading in the Early Church, London: Williams and Norgate, 1912), 145.

Harnack, that famous liberal theologian.

Your view of scripture is seamless with that of valentinianism. Which may make you glad, I don't know.

Posted by: crs on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 9:02am BST

"The Biblical Canon and early church were developed by fallible men" -- not sure what it means to say fallible men "developed the church," but in respect of the NT writings, you make it sound like later generations sat down and de novo wrote books (and for political reasons in addition).

If you want to challenge form and tradition criticism exercised by generations of liberal scholars, feel free. These criticisms acknowledge and excavate the living traditions that were cherished in various social settings, only gradually and in various ways assembled into the peculiar form of literary documentation that we now have in the "Bible Canon" as you put it, e.g. the New Testament. "I received and passed onto you" is the way Paul himself calls attention to this, analogous to how we assume passion narratives and paranesis and miracle stories and so forth came to be.

In a funny way your bookish position is the same as a species of very conservative scholars of previous generations, prior to the rise of critical methods -- just dated late and assigned motives like "aligning the church with empire". A project that failed miserably given the martyrs executed by empire anyway.

If there is any checking of minds at the door, it is sadly your own.

Posted by: crs on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 3:58pm BST

"Your view of scripture is seamless with that of valentinianism..."

Well, I do like the books by Elaine Pagels about the revelations from Nag Hammadi. But I think my view is more colored by the Orthodox (who never accepted original sin), the Celtics (who were more respectful of women and Creation and less enamoured with empire), and my Jewish friends who's reading of Torah diverges far from that of many Christian scholars. For one thing, the Mishnah gives the impression of an ever developing relationship with God, not a frozen one... And I can't help but be influenced by Desmond Tutu, MLK, Gandhi, Bonhoeffer, and all the liberators of recent history.

This is the classic struggle between tradition vs. continued revelation. And to what lengths people will go to exercise power over others so that their view "wins." Jake Worley was not rejected because of his traditional beliefs, he was rejected because he had exercised power towards schismatic purposes.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 7:34pm BST

This comment about Mark Lawrence is actually not true: "Then, after some significant period, he stated, 'Actually, we can't work with the Episcopal Church." " He promised to "work as hard to keep the Diocese in TEC as he would to keep TEC in the Anglican communion" which promise was made when our status in the communion was under discussion. He also came to a diocese the majority of the congregations of which wanted to leave. He worked to keep many in TEC. Please review the actual record. And, most importantly, only when TEC sought to act against him, secretly BTW, for letting parishes depart...only then was a mechanism, voted on by the Diocese, triggered for departure. Only when he was under threat.

Posted by: Wm (Bill) Paul III on Thursday, 25 May 2017 at 10:19pm BST

Those perceptions of Lawrence in SC don't match my recollection and the sense of betrayal people had. No one thought he had made the promise to stay in TEC with his fingers crossed, or that it was conditional.

As an LGBTQI person, married in my parish, I'm appalled that he used our joy and happiness as a cause to break that promise. Homophobia these days is about on a par with racism and misogyny.

The Canadians were wise to steer clear.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 2:52am BST

The late and very much lamented +Thompson never censored the preaching of any parish in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, or the public statements of any priest on any issue that did not strike at the core of Christian doctrine. And he did not try to prevent LGBT people from taking communion or having their children baptized.

But +Thompson did not and in conscience could not permit any parish or priest in the Diocese of Southern Ohio to bless any sort of same sex union. Furthermore, +Thompson apparently considered "same sex attraction" an absolute bar to the excercise of priestly ministry in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. He suspended gay priests who believed that any sexual acts outside of man-woman marriage was sinful, simply because their orientation became public knowledge.

Posted by: Whit J. on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 5:03am BST

O, our relaionship with Christ is never to be frozen and is always to develop. No one has said otherwise. This happens through prayer, suffering, fasting, scripture immersion, charity, almsgiving, care of the sick, praise and surrender to God in manifold ways.

It is scripture which sets out the paths and the Holy Spirit who guides unto them.

The Orthodox view of scripture is readily available in the volumes of John Behr. He reminds with urgency that there is no "God" to whom scripture bears some kind of erratic witness, fallible and happenstance. This idea is seen in German idealism and English deism most recently, whose spirit you have drunk deeply, if unwittingly. Scripture is the means by which he is known, through all its parts. The conviction is there especially in the early church and especially from gentiles, who in the first testament at last had a will and testament which named them too as beneficiaries.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 6:42am BST

Thank you Whit for the facts of the situation. My father, grandfather and uncle were all ordained in S Ohio and I have a clear memory of +Thompson and his views and discipline. My grandfather taught liturgics for 40 years at Bexley Hall and served a parish in Granville Ohio during that time.

The Dean of St Vladimir's seminary perceptively notes: After centuries of monotheism understood from a philosophical rather than scriptural perspective, it is today more likely to be assumed that if there is a God, there is only one God, and that while Scripture speaks about him, it is also possible to be in independent or direct relationship with him: that one can believe in God *before* he is encountered through scripture; and the one already known (or thought to be known) is *then* identified with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of Jesus Christ" -- John Behr, Way to Nicaea (St Vladimir's Press, 2001).

I suspect he is too generous in his last statement given the widespread and reflexive marcionism infecting reflection on the matter. For many the identification of the independent "God" with the God so named in scripture is itself simply not possible, except where one finds the idea congenial.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 11:03am BST

Lawrence did not make the promise with fingers crossed. Things kept moving in TEC remember and most of the parishes felt he was too slow and too accommodating of TEC. He inherited a diocese ready to leave. And, once again, look at the facts: only the move by TEC against him triggered the departure.

Posted by: William (Bill) Paul on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 2:50pm BST

"But +Thompson did not and in conscience could not permit any parish or priest in the Diocese of Southern Ohio to bless any sort of same sex union."

We were blessed in our parish in the Diocese of Southern Ohio while +Herb was bishop. I know other LGBTQI people had SSB's as well. I don't know what +Herb would have done in the next decade, but his love was not in question. It is with some of these others, like Mark Lawrence.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 5:18pm BST

"O, our relaionship with Christ is never to be frozen and is always to develop. No one has said otherwise. This happens through prayer, suffering, fasting, scripture immersion, charity, almsgiving, care of the sick, praise and surrender to God in manifold ways."

We agree heartily on that. Never has the spirit of God been more palpable than in Haiti after the earthquake, or at my parents' deathbeds, or when I had had enough of homophobia and found myself deep in the pit of depression. The fact that plenty of LGBTQI people and our supporters, agree with you on this, and Scripture, and have come to different conclusions should lead to a more generous attitude.

BTW, I do nothing unwittingly. I'm as well versed in my field as you are in yours. Our theologies diverge because I'm not a fundamentalist or literalist. I find that greater and universal truths are found in metaphor and big picture views - for example the OT's overwhelming message of concern for justice and caring for the widows and orphans and resident aliens. The response of the prophets to exile, the yearning for home and for God. The efforts to create a just society, which is definitely the focus of the Jewish rabbis who've I heard teach.

When Shostakovich set a song for his 14th Symphony that mocks a Sultan who inflicted misery on a Russian village centuries ago, his audience would have known that S was referring to the Soviet regime during Brezhnev and the misery they inflicted in 1968 (and all suffering at the hands of totalitarian regimes everywhere in all times). To read it as a story in the past would be to miss the deeper, relevant, and urgent message.

In my view, literalists are missing the forest for the trees. In your view, I'm slamming into the trees at high speed on a black diamond slope. I get it. I simply don't buy what you're selling. It is not hopeful and life-giving. It isn't the Good News for all people everywhere, the whole purpose of the Incarnation.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 5:56pm BST

"...his love was not in question. It is with some of these others, like Mark Lawrence."

Again, just ignorance and prejudice.

The Bishop of S Ohio and Mark Lawrence were friends and acted both out of compassion. Their hearts were on the very same channel.

Please cease if you simply revert to inaccuracies and mirror-to-self talking. You have been shown wrong about +Thompson and courageous people admit that kind of error. Life goes on then.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 7:19pm BST

Cynthia, I believe you, but I'm also pretty sure that your blessing ceremony and others were conducted under the assumption that what Bishop Thompson didn't know would not hurt him. In 2006 or 2007 I was a Methodist seminarian (I joined TEC in 2012) and was talking with an Episcopal counterpart. I was told that same sex unions were not permitted in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, though the new bishop would probably change that.

Posted by: Whit J. on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 9:25pm BST

It is a mistake to read the conflicts in one province of the Anglican Communion through the lens of another province, even when those two provinces border each other. Canada and the US are very different. Furthermore, no one from the Diocese of Caledonia has commented on this thread, and comments from outside can really only be a few steps removed from speculation. I understand that the Diocese of Caledonia is in the process of holding meetings to consider their next steps. Geographically (and perhaps theologically) I live closer to them than almost any other commenter here, but I would not venture to predict what their next steps might be, or to advise them on the matter.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Friday, 26 May 2017 at 9:31pm BST

The proposed new Canadian marriage canon has all sorts of provision for those who do not agree. The entire diocese of Caledonia could opt out of blessing or conducting same-sex marriages if they wished. I am sure the diocese of the Arctic will. Over the past years, the outgoing bishop of Caledonia, Anderson, wrote any other Canadian Anglican bishop who authorized church blessings of same-sex couples already civilly married (or married in another church such as the United Church of Canada) announcing that there was now "impaired communion" between Caledonia and them, which meant out of communion and the bishop to be avoided. I believe it was the expectation that Worley would continue this anathematization to the point of schism that caused the decision of the BC and Yukon bishops. There are certainly similarities to the South Carolina situation. Lawrence actually claimed he was the true TEC and everyone had left him. He and his diocese have now joined GAFCON and the re-constituted TEC diocese is flourishing.

Posted by: Terry Brown on Saturday, 27 May 2017 at 12:00am BST

There is technically no TEC diocese. There is a holding action called TEC in SC. If a new diocese is to be created it would have to request GC to be such. It would need a new name. One supposes this will be slow to happen as it would mean that the diocese of SC won. There are still pending trials re trademarking and property.

Posted by: Crs on Saturday, 27 May 2017 at 1:40pm BST

Terry Brown, your comment about the Canadian situation is extremely important.

The Anglican Church of Canada remains an *Episcopal* church in that the Bishops and ACC realize the office is integral to the polity.

The American "episcopal church" is now for all intents and purpose a "General Convention Church." The historically important diocesan canons and diocesan integrity are now timing out.
A bishop and diocese can no longer solemnly commit to "guard the faith" in a rational sense of the phrase. A bishop and diocese will now be required to defer to what the GC says.

The only exception to this would be the next GC saying that diocesans canons and the position of the Bishop in respect to faith and practice is to be honored. I find that idea very unlikely.

Posted by: crs on Sunday, 28 May 2017 at 9:51am BST

Ah, Canada. Ever (well, almost ever!) sensible.

---Jealous Yank.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 28 May 2017 at 11:39am BST

"The historically important diocesan canons and diocesan integrity are now timing out."

Could someone name for me provinces where it is OK for a diocesan to go against the determinations of the national church leadership? Clearly CoE expects unity, thus the Jesmond situation is so aberrant. The Canadians have determined that they don't want a bishop who would go their own way, against the higher leadership. Can diocesans in Nigeria and New Zealand follow their own integrity while ignoring their national leadership? For example, can a diocesan in Nigeria, New Zealand, Australia, etc., marry gay couples or ordain gay clergy if the national leadership has policies against it?

It is a bizarre argument that diocesans should have veto power. I don't understand how undermining the episcopacy strengthens the episcopacy.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 29 May 2017 at 10:16pm BST

"The Canadians have determined that they don't want a bishop who would go their own way, against the higher leadership."

Kindly read the comment of the Canadian commentator above. There are dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada which will not allow same sex blessings and
they will be free to have this position.

Your language "against the higher leadership" is a suitably vague place holder.

Historically TEC has been a diocesan church. That is why there are diocesan canons; why churches formed themselves into dioceses before requesting to affiliate; why diocesen assessments have never been mandatory; why no single senior bishop/PB could rule over another diocesan bishop; why dioceses are the ones which alone can say they would wish to merge.

You simply do not know the history of The Episcopal Church in the USA nor have you properly studied its polity. The Diocese of SC withdrew from its affiliation as a Diocese. The lawyers arguing the case won because the opponents could not find the "higher leadership" to which you refer. The vagueness of the language tells the tale and in the courts of TX, Illinois and SC has therefore doomed the argument.

The best course of action would be for TEC to allow the polity to continue and to let dioceses continue to exist as they have done. Much of the lead on that will come from the PB. I am skeptical that the same largeness of purpose and generosity will obtain as it does in Canada. But we shall see.

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 at 7:19am BST

I'm still not hearing about a province that allows diocesans to make policies that are opposite the mind of the larger church. If a national church decides that dioceses can choose, then that is still a national decision to allow choice, which is different.

I'm not understanding why TEC should be different in terms of having rogue bishops.

For all the complaints about lack of understanding, the real problem is who has the power to oppress. The generous Canadians may decide that certain bishops can continue to oppress their LGBTQI people. But at least they are drawing the line on a known schismatic.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 1 June 2017 at 3:23am BST

Dear Cynthia

The Anglican Church of Canada will permit bishops and the dioceses they serve to continue traditional practice.

In the Church of England the House of Bishops are not dictated to by Synod.

This polity is further representative of most provinces. And has obtained in different form historically in TEC due to colonial realities in which dioceses followed state lines.

Posted by: Cseitz on Thursday, 1 June 2017 at 10:30am BST

Latest update from Caledonia here:

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/diocese-of-caledonia-moving-on-after-worley-decision-administrator

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Saturday, 3 June 2017 at 12:35am BST

You aren't understanding the question. Can the CoE Bishop of Bristol decide that gay marriage is OK in "his" or "her" diocese?

Your reading of TEC has not been upheld in most courts.

The point about how the "Anglican Church of Canada will permit bishops and the dioceses they serve to continue traditional practice" is that this possibility will not seem "generous" to LGBTQI people and people of conscience. Older gay people will die before their faithfulness is celebrated and honored. One of the reasons that I'm livid with +Rowan and +Justin is that their interference delayed inclusive marriage. In these extra 6 years or so, several friends in life long commitments died.

At this point, asking LGBTQI people to suffer in order to appease "traditionalists" just seems cruel. But this thread was about not consecrating a schismatic. That's some good news.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 3 June 2017 at 3:33am BST

Dear Cynthia, I am afraid you do not understand the matter because you see things through lenses with terms like 'rogue bishops' and 'known schismatics.' To use a musical analogy, a harp with all the strings removed save one is easier to play but makes terrible music.

I do believe at last you have understood the situation in the ACC. You do not like it; of course. But you do seem to get it.

As for the situation in the CofE, it has of course not yet done what TEC has done. It does not have a General Convention. Its HOB has remained publicly unified.

If you are asking, what if same sex blessings are OK'd (not marriage) will every bishop be required to 'toe the line' (to use your understanding of bishops), I doubt it. It would more likely adopt something along the lines of the ACC. But that is some ways off.

My reading of TEC has not been cast out by most courts; most courts have not been approached for a ruling.

And as for SC, if you would wish to find out the reality, it is that the diocese was holding the line on its traditional faith and practice long before +ML was elected. I'd guess that 55% of clergy and parishes wanted to leave for ACNA before he was elected. He did not wish to leave.

But TEC sought to attack him and the diocese.

It did, and TEC lost.

I do not think that either +Griswold or now +Curry would have been so imprudent, but that is now a dead letter.

Posted by: crs on Saturday, 3 June 2017 at 8:57am BST

Just discovering this thread this morning, after several weeks away. I'll blame it on seven hour jet lag. I didn't scroll down far enough yesterday when surveying TA's offerings while I was overseas.

The comment by Terry Brown (above Terry Brown on Saturday, 20 May 2017 at 12:22am BST) provides the most useful background. Caledonia is on the other side of our vast country from me ( over four thousand kilometers away); but my colleagues here who are directly familiar with Caledonia would concur with the general thrust of Brown's comment.

Otherwise, to understand how and why the election has been overturned, one simply needs to read the article from Anglican Journal linked above by TA together with the reference to the Canons of the Canadian Province linked by Allen T. Perry above (Alan T Perry on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 at 10:14pm BST).

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 3 June 2017 at 12:51pm BST

" a harp with all the strings removed save one is easier to play but makes terrible music."

You would be amazed at how much great music could be made on one string. Last week I took a pedagogy class at Juilliard that was exclusively about making beautiful music on the G string of the violin.

I understand, we simply don't agree, which puts me in sync with my own church. Ultimately what matters is following Christ; doing what it is just, compassionate, healthy, healing, merciful, etc. We are at an impasse over the Spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law.

Peace to you, as I have to go practice on the G string and my fingered octaves.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 7 June 2017 at 6:04pm BST

"We are at an impasse over the Spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law."

Nonsense. Your assertions about polity are false in spirit and letter both. When the ACC and the CofE allow bishops and dioceses to do as they wish, that will confirm the matter completely.

And as for missing out on marriage, it is a 30 minute drive from Dallas to Ft Worth. The real question is how many LGBTI couples in liberal parishes in EDOD actually got married. Is it even 10%?

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 8 June 2017 at 6:31am BST
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