Comments: more about those ordinations

I am away from my desk for several months but picked up this story just as I was leaving.
My first thoughts are for the three new Deacons in the Church of England in South Africa. I rejoice these men feel called to serve God in the ordained ministry and pray their lives as ministers of God will be blessed and that His Kingdom will be served through them. I see that those trained at Oakhill have the confidence of the staff there and this must be a great reassurance to them in the circumstances.
I will be praying for them – the Diaconate was a time of great blessings for me and I hope they will be similarly blessed.

I believe the welfare of these three men and their families should now be uppermost in the minds of those with authority and jurisdiction.

As to those who have caused this ordination to take place in an irregular way and those who have encouraged it, they are obviously fully aware of what they are doing. They have shown great responsibility for the three Deacons by providing for them financially, but I am concerned that these three men might suffer spiritually as a consequence of their actions.

Reform has for some time made it clear that they are not at peace with the Church that has been their home; they have separated themselves from the Archbishop of Canterbury and declared themselves in “impaired” communion with diocesan bishops who are not to their taste. Everything they do is aimed at provoking a reaction to them, and I fear that they may soon succeed in this plan. Anglican Mainstream appears to have taken up this cause and have tied their fortunes firmly to Reform's agenda, so be it.

My only question is why Wallace Ben did not preside at this ordination? It would seem to me to be more honest and straightforward had he done so. But I am not privy to the strategy of this group and perhaps bishop Ben is waiting for a some other event to nail his colours to the mast.

What is clear to all observers is that this joyful occasion has been engineered to challenge the status quo – there will have to be a response but I hope it is measured and mindful of the lives and ministry of the three young Deacons.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 7 November 2005 at 1:08pm GMT

I was a bit taken aback when this story first surfaced, as the early press reports led with news of a "South African Bishop" -- only much later in the article clarifying that this was a bishop from the separatist Church of England in South Africa. Perhaps the London group should now be called the Church of England in South Africa in England?

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Monday, 7 November 2005 at 9:25pm GMT

"Everything they do is aimed at provoking a reaction to them"

This might indeed be said of LGCM, Changing Attitude, Affirming Catholicism, etc etc. Or are there different sauces for the goose and for the gander?

LGCM is quick to promote the fact that it arranges considerable numbers of blessing services for gay unions in defiance of local bishops. One might have expected approval for those who in their own tradition are not willing to conform to diocesan rules?

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 7 November 2005 at 10:45pm GMT

It's the ol' "authority of Scripture vs authority of the Bishop" game again! Like Martin I hope +Southwark will look for a compromise way out..

Making a martyr of Rev Coekin can't be very appealing !

But, maybe just maybe, this will be the catalyst for a solution, rather than the end of the CofE as a broad church ? Another nail in the coffin of geographical dioceses anyone ? (Though I think Reform has fewer fans in the heirachy than FiF had!)

Posted by Dave at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 12:56am GMT

Thanks, Tobias, for that clarification (knowing the fine leadership in SA by +Njongonkulu Ndungane, those early reports didn't make sense to me, either).

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 2:14am GMT

I didn't realize that the CESA was not recognized as part of the Communion. That puts a different spin on the situation, doesn't it?

By using a CESA bishop, the recommendation of the WR to stop trespassing does not apply, at least in regards to the bishop.

However, it does seem to suggest that Reform does not hold the WR in very high esteem. Or is such an act of ecclesiastical disobedience justified by claiming they were forced to take these drastic measures in response to the disobedience of those with whom they disagree?

Out of curiosity, is Reform advocating for the implementation of the WR?

Posted by Jake at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 5:21am GMT

He just can't stop regurgitating that ridiculous 'in the name of political correctness' soundbite, can he?

I didn't realise Reform just had a conference (see their website: http://www.reform.org.uk/ )Coekin was one of the speakers there. The conference ended THE DAY BEFORE this ordination by the Bishop of the schismatic 'The Church of England in South Africa' (which is not in communion with the CofE - so surely they are now deacons in that church not the CofE and have just excommunicated themselves from the CofE?).

At the conference, they 'welcomed' a briefing paper called 'The Ways Forward in the Present Crisis in the CofE'. In that document, they:

a) say they will not 'willingly secede', and

b) present their 'Deep Change' strategy, which entails:

"‘breaking the rules’ (some of which may be strangling the organisation to death) – in the church this means not any, but principled irregularity; b) risking jobs; and c) driving forward into an uncertain and unplanned future"

and

"refusal to accept the bishop’s ministry"

and

"the re-routing of financial giving away from diocesan funds towards more orthodox uses"

and

"Establishing a Panel of Reference For Recognition Of Ministry Within The Wider Church"

They say this Panel of Reference will be "providing an essential form of accountability within the wider orthodox church in relation to the discernment of ministry, albeit on a temporary basis until the present doctrinal confusion is resolved"

Which is really just setting up their own authority, their own hierarchy, their own church. Some might say this is a 'church within a church' scenario, but I say it isn't - it's just a different church. Not the CofE.

They call it ‘Principled Action’ – I call it making a mess and being as difficult as you can because you can't get your way.

'Reform in every region'. Brace yourselves for an awkward mess in every region.

This should be good PR for Jesus.

Posted by Augustus Meriwether at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 6:27am GMT

Parishes and Dioceses have always been Territorial.

And the principle of non-interference is in the 8th Canon of the Ecumenical Council Nicea of 325, I believe ;=)

No Lambeth resolution will ever beat that!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 6:42am GMT

For once I agree with Goran. Let us, like the Eastern churches, much more strictly adhere to the Ecumenical Councils. Though I have the impression that the Swedish revisionist prefer to (in his country's tradition) use the Councils in a "smorgasbord" fashion!

Posted by Peter at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 8:35am GMT

So, Goran, AM, there can be no way of justifying the Reformation?

BTW, Goran, you need to read the Canons of Nicaea again.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 9:11am GMT

The noble example set by Athanasius:

"After Constantine’s death, as his Arianizing son Constantius became master, first of the East and then (in 350) of the whole Roman Empire, imperial policy shifted from conciliation to coercion of the adherents of Nicea, and these shifts continued down to the final defeat of Arianism in 381.

As time went on, the whole Church became divided over the question, with bishop opposing bishop. Athanasius was willing, as the conflict intensified—in his case, as early as the mid-340s—to intervene unilaterally in dioceses whose bishops were Arians or compromisers. The historians Socrates and Sozomen, writing in the middle of the next century, record that he ordained men in dioceses whose bishops were tainted with Arianism to serve the orthodox upholders of Nicea, and that he did so without seeking or obtaining the permission of those bishops." (William J. Tighe)

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 9:21am GMT

I don't think it makes any sense comparing the English Church at the reformation with the 'Reform' network of a few disgruntled fundamentalist 'reasserters' in today's hugely accomodating Church of England.

Their clinging on to the CofE whilst rejecting it's authority and kicking it in the shins is just futile and destructive and everyone is going to lose in the end. Why not do something constructive like forming their own church where they can do as they wish.

Granted the CofE pinched Rome's buildings, but looking at what a burden they have become, it seems it was a big mistake.

Posted by Augustus Meriwether at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 10:37am GMT

Peter wrote: "For once I agree with Goran. Let us, like the Eastern churches, much more strictly adhere to the Ecumenical Councils. Though I have the impression that the Swedish revisionist prefer to (in his country's tradition) use the Councils in a "smorgasbord" fashion!"

No, it's the Greeks that do that ;=)

Canons are valid when recieved locally.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 10:54am GMT

Alan March wrote: "So, Goran, AM, there can be no way of justifying the Reformation?"

Don't look at me, I am Church of Sweden.

And as to Athanasius... surely, two wrongs don't make one right?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 10:57am GMT

Although I disagree with most of the territorial interference currently taking place, it's worth pointing out that the canons of the council of Nicaea also forbid bishops from moving from one see to another. Hardly obeyed today yet I see nobody complaining.

Posted by Sean Doherty at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 11:51am GMT

Canons of Nicea 325: http://www.ourcatholicfaith.org/docs/ECUM01.htm

This would be it (by inference as always): 8th Canon “… but when some come over in places where there is a Bishop of presbyter belonging to the Catholic Church, it is evident that the bishop of the Church will hold the bishop’s dignity, and that the one given the title and name of bishop among the so-called Cathars, will have the rank of Presbyter, unless the Bishop thinks fit to let him share in the honours of the title. But if this is not met with approval, the Bishop will provide for him a place as chorepiscopus or presbyter, as to make his ordinary clerical status evident and so prevent there being two bishops in the City.”

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 12:15pm GMT

Gimme a break, Alan Marsh. How many times have you recited the Athanasian Creed this year? Another good reason to consign it to "Historical Documents of the Church"!

Posted by Kurt at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 3:28pm GMT

The Athanasian Creed?

Is not by Athanasius himself, but Carolingian, only ever used in convents.

That's what we've been told by someone very much in favour with Benedict ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 4:31pm GMT

It's the ol' "authority of Scripture vs authority of the Bishop" game again! But the authority of Bishops rests primarily on the authority of the Bible and Tradition. So, as they walk away from the Bible and Tradition they destroy their own authority. I presume this is why liberals in ECUSA focus so much on their Canons - as the only source of authority left to them.

They're just *making it up as they go along* !

Posted by Dave at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 8:04pm GMT

The responses by our revisionist "catholic" CofS friend, and selective user of the fathers (i.e. Goran), says it all. Nitty, gritty arguments that are worlds away from the sources he is using to support his innovations. This would not have gone very far at any of the Councils!

Posted by Peter at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 10:38pm GMT

Who mentioned the Athanasian Creed? I was pointing out that the great saint took positive action to provide catholic clergy in provinces where the existing hierarchy had become corrupt. An excellent precedent for what is having to happen in modern times.

Canon 8 is concerned with the reconciliation of heretics who wish to return to the Catholic church. The part of Canon 8 which Goran did not quote (!) is this:

"But before all this it is fitting that they give a written undertaking that they will accept and follow the decrees of the catholic church" - which is roughly what the Windsor Report asked ECUSA and Canada to do. If they wish to be restored to full communion with the church.

Meanwhile neighboring bishops will seek, like Athanasius, to provide orthodox clergy for the faithful whose shepherds have become heretical.

Simply belonging to the Church of Sweden is no defense, Goran.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 10:39pm GMT

-skulks in, sheepishly-

Look, I'm really bad at checking dates, OK!!!

A nice gentleman has pointed out to me that the Reform conference on their website was LAST year.

Still, they are clearly playing out the strategy laid out there. As it is to the day last year though, I'm wondering when this years conference was/is? Have they just had it on the quiet? Anyone know?

-flounces out, pouting-

Posted by Augustus Meriwether at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 1:16am GMT

Alan Marsh wrote: "Meanwhile neighboring bishops will seek, like Athanasius, to provide orthodox clergy for the faithful whose shepherds have become heretical."

Who says the Bishop of Southwark has become 'heretical'? Last time I reviewed the C. of E. Canons there is a canonical process to make that determination. The neo-Puritans are just 'foaming from their mouths', making false accusations. That much for evangelical truthfulness!

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 6:02am GMT

Alan Marsh,

Pray, when did tea and bisquits at Lambeth become "the decrees of the Catholic Church"?

And "excellent precedence". To you, but not to others...

Rebellion is rebellion.

And don't blame us for the Reformation, we never were very Roman in the first place (witness: Melanchtthon's Tractatus papae was never acknowledged in Sweden) ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 6:34am GMT

JH, I wonder when you did last "review" the CofE's canons? You would have to look very hard - the procedure for the trial of clergy accused of heresy is not in the canons.

There is no effective method of taking a bishop to court for such things, although attempts have been made to introduce one in the General Synod. In the absence of such a procedure, people will respond in other ways - as they have done.

Nobody mentioned tea and biscuits at Lambeth, Goran. I assume that the fathers at Nicaea meant conformity with the creeds. A pity it is taking so long to get there.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 11:16am GMT

No Goran it's nothing to do with the Cathars but Canon 15:

"On account of the great disturbance and the factions which are caused, it is decreed that ... neither bishops nor presbyters nor deacons shall transfer from city to city. If after this decision of this holy and great synod anyone shall attempt such a thing, or shall lend himself to such a proceeding, the arrangement shall be totally annulled"

Posted by Sean Doherty at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 12:03pm GMT

Augustus Meriwether wrote about Reform "I'm wondering when this years conference was"

The conference was recently held Oct 31 to Nov 2. The final day's bible study was delivered by the now unlincenced Richard Coekin and this was followed by an address by Martin Morrison of CESA. They then dashed off to Surbiton to carry out their illegal ordinations.

The discussion paper for this year's conference was "Reform in Every Region" has anyone seen this yet?

Posted by Ray at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 12:47pm GMT

"Pray, when did tea and bisquits at Lambeth become "the decrees of the Catholic Church"?--Göran Koch-Swahne

Right on, Goran! Some of our cousins on the other side of the pond can't take a Yankee joke, I guess.

The ordinations of the three deacons may be valid--though irregular--but can the ABC, or other Church authorities, prevent their functioning in the CofE beyond their little lily pad? Congregationalist deacons?

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 1:06pm GMT

Sounds as if they are going to be pretty central in establishing the Protestant Reformed Evangelical Church of Lagos and Alexandria on these shores.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 1:13pm GMT

"Sounds as if they are going to be pretty central in establishing the Protestant Reformed Evangelical Church of Lagos and Alexandria on these shores."--Merseymike

You are absolutely right, Mike! The neo-Puritans have been doing the same thing in the United States for some time now--importing bishops to do their will. I’m glad that the Bishop of Southwark is standing up to them! In the American Church, a priest can be charged with “abandonment of communion” and defrocked if s/he persists in refusing to recognize the proper authority of the Bishop of the Diocese. Hopefully, you have something very similar in the UK.

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 2:00pm GMT

Merseymike and Kurt:

More name-calling? I gave up on calling you guys revisionists in the interest of encouraging more peaceful relations, yet you still insist on calling traditionalists/conservatives "neo-puritans". As previously noted, this might cover some, but by no means most traditionalists. And, as far as I'm concerned, it is a pejorative. (I'm sure any Anglo-Catholics posting would agree). How about "Reasserters"? I've heard some liberals use this term, and it seems pretty inoffensive to me (but maybe I'm missing something).

Steven

P.S.-Puritans did not historically have much use for Bishops. It seems unlikely that folks that pay so much attention to the need for Bishops could be categorized as "neo-puritans". /s

Posted by steven at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 2:59pm GMT

Merseymike and Kurt:

Hmm. I'm trying to think of a way of explaining this to you a little bit better. Would you be insulted if I consistently referred to all LBGTs as "trannies" or transexuals? The term may not be offensive in itself, but the consistent and irresponsible lumping of disparate peoples together under a single rubric that is largely erroneous is innately insulting. I hope the comparison helps. Its the only analogy I can think of on short notice.

Steven

Posted by steven at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 3:34pm GMT

"Puritans did not historically have much use for Bishops. It seems unlikely that folks that pay so much attention to the need for Bishops could be categorized as "neo-puritans".--steven

That's why we term them "neo"-Puritans. No, they are not exactly like John Winthrop of 1630s Massachusetts. A number of Calvinists were willing to put up with bishops, prayer books, etc. if they could dictate the content. That’s what contributed to the English Civil War.

Besides, these Bible Colleges are not exactly Cambridge or Harvard. I have never met an American Anglican priest who was trained in a Bible College in the more than 40 years I have been an Episcopalian. Such institutions are, however, popular with Baptists, Pentecostals, and other Protestant radicals. So you can see the direction in which these deacons are traveling.

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 4:11pm GMT

Oak Hill Theological College is one of the episcopally-recognised Theological Colleges of the Church of England.

Perhaps the difficulty for Kurt is that the sort of seminaries he has in mind don't use the bible at all?

And no, there is nothing whatever that can be done to prevent the new deacons from functioning as ordained ministers in England. If they had been ordained by the Bishop of Southwark they would have been subject to the canon law, but he chose not to ordain them....

And no, unlike the bishops of ECUSA who make a canon mean whatever they want it to mean, bishops in England can not summarily defrock their clergy as a means of imposing their personal heresies on a diocese. Here we have the rule of law, which means a fair trial. Apparently not in ECUSA.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 4:43pm GMT

Oh, pleeeeezze, Alan. Individuals who are charged with violating Canon Law in the American Church have at least as much due process as those so charged in the UK. Get real.

From your remarks, I take it that these newly minted irregular deacons can function as ministers in England but not as CofE clergy. That is, they can function as Dissenters but not as Anglicans. Is that correct?


Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 6:04pm GMT

I am disturbed by the gross slur on the Puritans made by some here.

Posted by Sean Doherty at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 6:26pm GMT

Let's hope Oak Hill joins Akinola too....

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 6:50pm GMT

Kurt, There are a number of clergy in the USA who have been threatened or deposed without trial and without due process under the "abandonment" canon, including some who are still in post in ECUSA parishes. That is the reality.

We do not have Dissenters in England but we have a variety of Anglicans - ordained in a variety of provinces, including the former colonies, as well as Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Strictly speaking only the English Church should use the term Anglican, but others lay claim to it...

"Anglican" is not a trade mark or copyrighted in any way by Lambeth, and there are substantial numbers of Anglicans whose Anglicanism is an example to us all, who are not in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. The newly ordained Anglican deacons in Southwark can function wherever they are called. "You don't need to go through Lambeth to get to heaven".

By the same token, there are some provinces which will soon cease to be recognised by the Anglican Communion. Will ECUSA relinquish the name once it is de-recognised?

Posted by Alan Marsh at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 8:30pm GMT

"Questionable Theological College"

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a review process for theological staff in all CofE colleges. Why should we tolerate folk who teach our ordinands against the faith and doctrine of the CofE, or who attack or undermine Christian faith and morality ?

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 9:52pm GMT

Sean:

Some of my best friends and family are "puritans" in the sense of being staunch Calvinists, with all that implies. I'm not agin' puritans. I just don't like people trying to lump all traditionalists together under that label.

Steven

Posted by steven at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 9:56pm GMT

If ECUSA is derecognised and thus no longer in communion with Canterbury, then it wouldn't be Anglican.

But I don't think that is likely to happen.

The churches outside the Communion are not Anglican although they may use the name.

There are certainly plenty of ways to Jesus which aren't through Canterbury, but thats a requirement to be Anglican.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 11:25pm GMT

Steven

I entirely agree with your general point about lumping people under rather perjorative labels.

But just for the record, the term 'trannies' is regarded as highly offensive by most transsexuals.

Posted by Amanda at Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 11:06am GMT

Amanda:

Thanks for the info. There is obviously a fair amount of rock throwing around here. The site provides a wonderful forum to debate issues, but the tendency to name-calling does nothing to improve dialog or understanding.

Steven

Posted by steven at Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 2:27pm GMT

"Kurt, There are a number of clergy in the USA who have been threatened or deposed without trial and without due process under the "abandonment" canon, including some who are still in post in ECUSA parishes. That is the reality." --Alan Marsh

Rubbish!

Those rebellious clergy are getting as full due process as possible considering their militant non-cooperation with the Clerical and Lay Authorities of their Diocese. Non-recognition, non-cooperation, non-compliance are certainly time- honored methods of non-violent resistance to what one opposes. However, one must also be prepared to accept the consequences of such non-cooperation—e.g. defrocking.

As to what is, or is not, “Anglican”: As an American Churchman, I very, very seldom even use the word “Anglican.” Most Americans, whatever their Denomination, find the word unfamiliar. That’s because for centuries we have always been known as “the Episcopalians”.

I guess Merseymike is technically correct in his usage. Of course England’s situation is unique; if one is not a member of the Established Anglican Church one is not an “Anglican”. In England, anyway.

When we Americans use the word at all, we use it in a generic sense. Not being Established in the United States, there can be several “Anglican” churches in addition to the Episcopal Church USA. In this view, the Churches of “the Continuum” are IN the Anglican Tradition, but not OF the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Kurt at Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 2:47pm GMT

Yes, less rock throwing please, all around.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 6:35pm GMT

Dear Amanda, A transexual relative of ours started calling herself (previously himself) a "trannie grannie" when his first grandchild was born... confused ?

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 8:49pm GMT

Kurt, there ought to be no need to rehearse here the recent events in a series of dioceses across the USA. There are a number of clergy who have not been given the opportunity to answer complaints or charges, still less make representations, who have been summarily defrocked, or threatened with deposition which still in post.

This has not been carried out according to the normal disciplinary procedures, but by resorting to a canon designed to deal with the situation where a cleric has joined the communion of another church - principally the RC Church.

It is itself defective in that it does not allow for the accused to contest the charges, but it is a serious abuse of law for it to be used to deal with clergy who are in dispute with their bishop, people who have no intention of abandoning the communion of the Anglican church.

I would have thought that most people here would affirm the right to a fair hearing and a fair trial. Especially for fellow-Christians.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 10:37pm GMT

Steven - sorry about my poor joke which confused you. I was actually referring to people who referred to some evangelicals as "neo-Puritans".

Posted by Sean Doherty at Friday, 11 November 2005 at 9:35am GMT

Hi Dave,

No, thats not confusing at all. My comment comes from being in a relationship with a ts woman, and of discussing this topic on a web group with over 500 ts members. The term 'tranny' is commonly used as an insult by gangs who intend to intimidate or commit hate crimes, it also has strong associations with cross-dressers, rather than ts folk. Therefore it is a term strongly disliked by most (but not necessarily all).

However, as is also the case with gays/lesbians, terms which are quite unacceptable when used by strangers/acquaintances are perfectly OK used in an affectionate and jokey way by themselves. As your relative did.

My best wishes to you and her, Amanda

Posted by Amanda at Friday, 11 November 2005 at 11:49am GMT

Dear Amanda, the wierd thing was that when we wrote to him after his announcement that he wanted to be perceived as a woman - to say that we loved him, even though we didn't agree with him (and that we hoped that he could do the same towards us) he was really pleased..

It seems that, though we are convinced evangelical Christians with strong conservative convictions on sexual morality, our response was better than most of the relatives!

Posted by Dave at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 1:10am GMT

Alan Marsh wrote: "There are a number of clergy (in ECUSA) who have not been given the opportunity to answer complaints or charges, still less make representations, who have been summarily defrocked, or threatened with deposition which still in post."

That is correct. Sadly, it has been the case ever since 1976 when ECUSA divided over Prayer Book revision and the ordination of women. It has something to do with how Bishop Search Committees and Diocesan Conventions select candidates for Bishop. During my first episcopal election in a U.S. SW diocese, they elected on the 14th ballot a cleric who had never finished high school, college and even seminary because of his political appeal, having promised "no change" in the ordination matter. At the 1976 General Convention the candidate for bishop had a conversion experience and actually voted for the ordination of women. Returning to the diocese, he began to persecute any and all who disagreed with him on the ordination of women issue. Lay leaders who attended an Anglican congress in St. Louis, MO were even excommunicated, their letters of excommunication being served at night by legal process servers. The then PB, John Allin, who himself opposed the ordination of women, could not rein in the "out of control" bishop, who saw his role as that of a sheriff, because he had no jurisdiction over individual ECUSA dioceses. It was a mess! The then Bishop of London, Dr. Graham Leonard, took charge of an urban parish in revolt against the "excommunicating" diocesan. General Convention then had to act and request the Lord Bishop of London to cease and desist from crossing diocesan boundaries.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the US bishop finally retired.

At least the C. of E. has in place proper structures to vet candidates for bishop. The ECUSA diocese actually had suitable alternative candidates but the conservative laity supported the candidate elected, to quote one of them, because "he looked like a prize bull." Well, it was a diocese on the American frontier!

Posted by John Henry at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 7:24am GMT

Alan Marsh, you can believe in the Tooth Fairy if it pleases you. Your simple assertions to the contrary, the accused are afforded ample opportunity to contest the actions of the Clerical and Lay authorities of the Dioceses in question.


Posted by Kurt at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 3:02pm GMT

Those are not unfortunately the facts, Kurt. Why should anyone believe anything you say when you are either ignorant of the facts or choose to assert that black is white?

Hint: try looking here -

http://www.cfdiocese.org/news/082405a.htm

"Bishop Howe: I don't want to cite specific instances, but let me say that the "Abandonment of Communion" canon (Title IV. Canon 10) has a very specific purpose. It is for those instances when a member of the clergy LEAVES the Episcopal Church to become, say, a Roman Catholic or a Presbyterian, without officially renouncing his/her Episcopal orders.

A Bishop who says that a member of the clergy who joins the Network, or who - for conscience sake - joins the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), has "abandoned communion" is simply outrageous. It is precisely to MAINTAIN communion with orthodox Anglicanism, that clergy make such decisions.

It is a very sad commentary if there are instances of Bishops using the "Abandonment" Canon to avoid the costs of a trial!

The "Abandonment" Canon denies the accused any due process whatsoever: there is no facing his/her accusers, no weighing of evidence, no answering of charges, no jury, no appeal.

To use this Canon to silence or remove a member of the clergy who does not support his/her Bishop is, in my opinion, a violation of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church."

John Howe is ECUSA bishop of Central Florida. I don't think he believes in Kurt's tooth fairy.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 8:06pm GMT

The great thing about CESA as I understand it is their understanding as Bishops as being senior presbyters rather than a separate order of minstry.

This is in accordance with the BCP which recognises a two-fold rather than a three-fold order or ministry.

CESA bishops continue to pastor churches.

Perhaps Bishop Tom will resign?

Posted by MartinLuther at Saturday, 12 November 2005 at 9:23pm GMT

"This is in accordance with the BCP which recognises a two-fold rather than a three-fold order or ministry." But the Ordinal specifically names the three orders of ministry.

We were told that the Southwark ministers were ordained as deacons. If CESA only has two orders of ministry, which order were they ordained to?

Posted by vscoles at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 1:09am GMT

I'm not the one to teach Alan Marsh the Canon Law of the American Church; perhaps there are those who think it worth the effort to instruct him. Suffice to say, I could parade a whole pack of quotations to support the decisions of the Clergy and Lay authorities, including web-page citations.

If Alan insists on calling the sky green, he is free to do so; it does not change the reality on the ground. I for one fully support our bishops in finally acting against the disloyal, deceitful element in the American Church, who have been working tirelessly against the majority of Episcopalians for 40 years.

Posted by Kurt at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 3:07pm GMT

So Bishop John Howe (and other bishops who have written on this subject, such as the canon law expert Bishop Wantland) think the sky is green, and Kurt is going to put them right.

I look forward to seeing this and hope he publishes his thesis here.

(Or is is just that "we" are going to stamp out those inconsiderate enough to take a different view? In the land of free speech and the first amendment?)

Kurt says it all really.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 13 November 2005 at 3:28pm GMT

In all this debate there are no serious discussions about the gradual erosion of the authority of God's Word by many in the Church of England. This is what is at the heart of this matter and it is sad that people are more concerned with quoting canons etc instead.

In my experience those who quote canons are invariably those who sue them as they wish, rather than as they actually are written. Similarly they use the Word of God as they wish rather than as it is written. Richard's 'crime' is to belive God's Word - as this is in direct line with the basis on which Cranmer set up the Church of England, and in direct agreement with the 39 Articles it cannot actually be Richard who is out of step. Just because the so much of the rest of the Anglican Communion has cast aside the truth about it's nature and beliefs doesn't make someone who wishes to keep to them wrong - quite the contrary.

So many want a new 'morality' based on what they want rather than on God's commands. The honest thing to do is for THEM to leave and found a new Church. Reform etc are simply holding firm in the faith given us by God himself.

Posted by Dominic at Tuesday, 29 November 2005 at 1:03pm GMT
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