Comments: further news from ECUSA

Interesting that both English church newspapers ignore the Duncan ultimatum. Ah, well .....

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 8:44am BST

This whole issue of "Windsor-affirming" vs. "Network" seems interesting. They're not jumping toward a specific conclusion (alternative primatial oversight, for example) but are in consultation. I note their claim that Canterbury is in the loop; I wonder whether 815 (the American shorthand for the offices of the Episcopal Church on New York - 815 Second Avenue) - whether 815 is also in the loop.

I also note the assertion "that Lambeth 1.10 now constitutes the teaching of the Anglican Communion." One could argue with that, considering the non-legislative nature of Lambeth Resolutions. However, even accepting that it raises the awareness that Lambeth in 2008 could therefore change the statement articulated by Lambeth in 1998. These are not, after all, "the laws of the Medes and the Persians which cannot be changed." (cf Esther)

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 3:41pm BST

Bishop Wimberly is whistling in the dark...

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 3:50pm BST

From _The Living Church_ article

“It is my hope that you will be able to accept this invitation and enter with fellow bishops into a consultation that can produce a way forward that both prevents some in our Church from ‘walking apart’, and others from seeking irregular means of preserving their Anglican identity,” Bishop Wimberly wrote. “I want to emphasize that this invitation is to a consultation rather than a conference.”

Bishop Wimberly appears to be forming a "consultation" of Episcopal bishops that will take all the positions the Network takes -- except the schismatic ("irregular," APO-seeking) ones. Interesting. Others must be sharing my qualms about the direction Nigeria and the Network have been taking.

I think it likely that I would agree with none of the positions Bishop Wimberly and the others will be taking on human sexuality issues within the Church. However, as long as they are willing to argue their case through open and above-board means, and do not seek through underhanded means to split the Church or take it over, I am more than willing to live, work, and take Communion side-by-side with them.

Posted by Charlotte Pressler at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 4:03pm BST

One must assess slips of the tongue or typewriter with care, but it is humorous to note the following on the site of the Church of Nigeria:

"The Revd Canon Martyn Minns will be consecrated at the National Christian Centre (formerly National Ecumenical Centre) Abuja in a service to be presided by the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Peter Akinola."

"the Most Peter Akinola" indeed.

Posted by Andrew Nadell at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 7:21pm BST

The proposed gathering of "Windsor" bishops in Texas appears, in rejecting General Convention's adoption of B033, to bypass the General Convention as the authoritative "voice" of the Episcopal Church in Communion matters; a principle laid out by Lambeth from the beginning:

"The Provincial Synod -- or, as it is called ... in the United States the General Convention... not only provides a method for securing unity amongst the Dioceses which are thus associated, but also forms the link between these Dioceses and other Churches of the Anglican Communion.... It is the office of the Provincial Synod... to exercise... powers in regard to Provincial questions similar to those which the Diocesan Synod exercises, within the Diocese..... Your Committee are of opinion, that the Diocese is bound to accept positive enactments of a Provincial Synod in which it is duly represented, and that no Diocesan regulations have force, if contrary to the decisions of a higher Synod.... The Provincial Synod should deal with questions of common interest to the whole Province, and with those which affect the communion of the Dioceses with one another and with the rest of the Church.." -- Committee Report A of the Lambeth Conference of 1867

These recommendations were ratified in Resolution 4:

"That, in the opinion of this Conference, Unity in Faith and Discipline will be best maintained among our several branches of the Anglican Communion by due and canonical subordination of the Synods of the several branches to the higher authority of a Synod or Synods above them."

This does not, contrary to the assertions of some, refer to Lambeth itself, which was never conceived as a canonical or synodical body, but as the invitation to the first Conference explicitly declared,

"Such a meeting would not be competent to make declarations or lay down definitions on points of doctrine." -- Archbishop of Canterbury, 22 February 1867

I am distressed that Canterbury appears to be participating in this event by proxy. Rather, he should, by Lambeth's own standards, be dealing with the (at present) legitimate constituent of the Anglican Communion (per the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council) on our shores, the Episcopal Church -- not with conventicles or special interest groups, however exalted their membership, or however much the special interests of these groups coincide with his own views, or the purported views of the "majority of the Anglican Communion."

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 9:39pm BST

[First, in passing: why in the world has the Church Times hired *Doug LeBlanc*, notorious conservative partisan, as a reporter? "some bishops are ready to rumble"??? Talking about lowering the tone of reputable publication! >:-/]

I have no problem w/ Minns being consecrated a Nigerian bishop---in and FOR Nigeria. If he returns to the U.S. *as a bishop*, however, he gets booted from TEC, post haste!

*****

Charlotte P, I find these developments---if they are as described---more *ominous* than you do, apparently.

The notion of "Windsor-Affirming" looks like a backdoor way of expanding---and in practical reality, *obliterating*---the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, in favor of a Protestant/Papist-model of "doctrine developed", ad nauseum. There's 4 additional points listed above---how many more? {sigh}

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Friday, 4 August 2006 at 10:29pm BST

Well, JC, in respect of your first item, I disagree strongly. I have known Doug for a long time, and he is a first class journalist. I am delighted that the CT is using him.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 12:02am BST

I cannot help but notice that CANA is now explicitly serving as a possible nucleus for the much urged conversative mitosis in which all Anglicans are supposed to be realigned. No more pretense about CANA just being a passing African conservative effort to maintain continuity with Anglican conservative Nigerians, somehow bumbled into foreign exile among heretical, liberal, queer loving, woman following North Americans.

We who have lived coming out of the closet may recognize the mirrors this holds up, including - alas - the funhouse mirrors.

Oh dear. Yet we were told pretty much that all this was coming our way, although many details were vague or omitted. Ah, so hello to CANA as a wedge of the TEC home invasion / missionary effort from Nigeria. Wow. Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 1:43am BST

Hi J.C. Good to hear from you. I don't find Bishop Wimberly's gathering as disturbing as you do -- yet.

At this point, +Wimberly's group looks to me (as it did to Fr. Jake) to be an alternative to the Network, as a way for conservatives in the Episcopal Church to gather, exchange views, develop their theology, make arguments for their points of view, and so on.

The difference between them and the Network lies in +Wimberly's statement that his group will not resort to "irregular means of preserving their Anglican identity." That must mean they will not seek to become a "tenth (non-geographical) province" or approve of the consecration of Canon Minns as a Nigerian bishop for America. It ought also to mean that they will not support boundary-crossing within the Episcopal Church or by other African prelates. Good for them if so; they are not being Windsor-selective, as the Network generally is.

The Network has the reputation of being a secretive organization given to making up the rules as they go along. It has contributed little to the polity or theology of the Communion except polarization, stridency, and spin. +Duncan's latest speech contains an open challenge to ++Rowan's primacy, as well as a veiled hint that he could seek to put the Network dioceses under the authority of Abuja. I can't imagine many conservatives will want to be associated with the Network after that.

Of course my view of all this could change. If the new organization were to show the same tendencies as the Network has in the past, then my view of them would certainly change.

As it stands, I am not at all likely to agree with any of their positions, but I am more than willing to welcome them to the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Charlotte Pressler at Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 3:08am BST

>>>persons engaged in sexual relations outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony

Does that apply to sexual relations between people in their second, third, fourth, etc. marriages?

I ask because the "reasserters" seem to have a curious blind spot when it comes to divorce and remarriage. They can shout about scripture and tradition and church teaching 'til the cows come home when homosexuals are at issue, but when it comes to heterosexuals disobeying Christ's own words and two millenia of tradition by abandoning their marriage vows, they are strangely silent.

It looks a lot like rank hypocrisy from here.

Posted by New Here at Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 7:17am BST

As far as Lambeth Palace is concerned this consultative gathering in Texas must represent a vast improvement on the Duncan group with their threats and ultimatum. It offers a genuine alternative to the Network whose machinations developed with “foreign powers” are unacceptable. By such visible support for this initiative Canterbury can hope that those who share the views outlined but are not willing to support a coup d’etat can now find a viable alternative to the Network structure.

Up to now the Network has offered the only real leadership for those who have become disillusioned with TEC. But has this initiative come too late to attract the support it needs within America? Will Duncan and his allies press on even if their support begins to haemorrhage away? Will developments mean that when they reach the mid-September date of this consultation the face of the Communion will have already changed?

I think this will be anything but a relaxing summer for some!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 8:39am BST

Wrote Fr. Tobias Haller:

"I am distressed that Canterbury appears to be participating in this event by proxy. Rather, he should, by Lambeth's own standards, be dealing with the (at present) legitimate constituent of the Anglican Communion (per the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council) on our shores, the Episcopal Church -- not with conventicles or special interest groups, however exalted their membership, or however much the special interests of these groups coincide with his own views, or the purported views of the 'majority of the Anglican Communion.'"

I strongly agree. For a long time I have found ++Rowan Cantuar's conduct very disturbing. He needs to step down and return to academia.

Posted by John Henry at Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 11:32pm BST

In response to New on Here. If there are instances of willy nilly allowing divorce and remarriage then I would agree with you that it would be hypocrisy to ignore them. However most conservatives would actually say that those are important issues too. The issue is whether 1 Corinthians 7 v 15 read in conjunction with v 39 defines what it means for a divorced (in effect deserted) wife may remarry. Some would say not at all. Others would say in are circumstances. This is very different from saying tht divorce and re -marriage doesn't matter.

Posted by Dave Williams at Sunday, 6 August 2006 at 12:04am BST

Dave, you can't have it both ways. If conservatives are denying gays a nuanced rfeading of Scripture in favor of a "plain sense" reading, then they can't claim a nuanced reading for themselves.

Posted by ruidh at Monday, 7 August 2006 at 11:52am BST

Tobias Haller's concerns noted above can be read at greater length here:
http://jintoku.blogspot.com/2006/08/canterburial-insertions-unhelpful.html
and there are also interesting comments there which I recommend to TA readers.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 7 August 2006 at 11:19pm BST

The Rebellion folks are reporting that Jack Iker of Fort Worth plans to attend Bp. Wimberly's gathering of the like-minded at Camp Allen next month.

My question for Bp. Wimberly would be: How can someone who has abandoned the communion of the church be welcomed at this gathering of Episcopal Church bishops?

Since there is no formal entity known as the Anglican Communion, seeking alternative oversight to avoid a woman Presiding Bishop constitutes renunciation of ordination vows and the abandoning the communion.

So again, Bp. Wimberly, why would you allow Jack Iker, or Bob Duncan, or even Jim Stanton to attend this meeting? They've abandoned the communion of the church. And again, why is the ABC sending anyone in any official capacity to this gathering?

I hope Bp. Wimberly will provide us with some clarification of his thinking, 'cause as they say in Texas, "This dog won't hunt."

Posted by pete at Tuesday, 8 August 2006 at 1:47am BST

"Since there is no formal entity known as the Anglican Communion, seeking alternative oversight to avoid a woman Presiding Bishop constitutes renunciation of ordination vows and the abandoning the communion."

Only someone from ECUSA could come up with this kind of twisted logic.

Let's see: there is no Anglican Communion? Strangely there were a large number of ECUSA bishops in England in 1998 and I saw many of them at the Garden Party. Does that count as abandonment of the communion?

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 8 August 2006 at 10:12am BST

Alan,

So sorry. Could you give me the name and address of Anglican Communion Church? Also, could you refer me to the articles of incorporation for Anglican Communion Church, its Constitution and Canons, and the information pertaining to its tax-exempt status. Also, I'd love to get a copy of Anglican Communion Church's prayer book? Do you have one?

I assume the gathering of bishops in 1998 you attended must have been that voluntary gathering of bishops of the Anglican Communion (not Anglican Communion Church) that takes place every ten years, and that has no binding authority on any of the individual churches, including the Episcopal Church, and has no jurisdiction in any of the member churches. Is that the gathering you refer to? Was Anglican Communion Church represented there in 1998? Must have missed that one.

There is no formal entity known as the Anglican Communion. So, the decision to leave the Episcopal Church, declining to accept the decisions of General Convention, seeking alternative oversight to avoid a woman Presiding Bishop constitutes renunciation of ordination vows and abandoning the communion.

Posted by Pete at Tuesday, 8 August 2006 at 2:38pm BST

Pete,

Hear Hear. Interesting that we've not seen anyone else spell it out quite that way. Thanks.

Posted by Richard III at Tuesday, 8 August 2006 at 5:20pm BST

"We worship our Canons,
all glorious above,
O gratefully speak
of their power and their love..."

So, let's hear it from you - there is no Anglican Communion, no Anglican Communion Office, no Primates' meeting, no Archbishop of Canterbury, no Lambeth Conference...

There is just ECUSA - and its canons. No need for anyone from ECUSA to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference, then. It is not in the Canons, ergo it does not exist.

I think FTG might not share that view.

BTW - you need to look at the ECUSA title deeds which refer to its relationship with the Communion. If it does not exist, then neither does ECUSA. And that should prove interesting in the forthcoming property lawsuits.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 8 August 2006 at 5:48pm BST

"We worship our Canons,
all glorious above,
O gratefully speak
of their power and their love..."

Well, I did take promises about obeying Church discipline, and there's plenty of NT material about church order....

Posted by David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) at Wednesday, 9 August 2006 at 1:59pm BST
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