Comments: now there is news

As Marshall remarked on a previous thread, there are no surprises here. What would have been a surprise would have been if they had actually accomplished anything definitive.

However, I hope they will continue on meeting in this same way. What often happens in negotiations is that the initial meeting is unproductive, but -- after the parties separate -- leads to additional ideas on how apparently insuperable obstacles could be overcome and/or bypassed. Further meetings can often lead to compromises and settlements based on resolutions that were not even part of original discussions. Of course, further meetings can also lead to a final impasse that cannot be overcome. But, often only time will tell . . . .

All parties have a lot to gain from a negotiated settlement. So, there are incentives. One can only hope.

Steven

Posted by Steven at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 8:59pm BST

"two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church"? Does that mean Bishop Duncan is proclaiming that his group is TEC to the exclusion of anyone else? I don't doubt that's where he's been heading for a long time, but isn't this more open than before? Would those of us that are in the majority in TEC say that he has openly abandoned the church? What is left to negotiate?

Posted by Paul Davison at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 9:27pm BST

The mention is both of Bishop Duncan's statements about "two groups claiming to be the Episcopal Church" gives credence to the fact that he and his supporters wish to create a sense that this is a real fact. Thus they can continue their real effort to undermine the Episcopal Church and its leadership with a view to making themselves the legal entity that is entitled to the title "Episcopal Church" and the properties that they have their eyes on, let alone the power they crave.

Posted by Richard at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 9:29pm BST

For those of us majority Episcopalians deeply apprehensive of this meeting (based upon what happened at GC w/ measure B033), the *lack* of agreement is actually encouraging.

We need to keep TEC, and the AC (laity and clergy *as well as* the bishops) in our prayers...

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 9:31pm BST

Obviously, the 'theatrical arts' specialists, aka Network bishops, as per +Duncan's statement, see themselves as the 'true' Episcopal Church detached and separated from the General Convention and no longer bound by the Constitution & Canons of the same. What further evidence is needed to proceed with presentments against them to free loyal Episcopalians in Network dioceses from their delusional, deceptive and malignant bishops?

Posted by John Henry at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 9:47pm BST

John Henry - if you were my Diocesan bishop and I was a priest opposed in good conscience to the ordination of women and in favour of +Duncan's traditional ways (though I am not!) would you treat me in a non-delusional, non-deceptive, and non-malignant way? You must know that most so-called 'liberal' bishops in the CofE are far from that in their treatment of opponents?

Posted by Neil at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 10:27pm BST

Bishop Duncan is disingenuous to say the least.

There are NOT two groups claiming to be the Episcopal Church.

There is the Episcopal Church.

And there are a number of Diocesan Bishops who are rebelling against the constitutional and canonical norms of that Church.

+ Robert is one of them. He is a dissident rebel and should be named as such.

Michael Povey

Posted by Michael Povey at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 10:37pm BST

New postings since my first. One of the things I note is the suggestion of Schori to add more folks to the negotiations. In my experience this can often be the end of any negotiated settlement, and maybe this is what she intends. After all, "broadness and inclusivity" are certainly favored by increasing the number of people involved. Its not something one can object to in this context, nonetheless, it would almost certainly end any chance for agreement. Time will tell.

Also, its kind of interesting to note the level of vituperation flowing from many of the posters here. One would think that reconciling the opposing parties in the TEC was not a worthwhile and Christian goal.

Steven

Posted by Steven at Wednesday, 13 September 2006 at 10:40pm BST

Neil, diocesan bishops can be more accommodating to individual priests who, in good conscience, cannot accept WO and the inclusion of gays/lesbians as long as they still accept the 'discipline' and 'polity' of the Episcopal Church. It's an entirely different matter when one is dealing with bishops of TEC who no longer accept the authority of the GC and its Constitution & Canons. If those bishops had any conscience/integrity, they would resign their offices rather than aspire to "stealing the franchise" and/or engage in any other kind of destructive behavior to the Church that elected them to the episcopal office.

As I said many times before, I deeply respect the former Bishop of London, +Graham Leonard, who could not, in good conscience, accept the General Synod's decision to proceed with the ordination of women in the CofE. He left his position of power in the CofE, with all its perks, and became a humble parish priest in the Roman Communion. That shows, and models, personal integrity so sadly lacking in +Duncan, +Iker et al.

Posted by John Henry at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 12:44am BST

According to the ENS, ++Frank T Griswold and +Katharine Jefferts Schori took the proverbial 'high road' commenting on the outcome of the New York meeting. They are to be commended for that. Contrast their behavior with +Robert Duncan's in the latter's announcement via the Network, claiming for the Network equality with TEC to energize his schismatic base!

Posted by John Henry at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 12:53am BST

There is a canonical Episcopal Church and it seems another apostolic Episcopal Church. Hence two Episcopal Churches. I claim that the canonical Episcopal Church has abandoned aposolic Christianity and so has has the PB elect by her own statements. I choose to be part of the Apostolic Episcopal Church represented by +Duncan and not the unitarian universalist canonical sect that TEC has become. I join + Duncan and his colleagues is fighting for the Aposolic Faith in a denomination that has abandoned apostolic Christianity. I rejoice that the majority of the rest of the AC are supporting us in this Godly endeavour.

Posted by Ian Montgomery at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 1:37am BST

"Also, its kind of interesting to note the level of vituperation flowing from many of the posters here. One would think that reconciling the opposing parties in the TEC was not a worthwhile and Christian goal" Steven

"...and he predicted that a “staggeringly high” number of Episcopalians could eventually align with a different Anglican leadership." Reuters/Duncan

Reconciling opposing parties? Just sounds like Duncan/Network plans and politics and MORE underlying threats to me!

Oh, you mean TEC factions that continues to welcome everyone at OUR Episcopal Church?

Steven, do you think this New York meeting was the first stage of the "Listening Process" that we've heard so much about? Are the "Windsor Bishops" ALL keen on "listening" to everyone? Who will they "listen to" in Texas to help them "reconcile opposing parties?" I understand all participants have to sign a likeminded "loyalty oath" before they get their special "Camp Allen" reconciling "happy Christian camper" documents at registration?

Don't the clergy and laity need to be reconciled too along with all us'n shunned LGBT people to be "officially" part of the Windsor process? Being "shunned" and "shammed" by Duncan and his Network accomplices don't feel all that nice I tell ya and I've been a'sting'n from their "flowing vituperation" for years now.

Never you mind Steven, I know Jesus loves me too.

Shouldn't we ALL be part of your/this "worthwhile Christian goal" of "making nice" and reconciling and loving one another?

Perhaps the upcoming the "Windsor" challenged little group of Bishops at Camp Allen needs to OPEN themselves UP and be tad more hospitable and welcoming?

What do you think? How 'bout a BIG Texas sized Windsor WELCOME for EVERYONE?

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 1:58am BST

It is beyond absurd to hold that +Duncan desires "reconciliation", Steven. Why not be truthful and admit that the Network schismatics REALLY do desire schism?

Posted by John D at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 2:36am BST

{sigh}

Sometimes it feels like I'm beating my head against a wall, when even the secular press buys into the patently *anachronistic framing* that the "reasserter" side propagates.

Hello, Rachel Zoll, AP? "nontraditional views on gay clergy"? Or "Bible verses on gay sex"? How can there be any such thing, when there are NO Bible verses or "traditional views" on gay clergy, gay sex---or "gay" anything else?!

{sigh}

*****

So often from TEC's schismatics, I hear this "Why shouldn't parishes take what they built, over the generations?" inquiry.

I want to hear the FACTS about that. Famously, MOST Episcopalians are adult converts. Now I'm a third generation Episcopalian (possibly Anglican further back than that): the middle-aged offspring of senior "majority Episcopalians" (the grandchild of a remarkably pro-gay Episcopal grandmother, of blessed memory! :-D)

In other words, *I* happen to have some "built up TEC over the generations" bonafides. Do the reasserters? Or are many of them making an Episcopal "stopover" on the way from one fundamentalism to another?

One wonders... :-/

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 3:26am BST

Michael: ... And there are a number of Diocesan Bishops who are rebelling against the constitutional and canonical norms of that Church.

... And there are a number of Diocesan Bishops who are rebelling against the doctrinal and ecclesial norms of that Church.

So what's new?

Posted by Craig Goodrich at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 5:22am BST

yep - cannot pretend that +Duncan is not a rebel in the context of ECUSA today.....

..but he is mainstream in the global Anglican Communion and will clearly be part of it going forward.

Posted by NP at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 10:31am BST

Neil
Your comment about "so-called liberal CofE bishops" has me entirely confused (perhaps due to the number of negatives preceding).

Could you explain more clearly please.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 11:13am BST

NP said
"he (=Duncan) is mainstream in the global Anglican Communion and will clearly be part of it going forward."

And this forward-looking alignment includes ++Malango and +Harare? Should 'the split' come, I wonder whether everything will indeed be sweetness and light in the Global South's 'Anglicanism Heavy'.

Posted by David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 11:44am BST

Fact:

My particular parish existed prior to the establishment of our diocese or the Episcopal Church (TEC). We built and paid for ourselves a very substantial new sanctuary, classrooms costing a very substantial sum all within the last 15 years. Over the last 25 years the congregation has grown from under two hundred to over 2,000. We received ZERO dollars from the diocese or TEC. Should we decide to leave TEC should we be allowed keep that property?

It is a simple question.

Posted by bob at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 12:33pm BST

Bob

It is a simple question. The simple answer is no.

The answer is no because, again, you and so many others are mistaking stewardship for ownership. When I choose to leave my current parish and serve another (which will probably happen before Christmas), am I to take with me all that I have had a hand in building over the past seven years in this current parish? No! No, because I don't own any of the assets of the church. You and the vestry are stewards, not owners. The church is the owner. If you try to take things that do not belong to you it is called theft, which is utterly repugnant to the authority of holy scripture.

Posted by Marc at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 1:01pm BST

Bob,
For whom did you build the church? Yourselves? Then it's yours, I'd say. TEC? Then it belongs to TEC. At the risk of sounding sanctimonious, I've always been taught that churches are built as a statement of faith and a gift to God. Of course, if you built it for God, then the question of "Who owns it if we leave?" becomes problematic. You are not dividing up "our" property like in a divorce, you are arguing over who gets to control God's property, something that should, I'd say, be approached with a great deal of humility, not something often seen in this debate, on either side.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 2:36pm BST

I concur that humility seems to be lacking on all sides. I visit blog sites of the various factions and see a tremendous amount of "intemperate" language that I don't not care to repeat. In our case, we built it to the Glory of God and dedicated it on Pentecost Sunday. We use it for outreach and service to our entire community. We had plans to build a community center as well but shelved them until this dispute is settled.

Settling these issues on a case-by-case basis may be time consuming but in the end may be the fairest way. If the diocese built the facilities the diocese should keep them. If the parishioners built them, then let the parish go.

Posted by bob at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 3:30pm BST

Ian:

Good points.

John D:

Re: They desire schism. No, like everyone else involved in this dispute -- including you, Griswold, et al. -- they want their principles and beliefs to govern the outcome and flow of events. Splitting up TEC is a very bad second place outcome for all involved. Like taking most cases to trial, there are lots of risks for everyone and most likely no clear "winners" in the short range. (Or at the least, lots of pain in the process). The only reason people are at the table (on either side) is because they are trying to avoid the adverse risks associated with a possible split.

I hate to sound cynical here, but as a lawyer I can tell you that no one (at least in my experience) accepts less than what they would optimally like unless there are risks they would rather avoid by settlement. Of course, these are folks with one or two "+" in front of their names, so I'm probably wrong to compare their motivations to those of us ordinary mortals.

JC

My great grandfather was an English immigrant, so that's 3 prior generations I can think of right off hand. Of course, my assumption is that the line continues through him back to whenever. However, bloodlines are hardly as important as theology. As we have discussed before, those currently called "reasserters" are called that because they are re-asserting the historic doctrines of the Church. It is easy to tell who is more in-tune with traditional and historic Anglicanism and its teachings.

Bob:

It depends. There is a stewardship issue, as some have (with a great deal of distortion to my mind) pointed out. A local congregation should not necessarily be free to take Church property and convert it into a mini-mall. However, I understand where you're coming from. This money was not given for the benefit of TEC (as some would seek to couch the question), but to the benefit of the Kingdom and a local Anglican congregation. There is nothing inconsistent with stewardship in continuing to use if for this purpose. (Also, see the point made directly above).

Steven

Posted by Steven at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 3:52pm BST

David Rowett - the ABC has been pretty clear on Harare - you will not find +Duncan and friends defending behaviour the Bible condemns.

(although some in the US, if they want to be consistent, should condemn the ABC for "interfering" in another region??)

Posted by NP at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 4:03pm BST

Fortunately, I live in a diocese where our bishop has great sympathy and understanding for those on the many sides of this issue. He understands these are matters of deep conscience for all concerned. If a break occurs I have every confidence that justice will be tempered by mercy and understanding. That temperance simply appears to be missing from your quick and absolutist statement.

Posted by Bob at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 4:05pm BST

Simon - yes I see the confusion...sorry!
My point was that many so-called 'liberal' bishops are fiercely illiberal in their treatment of their opponents, and might be accused of behaving in a similar way John Henry claims the Network bishops act. He said 'delusional, deceptive, and malignant'.

However, he makes a good point in his reply.

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 4:19pm BST

"I claim that the canonical Episcopal Church has abandoned aposolic Christianity and so has has the PB elect by her own statements."

What a completely absurd statement! Neither TEC nor KJS has ever made any statment which can be construed as a denial of the historic creeds. For over 100 years and at least until recently, the Anglican Communion has considered the creeds to be a sufficient statement of faith. I've read the statements by KJS that the conservatives consider scandalous and I find nothing objectionable there and certainly nothing which contradicts the creeds.

Why does this calumny continue?

Posted by ruidh at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 4:24pm BST

Neil
Please, can you cite an example of a *CofE* bishop's unreasonable action for me?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 4:40pm BST

ruidh:

The term "apostolic christianity" is certainly broad enough to include more than what is set forth in the creeds. Thus, from a logical standpoint, your argument falls flat on this point. Moreover, Christianity has always been considered to include more than what is set forth in the creeds. If not, there would be no need for Christian belief in or adherence to any moral code whatsoever (as none is set out in the creeds).

Steven

Posted by Steven at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 7:42pm BST

Simon - yes, plenty...like appointing priests in favour of the ordination of women to parishes which are not... with a tacit/sometimes explicit understanding that resolutions are to be rescinded. At the same time resisting the appointment of priests opposed to the ordination of women...and if they are appointed insisting on promises prior to licensing that no resolutions ever be put, whatever the wishes of the parish.
Re John Henry's language - neither side has a monopoly of nastiness. Perhpas people need a little more respect for the fact that both sides presumably are trying to discern the mind of God in their various genuine differences.

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 8:30pm BST

Steven, your repeated *overstatements* (what IS this, what ISN'T that) leave me gobsmacked...

Simply repeating arguments, and declaring them undisputed TRUTHS, cannot make them so. :-/

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 10:30pm BST

Neil
This is thoroughly off-topic for the article here, but that's not an example. That's a general statement. An example is a named bishop and a named parish situation at a particular date. I've genuinely never met one. I'm quite prepared to believe they happen, if somebody can cite an example.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 10:43pm BST

"The term "apostolic christianity" is certainly broad enough to include more than what is set forth in the creeds."

Oh no, on the contrary, it includes much, much less than is in the creeds. All of the Greek speculation on substances of the persons would be, well, just so much Greek to them. I find there very little evidence that much trinitarianism was actually apostolic. The apostles never expressed their faith that way.

If first century Christianity is your standard of orthodoxy, well then the Anglican Orthodox don't have it either.

Posted by ruidh at Thursday, 14 September 2006 at 10:54pm BST

JC:

I'm not certain in what way you think I have erred, but since I'm on the way out of town for a while, I don't suppose I'll find out.

PS-"gobsmacked" is . . . bad?

Ruidh:

I'm also not sure what you object to in my prior statement. The phrase "Apostolic Christianity" certainly contains and covers more than the Creeds. For example, it covers vast amounts of material (including moral behavior) that is not covered in the creeds.

One indicator of this is the length of the NT (setting forth the writings of the apostles on "Apostolic Christianity") as compared to that of the creeds. Nonetheless, as you seem to be saying, the creeds certainly develop certain areas of doctrine in greater detail than the NT authors do (e.g., more precise trinitarian formulations). However, that does not mean that the creeds are innovating in the area of trinitarian dogma. They merely clarify ideas that already existed in more rudimentary form in the apostolic era. To say that "apostolic Christianity" was completely non-trinitarian, is to make the Nicene Creed a complete innovation.

So, as with JC, I find myself trying to discern what exactly you are objecting to. And, as with JC, I don't suppose I'll find out on this round.

Steven

Posted by Steven at Friday, 15 September 2006 at 5:21am BST

Steven said:
To say that "apostolic Christianity" was completely non-trinitarian, is to make the Nicene Creed a complete innovation.

There were Christians in C4 who believed that might be the case. Arians believed themselves (eg) only to be continuing the tradition of Dionysus of Alexandria, and the fairly extreme subordinationism of many Eastern Christians, among whom we can number Eusebius of Caesarea, may well have found the 'unscriptural) homoousios too much to swallow.

'Apostolic Christianity' then, is a rather amorphous and rancorous phenomenon which was greatly and radically developed. I'm not sure that as a category it's that helpful

Posted by David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) at Friday, 15 September 2006 at 10:00pm BST

"The phrase "Apostolic Christianity" certainly contains and covers more than the Creeds. For example, it covers vast amounts of material (including moral behavior) that is not covered in the creeds."

Any church in a time or place contains things which are of the essence of the Church and some things which are adaptations to the culture of a particular time and place. It would be just as inappropriate to try to reconstruct in the 21st C. first century Christianity in all of its detail as it would be to try to reinvent Christianity over anew from scratch. The Church, through theological reflection on Scripture and through engaging with various cultures through time has changed. Christiaity today is different from that of the 1st C, different from the Byzantines, different from the medieval Latins and even different from the 16th C. protestants.

It is our job to take Christianity and Scripture and express it in terms that people of our time and place will understand. The means that we emphasize different parts of Scripture which resound with us differently than they did with Christians in the past.

As Christians, we take our worldviews and our experiences and we bring them into contact with Scripture. Out of this comes unique expressions which speak to us today. Just as the doctrine of transubstantiation spoke to and was accepted as obvious by peole with an Aristotelian worldview, it became just so much nonsense when perceived by someone with a modern scientific worldview.

Tp say that one group has "apostolicity" and another does (as if that was all that mattered) is to profoundly miss the point. The question is do these groups bring Christ to their audience and can they recognize enough Christ in one another in order to continue to call one another Christians.

The big problem facing us today is that people are too willing to judge the other as non-Christian or non-Anglican because they don't recognize themselves in the other. It could very well be that both embody Christ in the world today, but both are too pig headed to recongize it in the other.

Posted by ruidh at Saturday, 16 September 2006 at 5:22pm BST

ruidh is relief indeed...comprehensive vision much needed.

Posted by susan at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 8:57pm GMT

Thank you, susan. But that was written 4 months ago. Perhaps it's the northern hemisphere winter, but I'm much angrier and much less concilliatory today.

Posted by ruidh at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 3:30am GMT
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