Comments: PB webcast

I think that the PB was very impressive in the use of her communication skills. However, it would appear that she has hitched her wagon to Rowan Williams star and is attempting to peddle his package to TEC. I don't think it is going to fly.

Posted by Richard Lyon at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 11:32pm GMT

It was a careful presentation from Jefferts Schori.

However it left me wondering just how many American bishops have actually been attending Lambeth Conferences over the past few decades, yet alone been full participants in a host of Communion “adventures” over that time. I am also sure that Frank Griswold and his predecessors from 1978 have been at Primates Group.

We hear from this thoughtful bishop how the polity of TEC differs from many other Anglican churches in that all the baptised have equal dignity at General Convention etc etc and this is true to some degree.

But it does seem slightly disingenuous to imply that the bishops of her church suddenly woke up in 2003 to find that the Primates of the Anglican Communion had (at Lambeth Conferences insistence) manoeuvred themselves to fill a large power vacuum, or that Lambeth and its bishops had awarded themselves too some of this new enhanced status.

The Virginia Report may have been sunk at the ACC – but it seems that everyone somewhere up the tree knew that what it said ought to be fixed was actually being “fixed”.

I have every excuse for waking up in 2003 and finding that the Communion I thought I belonged to had quietly and stealthily become something else and was moving fast in that determined direction – but the leadership of TEC can claim no such innocence.

But I am sure that the majority of the “baptised” who turn up to celebrate the common dignity at General Conventions – at least those who do not wear pointy hats – were as surprised as I was to find out about the coup.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 11:59pm GMT

This 1982 series of lectures suggests the developments we see now were detectable by observers as early as Lambeth 1978.

Posted by Caelius Spinator at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 1:42am GMT


My bishop(retired) returned to the US from Lambeth 98 profoundly discouraged that most of the bishops he met could barely identify any Anglican theological priciple. He predicted the disaster we now face,publically and openly. I believe +Griswold and company in the HofB have been sorely remiss in proclaiming the witness of TEC, and that they are, at best, co-dependent enablers of the powers to which you refer. And, yes, this pew-warmer is livid.

Posted by John D at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 2:39am GMT

The idea that the Elizabethan settlement was a comprehensive one, is totally false. It was a Protestant one imposed by brutal force. The Catholic martyrs are witness to this and a faithful nucleus continued in their Fathers and Mothers Faith.

Whilst I disagree with her theological liberalism, I was impressed by the Presiding Bishop's performance. Bishop kathaine is obviously a person who would succeed in any walk of life she took up. She will prove TEC's greatest asset, and Dar es Salaaam was certainly not her " Munich".

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 6:58am GMT

And then the Quakers suffered repression come the seventeenth century.

The name of the ' Meeting for Sufferings ' speaks for itself.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 10:45am GMT

I too was impressed at her performance. Whatever one's opinions it is good to hear a clear, thought out, position from the Episcopal Church being well presented. It helps prevent the troubles of the Anglican Communion from descending into unpleasant invective.

Posted by Etheldreda Ely at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 11:10am GMT

Re. Richard Lyon's observation that it would appear that the presiding bishop "has hitched her wagon to Rowan Williams star and is attempting to peddle his package to TEC. I don't think it is going to fly", I think, Mr Lyon, that if the Episcopal Church, let alone the Anglican Communion, is to hold together at this point, a very serious attempt will have to be made to make it fly. There is a great deal of "divided" thinking in many "non-Windsor" American dioceses. For instance, in January of this year, the executive council of the diocese of Upper South Carolina, in which I live, passed a resolution strongly supporting alternative primatial oversight. I was surprised to see - I had missed this point - that the resolution includes the statement that "the Right Rev’d Dorsey F. Henderson, Jr., Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, has proclaimed his commitment to be a 'Windsor bishop of a Windsor diocese'” - those compiling Windsor bishop lists please note - I have not, to date, seen Bishop Henderson's name on those lists. Bishop Henderson, incidentally, was also a signatory to the 1998 "Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans", which is indicative of the two-way pressures currently in play, even in comparatively conservative American dioceses. The next few months will be neither simple nor easy.

On a wholly different tack, I fail to see the relevance to the present situation of Robert Ian Williams' statement that "the idea that the Elizabethan settlement was a comprehensive one, is totally false. It was a Protestant one imposed by brutal force. The Catholic martyrs are witness to this and a faithful nucleus continued in their Fathers and Mothers Faith."

Overly-simplistic one-liners - learned by rote at the knee of Sister Mary Ignatius? - contribute nothing to understanding of the past or the present of the Anglican communion. To indulge briefly in sectarian polemic, "brutal force", such as it was, became a factor in Elizabeth's reign only after the 1569 Northern Rising - and after the pope had proclaimed Elizabeth's deposition. Even so, significantly few RC's were executed for their faith during the entire 45 years of Elizabeth's reign, relative to the number of protestants burned in the five year reign of her sister Mary.

For a well-written account of the evolution and gradual acceptance of the Elizabethan settlement at the parish level, firmly based in contemporary documentation and written by one of his co-religionists (I am assuming, from his post, that Mr. Williams is Roman Catholic), I strongly recommend that Mr. Williams check Eamon Duffy's "The Voices of Morebath" (Yale U Press, 2001) a beautifully written account of the changes in "ground level" English religious devotion between the 1530's and the 1580's.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 2:58pm GMT


I personally see no compelling reason why the Anglican Communion must hold together at all cost. I certainly think that TEC needs to maintain relationships with other parts of the world. However, the AC is not the only way to do that.

Posted by Richard Lyon at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 3:40pm GMT

Lapinbizarre gives the clearest rational for what drives the Presiding bishop’s present approach. It is the highly successful “Windsor Bishop” strategy and it is no small thing that the two letters from their meetings constitute the appendix to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué.

Richard Lyon mistakes the "compelling reason" - it is not the cohesion of the Anglican Communion which drives the PB it is the potential fragmentation of her own church - not that threatened by Duncan and Co - but by the "Windsor bishops".

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 5:41pm GMT

Richard - I did not say and I do not believe that the Anglican Communion "must hold together at all cost". The ideological splits within the communion are too deep and and are currently being too determinedly manipulated, for them to be healed at this time, or even for them to be effectively papered-over. My personal disgust with the recent manipulations by and of Akinola and his side-kicks leads me to regard a split within the communion with a great deal of favour, if only because I see no other solution, short of the marginalization and humiliation of ECUSA. I say this in spite of my being an expatriate Anglican with very deep, very strongly-felt ties to the Church of England. The point I hoped to make in my earlier post is that flat-out rejection of the demands made of ECUSA at the Tanzania conference has the very strong potential to tear ECUSA itself apart, which will leave the church naked to its enemies. There must be numerous, barely-revealed fault lines in virtually every diocese in the church, with the potential to break ECUSA into at least three units, not to mention the potential for extensive lesser fragmentation at the diocesan level.

By contrast, at the communion level there are a number of provinces which are essentially "natural" allies of ECUSA in this conflict but which, thus far, partly from the understandable wish for a quiet life and partly because they have not, to date, been compelled to deal with the realities now staring ECUSA in the face, will hold with the Anglican Communion, Akinola included, for the present. It seems to me that the most sensible course is that ECUSA and these "natural" allies find breathing space in which to consider the long-term implications of the strategies of Akinola, his followers and his paymasters, and attempt to formulate a common policy to counter them. The strategy of their opponents has to be based on the tactic of picking off ECUSA today, Canada tomorrow, Scotland, or New Zealand, perhaps, a couple of weeks down the road. And so it goes. "Hang together or hang separately" time, if ever one saw it. Compromise or temporizing - depending on one's point of view - is surely the strategy that has the best chance of seeing ECUSA and like-minded provinces emerging from this mess as THE Anglican Communion.

Much wooly thinking, I know, but I think that gist of what I'm getting at is understandable. Roger

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 6:36pm GMT

I think what should be allowed to fly is a theology that encourages everyone to live reverential lives. Lives in which their homes are filled with respect and trust because the members can freely interact with each other free of abuse and intimidation. That theology rippling out into creating church communities that care for the least as well as the best. Which in turn ripples out to how people are treated in the marketplace, workplaces, and other public arenas. Which then ripples out into how nations work harmoniously for their own benefit and taking care to not incur debts or impose burdens with their neighbours and trading partners. All done with an understanding that our activities need to be nurturing and sustainable to give hope and dignity to our own generation and to build a legacy for our descendants.

Let that theology fly and then let the puritans pit their hate against it. The only reason their theology has looked "good" is that they had managed to veil away true beauty. They are a bit like Cinderella's stepmother and sisters. Hoping that the prince can't find Cinderalla so that he will choose one of them as the best of what is available.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 9:13pm GMT

The motif of Lent is walking with Jesus as the powers that be falsely accuse and eventually crucify him in the names of both the state and the temple. Our names, then.

But we are not reducible to what either the state or the temple defines us solely to be. That is at least what the resurrection tells us, all.

So I am in favor of letting the powers that be play this out, all players included.

However that goes, then, the rest of us can adjust, because after all we have already been adjusting, haven't we?

Maybe the best response to the incredibly false witness being made against non-realignment believers is sometimes to speak up clearly, and sometimes to notice that the ways the start of the conversation is framed makes it impossible or difficult for us to even speak, and sometimes to keep prayerful silences while speaking to the perceived needs for prayer and silence.

Nothing we might do will slow down the realignment campaign, because after all that is what realignment and campaign means, as fundamental terms.

Keep on keeping on. No progressive believer is as alone or as unimportant as the realignment defines us to be. We have positive daily lives to keep on living, and since we did not ask for anybody's permission to meet and follow Jesus, it hardly behooves us now to let legacy damnations stop us from praying or living the witness that we live daily.

We are not called to win this one, but to remain faithful, a favorite point that Mother Teresa of Calcultta often made as she ministered, warts and all, among the poorest in India.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 2 March 2007 at 1:51am GMT

drdanfee - I am sure Mother Theresa would have had some wise words for you and they would have been in line with scripture, tradition and the Spirit

Posted by NP at Friday, 2 March 2007 at 9:45am GMT

Mind reading again...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 3 March 2007 at 10:13pm GMT
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