Comments: Pittsburgh comes to Lambeth

Three things are of some small interest to me in the light of recent announcements from US bishops belonging to the Network saying they ARE attending Lambeth.

1. I had thought that GAFCON was in the main called because these bishops had suffered such hardship and isolation that their Global South brothers were not coming to Lambeth out of support for THEM.

2. It seems to me that Lambeth never claimed - nor was granted - decision making powers to bind the Communion as a whole and while Rowan has acknowledged this he plans to change Lambeth's status through the Covenant. I am unsure if the unseemly and snide remark about Lambeth which ignores the actual facts prefigures a GAFCON meeting that WILL seek to exercise the decision making powers of a Council.

3. Who are these men? Their attitude seems, at best, poor and unfriendly; they would have best rejected the advice to come with such unforgiving feelings in their hearts. No good will come of it.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 12:03pm BST

Is this the only Assistant bishop with half an invitation or are more similarly invited.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 12:21pm BST

Martin,

It would be great if people could come with more expectation, but that would be to live in the land of nostalgia. It is a candid evaluation of where things are now, and more important, a recognition that TEC is not the Anglican Church!

What would be some ground for hope in this case is if instead of asking "who are these men?" we could recognize they are people who have struggled deeply with the issue of Christian faithfulness(even when people deeply disagree) and what the ACC is called to now. As it is you are piling up obstacles on the way even before anyone gets to Lambeth (are there people who enjoy greasing the wheels of chaos?).

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 2:16pm BST

Increasingly it seems that the GAFCON crowd want it both ways, and that there remains an isolationist GAFCON for a different future and a both places GAFCON (though frustrated about the Lambeth Conference). Again it would have made more sense in GAFCON had come second, so presumably there will be a lot of 'either do this or' from GAFCON followed by people putting it to Lambeth, after which they will probably have to go it alone via many more common cause partnerships or such the like.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 2:49pm BST

"Lambeth can no longer be considered a decision making council of the church."

Bob, Lambeth was NEVER "a decision making council of the church, " and you and your "conservative" co-conspirators should stop lying.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 4:32pm BST

Martin, I don't think that's "half an invitation" - from Duncan's wording, he and his assistant are splitting the conference for financial reasons.

Posted by Robin at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 4:50pm BST

"...a recognition that TEC is not the Anglican Church!"

Of course, it isn't. There is no "Anglican Church"--there is an Anglican Communion, a loose affiliation of many national churches, all with a mutual history of having developed out of the Church of England. I would like to point out that TEC is the second oldest of these national churches (after the Scottish Episcopal Church), the one with the longest uninterrupted history of self-government...and that it was to strengthen the ties between TEC and the CoE that the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral--the foundation of the Anglican Communion as we know it--was held and written.

Those who wish for a worldwide "Anglican Church" are wishing for something that is, at its base, completely outside the traditions of this communion.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 5:10pm BST

Might take slight exception to the idea that the SEC grew out of the CofE but I'm with you on the early involvement in the Communion.

Kennedy

Posted by Kennedy at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 7:00pm BST

Pat,

You like to sing that song - get it in every time!

By now we know the ACC is not the same as the RCC etc. But somehow there must be some relation, or what is Lambeth, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Windsor Report, the Covenant process, the Primates meetings etc. all about? These are "just games" on the side?

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 9:17pm BST

"By now we know the ACC is not the same as the RCC etc. But somehow there must be some relation, or what is Lambeth, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Windsor Report, the Covenant process, the Primates meetings etc. all about?"

They are meetings of siblings, family gatherings, places to discuss mutual issues. They are not decision-making bodies for all the sisters and brothers. Each member church is a full-fledged adult, capable of deciding things for itself.

Analogy: If my brother decides to join a nudist colony, it's none of my business unless he tries to drag me along. Similarly, if I choose to paint my house as a circus tent, my sister has no say in the matter...unless I insist that she do the same.

But we are still brothers and sister. We still meet for Christmas and Thanksgiving, for birthdays and anniversaries. We still share each other's joys and pains and still try to work out serious differences without argument.

And when we can't, we agree to let it drop and make our own choices...but we still meet and discuss.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 7 May 2008 at 11:27pm BST

Yes I agree that DuncanCo want to have their conservative realignment dominion over everybody else, based on their constant loud claims that only they really know anything of eternal spiritual value, while at the same time the rest of us who are put on earth to be so dominated are expected to be loyal frat pledges, asking, Sir may I have another while DuncanCo smacks us bright baboon red for our own individual and collective goods.

Now only are we supposed to praise them ever so high, but we are further supposed to join them in loudly dissing such worthless follies as equality, democracy, enlightenment openness and rationality, and low, behold, the modern tool kits of empirical hypothesis testing. Talk about big horse pills to swallow whole.

Why else the constant conservative weaponizing of doctrines, creeds, and everything else that points however fallibly and ineffably to ineluctible faith through which we follow Jesus of Nazareth?

So Anglicanism must be strictly realigned so that it becomes a very familiar sort of winner takes all game, and I do mean, game.

To quote a touchy-feely movie: What a strange game, doctor, the only way to win is not to play.

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 12:59am BST

Pat,

This is interesting, somehow the it is modern "individualism" that is the model when it comes to wider communion, but within particular geographical bounds it's absolute control from the top! You can even take "stuff" that a brother or sister cherished and labored to build for a life time (they have no say about that that is in the hands of "big brother or sister!").

You go with that model if you want, I think that is to give up on being the body of Christ (where "we are members one of another," Rom 12:5)and real Christian community.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 3:01am BST

“These are "just games" on the side?”

Parlour games without a future.

“TEC is not the Anglican Church!”

It is, in much of both Americas”

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 6:11am BST

Pat, it worries me to see the sort of revisionism that you are talking about in terms of the Anglican Communion. 'Communion' and 'Koininia' always signal something more than 'loose affiliation'. You also use the metaphor of 'family', which also seems to point to the fact that 'communion' is more than just 'loose affiliation' or 'federalism'. You are right that the Anglican Communion is not a Church, but it has always had some of the hallmarks of a worldwide church - an interchangeable ministry, for example, and a common liturgical tradition. Furthermore, since the first Lambeth Conference met there has been an emphasis on mutuality and interdependence as well as autonomy. In fact the driving force behind the greater interdependence of the communion, expressed through structures like the Primates meeting, and the ACC, was in fact, The Episcopal Church. It is rather ironic that voices revising this traditional understanding of Anglicanism are now coming largely from TEC.

"By now we know the ACC is not the same as the RCC etc. But somehow there must be some relation, or what is Lambeth, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Windsor Report, the Covenant process, the Primates meetings etc. all about?"

They are meetings of siblings, family gatherings, places to discuss mutual issues. They are not decision-making bodies for all the sisters and brothers. Each member church is a full-fledged adult, capable of deciding things for itself.

Analogy: If my brother decides to join a nudist colony, it's none of my business unless he tries to drag me along. Similarly, if I choose to paint my house as a circus tent, my sister has no say in the matter...unless I insist that she do the same.

But we are still brothers and sister. We still meet for Christmas and Thanksgiving, for birthdays and anniversaries. We still share each other's joys and pains and still try to work out serious differences without argument.

And when we can't, we agree to let it drop and make our own choices...but we still meet and discuss.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 9:53am BST

Andrew C: I think it is correct to say that Anglicanism "has always had some of the hallmarks of a worldwide church," but only in the sense that, until very recently, it was an imperial church, the expansion of which went hand in hand with the British Empire. Obviously, the end of empire in the secular sphere means that the imperial nature of the Anglican Church has had to change, too, but I don't know what the ecclesiological justification for having Anglicans abroad now is. Before, it was the church of the English abroad: now, surely, the justification for us existing in all these countries is that we take the principle of catholic national churches as we have understood it in England, i.e. autonomous national bodies maintaining a catholic practice of liturgy, sacraments and orders. Random Protestant non-sacramental or non-liturgical bodies we are not: neither can we expect our former colonies to accept a continued imperial approach to church order, surely.

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 11:25am BST

Ben:

"This is interesting, somehow the it is modern "individualism" that is the model when it comes to wider communion, but within particular geographical bounds it's absolute control from the top! You can even take "stuff" that a brother or sister cherished and labored to build for a life time (they have no say about that that is in the hands of "big brother or sister!")."

TEC has the least top-down polity in the whole Communion (or at least is in a tie with Canada)--nothing can be done without the approval of all three houses of General Convention: laity, clergy, episcopacy. And I see the situation somewhat differently than you--I see a handful of the grandkids and great grandkids taking something that was given to the whole family by their ancestors and attempting to walk off with it for themselves, leaving their far more numerous cousins bereft. And so, the "paterfamilia" (if you will) steps in and says, "No, you can't do that. That's not what your grandparents and great grandparents intended--see, it's right here in the documents they created to oversee their gifts."

Andrew:

"It is rather ironic that voices revising this traditional understanding of Anglicanism are now coming largely from TEC."

Again, you see a rather different "revision" going on than I do. I see a group of Global South primates--unhappy with the more democratic polity of TEC that permits grass-roots changes, and egged on by a mere handful of wealthy right-wing Americans with similar misgivings--urging the Communion to BECOME a church, with a worldwide heirarchy that will set all things for all members, and with themselves doing the setting.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 11:30am BST

Andrew is correct when he states that TEC bishops were leaders in the field of “Anglican Church” development – Bishop Mark Dyer is a signatory to the Virginia Report as was Archbishop Carnley from Australia – both on the list of liberal heretics.

But, as that report makes clear the Anglican Communion was/is very much in the process of “becoming” at all sorts of levels, with the Instruments of Communion/Unity “unsure” of their role and what future development to grasp. The Report then attempts to map out a direction and as we know that map was not welcomed by all!
See how tentative things in this section on the ACC:
“3.43 Its most vital purpose, however, like the Lambeth Conference, is to establish a communion of mutual attentiveness, interdependence and accountability to serve the unity”

It’s interesting to recall that at the same time the Church in Wales was celebrating its Porvoo commitment Rowan Williams was removing the Archbishop of Canterbury from all the residual rights disestablishment had left to him – interdependence was not then high on his agenda!

So while I agree with Andrew in his assessment of TEC’s apparent (earlier) enthusiastic leadership of this project – I believe he is mistaken to state that the process was more than it was or had achieved more than laying out a road plan. In laying out that road plan it is noticeable that a huge amount is assumed and “facts” are laid down –as with all seminal documents, this is the way!

The major obstacle to anything actually happening or developments being recognised in the Anglican Communion has always been the very poor “process of reception” that exists within the member churches. We can see this being glossed over gently in the Virginia Report when it refers to the earlier foundational consultational Report “Belonging Together” like this:

“The Report was circulated widely within the Communion between 1992 and 1994 with a request for critical comment. A number of Anglican member churches responded officially. There were also responses from theological institutions and individuals.”

Even recently only a third of Anglican Churches made a formal response to the “covenant” – and this has left those at the centre of things flummoxed, it was amusing to hear a senior official at the ACO say in Cardiff recently that it “would be nice” to get an official response to the ARCIC reports from the Church in Wales!!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 11:43am BST

drdanfee,

Whatever you say about bss Duncan and Scriven, if you say they have taken extreme positions, you have gone way out there to be the other side of the extreme!

You can only speak of them with contempt, say things about them that do not represent them with any sense of fairness (your rhetoric has run away with you!). Since when does what you say, they hold as "worthless follies ... equality, democracy, enlightenment openness and rationality ..." They will not simply operate in abstractions or make an idol of these things, but have in fact affirmed and engaged you and others on this basis. They have done it out in public through interaction and communication.

Without simply endorsing all they say, if this represents them I would not give an ounce of credibility to anything they have to say. Perhaps they have some point to what they say? They have kept their people together over a longer period than many in the same position etc. Or do you suppose these people and seasoned leaders in Africa are all dummies just led around by the nose (in your words simply "to be dominated")? Drfee colonialism is over.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 1:56pm BST

Pat, I understand that this is one version of recent history which has wide circulation in TEC. It's predicated on TEC's 'polity' being somehow uniquely democratic in a way the rest of us don't understand or can't grasp. I just don't think that's true. It also assumes that everyone who wants some kind of accountability wants Anglicanism to become an authoritarian body. Again, I just don't recognise that as true. I think it's been clear however for some years that if a church does things that have a controversial effect on a worldwide interchangeable ministry, then some degree of impairment of communion and other division will take place. Is it worth trying to put things back together or not? I happen to think so.

Fr Mark, I agree autonomy is certainly an Anglican principle but this does not rule out interdependence, especially on matters which touch on our common ministry. However, I don't think that the 'hallmarks of a worldwide church' ended in the post-colonial era. The thing we have to keep returning to is the interchangeable ministry - do we still want it as a mark of our unity? I don't think this rests at all on an imperial approach.

Martin Reynolds pointed to the Virginia Report as a sort of roadmap for further Anglican development. In fact, I was thinking of earlier Lambeth resolutions going back into the 19th century for pointing to Anglicanism as more than a 'loose affiliation'. It was in the post-imperial and post-war era when Anglican development really began to take off with the formation of the ACC in the 1960s. The US was the lead player right up until today in the development of so-called Anglican instruments of unity, and in ecumenical agreements with other world communions during the same period of time.
I'm not advocating the idea that the Anglican Communion should be a monochrome Church (I hardly think that's likely) but I am suggesting that there is a certain amount of revisionism going on in reducing our 'bonds' to 'loose affiliations' or 'federalism'.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 2:19pm BST

Ben asks, re all the AC institutions, "These are 'just games' on the side?"

It always amazes me that it's the conservatives, the ones who claim they really believe in the Bible and the nature of God and Jesus while the "liberals" only believe metaphorically, it's these "orthodox" who believe that any gathering for prayer and Bible study are "just games on the side." Anything less than a naked exercise of power, power as exercised every day by the World, is pointless on its face.

How you must wish Jesus had led the disciples in voting Judas out of the Last Supper, rather than playing all those games about foot washing and breaking bread!

I've spoken with very conservative bishops and very liberal bishops about the experience of Lambeth, and they've all talked about how moving it was to pray with holy people who live with very different cultural realities from theirs. It's the games on the side that they talk about.

Posted by Mark at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 3:14pm BST

"I see a handful of the grandkids and great grandkids taking something that was given to the whole family by their ancestors and attempting to walk off with it for themselves, leaving their far more numerous cousins bereft"
I see this as gross exaggeration. Would TEC's current position be any different if the parish was a "new" one, that is essentialy first generation and all of the giving had been done by the same people who wanted to leave? We both know it would not. The problem is that despite the lip service we pay to the "hierarchical" nature of TEC, it functions under a congregational model. Each church calls its own clergy and decides what to pay them. Title to property is often in the congregations themselves. Vestries have huge autonomy in how money is spent. The "hierarchy" recognizes such a wide diversity of legitmate styles and theology that almost anything goes in the parishes. I think you get my point. And then when you add to it that the grandkids have a whole lot more knowledge about what grandma and grandpa intended by their gifts than the distant cousins they have never even met, well, the stage is set for conflict.

Posted by Dan at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 4:29pm BST

Andrew said: "Analogy: If my brother decides to join a nudist colony, it's none of my business unless he tries to drag me along. Similarly, if I choose to paint my house as a circus tent, my sister has no say in the matter...unless I insist that she do the same.

"But we are still brothers and sister. We still meet for Christmas and Thanksgiving, for birthdays and anniversaries. We still share each other's joys and pains and still try to work out serious differences without argument.

"And when we can't, we agree to let it drop and make our own choices...but we still meet and discuss."


________________________________________________

Exactly, Andrew. And since no one has insisted you join the nudist colony of same sex blessings or to paint your house with the circus tent colours of ordained and partnered homosexuals, then there is no need and no cause to expell your brother and sister from family events.

I'm assuming you've read the draft Covenants, Andrew. They are nothing but an thinly veiled exercise in establishing processes for expelling diversity of opinion. Draft 2 is not quite so authoritarian as Draft 1, but the document is clearly crafted with one end in mind - to rid the "conservatives" of these troublesome North Americans.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 4:44pm BST

Pat,

I think Andrew'a point is well taken, "since the first Lambeth Conference met there has been an emphasis on mutuality and interdependence as well as autonomy." The ACC has been finding a way toward the appropriate balance here. People with a vested interest in just having their way would have a vested interest in disarray and mere autonomy.

Even in the imperial era there was always more to church relationships than power, but with its end there had to be a serious rethink. There can hardly be real communication and accountability in faith apart from mutuality and interdependence, there have been natural developments for many decades now in seeking to live that out.

It is almost laughable to say that some people want to walk off with things for themselves "leaving their far more numerous cousins bereft." What would they be taking that was ever in the care or actual possession of the "cousins?" So what is this "walking off" with things? It amounts to no more than a legalism, and in terms certainly of "individual rights" as you hold them it makes no sense. And in the longer run who is to say who will be more numerous?

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 5:06pm BST

"The problem is that despite the lip service we pay to the "hierarchical" nature of TEC, it functions under a congregational model....almost anything goes in the parishes."

Evidence for this please. Also, your statement that the cousins know better what the grandparents wanted is immaterial. The issue is what does God want, not what was or is wanted by human beings, however well meaning or sincere their faith was. Besides, from what I can see, in places like Truro, VA it is the very distant cousins who are trying to claim they know best what Grandma wanted, despite the fact that they haven't even bothered to formally declare their membership in the family, but want the family to run according to their rules rather than the rules of the people currently living in the house.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 5:12pm BST

Mark,

I think you either missed the point or read something else and got mixed up. What you read me to say is certainly not what I am saying. Try again.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 5:19pm BST

"Distatnt cousins" is it now? How sweet of you...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 6:38pm BST

Dan,
I am a member of an Episcopal Church parish established fifty years ago. A good many of our founding members are still alive and still attending church. In some cases, there are four generations of the same family attending on Sundays. Our vestry recently declared us an inclusive church. This vestry has two grandchildren of founders, plus four members who have belonged to the church for more than forty years. Some long time members left when Gene Robinson was consecrated, but far more stayed. The ones who stayed proceeded to call a woman as rector. I've talked to ones who don't much care for Bishop Robinson, but they love "their" church, they can't imagine being anything but Episcopalian, and they figure that TEC will survive. It's survived integration (we have a growing number of African American members), females on the vestry, females at the altar, and now is coping well with three same-sex couples, one as lay reader. So, at our church, we know what grandma and grandpa meant with their gifts, and for most of them, it wasn't schism.

Susan in Georgia

Posted by Susan in Georgia at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 7:05pm BST

"Each church calls its own clergy"

It varies from diocese to diocese (bishop to bishop), Dan, but generally-speaking, the above is a "gross exaggeration."

(Nowhere more so, than a parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth trying to call *female* clergy!)

***

Andrew, do you have nothing more constructive to offer, than to hurl the charge at Pat of "revisionism", merely having a "one version of recent history which has wide circulation in TEC"? Or does the fact that Pat's account rings true with my 40+ years (lifelong) in TEC---and, FWIW, doctorate in religion---make me a "revisionist" too? Why should YOUR "version of recent history" be any more salient to the discussion?

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 8:07pm BST

Andrew:

We lost the interchangeable ministry 30 years ago, when TEC and others began ordaining women, a position that many other parts of the communion still do not accept. TEC's PB wouldn't even be able to conduct Sunday services in, say, Nigeria, let alone be treated as a bishop. And clearly, at the moment, even the CoE would have difficulty accepting a male TEC priest who was ordained by a female bishop...because in the CoE that woman is not a bishop.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 8:24pm BST

Dan:

"Would TEC's current position be any different if the parish was a "new" one, that is essentialy first generation and all of the giving had been done by the same people who wanted to leave?"

No, because the documents that chartered that parish--new or old--clearly state that the property is held in trust for the diocese and through it, the national church. If the founders of that parish--and we have a couple of newly created ones in our diocese--wanted a different set-up there are many other denominations they could have joined. Or they could even have simply founded an unaffiliated, non-denominational church.

But if you want to call yourself "Episcopalian" part of what goes with that is abiding by the canons of TEC and your local diocese.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 8:28pm BST

Pat
You have made my point. You argued that the "didsidents" were stealing what their ancestors had intended for the whole church. You now admit it has nothing to do with what was intended, it is simply a matter of the church polity. Fine. I merely repeat what I said, for a hierarchical church, TEC functions much more like congregational churches. I gave several illustrations of that. It is not surprising that parishes given virtual autonomy should think they own their property. I am not saying that is the law nor how it should turn out, merely that it is tough to squeeze that toothpaste back into the tube once you have let it loose. "How ya gonna keep them down on the farm, after they've seen Parreeee?"

Posted by Dan at Friday, 9 May 2008 at 2:06pm BST

Andrew Carey reminds us of the slow and difficult birth of the ACC, and it is an interesting case study in itself of how the member churches of the Communion viewed their fellowship and how they should or should NOT create a fixture of their “consulting” together.

But historical revisionist can take some hope from a new book by Alan Ford on that Darwinian nemesis Archbishop James Ussher , Dr Judith Maltby reviewing the work writes in today’s Church Times writes:

“…. it will be of interest to anyone wishing to put the current complexity of the way the sister churches of the Anglican Communion relate to each other into some badly needed historical perspective.”

A little note for our often annoying rebellious brethren then follows:

“We usually think of the origins of the Anglican Communion as lying in the emergence of the Atlantic colonies, but the roots are much closer to home. Archbishop Laud conducted a determined campaign to impose his brand of orthodoxy not only on the Church of England but on the Scottish and Irish churches as well. I most admire Ussher for his dogged persistence in maintaining that he was Laud’s peer and equal (he even suggested to the English Primate that they were not so much brother Metropolitans as brother patriarchs!) in the face of a determined, at times ruthless, campaign to subject the Irish church to the English.”
Ford writes pf Ussher’s vision in his book:
“the Church of England and the Church of Ireland were engaged, not in a parent-child, but in a more equal, sisterly relationship, which entitled them to defend their own rather different vision of ecclesiastical orthodoxy”.

Its just possible Andrew might get or have a review copy of this book and when he has finished perhaps he might send it to Wales for at £58 I fear I will not be able to afford it!!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 9 May 2008 at 3:54pm BST

"Pat
You have made my point. You argued that the "didsidents" were stealing what their ancestors had intended for the whole church. You now admit it has nothing to do with what was intended, it is simply a matter of the church polity."

And who created that church polity? The tooth fairy? No, it was the founders of the Episcopal church. Who signed on to and continued that polity (when it could have been changed multiple times in General Convention)? Generation after generation of faithful Episcopalians through more than 200 years of the church's existence, that's who.

It's only now that a small minority of the current generation try to deny that their ancestors intended what the documents they wrote clearly indicate.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 10 May 2008 at 4:03am BST

@Dan:

While canonical processes in TEC often may appear to let congregations have a great deal of autonomy, it should never be forgotten just who "wears the britches" in the diocese: the guy (or gal) with the pointy hat and curvy stick. Clergy in the diocese serve at the bishop's pleasure.

While parishes are generally granted the advisory role of picking their clergy, it really is just that: an advisory role, which the bishop can accept or ignore pretty much as he or she wishes. Same goes for running the finances of the parish.

It is of course very rare that the bishop ignores or overrules the parish vestry and membership, but the bishop does have that formal right. Thus it is very misleading to even begin to describe TEC as congregational in nature. It simply isn't, even if it may appear to be so at first glance.

Posted by Walsingham at Sunday, 11 May 2008 at 5:32pm BST

""Distatnt cousins" is it now? How sweet of you..."

You're welcome. And here I thought you were a Lutheran, with whom the Anglican Church has found enough commonality that many of us are now in communion with the Lutherans. In this country, we even share ministry. I was referring to Baptists and other fundamentalists who have not even bothered to become Anglicans, yet seek to impose their polity on TEC.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 12 May 2008 at 5:39pm BST

Sorry, Ford, I was adressing what Dan said: "when you add to it that the grandkids have a whole lot more knowledge about what grandma and grandpa intended by their gifts than the distant cousins they have never even met..."

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 12 May 2008 at 6:46pm BST

Sorry Ford,

I thought I was answering Dan above on Thursday, 8 May 2008 at 4:29pm BST: “… when you add to it that the grandkids have a whole lot more knowledge about what grandma and grandpa intended by their gifts than the distant cousins they have never even met, well, the stage is set for conflict…”

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 12 May 2008 at 8:12pm BST
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