Comments: More coverage of the GAFCON primates meeting in London

So ... seven (men) have gathered in a rather nice location in London to offer to sort out the Church of England. None of them are members of the National Church and not all of them are in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

To use a current electoral analogy their manifesto is rather like saying 'vote Scottish Nationalist' to save the Union.

Apart from a few maverick parishes that might join them in England, I can't see this as being more than an expensive exercise in delusional self-importance on the part of the GAFCON bishops most of whom are complete unknowns to us.

I'm impressed that Thinking Anglicans has managed to find as much media comment as you have. In fact the mainstream press have pretty well ignored the supposed setting up of a rival Anglican Communion. Do GAFCON not have PR advisors? We here are in the middle of an election, terrible things are happening in their own countries and they say they have "vision"?

Posted by Nicholas Henderson at Monday, 20 April 2015 at 6:53pm BST

Glorious (word deliberately chosen) comment from Bishop Nick!

Posted by Clara at Monday, 20 April 2015 at 10:32pm BST

Great blog from the Bishop of Leeds. I think GAFCON will come under the spotlight more. Many people are asking who is pulling the strings of these Primates? I have met Stanley Ntagali and rather like him, but cannot believe that his being a GAFCON primate can in any way enrich his ministry. The accounts show that the Trustees of Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (Reg. Charity #1144227 - see Charity Commission website) are Rev Prebendary Richard Bewes (Rector All Souls Langham Place, until he retired in 2004), Mrs Sarah Finch (longstanding member of General Synod for the Diocese of London), Rev David Mace (who appears to be a retired OLM from the Diocese of Guildford) and Archbishop Peter Jensen (Archbishop of Sydney until his retirement in 2013). The charity exists for the advancement of religion and its founding document is essentially the Jerusalem Declaration. Such income as it has is spent on conferences, Primate travel and media and communications. There was (per the latest filed accounts) an employee on £30,000 per year. Having just preached at Evensong from Revelation 2 on the message to the Church at Ephesus, I was rather struck by the fact that a focus on doctrinal purity (while not necessarily condemned per se - it depends on how you determine your doctrine!) is of nothing as compared with 'abandoning the love you had at first' (NRSV). Perhaps some refresher CMD for these Primates and, particularly, those who support, them will not come amiss.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 12:17am BST

Bishop Nick Baines writes, "I was once asked in Central Africa why one has to be gay to be ordained in the Church of England."

Which raises the question, as to ordaining gay bishops, why is the Church of England not living up to its evident reputation?

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 1:21am BST

All power to Bishop Nick. Why have not the Archbishops of Canterbury spoken out publicly against this frontal attack on the Church of England? What is it about 'Gafcon-Christianity' that can offer hope to those people in the world who have to have been born female or gay? Surely, the exclusivism of FoCa and GAFCON cannot flourish in an enlightened society?

Those who compare FoCa with the arrival of early Methodism in England seem to forget that Methodism was based - not on judgmentalism but the freedom of the people of God to 'Tell the Good News' of God's love for all people.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 1:55am BST

"Archbishop Jensen said it was not the conservatives who were leaving the Anglican mainstream: 'This goes back to the behaviour of The Episcopal Church in America. If there is a schism, it is because the American church decided to break with centuries-old tradition and with the biblical position on human sexuality.'"

There it is, direct from the horse's mouth: "Ick-Teh-Gay" is what their new "communion" is founded on. Jesus and his "Love one another as I have loved you"? Not so much. Kyrie eleison!

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 5:47am BST

Well said Bishop Nick. Lets hope we hear more episcopal and other voices along these lines.

Posted by sally Barnes at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 10:54am BST

Thank you, Anthony Archer, for pointing out that this 'Global' organisation is, in fact, a handful of retired people with a registered charity number and a website. When I worked in banking, accounts with the self-aggrandising word 'International' in the name were always the ones that went bust.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 11:38am BST

I will watch the process with bated breath. When the Conservatives took on UKIP they became more right-wing and more anti-immigration as a result.
GAFCON rides on a homophobic ticket. Let's see what it actually means for the CoE to fight back against it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 2:25pm BST

A welcome blog by Nick Baines, but it contains an extraordinary admission:-

"For a long time I have wondered if the Church of England ought not to be a little more robust in countering the misrepresentation and manipulation (of reality) that emanates from Gafcon. I am not alone. But, I have bowed to the wisdom of those who (rightly) assert that we shouldn’t counter bad behaviour with bad behaviour, and that we should trust that one day the truth will out."

By what conceivable ethical standard can it be "bad behavior" to counter lies and scaremongering from out-and-proud homophobes? (Quite a few of whom want gay people locked up.) Where has this bizarre view come from? How did it become prevalent in the Church of England? Some woefully misguided reading of "turn the other cheek," perhaps.

Patrician indifference I understand; making a virtue of cowed silence I don't understand at all.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 3:56pm BST

I have to agree with Nick Baines. As with ISIS one should not ignore extremists lest they gain some degree of credibility; but be prepared to face up to them.

Posted by Confused Sussex at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 5:37pm BST

'Let's see what it actually means for the CoE to fight back against it.'

The problem for the CofE is not only the institutional ('tanks on the lawn') challenge, but also that the CofE is allowing GAFCON to tar the CofE with a homophobic brush.

GAFCON's position is that it's good Anglican theology and ecclesiology to discriminate against gay people.

I would say that this is a slur on Anglicanism generally and the Church of England in particular--except that of course, given the CofE's practice and policies, it's actually fairly accurate.

Anglicanism as discrimination is something that heretofore the CofE has shown little inclination to disavow.

So there's not much hope that the CofE will climb off this particular fence anytime soon.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 6:07pm BST

And the Church of England bishops are still committed to having a conservative evangelical bishop... who will be against women's ordination and gay marriage. Consecrate a bishop of that ilk, and they may regret it , like the Episcopal church agreeing to consecrate Lawrence in South carolina and knowing well he would lead a multi-million usurpation.

Posted by Robert ian williams at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 9:24pm BST

The camel's nose is not just under the tent.

A whole flock of camels have entered the tent, and are planning to claim it for themselves.

We in the Episcopal Church have been trying to point this out for a while. Usually, we were told we did not know how to handle these kinds of things.

All I can say is, if you think what you are hearing now constitutes "misrepresentation and manipulation of reality," you really have an adventure in store.

Posted by jnwall at Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 10:01pm BST

Savi Hensman, as usual, has her finges on the pulse of the Gafcon initiative. At a time when the ISIS Fundamentalists are proclaiming a god of Vengeance; the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ might better be promoted by Christians as The God of Love.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 1:54am BST

AMiE should certainly have the courtesy to inform bishops in advance of any new confessing Anglican church plants in CofE dioceses. But action under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the ministers involved in these new churches could only be against licensed clergy.

Confessing Anglican ministers of Christ in England not holding CofE licences are not subject to the CDM. Certainly, Anglican ministers ordained by GAFCON bishops have no institutional relationship with the CofE. Threatening them with an ecclesiastical court would surely be no more effective than threatening a Methodist church planter.

Again, in the interests of transparency and public accountability advance notice should be given of GAFCON ordinations of AMiE ministers. A notice in the local press could be a good way of doing that.

Posted by Julian Mann at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 7:43am BST

Thank you jnwall until I read your comment I had no idea that the collective noun for camels was a flock! Alternatively they could collectively be referred to as a caravan or a train. I am wondering is GAFCON's interference the straw that will break the back of the Anglican Communion?

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 8:00am BST

I suppose what really is at stake here is the use of the name 'Anglican' in the title of Gafcon's planted 'Anglican Mission in England' (AMiE). What bugs many of us in the Anglican Communion around the world - who are not Gafcon affiliates, is the blatant takeover bid for the claim to 'Anglican Orthodoxy' that Gafcon maintains as its sole prerogative.

Thus, in the USA and Canada, they have already named an amalgamation of their planted 'mission churches', by the confusing title of 'Anglican Church in North America' (ACNA) - when the only Anglican Churches in North America recognised as members of the Anglican Communion (that subscribe to all the designated 'Instruments of Communion') are TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.

There is no canonical relationship between the only two officially recognised Anglican Churches in North America and the Gafcon implanted ACNA.

In the world of commerce, it would be impossible to high-jack someone else's intrinsic identity and title. Why does the rest of the Communion not dissociate itself from this piratical conservative organisation?

(Mind you, in North America, one secessionist, former TEC diocese (South Carolina) has already secured legal sanction for assuming rights to the original title 'Anglican'. It's bishop and his diocese also have been 'adopted' by the Gafcon Primates' Council.. This, surely is going to be a problem for any sort of Anglican Communion cohesion).

The relationship between Gafcon, with its dogmatic 'Jerusalem Statement' of Faith - and the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion Provinces - surely needs to be clarified, for the sake of the rest of us who just want to spread the Good News of God's love to the world.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 9:30am BST

"I am wondering is GAFCON's interference the straw that will break the back of the Anglican Communion?"

But the Communion has no backbone in the first place. That's GAFCON's complaint--and to my mind, it's the Communion's chief virtue. The Communion is a worldwide family of churches. Nothing more.

The real question now is whether it's appropriate for different provinces of the Anglican family to be billing themselves as "the" representative of Anglicanism in England.

The answer to that question is no. But do you really expect there to be any consequences for the GAFCON provinces? I don't. Canterbury and the ACO are much too enamored of the "80 million" statistic. And the GAFCON provinces know this. They think that their numbers insulate them from consequences.

And in this, they are probably correct. For by now the Church of England has got to realize that Canterbury is too entranced by its Communion role to defend the Church of England from depredations within the Communion.

One might of course wonder whether such "eirenicism" is more accurately thought of as a conflict of interest--and as a breach of Canterbury's duties to its own province.

The conclusion is that if the Church of England wants to defend itself, someone other than Canterbury will have to do it.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 12:05pm BST

Father Ron,
how much do people actually care about the term "Anglican" as a brand name? There is an Anglican Communion, true. But does any national church have the word Anglican in its title? Church of England, Church in Wales, The Episcopal Church of the USA... would we not still have the Anglican Communion with those Anglican churches that wanted to be part of it?

All we would lose is that modern construct of the "Anglican Church" that never existed anyway.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 3:23pm BST

Splinter groups like GAFCON and their ecclesial counterparts - AMIE, AMIA, ACNA and such like - typically have such ungenerous ideas about "orthodoxy" (to say nothing of God and of Gospel and Grace) that it seldom requires much waiting before they're chewing off one another's hind legs and running off and starting yet another splinter group. That's what's happened in the American church ever since we started ordaining women to the priesthood. The Continental Reformation is another example--taken, again, to greater heights of suspicion, dissent, and division here in the US. In this particular instance, disgusting as these boys are in their treatment of gay people, I'm equally disgusted by their attitude towards Muslims, which, IMHO, unmasks their bigotry quite as pungently as their homophobia. I say let'em have at it: they're richly entitled to whatever their adventures yield.

Posted by Daniel Bery, NYC at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 3:47pm BST

I believe you may mean: the GS Standing Committee has recognized the Diocese of South Carolina (as 'extra provincial').

Gafcon is a different entity. It recognizes ACNA.

SC is not in ACNA. Its relationship is with the GS. +Welby attended the meeting in Cairo where this arrangement was discussed.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 3:47pm BST

Ron says, 'I suppose what really is at stake here is the use of the name 'Anglican' in the title of Gafcon's planted 'Anglican Mission in England' (AMiE).'.

Ron, as I've said to you before, I expect that the Pope and the church he represents have exactly the same struggle with our appropriation of the term 'Catholic'. That's because their definition of 'Catholic' includes an institutional connection to the Bishop of Rome, and ours does not.

If you can swallow the idea that we Anglicans had the right to redefine 'Catholic' in a way that did not require an institutional connection to Rome, why are you offended by the ANCAs redefinition of 'Anglican' in such a way as to not require an institutional connection to Canterbury and the 'Instruments of Communion'?

I suspect that all this concern about institutional identity is very much a baby-boomer thing. Most of the young people I know aren't interested in it at all. They'd much rather be part of a movement than an institution. Tearing our hair out about who owns the term 'Anglican' is a total waste of time (and not something that I can imagine Jesus losing a lot of sleep over). We'd be better to concentrate on what it means to live out the teaching of Jesus and then do our best to put it into practice. That includes loving our enemies, of course, and if we conservatives and liberals define each other as enemies, I guess we're under orders and we'd better get busy obeying.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 6:17pm BST

Fr David, this site says "flock" for camels:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/animals/Animalbabies.shtml

but I have also seen claims for "caravan," "herd," and "train." So your mileage may vary, as we say here in the States.

But the point is that these folks have arrived, with their "confessional" version of Anglicanism, waving the "authority of scripture" banner.

They appeal chiefly to people who need clear rules, norms, and boundaries and who resent those of us more comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, and story.

My guess is, the English church hierarchy will on the whole follow the "go along to get along" strategy. We in the US will be watching to see how that works out for you.

Posted by jnwall at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 8:04pm BST

Completely agree with Jeremy's last four paragraphs. Our archbishops are too morally compromised. We should dwell on that thought - with all its implications. The central implication for me is that we have to get rid of the present 'junta'. I also deeply believe that they will naturally implode, as their failure becomes progressively manifest. Am I inconsistent here with my frequently-trumpeted 'live-and-let live' pan-Anglicanism? No: because if this is the game (and I do devoutly believe it is the only game in town), everybody has to play by the rules, which said gentlemen (I use the term ironically) self-evidently do not. 'Ecrasez l'infame!'

Posted by John at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 8:59pm BST

"In the world of commerce, it would be impossible to high-jack someone else's intrinsic identity and title. Why does the rest of the Communion not dissociate itself from this piratical conservative organisation?"

Indeed, the Canadian congregations of what is now the "Anglican Mission in the Americas", a Rwandan plant, initially wanted to call themselves the "Anglican Communion in Canada." Industry Canada stepped in and they had to change it, as the Anglican Church of Canada was deemed to exclusively represent "the Anglican Communion in Canada." ACNA has not faced any similar legal setbacks to my knowledge, nor did the previous "Anglican Church in North America" of the 70s (which eventually became the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada).

Posted by Geoff at Wednesday, 22 April 2015 at 10:30pm BST

"how much do people actually care about the term 'Anglican' as a brand name? There is an Anglican Communion, true. But does any national church have the word Anglican in its title?" - Erika Baker -

Dear Erika; not living, yourself, in any of the ex-Colonial territories of the Anglican Communion; you may not be aware of the fact of the parental ties we have with the Church of England (which, incidentally) now claims to be part of the "Anglican' family of Churches.

We, in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, which countries were missionized by the Church of England, have retained our filial attachment by claiming the title 'Anglican'.

By a different circumstance - due to the Church of England's reluctance to ordain bishops for the emerging 'Anglican' Church in the USA - The first TEC bishop was ordained by bishops of SEC, the Scottish Episcopal Church, thus becoming ECUSA, the Episcopal Church in the US. Although TEC does not use the word 'Anglican' in its official title, it still retains its 'bonds of affection' with the Church if England and with other - non-Gafcon - Churches of the Communion. (which cannot be said, now of the Gafcon Provinces, which have ceased their connection with the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Primates' Council; thereby, in my estimation at least; forfeiting their claim to remain 'Anglican').

It may be that we ex-colonial Churches, that still maintain the 'bonds of friendship' with the Church of England, our Founding Church; may now have a stronger claim to the title 'ANGLICAN', than the Gafon Provinces that have withdrawn from Lambeth.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 2:09am BST

Erika -- about your question over national churches using the word Anglican in their names, here's a some off the top of my head:

Anglican Church of Canada
Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea

I'm sure others could extend this list...

That said, I don't think the word Anglican is best understood in terms of brands. Arguably, it is more important to those who are departing to the continuing Anglican spectrum to use the word as a brand. This is particularly the case in the US where the body they are departing is called Episcopal. I think the same holds true in the UK, where Anglican comes off sounding very distinct from C of E. Where Anglican is part of the national church's name, you find a host of qualifiers -- 'traditional,' 'catholic,' etc.

Posted by kieran crichton at Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 8:43am BST

Interestingly in the nineteenth century the Church of Ireland objected to the use of Anglican and wanted the term Protestant Episcopal communion instead.

Posted by robert Ian williams at Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 10:58am BST

"in the UK, where Anglican comes off sounding very distinct from C of E"

Does it?

What else are members of the CofE called, if not Anglicans?

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 3:36pm BST

The Anglican Communion website lists all the member churches here:

http://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/member-churches.aspx

There are eighteen that include the word Anglican in their name.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia
The Anglican Church of Australia
Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
The Anglican Church of Burundi
The Anglican Church of Canada
Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America
Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan)
The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Anglican Church of Korea
The Anglican Church of Melanesia
La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Province de L'Eglise Anglicane au Rwanda
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Anglican Church of South America
The Anglican Church of Tanzania

Posted by Peter Owen at Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 10:11pm BST

So you see, Erika. There are lots of Anglican Churches around the world. Some of which are attached by 'ties of friendship' with the Church of England our Founding Church - and some, like the Gafcon Churches, have dispensed with some of the Instruments of Unity - like Lambeth and the Primates' Conference.

Only the Gafcon Churches are promoting a faith concept that claims to be morally superior - to the extent that they have concocted their very own Statement of Faith - in the 'Jerusalem Statement'.

If the Church of England is not 'Anglican', it is not the fault of the other members on the ACC.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 10:30pm BST

I can assure you, Ron, that 'I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as these conservatives' sounds every bit as 'morally superior' as 'I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as these liberals'. I don't know if you have any idea how patronizing you sound, giving Erika lectures about the Anglican Communion as if she was an ignorant schoolgirl.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 12:27am BST

The synod of the Diocese of Ottawa passed a resolution in 1923 deploring the Canadian government's use of "Anglican" to refer in the census to members of the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada, rightly making the point that this "nickname" ("Anglican Church of Canada" would not become official in English until 1955) was not appropriate in an official government context.

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 5:49am BST

I agree with Nick Baines. It is time the Anglican Church in England countered these dreadful accusations, 'take overs' and insinuations about us. Jesus, our Lord died to redeem ALL sinners, not just a few. he continues to intercede for all through eternity and no one is outside His mercy.

Posted by Una Kroll at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 6:56am BST

Looking at Peters post and the list of member churches. Can anyone advise if there is some subtle difference between " extra provincial to Canterbury and extra provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury " or is it one and the same thing?
Fr Paul

Posted by Fr Paul at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 12:20pm BST

Indeed, in the current context of the member of the Anglican Communion in the United States and some other countries, "Anglican" is not the word at issue. Having no "church by law established," any ecclesial community can claim whatever tradition it wishes. Our current issues are two: first, not the "brand" of Anglican, but whether the term "Anglican" in fact refers to a theological/ecclesial tradition or to membership in the Anglican Communion. The second is in the use of the word "Episcopal." The departing folks in South Carolina insist that the constitute the Episcopal Diocese _of_ South Carolina, and have gotten legal decisions (currently being challenged) requiring the continuing body recognized by the General Convention to style itself the Episcopal Diocese _in_ South Carolina. It's really the same issue: the value of the word "episcopal" as expressing a bishop-led governance vs. expressing a relationship with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (and elsewhere), commonly known as The Episcopal Church). The fact is that there are quite a number of bodies in these United States with the word "Episcopal" in their names, and quite a number with the word "Anglican."

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 3:44pm BST

There are over 30 Anglican denominations in the United States, including the ACNA. One such denomination goes back to 1873. But there is only one Anglican body which is a member of the Anglican Communion--The Episcopal Church.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by Kurt Hill at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 9:24pm BST

Anyone curious to know what view of GAFCON is taken by Anglican Mainstream may find this article by Andrew Symes of interest
http://anglicanmainstream.org/gafcon-threat-option-or-only-future/

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 24 April 2015 at 10:52pm BST

Unless I am mistaken the General Convention entity in lower South Carolina is not
"Episcopal Diocese _in_ South Carolina" but "The Episcopal Church in South Carolina."

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is the same one that has always been there, since colonial times, and has defeated efforts to make it relinquish its name.

In colonial times, "dioceses" were in effect "states" -- hence "of" and not "in." So when a new diocese was created the original diocese in SC didn't become the Diocese of Lower SC, while the new one became the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

If there is to be a new Diocese in the lower part of the state, it would have to petition GC. But to do that would be to concede that something new is being created. TEC wants to avoids that. For now anyway.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 25 April 2015 at 1:44pm BST

A couple of comments on the assertion that the "diocese" of South Carolina existed before the Episcopal Church. The use of that term in the history of the Church in the U.S. can be very anachronistically misleading.

There were colonial churches in South Carolina before and during the American Revolution, which were (as in the other American colonies) not organized into dioceses or really much of anything else. The Revolution resulted in the Anglican churches in all the colonies becoming a mess of disorganized disarray.

In South Carolina, the first state convention to try organize themselves out of this disarray occurred in May 1785. A second state convention occurred in July 1785, which elected delegates to the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which occurred in September-October 1785. Thus, we're talking about a few months at best between the first South Carolina state convention and the first General Convention.

In addition, the use of the word "diocese" to describe what was going on in South Carolina and elsewhere in the new American states can be very misleading. All that was occurring in South Carolina and elsewhere were occasional meetings of clergy and laity organized on a state-wide basis. No structure initially existed other than these meetings. South Carolina did not even have a bishop until 1795, 10 years after its first state convention.

The first General Convention looked at itself as being national church made up of "state conventions" and that term was used in the Constitution adopted at the third General Convention in 1789. The term diocese was not used in the TEC Consititution until the 1830s.

Posted by dr.primrose at Sunday, 26 April 2015 at 10:03pm BST

This is not a thread on South Carolina and I don't disagree with much of anything you have written. The only point being registered was in response to Mr. Scott, who referred to an "Episcopal Diocese in SC" when the entity is the "Episcopal Church in SC."

And that is because the Diocese owns the name it has had going back as far as it has had it; and is retaining it. For a new entity to use the term "Diocese" would require a new name (perhaps "Diocese of Lower South Carolina") and admission to General Convention as such.

That was the point I was making in response to Mr. Scott and nothing you have written alters it.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 27 April 2015 at 2:22pm BST

"Apart from a few maverick parishes that might join them in England" (Nicholas Henderson): Unfortunately our vicar has persuaded our PCC that our parish church should become one of these 'maverick parishes', with a threat to break away from the CoE if the CoE does not abide by the 'rules' laid down by GAFCON and AMiE. Do we hear a murmur of any sort from our bishops? No, we do not. They have their heads well and truly down below the parapet.
Well done Bishop Nick! How we wish that our bishops were like you.

Posted by BOP at Monday, 27 April 2015 at 5:24pm BST

Dear BOP
Does your bishop even know about this? Why not tell him yourself to make sure?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 27 April 2015 at 5:58pm BST

I am quite comfortable being corrected, as my point was to note that the current differences are exemplified by "of" vs. "in." Each is "episcopal" in being led by a bishop. One is "Episcopal" in continuing communion in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 27 April 2015 at 10:02pm BST

"cseitz," who I assume is Christopher Seitz of the Anglican Communion Institute, a four-person think tank with a major-sounding name, doesn't tell the whole story. The "Episcopal Church in South Carolina" is in fact the real Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, those Episcopalians who refused to join Bishop Lawrence and his clergy and lay followers in leaving the Episcopal Church. Unfortunately for people trying keep straight who's Episcopalian and who isn't, a local South Carolina court has found that the name Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina belongs to Lawrence and his followers and has banned the real Episcopal diocese from using its own historic name. Part of the Lawrence propaganda, which Seitz is echoing, is that the Episcopal Church in South Carolina is a new organization. It isn't. It's the genuine article.

Posted by William MacKaye at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 6:42am BST

Dear Simon Sarmiento,
The bishops of our Diocese and their staff have been informed by several people, over many months, about how our once quiet and gentle little parish church is becoming one of these 'maverick parishes'.

Posted by BOP at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 9:03am BST

Other Provinces of the Anglican Communion (mine included: ACANZP) are still awaiting a response from either of the 2 provincial Archbishops to the Gafcon invasion of the territory of the Church of England by the Gafcon Primates. The loud silence is truly deafening. Cat got yer tongue? Is the silence given to mean that the 'Anglican Church in England' is no rival to the Church of England?

OR, will it, in time, become just another Province - like ACNA to Gafcon?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 10:02am BST

The so-called "Windsor process" is really coming home to roost here.

It was always a post-imperial attempt to impose an impossible degree of order. (Note the obvious and rather clumsy effort to wrap the attempt in the "Windsor" flag.)

But events are now showing that from the perspective of the Church of England, the Windsor process was a strategic blunder of the first order.

Having made "no border crossing into other provinces" merely a quid pro quo for "no ordaining gay bishops," the Archbishop of Canterbury now is in no position to complain when one province ordains gay people as bishops and then other provinces start crossing borders.

There's a real lesson here about what the Communion is, and about the conflicts of interest inherent in leading both the Communion and the Church of England.

Those who lead our Communion should only draw lines that they are confident of being able to maintain and enforce. And it's difficult to think of what those lines might be--because the Communion is merely a family of independent churches, nothing more.

The lack of strategic thinking in Lambeth is remarkable. Going forward, for the Church of England's sake, someone needs to look further around the corner. And with the interests of the Church of England in mind--not giving first thought to Canterbury's Communion role.

With Windsor, Lambeth has both laid bare its own powerlessness within the Communion and has managed to score an own goal against the Church of England.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 1:43pm BST

I'm sure it is a genuine article.

It will be a new Diocese, however, only when it uses that term, finds a new name, and is given recognition by the GC of TEC.


Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 2:05pm BST

For William MacKaye, thanks for deflating the persistent attempts of C. Seitz to make anyone think his little institute is anything but the postings of one person out of billions. As to a decision by any lower level court in the United States, people overseas should understand that one can get a single judge, almost anywhere, to issue any number of absurd rulings. That is why the appellate process is so important in this country, as it often corrects for ludicrous extremes, from any side, on any issue.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 9:53pm BST

"One out of billions" -- what does that actually mean?

As I was a resident of the UK--Chair of Divinity at St Andrews--during the early days of ACI, I doubt the 'overseas' dimension is all that relevant, except perhaps for you.

I'd say the work of ACI in Illinois, TX and SC speaks for itself. The judge's ruling in Illinois could amount to collateral estoppel.

I apologize to UK folk that South Carolina is taking up so much space. My response to Mr. Scott and he has graciously acknowledged some factual error already.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 28 April 2015 at 11:32pm BST

"That is why the appellate process is so important in this country, as it often corrects for ludicrous extremes, from any side, on any issue."

Right you are.

The Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court upheld Judge Ortbal's ruling in Quincy, against TEC. This should rebound into SC as well. TX Supreme Court has already spoken and upheld its ruling and instructed the Fort Worth Judge.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 29 April 2015 at 4:55pm BST

A bit touchy, are we?

"One out of billions" means you have no more validity in your opinions than have I, or Simon, or Ron, or any number of individuals. I could form a "think tank" with my three closest friends, and call it the Better-Informed Anglican Communion Institute, and it would still represent the opinions of four people.

As to court decisions, and the appellate process, I have no doubt that you are talented at proof texting, but there are far more court decisions supporting TEC, than those supporting schismatics.

As to where they are not supportive, it would not surprise anyone familiar with the mockery of jurisprudence which certain states, such as Texas or South Carolina, have represented for decades, that they would also be among those with decisions supporting schismatics. It also surprises no Americans that bigotry of all forms, race, gender, ethnicity, continue to be rampant in such states.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 29 April 2015 at 8:21pm BST

"The Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court upheld Judge Ortbal's ruling in Quincy, against TEC. This should rebound into SC as well. TX Supreme Court has already spoken and upheld its ruling and instructed the Fort Worth Judge."

- cseitz -

How does that impinge on you and ACI, as members of TEC, I wonder? Are you pleased?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 29 April 2015 at 10:36pm BST

Fr Ron, thank you for your question.

ACI will continue to defend the governance and integrity of TEC. And civil courts will do the same, tragic though it is to have this cost so much of the former TEC's funds (60M). As of this point, our view is what is being upheld in Appellate and Supreme Court jurisdictions.

If TEC becomes NEC, then it will be a new entity of a much diminished character. A new polity for about 1M will need to be ratified.

As for Mr. Hannon, he is simply out of touch with legal realities and is now just blustering for lack of facts.

Anyone can now google 'Illinois Diocese Lawsuit' and be immediately put into frame.

Posted by cseitz at Thursday, 30 April 2015 at 2:36am BST

As for Mr. Seitz, you are ignoring the realities of the American legal system; that you do this is of little concern to me, except when you project onto the super-majority of American jurisprudence, and try to persuade others that the minority is the majority, the irregularities of a select few radical right outliers.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 30 April 2015 at 4:58pm BST

TEC's 1M expert witness, under oath, said there was no supreme authority of TEC, in the Illinois case. The judge's opinion is a masterpiece and was upheld by the Fourth Illinois Appellate Court. I doubt the TEC litigation team thinks the recent major defeats in Illinois, TX and SC are 'minority' matters. The 'expert witness' who appeared in Illinois and in all previous cases was not even called in by the TEC legal team in SC. One may assume he has received his last pay check. He is on the faculty at General Seminary, that bastion of orderly procedure.

Perhaps a new PB will call off the litigation. Booth Beers is aging. Frank Griswold did not take this tack.

"Ignoring the realities of the American legal system" is your métier.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 1 May 2015 at 4:27pm BST

"Perhaps a new PB will call off the litigation."

Highly unlikely. Leaders tend to have duties to preserve the property of their organizations.

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 2 May 2015 at 10:31pm BST

Presiding Bishop Griswold did not pursue this tack.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 3 May 2015 at 3:09pm BST

I feel Jeremy is spot on in his analysis about what will happen under the next PB of TEC..

Moreover, these few pro-schismatics cases in recent posts have not finished the appellate process, which in some cases can even involve the US Supreme Court.

As to who may be ignoring realities about outlier cases versus the preponderance of American legal judgments, only time will truly tell.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Sunday, 3 May 2015 at 6:55pm BST

40 Million spent. Much off-budget. Is a scandal. Hopefully you two are wrong. At some point the money will just run out. I don't think Breidenthal is a litigious Bishop.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 3 May 2015 at 9:08pm BST

For what it's worth, the national Episcopal Church intervened in the lawsuits brought by the Diocese of Los Angeles against the parishes that attempted to leave TEC while Griswold was PB and before Jefferts Schori was even elected PB.

Posted by dr.primrose at Monday, 4 May 2015 at 3:14am BST

If the schismatics are hoping that a change in Presiding Bishop will end litigation, they are entertaining very false hopes.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 6 May 2015 at 12:27pm BST
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