Comments: Primates gathering - Tuesday roundup

Good to see the statement from Malcolm French! When the Anglican Covenant proposals were doing the rounds of English dioceses a few years back; one of the chief sticking points for reasonable Christians was the threat of 'relational consequences' if a province was considered to have stepped out of line. It was the unease over this 'threat' that helped to defeat the Covenant proposals in the CofE, TEC, and many other provinces. The Anglican Covenant has not - to my knowledge, been adopted. Yet the meeting/gathering of Primates seem to think they have the authority to impose 'relational consequences' on whoever they please? Do they think we mere members have no memory and are all stupid?

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 2:42am GMT

So... from what committees other than the ACC has TEC been excluded? Are there any the Primates can legitimately not invite TEC too, simply because any informal group can meet in any constellation it likes to?
Do the Primates ever make any policy etc. decisions that later don't have to be implemented formally by the individual churches through their decision making bodies before becoming binding for everyone?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 12:51pm GMT

Professor Norman Doe is quoted in the Church Times article
"He predicted that there would be “other cases like this: stimulating litigation, jeopardising ecumenical relations, making people ill, wasting money. . . It is high time that Anglicans got a formal agreement together on how they process this.”

It is high time that Anglicans got a formal agreement together on how they process this.
OR NOT! (really sorry to disagree with you Norman!)

To agree to reject the proposed Covenant was to agree that we wish to continue as an informal association of independent national churches within the Anglican family. The ACC providing a framework for holding us together and now the Primates committed to "walking together" in the Anglican fold; based on the Chicago/Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Ecclesiastical polity of the three legged stool - Scripture/Tradition/Reason

Posted by Paul Richardson at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 1:53pm GMT

Archbishop Fred's statement needs to be read carefully in its entirely. He is correct when he acknowledges that some people are angry and disillusioned with their church in the wake of the Primates' decision. I count myself in that category. Such feelings tend to be cumulative with regard to this issue. He is correct that staying will require courage and resolve.

The section dealing with our forthcoming Canadian General Synod is encouraging. There appears to be an unequivocal commitment to the synodical process which has called for a proposed amendment to our Marriage Canon with first reading at GS 2016. One hopes the commitment to Canada's General Synod government will be shared by all Canada's bishops whether they favor revision of The Marriage Canon or not.

Archbishop Fred references the description of the Primates meeting outlined by The Windsor continuation Group, about them speaking not as an Anglican curia but offering advice in a "united and unanimous voice". There are several unacknowledged difficulties here.

The Primates are now perceived as having moved beyond offering advice to requiring outcomes. Archbishop Fred uses the term "majority of Primates" which suggests something less than unity or unanimity. Their vote was by secret ballot. Our Primate does not signal how he voted. One would have liked to have heard that he both spoke against and voted against the decision of the majority.

One would like to have heard from Archbishop Fred a clear and unequivocal call to the Anglican Consultative Council to uphold TEC as a full participating member of The Anglican Communion. One would like to have read that The Presiding Bishop or his representative will be invited to our forthcoming GS.

On other matters, the section of the statement that deals with The Primates and the climate change crisis is welcome and hopeful news.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 2:42pm GMT

As I understand it, TEC isn't frightened to litigate to defend its rights. Professor Doe raises the prospect of litigation if the Primates overstep. Might we see the matter litigated?

I hope not. TEC's strongest card at present is the graciousness it has shown. It should not rush to give that up.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 5:40pm GMT

I've no liking for the Covenant, Paul, but law has to be realistic. The primates, hard men of power and prestige, are clearly unwilling to accept being a mere discussion group: it's anathema to swaggering bossmen who spend their days taking obedience and fear as givens. You bend the knee to such men, or by God, they'll do it for you. So far, their provinces are clearly unwilling to rein them in.

That being so, I'd rather have a formal structure, with due process, safeguards, and open votes, than this grubby closed-door realpolitik. If synodical approval were built in, it'd restrict the power of the primates. We'd at least know where we all stand.

Right now, there's a vacuum, and we all know that power abhors that. It's no longer a choice between Covenant and status quo, 'cause the old status quo is dead. It was already on life support; Primates 2016 euthanized it. It's now a choice between building a centralized system, or having the primates create their own. Anglicanism's fast on its way to having a self-appointed Curia, surely the worst of all worlds.

Posted by James Byron at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 8:55pm GMT

TEC's strongest card is the graciousness it has shown?

I assume that is satire, given it spent $50 million suing departing parishes for buildings those parishes built and maintained?

Posted by James at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 10:43pm GMT

Canadian Primate declares the meeting "a success"

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 10:58pm GMT

A commentator over at Episcopal Café recommended the article available via the link below. It's written by Episcopal Priest The Rev. Mike Angell at Church of the Holy communion,St.Louis,Missouri. It is a very interesting take on things.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 3:21am GMT

For James, the various Primates of other Churches within the Anglican Communion were not, and are not, subject to the Canons of The Episcopal Church.

However, the various parishes of The Episcopal Church were, and are, subject to those Canons. That is the big difference. Taking that which, by our historical Canons, is the property of the entire Episcopal Church, no matter who built or maintained whatever parts of a parish to which you refer, is the point which differentiates these actions, or, in the case of the other Primates, the acknowledgement that there is no legal action for TEC to take with regard to such other Primates.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 6:55am GMT

I'm with Jerry on this one;if you want to leave,fine, but don't try to take the family silver with you. A long-since dead relative of mine gave the organ in one of the churches which left the TEC (read also AC) and she would have been horrified if the decision hadn't gone in favor of TEC. Also it would be interetsing to know in the different cases if TEC started the law suites to get the squatters out or the local group started the law suites to take possession.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 9:21am GMT


It's the continuing self-generated martyrdom of the right-wing; "We stand firm while you sacrifice." Nice church, if you can get it.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 9:25am GMT

Agree deeply with this comment by Mark Strange:

"In the drive for unity in the Anglican Communion we risk removing our diversity and our ability to respond to the particular needs of mission in our own communities, the ability to hear the voice of God in our own situations."

If a local church and the community it seeks to serve chooses to welcome and affirm and celebrate gay and lesbian and bi and trans people and their lives, and their deepest devoted relationships... and to include them like anyone else, without discrimination... who is a Primate to tell them they can't?

Are they not still 'in Christ'? Is their union any less in Jesus Christ?

And in the exercise of good conscience, should the local church and surrounding community be threatened and sanctioned into uniformity based on someone else's conscience? Is enforced conscience truly conscience at all?

Is it one-size-fits-all, for all places and for all times?

Or is the Anglican community capable of celebrating 'unity in diversity', celebrating difference and variety, responding to the actualities of local communities, living communities? And most of all, capable of finding grace to love one another, even when we are different and diverse, and hold different views in conscience?

The real test, surely, is not moral self-righteousness and rectitude, but love, and grace.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 10:01am GMT

Doe sat on the covenant design group and was in favor of it and of something like international canon law.

He is no ally of unilateral action by a province.

But the plain fact of the matter is that we do not have either.

I doubt that the Primates would be convinced they need international canon law to take up the role given to them re: enhanced responsibility.

Posted by cseitz at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 3:32pm GMT

Episcopal Café has a more complete list linking directly to the bishops' statements

Posted by Ann at Thursday, 21 January 2016 at 6:57pm GMT
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