Friday, 24 September 2004

another view around Eames

The British Roman Catholic weekly The Tablet has printed a report by Richard Major their American correspondent
Carey raises stakes ahead of Eames report:

…After 18 October the struggle will probably be not so much with the leadership of Ecusa, but within individual dioceses and parishes, which will have to decide how to respond to a world in which they might not be able to remain in full communion both with Ecusa and with the see of Canterbury. Ecusa’s relationship with the world’s 75 m. Anglicans, most of whom live in Africa, will also be in doubt. The African provinces have been the most outspoken in their opposition to the consecration of Robinson.

Fr David Moyer, leader of Forward in Faith in North America, told The Tablet that at the minimum Eames must ‘sternly rebuke Ecusa for its go-it-alone attitude’ and offer ‘immediate provision of security for the life and witness’ of conservative clergy. But he said Ecusa had become ‘irreformable’: liberals are in ‘tight control’ of the ship, he said.

At the other end of the spectrum, Integrity, for 30 years the lobby group for Episcopalian homosexuals, refused to believe that Ecusa could be ‘voted off the Anglican island, as in Survivor’. Its president, the Revd Susan Russell, said that ‘prophetic ministry always comes at a cost’. ‘The Church is stronger, the Gospel better served’ because of its change of mind about homosexual acts, she told The Tablet, adding that it was ‘incomprehensible’ that the presence of practising homosexuals in the episcopate might make people feel obliged to secede.

Most parishes and parishioners are dreading what will follow after 18 October - if they have noticed it at all. ‘My people don’t know and don’t want to know and certainly don’t want to decide, but that’s just no longer an option,’ one Episcopalian priest told The Tablet. Another predicted that ‘if the Communion fractures over homosexuality, Anglicanism will become a well-disciplined Church to the right of Rome, leaving Ecusa as just a quaint declining sect of two million bourgeoisie’.

Update
Doug LeBlanc on GetReligion has comprehensively dissected this report, see “Incomprehensible!”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 September 2004 at 5:39 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

ECUSA will be a quaint declining sect of two million bourgeoisie whether the Communion fractures or not. American Protestantism is imbued with the congregational, gathered church tradition. Most Episcopalians don’t know where the national headquarters is, or even that there is a national headquarters, haven’t heard of the Anglican Communion, and probably couldn’t name either the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Denominational affiliation is fluid in the US and most Episcopalians are converts. “Church shopping” is standard practice and many Episcopalians select their local Episcopal church after trying out Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations and deciding that the local Episcopal church had the programs they want, the friendliest people, the best music, the most convenient parking or the cleanest rest rooms.

Whatever the results of the Eames Commission, however it plays out in ECUSA nationally or in local dioceses, for most parishes and people who warm the pews, it will not make any difference.

Posted by: H. E. Baber at September 24, 2004 09:01 PM

Most Episcopalians don’t know where the national headquarters is, or even that there is a national headquarters, haven’t heard of the Anglican Communion, and probably couldn’t name either the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

This is a ridiculous statement. Where ecataly are these apathetic, moronic, cartoon parishes? I’ve been in several in three different Diocese, and I’ve yet to find any that fit this description. This reminds me of the kind of blanket statements that I always here from conservatives…such as “most Episcopalians don’t believe…” Where is the evidence, and how have I been so lucky as to aviod these parishes where no one knows or believes anything?

Posted by: JTFS at September 30, 2004 06:42 PM

I’ve just been idly googling my own name: and I’ve noticed this discussion of my article in The Tablet. It’s a month old, so perhaps no one is listening any more. Still, here’s my tuppence.

My experience, as an Episcopalian parish priest in a remote suburb and as a hack for a London review, is that Episcopalians do indeed care about their connection with Christendom at large, both in time and space. They may not think much about Frank Griswold — I, myself, try not to think much about Frank Griswold, parody as he is of a particularly bloodless, smug and silly strain of liberalism; and after all, the actual national structures of ECUSA are cobweb-frail. Why think about them? But parishioners do take their membership of the universal catholick Church, constant through the centuries, very seriously.

If ECUSA does end up utterly cut off from the Anglican Communion, people will think that their membership of the Body of Christ has become fairly meaningless, and they will drop away. All that will be left of North American Anglicanism will be tepid voyeurs who like the genteel gestures of Christian religion. I don’t mean liberals are just tepid voyeurs now; on the contrary; their position has heft because it has to be maintained against conservatives (like me). But once ECUSA, or what’s left of ECUSA, is defined by its severance from the rest of the Communion over homosexuality, there’ll be no one left to fight with, and the quality of liberal religious experience will change.

ECUSA will indeed be a dwindling sect of quaint bourgeoisie, or whatever the soundbite was; and I won’t be one of the quaint ….

Richard Major

Posted by: Richard Major at October 22, 2004 01:39 AM
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