Yet Another Two Updates
The Bishop of Pittsburgh doesn’t like it either. He has issued A Statement from the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network.
What the response of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council to the 2005 Primates’ Communique gives with one hand, it takes away with the other. While it gives an appearance of complying with the Primates’ request, in actuality it does not. The Primates asked the ECUSA delegation to withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council (AAC) – the only appropriate response is therefore to stay at home.
The American Anglican Council doesn’t like it at all, see this statement which includes:
The Executive Council’s letter to the Anglican Consultative Council is manipulative and deceptive. The Primates were clear and direct in their call to the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada:
“…we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion.” (cf. paragraph 8)
While the language of the Communiqué is gracious and diplomatic, the intent is crystal clear—the American and Canadian Churches have been told to stand down from the Anglican Consultative Council. In addition, they have been presented with a clear choice to permanently walk together or walk apart. The parameters for “walking together” are also definitive: the Episcopal Church must repent of its heretical actions and embrace once more in word and in practice the faith and order of Anglicanism. We cannot accept that the Executive Council does not understand what the Primates have requested, and therefore we must assume that this is a deliberate plan to circumvent and ignore the full intent of the Communiqué.
The Executive Council is setting up an opportunity to lobby and influence the ACC meeting. Given the fact that ECUSA is insisting on such a presence, it seems a matter of justice and fair play that those who are excluded from ECUSA and isolated because they stand against revisionism should also be present and “available for conversation and consultation”. We call upon the Anglican Consultative Council to deny the Executive Council’s request; however, if the ECUSA delegation attends, we believe it is critical to include voices that offer a very different perspective, one that is consistent with Scripture and the accepted faith and order of the Anglican Communion.
No mention at all by the NACDAP Moderator or by the AAC of this paragraph in the communiqué:
16. Notwithstanding the request of paragraph 14 of this communiqué, we encourage the Anglican Consultative Council to organize a hearing at its meeting in Nottingham, England, in June 2005 at which representatives of the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada, invited for that specific purpose, may have an opportunity to set out the thinking behind the recent actions of their Provinces, in accordance with paragraph 141 of the Windsor Report.
Clearly a significant disagreement then between both of them and the ABC:
Archbishop of Canterbury commends Executive Council letter
In a communication to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams extended thanks to the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council for its decision to withdraw its three American members from official participation in the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham, England in June.
“I have just received the news of the decision about ACC. Thank you all,” Williams said. “I can guess how hard it will have been, but you have acted very generously and constructively and I hope this will bear the fruit that it should…”
The Executive Council of ECUSA has decided to withdraw its representatives from official participation in the ACC at Nottingham this June. The full statement is published by ENS here. The key paragraph is:
We are mindful that Christ has made us members of one body, and that no part can say to any other “I have no need of you.” At the same time we wish to express our openness to the concerns and beliefs of others. In the spirit of the Covenant Statement recently adopted by our House of Bishops, we voluntarily withdraw our members from official participation in the ACC as it meets in Nottingham. As an expression of our desire “to bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), we are asking our members to be present at the meeting to listen to reports on the life and ministry we share across the Communion and to be available for conversation and consultation.
Update Press coverage of this:
Associated Press Episcopalians accept no-delegates request and also this squib
Knight Ridder/Chicago Tribune U.S. Episcopal Church to sit out council over issue of gay bishops
Reuters U.S. church withdraws from key Anglican body
New York Times (This report also deals with another current American story) Connecticut Episcopalians Defy Bishop Over Gay Issues
Living Church Observers Will Attend ACC Meeting
U.S. church will bow out of international meeting