Thinking Anglicans

Connecticut and DEPO

I have reported earlier on the situation in the Diocese of Connecticut.

Recent developments this week include:
The Day 900 Show To Support Embattled Clergymen
Bristol Press ‘Connecticut Six’ rally at State Capitol

Some 900 people, including nine bishops from other states, attended a church service, and then 120 people including at least one bishop, from Pittsburgh, attended an outdoors rally. Those bishops who were expected to attend the service are listed here and a raft of press coverage is linked from here.

Update This report in the Hartford Courant Episcopal Clergy At Capitol Denounce Church On Gay Issue contains more details:

During the hourlong rally, speaker after speaker railed against the Episcopal Church and its leaders…

Bishop Robert Duncan of the diocese of Pittsburgh and head of the Anglican Communion Network said, “We are here to warn the people of this nation that there is a counterfeit abroad in the land that looks and sounds like the real thing but has no currency when you try to spend it.”

Duncan called on the supporters to “oppose the false message of unity for the sake of unity,” uphold what he called the historic faith and order of the church and “choose to uphold the sanctity of marriage, and chastity outside of marriage.”

Other visiting bishops included Bishop Donald Harvey of Newfoundland, the leader of the Anglican Communion Network in Canada; Bishop Jack Iaker of Fort Worth, Texas; Bishop James Adams of Western Kansas; retired Bishop Fitzsimmons Allison of South Carolina; retired Bishop Andrew Fairfield of North Dakota; and Bishop Samuel Chukuka of Nigeria.

Elsewhere I have been criticised for not understanding the supposed shortcomings of the American DEPO plan.

The following noteworthy people, among others on the Lambeth Commission,

  • Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies
  • Archbishop Josiah Iduwo-Fearon, Archbishop of Kaduna, the Anglican Church of Nigeria
  • Archbishop Bernard Malango, Primate of Central Africa
  • Bishop James Terom, Moderator, the Church of North India
  • Bishop N Thomas Wright, Bishop of Durham, the Church of England.

said this about DEPO (my emphasis added):

In this regard, we commend the proposals for delegated episcopal pastoral oversight set out by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) in 2004. We believe that these proposals are entirely reasonable, if they are approached and implemented reasonably by everyone concerned. We particularly commend the appeal structures set out in the House of Bishops policy statement, and consider that these provide a very significant degree of security. We see no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by retired bishops from within the province in question, and recommend that a province making provision in this manner should maintain a list of bishops who would be suitable and acceptable to undertake such a ministry. In principle, we see no difficulty in bishops from other provinces of the Communion becoming involved with the life of particular parishes under the terms of these arrangements in appropriate cases.

It was NACDAP that issued “A Statement of Acceptance of and Submission to the Windsor Report 2004” , now signed by some 30 bishops. The Bishop of South Carolina said:

“The response of the House of Bishops did not rise to the level expected by the Communion. We heard a call for submission, and we who are unequivocally prepared to submit have responded accordingly.”

But that “statement of submission” omits any reference to this part of the Windsor Report.

The Diocese of Connecticut has published a note explaining exactly how DEPO would work in that diocese. It is in PDF format, but an accessible copy is now here.

The subject will no doubt be reviewed by the newly appointed Panel of Reference. This move was welcomed earlier in the week by Frank Griswold, see Presiding Bishop welcomes appointment of Panel of Reference chair.

Update for a counter-argument against all this, from Kendall Harmon, see On the Inadequacy of DEPO.

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Irenaeus
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Irenaeus

It’s true that the Windsor Report included words of praise of DEPO. I suspect that that those words, like the disproportionately harsh condemnation of boundary-crossing, were part of a bargain between ECUSA’s representative and other members of the Windsor panel.

In any event experience indicates that the DEPO structures do not “provide a very significant degree of security.”

CTSister
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CTSister

As a CT6 parishoner, I find this interesting and hopeful. After reading this I see the names serving on “the panel” are expected to be released next week. I’m hoping this panel will allow orthordox churches such as the CT6 to report to England outside of ECUSA entirely. Is this true, or will they simply investigate bad DEPO deals? Does anyone know when this panel will be up and operational? I beleive time is critical here. And also beleive Smith is a loose cannon and could act on his threat of inhibition to the CT6 parishes at any moment. Also,… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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OK, this is what the first 3 comments on this thread look like from where I stand (FWIW)— Irenaeus: offers perfect submission to the Windsor Report . . . EXCEPT for those parts *he deems* “part of a bargain” bob: notifying us that certain Connecticut Episcopalians (?) are *institutionalizing their brokenness* w/ their bishop by defining themselves via a “dot org” website CTSister: “I’m hoping this panel will allow orthordox churches such as the CT6 to report to England outside of ECUSA entirely.” . . . and thereby meaning the effective end of the *Episcopal* Church in the USA. This… Read more »

David Huff
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David Huff

CTSister wrote: “I’m hoping this panel will allow orthordox churches such as the CT6 to report to England outside of ECUSA entirely. Is this true, or will they simply investigate bad DEPO deals?” I’m sure such a wild conjecture won’t come to pass. My understanding is that the ECUSA’s DEPO plan is pretty well thought of by the people who crafted the Windsor Report and the Abp. of Canterbury. You really should read it in its entirity: http://episcopalchurch.org/3577_32884_ENG_HTM.htm “Also, I’m not familiar with Archbishop Peter Carnley. Is he part of the ACN? Does he belive in scripture… and not in… Read more »

Irenaeus
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Irenaeus

DEPO (1) is strongly slanted towards recalcitrant bishops, and (2) fails to recognize the issues of conscience confronting orthodox congregations. Under DEPO the diocesan bishop is always in control (unless he or she voluntarily chooses to relinquish control). The dissenting congregation has NO substantive rights and practically no procedural rights. Let’s look at the three stages of DEPO as announced by ECUSA’s House of Bishops on March 23, 2004. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_32884_ENG_HTM.htm (see 2nd-from-last paragraph). First, congregational leaders “meet with the [diocesan] bishop to seek reconciliation.” Second, “if reconciliation does not occur,” then the congregation can, by a supermajority vote, ask the… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
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Leonardo Ricardo

CTSister:
“Peace & still hoping I don’t have to leave my church!”

It’s still “our” church…one that welcomes, includes and loves you AND your Lesbian sister equally…EVERYONE…that’s what my Bishop said in his homily this morning and I believe him!

Leonardo Ricardo

JWMcCann
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JWMcCann

DEPO may look good (to some) on paper but in reality it has not worked. Not a single revisionist Bishop has delegated any significant Episcopal authority. At our parish, sometimes mistakenly described as a beneficiary of DEPO, interference and hostility from our revisionist Diocese (Newark) has actually INCREASED. Our oversight Bishop has been permitted to conduct a single Confirmation service. We have been given no assurances that we can call an orthodox rector in the future or that any of our candidates for the priesthood will make it through the Diocese. DEPO is a joke. JW McCann, Sr Warden, St… Read more »

Rob Leduc
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Rob Leduc

It seems to me that the problem with the position of some conservatives on DEPO in the ECUSA is that they do not recognize a difference between a diocese and a diocesan. Simply put, the DEPO policy allows a parish to get pastoral care from a bishop with more congenial views, but it does not allow a parish to leave their diocesan sister congregations. However, from a process standpoint I do agree with Irenaeus that under the current policy it is entirely up to the good will of the local diocesan that a parish get a bishop they are entirely… Read more »

Simeon
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Rob, that was well said – esp. the final, two paragraphs. “Irenaeus” mentions some “issues of conscience” with which I can’t personally sympathize, but I can understand from an intellectual point of view. However, I’d also suggest that these issues cut both ways. In a diocese like mine (Dallas) with a reactionary, Network bishop the 30% or so of our parishes who are mainstream Episcopalians feel similarly threatened. Our diocesan assessments go to morally questionable projects like paying the way for “orthodox” lobbyists to attend the recent Primates meeting in N. Ireland, and our mainstream parishes are unsure if they… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

Can anyone with firsthand knowledge comment on how DEPO is working in Massachusetts? Don Harvey (retired bp. of Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador) has been brought in for a conservative congregation, after he was specifically suggested by the rector. Harvey was one of the bishops at the rally in Hartford.

Is the arrangement in Mass. working out, or are there continuing tensions between parish and diocese?

Jake
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Some of those who find the form of DEPO being offered unacceptable will most likely find any form unacceptable, unless they are given the freedom to pick their own bishop. That’s not going to happen, as it will be the beginning of the end of the authority of all diocesan bishops. Don’t like your bishop because he wears a rochet and chimere (those frilly sleeves are a bit much)…just order up a new one. If the examples we have seen so far are a foretaste of things to come, foreign bishops won’t ever be an option, and appropriately so, it… Read more »

David Huff
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David Huff

Fr. Jake wrote:
“But, this may all be just a straw man; another means to claim persecution and so justify schism.”

Which, I’m positive, is the real motivation here. The “persecution card” gets played over and over and OVER again by the traditionalists (“being disagreed with” ≠ “persecution” notwithstanding).

An excellent overview of the traditionalists’ real motivations to cause schism in the ECUSA can be found in the blog of Br. Thomas Bushnell, BSG:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/thomb/59858.html

(also mentioned below on this site – thanks, Simon 🙂

Robert Leduc
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Robert Leduc

It may seem odd at first, but I agree with pretty much everything everyone has said, both for and against DEPO, on this list so far. I think Irenaeus is right in criticizing the policy as having virtually no checks on the diocesan. Hopefully the establishment of the Panel of Reference will help this, even if only by the possibility that cases may end up there. But it is too early to comment on the success or failure of the scheme. I will continue to remember the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in my personal prayers and hope they… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

I’m posting this link because it seems highly relevant to the discussion above….

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/news05052701.asp