Updated Tuesday morning
Initial press coverage of this speech:
Episcopal News Service Network meeting opens with challenge to Canterbury
Associated Press Conservative Episcopal bishop says Anglican church at crossroads
The full text of the Moderator’s Address has been published. It gives a detailed picture of how the ACN views itself and the rest of the Anglican Communion.
Here is the section about the appeals for “Alternative Primatial Oversight”:
First, there is the matter of the appeal of seven Network Dioceses for an extra-ordinary pastoral relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury, a relationship that most have described as “alternative primatial oversight.” After the Bishops and Standing Committees of the seven Dioceses lodged the request, the Bishops of the seven Dioceses worked together on a submission to Lambeth Palace which unified and developed the original requests.. This fourteen page submission, including appendices, was transmitted in the week of July 16th. The purpose of the appeal was:
- disassociation from “innovating” ECUSA
- spiritual cover through re-assignment of the tasks normally assigned to the Presiding Bishop
- recognition of Communion standing from Canterbury as required in the ECUSA constitution
- commitment to accountability under the Constitution and Canons as an “enduring” ECUSA, and;
- the creation of a practical “cease-fire” in the American Church such that the Communion Covenant process might run its course.
Needless to say, we are hopeful about the Appeal, if not necessarily optimistic. This is a kairos moment in the life of the Anglican Communion, especially as regards the evolving role of its leadership by the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Canterbury can find a way to recognize the spiritual legitimacy of the claim of the Network Dioceses (and of the Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses) – together, one would hope, with the wider fellowship of emerging “Windsor dioceses” — to be that part of ECUSA that has “not walked apart” from the Communion – that has sacrificially and faithfully stood for what is the Communion’s articulated teaching and for what are the accepted boundaries of its order – then Canterbury sustains and renews his claim to be “gatherer” and “moral voice” of the Communion. To do this, he must bring along a strong majority of the Primates and of his own House of Bishops, for he is no pope. But do this he must. If he fails, any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them. Our prayers are with Rowan Williams now more than ever. It is a kairos moment, a crossroads of Church history.