Thinking Anglicans

InclusiveChurch on San Joaquin

Statement from InclusiveChurch regarding the Diocese of San Joaquin

9th October 2006

1.0 On October 1st, the Diocese of San Joaquin in California gave notice that it is calling a conference on 1st and 2nd December 2006 following proposals to amend the Diocesan constitution. The amendments would “place the Diocese of San Joaquin in an ideal position to be part of any ecclesiastical structure that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primates might design”.

There can be little doubt that we are witnessing the rolling out of a carefully planned and well-funded strategy to create a church-within-a-church. If San Joaquin is successful, it will probably be followed by the other Dioceses seeking Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO). From there, it is likely that non-geographical missionary dioceses will be created, so that parallel structures will exist initially in the United States but thereafter in Canada, the United Kingdom and across the world.

2.0 This in tandem with the “Road to Lambeth” document and the Kigali Communique further confirm that the attempt to subvert traditional Anglicanism is already well advanced. We view these developments with deep concern.

3.0 InclusiveChurch is a broad-based organisation. Our supporters, across the world, include evangelicals, broad-church Anglicans, liberals and catholics. The partners with whom we work very closely include: Accepting Evangelicals, Changing Attitude, the Association of Black Clergy, the Modern Churchpeoples’ Union, the Society of Catholic Priests, Women and The Church, the Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod, Affirming Catholicism and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. We are orthodox Anglicans. We care deeply about the Gospel of Jesus Christ as communicated through the Anglican tradition. We look to the tradition of Lancelot Andrewes and Richard Hooker: “One Canon (of Scripture) reduced to unity by God Himself, two Testaments, three Creeds, four General Councils, (over) five centuries.” We understand the Anglican Communion to be both Catholic and Reformed, episcopally governed and synodically led. And we give thanks to God for its breadth, its diversity and its complex life.

4.1 It is in this context that we believe that what we are seeing is a serious distortion of Anglican polity and theology. In particular, bodies which have no legal or executive status in Anglicanism – notably the Lambeth Conference and the Primates Meetings – are being promoted to a position where they are being used to override fundamental Anglican principles – provincial autonomy and synodical government. Resolution 1.10 – which came at the end of a notoriously unedifying debate and is the flawed result of a badly managed process – apparently justifies the elevation of the Windsor Report to a quasi-legal status with the Primates sitting as judge and jury on the “Windsor compliance” of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

4.2 None of this is acceptable. Primates are not cardinals. The Primates’ meeting is not the Curia. Primates of any part of the Anglican Communion do not have the right to commit their provinces to action without implementing detailed and comprehensive synodical processes. The Windsor Report was an attempt to find a way through the apparent impasse we had reached. We acknowledge that it has, in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, been “widely accepted as a basis for any progress”. As a result and in order to go the extra mile, TEC and the ACC have agreed in the interests of unity both to withdraw from the meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council and to major amendments in provincial practice. But the notion that TEC has in some way “broken the rules” has no place in Anglican ecclesiology.

5.0 Savitri Hensman has written “Anglicanism has something to offer the world. It arose from the ashes of brutal conflict in which pious Christians burnt or beheaded one another in God’s name. Former enemies, joined in a common baptism, together partook of the body and blood of Christ.

Decolonisation further decentralised power in the Anglican Communion, as did the increased role of laypeople in decision-making. There is no single authority which wields control everywhere, which could stifle cultural and theological diversity.

Dare any of us judge others, confident that we occupy the moral high ground (Matthew 7.1-5)? Does the language of “The Road to Lambeth” language reflect the wisdom from above that is pure, peaceable, gentle and full of mercy (James 3.13-18)? Can we presume to come to the Lord’s table trusting in our own righteousness, and insist that certain of our brothers and sisters be barred if we are to attend? Jesus himself was criticised for eating with sinners (Matthew 9.11-13); are the disciples greater than the master? And if strong differences of opinion arise over other matters (which is likely) might there not be further splits? Will clergy who disagree with legitimate decisions within their provinces again seek out archbishops overseas to offer episcopal oversight? This is not in accord with Anglican tradition, and sets a poor example to a divided world.” (InclusiveChurch: a further response to the Kigali Communique – by Savitri Hensman)

6.0 This statement is being written in a thriving, inner city parish in South London. Half of the congregation are from Nigeria; one fifth from Sierra Leone and Ghana. Some are gay or lesbian. We do not agree on everything. But we meet, every Sunday, at the altar and share in the eucharist. We give thanks, every Sunday, that we are the Body of Christ; by the one spirit we were all baptised into one body.

6.1 The approach being taken by the “Global South” and the dioceses seeking APO seems to assume a theological dualism. Those who ascribe to a particular series of beliefs, coalescing around attitudes to homosexuality, are right. Everyone else is wrong. In the words of the Archbishop of Nigeria “Who ever subscribes to this covenant must abide by it and those who are unable to subscribe to it will walk out”. We see no place in Anglicanism for the description by a Primate of another province as a “cancer” which must be “rooted out”.

7.0 We call on all members of our communion – laity, clergy and bishops – to recognise the clear and present danger to the charism with which we are entrusted. In a world where modernity is increasingly rejected, and where the “lust for certainty” is increasingly paramount, the Anglican Communion has a great deal to offer. In the words of the Archbishop of Cape Town “We must not lose this inheritance, if we are serious about being faithful to the Lord, as he has been faithful to us.”

For further information and to sign up as a supporter of InclusiveChurch’s aims, go to www.inclusivechurch.net.

Giles Goddard – Chair –
On behalf of the InclusiveChurch Executive

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laurence roberts
laurence roberts
14 years ago

YES ! This is what we need to hear ! But not just a trickle but a huge flow. All Anglicans bodies , organisations, people, and clergy need to speak up and speak out. IC is pointing the way ! The CofE bishops especially need to leave their self imposed ‘marginalisation’ and start providing real leadership.! What has happened to the broad, liberal majority ?

I’d love to hear from Tim Stevens, Laurie Green, John Hind,Bill Ind and Roy Schreech for starters “!

Over to you !……………..

John Henry
John Henry
14 years ago

An excellent statement of what real Anglicanism is all about. IC names ++Peter Abuja for who he is – a wanton schismatic, ignorant of Anglican tradition, and influenced by well-funded Americans in league with the Bushie Neo-cons, whose aim to to destroy the more liberal mainline denominations in order to consolidate the so-called ‘Christian base’, cheering on a U.S. President making pre-emptive war on the ‘axis of evil’ rather than pursue diplomatic solutions by talking to the U.S. adversaries.

Marshall Scott
14 years ago

San Joaquin is not the only apparent place where folks are seeking to dismantle the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion as we know it. Folks might want to look into a conference sponsored by Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion, intended to develop “cadres” to go into Episcopal parishes with “a curriculum” to lead folks out of the Episcopal Church. You can learn about it at their web site, http://www.layepiscopal.org/. I’ve had some of my own thoughts on this on my own blog. While some few seek reconciliation, and high level communications go back and forth, the efforts to… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Laurence. I concur with your comments. Am taking debate to most recent thread.

laurence roberts
laurence roberts
14 years ago

I was a teenage member of the Plymouth Brethren, when I first faced a spiritual and intellectual crisis, upon realising the inadequecies of the evangelical beliefs of the Brethren! My reading of the bible — (and by god, did we read the bible in the Bros — my first two Bibles fell apart with such (over?) use ! Needless to say, no Bible of mine since then has fallen apart! Is that where I’m going wrong? ) …sorry, my reading of the Bible, did not support their exclusive narrowness — i couldnt see why nonchurchgoers — or RCs such be… Read more »

laurence roberts
laurence roberts
14 years ago

Will look out for it and for you Cheryl, ta.

Christopher Shell
Christopher Shell
14 years ago

In other words, the more someone reads a bible the worse Christian they are. Just as the more someone reads a medical textbook the worse doctor they are. (Not that the Bible is simply a textbook of course.)

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
14 years ago

“You can learn about it at their web site, http://www.layepiscopal.org/. I’ve had some of my own thoughts on this on my own blog. While some few seek reconciliation, and high level communications go back and forth, the efforts to disassemble the Episcopal Church are underway. I do not think they will be terribly successful, but I do think they will cause pain and division and confusion along the way.” Marshall This is the same manipulative crowd of righteous “groupies” that Lord Carey of Clifton says are men “known to him” and that he “commends to us” their behind-the-scene plottings that… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
14 years ago

Christopher, instead I think the correct statement is that the more one reads the Bible *to the exclusion of all else* the worse Christian they might be. The Bible needs to be informed by the world in order to come alive. The Word of God needed to become Incarnate — alive *in* the world — before the story was finished. The Bible, divorced from the world, is just a book.

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

ruidh —

I think that the bottom line is that some types of people can’t feel safe outside the bubble — some people “need” the comfort of certainty rather than the challenge of truth — a few years ago a staffer of the Bush adminstration allegedly said that facts don’t matter when you are “faith-based” but it increasingly appears that facts are, indeed, stubborn things.

ruidh
ruidh
14 years ago

Indeed, having to actually make ethical choices places a great deal of responsibility on a person — responsibility many people don’t want. It’s a lot easier to rely on a series of cut and dried rules. The important thing to remember is that we are already forgiven. We’re forgiven even when we make the wrong choices.

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Ruidh The difficulty of forgiveness is with sociopaths. They ask you to forgive them, and then they torture you again. They then quote Jesus to tell you that you must forgive them again (Mathew 18:21-22). You end up being an oxen with a yoke on your back and a vicious farmer wielding a whip. One minister a few years ago said that Jesus asks us to turn the other cheek. But he doesn’t ask us to stand there and take the abuse. In fact we are given permission to walk away. Which is what is happening in the communion right… Read more »

laurence roberts
laurence roberts
14 years ago

Christopher Shell
reading medical text books is on the beginning ! There is disection to be done and study of the living body. Most of all encounters with living people and their minds, feelings and bodies.

The text books themselves are updated at regular intervals, to keep up with developments in medical science and methods of treatment and care.

How often has the Bible been revised ? Or what is our equivalent for keeping abreast of new discoveries, new insights, new ways of caring for body and soul — for personhood….

worth reflecting on, I reckon…..

Rob Eaton+
Rob Eaton+
14 years ago

Being a member of the diocese of San Joaquin Standing Committee, I am less than amused reading through the first two paragraphs alone. There are a couple of ad hominem unreasonable conclusions in the rest of the document. But if you can’t get the first part right, what’s the use of trying to argue anything afterward? 1) “1.0 On October 1st, the Diocese of San Joaquin in California gave notice that it is calling a conference on 1st and 2nd December 2006” Well, no. Can’t even get the details right that have been posted publicly. Is there a problem in… Read more »

Cennydd
Cennydd
14 years ago

Let me be so bold as to ask all of you the following questions: How many of you live in the diocese? How many of you are intimately familiar with us? How many of you know Bishop Schofield?

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

Cennydd,
Probobly as many as live in New Hampshire, know Gene Robinson and still don’t want him for bishop. Most likely more than live in New Jersey and want Martin Minns for their bishop. If you’re telling people to butt out of your diocese’s business, then you might want to direct your attention to ++Akinola as well.

ruidh
ruidh
14 years ago

RGEaton’s criticism of the statment above sounds a little hollow. Yes, there will be a convention in December and it will consider constitutional amendments which are without precedent in an Anglican diocese. Yet, our correspondent from the standing committee worries about a few minor inaccuracies in the timeline and ignores the big elephant in the romm — the insipient schism. He dithers that the proposals might be amended or might not be adopted because it’s a 2/3rds vote by orders. The fact that they are being considered, and seriously considered, in the first place gives reason for grave concern. We’ve… Read more »

laurence roberts
laurence roberts
14 years ago

CAN they do that ? (Violate them)

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