Thinking Anglicans

Pittsburgh: an email from the bishop

Updated Wednesday evening
The authenticity of this email has now been confirmed and the original recipient identified as Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Diocese of West Texas. See Bishop Duncan Shares Concerns on Windsor Continuation Group.

The following email has now appeared on several blogs.

From: Duncan, Bob []
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:35 PM
Subject: Windsor Continuation Group Concerns

Dear *******,

It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG.

I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.

The WCG proposes “cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.” There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.

The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to “freeze” the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church. The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped — constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the “holding tank” whose stated purpose is eventual “reconciliation” with TEC or thevAnglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.

For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.

I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)

Blessings to you and yours,


Fort Worth: some backpedaling on Rome

Katie Sherrod reports this message was issued yesterday evening:

Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 9:42 PM
Cc: Bishop Iker
Subject: Ad Clerum: Statement

To the clergy,

The following statement has been released jointly by Canon Charles Hough, Fr. William Crary, Fr. Christopher Stainbrook, and Fr. Louis Tobola in reference to the document released earlier this week concerning a June meeting between them and Bishop Kevin Vann.

Bishop Iker and the Standing Committee have asked that it be conveyed to you via Ad Clerum. It will be sent to all convention delegates and alternates as well.

Suzanne Gill


From: Fathers Crary, Hough, Stainbrook, and Tobola
Date: August 16, 2008
To: The Clergy and People of the Diocese

We wish to emphasize:
1. That the documents and our conversation with Bishop Vann solely ever represented the four priests named.
2. In retrospect, we regret our choice of timing for starting these conversations.
3. We deeply regret the phraseology of the document which has caused hurt and division.
4. We remain fully committed to the goal of this Diocese, as plainly stated by Bishop Iker, to realign with an Orthodox Anglican Province.

Respectfully submitted,
The Very Rev. William A Crary, Jr.
The Rev. Canon Charles A. Hough, III
The Very Rev. Christopher C. Stainbrook
The Rev. Louis L. Tobola, Jr.

To see the earlier document mentioned, go here.

And there is another interesting document on the Fort Worth website, titled FAQs on “Fiduciary Duty”.


Pittsburgh: further developments

Back in January, we reported on a letter published by a group of Pittsburgh clergy not associated with “Progressive Episcopalians…” who were not prepared to support the diocesan plan for “realignment”. See Pittsburgh: disagreement in the ranks.

Now one of that same group has published a Narrative Regarding the Signing of the January 29th Statement by 12 Clergy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh which contains a detailed history of how that statement came to be made.

Earlier there was The Case For Staying in the Episcopal Church.

More background on this is at Preludium where Mark Harris has written In Pittsburgh there are preparations for a storm.

There is also a further stage in the legal dispute between the diocese and Calvary Church, see this ENS report from last month, PITTSBURGH: Parish wants court-appointed monitor to oversee possession, use of diocesan property.


opinions this weekend

Giles Fraser in the Church Times writes about China. See Watch what else China is doing.
Unfortunately the website has truncated the article; as a temporary measure I have copied the full text below the fold.

Andrew Brown has written on Comment is free The discussion of religious differences online is not a game.

And earlier in the week, he wrote The religion of politics.

At the Telegraph Christopher Howse wrote At the Gate of the Year.

Rather more interesting is the blog article by George Pitcher titled Exposed: Christian unity preached in church.

Jonathan Romain writes at The Times about Time and chance in the hurdle race of human life.

And earlier, Libby Purves had written about Richard Dawkins, the naive professor.



Lambeth: a third English perspective

This time from the Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham.

Read Bishop Michael’s account of the Lambeth Conference.

Earlier entries in this series:

Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford.
Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester.


Lambeth: further Church Times reports

All of these are from last week’s paper edition.

It would be foolish to let such a gift fall apart, say bishops

What happened? No one quite knows by Pat Ashworth

Spouses tell their stories by Margaret Sentamu

Lambeth bishops in their own words by Simon Sarmiento

Images of Lambeth

The Readers Digest Church Times version of Reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008 (PDF)

Leader The story of Lambeth ’08

IT IS TROUBLING that, five days after the close of the Lambeth Conference, many people are asking: what did the bishops do? We suspect that some bishops fall into this group, and not just those who stayed away. Part of the reason for the uncertainty is that the bishops did many things. We hope that our digest of the long Reflections document will help readers to pick out the most important of these.

They did talk about sexuality. They did talk about the threat of schism and the means of heading it off. The two-and-a-half weeks in Canterbury were not an avoidance exercise; for it was known beforehand that the Conference by itself had no authority to resolve the crisis over homosexuality, even had the GAFCON bishops been present. For this reason, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his team devised a programme that emphasised conversation rather than resolution.

We have no quibble with the Lambeth Conference conceived as a means of enlarging bishops’ vision and enabling them to serve their dioceses better. We should not mind, even, if in 2018 the Archbishop (it might be Dr Williams: he would be only 68) clears the programme completely of meetings and turns the whole thing into a bishops’ holiday — just so long as the Conference has no executive function…

Do read all of this.


women as bishops: fourteen bishops write

Updated again Friday afternoon

The text of the letter from fourteen English bishops to the signatories of the open letter from 1,400 clergy to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York concerning the ordination of women to the episcopate is copied in full below the fold.

Original reports of the earlier letter, and a link to the original with signatures, are here.

Today’s Telegraph report by Jonathan Wynne-Jones is headlined ‘Substantial number’ of clergy will leave over plans for women bishops.

Update Friday

Church Times report Bishops offer lead to Catholics: Wait and be charitable by Pat Ashworth

Church of England Newspaper report English bishops dismiss Code of Practice proposal by Matt Cresswell

The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham has set out his thoughts on the latest General Synod debate on the ordination of women to the episcopate.



Quincy in the news

Updated Thursday evening to add link to ENS article

According to Episcopal Café:

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Quincy is studying the question, “Shall the Diocese of Quincy separate from the Episcopal Church?”

It has distributed a 35-page document, “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy,” to every member household in the diocese. The standing committee says it contains “reliable information on the current situation.”

The document is a 2.3 Mbyte PDF file and can be found via this page (follow Download link to extract the PDF itself).

Episcopal Café has more analysis of the content of the document at Quincy studies separation.

Quincy, with an Average Sunday Attendance of 1105 in 2006, is not the smallest diocese in The Episcopal Church.
The Diocese of Springfield is next door to Quincy and has an Average Sunday Attendance of about 2400.

Detailed ten year statistics for all dioceses are available in a PDF here.

Update Wednesday evening

There are reports about this in the Living Church Quincy Delegates will Consider Separation in November and also Quincy, Springfield Plan Joint Meeting.

Update Thursday evening

Episcopal News Service has a long article, QUINCY: Diocese offers ‘resource’ for making realignment decisions by Joe Bjordal and Mary Frances Schjonberg

…In a cover letter, the diocesan Standing Committee said that the 35-page document resulted from requests following a meeting last May attended by “all priests with a parish, mission or cure” and all elected officials of the diocese, clergy or lay. The reported purpose of the meeting was to begin “a discernment exercise where self-selected groups were asked to discern the following question: ‘Shall the Diocese of Quincy separate from the Episcopal Church? If so, why and how? If not, then why not?’”

Called “The Church in Crisis: A Resource for the Diocese of Quincy,” the document was included in a mailing sent to households on the mailing list of The Harvest Plain, the diocesan newspaper.

Also included in the mailing was a video recording of a presentation by Archbishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, to the Diocese of Forth Worth in March…


Lambeth: an Irish view

The Church of Ireland Gazette has an editorial in its issue of 15 August, which is titled Anglican Governance.

It concludes with this:

… It is also important to emphasize that the Anglican Communion is not, as Dr Williams did at least suggest in his statement, a Church. It is a communion of autonomous Churches. If the Lambeth Conference were empowered to speak for the Anglican Communion as a whole, it would have been astounding that, at its recent two and a half week meeting – at a cost of some £5m – it did not issue any resolution and was reportedly boycotted by between one-fifth and one-quarter of its members.

However, as a conference, it is appropriate not to have resolutions, and members of a conference are free to attend or not to attend or to ‘boycott’, as they wish. If one has a role in governance, however, one does not have that choice.

Certain current proposals in the Anglican Communion would tend to lead towards a ‘global Church’ model. However, any such proposals will need to be the subject of very careful consideration and scrutiny, and cognisance will need to be taken of the fact that, according to our Preamble and Declaration, the General Synod is the chief legislative and administrative body in the Church of Ireland (BCP, p.777, Section IV). It should remain so.


Lambeth: Too big a tent

Savitri Hensman has written an article on Comment is free which is titled Too big a tent with the strapline:

Rowan Williams preaches tolerance, but the Anglican church would rather pander to bigots than fight homophobia.

Her article concludes:

Meanwhile, at the Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for a “covenant of faith” that would “promise to our fellow human beings the generosity God has shown us”, and suggested “a Pastoral Forum to support minorities”. But to him, those needing greater generosity and pastoral care were mainly Christians with strong objections to same-sex partnerships. While he is a humane man, his priorities seem strange. If Anglicans are to remain relevant, and a force for good, bishops need to listen more carefully to people like Michael Causer’s family.


Lambeth: another English perspective

This one is from the Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill.

Read the transcript of his audio interview in this PDF file: Lambeth Conference 2008 Mark Rudall talks to Bishop Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford.

The audio itself is linked from this page.


Fort Worth: some look to Rome

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Dallas Morning News has this report: Episcopal priests from Fort Worth may be looking at Catholicism.

A delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth paid a visit to Catholic Bishop Kevin Vann earlier this summer, asking for guidance on how their highly conservative diocese might come into “full communion” with the Catholic Church.

Whether that portends a serious move to turn Fort Worth Episcopalians and their churches into Catholics and Catholic churches is a matter of dispute.

The Rev. William Crary, senior rector of the Fort Worth diocese, confirmed that on June 16 he and three other priests met with Bishop Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Catholic diocese, and presented him a document that is highly critical of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

The document states that the overwhelming majority of Episcopal clergy in the Fort Worth diocese favor pursuing an “active plan” to bring the diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church…

The document was published yesterday by Katie Sherrod and can be found in full at So. How do you feel about being Roman Catholic?

Update Tuesday evening

Bishop Jack Iker has issued a statement, headed A Statement by Bishop Iker on Roman Catholic Dialogues. It reads, in part:

…The priests who participated in this meeting with Bishop Vann have my trust and pastoral support. However, in their written and verbal reports, they have spoken only on their own behalf and out of their own concerns and perspective. They have not claimed to act or speak, nor have they been authorized to do so, either on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth or on my own behalf as their Bishop.

Their discussion with Bishop Vann has no bearing upon matters coming before our Diocesan Convention in November, where a second vote will be taken on constitutional changes concerning our relationship with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. There is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church. Our only plan of action remains as it has been for the past year, as affirmed by our Diocesan Convention in November 2007. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth intends to realign with an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion…

Wednesday morning update

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has Episcopal priests propose aligning Fort Worth diocese with Catholic church.


Lambeth: one English perspective

Updated Thursday evening

Today, the Bishop of Winchester has published a lengthy article, The Lambeth Conference 2008 – and the future of the Anglican Communion A Report to the Diocese of Winchester although I cannot at present find it on the Winchester diocesan website, but only on the Global South Anglican website, and, in part, on the Anglican Mainstream website.

Anyway you can read it all here.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones has written about this letter, see Senior bishop predicts Anglican battle ahead.


Lambeth Conference funding

The Church of England issued this press release today:

Lambeth Conference: Funding
11 August 2008

The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England have both met within the past few days to discuss an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company* for financial help. The Board met this morning (August 11th) and the Council on Thursday August 7th.

The Company has assured the Board and the Council that it is continuing to make further approaches throughout the Anglican Communion to meet the full cost of this year’s Conference. It cannot, however, be confident that these will generate funds sufficiently quickly for it to meet all of its obligations as they fall due over the coming weeks and months.

The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council have therefore each agreed to make available to the Company up to £600k as required to enable the Company to honour its commitments while fundraising efforts continue. At this stage both bodies regard these amounts as interest free loan facilities.

They will be considering these matters again at their September meetings when they expect a further report from the Company about the progress of its fundraising efforts.


There has already been generous support from the Church of England for the Lambeth Conference. Parishes and dioceses have made donations towards the costs of overseas bishops attending and the Church Commissioners have met the fees of the English bishops and their wives attending the Lambeth Conference, the costs of some of the conference organising staff, and some of the hospitality offered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

More information about the Lambeth Conference is available at

*The Lambeth Conference Company is the body given responsibility for managing the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008.


Lambeth: two American perspectives

Katie Sherrod has written on her own blog, That Wild Uncontrollable Force.

Watching Lambeth unfold was like watching one of those foreground/background optical illusions where, as you stare at the picture, either the profile of a beautiful young woman moves to the foreground or the image of an old woman moves forward while the young woman’s image disappears. It is almost impossible to see them both at the same time.

Lambeth was the same-there were two Lambeths occurring simultaneously, one out in front, the other in the background.

The Lambeth of the Indaba and Bible Study groups was the one in the foreground most of the time. But at key points, the Lambeth of the Windsor Continuation Group [WCG] and the group writing the Reflections documents moved out of the background into sight…

Jim Naughton has written at Comment is free The archbishop’s hands are tied, not ours.

The politics of the church make Rowan Williams act against his beliefs on gay marriage. We don’t have to do the same.

Extensive research has proven that I am not the Archbishop of Canterbury. Neither, in all likelihood, are you. These facts, in hand for some time now, acquired new significance yesterday with the revelation that Rowan Williams, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury, believes, what a great many Anglicans believe, namely: “that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might … reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”


What about Resolution 19?

Bishop David Rossdale asks this question: If resolution 1.10 is important, what about resolution 19?

The more I read the final Lambeth Document, “Capturing Conversations and Reflections”, the more I rejoice that we did not go down the road of resolutions and votes. To have a ’snapshot’ of the engagement between the Bishops is probably of far more worth, than adding to the fossilised remains of earlier conferences, which leave skeletal resolutions disconnected from the tissue of conversation lying behind them as some sort of guide to the heart and mind of the church.

Much has been made of Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Conference, as though this is an enduring and unerring piece of truth. It has become almost a test for orthodoxy. But if this resolution has such enduring status, then all resolutions of the Lambeth Conference must be given the same status. So what about Resolution 67 from 1908? Very importantly it states…


Lambeth: some other stories

Updated Sunday morning

Daniel Burke of Religion News Service interviewed Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland. The Washington Post carries this story at Raising Issues Of Race in Anglican Rift.

The Times had interviews with seven bishops by Bess Twiston Davies in The Anglican balancing act, in a church near you.

The Los Angeles Times had an unsigned opinion article, Adding to division.

Martin Beckford reports in the Telegraph that Archbishop may be forced to do fundraising tour to solve £1m Lambeth financial crisis.

Related to this is the ACNS press release, Finances and the Lambeth Conference 2008.

The webcast press conference held by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Sisk is reported for Episcopal Life Online by Solange de Santis here.

Sunday morning update

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote for Comment is free The road from Lambeth.

I wrote a second column for Wardman Wire Lambeth Conference: Sex or Power?

More about the Lambeth financial deficit in the first few minutes of the BBC Sunday programme, listen here (URL for one week only). See also this BBC report, Church considers £1.2m shortfall.


Pitt letters: further press coverage

Updated again Thursday 14 August evening to include new letter from Deborah Pitt

The original batch of material in The Times itself was linked here, together with the first reports in other newspapers.

The response of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the letter to The Times from 19 CofE bishops was linked here.

The Times also published on 8 August, Dr Williams ‘has made a split inevitable in the Anglican Church’ by Ruth Gledhill.

Today, The Times published another article, Bishops back Rowan Williams in gay sex row – even though some don’t agree with him.

Here’s how some others covered this story:

Religious Intelligence first had Gay relationships ‘comparable to marriage’, says Archbishop of Canterbury , followed by Letters put fresh pressure on Archbishop and then had Bishops decalre their support for ‘magnificent’ Williams.

George Pitcher at the Telegraph has written Rowan Williams and sex: a clarification.

TIME magazine had Anglican Church Gay Row Heats Up.

The BBC had Gay ties like marriage – Williams.

Sunday update

Austen Ivereigh, writing for the journal America has No longer the ‘Labor Party at prayer’ in which he reveals:

What the 19 bishops do not realise is that the letters arrived on the desks of the religious correspondents of The Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian two whole weeks ago. But because the reporters were at Canterbury following the conference, they did not see the brown envelopes until after they got back. Amazing but true: no-one opened their mail in their absence. Because journalists no longer receive scoops by post — fax and email are the usual channel these days — their staff do not bother to open their mail.

Update Thursday See this letter to The Times from Deborah Pitt herself, Why I leaked the Archbishop’s letters.


Weekend opinion

Andrew Brown in The Guardian Dr Williams’ contortions

Mary Ann Sieghart in the Times Rowan Williams was selected as a liberal and now he should govern as one

Roderick Strange writes about Edith Stein in the Times The life and death of a German Jewish Christian nun.

Dr Bernard Ratigan in The Guardian writes that The needs of young people brought up in homonegative faiths are being neglected.

Justin Thacker in The Guardian God and evolution can coexist

Tom Frame in the Church Times Jesus’s checklist for good leadership


the Pitt letters: Archbishop and bishops respond

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following statement in response to the release of the Pitt letters.

Friday 08 August 2008

In response to the recent coverage of the correspondence dated back to 2000, The Archbishop Canterbury has made the following statement:

In the light of recent reports based on private correspondence from eight years ago, I wish to make it plain that, as I have consistently said, I accept Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics and thus as providing the authoritative basis on which I as Archbishop speak on such questions.

That Resolution also recognises the need for continuing study and discussion on the matter. In the past, as a professional theologian, I have made some contributions to such study. But obviously, no individual’s speculations about this have any authority of themselves. Our Anglican Church has never exercised close control over what individual theologians may say. However, like any church, it has the right to declare what may be said in its name as official doctrine and to define the limits of legitimate practice. As Archbishop I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed.

The Bishop of Durham and 18 other bishops have written a letter to The Times which begins:

Sir, As bishops in the Church of England, we wish to protest in the strongest possible terms at what we regard as a gross misrepresentation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.