Thinking Anglicans

report from Bishop Jim Kelsey

The Bishop of Northern Michigan, Jim Kelsey, has published a lengthy and detailed report of the recent American House of Bishops meeting. The whole document can be read at Jim Kelsey’s report on the Spring Bishops’ Meeting March, 2007 on Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan News. As several others have already said, it is a Must Read.

Some parts of the report deal with earlier meetings, and these may be of even wider interest:

…During the meetings of the Bishops Working for a Just Society, there was also discussion about a major world-wide gathering of Anglicans just completed in Boksburg, South Africa, convened to focus on the Millennium Development Goals, and especially the one dealing with the AIDS pandemic (MDG Goal #6). The gathering was called TEAM (Towards Effective Anglican Mission). It was moving to hear from those who were there, as they recounted the remarkable presentations by people from all over the world who told of the depth of human suffering and the response to which our Church is called. It was encouraging to hear about how these Anglicans from around the globe approached the US Episcopalians who were there, and made clear that despite the unpleasantness coming out of the Primates’ meeting, they were eager to continue our partnerships in mission of all sorts and configurations, and that they had no intention of withdrawing from communion with us, regardless of what official actions are being taken by the Primates.

But it was discouraging to hear about a meeting held between Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the US Episcopal bishops who were present. It was clear that at the meeting, Rowan Williams was uncomfortable and defensive, and that he has a distorted picture of The Episcopal Church (believing that the dissidents in our midst make up 40% of the Episcopal Church – – a bizarre and wildly inaccurate figure). When asked how the rest of the world perceives our efforts to promote and advance the Millennium Development Goals, Williams responded that he thought it was received as “papering over differences, and buying votes”. (Quite a different read from the face to face encounters our people experienced throughout the TEAM conference!). When asked what would happen after the September 30th deadline set by the Primates’ Communiqué, and who would decide about the adequacy of the response of the Episcopal Church to its demands, Rowan Williams responded that it would not be he who would decide since, as he said, “I’m not a Pope; that’s not how our system works… I’ll take it to the Primates, and they will decide”. (As if that’s how our system works!!!) This was sobering to hear, to say the least! At least we know where we stand, and what lies ahead…

And another section:

By the way, those who had been at the Primates’ meeting in Tanzania reported some very disturbing dynamics. The Primate of Mexico, Carlos Touche Porter, said that every time there was a break, new amendments were proposed for the Communiqué, always more critical of The Episcopal Church. His comment was, “as the meeting went on, I began to feel less like a Primate and more like a Cardinal”. Between his observations and those of our press corps, it was clear, in fact, that every time there was a break, Peter Akinola disappeared into a room where Martin Minns and other conservative US folks were holed up, and when he emerged, he had the next revisions for the Communiqué – which in fact were adopted. In the earlier drafts, there was a phrase “We respect The Episcopal Church”, and on the strength alone of Peter Akinola’s objection, that phrase was removed. All of this provides important information: that it is clear who is in control of the Primates’ Meeting, and this reinforces why it is so important that the Primates not be given increased power as a centralized authority in the Anglican Communion.


  • NP says:

    yep – this is how it is – the ABC is not going to sacrifice the AC for VGR

    the question now: is TEC going to walk away from the AC for the sake of VGR?

    (I hope not but only a miracle (that is for those liberals that believe in miracles!) can prevent a split now given all that has happened and the lack of repentance in TEC even post Tanzania)

  • badman says:

    I don’t understand why Dr Williams proposes to take the position of the US Church within the Communion to the Primates.

    He should have the courage to deal with it himself. To do this would not make him “Pope” – it would make him Archbishop of Canterbury, which is what he is, with the responsiblity of deciding who to invite to Lambeth 2008, which is the next big gathering.

    If he does not want to do it himself, the obvious body to consider the matter is the Anglican Consultative Council, which is an older and more representative body than the Primates Meeting.

  • Leonardo Ricardo says:

    The ABC is NOW formally invited to the United States to PRESENT his bogus information and twisted reasoning to our House of Bishops and then to PRAY and to LISTEN to something other than the insane and feardriven clamourings of puritan bigots who lie, steal and egender crimes of hate against their fellow LGBT Christians/Muslims and will go to any length to PROVE IT!

    Why is it that the more I know about +++Rowan the MORE I wish to RUN further away from him, his prejudice, his reasoning and his “seek and employ” outdated, superstitious and COWARDLY narrow thinking? His dismal behavior evidenced by the “actions taken” against loyal “friend” Dean Jeffrey John makes clear how low this guy can go to avoid confrontation with religious extremists.

    Where does the ABC get his advice? Oh, I forgot, those Carey appointed assistants and “The Wise Men” who ain’t all that “wise” (less attractive yet descriptive words come to mind)!

  • badman says:

    NP, your criticism of TEC for a “lack of repentance” is wide of the mark. You ought to read the report at which was endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    They say “It is to be noted that the Windsor Report did not request “repentance”, although this request has been voiced in some quarters in the Communion.”

    On the relevant General Convention resolution they say:

    “there is the use of the strong language of “apology” and the request for “forgiveness”. These words are not lightly offered, and should not be lightly received. Taken with the apparent promise not to repeat the offence (Resolution B033 discussed above) we believe that the expression of regret is sufficient to meet the request of the primates.”

  • bls says:

    Still waiting for even the merest mention of “repentance” on the part of anyone who supports Big Pete and his Anglican Church of Nigeria for his and their rebellious refusal to adhere to the terms of Lambeth and the Windsor Report.

    I’m not holding my breath, of course. In any case, it’s far, far better to oppose the Church when it supports (or at least condones by silence) the gross violation of human rights and the arrest of people who have committed no crime. It’s certainly not the first time the Church has gone down this road, as we all know.

    The Anglican Communion is tainting itself right now by its silence, and will be remembered for it.

  • EPH says:

    The Americans absolutely face polity issues in subscribing to the recommendations/demands of the Primates. They are first, the General Convention makes such decisions, not the bishops and Second, transference to an offshore entity of authority for governance of TEC. I am reminded of, I think 13th century issues in Britain of praemunire and further legislation under Elizabeth. First transgression, I thought a sound chastisement and fine, the second, treason. Should what has happened in the US, how would you Brits receive it? What is most scary to me here is the allegation that +++Rowan said that he had not the power to decide the fate of the Americans and it would be turned over to the Primates. Would the CofE concede such authority to an off-shore organization to provide governance, and second, since the CofE is the established church of England, how does that work out in your polity? I can’t help but think, “You’re next.”

  • Rev. Kurt says:

    NP – Stop scapegoating Bishop Robinson.

    The issue is so much larger than the Bishop of New Hampshire.

  • Colin Coward says:

    What Jim has written about the antics of Peter Akinola at the Primates’ meeting in Tanzania confirms exactly what those of us who were staying in the White Sands Hotel witnessed.

    David Anderson, Martyn Minns, Chris Sugden and others spent their day and evening in a first floor room at White Sands. On certain occasions Archbishop Akinola came to join them, hiding from the press when he was spotted in his dazzling white outfit. On other occasions they met in the car park where he was bundled into a car and driven off for a secret encounter elsewhere.

    Those of us from Changing Attitude England and Nigeria, Integrity and Inclusive Church speculated on what this group were doing all the time. As information has come to light, we no longer need to speculate.

    They have the arrogance to write the script for the Primates, which Archbishop Akinola dutifully takes back into the meeting. I am amazed that the Primates capitulated to his machinations and the secessionists arrogance. I am amazed that Chris, David and Martyn think this is an appropriate way to behave. Only people who have the arrogance of total self-conviction could possibly behave like this. They are the saviours of the Communion, of course, protecting God from his corrupt creation, excluding those of us who offend their purity code.

    What can stop the Primates from living in thrall to Akinola? Why has +Rowan allowed such an unChristian and unhealthy, destructive dynamic, to continue for so long? These deadly crows also hovered around the perimeter of the previous Primates meeting at Dromantine, of course, sowing the first seeds of destruction there.

    I fear for the future of the Communion not because of any actions taken by TEC or Canada but because of the scandalous behaviour of these extreme conservatives.

  • Leonardo Ricardo says:

    “yep – this is how it is – the ABC is not going to sacrifice the AC for VGR”
    NP (does that stand for neo-puritan?)

    Dear NP, the AC is filled with VGR’s at ALL levels of CHURCH LIFE and it really would be helpful if the ABC got some solid/fresh information (as opposed to extreme thinking bigoted/fabricated hot-off-the-press, outside of the Communion political handouts that egender difference and exclusion at The Body of Christ)…we’re ALREADY inclusive, it’s a done deal NP…wake up, wake up, wherever you are!

  • lapinbizarre says:

    NP. It’s not about bishop Robinson anymore – in many ways it never was about him – he was simply a highly visible and convenient “casus belli”. Now, it’s about uncanonical interference in the affairs of TEC by foreign prelates. It’s pretty clear that even a number of “Windsor-compliant” American bishops are sorely p’d-off by the implications of the Tanzania communiqué. I very strongly suspect that when the dust has settled, the Episcopal Church will craft a far better internal alternative oversight structure for these dioceses than could have been forseen a month or so back, before the primates conference.

  • Merseymike says:

    The more you hear what Williams is really like, the more you realise just what a pathetic specimen he is.

    Its no good blaming Akinola. Williams could stand up to him, but he’s too worried about splitting the communion – even though anyone with a modicum of sense can see that is what needs to happen, and nothing good can exist which contains conservatives. They believe something quite different – fundamentalism and liberal Christianity are simply different belief systems.

    Akinola is as Akinola always has been. Its Williams who is fearful, utterly without principles, and who some really ought to wake up and recognise that the sooner the communion splits and he goes to join his new-found conservative mates, the better.

  • counterlight says:

    Who was it who said something about a certain foreign bishop having no dominion in the realm?

  • C.B. says:

    lapinbizarre – The problem is Chris Seitz president of the ACI claims that the Camp Allen bishops crafted the Primates PV Scheme. He is calling for them to go forward and appoint the members of the Pastoral Council as called for under the scheme. And while a few Camp Allen Bishops have dropped out, it appears that 20-22 did and do not support the HBs’ resolution opposing the scheme. As a result, it is not clear that the PB can offer them anything they would accept. Making a split inevitable.

  • JCF says:

    “Rowan Williams responded that it would not be he who would decide since, as he said, “I’m not a Pope; that’s not how our system works… I’ll take it to the Primates, and they will decide”.”

    Pilate washing his hands?

    If I were CofE (or just a UK tax-payer!), I would be DEMANDING Rowan’s resignation as +++Cantuar. >:-/

  • Byron says:

    +Kelsey’s comments are enlightening. Thanks for making this available. I also just have to comment that it seems strange that on this progessive site we are always having to respond to NP who seems to pop-up pretty much all the time. That’s fine but I do want to point out that a friend who knows more than I do about the politics of blogging has stated that a number of commenters at blog sites like this are actually “paid” to do so by ACI or others of similar ilk. This may not be true of NP, who knows, but it does take a long time to always have to respond to his point of view. Is there a similar phenonmenon at the right wing sites like Stand Firm? Perhaps, but when I’ve gone there I’ve only noticed “like-minded” comments. Anyway, not wanting to censor NP, but I do hope he speaks for himself and isn’t an “agent provocateur” of the Ahmansons.

  • Pluralist says:

    That is a very fascinating insight into how both meetings actually took place. One had opinion building, the other had it manipulating – and shows one way that the communiqué ended up being so different from the recommendation of the Sub-group.

    It is absolutely clear that there is something rotten in the highest level Anglican Communion and that it must not launch. The Archbishop of canterbury is misleading people in his “Here I stand” for an Anglican Communion that centralises.

    I think the Episcopalian decision has finished it. Clearly there is a concern that recognition by a centralised group of Bishop Duncan’s baby structure (and we discussed how it varies from Martyn Minns’ Nigeria structure) would be a concern.

    I can see that many primates would regard such a move as a violation, and equivalent to nedorsing Nigeria’s boundary violations so far. Canada, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, Mexico, Botswana and more would not support it, nor would many sybods. The Archbishop might accept what other primates say, but the General Synod might have another view altogether, especially as Akinola would like to “discipline” the Church of England as well.

    With the previous archbishop there was baad leadership. It seems now as if the lack of leadership has led to bad leadership by default. It seems that aggression is pushing the centralising agenda.

    It is very important for the future that the whole Communion centralisation, and Covenant, stops. It is very injured, but we know what happens when injured aggressive animals are in a corner.

  • Jeremy says:

    I think both the fun bit of prognostication as to who is REALLY a Windsor Bishop and the communiqué by the good bishop of N. Michigan reveal the truth behind the matter: even the Windsor Bishops have become scared when faced with the true nature of the schemes by those most recalcitrant of bishops. The presentations at the HoB meeting lead to a shift away from that group from even conservative bishops. Those few bishops have alienated themselves by their non-participation and their destructive planning. Further, the actions of the primates would disgust any self-respecting American. We naturally bristle at the idea of a foreign body of bishops trying to impose their will on us. That’s not a part of the identity of the American Church. It has always been thus, despite theological/political leanings. Even the conservatives want nothing of an Anglican Magisterium. The Instruments of Communion may have been dealt a death-knell.

  • Simon,

    Thanks for this. The second paragraph is scandalous and an indicment of appalling leadership. A major constituency has not been talked to, and is now disparaged out of hand, based on figures and an assessment of their character and conduct that has no correlation to reality. Nor have they bothered to verify the evidence nor checked the data for themselves. Apparently they can accept blatent propoganda and be in the thrall of hate mongering lobbyists, and do not perceive that their conduct and decisions are based on erroneous and slanderous inaccuracies.

    Little minions running to and from their meetings of hate with further accusations and attempts to deny others’ dignity. The conduct of some parties is not peace. While others are praying and working on healing, they are working on accussations and methods to exclude people. Rebuke them with Zechariah 3, for they refuse to see the holy spark in souls and have forgotten that all souls belong to God.

    This is as appalling as an official who decrees that a rebellious indigenous tribe be exterminated, with no acknowledgment of what is provoking their outrage. (Not an unreasonable parallel as the first South Australian nominated to care for SA aborigines ordered the murder of a tribe for attacking someone, without checking why the incident had occurred (e.g. maybe one of their daughter’s had been raped)).

    Based on his slanderous accusation that the US church would only focus on the Millenium Goals to “buy votes”, makes one wonder why he and his ilk have (after the US church) jumped on the bandwagon. Not an unreasonable question when a local diocese announced two years ago that it was rolling back its welfare arm until there were sufficient funds and convertees to fund welfare, especially scandalous as I have since found out they are one of the wealthiest dioceses in the world.

    It begs the question of who is really doing things to “buy votes” or “buy God’s forgiveness” and who is really sincere. When you read Zephaniah 3:17-20, you see that God perceives tithes and rituals to be a burden and a reproach when they are done with oppression. God despises and rejects priests who build temples for themselves and sacrifice children to their idolatry.

  • Nick Finke says:

    The principles involved in the old writ of praemunire would today be thought of as forming part of the concept of national sovereignty.

    When back in 1801 General Convention rewrote the 39 Articles for American use, they clearly thought there was no need to include language in the revised Article 37 to generalize on the statement that “The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England” to make it clear that no foreign prelate has such jurisdiction. It seems they were a bit hasty.

    I am all for further examination of the need for national churches. The concept seems to be very much out of date and I’m not sure why the boundaries of a nation state should be treated as God-given for the purposes of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. I am, however, very opposed to the idea that we can dispense with the jurisdictions of the current national churches by simply wishing them away, as Rowan Williams, among others, seems to do.

  • LeonardoRicardo says:

    “Is there a similar phenonmenon at the right wing sites like Stand Firm? Perhaps, but when I’ve gone there I’ve only noticed “like-minded” comments.” Byron

    Yep, I’m certain of it too (I know nothing of NP but other voices here I question NOT not-for-profit as I do at Fr. Jakes Blog sometimes…the cool thing about Fr. Jake (and here I imagine) is that moderating is done in a very fair way and often the “voices” have good imput…othertimes of course they are simply detracting from the REAL Church railroading deadly destructiveness going on before our eyes!

  • JPM says:

    Byron, given the very mechanical and simpleminded nature of NP’s posts here, I think that he is far more likely to be a bot than an agent provocateur.

  • EPfizH says:

    For Nick Finke…You raise a good point. What do we do now that we realize that the world is indeed flat. I am writing this on my PDA, using my wifi access point to you in England. I am still in bed and the message will arrive in under a minute. Our parish system relates well to our physical presence to each other and, in our true sharing one one table. But the information highway has changed all that. Is there a new way of looking at “church” beyond diocessan borders that makes sense? And what would that say about our Eucharistic theology? I am open to a new ecclesiology and I am wondering if there is something that is possible . Until then, and we have some consensus on the possible, +Peter’s intrusions frm Nigeria are as unwelcome here to me in the US as +Peter’s from Rome. What say you across the pond?

  • Kurt says:

    So Byron, why don’t people just simply ignore the hideous NP troll?

  • Pluralist says:

    I think the point made about provinces and autonomy is interesting in an age when there is all this global communication. Much is so recent.

    Typing into this and similar is something I’ve done only for a few years now, nor have I ever had access to such qualitative internal news about the inner workings of Anglicanism. I used to be part of a 6000 weak denomination where the gossip system or “jungle telegraph” was refined but nothing was documented or sure. Here instead is a combination of documents and opinions. There was a Newsnight report a few days ago about political blogging versus reporting, and there is no doubt that whilst blogging produces an enormous volume of surface opinion, this method also reveals material from people in the know and produces a new level of information.

    There is bound to be an extension of this, and there is (with conferencing, etc.) into activities, and it is going to extend some of the theologies of participation (eg people watching religious services on television: for example, if you put a piece of bread and a goblet of wine on top of your TV and there’s someone doing all the actions, is that now consecrated? Why not?).

    However, the Internet revolution is as much about localisation as globalisation – every nasty localism is now there for all to see, this media does not smooth out the local as the mass media did. Secondly, specialisation is all the more intense as distance increases and time shortens for activities, and this is bound to be on perceived “ideological” lines.

    So what we are seeing then is an institution protecting its autonomy and base, but this is prior to others seeing that it is operating along the lines about which they approve, with therefore a broader extension out of the local.

  • Athos says:

    I really have to laugh at some folks response to NP. I thought this was an open minded inclusive website!! Come on you guys wake up!! Wake up!! Leonardo Ricardo’s comment is hilarious.”We are inclusive” he writes. What he should say is, “We are inclusive of everyone except folk like NP”. Get a grip or you will turn out to be Peter Akinola’s right hand men (or should I say persons?). What a joke.

  • Pluralist says:

    Being inclusive does not mean having to be in agreement, and in any case it is relative.

    In politics democrats and liberals are not inclusive of fascists or communists who would take away the basis of being democratic and liberal, but they are more inclusive than either of those. In Anglican Christianity we have authoritarians who pull the boundaries in quite closely to themselves, such as Anglican Mainstream not really tolerating Fulcrum types when they stray. But liberals are inclusive of Fulcrum types on Fulcrum’s terms, and even stretch across to some more pleasant characters in Anglican Mainstream. As for NP, it’s just that his needle keeps jumping on the record.

  • Harvard Man says:

    Well, Athos, you beat me to the punch. The tone of this blog continues to be so disappointing in condescension to anyone who doesn’t agree with the progressive viewpoint. The tyranny of the inclusive is not inclusive.

    As a traditional Anglican in a healthy Episcopal church, I have met and listened to many of the leaders like +Duncan who are demonized on this site. I see a loving, faithful man of God trying his best to preach God’s word and help stop a church from losing its way, abandoning the faith. Can anyone here not accept that just perhaps some traditionalists are sincere in there motivations and efforts, and engage in a lively but intelligent and civil discussion of the theology here?

  • Merseymike says:

    Sincerity is of the utmost irrelevance – sincerity in their prejudices and delusions is no recommendation.

  • Athos says:

    Of course inclusivity does not mean havinig to be in agreement. But what many so called liberal commenators wish is to drive orthodox believers out of the Church of their baptism by forcing them to accept progressive terms; if, as Pluralist says, inclusivity is relative at least be aware that that is just as deeply doctrinal a and exclusive statement as anything ++Akinola could come up with. What we need to debate on this website (rather than hysterically and irrationally slate) is Liberalism’s doctrinal limits and then compare and contarst them with orthordoxy. What we will then find is that theological liberalism is coterminous with post- modern, post-christian secular society.

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    How can acceptance of LGBT Christians be equated with “abandoning” the faith?

    I think that we should carefully examine what entails being a “traditionalist” in the sphere of church worship experience. Through my fondness of the composers Tallis, Purcell, Byrd, etc. I could be considered one myself, but my personal theology would be anything but.

    Yes, using labels isn’t productive nor a mark of any intelligent discussion. And I also have to agree with Pluralist, do you think for one moment that we would be having this exchange on a “traditionalist” blogsite?

    Remember the lesson that should be borne on the present leadership throughout the AC. People’s reactions to what is said on this site should prod us into taking reponsibility for what we say, and be able to deal with the sting when we are proven wrong.

  • Athos says:

    Go onto a traditioslist blog site and engage them.

  • Athos could perhaps be a little less nebulous in his statements?

    If you have something to say worth listening to, Say it!

    If you don’t say it, we shall have to conclude that you haven’t got it.

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Athos: Are “traditionlists” subject to imprisonment for just being who they are?

    Are “traditionlists” called heretics because they question other’s interpretation of scripture?

    Are “traditionalists” literally being forced out for what and how they believe (and not necessarily what they do with those beliefs)?

    Are “traditionalists” being snubbed, shunned, laughed at, jeered, ignored, and openly ridiculed in the congregations that they were raised for being what God made them? (As opposed what they choose to be)

    Sounds like Holy Week doesn’t it?

  • Athos says:

    Traditionalists are being called heretics because they question liberal interpretaions of scripture
    Traditionalits are being forced out for what and how they believe
    Traditinalists are being snubbed, shunned, laughted at, jeered, ignored and openly ridiculed in congregations
    Have you never heard of TEC?

  • counterlight says:

    I always find it astonishing to read the complaints of conservatives so surprised to find that squishy liberals actually have tempers and will turn around and bite if pushed enough.

    The conservatives get far better treatment here and at other liberal sites than, say, certain organists and choir directors over at the consev sites. I just read over at Father Jake’s blog a complaint from a woman who posted a reply for the first time over at Stand Firm, and was told that she was everything from a heretic to a bad mother. There are regular conservative posters at a number of the liberal sites who stay engaged with the rest of the commentors. They expect a lot of heat, they get a lot of heat, and I credit them for staying with the conversation.

    And so, in true Christian Universalist fashion, I wish all, especially the conservatives and right-wingers, a blessed Passiontide and a happy and glorious Easter, and look forward to meeting and rejoicing with them at the Heavenly Banquet.

  • mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) says:

    Athos – without asking you to drop your pseudonym, might I ask whether you are a member (in some shape manner or form) of TEC? Your last posting assumes an intimate knowledge of TEC life which people like me are unable to confirm or refute.

    A spot of chapter and verse would help – you know, a concrete example of someone being given the hoof for insisting on the acceptability of a belief in a physical resurrection of the Lord, say – for that would fit my description of persecution and is to be abhorred. If you mean that there are parishes where folk don’t roll over and accept that such would be the only valid understanding of the resurrection narratives, then that would hardly count as persecution, would it? Being pressed to defend a point of view’s hardly ridicule!

    But to return – on which side of the pond do you live. Do you speak with an insider’s knowledge of TEC or are you. like me, dependent on what you read and what other people tell you?

  • ruidh says:

    “I see a loving, faithful man of God trying his best to preach God’s word and help stop a church from losing its way, abandoning the faith. Can anyone here not accept that just perhaps some traditionalists are sincere in there motivations and efforts, and engage in a lively but intelligent and civil discussion of the theology here?”

    What theology? The theology of how TEC is abandoning the faith? Your entire discussion lacks a factual premise.

    Perhaps you can explain to us how traditionalists justify such calumny?

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Thanks, counterlight, and yes I’ll be singing 8+ services this week, working hard at a TEC parish and cathedral to do all such bad things those “traditionalists” claim
    we hath prepared for them to walk in. Welcome Happy Morning!

  • Athos says:

    I was a member of TEC for three years and the Church I used to worship at is no more. The bishop hounded the clergy and congreation out and imposed a TEC compliant priest. The deaprting congregation were not allowed to take even one prayer book with them (even though they had bought the lot). It was the most cruel, viscious and godless behavior on the part of the powerfull that I have ever witnessed. But be careful and remember (as Martin Luther King used to say) the powerful will never admit that they are oppressors and neither will they volunatarily conceed to the demands of the opressed. Hence TEC’s refulsal to even consider a primatial vicar. How generous and broadminded and tolerant and open and inclusive TEC is!!

  • Athos claims that TEC has refused to consider a primatial vicar. So explain this please:

    A group of bishops, including the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, gathered at the initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has developed a proposal for the appointment of a Primatial Vicar…

    30 Nov 2006

  • Athos says:

    Simon (et al)
    Apologies if I had got this wrong. I had understood that TEC has now abandoned any idea that a primatial vicar was a possibilty…did not the recent meeting of HOB withdraw from the idea? If they haven’t that is good. We wait to see if they will implement it. By hunch is that they will try to make sure it never happens…

  • ruidh says:

    “The departing congregation were not allowed to take even one prayer book with them (even though they had bought the lot).”

    I was a member of a church which was about 30 minutes from my house, but I changed churches when I moved further away. Should I have demanded some of my pledge back in the form of prayerbooks and hymnals?

    The thing about giving money away is that you are not supposed to retain control over it once you have given it. If you give money to the parish, it belongs to the parish. An Anglican (or a Catholic or an Orthodox) parish is, of course, more than the sum total of the parishoners who attend. It is also the diocese and wider church in that place. If you don’t want to be a part of that diocese anymore, that’s OK. But you shouldn’t try to steal the silver on the way out the door.

  • Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) says:

    Athos: thank you for the insight.

  • Lois Keen says:

    ” “The departing congregation were not allowed to take even one prayer book with them (even though they had bought the lot).”

    “I was a member of a church which was about 30 minutes from my house, but I changed churches when I moved further away. Should I have demanded some of my pledge back in the form of prayerbooks and hymnals?”

    Once I crocheted an afghan, a blanket, for my young niece for Christmas. I put all my love into the making of that gift. I had dreams of it becoming an heirloom. One rainy day, a year later, I saw that lovingly made gift tied between two trees as a tent, soaking in the rain. My heart broke. I swore that I would never again give my niece or her family anything that I loved or cared about.
    Many years later, an older woman for whom I cared a great deal complained one time too many about how the choir were not treating the handbells she had given in her late husband’s name with the proper care. And I thought, with anger and impatience, “When you give a gift, you have to let it go. It’s not yours anymore.”
    And in that moment, I realized I had convicted myself.
    That same older woman had fits every time we read the part where Paul refers to a “free gift”. She said, “If it’s a gift, it’s free.” But she wasn’t allowing for human sin: for humans, with rare exceptions, no gift is free. They have strings. They come with a social expectation of giving something – even a written thank you note – in return. They come with expectations the gift be used as the giver hoped it would be. So Paul meant just what he said: the gift of Jesus is a FREE gift. Not given as we give, but given freely.
    What is given to the church, let it go.
    Lois Keen

  • counterlight says:

    Last I heard, the original offer of an alternative primatial vicar from our own Presiding Bishop for the dissenters, especially for the 3 remaining dioceses in the Episcopal Church that do not recognize women’s ordination, is still on the table. That original offer made soon after Bishop Schori became Primate was rejected immediately by the breakaways. Our House of Bishops rejected the Tanzania plan because it would be supervised by foreign primates with no accountablity to our church, and in complete disregard for our constitution and canon laws, not to mention our autonomy.

  • C.B. says:

    Athos – KJS has repeated that she is open to PV. The problem with the Primates’ plan was the Pastoral Council included foreighn Primates or Bishops as members, appointed by the Primates.

  • Malcolm French+ says:

    There is a difference between a Primatial Vicar as proposed by Her Grace the Presiding Bishop on the one hand, and the imposition of governance by foreign prelates on the other.

  • NP says:

    Kurt – children’s playgrounds see lots of behaviour of the sort you suggest!

    Pls do ignore the “hideous troll” – especially since you have no strong arguments (with foundations apart from your own feelings) with which to engage him!

    Don’t worry, outside the AC, there won’t be any more trolls to bug you! Then, I hope you can play nicely with your friends.

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    While I seem to have precious little in common with NP, I have seen nothing in cross-blogging with him to suggest that he is not completely “above board”. What is implied in a couple of earlier postings strikes me as unfair and unworthy of this page. Those looking for CANA agents provocateurs should perhaps look elsewhere.

  • Lapinbizarre is right: some of the criticisms of NP are unworthy and should perhaps not have been approved. At any rate, no more of them please.

  • Peter of Westminster says:

    Episcopal conservatives have already lost the argument on sexual ethics — older people are fighting this out now in the church, but for the youngest generations, their children and grandchildren, the whole issue is already mooted by social, attitudinal and scientific change. The round earth, the Copernican system, the freeing of slaves, the ordination of women: conservatives also opposed these corrupting things too. Little good it did them…

    Here’s what will happen:

    10% of the TEC will break away and then slowly fall into disarray: 1) the cultural conservatives who constitute the rank and file of the breakaway groups are just those who will finally feel least comfortable as members, for instance, of the church of Nigeria, and 2) groups with a social ethic increasingly out of step with the surrounding culture always find it hard to survive in the religious “free market” that obtains in modern industrial societies.

    The TEC will live for a time in “impaired relationship” with some provinces and the overall communion, but before long it will be thriving in America — the first rule of moral and ethical life is that when one sees the good, one must do it. The TEC is in process of making a strong and principled stand, and that will not pass unnoticed…

  • NP says:

    Lapin – thanks for the support for free speech around here and you are right – I have no links at all with CANA etc etc (I am just an ordinary member of an Anglican church in London)

    The only thing I want to provoke is people to think on TA about their positions and the strength of the foundations of those positions in the light of scripture and the understanding of most of the AC and other churches.

  • Merseymike says:

    But we have already worked that out, NP.

    We don’t agree with your interpretation, nor the authority you give to scripture, as liberals, we don’t agree with the beliefs of the conservative church, and so the best bet would be if we could split and then have nothing to do with you or your religion, which we don’t believe in or like.

    Can’t make it any clearer than that.

  • Lapinbizarre says:

    You’re v.welcome. I can go overboard myself from time to time, usually first thing in the morning before the first coffee has kicked in, but I definitely thought you were being treated unfairly there. Roger

  • choirboyfromhell says:

    Oh Merseymike, I might disagree with NP as well, but I could still worship with him (her?).

    That’s the sad thing in all of this, in our disagreements we have taken to such an extreme personal limit in our reactions to one another that we can’t even look each other in the eye in a house of God. Call it an American gosh-by-golly naive midwestern nonsense, but d****t, this isn’t going to work without getting off of our high horses.

    I don’t want Peter of Westminster to be totally correct (but he probably is). I don’t want that ten percent to go off, pout and wither. But until either side tries to learn (not just on LGBT concerns, that is an issue of bigotry, in my opinion) from one another, it’s just going to be a continual protestant splitting ad infinitum.

    Wake up, it’s time for the “conservative” faction to give it a rest on LGBT issues and the “liberal” faction (which is definately in power here in TEC) to stop trashing beautiful liturgy/music/architecture that has probably added to such a reaction that has taken my LGBT brethren to darkness.

    Sorry Simon, it’s probably too much wine after tonight’s singing of Tenebrae.

  • NP says:

    Peter of Westminster et al – pls note in England and even in TEC, the biggest, strongest, fastest growing Anglican churches are certainly not the liberal churches. Even in dear old, sceptical England, the growth in the CofE is in Reform and “Alpha” churches.This is one of the reasons you see the ABC behaving as he does towards his old liberal friends – even in the CofE, he cannot cut off the growing parts of the church to please liberals.

    TEC liberal churches have lots of money from the past, given by people who never dreamt of the current leadership’s agenda, but that is not a sign of current health and those resources will not last forever….so please do not put your trust in the cash you are lucky enough to have inherited in TEC and please do not worry about Network types leaving because the evidence is that they have a better future than you hope.

  • Peter of Westminster says:

    NP — Interesting and persuasive comment concerning the constraints under which the ABC labors — no doubt his job is difficult. It is interesting to hear that the most successful CoE churches are conservative and evangelical. I’m not much surprised, though. Weekly church attendance in England runs under 10% (compared to an average of 42% in the US), and with relatively low attendance and religious engagement in the CoE, I’d expect that the importation of an essentially American religious social technology (an Anglican implementation of revivalistic evangelicalism) could pump up attendance quite a bit. Religion in the American cultural environment is by its nature active, competitive and aggressive — it reaches out and pulls people into the pews.

    But I believe you’re mistaken about the relative growth rates of liberal and conservative Episcopal churches in the US. Actually, liberal churches slightly outgrew conservative churches (39% to 38%) in recent years.

    Find the study at:

    If conservatives do go, I hope that they do hold together, and as members of the larger Anglican communion. Knowing the track record of such schisms in the US, I am given pause, but there is a chance of it. I wish no one ill.

    It will be a sadder day than most have yet realized when conservatives do go (as I believe they will) — conservatives are a natural brake on the sillier innovations of liberals, and liberals can’t help but prod conservatives so that they do just occasionally take a step forward. Each side
    keeps the other honest — and that both have co-habited in the Church thus far has been one of its signal strengths. Conservatives and liberals alike will no doubt be happier in the shorter term, but longer term all are likely to find their spiritual lives impoverished. Their lives will be easier — but spiritual life is not meant to be just easy…

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