Thinking Anglicans

news from Central Florida

Amended

The Diocese of Central Florida has reported that a number of its parishes are discussing leaving the Episcopal Church.

See the Living Church report, Central Florida Parishes, Church Plants Plan to Disaffiliate.

Or this from the Lakeland Ledger Episcopal Leaders in Separation Talks

Bishop John Howe has issued a pastoral letter to be read today in churches. You can read the full text of it here on No Claim to Sainthood: The Bishop speaks.

The following paragraph (emphasis added) is of particular interest beyond Florida:

I have said repeatedly that it is my desire to remain both an Episcopalian and an Anglican. In that regard, let me share something with you that the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to me just this past week: “Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such…. I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the “National Church.”

Addendum On some other blogs, the direct quote from the archbishop has been extended to the end of the paragraph, but this is clearly not so in the source from which I have quoted.

Amendment Bishop Howe has now released the full text of his letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury and it can be read in full here. This text shows that the quotation should indeed go to the end of the paragraph, and not as previously indicated above stop at the word “such”. However, there was a very substantial section between the two sentences which was omitted, as indicated in the correct version by an ellipsis. The source from which I originally quoted has now also been corrected (and the error there explained).

I do strongly recommend reading the full text of the archbishop’s letter, which I have reproduced below the fold.

Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida

14 October 2007

Dear John

I’ve just received your message, which weighs very heavily on my heart, as it must – though far more so – on yours. At this stage, I can say only two things. The first is that I have committed myself very clearly to awaiting the views of the Primates before making any statement purporting to settle the question of The Episcopal Church’s status, and I can’t easily short-circuit that procedure. The second is that your Rectors need to recognize that this process is currently in train and that a separatist decision from them at this point would be irresponsible and potentially confusing. However, without forestalling what the Primates might say, I would repeat what I’ve said several times before – that any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing – which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor. Action that fragments their Dioceses will not help the consolidation of that all-important critical mass of ordinary faithful Anglicans in The Episcopal Church for whose nurture I am so much concerned. Breaking this up in favour of taking refuge in foreign jurisdictions complicates and embitters the future for this vision.

Do feel free to pass on these observations to your priests. I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the United States showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the Bishop and the Diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church’. I think that if more thought in these terms there might be more understanding of why priests in a diocese such as yours ought to maintain their loyalty to their sacramental communion with you as Bishop. But at the emotional level I can understand something of the frustration they doubtless experience, just as you must.

With continuing prayers and love,

+Rowan

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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.” If this is the case, why bother with the provincial structure at all? Why go to the trouble of primates and presiding bishops and general conventions and synods? Sounds like Rowan is trying to find a way to keep both the wider TEC and the likes of Pittsburgh and Fort… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Oh dear!

Desperation has leapt in here.

No longer a Primate willing only to negotiate with other Primates – Church to Church – this is now a free-for-all.

“Windsor compliant” …….. what utter nonsense.

One cannot help thinking that if this is what is on offer the sooner the whole mess falls apart the better …….

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

The language attributed to the Archbishop of Canterbury in this pastoral letter has surprised many of us, but Bishop Howe does present it as a direct quotation from a very recent e-mail. Among other things, it seems to put paid to the Reformation concept of a national church, since the Communion is merely an assemblage of dioceses. Hence, no issue (I presume) if, let us say, the Diocese of Rochester wishes to affiliate with a group of Ugandan dioceses rather than with the other dioceses of the Church of England. The juridical status the Archbishop here ascribes to the Windsor… Read more »

Lois Keen
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Lois Keen

“Clarification from Lambeth on these points would be helpful”…

especially as the Archbishop’s quoted statement may pertain to dioceses in the Church of England. Does the established status of the C of E protect Archbishop Rowan from his own alleged words?

Lois Keen

Fr. Shawn+
Guest
Fr. Shawn+

I hope this capitulation is not an attempt to maintain sources of funding for Lambeth and other Communion interests in order to avoid questions of ecclesiology, jurisdiction, and interrelatedness of the national church. This statement from +++Rowan may well do more to fragment and encourage intolerance than the separatists themselves have done. Does this mean I can someone develop their own sect of Anglicanism, intolerant of women, intolerant of gays, or intolerance of any living outside of Pauline and Levitical doctrine, but remain in the Anglican Communion as long as I am Windsor compliant?

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Could anyone post a PDF of the Bishop’s letter, as distributed today in the Central Florida churches?

John B. Chilton
Guest

Thanks, Simon, for pointing out that not all versions of this Howe pastoral letter put the close quote in the same location. We can continue to speculate, but it seems advisable to wait until we know which is correct. Whatever the correct quote it would be nice to see the ABC’s entire message.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Hope Rowan’s as generous when the war breaks
out in England…but lets first give him the benefit of the doubt. I would like to see that quotation in its full context…..if the interpretation is a mandate for diocesan free for all it contradicts all his previous statements. Furthermore why dissn’t he entertain the dissident dioceses in New Orleans.

Furthermore a “localised diocesan solution” can help Sydney lay celebrantists and equally gay blessers like Canadaian dioceses advanced of their General Synod.

Rowan is far clever and nunaced than that.
So Martin Reynolds calm that impetuous Celtic blood.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Kendall Harmon says that he has seen the version sent to all clergy of the Diocese of Central Florida. In this version, the quotation marks extend to the end of the paragraph, attributing the last sentence also to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I have also seen a version at Stand Firm that has an ellipsis before the final sentence of the paragraph, indicating that some words have been omitted from the Archbishop’s e-mail.

Sarah Hey at Stand Firm said (and I concur) that it would be helpful to see the context of the Archbishop’s quoted remarks.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Kendall Harmon has now added:

[quote] I am posting this in the comments as well as the original blog entry–

Important Update: I have contacted bishop Howe directly and he has given permission for me to cite his response: “The longer version is correct.”
October 21, 1:04 pm [close quote]

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

And now that we have established the text, as it were — what about the (ahem) plain meaning of the text?

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

I commented earlier on someone’s remarks on Fr.Jake Stops the World Blogsite: “All of this nonsense about being ‘in communion’ with the greater Anglican tradition via Canterbury is silly at this point.” – Terry Dyslexia A good point now that ++Rowan Cantuar, according to +John Howe, has re-defined “constituent member” of the Anglican Communion as a “Windsor-compliant diocese” rather than the province. Sp-Iker-land, under the new definition, is a Windsor-compliant Diocese (i.e., no same-gender unions and no openly gay priests and deacons) and, therefore, a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. +Jack the Lion now has a free pass, thanks… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But he hasn’t really said that, JH. What he appears to be saying is that as these dioceses are Windsor-compliant, they should stay within the set-up as it stands rather then look overseas, given that as they do so, they will still be in communion with Canterbury.

Its, I think, a last-ditch attempt to try to keep everyone on board which is his aim above all else. And always has been

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

It’s necessary to read the entire letter, rather than the extracts that Bishop Howe originally published, to get some feel for what the Archbishop is trying to say. Even so, it’s difficult to see quite where he is headed, and I don’t believe that the ambiguity is entirely intentional this time around. He’s going to have to clarify what he has just said or anyone, of any shade of opinion, can pick something from it to justify whatever action they chose to endorse.

I suppose he DID read it before he sent it to Bishop Howe?

Pluralist
Guest

I’ve read this letter (from Rowan Williams) several times with some sense of bafflement (to say the least). It is extraordinary! He is saying, is he not, that the bishop is all, in any place. As I understand it, though, a bishop must be a member of a Church. Rowan Williams has, in effect, elevated the Anglican Communion to the level of a Church, and effectively undermined every single Anglican Church going. But that is not how the Church of England regarded the Anglican Communion not so long ago. Even the wandering bishop will either be within a Church or… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I would like to accept Merseymike’s interpretation, but it would be nice if this former Don could speak with some clarity, but:

“The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such.”
The obvious interpretation is that ++Rowan is simply wrong about the facts — the WWAC is composed of provinces that generally (but not always) conform to national churches.

Does this mean that he is now supporting entire dioceses leaving TEC to form a separate (but equal?) Anglican province (rather than parishes leaving to affiliate with African primates)?

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

The promotion of individual dioceses at the expense of national churches reminds me of Joseph Ratzinger’s 1982 book Theologische Prinzipienlehre in which, as in several subsequent Vatican pronouncements, national episcopal conferences are downgraded and the location of churchhood in the individual dioceses is stressed. (This was probably motivated by the power the episcopal conferences showed in their reception of Humanae Vitae in 1968, as they have again in their reception of the recent Moto Proprio attempting to restore the Tridentine Mass). I had understood the Anglican Communion to be a communion of autonomous regional churches, one of which is TEC,… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I have blogged on this amazing letter (where I can say more), and it includes a painting I did on the study of an ordinand’s wall.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/10/national-anglican-churches-demolished.html

(I cannot add comments for the next few days as my computer is having some jacks’ sockets wired up – I’ll only have a lesser one with dial up.)

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

The ABC needs to start being informed about the audience he plays to:

http://episcopalmajority.blogspot.com/2007/05/limits-of-tolerance.html

Intolerance, thanks be to God that God wants us to use our brains and learn how to say yes, maybe and NO!

Just say NO!

NP
Guest
NP

“The first is that I have committed myself very clearly to awaiting the views of the Primates before making any statement purporting to settle the question of The Episcopal Church’s status” I had to explain a few times last week that Sept 30th was a deadline for TEC(USA) to respond to Dar…and now we wait for the Primates’ response…..seems like the ABC has just confirmed that. “However, without forestalling what the Primates might say, I would repeat what I’ve said several times before – that any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of… Read more »

Anthony W
Guest
Anthony W

If the national churches are abstractions, why is he waiting for the opinions of the primates? Or is he thinking of the primates as something like the college of cardinals? If that’s the way it’s going, I have only one request: install a little stove in Lambeth Palace so you can have the white smoke and the black smoke! Anthony

NP
Guest
NP

Leonardo says “The ABC needs to start being informed about the audience he plays to:”

Indeed….. so, TEC(USA) gets 0.9m people on a good Sunday and the ABC should follow them and ignore the 37m of CAPA and his own CofE?

I don’t think it serves your agenda to remind the ABC of his “audience” …. not all or most of it, at any rate. What you are really saying is, “The ABC should listen to people who agree with me even if that splits the AC!”

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Rowan has chosen the bishops.

Only a few weeks ago he said there was too much hoopla about child abuse in his churches.

Both of these decrees are the swan songs of his credibility as a neutral player.

P.S. the child pedophile comments make him culpible for his church’s conduct and he should not be surprised if he is personally sued, as well as the CofE as a legal entity.

John the Baptist could reach the masses and the secularists, but the teachers of the law refused to listen, to their own credibility’s demise…

Davis Mac-Iyalla
Guest
Davis Mac-Iyalla

I cant remember where I read it but I am fully aware that the Archbishop of Canterbury will not allow himself to be bullied or pushed by any one not even the Global South Primates

The best Bishop John Howe can do is to make use of ++Rowans letter which is still very helpful and useful for those who doesn’t have any secret agenda to split the communion.

ettu
Guest
ettu

Rowan’s opaqueness shows the risk of becoming too “ivory tower” – whatever it is that he is trying to say could have been put in one or two pithy phrases by a blue collar worker – perhaps even by a carpenter or fisherman from Judea. I think he is just obfuscating in order to stall – he is hoping to outwait others and let the impetuous hang themselves by their frustrated actions.

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Cheryl Clough wrote:
“P.S. the child pedophile comments make him culpible for his church’s conduct and he should not be surprised if he is personally sued, as well as the CofE as a legal entity.”

Duh??? How do you reach that conclusion, Cheryl?

I don’t know where you live, but here in the UK there is the most ludicrous paranoia about paedophilia. The most extreme example was perhaps the semi-literate mob who trashed the house of a paediatrician. This, I think, is what +Rowan had in mind.

Shawn
Guest
Shawn

Perhaps Archbishop Williams’ greatest failing as a leader in our contemporary society is that he is a great theologian rather than a pundit. At least here in the US, we are being enculturated to accept pithy sound bites from our leaders as the expression of their feelings on a topic. Archbishop Williams continues to dare to write with depth and sometimes obscurity….excellent for a theologian…not so good for a political leader. In addition, let us remember that TEC (as beloved as it is for me) is not the center of the universe. There are primates in other parts of the… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Those who are saying, “this is a breath of fresh air” or see the two sides to the story should realise that there is one side only – that a bishop is king in his diocese, and that a supreme objective is to remain in communion with the Anglican Communion of which they are a bishop. Which means the Communion is the Church, and the decisions are taken by (according to Rowan Williams) Rowan Williams and the primates. As said above – “No.” it is no for the Church of England, for Wales, Scotland, Nigeria, South Africa… I’m back to… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I” had understood the Anglican Communion to be a communion of autonomous regional churches, one of which is TEC, rather than primarily a communion of individual dioceses. Is this wrong?” Since I was always taught the opposite, I would say you are wrong. The basic unit of the Church is the diocese gathered around its bishop. “National churches” can exist for the purpose of local administraion, but the national entity is not the Church. There is only one Church. The issue of doctrinal differences is different, but connected: given that there are Anglicans, RCs, etc. how can they be said… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“I don’t think it serves your agenda to remind the ABC of his “audience” …. not all or most of it, at any rate. What you are really saying is, “The ABC should listen to people who agree with me even if that splits the AC!” NP Don’t be silly, NP, the ABC has never been a good “listener” to anything other than the fear/hate “threats” of multitudes of “excluding” driven bigots at The Anglican Communion…the ABC seems to “lend” his “listening” process “time” when the largest mob of “extremists” visit Lambeth Palace but has little “time” for refuting dangerous… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Archbishop Williams, due to his unique perspective from his position,” Indeed! He is not the Archbishop of Gay people, neiother is he the Archbishop of Extreme Conservatism. He is the symbolic head, the first among equals, of the Anglican Communion. How horrible that he doesn’t say to one particular group that their pet issue is the only real argument to be had, and that all other issues must take second place! These groups are thus disgusted with his “lack of leadership” and on and on. As far as I am concerned, his only failure of leadership is that he didn’t… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

I think we all need to take a deep breath, and “consider the source” on this.

This is from an *email*, for heaven’s sake, to one sometimes helpful/sometimes difficult bishop.

The ABC is NOT going to decide polity for the whole freakin’ AC, in an email!

In sum: there’s less here, than meets the eye. Don’t panic.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The ABC’s answer to Bishop Howe is soo passive aggressive and soo co-dependant.

That’s all there ever will be.

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

Pat O’Neill writes: “If this is the case, why bother with the provincial structure at all? Why go to the trouble of primates and presiding bishops and general conventions and synods?”

Or rather, why bother “waiting for what the primates have to say” and their process? After all, they are just bishops of dioceses then (except where they aren’t even that). And especially as a number of them are not adhering to the less popular parts of the Windsor report themselves.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I think I owe an apology to Martin Reynolds…he was right and I was wrong.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford “As far as I am concerned, his only failure of leadership is that he didn’t say to both sides in this that they had better shut up, grow up, behave themselves, or ’tis off to bed without any pudding for them” Please explain what both sides should do. I possibly misunderstand you, but your past postings appear to say that: a. TEC should not have moved towards an openly gay bishop and ssb’s without the support of the whole church. b. The evangelicals should accept that they do not have the only right answer. To me, that seems like… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Alan http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/15/nbishop215.xml In this UK Daily Telegraph interview of 17 September 2007, Rowan is quoted: “Another concern is the paranoia surrounding children. “We have got obsessional about paedophiles,” he says. “A generation ago people would have smiled rather wryly about a scoutmaster or a schoolteacher caught in some improper activity, now we know the damage. I doubt that there are more people with perversions, we are just more aware of it. That is right but unfortunately it also carries the wrong kind of awareness and people have become overprotective towards children, they are stifling them in a different way.” Happiness… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

I think JCF may be right. A private e-mail sent to show sympathy with one bishop should not be seen as ABC’s new innovation in ecclesiology. After all, it directly contradicts Windsor itself which describes “the Anglican Communion as a fellowship of churches”, not a fellowship of dioceses! What about those bishops in non-compliance with the requirement to “effect a moratorium on any further interventions”? Or are we being as selective with Windsor as we are with Scripture and making it up as we go along? Where does this leave the future Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor, whose… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Bishop Howe sometimes troublesome? This was his interpretation:

“Since he has given permission to share it I do so as well…”

Of this said by Rowan Williams:

“Do feel free to pass on these observations to your priests.”

On its own, not quite the same thing. Whatever happened to confidentiality?

NP
Guest
NP

Leonardo – maybe I am being “silly” but I think you will find that “the listening process” is not measured by visits to TEC HOB…..and Dr Williams is one of very few noteworthy academics who have written in favour of your agenda – but he won’t do what you want so you accuse him of not “listening” and call for his resignation?

If Dr Williams has not “listened” a la Lambeth 1.10, then you really must define the word to mean agreeing with you – and that just ain’t going to convince many.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Erika I concur with your sentiments. Those who suggest there is some mild middle ground are ignoring what it is like to be a GLBT who wants to be in a reverential monogamous relationship and provide for their partner and dependents, just like a heterosexual would. In the stupid assumptions that all homosexuals are promiscuous, what is forgotten are those who are not. Being quiet means allowing this group to be forgotten amidst the noise of selfish complacent arrogance. The other thing is that I see that those most prepared to overlook this group are also the first to rush… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Erika, First of all, people should tone down the rhetoric. You have spoken before of the pretty blatant exclusion you received at the hands of your parish. Nothing wrong with talking about this, making it public, decrying it, but also no reason to make it into some great oppression (you don’t BTW, I’m just using this as a close to home example, but many do). The same applies to the other side with it’s hatred and reviling of TEC and myth of the persecuted remnant. In short, both sides should stop trying to make themselves out the poor persecuted martyrs.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“In the stupid assumptions that all homosexuals are promiscuous, what is forgotten are those who are not.” Cheryl, I am gay and monogamous. I’m not forgotten “amidst the noise of selfish complacent arrogance.” Neither am I ignoring what it is like to be gay. I know what it is like first hand. That’s why I am suggesting that we should tone down the rhetoric that allows you to say the things you said in this post. It is simply untrue that all, or even most, of those who have difficulties with the full acceptance of gays also “show no remorse… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford’s posts above contain a lot of biblical wisdom – it deserves to be read carefully and with respect. Ford is right, we can all repent of various sins.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“biblical wisdom “ Neither chapter nor verse, and honestly, I wouldn’t be able to find a passage. It really makes me nervous to have you agree with me. A little question, did you read either post as though it were written to you? I can assure you they were, as much as to Cheryl and Erika. If you think what I said was so Biblical, do you think you might give some thought to following it? I doubt it, I’ve been saying exactly the same thing to you for a year. How is it I can say something to you… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

I knew you would not like me agreeing with you, Sir! Sure, I read it as directed to me. I take on board your challenges since they are biblical. You are not Merseymike just calling for the church to adopt the policies of our socialist government here in England…. Our discussions in the last year, Ford, have not been based on me proclaiming the holiness of what you call the “Right”…. but I do proclaim the holiness of the scriptures and so I want the CofE to stick to Lambeth 1.10 and not condone (tacitly or explicitly) behaviour “incompatible with… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“the question is, what is God’s will for us personally and corporately?”

That is, indeed, the question. The problem is you seem to think you know it. The rest of us are humble enough to realize that, at best, we guess at it.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the issue is the authority of scripture.” No. The issue is the credibility of people who demand rigid adherence from others to a legal code that they do not follow themselves and that their religion claims to be a Divinely granted and perfect replacement for. That is the issue. God knows I’m far astray from the Gospel, but why follow someone who’s as far from it as I am? THAT is the issue. Those who most loudly trumpet the absolute authority of Scripture do not submit to that authority in any place where it disagrees with their particular world view,… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Sorry, Ford – that does not work. So, others are sinners and even if they state a biblical position, you do not have to follow it because they are sinners? Nobody is asking anyone to obey anyone else. The call is to obey scripture. Some of us are calling for Anglicans, and especially clergy, to respect the agreed positions of their own church….too much too ask? The issue is whether Lambeth 1.10 is right on certain behaviour being “incompatible with scripture”. If it is wrong, let’s ditch it. If it is right, let us honour the sriptures (“clobber verses”?) it… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, Of course it doesn’t work for you! you can’t tolerate the idea that the people you have put your faith in don’t deserve that faith. That’s your problem, not mine. If you see holiness in unChristian behaviour, how can I convince you otherwise? The call to obey Scripture is just as much to those you idolize as it is to the Evil Hell Bound Liberals. As long as you and yours do not answer that call, you have no business demanding it of others. We’re not talking about perfection here, were are talking about people recognizing their own failings… Read more »