Thinking Anglicans

Jefferts Schori writes to Venables

Updated Wednesday evening

ENS reports Fort Worth visit an ‘unwarranted invasion,’ Presiding Bishop tells Southern Cone primate:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has advised Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Gregory J. Venables in an April 29 letter that his planned May 2-3 visit to address a special convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth “with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province.”

The ENS report contains the full text of her letter. It also goes on to report on the formation of Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians. You can read more about that body at this post by Katie Sherrod at Desert’s Child.

Wednesday evening update

The Bishop of Fort Worth has published a letter written in response to the Presiding Bishop’s letter. It is contained in this PDF file or there is an html copy here. He also wrote a blog comment about the letter which is reproduced here.

Following up on the report above concerning Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, there is this report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Episcopal group against Fort Worth diocese’s secession which includes this paragraph:

Fort Worth Diocese Bishop Jack Iker said in a statement Tuesday that the steering committee is “a self-selected vigilante group whose only stated purpose is ‘to remain in The Episcopal Church’ no matter what — and regardless of what TEC believes or practices. They espouse a blind institutional loyalty that borders on institutional idolatry.”

Then, there is this from the Living Church Presiding Bishop in Dallas: “Have You Been Watching San Joaquin?” which includes the following:

Clergy and laity from the Diocese of Fort Worth comprised a little less than half of those attending the reception. Their questions dominated, with some pleading with the Presiding Bishop for “help to get us out of the wilderness we now find ourselves in.” Fort Worth is one of several dioceses that are likely to consider leaving The Episcopal Church when their conventions are held this fall.

Bishop Jefferts Schori assured her questioners that a plan similar to the one employed in San Joaquin has already been prepared. When the Fort Worth delegation declared that they have been forgotten in this battle, the Presiding Bishop replied, “Have you been watching San Joaquin? They were not forgotten and now show dynamic signs of new life. You will not be forgotten, either.”

Throughout much of the question-and-answer session retired Bishop Sam B. Hulsey of Northwest Texas stood in the back of the parish hall. Last January Bishop Hulsey held an organizational meeting for clergy from the Diocese of Fort Worth, offering continuing care to those who wish to remain with The Episcopal Church, an action to which Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth objected. Since then Bishop Hulsey has visited a handful of Fort Worth congregations.

See also Katie Sherrod’s blog comments here.

Meanwhile, Mark Harris reports in detail on The Plans of Fort Worth as revealed in the documents he has made available here, which comprise a draft of “The Fort Worth Plan” and of an associated “Canon 41”.

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Pluralist
Guest

Gregory Venables has so far annoyed Anglican Churches in the United States, Canada and Brazil. Perhaps he should be receiving a letter asking him to consider whether he ought to be going to the Lambeth Conference.

revLois Keen
Guest

That’s Our Katharine: the right woman at the right time in history. Can’t be fun for her, having to keep after these folk, but whenever I get riled up about Venables et co. I think of how calm and centered she is. God bless her.
Lois

Kahu Aloha
Guest

Two related news items: 1. The Presiding Bishop of TEC writes Presiding Bishop Venables of the Southern Cone to tell him his upcoming visit to a special convocation of the Diocese of Fort Worth is unwelcome meddling in the internal polity of TEC and harmful to this Church. A copy is sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury. 2. The same evening it is revealed that Rowan Williams has sent Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire an email telling him he does not have permission to celebrate or preach in England during Lambeth. I think the poor Archishop of Canterbury is about… Read more »

David Green
Guest

M’kay, Massa Venables!!

What’eva you say, Massa Venables!!

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“I think the poor Archishop of Canterbury is about to be hoist on his own petard. Bishop Robinson will undoubtedly respect Church tradition and the authority of the Archbishop. Most likely, Bishops Iker and Venables will continue with their planned visit as Venables has already done in Canada.”

The Incredible Shrinking ABC strikes again. If he’d had Neville Chamberlain’s [sp?] job, you guys across Das Pond would all be be sprechen zie Deuche [all of which I have likely spelled abominably – it’s been a long time since I took a quickie summer course called “German for Graduate Students”]

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Conscientious believer changes at institutional levels, let alone global ones, mainly occur slowly. Bravo to Jefferts Schori for modeling one good way to try to balance calm, pastoral leadership, and juridical matters – none of which makes church life sense without the others. The same Presiding Bishop who reaches out to Iker is the same one who must file in court if Iker follows through on his stated plans to steal, in God’s name. I suspect that the reason Canterbury has not yet disinvited the vagabonding incursion bishops from Lambeth is that they have not yet, so far – but… Read more »

christopher+
Guest
christopher+

To be fair, we have yet to see/hear whether Archbishop Williams has sent similar emails to others who, in his view, ostensibly violate the spirit of the Windsor Process through their acts of ministry. If not, then apparently being a gay and partnered bishop (openly, that is) is somehow much worse in Williams’ view – more uniquely controversial – than, for example, blatantly ignoring diocesan and provincial boundaries and attempting to steal other provinces’ properties. Archbishop Williams and his advisors might see their targeting of Bishop Robinson as sound “Realpolitik” for today’s Anglican Communion, but, in reality, it is mere… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

It is interesting, people here will speak up for freedom of action in the case of people like B Ingham in N Westminster.

He ignored for years the standards and the call of the ACC, to go his own way, that is all wonderful! Then someone like Iker in his own diocese invites someone from the wider Anglican Church to come and speak (with no call to action contrary to Anglican standards!) and there is an uproar. The irony here should not be missed!

Ben W

Branford
Guest
Branford

My understanding is that +KJS has no say over who +Iker invites into his diocese. He has invited +Venables so +Venables is welcome. +KJS cannot determine who other bishops can or cannot invite into their own dioceses.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“He ignored for years the standards and the call of the ACC, to go his own way, that is all wonderful!” Speak the truth, Ben, he most certainly did not. His diocese voted three times to approve same sex blessings, each time with a solid majority of support. He refused to act on the first two votes. The third vote was over two thirds in favour. You might argue he should have refused consent then as well, I wouldn’t argue against you, but it simply isn’t true to say that he “ignored for years the standards and the call of… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“No say”, Branford?

He’s a primate entering the territory of *another primate*, unannounced. While canons may not speak directly to this matter, can we not count simple precedent? Much less, etiquette?

robroy
Guest
robroy

Bp Iker has written a letter back. Ouch. It says, exactly as Branford states, Katherine Jefferts Schori is assuming authority that she simply does not have. The letter may be found http://tinyurl.com/5un895

Branford
Guest
Branford

That’s right, JCF, she has no say. The presiding bishop position is not that of pope or above any other bishop. She is first among equals in the American Episcopal Church. She is not above Bishop Iker or any other Episcopal bishop in terms of what goes on in their diocese. In fact, I’m sure you know that the presiding bishop cannot go into any diocese without the permission of that diocese’s bishop. And please, don’t even open up the idea of “etiquette” – after the actions she took against Bishop MacBurney, ignoring his personal pain and Bishop Ackerman’s pleas.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, Take the statement just as I have it:”He ignored for years the standards and the call of the ACC, to go his own way, that is all wonderful!” The fact is the ACC has NEVER approved his action of same-sex blessings. Last year again at the general meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada it was voted down (though some individual bishops have now joined Ingham). Within his diocese Bp Michael Ingham, in 2002 sanctioned a diocesan vote that eventually permitted the blessing of same-sex couples at eight out of 67 parishes. That is hardly the whole diocese “pushing”… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“That is hardly the whole diocese “pushing” him into it!” I’m not sure it’s safe to assume that the only parishes that voted in favour of SSBs are those that want to perform them. I doubt, even if it were permitted, our parish would have an SSB in the forseeable future, but given what I have been hearing in casual “after Mass” coffee conversation, I get the feeling some would support others doing it if they felt called to do so. Not that there’s much chance of that. Despite what the conservative blogosphere has been saying about him, our bishop’s… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Ben, here’s a link to the chronology of this from a Canadian persepctive. Where are the bishops who have joined Ingham?

http://forums.anglicanjournal.com/timelines/ssb/

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, The chronology is helpful. Contrary to how you have stated things here, the national church has been clear (weak as it was), no same-sex blessings are to be sanctioned. It is intersting how you put it: bp Ingham’s “refusals” of same-sex blessings. He was tilling the soil for this long before (he is quite rightly classed with John S Spong). Once adopt the theology and the field is open to all kinds of things (e.g. polygamy is only another option when society is “ready”). Like bp Spence in Niagara he presents himself as someone “holding the line” but “only… Read more »

paul
Guest
paul

You people are out of your minds, ++Venables does not have to listen to what Schori says, she continues to ignore what the bible says about homosexuality, and is loosing souls to sin every time she opens her mouth. ++Venables has acted honorably, to try to save the godly from the sinking ship that is TEC

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“polygamy is only another option when society is “ready”).” You know, I would once have snorted derisively at this, but not now. Such arguments ARE being made in this country, in the context of Shari’a and some Mormons. I had forgotten about Bp. Spence, I apologize (I seem to be doing this a lot today, a good lesson in humility, which I desparately need). That said, I don’t understand how the national Church’s stance contradicts what I said. At the time Ingham was acting, directions from the HoB were thin on the ground. Things are clearer now. As to your… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Ben, you are being disingenuous. The motion was passed by a majority at a New Westminster synod. Not by eight vestries, but by a majority of delegates at the synod. (I don’t know if the vote was conducted in one plenary or two houses.) The bishop witheld his consent. The motion was passed by a majority at another New Westminster synod two years later. Not eight vestries, but a majority of delegates at the synod. The bishop witheld his consent. The motion was passed by a majority at another New Westminster synod two years later. Not eight vestries, but a… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Malcolm, Thank you for more complete information. I am recalling earlier items and stories on this and picked up a recent Vancouver Sun piece for the summary. To Ford: On bp Ingham, I think in light of developments as they unfolded Malcolm has it right, “I have no doubt that Michael Ingham supported this development. Neither do I have any doubt that he would have liked to have given his consent the first time it came up.” I do not recall specific words now but recalling the news stories it was clear what Spence and Ingham were encouraging. In particular… Read more »

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

Just for clarity’s sake, Ben W, no bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada have “joined” Archbishop Ingham. You really need to check the sources who are telling you these things before you repeat them. Actually, given the erros in this case, you have to question the reliability of your sources, and ask whether their errors are accidental or intentional. Three diocesan synods – Montreal, Ottawa and Niagara (twice) – have voted in favour (in each case by a substantial majority in both the houses of clergy and the house of laity). But in no case has the bishop agreed.… Read more »

Bern W
Guest
Bern W

John H, Just to keep things straight it would be helpful if you at least would read closely what I wrote before presenting your edicts from on high. As it is I have no reason to doubt the statement I made earlier, “Within his diocese Bp Michael Ingham, in 2002 sanctioned a diocesan vote that eventually permitted the blessing of same-sex couples at eight out of 67 parishes.” Is it not right as far as it goes? What Malcolm provided was fuller information. That two other Canadian bishops “joined” bp Ingham in moving toward same-sex blessings has been public knowledge… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

It isn’t really accurate to accuse the bishops of Ottawa, Niagara and Montreal of joining Ingham, as though it were bishops driving the bus. The impetus isn’t coming from the bishops, but from the lay and clerical members of synod.

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

Ben — So just what did I say that was wrong? You claimed that two bishoips “joined” Archbishop Ingham. That implies a new step, and it implies something worth talking about. As almost half the House of Bishops voted “with” Archbishop Ingham (that wasn’t actually what the vote was about, but let that pass) — and two who didn’t but would have made it a majority had already indicated their support while Synod was still in session — what’s the news? It still stands that none of the three dioceses whose laity and clergy have voted in favour have bishops… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

John H, I am not clear on all you are saying here. Some things are more than a little strange. Bp Ingham was moving toward and then sanctioned same-sex blessings – that then have proceeded as I understand it – years before there were many for it in the national church. So your statement here does not add up:”It still stands that none of the three dioceses whose laity and clergy have voted in favour have bishops who approved — all three, including Niagara, have reserved their judgement. In none of them is it lawful to consider or perform a… Read more »

parodie
Guest
parodie

Ben – as far as I am aware, in all three dioceses in Canada which have passed these motions (all of which have very similar wording), the motion requests that the bishop consider allowing blessing of marriages between two people of the same sex. Since the motions asks the bishop to _consider_ allowing it, passing the motion (and the bishop assenting to the motion) does not actual change the real situation. The bishops of Montreal and Ottawa (and, I believe, Niagara, but I did not follow their process as closely) have agreed to consider allowing churches whose clergy are amenable… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“You further state: “So a bishop’s opinion is just an opinion.” That is a hoot! On that view, if they are largely irrelevant and ineffectual, why bother with bishops? Not what I have seen.” Because, in both the Canadian and American churches, the Bishop is not the final authority on policy or liturgy or anything else. Synod (in Canada) and convention (in the US) are the final authorities. Try this as an analogy: President Bush can offer any opinion he wishes as to, say, the ability of a man to marry his horse. But unless he can get a majority… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat,

Your main point that the bishop cannot simply act apart from synod or convention has been clear all along. Question is, do they exercise any real leadership. I have said that is what this position is supposed to be about!

Ben W

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ben:

Leadership is more than getting people to do what you want them to. You see, especially in the case of a bishop, I thought he was more a servant than a leader…as much sheep as shepherd. And the shepherd doesn’t get the flock to move by prodding them with sticks…he does it by gentling showing the way to go.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat,

In some ways you are speaking back to me what I have said!

Still, bishops from the NT to the present have been called to be teachers, to lead by example (earlier adamantly denied on this list), to stand for the gospel and so on. Certainly more than those who put their fingers up to test the direction and go with the winds in culture or church!

Ben W

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Arw you possibly thinking of Dr Roswan, Archbishop Akinola or Bishop Duncan?

Or is this just an abstraction?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Still, bishops from the NT to the present have been called to be teachers, to lead by example (earlier adamantly denied on this list), to stand for the gospel and so on.” And what is the example of +Akinola, Minns, Harvey, et al? Does a bishop set a good example when he claims that those he disagrees with are “a cancer on the Body of Christ”, or falsely claims that pagans have taken over the Church, or that those who disagree with him believe nothing? This has been my point for a very long time: those who lead the conservatives… Read more »