Thinking Anglicans

Los Angeles and the Archbishop: more articles

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Archbishop of Canterbury calls on Americans to block lesbian bishop’s appointment

Telegraph Tom Leonard Archbishop of Canterbury concerned over lesbian US bishop

Press Association Rethink urged on gay bishop role

Ekklesia Williams questions lesbian bishop’s appointment – but stays silent on Uganda

And at Cif belief Andrew Brown in a piece mainly concerned with Uganda, titled Rowan Williams’ choice concludes with these paragraphs:

What makes his difficulty darkly comic rather than tragic is the speed with which he has reacted to the election of a lesbian assistant bishop in Los Angeles. A statement came out of his office less than 12 hours later urging the Americans not to proceed.

Consider the case of two Anglicans of the same gender who love one another. If they are in the USA, the Anglican church will marry them and may elect one of them to office. If they are in Uganda, the Anglican church will have try to have them jailed for life, and ensure that any priest who did not report them to the authorities within 24 hours would be jailed for three years; anyone who spoke out in their defence might be jailed for seven.

Under Williams, the church that marries two women who love each other is to be thrown out of the Anglican Communion. The church that would jail them both for life, and would revile and persecute their defenders, stays snugly in his bosom. Not even the Archbishop’s remarkable gift for obfuscation can conceal these facts forever.

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John B. Chilton
11 years ago

We yanks are sensitive to the use of the word “appointed” in the context of bishops. Our bishops are elected by a representative convention of their diocese subject to a canonical consent process which entails review by every diocese in The Episcopal Church USA. Appointed makes it sound like they were chosen by the Presiding Bishop or something. That’s not our process.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
11 years ago

One more time – one more time – in TEC we ELECT our bishops. Nobody ‘appoints’ them. Isn’t that clear YET? You Brits appoint bishops and archbishops, and what a sorry lot you’ve got at the top.

Rob Leduc
Rob Leduc
11 years ago

So Lambeth Palace tells us they cannot openly criticize the Ugandan church for fear of creating a backlash, but instead is working quietly behind the scenes.

Did they not think reactions might be the same in the U.S.?

ordinary vicar
ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Dear Cynthia and John I understand that you’re proud of your electoral system, but my reading of it is that you do not *simply* elect Bishops; rather there is an appointments process of which election is the main part. Am I right that once a candidate emerges from a successful ballot, the election then has to be confirmed by those – is it other bishops – whose duty it is to exercise their own judgement? This process is not merely symbolic, as it is in the Church of England – they have power which can, in practice, be exercised. I… Read more »

toby forward
11 years ago

In Ugandan terms, Mary Glasspool and TEC have been found guilty of ‘aggravated Christanity’. Shocking!

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.” – Press Assoc.- Nothing could be clearer than the last sentence of this paragraph from the Press Association Report. If TEC goes ahead with the appointment, it will be making an unambiguous statement to the Church and the World – that women and gays are made in the same Image and Likeness of the God we worship as Anglicans. TEC’s action will vitally affect the world’s view… Read more »

Fr John E. Harris-White
Fr John E. Harris-White
11 years ago

Respect for the American Episcopal Church, and its decisions is vital for the life of the Christian Church. Respect must also be given to all other partners in the Anglican Communion. Something many of, though not all of the African bishops do not understand or follow. It is very sad therefore to see the ABC following the African brothers. I thought he was to lead the Anglican Communion, a Primate among equals, not follow the Pharisaical Afr ican bretheren. Sad that ABC is so quick to raise his ‘anger’ against our American bretheren , but silent against the Ugandan ‘bretheren’… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Rosemary Hannah
11 years ago

The English appoint bishops. The Scots elect them. English are not the only Brits.

Hugh James
Hugh James
11 years ago

Not all British Bishops are appointed. In the Church in Wales we also elect our Bishops.

Charlotte
Charlotte
11 years ago

To speak further to the “appointed/elected” issue: It has long been my impression that this British error was significant, in that Lambeth Palace and the Church of England were convinced a tiny cabal of radicals had somehow seized control of TEC and were pushing inclusion over the groans of the vast majority of the Episcopal faithful. Thus, a stern word or two from Canterbury might lead to the overthrow of this cabal, which had very little actual support. The Archbishop of York appears to have been stunned to discover the broad-based support full inclusion enjoys in the US Church, when… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
11 years ago

@ ordinary vicar —

You seriously misunderstand our polity. Yes, there is a confirmation process when a bishop is elected. But 99 times out of 100, this process is a formality.

The process may not be a formality in Rev. Glasspool’s case, but that does not change the fact that the bishops very rarely fail to give their consent.

Besides, it is not the bishops who winnow the final candidates down to one bishop-elect. It is the diocesan convention that has the power to choose who the bishop will be.

ordinary vicar
ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Dear Jeremy Yes, I don’t understand your polity, but I think I have understood the process you use to appoint your bishops. If I haven’t, please do let me know. “99 times out of 100” means the process is completed along the lines the election indicated. The 1/100 indicates – in fact proves – that the election bit is not the whole of the process. You may select your bishops by means of an election but it appears that you then appoint them by means of consent of the college of Bishops. If they choose not to intervene, it is… Read more »

Columba Gilliss
Columba Gilliss
11 years ago

In reply to the messge signed ordinary vicar, the consents need to come not only from bishops currently holding jurisdictiction (eg diocesans) but also from the Standing Committees of the various dioceses which are made up of equal numbers of both clergy and laity who have been elected by parish delegates – again clergy and lay. In the past consents were usually understoood as confirmation that the election had been held in accordance with regulations but ever since women began to be nominated at all other issues have been raise. All very confusing but nothing the Holy Spirit cannot use!… Read more »

anthony
anthony
11 years ago

It is improbable that the Episcopal Church is going to unilaterally break communion relations with the Church of England or anyone else. Notwithstanding whispers from the Archbishop of Canterbury that there are “serious questions”, though no one knows what they are, and “important implications” which will remain forever unspecified. For many Episcopalians, the Archbishop dwells quietly in a rose-covered cottage with his wife, never sets foot out of Canterbury, morning’s at seven and all’s right with the world. Those who hope the Episcopalian House of Bishops will raise the flag of a new communion would do better to pull up… Read more »

Lee
Lee
11 years ago

The confirmation process not only goes before bishops but standing committees made up of lay and clergy members, elected at annual convention by their diocese (i.e., 110 standing committees). They have equal say and even if the bishops vote for someone, the majority of standing committees might say ‘no.’ So it is inaccurate to say that bishops are appointed in any sense of the word as much as it is inaccurate to say that the ultimate vote lies in the hands of the bishops. As always, the governance is bi-camaral.

Kevin Montgomery
Kevin Montgomery
11 years ago

I would also add that in TEC, it’s not just the bishops that give consent. A bishop-elect must receive consents from a majority of both bishops exercising jurisdiction AND diocesan Standing Committees (made up of clergy and laity).

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
11 years ago

“the Archbishop dwells quietly in a rose-covered cottage with his wife, never sets foot out of Canterbury” – Anthony

Not so. He’s rarely there these days we’re told.

That’s if you mean one of the priceless palaces in the precincts.

Robert Leduc
Robert Leduc
11 years ago

Appointed vs. elected in the U.S.: Bishops are elected by the diocese and confirmed by bishops and diocesan standing committees – or, if within so many months prior to a General Convention, by General Convention itself, I believe. However, bishops are not appointed in the sense that the House of Bishops has no power to choose a diocesan bishop. They can veto, but they cannot appoint. Only the diocese can put forward a name to the bishops and standing committees for their consent. Likewise, the bishops may consent, but the standing committees may not. So the truth is somewhere in… Read more »

peterpi
peterpi
11 years ago

This Yank says, regardless of whether one considers her appointed or elected, I hope that the ratification process simply looks at whether she is qualified, regardless of her gender and orientation, and if she is qualified, approves her. Does she have the pastoral and other qualities desired in a bishop?
It’s a sad day when Lambeth considers the election of a lesbian far more alarming than the persecution and potential execution of them.
=====
From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity,

Good Lord, deliver us.

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

In my book the tradition was the the Emperor/King chose the person elected by the Church, but 16th century Absolutism appointed. Surely there is a difference to understand?

Barb Lewis
Barb Lewis
11 years ago

I’m a priest who is an Anglican and an Episcopalian. The rhetoric of the ABC concerning the election of Mary Glasspool is downright insulting. It sounds like he is taking the moral high ground in something that is basically none of his business. His own lack of morals is stunning given his silence as a whole group of Ungandan people are murdered. Why doesn’t he take the high ground on this impending genocide in the name of “morals.”

Jerry Hannon
Jerry Hannon
11 years ago

It seems that “ordinary vicar” cannot appreciate the difference between election and appointment, despite very clear statements from several previous posters on why the Episcopal Church selection of bishops is an election system. Let me try: “ordinary vicar,” the bishop-elect is duly elected by the convention of the diocese in question. That election, in turn, may be rejected in the consent process by the bishops nationwide, or by the standing committees nationwide, or both may affirm it, and the election stands. However, those bishops nationwide, and those standing committees nationwide do NOT have the power to appoint anyone to bishop… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

“Those who hope the Episcopalian House of Bishops will raise the flag of a new communion would do better to pull up their socks and mount the barricades themselves.” – anthony, on Monday – No-one here is suggesting, Anthony, that TEC should ‘raise the flag of a new communion’. What has been suggested is that, if TEC is isolated for it’s inclicsive stance on women and gays in ministry, that it might logically form the mast-head of a new Inclusive Anglican Communion, which seeks to bring justice into the current climate of legalism heading our way with the advent of… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Ren Aguila
11 years ago

I understand that the tone of the comments in this site lead to what I will be asking. Would it then be appropriate to suggest that Archbishop Williams can no longer be a valid focus of unity for the reconstituted Anglican Communion, and that therefore a new Archbishop should be elected–this time, according to more transparent and democratic procedures? If so, who would you suggest?

ordinary vicar
ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Dear Jeremy Many thanks for your comments – I think your point that the ratifiers can only ratify or not and cannot instigate a new name is key to this. Although I’d read it, I hadn’t grasped the significance of this point before. I think there are still dangers in referring to the process as it gives an impression that there is no other judgement involved than the will of the electors and that clearly isn’t the case. What, do you think, would be the effect of proposing the removal the rights of veto from the bishops and the diocesan… Read more »

JCF
JCF
11 years ago

In 2000, the Supreme Court of the United States “appointed” the President… …but that hardly means that the U.S., in general, is under an “appointment” system of Presidents. A bishop in TEC is elected every bit as much as the U.S. President is (Presidential: people vote for a President, but actually send that candidate’s *Electors*, to the Electoral College who chooses. In TEC, parishioners vote for representatives to diocesan convention, who vote for a bishop). HTH. *** Andrew Brown’s conclusion reminds me of the US Air Force Sargeant and Vietnam Vet Leonard Matlovich, who in the 1970s was famously discharged… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
11 years ago

Was he ever a focus for Unity? The Druid affair, Jeffrey John, Dromantine, Dar es Salam, Lambeth…

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
11 years ago

VIGILATE !

The Letter to James – verbatim; not a word more not a word less.

Richard Zevnik
Richard Zevnik
11 years ago

The basic structures of the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church were created shortly after the American Revolution, and were written by many of the same persons who wrote the national Constitution and Bill of Rights. The institution of selection of bishops by election by orders of the laity and clergy voting separately in each diocese, subject to the subsequent consent of a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction and the standing committees of each diocese, constituted of equal numbers of lay and clergy member, was intentional, and was intended to reflect the same bicameral principles of democratic government… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
11 years ago

Thanks to ABrown for summing up pretty much exactly how the general global and Anglican publics in western democracies will read RWs grudging handwriting on the walls. I don’t know how many times this sort of glaring contrast will have to happen, before the traditional antigay jig is up; but the dance tune still whangs away painfully. We do live in interesting Anglican times. Just need to get right on with Anglican changing for the better. If you don’t believe in lesbian women bishops, then don’t be one. Global Anglicans have been in common prayer with her since the earliest… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
11 years ago

Ordinary Vicar asked, “What, do you think, would be the effect of proposing the removal the rights of veto from the bishops and the diocesan committees? Who would argue for the status quo, and in what terms?” I have little to add to what Richard Zevnik said. I don’t know the history of the current bishop-election process — that is, whether the procedure has changed over time. But it resembles what Episcopalians in the U.S. are familiar with from their political constitutions. The only way that the sort of proposal you describe would gain traction, at least among the lay… Read more »

ordinary vicar
ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Richard – thank you. How do you understand the consent part of the process? Is it a mechanical ratification – “the election was properly conducted with no irregularities” or is there another quality of judgement required; presumably “Although the election has produced result x, we believe that there are sound reasons for not proceeding” is envisaged at least as a possibility. What quality are the Bishops and the committees intended to look for when they scrutinise the result? Electability? Suitability? Compatibility with the wider needs of TEC? I ask out of genuine curiosity; these things are likely to be the… Read more »

Richard Zevnik
Richard Zevnik
11 years ago

As a recent former member of the standing committee in my diocese, the consent process was not a mechanical process. I will get to that in a moment, because if I provide a bit more canonical background, my comments will make more sense. In order to hold an election for a diocesan or suffragen bishop, a diocese must obtain the consents of a majority of the standing committees in the church to conduct the election. In my experience, this is the only stage that is essentially automatic. The diocese in question then conducts their search, chooses the candidates, and holds… Read more »

Richard Zevnik
Richard Zevnik
11 years ago

I meant to include in my last post that the Constitution and Canons of TEC are published and available at Amazon.com. The current edition reflects the canons as they exist following our General Convention in 2006. To the extent there were any changes to the canons at General Convention 2009, a revised edition has not yet been published, to my knowledge. The current edition is paperbound, and includes a CD with the text. I haven’t used the CD. I assume it’s MS Word. Also, the constitution and canons of my diocese, the Diocese of Los Angeles, are available for download… Read more »

Ordinary vicar
Ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Richard – many thanks; very helpful again. Can you shed any light on the things that the committees bear in mind when consent vote comes? This for me is the crux, given that the power exists to set aside the result of the election.

thanks for your time

OV

Richard Zevnik
Richard Zevnik
11 years ago

I can’t be specific as to particular cases. For reasons you may understand, in order to facilitate consideration of the issues that came before us, and to facilitate frank discussion of issues between us and the bishop, and amongst ourselves, we regard what is said in our meetings as privileged. Our minutes reflect the issues we discussed, and/or actions we took or declined to take, but not the substance of our discussions. When it came to consents, if the selection and election process in the diocese in question was within the canons, our approach was that a diocese should have… Read more »

ordinary vicar
ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Richard – many thanks. This is fascinating stuff and indicates that the election system is more complex than one completed by a democratic choosing of candidates. It’s interesting that even when you have concluded that an election was properly conducted, there’s still a job to be done in weighing up the qualities of a candidate – either to ensure there is no disqualifying factor or, in your words, to ensure that you haven’t produced a candidate intent on defying the polity, disciplines and canons of the church. We do understand things differently here – perhaps wrongly. It does give me… Read more »

Richard Zevnik
Richard Zevnik
11 years ago

OV: throughout the course of the history of TEC, the prophetic voice has sometimes come through the House of Bishops, and sometimes through the House of Deputies, and sometimes from the grassroots through the Standing Committees and other bodies, such as the Diocesan Conventions themselves, which is the body that elects bishops for each Diocese. One thing that I didn’t say, and you may or may not have known or assumed, the delegates to each Diocesan Convention are the clergy of the diocese, and lay members from each congregation elected from their respective congregations. The number of lay delegates from… Read more »

john holding
john holding
11 years ago

Ordinary Vicar — you need to know that the US system is by no means the only, or even a typical, way in which Anglican churches elect their bishops or handle the approval process. Australia, Canada and New Zealand, for example, use different systems all different, sometimes radically, from that in the US. If one turns to Nigeria or Uganda, one sees a different system of election again — in their cases, bishops are elected by the existing House of Bishops. If you are looking for a model, by no means should you look only at TEC (which I do… Read more »

Ordinary vicar
Ordinary vicar
11 years ago

Thanks both – I am indeed looking at other systems. My particular curiosity with TEC stems partly from the difference and partly from the instinctive defence of the system which seemed worth exploring.

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