ENS has a report on what the Presiding Bishop said to the Canadian General Synod.
See Marites N. Sison Presiding bishop describes Canterbury’s sanctions as ‘unfortunate’
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has described the decision by Lambeth Palace to remove Episcopalians serving on international ecumenical dialogues as “unfortunate … It misrepresents who the Anglican Communion is…”
A partial transcript of the press conference is available at the Anglican Essentials website, see Press conference with TEC Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori. Some excerpts:
Q: On the sanction imposed by the ABC on TEC for the ecumenism committee, the argument was that because of what has happened TEC doesn’t represent the faith and order of the communion. Is that fair? Secondly, how is it going to effect the work of TEC since you have a very strong interest in ecumenism?
KJS: Certainly our bilateral conversations will continue. I think it’s very unfortunate because it misrepresents who the Anglican communion is: we have a variety of opinions on these issues of human sexuality. People act as though one resolution from the 1998 Lambeth conference decided this for all time. If you look at the history of the Lambeth conference, they have gone back and forth: one in the 20s said that contraception was inappropriate and the next one said, yes it was appropriate and by the time you got 2 or 3 further down the road, it was the duty of families to plan. So our understanding about ethical issues evolves as it needs to, because our context evolves. For the Anglican communion to say to the Methodists or the Lutherans that we only have one position is inaccurate. We have a variety of understandings and, no we don’t have consensus on the hot-button issues of the moment.
Q: Has the ABC responded adequately to cross border interventions?
KJS: I don’t think he understands how difficult, painful and destructive it’s been, both in the ACoC and TEC. When bishops come from overseas and say, well, we’ll take care of you, you don’t have to pay attention to your bishop, it destroys pastoral relationships. It’s like an affair in a marriage: it destroys trust and I believe it does spiritual violence to vowed relationships. It is a very ancient teaching of the church that a bishop is supposed to stay home and tend to the flock to which he was originally assigned.
Q: you mentioned in your Pentecost letter – from the duelling Pentecost letters – “we note the troubling push towards centralised authority “ in response to Rowan Williams. Is not the resistance to cross-border interventions a similar push towards central authority on a smaller scale?
KJS: The resistance to cross-border interventions is for the reasons I’ve pointed out: it destroys pastoral relationships. It prevents any possibility of reconciliation; it prevents growth in understanding among people who disagree. The idea that one person in one location in the world can adequately understand contexts across the globe and decide policy across the globe, I think contravenes traditional Anglican understanding of local worship in a language understood by the people. This is what we were arguing about 500 years ago.