Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON plans an Australian diocese

The Church Times carried this report by Muriel Porter on 23 July: Conservative Evangelicals plan new diocese in Australia

THE conservative Evangelical group GAFCON Australia has formulated plans for the creation of a diocese for “Anglicans who will be forced to leave the Anglican Church of Australia“, according to a media statement…

Here is the full press release from GAFCON Australia: GAFCON Australia backs plan to form non-geographic diocese for Australian Anglicans

Then on 30 July, there was a further report by Muriel Porter: GAFCON ark too early, Australian Primate observes

..Archbishop Smith criticised the board of GAFCON for not showing restraint until the Australian Church had had an opportunity to discuss the Appellate Tribunal’s decision. Instead, GAFCON’s decision was “ramping up the tensions among us”, he said. GAFCON’s move, he continued, was in contrast to the “very significant restraint . . . shown by people who might want to see movement toward the blessing of same-sex couples”.

Despite the forecasts, there had not been a “flood” of blessings of same-sex unions after the tribunal decision, he said, “Not a flood, not a trickle, not a drip”; so “faithful, orthodox Anglicans can continue with confidence as members of the Anglican Church of Australia. To suggest or insinuate otherwise is to not speak the truth.”

The  letter from the Australian Primate Archbishop Geoffrey Smith mentioned in that report can be read in full over here.

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Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Anyone can leave an organisational structure if they decide to. What they can’t do (or shouldn’t) is impose their ‘conscience’ on other people’s ‘conscience’. That’s a lesson for the Church of England too. At present the ‘conscience’ of one part of the Church of England is being imposed on the many people who in their own good conscience want to affirm gay and lesbian sexual relationships (which are entirely legal in England and supported by the majority of people both inside and outside the Church of England). That domination of conscience is wrong. To dominate conscience in the other direction… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Acknowledging it is impossible to agree nationally, why should it prove any easier to agree locally? What is to stop priests or PCCs or church communities (sometimes very unrepresentative of the population) forcing their consciences on their parishes? If a PCC and priest agree, for example, that SSM should be banned at that church, how is that any less a case of them trying to dominate others, than if it is done nationally? It will be even more divisive and acrimonious, since the protagonists will be people one knows. Isn’t what you are advocating just freedom of the clergy to… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

I guess we live in a democracy and the majority of a church community can choose its PCC. There will still be differences of view within a congregation, I agree, but in the end it’s a bit like saying, ‘How can it be right to vote for an MP when some people want the other party?’ I think there is a difference between saying to a whole national Church ‘We impose our dominant view on everyone, or you can leave’ and a local church deciding ‘We will accommodate a certain view in our own local church, while respecting the right… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Susannah, I am sorry but I do not have a better suggestion. I just fear that requiring local communities to engage in matters of controversy is dangerous. But also, will it help? Will those who oppose the Church endorsing SSM (I mean same sex marriage) be mollified provided it doesn’t happen in their building? I don’t see that as being the case. Voting rights on PCCs are very undemocratic. Any baptised person can vote if they live in the parish.The overwhelming majority of people are either baptised or not baptised solely because of who their parents were. Is that domocratic?… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

Thank you for your very interesting reflections. “Will those who oppose the Church endorsing SSM (I mean same sex marriage) be mollified provided it doesn’t happen in their building? I don’t see that as being the case.” I agree that this may well be how some people feel. But effectively that’s saying ‘Everyone HAS to do things the way we believe’ and if people take that position, I think at that point the Church should say ‘We’re respecting your right to your views on gay sex, kindly afford other people theirs’… and if further protest… sadly, then ‘Tough’. In what… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Most opposite sex couples already have the right to marry in their parish churches.Their religion, if any, is immaterial. Parliament could simply extend that right to same sex couples. Civil registrars, and individual ministers in private denominations, can refuse to officiate at same sex marriages. C of E priests, church organists etc could be treated the same. Nobody need be involved that does not choose to be. The vicar can spend the afternoon doing something else or, if (s)he must, standing outside with a placard. Since marriage rights in parish churches do not depend on religious belief or affiliation, I… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

This is a very interesting proposal. So what you are suggesting is that a campaign should aim to persuade MPs to vote to give gay and lesbian couples the same right of marriage in their parish churches as heterosexual couples already have. Because… discrimination. I suspect it would be quite a challenge to get a majority of MPs to interfere that far and overrule the Church on the religious use of its own property, but with media backing, it might come off. Better still if half the church also called for it – in large numbers – because of the… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  T Pott
1 month ago

By SSM, do you mean Self Supported Ministry or Same Sex Marriage?

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

Sorry Janet. I meant Same Sex Marriage, but I do agree that abbreviations are unhelpful.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 month ago

Wouldn’t the Diocese of Sydney function as the overseer of this grouping? I think I’m right in saying that the whole diocese almost without exception is conservative evangelical.

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

You are right, of course, Fr. Dean. The dominating factor in the Diocese of Sydney is Moore Theological College, where most of Sydney’s clergy are trained. (This was the alma mater of the former GAFCON-Chair, Archbishop Peter Jensen). There are one or two oases in the desert of Sydney’s rampant fundamentalist churches, however. Thank God for 2 of them: Christchurch Saint Laurence; and St. James, King Street; where the Daily Eucharist is part of their culural and spiritual witness in the City to “The great love of God as revealed in The Son”

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

The Calvinist Diocese of Sydney bears only a passing resemblance to Anglicanism. Even the Cathedral had its altar removed in favour of a large screen for the projected songs. It is a great cause for rejoicing if they remove themselves from the Anglican Communion to join the schismatics. Already, Sydney has a malign influence beyond diocesan borders. Sydney is a vibrant, gay-friendly city renowned for its Pride Celebrations. To have a toxic ‘Anglican’ Diocese within it is a terrible irony.

Last edited 1 month ago by FrDavid H
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 month ago

Part of my 2011 sabbatical was visiting this strangest of dioceses. Lay presidency was rife. Clergy were only ordained priest when they became a Rector and remained just in deacon’s orders for as long as they were an assistant cleric. As you say David the contrast between a wonderfully inclusive city and the misogynistic and homophobic ‘Anglican’ diocese was very stark. I seem to remember one Jensen brother was the Archbishop and the other the Dean. The Dean of another large Australian city shuddered when I told him I was meeting clergy in Sydney. Bonkers doesn’t really come close to… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

As anti-female as DioSydney is, I’ve heard former Archbishop Jensen say that he sees no reason why women can’t preside at Holy Communion. He means female deacons and laywomen, of course. As you say, lay administration is everywhere. Jensen reasons that if a woman can preach, she can preside at Holy Communion. It seems to me that bishop, priest, and deacon are merely CEO, manager, and staff.

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 month ago

No, this is an exaggeration. There are some Anglo-Catholics but more than when I was a boy (I am 85). And, without checking, I think there may be perhaps 15 or 20 moderate or central church or liberal evangelical parish clergy and of course there are Anglo-Catholics and moderates (such as myself) among the retired. In 1950, probably almost a third of the clergy were still moderate. But one would have to say that the Diocese has become more radically neo-puritan if that is the best term in the last 20 years. I could write at length of how far… Read more »

Brian Ralph
Brian Ralph
Reply to  John Bunyan
1 month ago

For once I must agree with John Bunyan. I (now 77) grew up in Sydney Parishes in the 1950’s and 60’s. I was a leader in the Evangelical Union at Sydney University. As Sunday School Teacher and Youth Fellowship leader, I spent much of my Sunday at church but only received Communion on the 4th Sunday of the month when it replaced Evening Prayer. My Evangelical Rector told me that he wanted me to attend 8am Holy Communion more often. How things have changed. For a time I attended a church further away because the Rector was a notable Evangelical… Read more »

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Brian Ralph
1 month ago

I was pleased to read the positive reference to Archbishops Loane and Robinson in Brian Ralph’s comments. I met them both, but in each case the connection went just a little deeper. In my first job in Sydney I had a colleague who was related to Marcus Loane, and I knew Donald Robinson’s daughter Anne through a student residential college. I happened to be back in Sydney on a sabbatical at the University of NSW (where I was once a senior lecturer) when Donald Robinson died in 2018 and went along to the funeral at St Andrew’s Cathedral. It was… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

As I have reported elsewhere on T.A., this latest move by the GAFCON-Australia contingent, led by Bishop Condie (Tasmania, Australia) is a natural follow-up to his presence in my diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand late in 2019 to assist in the consecration of the first GAFCON-related ‘bishop’ as a move towards the raising up of a rival faux-Anglican diocese, in competition with the Anglican Church here (ACANZP). Present at this inauguration were the Big Guns of GAFCON from Africa and other places around the globe (including Sydney) where GAFCON has infiltrated the local Anglican Churches with their conservative, self-styled ‘orthodox… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Many thanks, Fr. Ron. I am interested in your use of the word ‘illicit’ with reference to the intervention of Foley Beach. My understanding is the Anglican Church was disestablished in NZ in 1857 during the time of the Stafford ministry and became a purely voluntary association. Unlike, say, the disestablishment of the Church in NSW in 1836 (the Plunkett Act), I understand that the severance of formal connections between church and state was largely on the motion of New Zealand Anglicans themselves. Although I note that the parliament has since then passed legislation regulating the internal affairs of the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

I think the only fights there might be, here in N.Z. at least between FCANZ (Gafcon) and ACANZP may be if the schismatic body tries to enforce property rights. The new Church has only a few followers with clergy, so they are unlikely to actually usurp the parent body. The Australian Anglicans in Sydney are Australia’s wealthiest, with Moore College and the diocese being heirs to the benevolence of their Calvinist founders. Sydney is also (like Perth) an archdiocese, but with much larger numbers. As you say, the huge irony is that Sydney has the largest LGBT+friendly population in Australia.… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Just a question. Was Thomas Cranmer a ‘Calvinist’ — he brought Martin Bucer from Alsace to lecture on Ephesians, while he chose Matthew. (Also, so his wife and Bucer’s could speak German to each other…). Bucer had an obvious influence on the BCP.

Hooker speaks highly of Calvin in his dedicatory preface to the Laws.

Fr Rob Hall
Fr Rob Hall
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

I think it is beyond doubt that Cranmer was strongly influenced by Calvinism in the latter part of the reign of Edward and that Calvinist influence is discernible in the 1552 Prayer Book, not least in the eucharistic prayer and words of administration of the Sacrament. I think too that there were many Calvinist clergy in the Elizabethan and Jacobean Church of England, one part of the friction which came with the ascendancy of Archbishop Laud. I assume many Calvinist clergy finally left (or were ejected from) the Church of England after the restoration of the monarchy. I say this… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Fr Rob Hall
1 month ago

They were indeed ejected and deprived, as per Edmund Calamy: https://archive.org/details/nonconformistsme02cala. The best modern edition is by A. G. Matthews (1934, and republished by OUP in 1988), who also revised John Walker’s tome on deprived royalist ministers during the Commonwealth and Protectorate (1948, and also republished in 1988). Both books are now out of print and are rare. However Matthews’ introduction to Calamy can be found here: https://archive.org/search.php?query=calamy%20revised. Matthews (1881-1962) was a distinguished Congregationalist minister at Tettenhall Wood, Staffordshire, and then Oxted, Surrey (Daniel Jenkins, father of Sir Simon, was a successor at Oxted). Matthews left Tettenhall because his brother,… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Fr Rob Hall
1 month ago

Calvinism lingered post 1662 but was not dominant. The High Church Party strengthened especially under Anne. Moderate Calvinism was the theology of the Anglican side of the Evangelical Revival with a few hypers like Toplady. The Evangelicals grew in strength in the early 19c (Clapham Sect et Al) and with the Oxford Movement from the mid 30s and the Broad Church the scene was set by mid century for the three cornered “fight” which has characterised in one way or another the C of E down to today.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

Thank you for historical accuracy in the CofE.

I doubt that much goes under the label of ‘Fresh Expressions’ or latterly ‘Myriad’ is remotely ‘Calvinist.’

I would not label Calvin ‘evangelical’ by today’s lights, not in NA and certainly not in England.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Fr Rob Hall
1 month ago

Calvin was typically highly regarded by especially English Reformed Protestants. (We know he and Luther had their disputes). The first 8 pages of Hooker’s Laws centered on Calvin and the struggles in Geneva. For Hooker, Calvin is the wisest of the Reformed and a model to be followed in the struggles for a polity Reformed and Catholic in England. The object lesson = ‘the men of Geneva’ who opposed him. These resemble the ‘puritans’ Hooker opposes. One cannot read these pages without seeing the high regard Hooker has for Calvin. Both men were attracted to ‘order’ and ‘law.’ Opening lines:… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

Though as MacCulloch notes of the preface Hooker was cleverly using Calvin to shape his anti Puritan polemical purpose. No doubt he admired Calvin but in many ways he was his own man.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

To be sure. I did not say he was not his own man. He basically sees in Calvin a wise administrator and theologian/exegete. He accepts the argument for governance by elders as scriptural but also does not believe Calvin had to go that route. The chapter is high in praise, it is not in the least disingenuous, but Hooker is also clearly glad he does not have to fight the same battle with the same weapons. My main point was that throwing around terms like ‘Calvinist’ in a scorning manner misreads essential roots of reformed and catholic Christianity as it… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by CR SEITZ
Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

Cranmer was mostly influenced by Bucer and Peter Martyr and is best described as Reformed. Under Edward the Protestant influence had swung in a Swiss direction and such Lutheran influence as there was,was in decline. The influence of Calvin becomes more pronounced post 1559.By the 1580s historians talk of a Calvinist consensus evident most notably by the official delegation at the Synod of Dort. But in the 90s a reaction had begun to set in with people like Lancelot Andrewes, and academics like Baro and Corro. Hooker needs to be seen in this context, pushing in some areas against the… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

Many thanks. The consensus amongst Dudley Carleton’s delegation at Dort was not uniform: the ‘ever-memorable’ John Hales of Eton was amongst them, and he remarked of the synod that ‘there, I bid John Calvin good-night’ (sig. A4v of the ‘Golden Remains’ (1659)). Interestingly, he kept a portrait of Hugo Grotius in his study: Grotius’ endorsement of Arminianism at the synod was a contributory factor in his arrest and imprisonment at Loevestein, from which he famously escaped in a box of books (he was at risk of being beheaded like the grand pensionary Oldenbarnevelt). Hales worked closely with Henry Savile (his… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Froghole
CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 month ago

I supervised a PhD dissertation on Bucer when I was at St Andrews. What you write strikes me as mostly accurate. Thank you. Calling people ‘calvinist’ isn’t very clarifying. That was my main point. Grace and peace.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Many thanks for that, Fr. Ron. That is most useful and I agree. I think that there might have been a period, as recently under the leaderships of John Howard and Tony Abbott where the Coalition might have felt that the support of the Jensen brothers was useful ballast, but I suspect that is past, even with the current Pentecostalist prime minister, Morrison. The Liberals had long been split on the issue of sexual rights, and it might be argued that John Gorton’s promotion of the decriminalisation of homosexuality might have been a factor in the coup against him led… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Apologies for that. ALP = Australian Labor Party (the spelling is deliberate, and dates from the high point of the spelling reform movement of the Edwardian era). DLP = Democratic Labor Party, which split from the ALP in 1955. There was a massive falling out between Daniel Mannix, RC archbishop of Melbourne and the Victorian branch of the ALP over its attitudes towards communist infiltration. Mannix had exerted massive influence over the ALP in Victoria going back to the conscription crisis in WW1. The split was especially painful for devout RCs who remained ALP loyalists, like Arthur Calwell (who, as… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

The most confusing label of all is the Liberal Party, who are often not especially liberal, and are sometimes called tories. When Menzies founded the Liberal Party in 1944 from the embers of the United Australia Party, he could not call it the ‘conservative party’ because many of his followers in the UAP had been on the left – a notable instance, for example, being the remarkable personality of Billy Hughes, who had been leader of the ALP in 1915-16 (and prime minister in 1915-23), before forming the Nationalist Party with another ALP man and erstwhile prime minister, Joseph Cook,… Read more »

Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

My recollection from many years in Australia is that B.A. Santamaria was known as Bob Santamaria. His obituary in The Independent says that he ‘was known as Bob, but always wrote under the formal name B.A. Santamaria’.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Clifford Jones
1 month ago

Many thanks, but as he spent the overwhelming part of his career as a print journalist (for the Catholic Worker and News Weekly, which he founded, and for The Australian) and as a pamphleteer, he was known for most of the time by his initials. In almost all of the historical literature for the period he is likewise known by his initials. His TV career was patchy for some time, and only blossomed under the patronage of Frank Packer, who gave him a slot on Channel Nine, which was dutifully continued by Kerry after Sir Frank’s sudden death in 1974… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Bravo! I’m always asking people to clarify.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Coo. Confusing. My only knowledge of Aussie politics is Rake on Netflix. I like that version.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

A gritty depiction of Aussie life is found on Home and Away and Neighbours. Thankfully, all the characters are filled with good taste and common sense. They never set foot in Church.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

I understand that RCs outnumber Anglicans in Sydney by two to one. Each denomination is often derided by normal, secular Sydneysiders. It can’t have been easy for RCs to see their former Cardinal sent to prison! ( he was innocent, of course)

C Miley
C Miley
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Interesting discussion and good to see well-informed comment. I’ve read some of the Archbishops’ responses to Bp Condie and gather that anyone who leaves will be handing back any ACA property as well as relinquishing their orders. I’d understood that holding on to the property was a major factor in Sydney etc remaining in the ACA in the past. Can they really be preparing to leave all that behind? And Bp Condie will be resigning as Bishop of Tasmania, presumably? I’d welcome comments on how all that will play out.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

As always, thank you for a clear picture of the reality on the ground. Final sentence is spot-on. I don’t know how much ACNA litigation there has been in the US. Pittsburgh comes to mind (home of Duncan). In Illinois and Texas, litigants were TEC entities not wanting to go where the new TEC was going, or which disputed the polity arguments being put forward via an ‘implied trust’ idea. They were successful in both cases. The SC litigation to this day remains unresolved. It is similar to Illinois and Texas in that the historical/older diocese is the litigant versus… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by CR SEITZ
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

Very many thanks, as ever, Prof. Seitz. Yes, there seems to have been a plethora of litigation. I hadn’t realised until relatively recently that the celebrated SC cases that had been so much in the news a couple of years ago had been replicated across much of the eastern seaboard, and in a good portion of the Mid-West. This must have been collectively very expensive, especially since several of these cases appear to have gone to appeal. This litigation is, I think, is an ominous portent of what might happen in England if existing structures are taken down with a… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Froghole
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

I may be wrong – and my memory may be foxing me – but I had thought (for example) that Fr. Ed Tomlinson had sought to remain at St Barnabas, Tunbridge Wells, when he joined the Ordinariate, and that he was rebuffed by the Rochester diocese, and went to St Anselm’s, Pembury. I thought there had been similar attempts at St Peter’s, Folkestone, but may also be mistaken.

‘Eviction’ is probably the wrong word.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

And St Andrew’s Deal tho the vicar had v little support from the congregation.He has ended up the RC priest up the road in Walmer. Do we know the current size of the Ordinariate? I think the American version has done better but there it could build on some existing Anglican rite parishes that dated from the fall out of women’s ordination. I seem to remember a few years back St Helens Bishopsgate made some noises about leaving with the building. But it seems to have gone quiet. I doubt in the English situation it is at all possible.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

I was aware in the early days of the Ordinariate of discussions in some places about the possibility of Ordinariate groups continuing to meet in their Anglican churches. The C of E refused to countenance the idea, and the Catholic Church made it plain that it would not engage in any struggles over buildings or property. I suspect Froghole is right that some other groups might be willing to have that fight if they were to leave the C of E.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Many thanks for that. I can’t believe that a decade has passed so quickly; your record just goes to show what an invaluable store of information this site is. Here is a post indicating that Fr. Tomlinson did try to retain the use of the building: https://anglicansablaze.blogspot.com/2011/01/ordinariate-watch-anglicans-heading-to.html. I can think of another one or two examples in Kent but have less evidence. Many thanks to Dr Butler for reminding me of St Andrew’s Deal, where I attended a service in 2010: the demographic contrast between that church and St Paul’s nearby was striking.

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

The case in Illinois — old A-C stronghold at Quincy — was not very costly. The Judge was extremely well read on trust law and the case was settled speedily and resolutely. TEC did not contest it. In Texas it was a bit more protracted. Again, the TEC A-C diocese of Forth Worth was litigant. That Diocese won and it is still called the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth! The TEC side had to create a new name and entity. Because the trust decision affected all church bodies using that idea via an ‘implied trust’, it had an immediate effect… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

Many thanks for that, Prof. Seitz. That is useful, and intriguing. In England an implied trust would arise where a court holds that it would be ‘unconscionable’ to deny the beneficial interest of a party, or where the beneficial interest reverts to the settlor. I do not know how trusts operate in the US: modern trust law was not fully formed in England in 1776, and only started to calcify properly under Lord Eldon in the first three decades of the nineteenth century (Eldon, mindful of John Selden’s famous jibe against the chancery court, recorded in the Table-Talk of 1689,… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

State courts in the US handle trusts differently, hence the divergence in ruling. SCOTUS has not yet agreed to review state rulings. When Jones v Wolf led to neutral principles being declared probative in church property cases; and TEC passed the Dennis Canon (‘implied trust’); a Supreme Court justice at the time said it was a nice gesture but would not prove durable. Better, he said, to get all parties to formally agree to something on the order of an irrevocable trust. One side passing a canon and the other side acceding to it would not do the job. What… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

Many thanks, Prof. Seitz! That is fascinating. If I recall, all courts of equity in the US were abolished, either in the 1770s or up until the 1840s, with the conspicuous exception of Delaware. Equity was disfavoured because it apparently gave judges too much discretion, and so was presumed to be a cloak for arbitrary state power. However, I note that in some states – like South Carolina – the courts system has a quasi-distinct equity jurisdiction (https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t14c011.php). In any event, I am interested to note, in view of the variable outcomes to which you have referred, that the ‘chancellor’s… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

For those who find TEC’s direction acceptable, the Dennis Canon ‘gets the job done.’ Only places where there has been resistance to what is viewed as an alteration of diocesan independence (PECUSA’s polity was hammered out in the context of the formation of the United States, with Diocesan canons, discipline, giving, etc.), as well as the direction of TEC more generally (including power being handed over to a General Convention without constitutional change), would there have been resistance. And so that has been what has transpired. In certain states it has also been judged an impossible climb (FL, GA) for… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Another way to state it is, people who like TEC and ‘the Dennis Canon’ simply declare it to be irrevocable. When courts rule otherwise re: accession, they are caught off guard. I should also add: there have been Bishops–not conservative, or Communion Partner–who do not approve of a variety of centralization developments: General Convention, Disciplinary Courts, required giving formulae of differing hue, the PB as ‘metropolitan’ and so on. Jon Bruno of LA was a good example, but he is not alone. +FL is also of this ilk. Your Synod-College of Bishops model reminds me a bit of the TEC… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  CR SEITZ
1 month ago

Very many thanks for these illuminating messages, Prof. Seitz. I understand, from a very brief look, that there was one church in South Carolina, at Waccamaw on Pawleys Island (with the Cedar Grove plantation chapel) which seceded, yet when the Dennis Canon was invoked, the supreme court held that since the church had been established in 1739 – before the foundation of TEC – the Dennis Canon did not apply. That seems very strange, and suggests that all churches, or rather foundations (since the present church of All Saints Waccamaw dates largely from the first half of the nineteenth century)… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

All Saint’s Waccamaw was indeed a landmark case. The key thing to repeat: churches ‘extant prior to 1785’ are generally content to be in TEC and have no motive to leave.

The Dennis Canon was crafted with the hope of heading off this kind of thing, where indeed it was imaginable.

All Saint’s was a large parish, considered the issue, and never acceded, as a parish. Their rector, Chuck Murphy, was one of the men consecrated Bishop at St Andrews Cathedral in Singapore. At the time, this put them at odds with the otherwise conservative Diocese of SC.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Unfortunately, ACNA seems to be involved with a string of claims of misconduct by some of their bishops and other high level clergy. . It was recently announced that Bishop Stewart Ruch III of the Upper Midwest Diocese is taking a leave of absence after admitting he mishandled allegations of sexual abuse by not telling the diocese that a former lay minister had been charged with felony child sexual abuse. . Bishop James Hobby of Pittsburgh resigned in November 2020 for mishandling abuse allegations about a priest in his diocese. . Bishop Ron Jackson of the Great Lakes diocese was… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  dr.primrose
1 month ago

One does wonder what the future of ACNA is, against the backdrop of decline in general. I haven’t followed the abuse stuff, but it does look like some sloppy administration.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  dr.primrose
22 days ago

Unfortunately, yet another ACNA bishop is taking a leave of absence after claims of misconduct — the Rt. Rev. Todd Atkinson. According to an ACNA statement yesterday (Sept. 3): “The expanded scope of the Provincial review has led to the Rt. Rev. Todd Atkinson taking a leave of absence amidst allegations of misconduct. Atkinson leads the Via Apostolica group of churches which recently joined the Anglican Church in North America as an emerging Missionary District. Though geographically located in Canada, the clergy of Via Apostolica are canonically resident in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. Because of this leave of… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

“Despite the forecasts, there had not been a ‘flood’ of blessings of same-sex unions after the tribunal decision, [Archbishop Smith] said, ‘Not a flood, not a trickle, not a drip’” Archbishop Smith sounds like he’s pleased with himself over “no flood, no trickle, no drip” of couples wanting same-sex blessings. No drips, no runs, no error, eh, Archbishop? To echo Susannah Clark, there may be people of conscience who think otherwise. Too many Christian churches or denominations want GLBT people as perpetually penitent pew stuffers (the better to pad the attendance figures) with hands outstretched in supplication — and holding… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by peterpi - Peter Gross
David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
1 month ago

I agree it could read like that – but I think the ABC’s whole intention is to stress to GAFCON how preemptive their action is. And he is right.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

If it is a non-geographic diocese, does that mean it’s not actually going to be in Australia? Most intriguingly, if this single diocese ordains women to the presbyterate that will mean most Sydney Anglican clergy won’t join.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter S
1 month ago

I wonder what the response would be if an Anglican Diocese in Australia began planting churches in Sydney … ?

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Most Australian Anglican congregations are loth to interfere in the lives of people in other parishes/dioceses. It simply is not the way to spread to Gospel (distincly un-Anglican). Schism can only beget schsim! In the U.S.A. ACNA (promoted by GAFCON) has its own rival break away church established under the auspices of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Now one must ask, what good can that do for Christian discipleship? One suspects that, within the bonds of GAFCON there are several rival kingdom-makers. Not a good look. Looking in from afar, one also wonders what will happen with the rival presence… Read more »

CR SEITZ
CR SEITZ
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Just so that the context in the USA is not confused with Australia. There are innumerable Christian bodies in the USA. There may be as many as a dozen claiming to be Anglican. This is not 1960 when TEC was a ‘main line’ denomination, a bit smaller than Presbyterian, Lutheran entities, and half the size of the Methodists. The bald men and combs summed it up well.

The situation in England is different still, given the ‘co-sponsoring’ reality at Myriad. There is nothing like this in the USA. The respective declines are also different and will likely evolve differently.

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Sydney of course has for some time planted “evangelical” churches in other Dioceses and is in communion with them as it is in communion, I think, with the ACNA and the Church of England in South Africa (which I know has some new name.)

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Peter S
1 month ago

Peter, I seriously doubt wether the new (Gafcon) diocese would ever ordain a woman. Remember Sydney is doggedly opposed to such a non-sexist possibility – and most of the gafconising stuff emanates from the Sydney ‘Anglican’ diocese anyway.

Of course, we in New Zealand don’t know how the prospect of ordaining women might occur to our new local Gafcon diocese. This could provide a point of conflict with its Sydney/Gafcon backers.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

It would be interesting to know the male-female ratio in Gafcon leadership and Gafcon membership (if there is such a thing)…

…because I have the feeling (and apologies to all the lovely guys here) that Gafcon is by far mostly dominated by men, and prevailingly, by male ministers/priests.

Tied in with that, possibly a sense of entitlement, and hostility to any threat to that leadership entitlement.

And of course, a dread fear of sexuality becoming more diverse.

I risk sounding sexist, but I think it’s “a man problem”.

Peter S
Peter S
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

Bishop Condie favours the ordination of women, and almost all Moore College staff or Sydney male clergy who become bishops outside of Sydney diocese ordain women (why is an interesting research question). So it is a fractious question. Of course, the problem is that the Australian approach to ordaining women and men is permissive rather than prescriptive (you can if the diocesan synod agrees, but you don’t have to).

John Bunyan
John Bunyan
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
1 month ago

I think a Diocese in Kenya is ordaining Kenya’s first woman bishop!

Richard
Richard
Reply to  John Bunyan
1 month ago

She might be the second for Kenya.

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