March 22, 2017

February 10, 2010


CoE Synod Vote on ACNA: Roundup of Early Reactions (UPDATED)

Matt is not impressed:

It’s difficult to get too excited one way or the other. I, personally speaking, have little desire to remain “within the Anglican family” if it is led by Canterbury and requires assent to the covenant.

Peter Ould, however, is impressed:

There’s no other way to read this motion except that the Synod of the Church of England is fully in line with the desire of ACNA to be part of the Communion, and recognising that this stance has issues has asked the Archbishops to report back next year on how to go about helping the ACNA be part of the Communion. The motion is a firm slap on the hand to TEC’s wish to marginalise ACNA and to have the Church of England treat them as “schismatics”. That approach was squarely dismissed and with it the notion that TEC and the ACoC are the exclusive representation of the Communion in North America.

As is BabyBlue:

The key words here are “recognize” and “affirm” and “remain.” It puts forward a process as the Archbishop of Canterbury requested yesterday and it has a target date for a report for the next steps. This is the most excellent news. It really laid the line where we go from here - the whole thing could have been voted down and that would have been devastating for the ACNA.

UPDATE: The Anglican Church in North America responds:

The Most Rev. Robert Duncan, archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, thanked Mrs. Lorna Ashworth of Chichester for bringing the church to the attention of the General Synod.  “We are very grateful to Mrs. Ashworth and the scores of other friends in the Synod of the Church of England for all they did to give us this opportunity to tell our story to the mother church of the Anglican Communion.  It is very encouraging that the synod recognizes and affirms our desire to remain within the Anglican family.” said Archbishop Duncan.

MORE UPDATES:
Scott Gunn seems not to like it, and while I like Scott personally, I take his dislike of the outcome as a generally good sign:

I’ll have more to say soon about General Synod’s passage of the ACNA motion as amended. My quick somment [sic] is that Synod displayed a shocking lack of awareness of what this would mean in the US. They also seem to live in a cloud of ignorance about what’s coming their way when secessionists move into London.

Still on Patrol says:

My analysis of this starts with the thought that the C of E passed something expressing generally positive sentiments toward ACNA, which has probably infuriated the Presiding Heretic, which by definition is a good thing.  In other words, ACNA’s existence was not rejected out of hand by the mother Church, which is, in a sense, a form of recognition in and of itself, which is the last thing TEO wants.


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177 comments

My initial reaction was one of frustration when Amendment 55 passed - and I share Matt Kennedy’s frustration.  I thought they could have done more.  But then again, this is the CofE that we are talking about, which doesn’t seem to act on things too quickly without thinking about them.  They affirmed their desire to move in a direction, and they seem to want to carefully research the implications.

[1] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 2-10-2010 at 12:26 PM · [top]

I think this resolution helps make the criticism of the “boundary crossing” of international bishops assisting the ACNA moot.

[2] Posted by R. Scott Purdy on 2-10-2010 at 12:28 PM · [top]

I’m with you Fr.Matt.  Its sure beginning to look like some folks have almost created an idol of the ABC, and even the WWAC and are willing to stay in a heretical organization with little concern for the souls of their sheep.

They are trying to make little islands of orthodoxy, in order to keep under the radar of the powers that be.

“I might work for the “mob”, but I don’t do “mob” stuff.

If you say so….........
Grandmother

[3] Posted by Grandmother on 2-10-2010 at 12:28 PM · [top]

wow, Peter and Mary, I think, were watching a different debate. I don’t think there is any possible way of interpreting the motion as passed as an indication that the Synod really wants to acknowledge and accept the ACNA but is held up by technicalities.

There were NO technicalities involved in Ashworth’s original motion. It simply would have expressed a desire, without enacting any substantive changes, to be in Communion, with the ACNA. It was a great motion. But it failed 166 to 230 or something like that. So I do not see how anybody can say the Synod really wants to recognize the ACNA

[4] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-10-2010 at 12:28 PM · [top]

I gave up trying to read the Anglican and Canterbury tea leaves long ago. I think it is more of the same: as we used to say, SS/DD.

[5] Posted by Dan Crawford on 2-10-2010 at 12:30 PM · [top]

I’m with Peter Ould.  Schori and Company aren’t going to like this vote, and you can bet she’s going to do her damnedest to try to torpedo ACNA’s chances.  She needs to be stopped.

[6] Posted by Cennydd on 2-10-2010 at 12:31 PM · [top]

Oh, I agree 815 will not like this…and for that I am happy…but its not a good outcome otherwise.

[7] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-10-2010 at 12:33 PM · [top]

I sometimes can’t believe it’s been nearly a decade since the 2000 General Convention in Denver, almost seven years since Minneapolis, etc. 

The larger the wheel, the more slowly it turns.  But when it does turn, it goes farther.  This can be applied in the trajectory the American church has taken in the last three or four decades.  So it is with these developments.

Let’s continue to focus on the big picture.  God is sovereign.

Lydia

[8] Posted by Lydia Evans on 2-10-2010 at 12:34 PM · [top]

I think you can say this is helpful.  I’m not sure this makes me hopeful.  In the end you still find yourself in communion with TEC as they won’t by kicked-out, they won’t leave (at least not until staying and leaving means the same for them), and they won’t change from their current course.

So what’s new?

[9] Posted by Stephen on 2-10-2010 at 12:37 PM · [top]

Affirm
- say yes to
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

- To agree, verify or concur; to answer positively; To support or encourage
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/affirm

[10] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 2-10-2010 at 12:40 PM · [top]

I’d love to feel good about this motion from the CoE Synod, but can’t.  What passed is so watery that it’s almost like saying “At least the CoE didn’t anathematize the ACNA!”

I would love to be convinced otherwise, but my plain reading of the final motion does not appear to be much of a victory at all.

[11] Posted by billqs on 2-10-2010 at 12:41 PM · [top]

This sounds like more of the usual noncommittal stuff for which TEC and Caterbury are so famous. These people coudn’t take a stand if their lives depended on it. Come to think of it, maybe their lives do depend on it - their eternal lives.

[12] Posted by Nellie on 2-10-2010 at 12:44 PM · [top]

I am so very tired of all the patyhetic attempts to keep the communion together at all costs, and I agree with the poster who said that that is making an idol iof the Anglican communion. It seems to me that unity is mor important than prionciple. I jsut read a disgusting article in The Living Church about some presentation in Dallas involving a conservative Bishop Frey and Schori. Both seemed to avoid making any definitive statements zand giving definitive answers to questions from the audience. Schori waffled on abortion, the Resurrection - the ususal, and Frey let her get away with it. I think the people who believe they ahve the truth and do n othing to defend ti are as bad as, and maybe worse than, those who deny the truth.

[13] Posted by Nellie on 2-10-2010 at 12:50 PM · [top]

Hasn’t the “desire” has been reversed? It started out with Synod desiring to be in communion with ACNA. Now it’s ACNA desiring to be in communion with Synod. It says nothing whatsoever about Synod’s desire other than further study is required. It’s sort of like asking a girl for a date Friday night and being told she acknowledges you want to go out with her but she needs to think about it for a year.

[14] Posted by Bill McGovern on 2-10-2010 at 12:51 PM · [top]

“there is a special place in Hell reserved for those, who, in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality”.
Dante

[15] Posted by no longer NH Episcopalian on 2-10-2010 at 12:54 PM · [top]

Well, yes, Pageantmaster, you have correctly defined “affirm”

But synod merely affirmed our desire…

I remember one of my high school girlfriends warmly “affirming my desire” to “remain” in relationship with her. Then she dumped me.

[16] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-10-2010 at 12:56 PM · [top]

Too bad! This is a typical bureaucratic response: “Refer it to a committee and give us a report in a year”! They do not need a year-long study: the steps needed for the CoE to be in communion with ACNA are already on the books.

[17] Posted by moheba on 2-10-2010 at 12:58 PM · [top]

I think this has to be read from within an English context to understand the implications. I have just been having a conversation with an old friend from Australia who asked me my view of GAFCON. I replied that it mattered to the America-Africa-Asia axis, but as far as England was concerned we were sidelined, watching the action from the bench, and not really regarding it as our ‘fight’.

The fact that the General Synod of the Church of England (a body which has turned politeness into an Olympic sport) can get as far as expressing a declared interest in the ‘fight’, let alone one which is broadly positive, is some kind of progress.

This vote matters less for what it says to the American situation than for what it says to us about our own awareness.

[18] Posted by John Richardson on 2-10-2010 at 01:01 PM · [top]

IS this Son of a gun trying to negotiate with us?  What is this a subtle suggestion that maybe there is an opportunity for all?  What doesn’t this guy get about ACNA not being at a “bargaining table”.  I take this as a personal slap in the face! 

For Nellie:  we call that particular group of people “castratos”!

[19] Posted by lost on 2-10-2010 at 01:03 PM · [top]

Exactly!

[20] Posted by Nellie on 2-10-2010 at 01:07 PM · [top]

To my mind the resolution merely states the obvious. Of course members of ACNA desire to remain Anglicans!  For such a desire to be realized by ACNA becoming an official member of the “family” is complicated. Thus General Synod invites the Archbishops, Canterbury and York, to report back next year.

It is too far to suggest that this resolution indicates an “ecclesial” recognition of ACNA. However GS now formally recognizes the fact that there are three bodies in North America claiming to be the Anglican “presence” therein. Further it notes the aspiration of ACNA to enter into a relationship with the See of Canterbury.  It is hard to see how the Archbishops may advise recognition without either overthrowing the principle of one episcopate in one place or disenfranchising TEC. If TEC regulates itself to some form of second tier relationship, then the matter changes.

[21] Posted by wvparson on 2-10-2010 at 01:07 PM · [top]

I thought the vote on the motion was quite interesting:
309 members of Synod ‘affirmed’ the motion, as against 69 non-affirms and 17 abstentions.

I thought that was a reasonably affirmative result.

[22] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 2-10-2010 at 01:07 PM · [top]

Look carefully at the motion, now passed by the Church of England.  the Church of England recognizes the ACNA. We are not “schismatics.” They call it as it is, as it was show in the courtroom in the Commonwealth of Virginia - we have a division, what bishops at the Church of England Synod today called a schism in the Episcopal Church. They do not close a blind eye, but say it plainly, that the Church of England is “aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America.”

But they do not once name-check The Episcopal Church, but instead calls us all - calls all of us - “Anglican churches of the United States and Canada.”

It is brilliant.  It changes the whole conversation.  We REMAIN Anglicans in the eyes of the Church of England.  God bless them!!

bb

[23] Posted by BabyBlue on 2-10-2010 at 01:11 PM · [top]

Let your Yes be Yes and your Sort of’s be Sort of’s…
More lipstick on the Pig I am afraid.
Intercessor

[24] Posted by Intercessor on 2-10-2010 at 01:11 PM · [top]

Well, I suppose ACNA can affirm their affirmation (hey, back at ya’), TEC can affirm the desires of those decrying the litigation, the communion partners can affirm the covenant, the ABC can apologize profoundly, drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain, la de da de de, la de da de da…

rolleyes

[25] Posted by tired on 2-10-2010 at 01:12 PM · [top]

PS, I think the views of someone like Graham Kings exactly express the problem here, which is that there is “no problem there”. That General Synod was forced (by the weight of signatures on the original motion) even to debate this has made us acknowledge there may actually be a real problem. For most people (in which I include most Anglican churchgoers) in England this is news!

[26] Posted by John Richardson on 2-10-2010 at 01:12 PM · [top]

I also agree with Pageantmaster about “affirm.” And I take “affirm” to be indicative of the Synod’s overall mood. That is, the Synod is positively encouraging ACNA to strive to be in communion with the CofE. It also seems plain to me, however, that (as Matt Kennedy asserted) Synod 2011 might say the following to ACNA:

“We want you to be in communion with us as well, but you can do that only be reuniting with TEC.”

[27] Posted by Cedric on 2-10-2010 at 01:13 PM · [top]

I am not pessimistic about this.  It can be an encouraging word for our brothers and sisters engaged in litigation…  It is a watery endorsement…but an endorsement nonetheless of the ACNA and what we are about here.

The problem I do have with it is that it kicks the can down the road…and might cause US ACNA folks to ‘wait’ for some validation.  Forget it!  Keep going.  Build ACNA and the infrastructure to connect the pieces.  Let the CofE catch up with us!
DHR

[28] Posted by Roseberry on 2-10-2010 at 01:15 PM · [top]

815 didn’t like the idea of an Anglican Covenant either - and we all know how that was manipulated. I think Matt in #4 is correct. It could have been a straight up or down reading, but instead it was a side step and postponement of clarity from what I am reading.

[29] Posted by Festivus on 2-10-2010 at 01:15 PM · [top]

If by affirmative you mean “aye” as opposed to “nay” or “abstain,” that’s true. But it seems tio me the vote doesn’t asctually “affirm” very much.

[30] Posted by Nellie on 2-10-2010 at 01:16 PM · [top]

#28 - and how long have some been waiting????
|
|
V
Exactly.

[31] Posted by Festivus on 2-10-2010 at 01:18 PM · [top]

The biggie for me: We (ACNA) are recognized as A “CHURCH”!!!  TEC & Co. WILL NOT like that!  And will spin it like a merry-go-round in any other direction!  On some of the other issues mentioned… do I want to be “in communion” with TEC?  No!  Otherwise I wouldn’t have left them.  Do I wish to be “in communion” with the ABC?  Jury is still out on that one but current vibes are negative.  Synopsis:  A positive event on our journey!

[32] Posted by Goughdonna on 2-10-2010 at 01:19 PM · [top]

I do have the benefit of being ‘on the ground’.  Let me tell you this is a victory in every sense for ACNA.  To even be mention 8 months after Bedford is extremely rare in the History of the church.  I think you will all be excited by next year’s COE General Synod where Archbishop Williams and Sentamu report that TEC has consecrated another ‘gay’ bishop and that ACNA has added another 100 or so churches.

For the record this is what passes:

The General Synod of the Church of England passed the following motion this afternoon

That this Synod, aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada

a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family

b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and

c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011

Votes for 309, against 69, abstentions 17

Motions to pass to next business and to adjourn the debate were lost.

[33] Posted by AnglicanTV on 2-10-2010 at 01:22 PM · [top]

I have 2 thoughts. I come late to this discussion and I have a couple of thoughts.

Part of it may be in the numbers.  The EC is shrinking in some places rather rapidly and tottering towards bankruptcy i.e.: Western Mass.

From what I have read the ACNA and other traditional/orthodox/conservative Anglican Churches are growing.

The CoE may be:
1) using the threat of ACNA communion to pull the EC back closer into line, which I don’t think will work the EC is convinced they are right, and don’t seem to care what the rest of the world thinks.

2) hedging their bet that as the ACNA grows it will gradually replace the EC and the EC will shrink into near oblivion and be forgotten, whether they stay in communion or not.

Just my opinion

[34] Posted by fixitjc on 2-10-2010 at 01:24 PM · [top]

I hope that this helps stave off fundamentalism in general and disruptions in ecumenism - http://bit.ly/djxD8Z

[35] Posted by Wilf on 2-10-2010 at 01:24 PM · [top]

It seems to me that if you don’t like football don’t to any football games. We are not talking about ACNA, TEC, AC, or any other man made contrivance. We are talking about the Body of Jesus Christ. It would be wise to work from the inside out instead of working from the outside in. In the USA we (The Anglican Church) would not make a drop in the bucket and we still want to split it into many more pieces than it already is. For God’s sake let’s work as hard to preserve things rather then to tear them apart. There are too many souls out there who need our help and all we can do is argue over whether it is OK to let in this or that group. The General Convention has spoken. Don’t turn against it because you did not get your way. Daniel

[36] Posted by housewren on 2-10-2010 at 01:26 PM · [top]

I have to go along with Matt+ on this. The Covenant, as it is currently being produced, is a scary device that will lead to a Canon driven (i.e canons trump Scripture) Communion rather than a biblical authority driven communion rooted and grounded in the teaching of the Church, the Creeds, and Holy Scripture.

That we can even contemplate getting excited about the scraps that fall from the table of decision at the CofE Synod is an unfortunate reflection on where we find ourselves as Anglican. When our criteria for what is good is what upsets TEC we may need to rethink some things.


IHN
mark+
Fr. Mark R. Turner
All Saints - Baton Rouge

[37] Posted by Fr. Mark on 2-10-2010 at 01:26 PM · [top]

My husband’s comment: They’ve just lost their pants, and all they can say is, “Oh, what a nice breeze!”

[38] Posted by Nellie on 2-10-2010 at 01:30 PM · [top]

It’s interesting that the motion, as it was approved, was proposed by +Mike Hill, presumably on behalf of the House of Bishops.  That means that it probably reflects a position negotiated within the HoB. 
There looks to be a tension between recognizing that ACNA people want to “remain” Anglican and giving the Archbishops a year or so to (just) “report back” to Synod.  That probably reflects the tension between a minority of Bishops who want to recognize ACNA as truly Anglican (the Province, not just the people) and a majority who just intend to ignore ACNA ‘til it goes away. 
These are, after all, not the sort of people that (those who see themselves as) the Establishment want in the Anglican Communion - they have rejected and insulted gay people (and women in some instances) by their refusal to accept that we now know better that biblical and traditional Christian ethics.
Coincidentally, given that the first tranch of conservatives are about to be forced out of the CofE over lack of accommodation on women Bishops, the liberal Establishment can hope for a more liberal Synod by 2011!  But, personally I hope that the FiF and Reform folk stick around long enough to at least vote in the next Synod election this summer!!
If Synod does not go liberal expect a purely political manouvre:  Reporting delayed as long as possible and then a bland report (that could be written today) will just describe the difficulties of the situation.  Synod will then have to try again, and be met with more of the same.  We need more orthodox Bishops and Archbishops!

[39] Posted by Zwingli on 2-10-2010 at 01:39 PM · [top]

SSDD :-(  Just what I expected…
The original resolution actually said something; the revised is typical political mumbo jumbo.  It means whatever someone wants it to mean which means it means nothing.

For instance, notice how they use the words “remain” and “aspire” in the same sentence referring to the same thing. Remain seems to indicate a status of already being in communion, yet aspire seems to indicate the opposite.

Typical bureaucratic nonsense. Jesus said, “Let your yes be yes and your no, no.”

[40] Posted by Spencer on 2-10-2010 at 01:47 PM · [top]

ie however this is presented, in reality it just comes down to a power game. 
A diminishing few at the centre control the game.  Hence the Bishops were not allowed to make any resolutions at Lambeth, the Primates are no longer being called to meet, and a new Standing Committee has been formed that does not represent the Communion in any reasonable sense!

[41] Posted by Zwingli on 2-10-2010 at 01:48 PM · [top]

While I have zero interest in all-things-Rowan and the tainted Covenant nonsense, this appears to be classic British understatement and, ultimately, good news. Let Christians within the Communion get on with it. If the others want to catch up and get back under God’s authority and where He’s leading, great. If not, so be it; we know who wins.

[42] Posted by JerryKramer on 2-10-2010 at 02:00 PM · [top]

I said this on another thread too:
Well, I am Thrilled! A year’s time is not long at all and Synod’s heavily “one sided” “for” vote! gives the remaining TEC folks some “Grace time” (pun intended) to decide what they want to do next.

I’m sure Synod will not retract today’s decision and the actions of TEC during this coming year will, I expect, be even more frantic.

If “everything had been decided” on today’s vote many many TECers would have been completely lost and forlorn by service time next Sunday. But as it stands now, thankfully, they will have time to “catch their collective breath” toward a positive, and for many, a more STABLE choice…ACNA are no longer the “Bad Guys”!

I have already made up my mind and have moved on. I consider this next year As Gift to my left-behind friends for their benefit and growth while things “ramp up” even more in TEC and “quiet down” for ACNA!

I think ‘tis good.

[43] Posted by LoieMom on 2-10-2010 at 02:01 PM · [top]

Please. Just because we desire something to be good news doesnt make it so. The significant vote was the amendment. A majority of the Synod decided not to state they were in Communion with the ACNA. It is sad to me that the ACNA spinners seek to proclaim this as a win. Lets be truthful and candid, take what God has given us, and move on.

[44] Posted by Going Home on 2-10-2010 at 02:05 PM · [top]

The glass is half full. As a member of a diocese that is under attack, I far prefer this to rejection. It’s a promising glimmer. Not that I disagree with the ABC critics above.

[45] Posted by Romkey on 2-10-2010 at 02:09 PM · [top]

As my dear departed ol’ Dad used to say, “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”  I’m with Pop on this one.

[46] Posted by Fidela on 2-10-2010 at 02:16 PM · [top]

Thanks to Kevin and ATV for the ability to watch the debate.  Much appreciated!

With due respect, I’m not as positive about this as Peter and Baby Blue. Perhaps almost seven years on the Anglican Fudge diet is sapping my natural optimism, but I think they amended the meaning right out of the original motion.  What they ended up with isn’t bad - it’s just not what the original motion was:

Original motion:
That this Synod express the desire that the CofE be in communion with the ACNA. 

Changes:
Positives: recognition of the distress and that we (the ACNA) are an Anglican church of the US (second bit is especially good).

Flip: recognizes and affirms the ACNA’s desire rather than expressing the CofE’s desire - the affirmation is good, the recognition is obvious.

Second verse, same as the first:  requests a report in a year, but at least it’s Canterbury and York doing the report - not the SCAC.


Amended Motion:

That this Synod, aware of the distress cause by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada,
(a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;

(b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and

(c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.

[47] Posted by Ann McCarthy on 2-10-2010 at 02:31 PM · [top]

Interesting that the British members of SF and the one guy on the ground read this as positive for ACNA, and American members tend to read it as negative.

[48] Posted by James Manley on 2-10-2010 at 02:47 PM · [top]

I’m still digesting—there are some things I like about the resolution as passed. My concern is more with the debate in Synod, whose members seem to imagine that ACNA and its ilk will be confined to North America.

Also, I fixed the typo you spotted in my post. Clearly I meant to “comment” not “somment”. At first, I thought about branding it as a neologism (contraction of “snarky comment”), but decided to return to traditional English—in deference to my friends here on Stand Firm.

Pax,
  Scott+

[49] Posted by Scott Gunn on 2-10-2010 at 02:54 PM · [top]

“My concern is more with the debate in Synod, whose members seem to imagine that ACNA and its ilk will be confined to North America.”

Christianity does tend to spread. Even in the Anglican Communion.

[50] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-10-2010 at 03:02 PM · [top]

I do have to say that I normally defer to our regular British posters about the goings-on in the CoE to which they necessarily have a closer and more vested interest, and in whom I always have the highest degree of respect.  I hope that their optimistic view of this motion is correct and that it will ultimately help ACNA.

However, for those that ask “what difference will a year make”, I need to point out the larger issue that is coming to a head at this Synod and that is the issue of Women Bishops.  So far the non-accomodaters are winning the day and if they prevail, we are likely to see a mass exodus of the most conservative members of the CoE. 

This will most likely mirror the exodus of the most conservative members of TEC in 1979, as well as the mass exodus of the most conservative remaining members of TEC in 2003 after VGR was consecrated.  It is pretty much inarguable that the TEC was more conservative pre 1979 and pre 2003.  What remains today is a TEC far to the left of where it was even a decade ago.

By booting this forward another year it is possible that those who would like to scupper ACNA recognition are counting on a Synod more left wing than the one who voted today.

[51] Posted by billqs on 2-10-2010 at 03:06 PM · [top]

Let’s be clear about a few things:

1. Liberals and TEC are unhappy with the resolution.  Undoubtedly they will try to spin it along the lines of some of the above comments, but there can be no doubt that if the liberals held sway, it would have been defeated.
2. The original vote would have had no practical effect either - it simply was expressing a “desire” of Synod.
3. In light of point #2, this resolution was always ever going to be “symbolic” in nature.  Parsing it out legally is of little use, because neither this motion nor the original one was going to make the ACNA part of the Anglican Communion.
4. The resolution which was passed makes some important points:
a) The Synod indicated it is “aware of the distress cause by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada”.  BabyBlue is right to point out this significant language.  The Brits recognize what is going on in North America as a split WITHIN the “Anglican churches”.  How would TEC frame the issue?  They would say “distress caused by recent schismatic actions prompted by foreign bishops interfering in TEC.”  The Synod has framed this issue very positively for ACNA.
b) The Synod “recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family”.  Much is being made that it is only the ACNA “desire” that is being “recognized” and “affirmed” but I think that this mistakes the import of this declaration.  The terms “recognize” and “affirm” are not neutral terms - they imply a positive quality.  The motion did not say that Synod “acknowledged” the desire, but rather “affirmed” the desire.  If your daughter brought home a suitor and you met with this gentleman, and at the end you said “well, I recognize and affirm your interest in my daughter.  Let’s see how this relationship develops over the next six months”, the clear indication is that of tentative approval.  If you said “well, I acknowledge your interest…”, the indication is one of uncertain tolerance.  If you said “well, I recognize your interest, but my daughter isn’t dating right now”, the indication is one of rejection.

I see this statement as saying basically “we are not rejecting you.  We’d like to continue a relationship with you, but we need to study this further.”  Realize that this motion could have been shot down, there could have been a motion critical of the ACNA, this motion could have been passed with very neutral language towards the ACNA.  None of this was done.

In conclusion, let’s be realistic about what this Synod motion could have accomplished, the timing of it, and the vested interests which undoubtedly opposed it.  What message will this send to Rowan Williams?  A large majority of his Synod has just passed a resolution which speaks positively about the ACNA.  I think that those suggesting that this is good news have the right perception.

[52] Posted by jamesw on 2-10-2010 at 03:19 PM · [top]

I think the ACNA recovered the onside kick. One small step for the ACNA and one big step for Orthodoxy.

[53] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-10-2010 at 03:27 PM · [top]

#52 James, those are the best points I have yet heard for taking the motion of Synod as a positive event for ACNA.  I think I am so war-weary that it’s hard to look positively at news.  While still skittish of the motion, I am less worried about it now.

[54] Posted by billqs on 2-10-2010 at 03:34 PM · [top]

THANK YOU, Fr. Mark, #37

You have succinctly stated the problem.  The Covenant make the AC into another TEC…where doctrine and discipline are subject to man-made canons, votes and compromises and would turn every Anglican gathering into Episcopal General Convention-type political agendite playgrounds.  Bah!

[55] Posted by Floridian on 2-10-2010 at 03:47 PM · [top]

subscribe..reading

[56] Posted by ewart-touzot on 2-10-2010 at 03:53 PM · [top]

I had stated on another site that I expected today’s Resolution to be chewed and chewed like a steak from a $5.00 Buffet, and it was.

All that was accomplished was kicking the spiritual ‘can’ down the road until next year, when it can be kicked once again.
Schori, while feining displeasure in public when called for, is certainly happy with this in private.
Delay….  Wring our hands, and Pray for God’s Wisdom….Maybe Next year….

[57] Posted by Engus on 2-10-2010 at 03:53 PM · [top]

Well the HoB Listserv is asking these kinds of questions

Can the Archbishops of York and Canterbury determine whether an outfit like ACNA is still within the Anglican Communion - hence speaking for people like us? Or is their determination only for the Church of England. If they can determine who is in the Anglican Communion - and invite the Bishops of that outfit to Lambeth the next time - and those bishops claim they are out of friendship and communion with people like us - can they really attend. And do York and Canterbury have that kind of half hearted authority?? The Bishops of the breakaway groups have said some horrible things about people like me - and meant them. I have one life,ong friend who has decided we cannot be friends because of some issues I raised with him. Like Bruce Robison - I stil cherish those years of friendship - but that kind of thing is no criteria for what is happening.

This is not an easy thing for me to think about, write about, or talk about. But it is really quite real. It is not only friendship - or even the words that have been used - it is a question of Christian ethics. If York and Canterbury can say we are all together in this - and expect us to behave accordingly, what happens to the consciences of my former friend and me. And what about communion across Anglican lines.

We don’t so much need a covenant - but we do need a willingness to be observant of what we have had together for generations. Friendship must be superseded by obedience, it seems to me, to the general tone of Anglicanism without trying to turn us into a new generation of 17rh century puritans. If people do not want to adhere to Anglicanism as it is and wish to change it drastically as ACNA seem to want to do then let them - but not at a price of being “kind” to them and unobservant of what we have come to believe and practice.

For me, right now, there is too much at stake to accept the thought that Canterbury and York can make a decision about ACNA and the Anglican Communion that I am expected to accept if my acceptantce is presumed.That stretches kindness beyond any reasonable limits - and does nothing for the immorality of the way we have been treating gays and lesbains for centuries. There is no kindness in that for them - and they are a world wide group whose faith and loyalty are being questioned beyond belief.

[58] Posted by TLDillon on 2-10-2010 at 04:21 PM · [top]

From TLDillon’s post: For me, right now, there is too much at stake

Can somebody tell me exactly why the Episcopalian liberals care so much about ACNA’s relationship with the Anglican Communion, especially since TEC doesn’t seem to care about their relationship with the Anglican Communion very much?

Really, what difference does it make to TEC if ACNA is recognized our not?  They can still be as homosexually-focused as they would like to be; ACNA won’t stop them.

Nevertheless, the commentators of the liberal blogosphere were soiling their collective pants with this Synod Vote, as if their Spong books were about to be confiscated or their labyrinths were going to be painted over or Gene Robinson was going to be forced to go back to his wife.

I can see how it makes some kind of difference (a small difference) to ACNA.  I go to an ACNA church.  I feel kind of Anglican.  I don’t think I would feel MORE Anglican if the Duncan was seated at the right hand of the ABC.  But what difference would it make to TEC?  What in the world is at stake for TEC?

DoW

[59] Posted by DietofWorms on 2-10-2010 at 04:54 PM · [top]

I am surprised that so many are analysing this from an American perspective. I suggest everyone read carefully the comments by John Richardson at #18 and #26.

This was never about ACNA: ACNA didn’t seek the motion, and apparently didn’t even know about it before it was moved (if a post on another thread is accurate, which I have no reason to doubt). ACNA didn’t do any lobbying. ACNA has never publicly indicated a “desire” to be in communion with CofE (as opposed to all provinces in the AC generally), despite the wording of the motion.

This motion was brought by English evangelicals before the General Synod of the CofE and it has to be analysed in that context.

What did Lorna Ashworth and the bishops behind her hope to achieve? I think the answer to that depends on whether the timing of the announcement by Reform just prior to the motion was deliberate, i.e. the public threat to withdraw from CofE, in effect to start an English ACNA, if legislation for women bishops is passed in July.

I don’t know anyone in the hierarchy of Reform, but my guess is that the timing was deliberate. Once the threat was made, the defeat of Lorna Ashworth’s original motion was assured - even the waverers (of whom there are many in CofE) were not going to vote to endorse ACNA in the face of a direct threat to form an ACNA in England. But then, if I am correct about the timing, the motion was never intended to pass. Rather, it achieved two purposes:

1. The English General Synod has been forced to publicly consider the issue of an alternative province for orthodox Christians, in the context of it already having occurred in the USA.

2. The motion emphasised and amplified the Reform threat to do something similar in England, if women bishops are permitted in July.

[60] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2010 at 05:02 PM · [top]

DietofWorms at #59,

I don’t know what motivated TEC to conduct their rather extreme lobbying against both the motion and the amendment, but here are a couple of guesses:

(1) They don’t actually have many friends in the Communion. CofE is one of a very small number of provinces that have embraced liberal principles, but still a long way behind TEC - at this point, its not even legal to have a female bishop in CofE.

(2) The liberal hold on CofE itself is patchy. we just tend to see the negatives from our side (a natural human reaction) but from the liberals its worse. If CofE turns away from the liberal path, TEC will look very isolated.

(3) Just the existence of the motions was a defeat for TEC - from their point of view, General Synod should not even have been giving a forum to supporters of an orthodox breakaway organisation.

[61] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2010 at 05:16 PM · [top]

Woo Hoo!

...And a big juicy raspberry to all the naysayers.

(All in good humour, of course.)
The Rabbit

[62] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 2-10-2010 at 05:55 PM · [top]

Ideally, the CofE and the Abp of Canterbury would notify ECUSA that they were no longer a member of the Anglican Communion and that ACNA is now the legitimate representation of Anglicanism in N America.  That has not happened, and if it did, it would probably come in stages.

That this motion received as much support as it did and that it did not write ACNA out of the Communion is a positive thing.  The motion is not all we want - but it is a good thing even so.

[63] Posted by AnglicanXn on 2-10-2010 at 05:58 PM · [top]

Since 2006, those naysayers have been doing their damndest to discourage us from doing what we need to do, and I’m starting to get nauseous with their sniping.  “You’re wrong and we’re right” seems to be their mantra.  Frankly, I’m tired of hearing it.

[64] Posted by Cennydd on 2-10-2010 at 06:02 PM · [top]

#59 - come’on for crying out loud! Don’t you know it is never what the rest of the Communion thinks, but only what TEC thinks? It’s pretty easy to see that TEC doesn’t like the idea of ACNA being part of the AC; therefore, everyone’s other opinion is irrelevant.

[65] Posted by Festivus on 2-10-2010 at 06:14 PM · [top]

We haven’t heard the last of this by far.  The issue hasn’t been decided.

[66] Posted by Cennydd on 2-10-2010 at 06:18 PM · [top]

DietofWorms, it’s all about “pride of place” for TEC.  “Who gets to have tea with the Queen,” etc.

[67] Posted by Cennydd on 2-10-2010 at 06:38 PM · [top]

Can somebody tell me exactly why the Episcopalian liberals care so much about ACNA’s relationship with the Anglican Communion, especially since TEC doesn’t seem to care about their relationship with the Anglican Communion very much?

A substantial portion of TEC’s legal argument rests upon it being a hierarchical church, and constituent of the Anglican Communion.  Should, for example, TEC be excluded from the Anglican Communion and the ACNA accepted by the Anglican Communion, one could construct an argument that it is TEC which is in schism (look up “rend or tear” as in “tear in the fabric” in your Greek-English dictionary, and you will see that it could already be so construed, if a judge chose to). 
  Secondly, there are, within TEC to this day, a fairly substantial number of people who are Episcopalian simply because TEC is the official Anglican organization.  I was myself in the camp for a long time.  I place high value on communion with the ancient see of Canterbury. (I know many here find that amusing).  If TEC walks from the Communion, and there is another recognized Anglican entity in town, the folks who think that way will leave TEC.  Now, do not overly dramatize this, I am not saying that 1/2 the ASA will disappear or move to ACNA, but as congregations continue to deteriorate, a loss of even 5-10% could close many small parishes, and severely impact already financially strapped dioceses.  I think they had a taste of that last summer, when the post-GC numbers started coming in from key parishes and dioceses.  We won’t see a public accounting of the full impact of GC09 for another 18-20 months, but you can already see the first shockwaves in all the austerity budgets being wheeled out by dioceses at their conventions.  If (and it is beginning to look like when) TEC becomes officially outside the Covenanted provinces, it will take a small hit. But if ACNA is recognized officially either as in full communion with CoE OR becomes a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, I think you will see a substantial movement of “people in the pews.”  And the ASA is made up of the people who really care about the church- and those are the people most likely to self-identify as “Anglican” first.

[68] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2010 at 06:40 PM · [top]

I think there are a couple things we should all take away from this.
1) While we may from time to time find fault with the Church of England, its bishops or policies, we should recognize that there are some extraordinarily courageous people within that Church, and I would number Mrs. Ashworth, and those who supported her resolution, among them.  Perhaps in our rhetoric from here forward, we can recognize that there remains at the heart of the Church of England some truly wonderful Christian laity, priests and bishops, who have uplifted us with their prayers, love and support, and they deserve no less from us.
2)Those of us in ACNA should remember this in the coming days, as it appears that sooner rather than later, the good bishop, clergy and laity of the diocese of South Carolina may indeed need our prayers, love and support. One hopes that we can prove ourselves worthy of the support we have been shown by our friends in England, by being equally supportive of our friends in South Carolina.

[69] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2010 at 06:55 PM · [top]

They also seem to live in a cloud of ignorance about what’s coming their way when secessionists move into London.

You know you are having an impact, when they start calling you names.

[70] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2010 at 07:07 PM · [top]

Had I not read the motion as it was originally worded, and just read the motion that passed, I would be amazed at this huge development. It is huge.

The new girl at school might go unnoticed until the football captain shows an interest in her. Then suddenly her popularity increases with all the guys. Watch how many provinces express a desire to be in communion with the ACNA this year.

Again, this is huge.

[71] Posted by Josiah on 2-10-2010 at 07:15 PM · [top]

Josiah, I’m more interested in what happens when the two lesbian bishops-elect are consecrated in the Diocese of Los Angeles this spring.  Will this provoke a negative reaction in the Communion?  I hope so.  If it does, what will it amount to?  Will more parishes or dioceses opt out of TEC?  Maybe.  Will Schori and Company sue them if they do?  Sure!

[72] Posted by Cennydd on 2-10-2010 at 08:07 PM · [top]

I would note something important here that I think commenters have missed.  Something that is implicit in this document by its wording and its intent. Not stated outright, but without which the resolution could never have passed.  And that is this:

By virtue of this resolution, the Church of England is officially recognizing that Robert Duncan, Keith Ackerman, Jack Iker, John David Schofield, William Wantland and, yes, Henry Scriven (among others) ARE BISHOPS of God’s Church.  They may not be currently recognized as bishops of the Anglican Communion (+Scriven excepted, clearly they recognize him as a bishop of the AC), but they have NOT been deprived of the “rights as Ministers of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred upon them in their ordinations.”

Think about it.  Pretty significant, isn’t it?  I mean, for polity and such.

[73] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2010 at 08:57 PM · [top]

... that kind of thing is no criteria for what is happening.

Never trust anyone who thinks that ‘criteria’ is a singular. I’m serious: sloppy [Greek-] English, sloppy thinking.

[74] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 2-10-2010 at 09:03 PM · [top]

Hey Matt, we churches being sued under a claim of “no division” have had division recognized by the C of E.  This can only be positive for our position.  Thank you, thank you, C of E.

As far as afirmation goes, we are not proud, we’ll take anything.

“We’ve been affirmed, we’ve been affirmed, thank God Almighty, we’ve been affirmed!”

[75] Posted by CanaAnglican on 2-10-2010 at 09:05 PM · [top]

All you guys agreeing with Matt, come on knock it off.  The more we sing and dance over this victory, no matter how micro, the crazier it drives 815.  Bring out the band, uncork the bottle.

“We’ve been affirmed, we’ve been affirmed, thank God Almighty, we’ve been affirmed!” tm

[76] Posted by CanaAnglican on 2-10-2010 at 09:12 PM · [top]

My thoughts on this:

1) On a scale of around +10 for as good a news as ACNA could expect and -10 for the worst news we could get, this is about a +1 or +2. The original motion would have been around +5, a combination of the two motions (i.e. both expressing a desire to be in communion with ACNA and starting a process by which it could be done) around +8. This is a step in the right direction for ACNA, albeit much smaller than many might have wanted. It is still news for the C of E that synod is willing to consider this.

2) In the coming year, we can expect both parties to continue to do as they have been doing, i.e. TEC will continue to stick its fingers up at the rest of the communion and decline, ACNA will continue quietly preaching the gospel and grow. With the South Carolina situation and the LA Bishop elections, together with whatever else they intend to do, sympathy for TEC within synod (except for the hard core liberals) will only decrease, making it more likely that something firmer will pass in the future.

3) The future of the C of E may well be a race between what comes first; the point where synod has to “choose sides” in North America (which will alienate TEC’s allies) and women bishops (which will alienate the most orthodox Anglicans). I don’t think that either Reform or forward in faith will give up the fight and leave until the woman Bishops measure is passed in around 2012 (if it is passed).

[77] Posted by Boring Bloke on 2-10-2010 at 09:27 PM · [top]

You know…for the last five years I’ve been told that weak, dithering, soggy resolutions/statements by English people are really bold, brash, and decisive…that I should be excited and amazed and stand back in awe…that I should not read them as an American, much less a Texan, but that I should understand the delicate sensibilities

But in the course of the Anglican turmoil I have learned that weak sounding statements, as a rule, sound weak because they are.

[78] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-10-2010 at 09:42 PM · [top]

If anything, those weak sounding statements are typically British (and believe me, I’m not an Anglophobe by any means).  They don’t speak forcibly, as we are prone to do.  Formal niceties aside, they need to learn to say exactly what they mean, and if they were to learn to do that, it would eliminate much of the confusion about what they mean.

[79] Posted by Cennydd on 2-10-2010 at 10:28 PM · [top]

But now see, when English people want to speak clearly and forcefully they can do so, and few others can match them…which is another reason I have a difficult time buying the aforementioned idea.

[80] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-10-2010 at 10:34 PM · [top]

Boring Bloke at #77,

To clarify: The legislation for women bishops is expected to come before General Synod of the CofE in July 2010. It needs a two thirds majority in all three houses. It will *probably* get that easily in house of bishops and house of clergy (a few weeks ago I would have said “definitely”, but there have been some interesting developments lately).

A bigger hurdle for the legislation will be getting the two-thirds majority in the house of laity. Less than two-thirds voted in favour of calling for the legislation to be drafted in 2008, so nothing is guaranteed.

If the legislation gets through all three houses of Synod, then it must be ratified by the English parliament (which is likely in the current political climate). Thereafter the provision becomes law (secular as well as ecclesiastical). Naturally, that law only applies to the “established church”, CofE, not to other anglican churches in England.

If the legislation is passed in July 2010, then we are likely to see the first women bishops in CofE in 2012.

[81] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2010 at 10:40 PM · [top]

Thanks, James (#52), for your clear analysis.  You’ve helped me, at least, to see another perspective!  You’ve got a gift.

[82] Posted by Libbie+ on 2-10-2010 at 10:42 PM · [top]

Boring Bloke at #77,

Further to my response at #81: The reason I said the legislation will “probably” get the required two-thirds majority in house of bishops and house of clergy, is because we do not yet know what the impact will be of the recent announcement that the legislation will not make any allowance for members of the CofE who do not accept women bishops.

I believe that some of the members of the houses of bishops and clergy who voted to bring this legislation forward in 2008 did so in the belief that it would include provision for the dissenters. Now that it won’t, they may well have second thoughts. We just don’t know yet - keep watching.

Included in this category are the two primates - the archbishops of canterbury and york. They voted to bring forward the legislation in 2008, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will vote for the actual legislation in July 2010.

In the meantime, orthodox groups like reform and forward in faith are fighting hard.

[83] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2010 at 10:53 PM · [top]

We must consider this resolution from five perspectives:

For the COE Synod the resolution’s introduction, original text, amendment, and the maneuvering behind the scenes may, as others above pointed out, have been driven primarily by the impending showdown over women Bishops. If this interpretation is right, for the COE Synod the resolution was less about ACNA than about COE internal disputes.

For the ABC the resolution is an unwelcome development, both for what it tried to say about ACNA and for what it says about the brittle unity of the COE. As someone above said, it is a mild rebuke of Rowan’s handling of both matters. I doubt Rowan will lose much sleep over this resolution. Rowan can easily ignore the resolution’s sympathy for ACNA. He has a lot of experience ignoring the decisions of majorities, starting with Dromantine. With regard to ACNA, Rowan Williams will do whatever he intended to do anyway, regardless of what this resolution had said. With regard to the COE’s unity, I suspect Rowan has less freedom to do as he likes, but I defer to our UK readers concerning that.

For ACNA, the resolution could have been worse. Ask yourself this: would ACNA have preferred that this resolution been defeated? Ultimately most of ACNA’s growth, if any, will come from people joining because they like what ACNA offers, and for whom the recognition of the ABC or General Synod is not the deciding factor. There are people for whom recognotion is the deciding factor; for them, the resolution will cause them to hesitate further to join ACNA. On the other hand, the resolution could have been much better for ACNA. As others have said, the “endorsement” is pretty tepid. ACNA will reap significant benefits from this resolution in the existing ( and future?) Virginia litigation, because departing parishes will have more evidence that a “division” has occurred.

For the orthodox still in TEC who can’t or won’t join ACNA, the resolution offers little. Many people, such as those in the Diocese of South Carolina, or parishes or individuals in less orthodox dioceses, get nothing from the Synod.

For 815, this resolution harms their litigation strategy in Virginia and undercuts their claim to be the sole Anglican franchise in the USA. Same with the Anglican Church in Canada. But I sense that their internal ideological imperatives will drive them to care less and less what Rowan, the COE, or anyone else thinks about their “prophetic” mission. I’ll bet that TEC will confirm the new noncelibate lesbian bishop, and they would have done so regardless of whether any resolution passed, or didn’t pass, the Synod. I’ll bet their rage on the HOB/D listserve is stimulated by their inability to dismiss the COE as easily as they dismiss the African Primates. Even ENS can’t claim that the Synod vote was rigged by rich Americans who misled the delegates and bought them chicken dinners.

[84] Posted by Publius on 2-10-2010 at 10:56 PM · [top]

Libbie - Matt might end up being correct.  My main point is that this is a promising step in the right direction but we haven’t gotten anywhere yet.  Sort of like the guy who has contemplated getting into shape and getting up on Saturday morning to go run 3 miles.  When the alarm clock goes off, he has the choice to get out of bed or turn the clock off.  So he gets out of bed.  He hasn’t run yet, he hasn’t even put on his jogging outfit.  He might still end up getting back in bed, but so far he’s on the right track.  The English Synod has just gotten up.  They might yet go back to bed - who knows?  This is just the first step.

I know that this process is slow, but it has to be seen as promising that Rowan William’s “home” Synod passed this motion with this level of support.  We too often take on the mindset that the Anglican Civil War has to be won in a day.  It can’t and it won’t.  Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.  Either you want to stay Anglican and you have to commit to a long fight, or you don’t. 

Right now, I think that our best model is the Iberian campaign fought by the Duke of Wellington’s forces against the French in the early 1800’s.  No quick wins there - the Brits were out-numbered and out-gunned, and there was no way they could ever beat the French in an out-and-out battle.  But they eventually won through patience, wearing down the French, and intelligent strategy and tactics.

[85] Posted by jamesw on 2-10-2010 at 11:02 PM · [top]

TEC has responded here:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_119351_ENG_HTM.htm

here’s the headline: Church of England says no to full communion with breakaway entity

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[86] Posted by Jacobsladder on 2-10-2010 at 11:04 PM · [top]

Thanks, James!!!

[87] Posted by Libbie+ on 2-10-2010 at 11:11 PM · [top]

Thanks for the link to the Episcopal Life article, Jacob at #86,

At different times during the debate, two procedural motions to end the discussion and move onto other business were defeated

Which would have been the best result for TEC. Clearly, Synod members wanted to have the debate.

The Rev. Tom Butler called for the debate’s closure…

I assume this means the Bishop of Southwark - who retires next month!

[88] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2010 at 11:32 PM · [top]

“Perhaps in a year there will be some clarity in ACNA’s attitude towards the Communion?”  Ummm, I thought we’d made it pretty clear that eventually we hope to be recognized as a province of the Communion….or at least that’s my understanding. 

As it is now, and as most already know, our Archbishop, bishops, and other clergy are recognized as legitimate Anglicans, as we laity are, and those clergy who serve under the protection of the Province of the Southern Cone are also clergy of the Communion through their licenses granted by Archbishop Gregory Venables,  But, of course, Katharine Jefferts Schori denies that by claiming cross-border violation, doesn’t she?

[89] Posted by Cennydd on 2-11-2010 at 12:33 AM · [top]

Follow the link from [86] to find the following paragraphs near the bottom:

The Rev. Canon Charles K. Robertson, canon to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, told ENS following the debate that “we in the Episcopal Church do not interfere in the decision-making of other provinces in our Anglican Communion.”

...A set of “talking points” released Feb. 4 by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs sought to clarify some facts about ACNA.

Seems to me that if TEC sends its primate to the COE’s synod, and she there distributes “talking points,” then TEC is “interfering in the decision-making of other provinces.”

[90] Posted by Michael D on 2-11-2010 at 01:28 AM · [top]

#90 - Michael D, I agree.

[91] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 2-11-2010 at 01:41 AM · [top]

Me, too, Michael D!  What else can you call it….“advising,” maybe?

[92] Posted by Cennydd on 2-11-2010 at 01:53 AM · [top]

One of the beauties of this episode was that it (presumably) encouraged many clergy and lay in the COE to read the AAC report and become knowledgeable about the (dare I say) unChristian distress and antics out here in the colonies and Canada. The whole liberal project advanced under cover of darkness and obfuscation. That has been blown off in a big way in England. Much good has been achieved in the process. This is a “Listening Process” that worked!

[93] Posted by tomken on 2-11-2010 at 03:24 AM · [top]

As one of the ACNA representatives and as someone who worked on strategy with Lorna Ashworth, and a host of other CoE delegates this week at General Synod this week, I found the comments on this thread to be interesting and to be honest, not unexpected.  Here’s a brief summary of how I see this development.
Yes, I agree that the amended resolution is not the outcome we had wanted.  HOWEVER, I stand in full agreement with those who take this as a very positive outcome.  In my post-debate conversations with our strongest supporters in the General Synod, they have almost unanimously stated that the unamended resolution would have failed if it was put to a vote.  Moreover, those same deleagtes affirmed that the amended resolution (which passed), would have been defeated if the vote took place as recently as two or three years ago.  I would also point out that the amended resolution even goes a step further than Lorna’s original text, by commending the CoE to work with the Communion’s instruments on the matter of ACNA membership. 
After Bp. Harvey, Fr. Baucum, Cynthia and I gave our presentations at Tuesday’s luncheon, two things were very clear:
1)  There are many (non-radical) CoE members who still have doubts that the atrocities of TEC and the ACoC are real.  It’s just very hard for them to believe that “churches” could disregard proper procedure and behave in such a manner.
2)  Our presentations had a VERY positive impact on many delegates who had previously thought the ACNA was nothing more than bunch of “homophobic schismatics”, who did not want to play by the “rules”, and were simply looking to rejoin “the club” for ulterior motives.  Time and time again, delegates approached me and told me that after listening to us, they had to do a complete 180 degree turn on their previously-held opinions.  Our strongest allies in the General Synod felt that this was a major reason why the (albeit) revised resolution passed by such an overwhelming majority.
In closing, I will say this - Don’t be too hasty in dismissing the amended resolution as another example of Anglican stalling by “fudge”.  Many delegates felt that something substantive could very well come in 2011 and that the extra time would be valuable for internal deliberations that would help the ACNA cause.  The “X” factor in all of this, is this fact that there is no guarantee that all or most of the current Synod membership will be re-elected for seating in 2011.  Despite that, ACNA must focus on moving forward in its mission and ministry, building on the great momentum that it has already experienced through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Whether it’s 2011 or 2012, or some other future point, our effectiveness as communities of faith and as ministers of the Gospel is going to make the most compelling case for full communion with the CoE or any other church or province.
Blessings,

Michael Howell

[94] Posted by MikeSWFL on 2-11-2010 at 07:16 AM · [top]

To repeat myself:

Woo Hoo!

Thanks, Michael Howell!

[95] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 2-11-2010 at 07:30 AM · [top]

I believe it is much more positive then negative and see God’s hand in all this….

[96] Posted by Creighton+ on 2-11-2010 at 07:59 AM · [top]

”There are many (non-radical) CoE members who still have doubts that the atrocities of TEC and the ACoC are real.  It’s just very hard for them to believe that “churches” could disregard proper procedure and behave in such a manner.”

#94 Michael Howell, then it will be up to Christians like you to make sure people know what is happening to the Diocese of SC and Bishop Lawrence.

[97] Posted by iambutone on 2-11-2010 at 08:12 AM · [top]

I don’t think that it can be assumed that people [radical or not] in the CofE know what people in North America know.

[98] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 2-11-2010 at 08:28 AM · [top]

As a Catholic, I pitty the whole affair that the TEC has put it self through.  I a proud that we have a magesterium that understands fidelity to God and His Gospel - and to the immature tantrums of a supposed Arch Bishop of TEC.  Theology without a definitive doctrine is akin to children without their parents.

[99] Posted by donny1 on 2-11-2010 at 08:53 AM · [top]

I think this was a victory the moment Lorna filed the resolution because it compelled the members of Synod to examine the facts.

[100] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 2-11-2010 at 08:56 AM · [top]

Thanks Michael for your really helpful report and perspective.  It makes this all much clearer for me.

So grateful for your witness and engagement.

[101] Posted by Karen B. on 2-11-2010 at 09:09 AM · [top]

Interesting to read the reactions.

Here’s what I see as the timeline.

—Ashworth puts forward a resolution that is quite moderate and is merely another province—albeit the COE—stating that it is in communion with ACNA [like it’s in communion with the Church of Sweden]

—Mike Hill guts the resolution with an amendment saying this:

“Leave out everything after “That this Synod” and insert:

“(a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;

(b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and

(c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011”.

—we all rightly decry it on these very pages as the obvious punt and self-protective [of the institutionalists in the COE] that it is—it guts the resolution entirely

—a debate occurs at General Synod

TEC supporters try to move on or adjourn or end the debate—this is not successful

—Many express warm feelings towards the ACNA

—It transpires that much of the “challenge” with the COE being in communion with ACNA is that it puts the Communion Partners into a “hard place”—because . . . oh . . . the Communion Partners is still stuck permanently in an undisciplined TEC and with no options to be accepted as part of the Communion through dioceses signing the Covenant [and even more importantly, in a nutshell, the COE being in communion with ACNA makes CP bishops fear that laypeople will perceive ACNA as a valid alternative to their Communion Partner diocese and more likely to leave—ACNA would be perceived as more of a competitor to steal laypeople away from the ridiculous situation that CP dioceses and parishes are in, since the Communion has not only hung out to dry ACNA but also the CP folks too]

—Ashworth, recognizing that the resolution will not pass, inserts the following as an amendment:

‘That this Synod
(a) aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada;
(b) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family;
(c) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(d) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.’

The only difference between this amendment and the Mike Hill gutting resolution is the addition of “aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada.”

The Mike Hill amendment + additional line of distress awareness passes overwhelmingly.

The positives are 1) none of the ACNA lobbyists were ridden out of town on a rail, 2) the word “ACNA” was said in a resolution, 3) the debate was not adjourned or ended by TEC supporters, 4) many had warm feelings towards ACNA folks and 5) good publicity about the nastiness of TEC was gotten out to Synod folks.

With that as the standard of success than I suppose it was “successful.”  Really bad bad bad things did not happen, friends were made, TEC is nastier, and friends were made, and friends were made, and nobody was injured or beheaded in any way.

But I can’t help but note that the ACNA folks who think this is a vision of successful resolution-making and parliamentary work not three years ago would have decried a similar resolution, say, about TEC or the Windsor Report or “DEPO” or the need for alternative Primatial oversight, or pretty much any other topic at all as the most unadulterated and useless pap possible, with much castigations of the ABC, Bishop Hill, Synod, etc, etc, etc.

So either the standard of success has been quite radically altered over the past three years [in which case ya’ll all need to apologize to the ABC, etc for all the harsh things you said] or this particular topic—ACNA—gets special rules of “success” applied to it.

Consider such a resolution passed about the need for Primatial Oversight or the need for discipline: “That this Synod
(a) aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada;
(b) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have [stated their need for Alternative Primatial Oversight] to remain within the Anglican family;
(c) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
(d) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.”

[102] Posted by Sarah on 2-11-2010 at 10:10 AM · [top]

Sudden car trouble sidelined me yesterday, but I have now posted my grumpy yet infallible take:
http://wannabeanglican.blogspot.com/2010/02/cofe-synod-wimps-out-on-acna-is-very.html

[103] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 2-11-2010 at 10:33 AM · [top]

I think the ACNA is to some degree trying to make lemonade out of the lemons they were handed, but in fairness, while the original resolution would have left the door half open, the final resolution left it open just a crack (a “slender thread” I think the Guardian called it), and a crack is better than shut.  Combined with what was actually said at Synod and the outcome of the education campaign, both helpful to the orthodox, they may be justified in feeling the outcome was adequate.

However, as with most of these kick-the-can-down-the-road events, we will now have to move down the road.  ACNA and the global will undoubtedly endeavour to put more facts on the ground that it operates as a province, while, out of necessity, the global south will increasingly act in structures independent of the Archbishop of Canterbury, JSC, ACC and other no longer trusted or functioning “instruments of communion”.  Soon, most expect Glasspool to be consecrated, and, now, apparently, the Diocese of South Carolina is to be the subject of lawsuits and depositions by TEC.

More grist for the mill.  Too bad we do not have a leader who might have sought a different outcome.

[104] Posted by pendennis88 on 2-11-2010 at 10:40 AM · [top]

a crack is better than shut

I humbly disagree.  Would have been better for the CoE Synod to show its true colors, slam the door in Michael Howell’s face, and tell Bob Duncan to never come back.  That way, ACNA would quit wasting time, money, goodwill, words, pearls, CO2, blood, sweat, and tears on the rotting parts of the Anglican Communion, and instead focus like a laser beam on planting 1000 churches, proclaiming the Gospel, and advancing the Kingdom.  Doesn’t look to me like any of those things happen while putzing around with the CoE Synod.

[105] Posted by Chazaq on 2-11-2010 at 10:57 AM · [top]

Sarah (#102), I take what’s happened as taking one little stone bridge.  Certainly no great victory and maybe not all that significant—but only time will tell whether it was a skirmish of importance.

I happen to agree with the take jamesw (#52) had on this—as well as Peter’s and Baby Blue’s.  ACNA was acknowledged, not rejected (as TEC would certainly have wanted).  When they affirmed ACNA’s desire to be part of the AC, they did something quite different from slapping ACNA down.

[106] Posted by hanks on 2-11-2010 at 11:36 AM · [top]

I am assuming that if Lambeth were held next year, the ACNA bishops would not get an invite?  Or does that depend on what the archbishops report back in 2011?  Its the ABC’s decision but I’m wondering what message is being sent in that regard.

[107] Posted by Matthew on 2-11-2010 at 11:49 AM · [top]

Matthew-
The ABoC invites to Lambeth who ever he chooses to invite to Lambeth.  My guess is that were it held next year, indeed the ACNA bishops would not be invited as participants, but that would not preclude one or 2 being invited to make some presentation or as observers.  I would not be surprised (especially if +Rowan wanted the GS to attend) if those TEC bishops who have pushed the envelope on C053 might not find themselves sitting home too.  And he would be quite hard pressed to invite the consecrators of Mary Glasspool, assuming she gains consent, even if one of the said consecrators is the PB.

++Rowan is no doubt quite happy that Lambeth predated the GC09. Held today, it would be interesting on day 1 to watch +Rowan trying to convince +Mouneer Anis that indaba was the way to go.

[108] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-11-2010 at 12:05 PM · [top]

“while the original resolution would have left the door half open, the final resolution left it open just a crack (a “slender thread” I think the Guardian called it), and a crack is better than shut.”

Not if it results in a further diversion of time and resources into a failed strategy.

[109] Posted by Going Home on 2-11-2010 at 12:42 PM · [top]

Here is a response by a commenter at “Fr Jake’s”

No inter-communion “recognition” of the ACNA by the CofE is involved here, other than the fact that the CofE—like the rest of us—all “recognize” that ACNA “exists”, wants “to be Anglican,” can avail itself of methods “to request” to become formally in communion with the CofE, the TEC, the ACofC, the Anglican Communion, etc., etc. In essence, nothing has changed. 

Now the matter can be allowed to die in the CofE and Communion bureaucracies, where ACofC and TEC supporters can keep the topic bottled up in committee forever, if necessary. This Synod vote also dramatically reduces the chance of any other ACNA “recognition” resolution being promoted hereafter. After all, “it’s being studied” it’s “in committee”, the ACNA “has yet to make a formal request,” that a request “is pending, and subject to…” etc., etc. Finis, in other words. 

Folks should be aware that besides TEC there are about 20 Anglican Churches in North America. Each of them just as “recognized” by the CofE (and by the TEC and ACofC for that matter), as the ACNA.

He may well be right. This is not an encouraging thought….

[110] Posted by AnglicanXn on 2-11-2010 at 01:12 PM · [top]

#94 - Michael Howell - I am glad that the ACNA sees it as a positive development.
On your point #1 - I find it incredulous that Communion Partners do not know what is occurring. If that is the case, then both the Global South Primates and those who made appeals to the ABC or ACC, as well as contributed to WR and DES have not been believed. I have to doubt that ACNA being on the outside (and make no mistake - you are) will carry more credibility. To be ignorant is no excuse. The only plausible explanation is wanton indifference.

[111] Posted by Festivus on 2-11-2010 at 01:35 PM · [top]

Yeah, all this is very “encouraging”....I was also very encouraged after Dromantine and Dar Es Salaam.

[112] Posted by AhKong2 on 2-11-2010 at 02:31 PM · [top]

English, as used by the English is a very precise tool.  The synod affirmed the desire existed, not that they shared it nor that the AC-NA was qualified for admission into anything.  The use of the term, “Anglican family” is similarly significant as no such institution exists.  As Matt correctly notes, anyone in a robe with some incense and a prayer book can claim to be in the family.

I think it was Mark Twain who first observed that a diplomat is one who can tell you to go to Hell so you look forward to the trip.  Equally applicable to English bishops.

Matt and I do not see eye to eye on much but we agree on this. 

FWIW
jimB

[113] Posted by jimB on 2-11-2010 at 02:48 PM · [top]

On your point #1 - I find it incredulous that Communion Partners do not know what is occurring.

Not attempting to speak for Michael Howell but his words in #94 are:“There are many (non-radical) CoE members who still have doubts that the atrocities of TEC and the ACoC are real.”

And I don’t doubt at all that there are many CofE members who don’t know what is really going on over here. They are deeply involved in the concerns of their parishes. How much do most of us know in any detail what is really going on in the CofE?

He also said: “Our presentations had a VERY positive impact on many delegates who had previously thought the ACNA was nothing more than bunch of “homophobic schismatics”” - and if this is the case, then it’s very important. TEC has tried very hard to make ACNA look like a bunch of fruitcakes to other western churches. I am glad people like Michael Howell were there to meet CofE members face to face and show them otherwise.

[114] Posted by oscewicee on 2-11-2010 at 03:18 PM · [top]

As some of you already know, I am a longtime Episcopalian
turned Roman Catholic, so I’m hesitant to say anything,
thinking perhaps it’s none of my business; I’m definitely
afraid to say what I’m really thinking!  On the other hand, being banned from the website would not be the end
of the world; I have more important things on my mind.

First, I’m thinking of something we Catholics occasionally like to say, “Where Peter is not present,
there is no unity.” With all due respect and sympathy for
you Anglicans, of whom I was one for a long, long time,
I think the above discussion is clear evidence of that.

I would also like to remind you that, believe it or not,
there are still many faithful Christians (in a conventional sense of the word) in the Episcopal Church,
like my mother and some of her friends.  They stay for
many reasons: because “it’s our Church and we’re not going to be driven out,” because they don’t know
how
to leave, because (believe it or not) they don’t
understand the seriousness of what’s going on, etc.

Therefore, I would like to say, I wonder if everyone is
terrified to say what I’m thinking (fear of retribution?):  Katharine Jefferts Schori has more than
five years left in her term; it seems more than likely
that she will be challenged and made to answer for her
outrageous behavior.  But even if this never happens,
I think a more moderate (and Christlike) person will
surely be chosen as her successor.  Unfortunately, the
damage will have been done and much of it can never be
undone, not in our lifetimes.

I feel that I must conclude by saying, whether I’m
allowed to stay on the website or not, I do love my enemies (to the extent that God gives me the
grace to do so) and will continue to pray for them.

[115] Posted by PaulA. on 2-11-2010 at 03:52 PM · [top]

“.....because they don’t understand the root of the problem.”  There are some good reasons why they don’t understand:  A.  Their clergy don’t tell them about what’s really going on.  B.  They don’t bother to keep themselves informed about the issues.  C.  They don’t want to get involved.  D.  They’re only concerned with what goes on inside the four walls of the parish church.  E.  They stay where they are because they’re “comfortable,” and they’re complacent.

[116] Posted by Cennydd on 2-11-2010 at 04:15 PM · [top]

#114 - the AAC and Primates have been more than forthcoming to the Communion about what is occurring in the US as well as Canada. Paul knew what was happening in Corinth without the age of email, phone, or internet. I simply don’t accept the notion that there is a valid reason for ignorance or not knowing. I don’t. Too much has been happening in the life of the Anglican Communion for it to have flown under anyone’s radar.

[117] Posted by Festivus on 2-11-2010 at 04:39 PM · [top]

But even if this never happens,
I think a more moderate (and Christlike) person will
surely be chosen as her successor.

I believe this is a naive view.  One heard similar things in 2003- when people were assured that the man who brought schism (Gr.- to tear or rend, as in “tear the fabric”)to the Communion- Frank Griswold- would be replaced in 2006 by someone more moderate who would work to restore the broken trust both within TEC and among other churches of the Communion.
KJS represents the middle of TEC- I know, scary thing to say.  To the left of her are, and I know it is strange to say, any number of bishops, clergy and pressure groups.  She can muster 67% of the bishops or deputies to vote her will- those same 67% voted for one illegal deposition after another, voted for D025 and C056, and have backed canonical changes that diminish the bishop’s authority in their own dioceses.  With that kind of political power, why would the revisionist supermajority elect a moderate?

[118] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-11-2010 at 04:48 PM · [top]

Festivus, I think we have to accept that for the average CofE church person, what is happening in the U.S. is not necessarily top burner. I think we’ve had English folk comment here that many over there don’t really know what is going on. I’m prepared to take their word for that. And while what is happening here is of primary urgency to *us*, it isn’t likely to be so primary for others.

[119] Posted by oscewicee on 2-11-2010 at 04:49 PM · [top]

Michael Howell at #94

Thank you for your very pertinent “insider’s view” of what has been going on in England recently (as opposed to some of the comments by others who *think* they know what it was all about).

I am not surprised to see you write:

There are many (non-radical) CoE members who still have doubts that the atrocities of TEC and the ACoC are real.  It’s just very hard for them to believe that “churches” could disregard proper procedure and behave in such a manner.

Which is exactly what many members of ECUSA/TEC thought some years ago when the liberals were creeping into their own church. Much of the early efforts by far-sighted members of TEC to hold back liberal influence were frustrated by the well-meaning attitude of other members who could not believe that any bishop would be so evil. My, how things look different now…

You also wrote

Our presentations had a VERY positive impact on many delegates who had previously thought the ACNA was nothing more than bunch of “homophobic schismatics”, who did not want to play by the “rules”, and were simply looking to rejoin “the club” for ulterior motives.  Time and time again, delegates approached me and told me that after listening to us, they had to do a complete 180 degree turn on their previously-held opinions.  Our strongest allies in the General Synod felt that this was a major reason why the (albeit) revised resolution passed by such an overwhelming majority.

Again, it is excellent that this motion played a major role in informing members of Synod (often for the first time) of the real nature of what is occurring in North America.

Whilst my archdiocese (Sydney) showed the liberals the door a long time ago, and whilst we are legally autonomous, we cannot think that what goes on in the rest of the communion does not affect us. In particular, England is important because of its historical roots and strategic position in the Communion. So it is important that we educate the CofE about what is happening in places where the liberals run rampant, such as USA and Canada.

[120] Posted by MichaelA on 2-11-2010 at 05:12 PM · [top]

119- Very good point, oscewicee.  To the average CoE member, the average bishop is someone who went to seminary fairly early in life, was ordained, then went on to earn a doctorate in Theology at Oxford, wrote extensively, held a variety of parish and diocesan positions, and then, sometime in his 50s was chosen from among all the clergy of the Church of England as one of its most accomplished based upon a body of work in the church stretching back 30 years.  So, that is what they think of when they think the word “bishop.” (ok, I know this is a bit of an exaggeration)

They would find inconceivable that someone might leave the Roman Catholic church in their 30s in order to facilitate a divorce, and a few years into the second marriage, leave a not very successful secular career, do a 2 year crash study in seminary, be ordained in the mid 40’s and 5 to 7 years later, be elected to the position of bishop by members of 1 diocese after a couple brief job interviews with the standing committee and some meet and greet cocktail parties and walkabouts. (again, yes, I know this is an exaggeration, but I could name a couple bishops for whom this is not much of an exaggeration).

How many Archbishops of Canterbury entered the priesthood as part of a midlife crisis? 

By the same token, I think we tend to “project” the workings of GC on the English Synod. One thing that should break us of that notion was Mrs. Ashworth’s motion, the like of which would not have made it to the floor of any GC in the last 40 years.  It would have been killed in committee and never seen the light of day.

It is up to us to muster the will to make a courteous and charitable and indeed grateful response to an offer to a dialogue.  The ABoC loves a good dialogue, so let us engage him.  Perhaps nothing comes of it, but this is an opportunity to break down one of the barriers to trust within the church.

The hand being offered by the Church of England is tentative, and could perhaps, be withdrawn.  We may have to extend our own hand without knowing whether they will join hands with us.  But if we do not extend our hand, we will guarantee that the handshake will not happen, and thereby guarantee the division of the church.

[121] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-11-2010 at 05:13 PM · [top]

After a day or so, here is a thought to consider:

People have seen the COE General Synod vote as a way by which ACNA and the orthodox still in TEC can defeat and discredit TEC and “validate” their Anglican credentials by having the General Synod recognize those credentials. In other words, the General Synod’s vote would be one of the events by which ACNA et. al. will win their struggle with TEC.

I think that this view reverses the actual order of events. I fact, recognition by the COE will follow ACNA’s victory over TEC, not precede that victory. A formal vote by legislative bodies such as the General Synod or the ACC recognize a consensus that has already developed; they do not, and cannot, create that consensus. For example, ACNA’s and the Communion Partners’ recognition by the Global South churches, and the establishment of CANA, etc. have followed the realization by those churches, led by their Primates, that (i) TEC is heretical, and (ii) the orthodox Anglicans in North America who dissent from TEC’s heresy deserve protection.

At this point, the COE has not come to that realization. Of course, Rowan Williams as ABC will continue to use every implement of power and influence he has to prevent the COE and Communion from (a) making that realization, and (b) acting on it.

If this thinking is correct, then the most valuable accomplishment of the General Synod was the work done by ACNA’s representatives at the meeting. The final vote was less important because it was a look backward, recording the COE’s consensus on the day the vote was taken, not a look forward.

This is cold comfort for those of us in ACNA or still in TEC. We will have to build orthodox Anglican Christianity in North America on our own. We can hope for recognition by the COE only after they conclude we have succeeded.

[122] Posted by Publius on 2-11-2010 at 05:15 PM · [top]

The hand being offered by the Church of England is tentative, and could perhaps, be withdrawn.  We may have to extend our own hand without knowing whether they will join hands with us.  But if we do not extend our hand, we will guarantee that the handshake will not happen, and thereby guarantee the division of the church.

And I think that as Christians, we are certainly obliged to extend our hand. Thank you for that comparison of what “bishop” means, here and there. You might do a similar comparison of what “Archbishop of Canterbury” means compared to “presiding bishop.”

[123] Posted by oscewicee on 2-11-2010 at 05:19 PM · [top]

jimB wrote:

The synod affirmed the desire existed, not that they shared it nor that the AC-NA was qualified for admission into anything.  The use of the term, “Anglican family” is similarly significant as no such institution exists.  As Matt correctly notes, anyone in a robe with some incense and a prayer book can claim to be in the family.

Then ACNA haven’t lost anything, have they, jimB?

ACNA knows it is accepted as part of the Communion by the people in the Communion who matter - the orthodox.

Of course TEC is not going to accept that ACNA is not part of the Communion - so what?

Of course liberal bishops in CofE are never going to accept that ACNA is part of the Communion - so what?

Do you really see the slightest sign of hand-wringing or concern on the part of ACNA at any of this? Do you really think ACNA would have been concerned if the vote had been compeltely lost?

Sooner or later we have to come to terms with reality, and the idea that ACNA is outside the Communion in any sense that matters is simply not reality.

The real battle at present is to stop the continuing liberal encroachment in TEC (and no, I don’t think it can all be dismissed as “liberal”) and to reverse the liberal trend in CofE.

[124] Posted by MichaelA on 2-11-2010 at 05:20 PM · [top]

“You might do a similar comparison of what Archbishop of Canterbury” means compared to “presiding bishop.”

Personally, I think I might do a compare and contrast paper based, say, on the writings of the PB from the days she was “Dean” of the “school of theology” (or whatever it was) at that parish in Oregon, vs. this response of the current ABoC to Bishop Spong.
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/13880.htm

Let’s say I think the PB would do well to leave posthaste if the ABoC were to suggest a theological debate.  He might be able to take her on oceanography too, he is extremely well read. 
(sorry for the obscure- to me anyway- link, it is almost as if someone was trying to make this paper disappear from the internet- I know nothing of the particular ministry, it was the only place I could find with both Spong’s theses and Williams response)

[125] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-11-2010 at 05:38 PM · [top]

Let’s say I think the PB would do well to leave posthaste if the ABoC were to suggest a theological debate.  He might be able to take her on oceanography too,

Wouldn’t you like to see that engagement? But I suppose the ABC wouldn’t try, because he would have so little substance to argue against - like attacking a vapor with a blade.

[126] Posted by oscewicee on 2-11-2010 at 05:52 PM · [top]

#125, you’ve never seen her work a room, spinning questions. I suspect she could bluff her way through a debate perfectly well unless the moderator were The Enforcer. The only thing that I can think of to the contrary is her performance on the videotaped depositions in the Virginia cases.

I’d still like to see the Gay Gene (or Jack Spong) up against Rob Gagnon. I’d take vacation from work and fly (or drive) anywhere for that. (I’ll admit it. Back in the 19th century, I might well have attended public executions.)

[127] Posted by Ralph on 2-11-2010 at 06:00 PM · [top]

Debate at the level of the ABC? I don’t think so. It takes more than ability to work the room to win a real debate. She whiskers away from theological issues as fast as she can, leaving a few feathers floating in the air.

[128] Posted by oscewicee on 2-11-2010 at 06:04 PM · [top]

Has anyone examined the profile those that are entering seminary to become a COE Priest; or examine what they are being taught in the seminaries.  TEC proves there is no amount of political rangling that is going to change the course of a denomination that is the subject of a unrelentless influx of liberally trained and inclined Priests.

There are some wonderful COE Priests and Bishops. But as the Baptists found out years ago, you must regain the seminaries while you still have the ability to do so.

[129] Posted by Going Home on 2-11-2010 at 06:19 PM · [top]

“Theological issues?”  She’s a flyweight….doesn’t even register on the scale.

[130] Posted by Cennydd on 2-11-2010 at 07:02 PM · [top]

Then ACNA haven’t lost anything, have they, jimB?

ACNA knows it is accepted as part of the Communion by the people in the Communion who matter - the orthodox.

Of course TEC is not going to accept that ACNA is not part of the Communion - so what?

Of course liberal bishops in CofE are never going to accept that ACNA is part of the Communion - so what?

Do you really see the slightest sign of hand-wringing or concern on the part of ACNA at any of this? Do you really think ACNA would have been concerned if the vote had been compeltely lost?

I think there is a sharp disconnect between some such as yourself who are content to “shake the dust off their sandals” or fight the good fight and AC-NA management.  Yes, ++Duncan et al do want those Canadian and American spots at Lambeth, ACC and primate’s meetings.  First because they think (incorrectly I suspect) that gaining them would position them to win a lot of the litigation and secondly because let’s face it AC-NA is about 100,000 people and ACoC and TEC dwarf it.  Like it or not, bishops have egos. That is not a criticism, merely the reality of getting to be a bishop.

FWIW
jimB

[131] Posted by jimB on 2-12-2010 at 10:03 AM · [top]

Hi JimB,

I certainly agree that bishops have egos…no further comment…:) but I don’t think you’ve hit on the primary motivation. Archbishop Duncan and most ACNA bishops for that matter, are quite catholic in their ecclesiology…so, for them, the tie to Canterbury is historically and theologically important.

Now to me, the whole Canterbury thing is a nice, but primarily functional convenience, that may and should be discarded when/if it interferes with the proclamation of the gospel which, I think, it does. So I couldn’t care a fig if the ABC likes us or not. But I certainly respect my catholic friends and leaders for whom it is a very big deal.

[132] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 2-12-2010 at 10:10 AM · [top]

jimB, at some point, both of our sides our going to have to decide whether numbers matter or not.  Your fellow-travelers have always been quick to scoff at the significance of ECUSA’s rapid loss of members, which has accelerated since 2003.  Now, it seems we’re supposed to take something from the fact that ECUSA “dwarfs” ACNA.  Which is it?

The numbers would become quite a bit closer, very quickly, if the specter of property litigation didn’t hang over dissenters.  We all know that, most especially the vindictive cowards at 815, which is why the litigation proceeds apace, even as the folks in Manhattan and most every diocese cry poverty, cut programs and throw people on the street to eat out of garbage cans.  David Booth Beers uber alles, is it?

[133] Posted by Phil on 2-12-2010 at 10:46 AM · [top]

Fr. Matt,  I think you have something there.  The whole apostolic succession thing is probably a factor in their thinking.  And I do not doubt their sincerity.  They really do think it important but I suspect the other issues intrude.

Phil, I am not pushing the numbers. Rather I am suggesting that they impact the thinking of the AC-NA folk who really do want to supplant TEC and ACoC in the councils of the Anglican Communion.  Hard to sell yourself as the only option with about 100,000 members. 

FWIW
jimB

[134] Posted by jimB on 2-12-2010 at 11:29 AM · [top]

jimB, while not in or privy to the thinking of the leaders of the ACNA, I’m pretty sure their sales pitch is not based on numbers, but on fidelity to the Gospel and the Christian tradition.

[135] Posted by Phil on 2-12-2010 at 11:34 AM · [top]

Maybe there are faithful Christians in TEC. owevr, I don’t know how a true Christian can be an Episcopalian these days. Example (and I’ve mentioned this on another thread): When the Endowment Committee at our church, of which I am a member, wanted to approve a matching gift (albeit a mere $#25) to Planned Parenthood anbd I objected on the grounds that as a church we shouldn’t be doing this, and I asked the rest of the committee to consider what Jesus would say about abortion, one of the other members said that he would say it depends on the circumstances. Well I guess she must be reading a different Bible than the one I read, because the Jesus of the Gospels in the Bible I read never said anything remotely like that. The Jesus I know wouldn’t cooperate in killing babies. But good old TEC is famous (or notorious) for following the good old middle way. Heaven forbid we should offend someone by speaking the truth.

[136] Posted by Nellie on 2-14-2010 at 01:15 AM · [top]

JimB,

I think in all this you take my point:
that one’s view of this motion will be heavily influenced by how important one views membership in the Communion (or even what “the Anglican Communion” means to you) and/or how important one views relationship with Canterbury.

The ACNA founding documents state that ACNA will seek membership in the communion but don’t indicate any timetable, nor do they appear to make anything important depends on such membership. The Windsor Continuation Group noted last year (to its evident surprise) that the ACNA bishops didn’t seem to think communion with Canterbury was important.

Phil, I am not pushing the numbers. Rather I am suggesting that they impact the thinking of the AC-NA folk who really do want to supplant TEC and ACoC in the councils of the Anglican Communion.  Hard to sell yourself as the only option with about 100,000 members.

JimB the problem I see with this analysis is that many of the most important people in the communion will see it as irrelevant. For many of those at Gafcon, ACNA already is the only option in America, regardless of its numbers. Equally, for TEC, ACoC and many who support them in England, Australia (not Sydney!) and elsewhere, ACNA will *never* be an option, regardless of its numbers.

Archbishop Duncan and most ACNA bishops for that matter, are quite catholic in their ecclesiology…so, for them, the tie to Canterbury is historically and theologically important.

Matt+, wouldn’t there by quite a number of ACNA bishops who aren’t going to care at all? I would have thought that none of the former REC bishops will give a hoot - otherwise what have they been doing for the past 130 years? And +Boyce who brought his diocese over from APA - one would think he can get along without Canterbury if he has to! The bishops in AMiA and CANA - do they really care? And then we get to Quincy, Fort Worth and San Joaquin - last I heard they were in the province of the Southern Cone, so no less part of the AC than they ever were, even in the most formal sense.

[137] Posted by MichaelA on 2-14-2010 at 02:18 AM · [top]

How would you feel if you asked someone to marry you and they responded, “I affirm that you want to marry me”?

I guess in some folks minds that is perhaps progress.

[138] Posted by David |däˈvēd| on 2-14-2010 at 03:37 AM · [top]

David,

Membership in the Anglican Communion is not in any way like marriage, so there is just no point in such an analogy!

However, you do raise a useful point - there is no doubt that there is a lot of liberal influence in the Church of England. CofE has gone a long way down the liberal path. I do want to see that reversed. i.e. I want the votes to follow the hearts of the people, not the other way around.

So I would like to see a motion like the following passed with acclamation by a large majority in General Synod:

We affirm that no church should ordain those who openly practice homosexuality, nor should women be consecrated as bishops nor ordained as priests. Rather, the centrality of the gospel message as set out in the plain words of scripture should be promoted by all Anglicans everywhere.
We condemn the actions of those who have sought to oppress those Anglicans who simply seek to remain faithful to scripture and the traditions of the church.
We affirm that we are in communion with all those who are Anglican and practice orthodoxy, including ACNA and all faithful christians within TEC and ACoC.
We urge all Anglicans who have previously associated themselves with liberalism to renounce it, or leave the Anglican Communion

Now I agree that THAT would have been a much better motion to have passed!

And the time will come when it is passed - I and other orthodox are Anglican: that means we belong to a church dating back to 1st or 2nd century AD, so it doesn’t bother us how long it takes to accomplish a worthy objective.

[139] Posted by MichaelA on 2-14-2010 at 04:31 AM · [top]

JimB,
One more thing: If I am reading the ACNA web-sites corectly, they claim 100,000 as ASA, not membership.

[140] Posted by MichaelA on 2-14-2010 at 06:13 AM · [top]

Affirm: say yes to
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
- To agree, verify or concur; to answer positively; To support or encourage
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/affirm

I have waded through the 140 or so comments. Pagentmaster in #10 was the most helpfull, salient, illustrative of the intent of the English speakers who crafted the final draft. Draught. See what I mean? Messing with COE types requires a thorough understanding of what THEY mean when they write something. Frequently the importance of this necessary exercise escapes the notice of those of us in the colonies.

You cannot view this resolution in any other way than positive, understanding the words and who wrote them. Rest assured that even that woman who currently runs TEC understands this and its import.

Mardi Gras vien. Donne moi cinque sous pour la charite’? I’m on the way to mass then a boucherie at city hall. Lots of Yankees in town who will observe how sausage really is made. And hog head cheese, and les gratons, and boudin etc etc. Y’all come.

[141] Posted by teddy mak on 2-14-2010 at 08:46 AM · [top]

#131. Jim B,

I think there is a sharp disconnect between some such as yourself who are content to “shake the dust off their sandals” or fight the good fight and AC-NA management.

Would you use the word management to refer to 815? It betrays your disdain for the leadership of ACNA.

[142] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-14-2010 at 09:33 AM · [top]

RE: “First because they think (incorrectly I suspect) that gaining them would position them to win a lot of the litigation and secondly because let’s face it AC-NA is about 100,000 people and ACoC and TEC dwarf it.”

Well if Bishop Duncan and the other ACNA bishops believe the former they must have horrible counsel.  And I don’t think they do.  Even I, a lowly peon, recognize that membership in the AC—a global body—doesn’t affect local US property law.

And no, I don’t think they’re too concerned about the latter ASA either.

Right now, TEC’s ASA is at about 750,000.  ACNA ASA is at about 100,000.

Over the next 10 years, I expect TEC ASA to plunge to about 500,000 and ACNA to move up to around 200,000/250,000 ASA.

So TEC will be about double the size of ACNA.  I don’t think that’s a bad growth plan—particularly in a mere decade.

NOW—I will grant that I think that ACNA leaders believed that many many many many many more hundreds of thousands would join ACNA when they left TEC and that many more would *leave* TEC than have.  I don’t think their beliefs or estimates have been anywhere near correct—or will be either.  I estimate that about 75% of the Leavers have gone elsewhere than Anglican entities.  And I think that stat will hold about true for the upcoming 10 years as well.

So if we estimate a loss to TEC over the next decade of about 250,000 ASA, 25% of that 250,000 would be about 60K.  The rest of ACNA’s gain would come from evangelism of the unchurched.

From a long-term perspective, I estimate the decline of TEC to reach about the size of the UUs—but with declining percentages heading to ACNA from that decline.  I figure there’s just a minimum number of US citizens who are 1) interested in religion/spirituality and 2) ragingly progressive.  It’s easy to find the ragingly progressive—but getting the ragingly progressive interested in something like church or organized religion is a different matter.  Once you get both criteria you’ve just got a teensy minority of the US population.  And it ain’t growing either [those with both criteria that is].  Now you will have a segment of that teensy minority of two criteria who like robes and some semblance of liturgy better than the UU alternative.  But the two entities will be duking it out for that teensy percentage of US citizens too.

The UUA [US Unitarian congregations] boast about 210,000 in membership—and the 2007 Pew survey estimates about 350,000 US citizens claiming Unitarian affiliation/belief.  My theory is that TEC will bottom out and hover at between 250,000 and 300,000 somewhere about 2 decades from now—after they’ve churned through all the cradle-never-leaving TECans, and that body dies off and fails to restock from their own families, and after the other remaining traditional TECans move on in the coming next two decades.

On the other hand, following the growth track of other splits off of the Protestant mainlines, I expect ACNA’s share of the percentage of Leavers to decline from 25% over the coming two decades.  So, for instance, when the next 250,000 or so leave TEC [once TEC hits 500,000K], I expect perhaps 5% of that 250,000 to depart for ACNA.  That parallels, for instance, the meltdown in the PCUSA—back in the 80s and early 90s the departures who went to other Presby options, went to the PCA.  Now—during the late 90s and early 21st century—they’re heading to the EPC. 

This would make a fascinating ethnographic study.

Here’s the track for how the last decade has worked for TEC Anglican departers [who went to other Anglican entities]—my thesis being that the most charismatic/low-church/evangelical are the “early departers” with the chain stretching upward as the years flow by:

—AMIA—made up of the most intensive group of charismatic/low-church/evangelical with the most conservatives, emphasizing the “separation from impurity” doctrines
CANA/Uganda/Kenya/Southern Cone—still predominantly charismatic/low-church/evangelical with three Anglo-Catholic dioceses and some small percentage of “high-church evangelicals” or “evangelical catholics”
—Next wave—higher up the chain of worship style/catholicism/conciliar ecclesiology/etc.

That “next wave” in the PCUSA began a whole new denomination—the EPC.  They were [obviously] not NEARLY so conservative as the PCAers.  They didn’t/don’t care about a lot of the Reformed issues of the PCA and simply could not [in conscience] be a part of that denomination.

I predict the next wave—after each and every one of the second wave TEC departures actually departs—will end up founding a new entity.

All of the above speculations are not based, of course, on any quantitative studies, which I would certainly love to see done.  Just hundreds and hundreds of conversations and observations.

For instance, I look at the old-line cradle Episcopalians in my own church—generations back too—and note that almost none of their children are members of TEC.  They’ve gone elsewhere.  And I see it all around TEC.  So I just don’t think that there will be that “restocking” that TEC could depend on 50 years ago.

[143] Posted by Sarah on 2-14-2010 at 10:26 AM · [top]

Interesting post, Sarah, though you could also mention the mostly Anglo-Catholic Leavers in the 1970’s, who can’t in good conscious join with the ACNA, and who don’t seem to be good at joining with each other or restocking their own ponds.

[144] Posted by AndrewA on 2-14-2010 at 10:43 AM · [top]

A quick off topic reply to Nellie’s 136

I don’t know how a true Christian can be an Episcopalian these days.

Certainly, it must be very difficult. But, I expect, no more difficult than for those with ‘unsoiled clothes’ in the Church in Sardis in Revelation 3 (although perhaps Thyatira is more relevant to the present Anglican communion).

[145] Posted by Boring Bloke on 2-14-2010 at 10:54 AM · [top]

I think Sarah is right on the money with her analysis.  With my age, haveing been in several church organizations, and knowing many from a number of groups, the idea of “church”  is fading from our society as it has in other countries, especially Europe.  But this is true of all institutions, be it Masons, garden club, Boy Scouts,etc.  Most good conwervatives tell me they just aren’t interested in politics.
    I think Angliconism, like the British Empire is fading and will be only at best a very small niche.  Even if we could tease away the heresy and other bad stuff, there just isn’t a big interest in the beauty and form of Anglican system.  This is especially true of the youth.  However we need not dispair.  God does suddnly turn history in a different direction out of the blue.  There will always be Masons, garden clubs, Lionel train clubs and various types and styles of churches.  Of course the True Church will prevail, but not necessarily in the familiar forms we remember.  IMHO

[146] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 2-14-2010 at 11:18 AM · [top]

Fascinating analysis in #143.  And my own experience tells me you are probably correct.  The TEC parish I left was of the high church, Anglo-Catholic leaning variety.  It had a very steep decline in attendance (no youth group anymore and not a lot of families with kids) that was arrested by a new rector (orthodox of course).  When I began attending seeing a teenager or young adult was rare.  But despite many additions of young families with a substantial increase in ASA it has been mainly treading water lately because of a steady trickle of defections due to the events in TEC since 2003.  My own family is the only one I know that actually sought out another Anglican entity- others left for everything from Assemblies of God and Evangelical Presbyterian Church to the Roman Catholic Church.

[147] Posted by Nevin on 2-14-2010 at 11:48 AM · [top]

AndrewA, I *did* think about starting with the departure of the REC groups in the late 1800s.

And then moving towards the Anglo-Catholic departures in the 1970s.

But I think the thesis would end up being the same which is that the “ends” of the “poles” [that is, the low-churchers in the 1870s and the Anglo-Catholics in the 1970s] get whittled away decade to decade and those “ends” are in entities clustered together.

So in the 2000s, you have the “ends” of the “poles” again departing, with the interesting attempt of the old century-or-more-end of the REC at least working back into the departures of the “ends” of the first decade of the 21st century.

By the “poles” I would say the groups of *Christians* in TEC.  I don’t include the “ends” of the “poles” of those who don’t believe or promote the Gospel in TEC—for they won the levers of power and have no need to depart. 

This brings up a fascinating point as well.

While the “ends” of the poles of those who believe the Gospel depart, steadily whittling back towards the center of the poles [whatever that may be—I don’t claim to be a part of that center but I imagine that there will always be a few collaborationist Christians in the center of the Christian poles still remaining], and coming up with new entities [if they choose to remain Anglican], you have the “ends” of the “poles” of radical foaming progressives who don’t remotely believe the Gospel *staying in TEC*.

My theory is that you end up with a church largely held by the “ends of the poles” of revisionists—and the organization becomes essentially a living picture of Jude’s vision of those people.

PM, I actually don’t think Anglicanism is fading away—where it is actually practiced!
; > )  Where it is actually practiced and maintained it is burgeoning.

[148] Posted by Sarah on 2-14-2010 at 12:10 PM · [top]

The CoE Synod had 3 opportunities to actually do something positive in regard to ACNA.

There was the original private members motion from Lorna Ashworth, “That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America.”

Synod responded by accepting a motion for an amendment that gutted her motion and expressed, “That this synod recognize and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family; So the whole motion went from the concept that it is “our desire to be in communion with them” to the concept that it is “their desire to be in communion with us”.

A second amendment was offered to add the wording of Ashworth’s original motion to the approved amended motion and it was defeated. However, Synod did accept a motion to further amend the amended motion to include the concept that the CoE is “aware of the distress cause by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada”. Unfortunately for ACNA, this phrase can only refer to TEC and ACoC because they are the Anglican churches in North America that have experienced divisions. ACNA has not experienced a division. ACNA is what has resulted from the division the two Anglican churches have experienced.

But finally the CoE Synod defeated a 3rd, albeit back door approach to recognition of ACNA from the CoE, when Synod defeated a motion to further amend the amended motion by adding language to recognize the Holy Orders of ACNA clergy and allow them to exercise their faculties within the CoE.

So three times the Synod had an opportunity to say, “We desire to be in communion with you” and all three times the Synod voted no. In the end the Synod passed a motion that said , “we affirm that you want to be in communion with us”.

Luckily it is not baseball.

[149] Posted by David |däˈvēd| on 2-14-2010 at 12:44 PM · [top]

David at #149,
Very true (most of it anyway).

Now, wouldn’t you agree with my post at #139, i.e that it would have been much better if General Synod passed a motion like this:

We affirm that no church should ordain those who openly practice homosexuality, nor should women be consecrated as bishops nor ordained as priests. Rather, the centrality of the gospel message as set out in the plain words of scripture should be promoted by all Anglicans everywhere.

We condemn the actions of those who have sought to oppress those Anglicans who simply seek to remain faithful to scripture and the traditions of the church.
We affirm that we are in communion with all those who are Anglican and practice orthodoxy, including ACNA and all faithful christians within TEC and ACoC.

We urge all Anglicans who have previously associated themselves with liberalism to renounce it, or leave the Anglican Communion

And don’t you also agree that it would be much better that the vote followed the hearts, so that General Synod is truly and overwhelmingly committed to an utter rejection of liberalism?

That being the case, I am sure you will applaud the efforts by many orthodox activists to change the minds and hearts of many clergy and laity both in CofE, TEC, Anglican Church of Australia and elsewhere. We thank you for your support!

[150] Posted by MichaelA on 2-14-2010 at 05:30 PM · [top]

No Michael, I would not/do not subscribe to any of that. It would be a horrible day for the Reign of God for anything near any of that being the case.

I guess that you also favor the preposed Ugandan Kill the Gays legislation.

[151] Posted by David |däˈvēd| on 2-14-2010 at 05:50 PM · [top]

Right—because wanting people to renounce liberal ideology as false, immoral, and harmful is precisely the same as “killing” people.

[Snort]

Erratic, irrational hyperbole there—typical liberal “reasoning.”

[152] Posted by Sarah on 2-14-2010 at 06:58 PM · [top]

Erratic, irrational hyperbole there

Pretty much how I viewed Michael’s post Sarah.

[153] Posted by David |däˈvēd| on 2-14-2010 at 07:23 PM · [top]

[150] Posted by MichaelA
Lovely resolution.
Ain’t got a chance, but my, if it did!

[154] Posted by Bo on 2-14-2010 at 08:27 PM · [top]

Sarah, fascinating analysis.

I tend to agree that the next wave from TEC, if it occurs, will be less conservative than the earlier one.  I also agree that a declining number of TEC refugees will end up with the ACNA, and the ACNA’s primary growth will be from the unchurched or, perhaps, refugees from other denominations like the PCUSA. I am not sure, however, if there will be another “wave” as you predict. Instead, I see more of a steady attrition as dying members are not replaced by new ones.  The exception might be in a state, like South Carolina, if there is a dramatic event (such as the Bishop being deposed).

When I look at the departure of the non-Anglo Catholic churches over the last twenty years, I see a delayed impact of the charismatic/renewal movement of the seventies and eighties and early nineties.  This changed the views of some existing members, and brought in some new ones, all with a decidedly evangelical approach.  When I look at the early signatories of the 1997 First Promise Declaration, I see a lot of clergy leaders from that camp.  The lay members influenced by that movement were much less institutional, and must more willing to buck the establishment. But this group is now largely gone, and I don’t see their numbers being replenished within TEC since the feeder ministries, such as Cursillo, are now much more influenced by liberal clergy and lay leadership and much less likely to stray from the party line. For these reasons, it’s hard for me to see a basis for a new “wave”, particularly one with the energy and cohesion to start yet another denomination.


Finally, I think you are right on when you predict that TEC’s decline will stop as it reaches an irreducible minimum, clustered around historic old churches and with strong connections to the arts.  A two hundred thousand ASA sounds about right in the end, although membership will be significantly greater.  TEC will also remain a safe church membership for current or aspiring politicians, members of the judiciary, academics, and corporate leaders.

[155] Posted by Going Home on 2-14-2010 at 08:41 PM · [top]

RE: “Pretty much how I viewed Michael’s post Sarah.”

Yes, David—because definitions of the most common words are now antithetical, considering our mutually opposing foundational worldviews and contradictory gospels.

It’s to be expected.

“Irrational” means “logical and closely reasoned.”  “Erratic” means “stable.”  “Hyperbole” means “understated.”

And “moral” means “corrupt.” “Godly” means “godless.”  And “Gospel” means “gay sex is good.”

Two gospels.  One organization.  Which means the conflict will go on and on.

But it’s good that we both are so clear about the chasms and rifts.

[156] Posted by Sarah on 2-14-2010 at 08:59 PM · [top]

Lovely resolution.
Ain’t got a chance, but my, if it did!

he he, thanks Bo.

Indeed, in earthly terms a resolution like this could not possibly pass General Synod at the moment. There would have to be a HUGE change of heart across a great many clergy and laity in the CofE first. But our Lord is a miracle-working God and this is well within his power.

In the meantime, I think we have to witness patiently and seek to change hearts and minds as we are able.

I do not despair even of TEC: we could yet see a turn-around there. So too for England, Australia and Canada.

[157] Posted by MichaelA on 2-14-2010 at 10:36 PM · [top]

Michael’s post full of “erratic, irrational hyperbole?”  Heh! wink

[158] Posted by Cennydd on 2-14-2010 at 10:39 PM · [top]

I do appreciate that Sarah has expended many hours - perhaps days - of high-grade intellectual energy on her statistical analysis and model of TEC’s inevitable decline; apparently, by 2030 the remnants of the ‘the Church of Presidents’ will be reduced to meeting in tiny groups in gay bars.

Interestingly enough, soon after the huge excitement of the ACNA debate on Wednesday, which dominated media attention, the President of the Methodist Church in the UK addressed CofE General Synod and announced that his church plans to close down their denomination - John Wesleys legacy - and ‘come home’to Mother Church after 200 years. A few statistics: 275,000 members, 5,800 chapels plus Westminster Central Hall (just across the street from Westminster Abbey), all subject to the one fundamental condition that in accepting the episcopate both male and female Methodist ministers will be equally eligible to be consecrated as bishops - assuming that the CofE has women bishops in place by 2014. Of course, the UK is not to be compared lightly with the US.

However, in your speculations, Sarah, should you not provide for mergers and further refine the elegant matrix you have laid before us.

[159] Posted by comprador on 2-14-2010 at 11:52 PM · [top]

Comprador, as you point out, mergers *might* happen. Do you have anything more concrete to offer? The fact is, anything might happen. The entire west coast of America might be devoured by feral mutant goats, or speared to death by deranged leprechauns - Sarah left those possibilities out also.

Sarah’s hypothesis seems like it might indeed be a good guide to what may happen in the future. Since she never for a moment suggested it was a 100% infallible prediction, I find it quite useful.

[160] Posted by MichaelA on 2-15-2010 at 12:27 AM · [top]

MichaelA (160)

I merely suggested that mergers of down-sized, main-line denominations may feature on the future landscape as sketched in for us by Sarah.

Deranged leprechauns and other myths of the future may join the myths of the past in your imagination but, ever the realist, I couldn’t offer concrete evidence…only the marshmellow example of the UK’s Methodists’ probable integration with the CofE.

[161] Posted by comprador on 2-15-2010 at 02:05 AM · [top]

[157] Posted by MichaelA
Yes, I spoke from my feelings, not my mind.

God can melt the heart of stone, the rareness of miracles is why they’re known as miracles.  I need to be less double-minded and more prayerfull.

Thanks!

[162] Posted by Bo on 2-15-2010 at 02:09 AM · [top]

[159] comprador

[S]hould you not provide for mergers and further refine the elegant matrix you have laid before us.

The merger of two declining organizations does not produce one healthy organization.  It produces a larger declining organization which might see some momentary improvement due to improved economies of scale, but still possesses all the problems that led to decline in the first place.  Merger in such a case is a strategy of delay, and not of recovery. 

carl

[163] Posted by carl on 2-15-2010 at 08:53 AM · [top]

RE: “I do appreciate that Sarah has expended many hours - perhaps days - of high-grade intellectual energy on her statistical analysis and model of TEC’s inevitable decline; apparently, by 2030 the remnants of the ‘the Church of Presidents’ will be reduced to meeting in tiny groups in gay bars.”

Careful now, Comprador, your bitterness is leaking out a bit there.  ; > )

Actually my comment took only a few minutes to whip out—but it is based on many thousands of hours now of conversations and involvement over the past 6 years.  Plodding away on this blog and doing the research for other projects does help one with analysis—eventually.  And just think—this blog brings you such pleasure!

Seriously, I don’t think there will be tiny groups in gay bars at all!  I think there will be tiny groups in beautiful, run-down old buildings!  I’m reminded now of one of my liberal friends who tried out an Episcopal church in Ohio—she had enjoyed a conservative traditional parish in the South, so she thought “why not.”  She carefully selected the old downtown historic parish—and lo, there was a small group in the nave, pews were gone, they sat in a circle and shared feelings, and there was what she discovered eventually a baptismal font—filled with yellow rubber duckies.  Eventually the group stood up and had some gay commitment ceremonies—and “church” was over.

Heh—she was appalled.  And I laughed.

So no, Comprador, I don’t envision tiny groups in gay bars for revisionists like you.  Not at all.  Something far far worse.  ; > )

Seriously again, the UUs field some churches with their 250,000 or so.  I see no reason why TEC cannot do so with some modicum of style.

And sure, there certainly might be some mergers in TEC’s future—I could definitely see what’s left of the ELCA and what’s left of the PCUSA eventually merging—or perhaps the Methodists.  Why not?

Of course . . . could you properly call it a “merger” since the Methodists [8 millionish] and ELCA [4 millionish] and the PCUSA [3 millionish] are significantly larger than TEC?  Perhaps we could call it a . . . “friendly takeover”?

So sure—why not have a TECMethELPC church?

But do you think these mergers will take place in the next 20 years?  I’m not so sure of that and remember that my window of exploration and prediction was the coming 2 decades.  The Methodists and COE have been prosing about merging for quite some years now—I’m not sure that will happen any time soon over there.  And when one looks at the financial state of the COE, do they really want to take on the Methodist buildings as well?  All for a paltry gain? 

But one never knows.

I try to write only about things that I have a good amount of knowledge about—like TEC decline for instance.  So I’m no expert on the fond fantasy of mergers in TEC’s future.

[164] Posted by Sarah on 2-15-2010 at 09:01 AM · [top]

Sarah, I believe that you are dead right about the future of TEC. It’s so sad to think of it, but I agree with your prediction that there will be lovely old church buildings in the hands of small groups of gays and other revisionists who will not have the financial resources to keep up the real estate. TEC may once have been “the Church of President,” but that calls to mind a few comments: Who cares? I don’t base my faith or religious prasctices on presidential preference. Furthermore, there haven’t been a whole lot of presidents lately whose lives have been oparagons of inspiration. And - bottom line - I’m more interest in a chutrch that can claim to be the church of Christ. I think TEC is getting further and further away form being that.

[165] Posted by Nellie on 2-15-2010 at 09:37 AM · [top]

A “TECMethELPC” church?

Sounds like the new, sophisticated drug of choice.  Would they need approval by the DEA?

[166] Posted by hanks on 2-15-2010 at 09:43 AM · [top]

Sarah,
TEC plus ELCA plus UMC. This is something akin to climbers being roped together on a galcier. It is just as likely a mutual suicide pact.

[167] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-15-2010 at 09:45 AM · [top]

#166. Hanks,

Sounds like the new, sophisticated drug of choice

Certainly not Angel Dust.

[168] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-15-2010 at 09:48 AM · [top]

“Careful now, Comprador, your bitterness is leaking out a bit there.”

Sarah, your beautifully-balanced response was right on the button…you did not disappoint me…except, possibly, with the bitterness bit.

After all, I’ve never really had any reason or excuse to be bitter, having always been fortunate enough to live life to the full, almost unerringly discovering the best in people all over the world, although I have stumbled occasionally upon the bittersweet. I would humbly suggest that you cast your eyes on the horizon occasionally; it is all too easy for one to become encased in religiosity

I was baptised a Methodist Church, ‘did’ Sunday Service, Sunday School and Wolf Cubs (Cub Scouts in NC?) - went away to a C of E school,was Anglicanised and confirmed…
and, yes, talking of beautiful old buildings, ordained in Salisbury Cathedral, which is in magnificent repair.

Otherwise, I would ask you to read the sweet words I penned to MichaelA in (161), which remain pertinent. I was seeking an opinion, not imposing anything at all.

Incidentally, you are the only person to have labelled me a revisionist; I do admit to being a Cavalier and am saddened if you see yourself as a Roundhead.

Happy New Year of the Tiger. (Kung Hei Fat Choy).

[169] Posted by comprador on 2-15-2010 at 11:06 AM · [top]

RE: “Incidentally, you are the only person to have labelled me a revisionist; I do admit to being a Cavalier and am saddened if you see yourself as a Roundhead.”

Hi Comprador—you yourself announced that you would be labelled a “progressive” last year on this very site.

But perhaps you’d prefer to be called a “progressive” than a revisionist.  Over here in TEC they all mean the same thing anyway, despite the hopes of the revisionists.  ; > )

I would probably have had to be a Cavalier and we would have unfortunately had to be on the same side. 

But now, I get to be on the same side as the likes of Ephraim Radner [though he and I have often mildly skirmished].

So things do improve for the better some times.

[170] Posted by Sarah on 2-15-2010 at 11:28 AM · [top]

It was quite possibly my mistake. My Oxford Dictionary informs me that ‘progressive’ adj. means “proceeding gradually or in stages!”

So you see, Sarah, that coming from what Mr Hannity always refers to as Socialist Britain (with its universal healthcare), I have been sufficiently infected to become a Progressive Conservative - a supporter of my fellow Cavalier, David Cameron, the next prime minister of the Sceptred Isle.
Great to hear from you and satisfy myself that you haven’t lost your edge.

[171] Posted by comprador on 2-15-2010 at 11:57 AM · [top]

Dcn Dal,

Not only would I use “management” to describe the top levels of TEC, I have.  In no way did I mean to be dismissive of the top levels of AC-NA in my use of the word and I sincerely apologize to any who as you did, thought that such an implication was intended. 

I did mean the term to encompass not only the bishops but the other leaders of AC-NA.  Just as is true of that organization, TEC has leadership other than its bishops and so to my ear, “management” is more descriptive and inclusive. I meant nothing else.

Please forgive me.

FWIW
jimB

[172] Posted by jimB on 2-15-2010 at 12:27 PM · [top]

MichaelA,

I think in all this you take my point:
that one’s view of this motion will be heavily influenced by how important one views membership in the Communion (or even what “the Anglican Communion” means to you) and/or how important one views relationship with Canterbury.

Yes I think the conversation between Fr. Matt and me makes the same point.  For some, especially a number here, it is clear to me that communion membership is somewhere between no big deal and undesirable.  I think it unlikely however that that set of folks includes all or even most of the top folks in AC-NA leadership.  Fr. Matt makes the same point above.

Equally, for TEC, ACoC and many who support them in England, Australia (not Sydney!) and elsewhere, ACNA will *never* be an option, regardless of its numbers.

Some decades ago, the late Issac Asimov wrote about “intractable problems.”  He pointed out that it was utterly clear to everyone that Europe could not be half Roman and half Lutheran.  Then Cardinal Richelieu needed allies, the Germans could fight and it did not matter.  Rather a large number of such intractable issues can be found and he pointed out a number.  South America could not be part Spanish and part Portuguese until the Pope needed peace so they could both be his allies.  The list goes on.

My point, and I do have one, is that we should never say never.  One does not know what history and the Spirit have in mind for us.  Yes any sort of fellowship between AC Canada, TEC and AC-NA is unlikely in our life times, but things change. 

In my own analysis of the Synod’s actions, I disclosed my editorial bias.  grin  I am one who hates schism.  So I hope you are wrong about this point.  But I am certainly not sure about it!

FWIW
jimB

[173] Posted by jimB on 2-15-2010 at 12:46 PM · [top]

#172. jimB,
Forgiven and forgotten. Pax

[174] Posted by Fr. Dale on 2-15-2010 at 12:47 PM · [top]

RE: “So you see, Sarah, that coming from what Mr Hannity always refers to as Socialist Britain (with its universal healthcare), I have been sufficiently infected to become a Progressive Conservative - a supporter of my fellow Cavalier, David Cameron, the next prime minister of the Sceptred Isle.”

Although this is an interesting attempt at changing the subject, we were talking about revisionism of theology and doctrine, not secular politics, and your description of yourself as a progressive was in that context.

You know you’re a theological revisionist, I know it, and we both have acknowledged it, you with your word “progressive” and me with my word “revisionist.”  I’m not particularly interested in your secular political persuasions though it is a fairly constant topic shift on your part I’ve noticed.

[175] Posted by Sarah on 2-15-2010 at 01:09 PM · [top]

Dearest sisters and brothers in Christ,

I am finally back home in the USA, after being delayed for two days due to flight cancellations (in Atlanta).  Although jet lag is working its magic, I’ll attempt to write a very short follow-up to last week’s post that certainly won’t sway the naysayers, but might offer some additional encouragement for the hopeful.
As I mentioned last week, the ACNA has some very strong allies in the CoE Synod, with Lorna Ashworth being the most logically visible.  What many of you may not realize however, is that there are many other strong, outspoken clergy and laity who are adamant about making full communion between the CoE and the ACNA a reality.  The problem is that unless you were at General Synod, you could easily not know that they existed. 
The luncheon at which Bishop Harvey, Fr. Baucum, Cynthia Brust and I spoke at was closed to the media.  This was done so people would feel free to speak their minds without any concern for attribution.  In addition, the various strategy meetings and informal discussions were done apart from any press coverage.  Therefore, unless you spoke to the ACNA team, +David Anderson, Phil Ashey+, or Chris Sugden+ (etc.), you could easily conclude that we have no pit bulls in this dogfight.  Many of our advocates were prepared to strongly speak on our behalf AND to varying degrees, denounce TEC and the ACoC during the floor debate, but were not called on (for reasons that would disappoint conspiracy theorists).  If you heard what some of these Godly people had to say at the luncheon and in various side conversations, you would have been very encouraged.
Unlike Dar-Es-Salaam, Dromantine, etc., many of these people are action-oriented bishops, parish clergy and laity who in my opinion, are going to do everything in their power to ensure that the actions called for by the amended resolution do not fall by the wayside or get put off indefinitely for the ages.  So perhaps I am being a bit naive, but I am optimistic that another step forward towards full communion between the ACNA and the CoE will be made in 2011.  I chose these words carefully because I view this as a process that may require additional time to come to fruition.  In my opinion, the thing that creates the greatest uncertainty is the “X” factor I mentioned in my prior post, as there is no guarantee that all or most of our current strongest General Synod advocates will be re-elected and seated next year.  We’ll need to put our complete trust in God and as I said before, continue our kingdom-building mission and ministry, so that the world may come to know Jesus, the true and unique Christ.  That will provide the most compelling case for recognition by any church!

Blessings,

Michael Howell

[176] Posted by MikeSWFL on 2-15-2010 at 08:23 PM · [top]

Mike Howell at #176,

Thanks for your encouraging message. My view, as I have expressed before, is that for General Synod to recognise ACNA will do the CofE more good than it does ACNA (and I do not mean that in any disparaging way)!

Can you give us any insight to the CofE vote on women bishops? That would seem to be the next major milestone on the CofE’s lurch towards (or away) from liberalism.

The working group SAY that they will have draft legislation ready for the July Synod (although they earlier reckoned they would have it ready for this one…). How strong is the opposition to this measure, and what are the prospects of it passing, in your view?

I don’t regard this as completely off-topic for two reasons: (1) I would have thought that a vote against women bishops would be a pointer to an increased prospect of ACNA getting full recognition from General Synod when it next comes up; and (2) there already seems to be some disquiet within some sections of ACNA about whether they should be seeking communnion with CofE if it continues its lurch towards liberalism.

[177] Posted by MichaelA on 2-15-2010 at 09:19 PM · [top]

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