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How the House of Bishops Could Save the Anglican Communion

Saturday, September 22, 2007 • 11:06 am

Where does this leave us? In an interesting position I would think. Division seems even more inevitable than compromise. If the Episcopal Church does not pull back from the brink and, subsequently, Lambeth invitations are not withdrawn from Episcopal bishops and, further, if invitations are not issued to Nigerian, Ugandan, Rwandan, and Kenyan bishops, then there is, seemingly, an insurmountable impasse. The Windsor “Process” will be at an end. While the Church of Nigeria and some others will not, probably, declare independence from Canterbury, they will not meet. They will proceed as if Canterbury did not exist and as if the Episcopal Church is no longer a member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. All of this, I think, will be perfectly justified and yet terrible. But there is, to my mind, only one last and quite improbable scenario that might prevent this outcome.


I think it became clear to many yesterday that the Archbishop of Canterbury does not have the will or intention to withdraw Lambeth invitations. He certainly does not intend to extend them to the newly consecrated American bishops from Cana, Uganda, and/or Kenya. 

The most telling part of yesterday’s press conference was, in my opinion, the Archbishop’s description of the Lambeth Conference as a cross to be born for the sake of Communion. This came in reference to the Church of Nigeria’s request that Canterbury post-pone Lambeth to allow time for the present communion turmoil to subside. The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he is not prepared to post-pone or cancel the conference. Lambeth, he said, is a cross that must be born by all if there is any hope for a resurrected body. But Lambeth would not be a “cross” for Nigeria or anyone else if Canterbury were prepared to extend invitations or withdraw them.

His words, moreover, clearly undermine any sense that the Dar Es Salaam end date of September 30th represents a deadline or that the requests in the communiqué are beyond negotiation. The DES suggested that a failure to meet the requests of the primates by 30 September would impact, in some way, the “full participation of the Church [TEC] in the life of the communion.”

Here is the paragraph in full:

“The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007. If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.”

But the Archbishop of Canterbury described September 30th as simply a date of convenience. The only reason a specific date was chosen, he suggested yesterday, was that the primates recognized the September House of Bishops’ meeting as the last official meeting of bishops before the next Lambeth conference and they wanted to have the position of the American church clarified.

The requests made in the Communique are not demands or ultimatums. There is, he said, certainly room for maneuver and negotiation.

There was, further, no mention or hint of a primates’ meeting between now and Lambeth, emergency or otherwise. Rather, the Archbishop said that he would first await the outcome of the House of Bishop’s meeting, and then await the opinion and review of the Joint Standing Committee present in New Orleans. Then he would send the assessment of the JSC to the Primates of the communion and invite their feedback and advice.

The opinion then, of the Joint Standing Committee:...

Primates Standing Committee
Chair:
Archbishop Rowan William - England
Members:
Archbishop Philip Aspinall - Australia
Bishop Mouneer Anis - Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori - TEC
Archbishop Barry Morgan - Wales
                                         
ACC Standing Committee
Chair:
Bishop John Paterson - Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Vice Chair:
Professor George Koshy - South India
Members:
Mrs Philippa Amable - West Africa
Mrs Jolly Babirukamu - Uganda
Mr Robert Fordham - Australia
Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe - Ceylon
Canon Elizabeth Paver - England
Bishop James Tengatenga - Central Africa
Ms Nomfundo Walaza - Southern Africa
For the Anglican Communion Office Staff:
The Revd Canon Gregory Cameron (Deputy Secretary General)
The Revd Canon Jim Rosenthal (Communications)
Mrs Deirdre Martin (Executive Assistant

...Will precede and condition the perception and responses of the rest of the primates who will, apparently, not meet face to face.

In sum, taken together I believe we learned three things yesterday: 1. will not be an emergency primates meeting before Lambeth. 2. The present Lambeth invitations will not be withdrawn 3. The requests of the Dar Es Salaam Communique are not beyond negotiation. 

It is true that the Archbishop of Canterbury, during his time in New Orleans, urged the House to reconsider the position of the Episcopal Church vis a vis the rest of the Communion. It is true, as I believe Dr. Ephraim Radner has pointed out, that the Archbishop knew what Bishop Anis was going to say to the House before he said it (although, as a member of the JSC, Mouneer Anis was invited by the Episcopal House of Bishops, not specially by Canterbury). And it is almost certainly true that he wanted it to be said in order to let the House know what a good portion of the Communion is thinking. It is also probably true that the Archbishop was, in the press conference, not so much seeking to speak to American orthodox Anglicans as seeking to smooth episcopal feathers after a particularly difficult morning session.

But despite all of that, and, in case you are wondering, I am far from alone in this assessment, there will be no primates meeting, no withdrawal of invitations, and an ongoing “conversation” with the Episcopal Church. Compromise, said Canterbury yesterday, is after all inevitable.

So where does this leave us?

In an interesting position I would think. Division seems even more inevitable than compromise. If the Episcopal Church does not pull back from the brink and, subsequently, Lambeth invitations are not withdrawn from Episcopal bishops and, further, if invitations are not issued to Nigerian, Ugandan, Rwandan, and Kenyan bishops, then there is, seemingly, an insurmountable impasse. The Windsor “Process” will be at an end. While the Church of Nigeria and some others will not, probably, declare independence from Canterbury, they will not meet. They will proceed as if Canterbury did not exist and as if the Episcopal Church is no longer a member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

All of this, I think, will be perfectly justified and yet terrible.

But there is, to my mind, only one last and quite improbable scenario that might prevent this outcome.

Given that the Archbishop of Canterbury will not act, it is left, and this would only be possible by and through God’s intervening grace, for the Bishops of the Episcopal Church to save the Communion. I never thought I would write that sentence, but it is true. If all (or some) of the bishops of the Episcopal Church were to voluntarily absent themselves from the Lambeth Conference, the Communion might just right herself, at least for the time being.

Dr. Kendall Harmon is the author of this suggestion. He writes:

“For myself, I will consider those in New Orleans serious when they consider offering the Anglican Communion something like this statement:

We realize we have caused huge damage to the whole Anglican Communion and therefore, we, as a body, voluntarily withdraw from coming to Lambeth 2008.

Now please note this means ALL the TEC Bishops. No exceptions. It would allow Dr. Williams to get nearly all (perhaps actually all?) the rest of the Communion to Lambeth, and it would show a sense of corporate responsibility for the wrong.

Yes, I know it is not perfect. I also know that it would only be PART of a solution and that there are many other questions which would have to be addressed. I also know it would only happen by divine intervention.

But only things LIKE THIS will really get us anywhere given the degree of damage, alienation, confusion and struggle.”

In keeping with this idea, Dr. Ephraim Radner suggests a way that that Dr. Harmon’s might take on flesh:

…one thing I am certain of:  if the American bishops of all stripes—and their dioceses and clergy—could agree to some response to this situation that would get the larger Communion out from under this fight, he would think this the proper and acceptable course. EVEN IF IT MEANT THAT A LARGE PORTION OF TEC DISTANCED ITSELF FROM THE COMMUNION.  He would not be happy with this, but he would find it acceptable, because it would be a way of dealing with a conflict that engaged the mature agreement of responsible Christian leaders, however difficult and costly.  The current way of dealing with it—spreading it around the Communion like vomit with a rag—has proven not only costly, but scandalous.

My own hope, in light of this limited sense of the Archbishop’s desires, would be this:  that the “Windsor Bishops” resolution be voted upon, and that, following that vote, there be an agreement worked out by which those who cannot, in good conscience (and here Abp. Anis’ plea provides a concrete possibility of direciton), abide by the acknowledged teaching and discipline of the Communion, by which they will temporarily withdraw from the Communion’s formal councils for an undetermined time (5 to 10 years was the suggestion of Prof. Grieb at the last House of Bishops’ meeting, a suggestion greeted with much appreciation); and during this time, those dioceses committed to the Communion’s teaching and discipline will move forward with the Communion’s life, and those congregations and clergy in dissenting TEC dioceses will be put under the oversight of Communion dioceses.  When this is done, a formal request will be made to the Primates that those providing extra-geogrphaical oversight give up that role, and fold their congregations back into the Communion-linked dioceses and oversight of American bishops.  TEC will not cease to exist (though, as with the Communion, not all will participate in its formal life); it will, rather, exist in a state of partition.

…As I said, a way forward like this would, in fact, be congruent in certain significant ways with commitments of Canterbury, Egypt (and probably other GS jurisdictions), and liberal TEC bishops (up to a point).  If there is indeed “room” in the present moment to “maneuver”, I cannot see that I can be anywhere but in this kind of arena of possibility.  To be sure, I believe such an arena is too constricting for many to accept.”

I agree with Drs. Harmon and Radner. Such an act of selfless sacrifice on the part of the House of Bishops would certainly demonstrate a commitment to the sort of honesty and integrity to which Archbishop Mouneer Anis appealed:

My friends, if you really believe that the truth revealed to you is different from that shown to the rest of the Communion, then you need to uphold that claim with boldness even at the risk of losing unity. If you think it is right and necessary to ordain and consecrate practicing homosexuals and that you should bless same sex partnerships or even marriages, you should be true to what you believe is right and accept the consequences….If you don’t commit yourself to the Dar Es Salaam recommendations would you be willing to walk apart at least for a period during which we continue our discussions and dialogue until we reach a common understanding, especially about the essentials of our faith? Forgive me when I say that for many of us in the Communion, we feel that you have already walked apart at least theologically from the standard teaching of the Communion.

At the same time, it would not demand that the Episcopal Church relinquish her (dubious) claims regarding the absolute autonomy of provinces. She would absent herself “voluntarily.”
There is some difference between the two approaches. Dr. Radner suggests an agreement whereby the Windsor Bishops and dioceses and those parishes in non-Windsor dioceses remain fully engaged in the Communion while Dr. Harmon seems to want even Windsor bishops and dioceses to absent themselves.

Dr. Harmon’s idea would rightly require orthodox bishops, parishes, and clergy to share in the collective responsibility for the failure of the Episcopal Church. But Dr. Radner’s suggestion also provides a possible avenue for reconciliation between those beyond the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church and those within. Those Windsor Bishops currently within the Episcopal Church would, in accordance with DES, negotiate a place for those beyond to return. They would not return to the Episcopal Church in its current unified state, but to a voluntarily partitioned and distinct Windsor body. Given the voluntary absence of non-Windsor bishops from the life of the communion, this could, possibly work.

Of the two, I tend to agree more with Dr. Radner’s approach than Dr. Harmon’s. I do not think the orthodox are innocent of Communion blood in the sense that our past complacency has, in large part, led to our present turmoil. At the same time, an across the board voluntary withdrawal of both Windsor and non-Windsor bishops would I think, symbolically, suggest a sort of moral equivalence between the orthodox position and the heterodox one.

How would we get there from here?

I think the first step would be for the House of Bishops to consider resolutions that specifically articulate the DES requests. That would mean that the MacPherson resolutions would need to come to the floor of the House intact.

This would allow, perhaps for the first time, the Episcopal Bishops to deal honestly with Communion requests. At General Convention, the House of Deputies disallowed even the consideration of a substitute proposal that would have put Windsor language on the floor. The House of Bishops now has the opportunity to revisit Windsor honestly and forthrightly.

A vote on the MacPherson resolution would identify those bishops willing to live within the boundaries of Communion standards and teaching and it would identify those unwilling to do so.

The second step would be for those bishops unwilling to live within the Communion standard, to do a very courageous thing. They would need to step away; to remove themselves from the councils of the Communion. Such a move, as Archbishop Mouneer Anis noted yesterday, would not at all mean an end to “dialogue”. The honest distance between Christians and Muslims or Protestants and Catholics promotes rather than hinders conversation. Clear identity allows for engagement and debate. Obfuscation hinders it.

The third step would be for the Church of Nigeria and others to attend Lambeth without their newly consecrated American bishops. I agree they should, by rights, be invited. But I think that a voluntary decision not to attend by non-Windsor bishops should prompt an equally sacrificial decision on the part of orthodox primates and bishops.

The place and position of Cana, AMiA, ACK and Ugandan bishops would need to be an important part of the discussions at Lambeth and beyond Lambeth. Eventually, with the partition of the Episcopal Church along the lines suggested by Dr. Radner, a new structure including all of these jurisdictions should be a workable possibility.

The problem of course is that all of this hinges on the willingness of the House of Bishops to act with honesty and integrity. For that reason, I do not think the above scenario likely.

But I do think, as I have been reminded this week, that despair is a sin. For that reason, however unlikely, while there is still time we must pray, work, and hope for an outcome such as the one above that does not compromise Windsor, that does not betray the Gospel, that includes discipline (even if it is self imposed) and that is shot through with the charity of Christ.

 


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Comments:

This would provide a temporary respite - but it would not save the communion.  The parties are moving in different and mutually exclusive directions. 

Which is better, a slow or a fast separation?  Answer - the more gracious and humble one.

[1] Posted by R. Scott Purdy on 09-22-2007 at 11:49 AM • top

“The problem of course is that all of this hinges on the willingness of the House of Bishops to act with honesty and integrity. For that reason, I do not think the above scenario likely.”

AMEN!

[2] Posted by Sir Highmoor on 09-22-2007 at 11:53 AM • top

Matt,

I fully agree with your assessment.  This scenario, while it seems improbable and unlikely given the participants required to make it work, would certainly be the one that will speak to a watching world the very nature of our Lord Jesus Christ at work within the Church temporal.  It will certainly inform my prayers for the next few days.

[3] Posted by Freddy Richardson+ on 09-22-2007 at 12:08 PM • top

Matt, so let’s say Radner or Harmon’s proposal happens.  That action would salvage Lambeth 2008, but it still leaves everything unresolved.  Thus the question at the top of your post: “Where does that leave us?” remains postponed, but unanswered. 

Lambeth minus TEC will pass, unhindered anything it wants (assuming the bishops ignore the ABC’s plea for no resolutions), but what does it mattered.  Nothing is ever enforced anyway, at least not under the last two ABC’s.

This is not despair, it’s just the very disfunctional way our so-called leaders operate.  When you know that in the hierarchy of values of our leadership there is a preeminent committement to “keeping everyone at the table” then it becomes pretty easy to predict it all well ahead of time…as you and others have shown in your posts over the last year.

Personally, I might be able to live with an indefinitely postponed answer.  However, as a Rector, there would have to be a robust APO/DEPO plan in place to allow for the waiting.

But how does the waiting change anything for the dillemas facing you and I and our parishes?

[4] Posted by Nyssa on 09-22-2007 at 12:18 PM • top

I agree with you regarding the significance of the ABC’s commnet about bearing the cross of meeting together at Lambeth. And, in making that comment the ABC may well have blown a hole in Kendall’s suggestion of the TEC bishops absenting themselves. After Steensons comments about the the ‘ad-nauseum’ repetition by the re-appraisers among the HOB for everyone to be at the table in order to be ‘catholic’ I suspect that this line will be trotted out as a reason not to absent themselves from Lambeth.

The argument will be that ‘we (the bishops of TEC) consider the catholic nature of the Communion so important that we will not lay aside the burden of the cross in favor of avoiding costly conversation at Lambeth, and we invite out brothers and sisters from across the communion to do the same. Apart from those ‘illicit’ bishops of course!’

[5] Posted by Anselmic on 09-22-2007 at 12:44 PM • top

<blckquote>The requests made in the Communique are not demands or ultimatums. There is, he said, certainly room for maneuver and negotiation.</blockquote>
The fruit (TEC) doesn’t fall far from the tree (ABofC). This soiunds much like something KJS or was it VGR has said in the past and I think the term she or he used was “wiggle room” if I am correct.

[6] Posted by TLDillon on 09-22-2007 at 12:47 PM • top

Well, I suppose I ought to have titled this piece: How the Episcopal Church could “preserve” the Communion “for now”

because I agree with those above who point to the fundemental theological divide between revisionists and conservatives. I suppose I would hope that an initial and temporary separation would become permanent as the AC grows more orthodox and the non-Windsor TEC devolves further into heresy…in other words, both sides would recognise the impossibility of total reconciliation apart from TEC’s recantation.

[7] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-22-2007 at 01:09 PM • top

Here’s what I said on T19:

The morning OT lesson (’28 daily office) was Solomon threatening to split the baby, in order to identify the real mother as the one with true compassion for her child.  The real mother made a radical solution, offering to give up her “parental rights” to save the baby.

Analogies (and allegorical interpretations of Scripture) are imperfect, but here are a few efforts to identify “the baby” and the loving mother:

If the baby is the Canterbury-centered Anglican Communion, TEC and the GS are both willing to let it be split up.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Windsor Bishops and some of the provinces become “mother church”, willing to concede some of their priorities in order to preserve a Canterbury-based entity - to function as mediators instead of leaders and, eventually, to cede some of their autonomy via an Anglican Covenant.

If the baby is “TEC’s unique polity”, TEC is willing to give up its status in the AC.  TEC is mother church to the unique polity baby. 

If the baby is the LGBT movement, TEC is willing to sacrifice its AC status and even its own vitality as an organization to protect the baby. 

If the baby is Biblical authority, the GS and realigners have shown themselves ready to sacrifice all kinds of stuff to keep it alive - western money, church positions, property, comfort, etc.  The GS and realigners become mother church in this version.

Standing before Solomon, the true mother came up with a radical solution to save the baby - but all in the room agreed that there was a baby to save and all pointed at the same baby.  We just don’t have that common starting point.  Walking away from one another as gently as possible is about the only way to spare our various babies a lot of trauma.

[8] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 09-22-2007 at 01:24 PM • top

Matt, I worship in a large liberal coastal diocese that has maybe five AAC/ACN parishes.  They seem to be going nowhere anytime soon—the state law seems clear that any litigation would be fruitless, and I doubt their resources and local real estate prices permit any to walk away and start over.  Fifteen years ago we had many more traditional parishes, but they have fallen into other hands.
  So this fall, individual parishioners will fill out pledge cards, and local parishes have to deal with the diocesan assessment.  If a member of the diocese is interested in seminary, the diocese will almost certainly not sponsor him/her to Trinity, and he/she will likely not be ordained upon graduation from Trinity, here at least.  If your parish is in some clergy search process, the diocese will probably expect you to interview one or more gay or lesbian clergy candidates. And so on.
  So I agree with Nyssa—at the local level we need some robust APO/PV plan.  Who goes to Lambeth next year, and whether it is held or delayed, doesn’t do a lot for us back home.

[9] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 09-22-2007 at 01:26 PM • top

Good gracious Matt, I do believe that I largely agree with your suggestion and share with you my doubts that the HofB would be so honest and self-sacrificial.

[10] Posted by wvparson on 09-22-2007 at 01:43 PM • top

Your assessment of the situation at hand is right on. The only thing I would add is what you imply in listing the Standing Committee members,that the liberals that hold the majority in both bodies will speak very highly of whatever action the HOB takes. This will be a major publicity coup for TEC

Both the GS leadership and TEC understand this math.  That is why TEC is not going to voluntarily withdraw from full Communion participation.  They don’t need to. They know that the ABC and the leaders of the other liberal Provinces are with them, and they can simply stick it out and let the GS Provinces leave.

[11] Posted by Going Home on 09-22-2007 at 01:47 PM • top

Dick M, I don’t know if you’re in Connecticut, but I would say “ditto”.

We have been holding on for the sake of the gospel and of the Communion (NOT for the property or the pensions!)  But it’s killing us, literally.  TEC as an institution, and “ECUSA” as a brand-name, are bushels over the light of the gospel: unable to put it out, but rendering it largely ineffective.

[12] Posted by Connecticutian on 09-22-2007 at 01:59 PM • top

It could potentially work. I seriously doubt that the HoB would ever do such a thing. So, I doubt we’ll ever know ir it would have worked.

[13] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 09-22-2007 at 02:01 PM • top

Yet another be all and end all meeting that doesn’t end anything. I’ve lost count of how many this makes. Just keep kicking the can down the road a year or two, while people dribble out of your churches and the world dies around you.

[14] Posted by Joel on 09-22-2007 at 02:36 PM • top

Dick M. has pointed out something very important. Who attends or does not attend the ABC’s Tea Pary is not really that crucial. The Mars Society Annual Convention would probably be more interesting, more spiritual and less odd, anyway.

What IS really important is that the orthodox, soonest, get a robust, workable PV plan or separate North American Province to help keep us together, or we may bleed to death like TEC is doing, albeit for different reasons. I think the long-suffering orthodox Episcopalians (and especially their leaders) deserve it and have more than earned it.

I also have enormous faith in ++Orombi, +Duncan, +Minns and all the other orthodox bishops and archbishops, who have already walked the extra miles in the desert, to now do the right thing, no matter how much they might be vilified from 815 or in the liberal press. These guys are the spiritual descendants of martyrs, after all.

[15] Posted by rkreed on 09-22-2007 at 02:46 PM • top

Rather than split the AC, lets split the Episcopal Church and establish a new orthodox second Province in the US. In this way, those that are responsible for the problem (the Episcopal Church) provides the solution. Both Provinces can be equal members of the AC. TEC can do its new thing, and we reasserters can keep doing our old thing.

[16] Posted by BillS on 09-22-2007 at 02:46 PM • top

As much as I appreciate the thoughfulness and love for the Communion (and for the visible unity of the one Church of our one Lord) that underlies this proposal, I believe that the time for speculating on hypotheticals and trying to offer ways to compromise with intransigent progressivists clearly adrift in heresy must come to an end.  We simply need to pray: for our orthodox bishops first, and secondly for the rest, that a clear evangelical catholic consensus will emerge and the unvarnished truth will be distinguished from its imitators that so often appear to the laity as angels of light.  I believe in the Communion, but we must expect that our bishops be faithful bishops and fathers in God and lead us to the new place that we must travel to.

[17] Posted by young joe from old oc on 09-22-2007 at 03:00 PM • top

Com-con-ers have been saying to hope in the ABC. He will come around and withdraw invitations. Now, Kendall and Matt are saying to put their hopes in the TEC bishops??? Folly and more folly leading to despair. I said here: “But I do not put my hope in the ABC but in the faithful leaders who pushed through the communique despite the dealings of the ABC.” Just as the ABC was lead then, he will be lead now and the Anglican Communion will be transformed and reborn.

While the Church of Nigeria and some others will not, probably, declare independence from Canterbury, they will not meet.  They will proceed as if Canterbury did not exist and as if the Episcopal Church is no longer a member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

This is simply not true. I remind the readers of the gracious but firm letter that ABp Akinola sent to ABp Williams at the time of the installation of Bp Minns. The installation was not carried out “as if the ABC did not exist” but rather the installation as well as the African consecrations are part of a movement that will sweep the Communion together with the ABC back to a Christ-centered position.

[18] Posted by rob-roy on 09-22-2007 at 03:05 PM • top

Help me understand, Matt+...  When the ABC has lessened the pressure of TEC to respond (no ultimatums, no deadline, etc.) what is the reappraisers’ motivation to voluntarily step back from Lambeth?  The tide is going their way (the can seems kicked down the road again) and they absolutely don’t want to give over any ground to the reasserters.  Not all of them, even, care if they belong to the Communion at all—many would be willing to give up membership in order to pursue their inclusivity agenda.  Doesn’t your plan ask only the non-Windsor bishops to pay a price?  If the purpose is only for them to absent themselves and their accompanying angst, so that Lambeth to be a place of fairly uniform (conservative) belief, so that the bishops of mostly like-mind can all visit unabated by controversy, I don’t see the non-Windsor bishops giving a fig for that outcome.  What am I missing?

Dr. Harmon’s plan seems more egalitarian, but even then, I’m not sure what the outcome would be, other than letting a bit of steam escape from the pressure cooker, temporarily.

Surely the ABC wants everybody there to look each other in the eye (engage each other), and miraculously, come to some understanding.  But I have absolutely no clue what that would look like.  If the Lord himself came bodily into their midst and spoke a word to them, I’m not sure if they’d all come away with the same reaction or be reconciled.

None of us can accurately judge another’s heart, but my money’s on the reasserters as the camp most likely to put down their pride and power strategies, if they thought it would work to bring healing to the Communion.

But God has, throughout history, done some incredible things, and I will never rule out the possibility that this could be one of those times.  Maranatha.

Of course, come Tuesday, the landscape could change if the HOB response is a flat rejection of DES/Windsor.  It will be interesting to see if the gloves are off, or if they continue to fudge.  What will (can) the Primates do?

This is surely a class-A cliffhanger.

[19] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 09-22-2007 at 03:09 PM • top

cindy,

you are right. There is NO external motivation. If they stepped away from the Communion voluntarily it would be because they value the Communion and their own integrity. That is why it probably won’t happen.

And, you are also right that if it did, all it would do is buy time. What I am suggesting though is that in that time it is possible that both heretics and the orthodox would learn to live apart. ANd, if the heretics will not recant, that it will be seen as the best way forward to leave things separate.

[20] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-22-2007 at 03:16 PM • top

Rob-roy,

I am NOT saying put your hope in TEC bishops. That would be vain. I am saying that since Canterbury has apparently failed the only way for the communion to remain intact is for the revisionists to voluntarily withdraw.

IT won’t happen, but now that is the only thing left that would do the trick

[21] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-22-2007 at 03:18 PM • top

“If they stepped away from the Communion voluntarily it would be because they value the Communion and their own integrity. That is why it probably won’t happen”.

True; but also, in my view(wrong as it could be), the thing they really value is not “losing face”.  Stepping away does imply something of a loss of face, even for bishops like Shaw, who considers himself very “orthodox” except for the, in his case, homosexual issue.  I’m not sure he’d agree with a “Christology” like Spong’s.  The heavy-duty radicals in the picture would probably choose a defensive “fine, the hell with the Communion then” attitude as opposed to being perceived as selling out the gay community.  But, it’s still a huge case of not having your cake and eating it, too, and that’s what sticks in their craw the most. 

Just some Saturday afternoon ramblings, which may be worth nothing—

Cheers,

TS

[22] Posted by Passing By on 09-22-2007 at 03:25 PM • top

OR the ABC could just cancel the Lambeth tea party…
Or the ABC could just retire and lateral it off to some one else.
None of this would solve the problem.  I think Matt is right on one prophecy:

While the Church of Nigeria and some others will not, probably, declare independence from Canterbury, they will not meet. They will proceed as if Canterbury did not exist and as if the Episcopal Church is no longer a member of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I forsee that now the orthodox primates will get it in high gear to get all the bishops needed to provide the “APO” for every church, diocese and parish and individual needed overhear.  They will declare it part of the AC.  They will ignore the ABC and any other apostate branch of the AC and there will be nothing any one can do about it including the ABC or TECUSA.
Looking at a higher horizon of the True Christian Communion, I can assure you that ECUSA is looked on as a branch that has long ago been pulled off and withered and not really a Christian church.  Their best future is to someday be included in the global church of antichrist if there are any ashes left.  There is a strong opinion that the entire AC is being quickly poisoned and the cancer has spread to the point that the AC will be in the same position.
What would be necessary for a solving of this?  Very simple:
1.  All practicing homosexuals deforcked now.
2.  All heretics like Spong excommunicated.
3.  All seminaries purged of heresy or closed.
4.  A promise to never authorize SSB or ordain homosexuals who are not celebate or any one who does not subscribe to the articles of faith and not have their fingers crossed .

Talk about a miricle!  I confess, my faith is too weak.

I

[23] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 09-22-2007 at 03:28 PM • top

Looking at a higher horizon of the True Christian Communion, I can assure
you that ECUSA is looked on as a branch that has long ago been pulled off
and withered and not really a Christian church. Their best future is to
someday be included in the global church of antichrist if there are any
ashes left. There is a strong opinion that the entire AC is being quickly
poisoned and the cancer has spread to the point that the AC will be in the
same position.
What would be necessary for a solving of this? Very simple:
1. All practicing homosexuals deforcked now.
2. All heretics like Spong excommunicated.
3. All seminaries purged of heresy or closed.
4. A promise to never authorize SSB or ordain homosexuals who are not
celebate or any one who does not subscribe to the articles of faith and not
have their fingers crossed .

Bravo!!! Prophet Micaiah Bravo!!!! So simple and so much the right thing to do. But, I have come to see that the “right thing” isn’t what is done in ECUSA or for that matter throuhout the AC in regards to the cancerous heretic behavior of the Curch as a whole. There are plenty of churches in England, Ireland, and a few other place in our world that are doing exacatly what ECUSA is doing. What a shame!

[24] Posted by TLDillon on 09-22-2007 at 04:01 PM • top

Father Matt writes, “IT won’t happen, but now that is the only thing left that would do the trick.”

This will “do the trick”: Common Cause will meet. An alternative orthodox Anglican Province will be created. This ABC will invite all and few will come. Lambeth 08 will be fiasco. The ABC will step down. A new ABC will realign with the GS in a new AC that is less anglocentric but much more Christo-centric. Lambeth 18 will be a rousing success. The new Communion will be a light to the world and millions, no make that billions will accept the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus will come back and thank all for the good work.

[25] Posted by rob-roy on 09-22-2007 at 04:19 PM • top

The second step would be for those bishops unwilling to live within the Communion standard, to do a very courageous thing. They would need to step away; to remove themselves from the councils of the Communion.

Ah, but there is the critical flaw.  The revisionists will never voluntarily withdraw from anything.  Their subterfuge about the mythical “Anglican Constitution” comes down to, “not only can you not ask us to withdraw, you can’t force us to either.”  I suspect that should, for example, Lambeth invitations be cancelled for all the non-Windsor bishops in TEC, they will ignore the disinvitations and show up anywayVGR has already said about as much.

Our opponents are social Marxists, clothed in the tamer label of “social justice”.  Where they can not have their ideology willingly accepted, they will see that it is imposed.

[26] Posted by Allan Bourdius on 09-22-2007 at 04:51 PM • top

rkreed,  You are right on the money.  Let us rejoice and be glad for the faithful Anglican leaders that God has given to us, here and in the Global South.  Let us continue to support the sacrificial work that they have already done to preserve the “faith once delivered,” and which will be moving forward in Spirit and in truth this week at the Common Cause Bishops meeting in Pittsburgh. They are my leaders and I pray regularly for God to continue to guide them and strengthen them in advancing His kingdom on earth.  I have never expected anything from yet another TEC meeting in conjunction with their counterparts in the Anglican Communion Office, ACC etc.
Timothy, I like your “baby and mother” senarios and you are correct that there are different babies involved with each group and that is the problem. 
The “baby” has to be the “good deposit” that has been entrusted to us, the greatest gift we have been given, Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life; and the mothers are those who are willing to sacrifice all for her, just as the real mother who stood before Solomon.  Thanks be to God for them.

[27] Posted by BettyLee Payne on 09-22-2007 at 04:57 PM • top

“The problem of course is that all of this hinges on the willingness of the House of Bishops to act with honesty and integrity. For that reason, I do not think the above scenario likely.”

Correct.  ESPECIALLY if:
!.) +VG “Look at me!! Look at me!!” R insists on lengthening his 15 minutes.
2.) The 815-sponsored slash and burn in VA and elsewhere continues.
3.) +KJS continues to think outside “the small box” ad nauseum.

Oddsmakers have the Arizona Cardinals winning the Super Bowl before any of the above ceases (Apologies to those in AZ).

[28] Posted by bigjimintx on 09-22-2007 at 05:26 PM • top

Matt, your post above reads:

Members [of the Primates Standing Committee]:
Archbishop Philip Aspinall - Australia
Bishop Mouneer Anis - Jerusalem and the Middle East
Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori - TEC
Archbishop Barry Morgan - Wales

There is another member you have left off the list, namely, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi representing the African churches. You have followed the lead of the Anglican Communion News Service release (which you linked) by passing over, in silence, the representative for the primates of the majority of the Anglican Communion.

Although Archbishop Orombi has intentionally absented himself from the HOB meeting, he has by no means withdrawn from active participation in the correction and/or reformulation of the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Rowan ignores his council at his own peril and at the peril of the Communion. Although the message of Archbishop Anis’ speech in New Orleans came through crystal clear, the message of Archbishop Orombi’s absence from New Orleans is also crystal clear.

In addition, both the proposals of +Harmon and +Radner pass over the intense activism of the Global South bishops in protecting the life of orthodoxy in North America.  By your admission, the “solution(s)” put forth above are unlikely in the extreme to actually happen. I submit that, even in the event it were to happen, the ‘solution’ has a fatal flaw in that it draws into it neither the determined protective activities of the Global South, nor the determined self-preservation activities of the congregatons which have fled The Episcopal Church.

Ah, but you cite +Radner above:

a formal request will be made to the Primates that those providing extra-geogrphaical oversight give up that role, and fold their congregations back into the Communion-linked dioceses and oversight of American bishops.

I came from just one of those congregations. I can assure you of its answer, and most probably the answer of the vast majority:

Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.

Nor will the Global South bishops abandon the flocks to whom they have pledged their protection.

Trust is gone. Long gone. There is no “solution”. There are only ways to go forward. The way to go forward must recognize that we have entered an era in which mutual trust no longer exists. Plus, any ‘solution’ which comes from within TEC and writes off the congregations which have left TEC and their protective bishops is both unconscionable and a non-starter.

from the Briar Patch,

[29] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-22-2007 at 06:37 PM • top

There seems to be a major disconnect in the blogiverse regarding +RDW’s time in New Orleans.  Matt is explicit in saying he believes Williams will not withdraw the Lambeth invitations.  He bases this on Williams’ statements in the press conference, but one suspects that it is a widely-held view among orthodox observers in NO and is also based on statements made inside the HOB as well.  I interpret the Radner/Harmon ideas as sharing this assumption.

Yet there is no joy on the other side of the aisle.  The words being used over there are “angry,” “glum,” and “Sophie’s choice.”  And these are coming from the bishops and spin doctors.  Jake is warning the bishops they don’t have the authority to make concessions and saying positive things about Kendall Harmon’s concept.  Based on body language, Schori was one unhappy camper at the press conference.  If Matt and others are right, why aren’t they jumping with joy?  It’s not like they were expecting Williams to praise Gene Robinson and excommunicate Akinola on the spot.  Surely they had the same criterion as the orthodox:  Lambeth invitations.

And then TLC has Williams hinting at a primates’ meeting, which one would have thought he would call at the last minute if for no other reason than to string things along for another few months.  CAPA is meeting the first week in October, and if he doesn’t say something by then, who knows what will happen.  Rowan Williams has a history of issuing statements shortly before key meetings of the GS.

My guess is that the HOB got a pretty gloomy assessment from “friendly” voices like Aspinall and Morgan.  For Rowan Williams to do what Matt predicts is for him to renege on everything he has done and said for the last four years.  Windsor, primates’ meetings and conciliarity are out the window.  As Andrew Goddard said in his piece this week, it will be the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it.  I believe Dr. Seitz has said the same thing in several comments in the last few days.  Is it possible our side is being too pessimistic?  Does the TLC article change anything?  How much of this is based on inside information that can’t be shared?

[30] Posted by wildfire on 09-22-2007 at 08:48 PM • top

Tinpipes, I understand and agree fully with your sentiments, but take a few deep breaths and please take some moments to reconsider things before you disappear into cyberspace.  We are not culpable for TEC’s heretical plunge.  In fact, I gather from your post that you, like me, Kendall, the staff at SF, and a multitude of others have been working our tails off to remedy this situation.  Therefore, as you have said, we are not to blame.  We have been doing all that we can.

However, where I think Kendall is correct is that our party as a whole (the orthodox) has some things to be penitent for.  None of this would have happened if the orthodox of the last few decades had held firm to the Scriptures and metted out discipline when it was required.  Instead the orthodox turned a blind eye and…well, the rest is history. 

Now I wish it were so simple to blame the previous generations lack of resolve and absolve ourselves, but it isn’t.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I can now see the ways in which I unwittingly (and sometimes wittingly) furthered the revisionist agenda.  I am now working hard to further what I believe is God’s will, but the truth is that a number of years ago, before my ‘awakening’ I was a part of the problem.  Many of us were.  When Kendall says that we all have a share of the blame he is correct.  Maybe it wasn’t what we did.  Maybe it was what we left undone.  Maybe you are blameless.  Most of us are not.

All of this being said, I still disagree with Harmon & Radner’s proposals for the reasons I stated earlier the comments section.  Like you, I don’t think the absence of the orthodox is useful, I think that strategy would be damaging in the long term, and I am surprised that they would even propose it.  Like you I am disapointed and a bit confused by their tack, but the fact is that we don’t always get to choose our allies.  Sometimes our allies get some wierd ideas. 

Luckily, God has revealed to you and I exactly what the best strategy is in this complicated situation…well…maybe not to you…but certainly to me… ; ) 

I think you said it best, Kyrie Eleison.

Stick around.  It ain’t over yet.

[31] Posted by Nyssa on 09-22-2007 at 08:50 PM • top

Rob roy,

I am not disagreeing with you. My question was, what would allow the Communion to remain together after Rowan has failed. And the answer is, a complete withdrawal by the heretics. I am not at all sure where you get the idea that I am suggesting that we place our hope in them or that we rely on them in any way. I was answering the question:  from whence would a resolution come if any is still possible that would permit the Communion to remain intact.

[32] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-22-2007 at 09:59 PM • top

Bre-r,

I am leading one of those congregations in the process of attaining foreign oversight, so I am not speaking as a detached observer. I think you misunderstand the entire point of the article. If the Episcopal Church leaves, if the heretics depart, there is a basis for at least working toward some sort of Communion unity that would, over time, include the blending of jurisdictions. I am a confessionalist so ultimately I would like to see the Caneterbury centered Communion removed and a conciliar basaed confessional structure erected. But, the question is, does it have to be by division or can it be by internal reform? If the heretics remain then it must be by division. But if they leave I would be more than willing to deal with and debate my com-con brothers within the same body toward a confessionalist system. I am not sure what about that disrupts the valiant efforts of the global south to preserve orthodoxy

[33] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-22-2007 at 10:05 PM • top

tinpipes,

I was preparing to write an answer, but Nyssa has articulated my meaning quite well. I do believe that there is such a thing as collective responsibility (not collective culpability mind you but collective responsibility). Jeremiah and Ezekeil suffered the fate of Judah.

[34] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-22-2007 at 10:14 PM • top

Farewell, Job. Oops, I mean, Tinpipes.

from the Briar Patch,

[35] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-22-2007 at 10:30 PM • top

Sorry. More seriously, Tinpipes, in 1960 I approached one of the collared ones in PECUSA because I was interested in Holy Orders. He intimated to me that he did not really believe in the virgin birth, and certainly not in any of that miracle stuff. I was shocked and dismayed, for I was a Bible believer. If the collared ones didn’t believe that stuff, what was I even doing there? That incident set back my interest in Holy Orders by 40 years.

However, I remained in PECUSA for all those 40 years. Did I do anything about this problem, even though I knew about it? No. Not one single thing. I complained to no one, I attempted to teach no one, I did nothing.

I am responsible for the meww that TEC is in. Not by myself, of course, but as part of a collective whole that sat on their butts in pews. I bear a greater responsibility, because I knew the problem existed. Likewise the collard ones bear greater responsibility because (I assume) most of them knew the problem existed.

The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.  Each one of us must confess our guilt, just as Nehemiah confessed his guilt and the guilt of his forbears.

Don’t leave, Tinpipes. Stay. Speak. Witness. Your voice is valued.

from the Briar Patch,

[36] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-22-2007 at 10:43 PM • top

meww = mess. Rabbits don’t meww.

from the Briar Patch,

[37] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-22-2007 at 10:45 PM • top

Allan B.
“Ah, but there is the critical flaw.  The revisionists will never voluntarily withdraw from anything.  Their subterfuge about the mythical “Anglican Constitution” comes down to, “not only can you not ask us to withdraw, you can’t force us to either.”

Thanks for summing up my analogy as well.  40 years of pushing personal agendas camouflaged as theology have left the revisionist majority of TEC not only confident of victory but assured that they’re momentum cannot be derailed or slowed by the Windsor process. 

Is there any hope?  That’s what you need God for…

[38] Posted by Friar-Tuck on 09-22-2007 at 10:57 PM • top

There’s a <a >paper by Dr+ Radner</a> at the <a >ACI</a> site that is well worth reading and reflection as we ponder, as a concerned community, the fate of the Anglican Communion and our / ECUSA’s role in it.

While I disagree with some of the minor points in the piece, Dr+ R makes his major point quite powerfully and convincingly:  It is crucial to the health of both our Anglican Third World churches and the societies in which they operate that they be, and be seen to be, an integral part of a larger, global organization of Christian witness, which transcends culture and politics to speak God’s Truth in a united voice. 

When an African bishop condemns abuses of power by a local official, or an Asian priest leads a program to improve schools, or local laymen work counterculturally against tribal enmity or some longstanding traditional practice that Christianity unequivocally condemns, to be effective (and in some cases, for their physical safety), they must be seen as an expression of the Universal Church in the local context, rather than merely as one more local faction.  And the Anglican Communion provides for them that connectivity, in a way that no pan-African or Latin American Anglican federation possibly could.

I’ve been identified here with the so-called ComCons.  But really, when it comes down to it, I don’t really care what happens to ECUSA, or the Diocese of Fort Worth, for example, in their relations with Canterbury.  There is much heartache and uncertainty, true, for clergy and countless people who have been part of the same congregation all their lives.  And of course, I want to see the good guys win as much as the next fellow, and I have a thoroughly unChristian temptation to rejoice at the thought of 815 being ground to dust.  But we’ll all survive somehow, in the great religious marketplace of the US, whether the Communion implodes or not.

But our Third World brothers may not.  And if the Communion survives as a loose federation, with the ECUSA virus still firmly ensconced in its vitals, it will no longer have the moral power to support the genuinely prophetic voices that are needed in less-settled societies.  This is why it is important to not simply write off the Communion as a nice idea while it lasted.

So please, read the paper.  And pray that both +++Rowan and ++Akinola read it, as well.

[39] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 09-22-2007 at 11:13 PM • top

Thanks for the last sentence, Friar Tuck.  We’re all writing as though it was our Church to fix.  It’s not—it’s the Body of Christ.

I don’t know how God will choose to deal with this, or when (soon, Lord, please!), but the bottom line is that, if the Church is indeed of God, then there is nothing we sinful, broken humans can do to kill it.  Try as we might.

[40] Posted by Conego on 09-22-2007 at 11:21 PM • top

+Anis

My friends, if you really believe that the truth revealed to you is different from that shown to the rest of the Communion, then you need to uphold that claim with boldness even at the risk of losing unity. If you think it is right and necessary to ordain and consecrate practicing homosexuals and that you should bless same sex partnerships or even marriages, you should be true to what you believe is right and accept the consequences.
...
If you don’t commit yourself to the Dar Es Salaam recommendations would you be willing to walk apart at least for a period during which we continue our discussions and dialogue until we reach a common understanding, especially about the essentials of our faith?

Prophetic, a most important word and it is at the heart of the problem. To save the Communion TEC must “live into the tension” and accept first that the only justification for their direction is that it is prophetic. Only the most liberal bishops in the Communion would be willing to step forward and say that TEC does not violate Scripture, Tradition and Reason as it is currently interpreted by the Communion.
They must accept that they think that all three legs have been misinterpreted till now. TEC sees now that the church was founded on and should have been one of radical inclusion as reflected in the baptismal covenant. Mission was not a responsibility of accepting a Core Doctrine. Mission is the Core Doctrine.

In accepting this TEC must also accept, as it was in the early church and always has been, that no General Convention can force to and no mutual bonds can be forced to accept a prophecy. If this prophecy is truly of God then God will insure it’s acceptance.
Prophets walk alone till some one accepts what they say and heeds the message.

TEC should acknowledge the strain that has been caused, both those inside TEC and the whole Communion, by not clearly stating they were being prophetic. The Communion is a family and TEC should state that they will not rejoin the table till they are welcomed by each and every member of the family. This should begin with Lambeth 2008 and continue till TEC has restored Communion individually with each member of the Communion. This includes every Bishop of TEC.

IMHO this is exactly what the ABC wants. In announcing that he would not accept the new GS bishops he was reinforcing this. I think RW would like to use Lambeth to include all the Bishops other then American and have the problem of how the Communion should deal with a prophetic church and those who reject it. This is the only way to save the whole Communion and keep it together long enough to accept or reject this prophetic vision and bring the US fully back into the Communion.

GS bishops in the interim can continue to minister to those who ask in the US but NO new bishops will be appointed. If Lambeth decides that a space must be made for those in the US who can not accept TEC’s call then it should be the Communion as a whole who will minster to them by acceptance of a majority of Primates of the people elected by dissenting TECers to be Bishop. Bishops appointed by GS Bishops will either remain if elected or rejoin their GS church if not. Missionary efforts to the US should stop and existing structures tied to an individual GS church should be dismantled.

Dissenting TECers will accept that they will have no primatial representation in the Communion till at least Lambeth 2018 but their Bishops will participate in every other manner. A Covenant should be complete and have had time to be voted on by all members of the Communion. At which time if TEC has not accepted the Covenant and the dissenters have, then the dissenters will be recognized as the representatives of the US to the Communion. They would be given full governance, including assenting to Bishops and their Primate seated once chosen by them.
If TEC accepts the Covenant then dissenters would be allowed to depart the Communion whole or rejoin TEC.

Fanciful I know but Kendall Harmon is correct to suggest all US Bishops not go to Lambeth. Why all?

For what they have done and what they have failed to do.

[41] Posted by Rocks on 09-23-2007 at 12:06 AM • top

There is another possibility…remote…but more probable than TEC HOB’s turning from their stance of protecting sexual immorality. 

I was told a few years ago by a knowledgeable friend in the UK that Queen Elizabeth would step in if her ABC looked to be on the verge of allowing the breakup of the Anglican Communion over homosexuality.  This friend’s prognostication allowed that she would not step in unless all else had failed…but that she took her coronation vows to protect the church more seriously than anything else.

I guess we’ll get the opportunity to see if my friend’s prognostication was accurate.  It would be an interesting development, wouldn’t it?

[42] Posted by Chris Pierce on 09-23-2007 at 06:07 AM • top

I think you misunderstand the entire point of the article. If the Episcopal Church leaves, if the heretics depart, there is a basis for at least working toward some sort of Communion unity that would, over time, include the blending of jurisdictions.

I probably do misunderstand, especially if it is based in part on +Radner’s writings. I seldom can make heads or tails of what he writes here—way over my pay grade—and reply to his posts at my peril.

“If the heretics depart…”
Let’s be specific. The heretic +Bruno is not going to depart from California soil. His diocese is the official expression of the Anglican Communion in Los Angeles, and all that the ABC has said reinforces that. “If the heretics depart,” how does a faithful, orthodox parish such as St. James continue to exist and work towards an orthodox Anglican Communion, if it is expected to be “fold[ed] ... back into the Communion-linked dioceses and oversight of American bishops”? DEPO? Flying bishops? Flying ‘primatial vicars’? How does one “deal with and debate ... brothers” while simultaneously acceding to the authority of heretics?

And as postscript, you obviously know what you mean by “the blending of jurisdictions”, but I haven’t a clue.

from the Briar Patch,

[43] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-23-2007 at 06:40 AM • top

I have a radical proposal that will address this crisis in an honest and orthodox manner.  There is one presupposition that must be accepted to make it work: Not all members of the house of bishops are responsible for the recent unpleasantness.  A short handful of diocesan bishops and a few retired bishops have held and fought for the orthodox faith without waivering.  Yes this does date back to the 1970s and the innovation of women’s ordination.  The same arguments that were used to forward WO are now being used to support the homosexual agenda of TEC.  Bishops Iker, Ackerman and Schofieild and retired bishops such as Pope and Wantland received ridicule and outright persecution from, so-called, moderate bishops for years becaus they stood against the spreading apostacy in all of its permutations.  They have persevered in this fight and there is no reason to place blame on them for the state in which we find ourselves.

The radical proposal is that the moderate bishops repent of the unorthodox teaching and practice that they have wrought upon our church and follow Bps Iker, Ackerman and Schofield as they lead the way to an orthodox “Anglican” church in the U.S.  These men have already begun the process of assuring sanctuary for their dioceses and have made it clear that no compromise of the faith is acceptable.  That along with the support of orthodox GS primates may bring about that which we all desire.  If other conservative, though not orthodox, bishops would repent and join in this movement, there would be some tangible hope for the faithful in the pews.  Waiting for Lambeth and the meetings/conferences/communiques…. that would follow will only prompt more good people and parishes to seek shelter.  TEC is a dead institution and anything that props it up and hopes for its future is necrophilic in nature.

[44] Posted by frreed on 09-23-2007 at 06:57 AM • top

Br-r,

Now you are apparently adding some frustration to your misunderstanding of the point I am attempting to make. I do not agree with the ACI position on much of anything. My point here is not based on the writings of the ACI. If you look at Dr. Radners’ post you will see that it is almost wholly a reconstruction of the stipulations of the DES communique. By blended jurisdictions I mean that the bishop of California or LA, in so far as he is a non-Network bishop would have no power over your property, succession, confirmations etc…a Windsor diocese would

[45] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-23-2007 at 08:11 AM • top

There is but one solution:  Leave Tec alone; they probably will never and now probably can never genuinely budge from their position. (Matt: who says that God will intervene?  Maybe He wants them to wither away)  Set up a new North American Anglican Province for all of those faithful orthodox who have either left or want to leave and have no place to go. Whether the faithful are able to leave with their churches and chapels or not, in the long run the buildings will not matter and a new and vibrant “Community of Anglicans” will arise.  Look how quickly in just several months Cana has grown: 60 congregations, 80 clergy and 4 new bishops coming on line shortly in 20 states. Imagine what would happen if a body of orthodox Anglicans with a structure already in place was there to welcome and support those faithful folks who have been deserted by TEC?
Since this process will take several years, those Episcopalians who remain clueless, tragically uninformed or with their heads in the sand will radically diminish as the remaining group morphs into a uniterian/universilist expression of some sort.  This process is already in evidence. (The average age of those in the pew is 55-60, same for the priests, others are leaving for reasons of faith at the rate of hundreds, if not thousands a year) But, in the meantime there will be a place for the orthodox where the faith once delivered to the saints will undergird them and allow them to grow with God’s grace unfettered and no longer surpressed and threatened by an apostate denomination. And, if by some true miracle TEC decides to change its ways and come home, there will always be a place for them.

[46] Posted by Petra on 09-23-2007 at 08:18 AM • top

Petra et al,

you said:

“(Matt: who says that God will intervene?  Maybe He wants them to wither away)”

Please read what I write. NOT ONCE in the entire article did I presume to say what God would or would not do. I DID say that the only way the above scenario COULD take place is IF God decided to intervene. READ before you react.

I personally think the Church is under God’s judgment, both sides the heretics for idolatry and the orthodox for complacency. So I do not think he will intervene. BUT we cannot presume one way or the other.

[47] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 09-23-2007 at 08:29 AM • top

Matt, thank you for your patience with me. My qualms come not from frustration, but from fear—fear of being at the mercy of heretics.

Regarding “Radical Solution”:
The buzz from the Global South is that the Radical Solution has already come into play, and was set in motion by +++RDW’s claim that there was no ultimatum and there was no deadline. That was not the understanding of other primates at DES. The Radical Solution sees not just Africa, but South America and Southeast Asia will join in a split from Canterbury.

My own take is that +Gomez will be (or already is, after RDW’s ill-advised remarks) the tipping point.

from the Briar Patch,

[48] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 09-23-2007 at 09:10 AM • top

Some have mentioned about guilt vs culpability.  Matt is correct.  TEC is under judgment.  At Dresden, Hiroshima, Berlin there were many women, children, even our own people who were burnt to a crisp.  The same could probably be said for Jerihco, and Jerusalem in 70 AD.  When judgment falls it hits all.  Some because of complacency for evil, some for being evil, and some for just being in the wrong place.  Thus endeth the lesson.

[49] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 09-23-2007 at 02:45 PM • top

Personally, I don’t care about elegantly worded resolutions or brilliant political gambits that reveal a stunning knowledge of Roberts’ Rules.  How a Bp conducts himself or herself (sigh) in meetings like those in N.O. is not, in my book, a sterling recommendation about their fitness for office.  We are an apostolic church.  Therefore, a Bishop’s first and primary responsibility ought to be passing on the christian faith, intact and strong.  And their responsibility in this matter is to Jesus Christ, to whom they will one day give an account.  I must say that the whole lot of them from the USA and Canada (with one or two exceptions) have failed miserably.  If our elite, the Bishops, can’t contend for the faith…can’t even describe it accurately, in some cases…if they can’t do this…what good are they?

[50] Posted by ambsadr4Christ on 09-23-2007 at 04:18 PM • top

A4C,

According to the NYT that came up in the meeting in NO.

One bishop who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “What was said to us was, ‘All this talk of laity aside, if you acted like a real bishop, what would you do?’ ”

I don’t think like liked being asked that…:roll:

[51] Posted by Rocks on 09-23-2007 at 04:40 PM • top

Chris Pierce:  you are right that HM the Queen—the Defender of the Faith, after all—could constitutionally get involved here.  That said, is that likely?  I’m not so sure.  She could express her displeasure to the Archbishop and presumably could encourage him to resign.  But given his inability to make any decision, would he really be any more responsive to her than he’s been to the Anglican Communion writ large?  The Queen, technically speaking, Defender of the Faith, but is not per se Defender of the Anglican Communion.  The Communion could disappear and that doesn’t necessarily implicate her responsibilities with the Church of England.  However, the crown jewel of her reign has always been the Commonwealth, which has surprising overlap with the Anglican Communion.  The two are difficult to separate—with the exception of the Americans. Will she really allow her Commonwealth to be so threatened by a non-Commonwealth member?  This, I think, is her most likely incentive to insert herself.  We will probably never know how she would exercise influence, if she does.  Reportedly she is very fond of John R. W. Stott.  If that’s the case, one can hardly see her throwing her lot with the Americans, or let them destroy the glue that holds the Commonwealth together.

[52] Posted by VaAnglican on 09-23-2007 at 09:12 PM • top

Frankly, I don’t believe that most present day Episcopalians know what the AC is, let alone give a hoot about whether or not we are part of it.  There is a reason that so many Parishes are so strongly congregationalist; that follow the lead (unconsciously) of the leadership of The General Convention sect.

The generalconventionists believe that they are the repositories of all knowledge.  The are convinced that (as our culture teaches) “newer is always better”, and therefore, they know better than the primitives who wrote Holy Scripture.  Their elitism leads naturally to the racism about the GS so eloquently state by Joh Spong and Chilton Knudsen in 1998.

Charlie+

[53] Posted by Fr. Charlie on 09-23-2007 at 09:32 PM • top

No the Queen could not “get involved” except uopn the advice of her ministers and I do not mean ordained ministers. I doubt if our Presbyterian prime minister has views on who attend the tea party.

[54] Posted by wvparson on 09-23-2007 at 09:35 PM • top

wvparson,
You may have a point in regards to the Prime Minister and HM the Queen. But, it is very hard for me to buy into the fact that she would just sit back and not do something about her Commonwealth. I think she might have a sit and chat with the Prime Minister and enlighten him on how she may feel and how strongly she feels aboout her Commonwealth. I just don’t buy into the idea that she would sit comfortably aside and watch it be disintegrated by the likes of the American Liberal Revisionist, New Thing, Litigating, We Will Do What We Want, Church.

[55] Posted by TLDillon on 09-23-2007 at 09:43 PM • top

Genesis 1:  In the beginning….there was the Anglican Communion.  NOT!

Many Christians in the world are worshipping God without the aid of the AC as we speak.  Remember Gamaliel:  “If it be of God, we can’t stop it…..if not, then it will die.”

Sometimes something goes into the dust of death so that it can be resurrected.  If the Anglican Communion as we know it dies, then God will resurrect something in its place. 

I left after 49 years.  Why??  Because I began to not hold on so tightly to being Episcopalian.  I knew that if the TEC died and even if the AC died that I wouldn’t.

God calls us directly.  Our being Episcopal or Anglican is an accident.  And liturgy, liturgy happens everywhere all the time.  The good thing about Anglican liturgy is that it is an excellent representation of “revealed nature” as Samuel Johnson might say.  In other words, it most harmoniously expresses how we see the world of the Spirit to be as revealed in scripture.  for me, being Episcopal was tied up in the way in viewed life.

But there are other forms of scriptural liturgy.  There is RC, Eastern Orthodox, Methodism, Congregationalism, the Quakers, etc.  Why is Anglicanism different?

Because we are used to it.

[56] Posted by Tom Dupree, Jr. on 09-23-2007 at 09:55 PM • top

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