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Welcome to Stand Firm!

Breaking: Common Cause Partnership Communique

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 • 7:53 pm

read it here

We, the gathered bishops, priests and lay representatives of the Anglican bodies federated in Common Cause held the first annual meeting as the newly formed Common Cause Leadership Council of the Common Cause Partnership on December 18th, 2007, in Orlando, Florida.

We created the structure called for in the Articles of Federation now adopted by nine of our partners. We elected officers of the Federation and formed an executive committee, as well as other committees and task forces. We have also begun work to harmonize and strengthen our common call to Christian education and mission. We expect these committees and task forces to begin work early in the New Year. We are beginning to explore the expanding possibilities for ecumenical contact with fellow Christians in North America and around the world.

Our actions today dramatically reversed the fragmentation and separation of the past. We stand committed to the “faith once delivered to the saints” as expressed in our now ratified theological statement.


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Hoorah hoorah hoorah !  Wonderful news, great that this addresses the fragmentation and separation.

[1] Posted by j.m.c. on 12-18-2007 at 09:05 PM • top

Gut reaction?  Yawn.

[2] Posted by Christopher Johnson on 12-18-2007 at 09:08 PM • top

Which partner didn’t ratify?  What does that mean?

[3] Posted by VaAnglican on 12-18-2007 at 09:11 PM • top

This announces they created a structure, but is it an “ecclesiastical structure” that can now be presented to the other Provinces for recognition as specified in item D.?

[4] Posted by Deja Vu on 12-18-2007 at 09:11 PM • top


When I say our source is impeccable, it’s frikkin’ impeccable.

[5] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-18-2007 at 09:15 PM • top

VaAnglican. My guess is that approval just hasn’t been reached on the home front with one of the groups. The time between October 1 and Dec. 18 is short in some organizations that require discussion and vote. This is great news; we will be moving forward with patience and moderation with this leadership.

[6] Posted by Dr. N. on 12-18-2007 at 09:24 PM • top

Greg Griffin,
Just think of all the time we spent discussing rumors and your impeccable source was right here. Hope some of the doubters notice.

[7] Posted by Betty See on 12-18-2007 at 09:25 PM • top

Our actions today dramatically reversed the fragmentation and separation of the past

I’ll will be the first to shout hooray when I see something that shows me this is true.  As of yet, I don’t see any such thing in this statement.

[8] Posted by Id rather not say on 12-18-2007 at 09:28 PM • top

Thanks, Dr. N. 

So, I note that no new province or “church” was announced.  But is this now sufficient for other provinces to recognize the CCP as if it were a province? 

Very happy they are using the term “moderator,” as it robs any critics of the ability to claim +Duncan is trying to be an archbishop.

Will be interesting to learn what task forces were formed and what projects are in the works.

[9] Posted by VaAnglican on 12-18-2007 at 09:29 PM • top

#3 APA has not ratified CCP Articles. What does this mean ... I’m going to take Betty See’s advice on the other thread and let things play out.

I’m sure it could mean lots of things, but I’ve been in error enough with those I’m pretty familiar that I’m not even going to hazard a guess with friends/brothers/partners I’m (shamefully) just learning about.

[10] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-18-2007 at 09:33 PM • top

Since the Reformation, the relentless flow of history has been toward fragmentation.  But these aren’t the first disciples to strain at the oars against the wind.  Let’s not harden our hearts.  Who knows what will happen in the fourth watch of the night?  (Mark 6:47-52).

[11] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 12-18-2007 at 09:57 PM • top

I believe that this statement will be seen as far more significant in the coming days than some of the commenters above may have guessed

[12] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-18-2007 at 10:05 PM • top

Betty See,

You mean Matt Kennedy? No… I mean impeccable.

[13] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-18-2007 at 10:10 PM • top

Go Greg, yo da man!  And I love the numbering of the posts.

[14] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 12-18-2007 at 10:13 PM • top

Wonder about the APA they are joined with the REC now I believe.
Perhaps someone wasn’t there.

Grannie Gloria

[15] Posted by Grandmother on 12-18-2007 at 10:14 PM • top

Matt+, I sincerely hope you know something I don’t (a distinct possibility).

[16] Posted by Id rather not say on 12-18-2007 at 10:15 PM • top

The APA could not meet in a timely fashion to consider the previous CCP position declarations.  Without this approval, no jurisdiction could vote on these matters proffered today.  As stated earlier, the pace of these matters is running a bit faster than some jurisdiction can deal with properly within the required terms of their own structures of votes, approvals and the like.
No worries.

[17] Posted by Wall Eye on 12-18-2007 at 10:27 PM • top

Anthony #17 has the right take.  The important thing at this point is that the process move steadily, providing a united front to friend and foe alike.  Actual unification of the governance and canonical structures—if it’s to be done right—will take at least a generation of talking and cooperation; by then, who knows what the situation in the Communion will be?  As Kendall says, you must decide—but you must regard your decisions as tentative.

[18] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 12-18-2007 at 10:34 PM • top

There was a lot of alarm at the fragmented departure of TEC parishes and the development of more “alphabet soup” groups (AMiA, CANA, etc), leading some to believe that what was happening was simply a repeat of the fractious continuing churches.  It appears that CCP is seeing success at reuniting these fragments into one group- a remarkable achievement.

[19] Posted by Nevin on 12-18-2007 at 10:35 PM • top

Read the results of todays actions at the CCP website:

[20] Posted by garyec on 12-18-2007 at 10:40 PM • top

As a long standing non-hierarchical, non-connectional, nonconformist, dissenter Christian who has been observing Episcopalians since the beginning of the unpleasantness, let me offer an observation that I am sure most of you will reject.  First, most of you really aren’t hierarchical but really individualist who get to decide what you will believe and do.  I really don’t see how a hierarchical church can really function now that they have lost the power of the state to enforce their “Orthodoxy.”  I am glad for this.  We Americans have even codified this in our law.  I do agree that individuals or even local churches are in a dangerous place going it alone without the advice and guidance of other Christians and groups of the church catholic.  The problem we get in to is trying to come up with a structure that has it all nailed down to the fine points,  Hence the seeds of fragmentation.  This breakdown accelerates without the power of enforcement.
    ISTM that what is needed is a looser confederation of the various flavors of Christianity.  It is useful to have a larger umbrella organization that has a constitution (confession/bylaws) that contains the basic fundamental doctrines of classical Christianity and leaves the various flavors and special interpretations that each of the various outlets have.  Discipline is very simple.  If you think the body is wrong enough then you get to leave, and if the individual church group goes bad it is expelled.  Meanwhile the larger body can benefit with mutual encouragement, joint, discussion and refining of various theological question, hearing conflicts between various members, and giving a unified face to the watching world.  There would not even have to be a worldwide group but smaller groups that could or not cooperate with each other.  I believe lots of problems arise from trying to mimic Rome, which couldn’t even hold it together especially after they lost the power of the state. 
    I know this may sound a lot like the Southern Baptist Convention, but whether you call it a denomination, Church, Province, “separate ecclesiastical structure” or just a federation, common cause partnership, or club doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.  ISTM that anything more will just bog everyone down in endless fragmentation, fighting and discouragement.  In fact it may be the tower of Babel mentality.  IMHO

[21] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 12-18-2007 at 10:52 PM • top

The APA will meet in January to discuss the CCP. They have appointed DJ Fulton as their lay representative. My family have known him for a long time.

[22] Posted by kalee on 12-18-2007 at 11:08 PM • top

Greg - I think it would be helpful if Sarah could give us the possible definitions of “impeccable”

[23] Posted by Paul PA on 12-19-2007 at 05:59 AM • top

The first meeting of the Common Cause Leadership Council created the structure necessary for building a federation of orthodox Anglicans in North America.

We created the superstructure from which the structure will originate - eventually, maybe, perhaps.

Each Common Cause Partner will continue to live out its unique role, maintaining its distinctive ministry and character, noting the provision of the Articles of Federation that “the autonomy of the individual Jurisdictions and Ministries, and their constituent bodies, is in no way restricted or superseded by membership.”

The current fragments will federate - eventually, maybe, perhaps.

Gut reaction from TEC - So what?  Let the depositions, inhibitions, and litigation recommence with all due dispatch.

Gut reaction from Canterbury - Whew!  That was close.  Let’s get back to planning Lambeth, shall we?

[24] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 12-19-2007 at 06:06 AM • top

Don’t trust your gut. Read some of the past GS statements dating since Kigali and then re-read the statement put out by the Network last week. Then re-read Luke 14:7-11 and meditate on it. Then come back to this communique

[25] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 12-19-2007 at 06:41 AM • top

I can appreciate the APA deliberate process given some of the history of that church.  Many of its parishes were part of the American Episcopal Church led for many years by Bp. Tony Clavier. The APA churches I know of use the 1928 Prayer Book and 1940 Hymnal. The liturgical style is moderate Catholic continuing what I grew up with before the liturgical confusion of 1967 and following. Many of the Common Cause Partners are much more Evangelical in style than the APA. I applaud the ecumenical spirit of the APA and hope that the CCP can include the gifts they bring.

[26] Posted by TomRightmyer on 12-19-2007 at 07:27 AM • top

While I hope Matt+ is correct and certainly agree it far better to understate the reality than overstate, AR probably has the gut reactions of TEC & +Canterbury correct. Then we should remember how many time both TEC & +Canterbury type reactions are shown in Jeremiah before the final series of events makes all things final.

Over the last few years, I notice how we keep being let down by our own expectation, but our God’s timescale is so very different than ours (thus all the commands to wait on the Lord). Keep the faith, but make sure it’s in Him and not a group of bishops, albeit godly ones this time.

[27] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-19-2007 at 07:33 AM • top

AR said, “The current fragments will federate - eventually, maybe, perhaps.”

That strikes me a far too tentative, AR. In fact, this meeting makes the federation an established reality already. Granted, it is a still a pretty loose federation at present. But there seems to be good will on all sides to move that federation closer and closer together. The clearly stated goal of last September’s CCP bishops’ synod was an eventual “Anglican Union” with a constitution of its own sometime after late 2008, if I read the official time line correctly. I rejoice that this meeting has moved the ball forward in precisely the way it was intended to do.

There are, of course, still several major hurdles to clear on theological agreement (WO being an obvious one, which I very much hope can be resolved amicably). But it strikes me that one of the chief things that will slow this movement toward unity up a bit is the divided mind of the Network over what exactly their relationship to TEC should be. Obviously bishops like +Duncan, +Iker, and +Schofield will soon have nothing to hold them back from leading their dioceses into full organic reunion with the various continuing Anglican bodies in North America. But those bishops of the Network who intend to remain within TEC (+Stanton, +Howe, etc) cannot fully commit to reuniting the Anglican diaspora without running roughshod over TEC’s canons. So it appears to me that the Network will have a major problem serving as the core of a genuine, united orthodox province so long as it is made up of both “inside” and “outside” dioceses. Clearly DioDallas, DioSC, DioSpringfield et al could only be part of a loose CCP “federation” of like-minded Anglicans, not a robust constitutional Union in the fashion of a province, as long as they remain within the bounds of TEC. We shall see what happens on the Network front as Pittsburgh and Fort Worth (and possibly Quincy) cast their final votes next year.

[28] Posted by texanglican on 12-19-2007 at 07:34 AM • top

The Griffin [sic]:

Your source is clearly impeccable.
Your comments here, apparently, will never be impeckable.

...still in the Briar Patch,

[29] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 12-19-2007 at 07:51 AM • top

I think the APA is being more deliberate on a final CCP decision, based on how the entire proposal is being received by their membership.
Here are two important excerpts from APA Bp. Grundorf’s latest statement:

“This subject has generated much conversation and seems to dominate the thinking of so many in our Province. It has caused great division among us and has polarized those who support remaining as partners and those who wish to see us only as observers at the Partnership meetings.”


“Although I believe that we should be a Partner in this endeavor, as long as what we are as a Province is respected, I will not divide our Church over our level of participation.”

We should all pray for our dear brothers and sisters in the APA, that
they may be led to a God-pleasing decision.

[30] Posted by Anglican Observer on 12-19-2007 at 07:54 AM • top

Mere Christian,

Your post was right.  At the moment it looks most likely that the APA will agree to no more than observer status with regards to Common Cause.  Any formal decision, however, must await our provincial council meeting in January and ratification by our synod in July.

[31] Posted by Mark Clavier on 12-19-2007 at 07:58 AM • top

So far, I see the CCP as a loose Federation.  At this point that is all it can be.  It is not in my mind a separate ecclesial structure, at least not yet.  This is why I had so many questions when the announcement came out a couple of weeks ago.  It is too soon for a separate ecclesial structure. 

However, I am not interested in a loose federation.  CCP must meld into full communion and must become truly a separate ecclesial body which is an Anglican province if it is to succeed at its goal.

So, I welcome this statement as being an appropriate step for the time and look forward to more steps that bring us closer to that goal.

[32] Posted by Spencer on 12-19-2007 at 09:41 AM • top

I certainly understand the APA’s reluctance to affiliate more closely with the CCP, given the very Evangelical Protestant nature of many of those involved, with their lack of strong sacramental and liturgical emphasis as well as the major elephant in the room - WO.

[33] Posted by evan miller on 12-19-2007 at 09:55 AM • top

Well I am certainly a low-church evangelical and not Anglo-Catholic in any sense, but I am praying for the APA as they discern God’s leading. I personally hope that they would join the CCP as a full-partner, believing what they bring to the table is of value to the future of North American Anglicanism.

[34] Posted by Shane Copeland on 12-19-2007 at 09:58 AM • top

With regard to the important questions raised in #22 by PROPHET MICAIAH, I think the issues he raises are central and timely.  And that’s a valuable service, because without asking the right questions, you can’t get some essential answers or solve some vital problems.  But unfortunately, I think his apparent answers are wrong.

Perhaps some alert readers have noticed how frequently I sign my posts with some variation of the following:  David Handy, Advocate of High Commitment, POST-CHRISTENDOM Anglicanism.  In calling attention to how difficult it is for a hierarchical church to enforce orthodoxy without the powers of the state behind it, Prophet Micaiah is highlighting a very important factor that needs much more careful attention than it’s gotten so far.  But I think his Protestant assumptions have misled him.

That is, there is all the difference in the world between Protestant sectarianism and the kind of Catholic sectarianism that characterized the pre-Constantinian Church.  The former has indeed always been prone to fragmentation, for it privileges the so-called right to private interpretation of the Bible, seeing that as a by-product (or even precondition) to the priesthood of all believers.

But not so catholic Christianity.  Ante-Nicene Christianity was able to achieve a remarkable degree of consensus on key doctrines (or doctrinal boundaries), without resorting to any secular means of enforcing the boundaries.  The hierarchy in fact played a crucial role in that process.

I would agree with #22 in that we are facing the stern challenge of rethinking many aspects of church life in light of the fact that we clearly now live in a “Post-Christendom” social setting in the secularized, pluralistic West.  One of those huge challenges is that we are being practically FORCED, willy-nilly, whether we like it or not (and mostly we don’t), into a CHRIST AGAINST CULTURE stance toward the surrounding society. 

I’m obviously referring to the famous categories of Richard Niebuhr, in his classic work now over 50 years old, “Christ and Culture.”  One of the ways that highly influential and rightly praised work now appears to be so dated is that of his five categories, Niebuhr clearly had the least sympathy for the sectarian “Christ AGAINST culture” model.  He chose very extreme representatives for it, Tertullian and Leo Tolstoi, whereas he chose the most more centrist Calvin for his preferred model, “Christ the Transformer of Culture.”  That fit his social world in the 1950s, when “mainline” Protestantism was still very strong and influential.  But that was then.  This is now, and we live in a very different social world that is far, far more hostile to biblical Christianity.

One of the huge challenges we ALL face is that we are going to have to experience a radical conversion in our ways of thinking about many matters that we used to take for granted.  And one of those old taken for granted but dubious notions is that “sectarianism” is always and inevitably a very, very bad thing.  It immediately calls to mind all sorts of little fringe groups of extreme and uncouth sorts.  But that is because we’ve been programmed (or even brainwashed) into thinking of Christ-against-culture Christianity in post Reformation terms. 

But all you have to do is to start rereading the early Fathers, especially martyrs like Irenaeus or Cyprian, and suddenly a whole different kind of “sectarian” Christianity comes into view that is FAR more attractive.  Just go back and reread the anonymous work known as “The Apostolic Tradition,” usually attributed to Hippolytus and the church in Rome in the early third century (coventionally, circa AD 215 or so).  Is it sectarian?  Absolutely and unabashedly.  But is it attractive and compelling?  Well, that may be debatable.  But speaking for myself, I find it nothing less than enthralling and captivating.

In summary, Prophet Micaiah has raised some essential issues and questions.  But I for one would give a very different sort of answer to those key questions.  For I continue to find deep and inexhaustible fountains of inspiration in the highly catholic (and evangelical and charismatic!) church of the pre-Christendom era.  And as a scholar who specializes in the book of Acts, let me remind everyone that Luke speaks of the church as a “sect” several times in Acts, with quite positive connotations.

Ad fontes!  (Back to the sources!).

David Handy+
Proponent of High Commitment, Post-Christendom style Anglicanism
A New “sectarian” Anglicanism of a catholic sort would truly amount to a New Reformation!

[35] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 10:08 AM • top

Creating a new Church should not be rocket science.  The network foreign partnership ought to be able to come together overnight with the departing TEC dioceses.  CANA and AMia have had a little feel for independence but ought to be mergable into an Anglican Church USA- if Nigeria and Rwanda consent (and +Nigeria’s comments on record would make it hard for them not to).  It will be harder for APA and REC as they are longstanding separate entities - but if the foreign and domestic recent departures merged that would go along way to ending the Alphabet soup. Also if a large orthodox entity emerges that at least significantly limits WO it would suck all the oxygen away (and many parishes) from those organizations that did not join.

[36] Posted by chips on 12-19-2007 at 10:22 AM • top

With FIF and likely 3 Anglo-Catholic TEC dioceses I fail to see how there is not a significant Anglo- Catholic presence.  With APA at the table early they could have a strong influnce on building the foundation.

[37] Posted by chips on 12-19-2007 at 10:27 AM • top

Chips (#37),

Well, creating a new PROVINCE (I’d prefer to avoid saying a “new Church”) may not be rocket science, but alas, there is a tendency for such new missles not to get off the ground, or to then explode in midair.  I would instead rejoice with many other commenters above that so much has been accomplished so soon.  It’s very easy to underestimate the difficult obstacles in the way to the formation of a truly unified partnership, much less a unified “new ecclesiastical structure” that is a proto-province.  If it was easier, it would have happened before, long ago.

But although it will require adjustments and humility all around, there will NEVER be a better time to draw together than now.  That’s why I hope and pray that the CCP succeeds, beyond anyone’s reasonable expectations.  This is a golden opportunity; we dare not squander it.  We won’t get another chance like this one.  Not in our lifetimes anyway.

Since I’ve disagreed with Matt rather strongly on the issue of the wisdom of going to Lambeth and the interpretation of the Advent Letter (I agree with bluenarrative, selah etc. that it opens a door we shouldn’t just dismiss out of hand), let me hasten to affirm here that I completely agree with Matt on his take of this encouraging announcement.  The CCP Leadership is being careful to underpromise.  I think they’ll overdeliver.  This announcement is understated (in almost an English sort of way).  This is a HUGE step forward.  Just huge.  Thanks be to God!

David Handy
More optimistic than ever about the New Reformation

[38] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 10:36 AM • top

Chips (#38),

Yes, I agree.  And there are very good prospects for other strongly catholic Network or Windsor dioceses to join CCP as well, e.g., Dallas and my home diocese of Albany (Bp. Love of Albany attended the Council of Bps. meeting in Pittsburgh in September, albeit as an “observer”).  In fact, South Caroline might have to join soon to help balance things out in a more evangelical way.

David Handy+
Proud to still be a priest in Albany while living in Virginia

[39] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 10:44 AM • top

Good development, but I anxiously await a true unification of these groups into a new, full-fledged “Church” as one, w/ recognition by the rest of the Communion.

[40] Posted by Dallasman on 12-19-2007 at 10:45 AM • top

New Reformation Advocate,

You are going to keep me out of trouble for some time to come—there is a LOT in your comment that I am going to have to ponder; and there are references and historical data that I am going to have to look at first-hand.

Some of these nine partners represent VERY BIG entities, of course. At first glance, nine partners doesn’t seem like a lot. That is, until you start adding up the combined membership, the total number of functioning parishes, dioceses, and religious communities, and affiliated institutions—seminaries, schools, etc.

More to the point, I think, is the fact that our revisionist opponents just are NOT very bright at all. This should be perfectly obvious to all of us. Certainly, they demonstrate peculiar ineptitude in how they work through various theological issues. But it is also evident in how they handle legal affairs, pr matters, administrative issues within TEC, and their own private lives.

On our side—the orthodox side—we have some true intellectual and pastoral GIANTS working to do the will of God. I see the CCP proceeding in a very measured, intelligent, and prayerful way. Like many of you, I get frustrated at the pace of things, at times. But my better self recognizes that, in the long run, we are doing what we need to do in a much more intelligent and Godly manner than our opponents. And this will pay big dividends, at the end of the day.

A few years ago—right after GC gave its consent to the consecration of VGR; when the “Network” was first forming; before CANA existed; and when AMiA was a fraction of its current size—I was asked by some orthodox bishops to give my opinion about what was really going on and how all of this would eventually resolve itself.

Without thinking too much at all, I said, “Make no mistake about it, this is a civil war. The revisionists have just fired upon Ft. Sumter. An army travels on it’s stomach, and the army with the best lines of supply and communication will eventually win, regardless of any strategic set-backs or battles that are lost. What we—the orthodox—should understand so much better than our opponents is this: man does not live on bread alone. As long as we can maintain good supply lines of humble prayers connecting the Lord of Hosts to those who are battling on the front lines, we will be okay, and will be able to keep an army in the field, relentlessly battling our foes. Our opponents believe that they are battling “homophobia,” but we understand that this is a false construct; that the issues are much, much, much bigger than the revisionists can even begin to imagine. There is much more at stake here than Anglican identity or the institutional baggage of the Episcopal Church. We are fighting for nothing less than the Gospel. If, in the process of fighting for the Gospel, we have to surrender or destroy some of that institutional baggage and real estate, then so be it. We should count it all as dross, and willingly suffer the loss of these temporal things, for the sake of the Cross of Christ, and for the sake of our overall war strategy…

Beyond this, I think it is fairly obvious that whichever side is able to gather up the Anglican diaspora, will decisively win, in the end. Enlisting on our side groups like the APA and the Reformed Episcopal Church will be analogous to the Federal government at the time of the American Civil war enlisting ex-slaves in their army. The 300,000 or so Blacks that fought on the Union side in the Civil War tipped the balance—without them, the Confederacy might well have prevailed. Our FIRST order of business should be to gather together as many of the churches of the Anglican Diaspora as possible, and make (my actual words at the time) common cause with them. If we can do THAT successfully, we win. Any way that you look at it, it is going to be a LONG and BLOODY war—the carnage is going to be appalling, and many, many, many good people on the orthodox side are going to be wounded and taken out by our foes. But it is a war that can be won. We have more than a few obvious advantages over our enemies, and we only need to exploit those advantages.”

I am citing my own words from memory, but I think that is a fairly accurate representation of what I said that day.

I still believe it.

[41] Posted by bluenarrative on 12-19-2007 at 11:23 AM • top


However, I am not interested in a loose federation.

Nor, I submit, are the vast majority in the Episcopal diaspora.  We don’t want no coffee klatsch.

CCP must meld into full communion and must become truly a separate ecclesial body which is an Anglican province if it is to succeed at its goal.

And, contrary to the mindset of the extraordinarily patient among us, it must do so apace!  Am not myself certain of the actual need for provincialism.  Agreement on something like this would be enough, would it not?  What would constitute an “Anglican province”?  Necessary ecclesial linkage to the extant Anglican Communion?  Guess a lot of this hinges on the definition of separate.

[42] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 12-19-2007 at 11:39 AM • top

I strongly encourage everyone on this thread to listen to Kendall’s “Part 2” talk, up now on the front page in the Features section.

[43] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-19-2007 at 11:41 AM • top

#42, bluenarrative,

At the risk of turning this into a mutual admiration society, let me say that I appreciate your kind remarks about my long theological post above (#36).  And I, in turn, have relished your uninhibited and enthusiastic posts with regard to going to Lambeth and dealing the heretical reappraisers a deadly blow there.

Yes, there is indeed a lot to ponder these days.  This isn’t just a realignment, or even a mere “renewal” of classic Anglicanism.  This truly is the start of a New “Reformation,” or so I hope.  And that means some quite drastic changes are afoot, and they will certainly be controversial.  But you are absolutely right that everything doesn’t have to be solved overnight.  It is indeed likely that it will take a generation (or two, if Christ tarries) to sort some of these issues out.  But in the meantime, there is so much work to be done that can be done now, and a lot of that does involve rallying the troops and even enlisting new recruits (both inside and outside TEC).

Thanks for the encouragement.  But personally, I hope you don’t “stay out of trouble” too long.  We need you.

David Handy+

[44] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 12:03 PM • top

If I might offer working definitions:

Impeccable source:  One whose statement will be an accurate predictor of the coming event, or provide an accurate account of the event itself.

Episcopal source:  One whose statement will be restated after the event in such a way as to adjust it to whatever actually happened, or provide an account of an event consistent with the post event polling of the executive council of what the individual should have done or said during the event.

[45] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-19-2007 at 12:08 PM • top

If it is possible to be impeccable, is it also possible to be peccable?
Just curious.

the snarkster

[46] Posted by the snarkster on 12-19-2007 at 12:28 PM • top

More to the point, I think, is the fact that our revisionist opponents just are NOT very bright at all. This should be perfectly obvious to all of us. Certainly, they demonstrate peculiar ineptitude in how they work through various theological issues. But it is also evident in how they handle legal affairs, pr matters, administrative issues within TEC, and their own private lives.

I am not sure that having low estimations of your opponents is wise (or merited by the circumstances).  Better to over-estimate and be pleasantly surprised if they under-perform.

[47] Posted by DavidH on 12-19-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

Our Worthy Opponents have cleaned our clocks for thirty years.
‘Nuff said.

[48] Posted by Greg Griffith on 12-19-2007 at 12:49 PM • top

If it is possible to be impeccable, is it also possible to be peccable?

  Snarkster:  Peccable is defined as sinful or capable of sin and wrong-doing.  It is not possible for any of us to be truly impeccable so it is possible, actually certain, that all of us are indeed peccable.

[49] Posted by Piedmont on 12-19-2007 at 01:02 PM • top


This depends upon how you define, “cleaned our clocks.”

If you measure success in terms of money, real estate, and institutional baggage, then I suppose that you are right.

Personally, I have spent the last 30 years or so working with the Church in Africa and South America. And TEC hasn’t touched those churches yet.

Over the course of the past 30 years or so, I have witnessed many, many, many tens of thousands of lost and desperate people come into the Presence of our Lord, and surrender their lives and their will to Him. TEC has NOT been able to stop this.

Earlier today, you recommended that we all carefully read Kendall Harmon’s piece, posted in the “features” section. I have done so. As Kendall points out, no matter how much we wish it was not so, the fact of the matter is that God is doing a profound work in His Church today. And NONE OF US—revisionists or orthodox—are going to be left in possession of anything that even remotely resembles the Episcopal Church of several decades ago. These profound changes—Kendall refers to them as “a time of Judgement”—do not, in my humble opinion, constitute “having my clock cleaned.” I assume that they represent God’s desire to adorn His bride with Holiness and Righteousness. I am willing to do my part to help Him with this process, even though I am a bit surprised that He did not consult me, personally, before initiating this process. My first loyalty is to Jesus—not to any “Anglican” institution. I am much, much, much more concerned with the One Holy Catholic Church—than I am with any particular subgroup within Christ’s Church.

I know what you mean, when you say we have had our clocks cleaned. But I would humbly suggest to you that there might be other—somewhat more accurate—ways of looking at the events of the last 30 years or so; ways of seeing these events as the triumph of the Gospel; ways of seeing these events as a necessary prelude to a show-down with Darkness.

[50] Posted by bluenarrative on 12-19-2007 at 01:08 PM • top

Sarah explains why she uses the term “Worthy Opponents” in her book Little Stone Bridges. I would recommend that book and add that they may not be wise but they have clearly demonstrated that they are exceedingly clever.

[51] Posted by Deja Vu on 12-19-2007 at 01:11 PM • top

#47, snarkster,

I have long enjoyed your witty remarks, enlivening this venue.  Your last contribution, a typical one-liner, reminds me of a verbal game I once played with some well-educated but bored friends.  We tried to think of as many words as we could that are the unused positive opposites of common negative terms (e.g., peccable vs. impeccable).  Once you get going it’s hard to stop (sort of like eating just one Lay’s potato chip in the old commercial).

For instance, who ever heard anyone use the word “ept” (vs. the common inept)?  Or “couth” (vs. the common uncouth).  You get the idea.  Whoever thought of the most such unused words wins.

Hmmm.  Perhaps you yourself, snarkster, are the model of an ept and couth master of the English tongue.

David Handy, Ph.D.

[52] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 01:20 PM • top

Dr. Handy: These types of words or known as “orphan negatives.”

[53] Posted by Piedmont on 12-19-2007 at 01:25 PM • top

Betty See,

I enjoy your comments and sense of humor and also hope that CCP is a new beginning for us Orthodox types.  The D of CF is changing as we speak.  On another matter, if you would contact me off line at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)—I’d like to talk family genealogy with you.

Sandy O’Seay

[54] Posted by sandy o'seay on 12-19-2007 at 01:35 PM • top

New Reformation Advocate:  thanks for the nice words.  Yes, I certainly believe in the Catholic Church, but Rome it isn’t.  So I am a severe Protestant.  I think the first 200 years of church history were the purest, then when the state recognized the church it started down hill for some, except for the diaspora such as the Waldensians, etc.  I believe the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ the chief cornerstone and developed with gold, silver and precious stones to this day.  However it also got larded up by wood, hay and stubble so often the real structure can barely be discerned.  True Reformation must consist of pulling away the wood, hay and stubble, IMHO.  So I guess I am a minimalist.  I have been told I was a “Primitive Episcopalian.”  Yes we must also be secular as a holy people of God and ambasadors of the King of Heaven.  I pray that any ecclesiatical structure sticks to the basic business of God’s business.  Peace and Power to all.

[55] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 12-19-2007 at 01:40 PM • top

Thanks, Piedmont.  I wasn’t familiar with that term, “orphan negative.”  What do you know?  You can learn something new every day.

David Handy

[56] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 01:54 PM • top

Getting in on this a little late but IMHO the CC efforts are misguided albeit sincere. The ACI guys have a fair analysis on their website below. Many are tired of the delay and apparent lack of support by the ABC in the face of the clear abuse of the orthodox by TEC but the plans of the CC group seem destined for failure.

[57] Posted by Doubting Thomas on 12-19-2007 at 02:32 PM • top

[comment deleted—off topic]

[58] Posted by bluenarrative on 12-19-2007 at 02:34 PM • top

It looks like CCP did exactly what it planned yesterday.  I am glad to see that they are proceding with the established plan rather than rushing off willy nilly to do things in a hurry.  I hope the APA can sign on in July.

[59] Posted by terrafirma on 12-19-2007 at 03:01 PM • top


You’re welcome.  Actually, it’s worth pointing out that your kind of “severe Protestant” outlook puts you in good company.  For that severely Reformed perspective was clearly widespread, even dominant, among English church leaders for the first two or three generations after the Reformation.  And there are places where it still exists forcefully today, most notably in Sydney, Australia!

Keep asking the hard questions we need to be facing and working through.  I won’t always agree with your one-sidedly Protestant answers, but I’ll appreciate the questions nonetheless.  Every institution or movement needs a few curmudgeons like that.  That is part of the challenging role of a prophet after all, Prophet Micaiah.

David Handy+
More of a “3-D” guy: evangelical, catholic, and charismatic

[60] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 03:05 PM • top

bluenarrative,  Sorry, but I won’t participate in your protest, I don’t know you so I am reluctant to follow you. This is too much like the protests that we have seen from the left, their marches to support Abortion and GLBT causes have been detrimental to the church and I don’t think we should emulate them.
I am familiar with the writings and leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury and I am pleased that his Advent letter affirmed Scripture. I also believe Common Cause Partners are working effectively to provide leadership and bring people who affirm Scripture together. 
It seems to me that our Church should recognize the power of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture rather than the power of protest groups.

[61] Posted by Betty See on 12-19-2007 at 03:23 PM • top

[comment deleted—off topic; Bob K, I know you hadn’t seen the warning, so it’s fine.  I don’t want threads reverting to another topic.]

[62] Posted by Bob K. on 12-19-2007 at 03:34 PM • top

BlueNarrative, I had asked you several days ago to take the march-on-Lambeth comments off-blog.  Please do so.  This is a warning.  There will be no further warnings about this matter.


[63] Posted by Sarah on 12-19-2007 at 03:35 PM • top

Gotcha, Sarah. No offense taken. -Bob

[64] Posted by Bob K. on 12-19-2007 at 03:53 PM • top

Doubting Thomas,

Thank you for the link to the ACI letter. It is unfortuante thaey had not listened to and reflected upon the Rev. Dr. Kendall Harmon’s Keynote speech before composing it.They appear to be mystified by the efforts of the orthodox in Common Cause to form a separate ecclesiastical structure. Kendall’s discussion in Part 2 of the need to differentiate might have helped their understanding. They engage in quite a bit of gratuitous snipping. Kendall’s discussions in Part 1 of remaining friends with people who make different decisions might have been useful.

In general it is unfortunate that they lack the vision to recognize how the separate ecclesiastical structure could function in conjunction with a Canterbury led Covenant Communion.

However, I did enjoy their sharing this:

Our understanding is that effort has been made to contact the Presiding Bishop on numerous occasions to arrange a meeting, such as is referred to in the Advent Pastoral.

[65] Posted by Deja Vu on 12-19-2007 at 04:02 PM • top

#58, Doubting Thomas,

Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt? 

Actually, to be serious, Jesus didn’t rebuke Thomas for his doubts about the resurrection, nor did Jesus in last Sunday’s gospel rebuke John the Baptist for his doubts after Jesus did nothing to spring John out of jail or to throw the Romans out of Judah.  Instead, the risen Jesus simply appeared and gave Thomas the evidence he needed.

Granted, as some commenters above have already noted, the CCP is going to have to do a lot more in order to achieve a true new orthodox province, including winning over a lot of skeptics within the larger Network and Windsor Bishops groups.  But I see plenty of cause for celebration already.  This kind of commitment to partnership is unprecedented, and a very good thing. 

Let’s give it a chance to work and then judge whether or not the CCP is a failure.  Things are changing rapidly, and no one can really tell what the future holds.  But we do know who holds the future, and He has a way of doing things that far exceed our wildest dreams.  Take the Incarnation, for instance, who ever expected that?  Even the angels seem to have been caught off guard by that one.

David Handy+

[66] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 12-19-2007 at 04:42 PM • top

As for CCP succeding, it doesn’t ultimately depend on what physical structure is used to insure success, but rather the caliber of the leadership.  I know that Bishops Icker, Duncan, Schofield et al are world class leaders but are there enough really good leaders in the lower tiers of the structure to make it fly.  Leaders like Churchill, Patton, M. Thatcher, Washington and Jefferson even had to struggle but ultimately had the horse power to make it happen (along with the Lord’s help of course, and a good staff.)  In most organizations there are leaders who are nice people and even sound but don’t have the skill and talent to forge a great organization.  I have seen so many groups fail because they spent time forging a “perfect” constitution and bylaws, but didn’t have the leadership to hold the helm steady.  So I guess my question is twofold:  How many top leaders are needed, and does CCP have these leaders.  If not can they attract them or grow them (usually too hard).  Also, nothing succeds like success.

[67] Posted by PROPHET MICAIAH on 12-19-2007 at 05:02 PM • top

Can you also have “orphan positives”?  For instance regardless vs. irregardless.

[68] Posted by CarolynP on 12-19-2007 at 06:37 PM • top

69 Carolyn—One classic case is “inflammable”, meaning it can be inflamed (i.e. lighted, set on fire), where the “in-” was mistakenly taken as negative by so many that the word was replaced in signs with “flammable”, which of course had not existed previously.

Old-time linguists, by the way, refer to this sort of thing as “cranberry morphemes”—we have straw, blue, rasp, elder, and so on but what’s a cran?

[69] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 12-19-2007 at 06:54 PM • top

Re:  CCP

Guys, this is the deal:  No longer is this entity guided by duplicitous bishops who care more about their income and pensions - no longer are we under the oppression of “Presiding Bishops” whose greatest goal is Unitarianism.  Every person already sacrificed a great deal to be part of this ‘Common Cause’ - these are people willing to actually GIVE UP STUFF to stand on their principles. 

That being the case, I’m not all that fussed about the whens and wheres because THEY ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.  This is like nail biting over every offensive after the Battle of the Bulge has been won.  I trust these men - I also trust these Primates - they have given up much = much more than we will ever comprehend - to separate from the apostasy of TEC - therefore, I think we can believe they will try to manage that Freedom well.

So, quit worrying about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself, sufficient is just today - and Christ will take care of the rest - IF we are headed in the right direction.

[70] Posted by Eclipse on 12-19-2007 at 07:37 PM • top

As for CCP succeding, it doesn’t ultimately depend on what physical structure is used to insure success, but rather the caliber of the leadership.

I disagree.  Yes the caliber of the formation leaders is extremely important and I agree we have many who make me proud, however the balance of autonomy vs communion cannot be overlooked.  If we are nothing more than autonomous factions who happen to agree at the moment, then we will not survive a decade.  If we are a communion of believers who mutually submit to one another then we can be “one body”.  The former I have no interest in, the later is what I pray for just as Christ prayed that we would be one as He and the Father are one.  The “physical structure” should in due time reflect this.  We aren’t there yet, but I am certainly happy we seem to be walking down the road together toward that goal.

[71] Posted by Spencer on 12-19-2007 at 07:50 PM • top

Addressing the reason the APA has not ratified our membership in the CCP, we cannot formally consider it until our Provincial Synod meets in July, 2008. That will be our first opportunity to address the Articles as a legislative body.

Michael L. Ward+
St Mark’s Church
Vero Beach, Florida

[72] Posted by Michael Ward+ on 12-19-2007 at 07:53 PM • top

I agree with [71] and [73] (love these wonderful new numbers).

I am no prophet, as can I think be said for everyone who posts here - we simply do not know for certain if CCP will succeed remarkably well, somewhat, or not at all in the long run.

But let us take stock of where we have been. I can only cite a few mile posts along the way: Plano (at Dallas), which was at first estimated to be perhaps 125 interested people, but was eventually a huge gathering with skilled leaders but almost no significant organization yet. The crowd was electrified on the afternoon when the letter written by then Cardinal Ratzinger was read telling us we were not alone.

That same summer, we had Abp. Peter Akinola preach at Truro for the first time. What exhilaration to know that the leader of an Anglican province 1) actually could clearly state the Gospel and 2) knew that the calling of a bishop was to defend the faith and the flock and not invent a new “faith” and ravage the faithful.

I will not name the gradually strengthening and more fully coalescing organizations that have led to CCP, nor the many leaders who have been called to be bishops or have other protective or forward-reaching ministries, but much has happened - much of it that naysayers claimed would fall flat or implode. The march of the faithful has proceeded onward. There have been tough spots and many places where the enemies of the Gospel still stand on stone bridges with seemingly little opposition - but look how far we have come.

If I were to give one piece of advice now (and at any time) it would be this. Do not model our expectations for the current orthodox leaders upon our experience with TEC leaders. Much of TEC “leadership” is so bent as to not even be a parody of true Christian leadership. There has only been one perfect man, but there have been many good leaders of the church through its history, and we have a good number of them in leadership right now. They are really worthy of trust. We will not see all their plans and discussions. If we did, so would the enemies of the Gospel. But we can trust the resurrected one whom they are following. We do not know precisely what the future will bring, but we know who our leaders follow and we know the path we have already trod with them. There have been hard places in the path, and are now for many and will be in the future, but it is going in a safe direction.

[73] Posted by Bill Cool on 12-19-2007 at 09:55 PM • top

Craig, “English as she is goodly spocken” - gotta love the language!

[74] Posted by CarolynP on 12-19-2007 at 10:11 PM • top

Bill Cool,  Yes, Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter of solidarity was a HUGE moment—both at Plano and, more importantly, in the history of ecumenical relations between (what we Anglicans casually refer to sa) Rome and (what we Anglicans USED TO casually refer to as) Canterbury.

In my humble opinion, VERY BIG THINGS are happening. Earlier today I posted a comment about expressions of support for the cause of orthodoxy that I have received from a number of important members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. That comment was deleted—I assume because my intentions were misunderstood. But the point that I was trying to make was this: many, many, many authentic Christians throughout the world fully understand that this battle is not a simple turf-war or inter-denominational squabble. The stakes are huge. And, in many ways, this is a very defining moment in the history of Christianity. I agree with your overall comment.

But sometimes I worry that too many on the orthodox side of this battle are 1.) too impatient to see results, or 2.) unaware of what the stakes really are, or 3.) simply want to somehow go back in time, when things seemed simpler and easier.

It seems to me that God is doing something very powerful and wonderful with His Church. In terms of institutional specifics, I am not at all sure where we are headed in the near or distant future. Nor do I really care, so long as we are faithfully striving to follow our Lord’s leading. But I am pretty sure that the branch of the church that I inhabit several years from today will not look much like the old Episcopal Church that has abandoned (and is now waging war upon) the orthodox faithful. The Gospel will remain the same. Catholic order will remain intact. But I anticipate that, institutionally speaking, it’s going to be a whole new ballgame.

I am rather excited.

[75] Posted by bluenarrative on 12-19-2007 at 10:38 PM • top

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