Let Brazil Through the Door!

In the past several days a letter from the Primate of Nigeria to the Primate of the Church in Brazil has been published on the net that says in part, "Until we hear from you and your church your clear decision to correct these actions and statements, the organizing committee has agreed unanimously to withdraw the invitation for your province to be represented in Egypt."

I call upon the ACC through its President and Chairman to disavow this retraction of invitation as it does not fulfill the intentions of the ACC. Member churches of the Anglican Communion must demand a retraction of this action on the part of the organizing committee of the South - South Encounter and if that does not occur member churches must petition the Anglican Consultative Council to withdraw sponsorship and any financial support for this meeting. Not to do so will increasingly invalidate the ACC as an instrument of unity.

The notion that 'actions and statements' taken by leaders of a particular province should determine whether that province should be included in the South to South Encounters was not, as far as I know, EVER part of the organizing principles for those meetings. The Provinces included were determined by the ACC on the basis of their current or former mission / financial / geographical status or position - their being "non-Western." Representatives from those Provinces came to the first gathering and have come to those following. The Primate of the church in Brazil affirmed this in his letter to the Primate of Nigeria.

The 19 May 2004 press release on the South-South Encounter in Limuru, Kenya gave a one paragraph history of the South to South Encounters:

"The ACC, upon the recommendation of the Brisbane 1986 Missions Conference, organized a gathering of the non-Western parts of the Communion for mutual consultation on their distinctive contextual mission challenges. The 1st South-South Encounter was held in Limuru, Kenya in 1994. The 2nd South-South Encounter (met) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1997..."

A 3rd South-South Encounter is planned to take place in Egypt in October, 2005, and it is this meeting from which the church in Brazil is being excluded.

The clear intention of the organization of the Encounter was that churches in the Anglican Communion "from the non-Western parts of the Communion" be included. For the organizing committee of the Encounter to take place in Egypt to exclude a member Province of the Anglican Communion already part of this Encounter is a breach of ACC intentions.

Immediate action is required.


  1. Cory Watson7/9/05 1:24 PM

    I wasn't aware that the ACC provided sponsorship or financial support to this meeting. Do you have the information about how much? Thanks.

  2. It is clear to me that talking about a possible schism is sort of a waste -- it has already happend. Dr. Akinola is acting more like the head of a curial hiearchy than ++ Rowan would dare. The only question now is who pays for what?

    It is sad that these folks have made the decision to walk away. It is however instructive that they think they can take the assets with them.

    One does have to wonder wither England? The record is that they will do about anything to hold onto the illusion of empire. Terrorists have been treated as statesmen in Commonwealth affairs, why not in Church of England affairs? I wish I had more faith in ++William's leadership. I think we could see a "global south" that somehow included the CoE.


  3. Please,

    The Eiscopal Church walked away from everyone else. The Instruments of Unity, various provinces, most of the world reminded/warned/(whatever language you want to use) us that if we proceeded with Bishop Robinson's consecration, we would be tearing at the fabric of the communion. All asked us to reconsider. At that point, and still, the idea of a non-celebate gay man being consecrated bishop was an anathema to the church. Now we pretend to be shocked or assert that they have left us? It would be funny were it not so pathetic. The good news is that we have a couple years before Lambeth to see if the Spirit was truly doing a new thing, or if the Episcopal Church of the US was just a religious extention of American politics. The ABC will likely be forced to make a choice (both sides will be doing the forcing). Will he go with most of the world's Anglicans and become more authoritative like the pope, or will he go with whatever is left of the Episcopal Church and all its money?

    But back to Mark's comment. If the ACC funds this, then Mark is absolutely right to insist that they allow Brazil in or lose funding. If the ACC does not fund it, then the bishops and archibishops are certainly free not to invite those with whom they are in broken communion.


  4. Anon said in part, "Please,

    The Eiscopal Church walked away from everyone else. The Instruments of Unity, various provinces, most of the world reminded/warned/(whatever language you want to use) us that if we proceeded with Bishop Robinson's consecration, we would be tearing at the fabric of the communion."

    Robert Heinlein (sp) wrote, "Man is not a rational animal, man is a rationalizing animal."


  5. What "would be funny were it not so pathetic", JB, is that you seem to believe that merely by repeating this canard ("laying hands on a person" = "walking away from a Communion"), the umpteenth time will make it persuasive. It is not.

    What is more intriguing, is that after this (rather rote-like, IMO) repetition, in your second paragraph you do agree w/ Mark. But, following your first bit, why shouldn't Akinola & Company claim that the AngChBrazil "walked away" from the rest of the (supposedly monolithic) Global South?

    Follow the latter, JB, and let this good sense enlighten/overcome your Network talking-points. Laying on hands (or having a differing opinion) doesn't equate to "walking away". Walking away (and then slamming the door behind you) DOES.

  6. JC:

    At least you gave me a good chuckle, if nothing else. To alleviate any concerns you have, JC, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Network or AAC. To me, it smacks too much of a prenuptial agreement (I know, the Network claims to be working within the church and not desirous of splitting it). Just as I will not marry two people with a prenuptial agreement becuase they have planned for the breakup, I will not plan for ours. I will leave the church before I join one of those organizations.

    But, as Judge Judy is so found of saying, "don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining." Thanks to the Righter trial/Hearing/whatever it was, we like to believe that we have no doctrine. The rest of the Anglican communion seems to think differently. We chose to act in a way which we knew beforehand (even Griswold signed the Primates' statement) would tear at the communion. And we chose to plunge forward, knowing the consequences. We see this played out on schoolyards all the time. When the bully changes the rules of the game, most of the kids quit unless the bully scares them into playing. We're just doing it on a larger scale in an environment that is weary of American bullies.
    What really gives me pause, however, is the lack of effort given in sites like this to discuss. Look at how few people post on the listserv because of the barbs. We need, what, two hands to count the regulars, maybe three? Rather than engaging in a theological discussion with people over the very questions which caused the debate, the thread dies. Reminding you that the rest of the communion warned us had you yelling "Network Schill! Network Schill!" at me. Good common sense guided me on both paragraphs. Mark is absolutely right that the the ACC should step in if it is the funding instrument (I do not know whether it is), and similarly we must bear the consequences of our decisions. If it was prophetic, the world will come around. If it was not, the world will not come around.
    As I figure it, we have less than two years to figure out if it can be saved.


  7. When did Peter Akinola become the head of the Anglican Communion? What is his official standing to tell others that they cannot come to a meeting to which they had previously been invited?

    Maybe that is a pretty basic question--but it seems like Dr. Akinola is taking on a role that he has no right to take. He can say "if you come, I will not be there", but can he really go beyond that, and bar the door to Brazil?

  8. JB wrote, "The Episcopal Church walked away from everyone else."

    As JCF mentioned, this canard is an obvious Appeal to Common Practice fallacy. Or, as my Mama used to say, "Just because all the other kids are jumpin' off a cliff doesn't mean you have to."

    "When the bully changes the rules of the game, most of the kids quit unless the bully scares them into playing. We're just doing it on a larger scale in an environment that is weary of American bullies."

    Come now. TEC decides to stand up for a minority that has been relentlessly denigrated & abused and that makes them "bullies" ? In addition, your poor attempt to link this so-called "bullying" by the decisions of GC2003 to the foreign policy adventurism of the current Republican administration is an obvious red herring.

    "What really gives me pause, however, is the lack of effort given in sites like this to discuss."

    Fine with me. But to discuss an issue rationally implies that we're willing to forgo the use of fallacious arguments and similar attempts at distraction...

  9. Simeon,

    No one ever posts a fallicious argument. You, or I might say an argument is wrong, but the author wont. To the author it is a pearl of logic.

    That said, there is in the analogy of the bully a more reasonble arguement in favor of the idea that TEC in 2003, and Cananda more recently are the ones who if not left, at least caused the schism we now see. The problem with it is the attempt to portray those bodies as bullies. Or so I think.

    Consider, if you will, that no one, including +Gene Robinson has suggested that the Africans and others who object have to accept what was done or apply it to their own provinces. In fact, +Gene has gone out of his way to avoid that position. No body of TEC has made an attempt. To the contrary, TEC has sought to engage, only to be dismissed by such as Dr. Akinola. I think it is fair to ask who is bullying whom.


  10. obadiahslope10/9/05 6:23 PM

    While "bullying" is a strong word to express what TEC did in seating +NH there is an element of coercion in what the American church did. For without engaging overmuch in dialogue the American Province endorsed a gay delegate to the lambeth conference. That is the effect of choosing/confirming the +NH. It was not the chief aim of the NH episcopalians to be sure, but it is a consequence.
    While regarded as a prophetic act by those in favour,
    this forced the TEC agenda onto the worldwide communion.
    Sadly, this IS an instance of an attempt to" force the Africans and others who object to accept what was done". The TEC isaid in effect, "from now on the communion will have gay bishops and it is a decision that we can make on our own".
    That is why it comes across as bullying.
    American actions are percieved as bullying from the perspective of those outside the IUS rather more often than you might think. It goes with power and wealth.

  11. It's time for other Global South provinces to stand up to Akinola. They can't all like the guy. He's a bully. It is a failure of love not to stand up to him.

    I'd really like to see this handled in a way that the ACC didn't have to precipitate the censure that he so richly deserves. Why don't his colleagues from the South tell him that he's crossed the line? And if they don't, hasn't our communion already been damaged to the point of ruin? No one who values the Anglican Communion or the relationships among Global South provinces should attend if Brazil is excluded. Who's next, South Africa?

    I've personally had it up to here with primates acting like they are cardinals. They are bishops. Nothing less and nothing more. If their own province wants to give them a metropolitical role within the province, that's one thing. But let's not give them more power than they deserve. Bishops are servants, not princes of the Church. Jesus didn't Lord it over others. Why should they?

    None of this GARBAGE has a thing to do with the Gospel.

    It's time to ban the terms archbishop and primate from the Anglican lexicon. Our own presiding bishops have only started calling themselves primates quite recently. Let's put a stop to it in 2006. All metropolitical authority in the Episcopal Church is vested in General Convention as a whole.

    If the Bishop of Canterbury wants to exclude the Bishop of New Hampshire from Lambeth, that's his choice. It means that he has lost all theological integrity. He should be consistent and send the women home too. He knows better. It is a failure of love not to confront him, too.

  12. Bill Carroll said:

    "It's time to ban the terms archbishop and primate from the Anglican lexicon. "

    Can't quite do that, at least with "archbishop", at least in the Church of England. The Archbishops of York and Canterbury are not only bishops of those dioceses, but also have metropolitical jurisdiction over the dioceses in their province, which supersedes that of the diocesan.

    For a good understanding of primacy in the Anglican communion, see Colin Podmore's "Aspects of Anglican Identity" (Church of England publishing, 2005).

  13. Wendy,

    I was suggesting it for England too. We're just an act or two of synod and/or parliament away!



  14. Bill, I actually think metropolitical jurisdiction can be a very sensible thing, and sometimes think the fact that we don't have it in ECUSA is a bit screwy.

    But on to the really interesting issue of bullying. Yes, the US, because of its wealth and its dominance (intended or otherwise) of global culture, can be seen as a "bully."

    The kind of stuff being pulled by Akinola and his ilk is a more interesting form of bullying: done by social exclusion and refusal to listen to anyone whose look, action, way of speaking (probably scent, too) you don't like. It's in-group fighting rather than aggression against an outsider. The whole thing smacks of "you can't come to our party because you like someone we don't like".

    I believe the technical term is "relational aggression"--more commonly known as girl-bullying, because this kind of thing is most common amongst females in early adolescence. Oddly enough, it's most often carried out by girls whose moral foundations are somewhat shaky, and done as a way of asserting a dominance that they don't think they can gain on their merits. I won't draw further parallels.

    Take a look at www.guardian.co.uk for a commentary by Stephen Bates, where someone has intimated that Akinola is trying to set himself up as an Anglican parallel to the Pope.

  15. obadiahslope11/9/05 2:00 AM

    This discussion strikes me as a little odd as the actions of the brasilian church seem to be left out. A bishop and 85 priests have been deposed. This background to the action by akinola appears to be at least worth raising. It is more drastic than what akinola has done being beith permanent and more drastic (removing people from their jobs and shepherds from their sheep). Akinola has merely not invited the brasilians to a conference.
    That the outrage on this site is directed only at akinola appears to me to be selective. Of course i could be wrong. Any thoughts on the Brasilian action?

  16. obadiahslope asked:

    "This discussion strikes me as a little odd as the actions of the brasilian church seem to be left out. A bishop and 85 priests have been deposed. This background to the action by akinola appears to be at least worth raising."

    I'm probably missing something, but Oliveira, in his letter, explains quite a lot. He has deposed Bp. Cavalcanti, and priests under him, because Cavalcanti has set himself up as the "only true Anglican and only bearer of the reformation principles", by doing which he "offended and disrespected the Primate, the Bishops' Chamber, the clerty and the people of the whole province" of Brazil.

    Also (my understanding now), by taking part in trans-provincial "irregular confirmations" in Ohio (without invitation/consent of the local bishop?), Cavalcanti disrupted the good order and respect for territorial jurisdiction which has been an important part of Anglican ecclesiology since the split from Rome.

    That respect for the geographic episcopate is also a request of the Windsor Report--which, by his "failure" to discipline Jubal Neves's public criticism of the Report, Oliveira has gained Akinola's displeasure.

    So--the maintenance of good order within the Province over which he exercises jurisdiction, respect for the authority of bishops in other provinces, and allowing public expression of a dissenting opinion --these seem to be the main complaints Akinola has against Oliveira.

    Any wonder that I find Akinola's actions a bit more troublesome than Oliveira's?

  17. Wendy,

    We do have metropolitical authority. It is just vested in a General Convention. Why would it ever be a good idea to give that much power to one individual? Looking at the degree of corruption and dishonesty in the Church of England, I don't think their way of doing it has proven any better than ours. (Not that ours is free of corruption and dishonesty, mind you.) In general, we need to sharply limit the exercise of episcope by individuals by canon law and make synods/conventions even more representative.


    I think Recife could have been dealt with with more grace, but at least this was an action that was done according to the normal process of Church discipline. The bishop should have expected this reaction.

    As for the suggestion that the consecration of Gene Robinson was coercive, I don't even know what to make of that. If we make a decision that falls within our discretion, why should others feel coerced? If it was so bad a decision in their view, they are perfectly free to react however they please, including getting us expelled from the Anglican Communion if they can convince the Archbishop of Canterbury to do their bidding. It would be childish and immoral to do so, but they can try to do it. No one was coerced here. We don't ask for the authority to overrule their bad decisions.

    It is a curious position that our failure to yield to ultimatums and threats=coercion. A sort of Newspeak really. Self-assertion within a relationship among equals does not equal coercion.

  18. Bill, I don't think a single metropolitan for all of ECUSA is reasonable or practical--but perhaps one for each of ECUSA's "provinces"? Once again, Colin Podmore's book is helpful in why this would be a sensible structure.

    Of course, the "provincial" for each region should be answerable to GC/HoB/Executive Committee. It's not a "concentration of power", but a delegated authority to deal with things that arise within regions in a timely, efficient, semi-local manner. That makes good sense in such a geographically expansive church as ECUSA.

  19. obadiahslope11/9/05 9:52 AM

    Bill, I am not surprised that Americans have a blindspot about asserting their freedom to act without consultation. Seems to me that exceptionalism is so deep in your culture that it even affects the left. When it comes to international matters it is far outside your culture to consult first. And we all are children of our cultures.
    I am sad though, that you cannot see that unliaterally changimg the boundaries of Lambeth is seen as an attempt to legislate for all. "What touches all should be decided by all" seems to me to be admirably democratic.
    I would have thought that the Brasilian expulsions would have ben distasteful to you. Either we have the ethos of accepting a wide variety of views in our denomination - a radical pluralism if you will - or we only want one side heard.
    I thought in general you espoused the pluralist view. And I prefer oldspeak.
    I would have thought that there are plenty of people in our communion who would claim to be the true Anglicans. It has never been a sacking offense before. Neoither has taking part in a irregular confirmation. It seems very heavy handed to me. Surely you can't approve of these tactics. Bill said it lacked grace. He was being polite.

  20. obadiahslope, claiming to be the "true Anglicans" and taking part in "irregular confirmations" have never been sacking offenses, you are correct.

    But these are only presenting symptoms. Underlying it is the desire and effort to undermine good order, and to weaken (rather than strengthen) the communion to which such a group claims allegiance. Any other kind of organization would indeed sack people for doing such a thing. The church has become too managerial in a lot of respects--this is one where it should do so. And Oliveira has taken the lead on this.

    Heavy-handed and lacking grace? Yes, indeed. But after Windsor, and its instruction to refrain from interfering in the affairs of other dioceses without the cooperation and permission of the local bishop, it is the right thing to do.

  21. Wendy,

    In all charity, I couldn't disagree more. We need to weaken the authority of bishops within their own dioceses, not create a further authority beyond the diocese. General Convention should focus on sustaining a radically pluralistic framework. Desires to enforce ones will on another, whether from the right or left, are an evil far more worse than any particular decision. We should question the process rather than the result.


    I didn't say I agreed with the decision about Recife, although there was a time that I advocated depositions for all of the Ohio 6. I said that this result should have been expected.

    As for exceptionalism, that analogy presupposes that we are going against a structure that has more than consultative authority. (I don't identify with the US government or any government at all.) I am all for the US government not going it alone and working through the UN, but it is bound by the UN charter. There is no comparable commitment to Lambeth, which is purely consultative and should remain so. The conservatives are attempting to shift venues to where they think they can win. General Convention had the authority to do this, and it acted.

    This is not a question of American exceptionalism but of freedom in the Gospel.

    Even if Lambeth had the formal authority, I would be willing to defy it on this point, just as I would if it legislated racism or tried to prevent women's ordination.
    If this is exceptionalism, then so are the actions of Martin Luther King. Fortunately, Lambeth has no such authority. None of the Instruments of Unity do. The struggle right now is to prevent them from ever having such authority.

  22. Bill, I think you are confusing and conflating the ideas of raw, naked power with those of appropriate authority. I think weakening the authority of a bishop in his/her own diocese is a mistake, and just leads to a congregational structure. A group of dioceses, such as the so-called "provinces" of ECUSA, with perhaps a president of each (elected maybe for a specified term of years and unable to stand for re-election) would not undermine plurality. It would actuall, as I see it, enhance collegiality and neighborly interaction between bishops and dioceses.

    You just can't answer people like Akinola, or Bob Duncan even, by further attenuation of what limited authority structures exist in ECUSA. If you haven't noticed, they are not calling for weakened structures--indeed, as noted in yesterday's Guardian, there are those questioning whether Akinola is setting himself up as an Anglican Pope. Parallel that with weakening diocesan authority, and you hasten the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it.

    Sorry, I think you are very wrong on this one, Bill. There is no logical way that the Anglican Communion has a future if one side dismantles what little authority structures it has in place, while the other solidifies them into a megalithic mass.

  23. Let those who want those things have them. We will follow Jesus.

    We can't win this conflict by creating more authority structures, not even if they are in the "right" hands. I think that General Convention could legitmately step in to weaken the ability of bishops to abuse their authority within their dioceses. For example, controlling the appointment process to allow only Trinity grads in. I'm in favor of open deployment, to name one example that would weaken bishops' authority in the concrete. This is practiced in some dioceses.

    The paradigm of authority in Anglicanism is pastoral in character. Canon should be used to prescribe the limits of authority rather than to authorize personal power. The breakdown in the pastoral relationships cannot be undone with more formal authority. It has to be worked out in the context of relationship, in such cases where anything can still be done.

    If we refuse to play their game and place limits to their ability to do so, there will come a time when those who want to dominate others will walk away. This game never had anything to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ anyway.

  24. Bill, I think the flaw in your argument is shown by this:

    " For example, controlling the appointment process to allow only Trinity grads in. I'm in favor of open deployment, to name one example that would weaken bishops' authority in the concrete. This is practiced in some dioceses"

    It's practiced in the vast majority of dioceses--and the ones that practice otherwise are precisely the ones that are strengthening their structures, encouraging foreign interference in US dioceses, and working in general to undermine ECUSA. As I said, any other organization that was threatened from within would have a way of dealing with it and stop it in its tracks. The church, in its foolishness, does not. And that, along with the loss of public credibility, will be the church's demise and its ultimate unfaithfulness.

    Those like Duncan, Akinola, etc., will just walk away? Somehow, I don't think there's any good evidence that that will happen. Give them what they want, and they'll go home? Windsor came up saying 98% of what they want--and the 2% they don't like, they are disobeying and abusing.

    What a provincial structure might provide, as I see it, is for things like DEPO to be provided by the geographically-nearest amenable bishop--rather than to be farmed out to someone's crony in Africa or Asia. That would be pastorally wise, as well as canonically prudent. It would also provide a possible manner of accountability to local brother and sister bishops. Mutual accountability diffuses the exercise of raw power. Just throwing up your hands and hoping those who are amassing power will just "walk away" does not do that.

    Saying that all this has nothing to do with the Gospel is a moot point--the Anglican Communion, at this moment, is not about the Gospel. It is about power struggles, and whose vision will win the day.

    There is one side that wants to keep this questionable thing called the Anglican Communion a comprehensive, inclusive fellowship of churches that share a common set of origins in British Christianity.

    There is another side, that wants to re-make it into a narrowly confessional body, based on doctrinal tests, signed statements of faith, and nosing about in other people's bedrooms as though sex is the only major Christian concern.

    This latter is the side that is winning--mostly because the former is allowing it, even encouraging it, by a pollyanna-ish hope that by ignoring it they will "walk away." Like all bullying, denying its existence escalates the problem, it doesn't make it disappear.

    But we've digressed from the point of the discussion, which is whether or not Peter Akinola has the right to rescind the invitation to Oliveira because he exercised his duties (in conjunction with the appropriate bodies of clergy and laity) in Brazil. And I think quite clearly the answer is no, he does not.

  25. Wendy, we'll just have to agree to disagree. To quote Daniel Berrigan: "the Gospel is always relevant." If some want to make this about power and lawsuits and property, we can't stop them, but we can refuse to play along. Playing the game by these rules means that even if you win, you lose. The Gospel is always relevant.

    To return to the topic, Akinola only has the right to do it, if his brothers and sisters accord him this right. So far, they've been largely silent. I agree with Mark that the ACC should withdraw sponsorship if Brazil is not admitted. Before that happens, I would like to see the Global South provinces themselves deal with this attempt to exclude one of their own. If Brazil is not an Anglican province in the Global South, then what is?

  26. Fr. Bill wrote: "For example, controlling the appointment process to allow only Trinity grads in."

    **cough** Diocese of Dallas **cough**

    On a more serious note, that's the one thing that'll probably drive the moderate clergy of Dallas to request DEPO one day soon. Our bishop absolutely refuses to consider anyone except Trinity grads (and a few, carefully screened conservatives from Sewanee). One of our larger parishes in McKinney, TX, a fast-growing small city just north of Dallas, has been without a needed clergyperson for ages because +Stanton won't accept anyone who isn't an extremely conservative product of Trinity...

  27. Bill said:

    "To return to the topic, Akinola only has the right to do it, if his brothers and sisters accord him this right. So far, they've been largely silent."

    But the problem is that the brother bishops (no women in this lot, I don't think!) are not so much "giving him the righ", but obviously fear whatever consequences there may be of going against him.

    They watch the girly-bullying Akinola is doing: the "I don't like who you like, so you can't come to the party", and they fear that if they stand up for Brazil, they will be next in line.

    I do think that the ACC, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, or a group of other member provinces of the Communion, need to step in, and say that this is simply unacceptable--and if Akinola does not cease and desist from this kind of thing, he will himself be barred from future meetings.

  28. obadiahslope11/9/05 11:17 PM

    Bill said
    "The conservatives are attempting to shift venues to where they think they can win."

    So lets see how much we can agree on this.

    Conservatives are shifting venues.
    Yes. In a broader sense some are shifting to AMIA and other churches. They want to "win" in the sense they want to build churches. In the vast majority of cases they have left behind buildings and other assetts. They are getting on with their church lives.

    Yes those still remaining in ECUSA point to the Anglican communion to establish that evangelicals can have an honoured place in the anglican communion. While some of these conservatives might believe that the Communion can somehow sweep in and "save" them most are realistic and know that te AC has no legal power over ECUSA. Paul Zahn for example states that a conservative "victory" in ECUSA is unlikely. Yet in drawing encouragement and moral support from the Anglican Communion they are venue shopping in a "spiritual" sense not a legal one.

    No. The normal meaning of venue swapping means finding a legal jurisdiction that will give you some legal victory. I don't think many Anglican conservatives - certainly those of us outside your nation - would think that some sort of conservative takeover of ECUSA is at all likely.

    The complexity of your legal system means that there might be some technical wins as in california where a parish hangs onto its property.
    But that is based on that states particular legal system, and will probably apply in a handful of cases.

    So what victory do the conservatives seek in their venue shopping.? only the support and encouragement of like minded people. As you point out the Anglican communion structures hold no legal powers, they offer only relationship.

    And if heavy handed responses continue, relationships will be further fractured. On that we agree.


    restricting appointments to clergy from a restricted list of seminaries sorted according to type is practised by some dioceses both of the conservative and progressive persuasion. Not only in the US I might add.

    If you are in favour of diversity within the Anglican denomination the solutions are a a more open appointment process (which will restrict the rights of bishops to favour one type of candidate) or parallel jurisdictions. Your bishop might accept a wide range of candidates, but it would be foolish to expect that all will, even the ones in your faction.

    Bill's anarchic tendency can be a bit annoying at tims, but he has one essential point right - we do need to get the focus off proprty and power. I am sure you agree.

    I suspect that the conservative leaders you mention have not breached the WR. The section on crossing boundaries was written in a particular way which they would only breach if they actively seek to put new parishes into a border crossing situation.
    This doesnt mean I endorse all that they do, it is just that on this charge at this time i believe them to be innocent.

    I think the long term solution is parallel jurisictions or a beefed up DEPO which amount to the same thing. I think the parishes you mention SHOULD ask for depo and more. ECUSA needs examples of DEPO (plus?) to work in my view.

  29. obadiahslope11/9/05 11:19 PM

    "We can't win this conflict by creating more authority structures, not even if they are in the "right" hands."

    I agree.

  30. Wow, you guys must have idyllic parishes or be fabulous multi-taskers. Not intended as a slight to you, Wendy, as I thought you had posted you are layperson. Deal with a couple funerals and a deanery function and you are behind the train on this thread--lol.

    Simeon: What ECUSA did was to condone an activity which the church catholic for over 2000 years had condemned and a vast majority of worldwide Christians still condemn as a sin. To the world we were saying that we did not hold to those rules. I'm sorry that you do not like the bully imagery, but coming on the heels of women (30 years is not that long in the church) and the president's foreign policies, we get painted as the arrogant bullies. Now, if you want to discuss whether the communion was honest in its adoption of Lambeth 98 because it failed to listen to tha gays which it promised, we can certainly find room for agreement. The argument, however, was not fallacious. Lambeth 98 was our rulebook. We chose to toss it out and claim that we could not live with it. Now the Anglican church is trying to decide if it can live with us not living with the rulebook. They may decide it is like Free Parking on Monopoly, or they may decide it is something far more serious. As I said earlier, I think we'll know in about two years when Lambeth invitations go out.

    Silencing Akinola:
    I find it simply amazing that fewer speak out against him. We have all the money (power), so the pressure to give in to us must be phenomenal. Yet, so far, most have ignored our offers in an effort to be "faithful." The silence should be speaking volumes to us. But I am sure that we will spin it that Akinola and others care not for people dying of AIDS, orphans, water-treatment and whatever because they must all be about power and not Gospel living. there is virtually no chance that the Spirit was working when it called them to be bishops and Archbishops. Were I him and them, I would treat us as Egypt and take all our money and still condemn us, but I guess that's why God has not made me a bishop--lol (among a host of other sins). For us to demand that they change their polity to match ours, however, smacks of more American arrogance. "We know better how to rule the church than you poor Africans." Their churches are exploding while ours our dying. Maybe they have things to teach us. . .

    Wendy: Great observation on Brazil (and others on the OH 6). If those involved are going to make a stand, they must be willing to face the penalty for their action--such is the cost of social justice. One question: Are we not called, however, to speak out for all the oppressed, or is there a threshold of injustice that must be reached? Bill is absolutely right, we need more grace (repentence) on all sides.

    One other comment on your Trinity complaint. If you are going to rail about bishops who will not accept non-Trinity grads, you need to rail about bishops who will not accept Trinity grads. And while we are at it, let's fuss at COM's and bishops who refuse to allow their postulants to attend certain schools. Imagine what could have been learned if both sides had all been open-minded to the education and training of priests.

    Bill: I also agree with your assessment that "this never had anything to do with the Gospel of Christ anyway." Too bad the sentence means something so different to each of us.

    Enough for now.

  31. I'm sorry that you do not like the bully imagery, but coming on the heels of women

    AnonymousJB, I think this statement just needs to stand on its own: you do Orwell proud!

    :::pictures a purple-clad XX army in stillettos:::

    Seriously, JB, you are one of those Anglicans who prompt me to ask: can I tell you about Jesus? How much He loves you? How much He welcomes you into the Kingdom of God, where you need not be so afraid? Eternal peace, eternal joy, in God's Loving Embrace: all offered to you, JB. All you need do, is accept the gift of God's Love.

    Shalom to you! :-)

  32. obadiah, this "Yankee Go Home!" comparison (Americans Invade Iraq = Americans Consecrate Bishop who is Gay) is getting old.* Aren't Duncan/Iker/Bena/Schofield/etc. suffering from as much "American exceptionalism" as the ECUSA democratic-majority? (Plus, you know bloody well obadiah, that it is your fellow gay-condemning Christian conservatives who are most supportive of Bush's War on Iraq)

    * Note phrasing: "bishop who is gay" NOT, as you put, "a gay delegate to the lambeth conference."

    Please STOP subsuming every aspect of an individual human being's humanity (or a relationship's integrity) to monomanically stamping it "gay" (As you know, I said the same exact thing to Kevin on EVN).
    [Not "gay bishop", but bishop who, among other things, is gay. Not "gay marriage", but marriage, which happens to be between two (individual) men, or two (individual) women. All of whom are the Imago Dei.]

    I mean it, obadiah: I know you know better than this. In the Name of Christ, I exhort you to start acting more like a Christian.

  33. JC:

    I know Jesus, and I am not afraid of anything because He has already won. I do worry and pray for false teachers and those under their care, but that seems to have been an admonition which Jesus mentioned more than once. I do weep at our arrogant behavior. One thing Jesus did well was change perspectives. You seem to be unwilling to grant that the rest of the world has a different perspective on many things including women and gays. I simply pointed out that to the rest of the world, we appear to be forcing another issue upon them when the fighting over a previous action has not yet been settled (hence the thirty years is not a long time in the church comment). Believe it or not, some in the communion are still struggling with that issue still. I don't get the Orwell comment, so I guess you must be much more enlightened than me.

    Christ have mercy,

  34. Christ has mercy on us all, JB. No one is more thankful (less deserving) than I for this Truth.


  35. JB,

    I myself worry more about those who are under the care of abusive and self-serving clergy. There are a relatively small number of clergy who would qualify as false teachers by comparison, and they do far less damage. God will not be left without a witness, if only the witness of the Scriptures, the sacraments, and the Holy Spirit. Luther used to say that even when the Roman Catholic Church was in the grip of anti-Christ (he was as good a polemicist as the worst of us), Holy Baptism continued to bear witness to the truth of the Gospel. The problem with heresy hunting is that the enforcement mechanisms are far worse than the problem they try to address.

  36. obadiahslope13/9/05 8:32 PM

    Sure the charge of American arrogance is getting old. And Unfashionable. But "age will not weary it" to misquote Binyon. (That's Binyon not Bunyan).
    And I agree with you that there will be arrogance on the right as well as the left, including from time to time the guys you mention.
    They are not the majority faction so they have little power, yet I am sure they are capable of arrogance too.
    Yet I would urge you to continue to ponder consider how your nation's power in the world does affect how you think about the rest of us.

    I take your point that "Bishop who is gay" might be a better use of words. I am sorry that my shorthand offended you. I certainly don't wish to subsume his human identity - or anyone else's - into being gay.

  37. I hope and pray you are right, Bill, but the NT certainly speaks to that issue far more often than the current presenting one.


  38. Bill:

    In regards to your comment: I myself worry more about those who are under the care of abusive and self-serving clergy: do you mean, for instance, those under the care of the primate of Brazil? Honestly, the actions of Akinola pale in significance to the actions of the primate of Brazil. So the poor primate isn't allowed to go to a meeting in Egypt! Do you think it really will affect him that much? Perhaps he should have seen that coming -- that many in the Global South including Akinola would stand in solidarity with those in the diocese of Recife. In any case, no one has attempted to depose him without giving him a chance to defend himself, unlike a certain bishop and 90 % of the clergy in a certain diocese. Doesn't that suggest abusive and self-serving actions? Is Akinola and the rest of the global south not justified in protesting them?


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.