8/18/2006

Now There are Nine, and they are Nailed as a Federation, and O yes, there is another meeting of Bishops.

Nine Nailed as a Federation:


So this is the way it is playing out: The Anglican Communion Network formed the Common Cause Partnership, and lists eight groups in its membership. At the same time in the lead up to the recent ACN Council meeting there were references to nine members. So I wondered. Now comes the answer: The 9th is indeed the new CANA jurisdiction under Bishop elect (soon to be bishop) Minns. This one of a very few options, the other being a distancing between ACN and CANA. So things are going for including CANA in Common Cause.

More interestingly is that the Common Cause partners are recommending the formation of a Common Cause Federation. Those who follow such things will recall the horrific recoil from realignment types about any suggestion that the Anglican Communion might find itself thinking of its life together as a “federation.” Well, it seemed good enough for the Common Cause partners.

A close look at the changes between the proposed and revised theological statement gives some sense of the difficulties in putting together this federation idea. Most matters remained essentially the same, but the Thirty Nine Articles and the Prayer Book became a bit more nuanced.

About the Prayer Book, no longer is there the “1549 to 1662” reference, but rather, “We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.” This is no real help, since the standards using the books preceding the 1662 book varied greatly and the 1662 book is singularly unhelpful in the 21st Century. Still, this is better than “We accept the 1549 through the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its ordinal as the foundation for Anglican worship and the standard for doctrine and discipline.”

The Thirty Nine Articles got a bit of a downgrade: Common Cause folk moved from the proposed “We affirm the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion as foundational for authentic Anglican belief and practice and as correctives to doctrinal abuses” to the new proposed “We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.”

The big continuing “skunk on the table” agreement is that the Common Cause Partners, soon to be the Common Cause Federation, states their determination “to ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global Communion.”

The careful reader will note the singular “an orthodox Anglican Province” and “a faithful global Communion.”

The ends are clear – one province (not by the way The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada) for all of North America, and related to an unspecified “global Comunion” (not by the way necessarily connected to communion with the see of Canterbury.)

Meeting of American Bishops asked for by the Archbishop, but to be attended by the Secretary General.

So, with all this in hand, the announcement today that the Archbishop of Canterbury, in addition to sending two bishops emissary to the meeting of so called “Windsor compliant” bishops in Texas, is now calling together yet another meeting of American bishops. The announcement does not say that the Archbishop will attend, but that the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion will. Still, with all the right intentions this is still a call for bishops in a Province other than his own to do what he thinks wise. Perhaps if it is all that important he ought to attend. Then again, maybe not.

This time the cast of characters includes the current Primate and Primate elect of The Episcopal Church, and the Bishop of Virginia who has to deal with the mess regarding Canon Minns, and the Bishop of Southwest Florida, along with one bishop who may not believe the Presiding Bishop elect is actually a bishop, priest or deacon by virtue of her being a woman (Bishop Iker), and another bishop (Bishop Duncan) who believes “Innovating ECUSA has walked apart. The clarity we prayed for has been given. We would have preferred repentance and return. It was what the Anglican Communion had asked and what many of us, in General Convention and before, had worked for.” There will be at least two other bishops in attendance, Bishop Ed Salmon of South Carolina and Bishop James Stanton.

So there will be four “network” bishops and at least some sympathy from Southwest Florida. Remember that these five all signed the bishops statement at General Convention in which they said, “Sadly, because of statements made by members of this House at this Convention, we must question whether this General Convention is misleading the rest of the Communion by giving a false perception that they intend actually to comply with the recommendations of the Windsor Report. We therefore disassociate ourselves from those acts of this Convention that do not fully comply with the Windsor Report.” (emphasis mine).

So, what we have here is a meeting in which five of the eight so far named have disassociated themselves from General Convention actions, and four of the eight who believe, in the words of the Moderator of the Network, that “Innovating ECUSA has walked apart.” One can only hope that the fact that The Presiding Bishop, The Presiding Bishop Elect and the Bishop of Virginia are understood by the Archbishop of Canterbury to represent the elected leadership of The Episcopal Church and its senior bishop, and perhaps these three have considerable call on the claim to actually represent the large majority of people in The Episcopal Church, not withstanding the arrogance of the phrase “Innovating ECUSA” applied to them by the Moderator.

And it is still important, one might suppose, to point out that not at this meeting, not the meeting in Texas, not the meeting before Convention in England of bishops called there by the Archbishop of Canterbury, not indeed in any publicly announced forum of several bishops meeting for consultation, has the Archbishop of Canterbury asked for the contribution and attendance of Bishop Robinson or any voice from the Gay and Lesbian community within the Episcopal Church.

I hope that the meeting of these bishops with the Secretary General goes well, but I fail to see just how yet another meeting to talk about the “problems” will yield much of interest if the people at the core of the concerns are not understood to be actual members of the faithful community as opposed to being “problems.” And here I don’t just speak of Gay and Lesbian Christians, but all us poor “innovators” who in fact make up the actual Episcopal Church in practice. You know – people who keep working at being faithful to the Scriptures, celebrating the sacraments, saying the creeds, having bishops, and at the same time in some stumbling way are working at something other than being instruments of our own oppression.

Dear Archbishop, if you want to call a meeting to “do something,” try pulling together a meeting primarily of people who are doing something, not a meeting with an greater proportion given to those who have damned faithful followers of Jesus Christ as members of “innovating ECUSA”. O yes, and perhaps either come yourself with other emissaries as well, or don’t send anyone.

21 comments:

Marshall said...

One piece of information I'm waiting on is whether Bishop Lee and Bishop Lipscomb at least, and perhaps Bishops Griswold and Jefferts Schori have been instructed to bring another bishop. That would also affect the balance.

I would note that the Anglican Consultative Council is both the most representative of the "Instruments of Unity," and the one where our participation was clearly affirmed by the majority at their last meeting, even if we were compliant enough to maintain a shadow presence. Too, Kearon's statements during and since Convention have been supportive of our process and our presence. And in his position as Secretary General he is not directly responsible to the Archbishop. His presence seems a qualitatively different presence than two English bishops, however "approved" that presence may be by the Archbishop.

I have a hope (I may be disappointed; I have before, but one can still hope): that the Secretary General will say, "You people have to work this out, because the Archbishop will not recognize, and the ACC will not recognize, a parallel province in the United States; and the bishops going to Texas will have the same message." Yeah, I'm an optimist; but, since we all have to wait anyway, I'll wait with hope.

J.C. Fisher said...

What Marshall said . . . and IF the bishops have been instructed to "bring a (mitre'd) friend" I really, Really, REALLY hope someone brings +Gene (talk about the "pink elephant" in the room! :-0)

Anonymous said...

You kow, it's time to throw the tea in the harbor again: depose the Nutwork bishops, declare their sees vacant, boldly announce to the bumbling, gutless Rowan that we have no desire to join his newfangled Akinolan Communion, and invite to join us other Anglicans around the world who have no desire to be subjugated to a bunch of third-world fundamentalists bigots and their enablers.

tin45 said...

How can we expect the world to be peaceful when in fact leaders of our church are confusing too. Maybe if disputes or confusion from the church will be solved. Then we might know how to solve the world's issues too.

ACM said...

This is getting ridiculous. Marshall, I wish I could share your optimism. It will be interesting to have +Iker and +Jefferts Schori at the same table.
Anonymous, I'm afraid I am coming to feel the way you do. It's becoming painfully obvious that the ABC is not going to stand up to this group. How much worse would be actually be if these folks were deposed? Those of us who wish to remain could do so, and then get on with what we are called to be about.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to hear any comments regarding the fact that this meeting is for bishops only, with the presence of the ACC secretary. While it appears to be a necessary next step toward looking at resolution, where are lay and clerical representatives of the church representing Executive Council. While a small meeting may be advantageous as a first step it appears that +Cantuar wants things done by fiat of the bishops.

Daid Bieler said...

Regarding the second anonymous comment, it's just further evidence that the rest of the communion is utterly clueless about the polity of TEC.

Merseymike said...

As someone in the UK who doesn't feel able to attend a CofE parish at present, I am waiting for you to take a bold lead and provide us with a genuine forward looking, fundamentalist-free denomination.

Bill Carroll said...

One ring to rule them all...

Weiwen Ng said...

the Archbishop of Canterbury has a fax number by which people may contact him. sadly, he has no email. so, Americans who wish to send him remarks can only do so by fax or by snail mail. I shall be sending some comments to Rev Dr Williams.

his contact info is on this page: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/site/index.html

remember, though, let's not demonize those who disagree with us.

Prior Aelred said...

Well, I've observed many times before ("pardon my redundancy") that where there is good will, all the structures in the world are not necessary & where there is not, none of them will do any good

ALSO that there has been a de facto schism ever since Dromantine where about half the primates refused to receive communion with ++Frank

SO if this is the ABC using influence to try to get the principles to talk contructively with each other (rather than trying to influence the course of the discussion), well & good (nothing else would do any good & this probably won't either, but one has to show willing -- see B033 which I see as requiring refusal of consent to any Network member since their intention is schism)

THEREFORE I pretty much agree with merseymike about the situation & the desired outcome -- I don't know if we are in accord on tactics, but our situations are quite different, after all

AND it seems that Bill Carroll is right that this is about power & we all know what power does

FINALLY someone in the Anglican Communion Office told me that Cantuar only gets letters from whack jobs & Ebor told a friend of mine the same thing (not in those exact words, AHEM) & so, even though they know better, they still get a totally distorted view of what is going on -- the fact that the vast majority of communicants in TEC are simply not in panic mode doesn't seem to occur to them

Anonymous said...

Mark, thanks for your words. ACM & Prior Aelred have me wondering what shape the table must be -- rather like UN and such -- so no one on one side has to say they sat with the others.
Columba

Anonymous said...

Well, Martyn-with-a-Y finally got his pointy hat today:

http://www.anglican-nig.org/defendfaith.htm

After all these years of being a bridesmaid, he's finally a bride!

G├Âran Koch-Swahne said...

"remember, though, let's not demonize those who disagree with "

Hardly necessary ;=)

fatherjones.com said...

"You kow, it's time to throw the tea in the harbor again: depose the Nutwork bishops, declare their sees vacant, boldly announce to the bumbling, gutless Rowan that we have no desire to join his newfangled Akinolan Communion, and invite to join us other Anglicans around the world who have no desire to be subjugated to a bunch of third-world fundamentalists bigots and their enablers."

Anonymous has revealed the shadow mind of this blog I think. There is more than this here of course, but this is the uninhibited id of preludium speaking. It reminds me of the horrible id I see all over the place on the Angrican right wing blogs.

Thanks for showing me which blog is the opposite of Titusonenine.

Bill Carroll said...

It may come to a point where bishops need to be deposed and sees declared vacant. So far as I know, only Bishop Schofield faces possible charges at this point, and I have been consistent in asking for due process and for the respect we owe both his office and person. The same goes for other bishops. The presumption of innocence is in our secular courts. So much more ought we to preserve it, remembering also that detraction is a sin. This kind of disciplinary action would harm everyone, but could be the lesser of two evils. Our desire to find pastoral solutions and to be part of a church where all are welcome should not be confused with weakness. These men (they are all men) are beloved brothers and apostles of Christ.

I can understand the level of frustration that would call for a Boston Tea Party approach, but I think that patience and longsuffering love will do more to help the mission of the Church than hasty punitive action. I will have nothing to do with appeals to patience to justify injustice and bigotry (as with B033) but the process of our pastoral response to "realignment," i.e. schism, is more complex.

Ecclesiastical discipline is a real possibility here. This should sadden us, but not keep us from doing our duty when the time comes.

Bishop Minns, for example, should be deposed. And I expect that he will be, either under the abandoning the communion canon or some other, unless he has the grace to renounce his orders.

David Huff said...

Well, I read what Br. Tobias Haller has written on his blog about his hopes for this meeting. It's certainly more optimistic than anything I can come up with - but God bless him anyway, and I hope he's right :)

As for me, all I can see is a deck stacked with ACN bishops ready to open up a can of whoop a** on the PB and PB-elect. And the ABC still doesn't have the courtesy to show up himself...

Anonymous said...

Father Jones, this place has a long way to sink before it can hope to equal the ugliness on constant display at T19, to say nothing of such vicious, squalid places as the tragically-misnamed Virtue Online.

You remind me of self-declared "centrists" in the political realm, who behold a White House that blows the cover of covert agents for political payback, accuses decorated veterans of faking their injuries, declares that the opposition party hates God and America, lies us into a war that kills tens of thousands, etc. and then declare that all this is "just as bad as," say, obscure bloggers writing impolite things about government officials.

It's like the old story about the judge telling a battered woman that she and her husband both need to lay off each other.

The truth is not always in the middle, and both sides aren't always equally bad or to blame. Complaining about people engineering a fundamentalist takeover of one's church is not "just as bad" as engineering said fundamentalist takeover.

fatherjones.com said...

Anonymous ... your use of such politically inciting, yet plainly inaccurate nalogies further indicates how off-base your comments are. Yes, Anonymous, everybody isn't just the same. And yes, Anonymous, the middle place between two extremes isn't necessarily the more truthful place either. But, in the case of the way you make your arguments -- as if you were on Crossfire and looking to make quick political hits with pithy if absurd comparisons and soundbites -- is quite the same as the people you oppose. In other words, as the counselors will tell you, the way you fight matters. And, yes, if you fight like a savage than you are a savage. At any rate, your style is offputting to the extreme, and whatever validity might be inside of your arguments is rendered meaningless by your name-calling, dismissive attitude of 'other,' superlatives, and other rhetorical devices.

I do agree that no website I've ever seen has such vile people-cursing, human dignity-denying, hatefilled and utterly false ranting as David Virtue's pornographic rant-space.

But, I didn't compare this to that. I compared it to T19 -- where the commentary tends very often to be dominated by people who argue as falsely as you do.

Anonymous said...

Father, we are engaged in a *political* struggle with a ruthless, well-funded opponent who is not above fighting dirty.

This isn't teatime at Aunt Maud's house.

So what would you have us do? I'm genuinely interested in your response.

J.C. Fisher said...

Yes, FatherJones, I'm interested in that, too.

(Having accused one "Anonymous" poster of being the "id of this blog", you hardly seem to me to be in the position of a neutral judge. JMO.)

I stand on the knife-edge of Hope & Fear re this Cantuar-called meeting. Not liking the secrecy---to say nothing of lack of lay people---one bit though.

[Can't bring myself to read this Dutch Ev interview of Cantuar. Call me up "that River in Egypt", but I'm going to stack it up to "lost in translation", for the time being... :-/]