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
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
The careful reader will note the singular “an orthodox
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
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
So there will be four “network” bishops and at least some sympathy from
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.