9/13/2006

Well the Skunk is on the Table: ACN claims to be the Episcopal Church. (Revised)

Here is what the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network is quoted to have said today, September 13th, 2006 about the meeting of Bishops in New York:

“It became clear that the division in the American church is so great that we are incapable of addressing the divide which has two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church.” This is a quote from a news item posted on the ANC web site, so we can assume that is really what he said.

The bishop is wrong. The one “group” IS the Episcopal Church, to which all the bishops at this meeting are members. There is no “claim” here, there is the fact - the Episcopal Church. The other group, it would appear, are those Network bishops who claim, separately from the whole, to be the Episcopal Church. It is the Church confronted with a contentious group working for a coup d’eglise.

The news release from the ACN also quoted the Moderator as saying, “Our request for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) still stands. We wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates of the Anglican Communion to answer our request.” It would appear that this meeting is not for them the reference point from which further discussions will take place. They are still barking at the Archbishop's heel.

The formal press release stated that “the level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.” But it would appear from the waiting that the Moderator does not seem so sure that working “together” is going anywhere. I am sure all will indeed hold one another in prayer. That is what Christians do.

The old ACN bugaboo of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) was raised once again in today’s news release: “Among the many items discussed in New York was the fact that even if fulfilled, the APO request only deals with the situation of those in Network dioceses. While that situation is important, a far more desperate situation exists for congregations in non-Network dioceses. Bishop Duncan made it clear that as moderator of the Network, he will make every effort to see those needs fully and honestly addressed.”

The Network has contended all along that DEPO is flawed and useless even though DEPO is recognized by the Windsor Report as a valuable response to the needs of “at risk” congregations. So here the Moderator is raising the rescue flag, saving congregations in “desperate situations,” thereby reminding everyone who is interested that the ACN is “there for you.”

We will have to wait and see just what it was that broke the back of this particular camel. Three possibilities come to mind: (i) since APO is an idea in search of a reality no agreement could be reached on the matters at hand because there was no reference in reality for the concept, (ii) someone realized that the Moderator was wrong in thinking there are “two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church” and simply called the whole thing off on the grounds that usurpers are not to be confused with those whose leadership roles are confirmed and established by legitimate canonical authority, or (iii) something stuck in the craw in the final revisions of one side or another as the group struggled to come to an agreement – for example, that the Presiding Bishop would have to sign off on the naming of the “commissary” as requested by those seeking Alternative Primatial Oversight.

LATE NEWS: It appears that the first possibility was part of the problem. Quoting from an ENS article,

The constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Anglican Communion's main policy-making body, makes no provisions for alternative primatial oversight. Neither do the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

Griswold said after the end of the meeting that the use of the term "alternative primatial oversight" itself was discussed.

"There was some disagreement as to whether it was appropriate even to use that term," he said. "There was some reluctance to use that terminology."


Well, at the moment all questions about what broke down is conjecture, save for the report of the breakdown itself, which came from The Living Church and the ENS report added above. This meeting was doomed to have expectations of it that far exceeded what was possible. It may well have been a success in that honesty trumps busy work every time. But it will be used by those whose hand-wringing desperation and calls of “crisis, crisis, crisis” ring in the Anglican air.

What if, by God’s good grace, this meeting was exactly what it needed to be, an occasion to get on the table the honest words of mistaken hubris, in which the leader of a minority faction in the Episcopal Church claims to be speaking for one of “two distinctly different groups both claiming to be the Episcopal Church.” At least now the matter is before us, something for which we have had evidence for some time: no longer does the ACN claim to be a part of the Episcopal Church. It is claiming to be THE Episcopal Church.

Good work.

50 comments:

Jim said...

It seems to me that the entire thing is a sham. No one who reads can possibly think the im-Moderator et al have any intention other than theft. First steal the name, then steal the property, is precisely where the Chapman memo leads.

FWIW
jimB

Simon said...

Coup d'eglIse perhaps?

Mark Harris said...

Simon...good eye! I can't spell worth a damn and when the spell checker doesn't do it, it doesn't get done. Thanks.

Richard III said...

I cannot imagine the two sides are going to be able to come to any agreement that will resolve the issues. The Network folks appear to have a 'we're right and there isn't any way we are changing our minds position' and they don't seem to want to meet anyone in the middle. When you go through the diocese and take the name Episcopal off the signs it's a pretty good bet you have your mind made up. And the Bishops don't have the authority to strike any binding agreements since the GC speaks officially for the church or do they in situations like this?

Anonymous said...

wouldnt we be better off without this small group; why not just say "OK" if you can get 2/3 vote of any particular congregation; then good riddence. That would in reality be a very small group, and then everyone could get on with business. Do we like this fight too much?

Marshall said...

Mark, your three possibilities are not mutually exclusive, and especially (1) and (3). However, in light of the continuing efforts of our Presiding Bishop and Presiding Bishop-elect to stay in conversation, (2) seems unlikely.

This is, sadly, much of what I expected. And, sadly, I am coming to believe it is indeed what is needed. When folks are determined to leave, there is limited benefit, even to them, of continuing the situation. At the same time, I'm waiting, and believe others may be waiting, for a next step - one that may come from the AMiA petition in Kigali.

The Pilgrim said...

Anonymous said . . . .

"wouldnt we be better off without this small group;"

It's not that "small" a group. The Episcopal Church is hemmorhaging an average of 700 people a week.

fewer than 800,000 show up on an average Sunday morning, and it's been going on for over ten years. How's that decade of evangelism working out for ya?

J-Tron said...

Of course, the reality is that anyone can leave at any time. But no one wants to leave without getting what they really want, a sense of validation and triumph.

The remarkable thing about this whole continuous discussion is how much of it is abstract and conceptual. The extreme right in the Church has elevated the level of rhetorical eloquence in this conversation to the point that no one can remember what we're actually talking about anymore. Which, for anyone who cares, is gay sex.

I hate to put it out there so plainly, as I think the folks are right who point out that there are many issues with out ecclesiology and even our christology that this whole debate has exposed. But at the end of the day, what are we really arguing about here? Pastoral concerns? Theology? Philosophy? No, we're really not. We're arguing about gay sex, regardless of how little that subject tends to come up on the web page of the ACN or out of the mouth of the ACN moderator.

So, Mark, my fear is that your last comment is incorrect. We have not yet been honest. Because the only thing tying together conservative Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals is a common belief that gay sex is a salvation risking offense. And I respect their right to believe that, even to try to convince me of its theological and biblical veracity. What I find to be abysmal is the cloak and dagger game that the Network leadership and the AAC leadership insist on engaging in instead.

Prior Aelred said...

Well, the participants never had any power to broker any kind of deal except for the dissidents to acknowledge the legitimacy of the General Convention as the controling authority in The Episcopal Church -- those who want to leave are free to do so -- the Presiding Bishop doesn't have the ability to give them any property (which seems to be what they are most interested in)

Anonymous said...

>>>It's not that "small" a group. The Episcopal Church is hemmorhaging an average of 700 people a week.

Perhaps that is because we spend all of our time debating the mechanics of copulation, thanks to the fundamentalists and their bizarre obsessions.

Many people, strangely enough, expect a church to be doing a bit more than that.

But regardless of the size of this group (and they do seem to be quite small, if Nutwork membership figures mean anything), we are better off to have them go their own way, where they can obsess over homosexuality to their hearts' content, while the Church returns to its mission of proclaiming Christ's love to the world.

... said...

Anonymous said:

"Perhaps that is because we spend all of our time debating the mechanics of copulation, thanks to the fundamentalists and their bizarre obsessions.

Many people, strangely enough, expect a church to be doing a bit more than that."


I believe this, along with what J-Tron said, cuts to the real heart of the matter. To be sure, the discourse on both sides has been cloaked in well-perfumed rhetoric, but if we are to be honest with ourselves -- and its about bloody time we were -- the matter before us is about sex. Not only gay sex, but sex to be sure.

The church should be about the tasks that Christ set before us (see the sermon on the mount for a refresher). The endless posturing, arguing, and claims to orthodoxy, are -- at the end of the day -- verbal bullshit.

If the Network folks want to go, let them. God be with them (or not -- its God's call, after all), but for God's and God's children's sake:

JUST. BLOODY. GO.

Take the marbles or leave them, but get your evil machinations and distractions from the Christ-given mission out of God's church.

revsusan said...

And I'm always intrigued by the "700 Club" numbers ... who came up with that and where's the data to back that up ... or is another one of those "The Network Said it, I believe it, That Settles it" things?

J.J. said...

Great. Now that they have come out in the open and admitted that they believe that they are the Episcopal Church and not us, can we finally use our canons and depose the Network Bishops? Every day the AAC/Network seems to feel that their position is a little stronger and that TEC is not going to do anything about their dishonorable actions. So they are being a little more open and taking risks to advance their agenda displacing TEC. It is well past time to restore some discipline in the HOB and use the canons that we have for situations like this for goodnes sake!

The Pilgrim said...

Rev Susan said . . .

"And I'm always intrigued by the "700 Club" numbers ... who came up with that and where's the data to back that up ... or is another one of those "The Network Said it, I believe it, That Settles it" things?"

No Susan, it's data published by the Episcopal Church, and it comes from these two links at the Episcopal Church website:
www.episcopalchurch.org/23235_28079_ENG_HTM.htm, and: www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/FAST_FACTS_2004.pdf

But, I can save you the trouble. Here is "the [TEC] data to back that up:"

2002 - 2003 - 2004

Parishes and Missions
7305 7,220 7,200

Net Change in Active Membership from Prev. Yr.
-8,201 -35,988 -36,414

% of Churches Declining 10% in Membership
35% 36% 39%

Total Average Sunday Attendance (ASA)
846,640 823,017 795,765

% of Churches Declining 10% in ASA
39% 43% 46%

% of Congregations with 200 Members or Less
53% 53% 54%

Median Active Baptized Members
185 182 177

Median Average Sunday Worship Attendance
79 77 75

Take the 2004 membership loss of 36,414 and divide it by 52 weeks in the year. You get an average enrollment drop of 700 members per week.

If you look at the 2002 loss of 8,201 (an average loss of 157 per week) and the 2003 spike to over 35,000 . . . . Well, something happened in '03 that really opened the floodgates, and I'll bet it wasn't free milk and cookies over at the Unitarians' place.

If you extend the figures out over the next hundred years, assuming that they remain constant, you can ascertain that the Episcopal Church will be mathematically extinct in 72 years.

Congratulations.

Marshall said...

Pilgrim,

I will accept your numbers, but not your interpretation. I would direct you to http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/2004GrowthReport(1).pdf. Prior to 2003, the Episcopal Church had experienced a very gradual, slight decline, attributable to the declining birthrate, and less than other mainline denominations. And in the same period the percentage of churches experiencing 10% growth was close to that of those experiencing 10% loss.

We may well have lost 70,000 between 2002 and 2004. Perhaps they all went to "continuing Anglican" or "orthodox Anglican" churches. However, the facts that during those years contributions actually went up suggests that many of those who had left had long since ceased to be active in Episcopal Churches. This is not to say "good riddance." If they find they can become active in new congregations when they couldn't before, well and good. However, it is too soon to tell whether they will in fact become active anywhere.

And, will this trend continue? There is no reason to believe that this will be a long trend. Once those committed to leaving have done so, the trend may well level off, and we may be holding our own again. Indeed, relieved of arguing over whom Christ loves, we may well be able to return to showing the love of Christ, reaching out to new people, and so begin to grow again.

Bill said...

I just wonder why it is so hard for you folks to accept that the issues at stake here go way beyond gay sex and gay partnerships. The writer of the quote below is right initially. The overt, presenting issue is gay sex, etc. However, it goes far deeper than that. It is the deeply felt perception of the 'right' that the issues lie with doctrine, the authority of the Scriptures, who Christ really is and what His mission truly was, etc. Trying to be neutral, the 'right' perceives that the 'left' has left tradional Christianity behind. That is fundamentally at the heart of the problem. I think there is also a growing awareness that those on the 'left' are as possionate about their beliefs as are those on the 'right'. And (this is my personal opinion) this awareness was not always there but truly has grown over the past 30 years, especially the past 10 years.
I think (and again this is my opinion) that the conversation in New York this week should have taken place years ago. Perhaps both sides would have had a healthier, less rancourous, kinder, and more understanding view of one another.
Well, that's my 2 cents worth. It's hard, isn't it, when there are so many good folks on both sides.

"I hate to put it out there so plainly, as I think the folks are right who point out that there are many issues with out ecclesiology and even our christology that this whole debate has exposed. But at the end of the day, what are we really arguing about here? Pastoral concerns? Theology? Philosophy? No, we're really not. We're arguing about gay sex, regardless of how little that subject tends to come up on the web page of the ACN or out of the mouth of the ACN moderator."

Anonymous said...

...why not just say "OK" if you can get 2/3 vote of any particular congregation; then good riddence...then everyone could get on with business. Do we like this fight too much?

The reaction to this suggestion shows that those on both sides are indeed worshiping this fight more than Jesus. The idea of allowing parishes with a 2/3 vote to leave was a reasonable one; it is clear it would be a small number of parishes (regardless of the numbers who have left TEC over the last few years). Yet immediately people on the right started the arguing over how many had already left, while those on the left here and elsewhere say these folks have no right to the parish structures even if they essentially paid for it. To my friends I say that is the type of legalism that Jesus hates, and which we decry, and is simply an excuse for your real desire== wanting to "win."

This battle is hindering the Gospel, and people on both sides just can't let it go. It is so sad.

Here is a suggestion. Bishop Lee, if Truro and Falls Church overwhelmingly vote to leave, work out a deal where they keep their property. Don't require them to ransom it. Dont give them any other assets, just those that they have built up with their tithes and offerings. In Newark and elsehwhere, there are at best only a few small parishes that would even consider moving to AMIA or one of the other groups; if they vote to do so, let them. Dont fight, dont require them to pay hundreds of thousands, just say go and we will pray for you. While you are at it, tell them you forgive them and hope they come back sometime. For Network Dioceses, let the same thing work in reverse; and then use it as an excuse for a new TEC growth effort.

That would be a HUGE witness to the heart of the church, and a window into the heart of Christ.

jean said...

Please, all, it's not about gay sex, that is only the tip of the iceberg, it goes right down to foundational issues. To insist otherwise is to turn a blind eye.

For example, read through this list:

http://confessingtiger.blogspot.com/2006/09/where-have-all-righties-gone.html

What amazes me is that these foundational differences should actually be news to anyone.

... said...

Upon reading Jean's missive on the Confessing Tiger blog, it has become very, very clear who the "revisionists" are. These "Confessing Tigers" and their brand if ilk are the revisionists, and by that I mean that they take what leftists, liberals, progressives and moderates have said, and twisted it to suit their own agenda. They have mastered the art of proof-texting, not only with Scripture, but with contemporary discourse as well. They use a sound bite out of context and revise the meaning. When a juicy quote that can be intentionally misconstrued isn't available, they just lie.

I'll say that again: They. Just. Lie.

I've read the aforementioned blog post at The Confessing Tiger, and I firmly believe that they are willfully misrepresenting the truth. They may well have found an obscure quote from a single person, or a small group, yet they are using this to paint with overly broad brushstrokes in an attempt to categorize all who oppose them.

Rather than fall into that same trap, I wish to say that I am speaking only of those who would subscribe to what one may find in a cesspit like the Confessing Tiger blog. There are true conservatives who I love dearly and wholly support in their seeking of Christ's will in their lives.

These people are not conservatives.

Jeffrey
(aka Toewalker)

Anonymous said...

Judging from that blog entry, it is apparently permissible for "Confessing Anglicans" to bear false witness.

Quite frankly, I would not want to belong to a church like the one he fantasizes in that piece either, and I do not.

Hmmm. Deluded or dishonest: which is he?

drdanfee said...

I guess we are edging towards the law suits that so many people have said they thought God wanted them to avoid, except that liberals who have been duly discerned and elected will not step aside and let the network folks take ownership of all that is rightfully theirs by virtue of their special orthodoxy.

Surely we have sufficient numbers of progressive attorneys throughout TEC to form an effective legal band to defend TEC against these people, using the best legal practices we have, ever so deftly and gently. Nobody really has to punch anybody else in the face to get clear legal title to St. High Teacup, either way it goes. Then at least, that piece is done.

The most alarming part for me, now, is Bishop Duncan's increasing reference to how God has called him and other rightwing leaders to rescue other parishes from their nearly eternal damnation for still having to rub shoulders in worship and service with anybody the network dislikes.

That is a new battle cry, and the rest of us would do very well to hear it clearly.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that the more posts I see by such as Toewalker, the more I can NEVER believe a liberal meant anything by preaching Inclusion. This sounds like President Bush and the Weapons of Mass Destruction. You will first start by telling everyone that you are all about inclusion and then when it gets right down to it you shrug off the inclusion part and your real motive comes forth. You will have your way and no one can stop you, schism or no.

The ACN and other true, old school, believers have never changed a single point of what they are saying...Homosexual sex is sinful and always was and always will be. God is doing nothing new at all.

If anything honourable at all is actually being said by those who support the GLBT agenda it is the final dropping of the inclusion mask and the truthful revelation that they want what they want and even God can't tell them NO!

Anonymous said...

>>>You will have your way and no one can stop you, schism or no.

Sorry, but you're thinking of the Nutwork. Great example of projection, though.

>>>The ACN and other true, old school, believers have never changed a single point of what they are saying...Homosexual sex is sinful and always was and always will be.

But those "true, old school, believers" certainly have no trouble reconciling themselves to other innovations, like remarriage after divorce, a popular pastime among the "orthodox." Just ask their great hero, Canon David Roseberry, who is fond of telling his parishioners that his current adulterous relationship represents God giving him "a second chance."

And then there's Duncan's ordination of women, which is contrary to both scripture, according to the literal reading he favors, and tradition.

This kind of hypocrisy is why many of us do believe that, when you strip away the high-sounding rhetoric, the fundamentalists really are just hung up on homosexuality. They have no trouble "innovating" when it suits their purposes, like accomodating their desire to forsake their marriage vows and take up with someone else's spouse, but when the homos enter the picture, all of a sudden they are the defenders of "the faith once delivered."

It looks like hypocrisy because it is.

Anonymous said...

Your are not speaking to anything I said at all. The divorce issue holds no water for you because you are the pot and I am the kettle. A GLBT (funny how LGBT is more PC...why not BTGL?) supporter sees no distinction between being and behavior. The charge that we are over obsessed with sex is empty. You act therefore you are. The Christian model is I am and I act. Jesus wants us to change both to follow his will NOT OUR OWN!

There is no hypocracy because we have never said that divorce is not sinful. And if you buy into the arguments made in Support of WO then your charge that we are hypocritical because we believe the same thing is laughable. It's like you getting mad at me because we both agree the sky is blue. That is why I can NEVER believe anything you say. You make no sense.

Anonymous said...

On a further note. If you think that you are right just because the PB thinks like you do then you are as misguided as a 1930's German. TEC is no longer christian in any sense of the word because it does not follow Christ at all. Only an idol it calls Christ. But your death grip on relativism won't let you see that your Christ and the one from the Bible are are two different beings.

Anonymous said...

Please calm down--you're making yourself come across as hysterical.

My point, which you might have grasped had you not just been looking for grounds to attack me, is that many of those who claim to be safeguarding "the faith once delivered" have made all kinds of concessions to "the spirit of the age," such as women's ordination and remarriage after divorce. They seem to have no problems with these. However, when the subject turns to gays, they suddenly object to innovation. Their outrage seems a bit selective.

This is why I can respect a jack Iker much more than I can a Bob Duncan. Iker is consistent, while Duncan feels free to pick and choose when he will abide by scripture and tradition and when he will not and then loudly accuse others of doing the same.

As for agreeing with Jefferts Schori, I have no idea what point your are trying to make here. She was not my chosen candidate, though, interestingly enough, most of the fundamentalists voted for her. Gee, I wonder why they did that?

plsdeacon said...

Anonymous said "Perhaps that is because we spend all of our time debating the mechanics of copulation, thanks to the fundamentalists and their bizarre obsessions.

Many people, strangely enough, expect a church to be doing a bit more than that."

I don't think I should have to remind everyone that the conservatives/traditionalists/reasserters/"nutwork" (great show of love and inclusion there) people did not start the argument. We have not changed our teaching on the subject. In my diocese, Dallas, and in my parish, St. James, we spend very little time discussing this topic. We spend more time doing ministry.

If you want to stop the fighting, then stop trying to change the teaching of the church.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mark Harris, you absolutely rock! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

We have not changed our teaching on the subject.

But your diocese has changed its teachings on many other subjects.

Not very long ago in the Diocese of Dallas, the divorced were denied communion and allowing the divorced to remarry was out of the question. (Now they are made canons and allowed to serve as rectors of megachurches.) Only a few decades ago, in the Diocese of Dallas, there were threats to leave over women's ordination, but now plenty of women serve in Dallas. As recently as the 60s, many Dallas priests refused to use the 1928 BCP, on the grounds that it was "revisionist," and used the English Missal instead. Now most people there happily use the 1979 BCP.

These are some ways in which your own diocese has radically changed its teaching in recent years. After all that, what makes homosexuality such a special case that it's worthy of schism?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Not a person choose to respond to ANONs the suggestion that we just END THE FIGHT in a way that is a testament to God's love and always open OFFER OF FORGIVENESS.

Rather, everyone apparently just wants to fight. Both sides.

J.J. said...

Yes, I agree that we should end the fight and forgive. I really think, that the best way to do that is to help +Duncan leave TEC since he can't stand the rest of us. I am convinced that deposing him would go a long way to ending the fight in TEC and starting us on the road to reconciliation.

Anonymous said...

Reconcilation with whom, JJ?

We agree that Duncan++ shouldnt be part of TEC, but the issue is whether we are willing to harm TEC, and our witness, to accomplish that.

If we don't reach an amicable arrangement, and instead fight this out through depositions and lawsuits, we will end up a phyrric victory, one that does nothing to those seeking justice.

J.J. said...

You are right -maybe reconcilliation won't be possible in the end. Sometimes its not. You have to leave the door open and hope and pray for it.

But when any Bishop or group of the Episcopal Church starts claiming to be the true Episcopal Church to the exclusion of the rest of the Episcopal Church, its time to start getting the disciplinary procedures working. In this case it is well past time. I doubt any other organization or denomination would stand for this type of behavior. Sometimes someone just needs to be helped to leave, and this, while difficult and seemingly harsh, is really the most loving thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Everyone be sure to read the Stand Firm thread discussing this post.

You can really feel God's love there, just like in most of the other threads on that site.

Karen B. said...

I'm very confused. Is there more than one Anonymous posting? If so couldn't you use some variation. (Anon1 Anon2, etc.) It would make following the thread much easier.

J.C. Fisher said...

I don't think I should have to remind everyone that the conservatives/traditionalists/ reasserters . . . did not start the argument. We have not changed our teaching on the subject.

I don't understand this assertion, Phil. I really don't.

Can you show me a "no gay marriage" or "no same-sex blessings" text in the Bible? Can you show me a Church Father saying it 1500 years ago? 500? 100?

When same-sex couples began presenting themselves for blessings, or marital rites, it may have been a "new thing" done by the Spirit, which prompted them to ASK.

But they weren't making an argument. They weren't changing a teaching. They were just asking "For the Love of Christ, may we, too?"

It was the (emphatically public!) NEGATIVE REACTIONS (to those humble requests, or those who responded pastorally to them) which began the arguments. Which innovated "a new teaching." And then, on and on and on, ad nauseum...

I just don't understand, Phil, why you can't see that. :-/

janinsanfran said...

This whole discussion is beyond me. The Network folks lost. TEC, prayerfully and thoughtfully, decided that gay people are children of God.

This offends the Network folk. So why don't they just leave? If God holds TEC to be wrong, God will deal. They should shake the dust off their feet and go.

I find it impossible to beleive that faithful people will stick around whining -- will insist on cutting the baby in half out of sheer spite -- but that apparently is what they want to do.

It all seems so completely removed from any trust in God.

Anonymous said...

"Can you show me a "no gay marriage" or "no same-sex blessings" text in the Bible?"

Well, can you show me a "pro gay marriage" or "pro same-sex blessings" text in the Bible?? This isn't a very helpful argument. It reminds me of when people say "Jesus said nothing against SSM." He said nothing about a *lot* of things, including polygamy and pedophilia. Do we therefore take it that he *approved* of those things?! There's no logic at play here, just raw unthinking emotion.

"These are some ways in which your own diocese has radically changed its teaching in recent years. After all that, what makes homosexuality such a special case that it's worthy of schism?"

In fact, many are unhappy with the church's lenient position on divorce, which mirrors the breakdown of marriage in secular society. As for WO, there's no explicit prohibition against it, and there's even evidence (both Biblical and extra-Biblical) that women were ordained deaconesses in the early church.

SSM, which is not supported by scripture and flies in the face of at least one explicit prohibition, is the litmus test for traditionalists. The apparent ease with which scripture was discarded in this case set off all kinds of warning bells.

- Brand-new Anon

Tony Seel said...

No, TEC lost. As was demonstrated above, the further TEC has gone with the gay church theme, the more members she has lost. She has also lost with the Anglican Communion. If we put this in terms of winning and losing, TEC has chosen a losing strategy. I hope you all enjoy your rapidly diminishing so-called inclusive (the lie in that is demonstrated amply in the comments above) church.

Anonymous said...

the further TEC has gone with the gay church theme, the more members she has lost.

A number of network dioceses are shrinking as well. Perhaps fundamentalism is a bad "theme."

The only churches that are growing in most places are the religitainment complexes with health spas and laser shows and sermons on Christian investing. Do you think we should imitate them?

Anonymous said...

>>>As for WO, there's no explicit prohibition against it

Are St. Paul's writings still considered scripture? I seem to recall something in them about women not teaching or holding authority over men, but I could be mistaken.

Esther392 said...

I agree with Karen B - you Anons need numbers!

For the individual searching for Scripture -
Matthew 19:4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'[a] 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[b]? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Compromise - Absolutely. First we need you to get Schori, Chane, Bennison, Bruno and Griswold to affirm that (1) Jesus is The Way, The Life and The Truth (note: The not A); (2) that Jesus was the only son of God conceived of the virgin Mary, crucified, died, buried and rose again from the dead and then ascended into heaven; (3)that Jesus lived a sinless life (there's a bunch you need to pull in on that one - start with Liz Kaeton and Revsusan)

Okay - done beating your head against the wall let's move on to the next one-
Amicable divorce - hummm, sounds like the right thing to do. We can then ALL get on with what we preceive to be the work of Christ.

One last thing - It is not about gay sex. It is about The Authority of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

Marshall,
Not sure I agree with your reference, however, even if I did, he is dealing strictly with report numbers. Let's do an experiment - all you clergy out there go pull your last parochial report and then count the names on your mailing roster. How close are the two numbers? Not very close. Having wrestled with that dad-gum report, I can tell you it is pretty much fiction to begin with. The numbers reported are things of which science fiction is made. But - in any event - let's call for a real census and go count those heads. Wonder what that number will really be.

As for the average pledge - it went up $68 per pledging unit in 2003 over 2002. Once again, let's travel to those parishes and ask the people still left in the pews (won't take long - not many of them) if they upped their pledge to help cover the losses from those out the door.
Now let's look at the health of the organization -to offset the magnitude of that $68 pledge increase. Expenses went up a mere $89 million over income in 2003.

Anonymous said...

The Branch Roseberrians have made it official:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_77847_ENG_HTM.htm

Any chance that the rest of the neopuritans might have the grace and common decency to do the same?

The Pilgrim said...

No response from Susan Russell?

Marshall,
>>Prior to 2003, the Episcopal Church had experienced a very gradual, slight decline
We are not looking at "the gradual decline" pre 2003, we are looking at the precipitous drop during and after 2003. I see no reason for the numbers of 2003 and 2004 to taper off in 2005 and 2006. In fact, with churches the size of Christ Church Plano leaving, I will be surprised if the increase in 2005 does not reach 40,000+.
>>We may well have lost 70,000 between 2002 and 2004. Perhaps they all went to "continuing Anglican" or "orthodox Anglican" churches. However, the facts that during those years contributions actually went up suggests that many of those who had left had long since ceased to be active in Episcopal Churches.
Actually, it's a tad over 80,000, and all the increased giving suggests is that fewer people are giving more. But if, in fact, revenues are up, then perhaps they should be spread around a little more equitably, because any number of dioceses seem to be in pretty dire straits, financially.

The Diocese of Colorado is closing four parishes and selling off the church property to make up budgeting shortfalls. Pennsylvania currently has 155 parishes, down from 162 in 2005. 100 of those remaining congregations are statistically in decline, and less than 20% of pledged income has been received by the diocese. The Bishop of Newark says that a third of his parishes "are struggling to keep their doors open" (his words). Christ Church Plano is taking a large number of communicants out of its diocese, a number larger than the total number of members in your new presiding bishop’s old diocese!

So we are back to the Episcopal Church losing 700 members a week two years in a row with no sign of a letup, and every indication of an increase. That's not a statistical decline, that's an exodus.

Tony Seel said...

Anon., please be patient, you won't have to worry about all us neopuritans much longer. It won't happen as quickly as any of us would like, but the Anglican Communion will be acting. At that point, ecusa/tec (the empty church) will be cut free to go on its merry way like the unitarians and the united church of Christ. You all can close churches at will, sell them off, prop yourselves up with the proceeds and your endowments, but what happens after all that is gone?

Anonymous said...

the Anglican Communion will be acting

How long have we been hearing that one? "You just wait, next time the primates meet they will put you people out and hand us the whole shooting match, yessireebob, just you wait!"

Here's an honest question: If you believe that TEC is an agent of Satan, why stay?

If I honestly believed that my church had been taken over by the devil and made so unclean that it presented a spiritual danger to me, I would leave right now.

Why are you sticking around?

Esther392 said...

Anon -

Here's why.

Esther392 said...

Don't know why the link above is not working. Let me try that again.

Try this

Anonymous said...

What twaddle, Esther. And unconvincing.

I've read the Chapman Memo, so I know why the fundamentalists are sticking around. It has nothing to do with "little stone bridges" and everything to do with the fantasy that their heroes in the third world will intervene and hand them our church.

It won't happen.

The worst that can happen--the expulsion of TEC from the AC--is actually the best that can happen. Imagine, a church that does not have to kowtow to theocratic bigots like Akinola and preening, vain peacocks like Iker, a refuge for progressive Anglicans around the world who think that there is more to the Christian faith than fretting over people's genitals and what they might be doing with them.

You can kiss Akinola's ring if you like, Esther. You have my blessing, if that's what you want, but I won't be joining you.