President: Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria
General Secretary: The Most Rev’d John Chew, Bishop of Singapore
Treasurer: The Rt. Rev’d Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Diocese of Egypt
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Province of Rwanda
Most Rev’d Drexel Gomez, the Province of the West Indies
Most Rev’d Bernard Malango, Province of Central Africa
Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, the Province of the Southern Cone
On November 14th AnglicanTV recorded a statement by The Moderator of the Network at the Anglican Relief and Development Fund meeting at The Falls Church, Virginia. At the end of the talk the camera pans across the stage and there are seven people. Several of those on the stage are members of the GS Steering Committee. The picture is blurry, so it is not possible to identify them all. The overlap between the members of the ARDF (8 persons) and the GS Steering Committee (7 persons) are three persons: Akinola, Gomez, and Chew. I think I recognize all three as there.
The Moderator’s comments then were directed to a gathering and with at least three members of the GS Steering Committee on the stage, including both its chairperson and secretary.
All of this is of some interest because the Moderator’s talk seems an effort to reassure the faithful and ends by saying,
“It’s going to be alright brothers and sisters but its going to be mighty hard. How it will work out doesn’t have to do with somebody else doing something, it has to do with whether I am doing what God calls me to do in this situation: to stand for the truth, to stand for others, to stand for mission. And that’s what we’re going to do together, right?”
The meeting between the Global South Steering Committee took place and the GSSC issued a statement. Having heard the Moderator make his plea, and having heard the witness of others, what they had to say was pretty bland. They said in part:
“The Steering Committee will be making its report and recommendation to the Global South Primates when they next meet and will also be sharing them with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Deeply touched by the oftentimes painful and gravely disconcerting testimonies that we heard, the Global South Steering Committee feels morally and spiritually compelled to reassert its deepest solidarity with these orthodox and faithful bishops and representatives.
We express our unequivocal support and heartfelt recognition for their faithful stand and struggles. We urge all faithful members and parishes of these concerned dioceses to remain steadfast in their commitment to Christ as our one and only Lord and Savior during these turbulent days. We will do all in our power to bring about the desired outcome of the “
Things are going to be referred: to the Global South Primates when they next meet, to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Things are going to be put in context of the Windsor Process. When will the Global South Primates next meet? Perhaps after the meeting of the Anglican Communion Primates in February? If so this communiqué is telling the Anglican Communion Network things they don’t really want to hear: that Communion wide support for a rapid move to realignment is not as popular as might be supposed. Talk now is of process, and time for calm consideration of the matter. Referral is not the soundest of support. Has someone whispered in the ear of the Archbishop of Nigeria?
By now the Global South Steering Committee may well have met with the Archbishop. It is on the way home for several of them. Might as well not waste the tickets.
It must be a difficult time for the Moderator, who is also Bishop of Pittsburgh. As he said, “it’s going to be mighty hard.”
The Rev. Harold Lewis, Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church,
It would appear that the Moderator, giving to promoting such ideas as “Alternative Primatial Oversight” also is inventive concerning the manner in which dioceses are part of provinces within the Episcopal Church. You will recall that the Moderator / Bishop has asked that the Diocese of Pittsburgh be “reassigned” to some new Province (nicely called Province X) to be made up of Anglican Communion Network dioceses. Dr. Lewis takes on the Bishop’s arguments for thinking that a Diocese can unilaterally withdraw from a province to task, calling them “specious justifications.”
Not to be outdone, a delegate suggested that perhaps non-Network parishes could be joined together as a distinct “district,” recognize Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and “live in peace.” The motion to do this was defeated, but the Bishop, it is reported, thought the Diocesan Council might in turn take the matter up again. Here Dr. Lewis finally puts the skunk on the table.
The real problem with separating out those “loyal to the Episcopal Church and who recognize the primacy of Bishop Jefferts Schori” is that “such a plan would result in the Bantunization of the Diocese, creating a virtual ghetto for those who hold a minority point of view.” That, of course, is the problem with all these inventive schemes unwarranted by Constitution and Canon of the Episcopal Church. A Province X of the Episcopal Church, a Diocese with some other Primate than the one who is Primate of this Church, or a parish consigned to a local “district” is that they all proceed on the assumption that such forms of governance do anything more that provide separate rules for separate homelands.
None of this is legal or warranted. It is inventive in a sort of immoral way, but it’s not reality based. Dr. Lewis has the Bishop on this one.
There is a legal, warranted and even moral way forward for those who believe, as Bishop Schofield has reportedly said, that “"The Episcopal Church has become an apostate to the point of heresy." That way is to leave. But, even then we need to be reminded of certain appropriate behaviors, among them being that, when leaving the table, leave the silver.
“I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If you now feel that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity.
As you contemplate this action I would also remind you of the trust which you and I both hold for those who have come before and those who will come after us. None of us has received the property held by the Church today to use as we will. We have received it as stewards, for those who enjoy it today and those who will be blessed by the ministry its use will permit in the future. Our forebears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent that they be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forebears give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed by litigation.”
It is immensely refreshing to have such clear statements coming from the Presiding Bishop on these matters. Her words bring hope to many who want the Episcopal Church to thrive and get on with life, even if they disagree with decisions made in the past. For those who are struggling not to have the realignment folk leave with the silver, the name and the position in the Anglican Communion, her words are a breath of fresh air.
It’s been a good week for the Episcopal Church. Matters are getting clarified: There has been a pull back from the desire for instant rescue, a call to sanity in