3/14/2007

The Network, the WB's and the Pledge to the "Leader."

Back in November, 2006, the Global South Steering Committee met in Virginia with what they described as "bishops and representatives of eight Anglican Communion Network Dioceses who have appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Global South Primates for various forms of Alternative Primatial Oversight." They were joined by "representatives of other Windsor-compliant Dioceses and the more than one hundred congregations that are now separated from the Episcopal Church..."

Bishop John Schofield of San Joaquin attended that meeting and at deanery meetings in his diocese is reported to have said that

"The Primates were asking for specific things of the Network;
1. Unity
2. A single spokesman (Bp. Duncan was selected)
3. Signatures on a document which will be submitted to the Primates (all present signed, although the contents of the document were not revealed.)"

This was reported on Fr. Jake's blog, and he commented at the close of this blog entry, "After careful study of the information that I have received from those who were present, I am confident that the above is an accurate representation of Bp. Schofield's public statements at the deanery meetings. Make of them what you will."

The contents of the document were not revealed at that time, but have been revealed in papers required to be disclosed in the legal contest between Calvary Church Pittsburgh and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. This was made know to me to day by someone commenting on one of my recent blog postings. The complete file in which this file can be found is HERE. On the thought that the reader has no reason to go through the whole file, here is what the document says,

" "Private and Confidential Westfields Response to the Global South Steering Committee
November 16,2006 Chantilly, Virginia

The undersigned, having convened with the Global South Steering Committee in Chantilly, Virginia, on November 15-17, 2006, declare:

ARTICLE I: We are firmly committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the authority of holy Scripture and historic Anglican faith and practice.

ARTICLE II: We have chosen the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan as our leader and hereby submit to his leadership without reservation in building unity among us and as our representative for the present in the councils of the Anglican Communion.

ARTICLE III: We pledge to lay aside all obstacles, which may prevent us from achieving our common purpose.

ARTICLE IV: We solemnly pledge not to withdraw from these commitments."

It would seem that the reference to "Westfields" connected as it is to Chantilly, Virginia, is to the Westfields Marriott Hotel at the Washington Dulles Airport, which is is Chantilly, VA.

This certainly looks like the document that Bishop Schofield represents in his Deanery talks. If so, and if as it is reported (i) The Network Bishops seeking APO and other Windsor Bishops (meaning one supposes from the first Camp Allen Meeting in September) were there and (ii) "all present signed" then it may be that a majority of the Camp Allen group pledged to acknowledge Bishop Duncan as "our leader and hereby submit to his leadership without reservation."

The disclosure of this document seems to confirm the previous report, admittedly second hand, of the content of Bishop Schofield's report on the session.

What is new in this is that if all those US Bishops present at the meeting in Virginia signed off on the document it may well that a majority of the so called "Windsor Compliant" or "Camp Allen" bishops are already pledged to The Moderator as their "leader."

36 comments:

  1. For those who look at the document that was produced there are three signatures present. They are: at the top - Robert G. Devlin (Chancellor of the Diocese of Pittsburg), and at the bottom - Rev. John M. Heidengren (President of the Pittsburg Standing Committee) and Duncan, himself. There is a large blank gap between the top and bottom. I speculate that the other names have been redacted. Perhaps, the other names were redacted in order to argue that whoelse signed it is not pertinent to the present case. Here's hoping the judge finds otherwise.

    Nevertheless, the circumstantial evidence is weighty indeed that all those present signed and have committed themselves to Duncan. Did the Primates know this? What a sham. And here we fret about fasting for a season.

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  2. Responding to C.B. Yes it is my belief that there are other Westfield Response documents. I suspect that copies were sent to the various bishops who met with the global south primates for their signatures and they may have signed off on them and sent them back to +Duncan or the primates steering committee. Although I am not a lawyer (and don't play one on TV), I would posit the thought that the attys representing +Duncan and the Diocese of Pittsburgh would not feel compelled to turn them over in discovery as they do not pertain to actions and activites engaged in by +Duncan or Pittsburgh. I would expect however that they would be of great interest to any churches who, following on Calvary's lead, chose to sue their bishops who may have been involved. I don't think that would work in CA because of CA's very specific trust law regarding "revocable" trusts, but it might be of interest to Via Media Churches in other areas. (I e-mailed the site data to Jim Naughton this am but have yet to fiqure out his blog) It is absolutely clear to me that +Duncan would not have wanted this document exposed prior to Tanzania
    EPfizH

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  3. EPfizH - Jim's blog is "daily episcopalian." However, if the documents we sent to the bishops for their signatures and not signed when they were all together in Virginia, how would Shoefield be able to assert that "all" present signed. I think that Devlin signed first - to indicate that he approved the document from a legal stand point and Duncan et al signed at the bottom to show he too was on board, and everyone else signed in the middle while they were still at Westfields. I also think you wouldn't "send" this document to the bishops because you wouldn't be able to control who read it and/or copied it. My guess is that they all signed it right in front of everyone, the original was given to the GS Primates, and a copy of the document with just the three signatures was kept by Duncan. That is if Duncan was smart. If he wasn't, there is a copy of the document out there somewhere with everyone's signature on it. Get out the shredding machine quick!

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  4. You folks on the left can only hope that these signatures carry the same weight as that of Griswold signing the primates' agreement on the consecration of non-chaste bishops.

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  5. I agree with you. I suspect that the rest5 of the names were on this document and redacted to protect the other signatories. It would take someone far more scribe-savy than I to determine whether or not Calvary was entitled to the know if 1. they were redacted and 2. They have a right to unredacted copies. It would seem that co-signers would be potential witnesses. Is this something that would interest Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh?

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  6. This is clear and convincing evidence that the bishops involved have already selected a course and are proceding towards it. What we do, how we respond to the communique really does not matter.
    As another emperor put it long ago, the die is cast.

    In a public meeting at the last Chicago diocian convention, Bp Griswald responded to a question about Bp. Duncan by saying he thought the bishop of Pittsburg had a direction and would continue towards it. I thought at the time his usage, would not name the bishop, and his finality were interesting.

    Yup.

    FWIW

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  7. Perhaps Bp. Duncan should follow in the footsteps of Bishops Smith and Lee and simply depose the rector of Calvary, remove the vestry, confiscate their assets and install a bunch of usurpers to govern the parish.

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  8. anonymous (not EPfizH)...please give yourself a name...any name... otherwise I will have to take your comments off. It helps to be able to have separate voices here.

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  9. The document is rather anodyne, which might be why there's been little reaction to it. If I recall, the speculation of either Jake or his commenters at the time was that the contents might be enough to bring presentments against Bishop Duncan, if not proceed to a full-on lynching.

    BTW, "Pittsburgh" carries a final "h."

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  10. Sue Boulden14/3/07 4:16 PM

    Anonymous said...
    Perhaps Bp. Duncan should follow in the footsteps of Bishops Smith and Lee and simply depose the rector of Calvary, remove the vestry, confiscate their assets and install a bunch of usurpers to govern the parish.

    OVER MY DEAD BODY!!!!!
    BovineSue
    Member of Calvary

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  11. Phil - You're quite right the document avoids having the signatories pledge to "submit to the authority of a foreign primate" as was supposed when it was discussed at Fr. Jakes and which would have been grounds for presentment. But you will note that the lawyer for the diocese of Pittsburgh was the first to sign. And what a nice piece of lawyering it is. To avoid presentment, the bishops merely pledge themselves to Duncan without reservations, and fail to specifically name what their common purpose is in the document itself. But seeing as it is addressed to the GS Steering Committee and presented to them at roughly the same time as Duncan's request to them for APO it is easy to see what the intent was. Lawyers don't get paid the big bucks for nothing. But judges aren't necessarily blind either. I'd be surprised if discovery ends here.

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  12. Anonymous said, "Perhaps Bp. Duncan should follow in the footsteps of Bishops Smith and Lee and simply depose the rector of Calvary, remove the vestry, confiscate their assets and install a bunch of usurpers to govern the parish."


    The clergy and laity at the VA churches voted to leave the Church. The clergy and laity at Calvary, Pittsburgh have done nothing of the sort. Disagreement with the direction of your Bishop is one thing (Calvary), leaving the Church over that disagreement, is something completely different (Falls Church, Truro, etc.)

    UTS

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  13. Well, UTS, good for Virginia, but that still leaves you with the example of the Pillar of Episcopalianism, Bishop Smith.

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  14. Despite frequent reading of blogs, I find I've lost track of who is who and what is what. Is there any way to know if one's bishop is one of the probably signatories? Also, if a bishop attended one, but not both, of the Camp Allen meetings, is that bishop a Camp Allen bishop?


    CAWBR
    Confused and Worried Blog Reader

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  15. Ephraim Radner15/3/07 8:03 AM

    The Camp Allen bishops signed no such letter as is here being discussed (most were not present in Chantilly). The Camp Allen bishops did not “choose” Bob Duncan as their “leader”. They made no “pledges” beyond what has been made public in their statements from their meetings. They have no grand structure of leadership in place, but rather await the clarity of direction to be offered by those councils recommended by the Primates, and worked out in negotiation with the whole church. Speculation about Camp Allen bishops beyond this is utterly without foundation and quite misleading.

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  16. Dr. James+15/3/07 8:34 AM

    Isn't this all so much fun! Just think, all of this verbage could have been avoided if ++Frank Griswold would have been honest when he signed the document in England and refused to consecrate VGR, or if VGR would have swallowed his pride for the unity of the Church. When someone explained to me after GC 03 that they voted for VGR because the "spirit" seemed to be moving, my response was, that "the Holy Spirit never divides, it always unites, so I think you should take a serious look at what "spirit" you were listening to." I would say that the Devil is having an absolute hay day in the Episcopal Church and loving it. He IS the Master of Deception, and is doing a great job on the Episcopal Churches LEFT.

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  17. Dr. James - We are agreed that the devil is a master of deception. That being the case, might it worth (re)considering just exactly who is being deceived?

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  18. Mark - Perhaps a list of all those bishops who attended Camp Allen would help clear up whether any of them are considered to be Network bishops as well. It seems that Radner is claiming that none of the Camp Allen bishops are also Network bishops much less a majority of them.

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  19. christopher+15/3/07 9:32 AM

    "...by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20)

    Are human rights violations in Nigeria - or anywhere - good fruits? Constant, coercive threats to divide dioceses, provinces and the Communion itself if uniformity of thought and practice on second-tier issues is not enforced to one's liking? Efforts to elevate unresolved issues of human sexuality to the level of the Creeds as authoritative statements of faith in Jesus Christ?

    The question is valid: Who here is being deceived?

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  20. The issues of sexuality are not "unresolved." They have been resolved for over 2000 years - probably closer to 3000. There is a small but vocal group trying to change the Church's teaching on sexuality, but the Church's teaching remains.

    To Christopher+ - the strife in the church has been caused by this "new thing." The "new thing" was not brought up by those supporting the existing teaching of the Church, it was brought up by those who want to change the teaching of the Church. I look at the fruit of the change (anger, strife, party spirit, etc.) and surmise that the change is not good because its fruits are not good.

    By their fruits you shall know them indeed!

    YBIC,
    Phil Snyder

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  21. There is a small but vocal group trying to change the Church's teaching on sexuality, but the Church's teaching remains. Phil

    Does a earthflattening, slaveowning, woman shunning puritan speaketh on aledged Christian "teaching" down through the ages by misquoting sages?

    There must be a stronger argument for protecting/defending discrimination against LGBT Christian fellow citiznes than this tiresome nonsense.

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  22. Christopher+, glad you asked, who is being deceived? Is the entire gay and lesbian movement based on lies and deception? Is it a good and healthy lifestyle? Is it counter to creation? Does the Bible condone it as being a good and healthy lifestyle? Did GC 03 unite the church or divide it? Does the rest of Catholicism agree with GC 03 decision? Does the majority of Anglicanism agree with GC 03. Is TEC conforming to the pressure of the lobbies of 2-3% of the population? Is TEC conforming to the world, the flesh and the devil, or the teachings of the Bible? Did the decision of GC 03 help TEC in anyway, finacially, spiritually, or did it just pacify the left and divide the church? Who indeed is being deceived? And finally, congratulations PHIL, you've got it right!

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  23. Please - let's do everything we can to avoid having to deal with the GS and Duncan's deception. Let's get everyone talking about the gays, again!!! Let's avoid talking about our own sin, let's just keep the focus on anal sex. That way we can do whatever we want with impunity.

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  24. Actually, Doc, it was me who asked the question. So I have some questions for you: What in the world do you base your implication that the homosexual "movement" is based on lies and deception? Beginning with the clandestine Chapman memo to all the rest of the subversion, coercion, willful misreprentation (in a word, a lie), e.g. Lambeth 1.10 and the Windsor Report, your crew has none nothing *but* deceive.

    On what do you base your contention that the homosexual "lifestyle" is unhealthy? Please do not deceive yourself or others; please do let your prejudice show, and show the fact that you not only have not even *begun* to listen, but have no intention of listening, as the various Anglican documents recommend.

    Is sexual intimacy *only* for procreation? Would you deny sexual intimacy to those who devastating find they cannot have children or are beyond childbearing age? If you believe these things, I'm very sorry for your wife, if you have one.

    Does the rest of Catholocism (and Anglicanism, for that matter) agree with the deceit and prejudice the coercion, etc. that the Network/GS contantly perpetrate? The only ones who are dividing the church is the small minority of militants. The rest of the church seems pretty united to me.

    Does honesty, the desire to engage holy scripture on the deepest levels (not the fundamentalist "plain reading"), the thirst for justice that Jesus so embodied constitute conforming to the flesh and the devil or does deceit, subversion and coercion?

    You are so quick to judge the sinfulness of another. Check Matt. 7 for the authoritative word on that. Have you repented of this sin? Do you even recognize it as sin. Who indeed is being deceived?

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  25. Marc, I don’t understand why you feel so strongly our side is engaging in deception, especially if items like the Chapman memo make up the evidence.

    What’s wrong with confidential strategizing? Surely KJS has had many closed sessions with David Booth Beers (and this to pursue lawsuits against fellow Christians in contravention of Scripture, no less). I can’t begrudge her that at all (the meeting part, not the lawsuits); I expect her to do it. Surely, as well, many emails that have not seen the light of day have been exchanged among the progressive principals.

    Is it only deception if we’re able to intercept one of these things and publish it on the web somewhere, as though this were the Watergate scandal?

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  26. Dr. James+15/3/07 1:55 PM

    Sorry Marc, I obviously really hit a hot button, which of course means that you have hot buttons. I have a few myself, but am trying to minimize them, which is difficult in the face of radical liberalism. I understand that what so many do best in TEC is to spin and reinterpret that which has been the tradition of the church for centuries. That is what is the most painful for me. Having spent 34 doing ministry, only to see the church declining over that which could have easily been avoided. Go ahead, spin this, I'm getting used to it.

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  27. Phil and dr. James - whose spinning now? This is not a memo, this is not an E mail, this is not even the minutes of a secret strategy meeting.

    This is a secret written pledge given in response to a request for a secret written binding pledge by the GS, as part and parcel of a secret plan entered into by bishops of the TEC with the GS primates under which the bishops of TEC agree to submit not the polity of TEC, not to the PB of TEC, but to the leadership of another bishop "without reservation." A pledge that was not made public freely but was discovered only by court order.

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  28. Care to actually answer the questions?

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  29. Didn't think so.

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  30. C.B., considering the news today that conservative Christians are unwelcome as bishops in ECUSA, any submission to faithful churches elsewhere in the world, as opposed to this one, looks prescient.

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  31. I disagree with many here who feel a scandal has erupted. At the Chantilly meeting, the GS primates requested a point of contact. The APO bishops agreed on Duncan. In the statement, they agree to Duncan as a "leader" for their APO cause. This is not an elevation of Duncan to a PB for the APO dioceses. It is simply a statment that the primates want a POC and that the other bishops will submit to the groups (GS primates and APO Dio) timelines and suggestions. They are trying to get everyone to stay on the same page.

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  32. USMA87 - What an unfortunate choice of words ("leader")(submit to his leadership without reservation) if all they meant was to appoint Duncan to be the "spokesperson" - meaning he would just be the conduit for their positions. You'd think that a lawyer would have advised them such language was misleading and overdrawn. Let's see how much a rukus there is if Duncan is not named the PV. I think the ABC asked for the names to be submitted today.

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  33. Malcolm French+16/3/07 12:07 PM

    Regarding deception.

    The Global South Primates and the Final Communique were deceptive in their misrepresentation of Lambeth 1.10. In fact, what has been held up is not Lambeth 1.10 at all, but rather the picked over carcass of Lambeth 1.10 with any reference to a listening process, any reference against homophobia removed.

    Likewise, they have been entirely deceptive in their references to the Windsor Report, since they clearly intend (and the Final Communique belligerantly asserts) that they will defy everything Windsor says about Primates interfering in other provinces.

    And they have been entirely deceptive in asserting authority they simply do not have. Neither the Primates, nor the Anglican Consultative Council, not Lambeth nor the Primate of All England have the authority to set ultimata and deadlines for any member province of the Communion.

    Perhaps the American Church, the Canadian Church and others should give these hypocrites a deadline to adhere to the rest of Lambeth 1.10 and to the rest of the Windsor Report.

    That'd put the cat among the pigeons, certainly.

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  34. I can not imagine that +Katherine will approve +Dunan; the Chapman Memo cost him any credibility with 815. I believe the Global South Steering Committee letter cost him any credibility with ++Rowan and, now with Westfield Response, I would wonder if he lvages any credibility with the great majority of the Camp Allen, self-defined Windsor compliant. EPfizH

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  35. Could someone please tell me what a "listening process" is? I have listened to the experiences of gay and lesbian Christians since I first began to worship at an Episcopalian church. I have heard from some very talented and gifted people who have quite capably described to me why they think the church's traditional understanding of human sexuality is off base.
    That process endured for almost fiteen years at the end of which, I am no closer to changing what I believe about these issues than I was before the conversations took place. What makes anyone think I have not listened? Why does the inabilty to agree get translated into a refusal to "listen?" Where does one go after listening in earnest and asking God to reveal what it is He wants me (us) to understand about human sexuality? "Listening" seems to me code for waiting and watching while what I hold sacred and beautiful is destroyed before my very eyes. What am I missing here?
    Dan

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  36. Dan, what is it that is "sacred and beautiful" that is being destroyed?

    Are you talking about the Church? I really hope not, because the Church is simply another flawed earthly institution - one that's committed atrocity upon innocent people thousands of times. Are you talking about sexual ethics? Again, I really hope not; why would that be the center of anybody's universe?

    The only things I find "sacred and beautiful" are things that cannot be destroyed: God in Christ incarnate. We are assured in Scripture that nothing can keep up from the love of God, remember?

    I really can't imagine what you're talking about, but nothing is being destroyed here. If the Anglican Communion should cease to exist tomorrow, nobody would be the worse off for it, believe me. In fact, I often think we'd all be better off if we had to start over again with nothing.

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