4/30/2007

Windsor Bishops, Network Bishops: the leaves are rustling:

Well, Brad Drell had the scoop, and the Living Church wrote it up today: TLC's article is titled, "Windsor Bishops Write Archbishop Williams, Set Meeting Dates, 04/30/2007."

The Living Church article can be read HERE. In it, TLC says,

"The letter was signed by the following bishops:

• John W. Howe, Central Florida
• James M. Stanton, Dallas
• Jeffrey N. Steenson, Rio Grande
• Edward L. Salmon, Jr., retired, South Carolina
• Don A. Wimberly, Texas
• Gary W. Lillibridge, West Texas
• D. Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana"

What Brad Drell did not say was that the Windsor Bishops have a Steering Committee. TLC reports, "In their letter the bishops refer to themselves as "The Steering Committee of the Windsor Bishops."

I have highlighted those bishops who are part of the Anglican Communion Network. Four of the seven are Network bishops. Six Network Bishops did not sign. We might suppose this is because the bishops signing the letter are "The Steering Committee of the Windsor Bishops" rather than the whole number of those attending one of the two Windsor Bishops meetings (about 22 folk).

This "Steering Committee" is a new item on the Episcopal horizon. Its network members have been at times more moderate (or at least less vocal) than others and their identification at this time as Windsor Bishop, on the "Steering Committee" is of some interest to those of us who have read what Fr. Dan Martins suggests on his blog, namely that five or so of the Network bishops are set to bolt.

Assuming the good intentions of those on the "Steering Committee" to stick to the task, at least for the moment, we look to the remaining six for the "sub-group of some five dioceses within the Anglican Communion Network" who are planning some step out into whatever. So those dioceses are: San Joaquin (named by Fr. Dan himself), Pittsburgh, Springfield, Albany, Fort Worth and Quincy. My bet is that Albany is stepping back, not yet identified with the Windsor Bishops (the bishop is new) and with a lot of healing to do, what with the former bishop going to Rome on retirement and the suffragan going to CANA.

Well, all of that is conjecture and remains so until some point in the future. But when? Fr. Dan suggests that we (or he) can "expect to know more--a great deal more--in less than a week's time." What is happening in a week…ah! The Archbishop of Nigeria is coming to a spot just outside Washington, DC, in Virginia, to install Bishop Minns (and make no doubt about it, he is a bishop) as bishop of CANA, the seed of a province in waiting.

Perhaps there will be a meeting there of those likeminded diocesan bishops who are sticking with the plan to establish when necessary an alternate province – outlined in enough publically available forms to be pretty well assured to be genuine. Perhaps they will make the swear public: that they will bind themselves and, as far as they are able, their dioceses to the oversight of the Archbishop of Nigeria. The possibility of an immediate break is there: like a storm cloud that signals that morning has broken, or a place somewhere over the rainbow that beckons. There is in some quarters a hope, expressed poetically, passionately, or as a prognostication, that things are about to break.

Perhaps I listen too closely to friends across the way, whose path is not my own but whose longings I hear. But I hear the rustling of leaves, the beginning of a wind. Perhaps the wind is coming up this week.

What I do know is that we ought all to be prepared, for CANA is a precursor to something else – an idea about another way to be Anglican in North America. If these bishops begin the move we need to be ready to wish them God's speed and at the same time to remind them that the Diocese of this or that place, is a mission of the Episcopal Church and that TEC will continue to do ministry in those places. The work in those places will be reassigned or reestablished and things will move on.

Dan Martins may be off base; the wonderful images on BabyBlueCafe (and babyblue's aesthetics are wonderful at times) may be about something else entirely; the Archbishop's visit here may be solely for the installation and nothing else. The prognostication business is as bad as Gnosticism – filled with too many secret plans and schemes.

For now we must practice patience, be as inviting as possible, and when the time comes we must practice loving kindness. (Actually, loving kindness is a prime commodity even now.) But we must be alert along the watchtower.



9 comments:

  1. Personally, I think that Martin's post was a trial balloon to see what kind of a reaction was generated. It's always good to test the water before you decide to do something irrevocable like violating your ordination vows.

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  2. Some of these "departing" puritan folks are already out-of-control spiritually and so "messed up" emotionally it would behove them to "stay put" no matter what "leaves are rustling" and no matter what immediate Akinolan +Minnschief is planned.

    Leonardo Ricardo

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  3. One of the hallmarks of the Elizabethan Puritans was their abhorence of bishops, bishops being a sign of the corruption of the Church. So I will have to refrain in future from calling "puritan" those who disagree with me in matters theological and doctrinal, since their leadership are bishops, and show no sign of giving up the episcopate, but, rather, expanding its powers to those which caused this former colony, when it became independent, almost to eschew the episcopate altogether when it reorganized the former C of E church on these shores.
    Lois Keen

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  4. You can get a sense of San Joaquin by reading their Diocesan blog Surrounded. Very influenced by the charismatic movement.

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  5. Here is my personal favorite item from Surrounded:

    http://surrounded.classicalanglican.net/?p=80

    For the low, low price of 150 bucks, you, too, can be prophet!

    It's certainly interesting to see what passes for "orthodoxy" among the "Classical Anglicans."

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  6. Speculation:

    Anglican Digest #25 reported that there was a “secret meeting in Dallas last week of the Network”. On Monday, the 30th, a statement was released from the “steering committee. And Dan Martin+ of San Joaquin stated on Sunday the 29th that an announcement was coming soon from a group of “five” This begs the questions: “What Network Bishops were in Dallas? And what happened?

    With the exception of +Howe, all of the “Steering Committee” members are Texans or share a common border with Texas. Is a “geographic” approach being taken by this group to a new province or district? (like Virginia’s “Anglican District)

    The timing of the “five” statement coincides with +Akinola’s visit. Was this accidental or implying something more? +Schofield, +Iker, +Quincy, +Springfield, were not included in the Steering Committee. Is +CANA a factor in this?

    What of +Duncan? Is he the 5th member of the alleged Dan Martin’s group? Possibly? But if this group goes to CANA, he would be subject to presentment, he would be required to swear personal allegiance to +Akinola, in accordance with the Church of Nigeria’s Constitution, and his claim to TEC/Dio Pittsburgh’s property would be compromised. No, Nigeria is not an option. He is not a member of the “Steering Committee.” Is he hoping to hold the Network coalition together? Is he expected to be its leader and “primatial vicar” on Sept. 30 despite the HofB’s resolution?

    Has the “Windsor coalition,” in fact, broken down? There could be many reasons: 1. The materials the bishops reviewed at the Camp Allen HofB meeting in March 2. The “credibility gap” that may have resulted if Jim Naughton’s reporting of +MacPherson’s comments at Tanzania on the subject of ++Jefferts Schori is true? 3. Concern about Radner’s+ defection to the IRD and the scandal of the ACI’s monetary relationship to Grace Church and Armstrong+ in Colorado Springs. (Chris Seitz’s comment as ACI president: We’re just “Six guys with a website”) etc.

    My hope is that the Windsor bishops will accept the original primatial vicar offer made by +Jefferts-Schori. It would give them a lot of latitude and probably comply with TEC’s Canons and Constitutions. Two groups of bishops with a representative of the ABC and +Jefferts-Schori met in Sept and Nov. to discuss the idea. See: http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002051.html Time has past. What were the arguments against the proposal? Do they still apply?

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  7. As someone who lived in Dallas and knows that half a dozen parishes have officially signed statements staying that no matter what the diocese does, they are in communion with the Episcopal Church, this is going to get messy.

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  8. EPfizH - Thursday of last week, Dan Martins said "I expect to know more--a great deal more--in less than a week's time. Whether I will be in a position to honorably pass on what I learn in a venue such as this remains to be seen."

    It would seem that he was anticipating the Network meeting in Dallas this past weekend. Probably, he knows the outcome of that meeting by now. Whether he will share that information or not, as he has said, "remains to be seen."

    Perhaps the other Windsor Bishops went public with a statement to the ABC in an attempt to persuade the Network 5 down off a ledge and back into the fold.

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  9. obadiahslope2/5/07 5:22 PM

    As I understand it the argument against Presiding ishop Schori's PV proposal was that it was "a pig in a poke", with the appointment at the absolute discretion of the PB. Some of this objection would be overcome if the PB had named her candidate, or gave the proposal a definate time frame.

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