The Common Cause Council of Bishops has met and produced a statement. The headline on the Anglican Communion Network is, "Anglican Bishops Take First Steps to New Structure." It can be read HERE.
In this statement is the following: "We declare clearly that we are taking this as a first step in the formation of the "separate ecclesiastical structure" in North America called for at Kigali in September, 2006."
The reference was to the Global South Kigali Communiqué, which included the following statement:
"We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA."
CCP Bishops may indeed be about forming a "separate ecclesiastical structure" in North America, but it is not at all clear that this structure will be recognized by the rest of the Communion. As is increasingly evident, the dissenters have less and less concern to be related to the "old" Anglican Communion anyway. The Statement makes no mention of recognition by the See of Canterbury. Rather recognition will be by Provinces. "In consultation with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted, we intend a founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union (see Appendix 2)." "We ask our Chairman to inform the Primates of the Anglican Communion of these commitments in the hope that our emerging common life will commend us to them as full partners."
What they seek are partner churches with no need for reference or link to the Church of England and more specifically the See of Canterbury.
The CCP is thus hanging its future on the emergence of a new way of defining membership the Anglican Communion, namely by majority vote of the Primates acting on behalf of their churches. So much for the Archbishop of Canterbury; so much for the Anglican Consultative Council.
The CCP Council of Bishops is organized to develop an alternative and usurping Province in North America, in union with groups not in communion with Canterbury or with The Episcopal Church. That makes every Episcopal Church bishop engaged in this effort in violation of the promise to uphold the doctrine and discipline of this church.
At some point their clear violation of vows made will have to be put before the Church.
Two other items of interest:
There were 51 bishops and bishops-elect at the meeting. Bishop Iker, writing his clergy, indicated that "some 60 bishops would be in attendance." In an earlier blog I tried to produce a head count of those who might be in attendance. I got 52. It will be quite interesting to see just who indeed went to the meeting. I assumed all ten of the Network Bishops would be there, but that may not have been the case.
One item in the statement, regarding clergy, raises several questions. The statement reads: "We will deploy clergy interchangeably as outlined in the Articles of the Partnership. We are free to invite our fellow bishops in this College to share episcopal acts and our sacramental life." For bishops of The Episcopal Church these two options raise serious questions about obedience to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. For example, the Constitution states (Art. 8) "No person ordained by a foreign Bishop, or by a Bishop not in communion with this Church, shall be permitted to officiate as a Minister of this Church until the person shall have complied with the Canon or Canons in that case provided and also shall have subscribed the aforesaid declaration." Aside from the archaic use of the word "foreign" here, the point is clear: the interchangeability of clergy, as far as TEC is concerned, is limited and acting outside those limits is a clear violation of the Constitution of this church.