Taking out the Trash:

Here are some candidates for trash to be taken out at the end of the day in Anglican-land. (see my previous blog "The limits of Provisionality.")

  1. Bishop Schofield's remarks (please note, not the Bishop. He is not trash, he is a child of God):

He said this, "This enables us: 1) to receive the protection contemplated by the Primates in Dar Es Salaam that was originally agreed to by the Presiding bishop, but later rejected by the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church; 2) to remain a diocese with full membership within the Anglican communion where the orders of our clergy are recognized; and, 3) to assure that we remain within the Anglican Communion through a Province in full communion with the See of Canterbury. According to well-informed sources, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been fully informed of the invitation of the Province of the Southern Cone and described it as a "sensible way forward." Indeed, it is the sensible way forward and a decision by the Diocese to move in this direction is by no means irrevocable as was seen during the 1860's when the Dioceses of the Southern States left the Episcopal Church and at the conclusion of the Civil War returned to the Episcopal Church without punitive action. As the Southern Cone invitation makes clear, the Diocese may return to full communion with the Episcopal Church when circumstances change and the Episcopal Church repents and adheres to the theological, moral and pastoral norms of the Anglican Communion, and when effective and acceptable alternative primatial oversight becomes available."

This is trash on several counts: section 2…the diocese is already a 'full member within the Anglican Communion' and even if the Episcopal Church were bounced that would not mean orders would not be recognized; section 3…moving on to the Southern Cone does not assure that they remain within the Anglican Communion. The deposed bishop of Recife went to the Southern Cone with his followers and is not invited to Lambeth. The riff about the dioceses in the Southern States is bogus and an unhelpful example. What makes the bishop think that "dioceses may return to full communion with the Episcopal Church" on the clarity of something said by the Province of the Southern Cone? And, as icing on the cake, the notion that repentance by the Episcopal Church and effective and acceptable alternative primatial oversight becomes available are linked as both being needed, is absurd.

  1. Bishop Jack Iker produced trash as well:

"...Our plan is not only to disassociate, then, from the Episcopal Church, but to officially, constitutionally re-affiliate with an existing orthodox province of the communion that does not ordain women to the priesthood. These conversations are very far along but cannot be announced until the province that is considering our appeal has made their final decision public."

The deal is, the Diocese of Fort Worth did not affiliate with the Episcopal Church, as if it were shopping around for a convenient place to land, it was created by act of General Convention on the recommendation of the Diocese of Dallas. So it can't "re-affiliate." No matter that conversations with the Southern Cone are in progress, no matter that the bishop and many if not most people are prepared to move on. The Diocese of Fort Worth is a diocese in the Episcopal Church and is not up for bid, re-affiliation or unilateral whatever.

There will be more sweepings tomorrow I am sure, but it is Saturday night. Time to listen to a bit of TV, say prayers and get ready for another Sunday – two services, adult Christian Ed, standing on the line against the war, and a meeting of the board of a religious order. Maybe too it is a day of rest.


  1. This paragraph is a part of "From the Bishop's Desk" on the Diocese of San Joaquin website:

    "The Episcopal Church is made up of autonomous dioceses who have voluntarily joined with others creating the General Convention. This was true from the very beginning when the first Convention was called. No National Church or General Convention has ever created an autonomous diocese. Dioceses need to exist prior [to] coming into union with others..."

    I'm troubled beyond words by the revisionism in this statement.

  2. Remember the old sentiment that if a lie is repeated often enough it can take on the appearance of truth. It's the neocon spin technique used so effectively by the people currently running our government to take advantage of the fear and confusion many people felt after the attack on the WTC, leading to the military invasion of Iraq.
    It's time to get busy removing the bishops who continue to disparage our church. I hope 815 has put together an air tight case when they go after them.

  3. I dunno what the bishop of San Joaquin is smoking, but I think there is a new revenue source for the diocise there. "Autonomous Diocese???" Give me a break!


  4. Other than a blog and armchair to the world, what DOES Mark Harris lead that others follow with commitment?

  5. allen - I lead nothing that others follow with committment. I follow the Lord Jesus Christ and hang out with others that do so. There is plenty of commitment to go around.

    I do all the regular stuff of Christian life: you know, pray, work, give for the spread of the Kingdom, etc.

    This weekend I visited a neighbor just recovering from a minor heart attack, went to a fair-trade festival at a neighboring church, took part in Sunday worship at the church I go to, taught an adult Sunday Education class, stood on a line with 19 other people, (a line in witness to the human costs of war (we have been doing this for three + years now, every Sunday), and went to a board meeting for a religious community...all part of the normal stuff of working at faithful living.

    I follow with all the commitment I can muster and work hard at being a faithful servant of the church and a follower of Jesus Christ.

    In all this I also serve on Executive Council and am an active recruiter for overseas mission and keep my hand in doing that personally, having spent a week with young people in Puerto Rico and another four days in a teaching event in Ecuador.

    Nothing of this answers your question, but then nothing can.

  6. Obviously, there are those who believe that the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church carry no weight and have no enforceability, that the Church itself has no sense of integrity. I fear they will be proved quite wrong. But on whom will they then lay the blame?

  7. "Taking" or "Talking?"

  8. What does Fr. Mark lead? How about a Christian life? You know, like the rest of us try to do?

    This horribly liberal weekend I was at two masses, one Saturday for Vestry and seachers to attempt to sell our challenge to clergy. I prayed, a lot, for a very conservative lady who passed from life through death to glory last night, and for her family. I worked on the prayer shawl the parish will give her widower as soon as I finish it.

    I also cooked, took my granddaughter to the park and her favoritre ice cream store, shopped with my wife and watched a small amount of TV.

    I know Allen, that you think we lefties spend all our time plotting to take away white male privelege, but frankly we do not have time for you most of the time.


  9. As one of the "Others," Allen, you would do well to "follow with commitment" Mark Harris' lead.

    I believe that, as far as he is concerned, there is no obligation to agree with him, which is a good thing, because I don't always.

    Mark can be just as grumpy & irascible as the rest of us, but in my book, he is at the top of the heap in his ability to:

    1. Extrapolate issues from the morass in Anglican-land.

    2. Attack ideas, delusions, illusions, allusions, down right lies & other such viewpoints and comments, WITHOUT EVER ATTACKING THE PERSON, regardless of how absurd they are.

    3. Show mercy,when the rest of us would prefer to wring necks.

    4. Act fairly by giving links to the opposition.

    5. Write clearly, sometimes even eloquently, so that almost all of us can understand better than we understood.

    6. Keep his sense of humor and even share it - sometimes against all odds.

    7. Follow Jesus, in the most orthodox of ways - as one who includes the downtrodden and poor and outcasts.

    I hope you have someone to follow who is as true to his convictions as Mark is. I, for one, think my life is all the richer because Mark's path crosses mine.

  10. I have two reactions to this post:

    1) Does anyone grasp the irony that what Bishop Schofield thinks about the Episcopal Church (voluntary association of autonomous bodies) is actually true of the Anglican Communion and what he and others apparently believe about the Anglican Communion (that any resolutions passed by either the Primates, Lambeth bishops, or ACC are binding on its members) is actually true of the Episcopal Church? He just has his churches backwards!

    2) Under the reasoning of Bishop Iker, any of the parishes in the Diocese of Ft. Worth could choose, by majority vote to "officially, constitutionally re-affiliate" with the Diocese of Dallas (or any other diocese, for that matter) without fear of reprisal and, indeed, with the reasoning that they wanted to keep the Holy Orders of their priests recognized by the Episcopal Church!

    This just gets better and better...

  11. Tom,

    I think the Bishop of San Joaquins' reversal of what some of us have been saying about the AC is a less dramatic example of that sort of thing than Bishop Iker's remarks in his convention address:

    'And then just last week, the Presiding Bishop sent me an open letter, that she quickly posted on the internet, threatening disciplinary action against me if I did not prevent this Convention from acting on certain legislative proposals. I believe all of you have seen my reply. What you may not have seen is the Episcopal News Service story saying that if I did not heed her warning it would (and I quote) “force her to take action to bring the diocese and its leadership into line with the mandates of the national Church.” Now hold on there a minute. I don’t want to force her to do anything, but I must object to the claim that the Presiding Bishop has any canonical authority in this Diocese or any legitimate power over the leadership of this Diocese. She has no authority to bring Fort Worth into line with the mandates of a so-called “national Church.” There is no such thing as “the national Church.” We are a confederation of Dioceses, related to each other by our participation in General Convention. From the earliest days of the beginnings of the Episcopal Church in this country, including the formation of dioceses and eventually the creation of the General Convention itself, there has been a strong mistrust of centralized authority that is deeply rooted in our history as Episcopalians. We do not have an Archbishop in this Church, who has authority over other Bishops and their Dioceses. Instead, we have a Presiding Bishop, with very limited canonical responsibilities, mainly administrative in nature. We must object to the tendency in recent years in this Church to create some sort of central bureaucracy at the top that holds power and authority over the various Dioceses of this Church. We do not have a Curia that dictates policy and dogma in this Church. We do not have a Presiding Bishop with papal authority over us, nor do we believe in the infallibility of any Bishop or any council or, indeed, of any General Convention. If I may be so bold to speak on your behalf, dear friends: the leadership of this Diocese does not need to be brought into line with the mandates of some mythical “national Church.”' (http://www.fwepiscopal.org/diocesanconvention/07convention/07address.html )

    I could almost read into this a certain glee at appropriating what people have said about the AC and applying it to TEC.

    Mark+, in relation to your underlying post, I remember Abp. Runcie speaking at a Trinity Institute on Authority and making exactly your point, that the Anglican Communion, and his position at its center, were strictly provisional--I think he made the remark in the context of explaining why the ABC should be chosen from the CofE--that is, to avoid the impression that he was something more than Primate of All England.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.