Pollyanna Assessment of an Invitation.

It would appear that the Standing Committee of Fort Worth is gladly and cheerfully headed down the path to accepting the invitation from the Province of the Southern Cone. They are glad for the invitation, glad that everything in the Southern Cone is orthodox and wonderful, glad to be rid of the Episcopal Church. Glad, glad, glad.

You can read the whole of the report HERE, and HERE, and HERE.

Or you can read a few corrections to the gladness of the day, here:

They said in the report,
"The leadership of TEC has threatened us with false claims of canonical power to correct and discipline us while condoning or even promoting in other dioceses false teaching and sacramental actions explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture."

The fact of the matter is the leadership of TEC, that is the Presiding Bishop and her staff, have not threatened but rather have pointed out the implications of actually withdrawing from union with the General Convention. That was done prior to Fort Worth taking their first vote so that it would be clear to all that voting to leave the Episcopal Church was canonically invalid. The accusation that the leadership of the Episcopal Church is "condoning or even promoting....false teaching and sacramental actions explicitly contrary to Holy Scripture" is rot.

The Standing Committee reports, "We have now had opportunity to review the Constitution and Canons of the Province of the Southern Cone; an English-language edition of those documents is being edited and will be released shortly. Based on our review, we have concluded that the structure and polity of the Province of the Southern Cone would afford our diocese greater self-determination than we currently have under the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. This autonomy would be evident most specifically in the areas of property ownership, liturgy, holy orders, and missionary focus."

We might presume that what is being done to the Constitution and Canons of the Province is not that they are being edited, but being translated. The good people of the Diocese of Fort Worth might want to read that Constitution and those Canons with some care and in as exact translation as possible. The Constitution and Canons of the Province of the Southern Cone are being compared to being "under the General Convention of The Episcopal Church." I presume they mean the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. There is a strong and misguided bit of foolishness in all this: dissenters want to talk now of "The General Convention Church" as if somehow this is a polity unheard of in Christendom. This is rot. I look forward to seeing the Constitution and Canons of the Southern Cone. I suspect they are subject to revision by their Synod just as ours are by General Convention.

I find it fascinating that the Stnding Committee is interested in greater autonomy than can be afforded by The Episcopal Church. The stretch to get that autonomy flys in the face of the equal stretch to have greater purity and unity among dioceses related to the real bonified new improved Anglican Communion. What happens when their autonomy runs up against the demands of a new Anglican Patriarchy? Stay tuned.

The Standing Committee contends that joining the Southern Cone "...would allow the Diocese to concentrate on the call of Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel and make new disciples, while at the same time assuring our continued place in the mainstream of Anglicanism, an assurance The Episcopal Church is unable to give." This continues the false claim that the Southern Cone's inclusion of dioceses in jurisdictions of an already existing Province of the Anglican Communion is in any way in accord with the mainstream of Anglicanism.

What the Standing Committee means is a mainstream of conservative, orthodox Anglican prelates who are poised to make over the Communion in their image. Mainstream means what the Global South Steering Committee means it is, and nothing more.

So the Standing Committee is off in la-la Anglican Land, a place where "mainstream" Anglicanism has little to do with relating to the See of Canterbury, the Anglican Communion as we know it, or autonomy in community. It has to do with not wanting to be in a church that ordains women and where they can without fear continue to elect a bishop who will not conform to the doctrine and discipline of The Episcopal Church that says ordination is not limited to persons who fit one set of physical descriptors.

They are glad, glad, glad... everything in every way goes better with the Southern Cone. They have chosen a new and improved ice cream cone. Be careful when it melts.


  1. Fascinating. They expressly acknowledge that their diocesan "autonomy" within TEC is *limited*; indeed, they cite this as part of why they want to go to the Southern Cone's purportedly more autonomy-friendly polity.

    Yet they seem not to understand that this acknowledgment of having only limited autonomy in the first place *contradicts* and *undercuts* their claim to have sufficient autonomy in the first place to *leave*.

    Apparently, logical argumentation and consistency are not among the strong suits of that diocese's leadership.

  2. What the Standing Committee means is a mainstream of conservative, orthodox Anglican prelates who are poised to make over the Communion in their image.

    Mark, I know you didn't intend anything by the use of the term "orthodox" in this phrase, but it seems to me that we must resist even the unconscious ceding of that territory to those who style themselves thus for their own nefarious, polemical purposes. I am orthodox; I recite the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed twice every Sunday.

    I join you in looking forward to seeing a translation of the Southern Cone's Constitution and Canons.

    And thank you for the hours you put in to monitoring and commenting so cogently on unfolding events.

  3. Today the Feast of William Laud should have us, take a breath and a step back and review the situation.

    The C of E and therefore the Anglican Communion has this wonderful history that all Anglicans should know about.

    It seems to me that we have gone from the trans vs con substanciation controversey to the surplus controversy to the next and the next and the next and here we are Anglicans in the 21st Century.

    There is no peace today in the Anglican Communion.

    From what I read (noted above) there has never been peace in the Anglican Communion.

    Logical arguements and consistency are not among the strong suits of the Anglican Communion.

    We have for over 500 years managed to find Jesus in all this and to carry out his mission statement as laid out in Matthew and Luke's Gospels, why should the 21st century be any different from the 16th for us?

  4. Power, power, power. Does anyone else read this letter, along with all the other fuss and bother coming out of DFW, as anything other than the hope of making a bigger splash in a smaller pool?

    In this view, a frustrated Episcopal bishop shrewdly calculates that his impact will be much greater in the Province of the Southern Cone than it is in the Episcopal Church. His 18000 members (even losing some who find a way to remain Episcopal) will be the new 800-lb gorilla in a province that currently numbers 22000 across seven national churches. The SC fondness for ex-pat Anglo bishops suggests that he can get a LOT further up the chain than if he stayed in the Episcopal church.

    For this bishop, the listening process goes only one way. Note that this eight-paragraph report concludes with all the benefits of the new arrangement: preach, make new disciples, assume our correct position. No mention of love, welcome, serve, support, renew, heal, or forgive. These may be grouped with the "controversies" and "innovations" he is so glad to abandon.

  5. dear nom de p. I'll not do it again. I agree. I'll hit the quotation mark key before and after and put a so-called in front.


  6. I suspect these people have no idea what will happen if someone finally wakes up the executive council. Ok, maybe that is why they are not worried.



  7. Calling TEC the "General Convention Church" is an innovation, no? Problem is, the more they call us that, the more people believe it.

  8. Funny, the Diocese of Fort Worth isn't any better at "making new disciples" than the rest of us. Their average Sunday attendance is down 4% from 2001-06.

    I think "no gays and no grrls" is a hard sell, even in Texas.

  9. I can't help but wonder how long the Fort Worth defectors will stick it out with the Southern Cone. Likewise the San Joaquin defectors. And, I suppose in due course, the Pittsburgh and Quincy defectors. I would be surprised if it holds together for more than five years. Particularly when the brothers and sisters in the Southern Cone find out who these folks really are.

    But I suppose in five years there will be three or four, maybe a couple more, of these defector "dioceses," who will then go off and start their own "province." (Followed by a great sigh of relief from the Province of the Southern Cone.)

    Five years. Anyone want to bet? (Proceeds of this wager to be given to ERD.)

  10. "Particularly when the brothers and sisters in the Southern Cone find out who these folks really are."

    You've got to be kidding? Right? Latin America is home of to despotic exploiters of fellow human beings (especially in the upper income groups)...do you really think a little Texas styled "bigshotism" and a overly inflated Operabuff from San Jaoquin are going to "turn them off?" Latinamericanos will chew these folks up and spit them out (that is, after they've done what they need to/usually do to smooze folks away from the loot...these are Latin Lovers, albeit Venables doesn't qualify and is quite silly and charmless).

    Leonardo Ricardo

  11. Now that is a bet I will take. Look at the St. Louis Declaration crack up. They were also way to holy to be with the bad, evil, apostates who did not agree that the primary doctrine of the church is keeping women from showing us how many incompetent men exist.

    If you read that declaration, you will see where the fathers (no mothers!) of the many "continuing churches" announced their unity. ;-) It lasted less than a year.

    I note with considerable amusement that the CANA folk are already setting the stage for a fight over ordained women. Uganda has ( brace yourself! ) women priests! {collective gasp!}

    I think you can make your contribution to ERD in my name -- Jim Beyer -- before the end of 2008. Unity based entirely on being against something is really fragile.


  12. Viriato talks of "logic" but does not apply his logic in the same way to dioceses wanting to leave TEC and to the relationship between TEC and the AC.....

    I agree with you Viriato....often "Apparently, logical argumentation and consistency are not among the strong suits..." in some Anglicans

  13. Anonymous: That's just plain ridiculous, and shows its own failure to grasp the idea of logical consistency.

    You compare apples with oranges. The relationship of the dioceses with the provinces of which they are subsidiary units -- historically, legally, and in traditional Anglican ecclesiology -- is entirely different from the relationship of those provinces to the amorphous, bound-by-ties-(alleged)-affection Anglican Communion.

    The former is analogous to the relationship of US states to the federal government or -- even more precisely and reflective of the less federal, more unitary nature of TEC's Constitution and Canons -- to the relationship of counties within a US state to that state government.

    The latter is analogous to the relationship between individual sovereign, independent countries/states and the UN (assuming they are members of the UN).

    Talk about category confusion... Sheesh, Anonymous.


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.