Primates Council initial members named...

From the Press Release of the GAFCON meeting:

primates' council will initially be formed by the six Anglican primates participating in the GAFCON from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Southern Cone, Uganda and West Africa. Also the Anglican Church of Tanzania delegation to GAFCON is in agreement with the statement but will need the endorsement of their House of Bishops before their archbishop join the council."

The sign on was quick, with the ink on the GAFCON statement barely dry and the vote by acclimation still ringing in their ears.

Various voices from the West were heard: Archbishop Peter Jensen in particular, but also Archbishop Venables. Interestingly Bishop Martin Minns seems nowhere to be seen. May we suppose that he was in the back room writing away? The reporters at GAFCON have done a pretty good job of telling us about the surface, but what has gone on behind the scenes? Who did the writing work?

And of course the absence of Bishop Duncan is well noted. Remembering that the Global South Primates asked that the North American realignment community choose a spokes person, and that they named the Bishop of Pittsburgh and Moderator of the Common Cause Partnership as that leader, my guess is that the Primates Council will meet soon, perhaps even today, and acknowledge Bishop Duncan as the Primate of the new Province in North America. He will then be able to come forward having clearly been away from the fray and not involved in his own elevation, etc.

Then again, like the Mad Pries, I could be wrong. (Glad the MP is back on line.)


  1. So the opening speech from Akinola was calling for schism; then it looked like they'd fizzled and were backing off from it; now they are calling for schism anyway? The ups and downs of GAFCON are dizzying.

  2. Acclamation, surely?

  3. On the question of GAFCON’s adoption of the first 4 ecumenical councils. As it states: 3. We uphold the four Ecumenical Councils and the three historic Creeds as expressing the rule of faith of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Although the Council of Antioch in 341 was not ecumenical, The 4th Ecumenical Synod specifically adopted its canons: “The Ecclesiastical Rules of the Holy Apostles, set forth by Clement, Pontiff of the Roman Church” They contain the following.
    Canon XXXII. (XXXIII.)
    If any presbyter or deacon has been excommunicated by a bishop, he may not be received into communion again by any other than by him who excommunicated him, unless it happen that the bishop who excommunicated him be dead.
    Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)
    No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously

    Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)
    The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern his own parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit. (Re: “Holy Spirit” vs. Father as well as Spirit…There are some variations in the manuscripts of the last few words of this canon)
    Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
    Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

    One would assume then that GAFCON decries its own decisions to cross borders or do its decisions on “orthodoxy” override the canons of the synod it allegedly adopts? EPfizH

  4. How can you "cross borders" on a Church that has failed? How can you cross borders on a graveyard? If it were not for the money, TEC would have been dead already because it has forsaken what it means to be Christian and Anglican. Witness our primary mission.....MDGs. Forget that Christ said to do works in HIS name...we're just glad to throw in with the U.N. and forget that no credit for our mission will go to Christ for those that receive the works. Yep, this Church swore off sense a long time ago and has been very inculturated into a consumer and prosperity orientation.
    For heaven's sakes...will MORE people please cross "our" borders..we're sick and dying and need the fresh air of Christianity again!

  5. Fr. Mark,

    Can you block this Allen guy? He doesn't have a clue what he's talking about, and I'm getting tired of reading it.
    My church in New York had it's annual Gay Pride evensong last night, and despite cloudburst thunderstorms, the church was FULL. The hymn singing was so loud they could hear it in Hoboken. Despite no air-conditioning in steamy foul-smelling New York summers, our regular church attendance remains HIGH.

    And just to make Allen feel real bad, I had to pinch-hit for an accolyte who got beat up in a gay-bashing Saturday night; 7 stitches.
    Those thugs are on YOUR side, you malicious jerk!

  6. As you said, counterlight.

    Your successful Evensong was in New York.

    Hardly the centre of the universe, nor the sum total of the Episcopal Church. Perhaps an issue worth discussion one day.

    Because I disagree with you does not automatically mean that I approve of gay-bashing and refusal of gays to work and lead in the laity. It may be more comforting to believe that I wear those horns.

    Interesting that you want to block those who don't agree with you after listening to you.

  7. Actually, I think Mark does us a great service by publishing "that Allen guy's" rants. It's important to "learn, mark," but not inwardly digest (bad for the tummy), just how delusional some parts of the 'wrongly Right' have strayed from the gospel.

  8. Yes, let's vote Allen off the island.

    He never actually engages anyone, but instead simply repeats the same old slanders, regardless of what is the actual topic of discussion.

    In other words, he's just a troll.

  9. Thanks for your honesty, Counterlight ... I guess. Maybe you can meditate on your comment and get some unexpected insight into why there's so much desire to separate from ECUSA.

    The bottom line is, all of us that line up with the overwhelming majority of Christian moral belief know this is what we have coming from the various parts of the Episcopalian apparat, sooner or later: "Can't you block these people!"

  10. My but the tempers, exclusivity, and name-calling DO exist from many of those who insist that the Church adhere to a "listening process".

    I have listened.

    I disagree with conviction and fact, but do not sling the venom shown in this thread.

    BTW: I wasn't baptized as "that Allen guy". Show the respect that you shout for.

  11. I believe, passionately, in the marketplace of ideas. By allowing Allen to post, Fr. Mark puts his views in the full light of God's creation -- human intelligence. He does not do very well there, and that is the point in a real way.

    Let ideas like that hide, in the darkness, under sheets, in Munich beer halls, and they fester. Subject them to the light of reason and discernment of Spirit and they shrivel and die.

    No blog is a democracy, I can only agree with my friend Rev. Elizabeth that by permitting Allen's posts, Fr. Mark does a service. Allen after all, like us all, is responsible for his words. In his case, reactions, when measured and reasonable as they generally are, make his ideas look, as they are, fairly silly.

    That is a good thing, laughter is the enemy of evil.

    On my own blog, the rules prohibit ad hominem attacks, and very little else. Allen does not post there, but he is welcome. I wont disallow his posts, but I will respond and he will be challenged.


  12. EPfizH, Great work. It exposes the way the Gaffe misreads both canon and Scripture. Their working model is simple, the Scriptures and Councils are inerrant when and where they agree with their preconceptions.



  13. Deacon Phil,

    Do you really want to line up with Allen my friend? His ideas are not orthodox, they are bizarre and frequently have little contact with things like truth. I think your ideas are a whole lot more reasoned.


  14. Jim - I'm a different Phil, and, as I've said before, not nearly as measured as Deacon Phil, who's a genuinely decent guy.

    Anyway: Allen has a strong point of view, but I haven't read anything that isn't "orthodox"; and "bizarre" is in the eye of the beholder. We might be turning off entire progressive blogs if that's the standard, but it's better to let people make their case and have the chips fall where they may. Of course, I've also said before that I don't even accept the notion of a "troll." Unlike Counterlight (apparently), I believe in a free market philosophy of discussion.

  15. I agree that the opinions of the so-called "orthodox" should not be censored. They are bad and weak arguments, for the most part, and the more people see that, the better.

    However, I can understand counterlight's anger, too; as he said, we have to deal with the damage, both physical and otherwise, that these arguments cause. It's hard not to get passionate - and angry - about that.

  16. New York may not be the center of the Universe, but its many detractors around the world (in places like Texas and Afghanistan) forget that a lot of people live in this area (8 million in the City proper, and about 12 million in the metropolitan area).
    A lot of them are refugees of one kind or another (again from places like Texas and Afghanistan).

    Perhaps the best cure for hateful speech is more speech, but I've just about had it with the oh-so-morally-superior gloating tone of the Right. And I've been listening to it for 50 years. It never changes.

    No one ever got beat up for being a homophobe. Legions of people get beat up daily for being gay.
    Sorry, I don't buy that effort to distance yourselves from the physical consequences of your proclamations.

    If the shoe fits, wear it.

  17. To Allen,

    I ask you some questions.

    Do you have children?

    If so, then what if one of them comes to you and says, "Dad, I am gay".....what do you do/say?

    Do you say, go away and 'cure' yourself?

    Do you say, you are not my child. Begone!

    Do you say, change, and then, and only then, we wil love you again? Never mind that a huge body of scientific evidence says that being gay is inborn, please change and then we will love you.

    Or, do you say, yes, you are my child, and I love you, and will support you AS YOU ARE? You are made in the image of God, and that image is huge.

    Just tell me, if your child were gay, what exactly would you want for that child?

    It is not an easy question....but it IS all about our children.

  18. No patsykay,

    I say that "I love you" and that you are welcome in my home, and I will defend you til the last. You are welcome in my church to take part and lead. But, there is an argument that we can't solve by dismissing it. We can't change Scripture or the larger catholic stance on homosexuality. That means that you will have to excuse yourself from holy orders since orders signify (among other things) the unity of the faith. We can live with that tension. To demand that the larger catholic Church retract its conscience for the sake of a minority view is absurd.

  19. Nice to see that you'd sacrifice your kids on the altar of orthodoxy.
    I've known the children of just such parents and the ends were very unhappy for both kids and parents.
    I suddenly feel very fortunate in my own parents.

    Why do the words "Moloch" and "Tophet" suddenly come to mind?

  20. Allen said...
    "How can you 'cross borders' on a Church that has failed? How can you cross borders on a graveyard? If it were not for the money, TEC would have been dead already because it has forsaken what it means to be Christian and Anglican. Witness our primary mission.....MDGs. Forget that Christ said to do works in HIS name...we're just glad to throw in with the U.N. and forget that no credit for our mission will go to Christ..."

    Laying aside that Allen seems to have misapprehended the nature of the Episcopal Church's involvement in helping to realize the MDGs, which though articulated by the UN also seem perfectly in accord with our mission to serve, I am puzzled by the shift in his short paragraph.

    The TEC is a "graveyard" where we are "sick and dying" but then speaks of "our" mission.

    I guess what I hear is great frustration but at the same time deep commitment to TEC, even though it is a "graveyard."

    I was reminded of a conversation I had with my Roman Catholic boss a few jobs back when I was still identifying as Lutheran. We often discussed the differences and similarities in our churches. I happened to say that we did not have formal problem with the Petrine office, but that the oft-misunderstood papal infallibility would be a stumbling block to many in our churches.

    He looked at me and said, "But don't you believe YOUR church is infallible? That's where you stay as a member. If you didn't think it was correct in essentials, wouldn't you choose another?"

    I had to admit, he had a point.

    Indeed decades later, I found more compatibility with an approach to Scripture that respected modern scholarship and a deeper sense of Tradition in the Episcopal Church, combined with a respect for Reason as one of God's gifts for discernment.

    Our parish did indeed lose several families over the past five years, with the steepest loss occuring after the congregation in its Annual Meeting and Vestry took a clear stand on inclusiveness. Interestingly, we have gained almost precisely the same number of folks who were seeking a place to explore their faith and doubts and to expose their children to a tolerent, inclusive and progressive expression of the Christian faith.

    Those who left did not go into darkness. They all went to other congregations or churches where they could worship without being distracted by their anger. The folks who came had NOT been in a Christian church in years, fearing judgement or having been put off by a message they couldn't relate to. In a sense, they HAD been in darkness and found some light.

    They came, not because of a marketing campaign, but because they heard we were doing great things and they found welcome and a place to care and to serve and to worship. We confirmed 29 adults in one 12 month period.

    (BTW, we hear the Gospel rightly preached and say the Nicene Creed every Sunday.)



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.