6/05/2008

Seating at Lambeth: Schofield and Lamb

It appears that Bishop Lamb, provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, has been invited to Lambeth. Thinking Anglicans has the references to the various articles and blogs on this. Dan Martins and The Living Church also note that Bishop Schofield, lately bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and now bishop of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (Province of the Southern Cone) has not yet been uninvited, although his invitation was as the Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin. So either both Schofield and Lamb are coming on the same invitation, or they are coming as bishops of different dioceses, or perhaps a dis-invitation is in the planning.

Dan Martins believes that this anomaly is a sign of things to come. "My guess is that, in true Anglican fashion--that is, with decisions being made by indecision--we are witnessing the first step in the legitimation of multiple Anglican jurisdictions occupying the same geographic area. There will be more. "

That may be, but I don't think so. I hope he is wrong.

My sense is that the Archbishop of Canterbury's determination to invite most but not all sitting bishops (and in particular Bishop Gene Robinson), that he would not invite the deposed bishop of Recife and the outrageous bishop of Harare (now also deposed), and his rather broad hint that he might disinvite some bishops at a later point has already put him in the position of being responsible for a certain culling of the herd. If he is at all consistent in not inviting the deposed, he needs to deal with Schofield's deposition and disinvite him.

As regards the Schofield deposition, the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (Schofield in the chair) in a blog titled "Soundings" just published a rather odd statement, "Bishop Schofield remains a fully ordained bishop and is a member in good standing of the House of Bishops of the Province of the Southern Cone, a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Furthermore, at least five dioceses within The Episcopal Church have rejected or questioned the legality of the Presiding Bishop’s actions in deposing Bishops Schofield and Cox."

The first part of this odd statement makes it clear that Bishop Schofield has indeed abandoned the "communion of this Church" (meaning the Episcopal Church). He is a member of another church, one that by the actions and words of its Primate has broken communion with the Episcopal Church. The second supports the notion that he was illegally deposed. It would appear that he doesn't care to be part of the Episcopal Church, but he does care that deposition might be recognized by anyone else besides the Episcopal Church.

Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury ought to issue a directive that any bishop deposed by his or her own province will be excluded from invitation to Lambeth or inclusion in the episcopal representatives on Anglican Communion bodies, unless he has been received into another Province and exercises an active episcopal ministry within its jurisdiction, which cannot include territory part of another Province. That would acknowledge that being "fully ordained" is a sacramental reality, but that license and practice are provisional and provincial. It would get the Archbishop out of the business of having to render judgment as to the validity of the deposition.

While he is at it, of course, the Archbishop of Canterbury needs clarify the level of his engagement with Primates, for example the Primate of the Southern Cone, who deliberately engage in invasive actions in the jurisdiction of another Province. Why are Presiding Bishop Venables or Archbishops Akinola and Orombi invited to Lambeth? Their mucking about in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are tearing at the fabric of the Communion, destructive of any positive efforts to mend nets, etc.

The invitation list to Lambeth seems cobbled together by a host unclear just why people are invited or not. We can at least hope the seating arrangements will be such that the seat for the Bishop of San Joaquin is reserved for Bishop Lamb. Bishop Schofield can be seated with the anomalies.

13 comments:

  1. Mark's Friend5/6/08 3:30 PM

    "tearing at the fabric of the Communion"

    Hmmm....where have I heard that phrase said before?

    Isn't it a little late to worry about tearing the fabric, Mark?

    Tearing fabric never stopped Gene and Griswold, why do you think these men should be any different?

    The fabric is torn, bud. Common Cause Anglican chuches are here, their queer, get used to it.

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  2. If Schofield were uninvited, would we hear about it?

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  3. So, I guess the ABC is like a Pope if in his hands lies the power to decide who is in and who is out?
    I keep hearing contradictory statements from TEC. No one can tell us what to do, but then telling the ABC what to do with other bishops?
    Which is it, does he have power over other bishops and provinces, or doesn't he?
    Or, again, is this just he should act like a Pope when it serves your purposes, and not act like one, when it doesn't?
    The current subjectivity of TEC and its leaders in the manner of canons and now the power of the ABC is mind boggling.

    Jim of Michigan

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  4. I'm reminded of the letters that were to become phone calls to those who might not sufficiently "support the Windsor Process." Of course, we don't know whether that happened, nor do we know the Archbishop's standards for "supportive." However, the boundary crossings would certainly seem "non-supportive," as the Joint Standing Committee observed.

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  5. The invitation to the new lady bishop in Perth was very quick in the mail to her immediately following her consecration, and we expect the new lady bishop in Melbourne due to be consecrated this month will receive an invitation just as quickly. If new invitations can be issued so quickly, then you would think that bishops could be disinvited just as quickly. However, that does not seem to be happening Mark.

    For the progressives to be now complaining about the orthodox tearing at the fabric of the communion really does seem disingenuous. The fabric has indeed been torn by Griswold, and Shori has done nothing to attempt to patch it. Schofield is still a bishop of an Anglican diocese within the Anglican Communion. Why not simply recognise parallel jurisdictions and be done with all the fuss? After all, you have no problem recognising the Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox dioceses covering the same geographical territory.

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  6. RE: "tearing at the fabric of the Communion." The ABC astounding lack of leadership will cause him to go down as "Rowan the Ripper."

    What a singular failure as a leader.

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  7. It seems you have a lot of "friends" who advance a contemporary idea of a polity of multiple universes. A String Theory if you will of several Anglican bishops occupying the same chair at the same time. What's a classical physicist to do? They tear not only at the fabric of Communion but of reality.
    Schofield is no more the bishop of an Anglican diocese then I am.

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  8. I'm inclined to think pseudopiskie has hit the nail on the head. If JDS has been disinvited, he's not going to broadcast it, but will say after GAFCON that he sees no useful purpose in going to Lambeth, and the powers-that-be at Lambeth will be far too polite to say publicly that he wasn't on the list anyway. If he hasn't been disinvited it starts to get interesting.

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  9. This is probably just more intentional bumbling about: the ABC's not wanting to rock the boat further by being too consistent in public.

    At least for the moment, he appears still to be at great pains to pacify the ever-aggressive "reasserter" wing of the Communion (the only group that demands everyone do as they want and lays claim to the properties and assets of other provinces), and, of course, he knows that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada will stay at the table and turn the other cheek, as it were, in the interest of the highest degree of communion possible (while opposing attempted thefts in civil court, of course). In other words, this is probably basic Lambeth Realpolitik. That, or perhaps the ABC would simply try very hard not to publicize a disinvitation.

    It's been said before, but it would have been - and could yet be - much better simply to invite ALL bishops in good standing in their respective provinces to Lambeth - yes, even the extraprovincial trespassers and all the partnered gay bishops (by which I mean, of course, the one Anglican bishop who has been open about being partnered). In the end, the notion that one English prelate should decide who takes part in a shared Instrument of Communion is, at best, hopelessly outdated.

    christopher+

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  10. So, we will now have a segregated church - as if that hadn't happened before!

    But so what? Let "reasserters" segregate themselves; what difference does it make in the long run? Let history sort itself out, as it always does.

    The waste of time, resources, and energy is becoming onerous. Let them do whatever they want to do; let them associate themselves with the likes of Peter Akinola and with his attempts to imprison his personal enemies.

    This doesn't hurt or shame us.

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  11. Jim of Michagan,

    No one no one has ever said the ABC (with York per Dr. Williams) posesses the authority to invite / not invite bishops to Lambeth. A great deal of advice about whom it is that should be invited has been offered. To my knowlege Dr. Williams has not been known to respond to the blogesphere advice. If he responds to anything given his eletist view of the church, it is directly, and sigularly to the bishops.

    In fact, if you want to see provinces defying Dr. Williams, you might want to look at the comments from Uganda and Nigeria about not needing Canterbury. I know truth is not always important to a polemic, but it was the Nigerian house of bishops that dismissed Dr. Williams' officially.

    Saying, correctly, that the provinces are traditionally independant from each other is not the same as saying the archbishop cannot control the invitation list to what happens to be his party. In fact, when one says it that way, the substance of your post looks silly -- which just happens to be correct.

    FWIW
    jimB

    FWIW
    jimB

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  12. From the official Anglican Communion website (http://www.anglicancommunion.org):

    "The Lambeth Conference of bishops meets every 10 years solely at the personal invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury...A design group assists the Archbishop in the planning of the conference."

    Jim, does this relate to the point you were making? You are probably correct that the ABC will accept advice only from other bishops (and perhaps from his design committee, though it's possible they only choose which varieties of tea will be served). However, it seems clear that the ABC himself decides who is welcome to attend, and it was - was it not? - his decision not to invite Bishop Robinson (on his own authority).

    christopher+

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  13. I say let +Lamb and +Schofield duke it out over gets to sit in the San Joaquin Bishop's chair. My money is on +Lamb....

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