Suggestions from the Blogsphere: Bill of Rights, New Moratoria

Lionel Deimel has a new proposition on his Web Log titled Two New Moratoria."
He suggests that,

"Given our current relation to the Anglican Communion, a proper application of PAP (Principle of Anglican Progress) would require that The Episcopal Church declare a moratorium on funding the Anglican Communion until such time as the mind of the Communion is settled on how it is going to treat The Episcopal Church and the “innovations” it sees our church as having instituted. Financing the subversion of our church is but another Episcopal Church innovation.

Moreover, since The Episcopal Church has essentially been on trial in Communion councils since 2003, it hardly seems fair that we should participate in the decision of what the Communion should do with The Episcopal Church. Therefore, I suggest a second moratorium on participation in Anglican Communion councils until the mind of the Communion becomes clear. Like the matter of same-sex blessings, I’m sure the mind of the Communion will become clear in a century or so. Meanwhile, we can mend the net and keep peace in this great Communion that has been given us as a gift by God."

These moratoria would be in addition to the famous three: Moratoria on same sex blessings, on ordinations of persons whose manner of life was not approved of by all and sundry, and on cross-border violations (you know, like CANA, AMiA, etc). There is a fourth moratorium not recognized, it appears, by the ACC but hoped for by the Windsor Continuation Group, against litigation. (The Living Church has written this one up HERE.)

Well, it becomes clearer and clearer that moratoria turn out to be a way of throwing anathema bombs at one another. Still, I kind of like Lionel's suggestions: don't pay, don't go. Let it mellow.

Then over on REAL ANGLICANS there is the Draft: Episcopal Bill of Rights which proposes that "Resolved, the House of _____________ concurring, that this 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church make a commitment to revoke, rescind and reject Resolution B033 ; and be it further

Resolved, that the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies fully, completely and sincerely apologize to all those who have been marginalized by the Episcopal Church including but not limited to LGBT persons, those who are handicapped, and those whose culture and person have been ignored and ridiculed; and be it further

Resolved, that in accordance with the two great commandments the Episcopal Church does hereby recognize, support and defend every person's right to fully and completely participate in every aspect of the Episcopal Church both liturgically and politically; and be it further

Resolved, that this proposed Episcopalian Bill of Rights be commended to the various dioceses of this church for study and comment during the coming triennium; and be it further

Resolved, that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies appoint a Special Task Force to determine what constitutional and/or canonical measures may be necessary in order to make a permanent commitment to the Episcopalian Bill of Rights; and be it further

Resolved, that this Special Task Force prepare a report to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that includes draft legislation that could be considered for the convention to institutionalize this Episcopal Bill of Rights."

This is a rowser... of course there will be need to work on the core of the resolution which is, "every person's right to fully and completely participate in every aspect of the Episcopal Church both liturgically and politically." My sense is Fred means "every baptized member of this church's right to full and complete inclusion in every aspect of the Episcopal Church's sacramental and ecclesial life." Not wanting to put words in his mouth, but the issue is not that everyone has the right to be ordained, married, etc, but that everyone has a right to claim sacramental vocation and to be included in the discernment of such vocation.

What I like about this "Bill of Rights" is its parallel to the slogan of Integrity, "All the Sacraments for all the Baptized." It also relates to something I made a plea for in regard to the Anglican Covenant, namely that the ACC add a "rider" that spelled out just what was meant by "Church" in the Covenant and limited the incursion and judgment by a body (the Joint Standing Committee of Primates and ACC) which has no authority beyond the Primates and ACC, which authority is limited by the description of each "instrument" given in the Covenant.

How might the resolution be perfected before it would go to General Convention?

Creative times!


  1. Concerning the moratoria against litigation, Episcopal Life quotes the Rt. Rev. Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St. Asaph (Wales):

    "I don't think there's any Christian who can't be anything other than aghast when Christians choose to play out their differences through the law courts," he said. "It's not an appropriate response."

    How would Bishop Cameron respond if a parish in his diocese left the Church in Wales and tried to take the church property with them?

    Mark, thank you for hard work in this series of posts to keep us informed on the ACC meetings.

  2. PS: I like Lionel Deimel's Two New Moratoria quite a lot.

  3. If we declare a moratorium on litigation, then I think I will go to London and help myself to St. Paul's.

  4. Nom de Plume7/5/09 7:34 PM

    Attractive though Lionel's suggestions sound, and I admit I feel much the same way, I must say with all respect that they are really passive-aggressive in nature.

    But this one caught my eye:

    ACC representatives approved a series of resolutions on May 5, including one from the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) that “requests that appointments to all inter-Anglican standing commissions, and all other inter-Anglican committees, design groups, or appointed bodies … provide equal representation of women on each body.”Does that include the Primates Meetings? Lambeth Conference? The mind boggles!

  5. We were at dinner and my wife came up with essentially the two moratoria in response to the ACC meeting news. Great minds tracking together.

    I think GC should pass a resolution requiring them as a matter of canon.


  6. Father Harris,
    I am all for making this a strong,vibrant, long-lasting Bill of rights. Please, everyone, make it better.

    The issue for me was from the time a person walks through the Episcopal Door to the die one enters eternal life everything is open to ALL. My fear is that some will try to deny others baptism if someone comes forward and says, "he/she is ______(fill in the blank). Yes, once inside the door, "normal" discernment processes are followed but if one says Baptism to ..." then someone will surely try to deny baptism to someone. Does that make sense?

  7. If our bishops sign on to this so-called covenant, then it's time to quietly start designating - very specifically - where our tithing is to go, and perhaps bishops' salaries and travel allowances and 815 should no longer be a priority.

    If they want to stop litigation, perhaps the individuals in the diocese can get legal help against the dissenters outside the bishop's office.

    I hope they will show better, stronger leadership, but it's best to have a plan.

  8. Yes, TEC should remove all financial support for the Anglican Communion. Absolutely.

    What is preventing TEC from doing this?

  9. This doesn't answer your final question, but..

    Yea bill of rights.

    Nay/Boo/to Hell with moratoria.

    The moratoria under discussion are unhelpful in the extreme. If we withdraw from the communion in *any* way, then we pronounce ourselves to be in the same relationship with, say, Uganda, that we enjoy with, say, the Southern Baptist Convention, with a similar level of influence.

    Granted, Uganda might welcome our impotence to question their evil-doing, much as we welcome the SBC's impotence to thwart our works of righteousness...

    Hey, do we actually welcome enmity within our own household? Do we actively seek alienation from it?

    We have more right to criticise our brother than a stranger.

  10. I think it incredibly naive to believe we are any longer functioning members of the AC. We have no influence over Uganda - or any other province - and would do better to lobby for pressure from our governments.

    Staying in the AC will only hurt us and help absolutely no one.

  11. "the mind of the Communion" is not unclear and it is not going to change any time soon ....you willing to wait a hundred years to change it ?

    Some refuse to accept the common view in the AC on certain issues....and having failed for years and decades to change "the mind of the Communion", now want to be both in the AC but free to completely go against "the mind of the Communion" - this is what does not wash with most in the AC. It lacks the smell of true unity.

    I guess if TECUSA had 2% of the US population rather than 0.2%, it might not bother so much with the AC, but being in the AC seems to matter a lot to TECUSA leaders, maybe they like the big stage and air miles, and so I rather than fortright resolutions, you can expect a strong push for the maintenance of BO33 at GC09...... that is what Rowan wants from GC09 and you can be sure LamPal and Katie will be working very hard to get what Rowan wants...... I hope there are enough people in TECUSA who are sick and tired of the cost of staying in the AC i.e. compromised principles to not tolerate a fudge and endless delays. A walking apart will be good for the majority of the AC who agree with the "mind of the Communion" and for those in TECUSA and elsewhere who want a genuinely liberal church which they have no problem being part of .... i.e. not the horrible status quo which traps and hurts "liberal" and "conservative" alike.... for the sake of institutional unity, not principle. This is really the choice..... compromise for the sake of the club or stick to principles.

  12. "lately I've been thinkin'"

    The Moratoria punish people, some of whom we may not wish to punish. In addition, we, as TEC have always been about inclusivity and about lifting up. Moratoria do just the opposite. Makes us feel good, surely, but taking our marbles and going home is much like the Conealonialists and I do not like their behavior much at all.

    Bill of Rights moves us forward and moves us forward in a positive direction. We continue to be inclusive and loving and caring. If we are elected out or if we are "removed" from the Communion that is different but we need not do that -- that is what will reinforce their thinking that TEC is "evil" and we are most certainly not that. But, a Bill of Rights puts everyone on an equal footing-- maybe for the first time ever and that is a loving caring and Christian gesture, that is what TEC was, is, and should be.

  13. I've said it before, and I will say it again, we have won nothing if we walk away and leave others who are our Sisters and Brothers to suffer with no voice. Now is the time for solidarity, not moratoria.

  14. If we walk away, at worst we'll have no less influence than we have right now. Our leadership is weak-willed and lack conviction, as a group. At best, we can actually form communal alliances and do some good by speaking from an international alliance with a united voice and not under the burden of a single man trying to elevate himself to Pope of Anglicanism.

    These people that I hear will be "punished" because we walk away are already being punished because we stay in the AC. We've complained. We've protested.

    How's that workin' out for ya?

    There is no middle of the road.

    There is no hope in the ACC or this covenant.

    We can abandon the AC, without abandoning the rest of the world. The AC is not Christendom, and it will not preserve Anglicanism.

  15. Father Mark,
    How do we clean this up and get it to the floor of the convention. This is the best way forward that I can see. It does so positively, it does so without hurting anyone and it does so by helping everyone. It sidesteps the issue of whose in and whose is out and it throws all the fundies for a loop.


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.