6/25/2009

Moving On: holding them "Enemies in War, in Peace Friends."

Near the end of the Declaration of Independence there is this line: "We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends."

From either side I suspect there is relief in that: the Separation is real. Now the relations are as between peoples, nations, tribes, and in this case, of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America. We are now in ecumenical relation to ACNA. They are not sister church to us, they are not part of the family of churches of the Anglican Communion. They are a Christian Church distinct and different from The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada.

Here at Preludium some care has been taken to refer to Robert W. Duncan by the office to which he was called, in The Episcopal Church or elsewhere. When he ceased to be a bishop in this Church I referred to him as Moderator Duncan by virtue of his office with the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership. When the issue concerned his relation to or comments upon The Episcopal Church I also referenced him as deposed in The Episcopal Church to make it clear that he has no standing as bishop in this Church.

Now, however, he makes no claim on that history of his. Now he has sworn to uphold the Constitution and Canons of ACNA just as he once swore to do so regarding the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. Perhaps he will be more comfortable with this set of affirmations. So on this blog he will now be referred to as ACNA Archbishop Duncan, just as one might speak of the Traditional Anglican Communion Archbishop. When he is commenting on or referring to The Episcopal Church I will remind readers that he is not a bishop as far as this Church is concerned.

It seems to me that the relation between The Episcopal Church an the Anglican Church in North America is now similar to that between this church and any other church in Christendom. If they determine that we are the enemy, unChristian, heretical, unOrthodox, contenders spiritual warfare, or the adversary, then I suppose we are enemies. If we are united in common cause for the good of the world or in the name of Christ, then we are Friends.

It is time to move on.

There are still bits and pieces to work out. What the assisting bishop in Springfield, retired of Quincy, Bishop Ackerman, will do is still an item of interest. There are various property disputes. There is the whole question of the relation of ACNA to Canterbury. There is still the need to be watchful.


There is also the question of just what sort of thing ACNA is. We know it is a church, a church with bishops and an Archbishop / Primate. It is also called by reporter George Conger, "The 39th Province - in - waiting." This of course in support of the notion that the end game is either dual jurisdictions in North America, or ACNA's own sense that its destiny is to be THE jurisdiction of the Anglican Communion in North America.
The Anglican Communion is not breaking up, it appears. Rather a second world wide Anglican grouping, one not referencing Canterbury directly and not including a number of older churches, fundamentalist in decidedly un-Anglican ways is developing. If so it will join a variety of other world-wide Anglican bodies and will take its place in the history of the Church.

Now it is time to turn to other tasks.

31 comments:

Brad said...

Like what?
Laying in a supply of Depends for a church with a membership/median age of 55?

Robert T. Dodd said...

But for those of us in dioceses like Albany and South Carolina whose relationship to ACNA is ambiguous, the song may be over but the malady lingers on.

robroy said...

Brad, the mean age is now 60. It has been going up by year every year. This means there is basically no new blood coming in.

Actually, Mark+ should be commended for being somewhat irenic. The "moderator" business is kind of snarky and below him. The new church is not a province...yet. I don't think we can say what it is till Lambeth 2018. Until then, it is in in transition.

Mark+ uncharitably hints at disciplinary action against those that interact with the new church. This is certainly incongruous with being "friends."

Jeffrey said...

Well I for one am relieved. To be honest I've stopped paying too much attention to these folks, with their grandiose, dramatic pronouncements, their slanderous comments about the TEC, their selective biblical literalism, and their fuzzy numbers regarding their membership (must be "new" new math...)

I do wonder however whether the Episcopal Church recognizes ACNA Archbishop Duncan as a bishop. He's certainly not an Episcopal bishop, and not an Anglican bishop-none of these irregulars, Minns, Murdoch, etc. as far as I know, have been recognized as a bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury. However he's been elected a bishop by his newly minted church, so I'd assume we would recognize him as a bishop of his church, and refer to him as a bishop. Just not an Anglican bishop.

Papa said...

That is insulting. Very insulting, and you should apologize to all of us that have to use Depends, even if it is only every once in a while like myself, because of having prostate cancer and surgery.

-- david

Observer said...

Sir, thank you for showing respect and, indeed, friendliness to ++Duncan in his new role. I hope others follow your honourable example and attitude.

As for the AC not breaking up, I agree....but for different reasons i.e. that most of the AC (and maybe even ACNA!) can sign the Ridley Draft for an Anglican Covenant today..... your PB bought some time in Jamaica but the ABC ain't given up on the Covenant idea as most of the AC will sign for a more defined Communion - that is why I agree that the AC is not breaking up but the most liberal provinces may vote their way out of the AC (unless calls for compromise and "seasons of restraint" are heeded..... in which case just one thing will be achieved - more years of in-fighting and principles being put to one side while we waste time arguing with each other, despite knowing we will never agree).

So much better if all (revisionist and traditionalist) in the AC are honest ..... and move on, wishing each other well but being real that we need 2 Global communions (one revisionist led by TECUSA and one traditional)..... let's organise this outside the courts..... and let's have people in England and Nigeria free to join the revisionist communion if they wish, and people in the US free to be in the traditional communion if they wish. Schism occurs when there are no great theological differences. Let's stop pretending we are talking about schism.....let's do all sides a favour and set each other free of in-fighting.... to go and serve.

Time to stop listening to the institutionalists. Time for principles to come first....

Phil said...

Mark+, I, too, applaud your irenic tone – a tone which I hope is shared among your colleagues in ECUSA’s leadership.

One thing with which I strongly disagree is that the ACNA is “fundamentalist in decidedly un-Anglican ways.” It is no more “fundamentalist” – whatever that means – than the overwhelming majority of Anglican churches today, and even ECUSA itself outside of the last thirty years. It finds itself well within any historically-supportable definition of mainstream Anglicanism, which is not something that can be said, on several dimensions, of its American neighbor.

Beryl Simkins said...

Brad and Robroy,

Have you looked at the picture of the ACNA College of Bishops?

No matter anyway. What this really is about is the very marked differences in how we regard the Christian journey. There is no need to argue about who has younger members in the flock. We make choices, not based on appealing to the young, but based on what we believe to be true. We make choices based on our understanding and thoughtful consideration of Christ's message to us. You won't ever convince me that your understanding is correct, and I will never persuade you to listen to anything I have to say. Go in peace in your own way, to love and serve the Lord.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

I don't see signing on to an Anglican Covenant as sufficient to keep the Anglican Communion as long as ACNA and other member churches refuse to be in communion with TEC. Isn't that an essential part of being part of the Communion?

Henry said...

With apologies to David, I thought Brad's "Depends" quip was on the mark. There are real issues facing the church, and the fact that we are not connecting with the population under, say, 40, is a measure of how little we are addressing the pressing issues of the day.

Most of the population under 40 has embraced the equality of gay folks. We Episcopalians think we're so progressive, so in tune with the teachings of Jesus--but we're still dragging our feet on equality. Why would anyone under 40 find our commitment to social justice compelling, or want to join us?

Most of the population under 40 understands that our abuse of creation has brought us to the brink of destruction. In the next 25-50 years, radical changes in our planet will result in widespread famine, mass extinctions, mass migrations and warfare. Isn't there a need for the church to get ready, to teach neighbor love and justice, to influence the coming crisis in a compassionate way? If I'm under 40and concerned, is there anything compelling about the Episcopal Church in this area?

People under 40 are anxious about the economic meltdown, whether they will have or can find jobs, about whether they will have what they need in the future. In the Boomer Church, where most people have retired, or are getting ready to, are we speaking to these concerns? (True confessions: I am well over 40, and being very presumptuous in speaking in this way.)

No, we would rather debate who the true Anglicans are and continue the sniping. I'm a lawyer, and used to do some divorce work. I can recall couples who, even after the divorce, continued to go to court over possession of the family dog, or this or that cherished possession. I came to realize that these were pretexts for a dysfunctional relationship to continue.

We have much serious work to do. Don't look back. Let the dead bury the dead.

Fred Slimp said...

No thoughts on the renewal of Orthodox-Anglican ecumenical relations through the OCA-ACNA embrace? When I was a student at Cal Berkeley 38 years ago, an Orthodox-Episcopal group was very active. Since then the Orthodox have remained where they always have been and TEC, where are they? What think you? Fred Slimp, Missoula, MT

Lapinbizarre said...

Metropolitan Jonah seems to have his hands full maintaining communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch right now. Incidentally, it seems that one of the issues that the Metropolitan stated would have to be resolved in the interest of "unity" would be the Orthodox churches condemnation of Calvinism as a heresy, which should go down well with some GAFCON adherents.

Ps The issue of women's ordination aside, where do the Orthodox Churches currently stand on the validity of Anglican orders?

Allen said...

Robroy notes that the median age of TEC is appx. 60. I love my church with wise, seasoned folks, so that's OK....mostly...but it can't be the norm and have us survive.

However, "turning to other things" should mean that the grab games in TEC must be exposed for what they still are now that ACNA is (hopefully) not going to be the distraction topic of TEC.

How about turning back the the 20/20 Vision passed by GC...which was effectively ignored at the highest leadership.

Why aren't the TEC leaders asking the ONE AND ONLY diocese that IS growing (S.C.) for some "how to" instead of importing lame seminar leaders giving vague abstractions on the topic. Why HASN't the retired bishop of S.C. been given a spotlight to teach what has been clearly working in that diocese...growth in EVERY single measureable category.

How about a straight answer from the Executive Committee as to why (after GC made youth ministry a priority) youth ministry was cut drastically in the Church budget, and yet more lawyers were hired instead.

Does Executive Committee get to veto the will of GC? If not, then why the pass for doing so repeatedly?

The "grab games" will go on as fragmentary interests continue to be served by our Church government.

So...how about a season of restraint on ACNA topics and just look at the lack of coherence and consistency at home? Let's have some TEC "fess up to the mess ups" time and less digressions.

robroy said...

Myths propagated by Episcopalians that are 180 degrees from the truth:

"An inclusive church will bring in countless that will replace the disaffected." (A paraphrase of VGR. Has anyone seen the numbers for New Hampshire?)

"Youth are more liberal and will flock to a liberal church and shun conservative churches."

It was interesting to note that almost 25% of delegates to the ACNA were 25 or younger. In contrast, 2.8% of reps at GenCon are 30 or younger.

Also interesting to note that ABp Duncan wants to start 1000 new churches in his five year tenure. Now 63% of TEC parishes have 100 or less. The leaders of the ACNA state that they are trying to reach the unchurched. But if they draw away just 10 people from a parish of 69 (average attendance for the TEC), it can take a struggling parish to a non-viable one. So we can look forward to a little "friendly" competition.

WilliamK said...

The ageism coming from folks like Brad and Robroy is interesting. Given the Bible's strong affirmations of the aged and warnings against showing them lack of respect, one might argue that a church with a large number of older folks with lots of life-wisdom might see itself as blessed, and then draw on that wonderful resource. I've noted that in some of the most popular evangelical megachurches there are relatively few older folks, and have wondered if the youth-dominated discourse and style of worship has driven them away.

Be that as it may... my inclusive parish has lots of "new blood" coming in and the generations mix beautifully.

nlnh said...

George Conger is a reporter in precisely the same way that Tokyo Rose was.

Brad said...

"Ageism"? No, biology. If more than half of your church will be dead in 30 years, you have a serious problem.
And I don't expect you to die, anyway; so long as their are divorced ex-catholics and upscale, newly educated/gay ex-pentecostals/baptists/fundamentalists, your church will never die.
Your demographic is the same as the unitarians and the (liberal)quakers-high turnover, but enough replacement by people with education so that your influence is much greater than your numbers warrant.

MarkBrunson said...

Why is anything they do of interest to us, outside of attempting to take TEC property?

Look, we lacked the courage to excommunicate, but we can at least have the courage to refuse to rise to their bait and dignify their claims with argument. They are no more to us than the Southern Baptists or, for that matter, the Hare Krishnas.

They dissolved the ties of family, we no longer owe it to them - if we ever did - to allow them to abuse us.

Observer said...

Mr Brunson says "They dissolved the ties of family, we no longer owe it to them - if we ever did - to allow them to abuse us."

Since TECUSA ignored the ABC's please not to "tear the fabric of the Communion" six years ago, given the sad divisions in the AC since then, many in the AC feel the same about TECUSA.....

Phil said...

Lapinbizarre, Metropolitan Jonah isn't having trouble maintaining full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch, or anybody else. The EP disputes the canonical regularity of the OCA as a self-governing Orthodox Church; it thinks only the EP can grant such a status, whereas the OCA was given autocephaly by the Russian Patriarchate. The two are different matters.

Any Anglican priest entering into full communion with the Orthodox Church would have to be re-ordained.

Lapinbizarre said...

Check here Phil.

Phil said...

Lapinbizarre,

None of which contradicts what I said, though the language used at the linked post is disgraceful for an Orthodox Christian.

Brad said...

Ah, the Orthodox-"making western christians seem reasonable for over 1200 years!"
Now that's a religious freak show-excommunicating(and sometimes killing)each other over making the sign of the cross with two fingers instead of three!

nlnh said...

Let's see now, an Orthodox body not recognized by Constantinople has recognized an Anglican body not recognized by Canterbury, and both are recognized by Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist.

MarkBrunson said...

Since TECUSA ignored the ABC's please not to "tear the fabric of the Communion" six years ago, given the sad divisions in the AC since then, many in the AC feel the same about TECUSA.....

I have said no different, Observer. I'm not - unlike you - petulantly blaming, simply pointing out reality.

So . . . Go. Away. You don't want us, we don't want you. The hand cannot say to the foot, "I no longer need you," but if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. We need to cut you off, just as you've felt the need to do to us.

Stop whining and go away to do this great work of yours. That'll show us.

textjunkie said...

The aging of the church is an interesting question. To be fair, I am not sure that younger folks are more liberal, or that a liberal congregation draws more young folks in. It's very easy to make an 18 year old into a fundamentalist, to see the world in black and white, us and them, to desire simplifications over complexity, to want certainty over ambiguity in both this life and the next.

Actually, that's true at any age.

Brad said...

Stanboul didn't recognize Moscow over a tiff over who was the boss of the Estonian church, so I don't know (and neither does anyone else here, frankly)how these 'eastern' things work.

David |Dah • veed| said...

The Southern Baptist Convention was recently concerned that they seem to be in this same boat as TEC that Brad the Troll, Phil, Allen, Observer, RobRoy and their consort keep throwing in all of our faces. Namely, an aging membership and plummeting numbers of folks with butts in the pews and throwing financial means into the collection plate.

But the SBC is the polar opposite of us here. Could something else actually be going on, as many of us keep saying?

webodox said...

keeps gettng better, thems orthodox that is

http://jn1034.blogspot.com/2009/06/news-overload-metropolitan-jonah-and.html

Observer said...

Mark Brunson..... please re-read your last post and see if it is an appropriate response to what I wrote.

You may not want me or ACNA in the AC....but do you want to be in the AC if it means you cannot follow your own views totally? Is TECUSA or is ACNA more in line with most in the AC these days? Is the AC supposed to contain completely contradictory views? Is most of the AC wanting a loose federation or a closer relationship with more accountability? The ABC is still pushing his covenant idea...who can sign something like the Ridley Draft, TECUSA or ACNA? You may not like ACNA (or me or conservative views) but let's deal with the issues...... it seems to me that the ABC and others are asking TECUSA to pay a price to stay in the AC (moratoria, BO33 staying on the books).... I suspect the price will be paid because still people in TECUSA leadership positions want to stay in the big club...... and that is why some hate ACNA - it fits so much more easily with the AC than TECUSA does these days but ACNA are supposed to be the rebels and the schismatics - hard to justify when their views seem awfully similar those held by most in of the AC.....maybe that is why you got angry?

MarkBrunson said...

(sigh)

Yes, Observer, my response was entirely in line with your post. I wasn't angry, but pointing out the underlying anger and attempts to blame and put on the defensive in your posts. We all see it. Please, realize that.

I don't want us in the AC. It was never more than a sort of affectation, a vanity piece, to those who have no intention of disrupting others' churches and it has become an arm of oppression and stagnation in doing the will of God. I would prefer that we clasp hands in Peace and go our separate ways to minister to those God has given us.