10/16/2009

Provincially or Communion Oriented.

Bishop Bruce McPherson, speaking in favor of a diocesan convention resolution affirming the Ridley-Cambridge Anglican Covenant, stated his belief that the diocese needed to remain part of The Episcopal Church. He then stated,

“...in the months ahead, and depending upon the direction taken by the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, we could well be faced with making a choice of being either provincially oriented or Communion oriented — for it is clear we cannot be both,” he said. “We know who we are, and we cannot claim to be part of a catholic body and then seek to exercise ‘local option’ over crucial issues.”

All of this is reported in The Living Church HERE.

He has set up a dichotomy between "provincial" and "communion" in which the two are ultimately exclusive of the other. Acceptable local differences have to do with issues not crucial. Critical issues, determined to be such by the Communion as a whole, are to be dealt with in a uniform way.

His comment about orientation and the matter of choice, "being either provincially oriented or Communion oriented," is very telling. Bishop MacPherson and others of the Communion Partners group have apparently decided that their identity is most clearly with the Anglican Communion and not with The Episcopal Church. That means that "in the months ahead" - presumably the months up to and following the elections in Los Angeles and Minnesota - the Communion Partners may chose to make their identification almost completely with the Communion.

If a gay candidate in either of those elections is elected, and if that candidate gets the required consents, I believe the Communion Partners are set to follow the lead outlined in South Carolina and rapidly divorce themselves from any engagement with TEC, while keeping themselves minimally attached for legal and canonical purposes, and will attempt to directly marry themselves to the Communion by way of assent to the Anglican Covenant and direct appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for special status as dioceses in communion. This will in turn make governance in The Episcopal Church all the more difficult.

Bishop MacPherson has put forward the basic argument: it is necessary to chose between the provincial and the Communion, and the Communion is the way to go.

Of course his orders, license to exercise his functions as a priest and bishop, are dependent only on the local, the provincial, without any reference to the Anglican Communion at all. The Anglican Communion was in no way instrumental in his rise to high office. It may very well have been an influence on his being a member of this Church, but that's another matter.

The Communion Bishops are playing out the "inside" game previously played by the American Anglican Council and others. They are part of The Episcopal Church, clearly state that they are part of TEC and not leaving, and then begin to find the wedge to split the log. In this case it is the argument that things of little consequence can be dealt with locally (provincially), matters of great concern must be dealt with by the whole Communion.

This is of course humbug, but never mind. That's where it's going. They might have noticed on a martyrs day honoring Latimer, Ridley and Cramner that these worthies were done in by what must have been the Communion of the time (and England the Province). The three martyrs were dealing with matters local and critical, and the Communion was dealing in death.

The choice being presented is a false choice. The choice is not between being "oriented" toward the provincial or the Communion. That choice has nothing to do with either faithfulness or the truth. The choice is between doing what we are called to do by God, or (at least sometimes) what others demand of us. And, yes indeed, sometimes those two calls are incompatible.

2 comments:

  1. The Diocese of Dallas convention is going on now. The same strategy is being used (I know - I am a delegate). The bishop says he will remain Episcopalian but that all power resides in the diocese. The diocese can basically do whatever it wants, and The Episcopal Church is in essence a meaningless shell. He brought out 3 speakers to pound home this fact. Their speeches are required reading if you want to know the extremist strategy. I hope they are published here. I would love to see the comments.

    Later, the diocese will almost assuredly be asked to vote on the covenant. Almost the entire convention is being devoted to this one-sided picture of the diocese, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion. I have never before been so depressed in a church gathering.

    We loyal Episcopalians in Dallas are being bombarded. Will no one help us as we watch our beloved church attacked and degenerate into something unrecognizable?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "The three martyrs were dealing with matters local and critical, and the Communion was dealing in death."

    Thomas Cranmer burned at the stake because of 'Communion' forces as against local ones?

    You will have to explain this.

    Oxford curious.

    ReplyDelete

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