Dependence, Independence and Interdependence

The Archbishop of Canterbury on June 27, 2006 issued a statement to the Communion titled, The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion. It turns out not to be the reflection on General Convention that we are waiting for, but rather a preamble to such a reflection. It sets the stage for the development of a two tiered approach to the Communion’s structure – one level for those who buy into the Covenant that is in the making, and one for those who are related to but not part of the core covenant.

On first read, I could not help noticing that the Archbishop has at least finally put the cards on the table: The Episcopal Church is being examined, and the inquisitors are finally the Archbishop, his “working group” drawn from the Joint Committee of the ACC and Primates, and the Primates themselves as the body that will or will not back him up. It is unclear that we have done anything but give into this inquisition.

General Convention 2006 will go down in history, among other reasons, for the clarity with which the Church of England has attempted to exercise direct and indirect ecclesiastical colonial control. Various prelates of the Church of England have made interventions that would not be condoned in other synods of provinces of this communion.

  • The Bishop of Durham published a criticism of the Episcopal Church and its response to the Windsor Report hours before the beginning of Convention.
  • The Archbishop of York was a guest at Convention and spoke to both houses of Convention and gave testimony in hearings, and even spoke in the House of Bishops debates on the central resolutions.
  • The Bishop of Rochester, England, preached at the American Anglican Council / Network Eucharist. The text of his sermon was widely available. It was astonishingly critical both of the Episcopal Church and the context in which most of our members live and work.
  • The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon was a resource for interpretation between the Communion office and the Convention.
  • And now it appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury himself was in touch with our Presiding Bishop adding to the pressure to come up with something with which the Archbishop could work.
It was, in other words, a Convention in which the Church of England / Archbishop of Canterbury / Anglican Communion Office was lobbying and bringing pressure to bear.

It brought to mind a snippet of the Declaration of Independence, a document I fear very few English prelates will have read. Here it is:

“Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. 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.”

The Episcopal Church General Convention 2006 has tried its best to attend to the Windsor Report.
  • We have paid more attention to Windsor as a Synod than any other province in the Communion, to the diminution of many important resolutions that came before Convention and could not be dealt with because of time.
  • We have shamefully delayed the hopes of gay and lesbian church people for equality of access to office in this church and affirmation of holiness of life as practiced by faithful and committed partners in order to "stay at the table."
  • We have broken the normal covenants of the separation of powers within the governance of the Episcopal Church in order to respond as well as we are able.
  • We have seen a break in the trust between the two houses of our Synod, due in no small part to the pressures felt by our episcopal leadership from Primatial forces elsewhere in the Communion.
  • We have allowed our agenda to be usurped by an unclear but pervasive agenda of fear, one due not to our internal divisions alone but due to divisions within the Church of England and between the Anglican Communion, represented in the Archbishop of Canterbury, and provinces of the Communion.
  • We have allowed minority factions of the Episcopal Church to dictate the terms of the current conflict to the detriment of our mission in the world and the legitimate concerns of conservatives and progressives alike.
  • We have above all taken the brokenness of the Communion and our own Church and re-imaged it as the fault of gay and lesbian Christians.
And all we have for all these compromises, divisiveness and feelings of betrayal is a mild “we shall see,” from the one who might or might not invite our bishops to Lambeth.

I have argued that there is every reason to want to be part of the Anglican Communion as a companionship within the Christian Community. That argument still stands. But the inference from the Archbishop’s article and letter makes it clear that in terms of the current mess, we are a naughty reminder of independence, where dependence is the fact (no invitation, no attendance) and interdependence the desire (strangely implying power transferring to some other place no less distant from the Communion we all seek, namely with Christ the Lord.)

I look forward to the workings of the “working group.” But unless these advisors are willing to take seriously the contextual situation, namely that the Episcopal Church is not an appendage of some ecclesial equivalent of the British Commonwealth, but rather a free and independent people willing and desirous of companions in faith, the road ahead will be bumpy indeed.


  1. Look - I fully understand how you feel about all the interference, lobbying and pressure. You have every reason to complain.

    However, the wicked me is smiling a little because now, there are some Americans who know what it's like to be not American. How do you think your powerful politicians and businessmen treat the rest of the world all of the while - including the home of the Church of England?

  2. After reading the ABC's letter, I can't help but feel it is a spin on the split. "we will call it something else" but this may be the result of my confusion at this time.
    You have done a great job of stating the facts.
    Thank you

  3. Thank you, Mark, for your thoughts. I think that you have analyzed the statement well, although I receive his reflection more willingly than you appear to do. Communion cannot mean that everyone does as they see fit. As RW clearly says actions do have consequences.

  4. (Dave) Part of me feels like gloating - you now get to reap the harvest of the crop you have sown, but my primary emotion is profound sadness at what has become of this church. The split is upon us. Let us be gracious to one another and preserve whatever chance remains that reunion might one day be possible. I truly believe you act out of conscience and conviction. I just as truly believe that we worship two very different gods. Let us go in peace to love and seve the God we worship.

  5. Father Mark,
    Thank you for this commentary. You have done an excellent job of breaking down the various ways in which TEC tried, or was compelled to give an answer to Windsor.
    The ABC's vision of local Churches bearing sacrifice for unity of the whole Anglican Communion sounds good and reasonable. However, the sacrifice, in this case, is not born equaly by the members of the church. An unfairly marginalized group of the faithful is being asked to bear the sacrifice for the rest of us. From what has been reported, many tearfully did just that when the HoD passed B033. I don't know how we can in good conscious enjoy membership in the worldwide AC at the expense of our own faithful.
    I am also struck by the clear statement from ++Williams that it is not his place to make a decree on any solution. The make up of the Joint Standing Committee is therefore of critical importance. Will TEC have adequate representation on the committee?
    God's peace,

    PS - to Madpriest
    I do love your wicked comments on this and other blogs. There are many Americans, about 50% of us, who are horrified at the arrogance with which the USA treats the rest of the world. Have you been to the "Sorry Everybody" site?

    Sorry Ftr. Mark, off topic.

  6. "You're not the boss of me!" -Most 7 year olds and the ECUSA.

    The English prelates came to advise us on what we had to do to heal the breach that we had caused. In stead of interferring, they were forcing a classic "intervention" with a beloved family member whose actions were causing significant harm to the family. Instead of listening in humility, we decided to cry "You're not the boss of me!" Now we wonder that the rest of the family is angry with us and seems about to relegate us to the "kids table" while the grown ups discuss what the family will do or where it will go?

    Phil Snyder

  7. A view from Canada

    I think we should see the actions of the English hierarchy and the subsequent review of the US actions as a precursor to what will happen to us next year.

    I also think that the traditionalist organizations will not go nuclear until they can bag the Anglican Church of Canada, not just the Episcopal Church. They will flush us out before they scare us off with a blast fired at the American Church.

    If we see that there is no point to compliance because the Americans have been ostracized in spite of their attempts to comply, our General Synod might not wish to give them what they say they want.

    This ugliness will be around until after GS'07. They will get what concessions they say they need and then the English version of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will be used to separate wayward congregations, dioceses and colleges from their real estate.

    Just my dismal, rainy reflections. I sure hope I am wrong.

  8. "I look forward to the workings of the “working group.” But unless these advisors are willing to take seriously the contextual situation, namely that the Episcopal Church is not an appendage of some ecclesial equivalent of the British Commonwealth, but rather a free and independent people willing and desirous of companions in faith, the road ahead will be bumpy indeed."--Why the worry? The ABC has said that the covenant that is being developed will be voluntary. We can choose to accede to this covenant and be in full communion, with all the rights and privileges and governance that goes with it (whatever that will mean)or we can choose to accept some of it and be in a confederation of partners with a reduced role in the governance of the worldwide church, or we can choose to ignore the covenant completely and "do our own thing." No one is holding a gun to anybody's head to do anything.

    "We have paid more attention to Windsor as a Synod than any other province in the Communion, to the diminution of many important resolutions that came before Convention and could not be dealt with because of time."-- That seems only fair since we went ahead with an action knowing that it would tear at the fabric of the communion. Even ++Griswold acknowledged this before he presided. We had three years to craft a response. Had we been about our business better, there would have been time for all the other important resolutions.

    "We have allowed minority factions of the Episcopal Church to dictate the terms of the current conflict to the detriment of our mission in the world and the legitimate concerns of conservatives and progressives alike."--I would agree that minority governing factions of the church have kept the focus on this action, but I think it a stretch to claim that the whole of the church is behind the leadership or that we have dictated the terms. One can argue against the violence toward GLBT's, for civil rights such as POA's and hospital visitations, and against blessing same sex partnerships and still not be a homophobe. It is the leadership group of this church that has framed the debate in those terms. People have responded to the leadership with their feet and with their pocketbooks. Perhaps those fruits need to be viewed and pondered. Maybe we misheard the Spirit in '03 and this is God's effort to speak again, slower and more clearly. We ought to welcome everyone into our church, but perhaps the standard He laid out for leadership in the church is a bit more strenuous than we would like (understand, divorced evangelicals would blanche at this as well).

    "We have seen a break in the trust between the two houses of our Synod, due in no small part to the pressures felt by our episcopal leadership from Primatial forces elsewhere in the Communion." Perhaps, perhaps not. Given the unhappy state everyone was in at GC and the continuing griping by both sides, maybe we made a real compromise which gives everyone the time they need. It might not have been as tasty as the Amish fudge, but it might have been the best we could do with the ingredients and tools we had. At least no one has been kicked out and no one has declared their intention to walk apart. +elect+Katharine should have a seat and be able to offer a voice as to how best these covenant discussions ought to procede. Who knows, maybe out of these discussions, the way will be paved for a woman not of British birth to become eventually the ABC?


  9. Well...it is what happens when you don't play by the rules. They warned us and we ignorned them. So all of us have to suffer. I guess next time we will know that they mean business.

  10. I'm fine with what GC did. I think we need to continue the relationship for the sake of gay folks in other parts of the world.

    But I do wonder when those on the other side are going to be asked to be "Windsor-compliant," also. Why isn't the Church of Nigeria being reprimanded for backing the anti-gay legislation in that country? Why aren't some of the most vocal anti-gay Bishops in the Communion asked to repent for their outspoken anti-gay rhetoric - clearly, a violation of Lambeth and Windsor and Christian charity?

  11. >>>Why aren't some of the most vocal anti-gay Bishops in the Communion asked to repent for their outspoken anti-gay rhetoric - clearly, a violation of Lambeth and Windsor and Christian charity?

    Because Williams is mortally afraid of the fundamentalists.

    They learned this when he folded on the matter of Jeffrey John, and now they are going to take him for everything they can get.

    Neville Chamberlain in a purple shirt....

  12. bls:

    What anti-gay rhetoric?!?! As the ABC said in his "reflection," simply believing in the Bible and saying that homosexual activity is sinful and expecting that Church leaders lead a biblically moral life is not homophobia or gay-bashing. The Global South Primates have said nothing any more "anti-gay" than exactly what the ABC said in his statement today.

    As far as ++Akinola and Nigeria are concerned, you seem to have +Chane's critique of ++Akinola confused with the facts. First of all, there is no evidence that ++Akinola and the ACNigeria are "backing" anti-gay legislation. In fact, the legislation that was proposed was actually "liberalized" by ACNigeria lobbying from the Islamic sharia laws that were originally proposed that called for immediate execution of gays in that country.

    If we ECUSAns are so daggummed concerned about our "context," we should remember that many of our Anglican brethren are trying to spread the Gospel in hostile territory controlled by radical Islam. The efforts of the ACNigeria to keep capital punishment out of the anti-gay laws, combined with their association with ECUSA in the Anglican Communion really compromised their Gospel message because many people automatically assume that they are supportive of homosexuality rather than adherents to Biblical moral standards. We (ECUSA) made that fight more difficult for them than it had to be, and therefore may have compromised the safety of gays and lesbians in that country more than would have been otherwise.

  13. The reference to the Declaration of Independence is appropriate. ECUSA has, in essence, declared itself independent from the Anglican communion. The problem is, ECUSA still wants to be part of the communion. You can't have it both ways. If you want to be part of the organization, you can't make up your own rules that go against the long held beliefs of the organization.

  14. Phil,

    The problem with your metaphor is that we are all adult children. None of us is seven. The C of E is not our parent and the ABC is not our father. Patriarchal models of family help make this conflict.

    We disagree about which autonomous provinces are in need of intervention. I would vote for the C of E and Nigeria as first candidates. Unless we can stop trying to control each other and start relating to one another like responsible adults, there is no hope for the Anglican Communion.

    We should remain true to our discernment, try to mend fences where possible, and see what happens. What would a nonviolent response to the kinds of coercion that the C of E has tried to impose look like? I think it would look like saying that we desire to remain in communion but only on terms that respect the fact that we are all adults here.

  15. First of all, there is no evidence that ++Akinola and the ACNigeria are "backing" anti-gay legislation.

    Well, other than the Church of Nigeria's own statement on the matter:

    The Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality.

  16. Bill,

    We may be adults, but we are acting like children. In 2003, The Primates asked us not to proceed with blessing SSUs or consecrating +Robinson. The ACC asked us not to proceed. Lambeth asked us not to proceed. ++Cantuar asked us not to proceed. They all warned of dire consequences if we did proceed. They warned of "ripping the fabric at its deepest level" (i.e. schism). We proceeded to say: "You're not the boss of me" and proceeded anyway.

    We are, even now, acting like petulant children who are angry that the grownups have intervened in our "business."

    The Truth is that the Anglican Communion thinks this is a communion breaking issue and we are on the wrong side of the issue.

    Pray that humility and a desire to live in communion (and not communion on our own terms) and subordinate our own selfish desires to the desires of the Body of Christ.

    Phil Snyder

  17. BCP pg 10-11

    But when in the course of Divine Providence, these American States
    became independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical
    independence was necessarily included; and the different religious
    denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal
    liberty to model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of
    worship, and discipline, in such manner as they might judge most
    convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with the constitution
    and laws of their country.

    The attention of this Church was in the first place drawn to those
    alterations in the Liturgy which became necessary in the prayers for our
    Civil Rulers, in consequence of the Revolution. And the principal care
    herein was to make them conformable to what ought to be the proper
    end of all such prayers, namely, that “Rulers may have grace, wisdom,

    and understanding to execute justice, and to maintain truth;” and that the
    people “may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty.”

    But while these alterations were in review before the Convention, they
    could not but, with gratitude to God, embrace the happy occasion which
    was offered to them (uninfluenced and unrestrained by any worldly
    authority whatsoever) to take a further review of the Public Service, and
    to establish such other alterations and amendments therein as might be
    deemed expedient.

    It seems unnecessary to enumerate all the different alterations and
    amendments. They will appear, and it is to be hoped, the reasons of them
    also, upon a comparison of this with the Book of Common Prayer of the
    Church of England. In which it will also appear that this Church is far
    from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential
    point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local
    circumstances require.

    And now, this important work being brought to a conclusion, it is hoped
    the whole will be received and examined by every true member of our
    Church, and every sincere Christian, with a meek, candid, and charitable
    frame of mind; without prejudice or prepossessions; seriously considering
    what Christianity is, and what the truths of the Gospel are; and earnestly
    beseeching Almighty God to accompany with his blessing every endeavour
    for promulgating them to mankind in the clearest, plainest, most affecting
    and majestic manner, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed
    Lord and Saviour.

    Philadelphia, October, 1789

  18. I think you are right to feel that Rowan William's statement tilts towards the conservatives. Actions have consequences: yes, but re-actions have responsibilities, too, and it is hard to feel that those reactions have not been meddling and self-interested. I am sure that most Anglicans in the UK are broadly 'liberal' and that an even larger majority will feel that you have been hard done by.

  19. The Global South Primates have said nothing any more "anti-gay" than exactly what the ABC said in his statement today.

    Rowan Williams said that we are lower than animals and represent "the spirit of Satan"?

    I must have missed that.

  20. Someone from the UK who was at General Convention expressed to me privately (hence his anonymity -- apologies to those who object to that) his outrage at the Church of England.

    He said that the "H word" is not "homosexuality" but "hypocrisy" and that if the gay priests AND BISHOPS in the C of E would refuse to remain in the closet, the entire farce would come crashing down.

  21. I stand amazed. We can all "politic" and debate for the next ten years but the fact remains...ECUSA has separated itself from the rest of the Anglican world and I say just let them go! Enough is enough! They cry for us to be "tolerant" and "inclusive." What they fail to believe is that, just as vehemently as they hold to their beliefs, so do I and thousands of other "orthodox" Anglicans hold to the authority of scripture...and those two are simply incongruent.

    We all sin and fall short...but you can't change the standard by which you live, which for Christians should be the Bible, just to match your current lifestyle. While I expect my church to minister to me even though I am a sinner, I certainly do not expect my church to bless my sin and tell me it's okay. What is the point?

    There is no mending this breach when the views and values are so vastly different. Let's accept it and move on, wishing each other well.

  22. Phil,

    Sometimes adult brothers and sisters disagree. Just because my sister begs me to do something that violates my conscience doesn't mean that I am obligated to do it. Just because she tells me that something is wrong doesn't mean she is right. The objections of the primates were duly noted and then we did what we felt God was calling us to do.

    Only if you could prove that we were under an obligation to do what they told us would your argument make any sense. And we weren't.

  23. "I say just let them go!"

    We feel the same way about the fundamentalist busybodies who erroneously style themselves "orthodox Anglicans."

    Let them go. Let them rent a storefront somewhere and buy some 1928 prayerbooks on Ebay and sign up with some paragon of virtue like Kunonga or Malanga and do their thing.

    Even Akinola says that they need to stop dickering over property and "choose this day."

    So when are they going to do it? We all know that Can(n)on Anderson likes "a good fight," but surely even that is not reason to continue making these vain threats to flounce out in a huff.

    There's the door. Go.

  24. "Anonymous said...
    "I say just let them go!"


    So when are they going to do it? We all know that Can(n)on Anderson likes "a good fight," but surely even that is not reason to continue making these vain threats to flounce out in a huff."

    The PB Elect described us as "cojoined twins." If the seperation is done badly, we will both die. Schism is no small thing to contemplate.

    We say, no we proclaim(!) that the ordination of +NH was prophetic action. We proclaim that we were responding to the voice of the Spirit.

    OK, then let's act like it! There is real pain in being prophetic. Nathan had to confront David in his own house. Elijah and Elisha feared for their lives more than once. They went on. Dismissing the people we are called to love is simply wrong.

    Clearly we cannot force the conservatives to stay, or to invite us to their party. What we can do is make ourselves available to them, every day, in every way possible.


  25. Jimb,

    Good to hear from you again! It's been a while.

    For Bill Carroll et al, let's take an analogous situation from US History. During the Civil War, the State of Virginia left the Union. But several counties decided to remain with the United States and formed the state of West Virginia. Who were the "schismatics?" Was it the "West Virginians" or the "Virginians?"

    We are under no obligation to do what anyone tells us to do. That is part of being part of fallen humanity. We can declare "you're not the boss of me!" But that declaration has consequences. If we assert our independence, then why are we surprised if the rest of the Anglican Communion gives it to us? The question now comes down to what to do with those parishes and dioceses that want to remain part of the Anglican Communion. Do we fight them and drain both coffers while enriching lawyers or do we let them go with our blessing and recognize that they, too, are trying to follow and proclaim Jesus Christ.

    Phil Snyder

  26. Jimb,

    I don't have a current email for you. I'd like to catch up a bit from the "old days." Please check out my blog at www.deaconslant.blogspot.com

    Phil Snyder

  27. There is alot of spin going on in some of these comments by anti-TEC types.

    What did Williams' paper say?

    (1) We are going to flesh out an Anglican Covenant. From the sounds of it it is going to encompass polity as much as theology. Surprising? Not much. Polity is an important part of theology in Anglicanworld. How many tablespoons of theology and how many tablespoons of each and all, is TBD. Did he lay out the exact process for arriving at this covenant? No. He is issuing the call for one. Did he say what the covenant is going to say? No. He is issuing the call for starting one up.

    (2) What did he say about Windsor? He is inviting responses from the Primates. There is discernment. Have any of you ever served on a vestry? Okay. So you know the drill.

  28. I'm now working in a CofE ordination college. For the last two days, there's been a conference on interfaith engagement going on here. Most of the participants are parish priests.

    So, between priests from all over England, and ordinands and staff from the college, the impression I'm getting is disgust and disappointment.

    Not disgust and disappointment over anything ECUSA has/not done, but over ++Rowan's silence and lack of leadership, and allowing the conservative factions to interfere in other provinces, and for his failure to even attempt to hold the centrist people of the Anglican Communion in conversation.

    And over here, we can't even blame an election for having given us the leadership we deserve. We got the 'tradition' of the CofE appointments process, and it has not served us well.

  29. I could live with the "second track" solution. Maybe even prefer it! I mean, what does it really mean in practice: not going to Lambeth, maybe not being part of ACC (which takes a vote of 2/3ds of the primates -- including us and Canada and SA and Mexico etc.!). So that's what happens; and as my CPE supervisor would say, "And.....?"

    In one sense, Lambeth and the ACC and $2 gets you on the subway. We're talking about two weeks of meetings every 3 or 10 years! In the interim is all the good stuff of MISSION, which is what the church is FOR!

    And that's my point, as I made it at the Convention when I spoke in favor of the Covenant: the problem with the contemporary church is we're thinking about ministers instead of ministry: all this focus on personal qualities and manner of life instead of whehter they do what Jesus said to do. Jesus seems to have been completely indifferent to the manner of life of those he called to serve, and those who served him -- as long as they served! (Remember the woman who washed his feet with her tears, and Simon's pious reaction!) You know, Jesus never mentions personal holiness at all; it's part of the purity code he rejected. He talked about prophetic righteousness and not judging others. Hmmm... could sure use more of that in the Anglican Communion!

    Let's embrace a communion based on mission instead of the lifestyle of the missionaries!

  30. Father Mark,
    You are right on point.
    Further, I don't think B-033 did anything but cause hurt, anger and confusion on both sides. Now the ABC is proposing a two track communion which removes The Episcopal Church out of the decision making process and making it a minor fellow in the communion or an "Associated Church" and others who tow the conservative line would be "Consituent Churches" which have decision making in the communion as part of their membership.
    I guess that would mean Bishop Duncan's dream to be leader of some newly formed Anglican Church in America could come true. He could be top dog in the new Constituent Anglican Church in America; maybe make his title Archbishop. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church would be second fiddle; just a Presiding Bishop of an Associated Branch,not a full fledged member of the Top Dog Branch.
    Of course TEC dues will be expected in a timely manner.
    I'm not sure this idea is going to fly.
    The same oil and water that didn't mix 100 years ago still doesn't mix.

  31. "Constituent Anglican Church in America"--CACA, a byproduct of ALPO.

  32. It is a travesty that the scripture is used only when it serves and supports your own agenda...either you believe it or you don't, and if you don't, then at least don't defile it by quoting it.

  33. I agree with Tobias Haller: it's bound to be better Downstairs. We'll be able to get back to something productive at last; we won't have to go to these silly meetings; the company will be more fun; and best of all, the Nigerians will still have to deal with us - and will eventually change their minds on this issue, as everybody knows they will. Only they'll do it in only 5 years, rather than taking 30.

    Let's do it. It'll be an adventure - a new thing for TEC, too. Let's let somebody else drive for awhile, and we'll navigate.

  34. Sorry to be a bit cynical but watch the money. I expect the dues for "associate" membership might be a bit lower than full covenant status.

  35. So if the ECUSA and Anglican Church of Canada ends up on the 2nd tier does this mean we get a break (or serious reduction) on all the money we front?

    Or is this round two of "taxation without representation" where we pay just as much as before but get a limited voice.

    I would love to see the ABC address how the 2 tier system works out financially but I won't hold my breath.

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  37. Thanks for your comments Mark, but let me urge you to read Rowan's comments again. I see none of the harsh judgemental sentiment you describe. I do see an invitation to conversation; a respectful description of the main threads of thought presently in conflict; and an apt description of the potential genius of Anglicanism.

    He also made a crucial point which bears emphasizing: "It isn't a question of throwing people into outer darkness, but of recognising that actions have consequences." It seems to me that we Americans have long made a way of life out of ignoring the consequences of our actions: From what we eat, to what we wear, to what we drive, to where our shit goes when we flush the toilet. Our system postively encourages people to ignore the consequences of their actions, and we are literally wrecking the planet because of it.

    This could be another historic moment for TEC to take the lead: To show the rest of America how to live as a responsible member of a world-wide community whose members truly are equals, and who truly care for one another. Let us embrace that change and dive in!

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  39. (Yet a third attempt to get this right. . .my apologies)


    Precisely. Even before I read your post today, the Declaration of Independence lept to mind. Of all the "policies" I regret my country has produced, the Declaration is not one of them.

    I was taken aback by the ABC's seemingly dismissive attitude towards the "human rights" question. My take is here.

    God's peace, and thank you again for your clarity.

  40. Okay, in this morning's Guardian, I've seen the most hopeful, and strongest, thing I've heard yet on the precipitating issue by ++Rowan:

    '(Williams)warned those in the church who have been outspoken in their condemnation of gays: "It is doubtless true that a lot of extra heat is generated in the conflict by ingrained and ignorant prejudice in some quarters and that for many others ... the issue seems to be a clear one about human rights and dignity.'

    This is the first time since his consecration that I remember him ever saying in a public forum that those who consent to same-sex blessings or the election of bishops of same-sex orientation might have some place at the table.

    Too little, too late, but still something.

  41. I am a cradle Episcopalian. I am a mom. I am lesbian. I am also perplexed.

    I have been told that in spite of being a lesbian I am a full member of the Episcopal church. However, as a so-called “full member” of the lesbian persuasion I am not allowed to become ordained clergy. I am not allowed the sacramental rite of marriage. What part of “full member” am I not understanding?

    I am also perplexed at how we Episcopalians claim to stand for human rights, but are silent while many Primates in Africa condone female genital mutilation? Then there is the problem of them not recognizing women clergy. I don't see ABC fussing about that.

    On all continents, all humans should have equal rights. Regardless of gender, regardless of their partner’s gender, regardless of their religion.

  42. Mark,

    I'd appreciate some reflections from you (and others) on the practical implications of this. If Forth Worth, Pittsburgh, etc., split from TEC and remain in the Anglican Communion, is there any option for parishes in those dioceses who what to remain in TEC? Will there be a new diocese created for those parishes?

    Given that women priests are not recognized as legitimate in some parts of the Anglican Communion, I have to ask, have we really been in communion all these years? What does communion mean if we don't recognize one another's orders? Has the split been inevitable all along?

  43. kjinco, I thought you were absolutely eligible for ordination as a priest - B033 only addresses elevation to bishop, not ordination as priest. Is there some other policy in the ECUSA I'm not aware of that needs to be thrown out ASAP?

    -Patrick B.

  44. I too can live with the "second" track option. In fact, I believe that it is the track we've been on all along. I don't see it as a second class status, but as a status consistent with sound Anglican ecclesiology.

    The problem with Rowan Williams' proposal is that the "first track" is offered at all. We Anglicans should have stuck with our rejection of the Virginia Report, which was a lousy report and shoddy theology. A combination of Anglo-Catholic fantasy and homophobia is threatening our status as a Reformed and Catholic Church.

    But if people would like to band together voluntarily to swear allegiance to Lambeth I.10, I say, let them. They won't be recognizably Anglican, but I don't have a lot of investment in that particular label anyway. Never did (it's a holdover from colonial days) and now I have even less. The conflict is between neo-colonial Anglicans (track one) and post-colonial Anglicans (track two). U.S. imperialism will be more effectively countered if track one and track two can stay together and fight the neo-liberal agenda. Unfortunatley, I think the money behind track one is supporting this agenda.

    If the Anglican Communion serves any purpose at all, it is too increase the autonomy of its members. Properly understood, intercommunion is not a limit to autonomy, but its true foundation. Any form of communion built on patriarchical relationship makes a mockery of the Gospel.

  45. re. KJINCO's statement...I'm thinking possibly her statement that she can't be ordained as a lesbian is a diocesan thing...there does seem to be diocesan discretion on that matter, whether official or covert--actions of previous GC's notwithstanding.

  46. Anonymous said...
    It is a travesty that the scripture is used only when it serves and supports your own agenda...either you believe it or you don't, and if you don't, then at least don't defile it by quoting it.

    You're a supporter for the sacramental equality of those whom God-made-gay, I take it? (While I would perhaps use more diplomatic language, you have accurately expressed my sentiments, Anon!)


    In 2003, The Primates asked us not to proceed with blessing SSUs or consecrating +Robinson. The ACC asked us not to proceed. Lambeth asked us not to proceed


    Did the ACC ask us not to proceed? (citation, please)

    The bishops assembled at Lambeth in 1998, said "Don't consecrate Gene Robinson bishop of New Hampshire in 2003"? How remarkably prescient! (Must have missed that: all I caught was their opaque "cannot advise"!)

  47. This is probably a dead thread anyway, but I just want to say that I agree with Bill Carroll (not unusual) with the caveat that I think the fruition of the notion of an Anglican Covenant extremely unlikely (schism seems to be happening much more quickly that the long process ++Rowan envisions for the development of a covenant).

  48. Do we really believe that human existence on the earth depends on the outcome of this medieval jousting? The ABC and other parts of the "Anglican Communion" may have served, up until these days, important purposes for human life on earth. The current exercise of obfuscating theological mush, however, cannot pretend to manifest the Spirit's healing and life-giving work in our days. Mark has nailed it. Hierarchical and imperial mentalities were challenged by Jesus in the 40-day desert sojourn. They be-"devil" us constantly still. If an "Anglican Communion" exists in reality, it comes to life wherever we hunger for and receive the Bread of Life and become the Body for others. That's when "church" exists. The rest of it is masking, brilliantly conceived and demonically enabled.


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.