Communion Partner Bishops small in number and small minded.

The Living Church has published a short statement by the Communion Partner Bishops and the Communion Partner advisory committee lamenting the election and consents for Bishop elect Mary Glasspool. The Communion Partner Bishops is a group of bishops who claim a commitment to stand both IN The Episcopal Church and WITH The Anglican Communion. This group as primarily used the Anglican Covenant and the Windsor Report as a measure of that joint commitment.

The website for the Communion Partner Bishops lists 19 bishops as members. Twelve bishops signed the statement. It is hard to say what significance this reduction in numbers means, but there are some differences worth noting.

Eight bishops, James Adams, Jr., Aldan Hathaway, Mark Lawrence, Gary Lillibridge, David Reed, Ed Salmon, Don Wimberly and Geralyn Wolf, all members of the official list, did not sign.

There is one new signature: Bishops Francis Gray.

The valiant 19 are now the noble 12.

Here is what they had to say,

“March 19, 2010

It is with profound sorrow that we, the Communion Partner Bishops and Rectors, express our deepest regret to our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion for the action of the majority of the diocesan bishops and standing committees of the dioceses of The Episcopal Church in voting to consent to the consecration as a bishop of a woman living in a sexual relationship outside Christian marriage.

Unfortunately, where restraint was respectfully requested by the leadership of the Communion, it has been ignored. Where the General Convention has counseled study of the Anglican Covenant, this action has rendered that counsel moot.

Therefore, we disassociate ourselves from this action and grieve the state of separation that exists in The Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion.

This separation is a witness to the need for the Anglican Covenant as the means through which dioceses and congregations in The Episcopal Church can affirm their commitment to the Anglican Communion.”

Lest we forget or are too lazy to notice, the Communion Partner Bishops once again are making the argument that (i) The Episcopal Church is unwilling or incapable of following through on the Anglican Covenant process leading to a meaningful vote on affirmation of the Anglican Covenant, and (ii) it therefore rests with parishes and dioceses to affirm the Anglican Covenant themselves in order to express their commitment to the Anglican Communion.

The bishops state that the election and consent to Bishop elect Glasspool renders the counsel that TEC study the Anglican Covenant, expressed in 2009 GC, resolution D025, moot. But of course that is malarkey.

What the election and consents do is express the reality of our synodical life that must be brought to bear on the analysis of the several sections of the Anglican Covenant. What the election and consents do is help us understand that the restrictive nature of the Covenant lies not in its own wording, but in its historical rootedness in the Windsor Report and the intended or unintended consequences of its mechanisms for adjudicating concerns that arise in the Communion.

Interestingly the Windsor Report is not mentioned in the final text, nor is moratoria, moratorium, restraint, etc. But the whole of the text is meant to address matters growing out of the “Windsor Process,” the process of examination of what it means to be Anglican that grew out of the recommendations of the Windsor Report. This is why the whole of the Anglican Covenant material is included in the section of the Anglican Communion website called, “The Windsor Process.”

The consequences of signing the Anglican Covenant would indeed bring back the Windsor Report request for moratoria in that the adjudicating body, namely the new Anglican Communion Standing Committee, would be strongly urged to use the continuation of the moratoria on ordination of partnered gay or lesbian clergy to the episcopate and blessing of same sex relationships, as a basis for determining inclusion or exclusion from the Communion. At the same time the moratorium on cross boarder incursions would be effectively ignored.

Far from rendering the study of the Anglican Covenant moot, the decision by a majority of bishops and standing committees of The Episcopal Church to consent to the election of Canon Glasspool opens up a conversation about the Windsor Process itself and the bazaar use of the Anglican Covenant as a litmus test for true allegiance to the Anglican Communion.

The Communion Partner Bishops, small in number, is making a small minded point.

Let’s get on with the discussion of the merits of the Covenant and its intended and unintended consequences. Let’s not be taken in by the attempt to make the Anglican Covenant a mechanism for asserting minority purity in the face of majority decision. The Anglican Covenant is either for the whole of TEC, or for none of it. Of course dioceses will stand for or against it, but not now. Now is the time for consideration of the issues. General Convention is the time for decision, by all of us.



  1. Pondering what I'd truly like to say to the Communion "Partner" Bishops calls to mind a scene from the classic film "The Wizard of Oz", wherein Auntie Em says it faaaar better than I could!

    "Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn't mean you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you, and now, well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it."

  2. Hmmm.... I wonder why the eight bishops didn't sign. Perhaps they did not want to give the appearance of signing themselves out of the Communion.

  3. It is embarrassing to see them literally groveling. Does anyone have a spare purificator? I fear Their Graces have excrement on their noses!

  4. Has Bp. Lawrence withdrawn from signing such statements also?

  5. The consent to Mary Glasspool's election -- two months before the deadline -- makes clear that TEC is already moving ahead. The CP bishops can gnash and wait as long as they want, but the bishops, clery, and laity have already moved ahead.

    Personally, I am deeply grieved to read that Bishop Gray signed this hideous statement. Makes me reconsider what I believed of him.

  6. Bishop have the honesty to leave the Anglican Communion. You are so narrow minded that I dare say there is no place for you in the Communion.
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  7. Fred Schwartz14/3/12 8:50 AM

    Duh! Where y'all been? The CPB insist on parish and diocese control but when the diocese males a decision they say "Well, we didn't mean that." It has been time3to dismantle that group since I first wrote about it years ago.



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.