Thoughts on the ABC's Pentecost Letter.

First, the ABC might better have started with the end of his letter - with prayer. At the end he writes,

"We are praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion.

We have the mind of Christ’ says St Paul (I Cor. 2.16); and, as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has recently written, this means that we must have a ‘kenotic’, a self-emptying approach to each other in the Church. May the Spirit create this in us daily and lead us into that wholeness of truth which is only to be found in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus."

Praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion - that I can get behind. This is a better place to start than the biblical commentary with which the letter actually starts, but there it is. The ABC starts with this:

"Jesus tells us in St John’s gospel that the Spirit of truth will ‘prove the world wrong’ in respect of sin and righteousness and judgement (Jn 16.8). But if the Spirit is leading us all further into the truth, the Spirit will convict the Church too of its wrongness and lead it into repentance. And if the Church is a community where we serve each other in the name of Christ, it is a community where we can and should call each other to repentance in the name of Christ and his Spirit – not to make the other feel inferior (because we all need to be called to repentance) but to remind them of the glory of Christ’s gift and the promise that we lose sight of when we fail in our common life as a Church."

He starts, in other words, with the (I believe) misread of what John meant in saying that "the Spirit of truth will prove the world wrong in respect of sin and righteousness and judgment." That becomes then the basis for calling the Church to acknowledge its wrongness and its being lead to repentance, and to calling each other IN the Church to such repentance. So, right out of the starting gate the issue is calling members to repentance by other members.

"There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round. It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this. And despite attempts to clarify the situation, activity across provincial boundaries still continues – equally dictated by what people have felt they must in conscience do. Some provinces have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor the Communion has sanctioned. In several places, not only in North America, Anglicans have not hesitated to involve the law courts in settling disputes, often at great expense and at the cost of the Church’s good name."

So here are the charges: TEC has gone ahead and done what we asked them not to do, churches still interfere in the life of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (boundary crossings), some provinces have dioceses that go undisciplined for doing unsanctioned blessings of same sex relationships, and Anglicans are taking each other to court. The first three are examples of the moratoria asked by the Windsor Report. The last - going to the courts - has become a tack on to the others. So what is at stake here is the matter of the call for moratoria.

The Archbishop then tries to convince us that given the call for repentance and the call to honor the requested moratoria, we none the less see the Anglican Covenant "not... as an instrument of control." He writes,

"I want to stress yet again that the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control."

But then he moves to the side and takes up the argument that the Standing Committee is the Standing Committee.

"And this is perhaps a good place to clarify that the place given in the final text to the Standing Committee of the Communion introduces no novelty: the Committee is identical to the former Joint Standing Committee, fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates; nor is there any intention to prevent the Primates in the group from meeting separately. The reference to the Standing Committee reflected widespread unease about leaving certain processes only to the ACC or only to the Primates."

But of course the issue is raised precisely because the Standing Committee is an agent of discipline, calling to repentance and control. I would argue too that the ABC is not correct in saying that the Standing Committee is "fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates." The Standing Committee is a product of the ACC Constitution and By-Laws. The fact that some of its members are from the Primates group indicates that they might be answerable to the Primates, but the whole is not. But let that be as it will, the Standing Committee is precisely about control and is the agent of all of section 4 of the Anglican Covenant. That is one of the things that makes many of us a bit nervous about the Anglican Covenant.

He then tells us a truth we all knew anyway:

"The sobering truth is that often our attempts to share the Gospel effectively in our own setting can create problems for those in other settings."

That is true, but not very helpful. Worse, it doesn't address one of the most divisive issues, namely money. Sharing the Gospel effectively in our own setting in a time of economic recession might (and often does) mean limiting the monies we make available for other churches for "normal" administration towards sharing the Gospel in other settings.

The ABC remarks that,

"We have not... found a way of shaping our consciences and convictions as a worldwide body. We have not fully received the Pentecostal gift of mutual understanding for common mission."

I understand what he is saying here, and on one level he is right, but I am not sure mutual understanding for common mission is a Pentecostal gift. That is words taking wing.

The ABC gets in a plug for the Communion Partners. He writes,

"It is significant that there are still very many in The Episcopal Church, bishops, clergy and faithful, who want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments and directions, such as those who identify as ‘Communion Partners’, who disagree strongly with recent decisions, yet want to remain in visible fellowship within TEC so far as they can."

This is a highly destructive comment. It sets up the proposition that to be "aligned with the Communion" is to be in strong disagreement with recent decisions (ordination of Bishop Glasspool, etc) and in visible fellowship within TEC "so far as they can." The whole of this is to applaud those who are aligned with the Communion and resisters in TEC. This is a set up for seeing TEC as a context for non cooperation and resistance, and turns the Communion Partners into Gandhian non-violent resistance fighters. This is amazingly unhelpful to anything like a Pentecost, Spirit led sense of life together.

Now the ABC makes his plug for the Anglican Communion effort to get relief and development agencies to work together in spite of differences in the Communion. He writes,

'And, as has often been pointed out, there are things that Anglicans across the world need and want to do together for the care of God’s poor and vulnerable that can and do go on even when division over doctrine or discipline is sharp."

Good. I'm all for our working to relieve the people and church in Haiti, those suffering from disaster and destruction and corporate and national greed.

But the ABC digresses, and now returns to decisions about what to do with the unrepentant.

"But some decisions cannot be avoided. We began by thinking about Pentecost and the diverse peoples of the earth finding a common voice, recognising that each was speaking a truth recognised by all. However, when some part of that fellowship speaks in ways that others find hard to recognise, and that point in a significantly different direction from what others are saying, we cannot pretend there is no problem. "

OK, there is a problem. Now what?

"And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole."

So here is the nub: If you don't comply with the requests and advice of "consultative organs of the Communion" how can you "be placed in positions where (you) are required to represent the Communion as a whole." Well that makes several assumptions - that people on committees and commissions of the Anglican Communion serve as representatives of their churches and that they at the same time "represent the Communion as a whole." Clearly we would hope that someone on an ecumenical council would honestly represent the views of the Communion as he or she understood them, but we do not expect (I don't think) persons serving on those commissions to represent TEC. They come from TEC (which has a broad range of viewpoints) but serve on the Anglican commission or committee in their own right as Anglicans.

But the ABC is proposing that members of various commissions having to do with faith and order do indeed represent both. Well, there it is.

"I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members."

Now an interesting word here is "formally." Who has formally "adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria.."? In electing and consenting to the ordination of Bishop Glasspool or Bishop Robinson the formal policies are the polices governing election and consent. They have not changed. The policy change had to do with whether or not particular persons (by group) were considered suitable candidates for consideration in the ordination processes. This is a bit different from the Church of Rwanda making it clear that AMiA is a subsidiary of its church.

But here it is. The Archbishop apparently appoints (with advice) to these bodies and he can therefore limit who serves. His recommendation I suppose can take effect immediately. He does go on to write of other bodies who will have the opportunity to retain, limit, or expel errant Provinces as their bylaws and constitutions allow.

"I am aware that other bodies have responsibilities in questions concerned with faith and order, notably the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee. The latter two are governed by constitutional provisions which cannot be overturned by any one person’s decision alone, and there will have to be further consultation as to how they are affected. I shall be inviting the views of all members of the Primates’ Meeting on the handling of these matters with a view to the agenda of the next scheduled meeting in January 2011."

So the ABC will invite the Primates to share their views on handling such matters. I can not imagine that this will all wait on the meeting in January of next year. Some of the Primates have already stated that they will not attend meetings with TEC or ACoC Primates and have called for a special meeting with the ABC to make it clear that dis-invitation will have to take place prior to a meeting or they won't go. I can only imagine what they will think of the clear case of Rwanda being excluded for deliberate policy contrary to the moratoria.

But here is what I think this all means: The "consultant" status the ABC proposes for TEC, ACoC and some other Provinces - Rwanda for sure and probably Southern Cone, Nigeria and perhaps others - is what he will propose for the full ACC and Primates meetings, that those who do not publicly repent will be reduced to "consultant" status. This is more or less the notion of "Anglican Communion second-class."

Well there it is. A long letter that goes no further than what has already been stated. The ABC said there are consequences, and the only ones he can personally make happen are those related to positions which he fills by appointment. So the consequences are that TEC and ACoC (and some others) are not to continue serving as full members on those committees.

This is a dishonor to those serving, who although members of this or that Province, were asked to serve in their persons, not their positions as representatives of their Churches. It is a dishonor to the Communion which will be deprived of the good talents and even perhaps the Pentecostal zeal of these particular participants. And it will do nothing to shield the Communion from the troubles of the day.


Because his prayer is so good. "We are praying for a new Pentecost in our Communion."

Maybe that is where we should simply stay... and the Spirit will bring us new fire as the night and day require.


  1. This is a pretty gentle slap on the wrists for both sides in this argument. It strikes Mouse that Rowan could have more clearly articulated his point by just saying, "I don't want you lot squabbling. Neither of you can play until you say sorry and promise to play nicely."

    Having said that, the proposed 'punishment' will have absolutely no effect on any of the churches involved, so Mouse does not see why they would take any notice of it.

  2. I’m afraid that this is totally unacceptable. In fact, if TEC is deprived of its voice and votes, I think that we should immediately cease funding any and all Anglican Communion activities. No voice and votes, no Yankee cash. It's as simple as that.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  3. How come he can't do as a mediator would by saying: I realise that all parties hold their perspective on the point in dispute, they have their own truths. Rather than try to find a common narrative because I realise we are never going to agree on this particular point, let us instead let go and move on forward.

    I think that formulating a response to the Anglican Covenant on the part of TEC is spitting in the wind. A quoi bon? He has already decided what he wants to do with us. I do not want to see TEC backtrack in the name of appeasement.

    And what has been done -- ordaining people of whom the ABC does not approve -- cannot be undone.

  4. Amen, Kurt. If the current ABC wants to throw us out then I say let him find somebody else to supply his funds. I hope the next GC will grow some backbone and stand up and hit 'em where it hurts....in the pocketbook!

    We'd be better off diverting those funds for evangelism efforts right here in our own back door, anyway.

  5. Priscilla Cardinale28/5/10 5:43 PM

    So now the screw has turned, so to speak, and TEC and ACoC are being asked to take on the role formerly owned by their LGBT members -- that of second class, suffering servants.

    Are they up to the task? Will there be calls to backtrack to avoid this humiliation? Can we rise to a level of grace where we agree to walk separately to maintain our gospel mission?

    Only time will tell. It is my prayer also that the Holy Spirit descend upon us now and enflame our hearts to keep the faith and remain steadfast and uncompromising in our service to the good news for all of God’s children.

  6. Once again the ABC thinks that he is in charge. If there are those who don't want to meet with TEC members--that is their problem and on THEIR heads. The ACC or even a meeting of the Primates is a meeting of equals. He has allowed the image of Rome to cloud his vision of the church.

    There is a reason that we are an Episcopal Church, not the CofE in the US.

  7. Spot on Kurt. This would clarify that TEC's only real role has been to fund things because it has a lot more money than others, and has wanted in return special favours. By cutting off the money, TEC's special role would be seen for what it is, and the Communion could move forward without all the money/influence peddling.

  8. There is so much wrong with the ABC's pronouncement that it's difficult to know where to start.

    I don't follow the "truth" that our attempts to share the Gospel create problems in other cultures. Why would Uganda, for example, suffer from the efforts of, say, the Diocese of LA electing two suffragan bishops, given the great gulf in their respective cultures? The universality of the Gospel doesn't require that our cultures be congruent, only that we treat our brothers and sisters in our community with the same respect we expect for ourselves.

    And, to my lay mind, I don't agree that Pentecost is a time when "the diverse peoples of the earth [find] a common voice." In Acts 2, the crowd didn't speak. They listened. A polyglot of people heard, in their own native language, about God's deeds of power, from Galileans, folks unlikely to be multilingual.

    Pentecost is not a time of conformity, it is a sanctification of our diversity. The ABC's destructive comments, IMHO, precede his references to TEC. Besides misreading John, he also misreads Acts. Very sad.

  9. Why should we foot the bill to allow the Anglican Communion to continue serving Satan in the orthodite cause?

    Let the dead bury the dead.

  10. No matter what happens, the American money will keep flowing out the spigot. If TEC decides to fund its own international outreach after being demoted or booted out by the Anglican Communion, then GAFCON's American funders will step up with their checkbooks. The only difference is that the right wing money will come with a lot more strings attached. No writing checks while "standing in a crucified place" for these folks. They want their money's worth!

  11. Caminante:

    There is no way that we can get along and relegate the issue to the back burner as both sides believe it to be a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Either the leadership of TEC and Canada are being led by the Spirit into a new truth and the bulk of the communion is being stiff-necked and unwilling to hear the Spirit, or the bulk of the communion is correct that the leadership of TEC and Canada are listening to another voice and wrongly blessing a sin for which He died. This fighting likely will not end until one side or the other is totally eradicated from TEC and eventually from the communion and likely even Christianity.
    If the leadership of TEC is correct, they cannot rest until the rest of the entire body of Christ sees their wisdom. And if the rest of the body is correct, the leadership of TEC will need to repent to return to particular relationships within and between the body.
    The ABC's letter and proposition gives both sides a chance to remember that we claim to be fully catholic and fully protestant, that our local actions have an impact on the wider body. Both sides can proceed as they see fit and according to their consciences (as is their right) and find themselves as consultants, or both can try and figure out what will allow them to live in tension as the communion figures out whose voice is speaking about any issue. Like Mouse, I doubt that either side will pause, but if the ABC's job is to be the chief reconciler, I think he made a noble, if ultimately doomed, try. Time will tell.


  12. I keep coming back to the simple point (a thing the ABC seems incapable of...)that TEC and ACoC are right and Rwanda & Co. are wrong.

    To put it in American terms, he has, in effect handed out equal punishments to Martin Luther King and the head of the Klan because MLK's movement has upset the Klan leaders and made it complicated to be an American.

    I would like to remind conservatives that biblical literalism was an invention of the Protestant Reformation, not any sort of ancient tradition.

    On the $ issue: I wonder whether it isn't time for American to stop figuring our relative wealth into discussions of how anyone else should treat us and focus on our relative wealth as a set of responsibilities. The ABC shouldn't respect us because we have the cash. He should respect us because we are at least attempting to act out the fact that all human beings are beloved pieces of a divinely incarnate creation and thereby entitled to full humanity. The fact that we have timed this action awkwardly in terms of a vastly multicultural institution and in the face of a savage worldwide conservative backlash is neither here nor there. Fundamentalism is a dangerous force, wherever it appears precisely because it invariably results in one group declaring that another group does not deserve to live.

  13. Deacon Charlie Perrin29/5/10 11:16 AM

    I recall that at the last Lambeth gathering, a Roman Catholic prelate expressed Rome's exasperation with the diversity of thought and practice withing the Anglican Communion. Apparently he voiced Rome's desire that we present a more unified presence in order for them to continue with us on the path toward reunion.

    I believe reunion with Rome is ++Rowan's greatest desire; one for which he seems to be willing to sacrifice the very being of Anglicanism.

    Now we know that Tony Blair, when he was Prime Minister, was really a closet Roman Catholic. Perhaps I have my time sense wrong, but could this have figured into Rowan's elevation to the See of Canterbury?

    Has this been the plan all along, to create an Anglican version of the Vatican? Or am I just being paranoid?

  14. I think you're spot on Deacon Charlie.

    And I hope Rowan Who remembers the last time the Brits pulled this taxation without representation stunt on us Yanks.

  15. Fr Harris--with respect, you can 'argue' all you want, but in so doing is shown the difference between being a presbtyer in a province and being the Archbishop of Canterbury, communion with whose See actually bestows the notion of anglicanism as such (of course you and others are free to repudiate this). So when you write "I would argue too that the ABC is not correct in saying that the Standing Committee is "fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates" you are giving an opinion, but it does not alter the basic facts and the conditions under which the ABC speaks as he does. If he says the SC is fully answerable to the ACC and the Primates, then there it is.
    I continue to find it puzzling--as I am sure the ABC does--that so many in TEC feel it is there right to dictate the terms of Communion life. It isn't. The conditions for that life precede and follow TEC. One such condition is the role of the ABC. Obviously a great many other models/polities for church life exist, like american denominationalism in its various guises. All along, what I sense from so many in TEC is wanting an american denomination (or an international Episcopal Federation) but then not be willing to lay claim to it. Instead, they 'want it all' -- both this self-identity and also a Communion which bends to its will. This would include things like saying the ABC cannot do or say what he does and says -- because one disagrees. That is fine, but the ABC is actually charged with responsibilities and a vocation that TEC does not share, but from which TEC can take its Communion life, should it so wish. Increasingly one hears a division within TEC progressivism. 'Let's take our money and start our own form of life.' vs. 'Let's go anyway and insist on our presence, no matter what requests are made.' It would be of some great benefit to the rest of us if you all sat down and decided what route you wish to pursue, faithfully in Christ. If the Holy Spirit is telling you, you believe, to bless SS unions, and raise up and place in authority Gay and Lesbian Bishops, that same Holy Spirit cannot be saying the exact opposite to the church catholic. Why not following the leading of the Holy Spirit you are hearing and sever ties with those who do not hear the Holy Spirit saying this but indeed its opposite? This is what many of us do not understand. This is no longer the bold action of a MLK from the american sixties. It is wanting to turn the wider communion into your own image, and finding you cannot do that, you are stalled. Why not have the courage of your convictions, in Christ, and see where Christ leads and blesses, if He will and does.

  16. Methinks that ABC should either tinkle or get off the potty. He has pandered to these liberals for far too long. He needs to show strong leadership and pull the whole thing back together by getting rid of the dissendents or if that doesn't suit go back to Lambeth Palace with a G & T and let them all get on with it.
    I fear the worst.

  17. A small disagreement with friend Counterlight. The rich Right Wingers are not about the Gospel. IRD and the other funnels they use to push cash into their causes are about breaking up what they see as liberal political actors like TEC, and the Presbyterians. Central Africans have been complaining for some time about cash flow. They have served the intended political purpose and the money is now seeking new targets.

    I rather doubt if TEC takes its cash off the table that it will be replaced. After all, it is not like the IRD sorts actually care about CANA or ACNA. All they cared about was harming TEC and reducing its political impact.


  18. So many comments re money here.....but can people understand that some others in the AC may think it is best if TEC stopped funding as they see it as buying influence when arguments have not changed what the ABC calls "the mind of the Communion"....even buying Lambeth invitations perhaps...... it would not be surprising if Williams was told that invitations to TEC bishops (except NH) had to me given if he wanted TEC funding.....

    Please feel free to stop cash funding the ACO etc........ let your arguments persuade, not your cash. And if your arguments cannot persuade, do not be forced into compromising your principles ..... eg as TEC did when Gene Robinson was not invited to Lambeth (I am a conservative but thought that was most unfair in several ways....but TEC accepted it....wonder why Williams thinks he can always get TEC to compromise??)

  19. Mark,I have been waiting for your response. Thanks. My small contribution follows.
    I think politics get in the way of the meaning of what persons in Christ ought to be doing, therefore I take issue with the take the money and run. Or, its my ball, I don't get to pitch, home I go, thereby denying the other members of the team the opportunity to play, to learn. It was not easy being in Sudan during Lambeth, but I knew that I was loved and valued in spite of my beliefs. And, it was returned because I was the person, not the institution.

    We are to feed his sheep, now, always, not when we are invited. Because Christ continued his work and teachings in spite of the consequences.
    Besides, who says it is always the other than must be transformed and not me, myself and I?

  20. Why not following the leading of the Holy Spirit you are hearing and sever ties with those who do not hear the Holy Spirit saying this but indeed its opposite? This is what many of us do not understand.

    JinSC, you may not understand, but you may have to accept that the Episcopal Church will not sever ties with the Anglican Communion. TEC may, in the end, be cut off from the AC, but not by our own doing. I doubt very much that we move to sever ties.

    And I say back to you:

    Why not have the courage of your convictions, in Christ, and see where Christ leads and blesses, if He will and does.

  21. JinSC keeps talking about "the role of the ABC" but ignores the fact that the only job the Archbishop of Canterbury has in the Anglican Communion (other than incidentals within bodies such as ACC president) is to invite all bishops of the Communion to the Lambeth Conference.

    Rowan Williams has already failed in this responsibility. All else is coverup.

  22. JB
    “This fighting likely will not end until one side or the other is totally eradicated from TEC and eventually from the communion and likely even Christianity.”

    But why? There are lots of issues where I believe people to mishear the Spirit and they are convinced that I do. The death penalty is a wonderful example of how completely different Christians can feel about a truly important issue without it becoming something that ends in this level of communal self destruction.
    The more usual practice is to let them get on with it while feeling nicely superior.

    I think that much more important than the issue of homosexuality is the question of why we cannot live with difference and how we can learn that truly imperative skill.

  23. Grandmere--do you not read the comments of your fellow-travellers? Many want to form their own Episcopal Church Federation. They loathe the ABC and resent the role he has (the only one with the right to gather/invite). They are incandescent that he speaks as he does about TEC failing to comply with requests, and question who he is to say such things. I suspect that if we get demotions of TEC in the Instruments, we will see a second-tier TEC. Many will not want that and will declare independence. Indeed under these circumstance, the real battle may be one not yet seen: between liberals and moderate liberals.
    As to your question: why would conservatives like CP sever ties with the Communion? They are standing alongside 85% of the Communion. (I can't tell why Fr Harris is angry about RDW's reference to CP -- it is certainly accurate. Is he angry because he doesn't want RDW to refer to them at all, or because he doesn't like CP standing with the Communion and against the trends of TEC? That has been the entire logic of CP -- to stand with the Communion as RDW has described it in this and other letters).

  24. GM,
    here's why some of us believe that the TEC has cut itself off from the communion (to some degree). Consider what "Full Communion" meant in the case of the TEC-ELCA agreement. At the heart of the talks was mutual recognition of ministries and careful and patient negotiation introduced the episcopal office into ELCA, to make this possible.
    In the case of the Anglican Communion TEC has introduced persons into the episcopacy the rest of the communion find difficult to accept. This means we have no longer have mutual recognition of ministries which (as in the ELCA case) is seen as being a crucial mark of communion.
    The same patient negotiation simply did not take place before +NH was consecrated.
    I am sure this is unlikely to convince you, but I offer it as an indication of how others think.

  25. I think that much more important than the issue of homosexuality is the question of why we cannot live with difference and how we can learn that truly imperative skill.

    After 22 comments, Erica Baker hit the nail on the head. This world has too many people who can't get along with one another. The most urgently needed witness we can offer is that of a community which lives together in spite of their differences. On Pentecost of all days, in which we celebrate the diversity of the world to which we are called, why can we not recognize that?

  26. The best solution is to show up, continue as always and make the pretender-to-empire try to exercise and authority he doesn't have and embarrass himself. He's already emperor-sans-clothing in the GS, let him be seen for the mewling dwarf standing on giants' shoulders he is in the rest of the world.

  27. JinSC, I always read all the comments before I comment, even those of my fellow travelers (commies all). As to the future, we shall see. If TEC becomes second tier, perhaps our assessments will be reduced.

    Who is asking the CP's to leave the Communion? Not I, nor anyone here.

    John Sandeman, as I see it, we're in full communion with any member of the AC that will share the table of the Lord with us. I'ts not for me to say who is in, and who is out. We have not taken ourselves out of the Anglican Communion. You, of course, may not agree.

    As to the mutual recognition of ministries, that has not been in place across the board in the AC for many years. I offer the examples women clergy and women bishops.

  28. "At the heart of the talks was mutual recognition of ministries and careful and patient negotiation introduced the episcopal office into ELCA, to make this possible."

    John, the ELCA did not need to have the episcopal office introduced to it. The ELCA had bishops from its founding.

    What it did not have, nor value at the time, was Apostolic Succession. What the ELCA did not wish to infer was, that prior to it reception of the Apostolic Succession from Lutheran churches with an historic unbroken succession, that previous ELCA orders were invalid. It also took some time for the concept of ordination solely by bishops to be accepted. There is still resistance in some ELCA quarters to that concept, shown in a proposal at an ELCA Church-wide Assembly of legislation to allow ordination by priests in "emergencies." Whatever that means. (I understand the idea of emergency baptism, but not emergency ordination.)

    As far as patient negotiation, full communion between TEC and the ELCA was lightening quick compared to the 50 year journey of TEC toward full communion of GLBT Christians. That you lot wished to ignore what was occurring during those many long years says more of thee than we.

  29. David,
    tanks for the info about Lutheran bishops. the Lutheran Church in Australia does not have bishops and the apostolic sucession question has not been raised yet AFAIK in te dialogue.

    that problematic phrase in your second par is "you lot". I am sure you agree that the Anglican Communion is very diverse. I think it is fair to say that Western Evangelicals for example have been aware of the GLBT debate in TEC. But for most of the fifty years you instance, and perhaps still, there has been/is a imbalance in the ability of parts of the world recieving information. I think there is a tendency to ignore issues of poverty and its affect on communication when talking about these issues. I don't think saying the rest of the world should have been paying attention to TEC is a good enough answer.
    (this does not answer the question about whether TEC has been right or wrong in its direction - m erelly that it has not got an exemplary record of communicating to the rest of the communion).

  30. Grandmere Mimi,
    For want of a better term I would regard TEC as being in a state of "impaired" communion with some partsof the anglican Communion.
    Full communion implies (as in the TEC/ELCA agreement recognition of each others ministries.) ELCA can set up a local church down the street from your parish and you are in full communion with them. If the AMIA (which is part of the Episcopal church of Rwanda) did that, you would not I take it regard yourself as being in full communion with them. Or would you? (I may be in peril of putting words in your mouth).

  31. John, you may regard TEC as in impaired communion with other member churches, and certain other member churches may think the same. I consider that I am in communion with any member of the AC who will shall the table with me.

    With respect to AMiA, is AMiA a member of the AC?

    The question of being in full communion with churches of other denominations is an entirely different matter, which I did not comment on at all.

  32. ELCA is to TEC as ECoR is to TEC is not a true
    concept John. ELCA is to TEC as AMiA is to TEC is also not a true concept. You are comparing apples to oranges here.

    Then the question becomes John, why, if the AMiA is part of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, is the ECoR setting up parishes, without assent from the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities, in the jurisdiction of the resident Anglican province, the Episcopal Church? It has to business doing so.

  33. It is funny John how you have no consistency regarding the majority of the AC. One moment you lot are happy to be parading out the idea that you stand with the majority of the AC in your opposition to the steps taken by TEC to open everything available to heterosexual folks in TEC to GLBT folks in TEC. But then are quick to jump to some defense that this majority that stands with you has not had an opportunity to actually know the issues, they are poor and less privileged, and have less sophisticated opportunities of communication to actually be expected to know what has been going on these past 50 years. You cannot have your cake and eat it too, John. They are either knowledgable about the last 50 years and stand with you in opposition to the position of TEC, or are not knowledgeable and could not stand with you in an informed manner. It cannot be both.

  34. Unsurprisingly, David, I do not see the contradiction you do. Behind your comment is the idea of progressive revelation. The parts of the Anglican Communion have lacked modern communication teach what traditional Christianity has taught.
    To argue that they are deficient in their Christianity by being cut off from some recent developments, is to assume that revelation is progressive - that for example that TEC is led by the Spirit into its new ways.
    As I don't make that assumption I can stand with them in their view, and I don't see that being cut off from TEC's internal discussion somehow cuts them off from the truth.
    I know you see things differently.
    The point I made earlier was to blame people for not following the TEC discussions ignores the effect of of poverty, colonialism, and the inward focus of the USA.

  35. The letters are out and our people have been kicked off the relevant committees. Ça commence.


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.