Questions asked of Canon Kenneth Kearon by Executive Council

These were the questions asked of Canon Kenneth Kearon by Executive Council. More later on his responses.

There is a covenant being considered that has in it certain processes, some of which have caused great concern for some of the provinces on how fairly they would be applied. For example, the Province of New Zealand gave only partial approval to the covenant, with members of its General Synod noting that Section 4 could “get into a situation where we sanctify a process of exclusion or marginalization” and that it might be implemented in ways that are “punitive, controlling and completely unAnglican.” Do the recent actions of the Archbishop of Canterburygive credence to these concerns? [Canon Rosalie Balletine, Esq., Chair of the World Mission Legislative Committee, Diocese of the Virgin Islands]

There are always consequences to living authentically as Christians. Within relationships among Christians, however, we ought to have opportunity to question those consequences, lest all end up walking on eggshells. Is there such a process now? And, do you foresee a season of such sanctions or is the removal of ecumenical committee appointees from The Episcopal Church an isolated event? [President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson, Diocese of Michigan]

You have stated that The Episcopal Church does not “share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.” Given the place of the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral in our common life as The Episcopal Church, how was it determined that The Episcopal Church does not share this faith and order? [Blanca Echeverry, Esq., Diocese of Colombia]
I am Jim Simons, a priest resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh which, as I’m sure you are aware, went through a recent and painful schism. Currently, there are over 100 priests, deacons and one bishop canonically resident in the Province of The Southern Cone as well as another Bishop canonically resident in the Province of Rwanda functioning in our diocese without licenses and laying claim to some of our parishes. This is in clear violation of the canons and it is also not unique to our diocese. What if any disciplinary action do you anticipate toward provinces who engage in such jurisdictional incursions? [the Rev’d James Simons, Diocese of Pittsburgh]

As a lesbian priest, in a 20-year relationship, legally recognized civil union in my state for ten years , and serving in a congregation, I ask this question because inclusion is very important to me. In his Pentecost letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, “We are praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion. That means above all a vast deepening of our capacity to receive the gift of being adopted sons and daughters of the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It means a deepened capacity to speak of Jesus Christ in the language of our context so that we are heard and the Gospel is made compelling and credible.” Removing people by executive action seems counter-intuitive to furthering inclusion. How is the exclusion of Episcopal Church members reconciled with the language of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter? [the Rev’d Canon Lee Alison Crawford, Diocese of Vermont]

The Church of England remains in full communion and ecumenical dialogue with the Old Catholic Church, which blesses same-sex unions, and the Church of Sweden, which has a partnered lesbian bishop and blesses same-sex marriages. Given this fact, how are we to reconcile the removal of Episcopal Church members from ecumenical bodies? [the Rt Rev’d Wendell Gibbs, Bishop of Michigan]


  1.      Whoa. I'm glad I'm not Ken trying to answer these questions. I didn't know much about the folks on our national standing committee, but I have new-found respect for them.

         I am reminded of a quote by Thoreau: "It is true, I might have resisted forcibly with more or less effect, might have run "amok" against society; but I preferred that society should run "amok" against me, it being the desperate party."

         It would appear to me that the Archbishop of Canterbury is the desperate party.

  2. Absolutely marvelous questions, Mark! I'm glad to see the issues raised so directly. Kudos to you all.

    And thanks for the report. I look forward to hearing about Canon Kearon's responses; I hope they're half as clear and direct as the questions. I'm hoping it was a waffle-free zone. ;-)

  3. Were there any answers or was the Canon mute?

  4. OOPS! I missed part of your missive. Looking forward to hearing the Canon's roar.

  5. Sounds like a bunch of whining to me.

    Why can't our members on EC understand that ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES? They are all like George W. thinking that they can act with impunity and have no international consequences.


  6. As Christians of the Episcopalian and Anglican variety, we are advised by the epistle writer James to "let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no".

    Hold the Canon responsible for direct answers. Waffles are best for feeding stomachs, but not for feeding the souls of the flock.

  7. Why are you opposing the redirection of funds?

    Episcopalians are sick to death of paying for the Anglican Communion Office, Lambeth tea parties and all the Anglican waste, fraud and abuse.

    If we haven't the money for an evangelism officer, we haven't the money for Lambeth.

  8. Great questions. Will be interesting to get some answers! So, what's the process, i.e. how will Canon Kearon respond?

  9. I can tell you the answer to the last question: Given this fact, how are we to reconcile the removal of Episcopal Church members from ecumenical bodies?

    Because you're bloody Yanks, that's why. You dare pull back the curtain on the comfy ol' British wink-wink-nudge-nudge.

    I wrote about this a few months ago, in Rowan Williams' Problem with Americans

  10. I am deeply thankful for these insightful questions and cannot see any way that Canterbury can answer them with any integrity. Jim Melnyk+

  11. I look forward to getting your first-hand report of the meeting. Did everyone's jaw dropped when Canon Kearon said the problem was diversity?

  12. Diversity is indeed a problem--it is now a code word for gross immorality.

  13. It's one thing to say there are consequences and be clear about them from the offset; it is another thing to say there will be consequences but not say what they are until they are taken and at that unevenly and then even with that, have the sense that the goal posts are being moved all the while.

    These questions are not whining; they are trying to figure out what is going on.

  14. Very good questions. Remember to watch and see how he answers them - that might give you a clue to the real agenda going on.

    RE the redirection of funds:

    I think it unwise to continue directing TEC funds to the support of AC structures will have the result of a tithe-rebellion. Put bluntly, people are angry, and if you don't redirect funds away from support of Canterbury and the ACC, the pew-sitters will.

  15. I'm with LKT. When I read that Kearon thinks diversity in the Anglican Communion is "the problem," I said to myself, "then it's all over."

  16. I wanted to engage Sam's question/challenge, but my response was too long. So I put it on my blog.

    Mark, like so many others, I look forward to hearing your "take" on the Executive Council meeting. You all had a heck of a job this time. I'm glad you're on the board!

  17. I've been following the recent "goings on" from Germany (the time difference has been delightful for this, actually). In short, what a mess.

    However, when I read this from Canon Kearnon, I would have spewed coffee all over the keyboard:

    Towards the end of his nearly 10-minute statement, Kearon spoke about so-called "cross-border interventions" in which a bishop representing one province or diocese acts in another without permission. "Each instrument of communion, including the Primates Meeting, has condemned them and asked for them to cease, but we are a voluntary communion and have no [ability] to act against a province," he said.

    I think I've got this straight: We are a voluntary communion that has no ability to act against a province that is in violation of Windsor regarding cross-border interventions, but this same voluntary communion CAN AND WILL act against a province that pushes for inclusion of all God's children and that has deemed girl cooties to be a figment of the imagination.

    Do I have that right?

  18. Okay, to clarify a common misunderstanding here:

    What you're hearing is not TEC's whining about "consequences" - there is shock that a coup of this nature has happened, in which a pretender to power simply exercises fiat in this fashion, and amazement at the defiant duplicity and readily-apparent lying about the application of moratoria - but not whining.

    TEC realizes there are consequences, and what you are hearing is a cautionary voice from TEC saying, "Sure you want to do this? You can't take it back if you do?"

    Williams and Kearon and their handlers have not yet realized that consequences have actions. He is about to break the Anglican Communion for good and all. There will be no way to rebuild it, as Williams has absolutely no legal authority over any church in the U. S.. He can't redesignate property, can't demand funds, can't even demand we cease identifying ourselves as Angican. He can't close one church or remove one bishop.

    The right-wing lauding this change in understanding - this desired centralization of power - have yet to realize that actions have consequences, as well. Like Samuel, we're telling you, "You want a king like other nations? Here's what he'll do to you . . ." You want a papal figure, great, have one. But, then, your new pope'll be telling you what to do, and you'll either do it, or be put out like TEC.

    There is nothing that can be done to harm TEC in all of this, but the right-wing and the Anglican Communion will be wrecked irrevocably.

    We've accepted the consequences. We're simply pointing out that consequences go both ways.

  19. Diversity is indeed a problem--it is now a code word for gross immorality.

    Sloganeering is neither helpful nor evidence of clear vision and thought.

  20. "but we are a voluntary communion and have no [ability] to act against a province." (he said) - Canon Kearon -

    Then why, in the Name of God, does Canterbury act against TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada? Sounds like forked-tongue stuff to me in NZ

    Fr. Ron

  21. Midwestnorwegian19/6/10 8:29 AM

    No need for a "covenant" now that Schori has been de-mitered! LOL!

    But seriously folks...why doesn't TEC and The ACC just hang it up and merge with the Unitarians, Shakers, and other dwindling sects who really don't believe in much anyway? Just askin'...

  22. Mark--why not just gather the new TEC international fellowship (with ASA in 6 of the units in Europe amounting to 1000 or so) and march boldly ahead? Let go with worrying about the Communion that remains. The idea of a papal Cantuar is a fantasy, risible to anyone watching this from outside the closed universe of progressivistic TECdom. It reminds me of european reaction to the term 'World Series' being used for a baseball championship played entirely by the US (and Toronto), and compare World Cup. What we have here is TEC thinking of itself as 'World' anglicanism, when the notion to all others makes about as much sense as a US baseball championship calling itself a 'World Series.' It is time to disengage these expressions of anglicanism, and thankfully it looks like TEC officialdom is seizing the initiative. The question for me is whether moderate liberals like the Bishops of VA, SoVa, FL, SWFL, et al will want to be part of the Exec Council's 'World TEC Church.' How far down does this vision of EC go into the pews in the regions just named? I wager here is where the surprize will be for EC's World Church idea. TOH

  23. To be honest, I think most of the questions miss the point. No doubt the Southern Cone has violated the moratoria, but what does this have to do with the ecumenical dialogues of the Anglican Communion? They ask about what groups the Church of England is in full communion with, as if our relationship with the Church of England is actually the point, or our relationship with them has changed. (It hasn't. The Church of England is not the Anglican Communion.) And I see no reason to see the ABC's actions as punitive, but simply recognizing that the Episcopal Church has come to a different conclusion about sexual mores than the rest of the Anglican Communion, and proceeding accordingly. We're still in the Anglican Communion, not members second-class; we just don't get to speak for the rest of them; that's all. I don't think histrionics will help the situation, and I think a little less concern about our status, power, and prestige would probably be helpful and give much more support to the Presiding Bishop's claim that the Spirit is at work in our midst.

  24. But seriously folks...why doesn't TEC and The ACC just hang it up and merge with the Unitarians, Shakers, and other dwindling sects who really don't believe in much anyway? Just askin'...

    Ummm... Because we're not Unitarian. Again, what does different views on gender and sexuality have to do with belief in Jesus as the Incarnate Word?

    We already are in full communion with the Lutherans, and in Canada, they are going to start holding their Synods together. We seem to be "hanging it up" with them who by any measure are moderate, mainstream Christian bodies.

    (But we know you weren't being serious...)

    And what major liturgical Christian body isn't dwindling these days? They can't sell Catholic churches in this area fast enough.

  25. The Episcopal Church is free to do what it wants. It has been part of the Anglican Communion for all its life, although the Communion had no official existence for some of that time, which one might say began with the first Lambeth Conference in the 1860's. The members of the Anglican Communion are descended, organizationally and spiritually, from the Church of England, and are a body of independent, national or regional churches around the world. There is indeed no office akin to the Pope, with authority over all the constituent members. Thus, the Episcopal Church is free to do what it pleases.

    However, that still leaves the other constituent churches to do what they please. They are free to decide how to respond to the actions of the Episcopal Church in ways that make sense to them.

    As an analogy, suppose that I am a member of a group of friends who first met in kindergarten. We have grown up, and now enjoy our own lives but stay in touch and have picnics and other events together. One day, for reasons that make sense to me, I pop one of my old friends on the nose. Is it reasonable for me to expect him to ignore such an action? Not very.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has been very patient with the Episcopal Church, possibly in part because he has given evidence that he agrees with many of the decisions of TEC over the last few decades. But he also knows the decisions that have been made by the Anglican Communion as a whole, and is trying to uphold those decisions.

    Actions have consequences. We are starting to see some of those consequences.

    It is also very interesting to hear those who had said that lay members of the Episcopal Church should not try to influence decisions of the larger Episcopal Church by withholding donations now threaten to without financial support from the Anglican Communion. When the shoe is on your foot, you discover that it pinches!


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.