Saturday, March 31, 2007

Storm brews round bishops’ rebuff to Tanzania

[Church Times] 31 Mar 2007--Responses came thick and fast to the decision by the bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) to reject the Primates’ proposal of appointing a Primatial Vicar for dissenting congregations last week (News, 23 March).
Some saw it as the trigger for schism, and the end of the road for any attempt to find a way out of the impasse.

The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Revd Greg Venables, described the decision as “tragic but predictable. . . In any other context it would be laughed at.” He went on: “It is not possible to maintain relationships when one party unilaterally and coldly departs from previously agreed foundations. Now we must move to separation as quickly and gracefully as possible.”

Canon Dr Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream described it as “a declaration of war” by the Episcopal Church on the Anglican Communion. “They know the Archbishop of Canterbury is not going to force them to leave; so it’s a direct challenge to the rest of the Communion to live with them in the Anglican Communion or leave themselves,” he said in a statement.

National Episcopal body to hear bishop's case

[The Philadelphia Inquirer] 31 Mar 2007--A special committee of the Episcopal Church USA will consider allegations that Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. has spent more than $6 million in diocesan funds without proper authorization, and decide if he should face a church trial.

In an unrelated matter, the leaders of several major diocesan boards advised Bennison last week that the diocese faced a deficit of as much as $500,000 this year, and warned that it might not be able to pay bills by mid-summer.

Bennison, who heads the five-county Diocese of Pennsylvania, said yesterday he was confident he would not be charged and said he was working with diocesan leaders to resolve the financial crisis. He called the situation serious but said, "We will pay our bills."

Dissident pastor rebuts diocese's allegations,1299,DRMN_15_5454974,00.html

[Rocky Mountain News] 31 Mar 2007--The Rev. Don Armstrong, who seceded from The Episcopal Church this week amid a bitter fight with the bishop, defended himself Friday against allegations of financial wrongdoing.

Related article:
Theft accusations called ‘fantasy’ - Colorado Springs Gazette

Bishop Faces Uncertain Future

[The Lakeland Ledger] 31 Mar 2007--Uncertainty seems to be Bishop John Howe's companion these days.

Just returned from last week's meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops at a retreat center in Texas, Howe reflected this week on the continuing crisis within the American denomination and with its Anglican cousins overseas. Asked if a break within the Episcopal Church is now inevitable, the leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida sighed deeply.

"I don't know," he said after a moment. "Anglicans have been famous for finding some sort of middle ground. It's possible we may squeak through. But the long-predicted realignment is probably inevitable. What that means (for conservatives), I don't think anyone knows."

Anglican Church in crisis

[The Toronto Star] 31 Mar 2007--Jim Ferry, bullied as a boy and forced from the pulpit of his Unionville church because he is gay, says it's time for the Anglican Church to bring gays and lesbians into the fold – even if it means splitting the church apart.

Akinola 'demonised'

[Times Online] 31 Mar 2007--Friends of the Archbishop of Nigeria hope that the news that the Nigerian anti-gay laws have fallen will help throw some perspective on earlier of what is actually going on over there. 'There is a demonisation of Peter Akinola taking place which really is not fair, and sits very ill at ease with the remembrances on the abolition of slavery,' one told me today. 'It seems that Africans are to be welcomed and apologised to, unless we happen to disagree with them.' Integrity USA is running an interesting report from David Mac-Iyalla of Changing Attitude in Nigeria that suggests the bill is indeed dead. But Davis and others will not be officially celebrating until the end of May, in case it is re-introduced by the new parliament.

On being Anglican in the 21st Century

[Global South Anglican] 31 Mar 2007--To speak of Anglicanism today, either as a church tradition or as an ecclesial communion, is to speak of one of the most vibrant and unstable expressions of Christianity within the world. Churches are growing in numbers in some areas of the world at a staggering pace. In other parts of the world, ideas are being articulated and debates are taking place with a dizzying energy. We all know that relations – within national Anglican churches and among them – are charged, confusing, and re-ordering themselves every day with unexpected direction and sometimes ferocity. How does this experienced picture of the Anglican Church match the image of the stodgy and tempered parochial life of rural England that we still carry in our imaginations?

Interview with Fr. Don Armstrong

[Stand Firm] 31 Mar 2007--Stand Firm has a link to this audio interview on its website.

Fr. Donald Armstrong's Letter to Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish,1299,DRMN_15_5455875,00.html

[Rocky Mountain News] 31 Mar 2007--It is clear, as I work through what are now formal accusations against me and about which you have been informed in a letter from the diocese, that there is nothing about these allegations that cannot be reasonably understood when all, not just some, of the facts are available. It is my own and the vestry’s intention to share with the congregation all the facts, and we are confident that the operation of our church and my participation in parish decisions will be fully exonerated.

The reality of my innocence, however, is a possibility Rob O’Neill is unwilling to let disrupt his own fantasy that I have done something terribly wrong, and his fierce determination to destroy me has made it impossible for anyone to participate in granting me a fair hearing in the ecclesial system of the Diocese of Colorado for fear of their own professional well being. I have not been afforded due process in any way. I have been prevented by inhibition from responding to the allegations against me. I have been treated as guilty until proven innocent.

Episcopal parish fragments further as two clergy leave,1299,DRMN_15_5452094,00.html

[Rocky Mountain News] 31 Mar 2007--The breakup of an Episcopal parish continued Thursday in Colorado Springs.

A priest and a deacon who were hired by the renegade rector, the Rev. Don Armstrong, have chosen to stand with the Episcopal Diocese rather than side with "the secessionist" Armstrong, the diocesan office confirmed.

Statement of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Central Florida Regarding the House of Bishop’s Response to the Dar es Salaam Communique

[Stand Firm] 31 Mar 2007--The Bishops dismissed the possibility of acceding to the unanimous request of the primates to establish a Pastoral Council with a Primatial Vicar as incompatible with the polity and canons of The Episcopal Church. By doing this they have, in our view, and despite their protestations to the contrary, made a choice to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

Additionally, they passed a resolution which declares that the meaning of the preamble to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church is determined solely by The General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Through this resolution they are setting The General Convention up as the sole arbiter of what it means to be a constituent member of the Anglican Communion. In other words, they want to be part of the Anglican family, but only on their own terms. We find this arrogance unacceptable and embarrassing.

Row over Schori's Primates Statement

[Stand Firm] 31 Mar 2007--US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has qualified her support for the primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué, telling reporters her endorsement did not connote agreement, but signified her intention to act as the primates’ messenger to the US House of Bishops.

In a March 21 conference call with reporters, Bishop Jefferts Schori said she backed the US House of Bishops’ decision to reject the pastoral council. Asked whether this support served to revoke her signature on the primates’ communiqué, she responded that she had not signed the Feb 19 Dar es Salaam statement.

Bishop Cox Leaves The Episcopal Church

[The Living Church] 31 Mar 2007--Concerned that his presentment trial would be a financial and public relations disaster for The Episcopal Church, retired Bishop William J. Cox informed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on March 29 that he had left The Episcopal Church and had been received into the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

Friday, March 30, 2007

What's in a Name?

In its famous decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures of April 8, 1546 the Council of Trent “laid down the principle that the unwritten traditions, proceeding from our Lord or from the Apostles - unwritten, that is, in the Sacred Scriptures - were to be received with equal piety and reverence with the Holy Scriptures themselves” (Henry Wace, The Main Purpose and Character of the Thirty-Nine Articles, Ladies League Booklet No.18). The Council of Trent decreed that the unwritten traditions of the Church should be accepted as of equal authority with the Scriptures, making them the formal rule of faith, as well as of practice. The Council of Trent would assert, as the basis of all its subsequent proceedings, the insufficiency of the Holy Scriptures as the rule of faith. In their controversies with the Reformers, the Roman bishops and theologians recognized that if they conducted these controversies on the basis of Holy Scriptures alone, they would be defeated. Therefore they chose to give much greater weight to tradition than had been previously done.

Article 6 of the Forty-Two Articles of Religion of 1552 and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1563 adopted by the Church of England is a repudiation of the position of the Church of Rome. It affirms the sufficiency of Holy Scripture for our salvation. It declares: “Holy Scripture sets forth everything that is necessary for our salvation. Consequently, nobody should be required to believe as an article of the Christian faith, or to regard as necessary for salvation, anything that is not found in Scripture” (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Restatement of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, Art. 6).

The Episcopal Church’s revisionist theologians also question the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures as the rule of the faith. Their motivation is akin to that of the Council of Trent. Scripture does not support their theological views. They must apply to a different authority for needed support. In their case they appeal to experience and to a lesser degree to reason.

In the second half of the 20th century The Episcopal Church dropped “Protestant” from its name. Orthodox Episcopalians did at the time not appreciate the significance of this action; indeed Catholic-minded Episcopalians supported it. In order to appreciate its significance, however, we must first consider the meaning of that designation. In The Main Purpose and Character of the Thirty-Nine Articles, Ladies League Booklet No.18, Wace makes several critical observations about the meaning of the word “Protestant”. He writes:

“There is a danger lest we should be content to accept it as a mere war cry… by treating- it as expressing a mere protest against certain abuses which are offensive to us. That is not the original meaning of the word. Its original meaning was positive, not negative. It was first used of those who were called Protestants in the Diet of Spiers, because they asserted that men were bound in conscience to follow the Word of God, no matter what human authority might be against them, and that no majority had a right to force consciences. The essential and positive meaning of the word “Protestant,” therefore, is embodied in our Sixth Article. When we call ourselves Protestants, when we proclaim that the Church of England is a Protestant Church, we are protesting that the Word of God - the word of the prophets of the Old Testament, the Word of Christ and his Apostles - is the one rule, the one supreme authority, which we recognize, and that we make it the main object of our lives, in private, in public, and in all Church affairs, to apprehend the truth, and to realize the ideals, which that word sets before us. We recognize, indeed, that the best realization which that Word has ever received in the Christian ages was exhibited in the Primitive Church, and we therefore look to that Church as a guide, which we hope never to desert in any important point of the interpretation of the Word of God.”

In its use of “Protestant” in its name the Protestant Episcopal Church was asserting the sole and paramount authority of Holy Scripture in controversies of faith. This was not merely of cardinal importance in the controversy; it indicated the whole character of the position that the Protestant Episcopal Church assumed. The dropping of “Protestant: from the denomination’s name signified a shift in attitude toward the Bible and its authority in controversies of faith. This shift is very evident today.

In orthodox Anglican and Episcopalian circles in the United States there is a tendency to describe Anglicanism as “Reformed Catholicism.” The use of this phrase appears intended to gloss over the theological differences between those who describe themselves as “orthodox”. However, it is clear that some who use this self-description are more reformed than Catholic and others more Catholic than reformed. Significant disparities exist in their theological outlooks. The use of the word “Protestant” in describing Anglicanism has acquired the status of being politically incorrect terminology in these circles. This is unfortunate since “Protestant” is an accurate description of the character of the classical Anglican position on a host of issues. Avoiding the word “Protestant” also downplays the place that the Bible has occupied in the Anglican tradition. The avoidance of the “P” word may be a concession to Catholic sensibilities but this avoidance prevents the more Catholic-leaning of the “orthodox” from coming to terms with the reality that they reside in a Protestant tradition and not on the basis of history alone. We are doing in this century what our forebears did in the sixteenth century: we are asserting that we as Christians are bound in conscience to follow the Word of God, no matter what human authority might be against us. No majority has a right to force consciences. We are protesting the Word of God as the rule of faith and the supreme authority. We should not shrink from viewing our great tradition and ourselves as “Protestant.”

Breakaway Episcopal pastor accused of financial misdeeds

[The Washington Times] 30 Mar 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is accusing the pastor of a conservative Colorado Springs parish of financial misconduct just days after the parish voted to secede over the church's liberal direction.

The diocese charged the Rev. Don Armstrong, rector of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, the largest Episcopal parish in Colorado, with stealing and misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars over a 10-year period.

The accusations, sent in a letter to parishioners Wednesday, came two days after the parish's vestry voted to leave the Episcopal Church over issues of sexuality and biblical authority and unite with the Nigerian-led Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

At the same time, Mr. Armstrong, a nationally known spokesman for the conservative cause, took back control of the church after a four-month administrative leave, during which he was under investigation for misapplication of church funds. He has denied charges of financial impropriety, noting that his taxes and the church's finances are being independently audited. He plans to respond in detail to the charges at an April 14 public meeting.

He and his supporters have accused Bishop Robert O'Neill of trumping up charges as punishment for his refusal to toe the liberal diocese line.

Anglicans to vote on controversial resolution

[] 30 Mar 2007--Canadian Anglicans will soon vote on a resolution which states that "the blessing of same-sex unions is consistent with the core doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada."

The vote will take place during the General Synod, which meets every three years, and is the chief governing mechanism of the denomination in Canada. This year's synod will meet June 19 - 25 in Winnipeg.

The controversial resolution is one of five resolutions on the topic that were agreed on by the Council of General Synod at a meeting March 8 - 11 in Mississauga, Ontario. The Council is a smaller body that serves as an executive between meetings of the General Synod.

The same-sex resolution, if passed, could sever the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) from many other national bodies throughout the worldwide Anglican communion; and it could cause some Canadian members to leave the church.

From the University of the South School of Theology faculty in response to the Primates.

[The Confessing Tiger] 30 Mar 2007--In response to the Primates' invitation to participate in discussion of the Draft Anglican Covenant issued by the Covenant Design Group in January of 2007 and released by the Primates for general discussion in the Church after their meeting in Tanzania in February, certain members of the School ofTheology Faculty sent the attached statement, drawn up by them after discussion, reflection, and prayer, to the House of Bishops. We hoped that it might contribute to their discussions. We emphasized (and emphasize)that it is a statement by the individual signatories, not a resolution by the faculty of the School of Theology as a whole. I now send it to you, our colleagues in the School of Theology, believing that you may be interested to see what we have said.

I was born traditional

[Matthias Media] 30 Mar 2007--My kids were having a shouting match the other day. "They need to learn to fight," I thought to myself.

Nigerian “same-sex” bill “abandoned” reports Changing Attitude

[Anglican Mainstream] 30 Mar 2007--Davis Mac-Iyalla who attended the Primates Meeting in Tanzania like others as a press representative confirms that with the closure of the current session of the Nigerian Parliament, the “same-sex bill” in Nigeria has now been “abandoned”. That part of the press release is consistent with the paragraph in the following letter to the Church Times today that, contrary to many reports, Anglican leaders have been working to uphold human-rights issues in the proposed legislation on homosexuality. The alternative scenario to be avoided would have been for Sharia law with its fatal penalties to be enacted.

Related article:
Progress halted on same-sex bill in Nigeria - ekklesia

Rowan Williams to take three-month break

[Times Online] 30 Mar 2007--The Archbishop of Canterbury is taking 'study leave' in June and July. August will be his usual annual holiday. Apart from the Petertide ordinations at Canterbury Cathedral, Dr Rowan Williams will be dedicating June and July to academic study and spiritual reflection. Some of the time will be spent out of the country. Meanwhile, as Living Church reports, Bishop Herzog in the US has gone over to Rome.

Complaint Against Bishop Bennison Sent to Review Panel

[The Living Church] 30 Mar 2007--Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has forwarded to the Title IV Review Committee a formal complaint made last November against Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison, Jr., by the 10 lay and clerical members of the diocesan standing committee.

Bishop Herzog Joins the Roman Catholic Church

[The Living Church] 30 Mar 2007--The Rt. Rev. William H. Love, Bishop of Albany, has appealed for unity following news that his predecessor has entered into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Related article:
Retired Episcopal bishop joins Catholics - Albany Times Union

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Who Will Blink First

[] 29 Mar 2007--The Episcopal Church (TEC) reactions to the Communique from the February Primates’ Meeting are fascinating. The Primates requested, among other things, the suspension of litigation over property issues against dioceses and parishes leaving the TEC (they are still going on); that no bishop authorise any service of blessing for same-sex unions; and they asked the TEC House of Bishops to confirm that candidates for Episcopal elections living in a same-sex relationship not receive the required consent for election.

Why I Am Not An Anglican

[] 29 Mar 2007--If ever there was a week to feel good about being Anglican it was this week, with the Anglican Communion moving to discipline the wayward American Episcopal Church.

But let’s imagine that things had gone badly. What if the liberals had captured the Anglican Communion last week and got control of everything Anglican?

Some things simply would not change: the gospel would have remained good news. God’s word would still be true in all that it affirms. The Lord Jesus would still be the only way to the Father. His death on the cross would still be enough to save even me.

On the downside, a lot of historic buildings might fall down. Moore College would have to buy a new campus – but we need to do that anyway. And while I don’t go to one of those flagship supposedly-hardline parishes, I’m sure we would leave our buildings and I would be stacking chairs in some school hall each Sunday.

Conflict escalates between diocese, dissident pastor,1299,DRMN_15_5450039,00.html
[Rocky Mountain News] 29 Mar 2007--An investigation by the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado into accusations of "financial wrongdoing" by the Rev. Don Armstrong of Grace and St. Stephen's parish alleges the theft and misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in church money over about 10 years, the bishop said.

The allegations are listed in a March 27 letter to parishioners of the 2,000-member Colorado Springs church from Bishop Rob O'Neill.

Armstrong could not be reached for comment. On Monday, he explained to the Rocky Mountain News in broad terms the allegations and denied wrongdoing.

The bishop's letter was sent a day after Armstrong and nine of the parish's 11-member governing board voted to secede from the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado and from the national church as well.

At the same time, Armstrong took back control of the parish, which he lost in December when O'Neill launched an investigation into what the diocese called "misapplied funds."

According to O'Neill's letter, an attorney hired by a diocesan committee reviewed six volumes of documents, evaluated a forensic accounting firm's report and conducted about 45 interviews. The report was delivered to the committee the same day leaders of the church seceded.

Charges Against Breakway Megachurch Pastor Heats Up Dispute

[The Christian Post] 29 Mar 2007--The leader of a breakaway Episcopal parish will face financial misconduct allegations in the diocese's judicial system, officials said Wednesday.

The action came two days after leaders of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs voted to leave the denomination and join a Nigerian-linked missionary diocese. They left because they were upset about the liberal theological direction of the national church, particularly when it comes to gay relationships.

Hours after the vote, diocese officials handed down the church equivalent of an indictment against the Rev. Donald Armstrong but did not release specifics. Parish leaders criticized the action against him as the product of a "kangaroo court."

Denominational change emotional for members

[Colorado Springs Gazette] 29 Mar 2007--Longtime Episcopalian Jack Scrivner isn’t too worried about where he’ll go to church in the wake of a denomination shake-up at Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish.

He’s concerned about where his ashes will be buried.

Beneath a well-tended flower bed in the downtown church’s courtyard are the ashes of his wife, Nancy, who died in November 2003. She and other deceased Episcopalians were put to rest there in a columbarium, a place to collect urns.

Scrivner, 81 and a member of the church for nearly 30 years, plans to be placed beside her when he dies. But with the church’s ownership and leadership in limbo, he fears his resting place may be in jeopardy.

Thank You Bishops: Orthodox Unity Restored

[Stand Firm] 29 Mar 2007--The bishops of the Episcopal Church have done the (seemingly) impossible. With a few exceptions they have managed to heal the division between communion conservatives and federal conservatives.

In months following Camp Allen I and Camp Allen II there had been a widening rift between those orthodox who advocated an internal strategy based on a diverse group of Windsor Bishops united by the Camp Allen principles, determined to remain distinct from, but operate within, the existing structures of the Episcopal Church; and those who sought a separate, largely confessional, "both/and" structure that existed both within and beyond the jurisdictional boundaries of the Episcopal Church.

The ACI proposal, for an example of the latter, suggested an internal strategy that would have provided some significant jurisdictional relief for Windsor parishes in non-Windsor dioceses but left departed Network parishes and Common Cause partners like the AMiA and CANA with no near-term option for participation beyond an unthinkable return to the Episcopal Church.

By contrast, the strategy articulated by Bishop Duncan at the 2006 Network Conference in Pittsburgh, envisioned a structure straddling the jurisdictional boundaries of the Episcopal Church, founded on a confessional document, that would serve to unite the orthodox.

The source of the division between communion and federal conservative was, I believe, a core difference with regard to ecclesiology. Communion conservatives tend to favor a conciliar approach to controversies. It is not that they favor unity over truth. Rather, they tend to believe that truth is best discerned and determined from within the boundaries of a united body and they lament the visible divisions so evident in Protestantism. The prospect of a cohesive internal structure (the Windsor Coalition) based on conciliar (Windsor) principles was ideal from the standpoint of communion conservatives because it maintained the greatest level of institutional unity possible both within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

A Very Messy Divorce In The Making

[The Iconic Midwest] 29 Mar 2007--I've been an interested spectator to the slow disintegration of the Episcopal Church for quite some time. The schism is inevitable and has been clearly discernible for quite some time even to a complete outsider like myself. Traditionalists have basically been told by "progressives" that there is no room for them in the American Episcopal Church, so why don't they get the hell out.

The reason I'm interested in this sad spectacle is I'm sure this is exactly how things will play out in the Catholic Church once the "progressives" reach the majority. This movement represents the complete politicization of religion. By that I mean, this is the strongest expression of the belief that political ideology, of the "correct" sort, is the preeminent "moral" principle by which every category of human existence must be measured. Therefore everything, including religious beliefs, must be made subservient to ideology. It was once said that the Catholic Church made philosophy the handmaiden of theology. Well, the Episcopal Church is now attempting to make theology, political ideology's bitch.

Anglican Theological Commission clarifies provenance of same-sex blessings resolutions

[The Anglican Church of Canada] 29 Mar 2007--The Primate's Theological Commission, a group appointed by the Anglican Primate to consult on theological matters, has released a clarification concerning resolutions on the blessing of same-sex unions approved earlier this month by the church's governing council.

The resolutions, approved by the Council of General Synod for the consideration of the church's General Synod this summer, have been described as dealing with The St. Michael Report. But in fact only one of them does, the commission says in its statement.

The St. Michael Report was produced by the theological commission as a result of the Anglican Primate, on direction from the General Synod, seeking its opinion on whether or not the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine. The commission, chaired by Bishop Victoria Matthews of Edmonton, concluded, in its report released in 2005, "that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine but is not core doctrine in the sense of being credal."

(One of the reasons why the question of whether or not same-sex blessings is a matter of doctrine is important is that matters of doctrine require a more complex and lengthy process to change.)

The St. Michael Report has been widely studied across the church in advance of the General Synod next June.

New Bishop of Tennessee Reflects on the HOB Meeting

[Stand Firm] 29 Mar 2007--As a personal note, I watched with great interest and admiration the stalwart reasserting laity and clergy of the Diocese of Tennessee go through five days [as I recall] of voting on a new bishop. They planned, researched, communicated, endured incredible pressure . . . . and they held firm.

Of all the statements issued so far, the one I find most impressive for its historical reflections on the actual resolutions and statement made by the HOB is this one by Bishop Bauerschmidt. I am quoting from it extensively.

What Way Ahead – Part Two

[titusonenine] 29 Mar 2007--It is a maddening time within American Anglicanism. Even in the last few days, there is a new restlessness born of the energies of sorrow and hope both, as they seek some resolved path ahead. A few days ago, I wrote about the need to take this time seriously indeed. I wrote in terms of conservative presence within the Episcopal Church, and its now apparent incongruity with the official structures of our leadership. “Normative Christianity” (as one friend has put it) has been demoted and even banished: the Episcopal Church has declared independence. We must take our stands.

The Pastoral Council and the Primatial Vicar

[titusonenine] 29 Mar 2007--Much was accomplished through obviously difficult and taxing work by the Primates at Dar es Salaam. In one key area, it is clear that the work of two Camp Allen meetings of Windsor Bishops was endorsed at Dar es Salaam. Up until now, that work has been largely confidential though public statements were released as was possible.
Here is what was accomplished:

• The Pastoral Council scheme (suggested in an early form by ACI) was discussed and adapted in Camp Allen deliberations – it emerged in the Dar communiqué in specific form
• The agreement to work to see to an end to inventions was forthcoming at the second meeting – this emerged from Dar es Salaam as well, linked as was hoped to a workable plan for oversight, ‘an American solution to an American problem’
• The moratoria were a part of the Camp Allen principles – these were requested at Dar es Salaam and a date set of 30 Sept for their adherence
• The ‘thresholds’ for attendance at Camp Allen meetings – these are confirmed and referred to by name as ‘Camp Allen Principles’

In addition, a kind of bridge was built back to the Presiding Bishop by utilization of the ‘Primatial Vicar’ language, now as an ingredient in a five member Pastoral Council scheme.

The Church of England: More than Evangelical but not Less

[Fulcrum] 29 Mar 2007--The traditional phrase used to describe the Church of England is 'Catholic and Reformed'. Too often the middle word 'and' passes unnoticed. Connecting words are crucial, humble and worth contemplating. They introduce links between polarities by contributing 'threeness' to 'duality'. Try replacing 'and' with the word 'or' and you will see its significance. Maybe we could capitalize on the word 'and' by giving it a capital letter 'And'? But that would detract from its humility and deflect its distinction.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Showdown on Palm Sunday at parish pulpit,1299,DRMN_15_5447016,00.html

[Rocky Mountain News] 28 Mar 2007--The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado is threatening to sue the Rev. Don Armstrong and his parish's governing board if they don't relinquish control of one of the largest and most venerable churches, Grace and St. Stephen's in Colorado Springs.

The showdown looms on Palm Sunday as Episcopal Bishop Rob O'Neill or a representative and Armstrong, his longtime nemesis, both plan to take control of the parish pulpit at the 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m. services.

By then, O'Neill, who may or may not be there himself, intends to have a new priest and a new vestry board in place at the 2,000-member church, communications director Beckett Stokes said Tuesday.

The gauntlet was thrown Monday when Armstrong announced he is seceding from The Episcopal Church and taking with him the parish he has led for 20 years.

Episcopalians in Colorado Plan to Leave Denomination

[Sarasota Herald Tribune] 28 Mar 2007--One of the largest Episcopal parishes in Colorado has decided to leave the Episcopal Church, prompting the diocesan bishop to dissolve the leadership of the congregation and heightening tensions between theological traditionalists and liberals in the denomination.

The parish, Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish in Colorado Springs, is a largely conservative congregation that disagrees with the Episcopal Church’s decision to consecrate gay bishops and sanction same-sex unions.

The parish decided to leave the denomination over the weekend, in large part because of a decision made last week by the denomination’s House of Bishops, said Alan Crippen, a parishioner and spokesman for the congregation. Answering an ultimatum from archbishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Episcopal bishops rejected a demand to create a parallel leadership structure for the minority of Episcopalians, like the members of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s, who oppose the church’s stand on homosexuality.

“Our read was that it is just curtains for theological conservatives in the Episcopal Church,” Mr. Crippen said. “There was a lot of scrambling over the weekend. We thought that the House of Bishops would delay and obfuscate like they usually do. Everyone here was just shocked that they were so decisive in spurning the rest of the communion.”

The Anglican Communion: crisis and opportunity

[The Anglican Church of Canada] 28 Mar 2007--In this paper I shall examine what we might call “a view from Africa”. The questions asked are: “Is there a unanimous view from Africa”? or “are there different voices”? “If there are different voices, what are they saying? And, of course, one of the most important questions is “How does the future of the communion seem from Africa?

"Go to the back of the bus"

[The Kew Continuum] 28 Mar 2007--When the House of Bishops was meeting recently I was far too busy with many other things, worthwhile ministry, so I was able to push what they were up to to the back of my mind. I only really started tuning back in when I drove back from our week-long mission trip to New Orleans, and began to realize that what these men and women in purple are saying to the likes of me, "Go to the back of the bus," or better still, "Get off the bus altogether."

What is ironic is that we were told in 1985 by the then newly-elected Presiding Bishop that there would be "no outsiders" in this church. Of course, that pledge was the code language of those pushing the program that aggressive agenda-driven interest groups would get the substantial hearing, but those of us whose Anglicanism might be dismissed as 'fundamentalist,' and therefore, defective, can only ever be seen but definitely not heard. Increasingly, the councils of the church were loaded against us, and despite growth our voice was diminished. Perhaps we are merely 2/3 of a person.

After years of such discrimination it is hardly surprising that many of our number have decided that this bus isn't worth riding, but before they go they are frisked down and forced to leave their possessions and even those things that only have sentimental value behind. Part of me envies those who have gone. It must be nice to be out of the uncomfortable pressure cooker that the Episcopal Church has become; but even if separate theological development takes some of the difficult pressures out of life, I suspect this course is fraught with profound, and as yet unrecognized problems. I would hazard that some of these will be as challenging as staying part of the dying mainline denomination.

Has the Presiding Bishop Confessed Christ as the Sole Mediator of Salvation? (explanded version)

[Stand Firm] 28 Mar 2007--But though similar, the differences between pluralism and inclusivism are profound. One proclaims, "Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth. There is no other way to the Father but through him." The other suggests, "Christ is the Christian Way, the Christian Truth, and the Christian Life" and then cuts out the second half of John 14:6 at state funerals.

No Time for Surrender

[Stand Firm] 28 Mar 2007--We have not come this far to give up now. Sadly, one of our allies seems to be floating the idea.

Reflections on the House of Bishops' meeting

[The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana] 28 Mar 2007--I spoke against, and voted against, these resolutions, for two reasons. First, I am not convinced that the Scheme violates our own canon law; with appropriate consultation, it could have been implemented in a way that would provide care for theological minorities in accordance with the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church. Second, and very importantly, this rapid rejection of a section of the communiqué might well be read by our Anglican partners as a rejection of the Communion itself. Our attitude, I believe, should be one of humble listening and reflection, rather than one that focuses primarily on our provincial autonomy.

The longer resolution on the Pastoral Scheme does say the following: “We understand that the present situation requires intentional care for those within our church who find themselves in conscientious disagreement with the actions of our General Convention. We pledge ourselves to continue to work with them toward a workable arrangement.” The House of Bishops has already designed such a vehicle – Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight – and under its auspices I am one of the bishops offering episcopal care to parishes in other dioceses. DEPO has worked well in many settings. The Diocese of Northern Indiana, through our diocesan convention, has affirmed without reservation the teaching of the Windsor Report and has agreed to live in keeping with its recommendations. Our diocesan life is a model, I believe, of Anglican comprehensiveness. Christians with very different convictions on the difficult matter of human sexuality are beloved members of our community. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:2), who prayed at the Last Supper that we may be one as he and the Father are one (John 17:20-23). While I opposed the rapid rejection of the Pastoral Scheme by the House of Bishops, therefore, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to make this Church a home for all who name Jesus as Lord and claim the Anglican heritage as their own.

Provinces' 'Listening Process' Reports Published

[The Living Church] 28 Mar 2007--The ‘Listening Process’ on homosexuality is not closed in The Episcopal Church, according to an official report filed recently with the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). Reports have been received from most of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces.

“There continues to be a spectrum of opinions within the church,” the report states. “Listening has no preconceived outcome other than to hear the voice of God in the present context. It is built on the common ground of commitment to God’s mission and our baptismal covenant. It requires safe ground for people to express themselves in their vulnerability in order for the discontinuity between what we proclaim and how we are heard and experienced to be clear. It requires serious engagement with the Bible.”

Related articles:
Anglicans Fully Open Human Sexuality Talks - The Christian Post
Reports from the Provinces - The Anglican Communion Official Website

Do I detect a note of superiority in this article, especially in its comparison of The Episcopal Church with the Church of Nigeria?

Dallas, Fort Worth Dioceses Expand Oversight Provisions

[The Living Church] 28 Mar 2007--Two Texas bishops have expanded an 11-year-old plan for alternate episcopal oversight.

In place since 1996, the “Dallas Plan,” praised recently by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, provides for women in the Diocese of Fort Worth who seek ordination to the priesthood to be referred to the Bishop of Dallas. Citing “pastoral concern” for one of his parishes, Bishop James M. Stanton of Dallas approached Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth late last year to amend their agreement so that aspirants and parishes in Diocese of Dallas who do not approve the ordination of women might come under Bishop Iker’s episcopal care.

The bishops have notified the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Panel of Reference of the amendments to the plan. The arrangement is similar to the “good-neighbor-bishop” solution that the panel recently recommended to the Diocese of Florida, Bishop Iker noted. In a March 26 announcement to his clergy, he said, “Bishop Stanton and I believe this is a very important step forward, and it provides a model for other parts of the church that remain divided on this issue.”

Colorado Springs Parish Plans to Join CANA

[The Living Church] 28 Mar 2007--Citing dissent from the resolutions adopted by the House of Bishops and frustration with the pace of a diocesan financial audit of its rector, the vestry of Grace and St. Stephen’s, Colorado Springs, announced March 26 its intention for the parish to leave the Diocese of Colorado and affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). The parish's rector, the Rev. Don Armstrong, has also transferred to CANA.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Two Plus Two Is Five: The New Orthodoxy of The Episcopal Church

[Virtue Online] 27 Mar 2007--The Presiding Bishop and her colleagues in the House of Bishops emerged from Camp Allen this past week with their doctrinal portfolio complete. I don't mean they came away with an exposition of every Christian doctrine; but they did come away with a hermeneutical core.

Essentially it's this: two plus two equals five.

Schori demonstrated, with her dazzling combination of political adroitness and deliberate misinformation, the parody that is the Episcopal Church. In her homily she gave expositions of two classic doctrines that were just plain wrong, and emerged with a winning case for her new hermeneutic. Her episcopal colleagues rallied around the deception, most of whom knew better.

The Episcopal Church's Departure from the Faith

[Virtue Online] 27 Mar 2007--The Rev. Katherine Grieb, Ph. D., attempts to defend the Episcopal Church's status in the Anglican Communion on the grounds of what she calls its "generous orthodoxy." It is indeed generous in the sense that "street walkers" are generous. The present leadership of the Episcopal Church shows an ardent willingness to employ recently passed canons to discipline, punish threaten, depose, and seize property at enormous legal costs involving anything that is perceived to threaten Episcopal control, property or territorial boundaries.

Episcopal 'Desertion from Anglicanism' Prompts Call for New Church'Desertion_from_Anglicanism'_Prompts_Call_for_New_Church.htm

[The Christian Post] 27 Mar 2007--Conservative Anglicans made an "urgent plea" Monday to build a separate Anglican church in the United States following the Episcopal Church's "desertion from Anglicanism" last week.

Largest Episcopal Church in Colorado to Leave Denomination

[Drell's Descant] 27 Mar 2007--The vestry of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Parish in Colorado Springs, the largest Episcopal parish in the state and one of Colorado’s oldest churches, voted to leave the Episcopal Church on Monday morning. Effective today the parish affiliates with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican).

Related article:
Colorado Episcopal Church in Crisis - Casper Star Tribune,1299,DRMN_15_5444795,00.html
Parish votes to secede - Rocky Mountain News

The Episcopal Declaration of Independence

[titusonenine] 27 Mar 2007--So, in effect, while the Episcopal bishops may yet decide to do just enough to postpone their expulsion from Anglican councils for the time being, it is difficult to see how, should they remain on the autonomous course they have set, a schism could possibly be avoided. As most rebellious teenagers and philandering spouses eventually learn, autonomy can be fun for a time, but in the end it does not work well as a way of life together in a family. At last month’s primates’ meeting, most Anglicans decided that sacrificing a bit of their autonomy for the good of the family was what it took to live together as a church. Sadly, so far, it looks as if the Episcopal Church has chosen autonomy and individualism over community and fellowship.

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion

[Stand Firm] 27 Mar 2007--Anyone looking on the American Episcopal Church situation will bound to be confused about the office of Bishop – and one need not be a Presbyterian or Baptist for this to be the case. Bishops appear to have a role within their own dioceses that they reserve to themselves, independently of clergy or laity or other Bishops; Bishops then say they cannot act because General Convention inhabits a unique US polity, and they must defer to that; Bishops are concerned that their Presiding Bishop must attend the primates meeting as a full member, and when she does so, and returns to the US having agreed in some way to the plenary communiqué, she appears unable or unwilling to use the strength of an office others have defended for her in a way consistent with the claims of the same office, to prosecute what the plenary statement requests.

The danger is real that in defending a special polity and deferring to that when difficulties arise the Episcopal Church will find it inhabits a ‘polity’ that is sui generis and idiosyncratic in ways that question altogether what it means to be a Communion church with Catholic Bishops. The claim to national identity and specific polity has something of Lutheran World Federation aspects; the claim to independence, spiritual endowments and new truth has aspects of ‘always reforming’ Presbyterianism, or even American Mormonism; the claim to rule over a diocese in ways that cannot be constrained when it comes to blessing things or giving pastoral direction is congregationalism without the usual high involvement of laity and committees assuring full participation precisely because the office of Bishop is unbiblical or not commended of God.

Many Bishops in TEC, upon seeing what the Communion was asking, responded immediately that they preferred to go it alone and to inhabit an Episcopal Church ‘come of age’ and not necessarily like anything else, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, congregational, or otherwise -- a church without affiliative tissue of any kind accept in prior historical, or more notional, terms.

Bishops in Denial

[Confessions of a Carioca] 27 Mar 2007--What amazes me about our bishops, speaking of them collectively--but also about others within the power structure of "this church"--is how seemingly out of touch they are with the obvious "on the ground" political environment in which they are operating. They labor on behalf of their convictions and ideals. That is commendable. But they seem clueless about their spatial and temporal environments. Their statement has the chutzpah to say that, regardless of what the Primates or even Rowan himself does, they are confident of their "full communion" with the See of Canterbury. This is pure fantasy. The bishops are in terminal denial. Anything they are proposing is way too little way too late. Some claim that it is only a small minority who are fomenting a spirit of crisis and abetting division. That may once have been true, but it is no longer. The church is disintegrating under their feet, and they are hastening the process.

Magisterial Model Would Weaken Communion, Says Former ACC Head

[The Living Church] 27 Mar 2007--Autonomy could become the next victim of the controversy that now engulfs the Anglican Communion over human sexuality, says a former secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council.

This comes from the man who consistantly sought to weaken the role of the Primates in the Anglican Communion as secretary general of the ACC. Peterson deliberately minixmizes or ignores considerable moral authority of the bishops of the The Episcopal Church, including the Presiding Bishop, in order to maintain the fiction that denomination's polity ties their hands.

Bishop Bruno to Canterbury: 'Stop Being Chamberlain

[The Living Church] 27 Mar 2007--The Bishop of Los Angeles is dedicated to remaining a full member of the Anglican Communion, but he also says he would like to see the Archbishop of Canterbury take a firmer stand toward those he believes are trying to destroy The Episcopal Church.

We all regret that Rowan Williams did not, early in the crisis that besets us, take a firmer stand toward Bishop Bruno and the other liberal and revisionist Episcopal leaders who are destroying The Episcopal Church.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Episcopal church in turmoil

[The State] 26 Mar 2007--“I don’t believe I’ve left the Episcopal Church,” he said. “I believe that the national Episcopal Church has abandoned what it means to be the Episcopal Church.”

Bishop: Episcopal Church Walking Away from the Christian Faith

[The Christian Post] 26 Mar 2007--The tossed election of a conservative bishop to the Diocese of South Carolina makes it clearer that the Episcopal Church is walking away from the Anglican Communion and the Christian faith, said a former bishop of the diocese.

Episcopal Head Supports Bishops' Resolutions'_Resolutions.htm

[The Christian Post] 26 Mar 2007--Following resolutions passed by Episcopal bishops that indicated rejection of several demands by the global Anglican family, the Episcopal head highlighted the urgency for a meeting with Anglican leaders worldwide.

"I think that the bishops of the Episcopal Church very much want Rowan Williams and the members of the Primates' Standing Committee to hear directly from us about our concern for all members of this church, those we agree with theologically and those with whom we disagree, gay and lesbian members of our church and those who find it difficult to countenance blessing unions or ordaining gay and lesbian people," said U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at a news conference on Wednesday, according to the Episcopal News Service.

"I think there is some belief in this House [of Bishops] that other parts of the communion do not understand us very well," she said, adding that other Primates (Anglican leaders) should also be invited to hear concerns from the Episcopal Church.

Lay Group Pleas for Prompt Action and Unity Among Orthodox Groups to Fill 'Vacuum' Caused by Episcopal 'Desertion' -- Offers Interim Plan

[Christian News Wire] 26 Mar 2007--An "urgent plea for immediate, pan-Anglican readiness after the U.S. Episcopal Church's desertion from Anglicanism last week" was made today by a national organization of orthodox Anglican laypersons. It advocates rapid, multi-group development of "The Anglican Church of the United States of America" as a new province-in-waiting. Announcement would be immediate, with operations following swiftly.

New Beach church begins its future split from Episcopal Church

[WAVY TV 10] 26 Mar 2007--On a quiet beach street, the roots of religion are growing. "To us He's the way, the truth and the life," says Carlos Rodriguez, a member of the newly formed Trinity Church.

Once a vestry at Galilee Episcopal Church, Rodriguez, along with 6 of 12 other senior leaders, recently decided the direction the Episcopal church was taking was not for them.

US Episcopalians Move Away from Tanzania Communique

[VOA News] 26 Mar 2007--American Episcopalian bishops are resisting terms to head off a greater split with the Anglican mother church that were hammered out at a conference in Tanzania last month. Rejection by the end of September and an American reaffirmation of principles welcoming homosexual clergy and same sex marriages boost chances that the Anglican Communion will try to expel some two-point-three million American Episcopalians from the 77 million member Anglican arm of the Church of England.

Bishop Martyn Minns is the Missionary Leader of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), an initiative of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. He says that to Anglican communities in African countries, the American clash is not so much cultural, but centers more around issues of faith and a struggle over Church authority.

The Bishop of Dallas Writes about the HOB Meeting

[Stand Firm] 26 Mar 2007--The claim that the Bishops cannot clarify what they intended by their own action in adopting B033 (2006), on the matter of giving consents to consecrations, because of "our polity" rings hollow. And so does the claim that the Bishops cannot respond to assurances that same-sex blessing rites will not be authorized. (See Canon III.9.5.a(1).) Both of these are well within the purview of the Bishops under "our polity."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

AFA founder says Episcopal church leaders disregard Scripture

[actualite] 24 Mar 2007--The founder of the American Family Association says the Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of the worldwide Anglican Communion, has proven it has no desire to mend relations with conservative members of the denomination. It is time, says Rev. Donald Wildmon, for any conservative Christians in ECUSA to leave that denomination.

The Episcopal Church's Decisions Will Determine Its View of Marriage

[Christian News Wire] 24 Mar 2007--The House of Bishops met for their annual spring retreat in Texas, on March 16–21. It adopted a resolution conveying the mind of the House. Both that statement and the House's letter to the Episcopal Church reflect a strongly negative disposition towards the February communiqué issued by leaders of Anglican Communion provinces, who are called "primates." At the same time, the House did not directly address the primates' call for the Episcopal Church to end both all authorizations of same-sex blessings and all consents to the consecration of bishops in a same-sex relationship. They instead chose to delay discussion until their September meeting, after the Episcopal Church holds church-wide conversations on these issues - just a short period of time before the primates' September 30 deadline or the House's response.

Episcopalians unsure about church's future

[] 24 Mar 2007--Two major developments in the Episcopal church have left Lowcountry Episcopalians wondering about the future of their diocesan leadership and the future of their church.

On March 15, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori invalidated the election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as the next bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, saying that some of the 56 necessary consents for his election were given electronically, which is against church law.
Less than a week later, Episcopal bishops released a letter that reiterated the church's support for gays and rejected a call from Anglican leaders to allow dissident conservative congregations in the U.S. to be overseen by a separate body. The Diocese of South Carolina, which includes Beaufort County, is among those conservative dioceses that have asked for alternate Anglican leadership.

The Episcopal Church, with 2.3 million members, is the American branch of the 77-million-member Anglican Communion.

The Rev. Greg Kronz of St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island said he was "disappointed" with both actions and sees this week's letter from the House of Bishops as a step toward the end of the Episcopal church as he has always known it.

Bishops disappointed with resolutions

[Peoria Journal Star] 24 Mar 2007--Central Illinois' two Episcopal bishops said they were disappointed by statements coming from the denomination's House of Bishops this week.

Christ Church Midland to inhabit new church two years after break with Episcopal church

[Midland Reporter-Telegram] 24 Mar 2007--An Episcopalian congregation kicked out of its home church because of its protests against openly gay bishops and the blessing of gay marriages will soon have a brand-new home with a kneeling touch.

Episcopal Church falls on its sword - response of orthodox bishops

[VirtueOnline] 24 Mar 2007--The Rt. Rev. William Wantland, former Bishop of Eau Claire had this to say: "First, I am deeply disturbed by the action of a number of heterophobic bigots, who encourage homosexuals to engage in a practice which is cruel and deadly. 91% of all male homosexuals engage in anal sodomy. Regular practice of anal sodomy will shorten human life an average of 26 years, even without factoring in AIDS. These people, purporting to act in the name of the Church, are as evil as those who would give whiskey to alcoholics. What 815 2nd Ave. (the national church's headquarters in New York City) is urging is death on a grand scale, and calling it care and support of their victims, without any regard for what they are doing. Don't ever say that TEC cares for or loves its homosexual members."

Second, the action is also based on a blindness to history. How dare they say that TEC is totally autonomous, and that TEC is not answerable in either liturgy or canon to others in the Anglican Communion. Do they not know how PECUSA came into existence? When an American Book of Common Prayer was first proposed in 1785, it was submitted to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York for approval. The Archbishops found it unacceptable, and the Americans were told to make a number of changes. Likewise, in proposed Constitution and Canons, the process for electing Bishops was unacceptable. So, in 1789, when General Convention met, it approved a BCP acceptable to the Archbishops, and a canonical process of electing Bishops that conformed to the demands of the Archbishops. There was absolutely NO claim of autonomy and the right to do as Americans pleased. But now, TEC has become an imperial force, answerable to no one.

"TEC is no longer a Catholic body. It is no longer even a Christian one. It is simply an embodiment of a corrupt, historically inaccurate, spirit of this age. And if the Anglican Communion does not see TEC for what it really is, even that Communion will be on its way to be a miserable footnote in Christian history."

“TEC a de facto Integrity organization” - Bishop of the Rio Grande

[Anglican Mainstream] 24 Mar 2007--Given the commitment of GC’s ‘03 & ‘06 to the full inclusion of LBGT at every level of the life of TEC and given the affirmation of this as the position of TEC by the just included HoB and given the many voices on this news-list saying that this is the work of the Holy Spirit and is a prophetic call to not only the Anglican Communion, but the entire Body of Christ.

I believe this has made TEC a defacto Integrity organization and those that realize this and cannot live with this reality are the people seeking some way to remain worshiping in their parish church and in communion with the Anglican Communion for whom Lambeth 1.10 compliance is minimal in going forward.

We want a place where people, parishes and dioceses as a bare minimum do not have to be Integrity compliant in order to have a full place at the table at every level. We want true “Full Inclusion.” I cannot see how it can happen both ways with our present GC and HoB leadership.

I do not hear or read anyone from Integrity or the Episcopal Majority acknowledging this problem for real full inclusion and arguing for a safe space for remaining conservatives.

Response to the House of Bishops Statement

[Fr. Tony Clavier] 24 Mar 2007--When I finished reading the Statement of the House of Bishops of March 20th, a rather depressing thought filled me. Given the auto-propaganda instilled in American from birth about the “particularity" of America, its foundation, purpose, moral and political superiority, is it really possible for Americans to belong to any international body, political or religious, as an equal and co-dependent party? I again realized that the intensity of such “jingoist” sentiments increases in periods when the “End of Empire” seems a possibility.

The statement is interesting in that it wraps what would seem to be the most altruistic agenda in the bright paper of ecclesial nationalism. One expected that when the text was adopted all pledged allegiance to the TEC Flag and sung the National Anthem. Perhaps this is a bit harsh a judgment, but it is very important that something is said at this point about what I perceive to be the ethical flaws in the statement. I am not referring to the sexual issues, but rather the matter of how Christian values should be applied to the responses made by our leaders. I’ve also had some rather mischievous thoughts about sending the Statement to a family systems expert who is not an Episcopalian to get some thoughts on the contents and revelations about our collective episcopate!

Bishop Wolf on the House of Bishops meeting

[The Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island] 24 Mar 2007--Two additional requests from the Primates' Communiqué were not addressed during this session: a moratorium on consents for bishops-elect who live in a same sex partnered relationship; and to refrain from authorizing same-sex liturgies, blessings, etc. The bishops will receive papers for reading this summer in preparation for our September meeting, at which time we will clarify our position.

Presiding Bishop Katharine held a steady hand on the wheel of the House. She spoke with great clarity, and her answers to questions revealed a deep understanding of the issues and challenges we face.

Episcopal split related to core beliefs

[] 24 Mar 2007--There are key points that need to be made, which were not included in the article that appeared in the Press & Sun-Bulletin on March 19 regarding the parishes of Good Shepherd in Binghamton and St. Andrew's in Vestal.

First, both orthodox and liberal Episcopal Churches have seen their membership dwindle since the General Convention 2003. The implicit suggestion in the article, that it is just orthodox parishes, is incorrect. Good Shepherd, in fact, has grown in attendance and membership since 2003, not shrunk as your articles suggested. Loss of members is accelerating, with orthodox parishes showing smaller losses on average and in some cases, like Good Shepherd, even showing growth.

We Stand Unequivocally for the Inclusion of All

[Stand Firm] 24 Mar 2007--The recent Communiqué from the primates of the Anglican Communion, meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania asked more than we could give for the sake of unity, or, to be more accurate, for the sake of our possible continued inclusion in the Communion.

Bishop Peter James Lee writes to the Diocese of Virginia

[BabyBlueOnline] 24 Mar 2007--The meeting of the House of Bishops this week at Camp Allen in Navasota, Texas may prove to be an historic turning point in the life of the Anglican Communion. The Bishops overwhelmingly rejected a “Pastoral Scheme” that was proposed by the Primates of the Anglican Communion at their February meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. By doing so, the bishops reaffirmed that the Episcopal Church is a self-governing, autonomous church, and that it is not divided. We also served notice that we cannot accept intervention in the governance of our Church by foreign prelates.

Note the emphasis on "foreign prelates." This represents an attempt upon the part of the liberal and revisionist bishops of The Episcopal Church to recast the schism that they have created between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, in terms of the English colonies' war for independence against British rule. However, rejecting the apostolic faith and embracing a different Gospel and a new religion are a far cry from the American War for Independence.

From the Bishops of West Texas

[Stand Firm] 24 Mar 2007--Both of us voted against the “Mind of the House” resolution to the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council and the March 20 “Statement from the House of Bishops.” We'd like to explain why. It is our position, and that of many other bishops, that the letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the primates’ Standing Committee would have been sufficient for this gathering, and consistent with our Presiding Bishop’s explicit request. The other two documents would have been better left to the requested meeting. However, a majority of bishops felt it was important to make a statement that conveyed their views at this time. We think the letter to the Archbishop and the primates’ Standing Committee is gracious and seeks the opportunity for bridge-building in the hope of reconciliation within our Communion. We fear the other two statements bring great potential for undermining our Presiding Bishop’s role as primate, as well as for further dividing us and building walls that make reconciliation more difficult.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Liberal bishops reject parallel Church

[Telegraph] 23 Mar 2007--Anglicanism faced a fresh crisis yesterday after American bishops rebuffed demands to create a parallel Church for conservatives who rejected their liberal stance on homosexuality.

Sandon: The Episcopalian civil war intensifies

[Tallahassee Democrat] 23 Mar 2007--"Why do we get all of the attention?" an Episcopalian friend asked. "Aren't some other denominations going though the same thing?"

She was speaking of news stories and analyses of her church's intense strife over homosexuality. It is true enough that mainline Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and American Baptists are also experiencing division over including gays and lesbians in their full sacramental life and leadership. But there does seem to be disproportionate media focus on the struggle in the Episcopal Church....

US Episcopal bishops say anti-gay sanctions harm the gospel

[ekklesia] 23 Mar 2007--However the church, which is itself divide on the sexuality issue, but with a very clear majority believing the Gospel requires an affirmative stance towards lesbian and gay people, stresses that it very much wishes to remain part of the Communion – though it realises that conservatives may seek further punitive action against it.

This article fails to point to our attention that the "Gospel" which The Episcopal Church embraces is a "different Gospel" from the one we received from the apostles.

US’s ‘declaration of war’

[Religiou Intelligence] 23 Mar 2007--The Episcopal Church’s refusal to accept the authority of a pastoral council proposed by the Primates has been described as a ‘declaration of war’ by a campaign group.

The Rev Dr Chris Sugden, executive secretary of the evangelical Anglican Mainstream group, said he was not surprised by the latest development, which has effectively brought the Primates September 30 deadline forward by six months. The US House of Bishops this week passed a resolution saying they could not accede to the demands of the Primates’ communiqué after their five-day meeting near Houston.

Valley Episcopalians forge ahead with church split plan

[Fresno Bee] 23 Mar 2007--Episcopal split is still on.

Valley Episcopalians are continuing with their plans to leave the national Episcopal Church after the Episcopal House of Bishops reaffirmed Wednesday the U.S. church's support of gay relationships.

US Episcopal Church Refuses Anglican Compromise on Gay Debate

[Christianity Today UK] 23 Mar 2007--Bishops from the US Episcopal Church (ECUSA) have refused to bow to demands from the worldwide Anglican Communion to create a parallel arm of the Church for those who oppose the Episcopal Church’s backing of homosexuality.

Update from Bishop Love of the Diocese of Albany

[Stand Firm] 23 Mar 2007--I will be responding to the actions of the HOB in the next couple of days. I am currently on the road and therefore not able to make an immediate response. I understand many in the Diocese are upset about the two Mind of the House Resolutions dealing with the primates Communique. I share your concern and voted against both resolutions. With that said, it is important that we all stay as calm as possible and not overreact out of emotion or anger.

Archbishop Venables' Statement on the House of Bishops Resolutions

[Stand Firm] 23 Mar 2007--The decision of the House of Bishops of TEC to reject what the primates of the Anglican Communion unanimously and very respectfully asked them to do is tragic but predictable. It is also totally unequivocal. Their protestation that they want to remain Anglican is specious when viewed in the light of their actions. In any other context it would be laughed at. The contention that the request of the primates violates the polity of the Episcopal Church is just as hollow. It would have been very easy to say, “As bishops we will comply with what the primates have asked and will seek the approval of other legislative bodies in TEC.” They didn’t. It dramatically demonstrates how far out of step TEC has gone. If there were any remaining doubt, the barrage of lawsuits against individual parishioners and new ecclesiastical charges against clergy (and even an aged and saintly retired bishop!) make their distain for the rest of the Communion clear.

Episcopal Bishops Reject Dar es Salaam Communiqué

[C. David Burt's Weblog] 23 Mar 2007--That, of course, does not satisfy everybody, and here is where the justice argument backfires. If you belong to a church that accepts the marriage of homosexuals, what if you don't happen to believe that to be in accord with Holy Scripture? The same was true with the ordination of women. If you belong to a church which ordains women, what if you don't happen to believe that women are called by God to be priests. Both issues effectively "un-church" the individual who can not assent to the new teaching. This is why it is a justice issue. It does no good to say that the fathers of the church in the past were mistaken and we now have a more enlightened point of view.

"Independence or Tyranny?"

[Stand Firm] 22 Mar 2007--There is a dog-in-the-managerness about this because it is their mindset that they want to prevent me from being part of the Anglican Communion too. So we have now have hanging on the tree the full fruit of what we saw developing in the Eighties and Nineties. This says "We want our conscience to be respected despite the fact that it is not part of the continuity of what the Church has always believed, while at the same time over our dead body will we allow you the expression of your conscience because we don't like what your conscience is about."

Anglicans closer to schism as US bishops reject gay ultimatum

[Times Online] 22 Mar 2007--The Anglican Church took another step towards its apparently inevitable schism when US Episcopal bishops rejected the ultimatum from primates of the Anglican Communion to fall into line over homosexuals.

The bishops of the Episcopal Church accused Anglican primates of trying to drag their Church back into “a time of colonialism”. They said late on Tuesday night that they would resist the primates’ demand that they set up a new pastoral scheme with a “primatial vicar” to make a traditionalist enclave for antigay conservatives who reject the oversight of liberal bishops. They said that the scheme “violated” their canons, or Church law.

Resolutions Arose From Bishops’ Concern Over Pastoral Council Nominations

[The Living Church] 22 Mar 2007--The House of Bishops’ rejection of a pastoral council is not The Episcopal Church’s final word on the primates’ communiqué, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said during a telephone conference call with reporters on March 21.

The conference occurred during an afternoon break on the final day of the spring House of Bishops’ meeting at Camp Allen near Navasota, Texas.

“This was merely a recommendation for Executive Council to reject it,” she said. The church’s formal response would not come until September, after a series of town-hall style meetings and consultation across The Episcopal Church, she said.

TEC House of Bishops responses to the Primates Communique: Updates

[Global SouthAnglican] 22 Mar 2007--From the Global South Anglican website:

The Statements and Resolutions released on 20th of March

A Message to God’s People…from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church.

Bishop John Howe, Florida

Bishop Kirk Smith, Arizona

Bishop Henry Parsley, Alabama

Responses & Reports:

Ephraim Radner:
Which Way ahead?

AAC Statement on the Episcopal House of Bishops’ March 2007 Meeting

Associate Press:
Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum

USA Today:
Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum

Virtue Online:
Episcopal Church House of Bishops rejects Primates’ Ultimatum

The editor of the Global South Anglican website made this comment about the article Which Way Ahead:

This article by Ephraim Radner is revealing. We should read beyond the veneer of Christian-speak and grapple with the current realities. Only when truth is faced with the truth that the Communion can resolved this crisis and move on. We are all very tired of these.

Retired Bishop William Cox to be Tried by Ecclesiastical Court

[The Living Church] 22 May 2007--A panel of bishops will proceed with an ecclesiastical trial of the Rt. Rev. William J. Cox, retired Bishop Suffragan of Maryland, on charges that he illegally performed sacramental acts without the permission of the local Episcopal bishop. News of the trial was announced during the March 16-21 meeting of the House of Bishops.

In June 2005, Bishop Cox, 86, ordained two priests and a deacon at Christ Church in Overland Park, Kan., after he was asked by the Primate of Uganda. The following month, Bishop Cox returned to Christ Church and led a service of confirmation.

The following comment was posted on the Global South Anglican website:

Ed - For those who have eyes to read, ears to hear and minds to discern, it is not difficult to see where TEC wants to go and consistently so. You link this up with the recent rejection of Mark Lawrence on grounds of ‘canon laws” and other actions being taken, and you see clearly where the will of the PB and TEC HOB lies.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Schism looms over Episcopal Church,213NWS2.article

[Daily Southtown] 21 Mar 2007--Fighting isn't in their nature.

But now, as members of the Episcopal Church in the United States gird for a possible schism with the international Anglican Church, they're wondering how to move forward.

Episcopal rejection of demands looks likely,1,4664878.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=1&cset=true

[Los Angelos Times] 21 Mar 2007--Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday requested an urgent meeting with the spiritual head of their denomination, the worldwide Anglican Communion, and appeared to take the first steps toward rejecting several demands made of the American church at a recent gathering of the communion's leadership in Tanzania.

Bishops request meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates' Standing Committee

[Episcopal News Service] 21 Mar 2007--Responding to the recent Anglican Primates' Communiqué, the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops, meeting March 20 in Navasota, Texas, expressed "an urgent need for us to meet face to face with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the members of the Primates' Standing Committee."

The request came as the second of three "mind of the house" resolutions adopted by the bishops on March 20. The resolutions [full texts here] were debated during the business session scheduled during the House of Bishops' annual spring retreat meeting.

House of Bishops Reject Key Tanzania Communique Recommendations

[Stand Firm] 21 Mar 2007--Mind of the House of Bishops Resolution Addressed to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church

Resolved, the House of Bishops affirms its desire that The Episcopal Church remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion; and

Resolved, the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; andResolved, the House of Bishops believes the proposed Pastoral Scheme of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of February 19, 2007 would be injurious to The Episcopal Church and urges that the Executive Council decline to participate in it; and

Resolved, the House of Bishops pledges itself to continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons.

Adopted March 20, 2007

The House of Bishops
The Episcopal Church
Spring Meeting 2007
Camp Allen Conference Center
Navasota, Texas