Being and Bishops in Central Florida
Events are moving apace; step out for a beer somewhere in the Diocese of Central Florida, come back and this happens:
We hereby appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the panel of reference, and the Primates of the Anglican Communion for immediate alternative primatial oversight. We understand that none of our actions violate the canons of the Episcopal Church.
Interesting. What indeed is alternative primatial oversight? It seems to mean that the Diocese wishes to be under another provincial leader, another leader different from Presiding Bishop Griswold; we are not to infer Central Florida would accept PB-elect Schori. Of course, Griswold is no Archbishop, but rather a Bishop who is first among equals. Just what, then, is Central Florida requesting? Another person to fill the role that Griswold fills, another provincial leader.
Why is that important? Note:
It is our firm intent to remain a diocese with constituent member status in the Anglican Communion.
Perhaps CF thinks being a normal member at the Anglican Communion, having a seat at the table, requires being part of a province. They would have had such membership now had they remained under the leadership of the current PB. Stepping out from under the authority of the PB without being under the authority of another provincial leader who has normal membership in the AC would mean existing for a time without membership in the Anglican Communion. That is, CF would lose the membership it had in the AC--something CF wishes to avoid, as such a loss for CF would mean no longer being Anglican, i.e. losing its very esse.
Thus, this move by CF is quite interesting--we are to see CF not as withdrawing now from the authority of ECUSA's PB, but rather soliciting another provincial leader via Williams while remaining under ECUSA's PB. The transition from provincial leader to provinical leader must be seamless.
Key question: is it a canonical violation for a Diocese or the Bishop of a Diocese to so solicit memebership in another province? This is, of course, to solicit membership in another church.
Here is a relevant article (III) from the Constitution of CF:
The Diocese of Central Florida acknowledges its allegiance to be due to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ; and recognizing the body known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America otherwise known as the Episcopal Church to be a true branch of said Church, having rightful jurisdiction in this country, hereby declares its adhesion to the same and accedes to its Constitution and Canons.
Note well, the 2003 Canons imply at Title IV, Canon 1, Sec. 1 (e) and (f) that a Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are obliged to obey the canons of their Dioceses and of ECUSA's GC, disobedience being a liable offense. But by CF's own constitution, the Diocese recognizes ECUSA as having rightful jurisdiction, and itself as adhering to ECUSA.
The key question: is the Bishop violating the constitution of CF by soliciting overisight from another provincial leader, i.e. asking Williams to become part of another Province? We are not talking about another province of ECUSA, e.g. Duncan's phantasy Province X, but another church altogether. He has, by signing on to this statement, declared an intent to lead the Diocese to renounce ECUSA's jurisdiction as well as its constitution and canons.