Monday, February 19, 2007

Just Say No

For whatever reason, PB Schori signed off on the Communique and its attendant Schedule.

Although it would be workable, the Episcopal Church in my opinion should not sign on.

I do not have any sense for how the House of Bishops sees membership in the Anglican Communion; of more importance is how the Windsor Bishops see membership in the Communion. It seems to me that these Windsor Bishops, left and right, have been cultivated by the CoE and the AC with the express purpose of fomenting a split in the Episcopal Church should the HoB deny the Communique coming out of this meeting. And maybe PB Schori thought--I do not know--that the threat of such a split is too dangerous, and that her office would be unable to resist it and hold the Episcopal Church together. In effect, the Archbishop gets to reign in the Episcopal Church and gets the loyalty of the Nigerian Church in return knowing that our HoB does not have the will, even under PB Schori, to resist him: quid pro quo.
The Empire lives on for a time.

But this document contemplates a vast alteration in the Episcopal Church's polity; we may very well never be autonomous again if we say "Yes" to it, as the divisions institutionalized by the document will not heal, at least in our lifetimes. These changes, and the institutionalized division they imply, are not worth upholding a dead remnant of British Imperial power. For the Anglican Communion is not a church in itself, and its authority is not properly ecclesial. It will be up to the House of Bishops to say "No" clearly. Would that they had the courage! I am confident General Convention would turn it down.

As a consequence, we can expect to be thrown out of the Anglican Communion--so be it. That is part of the price to be paid. It is not worth compromising our being as church in order to belong to that unchurch. But the HoB should not unilaterally withdraw from the AC on its own; it should let Rowan do it. Let him claim it as his legacy.


At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words, I felt slammed against a wall but now I might be able to breathe once more. We shall overcome...Mary

At 6:19 PM, Blogger Dirty Davey said...

Well said!

I believe that 50 years from now, those on the "conservative" side of the debate on sexual orientation will look as wrong as those who 50 years ago were staunch defenders of a "natural" hierarchy of race.

The use of "tradition" as a defense of unequal rights has been wrong when it was about slavery, wrong when it was about civil rights, and wrong when it was about women's rights. Why assume it's suddenly right?


At 6:21 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

The Episcopal Church has been in tight spots before, and this will be excruciatingly painful because the outflow of led by Windsor Bishops will be too costly to stem by litigation from the national level.

This pain is something to be accepted as a blessing; it would not happen if it were not for God's steadfast love.

However, I doubt that the HoB will have the courage to resist and accept the Hit when it comes, because the Hit will be extraordinarily hard if the Windsor Bishops go.

If they do not go, and will not leave TEC, then it is a whole different ballgame. Schori will be viewed as having gone too far in accomodating Williams' desire for institutionalized power, and the HoB will come to her rescue to shoot it down.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Raspberry Rabbit said...

The idea of the ABC plotting a split in the Episcopal Church is untenable. The C of E has more to fear from all of this than you Americans do. If somebody waves her magic wand and gets everybody to agree to this then there is absolutely nothing to prevent the Chris Sugdens of this world to demand alternative primatial oversight for English puritans, charismatics and conservative evangelicals. He's basically already asked for that as was roundly condemned. The door is now open again. Read paragraph 36 of the communique. It didn't exist until the process presided over by Rowan put it on the table: alternative oversight outwith the United States on matters other than human sexuality. I always thought down deep (and took comfort from the thought) that Rowan would prove England's homeboy in all of this - knowing as he does that what is prescribed for the US will become reality not only in OZ, Canada, NZ, England, Scotland and Wales but ultimately the C of E. Of course he won't do this - he'll let the buggers walk out of the meeting before he does this.

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Raspberry Rabbit said...

And it happened anyway

At 6:32 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...


I hope you are right. However, there is evidence against your confidence in Rowan's role.

You recall that he approved the role of English bishops in approving and developing the Windsor Bishop concept in TEC. Moreover, both Durham and the ACI developed proposals weaving in Windsor-type bishops with a Communique-like role. It seems to me that the Communique structure had been worked out for some time.

It is just a matter of realpolitik to acknowledge that the existence of the Windsor Bishops in Schori's backyard gives Rowan leverage to reign TEC in.

Am I wrong? Well, we shall soon see. The communique comes with a deadline: Sept. 30.

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Raspberry Rabbit said...

Other than Robert Duncan who appears a total twat it might be better to have a palatable conservative as a primatial vicar than a bunch of looneytoons consecrated overseas.

My money's on TEC saying no. Speaking as somebody who comes from another Province (Canada) and working in still yet another (Scotland) I half hope TEC does say no. It would make life easier for us.

Although - I don't suspect there'll be much tolerance in England for Rowan presiding over the departure of TEC.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Dirty Davey said...

I have to think, as per RR, that the ABC is smart enough to know that he's not too far down the list of targets. In a purely political sense, ++KJS and the "liberal" Americans, at most, want to be free to apply a more modern understanding of sexuality within the US church. As long as TEC's autonomy is respected, the US is happy to look to Canterbury.

On the other hand, ++Akinola would be delighted to supplant the ABC and serve as the global head of an "Anglican Communion" that fits his vision. Surely Rowan can distinguish those who want autonomy from those who want to steal his chair?

At 6:52 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

If Rowan kept Nigeria on board, he would keep the CoE from fracturing, which is of the highest importance to Rowan.

Keeping Nigeria on board meant getting leverage on Schori to give up some prized autonomy. That was achieved by a Windsor College ambiguous enough in its purposes to cause a threat to TEC's unity. Yes, that's kind of mean to TEC, but Rowan was wise enough not to confuse the CoE's identity with that of something else.

The ACN was supposed to have served that role for Rowan; recall he just about asked for it and gave it his approval. But it took on too much of a life of its own, and seemed bent on division regardless of Rowan's wish for unity. He needed another lever, and fast: our bishops quickly came to his aid.

Viola--a deal that keeps Nigeria on board, and the CoE intact. The AC's union is a pleasant afterthought, even for Rowan: an unintended double effect.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scotist, one small point: ++Rowan did not ask for nor give the Anglican Communion Network his approval. That claim was a bit of spin on the Network's part, and ++Rowan's office has denied it on more than one occasion. I grant he had a role in the formation of the Camp Allen group, but I believe he intended it as a non-schismatic alternative to the schismatic Network. Yes this all does seem like an exercise in drawing very fine lines at times.

Raspberry Rabbit's got a very interesting point: the consequences of all of this for the liberal half of the Anglican polity.

The Communique and Schedule are both of them largely bluster, intended to get ++Peter Abuja out the door of the meeting and onto the plane to Nigeria. The teeth of these documents would be found in the powers of the committee appointed to monitor Episcopal Church compliance, and the makeup of this committee is, as others have pointed out, weighted in the Episcopal Church's favor.

But the real problem with this Communique and Schedule may lie in the precedents it sets for conservative interference with other liberal churches. The Episcopal Church of Scotland and the Anglican Church in Canada, among others, may find these precedents too difficult to accept.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Closed said...

It's time to ramp up the interference all around if we can only focus on the compliance of TEC. What of Nigeria's compliance to this from the Windsor Report: any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care? While Nigeria prepares to pass draconian legislation against lgbt Christians (and non-Christians) with ++Akinola's approval even against those of his own flock, we're worried about compliance of TEC? Not a word mentioned about this by the Primates as they blather on, as I mused the other Anglicans we are striving to construct a new founding meta-narrative of ourselves, slaying in words, if not in fact, though there may be some of that before it is all over with, the chaos of the queers, so that order can be restored. Such order, however, is under the judgment of Christ and is now being exposed in its formation for all the world to see.

In fact, if this continues, we lgbt Christians will have to request alternative oversight by leaving the Anglican tradition altogether. As Matt has pointed out at Political Spaghetti, this is all going to be to the shame of Anglican anything in the end. I agree with him, may it follow such leaders to their graves.

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we agree, from very different perspectives, that it would be good for TEC to be thrown out of the Communion.

But to say that the CofE has a nefarious plan to foment a split in TEC is a bit tinfoilhatish, is it not?

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Initial reaction of the PB:

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, TEC has to comply with the bogus WR, but Akinola and his anarchists do not? As they say in Texas, "That dog won't hunt."

If I were PB KJS, I'd tell Williams, Akinola, and everyone else that the Primatial Vicar alternative is her best and final offer. They don't like it? Then go ahead and kick us out. Rowan Williams...If you'd rather do business with thugs like Akinola and twits like Bob Duncan, you deserve it.

Back in the US, it's time to declare some dioceses vacant, make some presentments, and formally declare that faithful Episcopalians "behind enemy lines" will be given pastoral, financial, and legal assistance to retain EC property and assets.

Time to stop rolling over and dying for Rowan Williams.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Dirty Davey said...

On this day designated to honor his birth, let us remember George Washington, and that his leadership managed to be both away from England and, indisputably, in the correct direction.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but Katie is now part of the standing cttee of the primates. She will be responsible for holding TECUSA to a standard that she herself does not support. A tricky bit of work, that!

At 10:35 PM, Blogger Jon said...

How bad this is hinges on how much the proposed Pastoral Council is inclined to interfere and insist TEC must do the impossible in order to remain in the AC. It is worth noting that the Primates Meeting endorsed PB Jefferts Schori's plan for a primatial vicar. This approval, along with the proposed membership, suggest that this might well be a tolerable solution, especially if it enables those on the liberal end of things to increase the pressure on Archbishop Akinola to change his mind about supporting those proposed laws in Nigeria.

Still, it would be good for Archbishop Williams to visit the HoB to help convince the bishops that the plan doesn't amount to rejecting the proper autonomy of TEC.


At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your robust response is inspiring. In your turn take heart. There are many in the C of E who support TEC/ECUSA.

Best wishes,


At 9:39 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

I think the Windsor Bishop idea--which Williams has referred to on occasion--is taken extremely seriously as showing support in the HoB among otherwise loyal bishops for remaining in the Anglican Commununion.

I take it Williams gingerly encouraged the formation of the ACN, though as you say--not nearly as robustly as the ACN claims. He may well have wanted it to stay loyal. He does not actually want schism in TEC, but only the credible threat of it.

The Primatial Vicar idea is Schori's own. It signals a clear recogntion on her part that she does not have support in the HoB sufficient to cut and run from the Anglican Communnion. The Vicar idea must have been meant to signal to interested parties how she would prefer dealing with the issue, given her constituency.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Do I really have a tinfoil hat on? Am I being irrational?

If it came down to a split, where would Rowan prefer it happen--in the US or in England?

It is not that he actually wants a split anywhere; it is just that he needs to make it clear withoput his having to say so openly that enough bishops in the HoB will remain in the AC that Schori will have to compromise teh autonomy of TEC.

It just so happens Camp Allen and the Windsor Bishops show this nicely.

I think you will agree it is a dangerous game indeed--TEc is already fracturing, and the idea of rendering an instrument in the Windsor Bishops to possibly exacerbate the fracture is risky business. Schori really has no choice but to capitulate as she did.

It's not a conspiracy, it is politics. How the world works--and we have been treated to a brilliant exercise in it.

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not sign this ungodly document. There are plenty of progressive churches in the world. In Sweden, Canada, New Zeeland, Scotland, the US...
We can walk together, hand in hand. God calls upon us from the future. Let the others follow us when they may, if they may.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me there appears to be only one true winner here, Rowan Williams. He has 1. Kept Akinola by allowing the continued intervention in the US by him. 2. Dealt well with the possibility of praemunire..control of the CofE by off-shore primates, by insuring that he is a member of the primatial board of oversight (I will grant this could get a little sticky... 3. Got himself reaffirmed as an "instrument of communion" (upgrade from demotion at Dromantine to "focus of communion") 4. Disentangled himself from the ACN or appearance of allying with +Duncan 5. Gaining the appearance for having some regard for the TEC PB, which might be of assistance if the liberal faction in Britain commences a major "We're next" critique Best winner of all: the covenant. Although it makes clear it makes no pretense of legal enforceability, it makes clear: "These are the rules. These are benchmarks. This is the timeline. Conform or you're out", thus preserving the illusion that each province is de jure autonomous, but, de facto, is not. The covenant then becomes a measure of communion. The Communion and the ABC is spared the embarrassment of throwing the Americans out, they will simply opt out.

One slight caveat..., sending +Durham and +Winchester to Texas was a piece of genius, but with one possible problem. +Wimberly of Texas ONLY invited those he personally had decided were Windsor compliant to Camp Allen. As a result, the Camp Allen letter, so roundly affirmed by the primates, was a document that was framed with only the conservative and centrist wings of TEC; no liberals were allowed any input. This sets a precedent for those in Britain that might be a little difficult to handle. Eg., NT Wright calls a meeting. Everyone from Fulcrum is ok but the rest of you aren't? Primates adopt the report of NT's committee as normative? Would the British have a response to that?

One final thing. I have recently completed Winston's 6 vol. history of WW2 but I am still have trouble with British? +Duncan has been referred to as a twat and twit. I know what a twit is, I think, but what is a twat?

At 11:11 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

Hang on; ladies and gents, while I share a certain curiousity with regard to Bishop Duncan: let's keep it clean...

At 11:15 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...


I do think Rowan is a huge winner here--he keeps the teetering CoE together, and as a bonus, has everyone still on board the AC. There's the brilliance of it.

And it seems you are right to infer the ACN and Duncan are big losers in his estimation: they could not be counted on to keep their cool.

My bet is that Abp. Williams will support Bishop Howe from among the seriously right-wing Network bishops as having a proper and indeed proven attatchment to episcopal catholicity; the rest are damaged goods.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...


I think having allowed liberals at Camp Allen would have implied its loyalty to the AC lacked the right degree of conviction; they would have diluted it to the point of uselessness for Rowan.

But not having centrists would have made Camp Allen another Network, too radical to be reliable for Rowan.

Thus the mix of righties with centrists who have a love for the AC in common.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Closed said...

Here's my answer:

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the PB didn't like signing on to the requests of TEC in the communique, but she feels that it is the only way that she in her role as a Standing Committee member and therefore presumably an ex-officio member of the ACC to advocate for lgbt people throughout the communion and make sure that the listening process continues with integrity. After the meeting last night she stated, "there is awareness that these issues are of concern in many provinces of the Communion and that The Episcopal Church’s charism is to continue to encourage the discussion." I think that she feels that by keeping the status quo on SSB and B033 for a while longer TEC can stay in the Communion where we have great gifts to offer in moving the Communion forward on these issues.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Fr-Eric said...

There is an irony in the current situation of the Anglican Communion.

As I recall, the Church IN England became the Church OF England when the king, parliament and the bishops threw off the yoke of a FOREIGN PRIMATE, to wit, the Supreme Pontiff, the Universal Primate, the Bishop of Rome.

The Church of England thus began with an ethos of (for lack of a better word) HOME RULE in its own provinces of Canterbury and York. It passed that ethos on to its daughter churches and the practice of "foreign primacy" has been, wherever it was allowed to exist temporarily because of colonial or missionary history, ended as soon as practicable.

Now, those who have liberated themselves from such foreign primacy (the Global South, in other words) are turning about and insisting on exercising foreign primacy in the Episcopal Church (and, I suggest, shortly in the English church as well).

This may be anti-colonial, anti-imperial, anti-missionary backlash ... but it is also anti- Anglican. It is a betrayal of the very roots of Anglican identity.

It should never have been proposed; it should never of passed the Primates; and it should never be accepted in ANY province of the
Communion. I fervently hope that the deliberative bodies of other provinces react negatively and condemn this action even before the Episcopal Church is "required" to respond. I hope ... unfortunately, I don't really expect that to happen.

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a small comment here... I am not an Anglican or Episcopalian...

Shouldn't church be about what God wants?

The real polution of this whole situation isn't gay/anti-gay, it is the politics of
"you can't tell me what to do"... just plain stubborn rebellious pride.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

If only it were just pride.

I fear though the parties to this dispute believe they are each doing what God wants, and that they would be culpable for giving up on what justice or righteousness requires.

The problem may be that there is just not enough common ground left for sustained debate, pace the curious references in the Communique to yet unseen reports from the one-man listening process going on somewhere in the Anglican Communion while all Hell breaks loose here below.

We have something like a Huntington-style clash of civilizations.

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

EpfizH --

email me about definitions!

I would like to think that ++Katharine signed because she felt she didn't have the authority to "just say no," for TEC on her own (but her initial response does not support this interpretation).

I hope the HoB says, "We already passed B033 & we never authorized blessing same sex unions & the primatial vicar proposal as altered by the primates would take a canonical change which would require the consents of two General Conventions -- over to you!"

My fear is that they will make some sacrifice of gays & lesbians & be told (YET ONCE AGAIN!) that it is not good enough.

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is time the American Episcopal Church uses the one weapon we have that trumps all the others.(and weapon is the right term, given the international climate among the Anglicans) We are the money. We may not be many in numbers, which is why the African crowd seems to think they have some clout. But we have the money. If they don't want to play our game, I suggest we take our ball (ie, the money) and go home! Of course this assumes that the American Episcopal Church is relatively united on the issue of Gay is OK with Christ.


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