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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Two ecumenical guests, Rev Father Paul Patitsas and the Rev Prof Robert Griben (of the six ecumenical partners that were present), spoke of their experience at being at ACC-15. Father Paul highlighted that they had attended as partners and not guests and had been encouraged to comment on issues and felt “embraced in love”. He expressed the hope that all might continue to “work at being one” and offered a personal appreciation of the ministry of the Archbishop Rowan Williams as an Instrument of Communion. He also spoke on behalf of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who noted the concern expressed about the environment and also offered hope and prayers for Archbishop Rowan and for the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rev Prof Robert Gribben also spoke, sharing some thoughts from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity which commented on our Covenant process and our Ecumenical agreements. He finished his reflection with the words, “We need you my brothers and sisters to be united so that you may be part of a strong ecumenical world, and you need us also.”
The ACC members were asked, “What is the headline you are taking home?” The laity shared their answers first. Garth Blake of Australia spoke of the great variety and energy at this meeting with so many aspects of mission. Lisbeth Barahona of Central America saw the work on justice and the elimination of violence as a key component. The youth member Sarah Tomlinson spoke of the “rebranding” of the Communion--that it was now deeply grounded in hope and justice. Suzanne Lawson of Canada the Anglican Communion “actually works and we are together.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations
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In a statement given to The Living Church, Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Fort Worth said he was “disheartened” that to date he has been “unable to secure a future, safe place for this diocese within The Episcopal Church,” and “saddened by the fact that the HOB has been unwilling to make adequate provision for us in response to our appeal for alternative primatial oversight.”
Bishop Iker described the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church as a “toxic environment,” and said he will not be attending the meeting at Camp Allen March 7-16.
“In recent years I have increasingly dreaded the thought of attending another meeting of the House of Bishops of TEC,” he said. “For me, the small-group table discussions are places of hostile confrontation, not support and affirmation.”
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According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues. The scheme would allow them to remain technically within the Episcopal Church but under the care of like-minded archbishops from abroad. The Primate of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, a moderate conservative, has agreed to participate, and other primates could be recruited.
However, the initiative is likely to infuriate liberal leaders of the Episcopal Church, who will see it as an attempt to undermine their authority and interfere in their affairs. Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, the head of the Episcopal Church, has been cracking down on any diocese or parish that seeks to leave, and numerous legal actions are under way. She and her colleagues have already rejected similar proposals suggested at a meeting in Tanzania last year of all the primates, the leaders of the 38 independent Churches that constitute the Anglican Communion. However, she met a group of conservative bishops and theologians in New York last week after hearing that Dr Williams was sympathetic to the new proposal.
Read it all but make sure to read the next post before coming to any conclusions.
Update George Conger has a Church of England Newspaper article on this which begins as follows:
US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has endorsed a programme of alternative Episcopal oversight brought to her by a group of conservative American bishops.
The “Anglican Bishops in Communion” seeks to meld the Primates’ Dar es Salaam pastoral council scheme with the “Episcopal Visitor” programme created by Bishop Schori in a bid to hold the fissiparous elements of American Anglicanism together until an Anglican Covenant is agreed.
“This is a step forward, albeit a small one,” the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt Rev John W Howe noted, that permits freedom of conscience for traditionalist while preserving good order in conformance to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.
However, critics charge there is nothing in the plan to compel a liberal bishop to permit alternative oversight, while spokesmen for the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Fort Worth told The Church of England Newspaper they were unable to comment on the merits of the plan as they had not been consulted in its creation and were unaware of the details.
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Anglican bishops met in Tanzania in February to issue an ultimatum to the U.S. church, calling for an end to both the appointment of gay clergy and the approval of same-sex unions. After a six-day meeting in New Orleans, American Episcopalians decided Wednesday that they will "exercise restraint" in doing both actions, but did not announce an end to its liberal position on homosexuality. The Episcopal Church also called for an end to the practice of foreign bishops consecrating Americans.
"The decision is inadequate — clearly, the Episcopal Church has torn apart the Anglican Communion and wants to walk away from the rest of the church," Guernsey says. "The Episcopal Church embarked on its course before there were African bishops and will continue to do so." He adds that American churches have become too dry and lost their vigor. In contrast, Guernsey says that Western visitors are often overwhelmed by the heightened religiosity found in Ugandan churches.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Bishops Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts Windsor Report / Process
Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s Standing Committee, Board of Trustees and Diocesan Council discussed the future path of the diocese at Antiochian Village May 20-21. Speaking at the beginning of the retreat, Bishop Robert Duncan told diocesan leaders that “we’re here together…to discuss our way forward in light of our failure to obtain Alternative Primatial Oversight.”
Diocesan organizational consultant Cynthia Waisner helped the leadership identify a number of different choices in the light of the rejection of the 2006 appeals and, more recently, the House of Bishops’ rejection of the pastoral plan put forward by the Primates of the Anglican Communion. The diocese could simply keep doing what it has been doing, remaining on the periphery of The Episcopal Church, but not attempting to reach a concluding moment in the conflict. It could submit to the will of the Episcopal Church in its majority, reversing the diocesan convention’s actions over the last four years. It could attempt to separate as a diocese from The Episcopal Church, an option a number of Anglican Communion Network dioceses are considering. It could attempt to create space for conserving parishes to negotiate an exit from the diocese.
Regardless of what option is ultimately adopted, the diocesan leadership was clear about several things. There is no path forward for the diocese that will not involve significant costs and pain. Staying with the Episcopal Church in the light of its rejection of mainstream Christianity will force members of the leadership, individuals and congregations to consider cutting their ties to the diocese. Separating from the structures of the Episcopal Church will force others to reevaluate their relationship with the diocese. Regardless of the choice, parishes and the diocese are likely to face financial challenges.
“We are facing something that we never thought we would face. We thought we would prevail. We thought that what we believed and what the majority of the Communion believed would be provided for,” said Bishop Duncan.
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