House of Bishops will Address ‘Bishops in Communion’ Plan

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During a Jan. 31 meeting at Lambeth Palace with the Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas; Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies; the Rev. Christopher Seitz, and the Rev. Ephraim Radner, Archbishop Williams agreed to write and formally invite five primates to participate. Some primates have still not responded since receiving the official invitation. The five primates are: Archbishop Gomez; Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East; Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean; Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi; and Archbishop Donald Leo Mtetemela of Tanzania.

“The bishops who have been designated Episcopal Visitors, together with others who might well consider being included in this number, share many concerns about the Anglican Communion and its future, and we look to work together with primates and bishops from the Global South,” Bishop Howe said. “The bishops will work together according to the principles outlined in the Windsor Report and seek a comprehensive Anglican Covenant at the Lambeth Conference and beyond.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC Conflicts

Posted February 26, 2008 at 8:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. David Wilson wrote:

First it is revealed that the PeeBee didn’t really “approve” of the plan and now it is revealed that some of the five designated primates haven’t responded to the invitation to participate.  Methinks the authors of this scheme went public before they had all their ducks in order.  I wonder if the discussion concerning Bishops in Communion at the HOB meeting will come before or after the vote to depose +John-David Schofield.

February 26, 9:28 am | [comment link]
2. Grandmother wrote:

This is truly sad, to see what I consider Bishops scrambling for any port in the storm, just to keep their parishes in line. (I truly believe that is what this is).  Last I heard, Bishops were supposed to “lead” their flock, not cower in their cabins.


February 26, 9:36 am | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

I like Chris Johnsons take on this.

February 26, 9:37 am | [comment link]
4. seitz wrote:

The authors went public? None of us work for the Daily Telegraph. The various press stories are not accurate in specific details (no surprise there): ‘leaks’ and ‘spin’ were in the Garden of Eden, part of original sin. We have said all along that people are debating things based upon press stories and not accounts from the principals. The Archbishop of Canterbury has been consistent in not extruding himself into affairs of specific provinces and this is no exception to that rule. I for one have tried to be careful in what I have said. And not said.  As for +Howe, he made it clear that what he was reporting was out of concern for Petre’s article. I suspect this new TLC story (patchwork combination of other stories) will generate a new round of speculation, intrique and critique.

February 26, 9:44 am | [comment link]
5. Hakkatan wrote:

Orthodox parishes in reappraising dioceses do not simply want a “safe” bishop to come to preach at confirmation—they want a bishop whose view is biblical and who has the authority and responsibility to help them in their life as an orthodox congregation, particularly in such things as calling a new rector or in a person seeking ordination.  Reappraising bishops often seek to replace troublesome orthodox clergy with more compliant ones, and will place so many obstacles in the way of an orthodox aspirant to ordination as to wear the person out—or, if allowed to proceed, to require attendance at some font of heresy for seminary.

If the plan does not allow true oversight—NO THANKS!

February 26, 9:48 am | [comment link]
6. RazorbackPadre wrote:

Right on, Hakkatan!

February 26, 10:10 am | [comment link]
7. Br. Michael wrote:

In addition what does this do about assessments?  I would assume that parishes are to pay in full to the diocese which in turn will make the required payments to support 815.  Yet on another thread Dr. Seitz said we should not fund 815, but this advice sets up orthodox parishes up for disciplinary proceedings.  I confess to being confused as to how this is going to help.

February 26, 10:19 am | [comment link]
8. seitz wrote:

BTW, my sense is that the best account is from Virtue. Minimal and cautious—not David’s usual suit!—and so not misleading.

February 26, 10:21 am | [comment link]
9. RMBruton wrote:

Nice try. I wish them well, but I believe that Elvis has already left the building.

February 26, 10:21 am | [comment link]
10. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “First it is revealed that the PeeBee didn’t really “approve” of the plan and now it is revealed that some of the five designated primates haven’t responded to the invitation to participate.”

Just one little note, since my critique of the fellowship group’s inability [and I suppose disinterest] in providing oversight for parishes in hostile dioceses has been laid out in detail elsewhere . . . I consider the PB’s non-“approval” of the plan [rather, people are saying it was “I have no objection and I don’t see a violation of the canons”] to be a feature, DDW, not a bug.

; > )

February 26, 10:23 am | [comment link]
11. carl wrote:

[#5] ...they want a bishop whose view is biblical and who has the authority and responsibility to help them in their life as an orthodox congregation, particularly in such things as calling a new rector or in a person seeking ordination.

Dr Seitz,
Please address this issue.  The ‘Bishops in Communion’ plan has no accommodation for those who labor under hostile leadership.  It is undeniable that TEC is diligently and methodically removing orthodox leadership from its ranks.  So this plan is only as effective as the tenure of the current Bishop.  Its most practical impact will be to keep certain parishes in place just long enough to bring them under liberal leadership - a leadership that will immediately withdraw consent to this plan as soon as it acquires the authority.  And then these parishes will be seven times worse off than before. 


February 26, 10:26 am | [comment link]
12. robroy wrote:

Hakkatan, another problem is that you might not even get a true orthodox bishop but an Episcopal visitor. These are not the same, e.g., Dorsey Henderson, who recently arm-twisted his diocese to fully fund 815, is a visitor. Is he going to follow “Camp Allen Principles”?

Also, William Witt gave an account of how well the DEPO plan worked in Connecticut here, where Bp Smith would “allow” a parish to invite a DEPO bishop IF they fully met their diocesan tithe and then Smith would simply wait it out and replace orthodox clergy in those parishes with liberals.

February 26, 10:31 am | [comment link]
13. robroy wrote:

In regards to “not requesting KJS’s approval”, Brad Drell hyped this up as if the Camp Allen bishops providing a strong front (after their poor showing in New Orleans). Sarah stated that she sees this as a “feature.”

As others have also pointed out, the Visitors don’t need the PeeBee’s permission to phone up one of the five primates or invite them to their dioceses. Not requesting nor needing her approval simply accentuates the weakness of the plan.

I am heartened by the statement that not all primates have agreed to participate. I hope the others will reconsider. We do not need half-measures that simply distract the orthodox already weary by schemes that have lead nowhere.

February 26, 10:47 am | [comment link]
14. BMR+ wrote:

With all the fragmentation of interests and concerns, it seems to me that it’s way too much to expect that any particular initiative will be able to create a unified field solution.  The “Bishops in Communion” plan doesn’t address the issues of those orthodox who have stepped away or who will step away from the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church, nor will it provide much for orthodox individuals or congregations within what I guess we might call truly “hostile” dioceses.  What it does do is build stronger a clear and more durable structure of continuing relationship to the Communion for those orthodox who remain within the Episcopal Church, and especially in those dioceses identified as “Windsor affirming.”  This seems to me to be a good thing—though, again, limited, and not a solution for every problem in every corner of the household.  It is a way, one way, for the orthodox life of the Communion to continue to have a meaningful and perhaps eventually transformational place “within” the Episcopal Church, even if that church as a Province of the AC should come under some kind of discipline in the future by not signing-on to a Covenant agreement. 
Bruce Robison

February 26, 10:51 am | [comment link]
15. AnglicanFirst wrote:

This plan, of which there is incomplete public knowledge, apparently envisions visitation and some sort of ’presence’  for Windsor dioceses/congregations when ECUSA’s presiding bishop/a diocesan bishop gives approval.

It appears to be only a ‘stop gap’ measure since it doesn’t resolve basic problems. 

It doesn’t resolve the authority of revisionist bishops to preach their version of ‘truth’ in contradiction to the Truth and thus does not permit the orthodox parish priest to protect his parishioners against revisionist propaganda.

It doesn’t speak to the discernment process within a diocese that determines who is a ‘suitable’ candidate for the priesthood and to which seminary the diocesan bishop will approver for a candidate’s spiritual formation and education.

It doesn’t speak to the, apparently, widespread refusal of many revisionist bishops to accept and license graduates from Nashotah House and Trinity or other ‘non-politically correct’ seminaries.

It doesn’t provide guarantees to a parish led by an orthodox priest that will permit the parish,  when that priest dies/leaves the parish, to select an orthodox priest of their choice.

It doesn’t guarantee that when a Windsor/orthodox bishop of a diocese ’steps down’/dies that the clergy and laity of a diocese will be permitted to select the bishop of THEIR choice.  That is, it doesn’t protect against the steady attenuation of non-revisionist bishops and their replacement with revisionist bishops that has been going on in ECUSA for decades. 

It seems that this new idea will do nothing more that give the progressive-revisionists leading ECUSA a ‘front organization’ that will permit ECUSA to go about its ‘merry way’ toward a complete suppression of traditional/orthodox Anglicanism in ECUSA.

February 26, 11:02 am | [comment link]
16. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Sarah stated that she sees this as a “feature.””

Yes, I do.

And let me make a prediction, just for fun.  The prediction will also tie in with BMR’s comment #14.

BMR states something that I think is very true.  First he says: “The “Bishops in Communion” plan doesn’t address the issues of those orthodox who have stepped away or who will step away from the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church, nor will it provide much for orthodox individuals or congregations within what I guess we might call truly “hostile” dioceses.”

Very true—and where the Bishops in Communion group attempts to claim that, it appears very mistaken, and also a distraction.

However, BMR also states: “What it does do is build stronger a clear and more durable structure of continuing relationship to the Communion for those orthodox who remain within the Episcopal Church, and especially in those dioceses identified as “Windsor affirming.”

And this I also agree with.  It basically attempts to do what the old Network idea started out to do which was to gather together like-minded people within TEC, only the added wrinkle is with Primatial linkages.

Here’s my prediction.

Since it’s a given that progressive Episcopal activists gather together in “linkages” all over the place, in order to lobby, promote, engage in the political process, and otherwise institute their agenda . . . and since they certainly do not desire any “linkage” amongst reasserting Episcopalians . . . in fact, when folks do this in any diocese or on a national basis there is instant squawking and shrieks of rage . . . and since they know the power of simply gathering together and connecting with one another [something I have said for years is a first step in any diocese or parish] this plan will receive all sorts of “canonical harumphing” and veiled threats by Executive Council, the House of Bishops, and the General Convention.

That’s how much they are threatened by a national/international fellowship group.

For all of its carefully detailed weaknesses, this idea will receive the full-court-press by the 815 hierarchy.

That’s how insecure they still are, and how much they fear people at any level getting together.

February 26, 11:09 am | [comment link]
17. Grandmother wrote:

Another question comes up. In what way will these “Windsor Dioceses” will one be able to differentiate them from any Diocese in TEC?

I truly doubt, any “seekers” will be able to understand an difference.

KJS will still be Presiding Bishop, money will still be paid, (I’d bet its mandated) to fund TEC, lawsuits et al, I see very little differences other than an occasional “visit” from somebody else.

I truly, except for the “approval” of the ABC see any point except to keep the parishes quiet. 

Would love to see the “final” plan, but probably not until after the HoB meeting, and the deposing of +Schofield.

February 26, 11:13 am | [comment link]
18. evan miller wrote:

God bless Bishop Howe and these other good bishops for trying, but I think it’s too late in the day for this effort to be effective.  Maybe a year ago it would have been sufficient as a temporary expedient until the communion, through concerted effort by the orthodox at Lambeth, imposed discipline on TEC.  But with a Lambeth fataly weakened by the ABC’s invitations to the TEC consecrators of VGR and his snubbing of the CANA and othe US bishops of Global South provinces, and the boycott by the principal provinces of the Global South, I’m afraid its effect will be negligible.

February 26, 11:16 am | [comment link]
19. Br. Michael wrote:

And I think, by now, it is clear that the AC will never ever discipline TEC.

February 26, 11:23 am | [comment link]
20. Cennydd wrote:

This scheme….for that’s exactly what it is….a scheme….is nothing more than a last-ditch effort designed to entice dissenters back into the fold of TEC, and it is DEAD IN THE WATER.  Those who have left, including our diocese, will not return.  As long as KJS has anything to do or say about it, it is a “gone goose!”

February 26, 11:35 am | [comment link]
21. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “This scheme….for that’s exactly what it is….a scheme….is nothing more than a last-ditch effort designed to entice dissenters back into the fold of TEC, and it is DEAD IN THE WATER.”



I thought it didn’t pay enough attention to “the dissenters”—I thought folks were complaining just yesterday that it didn’t include “the dissenters” and ignores “the dissenters.”

Frankly, I see no interest in this “plan” in enticing any “dissenters” back into TEC. 

And if the plan is dead in the water, then we’ll all see over the next six to 12 months.  I will observe with interest.

February 26, 11:47 am | [comment link]
22. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

A prophetic commentary, grounded in the historical responses of the ECUSA/TEC/GCC to the Lambeth Council, the ABC, the Primates, and the ACC:

The visual exposition of the fragmentation is very compelling, I must say.

February 26, 11:47 am | [comment link]
23. 0hKay wrote:

Dr. Seitz—You have entered the fray, so please, a follow-up. Since Primates are part of this plan, and since Primates would only enter the scene for the oversight of Dioceses, what possible hope does your group have that the HOB will reverse itself on the canonicity of this plan? Without Primates, it is just Episcopal Visitors warmed over and that plan has been adopted by zero dioceses.

February 26, 11:49 am | [comment link]
24. Athanasius Returns wrote:

RE: ‘Bishops in Communion’ Plan or CPP or whatever it goes by:  I call your attention to summary comments made by Fr. Kingsley (at #11) in this thread.  So far, no one has come close to answering how the BIC Plan or CPP may even actually have an effect.  I read some highly compromised (on the orthodox part) wishful thinking, but hardly anything substantive.  Folks, 815 is terminally intransigent, ++Cantuar scuttles everything that even approaches relief for the orthodox, and those orthodox represented by this “plan” wonder about its possible/likely effectiveness.  How is it really going to make a difference, given the corrosive, toxic climate?  Once a plan is set, the expected directive is execute, execute, execute.  Is there anything executable in the plan?

February 26, 11:52 am | [comment link]
25. The Rev. Father Brian Vander Wel wrote:

What is so fascinating about all the plans proposed and failed, succeeded in part or not at all, is that it only further reveals, to me, the inherent reality in our predicament: Anglicanism has no central “way” of ecclesiastical life. So, even those who are passionately committed to the Biblical and catholic teachings of human sexuality are deeply divided—and even mistrusting!—of those with whom they hold that very important teaching in common. it is no wonder then, that as we move through the muck and mire of where we are as Anglicans, that there so many “solutions” are being put forward. When all that it really is doing is showing that Anglicanism is fragmented. In other words, this time is showing what Jesus has always known about this part of his body: it is divided.

As a priest who would retire in 25 years, if I retired at 65, I am more interested in keeping the long view in mind. Luther’s thesis went on the door in 1517. Cranmer put out the first prayer book in 1549—for those who struggle with math that’s 32 years. And even after Henry’s death, we still had 5 years of burnings at the stake under Mary before the Elizabethan settlement was possible in 1559. I pray it doesn’t become that bad for us.

It is maddening to be in the middle of something this big and realize that it is possible that I may not see something clearly settled in my lifetime as an active priest. So, like Frodo who is deeply disturbed when he finds out that he is holding the “one ring” and says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” I too heed the words of Gandalf: “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” So, I once again go to me knees: pleading for God to protect what is His, to give us grace to do His work in the middle of it all, and to use me, use even me, as he purifies his bride from all corruption for the day of the great wedding feast.

February 26, 11:54 am | [comment link]
26. jayanthony wrote:

Dr. Seitz,
As a member of a parish in a very reappraising diocese, it would be helpful if you would answer the questions in #7 (Br. Michael) and #11 (Carl).  They address the heart of our dilemna.  How would this plan protect us and assure our future faithfulness?

February 26, 11:57 am | [comment link]
27. robroy wrote:

Perhaps, it is only me when I said, “We do not need half-measures that simply distract the orthodox already weary by schemes that have lead nowhere.” I am weary of half-measure schemes. I would ask Bruce Robinson+ and Sarah whether they don’t see the orthodox growing weary? Perhaps, I lack stamina to fight the good fight.

February 26, 12:03 pm | [comment link]
28. Cennydd wrote:

Sarah, since KJS is involved in this scheme, it is DEAD.  Period.  Even if our diocese was still part of TEC, we would never go for it, and I think you know that.

February 26, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
29. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I would ask Bruce Robinson+ and Sarah whether they don’t see the orthodox growing weary?”

Sure—I’m weary all the time.

Not sure what the point of the question is.  If people decide that they do not wish to be a part of the fight within the Anglican Communion, then there are many Anglican alternatives in which they can fight other battles or there are non-Anglican church alternatives in which they can fight other battles.

February 26, 12:19 pm | [comment link]
30. BMR+ wrote:

I guess I would just echo what my old colleague Brian says in #25, which is that my best guess is that a stable resolution of the current situation is at best many decades away.  There are particular issues for us to deal with day by day, of course, and we do the best we can.  But all the “solutions” out there right now, in my opinion, and I do mean *all* of them, are imperfect and certainly transitional.  Each has some positive aspects, I think, and each is signficantly flawed.  We don’t yet begin to see what may be on the other side of the horizon for our Anglican family.  This particular initiative seems to me to be somewhat helpful, in a limited way, for some of us, and may carry some of the luggage a little way down the road. 

Bruce Robison

February 26, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
31. seitz wrote:

#26—sorry, this is my busy day of teaching. No plan can raise the dead, as many note. Jesus does that. In haste: 1. visitations happen in major parishes in CA dioceses, etc, perhaps with Primatial partner presence/teaching. 2. visitations happen in dioceses with non CA bishops, where requests are made and acceded to. 3. visitations are requested in more difficult places—the question is raised—why not? I spoke of NC yesterday as an example. 4. a basic pattern emerges, with dioceses and parishes anxious to display enthusiastic partnership with Communion life inside and outside TEC. 5. Revisionist dioceses—these take different forms, depending often on the personality of the diocesan. The Windsor Continuation Group is meant to follow up on Lambeth invitations, I should expect with those cases where the more extreme advocacy of SSBs and ‘friend of Gene’ agressiveness may be asked to live with their convictions. But I am only pointing to matters of larger movements, and do not pretend to know the ways of God in this season. I believe the polity of the american church allows for large scope when it comes to Bishop-to-Bishop activity. We have seen the church move strongly in one direction, and now the communion forces are far more aware of realities, province to province. We are at a time when the question is being called: what does it mean to belong to the anglican communion. This tide shift (think of ten years ago) allows initiatives to take hold that move things in the opposite direction. And as Sarah has said, rightly, there are other options for choosing (CANA, AMiA, Southern Cone) already on the ground. I am not involved in them so cannot commend them nor offer any counsel (why would be asked to do that of course). I’m sorry if this is not a stone that turneth all to gold. I believe it is a way to make headway where it can be made. Back to work. Grace and peace.

February 26, 12:35 pm | [comment link]
32. pendennis88 wrote:

It seems to me that this BIC scheme was overplayed in the media from the start.  Dr. Seitz pointing to the Virtue article pretty much confirms that it is not an initiative of the ABC, and the PB has only said she had no objection.  (Note to the ACI:  the PB “agreed” to Dar es Salaam, and look what happened to that.  And you guys only got a “no objection”.  Draw your own conclusions now that we know from TLC that the BIC scheme is on the agenda for the spring HoB.)

The scheme essentially starts an ACN-type informal network of some bishops with some orthodox primates, and no structure.  There is a throwaway reference to episcopal visitors for orthodox parishes in revisionist parishes when that has already been around, but only for a few parishes, and the great majority of revisionist bishops haven’t agreed (to the extent of even banning ACN membership in some places).  There is no effort to address the sizeable number of parishes that have left and are leaving daily for CANA, AMiA, Uganda and others to avoid being dismembered by TEC, or the situations of certain diocese such as those led by Bishops Iker, Duncan and Schofield.

Thus it fails to engage the fundamental problems which are tearing the communion apart - discipline of TEC and TEC’s efforts to get rid itself of the orthodox.

It is helpful, perhaps, to a few TEC bishops who are reasonably orthodox in belief, but are willing to continue to support and be a part of TEC no matter what.  Even if it means that orthodoxy in their diocese ends with them, and even if it means that large numbers of lay people will simply leave TEC, in some cases for the common cause partners that are rapidly becoming a de facto, temporary parallel jurisdiction.

From Mark Harris’s fears, it appears that the hope of some is that this BIC network of bishops and primates will grow into a stronger orthodox network which may replace TEC’s influence in the international instruments of communion.  Well, that would be great.  Even if so, though, this is something years, if not decades, in the future.  In the short term, the BIC plan has no impact on the split in the Anglican Communion, on Lambeth or on GAFCON.  It is practically a nonevent as far as 2008 is concerned.

So I’m left wondering: is this it?  Is this the only new proposal that is going to come out before Lambeth?  No changes to invitations by the Archbishop (other than, perhaps, an observer invite to VGR and a revocation of the one to Schofield)?  No discipline of TEC?  Nothing for orthodox parishes but a “good luck, you’re on your own and don’t let the door hit you on the way out”?  Then so the split begins with a whimper and not a bang, and not enough regret on the part of some to do anything about it. 

‘Course, I also take the long view.  It may take generations to reconcile the pieces of the Anglican Communion if things proceed on their current course, but that does not mean it is impossible.

February 26, 12:40 pm | [comment link]
33. seitz wrote:

#32 for the record. Nihil obstat was what was requisite—no one wanted anything more because more was not appropriate or necessary. Consider that. Second, I said Virtue was minimal and so more correct at points. I did not say it had all facts right either. The role of the ABC was simply not as some stories had it.

February 26, 1:08 pm | [comment link]
34. Fr. Andrew Gross wrote:

I am one of the folks who has been underwhelmed by this latest plan, but accepting this proposal for what it is, perhaps we can offer some constructive suggestions for the Comcon strategy moving forward.  Here are a few things that I see as both needed and ‘doable’:

1) A(nother) clear and public call for the ABC to rescind invitations to Lambeth for non-Windsor bishops
2) Another clear and public call for the end to TEC lawsuits
3) Proposed canon changes for GC2009 that would make the original Primatial Vicar plan congruent with TEC’s ‘polity.’

The ACI has articulated its mission in the past as remaining a witness (regardless of whether this witness ‘changes anything’) while working within the current structures of the AC.  The above recommendations would be a firm witness, and respect both TEC and the AC’s current structures.

The ACI is committed to working for the Communion processes which could expose the unwillingness of liberals in TEC to be communion compliant, so even if all of the above recommendations were defeated, the end result would be that this ‘unwillingness’ would be thrown into high relief.

If Comcons ‘go big’ and ask for what is needed (not just what is likely possible), then it is a win-win situation.  Either we may all be suprised at what was actually possible, or TEC and the ABC’s clear rejections will produce greater clarity.

February 26, 1:23 pm | [comment link]
35. seitz wrote:

1—watch the WCG
2—you bet
3—get what one can get and move on.
The events that led up to this were long in the making and carefully undertaken when the matter was engaged, so as to observe parameters. The DT produced a story, probably intended to have a negative effect. Others followed to catch up. There you have it.
There is no ‘go big’ proposal that can keep everything moving forward at its widest and most desirable reach.

February 26, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
36. PadreWayne wrote:

#34 Fr.Andrew:
1) Including those provinces, who, by their reports to Lambeth, have refused to engage in any listening process (yeah, I know you hate that term, but it is called for in the Windsor resolution)
2) And an end to parishes claiming deeds, land titles, and funds as they waltz away from TEC—unless they can prove that they, the current departing members, have, indeed, provided all such necessary financial resources themselves and prove that they will provide for those parishioners who desire to remain Episcopalians
3) Not gonna happen
4) Needed: a scheme whereby progressive parishes in “Windsor” dioceses can also request alternative episcopal (small e) oversight and pastoral care
5) Needed: transparency—agreements arrived at in secret are dangerous things
6) Needed: inclusion of non-bishop clergy and laity


February 26, 1:55 pm | [comment link]
37. Fr. Andrew Gross wrote:

Fr. Wayne,
1) I can fully support a reiteration of the importance of each province engaging a listening process, but you and I would probably differ on what counted as a ‘legitimate listening process.’  For instance, unlike TEC’s ‘listening process’ a legitimate listening process should spend more time on scriptural study as well as testimonies from those who have chosen celibacy, or been healed.  Three things TEC’s ‘process’ intentionally sidelined.

I also do not recall the Windsor Report, Dromantine, or DES saying that the lack of an “official listening process” was a communion-breaking offense.  TEC’s moving forward with its sexual and theological revolution in a unilateral fashion was such an offense, but if you can point to the document that called for discipline for those who have no official listening process I’m open.

2) Why?

3)What’s not going to happen?  I’m not clear about what you meant.

4) I’m good with that.

5) Agreed, though highly difficult.  How are we going to gather all interested Anglicans simultaneously?  If we don’t, some are going to claim ‘secrecy’ and ‘conspiracy.’  Interestingly enough, most Integrity meetings aren’t open and transparent, so if you are proposing this across the board you’d need to include your own group(s), yes?

6) Okay.

February 26, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
38. Mike Watson wrote:

I agree with Sarah’s prediction in #16 that the 815 hierarchy is likely to try to keep this effort as contained as possible.  They will see it a potential erosion of brand identity.  (TEC is big on branding; witness this from the Diocese of Los Angeles’ brief filed a few weeks ago in the litigation against St. James, Newport Beach: “For more than five decades, St. James relied upon the Episcopal ‘brand’ to solicit gifts from faithful Episcopalians to build and maintain parish property . . . .”)  Well, in a sense TEC has been relying on the Anglican ‘brand’ and wouldn’t like to see its own brand identity eroding.  Too, if it can’t generate enough negatives, there’s the risk to 815 that the group of supporting bishops expands over time from ten to ten plus twenty.

February 26, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
39. Chris Hathaway wrote:

I appreciate BMR and Sarah pointing out the usefulness of building communication networks for the orthodox within the Communion. This is a worth while thing.

But was this not really happening before? If not, Why not?
Is there anything making it difficult to do this now? Do we really need a “plan” for this? Orthodox dioceses certainly require no permission to invite whomever they choose to come and talk to them.

As for orthodox parishes in hostile dioceses that would, the visitors that are proposed to come will not be functioning as bishops. They won’t engage in confirmations or ordinations or anything that would question the authority of the TEC diocesan bishop, so why would the visitors need to be bishops at all. Pope Leo the Great never attended a General Counciul but he made his presence known through a legate. Why could not Communion Primates send representatives to orthodox parishes in heterodox doiceses now, laymen even? What canon forbids Congregations inviting speakers to come visit them? Are we implying that the situation is so bad in TEC that bishops can forbid their priests and parishes from communicating with bishops and Primates outside TEC in the wider Anglican Communion, of which these TEC bishops claim to be a part and in full communion?

Well, I that may very well be the case. But if it is, I think we should make a point of challenging it rather than getting around it. We seem to be implicitly saying that TEC this authority and power, but this plan doesn’t confront that as an illegitimate power. Consequently TEC’s usurped authority is legitimized.

We don’t need no stinkin’ “Communion Partners Plan” to communicate with other members of the Communion with whom we are in Communion.

Slightly edited by elf.

February 26, 2:46 pm | [comment link]
40. Chris Hathaway wrote:

oops. bad penultimate paragraph.

Well, I think that may very well be the case. But if it is, I think we should make a point of challenging it rather than getting around it. We seem to be implicitly saying that TEC has this authority and power, but this plan doesn’t confront that as an illegitimate power.

February 26, 2:50 pm | [comment link]
41. Fr. Andrew Gross wrote:

Dr. Seitz,
I’m not sure why it isn’t possible to ‘go big’ and ask for everything, but I’ll trust ya’ll have done the calculations and have your reasons.

I do hope that the Fedcons and Comcons can find ways to work in complimentary, albeit different ways for the reform of the Communion. 

I am concerned that the ABC (and others) see Akinola and TEC as equally dangerous to the unity of the Communion.  Without border-crossing my parish would have just had to become congregationalist, so we are most thankful that some are working on a different strategy and timetable than the ACI.  That said, if your work and methods also produce fruit I will be equally thankful. 

God bless.

February 26, 2:54 pm | [comment link]
42. Grandmother wrote:

Hopefully, there will be more details forthcoming, because as this stands, there is very little point to it.  Why (if its a concern) would these dioceses be concerned about their membership in the WWAC?
Its obvious, that TEC still is, and the bet is that it will remain.

As for the ABC, somehow or another I remember +Duncan saying he had the approval/or agreement with him for the establishment of the Network, and just recently, +Greg Venables told us that the ABC said (when approached with what he is doing) “That sounds like a good idea”.

Yet, all and sundry yelled loudly that these two were not telling a truth?.  What’s different about these Bishops?

I still don’t see what the point is.  If one is still a member of TEC, pays the “asking” to TEC, and cannot violate any of TEC’s canons/laws/polity, that can we assume that “one” is in Communion with TEC, an organization that is a fully “pledged$” member of the WWAC?  Perhaps these bishops think TEC might get reprimanded?
If so, these folks are still in TEC, so perhaps they think the ABC might draw some kind of line between them and TEC? 

Like I’ve said, I simply do NOT understand what the point of this is.
Nothing changes except perhaps they’ve made sure TEC will not aim their legal arrows at them? 

Still, its mind boggling.

February 26, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
43. Philip Snyder wrote:

I wonder when TECUSA will engage in a “listening process.”  As a province we have not listened to anything said by anyone that disagrees with the New Thing.  When Robinson was elected, we were asked not to confirm by the ABC, the ACC, and the Primates.  We didn’t listen.  When the Primates met, we were asked not to proceed with the consecration.  We didn’t listen.  When the primates met we were told that to proceed with the consecration was a schismatic act (tear the fabric).  We didn’t listen.  Listening does entail simply talking and doing.  Listening is not hearing and dismissing.  Listening requires humility - a viture that Americans seriously lack.
2.  Instead of a “winner take all” approach to parish property ownership, why don’t we come to some sort of arrangement where the contributions of the National Church, the Diocese, and the members of the parish are all affirmed and rewarded.  Surely that is better than lawsuits and turning over our wealth to trial lawyers.
3.  Why can’t we change our polity to be more Anglican and to be more inclusive of the Anglican Communion’s opinions and teaching?  Are you so unsure of your position that you can’t abide other bishops or leaders coming into TECUSA to teach, preach, confirm, and ordain?  What do you fear from the rest of the world?  Perhaps it isn’t fear but pride.  In either case, I suggest that both are wrong. 
4.When you show what innovations to the Faith that the Windsor/BIC/reasserting bishops have made, then we can talk about the need for alternative oversight.  But, in case you don’t remember, +Duncan has allowed any parish that wants another bishop to have one.  +Schofield allowed any parish that wanted to stay in TECUSA to stay (so long as any debt with the diocese was settled).
5.  I agree that secretive meetings can be dangerous.  But sometimes executives need to meet away from the press and from outside pressures so that they can better discern the will of God.  Haven’t you ever been on a retreat?  It’s the same idea.  Get away from the world and get in closer touch with God.
6.  I have no problem with allowing presbyters, deacons, and the laity to have input to the process.  Why don’t we revamp the ACC so that membership is determined by provincial ASA?  That would be more representative of the Communion as a whole.  We could do the same with General Convention.  You get X delegates per 1000 (or 5000) ASA. 

What do you think?
Phil Snyder

February 26, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
44. seitz wrote:

In case I did not make it clear—I just re-read this TLC digest—the facts in this story are just all inside out. I think this is the tendency when something like the Telegraph sends out a story meant to crowd the truth and force a direction (a UK tendency in broadsheets and tabloids both), and then others seek to catch up, amplify, correct or whatever.

February 26, 6:45 pm | [comment link]
45. wildfire wrote:

A propos the question of discipline discussed in ## 31, 34 and 35, I highly recommend Kevin Kallsen’s interview with Bp. N.T. Wright on AnglicanTV.  On Feb. 22, Wright told Kallsen that, as stated in the Advent Letter, the ABC is getting in touch with “Robinson’s key supporters” to ask “are you actually up to speed” with the Windsor Report and the covenant.  While one might suggest a bit more precision when dealing with this crowd, the fact that Wright volunteered this while discussing the objection of the key GS provinces to invitations to the Robinson consecrators may indicate that the final decision is still to come.

February 26, 7:17 pm | [comment link]
46. seitz wrote:

#45—I know it has brought a lot of hailstones down on our heads, but ACI has said this for some time (as NTW is our colleague, I suppose this is unsurprising). The WCG formation also portends review of this issue. At issue is the clearest means of reviewing invitations, as a number of criteria have been suggested.

February 26, 9:25 pm | [comment link]
47. Larry Morse wrote:

Aren’t you tied of schemes yet? Here’s the simple truth: Schori and TEC have piled one heresy on another. The result is that TEC is dying even as I write. There is no evidence that this internal decay will be reversed, and continuing evidence that TEC’s parishes are leaving as individuals are leaving, and for the same reasons.

  Anglicanism has nothing to gain and much to lose from dealing with TEC in any way.

  If you are willing at last to declare this proposition true, then it would follow that all Anglicans should leave TEC to its own affairs and pursue their own Anglican interests as be st suits them. If this means joining Africa or the Southern Cone,  let it be done.           
No one is hurt thereby and parishes and dioceses can find a genuine                     home. Those who wish to deal with the ABC, let them do so. Those who don’t, need not. 

    Stop fretting about unity. This issue is now moot, and you all know it. Later, consensus will appear as core doctrine is clarified. As consensus appears, disparate groups will agglomerate because core belief will bring them together. Until then, wait, and tend your own garden. LM

February 26, 9:26 pm | [comment link]
48. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

“...actually up to speed”: based on prior (in)actions would be equal to “have you found a postmodernistic mode of expression that will have the appearance of pretended compliance nuanced so as to continue the course you have clearly enunciated as your gospel(tm) and which I can take in such a manner as to give the pretense of compliance so as to allow your funds to continue whilst you undermine further the ‘communion’ to which we allege we belong, for though I personally agree with you on the basis of my many activities and writings to advance your ploys, I must, in the current situation, provide the appearance of aligning with the last Jamboree I.10 suggestion which you have studiously disavowed in word and deed time and time and time again so as to give the lie to your understanding of compliance, mutuality, interdependence and accountability but which my deeply penetrative thought processes have been unable to either apprehend or comprehend so as to induce a response apposite of those actions on your part that has any semblance of expectation of compliance but which I can perambulate about to the failure of disambiguation allowing same”, would it not?

February 26, 9:27 pm | [comment link]
49. wildfire wrote:

At issue is the clearest means of reviewing invitations, as a number of criteria have been suggested.

I for one think the focus on the consecrators has been misguided since that event happened four years ago and is theoretically covered by statements of regret.  I would look instead to the ongoing allowance of public blessings, which was admitted in New Orleans and is expressly condemned in the Windsor Report, the Subgroup report and the JSC report.

February 26, 9:40 pm | [comment link]
50. seitz wrote:

#49—I agree.

February 26, 10:05 pm | [comment link]
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