A Quick and Tentative Analysis of the Windsor Continuation Group’s Recommendations
My initial take on the report is cautiously positive, understanding four principles of note.
First, we have been here before. We have been here with Windsor and with Dar. And those two documents recommendations were simply not fulfilled ultimately.
Second, documents are different from action. We can be even ecstatic over a document, but that does not mean that any action will be taken. I suppose it all depends on whether the Archbishop of Canterbury is willing for those words to be implemented.
1. Choir Stall wrote:
TEC often quotes Humpty Dumpty: “Words mean what I want them to mean.”
July 28, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
...so the ABC has it in his power to say,
“The see of Canterbury will be in communion with those dioceses (or provinces) that adhere to the Windsor Report and who implement the recommendations of the Continuation Group.”
It’s the single power that Canterbury has that has great psychological effect. Consider the psychological therapy that TEC’s brightest and best need, it is the right medicine.
2. Graham Kings wrote:
This is a very encouraging first, tentative response from Sarah - thanks - and the report itself seems to me to be eminently sensible.
As well as the ‘scheme in which existing ad hoc jurisdictions could be held “in trust” in preparation for their reconciliation within their proper Provinces’, the following three issues, in particular, are worth noting:
1. the three moratoria on issues of sexuality: same sex blessings; consecration of openly gay bishops; and all cross border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction
2. the urgency of setting up of a Pastoral Forum
3. the commending of the Communion Partners plan (suggested by the Anglican Communion Institute and others)
July 28, 1:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Third Mill Catholic wrote:
I’m very encouraged as well, Graham. However, I do wonder that now that the genies are out of their respective bottles on these moratoria how this proposal will effectively stuff them back in. Of course, ceasing all sex-sex union ceremonies and consecrations of openly gay bishops will be (should be) easy to do. But how in the world do they suppose that they can stuff the border crossing genie back in its bottle now that Southern Cone, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya have set up shop in North America, and GAFCON has committed its portion of the Commuion to continue along these lines?
But you’re correct, Graham. The Windsor Continuing Group needs our support for their fine work so far, and the collosal task that is before them.
July 28, 1:50 pm | [comment link]
4. PeterFrank wrote:
The thing is, we’ve seen a list of “eminently sensible” reports as long as your arm. To this point, they have not led to any action that has actually helped defuse this crisis. Instead, to those of us either forced out of The Episcopal Church, or facing significant pressure within, this endless stream of groups, panels, and now, I suppose, forums, have simply appeared to exist to keep us from acting without providing any concrete relief themselves.
Unless this latest try immediately deals with this deficit of trust by actually doing something helpful, I’m afraid its simply not going to work either. That is particularly true now that both Common Cause and GAFCON are making progress. We have other options.
July 28, 2:00 pm | [comment link]
5. Sarah1 wrote:
And almost “immediate” is what it would now take, PeterFrank—Bishop Iker also made that clear in his interview after the hearing.
As usual, the clock is ticking.
July 28, 2:02 pm | [comment link]
6. Jim the Puritan wrote:
Why isn’t this deja vu all over again? Somehow this seems eerily reminiscent of things already tried, “complied with” and ignored.
July 28, 2:06 pm | [comment link]
7. Don Armstrong wrote:
The focus here should be on heretical bishops and their repentance…not excitement about holding the orthodox in trust ...I mean who is supposed to straighten up here…somehow isolating this one paragraph misses the thrust of the statement as a whole and focuses on internal conservative conflicts of Communion Partners vs. GAFCON rather than the real battle with TEC heresy…
July 28, 2:07 pm | [comment link]
8. Christopher Johnson wrote:
I’m not encouraged at all. There is no teeth to this thing that I can see. What is this Pastoral Forum empowered to do? And will it actually do it? And the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose special commission pronounced TEO in compliance with the Windsor Report prior to GenCon 2006, will appoint the members of this thing ought to be a deal-breaker. If this is the best they can do, then shut the Anglican Communion down right now.
July 28, 2:27 pm | [comment link]
9. Observing wrote:
Something that has always bothered me about the Windsor process is that it is not addressing the problem. The problem is not homosexual bishops. The problem is Bishops that are following a different religion “Jesus Seminar, atonement is a myth” or allowing that to be taught in their churches, and undermining clergy that teach traditional Christianity “I am a sinner, Christ died to that I may live”. ( We don’t accept clergy from THAT college, etc)
Until those issues are addressed there will never be any sort of unity. And addressing those issues is not even on the table. But if you read much of what the conservatives are objecting to, it is not really homosexual bishops, its the active undermining of core principles of the faith.
July 28, 3:14 pm | [comment link]
10. William Witt wrote:
TEC had until GC 2006 to make its response. Then it had until Sept 30, 2007 to clarify whether the response it made was indeed a response. And to appoint a Primatial Vicar. And to cease lawsuits.
The HOB rejected the Primatial Vicar scheme in March 2007. KJS said about the lawsuits in her VA Deposition: “That’s what we do.” Then, at the Press Conference statement at the HOB meeting in New Orleans, Rowan Williams said explicitly that the Sept 30 deadline was not actually a deadline after all.
Until Rowan Williams addresses TEC’s blatant rejection of the requirements of the Dar Es Salaam Communique, and apologizes for his own subversion of the Sept 30 deadline, he has no business leading any group to assess anyone’s Windsor compliance.
July 28, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
11. francis wrote:
Old news. We are beyond this. The dioceses, churches and clergy are already held in trust. We await the final solution. Well, you know what I mean.
July 28, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
12. jamesw wrote:
William Witt: The one thing that I find to be interesting is the number of commentators (including Hanford himself) who made the connection between this WCG report and the DES Communique. Which leads to the obvious connection - if TEC had complied with the DES Communique (remember this is what RW had polled the Communion on), then why would the WCG have seen the need to essentially repropose a (arguably stronger) version of the DES plan?
Rowan Williams has been offered the same basic plan now twice in a row. Does he really think he can derail this process the way he derailed DES? I wonder if the WCG plan is almost a slap upside Rowan’s head - almost like “you dropped the ball last time, don’t do it again.”
July 28, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
13. Sam Keyes wrote:
What is encouraging to me is not that it has teeth or action but that it is the first time we have seen a clear statement from very high up in the Communion that both maintains the view that interventions are irregular and perhaps somewhat exacerbatory while also suggesting that they are a fact on the ground that can be dealt with pastorally in ways that are not litigious. It cannot be said strongly enough that those who are leaving without the intent to reconcile are certainly leaving with the wrong motives; and yet this document suggests that while a certain view of church order cannot exactly condone the various “re-alignments,” it can (if I can use the term) over-accept them and say very clearly that they are not schism but the tragic actions of family members who cannot see any way to live together at the present. And as far as I know that is how my diocese (Fort Worth) views its pending departure, and that is how I suspect many other parishes and dioceses have felt.
None of this is to say that any of the American hierarchy will sign on to this. The progressives seemed especially petulant at this afternoon’s hearing. But I have to wonder if that was because they see that they are losing their case.
July 28, 6:10 pm | [comment link]
14. Third Mill Catholic wrote:
I think you’re right on the money, Jamesw. This is a slap to Rowan, in a subtle, understated British sort of way. I also think that this has to be taken together with all other aspects of the process, including the Covenant and the principles of canon law study. Taken by itself, and out of context of all that has preceded it, the results could very well be “Dar-like.” But seen as yet another Instrument of Unity speaking clearly that the moratoria—ALL of them—are not being honored, this is quite a powerful statement (providing the Lambeth actually endorses or receives this report, in whatever way they manage to do so in a “resolution-less” conference).
July 28, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
15. jamesw wrote:
Third Mill - I think we would all do well to remember one of the original tasks given to the WCG by RW:
to work on the unanswered questions arising from the inconclusive evaluation of the primates to New Orleans and to take certain issues forward to Lambeth
And one of the issues in controversy was whether TEC had met the DES Communique’s requests. And here is the WCG’s response:
—The three moratoria have been requested several times: Windsor (2004); Dromantine (2005); Dar es Salaam (2007) and the requests have been less than wholeheartedly embraced on all sides.
—The failure to respond presents us with a situation where if the three moratoria are not observed, the Communion is likely to fracture. The patterns of action currently embraced with the continued blessings of same-sex unions and of interventions could lead to irreparable damage.
The WCG would appear to conclude that TEC has not adequately responded to the DES requests (which would seem to be contrary to what Rowan Williams was trying to suggest last fall). This is all part of the “context” by which people should read this proposal.
July 28, 7:45 pm | [comment link]
16. Already left wrote:
I think they just took all the “reports” up until now and put them in a blender and spit them out - same stuff, looks a little different. Just like one of my grandchildren, if TEC didn’t like it the first time, they aren’t going to go for it this time either.
Conservative Bishops - say “good-bye” to Canterbury forever and do what is right.
July 28, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
17. libraryjim wrote:
Your comment reminds me of the grand old song “I’m Henry VIII I am”:
second verse same as the first….
third verse, same as the first ...
fourth verse, same as the first…
Fifth verse, same as the first!
July 28, 9:35 pm | [comment link]
18. Mike Watson wrote:
Where is the WCG’s product headed and when? According to Bishop Hanford, it’s headed for the ACC in May 2009. They want the input of the Lambeth Conference but apparently the WCG will ultimately do what it will do, and nothing will become final for close to a year, or maybe longer. Maybe the time spent will result in a better product. Certainly improvements are needed.
But is the prospect of having, in 2009, a group that will be empowered to act “in a rapid manner” on action requested in the 2004 Windsor Report (albeit with the rapidity to begin a year from now) enough? I don’t think it is. The Lambeth Conference itself needs to be able to take some concrete action now in order to keep the Communion from serious and permanent fragmentation, as difficult as that may be in light of the constraints imposed by those managing the Conference agenda. It still seems to me that Ephraim Radner’s discernment about what the bishops need to do expressed in his July 13 letter is correct: “You must state clearly that the actions of TEC as an official body, and of certain Canadian dioceses, are unacceptable to you as bishops of the Communion. And you must decide, resolutely, that those bishops from these churches who are in agreement to press forward in ways the Communion has now clearly and consistently repudiated no longer partake in your common councils.”
July 28, 9:48 pm | [comment link]
19. Neal in Dallas wrote:
I agree wit Sam Keyes. THis is most encouraging. Although I would have preferred the primates follow through on their requirement from Dar es Salaam, they have not done so. Now the WCG—another acronym, sigh—is reissuing the call.
1. It treats the border crossings differently from the other two issues.
2. It clarifies the moratoria on the Blessing of Same Sex Unions and removes the “it depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is” fudge from what the Americans have been doing.
3. It acknowledges that it is not just parishes but dioceses that feel endangered by the actions of TEC. It further acknowledges that Fort Worth’s and San Joaquin’s issues have to do with much more than their disapproval of the consecration of +Gene Robinson and the blessing of Same Sex Unions.
Finally, I would say that it is being proposed in a time and a place where substantial support can be brought to bear.
Yes, the execution will be challenging, but I say let’s askl God to bless this initiative. It provides the best possibilities for holding the Communion together under the proper circumstances.
July 28, 10:18 pm | [comment link]
20. francis wrote:
Neal, The Primates have not been allowed to follow thru on DES is a more accurate description, altho I think GAFCON is a good start.
July 28, 11:20 pm | [comment link]