Leander Harding: On The Communion Partners Bishops Statement

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is a very forthright document by Bishops who are trying to keep The Episcopal Church together but are not willing to do so at the price of cutting themselves off from the Anglican Communion or acquiescing to novel interpretations of the constitution and canons of The Episcopal Church. They are in effect insisting that The Episcopal Church be The Episcopal Church and act in accord with its own law and traditions. This is precisely what Bishops ought to do when they intend to be faithful to their vows.

There are a lot of questions raised here for future discussion. I am completely convinced that the Statement is an accurate description of the polity of The Episcopal Church as it has ever been and as it now stands. Our polity is indeed unique but not for the reasons usually put forward about the participation of the different orders in decision making but rather because it envisions a provincial structure with a level of diocesan autonomy unparalleled in most other Anglican jurisdictions. Unlike most provinces we have no archiepiscopal order. It remains to be seen how this order can be integrated into a true communion of churches. The proposed Anglican Covenant is a step in that direction and would represent for Communion Partner Bishops and their dioceses a willing surrender of some aspects of their present autonomy for the sake of the ongoing unity and communion of the church.

There is also the very pertinent question of how the instruments of unity in a church whether they be the instruments of unity of the Anglican Communion or of a local diocesan synod or convention are actually and practically in the service of unity in faith, witness and mission.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican CovenantAnglican IdentityEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsInstruments of Unity* TheologyEcclesiology

4 Comments
Posted April 30, 2009 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. MotherViolet wrote:

This statement clarifies some issues in the ongoing lawsuits across the country. It takes down the assumption that TEC is a hierarchical Church and that 815 somehow owns all the property. This means that each diocese can manage its property without interference from outside. A diocese may allow congregations to own property such as is the case in Virginia or it may discount property to congregations such as has happened in Dallas. One wonders why places like Central Florida have not seen the logic in this before?

http://www.churchoftheword,net

April 30, 7:35 am | [comment link]
2. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“They are in effect insisting that The Episcopal Church be The Episcopal Church and act in accord with its own law and traditions. This is precisely what Bishops ought to do when they intend to be faithful to their vows.”
========================================================================================

That’s it “in a nut shell.”

April 30, 8:12 am | [comment link]
3. RichardKew wrote:

Not only is the Communion Parner Bishops’ statement to be applauded, but so is Leander Harding for being so pertinent in his analysis of it. While the mindset of the founders of the Episcopal Church was that power was dispersed among the dioceses, the Postmoderns who would control the church have a strategy of cornering power in the center—and then using it to push forward their own agenda. That agenda bears only the vaguest resemblance to what might have been in the mind of those who established The Episcopal Church of the USA.

April 30, 10:18 am | [comment link]
4. Fr. Dale wrote:

Polities can be more or less susceptible to subversion by the unscrupulous but there is no Christian polity which can succeed in its purposes without the ongoing conversion of its constituents.

I would call that an accurate and cautionary statement.

April 30, 8:14 pm | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): An Elephant whose best Friend is a Dog

Previous entry (below): Quiet Prayer in D.C. Churches for Obama’s Decision

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)