The Presiding Bishop Writes the House of Bishops

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To the House of Bishops:

I am immensely grateful to all of you for the way in which we conducted ourselves at General Convention. There was enormous pastoral sensitivity and real caring for those with different opinions, and I firmly hope that kind of compassion continues to be boldly expressed. When we are in deeply faithful relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ we can indeed move mountains, as Sandra Montes reminded us in Montaña – “si tuvieras fe como un grano de mostaza, tú le dirías a la montaña, muévete, esa montaña se moverá” (if you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, “move” and it will move).

I appreciated the conversation we had about property issues over two-plus afternoons, yet we weren’t able to hear from all, and I don’t think we finished. There is indeed more to be said, and a little more than an hour simply wasn’t adequate to the task. The Council of Advice engaged me in a lengthy phone conference shortly before General Convention, and did reach a reasonable consensus, so I know it’s possible. We can take this up again in March if you wish.

I will continue to uphold two basic principles in the work some of us face in dealing with former Episcopalians who claim rights to church property or assets. Our participation in God’s mission as leaders and stewards of The Episcopal Church means that we expect a reasonable and fair financial arrangement in any property settlement, and that we do not make settlements that encourage religious bodies who seek to replace The Episcopal Church.

Pragmatically, the latter means property settlements need to include a clause that forbids, for a period of at least five years, the presence of bishops on the property who are not members of this House, unless they are invited by the diocesan bishop for purposes which do not subvert mission and ministry in the name of this Church.

I understand that other bishops, such as Anglican bishops in good standing (but not any who is involved in provincial border crossing) might be welcomed to preach, preside, confirm, or even ordain, but that diocesan permission cannot encourage anything that purports to set up or participate in another jurisdiction. It is my fervent hope that five years on, we will all be in a much more clearly defined position.

I continue to pray that those who have departed can gain clarity about their own identity. If and when they engage a positive missional stance that doesn’t seek to replace The Episcopal Church, I do believe we can enter into ecumenical agreements that will make some of the foregoing moot.

Clarity continues to emerge in the legal realm. I note that in every case which has concluded, The Episcopal Church has prevailed. Nevertheless, this has been difficult and painful work, often excruciatingly so. I give thanks for the faithful work several of you have had to do in stewarding the legacy of The Episcopal Church.

With continued gratitude for your ministry, I remain

Your servant in Christ,

--(The Most Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori is Presiding Bishop

Update: South Carolina General Convention Deputy Steve Wood has comments on this here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC Conflicts* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues

61 Comments
Posted August 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Phil wrote:

Self-congratulatory, just as Christ taught us to be.  Speaking of Christ, I believe he was the original source of her quotation….

August 3, 1:54 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

So, is this latest missive legally enforceable against Bishops that might not adequately scourge those on 815’s enemies list?

August 3, 1:57 pm | [comment link]
3. vulcanhammer wrote:

I saw this elsewhere over the weekend.  My response is here.

Abu Daoud’s comments on this are there too and very interesting.

August 3, 2:26 pm | [comment link]
4. William P. Sulik wrote:

This thing about the mustard seed - it seems like I’ve heard it someplace else.  Where was it?

hmmmm…....

p.s. I have a friend who insists it was Heraclitus who spoke of stepping in the same river twice - not Disney’s Pocahontas - those blasphemers!

August 3, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
5. Karen B. wrote:

Phil, I like you noted how +KJS neglected to attribute the mustard seed quote to Christ.  It’s not like there was some particularly unique spin or interpretation of Christ’s words which would lead her to attribute the words to someone else.

The quote above is basically straight from Mt. 17


Matt 17:20
20   He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(NIV)

What is interesting to me, however, is how KJS interprets Christ’s words:

KJS:  When we are in deeply faithful relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ we can indeed move mountains.

Faith for KJS is all about loving relationships.  She has secularized it and taken out the supernatural, VERTICAL dimension, about faith being trust in God to do the impossible.

Look at the context of the Matthew passage:


Matt 17:14-20
14   When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.
15   “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.
16   I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
17   “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”
18   Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
19   Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20   He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
(NIV)

KJS simply spins the verse to be whatever she wants it to mean while even failing to mention the words are Christ’s to begin with.  Incredible.

August 3, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
6. Pb wrote:

Karen B This is her method and she is very consistent. Because faith is all about loving realtionships, personal salvation is a heresy. New understanding is another word for spin. And all is based in deception. It is whatever I say it is. Welcome to TEC.

August 3, 2:47 pm | [comment link]
7. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

we do not make settlements that encourage religious bodies who seek to replace The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal church has established it’s own gospel. The ACNA demonstrates no intention of competing for parishioners that follow that gospel, or replacing the episcopal church as the organization that professes it.
This is nothing more than a recognition that the new gospel of the episcopal church cannot survive a comparison with the Truth that was taught to the Apostles, and Ms. Schori knows it.

August 3, 2:54 pm | [comment link]
8. MotherViolet wrote:

Is she saying that property settlements are possible, even necessary, for the sake of financially stressed diocese? She must be panicked about being replaced as the standard bearer of Anglicanism in N America.

http://www.churchoftheword.net

August 3, 2:57 pm | [comment link]
9. Jeffersonian wrote:

This thing about the mustard seed - it seems like I’ve heard it someplace else.  Where was it?

Yeah, but that guy is so passe’ these days amongst the Beautiful People, not a single accent mark, umlaut or tilde in his name.  A name, you can be sure, that mentioning lables you as a rube.  Until the guy’s rehabilitated into a partnered gay organic gardener with an Obama sticker on his ox cart, he’s going to be persona non grata at 815.

August 3, 3:08 pm | [comment link]
10. Philip Snyder wrote:

we do not make settlements that encourage religious bodies who seek to replace The Episcopal Church.

So, if I say I want to exist within the Anglican Communion (and outside of TEC) but “replace” TEC, then they can sell me the property and I can have an Anglican Communion bishop on the property?

August 3, 3:10 pm | [comment link]
11. Grant LeMarquand wrote:

May I take exception with a few of the posts above (I will do it gently and kindly…). I am not sure it is helpful to describe the PB’s method or attitude as being “all about loving relationships.” I think it is certainly true that she has secularized the passage from Matthew and it may even be true that she did not realize that it was from the Bible…but to characterize her theology as ‘loving’ is problemmatic. Perhaps she believes that her position with regard to those who practice homosexuality is the ‘loving’, and therefore the Christian position. But it seesm to me that this is largely what the whole debate is about, is it not? Is it loving to recommend a homosexual lifestyle, or does that way of life, as with all sinful ways of life, a way of death - and therefore unloving. Biblical Christians should not concede ‘love’ to those who advocate an unbiblical way of life. In addition, the position that she is advocating in her letter seems rather far from a loving position - Pharaoh was far more loving when he let the people of Israel leave Egypt… (the Egyptians even surrendered their gold and silver…)

August 3, 3:22 pm | [comment link]
12. Dan Crawford wrote:

vulcanhammer’s description of Mrs. Schori’s letter is deadly but true: Petty (as befits one who has consistently shown herself mean-spirited and vindictive).

August 3, 3:25 pm | [comment link]
13. Dan Crawford wrote:

By the way, who is Sanda Montes of Montana? A scripture which delineates another way?

August 3, 3:28 pm | [comment link]
14. rorymccorkle wrote:

#13 - Sandra Montes is a very talented singer from Houston, who has sung at many national Episcopal events. Montaña (not Montana) is a traditional Spanish song incorporating the words from Matthew’s Gospel, as discussed above.

August 3, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
15. DuPage Anglican wrote:

My wife and I went out for a Sunday afternoon drive yesterday that took us past a building that had once been an Episcopal church.  90% of the original congregation left the Chicago diocese in 1993 or 1994;  strangely, the remnant managed to call an theologically orthodox priest to replace the one who left.  Not long ago, that remnant congregation also left TEC and the building behind.  There is apparently no remnant left, so in place of “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You,” one sees “For Sale” as one drives past.  I have a feeling that this is a picture of the future that Ms. Schori has in store for many other locations throughout “her” domain.

August 3, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
16. RazorbackPadre wrote:

Have we noticed how everything sounds much more international and inclusive if it is said in first in Spanish? (not to mention that one sounds very intelligent if one is able to translate it for us.)

August 3, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
17. athan-asi-us wrote:

How about if we replace the Episcopal Church with Christianity?

August 3, 4:30 pm | [comment link]
18. Br. Michael wrote:

Grant has it in one.

August 3, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
19. jkc1945 wrote:

Or. . . . is it at all possible that, with the passage of time and a lot of good evangelical work, we could ‘convert’ the Episcopal Church to Christ?  Generations do pass, and perhaps there is light at the end of this tunnel yet, with the flow of a few decades.

August 3, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
20. centexn wrote:

#16….

....and spoken with a flawless accent.

August 3, 5:08 pm | [comment link]
21. MotherViolet wrote:

Clarify their identity?

As if ACNA congregation don’t know who they are in Christ. We are the natural inheritors of the Anglican tradition in NA. We are not the ones who have decided to walk apart and adopt novel doctrine and practice. We don’t have an identity crisis, its KJS and co who forgot who they are.

Slightly edited.

August 3, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
22. Br. Franklin wrote:

And all is based in deception.

Yes, to paraphrase another popular singer/songwriter, whose name escapes me for some reason, “The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

August 3, 5:22 pm | [comment link]
23. NoVA Scout wrote:

I’m a little surprised at all the comment on the quotation, as opposed to the content, of the Presiding Bishop’s letter.  Sandra Montes is a Latina singer who largely sings devotional material.  I don’t know why the PB decided to quote a gospel song as opposed to the gospel direct, but I’m not sure why it matters.  It strikes me that it takes more than a little pent-up animus to try to make something out of that.  Maybe the singer performed at the GC.  I don’t know.  Why does this reference draw such hostility?  Virtually all gospel song references (regardless of language) to scripture take some rhyme or metrical liberties with the original text to make it fit the structure of the song.  That in itself does not strike me as a big deal as long as the meaning is not subverted.

August 3, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
24. BMR+ wrote:

I will continue to uphold two basic principles in the work some of us face in dealing with former Episcopalians who claim rights to church property or assets. Our participation in God’s mission as leaders and stewards of The Episcopal Church means that we expect a reasonable and fair financial arrangement in any property settlement, and that we do not make settlements that encourage religious bodies who seek to replace The Episcopal Church.

My guess is that in most civil jurisdictions the courts will find that the Presiding Bishop is entitled by law and canon to the first of her principles.  I’d rather see a generous mutual negotiation, but probably the courts will find that assets that were subject to the legal control of entities of the Episcopal Church will continue to be subject to the control of entities of the Episcopal Church.  But whether the canons of the Episcopal Church give her the authority to direct those Episcopal Church trustees to some specific expression of their duties is I believe far from clear.  She’s making it up as she goes along, methinks, in this area as in others, and it will be important for diocesan trustees to think long and hard before taking her position here at face value.

Bruce Robison

August 3, 6:16 pm | [comment link]
25. seitz wrote:

And that is why canons have been carefully written in dioceses like Dallas, stipulating that any ‘accession clause’ is in force only if the status of The Episcopal Church is unclouded vis-a-vis Canterbury and the Communion (so the preamble to the Constitution). I agree, Bruce, 90% of what we have been hearing in recent months is ‘making it up as one goes along.’ It remains to be seen whether this ‘making it up’ will succeed in far more difficult waters than the four present dioceses. So it that sense, we at ACI anyway do not for a moment believe the courts will find as you sem to intimate. The present effort (in Pittsburgh) to describe a hierarchy in which dioceses are subordinate units is a very good example of ‘making it up as one goes along.’ Where can that be shown in the constitution or canons? At issue is then how the case is fought.

August 3, 6:36 pm | [comment link]
26. sophy0075 wrote:

If I remember correctly, the Northern Virginia congregations, led by Truro and The Falls Church, that were ultimately sued by TEC, initially sought to negotiate. It was TEC, under Ms Schori, that refused to negotiate and instead opted for the scorched earth policy of litigation.

Speaking of Truro and The Falls Church, is the litigation involving them still underway? I thought it had ended, and successfully for the reasserters. This would invalidate Ms Schori’s claim of TEC success in every “concluded” case.

August 3, 6:39 pm | [comment link]
27. Eugene wrote:

NoVA Scout : You must be new to this blog: the Christians here really do not say nice things about the PB.  Some do not even acknowledge that she is a Bishop or a priest!  Guess what denomination they are in (or will be in)

August 3, 6:39 pm | [comment link]
28. robroy wrote:

The northern Virginia case has been appealed to the state supreme court.

If only there was a bishop that was courageous to stand up to Ms Schoria and sell property to a departing parish…

August 3, 6:49 pm | [comment link]
29. TLDillon wrote:

Some do not even acknowledge that she is a Bishop or a priest!  Guess what denomination they are in (or will be in)

Eugene….
Amen brother. Not TEc. ;>)

August 3, 6:50 pm | [comment link]
30. Br. Michael wrote:

25, and that is why the ABC’s and the AC’s betrayal in refusing to discipline TEC and strip away that cloak of legitimacy has been so harmful.  We have been saying that for the last 10 years at least.

August 3, 7:07 pm | [comment link]
31. BMR+ wrote:

Chris at #25

we at ACI anyway do not for a moment believe the courts will find as you seem to intimate.

In many ways, Chris, I hope the view developed in the ACI arguments is correct.  But my point is that even if the courts find in favor of the TEC argument, there is no canonical support for the micromanaging by the Presiding Bishop of diocesan Trustees, so long as they are acting in reasonable accord with their duties as fiduciaries and within the authority of diocesan canons.  People may debate whether the advice she gives about “to whom to sell the property” is good advice—but that is all it is: advice.

Bruce Robison

August 3, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
32. seitz wrote:

#30—Your notion of disciplining, restated as you say for over a decade, is why you will be disappointed. It does not speak to the reality of, is not consistent with, the peculiar character of the wider Communion and its limited mechanisms. I say that with no particular joy, simply as a statement of fact. The kind of ‘disciplining’ that may, repeat may, emerge, entails a covenant structure that does not overreach and so creates a different anglican Communion polity, but which creates a context in which certain provinces will have to face the difficult choice of autonomy or interdependence. Fight that as you will and imagine logical alternatives that have no chance, but keep the reality of the situation firmly in view. Many will not like the idea of TEC being divided between tiers, via a covenant, on Right and Left. But that is probably what the Communion will be able to bear without devolving into a federation or a RC system (with its own challenges). grace and peace.

August 3, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
33. Br. Michael wrote:

To the thread:  Look closely at 32.  Look what Dr. Seitz says.  Why would we ever want to be in communion with such?

August 3, 7:40 pm | [comment link]
34. bettcee wrote:

It is sad to see that the Presiding Bishop plans to attempt to isolate members of the Episcopal Church from other Christians who have left the Episcopal denomination, she may think this will eliminate the opposition but I don‘t think Episcopalians will be happy to be segregated in this way.
I hope that Presiding Bishop Schori will pray and find guidance in the Bible but it appears to me that, at the present time, she is determined to follow a worldly Machiavellian course of action.

August 3, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
35. Flatiron wrote:

Grant (#11) raises a magnificent point which we ignore at our peril.

We mustn’t forfeit, though it seems in conventional wisdom we have already lost this ground, another word to those advocating the homosexual/“revisionist” agenda.  That word, the meaning of which the current movement of TEC has largely obliterated, is “pastoral”.  The way the PB uses “pastoral sensitivity” in her letter above makes me sick, for it reminds me of times when I have chosen the admiration of Man over the admiration of God in gatherings such as General Convention.

It seems to me that to be pastoral, as the PB uses it and also how it is commonly used in current Episcopal parlance is: to not cause trouble; to let the situation govern instead of biblical principle; to suspend “in love” the applicable but difficult commands of God or (even more pedestrian) the norms of the Church; to not let your ideas get in the way of what I am doing, or put another more patronizing way, to not let how you hear God interrupt how I hear God; ultimately, to listen and act with the cheapest of grace.  To let grace rule instead of law is hardly the problem.  The new law is the lack of godly conviction conferring the cheapest of grace, and that is the problem.

How “pastoral” is Jesus when he drives out the moneychangers, or even moments when he sighs in frustration at people immediately prior to teaching them (like the larger context of the mustard seed passage noted above by Karen B. #5)? How “pastoral” is Peter in Acts 5 where Ananias and Sapphria drop dead in fear of the Holy Spirit? How “pastoral” is Paul parts of his letters to the Corinthians and Galatians (for example) where he is rebuking them, often strongly?  Not very, as it would seem, yet so much, as it should be. 

How pastoral of us is it to let sin go unchallenged and unabated (while of course always acknowledging our own)? To forfeit the idea of seeking God to the seeking of personal fulfillment and self as god? To let difference of opinion be “the good” instead of unity of mind and spirit and purpose (Phil 2:2)?

The love of neighbor should not be put in conflict with the love of God, but rather we should love neighbor with the love of God.  Holding true to and sharing that sometimes difficult love of God, even when it is not what the neighbor wants but needs, is to be pastoral, no?

August 3, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
36. austin wrote:

#27 “those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans”  Lambeth Resolution III.2 1998

Loyal Anglicans don’t consider Dr. Jefferts-Schori to be a priest.  I wonder whether she considers herself to be a loyal Anglican?

August 3, 9:13 pm | [comment link]
37. seitz wrote:

#33—If you do not believe that a Communion with two tiers; and with the main tier consisting of CP Bishops and their friends (including ACNA, if that is what AcNA chooses), allied with 85% of the Anglican Communion; and with a second tier on a different track, lacking representation in first-tier affairs is acceptable, then that is a choice you will be facing, should the plans now in play—and endorsed by people like +Chew and +Mouneer, among many other Primates—reach their best outcomes.
Unstated by you is what an alternative genuinely is, that is Anglican, and in continuity with what the Communion has developed over the past decade, in the light of TEC’s autonomous instincts.
So, yes, by all means, do commend this to the thread at large, as well as your alternatives. Grace and peace.

August 3, 10:17 pm | [comment link]
38. seitz wrote:

Bruce—I agree.

August 3, 10:23 pm | [comment link]
39. seitz wrote:

#33—“Why would we ever want to be in communion with such?” Could you clarify who ‘we’ and ‘with such’ are, in your compressed query above? Many thanks.

August 3, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
40. Ross wrote:

Dr. Seitz, I wonder if you would answer a question I have?

One of the problems I see with this “CP dioceses sign on individually to be part of the ‘Track One’ Communion” idea is—who represents them as a Primate?  The Covenant, as I recall the text, sees a significant role for the Primates of the various provinces, but if (say) a quarter of TEC dioceses are “in” the Covenant-Communion then who is their Primate?  ++KJS?  Or do they have to select one of the Covenant-Communion bishops to act as their Primate?  What authority would that Primate have versus the authority that General Convention has over these dioceses?

For that matter, what happens when a bishop of one of these C-C diocese retires and a new bishop is elected?  Does the diocese have to re-sign the Covenant?  What about diocesan Standing Committees—how much turnover in membership of a Standing Committee would there have to be before they would have to re-commit to the Covenant?

I’m not asserting that these are insurmountable obstacles to the “dioceses sign on individually” idea, but I think they are serious structural questions that would have to be answered before such a scheme could be floated; and I’m curious to hear ACI’s take on them.

August 3, 11:13 pm | [comment link]
41. bettcee wrote:

Karen B, post 5,
Her failure to attribute the story of the Mustard seed to Jesus is only one of several comments she has made in the past that has given me the impression that she is not very familiar with the Bible. I can’t help but wonder if this unfamiliarity has something to do with her distain for those who study the Bible and readily refer to it.

August 3, 11:18 pm | [comment link]
42. seitz wrote:

#40—we have an essay about to appear that might help with your questions.
Certainly +KJS would not represent a tier she and her colleagues not signing the covenant were not in (tier 1). Representation would have to be on behalf of tier one as tier one. But we are all in uncharted territory. We have thought of numerous scenarios. I am not free to speak of that in detail here, but the choices are fairly obvious.
+Michael Smith is clearly on the front of the thought curve, as are many of the younger CP Bishops who recognise clearly that this is the season that sits on top of their tenure.
As for your further questions: it is enough to contemplate a destabilisation that would emerge in consequence of a tiered reality, and the effect of allowing tier one to be occupied by a Communion majority and a TEC minority. This would change the local dynamics and the self-evidence assumed in TEC leadership’s claims to ‘hierarchy.’
But it is also important to stress something that is often lost on blogs, and for which CP and ACI have been criticised, condemned, and harried. Fair enough. But blogs are not the best place, or the most prudent place, to speak of hard work going on. This is not said to be coy. I know I speak for colleagues when I say the reason for involvement in blogs is vexed/conflicted, but certainly pastoral concern is one, that is, trying to clear up what appear to be false accounts, or trying to kindle hope for those worried about the Communion who do not want to leave, or lose hope.
The price paid is enormous in terms of constant criticism and anger, esp when all that could be said cannot be said. Still, I for one think the price is worth it, even with the cost.
Your questions are very important. They are not being ignored but belong to the very heart of all the labour being undertaken by many people.
Grace and peace, and with requests for your prayers.

August 3, 11:31 pm | [comment link]
43. Ross wrote:

#41 bettcee:

Or perhaps she assumed that, as a bishop writing to other bishops and referencing one of the most well-known images in the Gospels, she didn’t need to cite chapter and verse because everyone reading her letter would recognize the reference without help.

I know that she says lots of things that reasserters find fault with, but, heavens to Betsy, people, you’re reaching for straws on this one.

August 3, 11:34 pm | [comment link]
44. NoVA Scout wrote:

bettcee:  can’t we fairly guess that she was quoting a song sung by Sandra Montes (because she said she was quoting a song sung by Sandra Montes) and knows/understands full well the reference?  Perhaps there was no “failure”, at least in this instance.  Most children brought up in the church know the story, its source, and, on some level, its meaning.

August 3, 11:35 pm | [comment link]
45. David Hein wrote:

No. 42: “... or trying to kindle hope for those worried about the Communion who do not want to leave, or lose hope.”

As an outsider to the Communion’s inner workings, I confess that I do find this aspect of the blogosphere immensely helpful and encouraging (of late), notwithstanding, from the observer’s vantage point, the frustrations of making sense of things via blogs. The benefits, to me, outweigh the costs.

And, as I’ve said, this past week or so has indeed provided grounds for cautious optimism—not only because good people are doing some good thinking but also because the larger forces and structures seem to be moving toward harbors that are more clearly in view on the fog-shrouded horizon.

This particular blog contains not only news and often-pertinent, well-expressed, thoughtfully reasoned commentary but also, as you all know, a remarkable digest of other items of interest. In short: I take a moment to be grateful for what’s accomplished here.

August 3, 11:49 pm | [comment link]
46. Cennydd wrote:

I do see the ACNA replacing TEC, since it’s their fault that we came into existence in the first place.

August 3, 11:56 pm | [comment link]
47. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

Sandra Montes’ announcement May 30th of her relatively last minute invitation to assist with worship at GC Anaheim, as well as notice of her gig at Sewanee:
http://www.sandramontes.com/topnews.html

Connections? At least top of the brain.

August 4, 1:45 am | [comment link]
48. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

Dan asked, rory brought immediate reference, and NoVA wanted to know what the big deal was.  I was curious, too, about the connection, since it seems a bit obscure for the PB to mention an artist’s name and song to 200 bishops of varying musical tastes and bilingual abilities without some further reference.
As a musician I know that the invitation to sing at a national event one month prior to the event usually requires prior knowledge, even personal connections.  So I am the more curious.
And indeed Sandra appears to be top of the brain for the PB.
After this comment I won’t be saying anything more about Ms Montes.  Still, it is a curious reference; I wish I didn’t always ask what agenda was the motivation behind everything the PB says in such large audience letters.
Sandra was a performer at the PB’s investiture.  And as noted has been involved in other events, notably working with the music team for EYE in 2008 and prior.  The PB made a visit to EYE, as most do.
Again, you don’t invite someone to your investiture to perform without some prior knowledge, usually some personal connection (or some vivid agenda needing to be illustrated).
Sandra has been living in Houston for many years, and has just been hired onto the Christ Church Cathedral staff as a multi-cultural ministries program worker.  She’s a member of Anglimergent, although she’s not sure why.  She was born in Peru; with family in tow, her dad went to seminary in Guatemala.  He is now serving in the Diocese of Texas.
And she has CD’s to sell.  Nice voice; basic arrangements, Christian praise and classic covers, etc.
NoVA, what I would hate to see is her being take advantage of (whether innocently or intentionally) for the PB’s purposes of saying “All is Well” and “See? Hope for the future”.

August 4, 2:49 am | [comment link]
49. State of Limbo wrote:

Does her attempt to keep ACNA congregations from buying TEC buildings constitute discriminatory sales practice? Or does that law only apply to housing?

Just a thought.

August 4, 7:19 am | [comment link]
50. Loren+ wrote:

Dr Seitz—you have preferred the language here of two tiers, yet the Archbishop also offered the language of two tracks.  The word tiers implies a substantial degree of communion; the word tracks does not.  If we are in the midst of walking apart and learning to respect each other “ecumenically” as the PB herself put it, it would be more helpful to use the word tracks rather than tiers.  I’d be curious therefore to know if you see a reason to prefer the word tiers?

August 4, 9:13 am | [comment link]
51. Larry Morse wrote:

Once again, why would anyone wish to remain in contact with - as in a second track or tier - with TEC? Why? What does it do for the traditional Anglicans except leave poison ivy on ]the back wall, instead of all around the house? Their very presence is poison. What could be more obvious? The only - and correct -answer to the current dilemma is for the AC to turn its back on TEC and dismiss it into the traditional outer darkness whither it is headed in any case. For Heaven’s sake, why keep voluntary company with vipers? Will someone explain to me why there are so many voices trying to keep in touch with TEC?  Larry

August 4, 9:26 am | [comment link]
52. seitz wrote:

My personal opinion is that ‘track’ and ‘tier’ are terms which will be defined by the process. That is, if a ‘minority track’ remains in relationship in some way with Canterbury; but does not choose to ‘intensify its relationship’ via a covenant of interdependence; and so does not have representation at the kinds of gatherings to which the ABC has referred, then what one calls it will end up being a ‘track’ or a ‘tier’ depending on how one chooses to view such a status. Those who persist in being Anglicans on the terms of the present communion, in contra-distinction to an emerging ‘second track’, will simply be moving forward on the terms of the Communion as presently defined, but with the covenant as an agreed-to acceptance of those terms, of interdependence, and not autonomous/‘prophetic’.
I used the word ‘tier’ because it was the original langauge, and frankly, that better describes which I actually think will happen. But presumably another take on it could be ‘track 2 is the bold way forward’ by such as believe this.

August 4, 9:28 am | [comment link]
53. Brian from T19 wrote:

Dr. Seitz+

And that is why canons have been carefully written in dioceses like Dallas, stipulating that any ‘accession clause’ is in force only if the status of The Episcopal Church is unclouded vis-a-vis Canterbury and the Communion (so the preamble to the Constitution).

Are you purporting to speak on behalf of the Diocese of Dallas?

we at ACI anyway do not for a moment believe the courts will find as you sem to intimate. The present effort (in Pittsburgh) to describe a hierarchy in which dioceses are subordinate units is a very good example of ‘making it up as one goes along.’ Where can that be shown in the constitution or canons? At issue is then how the case is fought.

Is it your argument that all of the numerous significant losses by parishes and Dioceses are a result of incompetent legal representation?  If there is a formula for fighting a case that would win, I would think you would be willing to share it with the large number of legal authorities that appear to disagree.

August 4, 9:43 am | [comment link]
54. seitz wrote:

1. I have read the canons very carefully and have consulted with those who wrote them to confirm their intention;
2. I am Canon Theologian to Bishop Stanton.
3. ACI has stated repeatedly and has published numerous essays which question whether ‘hierarchy’ is being properly grasped in the legal contexts—precisely because the hierarchy of the UMC, the RC Church, the PCUSA and something like TEC are very different, based upon the historical character of this church. See any of Mark McCall’s essays.
4. if you’d like to bother, it may repay study to examine diocesan canons more broadly on this topic. The obvious problem is a constitution (and history) which define this Church in relationship to the See of Canterbury, when at present much of TEC seems indifferent or hostile to the notion (see the PB’s language in her recent letter where Episcopal and Anglican are mutually exclusive).

August 4, 9:52 am | [comment link]
55. Brian from T19 wrote:

As someone who has read the Constitution and Canons of Dallas and holds a well-deserved honorary title related to theology (not canon law), I would think that you would want to be more specific in your use of language (unless of course your language was intended to ‘cloud’ the position of Dallas).  You said:

And that is why canons have been carefully written in dioceses like Dallas, stipulating that any ‘accession clause’ is in force only if the status of The Episcopal Church is unclouded vis-a-vis Canterbury and the Communion (so the preamble to the Constitution).

But the actual language approved in the Constitution’s preamble is

The Church in this Diocese accedes to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and recognizes the authority of the General Convention of said Church.

The foregoing accession and recognition are expressly premised on the Episcopal Church in the United States of America being and at all times remaining a full, constituent member of the Anglican Communion as set forth in the Preamble of the Constitution of the said Church, “a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in the communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.” In the event that such premise shall no longer be applicable in whole or in part to the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, such accession and recognition may be revoked, limited, or otherwise amended by this Diocese immediately, notwithstanding Article 17, by a concurrent two-thirds vote of both orders at any Annual or
Special Convention.

This language is hardly referring to a ‘clouded status’ for TEC.  The closest you can come to “activating” such a clause would be if part of TEC lost full, constituent membership in the AC.  That day is far from near.

question whether ‘hierarchy’ is being properly grasped in the legal contexts

I have commented elsewhere on the blog why I disagree with the position that TEC is not hierarchical. However, regardless of which position is favored by either of us, we have to be pragmatic.  Does it make sense that so many courts are not understanding the true nature of TEC as a result either of their mistake or the mistakes attorneys for departing parishes and/or dioceses OR is it more plausible that the argument has been adequately reviewed and rejected?

August 4, 2:50 pm | [comment link]
56. BMR+ wrote:

I’m interested to know if the accession language in the Dallas Constitution, as cited here, is original.  I notice in the recent court ruling in California the statement that once a “full and unqualified accession” is given, the addition of subsequent qualifications would not be considered valid—by that court, anyway.

Bruce Robison

August 4, 3:07 pm | [comment link]
57. seitz wrote:

#55.
1.  Thank you for citing the text precisely; you have the relevant reference, and it is useful to have it before us.
2.  How the fate of TEC in Communion works itself out, we cannot now know; the most recent language from the Archbishop speaks of ‘tracks’ and of those who would not wish to intensify relationships belonging to a distinct track, as over against those provinces and components of provinces which continue with representative roles in Communion; the Dallas language obviously looks to a situation where TEC’s situation would prove clouded; are you saying this is simply not going to happen? How would you know that? We are only now seeing the covenant coming to its final form, including section 4. I should think one would have to reserve judgment on TEC’s status, given what the ABC has written.
3.  Re: hierarchy. My point was I thought clear: the term hierarchy is not univocal; are you saying that the RC church, the UMC, PCUSA church all have the same understanding of ‘hierarchy’? If not, the language must be tested, surely, because some hierarchies do not reside in a ‘national church’ (RC and Episcopal) and some do (US national denominations). The Archbishop has spoken about the diocese/Bishop as the basic unit. If you think TEC is a US denomination with a a ‘national church,’ where can one see an explicit reference to a hierarchy in which Bishops are ‘subordinate’ units, so the language being used in the Pittsburgh case? Do you think this idea is congruent with the constitution and canons of TEC? If so, where is it?
4.  What courts will do is under adjudication at present, and the Pittsburgh case is in very early innings.  I cannot tell how the language of ‘pragmatic’ has intruded itself. You see something, apparently, as settled, and so ‘pragmatically’ conclude it is so; but that is a tautology. Others of us are not so sure, especially given GenConv and the covenant process.
5.  You speak of the courts always ruling in favor of a hierarchy – yes, recently, in the case of dioceses. But that is not at issue. What is at issue is a case like Pittsburgh, where the PB and her lawyers are getting involved directly; and where they are arguing for a hierarchy which makes a diocese/Bishop a subordinate unit. Can you point to the constitutional warrant for this?
6.  Recently, the PB wrote the Bishops and spoke of the Council of Advice and herself determining that x and y is the appropriate way dioceses shall operate. But in SC, the PB was not invited to consecrate, and that was fully within the prerogative of the diocese. So it is not clear the PB is in a position to declare what can and cannot happen in a diocese. Why are there diocesan canons, giving (assessment) schedules that vary widely (some give none), and a Presiding Bishop who until recent times did only that? You appear to be seeking to make TEC into a national denomination and not a catholic body.
7.    Yes, the ‘national church’ is asserting all kinds of privileges. At issue is whether they have the authority to do so. The Pittsburgh case is important. Many judge it a ‘bridge too far’ because it seeks to declare a polity that nowhere exists in precedent.
8.    “That day is far from near.” At least here is a concession that such a day is very possible, so maybe what is in doubt is the timetable. With God, that is always so.

August 4, 5:36 pm | [comment link]
58. Brian from T19 wrote:

Dr Seitz+

I’ll follow your numbering as I think we agree on several pints and it is easier to follow:

2. the Dallas language obviously looks to a situation where TEC’s situation would prove clouded; are you saying this is simply not going to happen?

the language in Dallas refers specifically to a point in time when there is a definitive distinction.  There is no question of something being ‘cloudy’ or undefined.  It takes a definitive action on the part of of Canterbury to delineate the distinction.  My point is simply that ‘cloudy’ is not enough.  Uncertainty is not enough.  Only an actual change in status activates an option by Dallas.  Nothing less will do.

3. If you think TEC is a US denomination with a a ‘national church,’ where can one see an explicit reference to a hierarchy in which Bishops are ‘subordinate’ units, so the language being used in the Pittsburgh case? Do you think this idea is congruent with the constitution and canons of TEC? If so, where is it?

The question for the courts is not whether there exists a de jure hierarchy, but rather whether there is a de facto hierarchy.  The mistake in the history of the church presented by the Bishops’ statements is to ignore the founding principles.  The only analogy that applies fully is that of the Federal government’s relation to the States’ governments.  The reason why a Diocese can not secede is the same as the reason why a State can not secede from the United States.  For Minnesota to decide that it is now part of the country of Nigeria is simply impossible.  You seem to be searching for language that expressly grants rights to the national church.  Express language may or may not exist, however, the actions of the national church and its Dioceses create implied agreement.

4. I agree with you that not all is settled, just strong indications of continued loss at the civil secular level.  As to what the Church does with the Covenant is anybody’s guess, but my (admittedly cynical) view is that after much deliberation, something will come about around 2012.  TEC will sign it and then violate it and we’ll have another 5-10 years of what happens next.  Personally, I’d love to see clarity and people letting their yeses be yeses and their nos be nos, but…we’ll see.

5. Can you point to the constitutional warrant for this?

As above, I can’t point to a constitutional warrant, nor can I point to an express prohibition.  What I can say is : If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck…then it’s a duck.

6. Certainly the PB has enumerated powers.  Others she has usurped.  Those usurpations have been ‘rubber stamped’ by the HoB and the HoD.  The failure of the two houses to act (and of individual Bishops to use the constitutional means of discipline) has created a ‘Golem’ with dictatorial power.  This situation is untenable, however, it remains the reality.  As far as SC is concerned, I thought that the PB decided not to press the issue, however, now that she has unlimited power, I imagine her ‘self-restraint’ has diminished.

August 4, 6:17 pm | [comment link]
59. seitz wrote:

2. From Dallas, “In the event that such premise shall no longer be applicable in whole or in part to the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, such accession and recognition may be revoked, limited, or otherwise amended by this Diocese immediately, notwithstanding Article 17, by a concurrent two-thirds vote of both orders at any Annual or Special Convention.”  I suspect that the Diocese of Dallas will decide if the above becomes the case, and under what conditions they judge that relationship to Canterbury to be at odds with the Preamble of the Constitution. That is what it means for it to be a sovereign entity.

3. No one has spoken of secession. Please read the work of McCall. At issue is the precise character of hierarchy. Our position is that the ‘hierarchy’ of this Church is without a ‘national church’ structure, leading to dioceses as subordinate units (as is being asserted in Pittsburgh).

4. I accept that your view here is cynical and so that other possibilities may emerge.

5. not persuasive

6. not persuasive.

Thanks for the exchange. That’s it from here.

August 4, 6:36 pm | [comment link]
60. stabill wrote:

I haven’t seen an answer to the question of #56 as to whether the Dallas accession language quoted in this thread is the language in the original constitution of the Diocese of Dallas.  It’s an important point in regard to any diocesan constitution.

August 5, 12:33 am | [comment link]
61. Brian from T19 wrote:

stabill

Here is the info you’re asking for:

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/7067/

August 5, 9:26 am | [comment link]
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