ACNS—The Standing Committee Daily Bulletin - Day 4

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As agreed, the Committee revisited Saturday's discussion. Dato' Stanley Isaacs delivered a frank and passionate presentation about the distress felt by some parts of the Communion about The Episcopal Church's decision to breach one of the moratoria. He concluded by proposing that rights to participate in discussions of matters of faith and order at the Standing Committee and the ACC be withdrawn from The Episcopal Church.

In the subsequent discussion Archbishop Philip Aspinall reiterated that the Standing Committee did not have the power to undertake such an action. He reminded the Committee that the Covenant had been drawn up to address just these kinds of points of disagreement. It was also stated that the Standing Committee did not have all the powers of the ACC, especially when it came to the Membership Schedule.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori questioned why the proposal was singling out The Episcopal Church. Bishop Ian Douglas stressed he was present in his role as an elected representative of the ACC, not a member of The Episcopal Church and he desired to always be responsible to the Council. He thanked Dato' Stanley Isaacs for attending the Standing Committee meeting despite his [Isaacs'] feelings about recent events in the Communion. He said that having other elected representatives present who represented a genuine segment of the ACC helped him [Bp Douglas] to be a better member. He added that he missed having Bp Azad's voice at the meeting....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Consultative CouncilEpiscopal Church (TEC)

18 Comments
Posted July 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Ed McNeill wrote:

And the ball gets punted to the Primates and ACC.  I thought this was a very interesting decision.  The Standing Committee is saying that they do not have the authority to implement section 4 of the proposed covenant.  This authority belongs to the Primates and ACC.  The big question is whether the Primates of the Global South will attend in January.  Is this enough to get them there?

July 28, 5:30 pm | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

You know, at this point who really cares?

July 28, 5:45 pm | [comment link]
3. WesleyAnglican wrote:

What an incredible cop-out.  I still find it amazing that the “three moritoria” are treated as equal, as if border crossing was happening irrespective of the homosexual issue and the lawsuits.

July 28, 6:43 pm | [comment link]
4. jingalls wrote:

#3 - I’m not sure how material it is, but the border crossings did start in 2000, a few years before everything spun out of control.

July 28, 6:58 pm | [comment link]
5. jamesw wrote:

At the housewares department:
Excuse me sir, do you carry vacuum bags?
I’m sorry, you will have to go to the hardware department for that.

At the hardware department:
Excuse me sir, do you carry vacuum bags?
I’m sorry, you will have to go to the appliance department for that.

At the appliance department:
Excuse me sir, do you carry vacuum bags?
I’m sorry, you will have to go to the housewares department for that.

*******************
I think that the GS primates need to seriously consider attendance in January.  My recommendation is that they go to the site of the Primates’ meeting and:
1) make it very clear that TEC is on the agenda as Priority #1;
2) make it very clear to Rowan Williams that they will NOT participate in any session at which either KJS or FH (Canadian Fred Hiltz) is present.
If Rowan refuses to deal with TEC, then the GS primates should refuse to attend the official meeting and instead take counsel amongst themselves.  If KJS or FH are present, then the GS primates should inform Rowan Williams that they will not attend the official sessions, but will instead take counsel amongst themselves and invite Rowan to attend.

July 28, 7:02 pm | [comment link]
6. tjmcmahon wrote:

jingalls- everything spun out of control in the 1960s.  TEC has been in free fall ever since.  The initial formation of AMiA was in the late 90s or early 2000s, in response to TEC breaking its own canons with gay ordinations and weddings, and refusing to discipline the breakers of the canons, and instead disciplining the clergy and laity who complained.
However, as even Canon Kearon has pointed out, to date there have been no ACC or Primates resolutions calling for specific discipline on the border crossing issue.  Not to mention, under the current circumstances, border crossing has ceased, since the formation of ACNA- there is no rule in the Communion that you cannot be in communion with churches outside the Communion structure- and at this point, more Communion provinces are in full communion with ACNA than are in full Communion with TEC.

July 28, 7:49 pm | [comment link]
7. Larry Morse wrote:

Hold on there #5. Are you suggesting that the powers-that-be ACT?
That you are right is all one needs to know that nothing of the sort will happen. Can we spell impotent? Or spineless? What will it take for the church patricians to do more than chatter? The ABC must be repudiated as TEC must be, clearly and forcefully. And Schori wants to know why TEC is being singled out? Who will act? Who CAN act? If the answer is No One, then this blog is purposeless and the Ordinariate is merely a dodge that pretends to be a solution. There is no substitute for courage; but where is it to be found in the West? Is our only hope in Africa?
  If nothing is done and chatter remains king, how can we be held in anything except contempt by the outside world? How can we pretend to have a shred of integrity? We show not the faintest willingness to stand up for our standards - all we do is talk - and who can respect the Bandarlog? Worse, we will become irrelevant, and the churches will become shrinking pools under the heat of the secular sun and no one will care except the fish.  Larry

July 28, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
8. Katherine wrote:

This is the classic excuse the liberals have used over the past decade and more.  The body which can make that decision is always some other body, until they get a clear majority in some place, and then they will do what they want and roll over the now-minority.  Conservatives need to stop attending events where these games will be played and to stop treating any decisions from these events as authoritative.

July 28, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
9. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

The reason the “voices are missed” is that no longer can one say that all views were represented before the always-to-be-implemented was implemented.  The allegation of credibility has been removed.  Transparency has been achieved.  This was never going to be otherwise until the absent were absent.  That is the loss bemoaned in the “missed voices” - credibility.

July 28, 10:22 pm | [comment link]
10. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

My prayer has been answered - there is a thorough analysis by ACI of the ACC Articles and the usurpation they contain of the rights of the other Instruments and member churches of the Communion here.  Do ‘read it all’.

July 28, 11:12 pm | [comment link]
11. Stephen Noll wrote:

Here is the ongoing indaba regarding Stanley Isaacs.

[Isaacs] concluded by proposing that rights to participate in discussions of matters of faith and order at the Standing Committee and the ACC be withdrawn from The Episcopal Church. (Day 4 Bulletin)

Note that Isaacs’ proposal has been reframed from the initial report, which requested that the “The Episcopal Church be separated from the Anglican Communion” (Day 2 Bulletin). Now he is proposing separating TEC from participation in discussions of faith and order at the Standing Committee. This is a much lesser blow, generally in line with Rowan Williams suspending TEC representatives to IASCUFO (no indication here that Williams supported Isaacs’ proposal).

In the subsequent discussion Archbishop Philip Aspinall reiterated that the Standing Committee did not have the power to undertake such an action. He reminded the Committee that the Covenant had been drawn up to address just these kinds of points of disagreement. It was also stated that the Standing Committee did not have all the powers of the ACC, especially when it came to the Membership Schedule.

Let’s unpack this paragraph.

“That the Covenant had been drawn up to address just these kinds of points of disagreement.” Well, the ABC has explicitly stated that the Covenant was not intended to be punitive, and the tortuous process of dispute resolution in section 4 goes like this:

4.2.3 Questions can raised about compatibility with the Covenant by the church in question itself (presumably only from its constitutional assembly, not from a diocese within it),by another covenanting church or by one of the Instruments. So presumably the Primates’ Meeting or ACC could raise a question.

4.2.4 The matter is then referred to the Standing Committee. SC then labors to reconcile, and seeks advice from various sources, including (if it so chooses ) from the ACC or Primates’ Meeting.

4.2.5 SC requests church to defer a controversial action. If it declines (any time limit?) to do so, the SC may recommend to any Instrument “relational consequences,” including limited participation or suspension from the Covenant.

4.2.6 On advice from ACC and PM, the SC may declare controversial action “incompatible with the Covenant.”

Note, however, that the most extreme consequence of this process would be suspension of a member church from participation in the Covenant. It would in no way affect their membership in the Communion or representation in the ACC, the Primates’ Meetings – or the Standing Committee. In fact, there seems to be no way to limit the plenary authority of the “Trustee-Members” on the SC.

As for the SC not having all the powers of the ACC, I do not see this from the new Articles. In fact, Article 7.5, states:

The Trustee-Members [aka SC] shall constitute the membership body of the Council for the purposes of the Companies Acts and as Charity trustees they shall have responsibility for management of the Council’s property and funds.

In any case, there is nothing in the Articles that authorizes the plenary ACC to “separate The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion.” Excommunication of TEC might be effected possibly in one of two ways:

1.  De-recognition by the ABC (maybe) since member churches are defined in the Articles as “the churches in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury whose names are listed in the Schedule to these Articles)…”

2.  “Alteration” of the membership schedule by the Standing Committee, on recommendation of 2/3 of the Primates (Art. 7.2). Note a subtle change from the old ACC Constitution (Art. 3a), by which the plenary ACC could alter the Membership schedule. Now, it seems, since the SC is the true legal representative of ACC, it is the SC which may – and I emphasize may – choose to “alter” the Membership list. A legalist could argue that even in the worst case scenario (or best case depending on one’s point of view) the power to “alter” the Membership list does not include the power to remove one Province and/or replace it with another.

I do not know exactly what Stanley Isaacs proposed. The Day 4 report seems more realistic, as it is in line with recommendations from the Primates (Dromantine) and ACC-13 (Resolution 10d) and from Canterbury’s Pentecost letter suggesting that TEC be reduced to observer status in faith and order matters. To fill the larger goal, excommunication of TEC from the Anglican Communion, the Primates would have to vote (2/3) and then send it back to the Standing Committee to decide at its discretion. Since Schori and Douglas apparently voted with the SC expressing “regrets” about the ongoing breaches of the moratoria (Day 4), I am sure they would be quite willing to vote for the expulsion of TEC from the Communion.

July 29, 12:36 am | [comment link]
12. Terry Wong wrote:

Windsor Report, Para 134:
“... pending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican We urge this in order to create the space necessary to enable the healing of the Communion…”

And history has just repeated itself. Now, I find it ironic that, not one, but two key TEC leaders are actively participating at this level, at this time. And some Standing Comm members are clearly in support of this move.

How are we going to create “the space necessary to enable the healing of the Communion…”?

July 29, 3:11 am | [comment link]
13. BlueOntario wrote:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori questioned why the proposal was singling out The Episcopal Church.

Perhaps because heresy is something worse than the pastoral care that she is accusing others of.

Which reminds me to again ask, what happened to the provision for alternate episcopal oversight that was to be implemented and where is discussion of the fourth moritorium? Not discussed in Jamaica. Will they be discussed in January?

July 29, 8:49 am | [comment link]
14. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#12 Well said, Canon Wong.    How indeed?

July 29, 9:11 am | [comment link]
15. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Thanks to jamesw (#5) for his lucid and reasonable proposal for what the GS primates should do.  Hotheaded as I may be, I find his suggestions quite practical and promising.

Thanks also to Dr. Noll (#11), for the helpful background info.  Your careful reading of the constitutional documents sheds important light on a murky area.

Finally, thanks to Canon Wong (#12) for the timely reminder of how the hopes raised by the Windsor Report have proven completely illusory, like a mirage proves deeply disappointing to weary, thirsty travelers in the desert.  It’s always great to have a leader in the important province of SE Asia weigh in here.

But now that four of the last conservatives have resigned from the Standing Committee (++Orombi, ++Akrofi, ++Anis, and +Marshall of Iran) and Dato Stanley Isaac’s position has clearly become so isolated and hopeless, I have to wonder if Singapore shouldn’t just follow suit and withdraw from participation in this farce of a group that has no credibility whatsoever.

David Handy+

July 30, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
16. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

Respectfully Rev Handy, I think the question of what Singapore should do or not do should be left entirely to them; they must make their own decisions based on their own view of what God is calling them to do.  After all, if they withdrew, they might not be minded to come back, including into the David Handy New Improved Revolutionary Exceedingly Doctrinally Pure and Unadulterated Communion you advocate, assuming it ever gets off the ground.

July 30, 3:28 pm | [comment link]
17. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Touche, Pageantmaster.  Delightful spoof.
Yes, of course, the decision is up to our brothers and sisters in Singapore.

David Handy+

July 30, 3:46 pm | [comment link]
18. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

Thank you for taking it in good spirit Rev Handy, you must forgive my mischievous spoof, although, now I come to think about it, I wonder if I would get in?    Thanks also for you comment on another thread - in the UK we are just, well, different.  I don’t think you would find attending our churches too alarming, although you might get bored to tears by someone up at the front wittering on about global warming and carbon footprints.  But generally, I expect you would enjoy it, and feel at home.

July 30, 4:38 pm | [comment link]
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