Church Times—Standing Committee blocks move to expel US

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A proposal to separate the Episcopal Church in the United States from the Anglican Communion was rejected by the Communion’s Standing Committee (SCAC) when it met in London over last weekend.

The suggestion, from Dato’ Stanley Isaacs (Church of the Province of South East Asia), led to a discussion, and acknowledgement by committee members of “anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues”, the ACNS reported. But “the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues”, and would therefore be “unhelpful”.

The Committee also heard the rationale behind the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pente­cost letter, which proposed excluding from certain ecumenical dialogues provinces that had breached moratoria. Dr Williams and the Communion’s secretary general, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said that the Archbishop “had not acted unilaterally but with the support of the secretary general”, and that they had acted within their powers. The action “had not been punitive in intention”, but had followed “the breaking of the agreed moratoria — in response to the needs of the Communion in respect to ecumenical dialogues and faith and order bodies”.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Consultative CouncilEpiscopal Church (TEC)Global South Churches & PrimatesSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process* TheologyEcclesiology

6 Comments
Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Hmmm, the picture was disturbing.  Alas, the nefarious PB also preached at great St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  I’m glad Wren’s walls didn’t collapse, but the fact that such a blatant heretic was permitted to defile such a place is significant (of course, she’s not the first heretic to preach there).  Just wondering: did she wear a mitre?

Some other disturbing stuff here includes this:

Dr. Williams questioned whether the ACC’s committee structure was still appropriate [so far so good], and ASKED whether revised instrument structures were required [but now just look at why] TO IMPROVE RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING parts of the Communion’s life.

Got that?  Hmmm, I guess he thinks the ACC needs more indaba.

But the killer was the snide comment toward the end that pretended to lament the withdrawl of four key GS conservatives from the Standing Committee, saying that the committee’s work “would be diminished when it lacked a range of opinion.”  Oh, yeah, I’m sure they really wept over that.

And note that this incredible statement implicitly admits that the SC now lacks such a range of opinion.  It may well be that the only real conservative left is the rep from SE Asia.  At least, the line that’s quoted here from ++James Tengatenga (of Malawi) strongly suggests he believes in supporting the institutional process and not rocking the boat too much.  Maybe that’s unfair to him, but we’ll see.

Pathetic.  The Standing Committee is a farce.  A pitiful, total, farce.  With absolutely no credibility whatsoever.

David Handy+

July 30, 9:31 am | [comment link]
2. tired wrote:

It is a farce, completely lacking in legal and conciliary authority.  Even the stated reason - ‘dialogue’ - bears no relation to the rejected proposal.  Why, for example, is dialogue necessarily dependent on preserving a miscreant province’s role in positions of leadership for a particular body?

July 30, 10:58 am | [comment link]
3. j.m.c. wrote:

Here’s +Ian Douglas:

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.

1) rather denigrating - reducing reasoned argument to feelings.
2) smarmy.  The ACC does not exist to help Bp Douglas “be a better member.”  And, how is he “being a better member” by simply hearing such voices?

Dr Tony Fitchett agreed that the Committee needed as full a range of views as possible. “I’m conscious I’m not here representing my province,” he said. “I’m here because I was appointed by the ACC. My accountability is not to my Province. I expect to continue to serve on the [Standing Committee] even if my Province were ever to be unacceptable to other churches because of its actions.”

Tony Fitchett (New Zealand rep) here is indirectly advocating keeping TEC members in the Standing Committee even if TEC is dismissed from the Communion.  Note how strongly as well: he expects this, and he is making it a “personal” issue.  He is implicitly making the argument: “if TEC is no longer part of the Communion, we have to keep KJS and +Ian Douglas on the Standing Committee, otherwise we would be engaging in an act against their very persons.”
It is interesting that this type of argument is being made by a New Zealand rep; and that they are planning the next gathering in New Zealand.

July 30, 11:09 am | [comment link]
4. j.m.c. wrote:

Sorry, failed to note, both of those are from the last official bulletin from the Communion - here
In Dutch we call Fitchett’s type of argument “sentimental blackmail.”

July 30, 11:11 am | [comment link]
5. j.m.c. wrote:

Notice how Fitchett’s chosen way of communication also effectively closes off discussion unless one very, very pointedly challenges the assumptions he is making - since he uses “I,” the challenge would also seem to be pointing at him personally.
I think I can respond to +Douglas by saying, I’m personally edified by his strong feelings that he should be representing the Communion, this is such a fascinating feeling really, it makes me feel like hearing more about his feelings; I do wonder, for example, how he feels about buttercups in the springtime, and I’d love to hear about whether he’s more of a Beatles fan or a Stones fan.

July 30, 11:19 am | [comment link]
6. William McKeachie wrote:

According to the minutes of the putative Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, a proposal brought to the Committee to “separate” The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion was “rejected” because the “overwhelming majority” of the Committee’s members thought such a separation would “inhibit dialogue” concerning “anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues.”

From the vantage of more than one of those “parts” of Anglican Communion in which I continue to serve, both inside and outside The Episcopal Church, “anxieties about sexuality issues” seem the least of the reasons why, in turn, the majority of The Episcopal Church’s own leadership should simply be acknowledged as having already “separated” themselves not only from the Anglican Communion but from biblical and credal Christianity.

To observe, for instance, what passes for liturgy at many denominational events of The Episcopal Church, such as the service for the “consecration” of the two new bishops suffragan of Los Angeles, is to understand the degree to which The Episcopal Church makes allowance, indeed makes deliberate provision, for a practice of religion which of its very nature “separates” its practitioners doctrinally from the Body of Christ.

While the practice of false religion is not (so far) mandatory in The Episcopal Church, even those of us who haven’t given up on its repentance and eventual reversal of direction by God’s Grace, and therefore retain our affiliation, cannot but recall with fear and trembling the adage of the late Richard John Neuhaus that where orthodoxy is made optional it soon becomes proscribed.

July 30, 1:19 pm | [comment link]
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