Statement from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the Anglican Church of Uganda:

Statement from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi,
Archbishop of the Church of Uganda

The Church of Uganda welcomes the announcement of the consecration of The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya. Canon Atwood is a long time friend and partner of the Church of Uganda. In these difficult days in the Communion, we recognize that measures must be taken to provide for the care of those orthodox Anglicans in America who remain faithful to the Bible.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Latest News- Anglican: Primary Source-- Statements & Letters: PrimatesAnglican ProvincesChurch of UgandaEpiscopal Church (TEC)

Posted June 13, 2007 at 11:47 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Brian from T19 wrote:

So where is ++Orombi’s “alternative” church?  Perhaps Canon Anderson wants to be a Bishop too?

June 13, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
2. The_Elves wrote:

Let’s go easy on the cynicism please.   -Elf Lady

June 13, 12:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Vintner wrote:

I don’t get it.  If being recognized by the ABC defines one as being a part of the Anglican Communion, and if these irregularly consecrated bishops are not being invited to Lambeth and thus not recognized as being a part of the Anglican Communion by the ABC, then are the people by defacto not officially Anglicans or is just the bishop considered not to be officially Anglican?

June 13, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
4. Ian Montgomery wrote:

As one with strong links to the Kenyan province and a huge admirer of Archbishop Nzimbi as well as Archbishop Orombi I am asking myself about what has provoked this development.  I do so as an admirer also of the tireless work done by Bill Atwood to confront the revisionism and apostacy in high places in the Communion and EC, USA.

Three areas of concern/provocation come to mind.
1   The invitations to Lambeth clearly whitewash the collective responsibility of those bishops who either consented to or participated in the consecrated VGR in New Hampshire.
2   The response of the US HOB to the pastoral care scheme from the Primates.  This gives little or no hope of the asked for response by Sept 30 that would in any way satisfy the requests of the Primates.
3   The Archbishop of Canterbury’s signature of the whitewash report on Windsor Compliance presented but rejected at Dar es Salaam has made the provision of pastoral oversight all the more urgent.

This is coupled with the fact that ++Nzimbi has repeatedly in public and private made known his desire for there to be an American based pastoral oversight provision so as to relieve him of responsibility for congregations from 8000 miles away.

It is now up to us to work hard within the US to combine our resources and take up the mantle given us by the Primates of Rwanda, SE Asia, Nigeria and Kenya with the blessing of Uganda and others.  We shall see how things shake out.

June 13, 1:00 pm | [comment link]
5. Vintner wrote:

The response of the US HOB to the pastoral care scheme from the Primates.  This gives little or no hope of the asked for response by Sept 30 that would in any way satisfy the requests of the Primates.

frianm, a question raised in our adult study three weeks ago applies to your second area.  Who gave the primates authority over provinces, especially ours, and when did they receive it?  Did we, as an autonomous province, vote  to give them this authority or did they just assume it?  I don’t have answers for these questions and thus don’t know how to respond when asked.

June 13, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
6. Rolling Eyes wrote:

Smuggs: “Did we, as an autonomous province, vote to give them this authority or did they just assume it?”

That question should be asked of Katherine Schori, who signed the Communique, and agreed to its terms.

And, the Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion.  It is NOT a Church unto itself, and there is NO undermining of polity by the Primates.

June 13, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
7. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Perhaps a bit off topic, but are the Windsor bishops meeting this week?

June 13, 1:23 pm | [comment link]
8. Vintner wrote:

Rolling Eyes, the PB did not sign it.  No one signed it.  She agreed to take it back to the HOB.  Yes, the Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion.  It is also a province unto itself as are the other provinces.  What links us to the communion is our common history and ties with the ABC.  But you say that there is no undermining the polity of the primates.  Thus the question that was raised in our group and that I put to you still is, “Who gave them the power and when?”  And I still do not have the response to answer that question.

June 13, 1:34 pm | [comment link]
9. James Manley wrote:


What is irregular about this proposed consecration?

June 13, 1:40 pm | [comment link]
10. Bill McGovern wrote:

Mr. Smuggs, the answer to your question is Jesus, who warned the Church about false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

June 13, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
11. James Manley wrote:

Also, Smuggs:

Who says that Kenya (say) is taking authority over the Province of TEC?  I live in Florida and am a member of the Province of Kenya.

Are you suggesting that TEC has taken authority over the Pope?  I mean, the RCC was in Florida first.

June 13, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
12. Vintner wrote:

#9:  I don’t know.  I’m using the same terminology that the ABC used to defend his not inviting Minns or Murphy and so I am assuming that he finds it irregular because a bishop is being consecrated to exercise ministry in someone else’s province.

#10: Jesus has not given the primates authority over other provinces.

#11:  You know that the RC and the AC are not the same and that ECUSA is not the same as the RC.  ECUSA is a member of the AC, as is Kenya, and so yes, we have the whole issue of boundary crossing. 

My remarks should not be taken as a challenge but the absence of an answer leads one to either assume that the primates are assuming authority they have not been given by the wider church or that you, like me, don’t know the answers to the question.  Why not just say so instead of responding by asking if ECUSA is challenging the pope or that Jesus has given authority to these guys to do what they’re doing?  Even if their basis for doing so is founded upon Scripture, that only explains their rationale.  It does not confer recognized authority.

June 13, 1:54 pm | [comment link]
13. Edith Humphrey wrote:

God bless the Rev. Bill Atwood and the faithful Primates!


June 13, 1:58 pm | [comment link]
14. Billy wrote:

What’s the difference in Kenya doing this for its people in the US and TEC setting up its 8 churches in Europe for its people?  In specific answer to your question, the Primates have become one of the 4 instruments of unity.  They are acting like one of those 4 instruments. If the other instruments do not act with as much energy and activism, then that is the fault of the other 3.  All 4 are charged with protecting the AC.  It is a shame that only the Primates appear to be acting to do that.

June 13, 2:01 pm | [comment link]
15. Vintner wrote:

Billy, I don’t know what the difference is between Kenya in the US and the US in Europe.  I might assume that the convocation is there in Europe by permission as opposed to establishing themselves without such permission but I don’t know it’s history.  Perhaps you or someone else does.

Yes, they are one of the four instruments of unity.  So where does it say what its limits are or what their powers are?  Where does it say, for example, that they have the power to include or exclude?

Let me quickly say before running back to my real job that it concerns me when I hear people say, “God bless the faithful primates!” because they agree with what they’re doing without asking the question, “Do these people have the right or the power to do what they’re doing?”  There was a long discussion on SF on a similar topic last night.  I may agree with bits and parts of what is happening and even cheer under my breath when I hear parts of it.  But the larger part of me is asking where their authority derives from.  You cannot have autonomous provinces while, at the same time, have primates who exercise control over those provinces.  At this point, what connects is our common history and the ABC.  Not a confession or covenant.  So are we indeed doing a new thing and, if so, why not simply say so instead of assuming we have the power to do this new thing under the current structure or regime?

June 13, 2:11 pm | [comment link]
16. Brian from T19 wrote:


If being recognized by the ABC defines one as being a part of the Anglican Communion, and if these irregularly consecrated bishops are not being invited to Lambeth and thus not recognized as being a part of the Anglican Communion by the ABC, then are the people by defacto not officially Anglicans or is just the bishop considered not to be officially Anglican

Yes, the people who become members of the groups such as AMiA and CANA are not “a part of the Anglican Communion.”  However, I don’t think (and I’m out of my element here) that it matters to those who have decided to be a part of the “Continuing Anglican” movement.  They do still remain in communion with one or more Provinces and they retain everything unique about being Anglican-they are just not a part of the AC.

Did we, as an autonomous province, vote to give them this authority or did they just assume it?

That’s a question of some debate.  Here is my take and I think it fits the situation as it has unfolded to date.  The four instruments of unity (ACC, ABC, Primates Meeting and Lambeth) play a strong advisory role, but only the ABC (the focus of unity) can cjoose which Provinces Canterbury remains in communion with.  Wikipedia has a decent summary

Instruments of Communion

As mentioned above, the Anglican Communion has no international juridical organisation. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s role is strictly symbolic and unifying; and the Communion’s three international bodies are consultative and collaborative, their resolutions having no legal effect on the independent provinces of the Communion. Taken together, however, the four do function as “instruments of Communion”, since all churches of the Communion participate in them. In order of antiquity, they are:

  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury (ab origine) functions as the spiritual head of the Communion. He is the focus of unity, since no church claims membership in the Communion without being in communion with him. The present incumbent is Dr. Rowan Williams.
  2. The Lambeth Conference (first held in 1867) is the oldest international consultation. It is a forum for bishops of the Communion to reinforce unity and collegiality through manifesting the episcopate, to discuss matters of mutual concern, and to pass resolutions intended to act as guideposts. It is held roughly every ten years and invitation is by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  3. The Anglican Consultative Council (first met in 1971) was created by a 1968 Lambeth Conference resolution, and meets usually at three year intervals. The council consists of representative bishops, clergy, and laity chosen by the thirty-eight provinces. The body has a permanent secretariat, the Anglican Communion Office, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury is president.
  4. The Primates’ Meeting (first met in 1979) is the most recent manifestation of international consultation and deliberation, having been first convened by Archbishop Donald Coggan as a forum for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation.”

Since there is no binding authority in the Communion, these international bodies are a vehicle for consultation and persuasion. In recent years, persuasion has tipped over into debates over conformity in certain areas of doctrine, discipline, worship, and ethics. The most notable example has been the objection of some provinces of the Communion (particularly in Africa; Asia; and Sydney, Australia) to the changing role of homosexuals in the North American churches (e.g., by blessing same-sex unions and ordaining and consecrating gays and lesbians in same-sex relationships), and to the process by which changes were undertaken. Those who objected condemned these actions as unscriptural, unilateral, and without the agreement of the Communion prior to these steps being taken. In response, the American Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada answered that the actions had been undertaken after lengthy scriptural and theological reflection, legally in accordance with their own canons and constitutions and after extensive consultation with the provinces of the Communion.

The Primates’ Meeting voted to request the two churches to withdraw their delegates from the 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, and Canada and the United States decided to attend the meeting but without exercising their right to vote. They have not been expelled or suspended, since there is no mechanism in this voluntary association to suspend or expel an independent province of the Communion. Since membership is based on a province’s communion with Canterbury, expulsion would require the Archbishop of Canterbury’s refusal to be in communion with the affected jurisdiction(s). In line with the suggestion of the Windsor Report, Dr. Williams has recently established a working group to examine the feasibility of an Anglican covenant which would articulate the conditions for communion in some fashion.

The point that is absolutely clear is that all except the ABC’s decision are advisory.  No one has the power to compel.  As for ++Katharine’s position in Tanzania, it has been argued by the US House of Bishops and the Executive Council that even if she should agree to the requests of the Primates, she does not have the authority under the Constitution and Canons to bind TEC.

Now, while no one has the de jure power to compel, it can be argued that there is a significant de facto power to compel by strongly advising the ABC to break communion with TEC.  This has not happened so far, but faced with losing the vast majority of the Anglican Communion membership, the ABC may need to acquiesce to these “demands.”

June 13, 2:13 pm | [comment link]
17. BillS wrote:


OK, we are doing a new thing. We are being “prophetic”. We see with “new eyes”. We have listened to the stories of those who have not found pastoral care in TEC, and who have expressed the desire to be under the pastoral care of Uganda, or Nigeria, or someone other than TEC.

There is nothing biblical about provinces. It was a secular political arrangement that use to work, but no longer does because TEC decided to go its own way without agreement from the rest of the AC.

Provinces and diocese were set up the way they were because travel and communication use to be slow, and the bishops could be trusted to be reasonably consistent with the Good News of Jesus.
In today’s age of instant communication, and jet travel, being in a province headed by a Bishop 8,000 miles away is no longer a problem.

TEC did not have the authority to change the teachings of the Bible. They are now reaping what they sowed, and many Anglicans in the US prefer to be under the pastoral care of a province that is Biblically faithful, and that the province is geographically distant no longer matters.

What matters, is that the geographically distant province is theologically close. This realignment in the US will happen, because faithful Anglicans in the US will not live in bondage to TEC.

June 13, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
18. Vintner wrote:

BillS, that’s basically what I believe it boiled down to as well.  What I have found lacking in responses, but present in yours, is the admission “We are doing a new thing.”

What I am now waiting to see is what this new thing will be called. I have benefitted from reading discussions between bloggers and members of the ACI.  I think, after the invitations were sent to Lambeth, that the new thing would have to be called something other than Anglican otherwise there are going to be two of them.  This action by Kenya, therefore, is just part of the formation of a new thing whose new name has yet to be determined.

June 13, 2:54 pm | [comment link]
19. Brian from T19 wrote:


For what I consider the definitive analysis on this you should read Parts 1 & 2 of Sarah Hey’s analysis here:

and here:

June 13, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
20. GrannieKay wrote:

If you recall from the early Church Fathers, when a Bishop was appointed, he is a Bishop of the Church - period, the whole church.

If a Bishop was not doing his job properly then it was up to the other Bishops to step in and remove him as a Bishop.  That is history. This custom of territory is modern. 

But let’s look at the real picture as we face it today.  Not one single African Bishop, is claiming authority in America over any church which is part of (ECUSA) TEC.  The Churches that have become Africanized have left TEC, and have asked an African Bishop to oversee them.  Let’s not mix up our facts.  They do not force anyone to align with them. 

So the answer to your question is.  NO ONE and it hasn’t happened.
That should answer your study group. 

Grannie Kay

June 13, 3:03 pm | [comment link]
21. SpongJohn SquarePantheist wrote:

Smuggs, I think some of the confusion and difficulty in responding to your request is as to why you think this is an issue of authority. Worshippers without a church want to join African Anglican provinces… so where does ‘authority’ come into it? It’s like saying, ‘Where does a priest get the authority to welcome someone into being a member of the congregation?’ It’s what they do. I guess another way you can say this is that the ‘authority’ was conferred by the worshippers fleeing TEC. Let’s say you’re a Nigerian and after you move to the US you want to remain associated with your Nigerian church (which was the original aim of CANA btw). Are you saying that simply being physically present over a particular area of land means you can no longer be associated with that church, except for some special authority?

Also, where exactly did Cantuar say he considered Minns irregular?
Was this in the interview where he said both Robinson and Minns
“bishoping is going to be under question in large parts of the Anglican world”? If this is the case do you also think Robinson should be defrocked?

June 13, 3:12 pm | [comment link]
22. Vintner wrote:

Grannie, the argument could be made that the African bishops do not have the authority to accept those invitations.

If I no longer wanted my house to be considered to be on the property of the town I live in, the state I live in, or the country I live in, I could invite France to be its new overseer but France does not have the authority to accept that invitation.

Furthermore, we are talking about the Anglican Communion from its inception to now.  To go back to the Church fathers, you could justify the application of Roman Catholic ecclesiasitical polity to our own.  The question is whether the existing Anglican Communion  gives the authority to the African bishops or primates to do what their doing.  I think BillS is right.  This is a new thing and there is far more integrity found in saying that we are doing a new thing instead of trying to justify these actions by saying that the current structures gives them the authority to do it.

But I’ll take your reply and Brian’s back to them on Sunday anyway.

June 13, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
23. Billy wrote:

I understand your question about the “power” or the “authority” of the Primates within the AC.  Certainly, as explained so well above, their power or authority is advisory, the same as the other instruments except the AbofC.  But in thinking about your question, I do not believe they are not exercising anything but advisory “power” or “authority.”  They are not saying to TEC, if you don’t do what we ask in the DES Communique, we are going to boot you from the communion.  They know they don’t have that authority.  But what they are saying, it appears, is that if you don’t do what we are “advising” you to do, we shall take actions that we can take ... like, we shall set up our own churches within your province, and we shall refuse to sit with you at meetings of the AC, and by our taking these actions, we shall put pressure on the AbofC to withdraw his Lambeth invitations to you and put pressure on him to recognize a parallel jurisdiction within your geographic province.  And by the way, there is little difference in the GS archbishops taking unilateral action to set up their own churches within US and TEC unilaterally ordaining an active homosexual as a bishop and agreeing (local option) to SSBs.  Unilateralism is the same.  (Also, remember TEC unilaterally ordained women the first time in violation of its own canons and General Convention, as well as the understandings of the AC at that time.  Then TEC subsequently provided local option by General Convention, and then made WO mandatory, after promising it would not do that.  So any whine by TEC about the authority by which someone else does something - like the Primates - is just that - a whine, without much credibility and with much hypocrisy.)

June 13, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
24. SpongJohn SquarePantheist wrote:

I think in other words, the question of “authority” as properly understood is anachronistic. It applied to the days when Athanasius could be driven from his see for not supporting Arianism, Bunyan being thrown in jail (5 mile act). *That* would a violation of provincial authority. But the voluntary actions of a congregation don’t fall under this category. Akinola and Lee won’t be sending armed soldiers to attack each other anytime soon.

June 13, 3:19 pm | [comment link]
25. Vintner wrote:

SpongJohn SquarePantheist: If this is the case do you also think Robinson should be defrocked?

I do think that Robinson should be defrocked.  Actually, I think he should never have been consecrated.

I don’t think that Minns should be defrocked.  I do think that he should either minister in Nigeria or, more likely, be considered a bishop of “this new thing” and call it “a new thing” outside the confines of the present Anglican Communion that sees the ABC as its center.

Again, I seem to recall that when the former spokesperson was talking about the invitations to Lambeth, he said that Minns was put into the same category of the irregular bishops.  I don’t know where I would go to look up that interview.  I also don’t know why it would be considered irregular if he was elected within the polity of Nigeria.

Lastly, you raise the boundary crossing argument again.  if someone wants to join a Nigerian Anglican Province, they either could go live in that province or, as Minns is doing, join a “new thing” that goes by another name because it will not be recognized by the “old thing” which the AC with the ABC as its center.  I mean, would Akinola permit the establisment of ECUSA churches in Nigeria for Anglicans there who want to be associated with our province?  I don’t think he would.  Do you?

June 13, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
26. Vintner wrote:

The former spokesperson is the former spokesperson for the ACC.  I don’t remember his name.  Anderson?

June 13, 3:27 pm | [comment link]
27. Words Matter wrote:

Who gave the primates authority over provinces, especially ours, and when did they receive it?  Did we, as an autonomous province, vote to give them this authority or did they just assume it?

First of all, these are not questions relevant to being “in communion”.  That they are being asked suggests that the questioner wishes to rely on legislation rather than relationships as a basis of communion. Legislation and polity should support the relationships, which are actually founded on a common faith and practice.

In fact, the primates of the Anglican Communion have not claimed authority over TEC (is that what you mean by “province”, or do you mean the territory of the United States?), other than the authority of communion.  If one party in a relationship violates the fundamentals of that relationship, to the detriment of other parties, the other parties are bound to act. 

The primates have received their authority to intervene in the U.S. territory by the vox populi, i.e. by the people of 200+ parish communities who sought Christian oversight in lieu of degraded theology, moral squalor, and despicable political high-handedness.  The leadership of TEC can dither all they like about canons, polity, and litigation. 

I’m not sure that addresses the questions you ask. But my first point is the one that matters: they are the wrong questions.

June 13, 3:32 pm | [comment link]
28. BillS wrote:


The issue of authority is the root of the entire problem. Who gave TEC authority to change the teachings of the broader Anglican Communion? No one did, they claimed it for themselves, saying that they were “prophetic”, “seeing with new eyes”, and that “God was doing a new thing.”

Nigeria, Uganda, and others have been invited into the US. Who gave them this authority? Well, the answer is the same. They took it upon themselves, because they were asked in.

The difference is that there are clear Biblical proscriptions against same sex behavior, and there is no Biblical support for same sex blessings and marriages. Theological changes initiated by TEC go against the Bible, Anglican polity, 2000 years of understanding of what it means to be a Christian, and against the teachings of virtually all Christian denominations through all of time.

The Bible says nothing about parishes, diocese, provinces, and how we organize the furniture. These are human, secular choices to be made to best meet the needs of the times.

The supreme irony to me, is that the Bible, given to us by God, is seen by TEC as being infinitely malleable to change with the temporal customs of popular secular culture. However, Canons and provinces and such, written entirely by Man for the convenience of Man, is somehow seen as inviolable, and cannot be questioned or challenged.

TEC wants to use the man made rules to protect and enforce the changes that they have made in the God given rules. This is clearly backwards, and why we are in such a mess.

June 13, 3:36 pm | [comment link]
29. Ian Montgomery wrote:

Mr Smuggs asked me a question before lunch and now I find that so many have answered for me - thanks.  However I will still give my personal answer.  The question was:

My remarks should not be taken as a challenge but the absence of an answer leads one to either assume that the primates are assuming authority they have not been given by the wider church or that you, like me, don’t know the answers to the question. 

Ever since the emergency Primates meeting following the 2003 consent at our GC of that year the Primates have been given an increasingly dominant role.  The genesis of this is in the earlier calls for such meetings in the context of Canterbury being unwilling to take to himself a Papal role.  Indeed the meeting of the Primates prior to the GC 2003 that begged the EC, USA not to give consent to VGR is an assertion of Primatial authority that has now evolved into where we are today.  I also maintain that the EC, USA bought into this when they agreed to step back from the councils of the Communion until Lambeth 2008.

The present PB also gave a kind of assent to this role of the Primates in her attendance and verbal assent to the Dar Es Salaam Communique.  She did not “sign” the document as you state, however she clearly gave her assent to the document and thus the role of the primates.  Please read Archbishop Gomez narrative of the gathering given in the Diocese of Central Florida last month.  She never stated to the Primates that she would simply present it to the HOB, but that it would be a hard sell to the HOB, as has been shown.

The evolution of the power of the Primates is necessary as a corrective to the false notion of independent autonomy in a Communion (not a federation) where there is meant to be interdependence, accountability and indeed communion.  The impetus for this evolving power structure is in fact the arrogant breaking of what used to be unspoken rules of communion behavior by the USA Church. 

This evolution is also a necessary development in the powersharing of the Western Church with the rest of the Communion.  It has really only been since Lambeth 78 that the ascendancy of the West has been challenged, and incidentally much of the spiritual bankruptcy of the Western Church is now highlighted by the growth and vibrancy of the Global South (Please read the last two volumes from Phillip Jenkins).  We should have expected to see such developments.  For there to be a council of teh Primates that exercises discipline is now included in the draft of the Covenant.  Without such structure we will continue with the anomie in the Communion that has been kicked off by the EC, USA.

Incidentally the Primates in Dar Es Salaam addressed the issues of territorial incursion as sadly necessary to protect the faithful flock from the more predatory of the American Bishops.  This was a temporary issue hopefully as with good will there might have been an appropriate pastoral scheme put into place.  Those hopes were dashed by the HOB in March.  So now we are putting it into place ourselves with the help counsel and authority of the oversees Primates.  I too thank God for these Primates who are the last defence against the predatory behavior of our PB, her lawyer and several of the bishops of the EC, USA.

June 13, 3:43 pm | [comment link]
30. SpongJohn SquarePantheist wrote:

Smuggs, my apologies - I posted without having had the #20 post up at the time. Her point was identical to mine. Canon Kearon of the ACC said they were “irregular” - you may be right. I’ll read Sarah’s analysis as well, Cheers.

June 13, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
31. David Keller wrote:

I just read all these remarks.  I find it amazing that you folks are arguing about the “rights” of bishops and their political (ie not Biblical) bureaucracies, when the real isuue is that TEC wants to concseracte and bless without Biblical authority and the Global South wants to be true to the faith handed down from the apostles.  The truth is this:  (1) we are already two churches and the heirarchy of TEC just wants the wealth of dead people before the split is official.  If the orthodox handed over the treasure, not a single reappraiser or member of the HoB would give a rip if 10,000 African bishops showed up in America. (2) the center of Anglicianism is moving South whether the HoB/KJS likes it or not. Note to Elf Lady—sorry to be so cynical.

June 13, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
32. jamesw wrote:

Smuggs:  Regarding the issue of authority, I find it most helpful to think in the following terms:  the British constitutional model is that of an “unwritten” constitution.  In the British system, some of the most significant political relationships continue because that is the way they have always been done.  The American constitutional model is that of a written constitution where if it ain’t written down and legally enforceable, it can be ignored.

The Anglican Communion is largely a British creation, or at least its primary influence is British.  It has operated largely on the basis of an “unwritten” constitution.  Member Provinces of the AC are autonomous AND they are mutually interdependent.  That means that while they are legally able to make their own decisions they have always respected the overall mind of the Communion.

What happened in 2003, is that TEC decided to IGNORE the unwritten Anglican constitution and IMPOSE an AMERICAN mindset on to the whole Communion.  And it has resulted in a Anglican constitutional crisis.  Bishop Minns is a member bishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria but isn’t invited to Lambeth.  It doesn’t really make sense.  Provinces are establishing churches in other Provinces.  It doesn’t make sense.  Why?  Because Anglicanism is in the midst of a massive constitutional crisis.

The old authority of Anglicanism (the unwritten constitution) has been torn to shreds by TEC.  What we see in the Primates’ meeting (and note that this meeting was given expanded powers by the Lambeth Conference and acquised by both the ACC and ABC) is an attempt to bring back the authority of the unwritten constitution of Anglicanism.  On a parallel track is the new Covenant design group which is attempting to put into place a new WRITTEN Anglican constitution (since this is apparently the only thing TEC is willing to take seriously).

So where do the Primates get their authority?  They have the authority of the Communion, authority which they have by virtue of what they have been given by the Communion.  They speak for the mind of the Communion, and they are communicating to TEC the mind of the Communion, which TEC OUGHT to listen to per the unwritten Anglican constitution.

June 13, 4:26 pm | [comment link]
33. Reactionary wrote:

#32 james,

I would add that the idea of Communion itself is that all its members are in accord, and this necessarily means that one member can’t roll out some novel innovation that violates orthodoxy.  If they can, then there is not really any Communion and the bishops are just people in purple shirts.  So I am spiritually troubled:  the Communion is all but dead, our bishops have all but lost their claim to Apostolic Succession, and Rome and Constantinople are going to shrug their shoulders and turn away from the whole mess forever.

June 13, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
34. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Jamesw [#32], your insight about British unwritten constitutions versus American written ones is indeed helpful. I would add that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are especially significant as statements of our general rule that, absent an express and binding prohibition, people are free to do as they please, even if it would go against received tradition or other unwritten rules.

I don’t see how you can say, however, that TEC is trying to impose an American system on the rest of the Communion. We’re doing our thing, and they’re free to do theirs. If they get so upset at what we’re doing that they refuse to share a eucharistic table with us, so be it.

June 13, 4:55 pm | [comment link]
35. Reactionary wrote:

We’re doing our thing, and they’re free to do theirs.

But that is the fundamental problem:  if everybody’s free to do their own thing, then there’s no Communion and the Church ceases to be a catholic and apostolic body.  And at that point what, exactly, are we paying all those bishops to do that an ordinary parish priest could not?

June 13, 5:09 pm | [comment link]
36. DarkHelmet wrote:

Long time lurker, new contributor here.  What immediately strikes me about this announcement is how the decisions of the HoB are proving contrary to their own interests.  Out of Tanzania came an offer for a parallel structure of oversight for the orthodox in the U.S.  That parallel structure would have been linked to Canterbury and the HoB and both would have had input and therefore a measure of control.  The HoB rejected the idea in a New York minute.  Now there are at least three parallel structures in place for the orthodox, and neither the ABC nor the Presiding Bishop nor the HoB have any input, control or influence.  It would have been much smarter, IMO, for them to accept what was offered at Dar es Salam.  Do they think this will all go away if they dig in their heels, close their eyes and refuse to acknowledge what’s happening?

June 13, 5:17 pm | [comment link]
37. Karen B. wrote:

With several active comment threads on today’s news, I wasn’t quite sure where to leave my latest comment.  I left it on the Living Church article below (the first story with the news)

But whether one reads my comment or not, last summer’s interview with Rowan Williams in that Dutch evangelical magazine makes fascinating rereading in light of today’s news.

June 13, 5:33 pm | [comment link]
38. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Reactionary [#35] writes: ”[I]f everybody’s free to do their own thing, then there’s no Communion ....”

Given that communion is a pretty nebulous concept at best, this is a questionable statement.


Reactionary writes: ”... and the Church ceases to be a catholic and apostolic body.”

Apostolicity refers to being “sent out.” Our bishops are mostly fine people, but it seems to me that they err when they style themselves as (the only) successors to the men commonly thought of as apostles — the New Testament clearly suggests that all followers of Jesus are “sent out” to bring people to God.

As for catholicity: the church ceased to be “catholic” at least as early as the Great Schism in 1054. Besides, catholicity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; give me a diversity of views, coupled with a willingness to learn from each other, any day.

June 13, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
39. steveatmi5 wrote:

D.C. writes: “the church ceased to be “catholic” at least as early as the Great Schism in 1054.”  Talk about an unshared and highly questionable assumption, D.C.!  According to whom?

June 13, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
40. D. C. Toedt wrote:

steveatmi5 [#39], my comment about the church ceasing to be “catholic” wasn’t an assumption, it was a statement of historical fact.

As I understand it, the term “Catholic,” from the Greek καθολικός, is generally accepted as meaning “general”  or “universal.”  Whether we mean that the church is universal in belief or universal in governance, the Great Schism of 1054 put paid to any such claim.

(Even before 1054, the Eastern church rejected papal primacy and the filioque clause of the Nicene Creed. And the Reformation erased whatever shreds of doubt might have remained on that score.)

On the other hand, if “catholic” means “universal” in the looser sense of encompassing all Christians, regardless of what denomination they belong to, then TEC would still be part of the Catholic Church even though it’s doing its own thing in certain areas.

If you want to define “catholic” in some other way, then I think you have to justify why such a definition would be appropriate.

June 13, 7:14 pm | [comment link]
41. jamesw wrote:

D.C. - your statement proves my point.  Your statement “We’re doing our thing, and they’re free to do theirs. If they get so upset at what we’re doing that they refuse to share a eucharistic table with us, so be it.” does not reflect either an Anglican nor even a Christian approach, both of which stress mutual SUBMISSION.  Your attitude reeks of American individualism.  If that is TEC’s attitude, so be it, but they should be honest about it, and admit that they have ceased to be either Anglican or Christian.

June 13, 7:40 pm | [comment link]
42. Brian from T19 wrote:


I think submission is Islam;)

June 13, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
43. D. C. Toedt wrote:

Jamesw [#41], mutual submission is a two-way street. I don’t see the scripturalists preaching submission to TEC’s cautious and prayerful exploration of new things. The only submission they’re interested in is that TEC should submit to their absolutist notions of authority-fossilized-in-papyrus (or -parchment).

And mutual submission only goes so far. If memory serves, the ruling council ordered the first apostles to stop preaching that the long-awaited mashiach (anointed one; Greek: christos) was none other than Jesus. The apostles ignored that order; no submission there, it would seem.

June 13, 8:47 pm | [comment link]
44. Dave C. wrote:

If, as some have claimed, invitations to Lambeth define who is part of the Anglican Communion and who is not, I guess the Episcopalians in New Hampshire are out of luck.

June 14, 1:42 am | [comment link]
45. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

TPaine (re: Smuggs 25):


June 14, 4:11 am | [comment link]
46. jamesw wrote:

TPaine:  Read what I said carefully please.  I did not say that any individual or group of individuals had “ceased to be Christian”.  I said that the statement “We’re doing our thing, and they’re free to do theirs” does not reflect a Christian approach and if TEC chooses to make that its rallying cry, then it should cease to claim to be a Christian institution, because its primary focus would not be Christian (i.e. accepting of mutual submission), but individualistic.

D.C. - All four of the Instruments of Communion have told TEC not to do what it did.  Mutual submission isn’t the same things as “everyone gets to do what they want.”  Mutual submission is when the Communion says NO, the individual Province doesn’t ignore it and do it anyway.

D.C. - Regarding your example of the apostles, it seems that you don’t quite understand the concept of Christian submission.  Just as it doesn’t mean “do what you want anyway” it also doesn’t mean “obey whatever anyone tells you.”  It means that when you, as a Christian, are considering your actions, you submit to the wider Christian community.

June 14, 12:44 pm | [comment link]
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