Church of England Newspaper: US Bishops fail to convince primates

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primates have returned a vote of no confidence in the Episcopal Church. Lambeth Palace reports that a majority of primates have rejected the conclusions of the ACC/Primates Joint Standing Committtee (JSC), and have told the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams the Episcopal Church has failed, in whole or in part, to honor the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dar es Salaam communiqué.

The majority rejection of the JSC report comes as a blow to Dr. Williams’ hopes to avert a showdown between the liberal and conservative wings of the Communion. It also marks an unprecedented repudiation of the competence and judgment of the central apparatus of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Following the publication of the positive assessment by the JSC of the actions of the New Orleans meeting of the US House of Bishops, Dr. Williams wrote to the primates asking “How far is your Province able to accept the JSC Report assessment that the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops have responded positively to the requests of the Windsor Report and those made by the Primates in their Communiqué at the end of their meeting in Dar es Salaam?”

Of the 38 primates, including the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, Lambeth Palace reported it had received 26 responses, and no reply from 12. Of the 26, 12 stated they could accept the JSC’s findings, 12 stated they rejected the JSC’s findings, while three offered a mixed verdict, and one said it was continuing to review the matter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican PrimatesPrimates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSept07 HoB MeetingTEC Conflicts

30 Comments
Posted November 28, 2007 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. robroy wrote:

This is a modification of a post at SF:

The ABC opposed the DeS communique even before it’s creation, ridiculously allotting only four hours for discussion about the “American question” at DeS. He then opposed the Sept 30th deadline. He then seriously undermined it with the early invitations. He then denied the deadline was, in fact, a deadline.

We had Windsor with its nuanced language which the TEC scoffed at and manipulated the imprecise language. This then necessitated Dromantine to define “is” and other vagaries that the TEC took advantage of. Still not specific enough, the primates came up with the DeS communique.

The primates asked three and half things of the American church: Cessation of blessings of ordinations of practicing homosexuals as bishops as well as refrain from blessings of SSU’s and lastly the adoption of the very specific APO scheme. (The half in three and a half was the cessation of law suits.)

If one looks at the JSC report, it talks about how the TEC responded to Windsor report. The ABC then couched his questionnaire in terms of the JSC report. Can we say conspiracy to thwart the will of the primates? The deadline to respond to Windsor/Dromantine was 2006 which they failed. The Sept 30th deadline was for the DeS communiqe. Why not simply ask the following three and a half questions:
1) Did they agree to stop ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishop? The answer is they did. Of course, they couched it in B033 and thus the prohibition will be moot when B033, whose fate is sealed, is repealed in 2009.
2) Did they agree not to bless SSU’s? They did not.
3) Did they agree to the very specific APO scheme? A most emphatic no. The visitor scheme is a sad joke.
1/2) Have they stopped the lawsuits? Well, that’s pretty obvious.

The ABC killed the DeS communique and now is trying to make its memory vanish by returning to Windsor. If you want to find a muddled response in a polling, make the questions muddled. That is precisely what the ABC did. Just ask the above three and one half questions and remember…

The issue is response to DeS. The issue is response to DeS. The issue is response to DeS.

November 28, 1:39 pm | [comment link]
2. anglicanhopeful wrote:

Nice summary robroy.  thank you.

November 28, 2:26 pm | [comment link]
3. the snarkster wrote:

As I said over at SF, the ACC is a wholly owned subsidiary of TECusaCorp and the majority of the primates realize that. I certainly hope that the responses are a severe blow to +++Cantuar’s hopes. Maybe he needs a good “blow” upside the head to wake him up.

herr schnarchmeister

November 28, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
4. joe episcopalian wrote:

Of the 38 primates, including the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, Lambeth Palace reported it had received 26 responses, and no reply from 12. Of the 26, 12 stated they could accept the JSC’s findings, 12 stated they rejected the JSC’s findings, while three offered a mixed verdict, and one said it was continuing to review the matter.

Can you call rejection by 12 (or perhaps 15) of 38 a “majority of primates”? If you count the three mixed responses, you could say it’s a majority of those responding, but this sounds more like a tie and no clear majority to me.

November 28, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
5. anglicanhopeful wrote:

Either way Joe E. it’s a ‘no-confidence’ vote, at this point.  Not to be overlooked is the 12 primates rejecting represent a super-majority of Anglican churchgoers worldwide. 

Perhaps Kearon is lobbying in the background for the other 12 and we’ll get a new count (appropriately rejiggered to declare acceptance) in +Williams’ Advent letter, and then all will be well.

November 28, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
6. RoyIII wrote:

ABC = bad leadership

November 28, 3:52 pm | [comment link]
7. joe episcopalian wrote:

Actually, Conger’s piece more or less answers my question above (#4):

Of those who had not responded, three were from Africa, three from the Indian subcontinent, two from Central and South America, and four from other areas. However, based on past statements from the African and South Asian provinces, the majority reporting a mixed or negative response will be increased to roughly a two third’s margin once their views are communicated to London.

Fair enough.

November 28, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
8. Randy Muller wrote:

Something else to keep in mind in all this vote counting is that one of the 12 positive responses is obviously from ECUSA itself, which strongly influenced the JSC report.

And one of the “no responses” is from Mouneer Anis, who will give a resounding “no” if and when he responds.

As has been pointed out on this thread and previous similar threads involving the ACO, all this does is point out how the wrong questions are being asked and the process is being manipulated.

What’s a more useful question?  “How far are you able to accept the JSC report on the ECUSA HoB response?” or “How far are you able to accept the ECUSA HoB response?”

The indirection makes the answers murkier, especially as to whether the ECUSA HoB response was flawed or inadequate, or the JSC report on the ECUSA HoB response was flawed or inadequate.

November 28, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
9. robroy wrote:

When confronted with Fallacy of a Loaded Question (Plurium Interrogationum) - “Is it true that you no longer beat your wife?” How do you respond? You reject the question.

The fact that one third of the primates and two thirds of the ACC members didn’t respond is a strong rejection of the polling and the pollster (that would be you, Mr. Williams).

November 28, 4:11 pm | [comment link]
10. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

ABC = bad leadership

ABC = All Bad Counseling?

November 28, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
11. Dale Rye wrote:

Somebody can’t count.

The press release text from the Anglican Communion Office says that there were 26 responses, including 12 approving the JSC report, 10 rejecting it, and 2 mixed (although one of those stated that the province, although divided, narrowly supported the JSC position)... for a total of 24. The pie chart accompanying the report shows 28 responses, including 12 positive, 12 negative, 3 mixed and 1 waiting for wider consultation. The Conger story linked here says there were 26 responses, then describes 28 different answers. Since there are 38 provinces and we are told that 12 did not respond, there should be 26 answers, not 24 or 28.

The 12 with no responses include three African provinces (whose representatives supported the CAPA communique rejecting the JSC) and three of the United Churches in South Asia (which have generally supported Global South initiatives). The other six come from areas of the world where opinion is divided. It seems safe to assume there is a majority for rejecting the JSC response, but 60% or so is hardly a consensus. It is not even two-thirds.

Of course, there is the possibility that the 14 to 16 provinces that have not yet taken a firm stand one way or the other think there are more important ways for them to spend their time than to get caught up in a local North American dispute. That would not be a reflection on the Archbishop of Canterbury, but on the warring parties.

November 28, 5:33 pm | [comment link]
12. FrJake wrote:

Dale,

Actually, the pie chart and the report both identify 12 agreeing with the JSC and 10 disagreeing.  I have no idea where George got those other two “disagree” votes.
But, since there is clearly not a majority who disagree, the premise of his article is false.

November 28, 6:04 pm | [comment link]
13. Carolina Anglican wrote:

#12 right. It is only a tiny fractional percentage that disagree, so TEC can keep doing what it is doing.

November 28, 6:35 pm | [comment link]
14. FrJake wrote:

That is not the point.
The point is that since he got the numbers wrong, he needs to pull the story.  The claim that a majority of the primates disagree with the JSC is just not supported by the real numbers.

November 28, 6:40 pm | [comment link]
15. robroy wrote:

Dale writes,

Of course, there is the possibility that the 14 to 16 provinces that have not yet taken a firm stand one way or the other think there are more important ways for them to spend their time than to get caught up in a local North American dispute. That would not be a reflection on the Archbishop of Canterbury, but on the warring parties.

I disagree. The fact that one third of primates and two thirds of ACC-ers failed to respond reflect very poorly on the process.

Instead of simply asking the primates about their impression of the HoB response <b>to the DeS communique (not Windsor which is not the question at hand), we have this entirely ludicrous situation where we have the response of the ABC looking at the response of the primates and the ACC looking at the response of the JSC who looked at the response of the House of Bishops. Give me and the rest of the Anglican Communion a break!

November 28, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
16. Tom Roberts wrote:

#12
The source of your disagreement over the numbers lies in:
“Details of who voted how were not released, nor did the summary stand close comparison to the body of the report. While the summary graph reported 10 provinces as not having responded, the paper identified 12 no responses. Twelve provinces were stated to have rejected the report in the summary, while the body of the paper stated this number was 10. Three provinces were listed as having given mixed responses in the summary, while the body of the paper said two provinces had so spoken.”

Conger states clearly that the numbers which you portray as correct could be obtained from the summary. However, your reliance on just that text overlooks the fact that Conger might have other sources which validate his interpretation of the summary’s inconsistencies. Your demand that Conger pull the article is hasty. More appropriate would be for Conger to clarify (hopefully using an official update of the Lambeth Palace summary) who wrote what.

Another question perplexes me: why this concern over Conger’s article when the ruminations of the Primates, ACC, or AoC really cannot affect how 815 is going to comply with Windsor, or not?

November 28, 9:52 pm | [comment link]
17. Susan Russell wrote:

Odds are Conger has the same sources as Gledhill and Virtue.

November 28, 10:07 pm | [comment link]
18. Tom Roberts wrote:

Long odds or short odds?  ;->

November 28, 10:27 pm | [comment link]
19. robroy wrote:

Susan, since you brought him up, David Virtue has an interesting interview with retired Bp Wantland here. Filled with lots of canon law realities vs myths. One example:

The Presiding Bishop has no authority over the leadership of a diocese, except if charges are brought against a bishop. The PB does have certain responsibilities in regard to the charges, as set forth in Title IV of the Canons. However, there is absolutely NO authority in any instance over Standing Committees, Diocesan Councils, or other diocesan leadership.

November 28, 10:44 pm | [comment link]
20. Observing wrote:

#12, #17 Perhaps Conger called the primates to get their response and that is where he got his numbers. This whole process was manipulated. See for example this and this

So maybe the ‘non responders’ did respond in the negative, but the report was cutoff at a date to move the negative reponses into the non responders bucket to complete the whitewash? Or maybe thats why no one bothered to respond in the first place? A few emails to the primates should provide the answer? Did you respond? What did you respond? If you didn’t respond, why not?

November 28, 10:46 pm | [comment link]
21. Bob from Boone wrote:

A bit of spin toward the negative here. Basically, the responses seem like a mixed bag, and I agree with Fr. Jake here. What is clear here is that the AC leadership (i.e., the primates) are split, and this reflects the divisions within the AC generally. It appears to me that the whole thing is a wash.

November 28, 11:38 pm | [comment link]
22. RoyIII wrote:

Canterbury can’t even get their facts and stats straight.

November 29, 12:19 am | [comment link]
23. robroy wrote:

“It appears to me that the whole thing is a wash.” This is precisely the conclusion that the ABC wants us to draw. He purposefully phrased the questions in a ridiculous format instead of straight up, did the HoB comply with the requests made of them at DeS.

The real question is whether the orthodox will allow the ABC to get away with this.

November 29, 12:27 am | [comment link]
24. teatime wrote:

OK, the big question I have is if the article is correct and the primates who haven’t voted are from Africa, South America, etc., WHY haven’t they responded? They’re our voice—why aren’t they using it?

November 29, 12:58 am | [comment link]
25. Katherine wrote:

Have the bishops from India (CNI, CSI) been participants at all in recent years?  These are merged entities, Anglican/Methodist etc., and I’ve not gotten the impression either while I was living there or from the news that they’ve been too involved in Anglican matters internationally.  When your finances are shaky and your people are being beaten, discriminated against, and murdered, the antics of vaguely related Christians in the USA pale.  They’re watching US TV evangelists and not TEC.

November 29, 2:56 am | [comment link]
26. robroy wrote:

#24, see #23 and especially #9.

November 29, 7:03 am | [comment link]
27. John B. Chilton wrote:

Conger looked at the piechart where two close shades of purple were used, one for no reply and one for disagree, and evidently misread it. The piechart says, in fact, there were 12 no replies and 10 disagrees. In his misreading he transposed those figures. There were, in fact, also 12 agrees. Thus, in fact, the stats are 12 agree to 10 disagree. Which is what the narrative in the report also says.

November 29, 10:19 am | [comment link]
28. The_Elves wrote:

The following comment was sent to the elves via e-mail yesterday (Nov 28).  Unfortunately this elf (elfgirl) was offline most of the past 4-5 days and missed it while trying to catch up on a lot of stuff.  It is posted with permission of the author:

Elves please rescue this ridiculous debate.  The problem is that everyone is MISREADING the pie chart.  That is because the descriptions list under the chart is in the wrong order.  But if you look carefully at the COLORS, you will see that the numbers are: 12 yes, 10 no, 3 mixed, 1 to report later (for a total of 26), and 12 not responding.

But it is absolutely necessary to look at the colors to see this.

And it is also clear, once all the numbers are added up and lined up, that the ONLY person who can count is the one who did the chart (not the one who wrote the text, or any of the various commenters).  And the person who wrote the chart doesn’t know how to put descriptions in a rational order.

No wonder we’re in such bad shape.

November 29, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
29. robroy wrote:

But it is absolutely necessary to look at the colors to see this…No wonder we’re in such bad shape.

Jake is really concerned about whether it is 12 “for” or 10 “for” or whatever. I don’t really care. The significant issue is that a third of the primates rejected the polling process by not responding.

We’re in bad shape not because of arithmetic deficiencies because one member is defying tradition and scripture, wreaking havoc in the communion and this deviant behavior is being enabled by the ABC who is subverting the disciplinary process.

November 29, 4:46 pm | [comment link]
30. teatime wrote:

Great, a bunch reject the polling process. So, the end result will be, 12 accept the response, 10 don’t, and 12 won’t say because they don’t like the question and feel their righteous indignation is more important than trying to thwart TEC through the meager means we’ve got.

November 29, 6:35 pm | [comment link]
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