The Bishop of Louisiana Offers his Thoughts

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Posted September 12, 2007 at 11:40 am

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1. Randy Muller wrote:

He appears not to want to deal with the issue.  Not dealing with the issue is as important and intentional as dealing with it, and there have been, are and will be consequences either way.

Randy Muller
St. John’s, Roseville
Diocese of Northern California

September 12, 11:59 am | [comment link]
2. phil swain wrote:

As Kendall asked,“Do they lack the courage of their convictions?”

September 12, 12:13 pm | [comment link]
3. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

#1 &2;: I think you’re right. I don’t follow his point.

September 12, 12:22 pm | [comment link]
4. Mike Bertaut wrote:

I’ve known Bp Charles Jenkins going on 20 years now, and while I would never pretend to know what he’s thinking, I’ve been able to speak to him on several occasions (pre and post-Katrina) about our current crisis and this is what I’ve gleaned from these conversations.

First, that he is as unhappy as many of us at the lack of standards within the Episcopate and Priesthood.  He has responded to that in the past by asking all sponsored seminary students in same sex partnerships to withdraw, once he learned “officially” of their presence.  In addition, our diocese supports certain seminaries and not others.  That speaks volumes about the philosophy here.

In addition, I think he is committed to TEC and finds it irritating that the reappraisers (and then us) have turned sexuality and the arrogance of a small diocese in the northeast into a “fish or cut bait” issue after enduring heresy (Spong), apostasy, and WO and every other thing that is blowing the doors off traditional Christianity. 

I know he stresses mission.  Not from a “UN MDG’s = Salvation” perpective, but from a Christian Duty perspective, and as long as his diocese can be a center of love and understanding I think he’ll continue to give it a run.  The post-katrina work has solidified this opportunity, as any of you who have been to N.O. since the storm can appreciate.

Also keep in mind, the demographic makeup of the Diocese of Louisiana, in my view, would not produce NEARLY the support for leaving TEC that Ft. Worth or Pittsburgh produced.  Conservative in the hinterlands (where the parishes are smaller and less financially able) and much more liberal in the cities is our makeup here.

I do know that he is a brilliant church growth administrator, having seen this at work first hand.  If in DOL the current scandal begins to shrink the church drastically I suspect his reaction will be much different than it is today.  So far, so good.

But I am sympathetic to his condition, for I feel called to stay and protect the sheep around me from the wolves in the HOB.  Personally, I think BP Jenkins is a good Shepherd and am proud to remain in his diocese.  I know that the protection we enjoy from him is not going to last forever, and so those of us below must gird for the coming battle, which he cannot insulate us from forever.

He’s buying us time, that’s for sure.

My two cents…


Mike Bertaut
Time to Go

September 12, 12:34 pm | [comment link]
5. Don Armstrong wrote:

I actually think these Bishops are afraid of a number of things—that the Windsor Bishops didn’t release a statement after their last meeting wasn’t because they have a secret plan, they simply had nothing to say given where they each are personally in a very difficult and oppressive system.

It seems like everyone is hiding out, and perhaps rightfully so. Frankly I don’t think we know the half of the pressures on and threats against these bishops—so this is not simply a lack of courage—it has to do with the fact that the enemy is truly evil, and they are waging not reconciliation, but a shock and awe assault on all of us, priests and bishops, who have maintained our ordination vows of innocence and fidelity. (1928 BCP).

September 12, 12:36 pm | [comment link]
6. Spiro wrote:

Re: As Kendall asked,“Do they lack the courage of their convictions?”

I think they lack both courage and convictions.

September 12, 12:39 pm | [comment link]
7. seitz wrote:

#5: Interesting speculation. But wrong. Fortunately, no one will have to wait much longer, as the TEC New Orleans meeting is around the corner. I hope people are redoubling their prayers for +RDW and the prosecution of Communion requests (Dar, Windsor, etc).

September 12, 1:16 pm | [comment link]
8. Phil wrote:

Mike Bertaut – for what it’s worth, Pittsburgh would fit the same description: “Conservative in the hinterlands (where the parishes are smaller and less financially able) and much more liberal in the cit[y] is our makeup here.”  But, Bishop Duncan stands against the tide.  Being “committed to TEC” in its current condition is little credit to Jenkins.  Perhaps he is concerned with protecting his flock, and I, also, don’t envy his situation.  And yet.

September 12, 1:22 pm | [comment link]
9. Don Armstrong wrote:

#7 Not wrong at all…here in the United States on the front lines and in the trenches things are other than they might seem as we try to fight a war against the forces of evil while not diminishing the witness…hard for you to see from your academic post in Canada.

September 12, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
10. The_Elves wrote:

Please don’t take this thread off topic.   -Elf Lady

Got questions about T19? E-mail us! .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

September 12, 1:33 pm | [comment link]
11. seitz wrote:

Interesting, as I was at the meeting in Texas…

September 12, 1:33 pm | [comment link]
12. seitz wrote:

Thanks, Elf.

September 12, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
13. KAR wrote:

RE: “I hope people are redoubling their prayers “

Now that bit makes the most sense of anything on this thread, for I am all too often lacking in both courage and convictions, only comforted that the same Peter who denied Jesus preached so boldly after Pentecost. Our hope must not be in man because even the most godly will fail, rather in our God.

September 12, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
14. Irenaeus wrote:

“A failure to find a way forward together shall not simply hurt each and every one of us, but as sin is always communal in its effects, our failures will hurt the poor and needy whom we serve and to whom mercy is a symbol of hope. The Anglican Communion is engaged in a huge ministry of justice, mercy, and compassion around the world. If we give in to the sin of self-absorption, our souls shall surely be hardened but it is the poor who will suffer most. No matter which side of the issue of human sexuality you believe to be of God, I suggest that if you really want to break the heart of God, you should work to make the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as absorbed with itself and her disagreements as is possible”—-Bp. Jenkins

So much confusion, so little time.

—- Perpetuating ECUSA is not an end in itself. Nor is it a wise or effective means of spreading the gospel, helping Christians grow in devotion and obedience to Christ, or relieving suffering in the world. Perhaps the most you can say for ECUSA as a national organization is that parts of it are rich (endowed with the gifts of dead people who would be appalled by ECUSA’s drift towards apostasy). But ECUSA’s revisionist rulers have hijacked these assets for their own dubious agenda. Thus we have a “Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society,” founded and endowed to engage in traditional evangelism, now controlled by people who disbelieve in traditional evangelism and tend to consider it shameful.

—- Just as sin has “communal effects,” condoning and enthroning sin has deleterious communal effects. It is inimical to vibrant Christian faith. In the long run it also subverts a “ministry of justice, mercy, and compassion.”

—- If Bp. Jenkins truly seeks to combat the “sin of self-absorption,” he will address himself squarely to ECUSA’s ruling reappraisers and to “moderates” like himself who over the years have acted as reappraisers’ enablers.

—- International Anglican leaders have treated ECUSA with considerable gentleness and forbearance. Now it is time for Bp. Jenkins and others to decide. Will Jenkins unequivocally denounce ECUSA’s drift toward heresy? Will he support full compliance with the Tanzania Communique? Or will he give us a woolly, Griswoldian dithering? Will he remain tied to a status quo that increasingly dishonors his consecration vows?

September 12, 2:04 pm | [comment link]
15. Kevin Montgomery wrote:

Simply because one’s convictions differ from another’s, it does not necessarily mean that they lack them or the courage to stand behind them.  However, when is it courage, and when is it stubbornness and an inability to listen?

I know this might be too late to ask this kind of question, but if a reconciliation were to take place that could allow us to remain together, what might it look like?  The real courage comes in being able to ask what the impossible might look like and to hold our convictions lightly enough to allows others’ to inform our own so that the impossible might just yet become possible.  I’ve heard many times a certain bishop in a neighboring diocese to Louisiana speak about the “idolatry of conscience” that afflicts so many of us in the current unpleasantness.

In Christ,

September 12, 2:18 pm | [comment link]
16. MikeS wrote:

Here’s the 20 cent question from the back room at Ben Franklin’s:

So what if the HoB agrees to the DeS communique requests?  Will it be safe to allow my children to learn the faith from what is taught in TEC?  Or will I have to explain to them that the Church doesn’t really believe much about Jesus anymore but it’s ok for us to go there because we do?

The posts above about +Jenkins’ being fed up with this being all about sexuality and not about the heresy only serve to point out that 30 Sept will not solve the real problem unless the leadership returns to the faith once given by God and received from the Apostles.

I would applaud the Camp Allen/Windsor bishops for their adherence to the requests made then (and since) as well as the teachings of Lambeth 1.10.  But I want to know if they will defend the faith in Jesus Christ revealed in the whole counsel of Scripture and enforce it among their clergy.

We’ve had enough of political resolutions, it is time to actually proclaim the faith and expect people to live it by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In a few weeks I’m moving from a faithful Global South diocese (non-border-crossing, non-North American location) to a Windsor/Camp Allen diocese.  As far as I can see from the various diocesan and parish websites, things do not look nearly as welcoming, nor safe for my children to have the faith of their parents taught and reinforced in that diocese.  I hope I’m wrong, but I only see one or two congregations in the diocese that stand up to teach the Gospel.

September 12, 2:53 pm | [comment link]
17. Sherri wrote:

Conscience, scripture - just idolatries. What about an idolatry of TEC?

September 12, 2:59 pm | [comment link]
18. MikeS wrote:

Kevin Montgomery, #14, mentions bishops speaking of the “idolatry of conscience” afflicting many in this crisis.  This sounds very high-minded.  Yet I must ask, if the issue is a failure to defend core doctrine and thus the flock, how is this attack of conscience in a person’s faith in Jesus Christ “idolatry?”

There are lots of ways we could promote idolatry, but one of them is definitely not the expectation that clergy uphold and defend the truths of Scripture, the Creeds and even the 39 Articles.  I’m not sure light and darkness mix under any circumstances, let alone in the church.

September 12, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
19. Brad Drell wrote:

One small point; there was talk at GC2006 of merging Louisiana and Western Louisiana for fiscal and other reasons.  Part of this stems from the creation of the two Dioceses in the first place; more conservative Western Louisiana was tired of sending money to more liberal New Orleans.  Of the talk of the merger stems from the fiscal difficulties the Diocese of Louisiana was having post-Katrina.  Frankly, the Diocese of Louisiana is not in a position to leave the Episcopal Church post-Katrina - not spiritually or fiscally - in my opinion.

September 12, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
20. David Keller wrote:

At least they got an acknowledgement of the situation.  Our Diocesan news (and I use the term “news” laughingly) letter doesn’t mention the meeting and the editors have removed the bishop’s schedule altogether (which has been in every news letter before this week, since I moved here in 1978).

September 12, 3:50 pm | [comment link]
21. rob k wrote:

No. 16 - Mike S. - It would be interesting if you could provide a few examples of parish websites in your new diocese that indicate that the Christian faith is not taught or promoted.  Thx.

September 12, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
22. Kevin Montgomery wrote:

MikeS (#18),
Actually, I was referring to one bishop who said that, a bishop who, btw, would probably not be considered “liberal” and who is quite “orthodox” when it comes to Scripture and the Creed.  However, the presenting issue in this current unpleasantness is NOT a matter of core doctrine.  I have known plenty of clergy who are “reappraisers” who are very careful to uphold a full meaning of Scripture and, yes, even the Creed.  I have also known, believe it or not, plenty of “reasserting” clergy who have played pretty loose in teaching other commands of Scripture.  As for the Articles, I don’t think I should have to remind anyone that clergy in this church have not had to subscribe to the 39 Articles as clergy in other Anglican churches do.  (Besides, just how many Anglo-Catholics among us here actually pay much attention to the Articles prohibiting lifting up and parading about with the Eucharistic sacrament?  That certainly has stopped me from being spiritually uplifted by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament or a good Corpus Christi procession, but that’s another matter for a different discussion.)

All the best,

September 12, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
23. Don Armstrong wrote:

Truth is, the real response to September 30th is not going to happen from within TEC, as much as from outside of it. Just as Louisiana will remain as currently stuck, so too will most everyone else.

South Carolina, and even this blog, has to be careful to stay off the radar screen not to give anyone an excuse to withhold consent for Mark Lawrence.

Other bishops and priests are too near retirement to self inflict heart attack levels of stress by pulling the plug at this point. Better to let the church die slowly than to die yourself right before retirement.

So the real action will be with the Global South and Common Cause—established and ready to accept the wave of lay departures, a certain number of parishes, and a diocese or two—who themselves will in the end be the seed for a new Anglicanism in America.

In talking to my new AMiA friends and other CANA clergy, there is an invigoration that comes from being free from the emotional drain that TEC has become for its clergy—-and so where as others seem battle weary, we feel Spirit inspired to step up and do the work we all thought we were going to get to do when we were first ordained. And it is from that inspired resource base that anything news worthy that is going to happen will, indeed, happen.

So, call it lack of vision and courage, patience to a fault, or some weird sense of catholic over scripture commitment—-the curtains are quickly coming down on TEC and all who stay attached to her.

September 12, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
24. robroy wrote:

I might add to Father Armstrong’s comment #23: Band-aids don’t help a carotid artery injury. Crises are crises precisely because conventional thinking hasn’t worked and won’t work. Truly these issues facing the Anglican Church are on a magnitude that warrants the descriptor crisis. What I fear is that there will be more patchwork, piecemeal, and dithering coming out of the HOB designed to placate the orthodox.

Non serviri, sed servire.

September 12, 7:10 pm | [comment link]
25. seitz wrote:

The nice thing is, as said above, no one has to wait a lot longer. +RDW meets with the HOB next week, and the 30 Sept Dar deadline will come shortly thereafter. If there is no adjudication of Dar and the will of Communion Instruments, then the kinds of new federal arrangements—be they CANA or something else—will proliferate. The anglican communion will unravel and there will be new arrangements for the like-minded to soldier on. Here I agree with 23 and 24.

September 12, 7:27 pm | [comment link]
26. Don Armstrong wrote:

#25, better known as Chris, do you think that it is possible that instead of a federation being the end result, what is happening in the Common Cause movement is precisely the sort of major surgery Rob Roy is suggesting needs to take place, and that the patient (WWAC) could fully recover to its former health once it is pruned of those insistent on having it their way (TEC)?

Our own pruning in my parish by the major attack on us by the Diocese of Colorado has brought a new health, both interpersonally and spiritually, in the parish. They meant it for evil, but God used it for good. Could this not happen to the Communion.

I think about amputations on diabetes patients—once the gangrene is gone, the body is no longer attacking itself and moving into a physical federation, but instead pulls together to adapt and strengthen to meet the challenges ahead of rebuilding.

Could not this be the result if we all work together somehow in the opportunity God has provided us…certainly this would be better than counting on working that which hasn’t worked to date.

All the indicators, it seems to me, certainly point i this direction…

September 12, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
27. seitz wrote:

#26—thanks for sharing your perspective. We will be watching closely the developments of next week. Our prayer is that the Communion will work to adjudicate Dar and the will of the Primates.

September 12, 8:44 pm | [comment link]
28. rob k wrote:

Assuming ECUSA does not go along with the DAR ultimatum, if I remain in ECUSA will the Sacraments in the Church still have effect for my benefit and that of others who may remain?  Will they still be valid?

September 12, 9:12 pm | [comment link]
29. seitz wrote:

The sacraments are pledges of Christ himself, made sure by God’s action in His Son. Their efficacy is not tied to the worthiness of ministers (St Augustine). See the Articles of Religion in the BCP. God bless. All strength in Christ.

September 12, 9:53 pm | [comment link]
30. rob k wrote:

Chris Seitz - Thanks for your answer.  I know that is the right one. 
But I posed it because I think there are a lot of Donatistic tendencies lurking in some posts here and in other threads.  This does not, however, provide any indication of my opinions about what is going on in ECUSA and in Anglicanism in general.  Thx.

September 13, 3:34 am | [comment link]
31. Graham Kings wrote:

Jean Meade, Rector of Mount Olivet Episcopal Church, New Orleans, Louisiana, has written an important article ‘Initial Report from New Orleans’, on the new Covenant website. Well worth reading:

September 13, 6:26 pm | [comment link]

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