Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ACNS Reports on NYC "September Summit"

First the official ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service) release followed by comment by the ABofC ... yet-another-example of the conservative-spin come to naught: remember all the "this is when we'll get clarity at last as the Anglican Communion Office comes and sets the Apostate Americans straight" buzz when the meeting was first announced? Now I guess we're all supposed to sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the sky to fall after the "Windsor Bishops" meet at Camp Allen.

That would be the sky that was going to fall after Plano, or was it after Dromantaine ... or maybe it was when the Windsor Report came out? I'll admit to having lost track.

I'll also admit to coming very close to losing interest. It is amazing what the full-immersion of back-to-the-parish-program-year can do to give you a little perspective on it all. Usher and LEM training, new acolytes galore, 140 kids for children's choir registration last Sunday and gearing up for Homecoming Sunday (AKA "The Rector's Back!") not only reminds me how much postive energy there is in the church but how little the ongoing "As The Anglican World Turns" soap opera impacts most Episcopalians trying to live their lives, love their Lord and love their neighbors as themselves.

Anyway, here are the ACNS resleases -- stay tuned for further developments but I think it's time to put away the "in case the sky really IS falling" hardhat.

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ACNS 4187 USA 13 SEPTEMBER 2006
New York Bishops Meeting: A Statement
Issued 13 September 2006, 3 p.m. GMT

A group of bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop to review the current landscape of the church in view of conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury had
received a request from seven dioceses for alternative primatial pastoral care and asked that American bishops address the question. The co-conveners of the meeting were Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia and John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Other participating bishops were Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O'Neill of Colorado. Also participating was Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial
Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.

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ACNS 4188 LAMBETH 13 SEPTEMBER 2006
Archbishop of Canterbury: Response to New York statement The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has responded to the statement issued earlier today from the meeting of bishops of The Episcopal Church (TEC) being held in New York.

Archbishop Williams said: It's a positive sign that these difficult conversations have been taking place in a frank and honest way. There is clearly a process at work and although it hasn't yet come to fruition, the openness and charity in which views are being shared and options discussed are nevertheless signs of hope for the future. Our prayers continue.

2 comments:

Hiram said...

This meeting would have been a watershed event, if those at the meeting had agreed to Alternative Primatial Oversight for those requesting it. Since a plan for APO was not arrived at, there will be further discussion -- and further decisions.

There are still two more meetings to go, both next week -- the Camp Allen meeting of Windsor-affirming bishops, and the Global South primates meeting. What comes out of those meetings will have an effect on ECUSA. It may well take some time.

One thing is certain: there will be a break-up of the Episcopal Church. The only question is whether it will be messy and painful, fought out in the courts, or whether it will relatively amicable and gracious. A few parishes (mostly conservative) are growing, but on the whole, Average Sunday Attendance for the Episcopal Church is dropping. It has been for a number of years, and the drop has been getting greater since 2003.

The ACNS report says "We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward." The bishops present, it seems, now recognize that there is an unbridgeable divide between the two faiths that are in ECUSA at present. That recognition is progress. How such recognition will play out remains to be seen, but it is an important step.

This meeting could have been decisive, but its failure to come to a common mind is still progress. I hope that there will be an amicable separation, but if there is not, individuals, clergy, and parishes will depart on their own, sometimes silently, sometimes with a great degree of noise and pain.

drdanfee said...

Maybe I have missed some key idea or detail or whatever, but my understanding is that nobody attending any of these meetings has any canonical authority to agree that the APO dioceses/parishes can step outside of TEC while receiving Anglican status via links to some other communion entity. That would take an act of GC, and maybe a change in canon?

All of these bishops can talk, but they are not empowered to act unilaterally, given how TEC is constituted via canons. A passing mention of allegiance and participation in the TEC consitution simply cannot be used to trump all the rest of the foundations in question, and thus designate even Canterbury as having this sort of communion authority.

Fact is, until some sort of new covenant along with a new authority is finished, no Anglican entity now in existence has the sorts of authority to which clearly the new conservative APO diocese/parishes are claiming to appeal.

You can get a sprain trying to make it all hang together, but you cannot simply make it so by loudly pronouncing it all so. Well of course, until and unless you are already riding on the new conservative boat which is definitive, and rather exclusively so as it weighs and defines simply everybody and everything else as inferior to itself.

Alas. Lord have mercy.