Friday, September 29, 2006

Hail to the Chief!


Statement from Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies as posted on The Daily Episcopalian

The clarification from Bishop Griswold in his letter to the bishops is very important. The Windsor Report was issued as one part of a process. The responsibility for the response to the Windsor Report belongs to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, a bicameral legislature with representation from lay and clergy as well as bishops.

At the 75th General Convention, our response was made. Our bishops certainly can and do meet together. However, when decisions affecting the whole Episcopal Church are made, representatives of the whole Episcopal Church need to be present for the conversations as well as the possible decision making.

Accordingly, the Global South Primates who recently met at Kigali have a right to meet, but no right to make decisions for the Anglican Communion. They have expressed concern about the perceived unilateral actions taken the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2003. However, their statement is truly a unilateral act.

In their statement they distance themselves from Bishop Jefferts Schori for holding views that are similar to those held by Bishop Griswold, Bishop Browning before and other Primates currently. There is nothing unique in her views. What is unique is her gender in the circle of primates. That seems to be their biggest objection.

I note with sadness that the Kigali communiqué does not extend the courtesy of referring to Bishop Jefferts Schori as a bishop, where everyone else is referred to with titles. It adds a low note that is not worthy of the faith espoused in the document.

3 comments:

revsusan said...

So there you have it ... what a breath of fresh air from the "Oval Office"

Barry Fernelius said...

Some folks in other provinces have questions about the polity of the Episcopal church. They wonder why the Episcopal church is governed by bishops, priests, and lay persons. Some are particularly perplexed about the role of lay persons. Why would one organize a church so that the House of Deputies has so much power?

Because when you recognize the ministry of lay persons, you'll get uplifiting fruits of the Spirit like Bonnie Anderson's recent statement. That's a good enough answer for me.

Hiram said...

Ms Anderson says, "In their statement they distance themselves from Bishop Jefferts Schori for holding views that are similar to those held by Bishop Griswold, Bishop Browning before and other Primates currently. There is nothing unique in her views. What is unique is her gender in the circle of primates. That seems to be their biggest objection."

Of course, we know that for three of the dioceses in question, Bp Jefferts Schori's sex is a definite problem. But for other dioceses, and for many in those dioceses not requesting APO, the problem is what she believes. When Bp Jefferts Schori spoke at General Convention, what she said made it clear that she did not want to extend anything resembling an olive branch to the reasserters.

By making the mission of the Church the pursuit of the Millenium Development Goals, she showed that her view that the Church is purely horizontal -- reconciliation is an effort of human beings to each other, Jesus is an example of a reconciling life, and so on. The picture of the Church she presented during her sermon and other statements during that week seems to be of a social service organization with ancient ceremonies.

But if you believe that the human problem is beyond human solution, that Jesus is both fully God and fully human, that his death is an essential part of reconciliation between human beings and God the Father, and that full reconciliation among human beings depends upon God's action in and through human beings -- then Bp Jefferts Schori's comments (while true as far as they go) are deficient.

She did nothing to extend a hand to reasserters. She seems either not to know what we believe, or does not care what we believe. Bishops Browning and Griswold at least tried to reach out to reasserters to some measure, but Bp Jefferts Schori came out of the starting blocks saying things guaranteed to raise questions and concern.