Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Release from the "Wake Up" folks ...

The Anglican Communion News Service has announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury, after consultations with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has asked Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia and Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida to convene a group of bishops from the Episcopal church "to meet together to discuss some of the difficult issues facing the Church and to explore possible resolutions."

This announcement raises a number of serious concerns.Consider the following.

ONE -- By what authority is Archbishop Rowan Williams calling for meetings of bishops of the Episcopal Church? The Presiding Bishop has now been reduced to someone merely to be "consulted" about the meeting, while the Archbishop, apparently, decides who attends.

TWO -- One of the "conveners" named by Archbishop Williams is Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. From the start, Lipscomb was at the forefront of the fight against the ordination of Gene Robinson as the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop and since Bishop Robinson's ordination has consistently worked to weaken the unity of the Episcopal Church. He is one of the original founders of the ACN.

THREE -- The other "convener" of the meeting is Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia. Lee voted in 2003 for the consecration of Gene Robinson but afterwards publicly recanted and now says he would not do so again. He has said that "it's appropriate for the American Episcopal Church to back away [from ordaining gay people] to serve the wider unity of the church."

FOUR -- Two of the other bishops invited by Archbishop Williams are Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth and Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh. Their views are well known: they want their small group of right-wing dioceses to separate from the Episcopal Church and to be declared the true representatives of the Anglican Communion in the U.S. and they want the Episcopal Church to be thrown out of the Anglican Communion.

FIVE -- Although Presiding Bishop-elect Jefferts Schori will attend the meeting she will not do so with much authority. Bishop Griswold will still be our Primate. The timing of the meeting leads to the suspicion that Archbishop Williams wants to pressure Bishop Griswold one last time. Bishop Griswold has often succumbed to pressure and in the process become the enforcer of the Episcopal Church's policy of appeasement toward the hate-mongers and fundamentalists of the Anglican Communion, led by Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria.

The following questions need to be asked.

ONE -- Why have only the most conservative and retrograde bishops of the Episcopal Church been invited to this meeting? Why was Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire not invited? Why were Bishops Bruno of Los Angeles or Chane of Washington or Chilton Knudsen of Maine not invited?

TWO -- Does the rush to hold this meeting so soon after General Convention and before the investiture of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop indicate that Archbishop Williams thinks that Bishop Schori will be less inclined to capitulation and appeasement than Bishop Griswold?

THREE -- What other "compromises" will be exacted from the Episcopal Church? Will gay people, as an outcome of this meeting, be told that their place in the back of the bus has now been made permanent?

FOUR --The first session of these meetings will take place "in New York in the first half of September". No specific place or date was announced. Why all the secrecy?

FIVE -- Why does all this remind us of Neville Chamberlain?


ONE -- EMAIL ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS NOW and let him know what you think of his proposed series of meetings. The Archbishop is not directly available by email, but you can send a message to him c/o J. Rosenthal, Anglican Communion Director of Communications: Jim.Rosenthal@anglicancommunion.org

It is important that you also tell THE REV. CANON KENNETH KEARON, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council how you feel. He is the Archbishop's designated hitter at the meeting. He is also not directly available, but his deputy is: Gregory.Cameron@anglicancommunion.org (Based on the ACO's email convention, you may want to try Kenneth.Kearon@anglicancommunion.org)

TWO -- EMAIL PRESIDING BISHOP GRISWOLD NOW and tell him that he has sacrificed the rights of gay people in our church long enough. Email pboffice@episcopalchurch.org and use this subject line: PRESIDING BISHOP IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.

THREE -- EMAIL BISHOP JEFFERTS SCHORI NOW and tell her not to let the Archbishop of Canterbury snooker her the way he has snookered Bishop Griswold and our church. In a hopeful sign for the future, Bishop Jefferts Schori has a known e-mail address KJeffets@aol.com

FOUR -- Don't bother writing to Bishops Lipscomb, Lee, Iker or Duncan. You'd be wasting your time.From time to time,

WAKE UP, a coalition of concerned Episcopalians working for a full inclusion church, issues WAKE UP CALLS, to alert members of our church about some urgent issue or development. This is WAKE UP CALL No. 1For more information about WAKE UP, go to www.wakeuptec.org


Anonymous said...

While I suppose neither side should rush to create a crisis out of every little thing that happens surrounding the ECUSA meltdown, I understand why it happens. Still, isn’t it possible ++Rowan is just trying to help mediate a resolution to this conflict in which we find ourselves – and, what’s wrong with doing that?

These “concerns” really aren’t all that serious. By what authority does ++Rowan call the meeting? By the same authority any of us have to call such a meeting – it’s hardly against the law. And, unlike any of us, ++Rowan is the head primate of the Communion of which we claim membership, so he has a good chance of seeing his request heeded. He has no authority whatsoever to compel people to attend; but, if those people freely decide to do so, that’s their business. Before the, “Wake Up” folks complain, they should wait and see if Griswold and Schori attend – then, they should complain to Griswold and Schori, and them alone.

As far as the conveners, please – Lee is no friend of conservatives, and Lipscomb put this out through his director of communications:

"[Lipscomb] said he was puzzled by the handful of dioceses that have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for 'alternative primatial oversight,' which would essentially allow them to align themselves with a theologically conservative Anglican primate from Africa or elsewhere. 'I am confused by those dioceses that have asked for ‘alternate primatial oversight,’' Bishop Lipscomb confided.

“I don’t know what that means. I even called one of my brothers who has asked for that and asked him, ‘Can you tell me what that means?’ and he said no."

With friends like that, who needs enemies? Nor is Southwest Florida even a member of the ACN: http://www.acn-us.org/membership/dioceses.html.

The level of paranoia has gotten pretty high when we start saying people are not even allowed to meet or talk. In fact, it’s about time these players do meet and talk.

Maybe we should all and wait and see what comes out of this meeting – which will probably, in good ECUSA tradition, be nothing – and complain then if there’s something to complain about.

Anonymous said...

Griswold responds: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_77332_ENG_HTM.htm. This really sounds, again, like people that should be talking finally deciding to talk. I don't see the same threat "Wake Up" does.