07 June 2010

Will the letters ever stop?

So now we have this. It is short and re-produced in full:

Most of you will have read the recent letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Anglican Communion on the subject of Pentecost. Part of that letter addresses the current and ongoing tensions in the Anglican Communion – these tensions cluster around the three moratoria referred to in the Windsor Report.

It was hoped to have held the gracious restraint requested on many occasions by the Instruments of Communion until the Covenant had been considered in-depth by all of the provinces. The Covenant outlines a process whereby major issues before the Communion which affect its common life can be considered properly and appropriately within the community of faith. However, the recent Episcopal election in Los Angeles has created a situation where the Archbishop has been forced to act before the Covenant has been considered by most provinces.

So the Archbishop of Canterbury has made the following proposals in his Pentecost Letter which spell out the consequences of this action:
Last Thursday I sent letters to members of the Inter Anglican ecumenical dialogues who are from the Episcopal Church informing them that their membership of these dialogues has been discontinued. In doing so I want to emphasise again as I did in those letters the exceptional service of each and every person to that important work and to acknowledge without exception the enormous contribution each person has made.

I have also written to the person from the Episcopal Church who is a member of the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), withdrawing that person’s membership and inviting her to serve as a Consultant to that body.

I have written to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to ask whether its General Synod or House of Bishops has formally adopted policies that breach the second moratorium in the Windsor Report, authorising public rites of same-sex blessing.

At the same time I have written to the Primate of the Southern Cone, whose interventions in other provinces are referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report asking him for clarification as to the current state of his interventions into other provinces.

These are the actions which flow immediately from the Archbishop’s Pentecost Letter.

Looking forward, there are two questions in this area which I would like to see addressed: One is the relationship between the actions of a bishop or of a diocese and the responsibilities of a province for those actions – this issue is referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report para 48.

Secondly, to ask the question of whether maintaining within the fellowship of one’s Provincial House of Bishops, a bishop who is exercising episcopal ministry in another province without the expressed permission of that province or the local bishop, constitutes an intervention and is therefore a breach of the third moratorium.

Kenneth Kearon is the Secretary General of Anglican Commmunion Office

The idea that AMiA's bishops who are members of the HoB of Rwanda and just renounced full membership in ACNA to maintain their R'wandan connections are anything other than an intervention is hilarious. Equally, Southern Cone which now has more members in North America than South, with its diocese of Bolivia that has more congregations in North America than Bolivia and which continues to purport to include a (now deposed) bishop for San Juaquin is intervening. The canon thinks these are questions?

If you have listened to General Synod, it is clear that much of ACoCanada, following its national secular law, is now either blessing lbgt unions, marrying lbgt couples or preparing to one, the other or both. But, there again, as in Dr. Williams' letter, the word "formally" and the dual standard arises. The canon does not ask if Canada blesses gay unions else he might have to ask if England does and that would never do. He asks rather if it has formally adopted or begun adopting rites of blessing.

I have news for the canon and his archbishop. Conservatives may or may not be wrong: they are not in any case stupid. Africans and even North Americans can tell the difference between what the archbishop and his minions say and what they do. No one will be fooled by "formally" based decisions. We all know what you do in England archbishop, and we all know what the Canadian, Scots, Welsh and yes albeit they dodge and weave other Anglicans do.

I think we can see the archbishop's vision now. Come January, he snubs PB Jefferts Schori and assures the gullible Africans that no one "formally" blesses lesbian and gay unions or "appoints" gay bishops. So all is well! The primates are an old boy's club again and no worries. "Unity" has been preserved and he is not a failure. That may be a vision but it won't wash. Africans (sorry to tell the archbishop) are not stupid, not ignorant and not easily misled. They know what England et al do, and will still be doing come January.

I suppose we have to say that TEC deserves this at some level. We committed B039 placing our lbgt members in what the presiding bishop called, "a crucified place." If we now find ourselves in it too, we may not complain.

TEC can equally mean, The Episcopal Community. Time to move on. Time to work on strengthening the bonds between churches that do not run through Canterbury. Time to re-prioritize budgets saving the expenses we used to pay for the communion office etc. Those monies properly should go to mission.

It is not time to as some have suggested, to start missions in England. The English have a church. They have a parliament and they can disestablish it or change it if they wish. If we hold intervention out of bounds in North America we have no business doing it elsewhere.

It is mission and ministry time.


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