2-19-07 - The Primates Issue a Communiqué
with Real Teeth!
Anglican Leaders Rule on Gay Bishops
By ELIZABETH A.
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) -
Anglican leaders demanded Monday that the
U.S. Episcopal Church unequivocally bar official prayers for gay couples
and the consecration of more gay bishops to undo the damage that North
Americans have caused the Anglican family.
In a statement ending a tense six-day
meeting, the leaders said that past pledges by Episcopalians for a
moratorium on gay unions and consecrations have been so ambiguous that
they have failed to fully mend "broken relationships" in the 77
million-member Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of
world Anglicanism, must clarify its position by Sept. 30 or its
relations with other Anglicans will remain "damaged at best."
"This has consequences for the full
participation of the church in the life of the communion," the leaders
The meeting in Tanzania was the latest of
several attempts to keep Anglicans unified despite deep rifts over how
they should interpret the Bible. The long-simmering debate erupted in
2003 when Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene
Robinson of New Hampshire.
Anglican traditionalists believe gay
relationships violate Scripture and they have demanded that the U.S.
church adhere to that teaching or face discipline.
Supporters of ordaining gays believe
biblical teachings on justice and inclusion should take precedence. They
have accused theological conservatives of demanding a conformity among
Anglicans that never before existed. The communion was founded in the
16th century by King Henry VIII and spread worldwide by the British
Discussions at the closed-door gathering
this past week were so highly charged that drafting the final statement
for the 38 Anglican provinces took hours longer than expected.
In 2005, Anglican leaders had asked the
Episcopal Church to temporarily stop electing gay bishops and developing
official prayer services for same-sex couples.
The top Episcopal policy making body,
called General Convention, responded by asking church leaders to
"exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration" of candidates
for bishop "whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider
church." The request is not binding.
On official prayer services, the
convention rejected proposals for a churchwide liturgy for gay partners.
However, a small number of U.S. dioceses have moved toward developing
local prayers and some dioceses have allowed priests to conduct the
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams,
the spiritual leader of the communion, does not have direct authority to
force a compromise. He said the requests contained in the document
released Monday "will certainly fall very short of resolving all the
disputes, but will provide a way of moving forward with dignity."
Canon Kendall Harmon of the Diocese of
South Carolina, a leader among Episcopal traditionalists, said the
document "is not everything I would have wanted," but he was encouraged
that Anglican leaders "made specific calls with specific deadlines."
However, the advocacy group Integrity,
which represents Episcopal gays and lesbians, accused the leaders of
bigotry, and urged Episcopalians to lobby their bishops to reject the
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine
Jefferts Schori, who supports gay relationships, said in a brief
statement after she left the meeting that talks among Anglicans must
The final statement from Anglican leaders
expressed worry over feuding within the Episcopal Church and the wider
communion. Some U.S. parishes have left the Episcopal Church to
affiliate with Anglicans in Africa. Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola
has set up a network for conservative U.S. parishes as a rival to the
Episcopal Church. Lawsuits have been filed over Virginia-area churches
that joined with Akinola and want to take their property with them.
Anglican leaders called on all sides in
the conflict to end their lawsuits and recommended the creation of a
pastoral council and a special vicar to oversee the minority of
conservative U.S. dioceses and parishes that feel they cannot accept
Jefferts Schori's leadership. Among the goals of the plan is to create
an alternative so U.S. parishes stop affiliating with overseas Anglicans
- a violation of communion tradition.
Anglican leaders also released a draft
set of common principles meant to allow Anglican provinces to remain
independent, but recognize their actions have an impact on each other.
The proposed Anglican Covenant, which
will likely be revised before it is finalized years from now, states
that a church could lose full membership in "extreme circumstances" but
could take steps to regain its full member status.
1-20-07 - Bishop-Elect Lawrence writes
Dear Friends at St.
January 12, 2007
Since our move to
Charleston has been twice postponed, and most recently, postponed
without a departure date in mind, many parishioners may wonder what is
happening with my election as Bishop of South Carolina. It is clear at
this point that I will not be consecrated on February 24th. I know this
will cause problems for many of you who have scheduled flights and
lodging. It saddens me that your plans have been disrupted. This delay
has also affected the vestry's ability to plan for the future. But since
you are in a parish whose rector has been thrust into the center of a
national and, even, international debate within the Anglican Communion,
this is a difficult path we shall share for a season. In a way it is an
honor to walk this way with our Lord, if, indeed, it proves to issue in
the common good of the Church. We know our Lord desires good to come
from this. So let me try to explain in an evenhanded manner what is
When someone is elected
as a bishop in The Episcopal Church, he is elected by and for a diocese.
While this process may differ slightly from one diocese to another, it
usually consists of a procedure made up of clergy and laypersons. Every
parish in the diocese has delegates that are sent as representatives to
the electing convention. The clergy in the diocese also participate in
the election. Various candidates are put forward by the diocese. Usually
a candidate must get a majority of votes from both the lay delegates and
the resident clergy in order to be elected. It often takes several
ballots before a candidate gets a majority in both the lay and clerical
orders. When it is noted that South Carolina elected me as their bishop
on the first ballot, it means that I got at least a majority in both
orders on the first vote. The process of election however does not end
with this vote.
Since a bishop is
elected not only for a diocese, but also for the larger Church, there is
a national consent process which is guided by the Constitution and
Canons of The Episcopal Church (TEC). A majority of diocesan bishops and
diocesan Standing Committees throughout the Church must therefore grant
consent to any election held by a diocese. This is usually given without
much fanfare or controversy. In fact many have argued in the past that
this is merely a matter of certifying that proper canonical procedures
were followed. (This was a mantra heard often during the General
Convention process when Gene Robinson's election was confirmed.)
Frankly, I didn't accept this argument then, nor do I believe it should
be applicable in my case. I do suspect, however, that some have changed
their position regarding this matter as it applies to me—holding one
opinion when it applied to a bishop-elect who held their position on
issues, and quite another now. I shall leave that, however, to their
consciences. They must live with themselves as I must live with myself.
As it has been said, there's no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.
It may help you to
understand the present situation by knowing that shortly after my
election an advocacy group in the Church sent a mailing to every bishop
and diocesan Standing Committee. This group misrepresented several of my
written statements and attributed intentions to me that I did not have.
Once this group's mailing muddied the water it has been difficult to
settle the pond. Certainly I have advocated rethinking how we do
business in The Episcopal Church and the broader Anglican Communion as
we step more completely into the 21st Century. This very thing is
implicit in the Windsor Report. Along with this, I have held
uncompromisingly to the position that TEC acted inappropriately towards
historic Christianity and the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as
the teaching of The Episcopal Church, when the Presiding Bishop and
others consecrated Canon Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire. This also
isn't anything the Archbishop of Canterbury and the collective gathering
of Primates in the Communion haven't suggested. Yet even without this
group's political interference there may still have been problems. This
is because some Standing Committees have objected to South Carolina's
request for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO). I defended this
request because, after the General Convention in 2006, I thought many
within the Church needed both pastoral space and theological
differentiation if we were to remain Anglicans, as well as
Episcopalians. Others fear I will lead the diocese out of TEC, or will
not work hard enough to keep the diocese from leaving the "national"
Church or "denomination." My nuanced statements distancing myself from
these fears have not been sufficiently calming for some.
Why haven't I assured
the disconcerted more categorically? We are in a profound time of
transition within the Anglican Communion—a time when important questions
regarding the nature of the Church are being asked and need answers
sufficient for this era in which we find ourselves—the Windsor Report is
the ultimate validation of this position. I want to be a part of
answering these questions in a responsible manner that doesn't truncate
the discussion by taking refuge in narrow approaches. The ecclesial
questions prompted by the present crisis will clearly not be resolved by
disregarding the "bonds of affection" within the worldwide Communion. My
adherence to this has caused some to question my loyalty to the Church,
even though I have neither taught nor acted contrary to the doctrine,
discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church for the past 26 years.
Then, there is the fact that some dislike my traditional theological
convictions regarding the Scriptures, Creeds, and liturgy, especially in
that I hold these traditional beliefs with a willingness to rethink the
way The Episcopal Church has functioned ecclesiastically within the
larger Anglican Communion. This too is nothing more than is requested by
the Windsor Report. I am conservative towards the essential doctrine and
discipline of the Faith, yet progressive in regard to how the Church
needs to change if it is to live out its calling in this age of
Frankly, I find it
ironic that those of my generation who were so quick to trumpet the need
for non-conformity when they were opposed to the "establishment" are
most ungracious towards those whom they think do not conform now that
they are holding the reigns of power. It gets harder not to come to the
sad conclusion that inclusivity in this "faith community" is becoming
more narrowly defined by an exclusivistic agenda. Towards this agenda I
am now cast in the role of protesting against the rising tide of dubious
conformity—a conformity which, at least in the mind of some, will not be
brooked. All of this is to say I will be with you here at St. Paul's
until this controversy is resolved. (Dare we hope for an Easter
resolution?) I trust it will be resolved in God's time and in a way our
Lord Jesus Christ will be honored and his church strengthened. I ask you
all to pray for the Diocese of South Carolina. I am assured almost daily
that they are praying for us.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Mark J.
1-7-07 - Please Read This Pamphlet!
I just came across an excellent resource
for all of us. It's a 30-page PDF booklet called, "We've Had Dessert."
In it, the author (Charles W. Slaton, Jr.) has correctly identified the
problem we in the Episcopal Church face in easy-to-understand and
easy-to-remember language. Here is a quote from the introduction:
Gene Robinson’s consecration
was only a symptom of a much larger problem in our church
that points to a significant shift in theology. This new
religion conveniently dismisses portions of Scripture, and
seemingly accommodates all of our choices – regardless of
what they entail.
In an effort to “respect the dignity of every human being,”
we are now apparently moving toward validating their every
notion and appetite. The growing claim is that this level of
tolerance is our Christian obligation. However, by doing
this, we bring God to the level of man, rather than the
other way around.
11-22-06 - South Carolina not included in
Bishop Sauls: Not All APO Requests
Living Church Magazine -
The House of Bishops’
Task Force on Property Disputes has identified eight “problem dioceses”
and will maintain contact persons within those dioceses who wish to
“remain loyal to The Episcopal Church,” according to a report presented
to The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council. The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls,
Bishop of Lexington, presented the written report to the council on Nov.
The eight dioceses that
will be monitored are Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio
Grande, San Diego, San Joaquin, and Springfield.
The task force began
its work in fall 2005. To date the committee has developed a bank of
court filings and research memoranda to aid dioceses with litigation,
and identified potential expert witnesses. It also introduced General
Convention Resolution B032 stating that none of the Windsor
Report-related responses established or contemplated by various dioceses
“is intended to affect either the historic separate and independent
status of the churches of the Anglican Communion or the legal identity
of The Episcopal Church.”
The report said the
task force is now developing a position paper “setting forth possible
common grounds which could be sought so that the split in The Episcopal
Church which is feared by the task force might be avoided.” It also is
preparing filings to be used “in certain very limited situations” to
institute presentments or lawsuits against any “entity which has
affirmatively undertaken conduct to separate from The Episcopal Church.”
Not All APO Requests Violate Canons
The members of the
House of Bishops’ Task Force on Property Disputes have come to no
conclusions as to impermissible dissent from General Convention by
diocesan leadership, but the acting chair said the six official and four
informal members have been asking that question.
Lexington Bishop Stacy
Sauls has been asked by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to
serve as acting chair. Bishop Sauls distributed an eight-page report to
his colleagues on executive council Nov. 15 during a regularly scheduled
meeting in Chicago. The report identified “problem dioceses” that it
said “merit special observation”: Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh,
Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin and Springfield. An earlier report had
erroneously also included San Diego on the list.
The task force is
“continuing to build its contacts within ‘problem dioceses’ of those
wishing to remain loyal to The Episcopal Church and who are opposed to
separation from TEC in any manner.”
Despite the fact that
both Central Florida and South Carolina have appealed for alternative
oversight, Bishop Sauls said neither diocese is under scrutiny.
“Appeals for alternative primatial oversight are not in and of
themselves a problematic action,” Bishop Sauls said, “It doesn’t rise to
the same level. We see no evidence that the leadership in either diocese
is attempting to change its name or take property held in trust for the
The task force has not
solicited loyalist members from the dioceses, according to Bishop Sauls.
“People have gotten in
touch with us,” he said. “We haven’t asked anyone. We have asked them to
keep us informed about developments on the ground.”
Bishop Sauls said that
the task force is concerned with more than just property disputes.
“The name is a tad
misleading,” he said. “We are also interested in polity. We are not
involved in the doctrinal dispute. We are of different opinions on
certain issues, but we support the polity of The Episcopal Church.
“The task force would
like to see The Episcopal Church be a place where people of many
theological positions feel safe. We feel the polity we have is the best
way to ensure that. We are also investigating ways we can reassure our
ethnic and theological minorities that this Church is a safe place for
11-20-06 - Diocese of San Joquin
prepares to secede from The Episcopal Church - Jefforts-Schori not
A battle is brewing in the Episcopal
Church over the Diocese of San Joaquin, Calif., which is poised to be
the first diocese to secede and position itself as the "vanguard" of a
new U.S. branch of Anglicanism.
Home to an estimated 10,000 Episcopalians, the diocese will vote on
amendments that would remove all ties to the national church at its
convention Dec. 1-2. San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield said the
2.2-million member Episcopal Church is "preaching and practicing heresy"
with its progressive approach to homosexuality and the Bible.
In a letter to parishioners, Schofield
said his diocese would remain part of the global Anglican Communion but
remove itself from the Episcopal Church, its U.S. branch.
"The diocese could be the vanguard of a new 39th Anglican Province in
North America," Schofield wrote. The 77-million member Anglican
Communion currently has 38 provinces around the world.
Episcopal officials maintain that church laws are clear: people can
leave the national church but dioceses cannot. Diocesan property, they
argue, remains held in trust by the Episcopal Church and dioceses are
recognized and designated by the denomination's top law-making body, the
New Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
forcefully into the fray Monday (Nov. 20), warning Schofield not to
"I strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not
only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your
pastoral charge and care," Jefferts Schori wrote.
"Our forbears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent
that they be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forbears
give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed
by litigation," she wrote.
A task force in the Episcopal Church has identified eight "problem
dioceses," including San Joaquin, and compiled a "brief bank" of court
filings and legal documents to fight any attempts by a parish or diocese
to secede with church property, according to Episcopal News Service.
A year ago, the diocese amended its constitution to say it takes
precedence over national church policies. Last March, the diocese
changed its bylaws to prevent the national church from having a say in
its choice of bishop.
As a result of those changes, four California bishops filed charges in
church court accusing Schofield of abandoning the church. The court
ruled the charges were an "inappropriate use of" church law and
As Schofield admits in the letter to parishioners, walking away from the
church carries risks, including leaving diocesan property behind.
Moreover, some clergy could lose their church-provided pensions and
medical care, he wrote.
But leaving is necessary, Schofield said, because the Episcopal Church
"denies the unique divinity of Jesus Christ ... and takes a position on
human sexuality which undercuts marriage and is destructive to the
family unit designed by God and revealed in Scripture."
In 2003, while bishop of Nevada, Jefferts Schori and 61 other bishops
voted to approve an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop of New
Hampshire. For that reason, and because they object to her gender or
progressive views, seven dioceses -- including San Joaquin -- have asked
to be put under the guidance of a foreign bishop instead. San Joaquin is
one of three U.S. dioceses that do not ordain women.
Read the whole article
9-16-06 - New SC Bishop Elected on First
From The Living Church Magazine
San Joaquin Priest Elected Bishop of South Carolina
The Rev. Mark J. Lawrence
was elected on the first ballot as the next Bishop of South Carolina
during a special convention Sept. 16 at St. Philip’s, Charleston.
Fr. Lawrence, rector of St. Paul’s in Bakersfield, Calif., since
1997, was elected with 42.5 lay votes and 72 clergy votes, according to
results published on the internet by the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon,
canon theologian and communications coordinator for the diocese.
An election required 29 votes in the lay order and 54 in the clergy
order. The other two nominees were: the Rev. Canon Ellis Brust, chief
operating officer for the American Anglican Council; and the Rev.
Stephen Wood, rector, St. Andrew’s, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Reached by telephone on Saturday afternoon, Fr. Lawrence shared the
following with Canon Harmon:
“I had a dream last night that awakened me in the middle of the night,
and the person speaking said I had a monumental task pulling me forward
and as I heard him I was too horrified to go forward on my own. It
encapsulated so well how I have felt in the last few weeks and brought
me tremendous comfort.
“Now as I look ahead I see in considering the dream that there is a
monumental task ahead, and no one knows more than I how unworthy I am to
fulfill this call. Yet somehow it has pulled me forward thus far, and if
I have the assurance of the prayers and trust and love of the people of
the Diocese of South Carolina, we will go forward together and under God
I believe he will give us what we need to take us where He wishes us to
Under the election process established in the Diocese of South Carolina,
“lay votes” represent the votes of parishes and missions as a block.
Each parish gets a single vote cast by the four delegates. At least
three delegates from each parish must agree on a candidate in order to
record a positive vote. If the vote is two-two among a parish delegates,
that result is counted as a no vote. Missions are given half a vote and
the two delegates must agree in order for it to count. There are 47
parishes in the diocese and 46 were present. There are 26 missions with
20 recorded as present.
Pending consents from a majority of bishops and standing committees, Fr.
Lawrence will succeed the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon Jr. The consecration
is scheduled for Feb. 24.
9-16-06 - No Consensus on APO
From the Living Church Magazine
Consensus on APO Requests Still Elusive
For a while late on Tuesday afternoon it
appeared as though a group of 10 bishops invited by the Archbishop of
Canterbury to a Sept. 11-13 meeting in New York City would find a way to
meet the needs of the seven dioceses which had requested alternative
primatial oversight (APO) from him.
The meeting, around a large conference table at the Church Pension Group
headquarters on Fifth Avenue, began more than three hours after the
scheduled start time on Monday due to the cancellation of the Rev. Canon
Kenneth Kearon’s flight from Ireland on Sunday. The two co-convenors
spoke first. Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee introduced everyone and
Southwest Florida Bishop John Lipscomb offered a prayer. Presiding
Bishop Frank Griswold then spoke briefly and without notes, assuring
those present that no solution could be imposed on The Episcopal Church.
Canon Kearon, the facilitator, then read a three-and-a-half-page
Describing the APO
as unprecedented, Canon Kearon said the Archbishop of Canterbury had
asked the group to see if they could agree on a process that was
mutually satisfactory and suggested two additional dates to meet again,
perhaps even to discuss other issues if the bishops were agreeable.
After he finished, the participants were invited to contribute and for
the remainder of the sessions, Canon Kearon mostly took notes and
It soon became apparent that Canon Kearon and at least some of the
bishops had not received a copy of the consolidated request for APO
which had been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury at his request in
July. Another delay ensued while one of the bishops prepared and
distributed copies of the 13-page report. Its details did not figure
prominently during the remainder of the meeting, however.
In addition to Bishops Griswold, Lee and Lipscomb the participating
bishops were Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and
Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, Edward
Salmon of South Carolina, James Stanton of Dallas, Mark Sisk of New
York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O’Neill of
After the introductions and opening statements, a wide-ranging
discussion ensued with bishops by turns giving their assessment of The
Episcopal Church in the aftermath of the 65th, 72nd, 74th and 75th
General Conventions. There was also anecdotal sharing about the local
environment in which each bishop ministers. Nearly all of the discussion
concerned human sexuality and the mandatory ordination of women.
After a day and a half of exchanges that at times were blunt and
confrontational, the participants were exhausted, but they had produced
the draft of a brief statement announcing that the seven dioceses whose
bishops had requested APO would be receiving “pastoral care” from
someone other than the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Rather
than push ahead to complete a final statement that day, Bishops Iker and
Duncan suggested that the group meet again in the morning. Whether they
continued Tuesday or waited until the morning, neither Bishop Stanton
nor Bishop O’Neil would be able to assist further with a final
statement, because they both had to leave for other commitments.
The next day it quickly became apparent that some had developed second
thoughts. Bishop Griswold said wider acceptance of the statement that
they had in hand might prove problematic because Executive Council, the
Presiding Bishop’s Council of Advice and the President of the House of
Deputies among others had not been consulted ahead of time. Bishop
Duncan said the agreement did not address Network parishes located in
non-Network dioceses and Bishop Iker said the appeal was for oversight,
not pastoral care. The final paragraph or so of the draft was then
rewritten to reflect the published
(The Rev.) George Conger and Steve Waring
- The Archbishop of Canterbury Addresses England's General Synod
Please read it all, and read it carefully. Below are some quotes
distilled from the address. Clearly, ECUSA's response to the Windsor
report has been found to be insufficient, The Archbishop is not happy
with recent developments in Nigeria and lastly, some provinces (like the
United States) will probably end up divided into two "tiers." But
perhaps most importantly, the Archbishop makes it clear that Anglicanism
has a core theology, and one can not simply believe whatever he or she
wants and call it the Anglican Way. This
sentence says it all.
The first thing to say
is that the complex processes of [the Episcopal Church's]
Convention produced – perhaps predictably – a less than completely clear
The proposal [for a
signed covenant of theological agreement] has already been dismissed
in some quarters as a capitulation to fundamentalism and in others as a
cunning plan to entrench total doctrinal indifferentism. Both
characterisations are nonsense.
So I don't think we can
be complacent about what the complete breakup of the Communion might
mean - not the blooming of a thousand flowers, but a situation in which
vulnerable churches suffer further. And vulnerable churches are not
restricted to Africa... But if this prospect is not one we want to
choose, what then? Historic links to Canterbury have no canonical force,
and we do not have (and I hope we don't develop) an international
executive. We depend upon consent. My argument was and is that such
consent may now need a more tangible form than it has hitherto had;
hence the Covenant idea in Windsor. But if there is such a structure,
and if we do depend on consent, the logical
implication is that particular churches are free to say yes or no;
and a no has
consequences, not as
‘punishment’ but simply as a statement of what can and cannot be taken
for granted in a relationship between two particular churches.
When I spoke as I did
of 'churches in association', I was trying to envisage what such a
relation might be if it was less than full eucharistic communion and
more than mutual repudiation. It was not an attempt to muddy the waters
but to offer a vocabulary for thinking about how levels of seriously
impaired or interrupted communion could be understood.
In other words, I can envisage – though I
don’t in the least want to see – a situation in which there may be more
divisions than at present within the churches that claim an Anglican
heritage. But I want there to be some rationale for this other than pure
localism or arbitrary and ad hoc definitions of who and what is
acceptable. The real agenda – and it bears on
other matters we have to discuss at this Synod – is what our doctrine of
the Church really is in relation to the whole deposit of our faith.
We have claimed to be Catholic, to have a
ministry that is capable of being universally recognised (even where in
practice it does not have that recognition) because of its theological
and institutional continuity; to hold a faith that is not locally
determined but shared through time and space with the fellowship of the
baptised; to celebrate sacraments that express the reality of a
community which is more than the people present at any one moment with
any one set of concerns.
So at the very least we must recognise that
Anglicanism as we have experienced it has never been just a loose
grouping of people who care to describe themselves as Anglicans but
enjoy unconfined local liberties.
Argue for this if you will, but
recognise that it represents something other than the tradition we have
received and been nourished by in God’s providence.
A fascinating look at the four
ecclesiological quadrants in the Anglican Communion
The Rev. Graham Kings,
the theological secretary of the Evangelical group
has come up with a fascinating and very helpful
look at the opposing sides in today's Anglicanism. read this, and you'll
understand the players. I (John Burwell) have taken the liberty of
making a visual chart to go along with his wording. The article and the
chart are HERE.
Statement of the Standing Committee of
the Diocese of South Carolina
June 28, 2006
Irenaeus of Lyon
The Members of the Standing Committee of the
Diocese of South Carolina have received with great thankfulness the
clear statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury issued to the whole
Communion on June 27, 2006 in which he states that disagreements over
human sexuality must be settled on the basis of “Holy Scripture and
Historic Teaching” and not through “social and legal” considerations.
The Archbishop makes it very plain that the dignity and worth of every
person is not the question under discussion. Prejudice and bigotry are
clearly wrong, and must be exposed and rejected. The rhetoric of
“inclusion” has, however, often been used to obscure the Communion’s
teaching that, on the basis of Holy Scripture, the Church cannot bless
same sex unions, nor can we ordain those engaged in homosexual practice.
For this reason, the consecration of Eugene
Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 created a crisis in the
Communion. The election of a new Presiding Bishop who supported his
consecration, and who has advocated and permitted same-sex blessings in
her diocese is another painful complication. Archbishop Williams has
given his conclusion that the actions of our recent General Convention
have not produced a complete response to the challenges of the Windsor
The Archbishop envisions a future for the
Communion, through a covenant process, in which full membership will
require adherence to those commonly held values found in Holy Scripture
and the Sacred Tradition of the Church. Churches unable to agree to the
terms of the covenant will be reduced to some kind of “affiliate”
status. This work will begin immediately, but will take time for all the
details to emerge. As this process unfolds, we wish clearly to number
ourselves among the dioceses and parishes that seek full constituent
membership in the Anglican Communion.
We also have a mandate to reassure the people of
the Diocese of South Carolina that the status quo is now impossible. We
have watched with great sadness as the Episcopal Church has, year after
year, taken actions and adopted teachings which further and further
distance it from the Faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic
Church. We are grieved that relationships have now been so strained that
we are no longer in impaired, but rather broken communion. For that
reason, we do hereby request of Archbishop Williams that he, in
consultation with the Primates of the Communion and the Panel of
Reference, speedily provide alternative Primatial oversight for the
Diocese of South Carolina. In a spirit of humility, we acknowledge our
own imperfection and sin. We renew our commitment to the Great
Commission, to the Holy Scriptures, Creeds and Sacraments of the Church
Catholic, and to the reconciliation of the Anglican Family of Churches
by means of the full implementation of the Windsor Process.
Fr. M. Dow Sanderson,
President of the Standing Committee
Note: This statement was passed without dissent by
the Standing Committee, meeting on June 28, 2006 at Church of the
Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
I write in sadness to tell you that
the General Convention of the Episcopal Church taken as a whole did not
respond adequately to the plea of the Anglican Communion as expressed in
the Windsor Report. A number of bishops in the Church of England and
Primates throughout the Anglican Communion have agreed with this
Our worship in Columbus often
focused just on God with only occasional references to the Trinity. Our
daily Eucharists omitted confession of sin (on the one Sunday service we
had confession was mercifully included). We elected as Presiding Bishop
the person of all the seven candidates who is in deepest disagreement
with the theology of the Anglican Communion, and who with her whole
diocese moved ahead to allow same sex blessings in October 2003 on the
eve of the Primates meeting later that same week. Many more similar
actions could be mentioned, but the point is clear: the Episcopal Church
as its leadership understands itself to be is at fundamental odds with
the majority of the Anglican Communion as well as our common vision here
in the diocese of South Carolina.
Let me remind you that the Windsor
Report, put together by a large group of people from throughout the
breadth and depth of the Anglican Communion, made important specific
requests of us as a Province.
We were asked to express regret
for what we did and the consequences which followed—and in Columbus we
changed the language in which our regret was expressed away from the
language of the Windsor report. We were asked to place a moratorium on
same sex blessings—and we did not do so. We were also asked to place a
moratorium on any person who was in a non-celibate same gender
partnership being elected or consecrated as a bishop. At first the House
of Deputies voted not to do so on the second to last day of Convention.
Then, on the very last day of Convention, using a process which pushed
both Houses backs up against the wall, and which violated our own rules,
we passed a nonbinding resolution which pleaded with bishops and
Standing Committees (but not electing Conventions) to “exercise
restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the
episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church
and will lead to further strains on communion.” Even in this resolution
we did not use the specific language of the Windsor Report but the vague
language of “manner of life” which presents “a challenge.” Immediately
after this was passed in the House of Deputies, a number of bishops led
by Bishop Chane of Washington, D.C., a friend with whom I have worked
for the last year to seek resolution to this crisis, issued a statement
of conscience making clear they had no intention of following the
The overall picture is very clear.
As the Council of Anglican Primates in Africa June 22nd statement put
it, the General Convention 2006 “elections and actions suggest that” we
“are unable to embrace the essential recommendations of the Windsor
Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué necessary for the healing of our
Where do we go from here? Our
future as a diocese in full Communion with the worldwide Anglican
Communion is bright, and our gospel energy in our parishes and missions
is strong. What is critical is that we seek to navigate these turbulent
waters together as a diocese, and not simply as individuals or even
individual parishes. The Lord will bring us through this time stronger
than ever before if we all begin to take more initiative as a body.
Bishop Skilton and I ask your
prayers for the Standing Committee as they meet June 28th, and for the
clergy day set for July 5th. We also ask your prayers as we prepare to
elect a new bishop this September. As is always the case, please be in
touch with us directly should you have any questions.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Edward L. Salmon, Jr.
XIII Bishop of South Carolina
William J. Skilton
Bishop Suffragan of South Carolina
A Statement from
The Rector of Holy Cross in Response to General Convention 2006
friends and parish family,
Convention 2006 is over, and I truly thank you for your constant prayer
while we delegates dealt with interminable political maneuvering and
resolutions designed to obfuscate. We went to General Convention with
one overarching plan – to force clarification upon those who wanted
none, and to lose gracefully. It would be an understatement to say that
we accomplished our goal on both accounts.
The House of Deputies and
the House of Bishops failed to affirm the Windsor Report, and the
insipid resolution that we did pass,
B-033, was immediately rejected by
20 revisionist bishops who said they
would not abide by it. We also
passed a resolution that opposes any state or federal constitutional
amendment that would prohibit same-sex civil marriage or civil unions,
and we passed a resolution that states that parts of Holy Scripture are
The bishops chose the
Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori to be our next Presiding
Bishop, and the House of Deputies confirmed her by an approximate 90%
margin. Ms. Schori is indisputably the least qualified Presiding Bishop
ever chosen, having never served as a rector of a church, and having
been a bishop for only five years. In addition, her
are those of radical revisionism. In her first sermon to General
Convention, Katharine Schori referred to Jesus as “our mother, who gives
birth to a new creation.” She voted for, and ardently supports Gene
Robinson, and she sees nothing but goodness in homosexuality, which she
described as just a
Official Convention worship was described as often
our Canon Theologian who attended every service. There was no confession
of sin at any Communion except the Sunday service. The sermons were for
the most part borderline heresy; being
Pelagian at best, and sounding
like Marcion at worst.
What is clear is that we
have two entirely different religions now trying to exist under one
name. The Episcopal Church as revealed at General Convention 2006 no
longer even remotely resembles the Episcopal Church I once knew. As a
result, I find that I must repudiate the national leadership of the
Episcopal Church as it is presently constituted, and I repudiate the
Episcopal Church that the present national leadership would want us to
Our Diocesan Standing
Committee will meet in a special session this Wednesday, June 28th,
and I fully expect them to respond to this Convention strongly and
decisively. I ask your prayers as we move ahead in the coming months. I
also ask you to remember that we are going to be just fine. I join with
our bishops who wrote to us and said:
future as a diocese in full Communion with the worldwide Anglican
Communion is bright, and our gospel energy in our parishes and
missions is strong. What is critical is that we seek to navigate
these turbulent waters together as a diocese, and not simply as
individuals or even individual parishes. The Lord will bring us
through this time stronger than ever before if we all begin to take
more initiative as a body.”
May our Lord Jesus Christ
give us grace as we navigate these uncharted waters, and may we rely
solely upon Him.
A Pastoral Letter from
the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network
23rd June, A.D. 2006
A Pastoral Letter from the Moderator
TO ALL THE BELOVED OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION NETWORK: Dear Brothers and
Sisters in Christ,
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus
A new day is dawning. It is a new day for all of us who understand
ourselves to be faithful and orthodox Anglicans, whether within the
Episcopal Church or gone out from it.
It is with sadness, but also with anticipation, that I write to you now
that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has provided the
clarity for which we have long prayed. By almost every assessment the
General Convention has embraced the course of “walking apart.”
I have often said to you that the decisive moment in contemporary
Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion history occurred at General
Convention 2003. At that time, in the words of the Primates, the
Episcopal Church took action that would “tear the fabric of our
Communion at its deepest level.”
Since that time, the tear has widened. While we had hoped that this
Church would repent and return to received Faith and Order, General
Convention 2006 clearly failed to submit to the call, the spirit or the
requirements of the Windsor Report. The middle has collapsed. For that
part of the Network working constitutionally within ECUSA as over
against the dioceses represented by the thirty progressive bishops who
issued their Statement of Conscience, we are two churches under one
Even before the close of Convention, Network and Windsor bishops began
disassociating themselves from the inadequate Windsor resolution, and
thus far one Network diocese has formally requested alternative
More initiatives are underway. Pastoral and apostolic care has been
promised without regard to geography. All I can tell you is that the
shape of this care will depend on a very near-range international
meeting. Other actions will follow upon continuing conversations with
those at the highest levels of the Anglican Communion. Over the course
of the month of July, many of the things we have longed for will, I
believe, come to pass or be clearly in view for all.
The Anglican Communion Network has never been more united. We are
gaining strength, both domestically and internationally. This is the
time for biblically orthodox Anglicans to hang together, supporting one
another in solidarity, in prayer and with expectancy.
My prayers are with you all, especially those whose plight is most
difficult and whose patience is most worn. Pray for me and for all the
leadership in Network, Episcopal Church, and Anglican Communion, and
most especially for the Archbishop of Canterbury in this crucial moment
in modern Anglican history. Again I say to you that a new day is
Faithfully in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. Robert Wm. Duncan Moderator of the Anglican Communion
An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA
from The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA)
We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA),
meeting in Kampala on 21st – 22nd June, have followed with great
interest your meeting of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church
USA in Columbus. We have been especially concerned by the development of
your response to The Windsor Report, which has been reported to us quite
extensively. This is something for which we have earnestly prayed. We
are, however, saddened that the reports to date of your elections and
actions suggest that you are unable to embrace the essential
recommendations of the Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué
necessary for the healing of our divisions. At the same time, we welcome
the various expressions of affection for the life and work of the
We have been moved by your generosity as you have rededicated yourselves
to meet the needs of the poor throughout the world, especially through
your commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.
We have observed the commitment shown by your church to the full
participation of people in same gender sexual relationships in civic
life, church life and leadership. We have noted the many affirmations of
this throughout the Convention. As you know, our Churches cannot
reconcile this with the teaching on marriage set out in the Holy
Scriptures and repeatedly affirmed throughout the Anglican Communion.
All four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion advised you
against taking and continuing these commitments and actions prior to
your General Convention in 2003.
At our meeting in Kampala we have committed ourselves to study very
carefully all of your various actions and statements. When we meet with
other Primates from the Global South in September, we shall present our
concerted pastoral and structural response.
We assure all those Scripturally faithful dioceses and congregations
alienated and marginalised within your Provincial structure that we have
heard their cries.
The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, on behalf of CAPA
22nd June 2006