Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury: comments at the final press conference in Tanzania

ACNS 4255 ACO 21 FEBRUARY 2007

20th February 2007

May I echo the thanks for your patience which Philip has already shared with you - we're very appreciative of the fact that it is late and we're all tired.

Also before I start, I went from one session just to check the BBC news and heard more details about the appalling bombing on the train in India and I know that all the Primates will want to put on record their grief and shock about this and their prayers for all involved and their families.

What I'd like to do is touch briefly - very briefly - on the issues in the final communiqué of our meeting. As usual, you'll see elements there of narrative - this is what we did, these are the activities we shared and these were the subjects we covered. You'll notice the reference there to the commissioning of our new representative at the United Nations, and following on from that, some discussion of future work that can be done on the Millennium Development goals by the Communion, especially in the forthcoming conference in Johannesburg in a few week's time at which I hope to be present.

We also received and welcomed the report on Theological Education and identified a new project on interpretation of the Bible.

The business of following through the recommendations of the Windsor report covers, as you see, a great deal of our business and it touches on what we've called the listening process, and we had an extremely good discussion and report from Canon Philip Groves and a great deal of information about the variety of responses and perspectives around the world on these questions around listening to the experience of homosexual people and the challenges of equitable and patient pastoral ministry to them.

There's a reference to the report on the Panel of Reference, you've heard something already of the Anglican Covenant, but it's probably the remainder of the document, from paragraph 17 onwards that contains the meat of our recommendations.

In short, the feeling of the meeting as a whole was that the response of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church to the recommendations of the Windsor report, a response made at General Convention last year, represented some steps in a very encouraging direction but did not yet represent a situation in which we could say 'business as usual'. What that means in practice is spelled out in what follows.

We're still as a communion in a place where our doctrinal position is that of Lambeth 1.10 and where that position has been reiterated in a number of Primates' Meetings, ACC meetings and a number of other fora. That hasn't changed. However there are two factors which we needed to take seriously and engage with.

The first is this: the response of The Episcopal Church, while not wholly clear, represented a willingness to engage with the Communion and awareness of the cost of difficulty that decisions have generated, so our first questions is 'how do we best engage with that willingness?' How do we work with the stream of desire to remain with the Communion?

The second factor is the very substantial group of bishops and others within The Episcopal Church perhaps amounting to nearly one quarter of the Bishops who have spelt out not only their willingness to abide by the Windsor report in all its aspects, but to provide carefully worked-through system of pastoral oversight for those in The Episcopal Church who are not content with the decisions of General Convention.

So what you have before you is an attempt to see if there is, while the Covenant is being discussed around the Communion, to see if there is an interim solution that will certainly fall very far short of resolving all the disputes that are before us but will provide a way of moving forward with integrity. A system of pastoral care for the substantial minority in The Episcopal Church, an encouragement for them and others within The Episcopal Church in whatever desire they have to remain on stream with the rest of the Communion; and also, more importantly a way of beginning to negotiate a way through the very difficult situations that have been created by interventions from other Provinces in the life of The Episcopal Church.

We accepted the good faith of those responsible for such interventions, and we heard some very moving testimonies about that; at the same time they and we recognise that that can only be a temporary solution and the preferable solution is to have some kind of settlement negotiated within the church life of the United States.

Hence the recommendations of the Primates at the end; a proposal to establish a pastoral council; a responsibility shared between the Primates' Meeting and the Presiding Bishop, asking those bishops who have already offered to take up this responsibility to provide pastoral care within The Episcopal Church for the conscientious minority and a challenge to both sides really, a challenge to The Episcopal Church to clarify its position; a challenge also to those who have intervened from elsewhere to see if they can negotiate their way towards an equitable settlement within the life of the North America Church.

You'll notice that we also suggested, to pick up an unfortunate metaphor that's been around quite a bit, the kind of ceasefire in terms of litigation. At the very end of the recommendations you'll see that the very last paragraph that the primates urge representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it, to suspend all actions in law arising from this situation, None of us; none of us believe that litigation and counter litigation can be a proper way forward and we don't see that we can move towards sensible balanced reconciliation while that remains a threat in wide use.

Those are the bones of what we've said here; I'd like to put it in the context of the Covenant process which you've already heard a little about and to suggest to you that what it amounts to is a package, not one single proposal, not one single scheme, but a way of encouraging and nurturing certain elements in The Episcopal Church a way of clarifying the challenge overall that the Communion wants to put to The Episcopal Church within that time frame during which the covenant will be discussed and we hope eventually accepted. Thank you.

Question concerning homosexuality; is it a gift from God or is it a sin?

The teaching of the Anglican Church remains that homosexual activity is not compatible with scripture. The homosexual condition, the homosexual desire, we don't call conditions sinful in that sense.

Q Was the cost of keeping the communion together allowing other provinces to continue to trespass on the property of The Episcopal Church?

Well I think if you look at the communiqué you'll see that that's precisely the situation we're trying to rectify and to well, to end. Now that's not going to happen tomorrow, but that is certainly very explicitly there as a concern shared round the room.

Q What's this we hear about you guys joining up with the Roman Catholic Church?

What's this we hear about the end of the world ... I think what you hear is a really rather remarkably garbled version of a document which has appeared recently which simply states where we are practically in the limits of cooperation between ourselves and the Roman Catholic Church a document agreed by Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops around the world and suggesting what can be done in pastoral practice; it amounts to no more than that.

Q [response of the (TEC) House of Bishops ...] consequences of failure to spell out

I think it's impossible for me to speculate about the House of Bishops in the US and indeed the Presiding Bishop is not in a position, as indeed none of us is in a position to deliver the whole of the House of Bishops we hope that they will. On the specifics on the wording - well, these are the terms that have been put to them, I think it would be rather difficult if there were a response in other terms.

On consequences, you'll see there in the paper what seems a statement of bare fact; that if the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience - and that's an important phrase because there are consciences involved - on both sides of this debate. If the reassurances cannot in good conscience, then in fact the damage is not repaired, and that has to affect some of the consideration we would want to give about the organs of the Communion.

Q Including invitations to Lambeth?

Among other things, that'll have to be under consideration, I don't pre-empt a decision but that'll have to be discussed.

Q Archbishop Akinola ... has he chosen to walk away from this?

Archbishop Akinola has declared that he is prepared to support this document.

Q What message is this sending to people in the pews who are tired of this ... what would you say is the end goal?

The end goal is the Kingdom of God, isn't it, and that takes a while. What would I say to people in the pews? I would say first of all that Gospel remains the Gospel -that is the love of God, the challenge of God the love of God promising absolution, the challenge of God requiring change. That doesn't change and for people to go on in the baptised life, sharing Holy Communion, serving the world, there is no imperative bigger than that.

I said I went back from one session and put the news on and looking at the levels of human grief, terror and suffering around the world, it did seem to me that in many ways it's quite difficult to persuade people that the Church - I don't just mean the Anglican Church - has transforming good news when most of what people hear about us is our own internal divisions. There's a lot in this communiqué about what else we're doing, that is the other 97% of what the Church does in terms of the Millennium Development Goals and other matters. I do hope people will bear that in mind as the primary vision.

Q Primates concern about the problems of Africa; have they forgotten Africa?

God forbid! The discussion we had on the Millennium Development Goals, to come back to that again, focussed on many of these issues and we heard discussions not only of course about Africa, but certainly about Africa and other places. We heard about the challenge of corruption, the challenge of debt, the challenge of course about HIV and Aids, which is a major focus of a forthcoming conference in Johannesburg; and of course I had the privilege of being able to discuss some of these things with the President of Tanzania and with the President of Zanzibar during this visit and get some sense of what was being done in these terms.

Now one important fact here is that we have tried to reaffirm the capacity of the Church to deliver the Millennium Development Goals at grass roots level in a way that no other voluntary organisation can. This is a central theme in the thinking of many people in the Anglican Church at the moment and one of the challenges we have to rise to is whether we can better coordinate our work for development and in meeting these goals.

Q Primatial vicar - will he trump the canons? ...What authority will this figure have?

Well if you bear with me while I try and explain what is admittedly a slightly complicated concept. The Presiding Bishop has declared willingness to entertain the notion of a Primatial Vicar. What you have here is the model that those bishops within the United States who have declared their willingness to abide by Windsor and so forth should be given the right to nominate a person who will act in the terms that they recognise as constituting and offering adequate pastoral oversight. To that person the PB will delegate certain power, but that person will be responsible to the council, the Pastoral Council that will be set up, as a means of communications with the Primates as a body. Now operating under the canons and constitutions; that's a difficult one to be clear about.

Now you won't have, shouldn't have any bishop operating any canons and constitutions and the bishops we're talking about, never mind for a moment the practice of TEC, the canons and constitutions as such don't violate their conscience even if the practice does, so the challenge is to work out what that would mean, the proper degree of independence and critical engagement which I think is meant to be represented by the link to the Primates meeting as a whole, not just to the Presiding Bishop and the structure do TEC.

It's an experiment; pray for it.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Geoffrey Kirk of Forward in Faith of UK on Primates Meeting

For New Directions London

‘For nearly two centuries’, a wit once remarked, ‘Westminster politicians have been talking about a solution to the Irish problem. What none of them would ever admit was the nature of the problem. The problem is that there is no solution.’

Much the same is true about the Anglican Communion. No one, it seems, has the courage to admit what must be obvious to all: that the problem with world-wide Anglicanism is not merely with the conduct of individual provinces but with the polity of the whole. Like the Home Office in the parlance of Dr John Reid, it is ‘not fit for purpose’.

Not only does the doctrine of Provincial Autonomy make divergence in ethos and doctrine virtually inevitable, but the resulting weakness of common structures (the so-called ‘Instruments of Unity’) makes disciplining errant provinces severely difficult. And when the erring province is TEC, the predominant source of funding for the Communion’s central secretariat, it is impossible.

Whether or not the Director General saw the irony of ending the recent meeting of Primates in Frank Weston’s Cathedral in Zanzibar, readers of New Directions will probably take the point: the doctrinal disintegration of Anglicanism is no adventitious phenomenon. It has been unfolding for the best part of a century. The Communiqué of the meeting in Dar es Salaam, for all its vaunted ‘unanimity’ (‘that’, said Clifford Longley on another such occasion, ‘is a very Anglican use of the word unanimous’), cannot hope to turn the tide of history.

What the Communiqué has done, couched as it is in the language of the revisionists themselves, is merely to draw another line in the sand.

The Primates have requested, through the presiding bishop, that the House of Bishops of TEC make an unequivocal common covenant that they will not authorise any rite of blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (see Windsor 143, 144) and confirm that the passing of resolution B033 of the seventy-fifth general convention means that a candidate for Episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (see Windsor 134) unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the communion (see Windsor para 134).

The Deadline for the answer is September 30th 2007.

“If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.”

No one, of course, could reasonably suppose that such undertakings will be given, or that the failure to give them will result in any specific action by any of the ‘Instruments of Unity’. But that is hardly the point. The heart of the statement is not in the requests it makes but in the terms in which they are made: ‘unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the communion’. With that proviso the game is up for the traditionalists.

For the grounds upon which traditionalists oppose gay bishops and same sex unions is not that they go against previous Anglican practice (which might be changed by mutual agreement among the parties concerned), but that they contravene the plain teaching of scripture, which applies in all times and cultures and which neither individual provinces nor the Communion as a whole is competent to change. The issue, for them, is not one of Church traditions but of divine Law.

By signing the Communiqué traditionalist bishops have conceded the very point they were striving to uphold. Having initially refused to sit at the same table as Katherine Schori, and shunned her at the Lord’s Table, they have signed a document which endorses her position and effectively outlaws their own - and elected her to their Standing Committee! To this observer it looks uncommonly like suicide.

But lest you think this judgement harsh, consider the implications of the Communiqué for the future of Anglican moral theology.

Until now it has been assumed that penitence involves not only contrition but amendment of life. When I have sinned I need not only to be heartily sorry for what I have done and firmly to intend not to do it again; I must also seek, so far as possible, to undo what has been done amiss. If I have stolen what is not mine I must return it; if I have entered into a sinful or illicit relationship I must end it.

Not so with The Episcopal Church and the Zanzibar Communiqué. There a half-hearted expression of blanket regret (how many times has your confessor told you to be explicit?) and a future possible undertaking not to do the same again (why the reluctance to renounce wrong-doing in the first place?) is taken as enough. No mention, you will notice, of Gene Robinson.

The removal of Robinson from the Diocese of New Hampshire would, you will say, be too contentious a process and too high a price to ask of The Episcopal Church. But why? No other action, surely, could more powerfully signal sincere repentance. Either Robinson’s public conduct in a same sex relationship is ‘conduct unbecoming’ and contrary to Divine Law, or it is not. And if it is not, what possible grounds (apart from blind prejudice) can there be for barring other such candidates from episcopal office?

We must sadly conclude that in Zanzibar the traditionalist primates were skilfully out-manoeuvred. They conceded the very principles for which they stand; and did so in exchange for assurances which they will probably not get, and which, should they be forthcoming, will be half-hearted and of little effect. All this came about not because those primates are weak or foolish, but because the Communion itself, of which they are an intrinsic part, is structured on principles of democracy and mutual accountability. Pursued to their limits these principles leave no place for radical obedience to the word of God, which must necessarily be the strong suit of those who oppose same sex partnerships and gay bishops.

It was clear from its ringing endorsement of the politicking which resulted in the ordination of women in some provinces, that the ‘Windsor process’ cannot, by its very nature, comprehend an appeal to the unchanging word of God as witnessed by catholic tradition. The words of Pope John Paul II: ‘declaramus Ecclesiam facultatem nullatenus habere ordinationem sacerdotalem mulieribus conferendi’ [we declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women] have no resonance whatever in the official structures of the Anglican Communion, which can only proceed by accommodation and consensus. And Katherine Jefferts Schori, now a member of the Primates’ Standing Committee, is the very incarnation of those procedures.

The Primates address Episcopalians (Anglicans) & The Episcopal Church

(February 19, 2007, Tanzania)

At the end of the Communiqué produced after much debate, writing and editing, appears the Message that the Primates’ Meeting addressed to The Episcopal Church. The Lady Primate of the latter was present and, apparently, in agreement. The latter fact suggests that there is a real possibility that The Episcopal Church will do what is asked of it—but we must not be too optimistic for its track record in doing what it is asked by others to do is not good, as the years 2003-7 amply illustrate.

However, not only The Episcopal Church but also those congregations which have left it recently and are in various relations with overseas bishops are being asked in the Message to take action, as also the overseas bishops who presently support them. Now whether those who have left The Episcopal Church will be prepared to return to it under certain conditions is difficult to predict, as is also the attitude of what are known as “The Anglican Communion Network dioceses” (for they are not promised a new Province but are being asked to help rebuild a renewed Episcopal Church—note that Pittsburgh is having a diocesan meeting on February 24).

The Message, as we are calling it, is really “Recommendations of the Primates’ Meeting,” because, as we all know, The Episcopal Church is autonomous, and those congregations and missions and convocations which have left it are autonomous, and the Provinces who succor them are also autonomous. The Primates are asking that the autonomy of each be used in a way that expresses interdependency as well!

So what must all parties do. First of all, they must accept that The Windsor Report is the “bible” which all are to follow, and the much cited Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998 on the normalcy of marriage between a man and a woman is to be seen as the theological base-line. Secondly, all involved should work hard and charitably to bring reconciliation within the Anglican Way in the USA and globally.

What will the Primates do? They will establish a five member Pastoral Council from their membership to work with the various parties to find solutions and to resolve problems with the aim of re-uniting The Episcopal Church on the basis of The Windsor Report and Lambeth 1.10. That is, the aim is not to return to the status quo before the summer of 2003, but rather to create a changed and renewed Episcopal Church, autonomous yet interdependent.

However, there is a major request made of the House of Bishops and this is a kind of necessary preliminary to the setting up and the fruitful working of the Pastoral Council.

The Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church, 1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention; and 2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent. Further, the Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to them by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007. If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, then the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this will have immediate consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.

Certainly the Primates supply a very large and demanding vision and task. One can think of many possible problems and pitfalls in relation to it, and one can ask a hundred questions about it. But it is not the time for such things right now, it is the time to read the Message and digest it before commenting in detail.

Here it is! Please read on. I will comment on it later after I have read it ten times and pondered it for ten hours!

The Key Recommendations of the Primates


The Primates recognize the urgency of the current situation and therefore
emphasize the need to:

a. affirm the Windsor Report (TWR) and the standard of teaching commanding respect across the Communion (most recently expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference);

b. set in place a Covenant for the Anglican Communion;

c. encourage healing and reconciliation within The Episcopal Church, between The Episcopal Church and congregations alienated from it, and between The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion;

d. respect the proper constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding the interdependent life and mutual responsibility of the Churches, and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole;

e. respond pastorally and provide for those groups alienated by recent developments in the Episcopal Church.

In order to address these foundations and apply them in the difficult situation which arises at present in The Episcopal Church, we recommend the following actions. The scheme proposed and the undertakings requested are intended to have force until the conclusion of the Covenant Process and a definitive statement of the position of The Episcopal Church with respect to the Covenant and its place within the life of the Communion, when some new provision may be required.

A Pastoral Council

a. The Primates will establish a Pastoral Council to act on behalf of the Primates in consultation with The Episcopal Church. This Council shall consist of up to five members: two nominated by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council.

b. The Council will work in co-operation with The Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop and the leadership of the bishops participating in the scheme proposed below to

a. negotiate the necessary structures for pastoral care which would meet the requests of the Windsor Report (TWR, §147-155) and the Primates' requests in the Lambeth Statement of October 2003 [1];

b. authorize protocols for the functioning of such a scheme, including the criteria for participation of bishops, dioceses and congregations in the scheme;

c. assure the effectiveness of the structures for pastoral care;

d. liaise with those other primates of the Anglican Communion who currently have care of parishes to seek a secure way forward for those parishes within the scheme;

e. facilitate and encourage healing and reconciliation within The Episcopal Church, between The Episcopal Church and congregations alienated from it, and between The Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion (TWR, §156);

f. advise the Presiding Bishop and the Instruments of Communion;

g. monitor the response of The Episcopal Church to the Windsor Report;

h. consider whether any of the courses of action contemplated by the Windsor Report §157 should be applied to the life of The Episcopal Church or its bishops, and, if appropriate, to recommend such action to The Episcopal Church and its institutions and to the Instruments of Communion;

i. take whatever reasonable action is needed to give effect to this scheme and report to the Primates.

A Pastoral Scheme

a. We recognize that there are individuals, congregations and clergy, who in the current situation, feel unable to accept the direct ministry of their bishop or of the Presiding Bishop, and some of whom have sought the oversight of other jurisdictions.

b. We have received representations from a number of bishops of The Episcopal Church who have expressed a commitment to a number of principles set out in two recent letters[2] . We recognize that these bishops are taking those actions which they believe necessary to sustain full communion with the Anglican Communion.

c. We acknowledge and welcome the initiative of the Presiding Bishop to consent to appoint a Primatial Vicar.

On this basis, the Primates recommend that structures for pastoral care be established in conjunction with the Pastoral Council, to enable such individuals, congregations and clergy to exercise their ministries and congregational life within The Episcopal Church, and that

a. the Pastoral Council and the Presiding Bishop invite the bishops expressing a commitment to "the Camp Allen principles" [3], or as otherwise determined by the Pastoral Council, to participate in the pastoral scheme ;

b. in consultation with the Council and with the consent of the Presiding Bishop, those bishops who are part of the scheme will nominate a Primatial Vicar, who shall be responsible to the Council;

c. the Presiding Bishop in consultation with the Pastoral Council will delegate specific powers and duties to the Primatial Vicar.

Once this scheme of pastoral care is recognized to be fully operational, the Primates undertake to end all interventions. Congregations or parishes in current arrangements will negotiate their place within the structures of pastoral oversight set out above.

We believe that such a scheme is robust enough to function and provide sufficient space for those who are unable to accept the direct ministry of their bishop or the Presiding Bishop to have a secure place within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion until such time as the Covenant Process is complete. At that time, other provisions may become necessary.

Although there are particular difficulties associated with AMiA and CANA, the Pastoral Council should negotiate with them and the Primates currently ministering to them to find a place for them within these provisions. We believe that with goodwill this may be possible.

On Clarifying the Response to Windsor

The Primates recognize the seriousness with which The Episcopal Church addressed the requests of the Windsor Report put to it by the Primates at their Dromantine Meeting. They value and accept the apology and the request for forgiveness made [4]. While they appreciate the actions of the 75th General Convention which offer some affirmation of the Windsor Report and its recommendations, they deeply regret a lack of clarity about certain of those responses.

In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church

1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144); and

2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent (cf TWR, §134); unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion (cf. TWR, §134).

The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007. If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.

On property disputes

The Primates urge the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation. We also urge both parties to give assurances that no steps will be taken to alienate property from The Episcopal Church without its consent or to deny the use of that property to those congregations.

Appendix One

"The Camp Allen Principles"

The commitments expressed in the letter of 22nd September 2006 were:

a. an acceptance of Lambeth 1998 Res. I.10 as expressing, on its given topic, the mind of the Communion to which we subject our own teaching and discipline;
b. an acceptance of the Windsor Report, as interpreted by the Primates at Dromantine, as outlining the Communion's "way forward" for our own church's reconciliation and witness within the Communion;
c. a personal acceptance by each of us of the particular recommendations made by the Windsor Report to ECUSA, and a pledge to comply with them;
d. a clear sense that General Convention 2006 did not adequately respond to the requests made of ECUSA by the Communion through the Windsor Report;
e. a clear belief that we faithfully represent ECUSA in accordance with this church's Constitution and Canons, as properly interpreted by the Scripture and our historic faith and discipline;
f. a desire to provide a common witness through which faithful Anglican Episcopalians committed to our Communion life might join together for the renewal of our church and the furtherance of the mission of Christ Jesus.

The principles expressed in the letter of 11th January 2007 were:

1. It is our hope that you will explicitly recognize that we are in full communion with you in order to maintain the integrity of our ministries within our dioceses and the larger Church.
2. We are prepared, among other things, to work with the Primates and with others in our American context to make provision for the varying needs of individuals, congregations, dioceses and clergy to continue to exercise their ministries as the Covenant process unfolds. This includes the needs of those seeking primatial ministry from outside the United States, those dioceses and parishes unable to accept the ordination of women, and congregations which sense they can no longer be inside the Episcopal Church.
3. We are prepared to offer oversight, with the agreement of the local bishop, of congregations in dioceses whose bishops are not fully supportive of Communion teaching and discipline.
4. We are prepared to offer oversight to congregations who are currently under foreign jurisdictions in consultation with the bishops and Primates involved.
5. Finally, we respectfully request that the Primates address the issue of congregations within our dioceses seeking oversight in foreign jurisdictions. We are Communion-committed bishops and find the option of turning to foreign oversight presents anomalies which weaken our own
diocesan families and places strains on the Communion as a whole.


1. Whilst we reaffirm the teaching of successive Lambeth Conferences that bishops must respect the autonomy and territorial integrity of dioceses and provinces other than their own, we call on the provinces concerned to make adequate provision for episcopal oversight of dissenting minorities within their own area of pastoral care in consultation with the Archbishop of
Canterbury on behalf of the Primates (Lambeth, October 2003)

2. Namely, a letter of 22nd September 2006 to the Archbishop of Canterbury and a further letter of 11th 2007 to the Primates setting out a number of commitments and proposals. These commitments and principles are colloquially known as "the Camp Allen principles". (see Appendix One)

3. As set out in Appendix One.

4. Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of "the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ" (Windsor Report, paragraph 134), express its regret for straining the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences which followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within our Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of communion one with another. The Communion Sub-Group added the comment: "These words were not lightly offered, and should not be lightly received."


The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)

Anglican Covenant (Proposed) and The Anglican Formularies

An expression of gratitude and also concern from Dr Peter Toon

From the Covenant Design Group, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, we now have a proposed Anglican Covenant, which has been sent to the 38 member churches of the Communion for reflection and will be discussed and probably finalized at The Lambeth Conference 2008—after which, if approved, it will go through the most difficult route of 38 separate Synods, a daunting task indeed and here it may stall for years.

A concern of The Prayer Book Society of the USA (as also of sister societies in other countries) has been that the proposed Covenant recognize the strategic place of the classic Formularies –BCP, Ordinal and 39 Articles – in The Anglican Way both yesterday and today. Bearing this in mind, I did write a booklet of 64 pages which presents an argument for the continuing place of the Formularies in the Anglican Way and in any future Covenant. I sent a copy of this booklet, The Anglican Formularies and Holy Scripture, to Archbishop Gomez (whom I know personally and have been his house guest) and other members of the Design Group which produced the draft Covenant.

In general, I have to say that the draft Covenant published today, February 19, 2007, is as good as we could reasonably expect it to be, bearing in mind the power of the liberal mindset and political power within the administration of the Anglican Communion. Below is one section where the Formularies are mentioned in the context of the content of The Lambeth Quadrilateral approved by the Lambeth Conference in 1888:

2 The Life We Share: Common Catholicity, Apostolicity and Confession of Faith
(Deuteronomy 6.4-7, Leviticus 19.9-10, Amos 5.14-15, 24; Matthew 25, 28.16-20, 1 Corinthians 15.3-11, Philippians 2.1-11, 1 Timothy 3:15-16, Hebrews 13.1-17)
Each member Church, and the Communion as a whole, affirms:
1. that it is part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
2. that it professes the faith which is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith, and which is set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation;
3. that it holds and duly administers the two sacraments ordained by Christ himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with the unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him;
4. that it participates in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God;
5. that, led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons
6. our loyalty to this inheritance of faith as our inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to our societies and nations.
[1] This is not meant to exclude other Books of Common Prayer and Ordinals duly authorized throughout the Anglican Communion but acknowledges the foundational nature of the Book of Common Prayer 1662 in the life of the Communion

I wish to make three preliminary comments.

First of all, traditional Anglican Christians are glad and relieved that there is a clear reference in the Covenant to the classic Formularies in their most important edition, that of 1662 (from which 150 or so translations have been made and of which many are in weekly use today).

In the second place, there is some concern about the tense of the verb, “has borne witness,” for this may suggest that the authority and guidance of the Formularies has been only in the past and does not belong to the present, 2007, and the future. We hope that it means “has borne and continues to bear witness;” but in that Archbishop Gomez himself—in imitation of The Episcopal Church USA—actually led the West Indies to reject the authority of the BCP & Formularies of 1662 and replace them in the 1990s with a new “Book of Common Prayer,” like the American “Book of Varied Services” of 1979, as primary Formulary, then we have perhaps cause for concern. The Church of England Canon A5 uses different language for the Formularies and states that the doctrine of the C of E today is grounded in the Formularies. Let us hope that this is what the Covenant means and it will be edited to say so.

In the third place, there is further concern about the meaning of the footnote [1]. If what is meant are other editions of the One Book of Common Prayer –e.g. Canada 1962 & USA 1928—then all is fine and we are on sold ground; but, if it is a way of opening the door to the new type of so-called “Books of Common Prayer” led by the American 1979 and continued by similar books in other places like the West Indies, Wales and Ireland, then this is a cause for great worry. Nowhere in the Covenant is there a distinction made between (a) the classic Book of Common Prayer in its various editions and a variety of translations (as, for example, used in Africa daily) and (b) the massive variety of books of varied services called by various names including regrettably as in the West Indies, as already noted, The BCP.

I hope that the African Provinces which use the BCP 1662 in English or in local languages Sunday by Sunday will take up this cause and ensure that the place of the Formularies is presented as authoritative for today as well as being all-important in the Anglican tradition.
[For my booklet go to or call 1-800-727-1928] February 19 2007

Full Text of Covenant:
The Report and the Covenant Draft text are also available to download as a PDF Document here:

Monday, February 19, 2007

Table Fellowship & Communion, Impaired and Broken

Reflections to produce better reflections from Dr Peter Toon

Seven or more Primates have at one time or another during the recent Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania (and side trip to Zanzibar) deliberately refused to share in a Service of Holy Communion with their fellow Primates. That is, they have refused to have Table Fellowship with their “brethren,” one of whom is a female.

In their own words from the website of the Nigerian Church, they said:

"We each take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist very seriously. This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion. It makes clear that the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further. It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with The Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired. Scripture teaches that before coming to sit with one another at the Lord's Table we must be reconciled. (Matthew 5:23-26 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) We have made repeated calls for repentance by The Episcopal Church and its leadership with no success. We continue to pray for a change of heart. We are unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding, "Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith" (Book of Common Prayer, 1662) This is a painful decision for us and also for our host and brother, the Most Rev'd Donald Mtetemela. He understands our painful dilemma and accepts our decision. Pray for the Church."

The story is that, since they are the spiritual leaders of Anglican Provinces which have already synodically declared that The Episcopal Church of the USA is below the standard of faith and morals required of a Christian Church in the Anglican tradition, they are bound to act in accordance with these declarations, and not behave as if they had not been made. That is, they are not in Eucharistic communion with the spiritual leader(s) of The Episcopal Church. However, it appears that they apparently remain in baptismal communion or something akin to it, for they do sit in an assembly where is the lady Primate of the offending Province and where there is Prayer and the reading of the Word.

It is possible that in this Statement, which has now gone around the world, they made in good conscience a mistake in providing the quotation from the Exhortation in the Communion Service of The Book of Common Prayer (1662). It would have been better, perhaps, had they cited biblical verses where the faithful are told not to have fellowship with the apostate—see, for example, Galatians 1:6-9, especially v.9; and also Ephesians 5:11 (in the context of verses 3-21). If it be the case that the lady Primate has abandoned the Faith and Morals of Christ as these are understood in the Anglican Way, then separation from her, until she repents is certainly what the New Testament appears to require. And by repentance they understand that she declare that same-sex unions are always and everywhere contrary to the will of Christ the Lord, and that The Episcopal Church has been wrong and is wrong in supporting such, and ceases to have anything to do with this sinful innovation.

Possibly also they made a further mistake by absenting themselves from the Table of the Lord at all, since the lady Primate was never the Celebrant, either in Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar. If we are to absent ourselves from a Eucharistic assembly because one or two present in it as members of the congregation are, in our judgment, heretics, then we perhaps go too far—especially if their number is only a small percentage of the whole (as it seems to be in this case). To absent ourselves when the Celebrant is a heretic is one thing and in the case of these Primates required, but absenting ourselves if a few members of the congregation are heretics is another. If we all adopt this principle, we need not only to examine ourselves before the Service (as St Paul requires in 1 Cor. 10-11) but also to examine everyone else! And who can truly stand full examination?


All in all, it would seem that the protesting Primates were absolutely right to declare that they were not in Eucharistic fellowship with the lady Primate and that they believe she and her Church need urgently to repent of their erroneous doctrine, morals and ways. However, since she was never the Celebrant, they probably made a mistake in absenting themselves from the Eucharist, for they also by so doing declared by sign, if not by words, that they are not in fellowship with all the others there as well! They chose the wrong occasion to make a necessary protest on behalf of the Gospel and its Morality as it has been traditionally received in the Anglican Way.

We are familiar, since the arrival of women priests, of impaired communion and of traditional Anglicans not receiving Communion from either bishops who ordain women or rectors who employ them—or of course from the women themselves—but this situation in East Africa is different for several of these protesting Primates are all in favor of the ordination of women (e.g. the Primate of Rwanda seems enthusiastic about it!). It appears that for this group of Primates the ordination of women is not a problem—whether they personally ordain women or not— in terms of eucharistic fellowship (as it is for FinF members) but ordaining “gays” is a problem, and the latter is so serious as to merit not only the not receiving Holy Communion from a Celebrant who is a heretic but also the not being seated in the Eucharistic assembly where there is a heretic.

Let us pray for greater wisdom and greater charity to handle all this for it is both a complex and a tender matter.

February 18 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Feb 17, remembering Archbishop Janani Luwum

(from Peter Toon:. I have a special interest in this martyr for he attended Oak Hill Theological College, London, where I taught in the 1970s and 1980s. Perhaps this sermon was the brightest moment iin the five-day Primates’ Meeting!.)

Chapel Sermon by Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda at the Primates Meeting, Friday February 16 2007,
The eve of the thirtieth anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum of Uganda.

The Church of Uganda

The Church of Uganda was born in 1877 through CMS missionaries who were invited by the King of Buganda. In 1885 Bishop James Hannington was murdered as he came to Uganda through the eastern part of the country. He was believed to be an enemy because he was approaching Uganda from the east. On June 3rd 1886, the Martyrs of Uganda were killed because they refused homosexual advances by the then King of Buganda. In 1962 Uganda became independent. In 1971 Idi Amin took over from Dr Apolo Milton Obote, the elected President of Uganda.


Janani Luwum spoke of when he surrendered his life to Christ:
“Today I have become a leader in Christ’s army. I am prepared to die in the army of Jesus. As Jesus shed his blood for his people, if it is God’s will, I do the same.” Such were the words of a primary-school teacher in his own village where he was well known and where his family and village had wanted him to be a chief. “When I was converted, after realising that my sins were forgiven and the implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I was overwhelmed by a sense of joy and peace. I suddenly found myself climbing a tree to tell those in the school compound to repent and turn to Jesus Christ. From time to time I spoke in tongues. I stayed up that tree for a long time.”

“Later on I discovered that some boys were converted due to my sermon I preached up that tree. The reality of Jesus overwhelmed me – and it still does. But I would be wrong to demand that those who are converted should climb a tree and speak in tongues.”

Eleven months after his conversion, on one Sunday afternoon, Janani Luwum was moved to address an open-air meeting at All Saints Church in Kitgum, and he said: “The Holy Spirit has been showing me how many educated men are deserting the Church. When the Church dies out of existence they won’t be there to take the blame. I feel deeply convicted that it the church faces extinction in this my native land, I will be around to die first before the Church falls, collapses or dies. It will have to fall on me. I totally surrender myself to the Church.”

Then he fell on the ground and wept bitterly amid loud shouts of praise, thanksgiving and tears of joy of repentance. Yusto Otunno responded by saying that Luwum, as one of the educated brethren, should join the full time ministry of the Church. God was calling him to sacrifice his teaching career, and the real possibility of being a local chief, and to offer himself for ordination.

His death

Early in 1977, a small army rebellion was put down with only seven men dead. However, Amin determined to stamp out all traces of dissent. His men killed thousands, including the entire population of Milton Obote’s home village. On Sunday, 30 January, Bishop Festo Kivengere preached on “The Preciousness of Life” to an audience including many high government officials. He denounced the arbitrary bloodletting, and accused the government of abusing the authority that God had entrusted to it. The government responded on the following Saturday (5 February) by an early (1.30 am) raid on the home of the Archbishop, Janani Luwum, ostensibly to search for hidden stores of weapons. The Archbishop called on President Amin to deliver a note of protest at the policies of arbitrary killings and the unexplained disappearances of many persons. Amin accused the Archbishop of treason, produced a document supposedly by former President Obote attesting his guilt, and had the Archbishop and two Cabinet members ( both committed Christians) arrested and held for military trial. The three met briefly with four other prisoners who were awaiting execution, and were permitted to pray with them briefly. Then the three were placed in a Land Rover and not seen alive again by their friends. The government story is that one of the prisoners tried to seize control of the vehicle and that it was wrecked and the passengers killed.

The story believed by the Archbishop’s supporters is that he refused to sign a confession, was beaten and otherwise abused, and finally shot. His body was placed in a sealed coffin and sent to his native village for burial there. However, the villagers opened the coffin and discovered the bullet holes. In the capital city of Kampala a crowd of about 4500 gathered for a memorial service beside the grave of the martyred Bishop Hannington. In Nairobi, the capital of nearby Kenya, about 10,000 gathered for another memorial service. Bishop Kivengere was informed that he was about to be arrested, and he and his family fled to Kenya, as did the widow and orphans of Archbishop Luwum.

The following, about 25,000 Ugandans came to the capital to celebrate the centennial of the first preaching of the Gospel in their country, among the participants were many who had abandoned Christianity, but who had returned to their Faith as a result of seeing the courage of Archbishop Luwum and his companions in the face of death.


Archbishop Janani Luwum, the third Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire died a sacrificial death. His death brought revival to the Church of Uganda and changed the political climate of Uganda. He was declared the twenty-first saint in the Anglican Communion in 1998.

(by courtesy of Anglican Mainstream)

Draft ANGLICAN COVENANT ready for circulation - fast work!

[see below; The proposed Anglican Covenant – suggested by The Windsor Report of 2004—and taken up by the Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Family is being created much faster than was originally thought. A draft will go out to all bishops next week and then after their comments the final version will be presented to the Lambeth Conference of July 2008. If it is passed there then it has the momentous task of being approved by all the synods of all the provinces without amendment! Maybe that will be the most difficult stage if not for doctrinal then for legal reasons. Gomez was the principal mover in the West Indies to set aside the historic Book of Common Prayer & Ordinal and replace them with an ECUSA-type prayer book of varied services which they called “The Book of Common Prayer” He has stated that the draft covenant contains classical Anglicanism. Let us hope so! We should know by Feb 20. It is noteworthy that he did not stand with the 7 Primates who refused to come to the Lord’s Table with the lady Primate of ECUSA, even though he has been at various meetings with them protesting about the liberal progressive agenda in ECUSA]

Archbishop Drexel Gomez at Press Conference Dar es Salaam Feb 16

”Good evening; I was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to serve as Chairman of the Covenant Design Group and we had our first meeting in Nassau early in January and as a result of that meeting we were able to prepare a report and to produce a draft covenant for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The overall purpose of the covenant - the draft covenant is to provide the Anglican Communion with a mechanism for mutual accountability and holding one another together. We believe that when the covenant is finally approved we will have a means of holding each other in check and also dealing with difficult situations that may arise from time to time. Unfortunately the Anglican Communion has no central legal authority and we have really no means of holding one another in check other than through mutual admonition and meeting and talking, so we're trying to make some progress as a global community to establish this mutual accountability and the building up of one another in Christ.

It's not possible for me to discuss the details of what we've proposed until Monday evening when it is publicly released, but what I can say is that we have produced what we consider to be a statement of classical Anglicanism, given our history, and our background we are producing something that has merit and power for the Anglican Community. It is not one size fits all', so it wouldn't apply to all Christian denominations, it is designed specifically to deal with the Anglican Communion in the sets of circumstances that prevail in our church.

We believe that we have been faithful to our tradition and that we have produced a very comprehensive report. I think that both groups that have discussed the report - both the Joint Standing Committee and the Primates themselves - both groups were surprised at the progress that we were able to make; that in a relatively short period -we met for four days - and in that short period of time we were able to produced a full report and to produce a full draft, and so both groups expressed appreciation for the work and gave us reason to believe that in the final analysis the overall recommendations will be well-received. I think more than that I can't say..”


The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)

Primates explain on website their absence from the Holy Eucharist at Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania

From the website of the ANGLICAN Church of Nigeria, we learn that a number of the Global South Primates did not share in the Holy Eucharist on Friday, February 16, with their fellow Primates. They include Abp. Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Abp John Chew of Singapore, Abp Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Abp Justice Akrofi of West Africa, Abp Henry Orombi of Uganda, Presiding Bishop. Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone, and Abp Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda. They claim to represent more than 30 million faithful Anglicans, which is at least 40 per cent of the Anglican Family. They have released this statement:

"We each take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist very seriously. This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion. It makes clear that the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further. It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with The Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired.

Scripture teaches that before coming to sit with one another at the Lord's Table we must be reconciled. (Matthew 5:23-26 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) We have made repeated calls for repentance by The Episcopal Church and its leadership with no success. We continue to pray for a change of heart.

We are unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding, "Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith" (Book of Common Prayer, 1662)

This is a painful decision for us and also for our host and brother, the Most Rev'd Donald Mtetemela. He understands our painful dilemma and accepts our decision. Pray for the Church."

[The full text of the statement is available at]

One archbishop, Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, who has identified in general with the Global South Primates over the matter of same-sex unions, responded to questions on Friday evening from the media, Gomez insisted hopefully that the "difficulty of broken communion is more perceived than real," and identified three groups of provinces in terms of responses to the innovative actions of the Episcopal Church.

"The first group of provinces has made no formal statement and that is probably the largest group," he said.

"The second is made up of provinces that have declared themselves to be in ‘impaired' communion," the group with which he identified his own province of the West Indies."

The third group, he said, "has received the most attention in the last three years – the group that has declared it is in broken communion and it is those primates who have chosen not to attend Eucharist” with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church at the last two Primates’ Meetings (Northern Ireland 2005 and Tanzania 2007).


Not partaking of the Lord’s Supper at the Lord’s Table with fellow believers is a serious decision to take.

It may be because one is not spiritually and morally prepared; or it may be that one has other personal reasons which make taking Communion seem inappropriate. After all we are called by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10-11 only to attend the Table of the Lord when we are truly prepared so to do –and of course this is underlined in the Exhortations in The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

It may also be because of an informed conscience which tells one categorically that it would be wrong to partake or even share in the Service itself.

For example, one may believe that a woman, however excellent her character, cannot be a priest and thus a woman as celebrant is a huge mistake and thus one cannot take part. Or the celebrant may be a bishop who actually ordains women and is not ready to cease, and so here again it is as though he were a female priest himself and so one cannot partake.

In the case of sharing the Table of the Lord with the lady Primate of The Episcopal Church, there are probably several matters of conscience which forbid certain Primates from doing so. First of all, she is a female Priest and thus for some is not a priest at all; secondly, as an Episcopal Church leader, she supports and encourages the blessing of same-sex couples and the ordination of persons in such partnerships, and further she is proud of all these things and the last thing in the world she intends to do is to repent of them, or of the innovative agenda of The Episcopal Church.

One thing is, however, in place. As far as we know all the Provinces and Dioceses of the Anglican Communion still baptize “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and thus there is still a basic Baptismal Unity and Fellowship which is a basis for cooperation and working together, if not for coming to the Table of the Lord together. Feb 17 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

TEC nearly OK, says Report: Episcopal Church is short of the mark but not by much

A comment by Dr Peter Toon, February 16, 2007

As the Primates’ Meeting began in Tanzania on February 15, the members were presented with and discussed a very important Report. It was released via the world-wide Web by the Anglican Communion Office on the same day. Its innocuous title hides its tremendous significance—Report of the Communion Sub-Group of the Anglican Communion Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council [RCS-G]. What the Report of 3,700 words does is to evaluate the response of The Episcopal Church [TEC], primarily at its General Convention in June 2006, to the requests made of it by The Windsor Report [TWR]. And to the surprise of many, the content of RCS-G is much more positive than expected, for it finds that TEC is only partially non-compliant with the requests made of it in TWR and by the Primates.

One hardly needs to remark that this appears to pull the rug at least partially from under the case made loudly and widely by Primates of the Global South, and the nine or so Anglican Communion Network dioceses in TEC, that TEC has moved past the point of no-return by its innovations in doctrine and morals. And the presence of the Archbishop of Central Africa, one of the Primates of the Global South, on this sub-group seems to confirm that the rug has indeed been pulled. (The membership comprised The Archbishop of Canterbury; The Archbishop of Central Africa; The Archbishop of Wales; Chancellor Philippa Amable, Province of West Africa; Canon Elizabeth Paver, Church of England; and The Secretary-General.)

But what does RCS-G actually state?

It begins by noting that the Primates gathered at Dromantine in February 2005 adopted three specific requests to TEC from TWR: “First, a request that the Episcopal Church should express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection had been breached in the events surrounding the consecration as a bishop of a person whose lifestyle contradicted the standard of teaching enshrined in the LambethResolution 1.10; second, a moratorium on the election and consent of any candidate for the episcopate living in a same-gender union until some new consensus emerged in the Anglican Communion; and third, a moratorium on public Rites of Blessing of same-sex unions.” And then it examines the response of TEC to these three requests, primarily through its General Convention of 2006.RCS-G noted that Resolution B033 was passed with impressive majorities in both the House of Bishops and subsequently in the House of Deputies. The Resolution states:
"Resolved, That the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report's invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further Resolved, That this Convention therefore calls upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction 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."

It is the judgment of RCS-G that this Resolution meets the request of the Primates. Here is what is stated:

“The group noted that while the Windsor Report restricted its recommendation to candidates for the episcopate who were living in a same gender union, the resolution at General Convention widened this stricture to apply to a range of lifestyles which present a wider challenge. The group welcomed this widening of the principle, which was also recommended by The Windsor Report[4], and commend it to the Communion. The group believes therefore that General Convention has complied in this resolution with the request of the Primates.”

So TEC passes the first test.

But TEC does not obviously pass the second test which relates to “The Public Rites of Blessing of Same-Sex Couples.” After recounting the varied history of this practice in TEC where, while there has been no official acceptance by the General Convention, there has been, and is, local diocesan support for it, RCS-G states:

‘It is not at all clear whether, in fact, The Episcopal Church is living with the recommendations of The Windsor Report on this matter. The Primates in their statement of March 2003 did admit that there could be "a breadth of private response to individual pastoral care", but it is clear that the authorization by any one bishop, diocese or Province, of any public Rite of Blessing, or permission to develop or use such a rite, would go against the standard of teaching to which the Communion as a whole has indicated that it is bound. We do not see how bishops who continue to act in a way which diverges from the common life of the Communion can be fully incorporated into its ongoing life. This is therefore a question which needs to be addressed urgently by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church.”

This is not a total failure: it is more like “take away your essay and rewrite it” in exams’ language.

Finally, the matter of “expressing regret.” Here is the Resolution of TEC’s General Convention:

“Resolved, That the 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, mindful of "the repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation enjoined on us by Christ" (Windsor Report, paragraph 134), express its regret for straining the bonds of affection in the events surrounding the General Convention of 2003 and the consequences which followed; offer its sincerest apology to those within our Anglican Communion who are offended by our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion; and ask forgiveness as we seek to live into deeper levels of communion one withanother.”

Members of the group obviously pondered much over this matter and eventually came to what may be described as a charitable conclusion:

“The group was unsure how these words should be understood. On the one hand, there does not seem to be any admission of the fact that theaction of consenting to the particular election at the centre of this dispute was in itself blameworthy. On the other, there is the use ofthe strong language of "apology" and the request for "forgiveness". These words are not lightly offered, and should not be lightly received.Taken with the apparent promise not to repeat the offence (Resolution B033) we believe that the expression of regret is sufficient to meet the request of the Primates.”

So TEC passes this test, but only just.

So out of a possible score of 10, TEC has got about 7.5, and thus TEC has passed this test. Yet it is not the end of the story. Here is what the group also wrote:

“There is considerable diversity of opinion within the Episcopal Church - as indeed there is across the life of the Communion. It is clear that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 is going to continue for the foreseeable future as the standard of teaching by which the Anglican Communion as a whole will live. It is also clear that it is not only those who have expressed their strong disassociation from the decisions of the 74th General Convention in 2003 who have a commitment to the life of the Communion. There are many elements of the Episcopal Church who share that commitment, who wish to abide within the full recommendations of The Windsor Report and still remain committed to the life of the Episcopal Church. It is the duty of the wider Communion to nourish and encourage all those within The Episcopal Church who wish to embrace our common and interdependent life.”

This is clearly a call for TEC to remain in the Anglican Communion of Churches and, in doing so, to be encouraged by other Provinces to follow more clearly the general principles and commitments adopted by the “Instruments of Unity” for the good of the whole Communion. The need for a new Province in the U.S.A.—as suggested by some Primates—
seems to be far away from the basic thinking expressed in RCS-G!

What we do not know as of February 16th (the day of writing of this) is how the Global South Primates are receiving this RCS-G, and it is unlikely we shall know until the end of the Primates’ Meeting, that is not before February 20.

My own judgment, as one who sat through the discussions in Committee and on the floor at the General Convention of 2006, is that RCS-G is very generous indeed, and has placed the most charitable interpretation possible on the intention and language of the Resolutions of the same Convention.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Primates engage in 'intense listening,' discuss Windsor response

(Once more-as I found at recent primatial meetings-- the bark of the Global South may be stronger than their bite, or maybe the will bite on the 17th or 18th -- PT)

Episcopal News Service
February 15, 2007

Primates engage in 'intense listening,' discuss Windsor response

By Matthew Davies

[ENS] Intense listening, characterized by an expression of "patience, graciousness, care and respect" was the atmosphere in which the Primates gathered February 15, said Australia's Archbishop Phillip Aspinall during a media briefing following the conclusion of their first day of sessions.

"There has been no talk of schism in the meeting at all," he said.

After considering a report from the Communion sub-group that was charged with monitoring the response of the Episcopal Church's General Convention to the Windsor Report, the Primates -- who saw the report for the first time today -- concluded that a working group be established to document the day's discussions and report back to them on the morning of February 16.

[Full report is online at:]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


QUINQUAGESIMA: The next Sunday before Lent (February 18, 2007)

The Collect,

O LORD, who has taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth: Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosever liveth is counted dead before thee: Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Lord God, who have taught us that without genuine love everything we do is worthless in your sight: Send your Holy Spirit that he may pour into our hearts the excellent gift of genuine love, which is the bond of peace and of all virtues, for without such love we who are physically alive are counted as dead before you. Grant this, we pray, for the sake of your only Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Epistle: 1 Corinthians 13. 1-13 The Gospel: Luke 18. 31-43

From St Paul, in the First Epistle to Corinth, we receive the great hymn of love/charity. God’s love to us, our love of him and of fellow creatures will survive death and will be magnified, extended and fulfilled in the life of the age to come. For God as God is Love. Faith and hope will cease with the resurrection of the body and the life of the age to come, but Love will continue for God is Love.

From Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke, we see love in action. First of all, it is love of his Father and love for his people that led him to go to Jerusalem, where he knew that certain pain, suffering and death awaited him as he fulfilled the vocation of the Suffering Servant of God. Secondly, it was compassion for the blind man at Jericho which led Jesus to heal him by the merciful power of God.

We may observe a close connection between the Sexagesima Collect and this one for Quinquagesima. Last week we acknowledged the very difficult to accept lesson that we should not trust in human doing and achievement at all for salvation, even if it be as spectacular as the work of a St Paul, and even if be undertaken for the Gospel’s sake. In fact we acknowledged before God that we had learned the lesson and that he is the One “who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do.” Thus we are to trust God and him alone without qualification.

Here, immediately before Lent in the Collect to be used until Ash Wednesday, the lesson or teaching upon which the petition in the prayer is built is that what we seek to do as “good works” but is not motivated by and soaked in love for God and man is of no avail before God; such deeds are “without charity nothing worth.”

We recognize in praying this Collect that genuine love – the will to do true and genuine good to other people – is not something that we can produce within our own beings, for, after all, we are sinful creatures. Thus we beseech God our Father to send the Holy Ghost, who is the very Love that unites the Father and the Son in the Blessed Trinity, that he may place the divine gift of charity or real love in our souls and lives.

The presence of this heavenly Love is “the very bond of peace and all virtues”. This statement is based upon Ephesians 4:8, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and Colossians 3:14, where after listing virtues, St Paul writes, “And above all these things put on charity, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

And we end this Prayer in recognizing that without genuine love or charity in our souls and lives we are not spiritually alive before God and not in communion with him. St John declared that, “he that loves not his brother abides in death” (1 John 3:14). And St Paul wrote: “If I have faith so as to remove all mountains, but have not love, I am nothing,” (1 Cor. 13:3).

Having gone humbly through the mini preparation for the major season of Lent, from Septuagesima to Quinquagesima, we are now ready by God’s prevenient grace to enter into the spiritual disciplines which begin on Ash Wednesday and move into Quadragesima. So we shall pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

One thing we lean afresh in the preparation for Lent and the keeping of it is that the genuine confession of sins from a contrite heart is in fact the praise of God, for it is a supreme acknowledgement of his justice, his mercy and forgiveness.


It seems that the old, traditional custom of the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday has totally gone and been replaced by a new one which are seen in its extreme in places like New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. The old custom was of confessing one’s sin and getting absolved (that is getting shriven—the old Saxon scrifan, to receive a confession and administer the sacrament of penance) by which shrift it was sought to sanctify the forty days fast, soon to start. The new custom is of sport and merriment for this day because it is not allowed in traditional discipline during Lent from Ash Wednesday till Easter Day.

AND let us remember the Primates in Tanzania some of whom may use this prayer and all of them may hear it on Sunday 18th Feb. Feb 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ORTHODOXY brings RESPONSIBILITIES: To whom much is given, much is expected

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…” Luke 12:48

If we think of the recent history and experience of the people of The Anglican Way in North America, not at the level of ecclesiastical, global politics, the sociology of religion, or the success of this or that Anglican jurisdiction or group, but from the perspective of the moral law, of God’s Law and will, and of the New Testament doctrine and vision of the One Church of God, then each and all of us will surely tremble with fear—and, for the sake of our salvation, let us ensure that it is godly fear.

Why “the fear of the Lord”? Because not only the so-called progressive liberals and revisionists have caused havoc to The Anglican Way of Reformed Catholic Faith, but those of us also who have “come apart to be separate” from them do not yet show in basics and essentials in our life and witness what really belonging to the Ekklesia of God, the Body of Christ, actually means. Put simply, we have simply gone the way of the typical American denomination when it has faced internal strife and division, and, because such behavior is so common, we hardly notice it in our own camps.

This may seem a harsh judgment, so please read on and charitably consider the following.

To leave The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 1977 protesting its apostasy through ordaining women, changing The Book of Common Prayer and innovating in doctrine and morals, or to leave the same Church twenty or thirty years later in 1997 or 2007 protesting its apostasy through ordaining persons living in same-sex partnerships and innovating in doctrine and morals generally, really and actually places upon those who engage in such schism tremendous responsibilities. That is, having taken the high ground of Scripture and Tradition and having sat in judgment upon TEC and found it seriously in error, it is morally incumbent on the departees so to organize themselves and so to live and witness to Christ and his Church that they show in their common life what The Anglican Way ought to be and truly is. That is, by their schism they begin to show what true unity in faith, hope and love mean. Schism should not be the basis for ever more schism and for the institutionalization of schism!

Let me make the point clearer by giving an illustration both from the 1977 departees and then from those of two or three decades later.

As their Affirmation of St Louis (1977) makes clear, the departees of 1977 placed great emphasis upon the Sacraments and the apostolic Ministry. For them, valid Sacraments were critically important and to have such meant a valid Ministry; and a Ministry that included ordained women (as in TEC) was not valid. So on the principle to whom much is given (in terms of their claims to orthodoxy) much is expected, the departees (“Continuing Anglicans”) ought to have determined to testify by their common life to a Ministry that was unified and valid. That is, to an Episcopate that was a sign of the unity of the Church across space and through time and to a people united under this one Episcopate in the worship and service of Almighty God through Jesus Christ the Lord. They were called—by their own claims—to exhibit what TEC did not. Sadly, regrettably and tragically, what was originally in 1977-8 one movement is now several, with minor streams from the several, and instead of One Episcopate there are several, with in all an excessive number of bishops for several thousand people. And while there is some cooperation here and there between the various parts, what is in place sociologically is religious competition of separate but similar groups, mirroring what is the case on a large scale in the massive supermarket of religions in the U.S.A. It is true that there are some attempts at creating Federations within the Continuing movement but it is to be remembered that a Federation is basically a business model not an ecclesial model and thus it is more about unity through baptismal faith than about the full reality of Eucharistic Communion with a unified Episcopate.

The “departees” since the 1990s include the Anglican Mission in the Americas, the Convocation of Churches associated with Nigeria, associations of churches associated with the Church of South and North India, and many break-away congregations which have placed themselves under the oversight of an absent but willing overseas bishop from a province within the Anglican Communion. So we have once again not the slightest hint anywhere that the Bishop is meant to be the sign of the unity of the Church across space and through time, for here we have up to fifty or sixty bishops with overlapping territories, and often those territories overlap not only those of the “Continuing Churches” but also eight or nine dioceses of TEC which are regarded by them as “orthodox.” In this camp talk of church growth and evangelization, good in themselves, help to hide or divert the fact of many bishops and no unified Episcopate.

I ask myself and my reader this question. Where is the recognition that what is present here in The Anglican Way as much divided is totally contrary to the will of Jesus (see John 17), the profound exposition of unity in truth by his apostle to the Gentiles, St Paul (see Ephesians) and the best Catholic and Anglican theology of the Episcopate? I realize that many explanations can be given for the current mess that is Anglicanism and that in the mess there are amazingly many wonderful stories of faith, hope and love to be told. Yet, as is made clear in the book, The Fate of Communion: The Agony of Anglicanism and the Future of a Global Church, by E Radner and P Turner, orthodoxy that is truth is orthodoxy that prizes unity and does not easily or readily accept brokenness and divisions as normal (because seemingly inevitable in the U.S.A.). In fact true orthodoxy abhors divisions, especially those that are waiting to he healed and can be healed.

What in fact the Anglican situation in North America right now clearly testifies to—and who knows this may even be the secret belief of one or another “orthodox” Anglican leader—is the doctrine that the Church is primarily Invisible, the Church of the elect known unto God alone. Thus chaotic conditions on earth do not really matter because the real Church is known and viewed from heaven as one, because, in the great scheme of things, each member is personally united to Jesus Christ by his faith and the work of the Holy Spirit. And, after all, American business is said to thrive on variety and competition with scope for the entrepreneur. If we do not believe, teach and confess that the Church is primarily Invisible, then we need to take its unity in truth and truth in unity much more seriously than we presently do.

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…” Luke 12:48 Sexagesima 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dr. Carey: Covenant Process Will Require Patience

[I note Dr Carey’s words that as a person who has invested much time in ecumenical affairs he is “very conscious that once Christians separate the chances of reconciliation are daunting indeed…” In the limited area of the Anglican Way in North America we have seen this with the Continuing Movement which began its exit from the ECUSA in 1977 and since then has moved a long way from the Anglican Communion and has sub-divided itself into what seem to be irreconcilable divisions with separate episcopates, organizations and the like. On the global scale the problem is indeed daunting… and may not be solved this side of the ESCHATON…though we must as Carey says try and try again and be patient… --P.T.]

In an address in which he traced the conflict and crisis that have shaped Anglicanism throughout its history, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey urged patience as the Communion’s leaders strive to create an effective covenant.

Speaking Feb. 7 in Goodson Chapel at Duke University, Dr. Carey noted that while Anglicanism’s structures and theology don’t bear the hallmarks of a confessional church, “it has subscribed to various confessional statements, including the Prayer Book, the 39 Articles and the Lambeth-Chicago Quadilateral.” He said that the “the abandonment of these norms, together with a serious weakening of the scriptures as our definitive and authoritative guide, has led conversely to the strengthening of structures, but these, as we have seen, were not strong enough to deal with the current crisis which Anglicanism faces.”

Dr. Carey hailed the “impressive part” that The Episcopal Church has played in the “distinctive ways our Communion has been a blessing to the very poor of the world and our incarnational ministry in education, health and much else beside.” But he said it was also important to recognize that General Convention’s 2003 decision to allow the consecration of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson to the episcopate “put an end to the debate” on the ordination of homosexual persons. “A decision had been made by one of the most senior of our provinces and discussion was now ‘dead in the water’ because it had been pre-empted by General Convention’s unilateral act.”

While holding out hope that a covenant could strengthen the Communion, Dr. Carey warned that “an overly rigorous covenant is likely to be rejected by provinces in the West, but a bland and unchallenging one will leave the growing churches of the Global South unpersuaded.” He also noted that “as someone who has invested a great deal of time in ecumenical debate I am very conscious that once Christians separate the chances of reconciliation are daunting indeed.”

In concluding, Dr. Carey issued a plea for patience.

“The establishment of an Anglican covenant is a task that may take years rather than days, weeks and months,” he said. “The duty of leaders is to stay at the table, contributing to the debate as long as it takes.

“If we in this present challenge cannot give an example to the world around us of how Christians behave when we disagree violently, we disgrace our Lord who remains the reconciling God, in spite of what his Church gets up to.”

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bishops—but what kind?

A discussion and action starter from presbyter Peter Toon

There are many things which illustrate the crisis of Anglicanism and its general dysfunctionality in North America—e.g., the way that the Bible is read, the tremendous variety in liturgy, the confusion in moral theology and so on. Here I want to focus on one, the nature and function of the Episcopate.

We all know that in the best Anglican doctrine, Bishops are not Chief Executive Officers of religious corporations (dioceses), Chief Liturgical Officers of a group of congregations experimenting with various liturgies, or Senior Managers of a struggling religious business. In the description of The Ordinal each one is the “Father in God” to the clergy and people of a diocese, wherein he is the Chef Pastor, Teacher, Preacher and Celebrant, sharing his responsibilities with his presbyters. While being responsible for a particular diocese, he is also a member of the College of Bishops of a Province and is a sign with these other bishops of the unity and orthodoxy of the Church in space and through time.

Thus ideally in one geographical area there ought to be one college of bishops in communion one with another and working together in evangelization and mission, while respecting the boundaries of each one’s diocese or ecclesiastical unit.

In fact, when Anglicans think of the Episcopate and defend it to Congregationalists and Presbyterians, they usually claim that its importance and strength derive from the combination of the following considerations:

1. The Episcopate symbolizes and secures in an abiding form the apostolic mission and authority within the Church of Christ; historically the Episcopate became in the Early Church the organ of this mission and authority.
2. In early times the continuous successions of Bishops in tenure of the various Sees were valued because they secured the purity of apostolic teaching as against, for example, the danger of the introduction of novel and erroneous teaching by means of written or secret traditions, falsely ascribed to apostolic authors. It has remained a function of the Episcopate, even after the era of the promulgation of dogma by Ecumenical Councils, to guard the Church against erroneous teaching.
3. The Bishop in his official capacity and vocation represents the whole Church in and to his diocese, and his diocese in and to the Councils of the Church. He is therefore a living Representative of the unity and universality of the Church.
4. The Bishop in his diocese represents the Good Shepherd; the idea of pastoral care is inherent in his office. Both clergy and laity look to him as Chief Pastor, and he represents in a special degree the paternal quality of pastoral care (“father in God”).
5. In as much as the unity of the Church is in part secured by an orderly method of making new Ministers, and the Bishop is the proper organ of unity and universality, he is the appropriate agent for carrying on through ordination the authority of the apostolic mission of the Church.

It is the coalescence of all of these elements in a single person (man) that gives to the Episcopate its peculiar importance in traditional Anglican doctrine.

Regrettably, most regrettably, what we see now in the Anglican Way in the North or West is a very dysfunctional Episcopate. It certainly does not symbolize the unity and universality of the Church of God either in the provinces within the Anglican Communion of Churches or within the jurisdictions known as the Continuing Anglican Churches, or Anglican Churches of the Diaspora, or Extra-Mural Anglicans.

To provide some context, we are all aware because of (a) the split between East and West, (b) the divisions created at the Reformation, and (c) within The Anglican Way the divisions caused by continuing schism from The Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA (1870s-2007), that in any given area of the USA there are now overlapping Episcopal jurisdictions which include Roman Catholic, varieties of Orthodox Churches (related to the variety of Eastern Orthodoxy with its several Patriarchates), varieties of Anglican Churches, and others who claim to have “apostolic” bishops.

To focus on the Anglican variety we have—say in the East of the country—the dioceses of The Episcopal Church created out of the original 13 colonies, the dioceses of the Reformed Episcopal Church (19th century origins), the dioceses of the groups—ACA., ACC., APCK., etc.—that were originally the Continuing Anglican Church of 1977-8, the Networks of the Anglican Mission in America each with a bishop, the Convocation of Nigeria-related churches which a bishop, various other continuing Anglican jurisdictions (e.g. Episcopal Missionary Church) with bishops, and then up to about 100 congregations each one claiming to be under a bishop from abroad (e.g., a bishop from Africa or South America).

Some people would remove The Episcopal Church from this List because they say it is apostate, but this means removing a diocese like South Carolina or Central Florida and many parishes here and there which struggle to be faithful under tough conditions.

One way to see all this Anglican overlapping—what may seem a generous and charitable way—is to claim that God is shaking up the whole thing in order to purify and to sieve and that, in the long term, there will be a coming together of the “orthodox” parts of this present complex overlapping and interweaving of episcopal territory and responsibility into a basic unity of doctrine and mission. This approach provides energy to press on and work for unity and it is view that cannot be disproved. And it tends to look to the Primates’ Meeting of 2007 (and maybe of 2008/9) and the Lambeth Conference of 2008 as the means God will probably use to bring harmony out of chaos.

However, this positive approach runs in the face of the simple fact that the history of religion in the USA is that of division and experimentation and the right of all to do their own thing when they feel led so to do—as the vast religious supermarket amply illustrates. And, further, it allows each and all groups to blame others for the mess and not take responsibility for their own part in creating it.

If God is involved, I mean really involved in a direct, providential manner, it seems more likely that God is shaking up in chastisement— real chastisement—and that, until a vast majority involved in the mess show more signs of contrition and penitence for their share in aiding and abetting the shattering of the Anglican Way over the last forty years to create the contemporary mess, that the shaking up will continue and there will be more and more new groups and affiliations so that the Anglican Way is a way that is scorned!

Let us be honest, in the USA it is so easy to be so actively involved for a religious cause and, in so doing, to see examples of good things occurring, that one does not slow down—even have time—to take a bird’s eye view of the whole, and in getting this over-arching view to be overwhelmed by the total mess! And, of course, the USA public, and thus each and all of us, are so used to competitive religions that we do not blink an eyelid when another form of Baptist or Anglican church appears on the street, or buys the plot of land in the next block, or converts a former warehouse into a church. It is the right of all to do his own thing, we assume, as long as he is not a real nuisance to others! And in America religion means plenty of variety with no moral duty to find commonalities and unity.

I suggest that we all need to slow down, stop, and take a bird’s eve view of what is happing to the Anglican Way in our State, our region and in this nation. We need to look for CENTRIPETAL FORCES rather than ride on the CENTRIGUFAL ONES which create the dysfunctionality.

A suggestion—which will not make me new friends but yet which I think is pleasing to the angels—let those groups/jurisdictions/denominations, which came from the original Continuing Anglican Church of 1977, return one to the other out of their present divisions and competition, to be One unit in worship and mission at home and overseas and thus to set a powerful example of what is possible by those who claim to be orthodox and biblical and who listen seriously to the Prayer of Jesus in John 17 and to the powerful argument for unity of St Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians. Perhaps they could begin by agreeing on a common Episcopate (which would mean of course cutting the present number of bishops in their midst by 60 per cent or more) to serve all the churches; such action would not only save a lot of traveling and expenditure but would provide a powerful example to the rest of us at this time of crisis and confusion. Once CENTRIPETAL forces of the Holy Ghost are in motion, who knows what could follow in other parts of the Anglican way, if we allow them to work!

Sexagesima 2007