Archive for November, 2008

This picture says it all! Anglican Standing Committee

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Joint Standing Committee

Southern Cone heading south

1_neac5_p31 Looks like action is about to be taken against Greg Venables and the Southern Cone for sheltering no fewer than four TEC conservative bishops and their flocks, the latest being Jack Iker and Forth Worth. See our news report summing up the latest. I understand that the Joint Standing Committee meeting in London this week, from which significantly Egypt’s Mouneer Anis and Uganda’s Henry Orombi are absent, is to discuss suspending Southern Cone’s voting rights from the upcoming Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Jamaica next May. As long-standing readers will recall, this is what happened to TEC, then Ecusa, at the last ACC meeting in Nottingham in 2005. This is not so much a ‘booting out’ but should be regarded as a punishment, I am told. Meanwhile, it seems highly probable that TEC and Canada are to be rewarded for their restraint by being given a full seat back at the table again in May

Fort Worth Bishop inhibited

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Monday, 24th November 2008. 7:52pm

By: George Conger.

US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has suspended Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker from the ministry of the Episcopal Church on the grounds of having backed his diocese’s secession to the Province of the Southern Cone.

Fort Worth Bishop inhibited

While the Nov 21 notice of inhibition came as no surprise to Episcopal Church watchers, internal church documents show a resistance by the review committee to punish Bishop Iker on the basis of his beliefs—resisting Bishop Schori’s push to discipline the Fort Worth bishop before his diocese quit the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Schori’s inhibition of Bishop Iker also appears to have introduced a new interpretation of the disciplinary canons for bishops. The requirement that the church’s three senior bishops endorse the inhibition of a bishop—which had been deemed irrelevant to the case against Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan in September—has been reinstated in the case of Bishop Iker.

On Aug 26, attorneys for Bishop Schori submitted a 64-page indictment to the Title IV Committee. Bishop Schori believed the Anglo-Catholic leader had “so repudiated the doctrine, discipline and worship” of the church by his “persistent position that the Diocese may choose whether or not to remain a constituent part of the Episcopal Church,” that he should be found to have “abandoned the Communion of this Church.”

Bishop Schori’s lawyer, David Booth Beers added the “presiding bishop would appreciate consideration of this matter on an expedited basis, specifically, if at all feasible, before the next meeting of the House of Bishops on September 17, 2008.”

The Title IV Committee declined to deliberate at an expedited pace, and on Sept 12 Mr. Beers provided further documents in support of its contentions. A third memo to the committee was mailed on Oct 3 by Mr. Beers with clippings of an article written by Bishop Iker entitled “10 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Realign.”

In his Oct 3 letter, the presiding bishop’s attorney said that his client “has asked you consider again the evidence” against Bishop Iker. Mr. Beers noted the deposition of Bishop Duncan had now set a precedent that permitted a bishop to be deposed for bad thoughts, without recourse to having committed bad actions.

Bishop Duncan “had in his episcopal leadership role taken the position that the Diocese had the option of either remaining subject to the Constitution and canons of this Church or leaving this Church for membership in another Province of the Communion, and that in that role he was encouraging the Diocese to choose to leave.” This conspiracy to encourage secession had been used to depose Bishop Duncan and should now be used against Bishop Iker.

However, the Title IV committee again refused an expedited request to act on the conspiracy charge. On Nov 20 the committee “found by a majority vote of its members” that Bishop Iker “has abandoned the communion of this Church.”

It based its findings upon the materials submitted for its consideration by Mr. Beers, and by the actions of the Nov 14-15 Fort Worth Synod, where “Bishop Iker, according to his own reported statements and the statements issued by the Diocese of Forth Worth,” was serving as bishop of the “realigned” diocese.

On Nov 21, Bishop Schori issued a certificate of inhibition to Bishop Iker, giving him 60 days to recant of his abandonment. Unlike the case of Bishop Duncan, where the three senior bishops of the church had declined as a group to inhibit him, Bishop Iker was inhibited with the “consent” of the Bishops of Texas, Southeast Florida and Virginia.

During the Duncan affair, Mr. Beers had argued that the “consent” of the three bishops for inhibition was not a prerequisite for discipline of the Pittsburgh bishop.

On Nov 24, Bishop Iker stated “Katharine Jefferts Schori has no authority over me or my ministry as a Bishop in the Church of God. She never has, and she never will.”

He noted that since the Nov 15 synod vote, “both the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth and I as the Diocesan bishop” have been members of the Southern Cone. “As a result”, he added, Bishop Schori’s declarations “pertaining to us” are irrelevant and of no consequence.”

The Presiding of the Forth Worth Standing Committee, the Rev. Thomas Hightower endorsed Bishop Iker’s statement and called upon Bishop Schori to “desist from any further actions in our diocese and that she refrain from any further border crossing.”

The notice of inhibition was an “illegal, unconstitutional and uncanonical attempt to interfere” with the “rights and ministry” of “a diocese of another province of the Anglican Communion,” Dr. Hightower said.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Fort Worth told that they were not aware of any move by the national church to inhibit their assisting bishop, the Rt. Rev. William Wantland, the retired Bishop of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

On Nov 15, Bishop Wantland—the Episcopal Church’s leading canon lawyer—wrote Bishop Schori asking that he be granted an honorary seat in the US House of Bishops.

As he was now a bishop of the Province of the Southern Cone and disqualified from membership in the US House of Bishops, he resided in the jurisdiction of the American Church. “I therefore request that I be admitted as an honorary member of the House of Bishops, in accord with the provisions of Rule XXIV of the House of Bishops, as provided in paragraph three of said Rule, as a “Bishop of this Church who removed from the jurisdiction of this Church to a jurisdiction of a Church in the Anglican Communion”.

As an honorary member, Bishop Wantland would be given voice, but not vote, in the affairs of the House of Bishops—a status soon to be shared with all retired bishops pending the second reading of a constitutional amendment at the 2009 General Convention.

However, by appealing to the rules of the House, Bishop Wantland may have short circuited disciplinary proceedings against him, as the rules specifically provide for the course of action he has requested.

Archbishops Anis, Nzimbi, Akrofi: We Will Recognize the New North American Province

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008 • 10:03 pm
After my interview about the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, I asked Bishop Duncan, and Archbishops Anis, Nzimbi and Akrofi about the new North American Province.

Greg Griffith: Bishop Duncan, can you tell us more about the new province?

Bishop Duncan: It was the GAFCON conference that spoke so clearly, saying ‘It is our view that the time has come for a new province to be recognized in North America,’ and that the Common Cause Partners are the basis of that province. We here in the states have taken that very seriously, we’ve done a tremendous amount of hard work, we’ve made deep commitments to one another, and the Common Cause Partnership, which has an annual meeting of the representation of the U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions – that happens early in December – and at that time our governance task force will come forward with a draft provincial constitution on which we’ve had help from our foreign partners.

The recognition process I think will be one by which our partners, who were the Jerusalem primates, are going to decide whether they’ll issue recognition by their provinces.

Greg Griffith [to Archbishops Anis, Nzimbi and Akrofi]: Are Your Graces all going to support the new province?

Archbishop Anis: Yes… Oh yes.

Archbishops Nzimbi and Akrofi: Yes. [all nodding affirmatively]

Greg Griffith: You’ll all be on record as recognizing the new province?

[All]: Yes.

Archbisop Nzimbi: They have been accepted by us, in terms of their belief, and they need a refuge. It is important for us to come together, and give them that refuge, believing in what they are doing.

Greg Griffith: I’m sure you would all agree that this will be the biggest challenge to Anglican unity yet. How do you see this taking shape, and how do you plan to make this something that doesn’t further rend the communion?

Bishop Duncan: The way in which the Jerusalem conference did things, it didn’t separate itself from the communion, it said, in the Jerusalem Declaration, what the heart of the communion believes, and all of us believe this going forward together. It didn’t say that it separated itself from any existing structures, but it did say that the structures of the communion were colonial structures, and we’re now a global communion – we’re not separating, but new things are emerging, new ways to do business.

Fort Worth votes to secede from Episcopal Church

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Monday, 17th November 2008. 11:16am

By: George Conger.

The Anglo-Catholic movement in America is dead, the Rt Rev Jack Iker said following the secession of the Diocese of Fort Worth from the Episcopal Church on Nov 15.

Fort Worth votes to secede from Episcopal Church

By a margin of almost four to one, the 225 members of the Fort Worth Synod meeting at St Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford, Texas, on Nov 14-15 passed the second readings of five constitutional amendments severing America’s last traditionalist Anglo-Catholic diocese from the Episcopal Church and adopted a motion affiliating with the Province of the Southern Cone.

Over the last 12 months three other American dioceses: San Joaquin, Pittsburgh and Quincy have quit the Episcopal Church over its innovations in doctrine and discipline to take temporary refuge in the Province of the Southern Cone, pending the formation of a Third Province in North America for traditionalist Anglicans. Fort Worth was the last diocese in the Episcopal Church, after the defection of Quincy last week and San Joaquin in 2007, to decline to license or ordain women to the priesthood.

Its departure marks the end of the traditionalist Anglo-Catholic movement in the US church Bishop Iker said. “The Anglo-Catholic branch is more than just wearing fancy vestments,” he explained. “It is the use of the Vincentian Canon;” the fifth century monk St Vincent of Lerins taught the mark of the Catholic Church was that it held a once-for-all received faith, witnessed everywhere and by all. [Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.]

Anglo-Catholicism in America “has been dying for 30 years,” Bishop Iker said in a press conference after the secession vote. “Now it is virtually eliminated.” With the secession of the last three Anglo-Catholic dioceses and the traditionalist diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Iker said the “centre” of the Episcopal Church “keeps moving to the left and the right is redefined as of today. Now the dioceses of South Carolina, Dallas, Albany, Central Florida and Springfield are the radical extreme right wing of this church.”

The unilateral declaration of independence by the four dioceses is the first secession from the Episcopal Church over matters of doctrine and discipline. No other dioceses are expected to quit the Episcopal Church in 2009, though calls made by several dioceses and liberal leaders to repudiate any Anglican Covenant, authorize gay bishops and gay marriage rites, relax the rubrics of the Prayer Book to permit Communion of the unbaptized, and redefine the church’s teaching on the nature and person of Christ may cause further defections.

In 1862 the Southern dioceses quit the Episcopal Church to form the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America. The Southern dioceses withdrew to form their own church in independent Confederate States as a matter of ecclesiology, rejoining the American church in 1866 following the military defeat of the South. Other dioceses formed in Mexico, Central America, Brazil, Liberia and the Philippines have withdrawn with the approval of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention to form their own or affiliate with other provinces, while international politics has seen Cuba forcibly removed from the US Church. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has argued that while individuals may leave the Episcopal Church, dioceses may not. Following the vote she issued a statement saying, “The Episcopal Church grieves the departures of a number of persons from the Diocese of Fort. Worth. We remind those former Episcopalians that the door is open if they wish to return. We will work with Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth to elect new leadership and continue the work of the gospel in that part of Texas. The gospel work to which Jesus calls us demands the best efforts of faithful people from many theological and social perspectives, and The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome that diversity.”

Bishop Iker said Saturday’s vote to secede offered “no surprises,” and the mood of the synod had been “respectful, generous and loving.”

Parishes who wished to affiliate with the national Episcopal Church may do so, while clergy have been offered the option of transferring out of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Fort Worth to “another Anglican jurisdiction.” Litigation is expected from the national church offices to prevent the breakaway diocese from effecting an orderly departure. In his synod address, Bishop Iker said he expected the national church “will move to depose not only me, but every deacon and priest here present who votes for realignment at this Convention.

“I call upon the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and her colleagues to halt the litigation, to stop the depositions, and to cease the intimidation of traditional believers,” he said.

“Let us pursue a mediated settlement, a negotiated agreement that provides for a fair and equitable solution for all parties, and let us resist taking punitive actions against our opponents. Christians are called to work out our differences with one another, not sue one another in secular courts,” Bishop Iker said.

However, “the Episcopal Church we once knew no longer exists,” he said. “To contend for the faith as traditional Episcopalians has brought us to this time of realignment in the Body of Christ,” the Bishop of Fort Worth said.

Primates Hold Key to New Province’s Recognition

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
It is the primates, not the Archbishop of Canterbury, who are directly responsible for granting official status to a new Anglican Communion province. That responsibility is spelled out under section 3 of the constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
The constitution explains that a new province may be admitted “with the assent of two-thirds of the primates of the Anglican Communion.”
Assuming that at least two-thirds of the primates of the Anglican Communion do consent to the formation of another province in North America when they meet in February, it is likely that the matter would come before the ACC when it meets in Jamaica next May.
The ACC was formed following a resolution of the 1968 Lambeth Conference,which discerned the need for more frequent and more representative contact among the churches than was possible through a once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of bishops. It first met in Limuru, Kenya, in 1971.
Section 2 of the ACC constitution describes the reasons for the ACC in more details. These include but are not limited to:
· “To facilitate the co-operative work of the member churches of the Anglican Communion.
· “To share information about developments in one or more provinces of the Anglican Communion with the other parts of the Communion and to serve as needed as an instrument of common action.
· “To advise on inter-Anglican, provincial, and diocesan relationships, including the division of provinces, the formation of new provinces and of regional councils, and the problems of extra-provincial dioceses.
· “To develop as far as possible agreed Anglican policies in the world mission of the Church and to encourage national and regional churches to engage together in developing and implementing such policies by sharing their resources of manpower, money, and experience to the best advantage of all.
· “To keep before national and regional churches the importance of the fullest possible Anglican collaboration with other Christian churches.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury alone decides which bishops will be invited to attend the Lambeth Conference.

A message from Bishop David Anderson

Monday, November 10th, 2008

November 7th, 2008 Posted in Anglican Church Of Canada, TEC |

From AAC

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

Those of us who have been privileged to grow up in a somewhat genteel Church and Society have perhaps believed in a rule of law based on the what the laws says and what the facts of a particular case happen to be. One of the reasons many earnest Anglicans in the USA are nonplussed is that the Church in which we were catechized and the society that we were a part of have both seemingly gone upside down. Doctrine and faith that we were taught is now contradicted by leading Episcopal Church officials, and practices that were only recently considered abhorrent and openly known to be sin are now exalted as sacred and rites are fabricated to celebrate them in church. That is why so many are leaving churches that teach and model such, and fortunately there are places, Anglican and otherwise, that are safely orthodox to receive them. The issues of society are more difficult, for as civil law moves to permit formerly illegal behavior, and even grant license for it, speaking against the sin is increasingly falling into so-called “hate speech” categories, and the government that once stood for stability and morality now is moving to suppress both in favor of granting a grave sinner freedom to never hear a call to repentance.

The law itself, in its practical application, has developed a strong third leg: money. It seems that now law, facts and money stand, not equal but tipped in favor of money. Those who have the money will litigate mercilessly, and if the ones they are suing are financially unable to defend themselves, despite law or fact, they fall out of court and lose. The amazing thing is that one source of this kind of abuse is a Church, and a Church that calls itself Christian. In the USA we are familiar with The Episcopal Church becoming the Church of Perpetual Litigation, and using its vast financial resources to sue individual congregations, rectors, and vestry members. This is being expanded now to include suing dioceses as they also depart from the organizational structure and the heretical beliefs of present day Episcopalianism. An article that is included for your review details how the “remaining Episcopal” fragment of the Diocese of San Joaquin, now calling themselves the Diocese of San Joaquin (Episcopal), is turning to the national Episcopal Church for operational funding in amounts that may approach $600,000, and dedicating all of its internal income for litigation against the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (the original diocese).

Read more

Diocese of Quincy votes to re-align

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

The annual Synod of the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois tonight voted overwhelmingly to remove The Episcopal Church from the accession clause of the diocesan constitution and to join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.
The vote to leave The Episcopal Church was carried by 41 votes to 14 by the clergy and by 54 votes to12 by the laity. The decision to join the Province of the Southern Cone on a temporary basis was approved by 46 votes to 4 by the clergy order and by 55 votes to 8 by the lay members of the Synod.