Sunday, September 30, 2007
Conservative Christians will throw down the gauntlet to the Archbishop of Canterbury this week by demanding that he openly disowns the American church over gay bishops.
A letter to be sent to Dr Rowan Williams tomorrow by Reform, an evangelical group representing 1,000 parishes, urges him to make it clear that he opposes the American position
The group warns that his failure to do so would split the Church of England from "top to bottom" and lead to a further demand that the US church is barred from the Lambeth Council, the annual gathering of bishops.Read the whole thing here.
You can watch the entire report by Kim Lawton here or listen to the report below (click on the left triangle to play):
Read more of Kim Lawton's September 27, 2007 interview with Bishop Robert Duncan of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh:
Q: What did you think of the final document the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans produced?
A: The final document from NO was very much what the HOB has said before, and it revealed the commitment of the American church to continue on its move forward in terms of the innovations in faith and order. It did acknowledge the trouble in the communion and the pain that the American church has caused. It did maybe slow things down a little bit, but it's not going to change the direction, and clearly in New Orleans as there has been for some while there really are two churches under one roof and those two churches are one that is moving in a way with the culture and with secular society, moving toward embrace of the culture itself, and the other is moving in a direction -- I mean we are trying to stand where we've always stood. That's the reality. So that's New Orleans, but that's old news.
Q: Is it going to be enough to satisfy some others in the communion who have been concerned?
A: Well, it's not enough for the dioceses like my own that really don't see a way to go forward within the Episcopal Church. We believe that we will be forced to be something other than we have been, to stand in some new place, and we're not going to go to a new place. We're going to stand where Christians have always stood, where scripture and the tradition just have always caused the church to be. For the worldwide church already a number of influential leaders from major places in the communion have said this isn't enough. It's very sad for our communion. It's heartbreaking the way in which Anglicanism is tearing apart. The hope of course is that God will put it back together in a new way, in a stronger way, in a reformed way as part of the reformation he is working in the whole of the Christian world.
Q: Tell me about this meeting in Pittsburgh. What are you and all these groups trying to accomplish here?
A: There are 10 jurisdictions who have been working together, a growing number, we started as six in 2004, who have committed to make common cause for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel as it has been received, and to make common cause for a biblical, missionary and united Anglicanism in North America. We are fragments, like some of us represent fragments, dioceses of the Episcopal Church that can't go down the road that the Episcopal Church is on, can't leave the faith once delivered, and other fragments [are] folks who as long as 134 years ago actually found themselves put out of the EC because of their stand on the gospel and their belief that the EC was shifting and wavering and moving away from its' reformation position. This meeting is a meeting in which these fragments, as bishops, and for the first time it's all the bishops of these 10 fragments from the US and Canada, they are together and we're together and what we've done is agree to the way in which we'll move forward, move forward forming a federation of the Common Cause Partners, pushing that schedule along, and before too long appealing to provinces within the communion to recognize this federation as a new ecclesiastical structure in the States, the very thing that a number of the primates just a year ago in September called for from Kigali as they looked to the problems in the US church and to the wavering and wandering of the majority.
Q: So the goal here is to create an alternative Anglican structure?
A: The goal has been to bring together all of those who stand on scripture, who stand with the tradition, who are committed to mission and who can't bring themselves to separate from what Christians have always believed. So we're working together as bishops, forming a college of bishops, again first ever meeting here, who can work together in mission. We've shared all kinds of ministry initiatives together, from ministry to youth, all kinds of exciting things with postmoderns to work with the global church in relief and development to the more ordinary matters of church planting. Indeed one of the calls of this conference was for us together to plant 1000 new churches, which would be quite something to see.
Q: These groups do have theological differences of their own, on issues like ordination of women, certainly worship style. Some are more charismatic, some more Catholic. How strong are those differences and how big is the challenge going to be?
A: These are important differences, but they are not salvation differences. They are differences that are part of what all of Anglicanism is comprehending at the moment. About half of the provinces of the communion ordain women, the other half does not. Again, the role of women in holy orders is a question that the church in the 21st century, the Anglican Communion, is looking at. Can women be priests? Can women be bishops? We're working that through, but since 2003 we have committed to each other despite this difference to go forward together. Again, it doesn't change the gospel message that we bring, that Jesus Christ came as God's answer to our problem, that we needed a rescuer and a savior, and we are all absolutely united about who that rescuer is, who that savior is, and the new life he brings, the transformed live he gives through the power of his Holy Spirit. We see that as incredible good news, and we all together want to share that. We have no differences about that.
Q: There are suggestions that there have been some challenging personality issues as people try to work all this out.
A: Well, sure. What's true about a family is a family cares enough about one another that they actually disagree. This isn't a paper -- this isn't some "lite" association, this is a deep association for the future of our part of the Christian church, and we care enough about each other and are deeply enough related that we sometimes, you know -- voices get raised this way and that way, but I can guarantee that the end of it is not voices raised in anger but voices raised in praise.
Q: What do you hope the relationship of this federation will be to the broader Anglican Communion?
A: The next step in this -- we have articles of federation. I as the chair of this Common Cause Partnership -- we now have all but two of the 10 partners having had their councils meet and approve the articles of federation, which again a federation is a body that doesn't take away the distinctives or the independence of each of the jurisdictions but really creates a deep level of interdependence. I'm going to call the first leadership council for the first week in January. That council will appoint the committees that the articles call for. They will be the committees that really will structure things. Within a year we will actually gather the second council, and at that time we will be ready, I think, to go to the rest of the Anglican Communion and say here we are. We really are that new ecclesiastical structure in North America that draws all of the separated orthodox Anglicans together and that is ready to be partners with the rest of the world on the terms the rest of the world expects Anglicanism to represent, to uphold, to share and propagate.
Q: Many of your members already have direct relationships with some of the conservative Anglican international leaders. Are they encouraging this effort?
A: Well absolutely. From the beginning the message to me and to other leaders from the archbishops around the world has been get it together. Find a way to work together. Agree on a leader, agree on the way you are going to work together, and declare it and move forward, and we'll go forward with you.
Q: How complicated will it be for you to separate a diocese from the Episcopal Church, as you've announced -- the diocese of Pittsburgh?
A: The last time that Episcopal dioceses separated from the Episcopal Church was in the American Civil War. Nine dioceses actually separated for a period of years. When the war was over the EC came back together. There was an important social issue, I mean the whole issue of slavery divided the nation. The North and the South were divided. When the issue was settled the church came back together. Where we are right now is seeing the church moving in two distinctly different directions on issues of Christian morality quite different than the slavery issue. What our diocese and a number of other dioceses are going to have to do is try to figure out, okay, we joined, we federated. Can we break that federation? Again, the whole purpose of it is not because we've changed, but the Episcopal Church is so radically changed we as a diocese in order not to embrace that change or be forced into that change are saying the best course forward for us is to let them go their way and the way in which we will operate is in alignment with another province in another part of the world that still upholds what the worldwide Christian church, what worldwide Anglicans believe and teach and want to share.
Q: And do you anticipate the property struggles in all of this?
A: Those issues are all there. Jesus was real clear about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again, if that's what you've really got your mind and your heart set on, that's what you get. What we've got our mind and our heart set on is preaching the gospel. And even if we lose our property, we lose our offices, so what? We believe these are the things that are our heritage. Again, the people here in Pittsburgh haven't changed. The church here is as it has been. Why should the property that generations here have given to the Episcopal diocese of Pittsburgh be taken from it? But if the courts should do that, if that's how it turns out, if for the good of the gospel we determine that's what we want to do is just give it away, we have a dominical mandate that sort of suggests that would be a good thing to do.
Q: is there anything else you want to add?
A: We are in the midst of an immense reformation of the Christian church. Anglicanism is just a part of that. It's particularly a reformation of the church in the West, because the West has drifted with its culture, and Christianity is principally countercultural. In what had been a Christian society, or for instance in England a state church, it was a vision for a time that the Christian church and the state could be one. That's not where we are any longer. We've secularized Western societies and the church needs to stand for what it has been called to do, for a saving message that takes people out of the "secula" in which they find themselves and into something that looks more nearly like the heaven God intended.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The VideoBlog was broadcast live at Starbucks, where they still serve coffee and chai.
September 28, 2007
1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
2. Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4. Simple Twist Of Fate
5. Rollin' And Tumblin'
6. Workingman's Blues #2
7. Desolation Row
8. Beyond The Horizon
9. Honest With Me
10. When The Deal Goes Down
11. Highway 61 Revisited
12. Ain't Talkin'
13. Summer Days
14. Masters Of War
15. Thunder On The Mountain
16. Blowin' In The Wind
Thanks to ExpectingRain for setlist.
It was an awesome concert - he kicked it off with Rainy Day Woman with him back at the guitar after like five years of being behind the keyboards only. The show was energetic, he was very present (still doesn't look into the audience though) and the band was excellent. The crowd was extremely enthusiastic - though I think many who don't follow him had no idea what song he was singing (which is kinda funny). Part of the challenge is to figure out the songs - I can recognize the new ones pretty quick because he hasn't reworked them. But the old ones are very changed. He did Blowin' in the Wind - which is rare - and it was a wonderful arrangement, more wistful than his original anthem.
It was a sold-out concert in a wonderful venue at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia MD (outside Washington, DC). The show's opening act included Elvis Costello who sang without a band and commanded the audience's rapt attention (those who were there - many were off socializing elsewhere and returned when Dylan took the stage).
The song choices though took a somber tone - the stage was black with no backdrop until the familiar logo was unveiled during the encore. The stage was lit in golds and blues and stark white. There was also a large amount of incense filled fog that came from the stage, lending more to the a rather "mystical mercury" feel to the show. His performances of his stuff off of Modern Times - while the arrangements were similar - his voice was different. He does a kind of "blues talk" instead of straight singing. But he didn't do the swooping thingy he has been doing in recent years. In fact, he was very animated in the use of his smokey voice, but you do have to forget all about the Younger Bob. Of course, his voice has always sounded older than he really is - and frankly, it still does. But his phrasing is still unique, playful, and surprising. He's the master.
LATER: There are reports that there were 18,000 people at the concert Friday night, 4,000 more than a "normal" sell out. I wrote this today at ExpectingRain:
I also was at the Merriweather Post concert. I thought it started out rather mellow - the contrast between fired-up Elvis Costello and the early portion of Bob's set was noted. He surprised us by hitting the stage first with Rainy Day Women - not expected, but great to see - especially since I remember seeing him do that song on YouTube with Elvis Costello at a concert in London.
I thought he was in fine voice - no swooping in and out (which sort of drives me crazy in the past, but I really didn't hear him do it all at this concert). He does a lot of blues-talk type singing which really fits with the band arrangements.
We were having fun in my section trying to guess the songs (especially the old ones) that had been reworked. In fact, it took a while before we guessed Blowin' in the Wind. That had to be one of my favorite arrangements ever, but the way I heard it was much more wistful, not so certain. That the answer is not here, it's somewhere else, but it's not here. The harp portion was truly mystical, even haunting.
I just love the new songs - they are my generation songs - and so was thrilled to hear Workingman and Ain't Talkin. I don't think he did either one at the Patriot Center last year, so we got a lot more off of Modern Times. Ain't Talkin was fantastic as was Masters of War (which is the same arrangement I've heard before, but I still love it over the original).
The lighting of the show was also terrific - loved the outfits Bob and the band were wearing, but also loved the lighting, all blues and golds and then in the last section of the night going to silver and finally the drop down of the tour artwork (I wondered where it was) when they did the encore. The effect of the fog machines with incense lent to the mystical atmosphere. They do look like they are 1920s gangsters.
Bob was dancing a lot - again, more and more animated. Since his eyes are on the band, you still get the feeling you are looking through the windows watching the band rehearse. But the audience was probably the most enthusiastic and engaged audience that I've been a part of - the place positively roared and it seemed to me (I had great seats) you could see the affect on Bob. Each song built on the next song - and there was a theme going through the whole set of sorrow and resilience.
An interesting moment was as we waited for the encore - it was seemed like an impossibly long time that I started to wonder if he would come back. What took so long? It was long enough to hit the loo. But the crowd didn't give up and kept up the roar for his return.
He came back with with the usual Thunder on the Mountain, but the big surprise was his reworked Blowin' in the Wind. I loved it, it was mystical, spiritual - his phrasing sharp. With Ain't Walkin still on my mind (what is it about that song that stays with you!) all I could think of was the lyric,
As I walked out in the mystic garden
On a hot summer day, a hot summer lawn
Excuse me, ma'am, I beg your pardon
There's no one here, the gardener is gone
Ain't talkin', just walkin'
Up the road, around the bend.
Heart burnin', still yearnin'
In the last outback at the world's end.
And then ending the night with:
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Friday, September 28, 2007
In the Name of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, to whom belong all might, majesty, dominion and glory.
We, the College of Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership, meeting together in Pittsburgh, September 25-28 in the Year of our Lord 2007, solemnly affirm this agreement.
In the grace, mercy and power of God, and in repentance for past disunity and disharmony, in thanksgiving for our full reconciliation in the Lord Jesus Christ, to give expression to our unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church as Anglicans in North America, and for the sake of our mission to extend the Kingdom of God, nurture faithful disciples through Word and Sacraments, seek the lost, and partner globally with other orthodox Anglicans, we hereby commit to do the following:
1. In order to achieve greater unity and strengthen our partnership in the Gospel, we the undersigned commit ourselves to the Common Cause Partnership as set forth in the Articles of the Partnership (see Appendix 1).
2. We declare clearly that we are taking this as a first step in the formation of the “separate ecclesiastical structure” in North America called for at Kigali in September, 2006.
3. In consultation with those Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communion offering recognition under the timeline adopted, we intend a founding constitutional convention for an Anglican union (see Appendix 2).
4. Those presently-participating bodies which have not yet joined the Common Cause Partnership will decide at the next meeting of their legislative bodies, either to enter the Partnership or leave full membership in Common Cause, becoming observer bodies. It is expected that all presently-participating bodies will be able to enter the Partnership.
5. We will work together on the regional and local levels and avail ourselves of the various ministries of the Common Cause Partners. We will deploy clergy interchangeably as outlined in the Articles of the Partnership. We are free to invite our fellow bishops in this College to share episcopal acts and our sacramental life.
6. The College of Bishops will meet every six months in order to accomplish our stated objectives. The leading bishop of each Partner will serve on a Lead Bishops Roundtable, which may be expanded as they may determine. The Roundtable will advise us in matters referred to it (see Appendix 3).
7. We are committed to the Great Commission. We will make disciples who make disciples and plant churches that plant churches, not resting until the millions of unreached souls in North America are brought to Christ, until all groups on the earth have indigenous churches firmly begun within them and our Lord returns in glory.
8. We ask our Chairman to inform the Primates of the Anglican Communion of these commitments in the hope that our emerging common life will commend us to them as full partners.
The Articles of The Common Cause Partnership
Article 1: Name
The Name shall be called the Common Cause Partnership (CCP).
Article 2: Basis
1. The CCP is a federation of Jurisdictions and Ministries in North America, known as Partners, which affirm the Covenant Declaration and the Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partners, which are attached to these articles. Each jurisdiction accepts one of the historic Books of Common Prayer as the primary standard for worship. The autonomy of the individual Jurisdictions and Ministries, and their constituent bodies, is in no way restricted or superseded by membership in the CCP.
2. The Jurisdictions and Ministries of the Common Cause Partnership at the time of its inception are the American Anglican Council (AAC); the Anglican Communion Network (ACN); the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA); the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC); the Anglican Province of America (APA); the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA); the Anglican Essentials Federation (AEF); Forward in Faith, North America (FIF/NA); and the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC).
Article 3: Tasks
The CCP has five tasks:
(1) Furthering mutual understanding of its Partners with a view to eventual union when deemed appropriate;
(2) Propagating the truths of the Gospel as articulated and practiced in the historic Anglican way;
(3) Taking appropriate public and private steps in common causes in order to speak with one voice and act in concert for the welfare and witness of its Partners;
(4) Pursuing a communal, charitable and organic relationship with the world-wide Anglican Communion; and
(5) Support planting congregations by Partners.
Article 4: The Leadership Council
The governing body of the CCP shall be the Leadership Council.
(1) The Leadership Council is empowered to conduct the current business of the CCP. It represents the CCP in its external relationships both nationally and internationally. It is also available to provide spiritual and practical counsel for the Partners. It decides on admission into the Common Cause Partnership.
(2) The Leadership Council consists of the chief officer of each Partner, plus one member of the clergy (in whatever order) and one lay person from each Partner. The Leadership Council shall elect annually the Moderator of the Partnership from among the chief officers of the Partners. The General Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected annually by the Leadership Council from among its clerical and lay members.
(3) The members of the Leadership Council shall be elected by the Partners they represent for a term of five years, subject to re-election. Upon the expiration of the term of office of a member of the Leadership Council whose membership is a consequent upon his holding office in a Partner, the Leadership Council is authorized to seat a replacement chosen by that Partner.
(4) The Leadership Council shall hold at least one meeting annually. The travel expenses for members shall be paid by the Partner which they represent.
(5) The General Secretary shall work in assistance to the Moderator of the CCP. He shall maintain communication between the CCP Jurisdictions and Ministries by appropriate means. He shall receive from the Partners regular reports about their status. He shall prepare the agenda for sessions of the Leadership Council and is responsible for keeping its minutes. With the Moderator, he is responsible for seeing that decisions taken are carried out, as well as for correspondence and the distribution of reports. An Assistant to the General Secretary may also be elected.
(6) The treasurer shall oversee the financial operations of the CCP, and shall submit regular financial reports on its financial standing.
(7) The Leadership Council may designate an Executive Committee to include, but not limited to, the Moderator, General Secretary, and Treasurer. The Leadership Council shall give the Executive Committee such authority as they deems appropriate.
Article 5: Partnership
(1) Any Jurisdiction or Ministry may apply for membership in the CCP if it supports and practices the principles stated in Articles 2(1) and 3. An application, in the form approved by the Leadership Council, shall be filed with an Admissions Committee appointed by the Moderator. The Admissions Committee shall examine the application and report to the Leadership Council for disposition. The application shall always include the following items:
a. A copy of the constitution (and canons) of the organization concerned.
b. A written report on its origin and historical developments.
c. A report on its present ministry to include:
i. The total number of congregations in North America.
(for the purposes of membership, a parish is defined as a self-supporting congregation with a full-time minister. All other congregations are defined as missions) ii. Contact information for the listed congregations. iii. Consecration information for all the bishops of the applying Jurisdiction or Ministry. iv. Current ecumenical relationships with other jurisdictions. (2) Each member agrees to pay an annual membership fee to the Partnership treasury in an amount fixed by the Leadership Council.
(3) If a member ceases to follow the principles of Article 2, membership in the CCP can be terminated by a two-thirds vote of the Leadership Council.
Article 6: Communications Office
(1) The CCP may maintain and fund a communications office which would be responsible for the
creation and dissemination of informational materials for the CCP, and other communications duties as assigned by the Leadership Council. Article 7: Mission Work
(1) In order to foster missionary cooperation among the Partners, a Mission Committee shall hold at least one working session each year. More sessions may be held, if necessary. The Committee shall consist of two representatives from each Partner appointed by its chief officer. The Chairman of the Committee shall be appointed by the Moderator of the CCP in consultation with the Leadership Council.
(2) The Mission Committee shall be available to provide coordination and assistance in forming and cultivating mission congregations begun by the CCP members, and shall make itself available to provide help in establishing corporations, administering an Anglican parish, finding supply clergy for holy days and seasons and fostering a greater sense of engagement in the mission of wider Anglicanism worldwide.
(3) The Mission Committee may nominate to the Leadership Council bodies engaged in fostering the mission of Anglican churches, both in North America and worldwide, for admission as CCP Mission Associates.
(4) Travel and accommodation costs for members of the Mission Committee shall be borne by the respective Partners they represent.
Article 8: Education
(1) In order to provide for the education of all its ministers, lay and ordained, an Education Committee shall hold at least one working session each year. More sessions may be held, if necessary. The Committee shall consist of no more than two representatives from each Partner member appointed by its chief officer. The Chairman of the Committee shall be appointed by the Moderator of the CCP in consultation with the Leadership Council.
(2) The Committee shall evaluate theological education standards for the Partners and make recommendations to the Leadership Council concerning guidelines for common theological examinations which may be used by the Partners of the CCP. The Committee shall also be responsible for providing and, if needed, producing materials for use in Christian education.
(3) The Education Committee may nominate to the Leadership Council bodies engaged in fostering the work of ecclesiastical education in the Anglican churches as CCP Education Associates.
(4) Travel and accommodation costs for members of the Education Committee shall be borne by the respective Partners they represent.
Article 9: Regulations
(1) Whenever possible, decisions shall be taken by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, a three-quarters majority shall be sufficient for matters of general business. Elections to office shall be held by ballot, with a simple majority of votes cast being sufficient for election.
(2) A simple majority of its members shall constitute a quorum of the Leadership Council of the CCP for the transaction of business at any meeting.
(3) If a Partner makes a recommendation to change any of these articles, such motion shall be treated as general business as provided in the second sentence of Section 1.
(4) A decision to dissolve the CCP may be taken only by a four-fifths majority of the votes cast at a special Leadership Council meeting convened for that purpose.
(5) Partners are free to withdraw from the CCP by action of their own governing bodies at any time.
Article 10: Privileges
(1) As evidence of the union existing among the several Partners, a delegation of clergy and laity from each Partner may be sent to the legislative assembly of another Partner upon the latter’s invitation to take part in its deliberations.
(2) At the Consecration or Ordination of Bishops or other clergy of one Partner, the Bishops and Clergy of the other Partners may be invited to participate.
(3) The Clergy of the several Partners shall be entitled to officiate transiently in the congregations of other Partners, subject to the canonical requirements of these Partners, and shall also be eligible to hold a cure of souls in them, subject to the respective regulations of said entities.
(4) Communicant members of any Partner shall be received by a congregation of another Partner on presentation of a letter of transfer.
(5) Congregations of any Jurisdiction may transfer their membership to any other Jurisdiction on such terms as may mutually be agreed upon by the Jurisdictions.
(6) The Partners, recognizing the fact that they are working together in the same great cause on behalf of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and on the same basis, pledge each to the other their co-operation, compassion, support and prayers.
Article 11: Conciliation of Disputes
In recognition of the pledge set forth in Article 10, section 6, if a dispute arises between two or more Partners and such dispute cannot be resolved according to the biblical mandate of Matthew 18.15–17, the parties to the dispute shall submit circumstances and issues in dispute for conciliation as follows:
a. The Leadership Council shall choose three persons, at least two of whom shall be among its members, to serve as a mediation panel. The persons so appointed may not be in any way related to any party to the dispute by way of family connections, employment, or institutional affiliation.
b. The mediation panel shall assemble within three months of an appeal to afford the parties to the dispute opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of their respective positions, and the panel shall deliberate as necessary to resolve the circumstances and issues thus presented. In all matters the panel shall seek first the reconciliation of the parties to the dispute; but if reconciliation is not possible it shall propose a non-binding solution to the parties within three months, which they shall be free to accept or reject.
c. No CCP Partner shall take any dispute to a Primate or Primates, nor shall any CCP Partner bring any dispute before any court of law or chancery, without first attempting in good faith to resolve the matter in accordance with the provisions of this article.
Proposed to the Partners
August 18, 2006
Appendix 2 Timeline
A. College of Bishops organized: September, 2007
B. Theological Statement and Articles ratified by all Partners
C. CCP Leadership Council 1 (Article 4): week of December 3 or January 6 a. Organizing meeting b. Leadership elected c. Communications office created (Article 6) d. Committees named: i. Executive (Article 4) ii. Admissions (Article 5) iii. Mission (Article 7) iv. Education (Article 8) e. Additional task forces created: v. Prayer Book task force vi. Episcopate task force vii. Budget adopted
D. Province by province visitation and appeal for recognition of the “separate ecclesiastical structure in North America”
E. CCP Leadership Council 2: Advent, 2008 a. Reports and adoption of work from committees and task forces
F. Constitutional convention for an Anglican union held at the earliest possible date agreeable to all the Partners
Issues for the Lead Bishops Roundtable:
Within the stated timeline, we intend to address the following items:
How we can best exercise our episcopate in common.
A Rule of Life for bishops.
The ways and means of a mutual review of candidates for bishop before consecration.
Stating and maintaining a common Anglican ethos.
How we will live together with bishops and congregations and dioceses that do ordain women and others that do not ordain women, affirming that we will not violate anyone’s conscience on this matter.
The relation of clergy and congregations to bishops. Will our dioceses be rigidly fixed or flexible, allowing for affinity-based arrangements?
The shape and nature of our common episcopal oversight. Will it be conciliar as it was in the early church and as it is maintained in some parts of the Orthodox churches and as it is reflected in some aspects of the Anglican Communion? Will it follow a more hierarchical model? Or will it be modeled after the Western institutional structures, such as the federation model, with which we have been familiar in The Episcopal Church?
Exploring ways to form a leadership “pipeline” from congregational life onward that will lead candidates to offer themselves for ministry, including ordination, in an expanding, mission-minded Church.
Exploring resources for the bishops’ care for clergy and their families, including burned-out clergy and clergy families in trouble.
Exploring with the seminaries of the Church how they can best serve us and how we can support them in our new mission context.
Exploring a Common Cause electronic newsletter, with the intention of incorporating the various newsletters of the Partnership members.
Exploring the standards, spiritual and moral, of ordained and lay leaders.
Consistent with resolutions of Lambeth Conference, seeking to draw continuing churches, not members of the Common Cause Partnership, into fellowship.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
He continues to rework his old songs and perform his new ones, especially off the new Modern Times album as well as from Love & Theft and Time Out of Mind. On this tour he's done a song or two that he's never done in concert, at least in memory.
On that note, we leave you this song performed live by Paul Simon and Bob Dylan:
He tells the story of his journey to Rome and it's quite compelling (even to this low church evangelical). It also helps me understand better why some of my closest friends at Truro have chosen to cross the Tiber - I wonder if this interview will resonate with them?
Read the article here.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there's no exit in any direction
'Cept the one that you can't see with your eyes
Wasn't making any great connection
Wasn't falling for any intricate scheme
Nothing that would pass inspection
Just thinking of a series of dreams
Dreams where the umbrella is folded
Into the path you are hurled
And the cards are no good that you're holding
Unless they're from another world.
We'll be back later to write about the last few days. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here's Bob.
By Bruce Nolan
Episcopal bishops meeting in New Orleans declined Tuesday to give powerful conservative Anglican primates overseas the new, unequivocal guarantee the primates demanded to end the ordination of partnered gay bishops.
But the bishops said the vote was not an act of defiance. Rather, they said they reconfirmed the same moratorium on new gay bishops the Anglican Communion sought and received last year after the ordination of Bishop V. Gene Robinson shocked the Anglican world in 2003.
In addition, the Episcopal bishops pledged "not to authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions," another flash point in the Episcopal church's collision with the primates, or heads of churches in 37 other autonomous Anglican provinces around the world.
But, significantly, the bishops did not pledge to stop some priests' under-the-radar practice of using rewritten house blessings or other rites to bless gay couples, usually with the tacit approval of sympathetic local bishops.
Bishop John Howe, a conservative from the Diocese of Central Florida, said he thought most Anglican leaders would accept the statement, even though he did not support it because it was not strong enough against same-sex blessings.
On the final day of a six-day meeting in New Orleans, the bishops also endorsed a plan by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to appoint eight Episcopal bishops to care for conservative congregations that do not recognize her leadership.
That was designed to blunt the recent actions of conservative primates in Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda who have ordained new bishops aligned with them to care for Episcopalians in conservative American congregations.
The bishops' statement deplored those acts as boundary violations, called them "incursions" and called for them to end.
The bishops approved the multipart resolution on an overwhelming voice vote. It concluded a meeting convened with the 77 million-member Anglican Communion on the verge of schism over the Episcopal church's sanctification of faithful gay conduct.
Most bishops satisfied
Earlier this spring, primates meeting in Tanzania demanded in an unprecedented communique that the Episcopal church, through its House of Bishops, bring itself back to traditionally understood Christian values by Sept. 30. The crisis brought the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Communion, on a historic visit to New Orleans last week, which only underscored the peril of the moment.
Before leaving Friday, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said he would consult this week with other primates on the results of the New Orleans meeting, then offer his own opinion.
But on Tuesday, many bishops said they felt they had given Williams and the primates what they wanted, without wholesale backtracking on its inclusion of gay men and lesbians in the church.
"I would say the House of Bishops has acquiesced to the primates' concerns," said Louisiana Bishop Charles Jenkins, a conservative who has worked to avoid a break-up of the communion.
"I believe the Anglican Communion is saved for those who want to remain in it," he said.
By several accounts Jenkins, and Washington, D.C., Bishop John Chane and Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno, both liberals, played key roles in fashioning the resolution the bishops passed.
On making new bishops of partnered gay men or lesbians, the bishops fell back on carefully crafted language in which the church in 2006 pledged "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."
Primates won't like it
Earlier this year a special committee of the Anglican Communion called the Communion Sub-Group advised Anglicans worldwide that the Episcopal church had enacted the moratorium on ordaining gay bishops the global church had requested.
The primates rejected that interpretation, however, and asked for an even clearer pledge out of the House of Bishops, precipitating the current crisis.
Jenkins said the church's position Tuesday was that it was reconfirming the 2006 moratorium on the ordination of gay bishops, even though it was later judged to be too vague by some overseas primates.
"We're saying your Sub-Group has found this sufficient, and we assume you do too," Jenkins said.
Read the whole thing here.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Right in the middle of everything, I had to run to the airport. No internet - none, zippo. I was able to read some stuff on the trusty Sprint cellphone, and my dad e-mailed me the statement so I was able to read it on the cell while sitting in the airport in New Orleans. The plane was stuck in Chicago, there had been some sort of air traffic control "issue" that had affected the whole southeast so the plane was two hours late and I sat there not able to write. What else could I do but pray.
I did run into Bishop Stanton at the airport as well.
Thanks everyone for dropping by the cafe and expressing yourself whatever view you have or had. You are always welcome here. While I did fear a few times that the cream pies would start flying, most of you did really well. A few seemed to have a private stash of Old Ogden's Fire Whiskey and you know what happens when you tap into that. But on the whole we didn't seem to break any furniture. I guess a few plates got cracked and I think one may have even hit a wall. We'll get new plates.
I have to go back to the Real World tomorrow morning. We send a shout-out to all our friends up in Pittsburgh. And we have Bob Dylan tonight for you all (or at least until YouTube has some scheduled maintenance tonight) with the theme song of the cafe. Seems like tonight it a good time to run it.
We'll be seeing Bob Himself on Friday night in Columbia, MD. If any of you happened to be out there, maybe I'll see you there as well. Not sure if anyone has every blogged a Dylan concert before (though I did read about someone's laptop being flung through the air at one Dylan's concerts - either with joy or rage, one never knows at a Dylan concert) and then we have an ADV Council meeting over the weekend.
Good night - God bless each of you. Thanks for dropping in. And pass the Butterbeer.
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 — Bishops of the Episcopal Church on Tuesday rejected demands by leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to roll back the church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, increasing the possibility of fracture within the communion and the Episcopal Church itself.
After nearly a week of talks at their semiannual meeting in New Orleans, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution that defied a directive by the Anglican Communion’s regional leaders, or primates, to change several church policies regarding the place of gay men and lesbians in their church. But the bishops also expressed a desire to remain part of the communion, and they appeared to be trying to stake out a middle ground that would allow them to do so.
Still, up to five American dioceses led by theologically conservative bishops may try to break with the Episcopal Church and place themselves under the oversight of a foreign primate in the coming months, said the Rev. Canon Kendall Harmon, a conservative Episcopal strategist.
“We’ll have the chaos here increase as more individuals, parishes and dioceses begin moving,” Mr. Harmon said. “What will happen is that we will see more of the disunity here spread to the rest of the communion.”
In a voice vote, all but one bishop supported a resolution, called “A Response to Questions and Concerns Raised by Our Anglican Communion Partners.” Several conservative bishops who are considering leaving the Episcopal Church were not in attendance.
The resolution affirmed the status quo of the Episcopal Church, both theological conservatives and liberals said.
It states, for example, that it “reconfirms” a call to bishops “to exercise restraint” by not consenting to the consecration of a partnered gay bishop. It also says the bishops promise not to authorize “any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions.” Still, some bishops allow such blessings to occur in their dioceses. Both positions have been stated in past meetings of the governing body of the church, the General Convention.
The resolution also calls for an “immediate end” to the practice of foreign bishops’ consecrating conservative Americans to minister to breakaway congregations in the United States, a trend that church leaders believe undermines their authority.
The Bishop Martyn Minns of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, a prominent conservative group supported by the Archbishop of Nigeria, responded to the bishops’ resolution: “They’re offering business as usual. The communion asked them to make a change, to embrace the teaching of the communion about homosexuality, and there’s no change at all.”Read the whole thing here.
Jim Rosenthall just announced that the ACC folks are gone. Many folks are trying to pack, figure out ways to the airport, while covering the coming event. Not to disappoint, it comes down to the last minute.
57 bishops participated in the consultation in Madrid. We're hearing a report on this "consultation" - it was a wonderfully productive time, we are learning. Now he's making an appeal. The invitations were extended with partnerships or relationships or those who wanted to "explore new relationships" - with Africa we presume (so it's an attempt to oppose the Global South partnerships, but of course, this bishop doesn't say that). When he says "relationships" he means "money." Remember, when KJS returned from Dar Es Salaam she wanted to take the long view and convert the rest of the Communion to the Episcopal Church point of view. That mission has not changed, apparently.
Now we are hearing from Clay Matthews on DEPO.
They've received a list of all the priests who have been deposed - these include priests who have gone to places like AMiA. The bishops are now clarifying what congregations are doing what. They are reporting what their attorneys have told them about where the residency of the priests are. The are talking about the "deposed bishop of Brazil" and making a real deal about calling him the "deposed bishop of Brazil." But I understand that all the parishes and clergy who have aligned with Brazil have gone to CANA. I wonder if the bishops know that.
Now they are talking about how the Primate of Rwanda and one bishop of Kenya have established congregations in his diocese. Now we are hearing more and more bishops talk about all the congregations and clergy who have left. I think what point they are trying to make is that there are all these "border crossings" that have been going on in TEC. We heard earlier that this is one issue that the bishops were particularly exercised about what they view as "border crossings" (as though the votes of the people do not matter to them, as though they are lords of the manner and how dare these churches seek refuge elsewhere, but never mind). Now we are hearing about congregations who have left - there's a long line -
It's clear that they've brought the media all back in here to listen to this recitation by bishops of all the clergy and churches who have departed TEC. But they want to make the point that foreign bishops have invaded their territory. This is such a propaganda moment. They are just going on and on about individual churches and clergy who have left and naming the overseas providences where these parishes have gone. And sometimes they even chuckle about it, there's no pain, no sorrow over this. Nothing.
Bishop Lee hasn't said anything.
10:58 Now KJS is speaking to the House. What is the most surprising part of this ministry? She says the media interest. She wants to talk about the mission work of TEC and not about the conflict (the conflict in the headlines is not reality in 95% of this church, she says).
There will be a new videocast coming up, she says. She said she's reserving a time for a potential meeting next fall after Lambeth for an HOB meeting.
She's says that Rayford High and Duncan Grey have also volunteered to work as "Episcopal Visitors" and would take others if they want to do it to.
It's starting to cool down in here, looks like they got the air conditioning working.
The Diocese of South Carolina has invited PB to the diocese in February, invited by Mark Lawrence and Bishop Salmon to the Diocese. That's interesting news. Not sure when the consecration is scheduled - that would be worth finding out.
Now she's talking about the reorganization of 815 and the anxiety over the reorganization. The reason is not like in the past over financial issues, but over "mission strategy," she says. Now they are passing out the reorganization information.
They are talking about the reasons they are reorganizing 815. Even Matt has stopped typing.
I was just whispering with one of the national reporters here and she thought that the bishops standing up and talking about all the parishes leaving backfired on them. The way they talked (for example, the PB talked about the "Secret Church of Jesus Christ") was jocular, not sorrowful. But I think it's significant that Bishop Lee did not participate in that "event."
Now they are taking a break and will go into Executive Session.
Wait, I just saw John Howe - so John Howe is still here. He just walked by in a red shirt. So he's still here. I've edited the post to reflect that.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Bishops Debate Resolution Behind Closed Doors
Bishop John Chane of Washington did not need to request a point of personal privilege to debate a revised version of a resolution submitted by Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana when the House of Bishops went back into plenary session Monday afternoon. The room was cleared for about 30 minutes while a revised version of the resolution was discussed.
After the discussion, the plenary was reopened to the public. Members of the writing committee were joined by four additional bishops: J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, John Howe of Central Florida, Stacy Sauls of Lexington (Kentucky) and Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island. Bishop Jenkins did not join the drafting team. Instead he left in order to bless the dedication of a new health facility.
The joint steering committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council is scheduled to depart early tomorrow. They have been meeting in private session all day on their own, attempting to prepare a report for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Their report is expected to help Archbishop Williams and the other primates determine whether The Episcopal Church has satisfactorily responded to the requests made by the primates. Without an approved document from the bishops Monday, it will be difficult for the joint steering committee to complete its work.
Read the whole thing .
NYT: "It [same-sex blessings] happens on the diocesan level, you know that ..."
Bruno: "It does not happen in my diocese with my permission"
Here's the photo of their wedding. From Malcolm Boyd's website:
Malcolm Boyd with Mark Thompson following the blessing of their union by Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles in the Cathedral Center of St. Paul on May 16, 2004. This occurred on the twentieth anniversary of their life partnership.
You can see Bishop Bruno in the back of the photo. See the original here.
Chip Webb writes on the topic here. He links to a blessing that occurred in Jon Bruno's diocese just this past Saturday at All Saints Beverly Hills here at the New York Times. Gabriel Ferrer, husband of Debbie Boone (of You Light Up My Life and Daughter of Pat fame), officiated. Bruno said he knew nothing about it. And also said he doesn't read the New York Times.
There is something sort of surreal here about talking about Lambeth as though there isn't anything wrong, as though it's "business as usual." The presentation is as though this is 1997, not 2007 and we're all One Big Happy Family. It's sort of weird to hear Ian talking about and there's Gene Robinson sitting there. TEC must be pretty confident that he's going, no matter what. Why else would they be so rude to talk about a party that he's not invited to.
Now Ian is talking about Encountering God's Story. It's clear that they are trying to not allow what happened last time, where they lost control of the conference when the majority of the bishops showed up with ideas of their own. Don't want to let that happen.
This is an interesting sales job for Lambeth. It's as though they are trying to tell the bishops, hey, not matter what happens here we're all going to Lambeth. And if they are so sure that there's going to be nothing that comes from this meeting that might put Lambeth in jeopardy. But what we're getting "group" stuff. Ian is diliberately downplaying the legislative aspect of this gathering. He's making it sound like it's some sort of Retreat with an agenda to "educate" all the bishops into group thinking. Not exactly inspirational.
There is no funding for a spouses program. Now he's making a financial pitch to fund a spouses program. He still hasn't mentioned that Lambeth is in jeopardy.
Now he's mentioning the meeting in Spain (Madrid) - he's denying that there's no collusion between Madrid, but it's going to be run just like Madrid. Trinity Wall Street paid for Madrid, he tells us.
There will be "non-controversial supporting affirmations" at Lambeth. That will be conversation and affirmation.
Question: There was no mention of worship. Will there be any worship?
Ian: Forgot to mention that. Yes.
Question: What is the financial involvement besides travel?
Ian: Registration Fee includes Room & Board.
By the way, we were hearing that the Bishops were going to go back into Executive Session today. But it appears they want to make sure the press hears that TEC is all set to go to Lambeth.
Jim Stanton - Last Lambeth there was a weekend break and the Global South was stranded and the kitchens were closed. Is there any plan for that this time?
Apparently there will be opportunities for other activities this time. Hmmm ...
Writing Committee is up next and HOB will be back in session at 4:30 p.m. Will we stay or will we go?
4:27 p.m. Just learned that when they went into Executive Session, the Chane Resolution (which we wrote about earlier) was introduced to the House. The Writing Group was sent off. It may very well be that the Chane Resolution will be substituted for the resolution this morning.
Having started with a resolution that was so objectionable (it basically said no to all of Dar Es Salaam) they may now introduce the one that the ACC backs.
5:40 p.m. The PB returned and asked the bishops if they wanted to go into Executive Session (i.e., toss us out). There was a resounding "YES!" Then she asked if they wanted to come out of Executive Session before the end of the day and there was a resounding "NO!"
So out we went. Now we're waiting for the press conference - obviously they need to manage the message better.
By the way, Bishop Lee came by, said hello to me and we shook hands. If anyone thinks that this meeting isn't painful and sad should think again.
LATER: The problem of this e-mail being sent through the House of Bishops is that the bishops were caught managing the process by introducing what the Writing Group had been working on all weekend to form the basis of the official statement. Now that it was made public (they did invite all the media into the room) they think that it was reported as the official statement. Draft. D R A F T. Here's what's being sent to the bishops via e-mail. The message is written by Don Johnson. This may be why we were resounding requested to get out of the House.
Following the September 24 morning session of the House of Bishops, reports claiming to give, in part or whole, a message from the Bishops to the larger Church have been appearing on various websites and blogs. These reported official statements of the House of Bishops are not true. A clearly marked document entitled “A Preliminary Draft for Discussion Purposes Only” was presented to the Bishops by an ad hoc writing committee of the House. It was given to the House of Bishops solely for the purpose of giving a starting place for our formal deliberations scheduled for later in the meeting at our official business session. As a result, those preliminary discussions have already resulted in a number of suggested ways to strengthen, clarify and expand the Bishop’s anticipated response when the time is right. Therefore, do not be confused by this early release of the preliminary document intended “for discussion purposes only.” Our official statement will be coming in the next two days. Thank you. +Don
Interesting, isn't it?
Here's what Steve Waring at The Living Church is reporting:
As members of the House of Bishops began filing out of the plenary hall for lunch Monday, several expressed dissatisfaction with the direction taken in the draft statement proposed by the writing committee. The proposed draft attempted to incorporate the main points contained in many of the resolutions previously submitted for consideration, albeit with watered-down language in at least some cases.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori suggested that the statement by the writing committee should be considered a substitute version of the original resolutions that were submitted. The writing committee is not scheduled to present a revised draft of its statement until Tuesday morning, the final day of the House of Bishops’ Sept. 20-25 meeting in New Orleans.
“We need to give the Archbishop of Canterbury something more than this,” said Bishop John Chane of Washington. Bishop Chane said he would seek a point of privilege to debate a revised version of a resolution that Bishop Charles Jenkins of Louisiana originally submitted before the meeting began. Bishop Chane said he and Bishop J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles had been working with Bishop Jenkins to perfect the original language.
Under the rules of procedure by which the house is governed, Bishop Chane’s motion may be denied or accepted for a vote by Bishop Jefferts Schori, who presides. If accepted, his proposal to change the agenda would require approval from a majority of those present.
So TLC is reporting that the Draft from the Writing Group's statement should be considered a substitute of the original resolutions. Not exactly what the writer of the e-mail said. But of course, there is the Chane Statement (note who is quoted in the article) that has also been worked on all weekend. Will we find the MacPherson resolution wrapped up in that one? Remember, we are looking for honesty and clarity, not fudge.
There appears to be some sort of power struggle going on - but not the usual kind. There aren't enough orthodox here to blame them. The Writing Group draft basically said no to everything. The Chane group includes support from the AAC (we have Jim Rosenthall here in the newsroom doing a walkabout).
Looks like the press conference is about to start.
Read the entire article at The Living Church here.
One of the official hymns of the "Community of Bishops" is this one:
you gave me birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are my rain, my wind, my sun.
Mothering Christ, you took my form,
offering me your food of light,
grain of life, and grape of love,
your very body for my peace.
in amrs of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow
until I flower, until I know.
Here's another one (to be sung at the Eucharist, no less):
All creatures of the our God, sing praise,
with thankful hearts your voices raise
O sing praises! Alleluia!
O Brother Sun with golden beam,
O Sister Moon with silver gleam!
Dear Mother Earth, who day by day
unfolds our blessings on our way
O sing praises! Alleluia!
The flow'rs and fruit that in you grow,
let them God's glory also show!
Going into Executive Sessions. Gotta go.
2:18 p.m. We are now out in the lobby - Matt and I are sitting on the floor. Matt's being interviewed by a reporter at the moment. Most of the folks who are standing around are the media. They are on cell phones and talking with one another, their cameras and bags spread around the foyer area where we are congregated.
Now we know that the Windsor group met together in the corner of the HOB room for a little chat. But if they will be able to wrestle away the apparatus of coordinating the decision-making process away from 815. In fact, now I think think about it, the way the PB is running the show is very similar to the attempt at Dar es Salaam to do it the same way. When the primates arrived there was a "subgroup report" which was presented to them as their statement for their gathering, affirming - among other things - that the Windsor Report was satisfied by B033, passed by the Columbus General Convention in 2006. It was presented that way in the initial press conferences since Kenneth Kearon and the Secretariat were trying to run the show. It took amazing leadership to wrestle that away from the England-based staffers. But the subgroup report was shelved in favor of the Dar Es Salaam Communique. It is the Communique that brings us hear today.
2:38 p.m. They are still in Executive Session. It may be that another resolution./statement - oh here come the bishops.
3:13 p.m. Well, we're back in the House and listening to a research survey report about the identity of the Episcopal Church. We've heard about multiple identities as well as seeking to understand what this phrase really means: "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You." What does "welcome" really mean? And what does "you" really mean?
We're now hearing from reports from the Seminary Deans. We're hearing from the podium that the seminaries are in major change.
The problem is that TEC is shrinking and at the seminaries are not producing clergy who have the tools to grow their churches.
More in a bit ...
The House of Bishops
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 24, 2007
An Informal Gathering and Conversation about Agreements and Disagreements in the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
Last night fifty seven bishops gathered for an hour an a half to identify areas of substantial agreement and disagreement to help facilitate our process and frame our conversation as we approach gathering in legislative session.
We had substantial agreement on the following things we would like to see happen…
-Ask all Provinces in the Anglican Communion to ensure the human rights of gay and lesbian persons: (Anglican Communion agrees to follow the directive on human rights.)
-Ask for more definitive statement from the ABC in reference to jurisdictional boundaries
-Ask the Anglican Communion to engage in the listening process (Lambeth 1.10)
-Move forward in Mission with as many global Anglican partners as possible.
-Engage in respectful discussions with everyone in the room.
In the spirit and depth of the Elizabethan Settlement, we have learned to live with disagreement. We would hope to be a model to others within the Anglican Communion.
We need to be as generous as possible with one another and the Communion. We are a minority in the Anglican Communion on certain issues and we need to be as generous with others holding a minority view within our own Province.
We should say we are not of one mind. One of our major charisms is that we can agree to disagree. This is often a place of creativity
The Anglican Communion Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council Report of the Subgroup should be used as an “anchor” and as a support for our document.
The following represents varying levels of disagreement and our need for on-going work ...
-The House of Bishops should take responsibility for initiating a process to facilitate conversations regarding the inclusion of the Bishop of New Hampshire at Lambeth, 2008.
-Restate more clearly what has already been said through General Convention resolutions.
-We would not expand on General Convention resolutions (some confusion regarding what this means)
-Ask bishops not to formulate official same-sex blessing rites or policies regarding such rites until General Convention speaks with clarity on this issue.
-Support the Presiding Bishop's proposal for "Episcopal Visitors."
-Restart the Doctrinal Study/Process with respect to Human Sexuality (modest interest)
-We can agree to the two requests of Primates to the House of Bishops. (1. Withhold consent on Consecration of bishops living in same-sex relationships. 2. Withhold authorization of same-sex blessings.) (substantial disagreement)
-Consider the request of the Primates regarding a "Council" within our polity. (substantial confusion about what this proposal would entail).
A Message from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church
Meeting in New Orleans, Louisana
September xx-xx, 2007
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose Name we serve and whose Cross we glory.
We gathered this week in New Orleans in solidarity with the people of the Gulf Coast region as they continue the challenging work of rebuilding lives and communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. We also gathered with the deep desire to rebuild trust and confidence with our partners in the Anglican Communion. Rebuilding is difficult work, but God invites us through our baptism to the challenging miracle of renewal in the myriad efforts of people form all over the world who are participating in the rebuilding of New Orleans and other communities along the Gulf Coast ...
...Our shared experience of study, dialogue, worship and prayer strengthens our passionate commitment to maintain full participation in the councils of the Anglican Communion. More than one hundred fifty bishops and their spouses attended this meeting. The spirit of our meeting was enriched as we brought a remarkable diversity of perspective and experience to our common work. We regret that several bishops chose to leave the meeting early and did not participate in the development of this message. We genuinely long for full and faithful fellowship with these colleagues and urge them to resume full participation in meetings of the House of Bishops.d
This section just talks about all the lovely things they did while they have been in New Orleans. We'll pick up at line 60:
A significant portion of our time was spent in continuing discernment of our relationships within the Anglican Communion. We engaged in careful listening and straightforward dialogue with our guests. We expressed clearly our corporate belief that the Episcopal Church needs the Anglican Communion, and we heard from our visitors that the Anglican Communion needs the Episcopal Church.
We are grateful that we had this opportunity to hear the concerns of our guests with an immediacy and clarity born of personal presence and contact. This is an important step in what Archbishop Williams described as "a complex process of taking risks, which eventually builds trust." We cannot continue productive conversation without greater level of such trust. In that light, we wish to acknowledge that we have heard our guests' expressions of concern regarding actions and omissions which for them have led to significant diminishment of trust.
Among the concerns we heard were these: We heard that actions taken by the 2003 General Convention have caused great difficulty for some in continuing effective mission and ministry in their own cultural contexts. We heard that we as bishops have sometimes failed to communicate in ways that are sufficiently clear and unambiguous. We heard an expression of concern that we have blurred the distinction between the canonical authorization of public rites of same sex blessing and the allowing of services of blessing for pastoral reasons. We heard from our guests that there is a growing understanding on the part of others in the Anglican Communion that our polity places limitations on our ability as bishops to act independently on some issues. We also heard that many remain frustrated by their view that we as bishops have not always found ways to provide clear and definitive leadership.
Through our deliberations we have come to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is summoning us to a more generous and costly effort to help mend the torn fabric of our Communion. The experience of our time together leads us to offer the following comments. In some cases, we believe these comments provide clarity, and in other cases point toward next steps in an ongoing process of dialogue which necessarily includes the Presiding Bishop, the Executive Council, and the General Convention. Discerning God’s call for our church requires a living partnership among lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons.
1. We affirm and support the PB’s plan to provide Episcopal visitors for dioceses within the Episcopal Church. The Windsor Report (paragraph 152) affirmed that our plan for DEPO is reasonable and saw no reason why such delegated pastoral and sacramental oversight should not be provided by bishops from within this province. We believe the Presiding Bishop’s plan is consistent with DEPO and we thank those bishops who have generously offered themselves for this ministry.
While we have already expressed concerns about the recommendations made by the Primates for a pastoral scheme, we nonetheless urge the PB to continue conversations with those requesting alternative oversight, seeking ways to create and implement arrangements which meet pastoral needs and which do not violate our Constitution and Canons. We urge those requesting such oversight to participate in these conversations and to assist in finding appropriate solutions. We pray that a way forward can be found which will bring an end to the incursions of extra-provincial bishops. These incursions imperil the Communions principle of honoring one another as we work together in good faith on these very difficult issues.
We continue to invite all the provinces of the Anglican Communion to join in the listening process which was embraced by the 1998 Lambeth Conference I prayerfully considering the place of gay and lesbian people in our common life. We look forward to receiving initial reports about this process from every province if the communion and to our own continuing participation with others in this crucial project. We see an important role for the ACC in helping to accomplish this objective, as well as in addressing other important issues that come before us. The ACC is representative of both the lay and ordained members of our constituent churches, and it is the only body possessing a written constitution.
We have attempted to respond to the Primates questions regarding Resolution B033. in honesty we must report that within the HOB there is disagreement as to how this resolution is to be interpreted and applied. As we live with this painful reality, conversation study and prayer will continue. We recognize the challenge our disagreement presents for some in the Communion and we respectfully ask for their patience and forbearance
5. Because we are a liturgical church our actions concerning blessings are expressed in public liturgies. No rite of blessing for persons living in same sex unions has been adopted or approved by our General Convention. We wish to make it clear that the House of Bishops has not voted to authorize such liturgies. Even in the absence of such public rites, we acknowledge that the blessing of same sex unions, no matter how public or private, is unacceptable to some of our brothers and sisters in our own House, in our church, and in the Communion. The issue remains perplexing for us as we seek to balance these concerns about rites of blessing and the pressing pastoral need that confronts us. We wish to offer respect for these differing viewpoints.
We are grateful that the Primates have articulated their support for meeting the individual pastoral needs of gay and lesbian persons. In 2003 they wrote "there is a duty of pastoral care that is laid upon all Christians to respond with love and understanding to homosexual persons." The Primates have written that there must be a breadth of private and pastoral responses to individual situations. It is the case that for many decades, the Episcopal Church has explored the most faithful ways of ministering to and with gay and lesbian people who are part of our common life. We acknowledge that in some of our dioceses this includes the blessing of same sex unions.
6. Those among us who have received an invitation to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference look forward to that gathering with hope and expectation. Many of us are engaged in mission partnerships with bishops and dioceses around the world and cherish those relationships. Lambeth offers a wonderful opportunity to build on those partnerships.
We are mindful that the Bishop of New Hampshire has not yet received an invitation to Lambeth. We are also mindful that the Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed a desire to explore a way to include Bishop Robinson in the Lambeth Conference. Because we believe that this is a matter of importance to the House of Bishops, we propose that the Archbishop of Canterbury invite a small group of bishops appointed by the Presiding Bishop to assist him in facilitating Bishop Robinson's presence and participation.
7. We reaffirm our March 2007 statement in which we said, "We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done is doing in Christ, of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion and peace. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church. We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence, including violence done to women and children as well as those who are persecuted because of their difference, often in the name of God."
In March 2007 we affirmed the "deep longing of our hearts that The Episcopal Church continue as part of the Anglican Communion." At this meeting we engaged in significant discussion about important Communion matters. The spirit of this meeting was good. We were always keenly aware of the prayers that surround us. We give thanks for the faithful women, men, and children who in Christ's name give so much to support the ministries of our church. These blessings cannot be counted.
While we acknowledge that we are not of one mind in all things, we strive to be of one heart. At the beginning of our meeting, our Presiding Bishop reminded us that to go forward in rebuilding our relationships we will need to cooperate with the Spirit and to create a space for the Spirit to work. We recognize that this requires real sacrifice from all our members, yet we know that it is the Cross while leads to life, and we believe that faithful sacrifice will be redeemed. Communion in Christ requires that all of us come to the foot of the Cross. We pray that when we gather there we will greet one another with compassion and thanksgiving.
As bishops we pray for the grace to offer ourselves as servants who are willing to follow Christ through death to the full of resurrection life. We find in the poetry of a hymn sung at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, on Sunday morning both a reflection of our present circumstance and a summation of our hope for our beloved Communion.
The church of Christ in every age,
beset by change but spirit-led,
must claim and test its heritage
and keep on rising from the dead.*
*Wonder, Love, and Praise: Hymn #779. Words: Fred Pratt Green (b. 1903); Copyright 1971 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 6088