Thursday, June 05, 2008

It's Thurs. Night: Do you know where the PB is?

Why, she's following in Kenneth Kearon's footsteps, of course!

A month ago we spotted the erstwhile Secretary of the Anglican Communion Office hanging out in the Philippines for a spell, thanks to a local blogger who had breakfast with him. Now it looks like he was just doing the pre-op work and here comes the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, off to have a walk about in a country where there are two - count 'em two - Anglican Provinces on the same soil. Yep. Borders, shmorders.

"Officials of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and Iglesia Filipina Independiente expressed their appreciation to the Presiding Bishop for her leadership and consistent support and solidarity," gushes the breathless Episcopal Life. "National staff of the ECP and representatives from the various sectors of the IFI feted her with warm welcome, fellowship meals and mementos." Well isn't that special. Guess she's got their votes wrapped up.

It appears that Episcopal Life wants very much to have this photo sent about - they helpfully offer instructions on how to download the photo as well as offer two version, high test and low test. We'll oblige. Here's the specs: From left to right, Peter Ng, the Episcopal Church's partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific; Episcopal Church of the Philippines Prime Bishop-elect Edward Malecdan; Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori; U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney; Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), the Most Rev. Godofredo David; and the Rev. Dr. Winfred Vergara, the Episcopal Church's program officer for Asian American Ministries.


Mark Harris said...

bb.. the Philippine Independent Church (PIC)is not listed in the Church of England list of churches of the Anglican Communion but is listed separately, along with the Old Catholics, etc, as a church with which the CofE is in communion.

That list is found at the end of the Canons of the Church of England.

Nor is the PIC listed in the Anglican Communion list.

So there are not two Anglican Provinces in the Philippines, although there are two churches in the Philippines in communion with the Church of England.

And, to make matters more complex, the two churches - the PIC and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines are also in communion with one another, by concordat. The PIC bishops derive their orders in historic succession from the fact that three Episcopal Church bishops laid hands on their bishops in (I think) 1947.

But yes, it appears that two churches in the same "territory" are in communion with Canterbury. I suppose like the PROVO Lutheran churches and the Diocese of Europe (C of E)

BabyBlue said...

Thank you for your post, Mark. As I recall, one of the churches was originally Roman Catholic, the other was started by TEC. Both are in communion with TEC and The Church of England and Kenneth Kearon, secretary of the Anglican Communion Office, visited both when he was there last month. Now Bishop Schori pops over and I know you were there as well. They sure are getting a lot of attention. It is clear that the Philippines presents a problem of parallel jurisdictions and boundaries, especially since both are in communion with TEC and Rowan Williams. As we know, our Anglican identity includes being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Recognition by the Church of England carries with it an extra punch since it includes the Archbishop of Canterbury. Just to be clear.

One of the many struggles lately is in our Anglican identity. 815's position in the litigation in Virginia has been that TEC is a denomination, Nigeria is a denomination, Church of England is a denomination (though they conveniently leaves COE out of it, probably because COE comes with Canterbury which is an issue). But the evidence doesn't add up - Episcopalians are Anglicans, not Roman Catholics or Lutherans or Methodists (and the Lutherans and Methodists don't have a communion where all the bishops are recognized as being in the apostolic succession and thereby interchangeable - for example, the House of Bishops of Canada's "first runner up" for Archbishop was just elected to a diocese in New Zealand, or Tory Baucum, now my rector, is priest in good standing in the Church of England and he as a priest of the Church of England was a candidate for Bishop of Albany in The Episcopal Church). This illustrates clearly that we ar all in the same denomination.

I would say your example about the Episcopal Church European Diocese is more apt when compared not to the Lutherans, but to the Diocese of Spain! Pierre Whelan operates as a bishop over the territory of the Anglican Bishop of Spain.

Again, I appear to be liberal when it comes to structures. My view has not been a legalistic one, but one identified as a common heritage and mission.

The is happening now in Common Cause. Concordants are being passed by Churches in the Anglican tradition not recognized by TEC or COE (though the Reformed Episcopalians were being heavily courted by TEC for recognition before the 2003 General Convention blew that to Kingdom Come) and have been in talks with other Anglican Communion entities. I believe African provinces had all ready recognized the orders of some of these Anglican churches). Now that Episcopal Diocesan bishops are in communion with these Anglican churches continues to build bridges, not burn them.

Again, I long for a protocol like we had which provided a healthy space, a separation - not a divorce - where we could begin to examine ways in which we could stay in communion as close as possible without residing in the same structures. It was a generous Anglicanism and one that showed grace and compassion and hope to all parties, even though the divide is great and seems incermountable. That is certainly the case now as relationships continue to fragment and shatter.

I am glad, though, that we are still talking and I appreciate your post and its clarification. God bless you.


Rick Arllen said...

More to the point, it appears the Pb (funny, Pb is also the Periodic Table of Elements internationally recognized symbol for lead. Coincidence?) really is jaunting about the Third World to demonstrate the proof of the assertion of her minions that our poor backward brothers and sisters of those backwater outposts of Anglicanism will certainly rally around any noble white person who will host them at a chicken dinner. Since the cheap dinner ploy worked so well bringing Archbishop Akinola and Archbishop Orombi and other orthodox non-Western church leaders to heel, it should work even better with those who have been made dependent on the largess of TEF (The Episcopal Francise).