Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Blogging the ACC Press Conference now underway ... what happened to the 4th Moritoria?

I am have press credentials stateside for the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council now underway in Jamaica.

Right, they are explaining the difference between the ACO and the ACC. Gregory Cameron is speaking. He is explain how there is a shift to the ACC has become the second instrument of the Anglican Communion. The are discussing procedural issues, where people are going on Sunday and procedural questions about the draft resolutions (there's still only one draft of the Anglican Covenant Resolution and the Windsor Continuation Group Resolution).

(NOTE: One of the major issues that has come up this week with the Windsor Continuation Group Resolution is what happened the Fourth Moritoria? It's in the Windsor Continuation Group's Report but is missing from their resolution. We'll see later that when asked about where it went, Gregory Cameron said he didn't know.)

Resolutions are being highlighted about what the ACC delegates are comfortable with and uncomfortable with but are they are exact resolutions as Monday and Tuesday.

Bishop Gregory Cameron is making a statement.

The Windsor Continuation group has now finished its work. It was setup by Archbishop Rowan during a Joint Standing Committee and the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church in New Orleans (2007). How could it be carried forth - looking toward the future. Cameron is now reminding people what Rowan Williams said when the Windsor Continuation Group was formed.

Two sets of recommendations - listening process and the moratoria should continue and look at establishing a mechanism in the communion to bring their issues of life in the communion.

ACNA - He's now talking about that.

How does the Anglican Communion make a decision that sticks? Cameron says.


Episcopal News Service: The Communion has gone through crises in the past and in those situations we didn't have to have a Covenant or procedures, why is this different?

For each generation responses to the challenges it faces. It has been particularly acute for the Episcopalians because they are no longer sure they can recognize Christian discipleship in their local churches. Rethink the basics, as in the Anglican Covenant. Question about the authority of the Anglican Communion. (Can we make a decision that sticks?)

Is there damage to the communion if a church acts in a way impairs the communion - the Covenant takes it further, ranging from fairly mild rebuke to actual booting them out of the communion (it's a bit challenging to hear, but I think that's what Cameron said).

Section IV in the Covenant: The Windsor Continuation Group and the Anglican Covenant mesh together, we need to have ways to respond as a communion.

Question on the Episcopal Litigation underway - are you powerless to exercise any authority to stop this? Millions of dollars on litigation and hurting the church - what do you think of these laity - there's got to be something.

Cameron is going over the three moratoria - consecration, blessings, and borders. Cameron seems to agree that it would be better to do this outside the courts. Shouldn't seek to recover property and then something about the parishes. Cameron said that the two sides couldn't agree on what's going on.

Pastoral Visitors as Honest Brokers.

Paragraph 34 question - Fourth Moritoria (page 7 and page 10)
Why is it that Continuation Report recommendation makes no direct mention of the fourth moratoria to see the end of litigation.

"I don't know," said Cameron.

Cameron said we tried to step in the Panel of Reference - the two parties wouldn't agree on the facts. This is not true, as in the case of Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, FL and in the Diocese of Ft. Worth.

"We should try to see a restraint of litigation," said Cameron. He would like to see restraint from both sides. He sympathized with those who have been sued.

The parishes continue to express willingness to take part in conversation, said Chris.

Draft Covenant: Cameron mentions the Covenant again. He refers attention to Rowan's Pastoral Visitors.

The press officer ends it. End of Press Conference.

NOTE: Here is the line from the Windsor Continuation Group's Official Report to the Anglican Consultative Council:
34. One of the aggravating factors in these circumstances has been the fact that a fourth moratorium requested by the unanimous voice of the Primates at Dar es Salaam in 2007 - to see the end of litigation - has also been ignored.
Here's what the Resolution now before the ACC says:

47. We recommend that the request for the moratoria expressed in Windsor/Dromantine be maintained in the life of the Communion, and that urgent conversations are facilitated with those Provinces where the application of the moratoria gives rise for concern.
Note that they go back to the Dramantine Communique in 2005, not to the most recent Dar es Salaam Communique in 2008 and they give no reason for this. When asked at today's press conference why the Fourth Moritoria has suddenly and inexplicitly disappeared, Bishop Cameron said, "I don't know."

UPDATE: Have just learned that when Bishop Schori introduced herself to present her resolution on "Peace-Making Dialogues," it's reported that she made it quite clear how many countries and territories she's the primate of and listed them in case anyone forgot. So she's the primate of Columbia, and she's the primate of the Dominican Republic, and of Ecuador, and Europe (the American parts, whatever that is), and Haiti, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and Venezuela. It's reported that, well, unfortunately, it came across to some as an incredible diplomatic faux pas and personal challenge to the Archbishop of Canterbury. So how many countries does he have?

UPDATE: Here is the audio of today's press conference - listen very carefully.

THURSDAY AM UPDATE: Here is Robert Lunday's report:

On a day when the cloud of litigation surrounding The Episcopal Church grows darker, many couldn't help but notice it even from the sunny shores of Jamaica. However this litigious church tempest seems to have escaped the sight of the 14th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council and some of the Anglican Communion's top officials.

Today, a pastor and his wife are being evicted from their home in Colorado Springs. At the same time, the individual members of the vestry of Saint James Newport Beach are being sued by the Diocese of Los Angeles for $500,000 a piece in legal fees for a total of $6 million being sought by the diocese.

This has been the state of affairs in North America for several years now. Like a small crack in the dam, churches started leaving TEC in 2000 and even earlier. TEC and its team of lawyers, bishops and bishops who are also lawyers attempted to squash those churches in court. Shortly after, what's turned out to be a longer yet more amicable process to shore-up the dam, began in the form of the 2004 Windsor Report. According to Bishop Gregory Cameron, Bishop of Asaph and Secretary of the Windsor Continuation Group, this five year process is now concluded and the appropriate recommendations have been made as to how the Anglican Communion can stop the dam from breaking and The Episcopal Church from tearing itself and the Anglican Communion apart. These recommendations were made in the form of the Windsor Continuation Report, a report commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is just one small problem with this report. It seems that when its authors, one of which was Bishop Cameron, wrote the 22 page paper that includes sections titled, "the Seriousness of the present Situation," "Breakdown of Trust," "Turmoil in The Episcopal Church," and "An Ecclesial Deficit," they left out any direct advice on how to deal with what some see as the most glaring and terrible result of this break-up, that black cloud of litigation.

The Windsor Continuation Report to the Archbishop of Canterbury and ACC-14 sets out nine recommendations that its authors felt would best deal with the present crisis in the Anglican Communion. Of the nine recommendations set forward, none of them pertain to the cessation of litigation by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. This omission would not be as ironic if it were not for the fact that the text of the WCG's report does directly refer to the litigation going on in North America. Paragraph 34 says, "...a fourth moratorium requested by the unanimous voice of the Primates at Dar es Salaam in 2007 - to see the end of litigation - has also been ignored." However, when the report's authors decided to make recommendations as to the "four moratoria," they dealt with moratoria one, two, and three (on consecrations of bishops living in a same gender union, permission for rites of blessing for same sex unions, and interventions in provinces) but omitted moratorium number four. Why would they do that?

When asked why this "fourth moratorium" was addressed in the report's content, paragraph 34, but not in its recommendations, the highest level answer I could get was, "I can't tell you the answer to that question." Bishop Gregory Cameron, secretary of the Windsor Continuation Group, long-time friend of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and a man who has been critically involved in every major report coming out of the Anglican Communion for the past five years, could only answer "I don't know" when asked why the fourth moratorium on litigation was not among the most recent WCG recommendations. Bishop Cameron was the sole speaker at an afternoon press conference today concerning the WCG. When asked if the Archbishop of Canterbury, the man who commissioned the WCG, could attend the press conference, reporters were told that he would not be available. As for Bishop Cameron not knowing why this fourth moratorium was not in the recommendations, it was not for lack of knowledge about the costly (both monetary and spiritual) litigation that was happening.

In 2007, Bishop Cameron was intimately involved in what has become the infamous Panel of Reference. This group, a mere speed bump along the Windsor process road, attempted to deal with situations of tension in TEC including situations where lawsuits between churches and their dioceses/province had arisen. In one instance, the case of Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, Florida, Bishop Cameron personally exchanged thoughts and recommendations to the parties involved and was well aware of the extent of the problems and level of emotion involved. In the case of Church of the Redeemer, the parish and its priest submitted to the recommendations of the Panel of Reference, however the Diocese of Florida, those who initiated the lawsuit, would not abide by the Panel's suggestions and preceded to sue the church and take its property. Given the part he played and the light he tried to shine during this dark hour of Christian history, one would think Bishop Cameron would have insisted on the WCG directly addressing the ongoing litigation in North America. Even if the other members of the WCG rebuffed him, the bishop would at least know why the fourth moratorium wasn't addressed. To his credit, Bishop Cameron said that he was aghast at the thought of the lawsuits that were going on and that they should have made more of the fourth moratorium in the WCG's report. He went on to say "I think we ought to see a determined attempt to restrain litigation." The blame for this enormous pastoral oversight should not fall solely on Bishop Cameron but it was he who was the sole defender at today's press conference, despite requests for Archbishop Williams to be there.

This is the state of affairs in the Anglican Communion. Wise, learned, and, capable people abound in the councils of the Church. But when the time comes for them to address critical issues including ones of doctrine, morality, the authority of Scripture, the uniqueness of Christ as Lord and saviour of all, and Christians suing Christians, they call for more conversations and delays, rather than action. There is a place for dialogue and reflection and restraint in the church, but it must be accompanied by a sense of the gravity of the situation. For five years the leadership of the Anglican Communion has thought, reflected and discussed the problems created by The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. At the same time, Christians have been losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their churches. For them, the answer as to why this atrocity is not going to be addressed can not be "I don't know."

Read it all here.


Marie Blocher said...

What a puffed up ego she has. Like some circuit rider boasting he was rector of six congregations to a pastor of one church that is twice the size of all six of his put together.

Anonymous said...

Primate of the YAC....Yankee Anglican Communion.

James said...

She's also Dean of the Good Shepherd School of Theology of Corvallis. You orthodites keep forgetting that.

Anonymous said...

Just as long as she's not my primate, she can call herself anything she wants...

Anam Cara said...

The American parts of Europe means all the US military chaplains stationed there. So she could probably have included Japan, Guam, Iraq, Afghanistan - anyplace there is a US military Episcopal chaplain stationed. In other words: almost the entire world!!!!!!

We sort of ran into this when two children were to be confirmed while stationed overseas - which Bishop would come. We wanted the American bishop who as a priest baptized our oldest. The chaplain wanted his bishop so (he said) his "numbers" would look better when he retired from the military. We discussed the local bishop who wasn't American. To be honest, I no longer remember who it was, just that it wasn't any of those! It was someone else who showed up from the USA.

Pageantmaster said...

It is very hard to believe that St Asaph does not know what became of the 4th moratorium. He attends and as far as I can make out directs on behalf of his master all of the bodies and committees: CDG, WCG, and is at the JSC.

I don't believe a word of it if this is correctly reported.

June Butler said...

Perhaps PB Jefferts-Schori simply wanted to acknowledge the churches in other countries that are under her jurisdiction. Who reported that she made a diplomatic faux pas? The passive tense is quite convenient at times. "It's reported...."

Anonymous said...

Moritoria = plural
Moritorium = singular

Unknown said...

I saw this at Lambeth as well - there is a cultural and social split between the TEC Americans and the British Commonwealth about social decorum. Often, the Americans act in ways in these Anglican social settings that are quite simply astonishing.

That being said, despite our rather grave differences, it seems to be more often cultural, not political. In other words, the Americans don't know the rules.

Or, is that the Americans do know the rules, but don't care?

That is the question.

Sorry about the moritoria/moritorium - the spell checker doesn't recognize either and I was wrestling with them during the live blogging. Thanks for the tutorial, ettu - much appreciated! ;-)


June Butler said...

But you didn't answer my question, Baby Blue. Who reported?

Unknown said...

You want me to tell you my sources? Hmmm ... that's an interesting question. I guess since I'm not saying you can say, "BabyBlue's alleged sources say ..." If you are skeptical, that's okay. It's a very good source.


June Butler said...

BB, knowing sources is good, but I'll let that go. What you report sounds more like an opinion than a fact. Perhaps there are differing opinions?