Monday, June 29, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury meets with Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar

From here:

How do you evaluate the meetings you had at the Ecumenical Patriarchate during your present stay at the Phanar?

"It has been a wonderful couple of days; we have had an opportunity to talk with several people at the Phanar about our ecumenical relations, about our hopes, our anxieties because both of churches are facing considerable problems at the moment. We talked very honestly and very helpful about that and it has been an immense privilege and joy to be with the Patriarch, to spend personal time with him and to share in worship with him, it is always a gift to which I am very grateful to be here."

How do you characterize the course of dialogue between the Anglican and Orthodox Churches?

"We are planning the next round of the dialogue, the document that has come out so far, from the dialogue over the last maybe twenty years has already had a very positive impact in many ways. We now begin on a new course of work which starts later this year thinking about the Christian doctrine of human nature. We have our membership lined up; we have our subject matter defined, so I think the prospects are very good."

Last year (2008), the Time Magazine chose the Ecumenical Patriarch as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. At that time you wrote about the personality of the Patriarch that he is "an Eastern Orthodox leader that defines environmentalism as a spiritual responsibility" among Leaders and Revolutionaries.

"I have heard the Ecumenical Patriarch's name was one of those being talked about, and because I so greatly admire him as a theologian and as a pastor and as a person, I felt that it was a privilege to be able to say something in praise of him and the way in which he has I think created a role for the Ecumenical Patriarchate worldwide by teaching his teaching/ advocacy on environmental matters and the Christian approach to environmental questions, that has been a great example to many of us."

Read it all here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Episcopal Community" propose replacement bylaws to expel non-TEC members from the Order of the Daughters of the King

UPDATE: It's been learned that the official bylaws of the Order of the Daughters of the King stipulate that any proposed amendments (or, as in the case of the "Episcopal Community," amendments to the amendments) to the bylaws must be presented to the chapters three months before the start of the Triennial. As I think all DOK members may attest, these massive changes to the bylaws have only been circulated in the last week by the "Episcopal Community." Triennial starts this week. What's up with that? Do they honestly think the bylaws do not apply to them? That can't be right. I honestly do not understand why these sisters want to expell their fellow sisters from the Order. This is not a club. We don't blackball members who have taken their vows before God and their rector. As a friend tonight at dinner said, "this is not Junior High."

Proposed bylaws being submitted by a faction called the "Episcopal Community" is seeking to expel the non-TEC members from the Order of the Daughters of the King.

The draft bylaws now being circulated in anticipation to next month's Triennial include entire sections of the current by-laws rewritten so that those non-TEC members who are in the Order now will be expelled from membership.

The draft reads, "All members must be women communicants of The Episcopal Church (hereinafter referred to as TEC, formerly known as the Episcopal Church of the United States of America) . At no time shall any non-TEC person have seat or voice or vote or hold office or serve as chaplain in TEC Daughters of the King."

In addition, the wearing of the Daughters of the King cross will only be granted to so-called "parallel structures" (separate but equal?) by explicit permission of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church following a rigorous consent process of the Episcopal-only membership. "Non-TEC parallel Orders may ... apply to the full National Council of TEC Daughters of the King for a license to use the name, cross, and such other items as may belong to this Order," reads the Episcopal Community draft Article IV:I. "The decision of the National Council to grant such license must be ratified by the membership and consented to by the Presiding Bishop of TEC."

The rest of the bylaws are rewritten so to reflect the expulsion of the non-TEC Daughters, clarifying that no one who is not in TEC can be in the Order of the Daughters of the King. The entire Section IV on membership has been deleted and rewritten in this draft being circulated by the "Episcopal Community." If this attempt is successful, it would mean that the Anglican chapters, as well as Lutherans and Roman Catholics will all be expelled from membership in the Order.

This viewpoint is a far cry from what was experienced at the recent Province III Daughters of the King annual retreat which you may read more about here. More information on this attempt at expulsion may be found here. It does make the heart sad.

The Order of the Daughters of the King will hold their Triennial next month in Anaheim. Please, please, please pray for that gathering and for the witness of Province III and others who seek to hold the Order together and not break apart.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Farewell to our Elvis

I remember the day that Elvis died. I was living in Hawaii, a place that Elvis Presley loved and when he died the islands went into mourning. I bought my first Elvis record then. I knew he was big deal, like Jack Benny or Bob Hope, only younger. Elvis was too young for my parent's generation, and too old for mine. But I still remember when he died. They called him simply The King.

Another king, the heir apparent, died yesterday. I remember Michael Jackson too from childhood. I was ten, maybe eleven years old. I used to watch Saturday morning cartoons and both the Osmonds and the Jackson 5 had Saturday morning cartoon shows. There was a press rivalry between Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond - in fact, I remember when the two of them presented an award, it might have been the American Music Awards. My friends and I taped it with our bulky and awkward cassette tape recorders pressed against the single mono-speaker of our color TV. And then we played it over and over again.

A clip of that show is on YouTube:

My friends and I had that clip memorized. We thought it was the coolest thing. It's still pretty cute. This was how I remembered Michael Jackson when I was growing up.

And then of course, came Off the Wall, and then craziness with Thriller and those younger days were like they never happened. Now he really was cool.

And then the crash and burn, like Elvis. Over in an instant - and it wasn't as if we didn't see it coming. Bob Dylan, of course, crashed too. But he didn't burn. Gotta wonder about that.

Michael Jackson was immensely talented, who broke down racial barriers almost when no one was looking, before things got really strange, before the roots were pulled out and he was set adrift, lost.

Lots will be written about the life and death of Michael Jackson. For those of us here at the Cafe, though - through the Thriller, and the Billie Jean, and the Rock with You, and the Don't Stop Until You Get Enough, and the Off the Wall, and the Beat It days - we still go back in time, to the less-than-cool days, but perhaps realer days, to the first Michael Jackson song I ever bought and say good-bye.

Good-bye, Michael. Tell Elvis, hey.

Bishop Minns reports on the ACNA Assembly

via e-mail:

“The assembly meeting was a wonderful coming together of the various jurisdictions represented in the Anglican Church in North America. Everyone was determined to make it work and we kept our eyes on Jesus and the Gospel.

“Since day one, CANA has been and will continue to be a full participant in the life of the new province, and will continue to maintain our own identity. We will encourage groups of congregations, when they are ready, to establish themselves as free-standing dioceses. Our goal is to support the work, mission, and ministry of the Gospel on this continent and bring our own particular distinctive to that task.

“CANA congregations now have a ‘dual citizenship.’ They are members of the Church in Nigeria and as a result of that relationship, full members of the global Anglican Communion. CANA congregations are also members of the Anglican Church in North America and will participate fully in the life of the new province.

“CANA is unique in its connection to the largest province in the Anglican Communion, the Church of Nigeria, which represents about 25 percent of the entire population of the Communion. CANA also has a distinct connection with the GAFCON and Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans movement, and with the Global South. We have a radical commitment to ministry of the poor which crosses all ethnic lines, to planting new churches, equipping the next generation for leadership in the church, and educating the church about how to engage with a resurgent Islam in North America.

“The future involves radical inclusion, profound transformation, and inspired service. The vision has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same and the Gospel remains unchanged. The new province has given us a way to do this work more effectively and more collaboratively.”
UPDATE: Here is a Q&A with Bishop Minns and members of the CANA delegation to the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Assembly:
What were your impressions of the inaugural Assembly and what do you hope ACNA will achieve?
It was a wonderful coming together of the various jurisdictions represented in the Anglican Church in North America, everyone was determined to make it work and we kept our eyes upon Jesus and the gospel.

CANA is a founding member of ACNA. Please describe how CANA will operate as a member of ACNA.
Since Day 1, CANA has been and will continue to be a full participant in the life of the new province, and will continue to maintain our own identity. We will encourage groups of congregations when they are ready, to establish themselves as free-standing dioceses. Our goal is to support the work, mission, and ministry of the gospel on this continent and bring our own particular distinctive to that task.

Will any CANA districts such as the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) or the Anglican District of the Great Lakes (ADGL) apply to become a new diocese in ACNA?
In time, it is expected that several clusters will be formed and will apply for recognition. In the coming months I will be working with groups across CANA who are wanting to explore this process.

The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) amended its constitution to include CANA. Will CANA continue to have an official relationship with the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)?
Yes we will. Part of the work this summer is to meet with the canonical lawyers in the Church of Nigeria to work on this process. CANA has a significant number of Nigerian clergy and congregations. For many in CANA - both Nigerian and non-Nigerian - our link with the Anglican Church of Nigeria is important. We are also reminded through this link that the body of Christ is larger than North America and that we are members of the global family of believers.
Will CANA congregations have two Archbishops: Archbishop Bob Duncan of ACNA and Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria?
CANA congregations will continue to be under my leadership as Missionary Bishop. I will continue to be a missionary bishop in the Church of Nigeria, however I will be working closely with Archbishop Duncan in the work that takes place in North America. For a period of time, CANA congregations will have a 'dual citizenship'. They will be members of the Church in Nigeria and as a result of that relationship, full members of the global Anglican Communion. CANA congregations are also members of the Anglican Church in North America. CANA is a founding member and full participant in ACNA and will participate fully in the life of the new province.

Will CANA congregations have to join a new diocese in ACNA or will they be able to stay as CANA congregations?
No one will be required to change anything. I am encouraging CANA churches to move forward and develop missionary structures that help us do the work of the gospel.

What distinctives can CANA offer member churches and ACNA?
First, our connections with the largest Province of the Anglican Communion, the Church of Nigeria which represents about 25% of the entire population of the Communion. CANA also has a distinct connection with the GAFCON and Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans movement, and with the Global South. We have a radical commitment to ministry of the poor which crosses all ethnic lines, to planting new churches, equipping the 'next generation' for leadership in the church, and educating the church about how to engage with a resurgent Islam in North America.

Are new congregations and clergy joining CANA?
Absolutely. The numbers continue to grow. We are welcoming new clergy and new congregations on a regular basis. We also have a growing number of individuals who are seeking ordination.

As you consider the inauguration of ACNA and the continued ministry of CANA, what are some of the challenges and opportunities that are ahead?
We need to keep our eyes fixed on the gospel and mission, rather than becoming side-tracked with lots of debates and discussion about the things we disagree over. Sometimes questions about structure can consume us; however, I believe we need to keep focused on the local congregation fulfilling the mission of the gospel.

On a personal level, you have worked hard to see ACNA established. What now is the future for Martyn Minns?
This is only the very first step. A lot of work remains to be done. By God's grace, I anticipate being involved in this ongoing work to find ways where we can have a common mission and strategy across the nation; ways where our worship can have a common life, common governance so that structures serve the ministry of the church! There is a huge amount of work still to be done. I will also continue to encourage clergy to faithfully fulfill the ministry that has been entrusted to them and offer leadership in the growth of the local church and the planting of new congregations.

This week we found out that churches and clergy in the USA formerly under the jurisdiction of Uganda now are part of their own diocese within the new province. Does that mean they are no longer members of ADV?
Those who are in Virginia remain part of ADV in mission and ministry. Their new jurisdictional home was established so that the clergy and congregations associated with Uganda could be transferred and become part of only the Anglican Church in North America and no longer be canonically resident or under the jurisdiction of Uganda.
How will the roles of various bishops who have helped orthodox congregations through this transition change within the new province?
We are going to invite some of the bishops who have assisted in the past to serve as episcopal consultants; they will therefore be part of the college of bishops in the new province. Some of the bishops will have a change in their assignments and this will help to further strengthen our shared life together.
Will the constitution and canons for ACNA continue to change and is there a formal group tasked with overseeing that process?
I believe that we have a strong foundation from which we can move forward. There will be a group that will be tasked to deal with any changes or amendments. Archbishop Duncan chose as the first chancellor for the ACNA the best person for the job: Hugo Blankingship. Hugo is a supremely distinguished canonical lawyer who loves Jesus and the church. He was the son of a bishop, a former member of Truro Church, and more recently of The Falls Church (Falls Church, Virginia). Also, CANA's own Chancellor Scott Ward will be the assistant ACNA chancellor assisting Hugo for affairs in the USA, while Mrs. Cheryl Chang will help in Canada.

How does the ACNA constitution address church property issues?
As is the case in CANA, the emphasis in ACNA is on each congregation owing its own property. We have made it very clear that there will be no claims made against local church property by the Province - in contrast to what The Episcopal Church is doing.

What is the vision for the future?
The challenge is to keep our eyes firmly fixed upon the Lord himself and to keep the main thing as the main thing. The future involves radical inclusion, profound transformation, and inspired service. The vision has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same and the gospel remains unchanged! The new province has given us a way to do this work more effectively and more collaboratively.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Amazing Procession

Here it is, possibly my favorite moment this week:

It just says so much more than words. The extraordinary prelude, I understand, was commissioned for this service by the rector of Christ Church Plano. The prelude captures so well what it has felt like these past months, yes, even years. To God be the glory.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Live Blogging the ACNA Installation Service

Scenes as people find their seats before the service begins:

An overview of the crowds that packed Christ Church Plano for the installation of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, only find an old friend from Truro in the crowd.

Just recorded the most amazing procession of clergy and bishops into Christ Church Plano. It was just really moving to me - I recognized so many of those who processed in and know some of their stories and it just really moved me to see them come in to a new beginning.

Here it is:

The introduction to Praise My Soul, The King of Heaven was incredible - what an arrangement which in the service program says is by John Watson. It just evoked so much feeling, of a journey into the desert. We may not be entirely out of the desert, but the music with the drums was filled to the brim with mystery and drama.

It was clear to me that the master of organization of the service (I am sure there is an Episcopal/Anglican word for it!) was Bishop Martyn Minns, who stood in the back and shepherded in all the participants who walked in orderly and on time. Ah, some things just do not change. How many times have I seen him in the exact same position, standing at the door in the Narthex of Truro Church, only now to find him standing at this door, shepherding in a new province.

There are all kinds of clergy here, from all walks and streams of life, as I am sure is true for the laity in the pews. The diversity is rather wonderful, for what draws them together is a common faith in Jesus Christ and a word of blessing to one another, as those who have walked together through fire and storm, man and woman alike.

The scriptures are from Psalm 85:7-13, from Isaiah 40:1-11, from Acts 13:14-26, and now from Luke 1:57-80 which is being read at this moment. Archbishop-elect Bob Duncan is next and will be preaching.

It interesting - they take the song of praise, pause to do the Gospel, and then do a reprise of the song. Very good!

Bob Duncan is now at the pulpit/lectern. He is dressed in a white and gold cope. He begins by recognizing that today is the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist and gives thanks that today is not the Feast of the beheading of John the Baptist, such a day exists, but not today.

Today is also the day of Scottish Independence with Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. Today is also the day that Henry VIII was crowned King of England 500 years ago. He talks about how a leader of the church gone astray, confiscating the property of the church along the way - but instead, to remind ourselves about Romans 8:28 how God works all things according to His purpose.

It's not about the past, Bishop Duncan says, or what we've come out of. We are not to be reactive in our course forward in our ministry, as Rick Warren reminded us, or the vision of a terrible war and conflict and yet to be called to another place, to come up the stairs of treasure and a voice saying, that war is not your war anymore, as Edwina Thomas of SOMA said. It's not your war anymore, that's all done.

It was hard for us to hear, Bishop Duncan said, the words - that some of the things that separate us from the Orthodox are also those things that separate us from one another.

No, it's time for us. There are Calvin Anglicans - right? And there are women in Holy Orders, right? The miracle of this moment is that the Lord has brought us together to do mission, not papering over the differences or just putting it down. Rather, to stand as we stand and be prepared to talk with Christian brothers and sisters about the truth and unity that comes in Jesus Christ.

It's not about the past. We have been brought together for a noble work and God has blessed this journey and he's ready to bless in great measure as we move forward in our respect for one another.

It's not about me, Bishop Duncan says. "I get to wear all the stuff," he says, "but it's only about me about the servant of the servants of God." It's when we go, the further we go down the more the Lord lifts us up.

The timing and the message is about us and about God. It's about messengers and the message and about the method. Bishop Duncan will speak to each.

We will not miss God's message to us - what is it He wants us to be? He wants us to be messengers, for-runners, witnesses, where we're headed and what we are to do. It's about being messenger of Him. We go before Him to prepare His way.

He wants us to be messengers, He wants us to be forerunners - it's a wilderness out there.

(BB NOTE: You can also follow people twittering the service here.)

He's telling the story of his flight on the plane and of the big guy who came and sat down next to him in the middle seat. The fellow was wearing a shirt with expletives. He opened up a book and started reading about the 12 steps. So now, Bishop Duncan - am I supposed to talk to this guy? Bishop Duncan asked him his name and noticed that he was reading the 12 steps. He asked how long he'd been sober? The young man said he'd gotten out of rehab two days ago.

Bishop Duncan, knowing that he'd never done this on a plane before, he asked the young man, "Do you have a faith?" The young man said no, he was not raised in any faith. He had been suffering with alcohol since he was fifteen and now he was twenty-five. He's trying to get well and he has a family. He's trying to start over. He needs to know he has been forgiven. He needs to know that God loves him. And he needs to know that there is a power of God who can help him get out of the mess he's in. Who's going to tell him but us?

Bishop Duncan talked with him, that he would be praying for him, and got others to pray for him as well. We are to be forerunners, have to prepare the way. God is coming in the flesh - and it's His flesh and our flesh. He's the main thing - He wants to come into every town and village and He's sending us ahead of Him, we are His messengers.

Are you ready?
Are you willing?

The message: Taking a second look at Luke 1 - the message to give salvation to His people in the forgiveness in their sins. It's about forgiveness. The way that people know the knowledge of salvation they know that they are forgiven.

Light in darkness, the light is the life of man. The message is that not only is there forgiveness, there is life, no shadow of death. That is the message. Then He says, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. The young man on the plane needed to know that he was forgiven, that he has life, and that he had power accessible to do what would be impossible if he didn't have it. We need to guide our feet in the way peace.

What is really important - this passage is one of the most recited passages of scripture, along with the Magnificant. God wants us to prepare His way, by telling them about forgiveness, about the light, about the peace.

Those who are the thrones get thrown off - to go off and prepare the way. Liturgy is great stuff, Bishop Duncan says.

Final thing: the method. What does God want us to do - ten suggestions.
1. Embracing our identity as messengers, as forerunners.
2 Doing what pleases the Lord, growing in unity and charity so that people will see how we love one another.
3. Welcome back the wounded.
4. Calling and equipping and modeling to a new generation of leaders - never too young.
5. In the next five years Bishop Duncan wants us to plant 1,000 churches. The congregation breaks out in applause. "We can do that, there's 700 churches now."
6. We've got to be about the business of engaging Islam and secularism, and materialism - but especially Islam. There is only one way to the Father - it is the only way, it's a matter of life and death. The congregation breaks out in more applause.
7. We need to be about the great corporate acts of mercy - loving the hungry, the thirty, the strangers, the sick, those in prison, and being with them.
8. Blessing of creative ministry responses - we don't have to do everything as it's been done, but believe everything as it has been believed.
9. We need to get much better to get scripture by heart.
10. We need to be praying, giving thanks, rejoicing in all circumstances.
If you are trying to recall what it's all about. Remember the birth of John the Baptist - remember his father's words, as is our Father's word over us, His vision for us. "You my child shall be called the prophet most high, you shall go before the Lord to prepare the way." Brothers and sisters, let us do this together.


The Presentation

The Presentation now begins. The presenters have gathered at the front. "Rt. Rev'd Father in God, we present to you this godly and learned man to be recognized and invested as Archbishop and Primate of this Church."

They are now reading what is called the Mandate.

He has now taken his oaths:

We, as the people, now promise that we will pray for Archbishop Duncan.

The congregation now goes to prayer.

Preparation is now underway for the anointing.

Archbishop Duncan is now anointed by the Anglican Primate of Kenya, an Archbishop of the Anglican Communion in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"You are to know the people and be known by them."

Now comes the giving of the primatial cross and presentation.

Now Nara Dewar Duncan, Archbishop Duncan's wife, comes to his side.

The Archbishop is now presented to the people.

Live from the Installation of an Archbishop

Press Conference now underway at Christ Church Plano prior to the Installation of the Archbishop

The Press Conference at Christ Church Plano is now underway in preparation for the installation of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Rt. Rev'd Bob Duncan.

So far we've heard from Bishop Duncan, Michael Howell, Bishop Martyn Minns, Bishop Jack Iker and Ms Chang, Chancellor.

Q & A is now starting.

Here is Part One of the Press Conference:

Here is Part Two of the Press Conference:

Part Three of the Press Conference:

"We are uniting 700 congregations, and more importantly committed Anglican believers, in the north and in the south, on the west coast, and the east coast. We are oriented toward a hopeful future again. And the main thing is the mission of Jesus Christ. That mission is carried forward by us, His people, who are loved Bod God and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God loves everyone. God calls us to share that Good News with everyone." -Archbishop Bob Duncan

On the road to the installation of an archbishop

Join us in the press van as we head from St. Vincent's Cathedral, Ft. Worth to Christ Church Plano, Texas for the installation of the archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America:

St. James Anglican formally petitions the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn decision

via e-mail:

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – June 24, 2009 – St. James Anglican Church, which is at the center of a nationally publicized church property dispute with The Episcopal Church, today will file a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States. St. James is asking the Court to overturn a prior decision of the California Supreme Court, which conferred a special power on certain religious denominations to take property they do not own simply by passing an internal “rule.” The petition asks the Supreme Court to decide whether, under the U.S. Constitution, certain religious denominations can disregard the normal rules of property ownership that apply to everyone else.

Dr. John Eastman, a nationally recognized constitutional law scholar, has joined the legal team to pursue the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. A response from the Court regarding the St. James petition can be expected as early as October 2009. A decision could be reached as early as mid-2010.

“We will be arguing to the U.S. Supreme Court that the California Supreme Court’s interpretation of state law has violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment says Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Even though it says Congress, that Amendment has been interpreted as applicable to the states as well.” Eastman said. “The California Supreme Court has given a preference to certain kinds of churches that claim to be hierarchical, that other churches and non-religious associations are not entitled to, and that violates the establishment clause. We will also be arguing that denying the local church community their ability to organize and hold title to their own building and conduct their religious services in a manner they see fit, this California decision violates their right to the free exercise of religion,” Eastman added.

Under longstanding law, no one can unilaterally impose a trust over someone else’s property without their permission. Yet, in the decision titled Episcopal Church Cases, the California Supreme Court ruled that certain denominations – those that claim to be a “superior religious body or general church” – can unilaterally impose a trust on the property of spiritually affiliated but separately incorporated local churches, resulting in the local church forfeiting its property if it ever chooses to leave the denomination. St. James will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that this preferential treatment for certain denominations violates the U.S. Constitution.

The constitutional issues St. James is raising before the U.S. Supreme Court go far beyond the Episcopal Church. Every local church, temple, synagogue, parish, spiritual center, congregation or religious group which owns its own property through a religious corporation, and has some affiliation with a larger religious group, is at risk of losing its own property under the California Supreme Court’s ruling. As a result, religious freedom is suppressed, as those who have sacrificed to build their local religious communities are now at risk of having their properties taken based on some past, current or future spiritual affiliation. A United States Supreme Court decision in favor of St. James would benefit local church property owners throughout the country because it would allow them the ability to freely exercise their religion without risk of losing their property.

While petitions for review with the U.S. Supreme Court are never assured, there are compelling arguments for the Justices to grant this petition, including these facts:

· Dozens of church property cases are percolating in the court system, lacking clear constitutional direction.

· States are in conflict regarding the handling of church property cases.

· These issues have garnered widespread national attention and involve important questions of federal constitutional law.

The people of St. James Church have owned, and sacrificed to build and acquire their church properties for many decades without any financial support from the Episcopal Church. St. James Church never agreed to relinquish its property to the Episcopal Church upon a change of religious affiliation, and has consistently maintained that it has the right to use and possess its own property.

Even as St. James seeks a place on the Supreme Court calendar, the church’s legal battle has returned to the Orange County Superior Court. “While we are surprised that the California Supreme Court would prefer certain religions over others when it comes to property ownership, the battle in this case is far from over,” said Eric C. Sohlgren, lead attorney and spokesperson for St. James. “The case has already returned to the Orange County Superior Court. Because St. James had an early victory in 2005 by legally attacking the Episcopal allegations, we now look forward to presenting evidence and additional legal arguments on behalf of St. James. For example, St. James has brought a complaint against the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles based on a 1991 written promise that it would not claim a trust over the property of St. James on 32nd Street in Newport Beach. We had hoped Episcopal leaders would abide by this promise, but they sued St. James and its volunteer directors anyway.”

Click here for a copy of the writ of certiorari which will be filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court:

For more information, please visit the website:

Archbishop of Canterbury will not preach at the General Convention Eucharist

The Episcopal Church announced today that Rowan Williams will only make "a presentation addressing the world's economic crisis during a panel discussion webcast" during the 2009 General Convention of The Episcopal Church, rather than follow in his predecessors' footsteps when he attends the General Convention next month in Anaheim.

Over at least the past thirty years. the Archbishop of Canterbury has been a participant and preacher at the official General Convention Eucharist. But this year, the current Archbishop of Canterbury's involvement will be reduced to making a speech at a panel discussion webcast and perhaps lead a morning Bible Study.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, preached at a General Convention Eucharist in 1997. Robert Runcie also preached at a General Convention Eucharist in 1985. And Donald Coggan also preached at a General Convention Eucharist in 1976.

Earlier reports had Rowan Williams attending one of the morning Bible Studies to offer a meditation, but the Bible Studies have since been replaced with "listening process" exercises instead.

Note, however, how an earlier report noted that both Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson would be preachers at a "worship service," while Rowan Williams will only conduct a "Bible Study." The Eucharist and United Thank Offering, which has usually been the venue for the Archbishop of Canterbury to preach, will have the Presiding Bishop be both celebrant and preacher. A no-show then for the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rowan Williams will be one of many speakers at the non-ecclesiastical event, "Christian Faithfulness in the Global Economic Crisis" in Anaheim.

"While I don't want to make too much of this point," Jim Naughton of Episcopal Cafe wrote earlier this year, "the fact is that Rowan Williams has kept his liturgical distance from the Episcopal Church since the consecration of Gene Robinson. He has never worshipped at a church in the Diocese of Washington, despite frequent week-long visits to Georgetown University (where he sometimes invites guests to a Eucharist in a private chapel followed by breakfast.) He lived a stone's throw from three of our church a couple of summers ago while he was on Sabbatical, yet never visited one of them. He turned down an invitation to participate in the year-long 100th anniversary celebration of the National Cathedral. It doesn't seem to me too much of a leap to conclude that for one reason or another he'd prefer not to be seen associating too closely with Episcopalians in any sort of voluntary, un-official, what-choice-did-I-have kind of way."

"No doubt he has his reasons," Jim Naughton wrote.

The point is, at least this time, that Rowan Williams was not invited to celebrate the Eucharist at General Convention by Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson. And at the end of the day, that remains the point.

Breaking News: Orthodox Church in America breaks off ecumenical relations with The Episcopal Church

From The Living Church: Metropolitan Jonah will announce this morning that the Orthodox Church in America has ended ecumenical relations with the Episcopal Church and is establishing formal ecumenical relations with the Anglican Church in North America.

Day Three of the ACNA Provincial Assembly

Here we are starting the third day of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Provincial Assembly in Ft. Worth, Texas. The legislative part of the assembly was finished yesterday with the ratification of the canons. Today we hear from Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America this morning. The other major highlight today is the installation of the Rt. Rev'd Bob Duncan as the new archbishop which will take place tonight at Christ Church, Plano.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Bishop Duncan was asked about his relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury and whether he would welcome Bishop Duncan in the Anglican Communion. "What we have is an openness," said Bishop Duncan. "The Archbishop of Canterbury and I are in regular contact. He is determined, and has asked my permission to send one of the Pastoral Visitors ... he will be here to listen and to observe." Indeed, Bishop Santosh Marray, sent by Rowan Williams, has been here sitting in the front row of the sessions.

We're to be shuttled out there this afternoon - I've never been to Plano, so this will be another adventure!

Wednesday at the Cafe

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Breaking News: Anglican Church of Uganda recognizes the Anglican Church in North America

The Anglican Church of Uganda has now officially recognized the Anglican Church in North America and has transferred all their bishops and clergy to the ACNA, Bishop John Guernsey just announced to the ACNA Assembly in Ft. Worth.

This came just as the ACNA Canons were ratified on the floor. The ACNA Constitution was ratified yesterday.

ACNA Provincial Council turns focus on the canons

Canons are here:

The legislative session begins and there has been a motion to table a motion to adopt the canons by acclamation.

There are amendments that are being entertained. They are going through the amendments. And now have turned to Title One.

Diocese of Pittsburgh - on Title One on Canon 10, section 2.8 - concerning the duties of the laity. He's focusing on his concern on the language of the "duties" - would like it sent back for reconsideration. It's about the duties of the laity:
Section 2 - Concerning Duties of the Laity
It shall be the duty of every member of the Church:
1. To worship God, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, every Lord’s Day in a Church
unless reasonably prevented;
2. To engage regularly in the reading and study of Holy Scripture and the Doctrine of the
Church as found in Article I of the Constitution of this Church;
3. To observe their baptismal vows, to lead an upright and sober life, and not give scandal to the
4. To present their children and those they have led to the Lord for baptism and confirmation;
5. To give regular financial support to the Church, with the biblical tithe as the minimum
standard of giving;
6. To practice forgiveness daily according to our Lord’s teaching;
7. To receive worthily the Sacrament of Holy Communion as often as reasonable;
8. To observe the feasts and fasts of the Church set forth in the Anglican formularies;
9. To continue his or her instruction in the Faith so as to remain an effective minister for the
Lord Jesus Christ;
10. To devote themselves to the ministry of Christ among those who do not know Him, utilizing
the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives them, for the effective extension of Christ’s Kingdom.
So the people are coming up to the mic to discuss the roles and duties of the laity. Now a member of the Governance Task Force is defending why the spelled out the duties of the laity to call them out in mission.

Ohio- a call is made to take it canon by canon as was done with the Constitution instead of jumping all around. A very good point, I am having a deje vu all over again after ACC in Jamaica. We're not going canon by canon but are suddenly talking about the laity in Canon 10. Bishop Duncan is not chairing this session either.

Bishop Ackerman is now at the podium opposing sending this section back to the committee.

Neil Lebhar speaks in favor of sending it back to the committee and the other alternative is to amend it, but it would be better to send it back to committee for clarifying the formularity. It is unclear.

Bishop Bill is at the podium and is asking for a friendly amendment that will send the Canon back to the committee to clarify the feasts and fasts.

Someone - a clergy - has just stood up where he was and now he's running up to the to the mic - there is a lack of clarity, and said this is a different order, a different category - a different nature than they others.

Another clergy is at the podium saying that it's the clergy who should be encouraging the laity and help clarify this title. He is from AMiA.

Another clergyman has taken the mic and is saying he opposes sending it back. Anglican formularities are vague because there are so many jurisdictions coming together with different formularities and so the language is vague. The point is to observe Feasts and Fasts and claim that laity are obligated to observe as clergy are.

Where are the laity -

Another bishop has taken the podium, one from Canada, is saying that they need to get back to the process or this will just go on, either take it as is or send it back.

The person at the mic is talking about what should be left to the diocese should be left there as a princple of subsidarity. The chair just says it's time to go to a vote. A minority voted to send it back and the vast majority voted to retain it.

The chair is now saying he will go canon by canon.

Point of order. Bill Thompson, asked whether they need to take the whole section out and improve it. The chair is saying that they will go canon by canon.

A motion and ready to vote on Title One. It has passed.

Title Two - a bishop takes the podium to introduces Title Two. Seconded. He's now asking if there are any questions on each canons. Neil Lebhar stands up to Canon 2 about authorizing 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Then another lay person asked about the Book of Common Prayer as well.

Canon 2
Of the Standard Book of Common Prayer
Section 1 -
The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the
Ordinal attached to the same, are received as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline,
and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
Until such time as a Book of Common Prayer for use in this Province has been adopted, all
authorized Books of Common Prayer of the originating jurisdictions shall be permitted for use in
this Church.
Section 2 -
It is understood that there is a diversity of uses in the Province. In order to use these rich liturgies
most advantageously, it is the responsibility of the Bishop with jurisdiction to ensure that the
forms used in Public Worship and the Administration of the Sacraments be in accordance with
Anglican Faith and Order and that nothing be established that is contrary to the Word of God as
revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

They are discussing a common Book of Common Prayer, but in the meantime they recognize there are several. They continue to go Canon by Canon - and now up to Canon 4 on the Adminstration of the Sacraments and a request to send it back regarding the standards of receiving the sacraments, i.e. like the Diocese of Ft. Worth (which has a lot more restrictions than just to be baptized and welcomed in your own church, as we have at Truro). The Diocese of Ft. Worth has many more stipulations that communicants must observe before they take communion and is concerned about lessoning the requirements and would like it sent back to include repentant of sins as in the early prayer books. It has been moved and seconded.

Canon 4.3:5 - Discussion is now requested. But there seeems to be no one (Bob Duncan has now entered the room). A person has gone to the Mic and is reading that this is in fact is observed. Another minority voted in favor and the great majority voted no.

No questions on 5, 6, 7 - and a question on Canon 8:

Recommend to send Sections 2 and 3 back to committee. There is a motion but no second. Title Two is received with no opposition. Bob Duncan is now on the platform and is being briefed and asked if he would like to take over, to much laughter. The current chair is now briefing Bob Duncan again on what has all ready transpired. He is recalling that the motion was table to just acclaim the canons and that it would be reconsidered at 30 minutes into the process.

Bob Duncan is now asking if the Assembly would like to accept all the canons by acclamation. Wick Stevens said there are technical problems because there are amendments that have not yet come before the body. A bishop says that they should tackle the 30 minutes postponement - Reformed Episcopal Church rules are being followed, rather than Roberts Rules.

Bob Duncan now asks that a motion is before the assembly to take each canon at a time.

The person at the mic says that part of the Reformed Episcopal Church rules says that the motions include prayer - and Bob Duncan asks the clergyman at the mic to lead the assembly in prayer.

The prayer comes at a very good time, it's been a bit confusing. But now there is an opportunity for clarity. "Reform us first before you reform the church," the clergyman prays.

Bishop Duncan asks that they consider each of the remain titles in order. Bob Duncan says there are eccumenical guests and missioners who want to speak to the Assembly. He's encouraging the Assembly to move on rather than to spend the entire time on the canons.

Mr. Murphy rises and removes his motion from the floor.

We are now moving to Title III.

Of Ministers, Their Recruitment, Preparation, Ordination, Office, Practice, and Transfer. But before that happens we are hearing about a missionary in Cambodia.

A great presentation from a woman heading to Cambodia as a missionary. Now we're hearing from a bishop, a representative of the Church in Uganda.

Now Bob Duncan turns to Title III with an amendment. Section 8:4 regarding the Election of Bishops. Adding the words "present and voting" - more specifically was needed for a quorum and the change comes out of a recent meeting of the college of bishops and the election of news bishops.

"A quorum shall be a majority of the active members of the College" is added to define a quorum.

Bishop Duncan asks if anyone wishes to speak and a layman from the Reformed Episcopal Church. Canon 6:1 Asks about the intention about allowing local jurisdiction is able to refuse an ordained woman who is transferred there. The answer is yes. The bishop can refuse the letters of anyone as he deems appropriate.

Another question - 8.6:4 on the change - the canon allows the consent process rather than being present in a meeting. Present doesn't mean that they must be physically present. They can also do it by correspondence.

Bob Duncan calls for the ratification of Title III. It passes.

Another mission minute.

Bob Duncan recognizes today as the 46th anniversary of Bishop Schofield's ordination which is followed by a standing ovation.

Bishop Duncan now calls on from the official guest from Alexandria, Egypt representing Mouneer Anis, who says that he is indeed "going back to Egypt." He is also studying at Trinity School for Ministry. He now reads a letter from Mouneer Anis extending his greetings. Bishop Anis congratulates the new province and how much he wishes he could be here.

Bob Duncan now calls to proceed to Title IV: Ecclesiastical Discipline. No amendments have been added. Wick Stephens introduces the the Title from the podium. Asks if there are any questions.

One layman goes forward, again from the Reformed Episcopal Church. Canon5:7 on "Concerning Procedures" which covers the provincial tribunal. They are now talking about the disputes between dioceses. "In all courts of original jurisdiction, the standard of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence." The delegates asks that this language be stricken and sent back. A bishop stands and opposes the strike, saying that there will be no standard of proof.

Bishop Duncan asks if there are any more questions. And now calls for a vote. All vote aye.

Bishop Iker takes the podium on the platform. He is introducing the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ft. Worth who is present.

Chris Sugden has taken the podium to bring greetings from bishops and leaders in the Church of England.

Now Bishop Duncan says he knows that when he turns to Title V it will be hard to hold the room after it has passed. He calls on William Beasley on "Christ's Awakening."

Scott Ward now takes the podium for the final title, Title V: Enactment, Amendment and Repeal of Canons. Bob Duncan asks if there are any questions. No questions are asked. Bishop Duncan asks for vote and it's unanimous. The canons are passed.

John Guernsey announces: The Anglican Church of Uganda has just voted to recognize the Anglican Church in North America.

Press Conference: Question & Answer session with the ACNA Governance Task Force Chancellors

Part One of the Q&A with ACNA Governance Task Force Hugo Blankingship (chair and now official chancellor of the Anglican Church in North America Assembly), Wick Stevens (chancellor of the Anglican Communion Network), and Cheryl Chang (chancellor of the Anglican Network in Canada):

Part Two is now up:

Day Two of the ACNA Provincial Assembly

Here we are in Ft. Worth on Day Two of the ACNA Provincial Assembly. Rick Warren is fixing to make his address starting at 10:30 a.m. which will be broadcast live from the "Marquee." The Marquee is a Big White Tent (as opposed to the Big Top of the Lambeth Conference) set up in the parking lot of the Diocese of Ft. Worth's St. Vincent's Cathedral for the overflowing crowds.

Spent the morning driving around the freeways of Ft. Worth with Faith of Scary IRD looking for a CVS Store and trying to follow her GPS "Tom-Tom" that sounded more like old friend David Aikman after a long stint in Russia. It took a while for us to figure out what it was saying to us (we've dubbed the Tom-Tom "David" - sorry, David) and ended up doing one loop-d-loop after another until we found yet another part of our team to pick up and head back to St. Vincent's in time for the morning sessions. Did manage drive-thru at McDonald's for coffee and biscuits.

This afternoon the Assembly will tackle the proposed ACNA Canons. It will be interesting to see if the delegates will be as compliant as yesterday. There is much, very much to commend that amount of work that has gone into the drafting of the Constitution and Canons. But one still gets the sense that these delegates are war veterans and just want to get on with it.

That being said, there is still a lot of fascinating offline conversations going on, where delegates, press, and guests are having theological conversations regarding the more detailed aspects of the Anglican tradition of the Christian faith. It's nearly what I might call "religious wonk talk" as we talk about a variety of topics from the finer points of the administration of the episcopate to whether it better to order albs from Whipple rather than Almy.

11:03 a.m. - "You may lose the steeple, but you will not lose the people," says Rick Warren during his address at the ACNA Assembly, reminding the delegates and guests that the work of the church must center on the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Anglican Church of North America ratifies their constitution

Here is the moment after the Constitution was ratified by the Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church of North America:

On the the Floor of the ACNA Provincial Assembly

I'm here on the floor of the inaugural session of the ACNA Provincial Assembly. Right now the delegates are milling about, we're running a bit behind - probably because everyone is so busy reconnecting with old friends, like a family reunion. The buzz in the room is fairly loud, as people reach across aisles and embrace one another, like a reunion of veterans.

Many of the faces here are indeed veterans from many General Conventions of the Episcopal Church. Now the shoe is on the other foot, as it were, with the leadership here charged with governing. I am reminded of the famous quote from Ben Franklin at the founding of the American republic. He was outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia as the first Constitutional Convention in 1787 came to end. A woman came up to him and said, "Well, Doctor, what have we got - a republic or a monarchy?" to which Dr. Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."

What we may have here is a church, if we can keep it. To God be the glory.

2:52 p.m. - We are getting announcements about parking and shuttles to hotels. Bob Duncan is up at the head table and welcoming the delegates and guests. He is acknowledging bishops and guests from other nations and dioceses, including from Southeast Asia, Nigeria, Uganda, North Africa (Egypt), England, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pastoral Visitor, Santosh Marray. There is also a representative from the Diocese of South Carolina as well as greetings from several bishops in the Church of England. Archbishop Venables left this morning for a clergy conference back in Buenos Aires.

The "corrections and changes" to the ACNA Constitution and Canons are being handed out right now. Bishop Duncan is announcing the election of new bishops for Canada, as well as AMiA.

Bishop Duncan is now outlining the transition of the Common Cause council of leadership to the new ACNA Council.

I am reading through the "amended sections of the ACNA Canons" and it looks as though the changes are minor.

Hugo Blankingship has been appointed the chancellor of the Assembly. On the dias is the recording secretary, the secretary of assembly, the chancellor, and Bishop Duncan.

3:15 p.m. The are now taking out the Rules of Order for the meeting.

It seems that Bishop Duncan is recommending that if there are parts of the Constitution and Canons would like to change, that it may be best to send it back to the Council rather than try to "perfect" it on the floor of the Assembly.

Bishop Duncan is calling the delegates to look at the proposed ACNA Constitution. You can read the Constitution here. The are beginning with the preamble.

  1. In the Name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
  2. We are Anglicans in North America united by our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures and presently members of the Common Cause Partnership.
  3. We know ourselves to be members of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
  4. We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion prompted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance.
  5. We repent ourselves of things done and left undone that have contributed to or tolerated the rise of false teaching, and we humbly embrace the forgiveness that comes through Christ's atoning sacrifice.
  6. We are grateful for the encouragement of Primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion who gathered at Jerusalem in June 2008 and called on us to establish a new Province in North America.
  7. We affirm the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) Statement and Jerusalem Declaration issued 29 June 2008.
  8. We believe that this Constitution is faithful to that call and consistent with the Historic Faith and Order of the Church and we invite the prayers of all faithful Anglicans as we seek to be obedient disciples of Jesus Christ our One Lord and Savior.

The first delegate comes to the mike, Chris Cantrell from the Diocese of Ft. Worth suggests that the expression of grief be stricken. The Diocese of Pittsburgh raises the same concern, saying that this is a constitution and leave out "shots to the other side" and strike the language. This is the section that is being requested by the Diocese of Ft. Worth and Diocese of Pittsburgh to strike:

We are grieved by the current state of brokenness within the Anglican Communion prompted by those who have embraced erroneous teaching and who have rejected a repeated call to repentance.

Bishop Duncan asked if there was anyone who wants to speak in favor of it and Phil Ashey takes the mic that it should remain, thinking of the section that follows it since they are connected.

Neil Lebhar from what might be the Diocese of North Florida (in formation) - reminds the assembly that nothing will be rejected, just sent back to the council. Adopt it first without the disputed clause and then ask whether the Assembly should accept the clause. Neil Lebhar speaks to sending both paragraphs back to Council, including the following one.

Bishop Duncan rules that both are not joined together and suggested that they take each section one at a time. Diocese of Pittsburgh also speaks in favor of deleting both four and five paragraphs.

Bishop Duncan says that there is no objection to paragraphs 1-3. Bishop Duncan is calling the assembly to ratify paragraphs 1-3. It is ratified unanimously.

Bishop Bena spoke to keeping the paragraphs 4-5. Bob Duncan called for a vote. Overwhelming vote in favor, with paragraphs 4-5 a minority voting no, which I would presume included delegates the Dioceses of Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh, and Northern Florida in formation.

3:40 Provincial Council spent time last night seeking whether they could tweak the foundation principles and they found that it would open it all up, but for one section, where they agreed to change the Constitution to say that there are seven principles, not eight since the Jerusalem Declaration in now addressed in the canons.

Diocese of Pittsburgh - Article 1:6:

6. We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.

The question had to do with the Book of the Common Prayer is meant to combined with the Articles of Religion as the standard of doctrine, discipline, and worship. This is really interesting, because it raises the Articles of Religion to the same level as the Book of Common Prayer. Article 1:7 reads:

7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.

Article 3:1 is changed:

The mission of the Province is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit that people everywhere will come to put their trust in God through Him, know Him as Savior and serve Him as Lord in the fellowship of the Church. The chief agents of this mission to extend the Kingdom of God are the people of God.
The substitution now is "The mission of the Province is so to extend the Kingdom of God by so presenting Jesus Christ..." as a way of strengthening a more Trinitarian language into the Article.

Article III with the change is adopted. Article IV is adopted.

There is now a short break to here about mission opportunities. Bishop Bena is talking about healing opportunities for Armed Services personnel with three-day Christian retreats, including issues of combat stress.

Article V is adopted.

Article VI is adopted.

Article VII is adopted, with a minor change of changing the method from the Constitution.

Article VIII is adopted.

Article IX has a change: Adds a setence "and carries out such other duties and responsibilities as may be provided by canon," regarding the role of the Archbishop.

Article IX is adopted.

Another break on mission.

Another slight change in Article X where the phrase "one quarter of" before the phrase "the episcopal members of the Provincial Council." A question has asked if the diocese will decide who are the active and non-active bishops. Bishop Duncan said the dioceses make that determination.

Article X and XI are adopted. Now attention turns to the Article on Property (Article XII) which is resoundly and loudly adopted.

Article XIII with a minor correction (changing the word "agree" to "agrees) is adopted.

Article XIV is adopted.

Another mission break.

We now move to the Final Article, but someon has risen from his chair and gone to the mic for Article XV. The delegate is from the Reformed Episcopal Church (North Eastern Canada). Says that it seems inconsistent with how it had been represented. The chancellor says that there is clarity in a canon. The Final Article is is ratified with one nay.

The session ends with standing ovation and the doxology.

Archbishop of Canterbury sends official Pastoral Visitor to ACNA Assembly

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has sent the Rt. Rev'd Santosh Marray, retired bishop of the Seychelles (2005-2008) in the Province of the Indian Ocean, as his official pastoral visitor to the Anglican Church of North America Provincial Assembly in Ft. Worth, TX. Bishop Marray, was born in Guyana and is a former rector in the Diocese of Florida. He is a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pastoral Visitor Programme started this past February.

Bishop Duncan has also been interviewed by the BBC and includes some comments about Rowan Williams here.

ACNA Provincial Council endorses Anglican Covenant and expresses solidarity with Communion Partners

Dallas/Fort Worth – The Anglican Church in North America Provincial Council has endorsed the Anglican Covenant and expressed solidarity with the Communion Partners.

The Covenant is a four-part document that outlines the basics of the Christian faith as Anglicans have historically understood and practiced it. It also provides for accountability among Communion members. The Covenant was initiated by the 2005 Windsor Report which in turn was prompted by the crisis in the Anglican Communion created by the deviation from Biblical teaching and morality in North America.

On Sunday 22 June 2009, the Provincial Council unanimously adopting the following resolution:

Resolution on the Anglican Communion Covenant

Resolved, under provisions of Canon I.1.1 of the Constitution and Canons, the Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America expresses its readiness to adopt the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant (Ridley Cambridge Draft) at an appropriate future meeting of the Provincial Council.

Further Resolved, that the Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America expresses its solidarity with the Communion Partner Bishops in North America in the hope that individual dioceses and other churches [Covenant 4.1.5] might be encouraged to adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant whether or not the Provinces of which they are a part have chosen to do so.

Unanimously adopted by the Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America at its meeting on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, 21 June A.D. 2009.

The Communion Partners is a group of Episcopal Church bishops and clergy who are working for a return to orthodoxy within that Church. They are strong supporters of the Covenant and have been very involved in the Covenant development process.

On the Road Again: Heading out to Ft. Worth

I'm here at Reagan National Airport in DC waiting for my flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth. Right now it appears that the plane is full and they are taking volunteers to give up their seats, but the flights they are offering are for much later tonight. I'm waiting for friends, though, and wonder if they may be seatless?

I haven't been to Ft. Worth - I've technically been to Dallas, but really all I saw was the airport and the hotel. That was for "Plano/Dallas" in 2003 following the rather catastrophic Minneapolis General Convention when thousands of Episcopalians descended for the historic meeting in Dallas. Originally it had been slated to be in Plano, but the numbers quickly grew overwhelming the venue there and was moved to a hotel in Dallas.

The new Anglican Church of North America is launching their Assembly in Ft. Worth - actually in Bedford, Texas. Yesterday the ACNA Governance Task Force was slated to meet to go over the proposed Constitution and Canons after receiving more input and review from local parishes and what may eventually be dioceses in ACNA. It will be interesting to see what modifications they make after the review.

I'll be posting reports here at the cafe, as well as videos and photos and I plan to try out "Live TV" while in Ft. Worth on Ustream or another provider where you can also participate via twitter or live chat as well as video. This will be a testing time so it could prove interesting! Stay tuned!

Friends have not yet arrived - I hope they are not seatless! Stay tuned for reports of the drama as we report here at the Cafe!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

NPR: Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church

From NPR:
Martyn Minns recalls the moment he knew he had to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was 2005. He was rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., and he was talking with a young family who told him they could no longer attend a church that accepted gay bishops or diverged from what they called Orthodox Christianity.

"As I looked at them, I realized that I had a decision to make," he says. "Either I moved with them into a rather uncertain future, or I lost the heart of the congregation. So for me it was a matter of, 'Do I want the church of the future, or the church of the past?' "

Soon after that, Minns' church bolted from the American Episcopal Church and aligned itself with the conservative archbishop of the Anglican province of Nigeria. Now he and other church leaders representing more than 700 congregations, four dioceses and up to 100,000 churchgoers are meeting in Bedford, Texas. They hope to form a new Anglican province in the U.S. — one that would rival the Episcopal Church.

Mainline Church Irked, Not Worried

The Rev. Ryan Reed of St. Vincent's Cathedral, which is hosting the Bedford conference, says conservatives have tried to stay in the "big tent" of Anglicanism.

"The problem," Reed says, "is in the last 30 years, the boundaries of that tent, or those views, have expanded so far that you can find leadership in the Episcopal Church that is radically not Christian in terms of their understanding of the cross, the Resurrection, the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of Scripture."

Reed says the Episcopal Church is following culture, not the Bible. When it ordained a gay bishop in 2003, he says, the conservatives finally decided to offer an alternative. That view irks — but does not worry — leaders in the mainline church.

"The folks that are gathering in Texas represent a small, conservative fringe within the Episcopal Church," says Susan Russell, a minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., and a leader in the church's gay rights movement.

"Their goal has been to vote the American Episcopal Church off the Anglican island," she says. "They failed at that over and over again, and now they're trying to re-create a new province in their own image."

Breakaway Province Unlikely To Be Recognized

Russell believes they won't succeed this time, either. For one thing, she says, they would probably need the approval of two-thirds of the 38 Anglican leaders around the world to create a separate Anglican province in the United States. Currently, only a handful of those leaders have signed on publicly. Plus, she says, leaders of the breakaway faction would need the recognition of the archbishop of Canterbury — and that hasn't happened.

"It would be as if Sarah Palin were to take a small, but vocal, percentage of very conservative Republicans and decide that they were going to create a parallel United States without having the White House at the center," Russell says.

George Pitcher, an Anglican priest at St. Bride's Anglican Church in London and religion editor at the Daily Telegraph, agrees. He says the communion welcomes conservative views.

But, he says, "when they want to say this is the one true way, and we want to impose it on all Anglicans, then it's at that stage that the broadly tolerant Anglican Communion says, 'Well that's not the way we do things.' "

Conservative Churches Growing

In the past, a number of conservative groups have left the worldwide communion over things like women's ordination or the prayer book. And they've shrunk into virtual irrelevance.

But this time, it might be different, says religion historian David L. Holmes at the College of William and Mary. He says the American conservatives have the backing of many leaders in Africa and South America, who represent more than half of all Anglicans worldwide.

Moreover, Holmes says, the Episcopal Church has shrunk 40 percent in little more than a generation, whereas these conservative churches are growing.

"My sense would be if the Episcopal Church continued to lose members in a striking way, and this new group kept gaining members, it would be a new ballgame," he says.

Minns says he is not expecting the conservatives will succeed overnight.

"I think it will take a while," he says. "These things normally do. These provinces take sometimes decades to be recognized, so we're not holding our breath on that."

But Minns does believe time, demographics and theology are on their side.

Read it all here. Audio will be online. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Group of Episcopalians take aim at the Order of the Daughters of the King's Triennial Meeting

UPDATE: See below.

There are really no words. No words for this. It's quite a sad, sad article because it is actually reported that a group of Episcopal DOK (who attempted to break off and start their own Order at one point) are attempting to expel the non-Episcopal Daughters (and I supposed that would include those of us who remain Episcopalian in Anglican Chapters) from the Order.

It's interesting to see how this article is written, as though they are the ones being expelled, when in fact - it's quite the other way around.

There was a last-minute attempt to replace the current president of the Daughters of the King in Province III since she is a member of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, but that challenge was resoundingly defeated by the voting-membership at the last meeting of Province III. The great majority of the Daughters, Episcopalian and Anglican voted together to re-elect the Provincial president. It wasn't about politics, it was about service. We serve the King.

The Presiding Bishop may want to think about that. It's not about her, it's about the King.

It's interesting to see this strategy underway as the same group that set up this website is now attempting to expel Daughters from the Order, denying them their seats and votes in the General Assembly. Currently all Daughters are permitted to vote. All the Daughters will vote - unless this attempt to deny some of the Daughters their seat and vote in the General Assembly. This type of an article is so far from what we experienced at the Province III retreat it causes me to grieve.

What the article doesn't say is that the Daughters of the King is actually a separate 501(c)(3) organization, though the polity is a religious order, the legal structure is not within TEC. It is not officially part of the Episcopal Church structure. It has long enjoyed a very special relationship with The Episcopal Church and it was out of that relationship that Daughters reached across the divide to bring in others in the Order who recognize the historic episcopate. It was the vision of the Order to reach across the barriers and make peace. Those bridges have been built, forged by prayer and common service and a commitment to the Great Commission. It is about prayer and evangelism and service and that is not accomplished by a trick of pulling up the drawbridge and filling up the moat.

In fact, it is the vision of the Daughters of the King within the 501(c)(3) organization which was founded by a remarkable Episcopalian woman to reach out to denominations that recognize the historic Episcopate. The Daughters together will vote how they will move forward in mission.

The Order includes Episcopal members - but it is the Daughters who are in the Episcopal Church, not the Order. The structures are legally separate. The article gives the impression that the Order is within the structures of The Episcopal Church, but that is incorrect. It is a separate organization long affiliated with The Episcopal Church, but is it's own organization and a 501(c)(3) organization.

I don't know if the Presiding Bishop will continue to appoint a chaplain or not - that is for the Order to decide. But it is surprising to see this public display to hold on to power rather than pray for the Daughters to do what is good for the Order's mission. Why us that? She seems unwilling to allow the Daughters themselves to choose their chaplain - and why is that? What matters, what really matters is the mission - isn't it?

Isn't it?

The Order is not a drawbridge designed to keep selected sisters out. It is not a closed society. In fact, the Order is a bridge designed to bring more to Jesus. Jesus. Not Katharine Jefferts Schori or anyone else. I don't know why she's intervening rather than applauding the freedom to vote. It's not about her. It's about Jesus. We are Daughters of the King.

In Province III we have had an amazing experience of renewal and reconciliation at our annual retreats (read more about about the most recent one here), including the one this past May. Through the remarkable vision of one of the visionary leaders of Province III, the late Barbara Banks, we stepped away from trying to solve the current crisis through politics and instead fell on our knees in prayer. Barbara knew she didn't have much time left and she spent much of the last months of her life planning this spring retreat - a lasting legacy of a vision that we be made one, united in prayer in our bond in Jesus Christ.

We are Daughters of the King.

It is that vision that I pray will spread across this land - to the Presiding Bishop herself, it is my prayer, my hope for us all that we will embrace one another and not expel anyone - not the Anglican, or the Lutherans, or the Catholics, or the Episcopalian outside the walls. It is not about being Episcopalian - it's about being Daughters of the King.

Please join me and members of the Order as we pray that this earnest call for renewal will spread to Anaheim this summer when the DOK General Assembly will meet. We need to call this for what it is - and call on the Lord to break through and make us one.

Read more about the Province III retreat here. You can read more about the Daughters of the King at their official website here. You can see the website set up by a group of Episcopalians here.

I'm going to put this up again because this was our prayer, the prayer of the Province III Assembly of the Order of the Daughters of the King. It was Barbara's prayer. Come, Lord Jesus. May it be so!


The National Council of the Order of the Daughters of the King responds to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. The letter was received by the Presiding Bishop this morning:

June 18, 2009
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Dear Bishop Jefferts Schori:

Thank you for your thoughtful response to a letter from Ruth Annette Mills, of the Diocese of Nevada—a distinguished lady who has been a Daughter fifty years. She deserves respect and attention from all her sisters. Although I have not seen Ruth’s letter, your response indicates that she believes the Order of the Daughters of the King is proposing amendments that will cut its ties with the Episcopal Church. I am grieved that she has been misled by this idea. It is simply false, fueled by rumors and fears. Let me explain.

The Daughters have twice rejected a proposal to become ecumenical by allowing chapters in any denomination that practices Christian baptism. The first time, in 1997, the proposal was put forward by a committee that included two future presidents, Sue Schlanbusch and the late Joan Millard. After extensive debate, the proposal was decisively rejected. It was again put forward six years later, and tabled, with a request for a survey on the subject. The survey results were collected by the present chair of the bylaws committee, Lena Nealley. We know from reading the results that Daughters rejected the ecumenical option, and the committee has avoided that path. Instead the amendments seek to clarify the status of women who are already members under our present bylaws, and would still be members if none of the proposed amendments were adopted.

My shorthand description of the Order is that we are “Episcopal Plus”—that is, “distinctively Episcopal,” as the early handbooks phrase it, while continually planting chapters in sister Churches. The membership statistics reported at our last Council meeting listed the overwhelming number of members as Episcopalians: 25,145 of an estimated total 28,462. The next largest number is for overseas members, approximately 2500 Daughters in 15 countries. Their membership is not novel—the Order began founding chapters in Anglican churches overseas in the 19th century. When such chapters multiply in any particular country, they develop their own governing structure and leadership, and US Daughters continue to encourage them as much as we are able.

The recent fears and controversy revolve around the relatively small numbers of Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran chapters in the US: the October report listed 720, 97, and 18 members respectively, totaling less than 3% of the entire membership. As you may know, our present bylaws give chapters in Churches in the historic episcopate (other than those in the Episcopal church) the option of forming a national governing structure parallel to the Episcopal structure, just as overseas chapters organize when they have reached critical mass within their country. Although our bylaws have allowed Roman Catholic members since the mid-eighties, the expected growth in their numbers has not occurred, and they clearly are not able to organize as a national entity. A couple years ago the elected DOK leadership asked Anglican Daughters in the US to explore forming a national governing structure of their own, since it looked as if they might soon reach a number that would make that possible. They did explore that possibility and have rejected it in favor of forming a completely new Order with a different name for Anglican Daughters. A majority of our Anglican members will probably leave the Order in the coming year to join a new Order for Anglican women, unaffiliated with the Daughters of the King.

In short, far from receiving a flood of new members who might change the character of the Order, as some appear to think, we expect to say a sad goodbye to long-time members whose congregations have left the Episcopal Church. At the same time most of us want to assure the Roman Catholic Daughters and any Anglican or Lutheran Daughters that remain that although they are a minority we recognize them as valued members of the Order.

The Daughters of the King are praying for the upcoming General Convention, for you personally, and for all the delegates and bishops who will participate. Daughters in the Diocese of Iowa have prepared a seven-day cycle of prayers for us to use during the three weeks of Triennial and Convention.

In the latest Royal Cross both our president, Joan Dalrymple, and the Triennial Chair, Phyllis Easley, urge members to participate in the Prayer Vigil. These are not the actions of a sinister cabal intent on cutting the Order’s ties with the Episcopal Church. We may be perplexed at times, but the Daughters still seek first of all to serve our King and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and work out our vows to pray and serve within our local congregations. For most of us in the United States, that means a local Episcopal congregation and diocese. Please believe that severing our multiple connections with the Episcopal Church is not an option the Daughters will consider in Anaheim.

Again, thank you for your attention and your prayers.

For His Sake,
Grace Sears, Secretary
The Order of the Daughters of the King