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Common Cause forms a “College of Bishops” in the USA: CEN 10.05.07 p 9 October 3, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion Network, Church of England Newspaper, Ecumenical.
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The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh

Fifty-one bishops, including 13 active and retired bishops of the Episcopal Church meet in Pittsburgh last week to form an Anglican federation in North America independent of the authority of The Episcopal Church.

The Common Cause partnership drew bishops from the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church and nine other jurisdictions, including the American bishops of Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda

Following three days of closed door meetings, the participants agreed to form a “College of Bishops” which would meet every six months and laid out a timeline that in 15 months could lead to the reunion of the Anglican continuing church groups in North America.

The bishops committed themselves to work together on the local and regional level, to allow clergy from other jurisdictions to be licensed in their churches, and stated their desire to be recognized as a future independent province of the Anglican Communion.

“We met deeply aware that we have arrived at a critical moment in the history of mainstream Anglican witness in North America. God has led us to repentance for past divisions and opened the way for a united path forward. To him be the glory,” Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, the convener of the meeting, said.

Citing the precedent of the Episcopal Church’s division during the Civil War into separate Northern and Southern churches, Bishop Duncan said the US Church’s traditionalist dioceses hoped to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and affiliate either with another Province of the Communion, or with a new Province for American and Canadian traditionalists.

“We believe it is possible.  Dioceses are formed and federate with a province” he said, and a “diocese [may] break that federation.”

The Common Cause College of Bishops adopted articles of federation and identified 14 issues that remained to be addressed including how to “live together with bishops and congregations and dioceses that do ordain women and others that do not ordain women.”

The formation of the Common Cause coalition does not change the legal or canonical standing of those Episcopal dioceses whose bishops signed off on the agreement, as no diocesan convention has yet seceded from The Episcopal Church or adopted the common cause bylaws.

Writing to the members of the Rwandan-backed Anglican Mission in the Americas, Bishop Chuck Murphy stated that as a “federation” the members of the Common Cause coalition “will now be united in a formal alliance designed to strengthen the level of our cooperation, collaboration, and communication together.”

“At the same time, we clearly understand that each Common Cause Partner will maintain its own distinct autonomy, “culture”, and strategic vision.  Indeed, as is stated in the federation Articles that we have now adopted, ‘The autonomy of the individual Jurisdictions and Ministries, and their constituent bodies, is in no way restricted or superseded by membership in the CCP’.”

Bishop Murphy stated the Common Cause Partnership was “much needed” to provide “church order and leadership” to the traditionalist movement in the US and Canada.  It was a faithful response to the “Global South Primates’ request to all of us that we begin working more closely together to overcome those things that have often caused division among the orthodox, and that it reflects the prayer and teaching of Jesus” that all may be one.

Bishops’ photo from the Fort Worth ACN Conference: CEN 8.03.07 p 5. August 2, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Communion Network, Church of England Newspaper.
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imgp1198-1.jpgFront Row:

John-David Schofield, San Joaquin; Jack Iker, Fort Worth: Bill Cox, Southern Cone/Asst. Oklahoma rt; Gregory Venables, Primate Southern Cone; Robt Duncan, Pittsburgh; William Wantland, Eau Claire rt; Keith Ackerman, Quincy.

Second Row:

James Stanton, Dallas; William Ilgenfritz, Forward in Faith bishop elect; Bill Atwood, suffragan bishop elect of All Saints Diocese Kenya; Bishop Ray Sutton, Reformed Episcopal Church; John Guernsey, suffragan bishop elect of Uganda; Richard Boyce, Anglican Province of America; Jeffrey Steenson, Rio Grande; Don Harvey, Western Newfoundland rt; David Bena, suffragan Albany rt/Asst Bishop Cana; James Adams, Western Kansas; William Love, Albany

American anger at Archbishop: CEN 8.03.07 p5. August 2, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion Network, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper.
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Poised to fracture over the thorny issue of institutional loyalty towards the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion Network (ACN) emerged from its annual council meeting in high spirits, with a degree of unanimity and confidence not seen since the aftermath of the Gene Robinson consecration in 2003.

With less than two months remaining before the Sept 30 deadline for the US House of Bishops to respond to the Dar es Salaam communiqué, the ACN voted not to take precipitous action and to wait upon the direction of the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables asked the delegates “not to hold back” challenging them to choose between a “Christian church or a comfortable church.”

He said he had “dealt eyeball to eyeball” with the leaders of the American church and had “no illusions” left. But encouraged their resolve saying, “It ain’t us who left it. We are the Anglicans.”

While the conservative group’s financial position remains precarious and its members face increasing legal and canonical pressure from hostile dioceses and the national church in New York, the factional differences that seemed ready to split the coalition were overcome and a late night compromise reached between those seeking to stay and those seeking to quit the Episcopal Church.

The meeting opened with a somber presentation from the ACN’s moderator, Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan on the state of the Episcopal Church. Seventeen ACN leaders, including four bishops, had quit the Episcopal Church in the past year he said.

Speaking at times directly to the video cameras broadcasting the proceedings to viewers watching on the internet, Bishop Duncan argued that the Episcopal Church was bound for Hell. He also chided the Archbishop of Canterbury, saying Dr. Williams’ efforts had been ineffectual.

The crisis of faith and order within the Church had “tested” the Anglican Communion, he said. Some had concluded the Anglican Communion was “finished”, but he believed the “vision of the Anglican Reformation” was “still possible” but “requires new ecclesiastical structures.”

The “American Province” of the Anglican Communion “is lost, and something will have to replace it,” the Pittsburgh Bishop said. The Episcopal Church’s property litigation campaign showed “they were taking their stuff to Hell.”

“Never ever” had Dr. Williams “spoken on behalf of the orthodox,” Bishop Duncan said, adding that his “voice has not been used for the things of the Communion.”

A “cost of this ecclesiastical revolution” could very well be “his historic office,” he concluded.

Bishop Duncan acknowledged the bishops of the ACN were divided, saying the “principal disagreement is a tactical disagreement” of how and when to proceed. During the afternoon business session Dallas Bishop James Stanton expressed unease with proposals before the meeting to form a “Common Cause Partnership” with groups outside the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Stanton argued it was “problematic” to proceed with changes to the language of the ACN charter that could be interpreted as placing the Network outside of the Episcopal Church. The meeting agreed to postpone debate to the next day, and to address structural changes and the proposal for formal alliances with non-Episcopal groups at the same time.

While the public proceedings were cordial, behind the scenes the ACN’s various factions pushed their agendas. Those who had quit the Episcopal Church sought an immediate pull out, arguing that there was no likelihood the US House of Bishops would comply with the Primates’ demands.

Against this, representatives from the dioceses lobbied to work with the Primates’ time line and take no action until after the Primates’ deadline. Proposals for a precipitous withdrawal from the Episcopal Church prompted Dallas to suggest it could be forced to withdraw from the ACN if it adopted a secessionist agenda at the meeting.

However a compromise was proposed the ACN would retain language pledging to “operate in good faith within the Constitution of the Episcopal Church” while adopting a bylaw that affirmed that Network affiliates outside the Church were not required to submit to its constitution.The compromise was accepted unanimously, and the meeting went on to adopt the partnership agreement and to elect Bishop Duncan to a second term as moderator.

Comment at Titusonenine.

Stamping out heresy at the ACN Conference July 31, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Communion Network.
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Front Row:

John-David Schofield, San Joaquin; Jack Iker, Fort Worth: Bill Cox, Southern Cone/Asst. Oklahoma rt; Gregory Venables, Primate Southern Cone; Robt Duncan, Pittsburgh; William Wantland, Eau Claire rt; Keith Ackerman, Quincy.

Second Row:

James Stanton, Dallas; William Ilgenfritz, Forward in Faith bishop elect; Bill Atwood, suffragan bishop elect of All Saints Diocese Kenya; Bishop Ray Sutton, Reformed Episcopal Church; John Guernsey, suffragan bishop elect of Uganda; Richard Boyce, Anglican Province of America; Jeffrey Steenson, Rio Grande; Don Harvey, Western Newfoundland rt; David Bena, suffragan Albany rt/Asst Bishop Cana; James Adams, Western Kansas; William Love, Albany

St Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford Texas. July 31, 2007.

Comment at: Elizabeth Kaeton’s or Susan Russell’s blog,

ACN Pittsburgh Conference: TLC 11.12.05 June 30, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Communion Network, Living Church, Pittsburgh.
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A view of the participants of the Anglican Communion Network’s Pittsburgh Conference on Nov 12, 2005 at the Pittsburgh Civic Center. First published in The Living Church magazine.

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