jump to navigation

Communion sponsored mediation proposed for South Carolina: Anglican Ink, November 21, 2012 November 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, South Carolina, The Episcopal Church, Windsor Continuation Group.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi

Resolution of the South Carolina standoff would best be served by an international intervention of the type proposed by the Anglican Communion’s Windsor Continuation Group, the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) said last night in a paper released on its website.

The American-based church think tank has proposed the national Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina take up the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group formed by Dr. Rowan Williams.

The ACI stated the WCG recommended that in cases of theological dispute between a diocese and province “a provisional holding arrangement” for the diocese be crafted that would “enable dialogue to take place and which will be revisited on the conclusion of the Covenant Process.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

ACC-14: Moratorium on property disputes fails to win support: CEN 5.22.09 p 8. May 22, 2009

Posted by geoconger in ACC 14, Church of England Newspaper, Windsor Continuation Group.
comments closed

ACC-14 has reaffirmed the Anglican Communion’s moratoria on gay bishops and blessings, and the integrity of diocesan boundaries, but has turned aside a plea to back a ban on further property litigation in the US and Canada.

Meeting at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica delegates to the 14th triennial meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council voted to maintain the status quo, rejecting pleas from the Episcopal Church to relax the ban on gay bishops and blessings, while also turning aside a request to condemn the Episcopal Church’s litigation campaign against breakaway dioceses and congregations.

By affirming the recommendations of the WCG, ACC 14 have asked the Primates, the ACC, Dr. Williams and the Lambeth Conference to “commit themselves to the renewal of the Listening Process, and a real seeking of a common mind upon the issues which threaten to divide us.”

It asked Dr. Williams to “revisit the idea of a bishop, appointed from a wider Communion, to work closely with him and act on his behalf in Communion affairs;” revise the schedules, agenda and guest lists of the Lambeth Conferences; clarify the role of the Primates Meeting; study how the ACC’s “effectiveness and confidence in its work can be enhanced;” and give the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order a mandate to “produce a concise statement on the Instruments of Communion, their several roles and the authority inherent in them and to offer recommendations for developing the effectiveness of the instruments.”

The WCG further recommended the creation of a “Pastoral Forum” and a “Pastoral Visitors” programme to assist in “any given situation of tension;” establish a scheme of professionally mediated conversation to deal with the issue of parallel jurisdictions; and back an Anglican Covenant “as an essential element in rebuilding the confidence in our common life.”

The chairman of the resolution committee, Dr. Anthony Fitchett of New Zealand opened the proceedings drawing the delegates attention to changes made by the committee to a draft resolution prepared earlier in the week by the ACC and Primates Joint Standing Committee.

Rather than affirm the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group, the committee urged that the ACC note the recommendations, thereby receiving but not endorsing the committee’s recommendations. An eighth clause was also added to the resolution that acknowledged the “gracious restraint” of the Episcopal Church in abiding by the moratoria despite the “deep costs” such forbearance had had.

Bishop William Godfrey of Peru asked the chairman of the meeting, Bishop John Paterson of Auckland, New Zealand for a break to study the new revised resolution which was not being seen for the first time for the delegates. Bishop Paterson declined the request for a recess and a vote was taken on the first clause thanking Dr. Rowan Williams and the WCG for their recommendations. This passed without debate by a vote of 64 to 1 with 1 abstention.

Bishop Andrew Curnow of Melbourne rose to ask that the original language of the resolution affirming the WCG be restored. “This counsel should give some warmer feeling” to the resolution and a “bit more indication of how it feels” about the WCG report, rather than rely on the bloodless language put forward by the committee.

American delegate Josephine Hicks urged the ACC not affirm the WCG’s recommendations, but only note them, arguing that “there are many recommendations” put forward in the document. Following a vote by secret ballot, Bishop Curnow’s amendment was accepted by a vote of 36 to 29 to 1. No vote on the amended clause was taken, however, before debate began on clause c, an endorsement of the communion’s moratoria on “the consecration of bishops living in a same gender union, authorization of public rites of blessing for same sex unions, and continued intervention in other provinces.”

Ms Hicks returned to the microphone and asked that the moratoria be rejected. She said the “stated reason” for “cross border” violations was the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson. However, “they began three years earlier” as the Anglican Mission in America was active in 2000, while Bishop Robinson was not elected until 2003.

The supporters of the third province movement in North America “had no intention of stopping, regardless of what took place” at ACC-14, she argued. It was “time to move on” and allow the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to be “true to themselves.”

The President Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Dr. Mouneer Anis of Egypt asked that the moratorium on litigation that had been backed by the primates at their 2007 meeting in Dar es Salaam be added to clause c. Dr. Fitchett stated the fourth moratoria had not been included in the resolution as it was a “later addition,” not mentioned in the Windsor Report.

Bishop Godfrey stated he shared the concerns about “intervention,” but noted that “when good and godly men choose to set aside” church tradition, “one must ask why.”

“If we ignore the question of litigation, we are just postponing addressing the ills that affect the communion,” he argued. The moratorium on gay blessings was “not being kept by Bishop Bruno” of Los Angeles, Bishop Godfrey observed, recommending that “everything that is a problem be put on the table.”

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori rose to object to Dr. Anis’ amendment, saying the “reality is that those who have sought to remove property” had “done so without consultation, with an unwillingness to be in dialogue.”

A ban on litigation would also effect the diocese of Harare, the cathedral in Khartoum, and the dispute in Jerusalem “where the last bishop” had “sought to remove property” of the diocese.

When “leaders assert that the property of the church is personal property and are unwilling to discuss the issue,” there is a “fiduciary and moral duty” to engage in litigation to recover the property, Bishop Jefferts Schori said.

The Rev. Ian Douglas of the Episcopal Church also urged the delegates to reject a fourth moratorium, but took a different tack than the presiding bishop. He argued the meeting was in danger of “moratorium creep” that would dilute the work of the drafting committee. His concerns found support from the Archbishop of Wales, Dr. Barry Morgan and Canadian delegate Suzanne Lawson, who claimed that it was the rule “across the communion” that “dioceses own the property.”

However, the Bishop of Khartoum, the Rt. Rev. Ezekiel Kondo stated the presiding bishop’s argument linking the dispute between the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and a deposed renegade bishop who had gone over to the National Islamist Front government was fallacious, and urged the delegates to endorse Dr. Anis’ amendment.

The Bishop of Iran also urged the delegates to accept the Anis amendment, adding the presiding bishop had misstated the facts in the dispute between the current and former bishops of Jerusalem, and that that case was not on par with the doctrinal disputes the US church sought to settle by use of the secular courts.

Stanley Isaacs of Southeast Asia urged the delegates “not to be afraid of moratoria.” “It speaks of restraint,” he argued, as there “should be no limit on restraint when it is for the good of the church.”

After the Rev. Maurice Elliot of the Church of Ireland spoke in support of the Anis amendment, Bishop Paterson put the matter before the meeting for a vote. The delegates rejected the Anis amendment adding a fourth moratorium on litigation by a vote of 32-33, and then endorsed the original clause endorsing the three original moratoria by a vote of 43-19 with 1 abstention.

No debate was offered on clause d, and thanks to those who exercised “gracious restraint” was endorsed by the delegates by a vote of 55-12.

Debate turned to clause e, asking that “urgent conversation” be facilitated where the “applications of the moratoria gives rise to concern.”

Rising to speak on a point of order, Bishop Godfrey said that he had spoken with Bishop Jefferts Schori and she was agreeable to participating in a “listening process for those involved in litigation.” It was essential to get “to the roots of what is troubling the communion,” he argued, and “unless justice is done” litigation would continue.

The Archbishop of Canterbury rose in response to Bishop Godfrey, saying “we have no affirmed the WCG overall,” including mediation between the communion’s warring parties. However, Dr. Williams said he was “not in favor of spelling it out further.”

Bishop Catherine Roskam of New York stated she was concerned that the one “conversation that had not been heard” had been the “joyful conversation with the liberal and conservative congregations in the faithful reconstituted dioceses” of San Joaquin, Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth. Bishop Roskam’s words elicited no response from the meeting, and the clause was put to the vote and adopted 60 to 4 with 2 abstentions.

The remaining three clauses of the resolution were quickly adopted by votes of 64 to 2, 66 to 0, and 65 to 1. They called for Dr. Williams and the JSC to carry forward the WCG recommendations, create a commission whose mandate would be to find an “ecclesiological rationale” for the current structures of the Anglican Communion, and call the communion to “pray for repentance, conversion and renewal.”

As the proceedings came to a close, Irish clergy delegate Maurice Elliot rose on a point of order and told the meeting that he was concerned with “language problems,” suggesting that some delegates may not have been able to understand the nuances of “notes” versus “affirms” or some of the other language used in the meeting. The chairman declined to address Mr. Elliot’s concerns and the meeting moved on to announce the results of elections.

Speaking to delegates during the tea break, members of the conservative Global South coalition stated that while they regretted having lost the vote on a fourth moratorium, it had been a good morning, nonetheless. The Archbishop of the West Indies Drexel Gomez and Dr. Anis told The Church of England Newspaper they were pleased with the outcome, while Dr. Douglas said he felt the mood of the meeting had been to work with what was before them, and not add extraneous moratoria.

However, the Irish delegates concerns over “language problems” appear to have been borne out, in one case. When asked how he had voted on the moratorium on litigation, one Francophone delegate told CEN he had voted “no”, as he did not know what litigation meant.

Windsor Continuation Group meets, but is short on progress: CEN 1.02.09 January 6, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Windsor Continuation Group.
comments closed

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) has concluded its post-Lambeth Conference meeting on Mustang Island in Texas, but has not released details of the four-day gathering.

The WCG is expected to forward its recommendations to Dr Rowan Williams for consideration at the February primates meeting in Alexandria, and at the May meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Jamaica. However, events appear to have outpaced the WCG’s relevance as both left and right have rejected its plea for restraint on gay bishops and blessings, and cross-border incursions by bishops.

The six member team led by the former Presiding Bishop of the Middle East and Jerusalem, Bishop Clive Handford was appointed by Dr. Williams in February, and offered three presentations to the bishops of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, calling for a moratorium on gay bishops and blessings, and a “holding bay” for disgruntled conservatives.

It also rejected the “proliferation of ad hoc episcopal and archiepiscopal ministries,” asserting that such arrangements “cannot be maintained within a global Communion.”

However eight US dioceses have called for the repeal of the Episcopal Church’s pledge not to consecrate a gay bishop, and last week the Bishop of Los Angeles authorized gay blessing rites in his diocese. In Canada five dioceses have affirmed their desire to begin work on gay blessings.

The Dec 3 formation of the Anglican Church in North America by traditionalists, under the guidance of the Gafcon primates is likely to further limit the WCG’s relevance to the Anglican scene.

A degree of mistrust amongst conservatives arising from the manipulation of the 2008 Lambeth Conference is a further obstacle the WCG will need to overcome for its work to achieve a measure of relevance in the wider communion, one bishop told the Church of England Newspaper.

Comments made by Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker in Indaba and plenary sessions on the position of conservatives in the US were redacted from the daily listening documents — with the assurance however, that the WCG would hear his concerns. A spokesman for the Fort Worth bishop told us that although the WCG was meeting in Texas, he had not been contacted by the committee to explain his views. A spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh and its Bishop Robert Duncan said it also had had no contact with the WCG.

The Bishop of New Hampshire told us on Dec 18 that “no member of the Windsor Continuation Group, nor anyone representing it, has been in touch with me or my office.” Bishop V Gene Robinson noted that the progressive wing of the church had sought to participate in the dialogue and that “prior to Lambeth” the New Hampshire “General Convention deputation and I painstakingly went over the Covenant and offered our written feedback on each part of the Covenant, as well as its overall intent. I have no idea whether or not that feedback was passed along or read.”