September 15, 2006

That's My Church!


The Episcopal Church crisis enters the phoney war stage:

A group of bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and in consultation with the Presiding Bishop to review the current landscape of the church in view of conflicts within the Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury had received a request from seven dioceses for alternative primatial pastoral care and asked that American bishops address the question. The co-conveners of the meeting were Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia and John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida. Other participating bishops were Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishops Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Mark Sisk of New York, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, and Robert O’Neill of Colorado. Also participating was Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

We had honest and frank conversations that confronted the depth of the conflicts that we face. We recognized the need to provide sufficient space, but were unable to come to common agreement on the way forward. We could not come to consensus on a common plan to move forward to meet the needs of the dioceses that issued the appeal for Alternate Primatial Oversight. The level of openness and charity in this conference allow us to pledge to hold one another in prayer and to work together until we have reached the solution God holds out for us.

To which, the Archbish of Canterbury responds:

It's a positive sign that these difficult conversations have been taking place in a frank and honest way. There is clearly a process at work and although it hasn't yet come to fruition, the openness and charity in which views are being shared and options discussed are nevertheless signs of hope for the future. Our prayers continue.

Bishop Lee, who helped convene the meeting, is the Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. He has been trying to walk the fence since the beginning. Although he personally seems to lean toward the liberal camp, Virginia is still what is now being called a "Windsor" Diocese. That is, it is formally adhering to the moratorium placed on the Episcopal Church by the Windsor Report. If Bishop Lee were to attempt to break away from this, he'd no doubt have a full-scale mutiny on his hands.

As to all the chat relayed above, my guess is that if something O-fficial doesn't come down the pipe soon, the rebel Diocese will simply take matters into their own hands. They already know what happens if they keep quiet and simply go along with the system.

By the way, did I mention how wonderfully calm I've felt since giving up the notion of abandoning the Church and deciding to stay and fight it out? I'm positive this was the right call.

So last Sunday was the big Homecoming Picnic at my own Church. As I'm on the Vestry and the Parish Life Committee, I was, naturally, in the thick of organizing and running the thing.

So at this very important gathering of my own Parish was I confronted with cosmic questions of theology, society and the future of the Anglican Communion? Well, no. The biggest issue I faced all day was figuring out a method to keep the sandwich platters from sliding off the especially slippery plastic tableclothes we used. Ah, well. We all do our little bit.

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention that the Eight Year Old has signed up to join the youth choir this year. She starts this Sunday. For some mysterious reason, thinking about this has caused P.D.Q Bach's Missa Hilarious to cycle through my head most of this week, especially the conclusion of the Credo:

Solo: Amen!

Chorus: Amen!

Solo: Ah, women!

Chorus: Ah, women!

Solo: Ah, wilderness!

Chorus: Ah, wilderness!

Solo: Ah, nuts!

Chorus: Ah, nuts!

Omnes: Aaaaah-choo!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Robert at September 15, 2006 02:20 PM | TrackBack

Maybe you should consider the Roman Catholic Church, The Bishop of Rome (aka Pope) is now providing good direction for the church.

Posted by: Marvin at September 15, 2006 02:23 PM

One of the most diabolical aspects of the P.D.Q. Bach oeuvre is that his tunes are so catchy and memorable. They're constantly popping into my head at inappropriate moments. And, really, there aren't any appropriate moments for P.D.Q.

On the more substantive part of your post, as an outsider I suspect you're right about where the Anglican schism is heading. But if the most active and devout segments of the communion go their own way and Canterbury is left with a rump of largely agnostic dioceses with minimal attendance in the UK, Canada, and the eastern US, then exactly who left whom? Reagan had a line about the Democrats that seems relevant here.

Posted by: utron at September 15, 2006 05:37 PM