Skip to comments.Central Florida Bishop Responds to Dr. Sanders
Posted on 11/08/2005 7:28:04 PM PST by sionnsar
I have read with great interest Robert Sanders' essay regarding whether or not one should remain an Episcopalian. He argues his case well.
But I believe there is a fatal flaw in his position. He believes that the compromises of ECUSA necessitate his breaking "Eucharistic Fellowship" with its members; BUT his associations with the AMiA constitute a legitimate expression of unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.
But here is the rub: BOTH ECUSA AND AMiA DEFINE THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CANTERBURY. ECUSA directly, and AMiA indirectly (through Rwanda and Southeast Asia.) If Robert is (now) in communion with the AMiA (through Chuck Murphy), then he is in communion with Rwanda (through Emmanuel Kolini), and thus in communion with Canterbury (through Rowan Williams). [Note, however, that neither the present or former Archbishop of Canterbury, Williams or Carey, has yet recognized the legitimacy of the AMiA connection!].
And yet Williams is (at this point, at least) still in communion with Frank Griswold, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, and Samuel Johnson Howard (Sanders' former bishop, in Florida), and ECUSA and the Diocese of Florida.
So how has Sanders purified his associations by this transfer? He is now in communion with those who are still in communion with those with whom he does not wish to be in communion! If Rowan Williams ever says, "ECUSA, or this part of ECUSA, or this bishop, or this province, or this diocese is no longer in communion with Canterbury," then I will no longer be in communion with that National Church, province, diocese or bishop.
But until he does so, I believe it is a strange irrelevance for an individual member of the clergy to make such a pronouncement while still defining himself as an Anglican.
What we need to do is allow the process begun by the appointment of the Commission on Communion to continue to unfold; we need for ECUSA to respond to the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Communique of the Primates (which will happen at next summer's General Convention); and we need the Archbishop of Canterbury to determine whether ECUSA has then decided to "walk together" with the rest of the Communion or to "walk apart" from it. Until then maintaining Eucharistic Fellowship would seem to be a charitable response to the present tensions and divisions among us.
The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida
1017 East Robinson Street
Orlando, Florida 32801 407-423-3567
My first impression is that the bishop is right.
"But here is the rub: BOTH ECUSA AND AMiA DEFINE THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH CANTERBURY."
At the rate things are going, this may shortly resolve itself as well. One way or the other.
Additionally, I believe the African churches are amending their constitutions to redefine their relationship as being to the orthodox Anglican communion, not the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Yes, he is.
You are correct.
If that's so, and they do, then I'm off to find an AMiA Church.
I've been attending an ECUSA Churc in a Diocese where the Bishop voted "no" on Robinson but am eager to be in place where I can talk about my faith, rather than hide it.
I also discovered there is a homeless woman who not only sings in the Choir but several Sundays a month is crucifer. I discvered her large bags under the choir pews, asked the Interim Vicar about it and got "she's happy so we haven't tried to interfere in her life".
WHAT part of "feed the hungry, house the homeless" does this guy not get?
Oh, she's happy being homeless, seems to be doing okay, so let's not interfere?
You guessed correctly if you guessed that I have not been back and will never go back. But I am trying to do something for the homeless woman.
A communion is nothing more or less than a spiritual and structural relationship among bishops holding the exact same faith. In other words, the relationship is not with a "communion", the relationship is called a "communion" which defines the church or ecclesial community within which that relationship exists. The cited type of thinking may actually underlie much of the structural chaos we see in the Anglican Church. Or am I misunderstanding, in my Balkan peasant way, what the African Anglicans or you are saying?
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