Skip to comments.Letter from Bishop John Howe [ECUSA]
Posted on 04/05/2006 9:50:05 PM PDT by sionnsar
According to Central Florida Bishop John Howe, nowhere near what they need to do:
First, the Special Commission appointed by Frank Griswold and George Werner was heartily criticized as being far too liberal, but I think virtually all of the bishops were surprised by how conservative the (preliminary) report we received from it actually was! The Commissions recommendations will reach about as far in the direction of Windsor as this Church can possibly reach.
Unfortunately (in my opinion) not far enough.
Windsor said: no more sexually active gay bishops. The Commission recommends that we pass a Resolution that urges extreme caution before confirming the election of another sexually active gay bishop.
Immediately, the questions of some of our bishops were: And would it be possible for us to exercise extreme caution and still confirm the election of a sexually active gay bishop? Surely you are not FORBIDDING the confirmation of a sexually active gay bishop, are you? etc.
Windsor said: no more same-sex blessings. The reality is that while many of our bishops would not vote to authorize same-sex blessings at this moment in time, they will not forbid them, either. And we all know they are being performed all over this country. Not to forbid is to authorize.
Secondly, I am not as cynical as some of you. The Commission recommends the word repentance - not just regret - and I believe the majority of the bishops are prepared to embrace that word, and do so sincerely. It may be hard for you to believe this, but I think the great majority of our bishops are genuinely surprised (astonished) at the depth of anger and dismay throughout the Communion over the events of three years ago. (Everybody told us what would happen, but most of our bishops simply didnt believe it.)
They are genuinely sorry for having torn the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level. I have no question about that. And for that they are sincerely repentant. We have all had a tutorial in what it means to be part of a world-wide Communion; what it means to have bonds of affection and what it means to violate those bonds; what it means to be members, one of another.
Our bishops are NOT repentant for the decision to confirm Gene Robinsons election in and of itself - for they do not believe it was wrong. But they are sincerely sorry/repentant for having breached the bonds of affection. And they do NOT want to see the Communion destroyed.
Some, like my bishop, Peter James Lee, of Virginia, are prepared to say that if the vote were to be taken again, they would vote differently than they did three years ago . But (I believe) that is because of the consequences of that vote, not because they have actually changed their minds on the substance of the question.
Thirdly, if you read the Langrish Reflections carefully (and especially paragraph four in which he says he is speaking for the Archbishop of Canterbury), you will see that the terms are being spelled out very precisely. We are not being invited to argue our case. We are being asked to comply with the mind of the Communion, and we are being told - with a remarkable combination of gentleness and clarity - that our decisions, one way or the other, will have consequences.
My opinion: there is no possible way that the primates can have raised the bar this high, telling us what we must do to remain in communion with Canterbury, and then simply shrug if/when we decline to be in compliance with the Windsor recommendations.
So: I am saying, Dont be cynical about the genuine repentance of the majority of the House of Bishops. It is real. But: Dont expect it will be enough to satisfy the primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Archbishop Rowan has surprised virtually everybody by his tenaciousness in upholding the Lambeth understanding of sexuality standards (especially since there is a good deal of evidence his own personal sympathies are more liberal.)
If General Convention fails to adopt a stance of genuine compliance with the Windsor recommendations (which I am certain it will not do) I dont see how the Archbishop has any alternative but to declare that the majority of ECUSA has decided to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.
What that might mean for those who DO agree to the Windsor recommendations has not been addressed by anyone, to my knowledge.
Still, it is far better than the belief du jour; aka "God is doing a new thing" which I left behind in Connecticut.
What a breath of fresh air in my new diocese and church. My new church even has a "gasp" 1928 service!
And the golf outing is half the price of my old diocese!
God is good!
People keep saying that the Anglican Communion has no Pope, no central authority, and that there is no procedure for removing a province from it. But every time I look at how the Anglican Communion is defined, I keep coming up against the phrase, "in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury." Now, who but the ABC can determine who is in communion with him? This is not something that a Province can do unilaterally. If the ECUSA says, "We are in communiion with the ABC", but the ABC says "I am not in communion with the ECUSA", it seems to me that the ABC's opinion in the matter holds sway regardless of the ECUSA's opinion. It seems to me that the ABC can declare a province out of the Anglican Communion unilaterally, regardless of what that province may say, or what Lambeth says, or what the Primates say. Otherwise, the only recourse that Lambeth or the Primates would have would be to overthrow the authority of the ABC, and then it's a whole new ball game.
Q: "Are you sorry for what you did?"
A: "Yes, I'm very sorry...that some people are upset by it."
John Howe is from Glastonbury, Connecticut. He was saved in a high school bible club taught by my mother. He was very active in Inter Varsity while at UCONN. He is solid.
I get to meet him next month.
When you meet him tell him Ruth Wood sends him greetings and prays for him daily. She is 92 and really does pray for him!
Greetings to Ruth and God bless her. My Sunday School teaching Mom is now 90.
We have a Godly heritage. Pass it on!
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