Skip to comments.Episcopal leaders make concessions to conservatives
Posted on 11/30/2006 5:30:35 PM PST by sionnsar
NEW YORK - Episcopal leaders offered conservatives more independence from the national church Thursday, just ahead of a California dioceses vote on whether it should split from the denomination.
A yes vote by the Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno, would put it on the brink of leaving The Episcopal Church in its feud over the Bible and sexuality. Church leadership supports same-gender relationships and installed an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire three years ago. However, traditionalists believe gay partnerships violate Scripture.
The churchs new proposal would create a leadership position called a primatial vicar.
The vicar would work with conservative dioceses, performing functions that normally fall to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, including consecrating local bishops.
A representative of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, would have a role on a panel of church leaders supervising the appointee. However, the vicar would ultimately be under the authority of Jefferts Schori. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member Anglican family.
Virginia Bishop Peter Lee, a leader in developing the proposal, said the group that worked on the idea was conscious of the need to respond quickly to the needs of parishes and dioceses. The Diocese of San Joaquin is scheduled to hold its balloting Saturday.
Six other conservative dioceses have also rejected Jefferts Schoris authority, but have stopped short of a full break.
Canon Kendall Harmon, a conservative leader from the Diocese of South Carolina, said he was encouraged that Lee and others acknowledged the urgency of the situation. But he said the proposal failed to address underlying theological differences and their impact on the church.
Its as if at the last minute they pulled a feather out of their hat and said, Here, Harmon said.
The plan was finalized during a meeting Monday of Jefferts Schori and a small group of bishops. Five conservative bishops who had been invited did not attend. Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, two of the conservative invitees, said in a statement Monday that relations with national leaders have deteriorated so much that they have been advised to bring attorneys to any future talks.
Read it all here.
Adding one level to the bureaucracy between the Most Irrev. Schori and her subjects hardly helps the situation. It seems the immediate problem is that Ms. Schori is contradictingly opposed to any semblance of a hierarchy to preserve orthodoxy, yet he is, effectively, an archbishop or even a patriarch.
Perhaps Bishop Lee should attend to the problems facing him in his own Diocese rather than trying to "fix" the issues in the national church.
This is like putting a bandaid on a severed limb to stop the bleeding.
Too little, too late.
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