Skip to comments.Archbishop of Canterbury says he has no 'pre-cooked' agenda for resolving conflict
Posted on 12/06/2006 5:10:27 PM PST by sionnsar
[Episcopal News Service] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, told the group Episcopal Majority that he is "not seeking to impose any new structure" on the Episcopal Church.
Williams' assurances came in a November 20 letter to the group, which describes itself on its website as "a grassroots organization committed to the values and vitality of the Episcopal Church and working to neutralize the negative influence" of groups critical of recent church decisions.
Williams responded to two November 9 letters from the steering committee of the Episcopal Majority. The first letter urged him to reject requests from some Episcopal Church bishops and standing committees for a relationship with a primate other than Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.
The second recommended that Williams ask West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez to step down as chairman of the Anglican Covenant Design Group.
The group's objections to Gomez's leadership, detailed in its letter, include his signing of the Kigali Communiqué, which said the time had come to form an alternate Anglican structure in the United States.
The group told Williams that such efforts were "blatantly secessionist activities."
"To grant their request would constitute a reward for these actions and legitimate the break-up of the Church," the letter said.
In posting Williams' response on its website December 3, the Rev. David K. Fly, Episcopal Majority president, said "we are grateful for the clarification of his thinking on these issues."
Williams said that he fully accepts that he has no jurisdiction in the USA and has not sought and is not seeking to impose any new structure.
"I have had informal discussions with a number of parties in [the Episcopal Church], of very diverse opinions, as to what future possibilities there are, but I do not approach this with a pre-cooked agenda of my own," Williams wrote in the letter, addressed to the Rev. Bill Coats, who wrote him on behalf of Episcopal Majority's steering committee.
Williams said that the idea of an Anglican covenant "has been brought forward chiefly because of a widespread recognition that existing historic links and bonds are not proving effective as expressions of mutual accountability," adding that "the support of the Windsor commission and the Primates has to be taken seriously."
While not addressing directly the group's concerns about what it called Gomez's failure "to be impartial, fair minded, neutral and without any preconceived views about what should be accomplished," Williams said that the covenant design group that will be working a covenant proposal "will certainly include people who hold differing perspectives on the question, whatever the views of the chair."
"Since nearly every primate in the Communion has some sort of 'record' on the divisive questions of the day, I simply note that it is practically impossible to find a chair unequivocally acceptable to all," Williams wrote.
The full text of Williams' letter is available here.
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
http://episcopalmajority.blogspot.com/Sunday, December 03, 2006
The Archbishop Responds
On November 9, the Rev. Bill Coats, on behalf of the Steering Committee of The Episcopal Majority, sent two letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The first urged him to reject the requests of a few bishops of The Episcopal Church for "alternative primatial oversight" (or a "commissary").
The second recommended that the Archbishop ask the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies, to step down as Chairman of the Covenant Design Group.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has responded, in a letter dated November 20, and we are grateful for the clarification of his thinking on these issues.
We, too, continue to pray for this "troubled but very precious fellowship."
The Rev. David K. Fly President,
The Episcopal Majority
Dear Mr. Coats,
Thank you for your letters about various questions affecting the Episcopal Church and its future. Without going into detail, there are one or two things I ought to say for clarity's sake. I fully accept that I have no jurisdiction in the USA and I have not sought and am not seeking to impose any new structure.
I share your own concern that we avoid so far as humanly possible both rhetoric and action that further fracture the Episcopal Church and other Anglican provinces. I have had informal discussions with a number of parties in TEC, of very diverse opinions, as to what future possibilities there are, but I do not approach this with a pre-cooked agenda of my own.
The principle of a 'covenant' has been brought forward chiefly because of a widespread recognition that existing historic links and bonds are not proving effective as expressions of mutual accountability. This conclusion is sufficiently widespread to give some ground for thinking that the Quadrilateral may need some glossing or expansion. What the shape of that will be is far from clear, but the support of the Windsor commission and the Primates has to be taken seriously. The group that will be working on this will certainly include people who hold differing perspectives on the question, whatever the views of the chair. Since nearly every primate in the Communion has some sort of 'record' on the divisive questions of the day, I simply note that it is practically impossible to find a chair unequivocally acceptable to all.
Thank you for your continuing prayers for this troubled but very precious fellowship that is the Communion at present.
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