Skip to comments.Episcopal Church’s “Unofficial” Delegation Defies Primates’ Instructions
Posted on 06/19/2005 6:18:21 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), in complete defiance of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, has sent their delegates to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting currently underway in Nottingham, England. In their 2005 Communique issued from Dromantine, the Primates called on the American delegation to withdraw voluntarily from the ACC. Subsequently, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church announced that the delegation the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, the Rev. Robert Sessum and Ms. Josephine Hicks would not attend in an official capacity but would be present as observers. It is important to note that this is contrary to the Primates expressed expectation and was not sanctioned by the Council as a whole.
A number of ACC members have expressed discomfort at the presence of ECUSA observers who have been present for all sessions, meals, social gatherings and even rode on the van transporting the ACC to Sundays worship service. Despite his so-called withdrawal, ECUSAs ACC delegate Robert Sessum has participated in Finance Committee meetings and has been observed engaging in several private conversations with ACC staff and leadership. Both Ms. Hicks and Bishop Roskam are obviously working the room during breaks and social gatherings.
One ACC member expressed strong frustration saying that the Americans have displayed arrogance in assuming that their status within the Council is undiminished.
They were included in the welcome and the official roll call. It was as if Dromantine simply hadnt happened, and I find it very difficult to imagine frank discussions about their presence or even the actions of their provinces while they are in the room.
Another ACC member was outraged by the unlimited access enjoyed by the US and said the delegation had been party to the entire program in contradiction to the Dromantine Communique.
The Primates requested that US representatives withdraw and attend only when they make their case at the appropriate time. Their presence in the sessions is totally confusing to other ACC delegates from around the world. Can no one stop the ECUSA juggernaut?
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the ACC, and ACC Chairman Bishop John Paterson appear unwilling to enforce the Primates expectations, and John Rees, legal adviser to the ACC pointedly emphasized the broad powers of the chair. A member displeased with the situation pointed to Kearons apparent support of ECUSAs position. He made this happen allowing them to be present is his decision.
The Episcopal Church is sending a second force that will make a 90-minute presentation on Tuesday, June 21, 2005. Although the Anglican Primates called for ECUSA to explain their actions, early reports indicate that Episcopal presenters will focus primarily on the experience of homosexuals with a primary goal of persuading the ACC that God is doing a new thing in North America. So far lobbying efforts of the US and Canada are already well underway, paving the way for Tuesdays presentations. The integrity of the ACC meeting could well be in jeopardy.
ANGLICAN leaders will hear for the first time tomorrow a theological justification by the heads of the Canadian and American churches for their actions over homosexuals, which have brought the Anglican community to the brink of schism.
The Primate of the US Anglican Church, the Most Rev Frank Griswold, will deliver a report to a meeting in Nottingham on why it was right to ordain the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. The Canadian Primate, the Archbishop of Montreal, the Most Rev Andrew Hutchison, will also lead a delegation to explain the actions of the New Westminster Diocese in authorising same-sex blessings.
They will continue to stand by the ordination of Bishop Robinson, condemned by the so-called Global South churches of Africa for breaching the spirit of a resolution on sexuality agreed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference that set a biblical norm on the issue, and which was legal within the constitution of the US church and supported by most of its bishops. However, they have agreed a temporary moratorium on any future episcopal ordinations, straight and gay, in an attempt to avert immediate schism. Their report concludes with a detailed appendix setting out a 40-year history of the US churchs explorations of the gay issue.
After the primates meeting in Ireland this year, Canada and the US agreed to withdraw their official representatives from this weeks meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, the worldwide churchs executive body. Their delegates will be limited to explaining their actions.
The meeting opened yesterday with a procession through the streets of Nottingham led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
The communion, with 77 million members in 38 provinces, has been paralysed by the dispute over gays. Neither side wants schism but it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how they can remain in the same body. The debate will come to a head at the 2008 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.
All sides are hoping to avert schism. One outcome in 2008 could be that the US and Canada are forced into observer status only unless they agree to adopt the orthodox line. Internationally the rift appears unbridgeable. In Brazil the former Bishop of Recife, Robinson Cavalcanti, is to appeal against his deposition by a church court for declaring his diocese out of communion with New Westminster and New Hampshire. The Recife diocesan standing committeehas described his deposition as vicious, and has called an extraordinary synod for August.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has said, in an ITV interview with Melvyn Bragg, that he could see no theological objections to a woman leading the Anglican Church and admitted that many Christians were bigoted towards homosexuals.
[I searched for a copy of the US report, but it makes sense that it wouldn't be released until tomorrow. --sionnsar]
The ACC is unwilling or unable to exercise the minimal control of who attends and who participates in its meetings. They allow themselves to be arrogantly violated, without resistance or official protest. This is truly a sinking vessel.
Wait and see how this plays out before you rush to judgement.
Fair enough. There is time to respond. Hopefully they will set unequivocal expectations and limits on those who have now shown themselves for what they are.
ECUSA goes too far. With all the truly Christian primates praying, Griswold had better worry about the God of the Bible stepping in.
Am about to go out and see what's been happening...
The lack of backbone of my church is truly frustrating.
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