Saturday, May 9, 2009

Why TEC Really Lost at the ACC

"I know not what course others may take, but for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry

A lot has already been written about the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Covenant and how Section 4 has either come to pass or not. A lot has been written about the entire thing everyone call a covenant. Not much has been written about the uniqueness of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. We here in "the States" have never had much use for bishops. Oh sure, they have grown into the wonderful and delightful personage such as Bobby Duncan, John David Mercer Schofield, Jack "I ain't listenin' to no wimmin" Iker and the bigger fish across the pond. You all know, Peter Jensen, Peter Akinola, Henry Luke Orambi and yes, even our own beloved Rowan Williams. What do they all have in common? Well, they are all bishops. Now, you are going to say, well Fred, "Duh". But herein is the problem, everyone throughout the world not only likes these guys but listens to them because that is all they know. We know and have lived with a different approach.

For an absolutely fascinating read try A History of the American Episcopal Church by Manross. William White, the father of the present day Episcopal Church belonged to the older school of Low Churchmanship. "The members of . . . were not disposed to rate the authority of the bishops too highly."(pg 188) They were also disposed to tolerate a wide variety of opinions. "The handiwork of the low churchmen can still be seen in such things as inclusion of laymen in ecclesiastical councils, the slight authority given bishops over independent parishes, the curtailment of their authority in other respects by standing committees and diocesan conventions..."

We then find White's ideas for the creation of PECUSA in The Case of the Episcopal Churches In the United States Considered To be fair, William White was always a bit suspect in many circles of the newly minted US. Then came the Pennsylvania Declaration of Principles. "This convention adopted a set of fundamental principles to the effect that the Episcopal Church in the United States should be independent of all foreign authority, that it had full power to regulate its own affairs, that it should maintain the 'Doctrine of Gospels' as proposed by the Church of England and conform to the worship of that church as far as possible, that it should have a threefold ministry, that canons should be made by representatives of the clergy and laity jointly, and that no powers should be delegated to a general ecclesiastical government except such as could not be conveniently exercised by state conventions." In a later meeting, actually the convention of 1789 (our first prayerbook) the archbishops (wouldn't you just know it) put up such a stink that the House of Bishops was created.

So, you say, "Get to the point Fred". My point is that we are living through a time now where no one outside of the United States and apparently several bishops inside the US feel like they just no longer wish to "share" the authority of the Church. Let me be clear, they understand what we are and how we came to pass and how we are governed and THEY REJECT IT FULLY and COMPLETELY. Hooker's three-legged stool is rejected because reason is the product of everyone, laity and clergy, but Scripture, well only the clergy can really understand scripture and so they, the Archbishops in particular, know what is meant by "interpretation of scriptures" and we poor peons must just do as we are told. Chafing yet folks? Collar fitting a little tighter than one likes? Begin to understand why ALL persons having the same rights might impact them a little? Power is the name of the game.

So what do we now get out of this document called the Covenant? We get instruments of communion including the Anglican Consultative Council, we get The Primates Council, we get some silly foreign thingy called the Joint (interesting turn of the word) Standing Committee and all the trappings of a clerical, specifically purple shirted thugs ring of old men who believe that the only way to God is through the scriptures as THEY interpret them. Oh, women, no, no rights for women, they can't think clearly most days anyway.

Ladies and gentlemen, the covenant is a rejection of all that we hold near and dear and have for over 200 years. What the Anglican Consultative Council did was tell the United States "sit down and shut up!" The ACC has rejected everything that the Episcopal Church has been built on and everything we stand for. This is not a subtle turn toward hierarchical governance it is a "spit in your eye, kick dirt on your shoes, put it where the moon don't shine" stand against not TEC but of the laity of TEC and how the laity has for years been a strong and vibrant part of the Episcopal Church.

The plain and simple truth is that TEC cannot accept any part of this stupid idea because we, having grown up in a free and open church where ideas are welcomed and freedoms are sacred, will give up a large part of that. TEC will never be the same if any part of this document called a Covenant is accepted. In addition, if ACNA and its henchmen get to represent the United States at any table all is lost, for the bishops (Iker, Schofield, Duncan, Wantland, etc) do not share our uniquely American ideas, in fact they reject them all. Why, well if they understood and appreciated the marketplace of ideas they would have never left TEC. They chose to leave because their ideas were rejected. What ideas were those, you ask? The idea the LGBT persons can and should fully participate in all things Episcopal. That we welcome everyone from ALL cultures and that their ideas are as valid and worthy as everyone else. That yes, handicapped persons really can do things and that we need to create space for them to access (physically as well as every other way) the church. That women really are persons and should fully participate in all things including bishoprics up to and including the Presiding Bishop's role. ACNA will kill the Episcopal Church if given the chance. They know it and we know it and we need to stop playing with these folks, indeed with all the grater Anglicans that would destroy our church.

Here is what needs to be done (at a minimum). First, tell ++Rowan Williams that he is not welcome at the General Convention of 2009. A Tory is a Tory is a Tory, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Nice man, tell him gently, but he is not welcome at GC 2009. Second, we move forward with the Episcopalian Bill of Rights. This bill of rights simply states what we all know and recognize. God created each and everyone of us in His image and that in that light we are ALL welcome and that we are ALL full participants of the Episcopal Church.

And remember, just because we are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get us. ;=}

14 comments:

Paul said...

"Let me be clear, they understand what we are and how we came to pass and how we are governed and THEY REJECT IT FULLY and COMPLETELY."

I believe this is true and TEC needs to be very clear about this point. And return the favor.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

¨They chose to leave because their ideas were rejected. What ideas were those, you ask? The idea the LGBT persons can and should fully participate in all things Episcopal. That we welcome everyone from ALL cultures and that their ideas are as valid and worthy as everyone else. That yes, handicapped persons really can do things and that we need to create space for them to access (physically as well as every other way) the church. That women really are persons and should fully participate in all things including bishoprics up to and including the Presiding Bishop's role.¨ Fred Schwartz

I believe this to be true and I agree with the self-imagined powerplayers thinking they are the only folks that could possibly interpret Scripture or KNOW ¨Gods Will.¨

I also believe that caceling the invitation for Dr. Rowan Williams to participate is the appropriate thing to do...why pretend this fellow does not wish us harm? His ongoing spite and rejection of TEC has been apparent throughout his term as ABC. Asking him to ¨fast¨ as we make key choices about OUR FUTURE at The Anglican Communion...seems, somehow, Windsorlike...I would suggest that ++Rowan go spend time with LGBT Anglicans in Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya (that is if they are willing to share their REALILTY with him).

Go listen elsewhere Rowan as it´s NOT ABOUT YOU!

Jim said...

Yup.

It is interesting to me that much of what Lambeth and the New Orleans meetings were about is what Dr. Williams sees as the 'proper role' of bishops. That role includes seats in the house of lords. That is, he really believes in clergy government and that TEC is too democratic. OK, he can have that, without us. Paying for it may be a problem to him but surely Nigeria can help. They keep telling us how much cash they can send if we make small deposits in banks for them.

FWIW
jimB

Grandmère Mimi said...

Fred, TEC got slapped around at the ACC meeting, but, in the end, I don't know that what happened at the meeting will be counted as a loss. TEC is fired up now, more than ever, to do the right thing.

I agree that Rowan should be told gently, but firmly, that he should think green and save fuel and stay clear of California. It ain't his church.

Lynn said...

"TEC is fired up now, more than ever, to do the right thing."Mimi, I hope that turns out to be true at GC. I wonder if we are brave enough to take the scary steps, will others follow? When TEC backed off under pressure, it didn't encourage others to go forward.

Great post, Fred. I'm glad you tucked in the historical information.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lynn, there will be a revolt if they don't do the right thing. Many in the House of Deputies were quite angry after the pressure put on them at the last GC to go along with the "time of fasting". They won't fall for it again.

Fred, your post is excellent. I forgot to say so in my first comment.

pax58 said...

Fred,
I think someone should the historical understanding to TEC in a resolution for GC and once it is pasted, send copies to ABC and ACC. Let them figure out what to do with us when they realize that we have doing things like this for 200 years. They seem fine with taking all of our money up until now without getting their underwear too tight.
Mr. Williams was not just dismissive in New Orleans, he was rude. Maybe someone needs to tell him not to show up at GC and that he will not be welcome to any TEC parish or meeting until he apolegizes and writes a statement explaining his understanding of our 200 year old polity and then stating that he supports it.
I also agree that he should start the listening process with GLBT persons in Africa--and maybe help a few of them gets VISA out of the holocaust they are facing.


Tim Lusk
Tucson, AZ, USA

PseudoPiskie said...

Perhaps the ABC should go to Anaheim and face the HoD. He spends too much time with the purple shirts. I don't think we should leave or take a reduced role in the AC voluntarily. Many in TEC have heard the Holy Spirit telling us that Jesus told us to love all unconditionally. Some have yet to hear that message, even in our own ranks. We need to continue to be the witness for those the rest of the people refuse to accept.

SCG said...

A really excellent summation. And I agree completely that Archbishop Ewok needs to stay on the other side of the pond. If he attempts to meddle, we should recruit those from Province I to show everybody how you revolt against a "red coat".

Counterlight said...

I think the best thing TEC could do at Anaheim is to pick up the tab for ++Rowan William's flight (in coach) back to Heathrow.

Elizabeth said...

Fred made a great start. I think we all need to continue it by educating the laity about their history and what they stand to lose. I suspect many do not know.

John I. said...

Dear Fred,

Thank you for this heartfelt synopsis of where TEC finds itself at the moment. You have understandably and largely zeroed in on those ACNA bishops and their followers who have left TEC with trumpets blaring. There’s no ambiguity where they stand. Their goal is the destruction of The Episcopal Church as we know it.

What also troubles me are those bishops who remain part of the House of Bishops, but are (in most cases) in open defiance, if not guerilla warfare, against the very Church to which they have sworn allegiance. http://covenant-communion.net/index.php/forums/viewthread/507

Some of us live in dioceses where such prince-bishops reign. For all the weeping and gnashing of teeth for the poor, persecuted orthodox in N. America, (I’ve been Orthodox, I know the difference) precious little attention is given to moderate and liberal TEC churches in so-called ‘orthodox’ dioceses who discreetly suffer [for many reasons]in silence. I suspect our numbers are many besides my own parish.

‘O Lord, save your people, and bless your inheritance’!
John

gerry said...

I think educating the Laity is a great idea and one that should be expanded to include the Clergy and the Bishops.

Our current problems, in no small measure have evolved from the failure of many in the clerical orders to remember that we are the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, and not Roman Catholic or Orthodox or populated with Prince-Bishops (excepting of course Bishop Prince of Rochester (NY));).

It is past time for the Church to stop trying to please +++Rowan, and the GAFCON Primates. Episcopalians are genetically incapable of this after all did or ancestors not repudiate the Supreme Governor and turn to the Primus and the Bishops of Scotland when the Bishop of London and Canterbury would not consecrate our first Bishops?

The moratorium GC75 should adopt after repudiating BO33 is to stop listening to the snarking and back biting from Lambeth, the ACC, the Primates Council, etc. and let us all start to live into the Gospel while ministering to the culture in which we live.

Anonymous said...

IitCnu [url=http://www.outletmonclerspacciopiumini.com/]Moncler Outlet[/url] AxrTww http://www.outletmonclerspacciopiumini.com/

TbwCeu [url=http://www.nikefreevnikefree.com/]Nike Free Run[/url] MfmCge http://www.nikefreevnikefree.com/

GhvVfk [url=http://www.outletmonclerspaccio.com/]Spaccio MOncler[/url] IwzCie http://www.outletmonclerspaccio.com/

YyyJgi [url=http://www.Jakker2canadagoose.com/]Canada Goose[/url] SbfDoa http://www.Jakker2canadagoose.com/

GmzNfw [url=http://www.parkajakker4canadagoose.com/]Canada Goose Jakke[/url] PmiMsp http://www.parkajakker4canadagoose.com/

SedGcs [url=http://www.jakke2canadagoose.com/]Canada Goose Canada[/url] RlrPez http://www.jakke2canadagoose.com/

MxrQew [url=http://www.canadagoosefromcanada.com/]Canada Goose[/url] GwqLno http://www.canadagoosefromcanada.com/