The Network (ACN) moves toward splintering off a small piece of The Episcopal Church
September 26, 2006

Abstracts from recent publications

In This Issue:


Three gatherings of bishops and archbishops of both the Episcopal Church and on the African continent this month, concluded that the only way forward for the theologically and morally divided American branch of the Anglican Communion was divorce.

By David W. Virtue - 9/25/2006

David Virtue online Website

The end of the Communion?

1.0 As a result of the statements issued by the meeting of the Primates of the “Global South” in Kigali, the Anglican Communion has been moved into completely new territory. ( . We are presented with a situation where the possibility of dialogue between believing Christians is being closed down. Both the tone and the content of the Communique of the Primates of the Global South reflect an understanding of the Church which is profoundly un-Anglican, and represents a radical departure from both our ecclesiology and our traditions. We are sleepwalking towards a new church, and unless the silent majority of Anglicans do not take action we will wake up find we have lost the Church and the Christianity we hold dear.

2.0 “One church, one bishop, one territory” is fundamental to our Anglican polity and identity; to say that it is now “outdated” is to deny the whole history of Anglicanism . To say that many of the Primates can either not be in communion or to be in “impaired communion” with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC) represents a theological and ecclesiological nonsense, The sacrament of Holy Communion is a sacrament given to us by God which is not capable of impairment. We trust in God and give thanks to Him for the gift of communion; it is as the Body of Christ that we exist.

3.0 The proposal to create two parallel jurisdictions within the Anglican Communion, separate but both nominally Anglican through their relationship with Canterbury, rides roughshod over the Instruments of Unity and over the Windsor process. It also represents a misunderstanding of the nature of Anglican identity. If we are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury we cannot be out of communion with one another.
But we remember that many of the primates of the “Global South” absented themselves from a Eucharist to which they were invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Dromantine Conference in 2005. We draw the conclusion from that that their allegiance to Canterbury is at best skin deep, and subject to his confirmation of their particular position on matters of human sexuality.
We also note that the Communique did not involve or receive the assent of the Archbishop of Cape Town and the Province of Southern Africa, and we wonder how many other Provinces’ assent has been assumed instead of confirmed.

Giles Goddard - Chair, InclusiveChurch

InclusiveChurch Website

San Joaquin priest elected Episcopal bishop of South Carolina

Lawrence, 56, was elected out of a field of three nominees on the first ballot. According to unofficial results released by the Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, canon theologian and communications coordinator for the diocese, Lawrence was elected with 42.5 lay votes and 72 clergy votes. An election required 29 votes in the lay order and 54 in the clergy order.
South Carolina is one of seven dioceses in which a bishop and Standing Committee are seeking a relationship with a primate other than the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, citing 2003 and 2006 General Convention actions. The other dioceses are Central Florida (Orlando-based), Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Springfield (Illinois), and San Joaquin (California). None of the dioceses' conventions have ratified the requests.

Salmon was part of a group of bishops who met September 11-13 in New York City to discuss the Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO) requests, but which came to no agreement.
The constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Anglican Communion's main policy-making body, makes no provisions for alternative primatial oversight. Neither do the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.
In response to a one of three questions presented to the candidates prior to a series of meetings with the diocese [], Lawrence said he approved of the APO request.
The fabric of the Episcopal Church has been frayed "by our misguided passion to be culturally sensitive and intellectually flexible," Lawrence wrote..............

On September 5, the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina, whose mission is to "preserve unity with diversity in the diocese," [] told the diocesan electors that the group was "concerned that the new bishop be committed, without reservation, to the ordination oath signed by every new bishop to conform to the 'doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.'
"We understand that commitment to include respecting the democratic actions of the General Convention, and the elected leadership of The Episcopal Church as it is now constituted. In recent years our diocesan leadership has voiced opposition to actions of General Convention and the Church's leaders," the group said in an open letter that ran in the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper. "The Diocese of South Carolina has joined fewer than 10% of all Episcopal dioceses in an alliance, The Anglican Communion Network, that threatens to lead us out of The Episcopal Church."The

Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg
National Correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Election of S.C. bishop could further divide Episcopalians

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina could deepen the divide between traditionalists and liberals in the American denomination, depending on whether the denomination's leadership approves his election.

"If his election were not to be approved, it would create a severe problem," Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the diocese, said Wednesday.............

Rarely are bishops rejected. Thelast one was in 1934, Harmon said.

But Lawrence's consent may prove difficult. "Already there are indications it will be rough," Harmon said, "because of the deep fracture in our church and the fact that South Carolina is clearly seen on one side."

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina is among seven diocese nationwide that voted to reject the authority of the national church's presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori. She was elected in June as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of the Anglican Communion. The communion has about 70 million members worldwide; about 2.3 million Episcopalians live in the U.S.

Associated Press

The Two Episcopal Churches

To a certain degree there have always been two Episcopal Churches, or at least two very distinct characters within one body. For most of our history in the New World, these two churches (or characters) have informed and shaped one another. Sometimes one Church has dominated, sometimes the other.

"Let neither side say the other does not have a legitimate claim to be the Episcopal Church. Both surely do. What is less clear is that both characters, both Episcopal Churches, will continue to be able to legitimately claim to be recognizable Anglicans or mainstream Christians." .........

For the last forty years the Revolutionary (or “Innovating”) portion of the Episcopal Church has dominated the Received (or “Enduring”) portion of the Episcopal Church. During that time, it has increasingly insisted on the primacy of its revolution over God’s stable revelation. It has so strongly sought to eliminate signs of the priorites and values of the enduring character from our shared life (the matters of Prayerbook, Women’s Ordination and sexual morality immediately spring to mind) that we are hard-pressed not to speak now of two churches, not just two characters. (Many in the Enduring Church, myself included, supported, and continue to support, reformation in Prayerbook and the extention of ordained ministry to women, but as Scriptural freedoms, never as Revolutionary mandates.)........

So let’s be clear about who are the ones doing the separating. Let us also be clear that it is the endurers who have the rightful claim to via media, not the revolutionaries. As the Windsor Report, and the response of the recently concluded General Convention have made so clear, it is the “innovators,” not the “endurers” who are “walking apart.”

Bishop Robert Duncan - Moderator of The ACN (Network)September, 2006 issue of TRINITY Magazine

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