Saturday, November 29, 2008

Let's Truly Move On With Hope and Mission

My friend and colleague in the Diocese of North Carolina, the Rev. George Clifford, has written a compelling piece on the Episcopal Cafe.  In this piece he comes to a new attitude regarding the pending schism/realignment in global Anglicanism.  That attitude may be summed up as: 'So what?  Move on. Praise the Lord, drop the lawsuits and let's make a deal."

I agree with it.

To be sure, I care very much that the visible body be rent asunder yet again.  I care very much that the ongoing Anglican Communion be both unified on essentials of the Catholic faith and also tolerant on non-essentials.  Moreover, I rankle at the assertion made by some on the Left-wing of the Communion that The Episcopal Church should focus on being a 'small protestant denomination' (as Marilyn McCord Adams has said) with a niche for social-theological-progressivism.  I still see The Episcopal Church as being called to being comprehensive and inclusive of the traditional array of Anglican identities (catholic, protestant, broad, liberal, etc.)

Nonetheless, I am totally unfazed in my own location by the presence of some half-dozen non-Episcopal churches which identify as Anglican.  Indeed, I'm friends with clergy and laity in several of them.  One parish is Anglican Mission in America, another is affiliated with Common Cause, another dating to an older continuing Anglican body.  

On this blog I have certainly said some hard words against the leaders of the global schism.  But, I'm as resigned to a new future as they are, and I'm more than willing to move on and not worry about it too much.  Indeed, on the ground, despite a few hiccups in the early days, we are finding that Raleigh's Episcopal and various Anglican congregations have plenty of room and plenty of souls to go around.  The work is plenty and the laborers are few.  Our parish has grown more in the past five years than the previous five.  And with supposedly more 'competition.'  Again, if our congregations preach the Gospel, say our prayers, worship the Lord, include all into God's saving embrace, and are active in discipleship and mission - we've got nothing to fear.

Clearly the separation is coming, and yes there will be other Anglican entities around.  Whether or not they are in the Anglican Communion may or may not matter.  

I believe that we need to drop the fight, settle the property disputes where they may be settled, stop wasting funds on lawyers, and put the proceeds and savings directly into the five marks of mission.  Instead of lawsuits, let's proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, teach, baptise and nurture new believers, respond to human need in loving service, transform unjust structures in society, and safeguard God's green earth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Believe . . . .

Tom: Do I have to believe the Nicene Creed in order to be a good Christian?

The Godfather: “Good” is above my pay grade. I’m just a simple EFM mentor. For “good” you need to consult an ordained clergyperson, or an editorial writer for the Times.

Tom: Well, forget “good”. Do I need to believe the Nicene Creed to be a Christian?

The Godfather: In my church, the Episcopal Church, we all recite it every Sunday, or how ever often we take Communion, and we say, aloud and in public, that we believe it. I think that’s true in most Christian churches – although there’s one phrase about the Holy Spirit that’s been a source of disagreement between Western and Eastern churches. When we’re baptized, we recite – or if we’re infants, someone recites for us – a Baptismal Covenant that says pretty much the same things as the Creed. So I guess the answer is that the Nicene Creed reflects a set of beliefs to which Christians generally ascribe. I should think that, if you identify as a Christian, you’d want to share those beliefs.

Tom: That’s not really the answer I was hoping for.

The Godfather: Sorry about that. Is there something in particular about the Creed that you have a problem with?

Tom: Well, sure, it’s that business about Mary being a virgin. That’s pretty hard to swallow don’t you think?

The Godfather: You mean because it’s biologically impossible?

Tom: Well, yeah.

The Godfather: But resurrection is impossible, too, isn’t it? Why worry about Mary’s virginity if you’re prepared to accept that her son died and rose from the dead?

Tom: Because the Resurrection was a public event, and the earliest Christians, including the writers of the Gospels, were either themselves eye-witnesses to it, or they were able to rely on others who were eye-witnesses. You have evidence that the impossible happened. But the conception of Jesus and the virginity of his mother at that time were intimate, private events; there were no witnesses who could attest to it, other than Mary. The two miracles are very different in that respect.

Besides, the Resurrection is a compelling, important miracle, it's the basis of all Christianity. But it’s hard to take the virgin birth story seriously; it’s like a silly joke. “Well, Joseph, it seems I’m pregnant. But it’s OK. It wasn’t that handsome young shepherd from Cana. You see, there was this angel . . . .” You wouldn’t believe it if someone told you that in the real world; you’d laugh at someone trying to get away with such a crock.

The Godfather: Joseph didn’t believe it at first, either, but he came around. Anyway, just because you can make something sound silly doesn’t mean it’s not true. Do you remember the crucifixion scene in the Monty Python movie Life of Brian? It shows all these crucified guys singing and jiving on their crosses? It’s hilarious. But it doesn’t mean there was no crucifixion.

Tom: I take your point, but look, two of the four Gospels don’t even mention Mary being a virgin.

The Godfather: That’s true, but that’s because Mark and John, probably the first and last written of the four Gospels, don’t talk about the birth of Jesus at all. They really aren’t evidence against the virgin birth.

But don’t you think it’s interesting that Matthew and Luke each have birth stories, but they are almost totally different stories? As we’re reminded every Christmas, Matthew has the Wise Men but no Shepherds, and Luke has the Shepherds, but no Wise Men. Both Gospels have an angel announce that Mary’s child is from the Holy Spirit, but in Matthew the angel appears to Joseph, and in Luke the angel appears to Mary. Matthew has Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem, and then moving to Nazareth after they return from Egypt, where they fled to escape King Herod; Luke has the family living in Nazareth all along, but they’re temporarily in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth to register in accordance with Caesar’s decree, and there’s no flight to Egypt. The two birth stories seem to reflect two very different traditions that had developed by the time those two Gospels were written, in the third or fourth quarter of the First Century.

But they have one thing in common: Both Matthew and Luke tell us that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. Two very different traditions, with this one thing in common. How about that?

Tom: It still doesn’t mean that the virgin birth story is true.

The Godfather: And the fact that there’s no birth story in Mark and John doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Tom: OK, I grant you that. As I just said, the fact is that no one but Mary could ever attest for sure that she was a virgin when Jesus was conceived.

The Godfather: Or that she wasn’t.

Tom: Or that she wasn’t. But making such a big deal about Mary’s virginity just seems to be part of the whole anti-sex message the church has been peddling to make us behave the way they want us to, doesn’t it?

The Godfather: If that’s the church’s objective, it’s been a pretty abysmal failure. At least judging by Desperate Housewives. Look, we’re not talking right now about the immaculate conception or the perpetual virginity of Mary or her assumption to Heaven. None of that is part of the Nicene Creed.

Tom: No, it’s not, but the Creed does claim that Mary was a virgin, and there’s really no reason to make that claim unless you’re trying to glorify virginity and denigrate sex.

The Godfather: Well, let’s think about that. The Creed does talk about the “virgin” Mary, but what’s the context for that reference?

Tom: Well, I hadn’t really thought about it in terms of context. OK, let’s look at it. The Creed has three main sections. The first one is about God the Father, the second is about God the Son, Christ, and the third is mostly about the Holy Spirit, but also throws in the church, baptism, and the after life. Obviously the Virgin Mary shows up in the second part, the part about Christ.

The Godfather: That’s the longest part of the Creed, isn’t it? I wonder why.

Tom: Oh come on; you know that. It's all explained in Beyond Da Vinci, by Greg Jones, which surely you've read. Christ was the hard part to understand, that’s what all the controversy was about that the Council of Nicea was supposed to resolve. You start off with the proposition that there’s only one God. That’s an absolute, you can’t compromise on it or you end up as a polytheistic pagan. So if there’s only one God, how do you fit Jesus in?

The Godfather: How about saying he’s a prophet of God, divinely inspired, but not divine?

Tom: That was one theory, but it had been rejected by orthodox Christians long before Nicea. Having just one more prophet wouldn’t really change the world. Christians felt that the death and resurrection of Jesus was a big deal, and it changed the world. A Christ who was only human wouldn’t do that.

The Godfather: So Christ had to be divine?

Tom: Right, but a big question before Nicea was, how divine? Christ couldn’t be another God, along side the Father. There had to be only one God. Christ had to be the same God as “God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth”. And that’s what the Creed says: that Christ is God, just as the Father is God, but the Father and the Son are the same God: “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God”. Christ the Son is “of one being with the Father”.

The Godfather: And you understand that?

Tom: No, and I don’t think anyone really understands it, but I see what the Creed is driving at.

The Godfather: OK, the Father and the Son are both the same one God. And then what?

Tom: Then the Son, Christ, while still being divine, still being God, becomes human, he’s born on Earth as Jesus of Nazareth.

The Godfather: Is that important?

Tom: That God the Son became human? Well yes, of course it was important to the people who wrote the Creed. The whole story of Jesus in the Gospels is about a human being who walked and talked and suffered and died. If you denied that he really was human, if you claimed that he just looked like a human – and some people did claim that – it wouldn’t do the job, because then all of Jesus’ suffering and dying would have been just an illusion, and it would make the whole story pointless.

The Godfather: And how did he become human?

Tom: Like the Harry Chapin song says, “he came to the world in the usual way”, he was born. “He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

The Godfather: So is there some theological significance to Mary being his mother?

Tom: Having a human mother underscores the humanity of Jesus. It’s something that all we human beings share with him, and with each other. But that doesn’t mean she had to be a virgin. That’s my whole problem with the virgin birth thing.

The Godfather: Well suppose God had asked you for advice . . . .

Tom: Hey, that’s crazy! I’m not qualified . . . .

The Godfather: I’m not offering you a consulting job. This is a mental exercise. Suppose it’s 2,000 years ago, and God’s decided to incarnate the Son as a human being, and He asks you who should be the mother. He’s narrowed it down to two candidates: Mary, the virgin; and Naomi, married with four kids already. Which one do you advise Him to choose?

Tom: What I would say to this absurd hypothetical question is that it doesn’t matter which one He chooses. The mother of the Lord doesn’t have to be a virgin.

The Godfather: Now suppose God asks the same question of Simon, a First Century Jew; who does he recommend that God choose?

Tom: The First Century Jew probably says, Choose the virgin.

The Godfather: Why?

Tom: Because he’s read Isaiah in Greek, and he thinks the line about the “young woman” giving birth refers to a “virgin” giving birth; the translation from Hebrew to Greek in the Septuagint was flawed. But that was regarded as a prophesy that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.

The Godfather: Good for you to know that. You must have taken EFM.

Tom: Yes, I have, and it’s a heck of a good program. But getting back to your question: Aside from the Isaiah passage, Simon, the First Century Jew, prefers having the mother be a virgin because he says it will reduce confusion about the paternity of the child.

The Godfather: And if God decides to pick the virgin to be the mother of the Son, would God be wrong?

Tom: No, I don’t suppose so.

The Godfather: In fact, you just told God that it didn’t matter which of the two potential mothers was chosen, the virgin or the mother of four, didn’t you?

Tom: Yes, I did say that.

The Godfather: So if it doesn’t matter, why are you all hung up by the Nicene Creed saying that the Son became incarnate from the Virgin Mary?

Tom: I don’t know, now that you put it that way. I guess I really don’t have any basis to reject that part of the Creed; it’s really a non-issue.

The Godfather: Good, I’m glad I could be of assistance to you in working that out.

Tom: Yeah, thanks. Hey, do you think you could help me with that business about “one holy, catholic, and apostolic church”? That’s sure not the way things look to me.

The Godfather: Oh. Gee, Tom, would love to talk about that one, but I just have to run. Got a vestry meeting this evening. Working on stewardship.

You have turned in your pledge card haven’t you?

By Eric Von Salzen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Anglican Consultative Council Meeting by ENS

[Episcopal News Service, London] The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has devoted much of its November 24-26 meeting to discussing budgetary issues and planning the next meeting of the ACC -- the communion's main policy-making body -- set for May 1-12, 2009 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among those attending the JSC meeting, which was held behind closed doors at the Anglican Communion Office and Lambeth Palace in London. She noted that a November 26 report in The Times of London newspaper, that suggested the JSC had discussed plans to discipline the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone for its recent incursions into other provinces, was untrue. "The subject has not come up," she told Episcopal News Service.

... the ACC is expected to review a yet-unreleased final draft of the proposed Anglican covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion amid differing viewpoints on human sexuality and biblical interpretation.

...The Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, deputy secretary general of the Anglican Communion, addressed the committee on what he expects in the next version of the covenant. "The first two sections will be relatively unchanged," said Jefferts Schori, "but he's expecting some significant changes in the third section and an almost completely new [appendix]."

...The first two sections of the second version, known as the St. Andrew's Draft, are called "Our Inheritance of Faith" and "The Life We Share with Others: Anglican Vocation." The third section, "Our Unity and Common Life," contains a series of affirmations about how Anglican provinces operate within their own boundaries and commitments about taking actions that might impact the larger communion. The appendix suggests a procedure for churches that breach the covenant.

...Anglican Communion provinces have until the end of March 2009 to respond to the St. Andrew's Draft. The Covenant Design Group will next meet in London in April 2009 and is expected to issue another draft which will be reviewed by the ACC during its May meeting. The ACC could decide to release that version to the provinces for their adoption.

...Jefferts Schori told a recent meeting of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council that if the ACC decides to do so, she will "strongly discourage" any effort to bring that request to the 76th General Convention in July.

..."My sense is that the time is far too short before our General Convention for us to have a thorough discussion of it as a church," Jefferts Schori told the Executive Council on October 21.
...Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams acknowledged in his August 26 pastoral letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion that there had been "a general desire" at the Lambeth Conference "to find better ways of managing our business as a communion.

..."Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely," he said. "This is an important steer for the meetings of the primates and the ACC [Anglican Consultative Council] which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods."
The Primates Standing Committee includes Archbishop Rowan Williams of England (chair), Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Australia, President Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the United States, and Archbishop Barry Morgan of Wales.

The ACC Standing Committee includes Bishop John Paterson of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (chair), Professor George Koshy of South India (vice chair), Philippa Amable of West Africa, Jolly Babirukamu of Uganda, Robert Fordham of Australia, Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe of Ceylon, Canon Elizabeth Paver of England, Bishop James Tengatenga of Central Africa, and Nomfundo Walaza of Southern Africa.

Orombi and Anis did not attend the meeting. The committee will next convene immediately prior to the ACC meeting in Jamaica.

-- Matthew Davies is editor of Episcopal Life Online and Episcopal Life Media correspondent for the Anglican Communion.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Eucharist and the Eschaton

This from a priest in the Diocese of Pennsylvania ...

Back to the Future: Eucharist and Eschatology

by Daniell Hamby

It might seem an arcane thing to reflect in 2008 on older bits of the Eucharistic Canon, especially something as common-place as the Lamb of God, sometimes called Agnus Dei. Overhearing a conversation recently, I was reminded of an ongoing curiosity I have about that little snippet of text, as well as it’s place in a Sunday liturgy.

The curiosity has to do with the word “sins.” Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Hummm. Are those the multiple sins of omission or commission that we are singing about? The “sins we do, and are done on our behalf” as one of the new eucharistic formulae put it? Or is the “sin” that is taken away by the Lamb of God the chasm, the distance between human kind and the God who created us? When we ask the Lamb of God to take away the “sins” of the world, do we hearken to that scene when John the Gospel writer has Jesus coming over the crown of the hill, and John the Baptist pointing to him and saying: “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?” Maybe a little picky, maybe a little arcane, but maybe, also an entry point into a larger conversation.

In an overheard conversation this summer I heard someone say (of the Agnus Dei) that it is not primarily a penitential snippet of liturgical text. By the time we get to it, we have been plenty penitential! And, if we happen to be praying Rite I, we will be even more penitential in just a few seconds, as we consider the “crumbs and dogs” under the table. No, said the one overheard, the Agnus is about eschatology. It is about the future. It is about hope. It is about the primary thing God does with and for us at Eucharist to prepare us for the great banquet at the end of time, when we gather with everyone who has come before us, and those who come after, at the table prepared from the beginning of time.

Without belaboring the historical trajectories of this little theological gem, the Lamb of God came to us as a gift from the early church, and was ensconced in the liturgy by the seventh century. It was originally sung by an Archdeacon, as the celebrant made communion. There was no doubt that the intent was to call attention to the eschatological nature of the Eucharist, the hope of the baptized. The dream God has for the cosmos. A few centuries later the theology would shift, and the meaning became a continuation of the penitential character of the liturgy. But at it’s beginning, it was about what God has prepared for us: the object of which, then, is not “taking away sin,” but granting us peace. Donna nobis pacem. God knows we need that.

Several weeks ago, at the onset of the present financial quagmire, there was a great deal of talk – some of it ’ biblical’ in character – about what it all meant. One commentator asked “is this armageddon?” Armageddon, indeed. The loose talk amongst some parts of the church these days about being left behind, the rapture (and, no you can not have my car), the anti Christ and the thousand years, all of it plays into the fear mongering that is entirely too present in our world. In the face of the fear, eschatology takes on a foreboding, anxious tone which I do not believe is what the mothers and fathers of the faith, nor the intent of God, have in mind.

The eschaton, when God interrupts, when God surrounds, when God invites, when God includes, when God embraces, when God makes whole is the very thing our weekly Eucharist anticipates. In the fleeting seconds as we stand with out reached palms, and expectant taste buds, perhaps we remember our shortcomings and bad choices, our short sightedness. But that is a fleeting second. I wonder if it might help were we to remember this little trope called the Lamb of God. Not because of the “takes away the sin” part, but because of the “grant us peace” part. The result, then is not fear, but seeking those places where God is already at work, feeding hungry mouths, housing homeless people, caring for lonely souls, and confronting the powers and principalities that denigrate the creation which God already has called Good.

It’s just a thought. But maybe a thought about hope in a time when hope is desperately needed. And a call to engage with the God who simply asks us to be sons and daughters, sisters and brothers.

Daniell Hamby is Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Yardley, PA

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Schism Update - Remember the Chapman Memo

I have said it before, but I should probably say it again, a great deal of what has happened in the realignment happening now within Anglicanism has gone according to plan - with a major exception.

As for what has gone according to plan, I offer here excerpts from the infamous 'Chapman Memo' which was sent to realignment folks in late 2003 - outlining the plan.
  • "In consultation with a wide circle of friends - inside this country and beyond - we have clarified our strategy and are now moving to implement it..."
  • Our ultimate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil committed to biblical faith and values, and driven by Gospel mission.
  • We believe in the end this should be a "'replacement" jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism
  • We seek to retain ownership of our property as we move into this realignment.
  • We will move to initiate support structures for fellowship and strategy ... We will creatively redirect finances .... We will innovatively [sic] move around, beyond or within the canons
  • We will seek, under the guidance of the Primates, negotiated settlements in matters of property, jurisdiction, pastoral succession and communion
  • If adequate settlements are not within reach, a faithful disobedience of canon law on a widespread basis may be necessary..
  • We do have non-geographical oversight available from "offshore" Bishops...
Most of this was achieved. To recap, the formation of the Anglican Communion Network was first on their list, then, it was abandoned when about half its member dioceses did not go forward as schismatics but have remained loyal to the Episcopal Church. Those that went to the next stage, discarded the ACN and created the Common Cause Partnership - with several other breakaway 'Anglican' bodies created before Gene Robinson's consecration - some dating back a generation, and one a century. Additionally, almost the entire "wide-circle of friends"mentioned in the memo became bishops in "offshore" dioceses. When the global effort of convincing the wider Communion to expel TEC and offer a replacement jurisdiction in North America failed, they then took steps to create a replacement jurisdiction for the entire Earth. This will have as many as half of the Anglicans on Earth in it - as long as they live in Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and in tiny numbers elsewhere.

The big exception to the plan is that they have not gotten TEC kicked out - or Canada - but in fact have shown that the wider Communion is pretty resilient and tolerant. As it turns out, most Anglican provinces are going to move forward together, however tensely, with TEC and in obvious tension and disagreement over today's presenting issue.

The schismatics know that's the future, and that they can't accept it, so they have begun this project not of reform or realignment but schism.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Schism and the Call to Covenant Making

by Greg Jones

What the formation of a new self-styled Anglican church for North America signifies is the beginning of a new self-styled Anglican Communion for the globe. This new communion is almost certain to consist of Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and the Western Hemispheric ecclesiastical humunculus of Southern Cone/ACNA. Whether others join the new-Anglican Communion remains to be seen. Probably many individuals, clusters, pieces and parts will leave the remaining 33 provinces of the old-fashioned Anglican Communion and enter into the new entity.

Even still, for those of us who remain faithful members of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, we nonetheless represent a wide-ranging body of folks. We do not all agree on the presenting question of human sexuality, or on liturgical questions, or on doctrinal questions, etc. Moreover, we continue to exist in a polarized World - in which there will always be more opportunities for high-level conflict, animosity, and future breakages of union.

For the sake of mutual love in Christ Jesus, I still believe in the value of a covenant-making process in which the Anglican Communion forms and reasserts its bonds and boundaries of identity and mutual service.

As I have said before, this covenant needs to contain a minimum degree of confessional commonality, a minimum degree of structural novelty, and no teeth. This is not legalism, this is not centralization, this is not a prenuptial agreement. Covenant making does not require cursing and anathema to be effective and faithful.

In our covenant we need a declaration of intent, a proclamation of shared Scriptural, doctrinal and ecclesiological values, an exchanging of vows, and provision for ongoing life as a Eucharistically defined and sustained missionary organization with One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.

The departure of those who would not have us is a tragedy for all. And it's the sort of tragedy that we should ever seek to avoid at all faithful costs. I believe it takes a bigger representation of the Body of Christ than a few provinces (let alone one) to claim to be capable of discerning what is faithfulness, what are faithful costs, and what the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church should look like in all its diverse array. This is why we need the Anglican Communion, why it needs us, and why we need a covenant to help us clarify who we are and what binds us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Schism Update by Greg Jones

I predicted quite some time ago that this day would come. Not because I'm smart, but because I've been listening to the people planning this day. What they have been saying all along is: "We are working for this day to come."

That day is December 3rd - when the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) in conjunction with the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FOCA) - will launch what will be called the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA?). They claim it will be a province of the Anglican Communion. The new 'province' will include Mexico, United States and Canada. ACNA will be based on the language of the "Jerusalem Declaration" and the birth of a new constitution and canons of a new 'Anglican Church' for North America.

FOCA is the group consisting of those bishops - and others - who boycotted the 2008 Lambeth Conference in protest of the presence of the Episcopal Church there.

What is clear is that these people have kept their word, and done everything they suggested they would do. What is surprising is that they continue to feign surprise when they get 'deposed' by TEC, and that there appears to be such silence from Canterbury on all of this.

Bob Duncan in his announcement of the event claimed that ACNA would be a 'province of the Anglican Communion.' One wonders how he can make this claim? Heretofore, new provinces of the Anglican Communion have been named by the Anglican Consultative Council - not by declaration of the province itself - or by the recognition of a handful of other primates. Secondly, heretofore, provinces do not overlap with existing ones - the reality of overlapping jurisdiction in regards to chaplaincies, mission, etc., notwithstanding. Thirdly, the legitimacy of the so-called Primates Council (self-appointmed by GAFCON) as an entity of the Communion, or the practice of boundary violation have already been critiqued by the Archbishop of Canterbury since the Jerusalem Declaration was made. Fourthly, Duncan and the gang have already repudiated Rowan Williams, the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the recent Lambeth Conference or the covenant draft now being considered - so one wonders why the keep claiming a place 'in the Anglican Communion' anyway.

Here is the video of the announcement of the new Anglican-named entity.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"American Episcopacy" by William Wordsworth

PATRIOTS informed with Apostolic light
Were they, who, when their country had been freed,
Bowing with reverence to the ancient creed,
Fixed on the frame of England's Church their eight,
And strove in filial love to re-unite
What force had severed. Thence they fetched the
Of Christian unity, and won a meed
Of praise from Heaven. To thee, O saintly WHITE !
Patriarch of a wide-spreading family,
Remotest lands and unborn times shall turn,
Whether they would restore or build — to thee,
As one who rightly taught how zeal should burn,
As one who drew from out faith's holiest urn
The purest stream of patient energy,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Barak and Bedan in Scripture?

The lectionary reading for this Sunday includes mention of the famous Judge Deborah - and her faithful commander Barak ben Abinoam. Am I the only one to be somewhat interested in the timing of this lection, given the sound of this biblical figure's name: Barak ben Abinoam?

Judges 5 says,
"Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abin'o-am. Then down marched the remnant of the noble; the people of the LORD marched down for him against the mighty."
Hebrews 11 likewise says,
"what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight."
In researching Barak ben Abinoam in commentaries and other translations, if I wasn't already somewhat intrigued enough, consider that in the King James Version, Barak is identified incorrectly in the text of 1 Samuel as 'Bedan.'

Friday, November 14, 2008

Consecration of Samuel Seabury

Today on the Church calendar we remember the consecration of Samuel Seabury as the first Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the historic ties between the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Episcopal Church in Scotland, and God's goodness in bestowing upon us "the gift of the episcopate" [Lesser Feasts and Fasts (Church Publishing, p. 453)].

James Kiefer summarizes the story quite nicely:

A crucial date for members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is the consecration of the first Bishop of the Anglican Communion in the United States. During the colonial era, there had been no Anglican bishops in the New World; and persons seeking to be ordained as clergy had had to travel to England for the purpose. After the achievement of American independence, it was important for the Church in the United States to have its own bishops, and an assembly of Connecticut clergy chose Samuel Seabury to go to England and there seek to be consecrated as a bishop.

However, the English bishops were forbidden by law to consecrate anyone who would not take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. He accordingly turned to the Episcopal Church of Scotland. When the Roman Catholic king James II was deposed in 1688, some of the Anglican clergy (including some who had been imprisoned by James for defying him on religious issues) said that, having sworn allegiance to James as King, they could not during his lifetime swear allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary. Those who took this position were known as non-Jurors (non-swearers), and they included almost all the bishops and clergy of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. Accordingly, the monarchs and Parliament declared that thenceforth the official church in Scotland should be the Presbyterian Church. The Episcopal Church of Scotland thereafter had no recognition by the government, and for some time operated under serious legal disabilities. However, since it had no connection with the government, it was free to consecrate Seabury without government permission, and it did. This is why you see a Cross of St. Andrew on the Episcopal Church flag.

In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain of bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles.

In return, he promised them that he would do his best to persuade the American Church to use as its Prayer of Consecration (blessing of the bread and wine at the Lord's Supper) the Scottish prayer, taken largely unchanged from the 1549 Prayer Book, rather than the much shorter one in use in England. The aforesaid prayer, adopted by the American Church with a few modifications, has been widely regarded as one of the greatest treasures of the Church in this country.

Here's a brief excerpt from Bishop Seabury's 1789 work entitled An Earnest Persuasive to Frequent Communion:

The general practice in this country is to have monthly Communions, and I bless God the Holy Ordinance is so often administered. Yet when I consider its importance, both on account of the positive command of Christ and of the many and great benefits we receive from it, I cannot but regret that it does not make a part of every Sunday's solemnity. That it was the principal part of the daily worship of the primitive Christians all the early accounts inform us. And it seems probable from the Acts of the Apostles that the Christians came together in their religious meetings chiefly for its celebration. (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7). And the ancient writers generally interpret the petition in our Lord's prayer, "Give us this day," or day by day, "our daily bread," of the spiritual food in the Holy Eucharist. Why daily nourishment should not be as necessary to our souls as to our bodies no good reason can be given.

If the Holy Communion was steadily administered whenever there is an Epistle and Gospel appointed, which seems to have been the original intention - or was it on every Sunday - I cannot help thinking that it would revive the esteem and reverence Christians once had for it, and would show its good effects in their lives and conversations. I hope the time will come when this pious and Christian practice may be renewed. And whenever it shall please God to inspire the hearts of the Communicants of any congregation with a wish to have it renewed, I flatter myself they will find a ready disposition in their minister to forward their pious desire.

In the meantime, let me beseech you to make good use of the opportunities you have; and let nothing but real necessity keep you from the heavenly banquet when you have it in your power to partake of it.


Sermon on James of Jerusalem

by Tobias Haller

I’m not going to try to settle the historic question about exactly what people meant or understood by calling James, “the brother of the Lord.” Whether that meant he was Jesus’ full younger brother (as a later child of Mary and Joseph); or older half-brother (as a child of Joseph by a former marriage); or, as some think, a cousin or other more distant relation — in the long run it doesn’t matter what the exact relationship was. Because whatever it was, the people of his hometown compared Jesus to his relatives, standing him up against his relations, calling out some of them, including James, by name.

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What they were doing was saying, “Well, the rest of his family is no great shakes, so where does Jesus get it?” Think what it would have been like if people had known Billy Carter before they ever heard of Jimmy — two men who, though brothers, could hardly be more different from each other in terms of temperament or talent. But that was the crowd’s experience in Jesus’ home town — they saw him through the lens of the kin they knew, and that made it impossible for them to see how extraordinary Jesus was. Familiarity didn’t just breed contempt, but made it impossible for him to work many deeds of power there, as disbelief based on familiarity undermined the foundation of faith.

There is, of course, another side to the comparison: the side of Jesus’ relatives. I don’t know if any of you have ever experienced it, but I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like to have a famous relative. It can be a strain, as people come to expect, once they find out your sister or brother is a famous author or athlete or performer, that you must have a similar gift — and they put you on the spot with their unreasonable expectations. I think of the presidential campaigns towards the end of which we now (at last!) find ourselves, and try to imagine how all of the candidates’ relatives must feel about being put into the spotlight of public perusal, placed under the microscope — or in front of the microphone — as if they and not their spouse or brother or sister was the one running for office.

So you can imagine what it must have felt like for James, and Mary and all the others. They were small-town folks who most of the time minded their business and kept out of the doings of their brother and son, making a name for himself throughout the countryside. You may recall that the one time they tried to intervene in Jesus’ ministry, came about because people were beginning to say he was crazy, and they mounted a half-hearted intervention.

And it was at that point that Jesus suddenly expanded his family, turning from the merely biological to the spiritual. For he asked the crowds, “Who is my mother and my brother?” And he told the crowds, “Whoever does the will of God is my mother and brother and sister.” And that, my friends, includes us, even us, in the here and now. We are Jesus’ kin.

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But back to James, who whether brother, half-brother, or cousin, was kin of some sort in the then and there of Jesus’ own lifetime. As we know, he joined his family who thought Jesus had a screw loose, and tried to help his mother and the rest of the family get him under control. And yet, after Jesus’ death, he shows up as an important leader in the church, clearly, as the reading from Acts shows us, the spokesperson for the assembly, the one who reaches the conclusion — a real “decider” — and on the strength of whose summing-up the Apostles accept the decision that the Gentiles are not to be bound by the Law of Moses.

We hear that rather matter-of-factly, with the retrospect of the rest of Acts and two thousand years of church history — but at the time it was an audacious move — and not everyone in the early church was happy with it. Some continued the pressure to require circumcision and obedience to the Law of Moses for all Gentile Christian converts. As Paul’s letters attest, this was a major bone of contention for decades to come.

Still, at that gathering, James took that bold step, and acted as the principle authority, as the first bishop of Jerusalem, a guardian of the unity of the church which was about to be compromised by the new tension placed upon it: the tension created by admitting Gentiles to its fellowship.

James was also among the earliest martyrs for the Christian faith — according to early church historians, thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple (which you can see in the background of the icon) and beaten to death in the court below, when he would not dissuade the people from accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

What a difference! Clearly something happened to James between the time he thought his brother was crazy and the time we see him as a leader of the church, and hear of him as a martyr to the faith.

Historians differ as to when the change in James came about, but we know that it did come. Was it during Jesus’ preaching ministry? Was he perhaps converted by hearing some golden teaching from his brother’s lips, to be as astounded as the crowds from his hometown were at first, suddenly struck with the challenging question, “Where did he get this wisdom?” and recognizing that it could only come from above?

Was it from hearing of Jesus’ final days in Jerusalem, of how he endured the way of the cross, and bore its weight, and perished on that green hill far away? Or was it from hearing the word brought by the women to the others — the word that death had not conquered after all, and that Jesus was risen from the dead?

Or was it in that more personal experience, that first-hand experience, the one Paul wrote of, when Jesus appeared to James after his resurrection, and, like Thomas and the others, James came to believe because he had seen the risen Lord, not simply his brother now, but his Lord and his God?

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Whatever the time and place and circumstance, James entered into a new relationship with Jesus at that point. Although a relative by flesh and blood, he became a brother of Christ in Spirit, when he became a Christian.

In doing this he became part of that larger family that includes us too — for all of us here are brothers and sisters of Jesus, by adoption, through the waters of baptism. I can tell you from personal experience as a pastor that many people come to Christ kicking and screaming, and I’ve wrestled with a few! Some of you may be such cradle Christians; others may have come to faith in youth or adolescence, or even in adulthood.

But all of us who did not walk with Christ, like Paul himself, are untimely born; and though untimely born, still we are born indeed — born again through water and the Spirit, into our new family of faith. And yes, it is a matter of flesh and blood as well — for in the Eucharist we partake of our dear Lord Jesus’ Body and Blood, as a reminder and a realization that he is in us, and we in him. We are no longer orphans, no longer strangers and foreigners — but through the work of the Holy Spirit that led James and the other Apostles to see that salvation was open to us Gentiles — we have been adopted into kinship with Jesus. We have made Parkton his hometown as well as Nazareth, by inviting him into our hearts even as he invites us to this table. We have listened to his teaching in the Scripture, and unlike the folks of that far off time and place, we do not challenge or disbelieve him on the basis of our knowledge of ourselves and each other as less than perfect people — as if to say, God wouldn’t be caught dead among that sort.

Rather we give thanks that through grace and grace alone we have been saved, and brought into that great family that spans the globe and fills all time —— and what a grand family reunion we will one day share!

Let no one dismiss or challenge us, seek to put us down or demean us by comparison, for however humble our birth, however far we may have fallen through our own wanderings and mischance, Christ our Lord has raised us up, and will raise us higher still. For Jesus is our kin, our brother and our savior, our Lord and our God. O come, let us adore him.+

Bennison Appeals Sentence

From the Diocese of Pennsylvania website:

by Jerry Hames

Bishop Charles Bennison’s defense counsel argued before an ecclesiastical court in downtown Philadelphia on Nov. 12 that its verdict and sentencing was flawed and that its recommendation that the bishop be deposed was too severe.

In his arguments, James A. Pabarue said the court had ignored the statute of limitations, arrived at conclusions contrary to the evidence given and appeared to punish the bishop for enacting his rights as outlined in the Episcopal Church’s canons on clergy discipline. Mr. Pabarue also said that the Office of the Presiding Bishop had shown bias by interfering in the case. “The evidence clearly shows that the Presiding Bishop’s office has been trying to force Bishop Bennison out of this diocese,” Mr. Pabarue said, stating that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori had “asked for his resignation several times before the presentment was issued.”

Bishop Bennison was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy after facing charges that, as rector of St. Mark’s, Upland, Calif., he had failed to respond properly when learning that his younger brother, John, a newly-ordained deacon whom he had hired as youth worker, was having sexual relations with a girl of minor age in his youth group. The bishop was also found guilty of suppressing that knowledge when his brother, who having once renounced his orders, was reinstated as a priest. John Bennison was deposed in 2006 by Bishop William Swing of the Diocese of California.

“Why is Bishop Bennison the only person to be charged in this offence,” Mr. Pabarue asked, naming other bishops in California and one then in the Presiding Bishop’s office who were involved in, and approved of, John Bennison’s reinstatement as a priest.

“Charles Bennison was not the perpetrator. He was cooperative… He said he did what he thought was best in the circumstances at that time and said he would never act today as he did in 1975. It is clear this sentence is simply wrong and not a just application of the canons,” Mr. Pabarue said.

At the trial, Bishop Bennison had testified that he confronted his brother over allegations he had heard, ordered his brother to leave as youth leader and told him never again to have contact with the victim. Despite that, John Bennison continued a pattern of sexual abuse with the teenager in the parish. The bishop admitted that he had not offered pastoral support to the girl or informed her parents until they learned about it years later, when their daughter, then a university student, sought psychiatric help for depression and was contemplating suicide.

In response to the judges’ conclusions, Mr. Pabarue said the ecclesiastical judicial process creates an adversarial atmosphere in the court that by its very nature limits his client’s freedom to apologize. An expectation of confession, or opportunity for reconciliation must be tempered by the adversarial nature of the process, he said. Bishop Bennison did not speak during the hearing.

Mr. Pabarue called four character witnesses on Bishop Bennison’s behalf, three from the diocese and Suffragan Bishop John L. Rabb of the Diocese of Maryland, who testified that he had known Charles Bennison for 20 years. “I have never had any reason to doubt his faithfulness … nor his ability to minister to those under his charge,” said Bishop Rabb, who said that during his episcopacy he had deposed two priests, suspended another and given admonitions — the mildest form of sentence — to two others under Title 4 of the Episcopal Church’s discipline canons. He said the clerics he deposed were perpetrators of sexual misconduct. “It is not my belief that this is the circumstance [in this case],” he said. “The sentence of deposition is given when someone can no longer be trusted in office.”

Nikki Wood, a member of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a former Standing Committee member and diocesan deputy at five General Conventions, testified that Bishop Bennison has been “faithful, pious and certain about his call.” She called the court’s judgment “extreme and arbitrary” and said that if Bishop Bennison were deposed it would be a “profound loss to the church.”

The Rev. Martini Shaw, rector of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, said he supports a modification of the sentence for Bishop Bennison. “His absence from ordained ministry would be a grave loss for this church,” he said. “He has taken full responsibility for his actions. I feel the punishment in this case is not at all commensurate with the crime.”

The most lengthy testimony came from the Rev. Robert Tate, rector of the Church of St. Martin in-the-Fields. In a six-page statement that he read aloud, copies of which were requested by the judges, he outlined a history of conflicts between diocesan governance bodies and Bishop Bennison and the bishop’s fractious relationship with the Presiding Bishop’s office and questioned both the court’s verdict and its judgment in imposing a sentence. “Your verdict and judgment indicate that you did not find Charles Bennison sufficiently remorseful and you are not sure that, to this day, he understands the seriousness of the charge against him.

“How does one judge ‘sufficient remorse,’” Mr. Tate asked. “As I review the record of Charles Bennison’s public and private statements of apology, I hear over and over again the words of a man who is profoundly sorry for his sins of commission and omission.… As to his not understanding the seriousness of the charges against him, I question your verdict and your judgment on that as well. There is a difference between Charles Bennison explaining his actions and Charles Bennison defending his actions over the past 35 years. Our understanding of sexual misconduct has changed dramatically in the last 35 years. Charles Bennison has said publicly that, knowing what he knows now about sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, he would make a different decision today.”

Prosecution addresses court

After a brief adjournment, Lawrence White, the prosecuting attorney acting for the Episcopal Church, sought repeatedly to convince the judges, using Bishop Bennison’s own testimony at the original trial, that he would act no differently today than he had in 1975 and in succeeding years. “In his trial testimony on June 12 he failed to demonstrate that he takes responsibility for the wrong he had committed and said he would act no differently now than he did in 1975,” said Mr. White, arguing that the sentence of deposition was appropriate. “His words and deeds reflect a sorry attempt to blame others.” Mr. White also quoted from another portion of the bishop’s testimony in which he said “I never thought my handling [of the matter] was inappropriate.”

He then called upon Martha Alexis, the teenaged victim of John Bennison’s abuse in 1975, and her mother, June Alexis. Each made a short statement. “At the trial we were reminded once more that we do not stand alone,” said June Alexis, recounting her three visits to the diocese since November 2006. “Today, I am here to thank you,” she told the judges, calling the sentence they imposed “courageous, just and commensurate with the harm done to my daughter and others.”

Martha Alexis, saying she was sorry to be back in court, said she carried a burden of sorrow and shame for decades. “At last this burden I bore [had been] placed where it belongs,” she said. “The sentence has righted a grievous wrong and given me an unexpected gift of spiritual healing.” She said the court’s decision and sentence have restored her dignity and worth, shown that the weak are protected and that the vows of holy orders are sacred.

Concluding, Mr. White said that of the three punishments the court could determine, the verdict of deposition was correct. Urging the court to keep its decision unchanged, Mr. White said that neither admonition nor suspension were commensurate with the gravity of the offence and argued that even a suspension of seven years, until the bishop reaches the mandatory age of retirement, would be insufficient in light of the seriousness of the offence and the bishop’s failure to demonstrate that he takes responsibility for the wrong he has committed.

New 'Anglican' Province in North America -- A Bad Idea

By Ephraim Radner | November 14, 2008

A new “province” for North American Anglicans is now promised to be “up and running” in the next month or so. It will comprise the 3-4 dioceses that have voted to leave TEC; the associations of various congregations that have left TEC (e.g. CANA) and those started outside of TEC from departing groups; it will also include congregations and denominations within the Anglican tradition that have formed over the past decades in North America. All of these groups now form part of an association called Common Cause.

The formation of this new “province” appears to be a fait accompli. It will presumably provide formal stability for the congregations and their plants who have left TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as some kind of more easily grasped relationship with some other parts of the Anglican Communion. It is important to note, however, that such a new grouping will also not solve the problems of traditional Anglicans in North America, and that it will pose new problems to the Communion as a whole. As a member of the Covenant Design Group, committed to a particular work of providing a new framework for faithful communion life in Christ among Anglicans, I want to be clear about how the pressing forward of this new grouping within its stated terms poses some serious problems:

1. The new grouping will not, contrary to the stated claims of some of its proponents, embrace all or even most traditional Anglicans in North America. For instance, the Communion Partners group within TEC, comprises 13 dioceses as a whole, and a host of parishes and their rectors, whose total Sunday membership is upwards of 300,000. It is unlikely that these will wish to be a part of the new grouping, for some of the reasons stated below.

2. The new grouping, through some of its founding members, will continue in litigation within the secular courts for many years. This continues to constitute a sad spectacle, and is, in any case, practically and morally unfeasible for most traditional Anglicans.

3. The new grouping is, in the eyes of many, representative of diverse bodies whose theology and ecclesiology is, taken together, incoherent, and perhaps in some cases even incompatible. The argument can be made that this is no different than historic Anglican comprehensiveness as a whole; but under the circumstances of a new structural distinction and the challenges this brings, the incoherence constitutes a burden that not all traditionalists believes is prudent to assume. This warning bell has been sounded repeatedly by traditionalists.

4. There is a host of irregularities regarding ordination, representation, consent, and so on that is included among the members of this new grouping. Some of these are both understandable and inevitable under the circumstances. But they nonetheless constitute barriers for future reconciliation with other Anglican churches.

5. Will the new grouping actually be a formal “province” within the Anglican Communion, whatever name it assumes? Surely, it will be recognized by some of the GAFCON Primates. However, it will probably not be recognized at the Primates’ meeting as a whole or even by a majority of its members, and will be yet another cuase for division there. Nor will it be recognized at the ACC. Thus it threatens to be yet another wedge in the breakup of the Communion, even while there have been signs of coalescing efforts to restore the integrity of our common witness.

6. Such division on this matter among the Primates and the ACC will likely strengthen the position of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. They will move forward as continuing and undisciplined members of the Communion. All of this will merely hasten the demise of our common life, even among Global South churches themselves.

In the light of these clear downsides, it is unclear what is gained for Common Cause by seeking a self-styled “provincial” status.

Monday, November 10, 2008

AD 597 and Why It Matters

By Derek Olsen

Pious legend tells of Pope Gregory the Great’s walk in the market one day. He encountered some blonde slaves being sold there. Upon inquiring who they were, he was told “Angles”, but replied, “Angels of God shall they be.” Asking of their king, the response was “Aelle”; he responded “Alleluia! for they shall learn to praise God.” Upon asking their tribe, the reply was “Deira”; he replied “they shall flee from the wrath (de ira) of God to faith!” Thus, we are told, Pope Gregory resolved to send missionaries north for the conversion of England. Hailed by some as the moment of the nation’s salvation, castigated by some as the beginning of Romish errors, St Gregory’s sending of Augustine to become the first archbishop of Canterbury in AD 597 surely ranks among the dates that all Anglicans should know.

The mission eventually sent by Gregory, headed by Augustine who would become the first Archbishop of Canterbury, was intended to be a mission of peace, spreading the Word of the Prince of Peace. Instead, it touched off a firestorm. The Church of England was born into a power struggle where bishops battled against one another, invaded one another’s territory, refused to acknowledge one another’s authority, and appealed to far-off pontiffs, all underlain by centuries of imperialism and ethnic strife. You see, the mission to the English began in AD 597; the British Church had already existed in the islands for some 350 years before.

While we’re used to thinking geographically, the early medieval world thought ethnically. And the ambiguities between geography and ethnicity were major sources of conflict. There are three major players in our story: the Celtic Britons who were the inhabitants of the islands when the Romans first came, the Scots who were another Celtic people who lived in Ireland and colonized parts of modern Scotland that they wrested from the Picts, and finally the “English” who were a loose confederations of families and clans made up of a number of Germanic tribes, preeminently the Angles (from whose name we get England and English), the Saxons, and the Jutes.

Christianity came to Britain at the end of the second century through the Romans and a church was established there with the development of a fused Romano-British culture. This society fell with the coming of the English in the fifth century. Fierce pagans who slaughtered, killed, and settled, they displaced many Briton nobles to Brittany (hence the name) and Wales (“Welsh” is actually the English word for their foes and was used to mean both “foreigner” and “slave”). The Britons who did not or could not flee lived as a conquered people and hated their English overlords. The bishops of the Britons, therefore, took a dim view of the missionaries sent from Rome who came to covert their foes and who claimed to hold spiritual authority over the islands—including authority over the British bishops.

The great historian of the evangelism of England—and our primary source for what we know of the era—was the eighth century saint, the Venerable Bede. While a careful compiler of sources and a skillful author, he can hardly be called objective; English by birth, a monastic biblical scholar by training, his history is consciously modeled on the Acts of the Apostles and the conversion of his people is, for his narrative, the key to the peace and prosperity of the islands.

Bede’s history is, in many ways, the story of three churches and their conflicts with one another as well as the pagans they were attempting to convert. Of these, the entrenched Romano-British church comes off the worst; Bede lays most of the fault for the ensuing conflicts at their doorstep for their refusal to evangelize their invaders. He paints the picture of an insular church, distrustful of the English and of Gregory’s missionaries, who abrogated their responsibilities to preach the Gospel to the outsiders and who insisted on holding beliefs contrary to the wider church, focusing specifically on Pelagianism and using the wrong date for celebrating Easter (a matter clarified at the Council of Nicaea).

The Scots’ Celtic church was viewed much more favorably by Bede. While they too held the wrong date for Easter and kept other suspect customs (their monks wore their hair like druids rather than keeping the Roman tonsure), they had a great evangelical zeal and produced great saints and ascetics who taught the Gospel to the people with humility and diligence, converting Scots, Picts, and English alike with no reference to nationality. Too, they ordered themselves around their monastic communities; Celtic bishops were monastic abbots first and foremost. While the Roman missionaries landed in the south of England, the Celtic church started in the north, evangelizing modern-day Scotland and working their way down through Northumbria. Bede’s appreciation for them is due at least in part to his identity as a Northumbrian.

Lastly, the English church converted by the Roman missionaries who claimed authority from and the support of the larger Western Church and its papal head are cast as the heroes by Bede. As in the Acts of the Apostles, signs and wonders abound at the hands of the holy men and virgins of Bede’s history. While they encounter setbacks and martyrdom, their possession of the truth assures their success and Bede is able to bring his history to a satisfactory conclusion, giving an idyllic (and not entirely accurate) view of an England at peace with itself and turned towards God.

Bede pays careful attention to the founding documents of the English church. His history preserves a number of letters sent from Pope Gregory to Augustine of Canterbury and others who participated in his mission. The hallmark of these letters is an evangelical pragmatism; certain passages in them have often been noted by students of Anglican history and rightly seen as keys to the church’s later character. In response to Augustine’s query on liturgical matters, Gregory responds:

“My brother, you are familiar with the usage of the Roman Church, in which you were brought up. But if you have found customs, whether in the Church of Rome or Gaul or any other that may be more acceptable to God, I wish you to make a careful selection of them, and teach the Church of the English, which is still young in the Faith, whatever you have been able to learn with profit from the various Churches. For things should not be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things. Therefore select from each of the Churches whatever things are devout, religious, and right; and when you have bound them, as it were, into a sheaf, let the minds of the English grow accustomed to it.”

Gregory’s instructions display an awareness of and a respect for the formative power of liturgy. He encourages not a liturgical free-for-all nor a permissive scheme of mix-‘n’-match, but an initial opportunity for the new archbishop to carefully select those practices that will be most fitting and most edifying to his mission, selected from the riches of Christian tradition, as a firm foundation for the new church. Liturgy matters; spiritual practices matter—for they form the faith in the body, lips, and heart as well as in the mind.

In a letter to the abbot Mellitus (who was to become the first Bishop of London) Gregory offers more pragmatic council with an eye to evangelism concerning pagan temples:

“…the temples of idols among that people should on no account be destroyed. The idols are to be destroyed, but the temples themselves are to be aspersed with holy water, altars set up in them, and relics deposited there. For if these temples are well-built, they must be purified from the worship of demons and dedicated to the service of the true God. In this way, we hope that the people, seeing that there temples are not destroyed, may abandon their error and, flocking more readily to their accustomed resorts, may come to know and adore the true God.”

The practice of creating churches on pagan holy places was not novel—most missionaries to Northern Europe did the same. The difference here is a moderation: the usual practice was the complete demolition of pagan structures, not their re-consecration. This also seems in line with another departure from standard missionary procedure. Bede relates that while Augustine’s first royal convert, King Ethelbert:

“was pleased at the faith and conversion [of great numbers of his people] it is said that he would not compel anyone to accept Christianity; for he had learned from his instructors and guides to salvation that the service of Christ must be accepted freely and not under compulsion.”

In a time when conversions by the sword were more common than not (and that is a dark part of our heritage that we must acknowledge), this passage offers a refreshing change. Despite a zeal for conversion brought by Augustine and his comrades, this zeal was tempered by the realization that methods matters. The ends—even holy ends—do not justify any means.

Thus, AD 597 is a date that every Anglican should know. Augustine’s great mission to Canterbury, the founding of our central see, and the conversion of the English is a key event in Anglican history. Augustine’s mission—and Pope Gregory’s authorization of it—extends an evangelical pragmatism throughout matters of liturgy and mission. At the same time, the English Church was born in the midst of ethnic and factional strife, strife that simply moved to a new key with successive waves of Scandinavian and Norman invasion and devastation. This beginning was no golden age of peace and tranquility, but rather mixed up in the confusion and complexities that characterize incarnate life.

Derek Olsen is in the final stretch of completing a Ph.D. in New Testament (with a healthy side of Homiletics) at Emory University. His full-time calling of keeping up with two adorable girls and his wife, an Episcopal priest, is complicated by his day-job as an IT Consultant. He has taught seminary courses in biblical studies, preaching, and liturgics; he currently resides in Maryland. His reflections on life, liturgical spirituality, and being a Gen-X/Y dad appear at Haligweorc.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Life After Life

by Greg Jones

I wrote this piece for the Raleigh News and Observer, I was asked to comment on what I believed would happen to me after death. I was told that my answer needn't be concerned with folks of other or no faiths. The editor asked that I focus on what do Christians believe will happen to them after death.

Here's what I said:

As an Episcopal priest, I consider one of my primary ministries to be pastoring to folks in life and death. To be sure, as Christians we believe the Gospel is good because of what it has to say to us about our mortality and our hope for eternal life in Christ.

We proclaim that Jesus was the incarnation of grace, the embodiment of God's self-giving love, the Son of God made flesh, who died for our sins on the cross, who rose from the dead, and who ascended to "sit at the right hand of the Father." We pin all our hopes on the basic message of Christ: who he was, what he said and what he did.

At every funeral, we recite these words from the Book of Common Prayer:

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For if we live, we live unto the Lord; and if we die, we die unto the Lord. Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

This ancient anthem proclaims the Christian believer's confidence that our future existence is eternally linked to Christ by his birth, death, resurrection and ascension. We profess that those who submit to Christ's reign will enter into it now and be bound up with it forever. To borrow from the words of St. Patrick, when we bind unto ourselves the strong name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we enter into that divine life for now and for always.

Yet, while the Christian hope is to share in life eternal with the Lord, it is not necessarily the same as going to heaven to dance on clouds and play harps. The inspired writers of the New Testament, Paul in particular, do not say much about that cloud-dancing, harp-playing vision of the hereafter.

To read it all...

Balsa Gliders Album on iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody...

...and wherever you download your digital music. The band is the Balsa Gliders, and the album is Danceable in Victor - on Deep South Digital. I've been playing bass with the group for about two years - but they formed in D.C. in the late 90's from largely Carolina alum.

Charles Marshall wrote some very inspired tunes - some rocking, some country, and some pretty hard indie - and we came together well. Recorded by John Plymale of Overdub Lane Studios of Durham, mastered at the Kitchen in Chapel Hill, and released and coached by Deep South entertainment group in Raleigh.

Go to iTunes now!!!

Compare and Contrast

It is interesting the dichotomies between the views of those on the realignment side of things in Anglican-world. Notably, it might go without saying, but the folks leading the realignment in this country - are almost entirely white people of both religious and politically conservative point of view. In the Church of Kenya, among the half-dozen Anglican provinces actually leading the realignment (schism) of the Anglican Communion, it is totally different. While religiously traditionalist in many ways, they are also non-American (of course), and quite different politically and in many other obvious ways. But consider the different reactions to the election of Barack Obama:

According to a number of news sources:
“It is a positive turn for Africa,” said Bishop Joseph Wasonga of Maseno West Anglican Church in Kenya, as reported by ENI. “I think his winning will bring hope and healing to the whole world.

Yet, among those who are realignment workers in America (almost entirely non-African folks), there is quite the opposite feeling. Sarah Hey of Stand Firm in Faith writes:

[W]e conservatives are grieved over America's choices yesterday... In the case of our President-elect, we elected a man who despises the Constitution, adores and supports the killing of infants, and holds as his friends and confidants and allies people who hate America and wish to end America as best they can.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tobias Haller on Sydney and Ordination

A number of important comments on the Sydney lay / diaconal presidency have been made below in response to my last post, and I'd like to elevate some of the discussion to this level.

Brian commented:

The role of a presbyter is in his or her eldership. It does not consist in his or her authority to 'celebrate' the Eucharist. The scripture does not require any presidency at or celebration of the Eucharist but, rather, that it be done decently and in order, with understanding and faith.

To allow other believers (deacon or otherwise) to break the Eucharistic bread does not deny to presbyters their role as elders, teachers and shepherds of God's people.

and I responded,

What you say presents an interesting theory, but it runs counter to the Ordinal, which is rather specific about the role of the Presbyter in presiding at the ministration of the sacraments. You are quite right about the Scripture, however, being silent on the subject. It would be more helpful in your cause if you could point to any biblical text which showed any lay person or deacon presiding at the breaking of the bread. I am not aware of any such passage in Scripture, which usually portrays this action being led by Jesus or Paul. And Paul's description of the irregularities at the Corinthian love-feasts would appear to argue against the possible disorder caused by letting just anyone take charge.

I have, by the way, no objection, as it is allowed in the Ordinal, to see deacons and lay persons assist in the celebration -- but assisting is not presiding, and the Synod's reading of its own regulations does not meet the standard of interpreting the language as written.

Finally, another aspect of the problem is the attempt to divide leadership in the worshiping assembly from leadership in the role as teacher and pastor. This hardly seems wise, even if possible, and I think leads to the very kinds of disruptions that undermine decency and good order.

Obadiah Slope posted this comment:

In your last comment to Canberra-Brian (I think), you raise the issue of dividing leadership in the worshiping assembly from leadership in the role as teacher and pastor.

This is the heart of the argument FOR lay administration by its supporters in Sydney. They want each of the clergy in the congregation to be able to lead in communion, and preaching.

One solution would be to priest each of them, as you would in TEC.

In Sydney, the model will be one priest and several deacons (in a large parish), all preaching and leading in communion.

The difference is largely about nomenclature IMHO.

I'm grateful for Obadiah's comment, but I'm afraid I still don't understand the rationale. I've also been forced to reexamine the Scriptural side of the discussion, and want to add a bit more there.

The fundamental problem, it seems to me, is the failure to accept the biblical basis for leadership in terms of both office and order -- bishops and elders are called to a ministry of leadership, pastorship, teaching and in the ministration of the sacraments. There is no indication of diaconal or lay presidency at the eucharist in Scripture, as far as I can see; and as I noted earlier, the disorders of Corinth seem to argue for greater regulation, not less.

Deacons are called to another ministry entirely, as the Ordinal makes clear. But this goes not just for the Ordinal but the Scripture; even in the pastoral epistles there is a clear distinction between those who are called to lead and those called to other ministries. Or if I'm missing something, where is it?

Sydney's action seems to be based on a quibblesome reading of a canon, concerning deacons assisting in ministration of the sacraments, and the provision for deacons to administer baptism.

Equating baptism and eucharist is a strange thing to do; though both are sacraments, baptism is essentially personal (though it involves the congregation) while the eucharist is by definition communal (though it involves the individual). The ministrations themselves differ profoundly. As I've noted, in our tradition lay persons can administer emergency baptism. The Roman Catholics go further and allow emergency baptism by a non-Christian, but they don't allow a non-Roman Christian even to receive communion (with rare exceptions), much less celebrate it. So the Sydney position seems to have elevated a Red Herring to the level of doctrine.

Further, and equally problematic, is the historical dimension: having a single presbyter surrounded by deacons would be all well and good -- so long as the deacons didn't preside at worship. The biblical analogy for this model was to Priests and Levites -- and remember what happened when some uppity Levites got the idea to usurp the priesthood! Moreover, being quite biblical on this, even preaching is not properly a diaconal ministry -- note the explicit commission of the deacons in Acts 6:2. The actual model Obadiah describes is more like the Metropolitan church in which the bishop is surrounded by a college of presbyters -- but that's just the point, they are presbyters, not deacons.

So yes, in one way it is a problem of nomenclature -- but as such, why not then simply take the logical step and make anyone who presides at the liturgy a presbyter? Sydney seems to have some desire to separate the historic (and biblical) connection between office and order, and seems to be caught in a device of their own invention if the necessity is to comply with an idea that only the incumbent can be a priest.

Tobias Haller BSG

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fleming Rutledge

I say 'amen' to this which Fleming Rutledge writes:

Searching for the apostolic faith

Most Episcopalians, especially clergy, will testify that they are repeatedly being asked--whether at interdenominational gatherings or at cocktail parties--"What's going to happen to the Episcopal Church?" or "What's going to happen to the Anglican Communion?" These questions are not helpful. It's like asking who's going to win the Presidential election. Who knows?

What would be helpful would be questions about the issues involved. This would give us liberal- evangelical, postliberal, apostolic (or whatever we call ourselves) Christians a chance to weigh in on something other than homosexuality, schisms, acronymns, and the African bishops.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, actually steered in this direction a couple of weeks ago when he said, "We [need] a bit more of a give guidance on what would and would not be a grave and lasting divisive course of action by a local church. While at the moment the sexual ethics, it could just as well be pressure for a new baptismal formula or the abandonment of formal reference to the Nicene could be the regular incorporation into liturgy of non-scriptural or even non-Christian material." Exactly. This is what's at stake. In parishes, seminaries, weddings, funerals, and diocesan events all over the country, these "regular incorporations" have been common for decades. It is ironic that the 1979 Prayer Book, so much vilified by traditionalists 30 years ago, looks positively conservative today. One wag said that we now need a Society for the Preservation of the 1979 Prayer Book (instead of the 1928).

A friend in the PCA lamented to me recently that his right-wing denomination was becoming more and more defined by cultural conservatism, less and less by Scriptural fidelity. So the problem exists at both ends of the spectrum, with the mainlines defined by political correctness and the conservative evangelicals by anti-abortion and the American flag (so to speak). The Wall Street Journal reported last week that, contrary to the wishful thinking of many, Rick Warren was nowhere near moving left; Warren himself says that the evangelical left is minuscule in numbers, a fact to which I can attest.

We desperately need an infusion of genuine Reformed theology, the sort that has never really taken root in America (as Dietrich Bonhoeffer lamented when he was in New York in 1938 )--truly radical, subversive theology that calls all our cultural commitments into question, and especially our religious ones. Dare we speak the name of Karl Barth?

Anglican Covenant - St. Andrew's Draft Modified

The Anglican Communion does need a covenant. In fact we all need covenants. As a baptised Christian, who is also married, who also has affirmed to uphold other baptised persons, and married person, in their various covenants, I am grateful for the covenants I've entered into with the Trinity and Creation.

Despite what those most desirous of radical provincial independence seek - I believe quite the opposite. For the same reason I am desirous that more people enter into covenant relationships, in general, whether baptismal, domestic, religious, or otherwise, I also agree that the identity of the Anglican Communion as a fellowship of national churches would be strengthened by a clearer basis in covenant relationship. I would not be seeking a toothy dog of enforcement masked as a 'covenant,' but rather
a true agreed upon statement of what and who we are, and what we are to each other. Frankly, I think we should very much be in the business of covenant making.

I again offer a draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant (the so-called 'St. Andrew's Draft') - sans the teeth part. This leaves out one section, and the 'appendix'. Just as in the baptismal covenant and in the marriage rite there are no 'teeth' sections - I don't see why this covenant should have them either. If people need to bite their covenant partners - they will figure out a way to do so without prenuptial incisors.

I think of this version of the covenant as more about expanding on shared proclamation - a kind of expanded Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. It allows a theological and ecclesiological shared vision for the Communion, from which, one would hope, it would serve to build up our matrix as an including fellowship of Christians seeking to grow in discipleship and mission. The purpose would be to further our clarity about our shared identity, and to establish the generous boundaries of who we are.

It should be worth noting, that merely because the schismatic element of the Communion (GAFCON, etc.) has already cast its lot toward realignment, and have already rejected this draft as flawed and insufficient, that doesn't render the need for a covenant among those provinces and portions of provinces which seek the maximum degree of communion possible.

Anglican Covenant Draft

(My redacted version of St. Andrew's Draft)

Changes Made:
Deletion of Appendix and Section 3.2.5
by Greg Jones, following suggestion made by Tobias Haller


We, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, solemnly covenant together in these following affirmations and commitments. As people of God, drawn from “every nation, tribe, people and language”[1], we do this in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the Grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to grow up together to the full stature of Christ.

Section One: Our Inheritance of Faith

1.1 Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(1.1.1) its communion in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit[2];

(1.1.2) that, reliant on the Holy Spirit, it professes the faith which is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as containing all things necessary for salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith[3], and which is set forth in the catholic creeds, and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England[4] bear significant witness, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation[5];

(1.1.3) that it holds and duly administers the two sacraments ordained by Christ himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with the unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him[6];

(1.1.4) that it upholds the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church[7];

(1.1.5) that our shared patterns of common prayer and liturgy form, sustain and nourish our worship of God and our faith and life together;

(1.1.6) that it participates in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God, and that this mission is shared with other Churches and traditions beyond this Covenant.

1.2 In living out this inheritance of faith together in varying contexts, each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(1.2.1) to uphold and act in continuity and consonance with Scripture and the catholic and apostolic faith, order and tradition;

(1.2.2) to uphold and proclaim a pattern of Christian theological and moral reasoning and discipline that is rooted in and answerable to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the catholic tradition and that reflects the renewal of humanity and the whole created order through the death and resurrection of Christ and the holiness that in consequence God gives to, and requires from, his people;

(1.2.3) to seek in all things to uphold the solemn obligation to sustain Eucharistic communion, in accordance with existing canonical disciplines as we strive under God for the fuller realisation of the Communion of all Christians;

(1.2.4) to ensure that biblical texts are handled faithfully, respectfully, comprehensively and coherently, primarily through the teaching and initiative of bishops and synods, and building on habits and disciplines of Bible study across the Church and on rigorous scholarship, believing that scriptural revelation continues to illuminate and transform individuals, cultures and societies;

(1.2.5) nurture and respond to prophetic and faithful leadership in ministry and mission to equip God’s people to be courageous witnesses to the power of the Gospel in the world.

(1.2.6) pursue a common pilgrimage with other Churches of the Communion to discern the Truth, that peoples from all nations may truly be set free to receive the new and abundant life in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Section Two: The Life We Share with Others: Our Anglican Vocation

2.1 Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(2.1.1) that communion is a gift of God: that His people from east and west, north and south, may together declare his glory and be a sign of God’s Reign. We gratefully acknowledge God’s gracious providence extended to us down the ages, our origins in the Church of the Apostles, the ancient common traditions, the rich history of the Church in Britain and Ireland shaped by the Reformation, and our growth into a global communion through the expanding missionary work of the Church.

(2.1.2) the ongoing mission work of the Communion. As the Communion continues to develop into a worldwide family of interdependent churches, we embrace challenges and opportunities for mission at local, regional, and international levels. In this, we cherish our faith and mission heritage as offering Anglicans distinctive opportunities for mission collaboration.

(2.1.3) that our common mission is a mission shared with other churches and traditions beyond this covenant. We embrace opportunities for the discovery of the life of the whole gospel and for reconciliation and shared mission with the Church throughout the world. It is with all the saints that we will comprehend the fuller dimensions of Christ’s redemptive and immeasurable love.

2.2 In recognition of these affirmations,each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(2.2.1) to answer God’s call to evangelisation and to share in his healing and reconciling mission for our blessed but broken, hurting and fallen world, and, with mutual accountability, to share our God-given spiritual and material resources in this task.

(2.2.2) In this mission, which is the Mission of Christ[8], each Church undertakes:

(2.2.2.a) to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God;

(2.2.2.b) to teach, baptize and nurture new believers;

(2.2.2.c) to respond to human need by loving service;

(2.2.2.d) to seek to transform unjust structures of society; and

(2.2.2.e) to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Section Three: Our Unity and Common Life

3.1 Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(3.1.1) that by our participation in Baptism and Eucharist, we are incorporated into the one body of the Church of Jesus Christ, and called by Christ to pursue all things that make for peace and build up our common life;

(3.1.2) its resolve to live in a Communion of Churches. Each Church, episcopally led and synodically governed, orders and regulates its own affairs and its local responsibility for mission through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as autonomous-in-communion[9]. Churches of the Anglican Communion are not bound together by a central legislative, executive or judicial authority. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, who calls and enables us to live in mutual affection, commitment and service, we seek to affirm our common life through those Instruments of Communion by which our Churches are enabled to develop a common mind;

(3.1.3) the central role of bishops as guardians and teachers of faith, leaders in mission, and as a visible sign of unity, representing the universal Church to the local, and the local Church to the universal. This ministry is exercised personally, collegially and within and for the eucharistic community. We receive and maintain the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, ordained for service in the Church of God, as they call all the baptised into the mission of Christ;

(3.1.4) the importance of instruments in the Anglican Communion to assist in the discernment, articulation and exercise of our shared faith and common life and mission. In addition to the many and varied links which sustain our life together, we acknowledge four particular Instruments which co-operate in the service of Communion:

  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury, with whose See Anglicans have historically been in communion, is accorded a primacy of honour and respect as first amongst equals (primus inter pares). As a focus and means of unity, he gathers the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meeting, and presides in the Anglican Consultative Council;
  2. The Lambeth Conference, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion and equipping the saints for the work of ministry and mission[10];
  3. The Anglican Consultative Council is comprised of laity, clergy and bishops representative of our Provincial synods. It facilitates the co-operative work of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work, calls the Churches into mutual responsibility and interdependence, and advises on developing provincial structures[11];
  4. The Primates’ Meeting is called by the Archbishop of Canterbury for mutual support, prayer and counsel. The Primates and Moderators are called to work as representative of their Provinces in collaboration with one another in mission and in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have communion-wide implications.

3.2 Acknowledging our interdependent life, each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(3.2.1) to have regard to the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, and to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it;

(3.2.2) to respect the constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding the interdependent life and mutual responsibility of the Churches, and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole[12];

(3.2.3) to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God. Such prayer, study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as its seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation. Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith: all therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.

(3.2.4) to seek with other Churches, through the Communion’s shared councils, a common mind about matters understood to be of essential concern, consistent with the Scriptures, common standards of faith, and the canon law of our churches.

(3.2.5) DELETED

(3.2.6) to have in mind that our bonds of affection and the love of Christ compel us always to seek the highest possible degree of communion.

Our Declaration

With joy and with firm resolve, we declare our Churches to be partakers in this Anglican Covenant, offering ourselves for fruitful service and binding ourselves more closely in the truth andlove of Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory for ever. Amen.

“Now may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13.20, 21)


1. Revelation 7.9

2. Cf. The Preface to the Declaration of Assent, Canon C15 of the Church of England.

3. Cf. The Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888

4. The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons

5. Cf. The Preface to the Declaration of Assent, Canon C15 of the Church of England.

6. cf. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886/1888, The Preface to the Declaration of Assent, Canon C15 of the Church of England.

7. Cf. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886/1888

8. Cf. The five Marks of Mission as set out in the MISSIO Report of 1999, building on work at ACC-6 and ACC-8.

9. The Windsor Report, paragraph 76

10. Ephesians 4.12

11. cf. the Objects of the ACC are set out in Article 2 of its Constitution.

12. cf. the Schedule to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting, February 2007