Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Morning posts

note: we'll keep this backup site running all this week. Generally we will post several batches of entries, generally three batches per day. Early morning. Mid-afternoon. Evening. If there's breaking news or Kendall's posting tons of stuff, we'll post more often.


John Burwell responds to the local article on the South Carolina election
September 18th, 2006 posted by kendall at 9:03 am

Please note that the headline for the story which ran on Sunday was “Bishop vote reflects schism”–KSH.

Fellow clergy,

If you saw this morning’s Charleston paper, you saw quotes attributed to me that I did not make. To begin with I did not speak of schism. I never do. I spoke of some sort of a realignment as being unfortunate, but apparently a fast-approaching (and necessary) reality. It is not schism. There’s a huge difference here. We have two religions trying to live under one roof. It can’t continue.

Secondly I did not, nor would I ever refer to a “three-legged stool.” I spoke to the reporter about the primacy of Scripture, and how, because of the fall we may err in our ability to interpret what Scripture says (what I called “reason”). I told him that many today are placing wrong interpretations of what Scripture plainly says. And I told him that we Anglicans have always additionally consulted what the Church has thought on a particular Scripture subject down through the ages (tradition), to counteract flawed reason. I called this reliance upon the primacy of Scripture the genius of Anglicanism.

There is not a “three-legged stool,” nor can there be, because a stool, with three equal-length legs, would infer that Scripture, reason and tradition are equal. They are not. I did say that the Church can err. She does, and She has on numerous occasions.

Thirdly, I never once mentioned the name Hooker. Not once. As you no doubt know, Hooker did not speak of a three-legged stool. Neither did I. I have no idea where Adam Parker (the reporter) came up with these statements that he attributed to me. Perhaps one of the other people he spoke to used “stool” language, and he assumed that I would agree. I only know that I didn’t, and wouldn’t, and don’t.

Lastly, I told Mr. Parker that Kendall Harmon had come up with two terms which I found helpful to describe the two sides in the debate: “reappraisers” and “reasserters.” I credited Kendall as the author of these terms, and suggested that he (Adam Parker) contact Kendall. He seemed to say that I came up with the terms.

I am sorry if I have contributed in anyway to hurting our diocese. This is my home, and I love it. Please know that my thoughts were not reported the way I had hoped they would be.

God bless you all,

–The Very Rev. John Burwell is dean of the Charleston deanery and rector, Church of the Holy Cross, Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

From the Local Paper: Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina elects Traditionalist as Leader

September 18th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:56 am

From here:

BY Adam Parker

In a pioneering move that has international implications for the Anglican Communion, the conservative Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina on Saturday elected California native Mark Lawrence its 14th bishop in a landslide ballot held at St. Phillips Church in downtown Charleston. It was the first diocese election since Katherine Jefferts Schori was chosen on June 18 to serve as presiding bishop of the U. S. Episcopal Church, and it served as a clear indication that the schism between hard line traditionalists and those loyal to the U. S. Episcopal church will likely widen in the near term. John Burwell, rector at the Church of Holy Cross on Sullivan’s Island and the dean of the Charleston Deanery, calls the opposing factions “reasserters” and “reappraisers.”

“Unfortunately, it appears there is going to be a realignment,” he said. Lawrence, a traditionalist with an evangelical bent and 26 years of parish experience, nine of them at St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Bakersfield, Calif., will replace Bishop Edward Salmon, who is retiring. But first, the standing committees of the diocese[s and Bishops with jurisdiction] must approve the election, and that could take up to three months, Lawrence said in a telephone interview. The diocese stands at the brink of instigating some kind of separation from the U. S. church, he said.

Taking the helm of the diocese after Salmon’s departure will be like “Magellan’s crew continuing its circumnavigation of the globe after the captain is gone,” and the ship is sailing through a narrow straight in stormy seas, he said. ” This is no time for hasty moves, but no time to step back either.” Lawrence was one of three candidates who made the final cut. The others were Steve Wood, the young rector of the dynamic St. Andrew’s church in Mount Pleasant, and Ellis Brust, chief operating officer of the American Anglican Council in Atlanta. Burwell was also under consideration before the field was narrowed down to its finalists. All of the candidates have expressed a desire to reassert the diocese’s loyalty to the worldwide Anglican Communion and reject what they view as the liberalization of the U. S. Episcopal Church. Lawrence claimed 72 clergy votes and 42 ½ lay order votes on the first ballot. He needed just 54 of the former and 29 of the latter to win. The landslide was hailed as a mandate.

Steve Wood said he was happy for the diocese and the “enormous clarity” it demonstrated during the election The 42- year- old Wood leads an immensely popular church that featss.ures a contemporary style of worship and boasts the diocese’s largest budget. It draws about 1,500 on an average weekend. ” There is no way in the world I can look at being rector of St. Andrew’s and consider it anything but a win,” he said. The Diocese of South Carolina, which has jurisdiction over parishes in the eastern part of the state, is one of seven dioceses nationwide that have requested what is called “alternative primatial oversight” — to function under the auspices of someone other than Jefferts Schori. But it remains unclear whether their request will be granted.

M. Dow Sanderson, rector of the Church of the Holy Communion and president of the standing committee, said the task was not to consider candidates who represented diverse views but to choose among leaders, any one of whom could govern an essentially conservative diocese. Sanderson does not think the diocese is rebellious but, rather, that the U. S. Episcopal Church is purposefully moving in a direction contrary to the wishes of the worldwide Anglican community. But simply establishing a new church is not possible for Christians who believe in apostolic succession, he said. The options are limited to two: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, can appoint an Anglican leader to preside over the diocese (and perhaps six others in the U. S. that are dissatisfied with the U. S. leadership, including Lawrence’s San Juaquin diocese), or Jefferts Schori can provide the diocese with separate spiritual leadership — a “safe harbor” Sanderson called it — to give the two factions time to work out a solution. ” It’s not ` Honey I hate you and want a divorce,’ it’s `Honey I’m going to stay in the mountain house and think this out,’ ” he said.

Worldwide, the Anglican community consists of about 70 million, most living in the Southern Hemisphere. The U. S. has 2.3 million Episcopalians. Nigeria boasts 17 million. The ” divorce” has been contemplated by conservative Episcopalians in the U. S. ever since V. Gene Robinson, who is gay, was elected bishop of the New Hampshire diocese in November 2003. Burwell explained the controversy by citing…[16th] century theologian Richard Hooker’s “three legged stool.” The church, Burwell said, is governed by three primary forces, the most important of which is Scripture, followed by reason and tradition. God’s word trumps all, he said, but he endowed human beings with minds and expects them to be well used. When Scripture and reason conflict — which is inevitable because reason, a imperfect human quality born of the fall of man, can lead to sin — the tie-breaker is tradition, or the precedence set by the church over the centuries. Thus, Burwell said, “the Church can err. If the Church is doing something counter to Scripture, we have to stop it, we have to repent. This has been the genius of Anglicanism all along….”

David Williams, rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, whose congregation includes gays and lesbians, said that an unofficial fourth leg has been added to Hooker’s stool in recent years: Experience. Williams called this a key component that, along with bonds of affection and plenary consensus, helps hold the church together. The challenge, he said, is to take disparate points of view and work on them together, finding common ground and strengthening the religious community through diversity. With Robinson’s consecration, ” the horse is out of the barn and we can’t get it back in,” Williams said, and the richness of the U. S. tradition is severely threatened.

St. Stephen’s is one of perhaps four or five parishes within the South Carolina diocese that prefers to remain aligned with the U. S. Episcopal Church, Williams said. The diocese owns the property —church grounds and buildings — of all its parishes. It is unclear whether the diocese would sell its property to each parish or whether the parishes could afford the purchase price. For a parish to split from the diocese likely would mean extended legal battles. But property disputes would not be the only problem. The diocese also provides salaries, pensions, insurance policies, administrative support and spiritual guidance. ” That kind of disruption and chaos actually brings about the thing they want to avoid, and that is further defections from the Church,” Williams said. “There’s nothing in my background that has prepared me for this.”

John Heidt: Further Thoughts After the Meeting in New York

September 18th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:31 am

But times have changed. Dioceses, now bound by national canons determined by General Convention, are no longer co-terminus with secular states but are themselves grouped into geographical provinces. In accord with general catholic practice Bishop Grafton of Fond du Lac supported legislation to divide ECUSA into five or eight provinces each with its own Archbishop.3 General Convention passed the first half of the legislation creating our present provinces (The ninth was added later), but rejected any provision for archbishops, due undoubtedly to contemporary controversies over churchmanship. In 1919 it was decided to create the National Council and to elect Presiding Bishops for six year terms. 4 In 1943 Presiding Bishops on their election were required for the first time to resign their diocesan sees and since then canons have been passed giving them ever increasing authority and influence over the national church, though without a primatial see or the ability to intervene or judicate in any individual diocese. 5 Aided by developments within the whole Anglican Communion, they came to be recognized as Chief Pastors and Primates, treated much as any primatial archbishops.

So is the Presiding Bishop now a primate? It’s all a matter of definition. If Katherine Schori says she cannot give away what she does not have, does this mean that she intends to revert back to the eighteenth century practice of merely presiding at meetings of the House of Bishops, neither presiding over meetings of the National Council nor using the title of primate, unlike her predecessor who used it of himself in his statement regarding the recent New York meeting? If so, we could accept it, for, though strange, it is theoretically possible for a layperson to preside at episcopal meetings as was sometimes true of ancient emperors, or even be head of the church in all things temporal, as is true of British Monarchs to this day. But there is no indication that either Frank Griswold or Katherine Schori are prepared to accept such a diminution of their power and authority, nor could they without General Convention changing the national canons.

Those appealing for Alternative Primatial Oversight could get around this dilemma by dropping the word “Alternative.” What we need is someone who holds the first place among traditionalist bishops and who unites them with the rest of the Anglican Communion….

Read it all.

Parents have lost the art of raising children, says Peter Jensen

September 18th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:22 am

AUSTRALIAN parents have forgotten some of the basic arts of raising children, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, has said.

Children have abundant material possessions but suffer from a “serious hope deficit and an equally serious love deficit”.

“They have food and material possessions in abundance. But at the level of spirit, at the level of hope and so meaning and purpose, these things are in short supply. Adults have found that promises are hard to keep; that relationships are hard to sustain; that time is hard to find; that love which is actually other-person centred is elusive.

Read it all.

The Anglican Communion Institute–The Anglican Communion: Where are we now and where are we headed?

September 18th, 2006 posted by kendall at 8:14 am

In other words, given that there is no easy way (even were there a desire to do so) of expelling any province, ‘withdrawal from membership’ would have to occur either by a more explicit ‘walking apart’ (perhaps at GC 2009) to pursue what the American church believes is its prophetic calling in obedience to the leading of the Spirit or by the rejection of the proposed covenant, leading to departure from the common council of the ‘constituent’ churches to being ‘associated’ churches, perhaps sending observers to Communion gatherings.

This is, as Windsor says, a ‘last resort’ and the covenant process (to be taken forward under the Chairmanship of Archbishop Drexel Gomez and a major matter of discussion at Lambeth 2008) may provide time for the American church — perhaps now in a state of varied participation in Communion councils — to reconsider its path and instead walk together with the Communion again through agreeing to a new covenant. There can, however, be little doubt that the covenant will articulate the vision of communion found in Windsor and thus an acceptance of the constraints brought by interdependence in the body of Christ, including in relation to whatever is Communion teaching on sexual ethics.

If indeed the Windsor Report itself has mapped out the path that is in fact now being followed in terms of either reconciliation or disengagement within the Communion – and signs point in this direction – then present reflection and effort should be directed at the two important steps of 2.) and 3.) noted above: the basis upon which and process by which invitations to the Primates’ Meeting and Lambeth Conference will be given, and the shape, substance, and implementation of an Anglican Communion Covenant. It is crucial that we get these steps right and that they be pursued with clarity, charity, and faithfulness.

Read it all.


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