Friday, August 26, 2011

The Doctor or the Pirate?

I've been avoiding wading too deeply into the Anglican soap opera for awhile, but a recent minor dust up is just too rich to resist.

What's the issue? It's about the battling news stories regarding the presentation by members of the Standing Commis­sion on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) of the Episcopal Church to the Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC), which met earlier this month in Canterbury.

One version appeared in the Church Times, and was authored by Simon Sarmiento. Here's part of it:

...The Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Revd Dr Ruth Meyers, said on Saturday that the 2009 General Convention had directed the SCLM both to inform, and to invite reflections from, the rest of the Communion. The IALC meeting was an ideal opportunity to discuss the matter.

The Episcopal Church’s request for such a session was made accord­ing to existing IALC norms, she said, and had been unanimously approved in advance by the IALC steering committee. It was a co­incidence that marriage was the main topic this year; the request would have been made in any event.

Dr Meyers also noted that the Episcopal Church’s request con­formed to the Windsor report’s recommendation that “provinces engaged in discernment regarding the blessing of same-sex unions [should] engage the Communion in continuing study.”
The other version of this same meeting was in the Church of England Newspaper and was written by George Conger. This version includes bits like this:

...While some members of the IALC, including its new chairman, Canadian-member the Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully, were generally supportive of the US view, the majority were not. One participant told CEN the objections fell in two general groups: those who believed the concept of same-sex blessings was un-Biblical, and those who were perturbed by the “aggressive” push by the US team to seize control of a study process on rites for traditional marriage to include their own agenda...
Seize control of a study process? The SCLM requested a separate session for their presentation, which would not be part of the "study process" of marriage rites. We were told that it was a coincidence that marriage was the main topic of the IALC this year. The request for the special session by the SCLM would have been made anyway, regardless of the main topic, in order to accomplish the work they were charged to do before GC 2012.

One wonders who this anonymous participant was that told Conger that some were "perturbed" by the Americans' "aggressive push" to "seize control of the study process." If that participant was paying attention, they may have noted that there was a "special session" on the agenda, approved by the IALC steering committee.

It all seems a bit strange, until Conger quotes someone who is not anonymous, as a matter of fact, one who loves the lime light; none other than Frank Lyons, the Bishop of Bolivia.

Yeah, THAT Frank Lyons...the Pirate Bishop of Bolivia! The same Frank Lyons who has plundered a quite a few Episcopal parishes over the years.

In case you still don't recall Lyons, here's just a bit from the 2006 news story that is linked above:

...Lyons, a Wheaton College graduate, is emerging as a rallying figure for conservatives in the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church. Saying the leadership has turned its back on these people, he is offering a haven to grateful parishes but angering church leaders who accuse him of using the denomination's divisions to promote himself.

His parishes, not wishing to separate from worldwide Anglicanism, turned to Lyons, an American who supervises four churches in Bolivia. Eventually, they plan to establish their own leadership.

Lyons has embraced what some congregations call "the Diocese of Bolivia's Northern Deanery" with zeal. In defiance of U.S. bishops, he ordains priests, lays hands on the sick and shrugs off complaints that his actions contravene church law and common courtesy. He ignores letters from other bishops asking him to stay out...

So, we have one story which quotes Dr. Ruth Meyers, Professor of Liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and another which quotes Frank Lyons, the pirate Bishop of Bolivia.

Based on that point alone, the source of the quotes, which story would you take more seriously?

J.

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