Thursday, September 28, 2006

President of the House of Deputies Speaks Out

Bonnie Anderson, recently elected President of the House of Deputies, has issued a statement regarding the Camp Allen meeting of the supposed "Windsor bishops" and the recent ultimatum from the Global South which claimed the support of 20 Provinces. To place Ms. Anderson's comments in context, let me first quote a part of the Presiding Bishop's statement:

... note here that Archbishop Robin Eames, Chairman of the Lambeth Commission which produced the Windsor Report, says in his introduction: "This report is not a judgment. It is part of a process. It is part of a pilgrimage toward healing and reconciliation." As such, I believe the "Windsor process" is a process of mutual growth which calls for patience, mutual understanding and generosity of spirit rather than stark submission.

It also needs to be said that the assessment of the responses of the Episcopal Church to the Windsor process is not the responsibility of self-chosen groups within the Communion...

...The General Convention in Resolution A165 affirmed our commitment to the Windsor process. From my perspective, being faithful to the Windsor process – and the Covenant process which is integral to it – calls for patience and rules out actions which would preempt their orderly unfolding. In my view, portions of the Kigali statement that take issue with the actions of the Episcopal Church in advance of hearing from the advisory group, and before the Covenant has an opportunity to be developed, are inconsistent with the Windsor process, as are continuing incursions of bishops from other provinces into our dioceses. Patience and respect for one another and our provincial structures are required on the part of us all...
Here is Bonnie Anderson's statement. I'm posting all of it, because it is exceptionally clear and needs to be repeated as many times as possible:

The clarification from Bishop Griswold in his letter to the bishops is very important. The Windsor Report was issued as one part of a process. The responsibility for the response to the Windsor Report belongs to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, a bicameral legislature with representation from lay and clergy as well as bishops. At the 75th General Convention, our response was made. Our bishops certainly can and do meet together. However, when decisions affecting the whole Episcopal Church are made, representatives of the whole Episcopal Church need to be present for the conversations as well as the possible decision making.

Accordingly, the Global South Primates who recently met at Kigali have a right to meet, but no right to make decisions for the Anglican Communion. They have expressed concern about the perceived unilateral actions taken the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2003. However, their statement is truly a unilateral act.

In their statement they distance themselves from Bishop Jefferts Schori for holding views that are similar to those held by Bishop Griswold, Bishop Browning before and other Primates currently. There is nothing unique in her views. What is unique is her gender in the circle of primates. That seems to be their biggest objection. I note with sadness that the Kigali communiqué does not extend the courtesy of referring to Bishop Jefferts Schori as a bishop, where everyone else is referred to with titles. It adds a low note that is not worthy of the faith espoused in the document.
Are we clear now? Bishops can meet whenever they want. But decisions are made at General Convention, where duly elected representatives from the lay, diaconal and priestly orders also have voice and vote. This is how we do things. This is how we will continue to do things.

The Global South Primates can also meet whenever they feel like it, of course. But they do not have the authority to dictate terms to the rest of the Communion.

And finally, the rude and sexist nature of their statement is exposed clearly for all the world to see. On November 5, Bishop Jefferts Schori will be the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. There will be no alternatives offered.

One final note; the Primate of the Episcopal Church in the Phillipines has distanced himself from the poison-pen letter from the Global South. Then there were 18.

That leaves Burundi, Central Africa, the Church of South India, Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, South East Asia, Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, the West Indies and Bangladesh. Any speculation as to who will be next to back away from it?


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