Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Samuel and Sugden: Reflections on the decisions of the Anaheim General Convention

An analysis of the noes ( those who said no to DO25 and CO56) shows that those who did it out of a confessional doctrinal basis are only a small number – no more than 10 people. This is very clear when some of them who have said no are on record as saying that this is not the right time or the right strategy. Some of those who have voted yes to the motions (see Thinking Anglicans 21 July) have also signed the Anaheim statement. The motives of the people seem to be as broad as the The Episcopal Church (TEC) itself. The desire of the orthodox to witness leads them to work with fellow travelers, but being fellow travelers does not mean that they are fellow orthodox. The view that there are a substantial number of orthodox is seriously flawed.

The Anaheim statement also makes clear that they no longer define themselves as members of TEC. The first draft commited them to the canons and constitution of the TEC. That is now dropped. But what kind of a communion is this of which they want to be a part. Is the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) part of the communion of which they want to be a part? Is the communion to be defined by the Ridley Covenant? If that is so, then that has not been adopted yet and is unlikely to be for some time. What is in common is their fellowship with the Archbishop of Canterbury. That is a personal identity of an office of bishop which is constitutionally in communion with Canterbury, What about a local church? Can it be in communion with Canterbury? How low do you drive this – to dioceses or parishes? Will dioceses be able to sign up to the Ridley Covenant? These are questions which the whole thing leaves unsatisfactorily vague.

It is also interesting to see the justification given by TEC that this is nothing new – the "no" does not mean what it says. This has been the double-speak that TEC has often engaged in. Does it mean there are no moratoria? What It is saying is that the original resolution was only advisory and that dioceses had to make their own judgement. The advisory has been taken away so that dioceses can make their own decision. If this is the case then does the church not have a position? The church does have a position. Look at the position of the hierarchy – look at the vast number who have decided for CO56. The direction is set and the hierarchy is pushing in that direction. So TEC has deliberately walked away. It gave the impression, by the earlier decision of the 2006 Convention to abide by the moratoria, that it had stopped walking away. Now it is moving – but in which direction? It has not remained the same. All the current dissimulation, that the decisions of the Anaheim Convention have not changed anything, is entirely false. Read more
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