Saturday, 27 March 2004

ECUSA reactions analysed

ENS has published a detailed survey covering many of the reactions to the proposal made by ECUSA bishops for delegated oversight.
Conservative responses mixed on Camp Allen oversight plan.

This report does not however include the most recent NACDP statement Convocation Deans Respond to House of Bishops Plan.

The House of Bishops has failed the Church by its new process for Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO). The bishops had the opportunity to act sacrificially and lovingly to reach out to orthodox Episcopal congregations and parishioners. Instead, they have offered DEPO, a cumbersome bureaucratic process controlled by the very overseers from whom relief is sought. It inadequately deals with episcopal pastoral care and fails entirely to address such issues as ordination, the calling of clergy, church planting, finances or property. Under DEPO, the power and prerogatives of the bishops are paramount, while genuine concern for parishioners is lost. It shows that the House of Bishops is not serious about reform which would respond to the concerns of the Primates.
We know that our Network bishops who were present worked valiantly for a better outcome from the House of Bishops meeting just concluded. Nevertheless, the great majority of the bishops have made clear by the terms of the plan for DEPO that the rejection of biblical authority and the endorsement of sexual intimacy outside of marriage are now the settled teaching of our Church; all that remains is to regulate the speed with which this new teaching is imposed on orthodox Episcopalians.
The Anglican Communion Network is committed to living under the authority of Holy Scripture and in true unity with the vast majority of the world-wide Anglicans. We serve in partnership with the Primates, who have written, “we offer our support and the full weight of our ministries and offices to those who are gathering” in the Network.

This does not sound like a body looking for a negotiated settlement.

Reference is sometimes made to the English Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 as a model for the American or Canadian situation. But this Act does not remove a petitioning parish from the jurisdiction of its diocesan bishop, and is dependent on his agreement for its application. So I think it is unlikely to be acceptable to NACDP.

Where the English model differs from the American proposal is in its de facto compulsion. Every bishop in the Church of England has agreed to abide by it, and, as far as I know, no properly submitted parish petition for “appropriate episcopal duties in the parish” to be carried out by another bishop in accordance with the Act has ever been refused. It seem that NACDP believes that some American bishops are even now unwilling to offer any form of “DEPO”. If this is true, then only a General Convention (next scheduled for 2006) could compel them to do so. From a British perspective, this perceived inflexibility of diocesan bishops just seems very strange.

Nevertheless, I find it very surprising indeed that no-one among the conservatives has published any draft of an alternative oversight proposal that might be acceptable to them. With no such document in circulation it is easy for others to accuse the Network leaders of insincerity in their statements about wanting to remain within ECUSA, as opposed to forming a North American equivalent of the FiF-proposed but as yet non-existent CofE Third Province.

Footnote
Since writing the above, the AAC has published Setting the Record Straight: What Really Happened at the House of Bishops which raises the temperature yet again.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 27 March 2004 at 2:55 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA | Opinion
Comments

I believe that Bishop Bennison of Pennsylvania has announced that he would not comply with or implement any arrangement within his diocese concerning “alternative oversight,” and the experience of the Canadian church in New Westminster is not a source of hope for traditionalists in the USA.

Posted by: Bill at March 29, 2004 01:34 AM
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