House of Bishops Releases Statement

From: The House of Bishops: Message to God’s People
March 16-21, 2007

…We represent fifteen sovereign nations, the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, and Micronesia bearing witness to the Gospel of Our Lord and the wonders of Christ’s redeeming work in the world. We were reminded of the health and vitality of our Church as our new Presiding Bishop recounted her travels. We have experienced a sense of identity, clarity, and purpose in fulfilling our vocation as bishops. We were blessed by the presence of the Primate and the House of Bishops of the Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico. …BB NOTE: Make no mistake about it, this is the New And Improved Episcopal Communion. Who needs all those Old Worlders and Third Worlders when one has it’s own Global Communion. The message is loud and clear. One wonders if they hung up the flags again as they did at General Convention in Columbus.)

…It is our strong desire to remain within the fellowship of the Anglican Communion. The Primates’ Communiqué, however, raises significant concerns.

First among these is what is arguably an unprecedented shift of power toward the Primates, represented, in part, by the proposed “Pastoral Scheme.” This proposed plan calls for the appointment of a Primatial Vicar and Pastoral Council for The Episcopal Church whose membership would consist of “up to five members; two nominated by the Primates, two by the Presiding Bishop, and a Primate of a Province of the Anglican Communion nominated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the Council.”

We believe this proposal contravenes the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Moreover, because it is proposed that this scheme (BB NOTE: The word “scheme” in Britain has a different meaning then it does in America. In Britain it means “plan” and in America it means “plot.” It is very interesting that TEC emphasizes the word “scheme” as it rejects it – for the implication is that TEC does see it as a plot and not as a plan – one does wonder if Rowan knows that the word has a completely different meaning in America. We remember having to point this out during Alpha meetings at Holy Trinity Brompton many years ago when the Americans nearly fell out of their chairs hearing HTB folks talk about “schemes” and we finally had to take them aside and ask them, please, use the word “plan” whenever talking to Americans. Looks like KJS forgot to mention this to Rowan) take immediate effect, we were compelled, at this March meeting, to request that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church decline to participate in this aspect of the Communiqué’s requests. Nonetheless, we pledge to continue working to find a way of meeting the pastoral concerns raised by the Primates that are compatible with our own Church’s polity and canons (BB NOTE: Which means that SSUs and non-celibate homosexual ordinations will continue – make no mistake about it).

We should note that our recommendation to Executive Council not to participate in the Pastoral Scheme, though not unanimously endorsed by this House, came at the conclusion of long and gracious conversation. (BB NOTE: God forbid anyone spilled the tea and crumpets!)

Finally, we believe that the leaders of the Church must always hold basic human rights and the dignity of every human being as fundamental concerns in our witness for Christ. We were, therefore, concerned that while the Communiqué focuses on homosexuality, it ignores the pressing issues of violence against gay and lesbian people around the world, and the criminalization of homosexual behavior in many nations of the world. (BB NOTE: SLAM Archbishop Akinola. Some much for the MDGs. Game Over.)

The Theology Committee of the House of Bishops was charged with the responsibility of developing a teaching guide for consideration of both the Primates’ Communiqué and the proposed draft Covenant for the Anglican Communion. We anticipate this guide will be available by late May for use by bishops and dioceses in preparation for the September meeting of the House of Bishops. BB NOTE: TinFoilHat Alert!

The bishops unanimously affirmed a Mind of the House Resolution inviting the Archbishop of Canterbury and the members of the Primates’ Standing Committee to meet, at a time of their choosing, with the House of Bishops. (BB NOTE: Oops, forgot to mention that the House of Bishops, aka TEC, will pay for everyone to fly over and be wined and dined by the TEC bigwigs until they realize that the money card is going to be played bigtime – but oh well, check your pledges.)

BB NOTE: What did Rowan Williams say today?

“This initial response of the House of Bishops is discouraging and indicates the need for further discussion and clarification. Some important questions have still to be addressed and no one is underestimating the challenges ahead.”

Discouraging. Who will he being having further discussion and clarification with? He doesn’t say, does he? Nope. “Some important questions have still to be addressed,” he says but doesn’t say what they are (dwell on that for a while). It’s obvious that the worst is yet to come. Not a happy day. But we must say that this letter and the resolutions that accomplany it are far more in line of the general view of the Episocpal Church. It is clear – from the beginning of this document – that they think the Anglican Communion is bluffing and Money Talks, but just in case, they have their own Episcopal Communion and a Legion of Lawyers. And oh, by the way, their hauling and 80+ year old bishop into eccelesiastical trial for ordaining and confirming Christians in an Anglican Church – that is far worse than anything the Bishop of Connecticut or the Bishop of Pennsylvania has done.

Where is the Chai? Time for a cup of chai.