"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

My Photo
Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Endorsing the Anglican Covenant at the Diocesan Level is Purely Symbolic, ABC Williams Indicates

After the last TEC GenCon the leadership of the few remaining "orthodox" dioceses within TEC (e.g., South Carolina) started talking about ways of "differentiating" themselves further from the national trends of TEC. In almost every case that differentiation was either completely symbolic (e.g., adoption of a formal statement clarifying the meanings of a word or two in the ordination vows taken by ordinands in that diocese) or the proposals were so vague as to amount to little at present (e.g., increase "co-operation" with Anglicans outside of TEC, etc.). [I have previously reflected on Bishop Lawrence's proposals here.]

Only one thing these orthodox TEC leaders suggested even had a hope of one day truly meaning something "on the ground"--a diocesan-level endorsement of the proposed Anglican Covenant,which national TEC will surely ultimately reject if it has any "teeth" at all. Perhaps ten years from now that kind of diocesan action might actually matter in some way, I thought. Just possibly the Covenant's adoption by South Carolina and other "orthodox" TEC entities might help them to remain part of orthodox Anglicanism world-wide, I hoped.

But now the Archbishop of Canterbury himself has indicated even such a diocesan endorsement of the Covenant is purely symbolic and will have no "official" meaning. Read this article from the Living Church.

Please, folks still trapped in the these handful of dioceses, it is time to admit the facts. Nothing you can do at the diocesan level will ever make you meaningfully different from the rest of TEC as long as you remain members of the national body. Your bishops are still ultimately answerable to PB Schori. You are still subject to TEC's constitution and canons and to it's disciplinary procedures. And most importantly, the heretical majority of TEC's bishops and standing committees will have an absolute veto over whomever your elect to be your next bishop.

Your staunch defense of orthodoxy could evaporate rapidly if your bishop unexpectedly leaves office. The powers that be will insure that your next bishop is "reasonable" and "moderate"--one of those respectable "conservatives" who politely states his traditionalist positions at church meetings and then faithfully implements whatever the decision of the TEC governing body in question are without further cavil. Once such a "reasonable" bishop is in place a majority of your parish clergy will be cut from the same cloth in less than a decade. By 2025 most of the people still left in the once "orthodox" dioceses of TEC will hardly remember what all this fuss was about.

More purely symbolic declarations are pointless at this juncture. Either act to separate from TEC now or come to terms with where your denomination is inevitably heading. Further resistance inside TEC is futile. The TEC ship has left the shore of traditional Christianity and is rapidly sailing away into the brave, new sunset of radical inclusion. Loudly proclaiming that you are not part of the vessel's journey while you still stand on it's deck watching the shoreline recede is simply a denial of reality. It is time to adjust to your new situation either by making peace with the Good Ship TEC's captain and crew or by jumping ship while you still might make it back home!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Loudly proclaiming that you are not part of the vessel's journey while you still stand on it's deck watching the shoreline recede is simply a denial of reality."

Vivid and apt language.


8:53 AM  
Blogger Tregonsee said...

As a retired pilot of 40 years or so, I liken the situation to holding at your primary destination for the weather to clear. Some patience is needed, but at some point you need to go to your alternate while you still have the fuel to get there. IMHO, it is LONG past the point where any but the most foolhardy would stay in TEC waiting for better weather. I have been enjoying the Peace and quiet of my alternate for some years now.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

"Loudly proclaiming that you are not part of the vessel's journey while you still stand on it's deck watching the shoreline recede is simply a denial of reality."

Is that what you would say to Sarah Hey? That she's in denial?

Could you handle her snark?

11:32 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

I know better than to say that on SF! They are banning people these days for that kind of plain speaking :-)

Frankly, I don't understand Ms. Hey's attitude considering what she knows about the goings on in TEC and the world-wide communion. She seems to be basically saying, "Things are OK in my parish right now--they may fall apart a few years from now but we can muddle along with the status quo a bit longer. Since the situation is tolerable locally right now I won't budge nor will I approve of anyone saying it is time for anyone else to do so!" SF is her venue, and she is entitled to police it any way she wants. But I truly don't get her hostility to "lobbying" for more departures from a ship she clearly can see has sailed. Ah, well.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Tregonsee said...

There are many reasons for staying in TEC. The first is you agree with what they are doing. Good riddance.

The second is that you don't, but are in a position to do some good. The equivalent of being a crewman on the Titanic, and staying until the very end to help people to safety. There are many such, particularly in transitional dioceses which still have a large faithful minority. One person in particular serves on a Standing Committee, and has successfully blocked the inhibition of faithful priests. While they can't stop the rot, and are under no delusions they can, they can at least gum up the works of the liberals. Others serve aging parishes whose members have no local faithful church to attend. All of these deserve our respect and support in their chosen ministry.

A few firmly believe that God will work a miracle. While unlikely, it is hard, considering our faith, to dismiss that out of hand. Finally, there are those who are literally hanging on for their pensions in the case of priests, and the mortgage in the case of the vestry. I still see these fine people from my final TEC church, and always after the pleasantries ask them how things are at the Shrine of Laodicea? For these, there is little doubt that contempt is fully justified, and that on the last day, there is going to be some 'spaining to do.

My own feeling is they have gotten a bit oversensitive at SF, but there have been a few folks, one who has been banned there and posts here, who have been unwilling or unable to make these distinctions. Having someone constantly denigrate others who have chosen faithful but different paths is not conducive to good conversations. It is also, frankly, boorish.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Indaba and the Listening Process are all about having "good conversations."

That is, quite frankly, quite boorish.

Have at it.

3:51 PM  
Blogger William Tighe said...

Sarah Hey is, untimately but also completely, a "private judgenment Protestant," who thinks that she can make up, revise or concoct Protestantism, or for that matter Protestantism, to accord to whatever she thinks "
Christian Orthodoxy" is. She is, in fact, the creaator and concoctor of what she thinks to be "orthodox Christianity," but what is little or nothing more than her imaginative conceit of what Christianity is. She (or, rather, her views of what the Christian Religion is) has little more to do with Christian Orthodoxy than the views of Spong, Wakeman or the like, and so are to be ignored and held in contempt by all faithful Christians.

8:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats