Waiting For Lambeth And GAFCON As Patience Wears Utterly Thin

Lately, I’ve been staying away from blogging. Cooking for my family most evenings is therapeutic for me. Moreover, I attended our Kairos state board retreat this weekend. Sam Kauffman was our presenter. I missed Friday night but Saturday she presented The Outcast. What I truly loved about Sam’s biblical drama was how she made the Bible come alive supplying a fictional but certainly possible (and very real) factual background to the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment that was entirely consistent with the Bible and what Jewish society would have been like back then. Of course, she then ads original music and sings in a way that brings tears to your eyes thinking on what Jesus has done for you. So, I guess, despite having an extremely tough week last week, I’ve been feeling pretty good. Almost too well to blog.

But, not too well to avoid reading what is going on. +Rowan utterly disappoints with his most recent letter. The only positives I can see is that liberal friends of mine are complaining that Rowan is using the Windsor Report to stiffle the Holy Spirit (as if the Holy Spirit was what brought about the actions of GC2003) and that he may be chastising certain folks who are trouble makers.

I think the indaba groups are not an entirely bad idea, but are probably inappropriate for this particular Lambeth conference. In my prison ministry, we use small group sharing and discussion as a major part of a program to open the residents’ hearts and minds to Christ. In the reconciliation seminars, the same is true, but with an aim also to open the hearts of others to reconciliation with others. However, in the context of Lambeth, mere emotional reconciliation will not do it. Something far more basic has to be handled first, and that is finding a way to co-exist peacefully.

Moreover, what everyone seems to be missing is that some sort of structural relief is necessary to provide conservatives some sort of safe haven within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. TEC was asked to provide this a number of times. They have not. The only thing that can be done is to excommunicate TEC from the Anglican Communion and recognize someone else. This is solely because of TEC’s intransigence and abuse of reconciliation.

TEC’s idea of reconciliation was personified in our past Presiding Bishop’s actions at the Primates Meeting and subsequent consecration of Bishop Robinson personally despite his acknowledgment that this later action would shatter the Anglican Communion. It is not so much that folks are heretics from a theological standpoint that is a barrier to reconciliation. It is the utter lack of respect toward conservatives both here and abroad. They think conservatives are stupid. They treat us as being stupid. This is the slight that needs to be reconciled before any peacemaking can occur. But, it will have to be acknowledged, and it just won’t be.

I still laugh inside when TEC claims it is Windsor Compliant when so many liberal websites have an avatar claiming not to be Windsor complaint with the recent complaints of Windsor stifling the Holy Spirit. They just don’t get it that same sex blessings continue apace, have not abated on iota, and have even been adopted in more places. TEC has never complied with the Windsor Report, so the border crossings don’t have to stop, in my mind.

As GAFCON and Lambeth approach, it amazes me that so many moderates bent on not rocking the boat continue to claim that “we just don’t know enough” to make some decision about structural realignment. Patience on the part of conservatives is wearing way too thin to play these sorts of games. I’ve often thought over the past years that some of the folks that left perhaps did so prematurely. I don’t think that anymore. Convincing moderates of the need for structural relief seems to me to be a waste of time at this point. What more can be said? Unless you have kept your head in the sand over the last five years, it blinks at reality not to see what is going on.

14 Responses to “Waiting For Lambeth And GAFCON As Patience Wears Utterly Thin”

  1. 1 Brownie May 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Brad, What you seem to be missing in the repeated call for structural relief is that TEC and the ABC will neither support nor voluntarily submit to such. Not only that they will fight it tooth and nail. TEC overtly, but the ABC covertly or at least not publicly. The ABC is appointed by a primarily political process, not a spiritual one. Besides that, he agrees with course of TEC’s “new thing”. The current occupant of the See of Canterbury is doing everything in his power to castrate the other instruments of unity. There will be a structural realignment in the end, but it is most likely to end up as a half hearted fragmented structure like the continuing Anglican movement in the US has over the last 135 years UNLESS the TEC loses a few civil court cases and there is a flood of dioceses and congregations leaving en mass to form an alternate provincial structure. The real question at that point will be not whether we will be in communion with Canterbury, but should we be in communion with Cantaur so long as the office is an English political appointment.

  2. 2 Aunt B May 14, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    My thoughts, too, Brownie.

  3. 3 Henry May 15, 2008 at 1:34 am


    You are exactly right on this–I’m glad to see that you are now seeing & agreeing with where we’ve have been for quite a while now. I can’t wait until this fall so we can move on!

  4. 4 R S Bunker May 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm


    Yes TEC has been draconian in its actions and (to put it nicely) evasive in its answers, but we the orthodox are in part to blame. It is our bishops who have allowed votes in the HOB to go unrecorded, it is our bishops that have sat meekly by, and many of us have sat meekly in the pews. It is time we demanded much more of our bishops and ourselves.

    RS Bunker

  5. 5 ted mcwhorter May 16, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    This is painful. We are apparently witnessing the final spiritual and pastoral collapse of a priest and bishop who was uniquely sited in place and time to resolve the deadly conflict now bedeviling Anglicanism. His abdication of that responsibility can scarcely be understood. In the stead of clarity and courage he has given us nervous dithering about, and then alignment with, the most destructive heresy that has menaced Christianity in 1800 years. What a splendid legacy he could have left the world.
    He can still do so, but if it is not done before Lambeth, the chance will be forever gone, and he will be eternally scorned for what he should have done, but did not. Rowan, if you are reading this, send them, every one of them, a letter withdrawing their invitations to Lambeth, and notify the Holy Men of the GS it is safe for them to attend. Nothing else will do.

  6. 6 LP May 17, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Seems to me a more fundamental point is being missed here — THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION IS NOT A COMMUNION.

    There is no common law, no common theology, no mutual accountability, no enforcement, nothing. All it is is a collegial fraternity of independent national churches with some shared historical origins. It used to be held together by a “gentleman’s agreement” that the churches would stay faithful to the Christian faith in the Anglican tradition — but PEcUSA has abandoned both.

    A “communion” — in the Scriptural, theological, patristic sense — is churches which are in sacramental and episcopal unity because of their spiritual unity in Christ. This does not describe the Anglican (so-called-) Communion.

    By abandoning the apostolic and catholic faith (as it has increasingly done for over 30 years) PEcUSA, ontologically, abandoned any sort of meaningful communion with other church bodies. The Continuing Church movement recognized this — that’s why they left communion with PEcUSA in order to obey Scripture and Tradition’s injunctions about how to relate to non-believers, heretics and apostates.

    The rest of the “Anglican Communion”, unfortunately, did not. One reason was, probably, that other jurisdictions were more or less unaware what has been happening to PEcUSA since the days of Pike.

    But the other reason, quite frankly, is that the “institutiona” Anglican Communion was never a communion in any spiritual, theological, or ontological sense. It was just that fraternity. Was — if one wants to be blunt — that fellowship hosting the once-a-decade “episcopal jamboree” and teaparty… membership in which was based not on adherence to Scripture, not on obedience to recommendations or rulings by Lambeth councils, not on preservation of the Anglican prayer book tradition or practices.

    Which is why it doesn’t make sense to talk about “excommunicating” PEcUSA. How can you excommunicate when there’s already no communion? “Excommunication” is about faith, teaching, practice, polity — and the “Anglican Communion” has no standards for that, no vehicles of enforcement, no mutual accountability… and has never been based on faith or practice anyway.

    No, the only “discipline” you can invoke is to dis-invite PEcUSA from Lambeth. Which will just mean that you get more bishops out with VGR singing to the press and pushing their homosexualist and apostate agenda (which is the only “faith” and “practice” they believe in any more anyway… and violation of which is the only “sin” that gets you kicked out of PEcUSA! Denying Scripture & the Creeds (ignoring the rest of the Anglican world) aren’t just fine, but laudable).

    Thus the solution is not to “excommunicate” PEcUSA — the solution is to CREATE A COMMUNION IN THE FIRST PLACE. The GS primates should draft a Covenant which sets forth Scriptural and Anglican norms, empowers the council of member Primates to be the authority which can accept or exclude members from that communion… and then make it quite clear to PEcUSA that, as a non-Christian (and thus non-Anglican Chrisitan) body, it isn’t welcome to join.


  7. 7 Allen Lewis May 17, 2008 at 1:54 am


    I second your post. Very fine analysis of what needs to be done.

    I hate to disagree with you, but making a “safe haven” for the orthodox only prolongs the time until the Episcopal Church is totally apostate. What you and the rest of those who really want to continue in the Apostolic Tradition need to do is decide where to go. Remaining a part of TEC is not an option. It not only not Catholic any more, as LP has pointed out, it ceased being Anglican a long time ago.

    My prayers will be with you as you go through your period of discernment. The timing is always different for each individual. Some take longer than others. Some never decide at all (which is a decision of sorts, though not a very good one).

    My best wishes are with you and yours in the days ahead.

  8. 8 Mad Potter May 18, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    I think I agree with most of the above posts….sometimes with a different spin…I think that Windsor was a non starter, no one ever even tried to follow the recommendations. Just put spin on why the other side was not following the “process”. I was over at (in cyber space) Jakes place….I don’t visit every day….and he was all worked up about something as usual…but the quotes from the orthodox he was using made more sense to me on a different topic…he was trying to make the point that the orthodox wanted to replace TEC as the Anglican Church in the USA….the quotes were more that the point was to create an alternate Anglican presence that was in communion with the majority of the Anglican Communion…..not Canterbury. Is this GAFCON?

  9. 9 Alice C. Linsley May 19, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Structural relief comes from God, not from TEC or GAFCON.

  10. 10 Canon Gregg L. Riley May 19, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    The Lord works in mysterious ways – GafCon may be one – Nicea was one.

    Canon G+

  11. 11 RMBruton May 20, 2008 at 4:37 am

    This is as enjoyable as being strapped in a chair and being forced to watch repeated bad performances of Waiting For Godot. What will be next?

  12. 13 Dave in Dallas May 24, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I am in the UMC and looking for a “safe” place to go. In the UMC we are all but there… we have forsaken liturgy, the Word, evangalism, and preaching repentance.

    I was hoping the Anglican/Episcopal church was in a better position… but alas. I don’t want to go back to the Roman Catholic Church, and I don’t think the Lutherans nor Presbys are any better off.

    At least the orthodox Anglicans/Episcopals seem to have more websites that are speaking out against the apostasy than the UMC. The UMC is close to full apostasy… in 4 years at the next GC it will be done.

    At least some parishes are dissenting and coming under oversight of the more orthodox provinces. The UMC has no such luxury.. in fact they are treated as 2nd class citizens.

    What are you’all going to do?

  13. 14 Ken Peck May 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Dave in Dallas, the Greek Orthodox Church (http://www.holytrinity.info/), the Antiochian Orthodox Church (http://www.sch-dfw.com/) and the Orthodox Church of America (http://www.stseraphim.org/) are looking better everyday.

    If you must remain Anglican, there is St. Matthias’ Anglican Church in Dallas (http://www.stmatthias-dallas.org/) — Diocese of Argentina, Bishop Gregory Venables.

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