The New Inside Strategy: Communion Partners

In the context of discussions about the Episcopal Visitors concept announced by the Presiding Bishop at the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans, we the undersigned have considered a need to maintain and strengthen

· our ties with the Anglican Communion
· our commitment to the observance of diocesan boundaries within The Episcopal Church
· and our exercise of our office as a focus of unity.
We believe such ties will provide the opportunity for mutual support, accountability and fellowship; and present an important sign of our connectedness in and vision for The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as we move through this time of stress and renewal.

Communion Partners is intended to

· provide for those concerned a visible link to the Anglican Communion
Many within our dioceses and in congregations in other dioceses seek to be assured of their connection to the Anglican Communion. Traditionally, this has been understood in terms of bishop-to-bishop relationships. Communion Partners fleshes out this connection in a significant and symbolic way.
· provide fellowship, support and a forum for mutual concerns between bishops.
The Communion Partner bishops share many concerns about the Anglican Communion and its future and look to work together with Primates and Bishops from the wider Communion. In addition, we believe we all have need of mutual encouragement, prayer, and reassurance. The Communion Partners will be a forum for these kinds of relationships.
· provide a partnership to work toward the Anglican Covenant and according to Windsor Principles
The Communion Partner bishops will work together according to the principles outlined in the Windsor Report and seek a comprehensive Anglican Covenant at the Lambeth Conference and beyond.

Communion Partners
· is a relational fellowship
· are committed to honoring diocesan boundaries
· will be governed by mutual respect
· and will proceed by invitation and cooperation


· Communion Partner Bishops (William H. Love, Albany; John W. Howe, Central Florida; James M. Stanton, Dallas; Russell E. Jacobus, Fond Du Lac; Michael G. Smith, North Dakota; Edward S. Little, Northern Indiana; Geralyn Wolf, Rhode Island; Mark J. Lawrence, South Carolina; John C. Bauerschmidt, Tennessee; Don A. Wimberly, Texas; Gary E. Lillibridge, West Texas; James M. Adams, Western Kansas; D. Bruce MacPherson, Western Louisiana)
· Communion Partner Primates (initially Tanzania, West Indies, and Burundi)
· Clergy and congregations who share Communion Partner commitments
· Other interested Bishops of The Episcopal Church

Communication of activities with

· the Presiding Bishop of TEC,
· the Archbishop of Canterbury,
· the Meeting of Primates, and
· the Anglican Communion Office, and therewith the Anglican Consultative Council

This came directly from +Bruce MacPherson. A Living Church article is here.

11 Responses to “The New Inside Strategy: Communion Partners”

  1. 1 Scott+ May 31, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    If this is unconditionally accepted by the powers that be in New York, then these is some hope for it to be a frame work for a while. The problem is that it can only work so long as the Bishops who signed it continue in their positions. It is clear that the consent process will not allow for “replacements in kind.”

    I think will happen the process will not be unconditionally accepted. You only have to look at Dr Schori’s letter about the recent visit to Fort Worth to see why I think so. If I am right then departure would appear to be the only choice. This goes as far as an honest conservative can go in my thinking.

  2. 2 Alice C. Linsley May 31, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    This seems too little too late, but it may still do some good, at least offer some thread of hope.

    GAFCON must really be scaring TEC bishops.

    Also, while I can understand why Tanzania, Burundi and the West Indies are the initial choices, it seems a slap in the face to the Primates who have sacrificed and worked hard to make safe provisions for disaffected Episcopalians who want to remain Anglicans. If not intentionally a slap in the face, maybe an end run around the Big Guys of the Global South?

  3. 3 Jason Miller May 31, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Committed to diocesan boundaries even when those inside those boundaries are being attacked by those who have the very responsibility to shepherd them?

  4. 4 Rick Arllen May 31, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    If these bishops were truly interested in what they seem to state in their pronouncement they would be acting in concert to bring presentment against +Schori for her malignant abuse of the canons in the much condemned recent depositions.

    This pile of nice words rings hollow. Many of the names on the list do not inspire confidence based on their past actions.

    At best this gesture is too little, too late.

  5. 5 robroy May 31, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    OK, so Bp MacPherson will be able to pick up the phone and commune with the ABp of Burundi, say. Didn’t he have that ability before? This accomplishes what exactly?

    I mean it accomplishes what beside besides generating more paper and diverting attention from the true issue that the TEO is on a deliberate course to stamp out orthodoxy. Look for the claws to be really displayed at GC09. Perhaps, they will be so emboldened that being in a communion partner relationship will be grounds for “abandonment of the communion” charges.

  6. 6 Texanglican May 31, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    While these are no doubt godly leaders, their commitment to not crossing diocesan boundaries without permission renders this group essentially pointless. A heretical bishop can keep these well-meaning men (and +Wolf)from doing any good at all by simply refusing them permission to serve congregations inside his or her boundaries. The hard left has consistently refused just such permissions up till now. I see no reason to think they will suddenly avail themselves of the services of these CP bishops as Episcopal Visitors just because this group has formed. It doesn’t seem likely that Mrs. Schori will force them to do so.

    And the statement “Many within our dioceses and in congregations in other dioceses seek to be assured of their connection to the Anglican Communion” is now years behind the times. Since almost every bishop in the US has been invited to Lambeth, ALL of the TEC’s bishops except +Robinson, and hence almost all of TEC’s parishes, still have an unassailable link to the world-wide Communion through Canterbury. No one seriously believes Lambeth will kick TEC out this year, which means the status quo regarding TEC’s links with the Communion will muddle along for years to come. This group will do nothing at all to change that. It is a purely symbolic act for an individual parish to affiliate with the CPs. (It is simpoly a way of telling that tiny minority of well-informed conservative Episcopalians who might stumble across their parish website that “we are not like those wacky liberals other places–really!”, without taking any steps that might violate the canons of TEC.) It might “reassure” some people somewhere that three Primates of tiny little provinces “stand with them” even if Nigeria and Kenya et al completely sever ties to TEC in the future, but that is all this membership can possible do. These three primates are not planning on actually DOING anything as a result of this Partnership, are they?

    Sorry, dear CP bishops, but your new Partnership is far too little, far too late. The “Windsor Bishops” group, of which this seems to be a present-day incarnation, had their moment in the sun at New Orleans and they melted away into a puddle of inactivity. This new effort is more of the same–little more than a fellowship gathering on a sinking ship.

    I fail to see any future for the “inside strategy” in TEC. It is time to go and build a new future for orthodox Anglicanism through the Common Cause Partners.

  7. 7 Teddy Mak June 1, 2008 at 4:48 am

    The concept’s success is wholly dependent upon the integrity of the PB and her followers. Let me just list some of the people upon whose integrity, truthfullnes, and adherence to the Faith Once Given we must depend. The list is incomplete and not in order of trust worthiness:
    Elizabeth Kaeton, louie Crew, Gene Robinson, JJ Bruno, Peter Lee, Mathes, Mark Andrus, “Dr.” Schori, David Booth Beers, Bp. Bennison, Sauls, Kaeron, Rob O’Neill, Rowan Williams, Desmond Tutu, the bishop of Chicago, 3/4ths of the rest of the HOB.

    A special list for megalomaniacal heretics:


    Please, others who are reading these lists, add names to it by posting them here. Let us prepare a complete record of those whom we will now turn over our parishes, church buildings, dioceses, priests, and souls.

    The list of those we abandon is shorter:

    Iker, Duncan, Ackerman, John David, Peter Akinola, Orimbi, Venables, Packer, Don Armstrong. Please also add names to this list.

    Finally, please add your name to a list of churchmen who believe there will ever be another faithfull orthodox, scripture believing Anglican Christian consented to be consecrated a Bishop in TEC. I don’t think this list will take up a lot of room either.

    Slow suicide for orthodox dioceses.

    For some, a slick way to slip into retirement by putting off the issues of heresy, apostacy, sexual perversion, and paganism for others to confront later.

    Spong wins.

  8. 8 G.I. Joe June 1, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Communion Partners.

    Those who have dealt with organization charts, be they corporate, governmental or military, will recognize this as the “dotted line” concept. There are solid lines denoting administrative or operational control (different colors) and then there is the dotted line denoting liaison or coordination. The blocks (dioceses) will still be linked to TEC HQ by solid lines, with dotted lines crossing over to other provinces. Label them “relational fellowships.”

    This could provide a plausible denial for those orthodox who hope to stay in the Episcopal Church but want to dissociate themselves from its innovations and heresies. For those looking for a way out, it is a “snare and a delusion.”

    I think more like the previous post by TM.

  9. 9 R. Scott Purdy June 1, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    This sounds like a plan to bring a knife to a gun fight.

  10. 10 BabyBlue June 1, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Where’s the part where they asked the laity what they think?


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