Communion Partners On Cooperation With Common Cause/Anglican Church in North America

Written by: Communion Partners
Monday, January 19th, 2009

On behalf of the Advisory Committee of the Communion Partner Rectors, and on behalf of our Bishops and Primatial colleagues, we wish to acknowledge the remarks recently published from Bishop Iker and Bishop Duncan at the Charleston conference hosted by ‘Mere Anglicanism.’ They speak of wanting the Communion Partners and Common Cause to support one another.

For our part we will continue to pray for solid progress at the level of Covenant Design Committee work and for the Instruments of Communion, especially the Primates Meeting shortly to commence. We cannot know how the efforts associated with Common Cause will turn out, including the idea of building a ‘new province,’ but we note with interest that recent news indicates the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested ways for this endeavor to move forward in relationship to the Instruments of Communion. Together with ACI, we have been concerned that failure to attend to the integrity of Dioceses which see women’s ordination a matter still in reception, is creating unnecessary stress and strain. We ask that the wider Anglican Communion offer guidance here, as a variegated polity elsewhere appears to be both possible and charitably negotiated.

We do not know how the proposal for a new province will be received nor are we entirely clear what its proponents are proposing; that is probably unavoidable given the hardships all around. We understand that many see the situation as demanding this option. For our part, we accept the promise of those associated with this movement that they will honor our own commitments. Communion Partners will pray for the Common Cause proponents and will assume that promise of cooperation entails a charitable acceptance that another way forward is to be honored and that we can move forward on parallel tracks and not ‘recruit’ from each others’ daily purpose, honoring the jurisdictional integrities of respective bishops. God will be in charge of the next season, as He has always been.

When the Primates meet in February we anticipate that our separate ways of moving forward will be acknowledged and honored. We pledge our prayers for all involved and ask God’s blessing on all of us in a very difficult time. With gratitude for his grace and mercy, again this 2009 Epiphany we remain, yours in Christ, on behalf of Communion Partners,

(The Rt Revd) Bruce MacPherson, Communion Partner Bishops
(The Revd Dr) Russell Levenson, Communion Partner Rectors
(The Revd Canon Professor) Christopher Seitz, Communion Partners and ACI

21 Responses to “Communion Partners On Cooperation With Common Cause/Anglican Church in North America”


  1. 1 Truth Unites... and Divides January 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    MacPherson, Levenson, Seitz: “Communion Partners will pray for the Common Cause proponents and will assume that promise of cooperation entails a charitable acceptance that another way forwardis to be honored and that we can move forward on parallel tracks and not ‘recruit’ from each others’ daily purpose, honoring the jurisdictional integrities of respective bishops.”

    A plurality of integrities. Hmmmmmmmm, that reminds me of something that former TEc Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold once declared on October 18, 2004:

    “As Anglicans we interpret and live the gospel in multiple contexts, and the circumstances of our lives can lead us to widely divergent understandings and points of view. My first reading shows the [Windsor] Report as having in mind the containment of differences in the service of reconciliation. However, unless we go beyond containment and move to some deeper place of acknowledging and making room for the differences that will doubtless continue to be present in our Communion, we will do disservice to our mission.”

    So I suppose then that the Communion Partners also recognizes the integrity of TEc since they knowingly share full Sacramental Communion with TEc and all its diverse practices and teachings.

  2. 2 William Tighe January 19, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    “Together with ACI, we have been concerned that failure to attend to the integrity of Dioceses which see women’s ordination a matter still in reception, is creating unnecessary stress and strain.”

    This sentence alone reveals the serpent’s tongue in the Communion Partners’ mouth. So, is it the case that those dioceses which have opposed WO on the basis of the Catholic Consensus are now characterized as dioceses which “see WO as a matter still in reception”, while for those that accept WO on the basis of their New Thangology and confusion of the Zeitgeist with the Helig Geist, it is a done deal, received, finito? If this is the case, it doesn’t seem to offer much to those FIF/NA, who would be well-advised to hasten away as fast as possible from such “friends.”

    On the other hand, let’s look on the bright side: I can now consider those dioceses which have raised a ruckus about +VGR but have no desire to leave TE”C” as “dioceses which see sanctified sodomy (SS) a matter still in reception,” and respect their “integrity” accordingly.

  3. 3 James Gibson January 20, 2009 at 3:16 am

    With all due respect for their expressed concern about “a charitable acceptance that another way forward is to be honored,” it is worth pointing out that this is the same group who, via the Anglican Communion Insitute, recently made the following not-so-charitable observation about those for whom “another way forward” means separating from the apostate North American provinces.

    “It is a form of delusion and disobedience to place oneself and ones friends outside the judgment God intends for the health of his church.”

    It has become increasingly difficult to take seriously any pronouncement from a group of persons who expect charity from brethren who have followed a different path, but do not themselves extend charity toward those same brethren, all the while remaining in communion with an institution which has, by their own admission, fallen into irreversible apostasy.

  4. 4 Alice C. Linsley January 20, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Sigh. There is no light in this document. No clear vision of from whence we have come and how we have arrived in this barren wasteland.

    In his essay “Priestesses in the Church?”, C.S. Lewis wrote, “…I heard that the Church of England was being advised to declare women capable of Priests’ Order. I am, indeed, informed that such a proposal is very unlikely to be seriously considered by the authorities. To take such a revolutionary step at the present moment, to cut ourselves off from the Christian past and to widen the divisions between ourselves and other Churches by establishing an order of priestesses in our midst, would be an almost wanton degree of imprudence. And the Church of England herself would be torn in shreds…”

    Lewis was speaking personally, as obviously he was opposed to the innovation of women in the Order of Priest, but he was also speaking prophetically, as is now apparent. Women priests is an innovation which, like a wedge driven into dry wood, has split the Anglican Communion. As is often the case, one innovation leads to another. This innovation led to the ordination of non-celibate homosexual clergy and to the blessing of same-sex unions in the Anglican Church of Canada and in The Episcopal Church USA. The actions of these churches has led to a fracturing of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

    The slide started in the 1920s when liberal clergymen began to question Biblical authority and the authority of Church Tradition. The Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine Appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 1922 (not published until 1938) reveals that only about half of the clergy of the Church of England held to the historic Faith “once delivered”. By 1930, the Church of England slipped further from the historic Faith when it succumbed to egalitarianism and the sexual freedom demands of English society. That year the Synod accepted contraception.

    Many Protestant churches followed that path, but the Eastern Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic Church retained the authentic Christian Tradition against egalitarianism, modernism, and contraception. Orthodox resistance was heartily demonstrated at the 1978 Anglican-Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Commission held in Athens. Here the Orthodox delegates soundly rejected all possibility of ordaining women to the priesthood. However, Church of England clergy, feeling pressure from their Episcopalian cousins in the United States, were ready to discuss the question.

    Now, under similar pressure to accommodate to the world, Orthodox clergy are being encouraged to open the discussion. I’m told that there are seminarians at St. Vladimir (New York) who think that women should be ordained priests. It is a good thing that I have no authority there. I would dismiss every seminarian of this mindset as unworthy of the priesthood, seeing that they do not discern the foremost necessity of a Priest to defend Holy Tradition and to faithfully instill it in their flock.

    But these seminarians, mostly converts to Orthodoxy, can’t be made to bear all the blame for wrong-thinking. They have professors who egg them on and even bishops who insist that Holy Tradition should be questioned. Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (Timothy Ware) is one to be credited with opening the door.

    Jesus Christ is the fullness of all things in heaven and on earth, both invisible and visible. The Gnostics used “pleroma” to describe the metaphysical unity of all things, but Paul uses the term to speak about how all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ in bodily form (Col. 2:9). This means that the Church can expect no change in Holy Tradition, only the consummation of all things when Christ returns.

    The Bible does not say that women can be priests, but the binary distinctions that frame the biblical view of Reality make “woman priest” an ontological impossibility. The Scriptures do not forbid women priests because the very idea of women sacrificing animals in the Temple was beyond imagination. In fact, it would have been regarded as a great affront to the Divine order wherein gender roles and the two bloods were distinguished as binary opposites. C.S. Lewis presents the grotesqueness of women priests in his depiction of the savage slaying of Aslan by the White Witch. If you wonder why the image is so troubling, consider that woman was made to bring forth life, not to take it.

    The egalitarianism that prompts clergy to keep talking about women priests is not part of the Biblical worldview. God’s order in creation is exactly that: order. It exists to orient humans to Reality, to keep us from becoming confused and lost. So God has given us the stars and the moon, the planets and the constellations to orient us. God has given us the sunrise in the East and the sun set in the West in orient us. He has given us the Three Witness of the water, the Blood, and the Spirit that we might know the Blessed Trinity.

    The Church is not a democracy. No councils, even ecumenical councils, can change God’s order in creation. This is God’s message to Job. Who do we think we are to question what God has established. Were we there when God created the world and all that is in it?

  5. 5 Truth Unites... and Divides January 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    James Gibson: “It has become increasingly difficult to take seriously any pronouncement from a group of persons who expect charity from brethren who have followed a different path, but do not themselves extend charity toward those same brethren [That’s called hypocrisy], all the while remaining in communion with an institution which has, by their own admission, fallen into irreversible apostasy.[ACI/CP are then enabling soul-destroying heresy and apostasy]“

    I heartily commend Fr. Gibson’s excellent blog post called “ACI and the Gospel of Blah, Blah, Blah”.

    An excerpt of his refuting ACI’s judgmentalism towards those separating [eg. ACNA]:

    [Seitz, Radner, Turner]: “It is a form of delusion and disobedience to place oneself and ones friends outside the judgment God intends for the health of his church.”

    Aside from being breathtakingly arrogant, this statement is flatly unbiblical and is, in and of itself, the best argument for all the faithful within the apostate province to distance themselves from it as quickly as possible. It is clear and convincing evidence that the institutionalists at ACI have become so stained by the institution that their ability to discern the will of God, via no less a reliable instrument as the Word of God, has been irreparably clouded.

    I return, as I often do, to my favorite “judgment” passage to illustrate the folly of the ACI’s argument. In the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24), Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and the measures his disciples must take in order to avoid getting caught up in the outpouring of God’s wrath.

    So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. (Matthew 24:15-18)
    Jesus could not be any more clear on this matter. The Temple was the very center and symbol of the Old Covenant religious establishment which had become corrupt, apostate, and ripe for judgment. God was going to direct the very brunt of his wrath upon the very house which was supposed to be set apart as his dwelling place. To the faithful few who would still be in Jerusalem at the time, Jesus gave advance warning. When you see the institution falling apart and the fire of judgment falling upon it, get the Gehenna out of Jerusalem, lest you also perish!

  6. 6 robroy January 21, 2009 at 6:01 am

    That was a good post, TUaD.

    Sandwiched by a lot of words, we have the money quote, “…we can move forward on parallel tracks and not ‘recruit’ from each others’ daily purpose, honoring the jurisdictional integrities of respective bishops.”

    In other words they are asking for no “border crossing” in the CP dioceses. The dioceses of the CP are Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Fond Du Lac, North Dakota, Northern Indiana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Texas, Western Kansas, Western Louisiana.

    One point I made is that CP dioceses will ineluctably become revisionist. Ed Little of Northern Indiana went on a begging trip for Gene Robinson prior to Lambeth. Texas has just elected a “moderate”. Howe of Central Florida is past the point of retirement.

    Another objection is that most of these dioceses already have parishes that will be ACNA. What are they suppose to do?

    Hey, Brad, could you give us the local low down? I saw one REC church in Shreveport. Is this it for the ACNA presence in Western La?

  7. 7 John Delmore January 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I find it interesting that the sun rising and setting in the east and west was used as an example of our ‘orientation to Reality’. It was certainly true for thousands of years. But now we know that it was simply an artifact of our limited knowlege, and that the sun doesn’t do much of anything–that it’s apparent rising and setting is due to the Earth spinning on it’s axis.

    “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    One other thing: what, exactly, is “irreversable apostasy”, besides a wee bit blasphemous?

    Robroy, I expect St. Paul’s in S’port will jump through any hoop necessary to align with ACNA.

  8. 8 Ian Montgomery January 22, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I am saddened by a certain lack of charity. I have a foot in both camps and these are on both parts orthodox brethren/sisters whose calling and obedience have placed them in somewhat different placed in the midst of this turmoil. What might eventually happen is not yet known. Different people seem to see the future differently but they are not enemies. Those who continue in TEC are not unfaithful nor in dire threat of becoming revisionists. They will possibly have to re-pray their situation in the event of a change in their bishop or following the next GC. Those who have left are not unfaithful but have been obedient as they understand it.

    WE are and must be together in the Lord.

    My 0.02cents – Ian

  9. 9 Alice C. Linsley January 23, 2009 at 3:16 am

    The Episcopal Church isn’t a spiritually safe place to be, Ian. Logic says in a storm to seek the soundest vessel, not one riddled with holes.

  10. 10 Rob Eaton+ January 24, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Alice.
    I’m sorry, but the image came to mind so fast after reading your comment that I’m going to say it anyway. I’m sorry because it might sound flippant and disrespectful of your comment, which comment I agree, BTW, that TEC isn’t (necessarily) a spiritually safe place to be. Here’s my comment:

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem and it was also not a spiritually safe place to be …. nor physically safe to stay, as Joseph was warned. But born in Bethlehem still he was. He might have been gone for a time in Egypt, but there was no doubt that he would return. And he returned with his family to the land of his birth; neither was that land a spiritually safe place to be, but he came back because that’s where he needed to be.

    Does that make sense to you?

  11. 11 Ryan Reed January 24, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Rob,
    I understand your point but if you carry it far enough, we would all need to seek restoration in the Roman Church.

  12. 12 Truth Unites... and Divides January 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Dr. Mabuse: “I think they’re hopelessly over-invested in this Covenant Design thing, to the point where they can’t turn back. They’re convinced that this is the ONLY way to save Anglicanism in America – giving up would be death, not only for TEC but for themselves. Their entire identity as Episcopalians now depends on this mission, and they’ll still be stubbornly clinging to it when their ghost church evaporates into nothing.”

    From Bishop Kong breaks loose.

  13. 13 BabyBlue February 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    There is a major flaw in the organization of the Communion Partners, which can be seen in the signature line – I mean to point this out as a flaw that can be fixed, if there is support in the pews to do so. But fixed it must be.

    What has been a major force in the development of a new North American province has been the laity. That grass roots organizing must be done in order for the Communion Partners to gain credibility and authority and accessibility. Since there is no signature to this document by a lay organizer or an indication that grass roots support is being organized, it does cause one to pause.

    bb

  14. 14 Fr Charles Threewit February 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Ian Montgomery, you have just nailed the problem. “[A]s they understand it” does not substitute for truth. In our society, you hear things all the time like, “As long as you have a belief, and are true to it, then everything is ok.” That certainly is not what our Lord teaches, and it is certainly not ok when we all get to do our own thing, no matter what it is. My understanding that the earth looks flat from where I stand does not mean that it is flat, but if we subscribe to your statement, then somehow the earth is out of kilter if it turns out it really isn’t flat, because it sure looks like it’s flat to me, and if that’s the way I understand it, then it needs to be flat.
    desertpadre

  15. 15 Fr. Rob Eaton February 7, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Ryan,
    Thank you for your reply to my comment. However, I think you may have taken me the wrong way. I am not advocating that all shall return to their homeland (and wouldn’t that ultimately mean the Patriarchy of Jerusalem, anyway? :> ) Using the example of Jesus, I’m saying to Alice she’s using too much of a sweep: that simply because one’s context is not safe – in whatever way – does not preclude God from directing one or some to be there anyway. When I referred to the geographical locations re: Jesus, it was meant to be understood as the very physical place of the People of God, Israel, the Jews, the People of the Covenant. Into that context comes the Son of God, and it means death. Truly the Spirit of God “is upon Him.” And the message does get proclaimed, as only He can. But it is no safe place; finally there is the cross. Here the point is that the only place Jesus could come is exactly within the People of God. No other place would be good enough, nor proper, and nothing short of defying the Father’s will.
    TECUSA is no more and no less corrupt in faithful teaching, etc., than the leaders of the Jews then; that’s not a particularly hopeful statement. (Now I’m just talking to Alice, I guess) So, the warning is good about spiritual toxicity. God’s shepherding can help lead one away from it. But God’s will can also direct others into it, or at least, not be called out of it.

  16. 16 Fr. Rob Eaton February 7, 2009 at 9:05 am

    bb,

    It is unfolding. That’s just the way this is developing. Bishops – without encumbering their dioceses – within TECUSA desire Anglican koinonia connections with Primates, particularly with those who espouse solid biblical understanding and theology and those who also don’t want to see TECUSA bishops lost to the rest of the Anglican Communion fellowship simply because TECUSA makes some sort of communion-separating proclamation.
    That was a bit brief but it does include the assertion that these Bishops were not attempting to create another AAC, or, more properly, another ACN organization, but a networking fellowship.
    Then, two things at the same time unfold. One, bishops then recognize their fellowship will not have any impact in the pew without clergy in place in congregations, and those with tenure – thus the need to recruit rectors. Two, with ACN and AAC clearly moving toward an “outside” strategy, those major associations would not be helpful to those not desiring to depart from TECUSA, for whatever reason. Clearly, a rector might not be in a diocese with a Communion Partner Bishop, and thus not have immediate access or benefit to such a fellowship. So, Communion Partner Rectors takes shape, again, without encumbering their own parishes, but now providing for another..hmm…”echelon” of fellowship, with the accompanying encouragement of a “place to stand” within TECUSA.
    Finally, if you had been in attendance at the Houston gathering at St. Martin’s in November – really, the first “called” meeting of “Communion Partner Rectors” —
    you would have heard your concern clearly raised. It’s just that we’re still in the mode of seeing to it that any Rector (and other clergy, too) and Bishop who might want to be a part of this fellowship know about it. So a more formal publicity directed toward laity would have been too soon.
    Still, you may have noticed the advertisement in the Living Church about the gathering again in Houston to be held in conjunction with Communion Partners. The most prominent graphic is a photo of a layperson, not a clergyperson.
    So the unfolding for the other 90% of the Church is underway.

  17. 17 Truth Unites... and Divides February 9, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Over on this MCJ thread Dr. William Tighe suggests that Fr. Rob Eaton consider looking at healing himself.

    “Rob Eaton wrote (above):

    “Can Venables, Orombi, and Akinola (and others) be TRUSTED to discern the presence and work of the Holy Spirit?”

    The same question might be asked, with compounded interest, of a priest of the Diocese of San Joaquin, who chose to stay within TE”C” when his own bishop and diocese shook its dust off its feet; and now has left them (and himself) under the “apostolic oversight” of an apostate ex-RC priest who favors communion for the unbaptized, WO and maybe (he has been anything but clear on this matter) SS. “Physician, heal thyself.””

  18. 18 Rob Eaton+ February 10, 2009 at 7:34 am

    TUaD,
    Thank you for bringing to my attention the comment made by Dr. Tighe. I’m sorry you bit. I’ve responded to him there.

  19. 19 Truth Unites...and Divides February 16, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    TUaD,
    Thank you for bringing to my attention the comment made by Dr. Tighe. I’m sorry you bit.

    I also bit on this comment by Dr. Tighe on this MCJ thread called “For Evil to Triumph… which references David Virtue’s analysis of the “inside strategy”.

    Dr. Tighe: “Wherever, in terms of historical Christianity, does the very notion that one can have a “call” to remain in an heretical and apostate denomination, and that others should “respect” such a “call” come from? I know of no “orthodox Christian” that declared a “calling” to remain among the Arians, the Donatists, any of the Gnostic sects, the Marcionites, the Montanists or any of the organized heretical groups or counter-churches of the early centuries. I think that the reason for this has to do with the one anachronistic word in what I have just written, “denomination.” None of these early groups, with the exception of the Gnostics (who conceived of themselves as philosophical-religious “schools” of thought and practice, and rejected the concept of “Church”) thought of themselves as “denominations” bur rather as “The Church,” alone and exclusively. It took the Reformation, or rather its follow-through, to conceive of the idea of “the invisible Church” — no longer Augustine’s or Calvin’s collectivity of the predestined elect, known only to God, but, rather, the collectivity of all Christian “denominations” — and to reduce any visible and earthly Christian religious organizations, above the congregational level at least, to mere “denominations.” But even orthodox Protestants of any and every stripe would have concluded that a “denomination” that had become heretical and apostate was no longer Christian (as most non-Lutherans believed of the Catholic Church, for example), and that to remain in it to “witness” was as absurd as as a converted whore to remain in her brothel and to continue to ply her trade there as a “witness” to her co-workers.”

  20. 20 Athanasius Returns February 26, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    In the end I have to ask, who’s cooperating with whom?

    Partners is running on a separate track from CCP/ACNA. Partners seems to be wanting its cake and eating it, too. Corporately Partners seems to embody James 1:8. They act like quasi-separated institutionalists. Just can’t wrap my feeble brain around their ecclesiology or logic.

  21. 21 Herminio March 3, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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