For those following the ATC (Anglican Train Crash) you won’t be surprised that the Communique which came out of the conference in Tanzania a few weeks ago has been kicked out by the Episcopalian Bishops. The communnique was a last attempt to bring the Episcopal Church to heel regarding homosexuality. In it the bishops of the majority developing world attempted to impose discipline on the Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Bishops met in Texas and issued this statement. Between the pious gobbledegook they are basically saying that the rest of the Anglican Church had ‘better get off mah land, ‘fore ah get mah gun…”
What we’re seeing is the Anglican Church slowly defining its real ecclesiology. They try to work some sort of episcopal collegiality to resolve and issue and impose discipline, and as soon as they do, the recalcitrant party asserts their independence. So the Anglican Communion is realizing that it is a confederation of independent Protestant churches–sort of like the World Council of Churches, or the Southern Baptist Convention or the IFCA.
Here are the relevant paragraphs:
Also notice the dodge at the end: instead of addressing their own problems as pointed by the meeting in Tanzania, they accuse the rest of the Anglicans of not being concerned enough about homophobia…
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 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. 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.
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.