April 8, 2006

Adam Found the Tree of Life

For many years I searched to find this place. The way
was watched by angels armed with swords;
and yet in seeking it I felt the Lord’s
love guiding me. With hope and fear, by grace
I made my way — I’m sure it was God’s will.
It was the Tree of Knowledge God forbade.
Its bitter fruit our innocence unmade;
had we kept faith we’d be in Eden still.
But this, the Tree of Life, was only lost
because we fell. In Paradise once more,
I looked upon the Tree, and what it bore.
The Tree had brought forth fruit, but at what cost!
I saw a wonder hanging from that Tree;
a man was nailed to it; he looked like me.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

April 3, 2006

Who’s In — Who’s Out

The first Lambeth Conference was assembled in response to a request from the Canadian episcopate, addressed originally to the Canterbury Convocation, who then passed it along to the Archbishop. He in turn was quite clear in his invitation that he had no interest in assembling a doctrinal or legislative commission, but rather wished to share in Christian and episcopal fellowship.

There seems to be some confusion between "being in Communion with the Church of England" and "being a member of the Anglican Communion." The former, which is definitively determined (in the case of doubt) by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, is the more expansive of the two: that is, there are any number of churches that are in communion with the Church of England which are not part of the Anglican Communion. I refer those interested to page 206 of the current Canons of the Church of England (2005).

Membership in the Anglican Communion itself is not defined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but at present by the Anglican Consultative Council, which is a duly established entity with its own constitution, capable of deciding who is or isn't part of it by amendment of its schedule of members.

It does appear that being in communion with Canterbury could be seen as a prerequisite for membership in the more narrowly defined Anglican Communion. But what I am suggesting is that it might be possible for TEC (and the "founding member" the Church of Canada) to remain in communion with the Church of England even if for some reason temporarily removed or suspended from the Anglican Communion by a two-thirds majority vote of all of the Primates (in accordance with the ACC constitution).

This might, in fact, be a way to address some of the current concerns of other members of the Anglican Communion while retaining our historic relationship with Canterbury.

Tobias S Haller BSG

April 1, 2006

The Lay of the Land

Results are in on the pseudo-survey conducted by a new group aptly named "LEAC" (I'm not sure if it should be pronounced "leak" or "leach" -- or perhaps "leech") -- Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion. The "survey" went to all bishops (not just those who actually had the right to consent to Gene Robinson's election, and to many who were not even present at GC 2003. Only 27% of those solicited responded. (You can read more about this extremely flawed "survey" at Thinking Anglicans.

I would suggest that this survey, flawed as it is, didn't even really produce the results the surveyors hoped for. First of all, the report refers to a "reversal" but doesn't indicate the percentage of those who changed their vote (if they had one in the first place: this was asked on the first two questions, each in two parts, on the survey form, but no result for the "B" section of each question is shown in this article.) How many of the 56% actually represent a change in voting?

More importantly, note the response to the crucial third question:

"Survey respondents split almost evenly on the third question, assessing relative loyalty to ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, with 46.25 % desiring to stay with ECUSA regardless of whether it remains in the Anglican Communion. Solidarity with the Anglican Communion would come first in such a showdown for 45% and 8.75% chose not to answer that question. This division could be a serious ECUSA political concern for the presiding bishop as he leads his church into a critical period through mid-June?s General Convention and beyond."

In short, there was no overwhelming support, even among the tiny proportion of respondents, for choosing continued participation in the "Anglican Communion" over continued participation in The Episcopal Church even if no longer part of that "fellowship." Perhaps the predominantly lay surveyors forgot that clergy take an oath as part of their ordination vows, and that oath is to "the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church" -- not to some ill-defined "Anglican Communion."