Friday, November 9, 2007

A Shelter for Homeless Bishops

According to Thinking Anglicans (, and shared on All The Usual Blogs, four English bishops (yes, the ones you’d suspect) have written in support of Bishop Duncan’s proposal to violate his ordination vows. Further, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Province of the Southern Cone of America (and Bishop of Argentina) has offered to “take in” any dioceses of the Episcopal Church who just can’t stand being Episcopalians any longer. (The Likely Suspects at the moment are Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, and San Joaquin.) This also is well covered in All The Usual Blogs. And yet further, Ruth Gledhill, a well-known journalist in the UK who covers Anglican Stuff with varying degrees of accuracy, writes: “According to well-informed insiders, Dr Rowan Williams, while opposed to separatist solutions to the Anglican crisis, has described the plan of Bishop Venables as a ‘sensible way forward…’”

Well. The Church of England has +Chester, +Chichester, +Exeter, and +Rochester. We have +Pittsburgh, +Fort Worth, and +San Joaquin. I guess that’s only fair. (I’m old enough to remember when Exeter had a real bishop, R. C. Mortimer. Oh well.) But I find it hard to believe that if (or when) +Nazir-Ali decides to take the Diocese of Rochester off to join +Venables, or +Akinola, or +Anis, or +Jensen, +Rowan would think that was a “sensible way forward.” Would he not say, “Um, excuse me? I don’t think so!”?

Tobias Haller, over at In A Godward Direction (, shares an interesting note from the Rev. Dr. R. J. Voyle of the Clergy Leadership Institute, which makes the point that if you want to successfully maintain meaningful unity, you have to focus on your core values. +Rowan, please copy: you will not save the unity of the Anglican Communion by betraying the basic values of Anglicanism. One thing I think +Rowan needs to do, as soon as possible (and I think he hinted at this in his e-mail to Bishop John Howe and its subsequent sort-of-clarification, but it needs to be more explicit), is to state that he will not recognize as still part of the Anglican Communion any American diocese that abandons the Episcopal Church for another province, and he will withdraw that bishop’s invitation to Lambeth. In other words, if you are American and want to be an Anglican, you have to do it through the Episcopal Church. Just as if you are English and want to be an Anglican, you have to do it through the Church of England.

If +Rowan doesn’t understand this, and lets this charade continue, the Anglican Communion is dead. As the Gospel puts it in John 11:39, kyrie, édé ozei, tetartaios gar estin.


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