Thursday, February 28, 2008

Come Hear Louie Crew

Louie Crew is coming to Fort Worth.

How astonishing that simple sentence is.

On Saturday, March 1, Integrity Fort Worth will host Dr. Crew, whose topic will be “Exceedingly Glad in Times Like These,” at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fort Worth, TX.

Louie will speak at 3:30 PM after the Holy Eucharist at 2:00 PM, led by the Rt. Rev. Sam Hulsey, retired bishop of Northwest Texas. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m. There will be a reception in the parish hall following Dr. Crew’s address.

There is no charge if you pre-register online here. If you register at the door, there is a small charge.

Louie Crew is one of my heroes, and he's probably a saint, although he would blush at such a statement. He is also one of my most treasured friends, and a constant source of pastoral care.

On days when I've felt as if I could not remain in The Episcopal Church as it has been incarnated in the Diocese of Fort Worth for one. more. day. all I've had to do is think of Louie and his gentle perseverance in the face of unbelievable meanness, rejection, and, yes, hatred, to realize I just needed to quit whining and get to work.

Louie is the embodiment of "loving your neighbor as yourself."

Give yourself a gift. Come hear him tomorrow.

If you think you know about homosexuality and Christianity, come to hear him tomorrow.

If you are fearful about including lesbians and gays in the life and ministry of the church, come hear him tomorrow.

If you think that you "hate the sin, but love the sinner", come hear him tomorrow.

If you agree with Bp. Jack Iker on the issue of homosexuality, come hear him tomorrow.

If you disagree with Bp. Jack Iker on the issue of homosexuality, come hear him tomorrow.

If you love someone who is lesbian or gay, come hear him tomorrow.

If the thought of being in the same room with someone lesbian or gay makes your skin crawl, come hear him tomorrow.

He will not hurt you. He will only love you as his sister or brother in Christ.

Come hear him.

Monday, February 25, 2008

This Plan is DOA

I've been away from my computer a lot in the last few days because my husband had a triple bypass on Thursday. We discovered the need for this in a routine visit to his cardiologist, not by his having a heart attack. He is recovering well, thanks be to God, and we expect to have him home today or tomorrow.

So, while I was watching him sleep this afternoon, I decided to catch up on the goings-on in Anglican Land. Well, good grief! You look away for a minute and all sorts of things pop up.

The big news is a back room deal that's been hatched up by a bunch of bishops as a way to "save" the Anglican Communion. And yes, it's been a "secret," because transparency is apparently a concept that eludes the Archbishop of Canterbury and too many other bishops and primates.

This plan has been described as a combination of features of the primatial oversight plan that came out of the Primates meeting in the Dar es Salaam Communique, which included a "Pastoral Council," consisting of four Archbishops who are not members of the Episcopal Church; and the plan Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori offered as an Episcopal Visitors Plan. Her plan also suggested a "Pastoral Council," made up of five foreign Primates, but the Presiding Bishop would have more authority than in the Dar es Salaam recommendation.

The first report by Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph in England called it a "secret plan." While Petre's article blew the plan's cover, he got a lot wrong -- a common occurrence with this journalist.

Then George Conger reported that the secret plan was "backed" by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

While Conger got more things right than did Petre, I can find no statement from the presiding bishop that she is backing this plan --which was worked up by a lot of guys without consultation with her. After the guys were happy with it, they simply "presented" to her.

Then Kendall Harmon's site posted a letter from Bp. John Howe that appears to give the most accurate description of this "secret plan.'

Here is the full text of Bp. Howe's letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is not quite 11:30 PM here in Orlando. In London it is not quite 4:30 AM tomorrow. And Jonathan Petre of the London Telegraph has just released a story about yesterday's meeting between four American Bishops (Howe, Central Florida; MacPherson, Western Louisiana; Smith, North Dakota; and Stanton, Dallas) with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Petre could not have been much more inaccurate! Here are his opening remarks:

"The Archbishop of Canterbury is backing secret plans to create a 'parallel' Church for American conservatives to avert fresh splits over homosexuality.... Dr Rowan Williams has held confidential talks with senior American bishops and theologians who oppose the pro-gay policies of their liberal leaders...."Dr Williams is desperate to minimize further damage in the run up to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference this summer which could be boycotted by more than a fifth of the world's bishops.... "According to insiders, Dr Williams has given his blessing to the plans to create an enclave for up to 20 conservative American bishops that would insulate them from their liberal colleagues."

No, Dear Friends. Here is a summary of what we presented to the Presiding Bishop yesterday. We were not quite ready to release it, but in the light of this significant distortion, I am doing so tonight:

Communion Partners

In the context of the Episcopal Visitors concept announced by the Presiding Bishop at the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans, a number of us have reflected a need for a larger gathering which we are calling Communion Partners. We believe such a gathering will afford us the opportunity for mutual support, accountability and fellowship; and present an important sign of our connectedness in and vision for the Anglican Communion as it moves through this time of stress and renewal.

To provide a visible link for those concerned 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.

To provide fellowship, support and a forum for mutual concerns between bishops.

The Bishops who have been designated Episcopal Visitors together with others who might well consider being included in this number share many concerns about the Anglican Communion and its future, and look to work together with Primates and Bishops from the Global South. 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.

To provide a partnership to work toward the Anglican Covenant and according to Windsor principles.

The 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.

The Communion Partners will be informally gathered – there will be no “charter” or formal structure

Are committed to non-boundary-crossing: the relationships will be governed by mutual respect and proceed by invitation and cooperation

Will work with mutual cooperation within and beyond the partnership

The Episcopal Visitors who desire to participate (EVs named at House of Bishops New Orleans)
Those Bishops who are willing to serve as EVs
Initially, five Primates of the Global South: West Indies, Tanzania, Indian Ocean, Burundi, Middle East

Communication of activities with both the Presiding Bishop and Archbishop of Canterbury
Respect for the canonical realities, integrities and structures of the Episcopal Church and other Churches

Our purpose in meeting with Bishop Schori yesterday was to apprize [sic] her of this plan, seek her counsel, and assure her that we remain committed to working within the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, and that the Primates involved in this discussion are NOT involved in "border crossing," nor would we be. We will visit no congregation without the Diocesan Bishop's invitation and permission. We do believe this is a step forward, albeit a small one.

I hope this is helpful, and I thank you for your prayers regarding this important meeting.

Warmest regards in our Lord,
The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida
1017 East Robinson Street
Orlando, Florida 32801

Good try, boys, but this isn't going to work. At least not as far as Bp. Jack Iker is concerned.

For one thing, it still has girl cooties all over it, because the Presiding Bishop would still be involved -- even though you have marginalized her about as much as you possibly could.

Secondly, Bp. Iker was not consulted on this, according to Conger. I'd say that's a deal breaker right there, even if the girl cootie factor wasn't there. Bp. Iker does NOT like being left out of "deals" that involve him. Hey, can you blame him?

Thirdly, the commitment to no border crossing pretty much leaves the Diocese of Fort Worth out, since our leadership is already well on its way to the Southern Cone, moving happily hand-in-hand with one of the chief border crossers, Greg Venables, presiding bishop of the Southern Cone. Venables has been busily building up the population of his teensy province by poaching in both Canada and the US.

And then there's the involvement of Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies. The enthusiasm in this plan for the development of an Anglican Covenant clearly is driven by Gomez, since he's the chair of the committee to develop such a Covenant.

Why the Archbishop of Canterbury did not remove Gomez as chair of this committee after he participated in the consecrations in Kenya of bishops whose task is to border cross to poach in the United States is one of the many mysteries surrounding the thinking of Rowan Williams.

But didn't it occur to the authors of a plan that commits to no border crossing that including someone who has supported border crossers among its members might not be a good idea?

This plan should be DOA.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Will You Still Be Anglican?

Bishop Iker has announced his intention to attend GAFCON, the Global Anglican Future Conference, here.

Some of you will remember that GAFCON is the conference that a few disgruntled primates announced they were going to have in Jerusalem in lieu of going to Lambeth. These primates include Greg Venables, the Presiding Bishop of The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, as well as Peter Akinola, Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria. They said it would be a meeting to chart the course of a new "Global Anglicanism," along with a pilgrimage.

The primates announced the conference, it turned out, before they had consulted with Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem. Bishop Dawani was not happy about them importing their homophobic agenda into his already challenging diocese and asked them to move it elsewhere.

After trying to persuade Bp. Dawani to change his mind, and after portraying him as a petulant prelate, the organizers finally did move the conference. To Jordan. Which, it turns out, is part of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

George Conger reported "The Gafcon organizing committee, which is arranging an alternative to the Anglican Lambeth Conference, has announced that the dates and venue of the Jerusalem conference have been changed.

"Following consultations with the Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, the conference will now be broken into two parts: a consultation for church leaders in Jordan from June 18-22 and a pilgrimage to Jerusalem from June 22-29."

As Mark Harris remarked on his blog, "Then again, perhaps the Bishop of Jerusalem gave in. Who knows? Still, if I said, "not in my house, please" I would somehow assume it was understood that I included the back porch."

Picky, picky.

Anyway, Bp. Iker is going. The press release on the diocesan website said, "Described as 'a full week of planning and pilgrimage,' the event is being organized by the leading orthodox Primates of the Anglican Communion, and participation in the conference is by invitation only.

"'I want to demonstrate my solidarity with the Bishops of the Global South,' Bishop Iker said, 'and to stand with them as we seek a positive way forward for the mission of the Anglican Communion during this time of dissension. I expect it to be a time of spiritual renewal and refreshment.' The conference program will focus on worship, prayer, discussion, and Bible study, shaped by the context of the Holy Land."

There is a key phrase in that statement -- "as we seek a positive way forward for the mission of the Anglican Communion during this time of dissension."

Got that? Attending a conference in a diocese whose bishop has asked the organizers several times not to hold the conference there, attending a conference whose purpose is to be an alternative Lambeth meeting designed to embarass the Archbishop of Canterbury, attending a conference to begin establishing a new Anglican Communion is "seeking a positive way forward."

When the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth issued its first statement on aligning the diocese with Southern Cone, it said that such an alliance would "allow the Diocese to concentrate on the call of Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel and make new disciples, while at the same time assuring our continued place in the mainstream of Anglicanism, an assurance The Episcopal Church is unable to give."

Another key phrase here -- "A continued place in the mainstream of Anglicanism."

Hold that thought while you return with me to 2005, and an interview that Archbishop Bernard Malango, Primate of Central Africa, gave to David Virtue. Fr Jake has also pointed out this interview on his blog, as has Mark Harris.

...If there is no resolution and solution of this situation, the Global South will go it alone and we will form a church - a true Anglican Church - and those in the West who believe in the authority of the Scriptures only would be admitted...

...We shall meet as CAPA Primates in October and one of the questions will be where a new Anglican Communion will be set up. We shall approach that question very carefully. The choice right now is Alexandria. We did not want it to be in Israel....too political, nor any other Middle East nation, nor Africa, for obvious reasons, nor Europe or Southeast Asia. We think Alexandria, Egypt is best as we can trace our historical roots from there. We can then start from an historical basis...

...It will all be resolved before the next Lambeth Conference. It will all be done within the next three years because we are fed up with talking...


OK. A couple of more key phrases here -- "The Global South will go it alone and we will form a church, a true Anglican Church. . .One of the quesions will be where a new Anglican Communion will be set up. . . It will be resolved before the next Lambeth Conference."

So it looks as if they are right on schedule in their plan to set up a "new" Anglican Communion.

This would be an Anglican Communion without the Archbishop of Canterbury, and with only six [so far] primates in attendance -- including the Man Who Would Be Primate of The Diocese of Fort Worth, Greg Venables.

By way of contrast, six hundred bishops [so far] are planning to attend Lambeth.

Which sounds to you like the "mainstream of the Anglican Communion"?

But hold on. Bp. Iker still might go Lambeth.

According to the release on the diocesan web site, he "'remains in consultation' with several other bishops regarding attendance at the upcoming Lambeth Conference of Bishops, which is to be held at the University of Kent in Canterbury from July 16 to August 3. He also will be seeking the advice of his own clergy about participating in this gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world that meets once every ten years. Bishop Iker was among those in attendance at the last Lambeth Conference, which was held in 1998."

It's hard to resist that tea party with the Queen. So Bp. Iker may go to BOTH meetings.

But interestingly enough, right now what Bp. Iker does is less important than what Greg Venables does.

Why? Well, if you are a member of the Diocese of Fort Worth, your leadership has promised you that if you follow them to the Southern Cone, you will still be an Anglican, because the Southern Cone is part of the Anglican Communion.

But given Venables' refusal to attend Lambeth, and his role in planning GAFCON, a conference whose stated goal is to start the establishment of a "new" Anglican Communion, I wouldn't be so sure about that.

If the Southern Cone leaves the Anglican Communion -- whose membership is defined as "being in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury" -- for a 'new" communion based in Alexandria with no ties to Canterbury at all, I don't see how they can claim to still be Anglicans. And if they are not Anglicans, where does that leave all the folks who are willing to follow Bp. Iker to the Southern Cone?

So, let's review here.

Bp. Iker and the Standing Committee and many of the clergy here are telling us repeatedly that the Diocese of Fort Worth has to leave The Episcopal Church and align with the Southern Cone to make sure we remain in full communion with the See of Canterbury, which will let us retain our Anglican identity after TEC is kicked out of the Anglican Communion, which they are SURE is going to happen.

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church has been invited to Lambeth and plans to attend. The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone has announced he's NOT going to Lambeth.

Instead, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone is an organizer of a meeting whose stated purpose is to established a plan to leave the Anglican Communion and to start a new Anglican Communion that does not include the Archbishop of Canterbury.

So when they promise you that you will "still be Anglican," be wary. Be very wary.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Prayers requested

MY FAMILY AND I would like to thank all of you for your prayers and the many expressions of concern and support about our daughter Chrissy. I am glad to tell you that she is making slow, but steady progress and that after four days in ICU, she was moved last night to a regular room. She now begins a regimen of medications for her heart and blood pressure problems. Your ongoing prayers will mean a great deal to all of us.
From Bp. Iker
I ask your prayers for Christine Iker, a young woman in her 30s who has suffered her second heart attack. I also ask your prayers for her parents, Bishop Jack Iker and his wife, Donna.

Please pray for a complete recovery for Christine, and for courage, peace, and grace for her parents and her children.



Chrissy, our oldest daughter (37), suffered a very serious heart attack on Friday afternoon, caused by cocaine and heroin. Though it appears that she will survive, at least at this point, the long term prognosis is not good. She has severely damaged her heart again, having already had a very similar heart attack in '97. She has only 25% of her heart functioning. Your prayers are most appreciated.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Vestries and the Law

More than one person has said to me, “Well, I’m on our vestry, but I’m afraid to challenge the priest when he says he’s going to take the parish to the Southern Cone.”

Or, “One of my friends is on the vestry of her parish, and she’s going to stay in TEC, but she’s certainly not going to say so in the meetings and get everyone mad at her.”

Or, “Well, if I speak up in vestry meetings in defense of TEC, I’m attacked for being pro-gay and accused of heresy. I don’t want to face that.”

Folks, you need to get a grip.

Serving on the vestry of your church isn’t like being elected to an elite club where everyone politely defers to one another and blindly follows the leader.

If you are a member of the vestry in a parish in the Diocese of Fort Worth, you need to be aware of your legal responsibilities, especially now as our bishop and Standing Committee are urging the diocese to take unlawful actions. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing serious legal and canonical consequences.

The term vestry comes to us from Great Britain. It referred to “the room next to the nave of the church where the sacred vessels and vestments were kept.” Those who conducted the parish business also used this room for meetings, and so that body became known as the vestry.

The vestry’s executive committee, as it were, it made up of the two wardens and the rector. The principle behind the structure of the vestry is the same as that of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion – ordered and distributed authority.

The duties of a vestry are outlined in the canons of The Episcopal Church [when the phrase “the Church” is used, it refers to The Episcopal Church]:
- Hold responsibility with the rector in promoting the spiritual welfare of the parish.
- Aid the Rector in the institution, conduct, and development of the program of the Church both within and without the Parish.
- Act as agent and legal representative in all matters concerning property: maintain the buildings and furnishings, maintain other property (rectory, parking lot, grounds, etc.), provide adequate insurance.
- Be responsible for the finances of the parish, raising money, prompt payment of salaries and bills, prudent care of trust funds, endowments and bequests, sale and transfer of securities and other assets, maintain records, annual report, budget (approve expenditures and recommend and approve salaries)
- Recruit, encourage, train, and guide candidates for Holy Orders
- Represent the parish in its relations with the Rector
- Serve as”Council of Advice" for the Rector when requested
- Elect a Rector if there is a vacancy

An attorney who consulted with a nearby diocese pointed out that all “Communicants of the Church who are elected as members of Vestries, Standing Committees or are other officers in this Diocese, have duties under both Canon law (National Canons, Title I, Canon 17, Section 8) and under our civil laws-- these are called “fiduciary duties.” Thus, all who occupy these offices of trust must exercise the duty of utmost good faith and loyalty to the Church--and ‘the Church’ means the national Episcopal Church, not just the diocese or the parish.

“Members of a parish, vestry members and diocesan officers cannot lawfully perform those duties when they are acting in their own personal interests or when they are acting against the best interests of a parish, a diocese or the National Church. A vestry has the duties of a Board of Directors of a corporation, and the members of the vestry are liable for violating their duties to the parish, which is a part of the national Church.

“It is also clear that bishops and priests are liable if they act contrary to the Constitution or Canons of the national Church and of the Diocese. Title IV of the National Canons provides for the trial of bishops and priests who violate the National Canons or their oaths as priests of the Church.

“No diocese has any right to act contrary to the national Church or its Constitution and Canons. A diocese is a creature of the national Church; it cannot deal with or negotiate with other bodies, such as the Anglican Communion; that is solely the duty, and right, of the national Church.”

As the attorney states: “A diocese is not a stand alone entity, but rather a constituent part of the Episcopal Church in the United States.”

The Diocese of Fort Worth was created by the national Church. It has a duty to adhere to the faith, worship, discipline and laws of the national Church.

Similarly, parishes and missions are parts of the national Church and must abide by the Constitution and Canons of the National Church and the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese.

When the diocese and parishes act as if they are independent entities that can do as they please, they are in danger of committing unlawful acts, which includes attempting to wrongfully take Church property, or passing resolutions which purport to authorize either the diocese or a parish to violate the law and property rights of the national Church.

Certainly Bp. Iker and those who wish to accompany him have the right to leave The Episcopal Church and to associate with whatever group they wish.

They do not have the right or power to take a diocese with them.

And, as the attorney quoted above concluded, vestry members who go along with the violation of their fiduciary duties are subject to both civil and criminal sanctions, just as the trust department of a bank is subject to both if and when it violates the trust agreement. The trust department cannot, unilaterally, decide that it will take the client's money and put it into a different trust benefiting someone different from the client.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More on the Southern Cone, including their Constitution and Canons

At last we are getting some information about the constitution and canons of the Southern Cone.

Second Report
from the Bishop and Standing Committee
on the possibility of re-aligning with the Province of the Southern Cone

In this second report from the Bishop and Standing Committee on the possibility of re-aligning with the Province of the Southern Cone, we would like to offer a brief analysis of some of the basic differences between the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church as compared with those of the Province of the Southern Cone (PSC). An English translation of the Constitution and Canons of the PSC can be found on the diocesan Web site, [Here's the link ]

In our Preliminary Report of January 9, 2008, we arrived at the following conclusion:
Based on our review, we have concluded that the structure and polity of the
Province of the Southern Cone would afford our diocese greater selfdetermination than we currently have under the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. This autonomy would be evident most specifically in the areas of property ownership, liturgy, holy orders, and missionary focus.

One fundamental principle underlying the Constitution and Canons of the PSC is that “the Dioceses are at liberty to provide necessary selection and training of clergy, liturgical use, finances and possessions, and other affairs related to the local situation, provided they are not in conflict with other Anglican norms and this Constitution.” (See item 3, Rules, on page 2)

Specifically, we note the following:

Ordination Standards
Each local diocese has the responsibility for the ordination process and makes its own determination as to the eligibility and the qualifications for ordination to Holy Orders. There are no requirements imposed upon dioceses by the Province regarding gender or sexual orientation.

Each diocesan bishop determines matters of worship and Prayer Book usage in his diocese. The section on Liturgy (Canon 9) notes that “it is the responsibility of the Bishops to keep guard that the forms used in Public Worship and the Administration of the Sacraments be in accordance with Anglican Faith and Order and that nothing be established that is contrary to the Word of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.”
Membership in the Southern Cone would not necessitate a change in our liturgical practices or Prayer Book. It would also protect us from experimental liturgies already authorized or under consideration by the General Convention of TEC which advocate the use of expansive language for God, the elimination of male pronouns for God, or the blessing of same-sex unions.

Canon 10 states that the Province’s possessions “shall consist of the economic contributions of its Member Dioceses.” The PSC does not lay claim to any buildings, real estate or investments of its member dioceses. Thus, title to all our churches, property, and funds would remain in the Diocese of Fort Worth. TEC makes the claim that all local church property is held in trust for TEC.

Provincial Polity
Instead of having a cumbersome General Convention that meets every three years for three weeks at great expense, with four clergy and four lay deputies from each diocese in the House of Deputies and all bishops in the House of Bishops, as in The Episcopal Church, there is a Provincial Synod (Canon 5) of the Southern Cone that meets every three years for three days. It is comprised of the Bishop and one clergy and one lay delegate from each diocese in the Province.
This would be a much smaller legislative body on the provincial level, producing considerable cost savings and a council of far more manageable size for conducting business. Also, as a member diocese we would have a seat on the Provincial Executive Council (Canon 6), helping to direct program and budget. Our Bishop would have the right of voice at Council meetings, even if we were already represented on the Council by a priest or lay person.

Presiding Bishop/Primate
The Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, also referred to as the Primate or Archbishop, is not a separate, full-time, salaried position, as in TEC. Instead, the Bishop elected as Primate continues to serve as a diocesan bishop, like all the other bishops of the Province. There are no “national church offices” staffed with a bureaucracy of paid church employees. This makes for a much smaller structure and budget and keeps the emphasis for mission and ministry on the local diocesan level.

Provincial Budget
The budget of the General Convention of TEC was set at just under $50 million for 2008. Most of this funding comes from an “asking” from each diocese, in the amount of 21% of its annual income. The remainder comes from investment income and other sources. The annual budget of the Province of the Southern Cone totals less than $100,000 and is funded by the member dioceses on a proportionate basis, with contributions ranging between $2,000 and $6,000. Additional support comes from overseas partners. The funds are used mostly for basic costs of administration and communications. This minimal provincial cost keeps the focus and funding
for ministry in the local dioceses.

We encourage you to read the PSC Constitution and Canons for yourselves. If you have further questions or matters that require clarification, please feel free to write the Standing Committee at the Diocesan Center for Ministry. Additional concerns will be addressed in our next report.

The Bishop and Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
Feb. 12, 2008


I find the priorities of our bishop and Standing Committe most interesting -- property ownership, liturgy, holy orders, and missionary focus.

Property ownership comes first. Then protection from any suggestion that God might not be male, and then protection from being asked not to discriminate against women seeking holy orders.

This "report" brings up the same strawmen that our leadership has used for years to stir up fear.

The truth of the matter is that, in The Episcopal Church, Bishop Iker, just like ALL bishops, can not be forced to ordain anyone. Nor can he be forced to use any liturgy other than the Book of Common Prayer. Nor can any parish be forced to hire a priest they cannot accept.

Nor can any priest be forced to perform same sex blessings. No priest can be forced to baptize anyone, to marry anyone or to bury anyone.

And of course, the courts will decide ownership of the property if Bishop Iker tries to steal it from The Episcopal Church.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Missing Claire and Mariana

Two of my dearest friends, Claire Garrett and Mariana Thomas Gregg, are gone.

Claire died last year, Mariana died last week.

In the photo, Claire is on the left, Mariana on the right -- this is a rare photo of Mariana. She hated having us take her picture.

I had been mourning them for a long time before they died, as both of them had begun to recede from us into the terrible fog of Alzheimer’s several years ago.

Both Mariana and Claire were older than I am, but the age difference was part of why I treasured them. Their wisdom, common sense, and sheer grace were ongoing gifts to me. [Somewhere, Mariana is surely giving a very ladylike snort at the very idea of the word “grace” being connected to her – she was a very no-nonsense pragmatic woman who did not see herself that way.]

Mariana was an architect, among the first women to practice that art in Fort Worth. She designed lovely homes with a Japanese influence, full of clean lines and simple elegant beauty. Her son Brian is equally talented. She supported herself and her three sons quite nicely with her work.

She taught me so much. She taught me how to “see” buildings. She taught me more about art than any book or course simply by letting me watch and listen to her reactions at various museum and gallery openings. She was smart and blunt and funny and deeply, essentially kind.

She had the best “eye” for quality I’ve ever encountered. She would walk into a store, a market, an art gallery, and instinctively head straight for the best thing in the building. She knew more about color than most artists.

Shopping with her was always educational. I’d pick up something I was considering purchasing, and look over at her. If the eyebrow went up, I just put it back. Later she might or might not tell me why. Usually she left it to me to figure out.

She taught me a lot about gardening, since she brought that same excellent “eye” to landscaping. She taught me how to fearlessly prune a tree to help it be its best, and she taught me how to see the bones of a garden even amid overgrown brambles and shrubs. She taught me to see beyond the immediate satisfaction of flowers. She taught me to appreciate the thousands of different shades of green that make up a garden and how to value the different textures that various plants add, even if they never ever actually bloom.

She taught me that a few fine clothes beat a lot of merely OK clothes. She taught me that if your feet hurt, it doesn’t matter how cute your shoes are. She was an earthbound realist, and suspending disbelief was not easy for her. I can’t count the numbers of movies we went to where Mariana’s snorts of disbelief had me giggling all through some fantasy of a movie.

Her extremely dry wit caught me off guard all the time, and it was only when I learned to look for the mischievous twinkle in her eye that I began to keep up with her.

Claire and Mariana and Diane Orr and I spent a lot of time talking over meals of excellent food and drink. Claire, Mariana and Diane are all better cooks than I am, so many of these meals were at Claire’s house. Claire would prepare a brisket or a pork loin, and the rest of us would bring salads or vegetable or wine.

These meals taught me what agape means. They were the embodiment of “self-giving loyal concern that freely accepts another and seeks her good.”


Just saying the name makes me feel cosseted and safe.

Claire was an astonishingly beautiful red-haired woman with the best legs in town. She was elegant and classy and all of us wanted to look like her. My daughter, who also has red hair, has always said she wants to look like Claire when she’s a grandmother.

Claire had the gift of hospitality. She made everyone feel welcomed in her home. I’ve lost count of the number of people I met in Claire’s kitchen. We always ended up in Claire’s kitchen, no matter how many times she tried to entice us out into the rest of the house.

After a deck was built onto the back of her house, we’d gather out there, but only if Claire was out there. If she was in the kitchen working, we would all migrate back inside. Being near Claire was wonderful. She made us all feel loved and valued and treasured and safe.

Claire would sit at the head of the long dining room table that Mariana and I had helped her pick out, and preside over conversations that ranged from politics to religion to ethics to raising kids to the strangeness of automobiles to just about any other subject one can think of.

We celebrated the births and accomplishments of children and grandchildren, mourned the death of parents, rejoiced over promotions, comforted the sad, argued with the stubborn, listened to the passionate, and fed our bodies and souls on great food amid love and companionship.

Claire taught me how to be a real hostess, how to be a welcoming presence in the world. She taught me that plates don’t have to match for a dinner party to be a success. She taught me that good food is nice, but good friends matter more.

She taught me that if you wait until your house is perfect to entertain, you’ll never entertain. She told me that if friends are coming over to check on your housekeeping, they aren’t friends.

Claire was the supreme appreciator. I don’t care if you brought her a bouquet of wilted dandelions, she would make you feel you had showered her with rare roses. She thought all of us were the most brilliant, talented, gorgeous people in the world and told us so regularly.

Claire could talk with anyone. Someone once said Claire had raised small talk to an art, but the truth is, there WAS no small talk to Claire. She was genuinely interested in everyone, and they sensed that within seconds of meeting her. People would positively glow under Claire’s regard. She thought they were charming and interesting, and around her, by gosh, they were.

These women have left enormous legacies, even if most of the world might never realize it. Claire’s sons and daughters and grandchildren are all beautiful successful people, endowed with her graces. Mariana’s buildings remain gorgeous, of course, and her sons are handsome talented men, carving out their paths in the world with supreme individuality.

I will never smell a scented geranium without thinking of Claire. I will never prune a tree without thinking of Mariana.

I will miss them for the rest of my life.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Chapman Letter

Back in January 14, 2004, Simon Sarmiento posted a Washington Post article on the Thinking Anglicans web site here.

The story was about a document that has become known as The Chapman Letter, because it was written by Geoff Chapman, rector of St. Stephens Church in Sewickley, Pa., in The Diocese of Pittsburgh.

It lays out a plan to undermine The Episcopal Church. Read it and see if any of the tactics strike you as familiar.

Wednesday, 14 January 2004
Anti-ECUSA plot revealed
Today’s Washington Post carried this story:

Plan to Supplant Episcopal Church USA Is Revealed

The full text of the document mentioned in the story can be found below.

December 28th, 2003
Dear Friends,
I am Geoff Chapman, Rector of St Stephens Church in Sewickley, Pa. (Diocese of Pittsburgh). I am responding to you on behalf of the American Anglican Council and their Bishops’ Committee on Adequate Episcopal Oversight (AEO). Thanks for contacting us; we very much want to network with you in these difficult times and be of real help to you.

The AAC Strategy Committee has been working for months on AEO. In consultation with a wide circle of friends - inside this country and beyond - we have clarified our strategy and are now moving to implement it. I am serving as their response person for AEO, and I want to brief you on our progress. This document will get you up to speed on where we are going. Please keep this document confidential, sharing it in hard copy (printed format) only with people you fully trust, and do not pass it on electronically to anyone under any circumstances.

1) Our ultimate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil committed to biblical faith and values, and driven by Gospel mission. We believe in the end this should be a “replacement” jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism, emerging from the disastrous actions of General Convention (2003). We believe this goal is now pressed upon us by the Holy Spirit as a result of the rejection of the historic Christian faith and the rejection of biblical and Communion authority by the leadership of ECUSA. We will lead our congregations and partners in making the adjustment to adopt this strategy. We seek to retain ownership of our property as we move into this realignment.

2) As an intermediate step, we will respond to the urgent pastoral need in our country by offering Adequate Episcopal Oversight to parishes or remnants of parishes who share our deeply held convictions, proceeding under the guidance of our Bishops and the Primates. Bp Griswold’s offer of “Extended Episcopal Care” is unacceptable, fundamentally flawed and disingenuous, and does not meet the needs of our parishes or the intentions of the Primates. Our AEO will maintain confidentiality in the application process, and seek transfer of Parish oversight across geographic diocesan boundaries to an orthodox bishop, the right of pastoral succession, liberty of conscience In financial stewardship (the right to “redirect” funds), and negotiated property settlements affirming the retention of ownership in the local congregation.

The implementation of Adequate Episcopal Oversight will normally follow a two-step, “Stage 1 Then Stage 2” process.

Stage 1 will feature “spiritual realignment” while remaining within the letter of current canons. Parishes would publicly announce that their relationship with their diocesan Bishop is “severely damaged” because of the events of the summer, and that they are now looking to one of the Primates or an AAC orthodox Bishop for their “primary pastoral leadership”. Announcements will need to be carefully phrased to avoid canonical violations.

During the months of Stage 1, we will begin to reform our relationships to build the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. We will move to initiate support structures for fellowship and strategy, We will act courageously and faithfully to support “at risk” parishes. We will creatively redirect finances. We will refocus on Gospel initiatives. We will innovatively move around, beyond or within the canons to “act like the church God is making us”. Stage 1 will enable congregations/clusters to keep clear use of their buildings for the foreseeable future, and would give critical time to strengthen our leadership circles for what promises to be a turbulent spiritual season.

Stage 2 will launch at some yet to be determined moment, probably in 2004. During this phase, we will seek, under the guidance of the Primates, negotiated settlements in matters of property, jurisdiction, pastoral succession and communion, If adequate settlements are not within reach, a faithful disobedience of canon law on a widespread basis may be necessary.

Some congregations have already proceeded to “Stage 2” because of local circumstances. While we cannot offer AEO under an AAC diocesan Bishop at this time, we do have non-geographical oversight available from “offshore” Bishops, and retired Bishops. We may also be able to offer oversight from special designated priests acting on behalf of our AAC Diocesan Bishops.

3) Our local strategy for developing AEO will have to keep our goal and current hostile circumstances in mind. We call it a “cluster strategy”, and it will closely sync with the establishment and spread of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. We are developing clusters of churches (3-30 churches per cluster) in 15-30 varying dioceses. These churches would join the Network and apply for AEO whenever possible as diocesan clusters. When they are prepared, we will sequence public announcements of their intentions to realign in successive weeks to build impact. These churches will need Clergy and Vestries who are unified, well networked, and ready for a season of conflict if necessary.

Smaller, isolated congregations that cannot connect with a supporting cluster will be welcome to apply, but encouraged to make a public announcement later in 2004. They will sail in the wake of the leadership of stronger clusters.

Parishes/clusters that go through this process in a “Stage 2” mode and Bishops who receive such parishes/clusters will be at risk of litigation and presentment, and should be prepared for such.
An AAC Bishop could be available to go with any parish/cluster to meet with the diocesan Bp, as needed. We think the presence of an AAC Bishop with a stated partnership with the Primates could change the dynamics of such a meeting.

This “Stage 1, Stage 2, Cluster Strategy” has several advantages: It will…

(1) build “rising orthodox network” DNA among the networked churches. Churches in the clusters would gain formative experiences of working together, depending upon each other, praying together, linking with the Global South, and if need be, suffering together. This would be invaluable for the months and years ahead.

(2) give us our best shot at a success. Any isolated parish that moves alone into the revisionist line of fire at this point is going to be in peril. Congregations moving in clusters have the advantage of leveraging their combined strength.

(3) generate significant public attention both within this country and among our world-wide partners.

(4) build “position” for any settlement talks in the future.

4) We are building a network of “Cluster Moderators” who will serve emerging clusters as they gather. These leaders should have a servant’s heart and a broad base of support in their own parishes that will enable them to come alongside conflicted or imperiled congregations. They must be able to bridge the lines of our coalition with genuine respect for the differences within the orthodox community. We will identify these key leaders as soon as possible.

5) We would cover everything in intentional, dependent Christ-centered prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit’s leading and provision at every point, Prayer support cells will be developed around the country and mobilized at critical moments.

Here are some “Frequently Asked Questions” :
1) What does it take to apply for AEO (Adequate Episcopal Oversight)?
Normally we would ask for the signature of the Rector and a supporting vote of the Vestry. When you have reached this point of decision, send the application to the AAC office. There is no need to inform your Bishop yet of the application. We will inform him with you in due time. You can find the application and guidelines here:

2) Does AEO mean that the orthodox overseeing Bishop would have control of the call, licensing, and canonical residence of the clergy?
We do not know the answers to that, but our Bishops will be exploring these issues as we move forward. The AAC bishops are not prepared to sign off on an arrangement that will leave a congregation in continuing high risk, and that means that issues of spiritual authority, pastoral succession and episcopal oversight must be solved, That Is the fundamental difference between Adequate Episcopal “Oversight” envisioned by Canterbury and the Primates and the Episcopal “Care” offered by Griswold. However, there are many details yet to be ironed out.

3) What legal liabilities would you face if you wanted to leave your current diocese?
Recent litigation indicates that the local diocesan authorities hold almost all the cards in property disputes and clergy placement if they want to play “hardball”.

But we think that the political realities are such that American revisionist bishops will be reticent to play “hardball” for a while. They have just handed the gay lobby a stunning victory, but are being forced to pay a fearsome price for it. The opposition at home is far greater than they anticipated and the opposition overseas is serious and inflamed. ECUSA will certainly lose members and funds at a high rate over the next months, accelerating their decline. In one short summer they have managed to radicalize all the orthodox in our communion and take away the “middle ground” where so many of our members have hidden! This has put many (perhaps even most) parishes in conflict and made the survival of many smaller parishes a large and urgent question. No one is very happy about this inside ECUSA, and the American public is hardly cheering the events in New Hampshire.

ECUSA leaders know well how conservatives could quickly become the “victims” in the public mind. They also know that all of our AEO work will eventually find its way across the desk of the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC). All of this together will create pressure for them to cooperate with the ABC/Primate’s call for AEO. So we suspect that there will be a window of time before they return to “hardball” tactics.

The AAC has a new “Legal Resources” link on their home page, and if you or your new Vestry need help in this area, we would suggest contacting them.

4) Can we redirect our funds?
This is happening on a widespread basis. There are several strategies to consider. Some parishes have used “donor intent” to trump diocesan canon. The argument goes something like this… “In these conflicted times we will offer our congregation pledge forms with options to indicate their preferred use of their funds. The options go… “Would you like to have a canonical portion of your gift sent (1) to the Diocese? (2) To the National Church? Or (3) To the Vestry for their judgment on whether to pass on funds to the Diocese or National Church? All redirected funds will go to Anglican missions who are committed to biblical faith, values and Gospel ministry?

The Vestry then informs the Diocese that they feel it important to allow their members to follow their conscience. Arguing for “freedom of conscience” and the honoring of “donor intent” is very difficult for liberals to oppose, regardless of the strength of your state law. And it should give your parish some breathing room as you seek to move through this difficult season together.
For a biblical/theological understanding of redirecting funds, look at John Guernsey’s talk from the Dallas Conference. You can find it here:

5) What is important over the next months?
Here are some concrete suggestions for your consideration:

a. Join the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. Here’s some basic information:
Look to the AAC website for updates.

b. Form diocesan “clusters” with sympathetic churches. This is essential. An AAC chapter can be the seedbed for a cluster that is seeking realignment. Circle up, pick a moderator, and contact us at AAC headquarters.

c. Be careful of your language. Don’t declare yourself “out of communion” with your diocesan Bishop as such statements have been used as evidence for canonical action against clergy (“abandonment of communion” in Philadelphia). To say that your communion is “impaired” or “damaged” is a wiser response for the moment. Let the excommunications come from the Primates.

d. Prioritize your issues and pursue them in due order. Sort out the challenges you face and go after the most important first, while saving the least important till last. The issues you face could include securing new leadership, consolidating and educating your Vestry, building a network of support within your Diocese, stabilizing your, congregation, etc. Take first things first. Operate in God’s time. Don’t be stampeded to early and untimely actions. The Primates will move over the next months to build a growing and determined solution to the crisis. It will be good to follow their lead and that of the AAC Bishops.

e. Be measured, deliberate and courageous in your responses, “Wise as serpents and gentle as doves was Jesus’ phrase for it! This is a moment for courageous and clear leadership. Watch out for the spirit of anger or self-righteousness! It will kill fractured parishes.

f. Join and build the network of churches committed to biblical values and faith. There will be safety in numbers. See if there are other parishes in your diocese who could also apply for AEO. Work in partnership with us in the AAC. Either we hang together or we hang separately! And don’t forget (when it seems like you are all alone) that Christ himself has promised to walk with us through these times!

g. Familiarize yourself with the strategy affirmed in Dallas in October and talk and pray about how you can apply it locally. It can be found here:

h. Keeping close to Christ is essential. Read your Bible. Pray lots. Be aware of Satan’s opposition and resist him. Worship regularly. Stay in good fellowship with close Christian friends. Watch out for your own emotions, especially anger and frustration, and remember that the Holy Spirit’s leading is not the same as your emotions! We will be of no use to the Lord Jesus in these struggles if we are not fully His!

i. Remember confidentiality! Much is at stake over these next months. The careers of godly men and women, the possibility of congregational survival, the Anglican witness to Christ in our culture and generation, etc. We ask you not to spread these emails over the internet, and to speak of them only to people you trust. In the end, everything will be spoken plainly, but the ability to get organize and take counsel together effectively depends upon our readiness to keep confidentiality.

Here are some Internet resources that might be of value in keeping you informed…

[a long list of web sites follows]

We will keep all details of our contact with parishes in confidence. Please do not hesitate to keep in touch with me or with the AAC office if we can be of further help. God bless you, as you courageously serve Christ and his gospel.

Geoffrey W. Chapman
Rector, St Stephens Sewickley, Pa
[Gives contact information]

A Change of Tone

The London Times reports that the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, head of the committee that is charged with writing an unprecendented "Anglican Covenant," is taking a much more conciliatory tone as he announces a new draft of the covenant to be released this week.

One surprising thing about this story is that it is written by Ruth Gledhill, who is not known for her friendliness to The Episcopal Church.

I found this the most interesting paragraph:
"A new document to be published this week would form 'a basic way of holding each other accountable as a Communion'”, he said. But he indicated that the Episcopal Church of the United States was unlikely to face discipline or any form of exclusion from the Anglican Communion as a result of consecrating Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003."

Gledhill is one of the many who have been predicting [with relish] for years that The Episcopal Church would be "kicked out" of the Anglican Communion for its move to include all the baptized in the life and ministry of the church, as well as for what is perceived by many in the world as its general uppityness.

Why is this story significant? Here's what Glenhill writes:
"Archbishop Gomez’s conciliatory voice is significant because, although not an evangelical, he is from the traditionally conservative Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church and is an authoritative voice within the conservative group of Global South churches. Last August he preached at the consecration of two conservative US bishops in the Anglican province of Kenya to serve evangelical parishes in the US. The consecrations went against the expressed desire of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that provinces should not interfere in each other’s affairs. "[emphasis added]

I would add that the interference of the Province of the Southern Cone into the affairs of TEC with its "invitation" to the dioceses of San Joaquin and Fort Worth to join that province also go against the expressed wishes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has asked Primates to refrain from meddling in the affaird of provinces not their own.

I welcome Gomez's new tone, but I can't help but think that any "covenant" designed with the purpose of finding ways to punish Provinces perceived to be "out of line" will be flawed from the beginning. Such a document will be much too concerned with the survival of an institution to leave room for the workings of the Holy Spirit.

How different would the outcome be if the committee went about its work with goal of drawing up a covenant that would encourage the inclusion of all the baptized, including lesbians and gays, in the life and ministry of the church?

Here's the story from the Times:

February 4, 2008

Archbishop aims to save divided Church
Call for Anglican bishops to attend Lambeth Conference as conservative clergyman draws up formula to avert schism over gay priests

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Anglican archbishop in charge of drawing up the document intended to reunite his warring Church said he believes that schism can still be averted in spite of divisions over the issue of homosexuals.

The Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, said that a new formula had been found that would allow the disciplining of errant churches while respecting the traditional autonomy of the 38 worldwide Anglican provinces. Urging all Anglican bishops to attend the Lambeth Conference this year, he said that it would be a “tremendous tragedy” if the Church fell apart.

A new document to be published this week would form “a basic way of holding each other accountable as a Communion”, he said. But he indicated that the Episcopal Church of the United States was unlikely to face discipline or any form of exclusion from the Anglican Communion as a result of consecrating Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

The first draft of the Covenant, known as the Nassau draft – after the location in which it was drawn up – was criticised by the liberal leadership of the Episcopal Church because it effectively allowed for the expulsion of provinces that stepped out of line. The new draft is expected to introduce greater autonomy for individual provinces to do what they believe to be right. The US church believes that. in pursuing gay rights for clergy, it is following a Gospel-led agenda similar to that which inspired the civil rights movement on race.

Archbishop Gomez, who has in the past been a fierce critic of the US Church, accusing it of “aggressive revisionist theology”, is heading the design group responsible for drawing up the details of the Covenant, intended to provide a doctrinal umbrella under which Anglicans can unite in spite of their differences over biblical interpretation such as the consecration of openly gay bishops.

The Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Peter Jensen, and bishops from the strongly evangelical Sydney diocese in Australia have said that they intended to boycott the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, a ten-yearly meeting of more than 800 bishops from the Anglican Church. It has no legislative authority but is designated an instrument of Communion as part of the worldwide Church.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr Peter Akinola, has also indicated that he is unlikely to attend. Instead, he and the Archbishop of Sydney are planning an “alternative Lambeth”, the Global Anglican Future Conference, or Gafcon, in Jerusalem in June. Although intended to symbolise the seriousness with which conservatives regard the biblical roots of their faith, the decision to hold their conference in Israel has upset Anglican leaders there who have claimed that it will exacerbate the existing Anglican and interfaith tensions of the region.

Archbishop Gomez said that all Anglicans, including the conservatives, should attend the Lambeth Conference to have their voice at the table while Anglican identity is debated.

In a letter to the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the Southern Cone of America, bishops led by the Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, the Church’s most senior evangelical theologian, said that they longed to share with them “in fellowship and in celebration at Lambeth”.

Although Bishop Robinson has not been invited by Dr Williams, he is expected to turn up for some, if not all, of the conference accompanied by his partner, Mark Andrews, with whom he is planning a civil ceremony to formalise their long-term partnership in the US this year.

Archbishop Gomez’s conciliatory voice is significant because, although not an evangelical, he is from the traditionally conservative Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church and is an authoritative voice within the conservative group of Global South churches. Last August he preached at the consecration of two conservative US bishops in the Anglican province of Kenya to serve evangelical parishes in the US. The consecrations went against the expressed desire of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that provinces should not interfere in each other’s affairs.

Archbishop Gomez, who has led the drawing up of the second St Andrew’s draft, named after the headquarters of the Anglican Communion Office in London where the group met last week, said: “We are in a state, not quite of turmoil, but we need some healing and the need is for us to come together as a Communion. Our present structure within Anglicanism does not provide what we call a legislative or juridical body. We are in search of a mechanism that will help to draw us closer to one another.”

He said that most of the conservative churches of the Global South would welcome the text of the new draft of the Covenant. “If the Church signs up to the Covenant it is binding itself to live in a certain way as a member of the Anglican family.”

He added that he believed most of the controversies afflicting the Church could be settled and said that he opposed the idea of the Church breaking into a more federal structure, the model used by Lutherans in Europe.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bishop Carranza speaks out

By Bishop Assistant Sergio Carranza
From ANGELUS,the Los Angeles Clergy Newsletter

Here we are, just a few months away from the Lambeth Conference and we find ourselves in an impasse: the Bishop of New Hampshire without an invitation to attend the meeting, the poachers from the Global South hunting in the U.S.A. and Canada, the schismatics trying to steal TEC's property, the Nigerian post-colonial neo-crusader-in-reverse uttering threats, and the Archbishop of Canterbury giving the impression that he is willing to sacrifice the Episcopal Church in order to appease the radical conservatives and thus maintain the unity of an already fractured Anglican Communion.

These are perturbing, bewildering and irritating times for the truly orthodox Anglicans who want to preserve not only the identity, but the essence of Anglicanism, and refuse to accept the new religion crafted by some of the power greedy Third World hierarchs and the lunatic fringe of American conservatism.

The truly orthodox Anglicans reject the selective literalism of the biblical exegesis propounded by the new religion, as well as the hypocritical morality based on that kind of hermeneutics.

They reject the notion that lay people and priests do not have an equal share with the bishops in the governance of the Church.

The truly orthodox Anglicans reject the allegation that gay and lesbian people are not beloved children of God and cannot be fully included in the ordained ministry of the Church.

They reject the Primates Meeting pretension to define doctrine, to enact legislation and to impose discipline on the autonomous Provinces of the Anglican Communion, as the new religion would have it.

And the reason why the truly orthodox Anglicans reject all these enormities is because they disfigure Anglicanism and destroy its very being.

I do not believe for a moment that the Archbishop of Canterbury would be so naïve as to think that, by ceding to the demands of the Global South radical Primates, he will keep them in the flock and remain himself as the titular head of the Communion. This notion is wishful thinking, at best, since the new religion advocates have been increasingly disrespecting him and his office, and are already making plans to set up their own international ecclesial body. As we know, last December 26 the Primate of Nigeria and a coalition of his minions announced a conference in the Holy Land to chart the Church's future course, that will take place next June, just before the Lambeth Conference which some of them have said they plan to boycott.

The truly orthodox Anglicans, while respecting each other's autonomy, want to preserve the bonds of affection which have kept us together across the world, as well as to maintain the centuries-old concept of unity in diversity. The truly orthodox Anglicans uphold justice, because justice is God's passion and an inherent characteristic of God's Kingdom. And before I am accused of being an irate fellow, let me quote what St. Thomas Aquinas has to say about it: "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust."