American Anglican Council Press Release
March 21, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AAC Statement on the Episcopal House of Bishops’ March 2007 Meeting
The American Anglican Council (AAC) commends The Episcopal Church (TEC) House of Bishops for clearly responding to the Anglican primates’ February 2007 Communiqué at its Camp Allen, Texas, meeting this week. However, the AAC is strongly opposed to the three “Mind of the House” resolutions adopted yesterday that expressly reject the pastoral scheme outlined by the primates’ recent Dar es Salaam Communiqué – a plan laid out to protect those in the church unable to accept the direct ministry of their Episcopal bishop or the presiding bishop due to theological differences.
The bishops did not address the key issues on which the primates have requested a response—namely, whether TEC will abide by the Communion’s standard of teaching on human sexuality (as expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10) by giving its assurance that it will not permit rites for same-sex blessings or consent to bishops living in same-sex unions.
“Without even addressing the deeper issues of belief and practice, the House of Bishops has answered the primates with a resounding ‘no’ to the question of whether or not the church is willing to abide by the mind of the Anglican Communion,” said the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, AAC president and CEO. “If they cannot accommodate on the structural points of the primates’ requests – which left TEC with considerable power – I do not see how they will ever turn back on the theological points. The church’s desire for complete power and autonomy goes hand in hand with its rebellion against Scriptural authority.”
The primates’ pastoral scheme, the bishops declared, would be “injurious to The Episcopal Church” and a violation of the church’s laws. However, at the same time, the bishops expressed their “passionate desire to remain in full constituent membership in both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church” and urged for a face-to-face meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates’ Standing Committee, a committee to which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori herself was recently elected.
“The church’s arrogance is at its height; they still think they can dictate the relationship on their own terms, but the primates and Archbishop of Canterbury have clearly said that that is impossible,” Anderson said.
The primates’ recent communiqué said that TEC must accept and implement the primates’ recommendations as an expression of their desire to remain in the Communion; otherwise, their rejection of the document’s requests will be received as a decision to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.
“TEC wants to reject the requests but maintain the relationship, so it is a clear instance of denial of the consequences of one’s decisions,” Anderson said. “It would be more honorable for them to admit and accept the consequences of their actions than to try to continue this fraudulent relationship.”
Earlier this week, the bishop of the Diocese of Florida also thumbed his nose at Communion authority, rejecting the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference Florida report recommendations. Other statements by TEC bishops, including declarations by some that they will defy the primates’ communiqué and continue lawsuits against local parishes and individual clergy and vestry members, also point toward the church’s total disregard for the Anglican primates’ authority and for Communion relationships. Furthermore, last week’s rejection of South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence based on procedural technicalities points toward TEC’s absolute submission to its own canons at whatever cost.
“The bishops’ rejection of the primates' pastoral scheme is in fact further proof that such a plan is now needed more than ever to intervene on behalf of the orthodox in America,” Anderson concluded. “A default on the part of the TEC House of Bishops and her presiding bishop should not delay the implementation of the relief effort. The AAC urges the Archbishop of Canterbury to proceed along with the primates in setting up the pastoral council, filling any defaulted positions. If they do not move forward with the plan, the situation in the U.S. church will remain intolerable for those Episcopalians who desire to remain faithful to the biblical Anglican faith.”