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AAC: The Writing is on the Wall

1 August 2010

Canon Phil Ashey offers some valuable insights the recent chain of same-sex blessing moratoria within TEC, of which our own diocese has played a role.  

And how did the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion respond to these ongoing and repeated violations of the moratorium on same-sex blessings by TEC?  Did they remove TEC from the SCAC as the majority leadership of the Anglican Communion demanded from the 4th Global South Encounter in Singapore in April, and reiterated by a proposal from Dato’ Stanley Isaacs of Southeast Asia, for these repeated and ongoing violations of the moratoria on same-sex blessings, and more?

Quite the contrary.  In the words of their July 26 daily bulletin from the Anglican Communion office:  “[the removal of TEC and its representatives on the SCAC] would inhibit dialogue and … would therefore be unhelpful.”  Both the Presiding Bishop of TEC, the chief consecrator of the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool, and Bishop Ian Douglas, who continues to authorize same-sex blessings in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, were seated as full participating members of the SCAC despite their ongoing violations of two of the three Communion moratoria.

Are we surprised?  Of course not.  As the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll and others have observed, we have only 7% of the SCAC membership representing the 70% percent of the world’s active Anglicans living in the Global South provinces and 93% of the SCAC representing the remaining 30% of Anglicans located in the Western provinces of the US, England and their close allies, such as South Africa.  The discrepancy is most glaring in the fact that over half of the members hail from either  the US (2), England (2), Wales (1), Australia (1), New Zealand (1) and South Africa (1), which are accounted by most as sharing the theologically revisionist agenda of TEC.

According to its newly adopted articles, the “Standing Committee” is supposed “to have regard to the desirability of achieving so far as practicable regional diversity and a balance of representation between clergy and laity and between the genders.”  The listing by geography shows that none of the major African provinces of the Communion (Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda), with more than 60% of its total members, is even represented on the Committee. It follows that the current make-up of the SCAC will have the effect of effectuating the will of a minority within the Communion…. namely, TEC and its adherents.  

I particularly liked his observations about the effect of a minority’s moving of a society’s moral markers.  Be sure to read it all

In stark contrast to Canon Ashey’s words, I will offer up our own Bp. Breidenthal’s words of reflection, post-Anaheim, regarding our relationship with the Anglican Communion: 

…we strongly affirmed our desire to be part of the Anglican Communion. But we also affirmed that same-sex unions can be holy, especially when they are entered into by faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Some would say that these two affirmations stand in contradiction to one another. Perhaps they do, though I’d say both are true. It comes down to this: the Episcopal Church is insisting that, in our own context, in the actual, ordinary, day-to-day, Sunday-to-Sunday experience of our local congregations, the reality of faithful same-sex unions cannot be ignored any longer. At the same time, we do not deny that the experience of other parts of the Anglican Communion may be different from ours, nor are we insensitive to the fact that many provinces of the Communion do not stand where we are on this question. 

So basically, he offers up the same tired relatavist’ notion that, “My morals are okay because I’m over here, and yours are okay because you are over there.” 

Odd though, that what passes for morality within TEC hangs tenuously upon an elite minority having most of the power within the Anglican Communion, as Canon Ashey has aptly pointed out. 

Yes, the writing is indeed upon the wall. 

– Elder

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