Author Archive

Polity “Primer”: ACI Response

Written by:
Friday, November 29th, 2013

An “Ecclesiology Committee” committee advising the House of Bishops has released a “Primer” on polity prepared with the assistance of various consultants identified at the end of the document. The identity of those preparing this document—most have participated as counsel or witnesses or have been listed as potential witnesses in the various lawsuits—makes obvious that the primary purpose of this document is its perceived usefulness in litigation. ACI principals have also appeared as witnesses in this litigation. This is our response to the claims asserted in this Primer.

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November 29 2013 | Articles

The Instruments of Unity and the Way Forward

Written by:
Friday, October 11th, 2013

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon at the Toronto Conference

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October 11 2013 | Articles

The State of the Communion and the Way Forward

Written by:
Friday, October 11th, 2013

Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis At The Toronto Congress

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October 11 2013 | Articles

Conciliation Accord: What It Means

Written by:
Saturday, March 9th, 2013

The recent Conciliation “Accord” announced between several bishops and their accusers over charges they violated canons in filing an amicus brief in Texas is a minor event. But it does fit well into a larger and disturbing pattern of TEC’s current leadership. That complaints were filed and charges brought against the bishops in the first place, such as to make this conciliation process necessary, represents gross misconduct on the part of the complainants in Fort Worth and of the Presiding Bishop’s office. It is misconduct not only according the canons as they now stand, but according to generally accepted ethical standards. That other TEC bishops and leaders have failed to protest this misconduct is a matter of shame for our church and for them.

The complaints and subsequent charges alleged that the bishops (and two ACI priests, about which later) violated canons by advising the Texas Supreme Court, in an Amicus brief, that the court should not wade into the property dispute between the departed and the continuing dioceses of Fort Worth in a way that demanded an adjudication of TEC’s Constitution. On the basis of the First Amendment and in conformance with our own TEC Canons (IV.19.2 makes it a violation to seek the secular court’s “interpretation of the constitution” and polity of our church), our brief asked that the court not engage in such interpretation, and gave reasons why not. If complaints were to be filed, they ought to have been filed against those of the continuing Fort Worth diocese and the PB’s office. They lodged the initial lawsuit and argued for the court’s engagement in interpreting our church’s constitution.

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March 09 2013 | Articles

Open Letter to the Bishops of The Episcopal Church

Written by:
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

This is a painful letter. It is painful because it concerns un-canonical (and perhaps even unlawful) actions on the part of our Presiding Bishop and her associates. These actions, detailed in the attached appendix and summarized in the bullet points below, have already undermined the good order and spiritual health of our church. We write to you our Bishops because of your responsibility for that good order. We write as Presbyters who have in one way or another faithfully served our church for over half a century. We pray that, despite the painful nature of the story we place before you, you will listen to what we have to say with a clear and open mind.

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November 27 2012 | Articles

South Carolina: A Communion Response

Written by:
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Yesterday Bishop Christopher Hill of Guildford, the chairman of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, advised that church’s General Synod of developments in South Carolina:

On Saturday, a Special Diocesan Convention endorsed the South Carolina withdrawal from The Episcopal Church. The Bishop has stated that their position would be to remain within the Anglican Communion as an extra-provincial Diocese. The Episcopal Church on the other hand maintains that General Convention consent is necessary for any withdrawal. So the legal and indeed theological and ecclesiological position is extremely complicated. And it is absolutely not certain.

It has therefore not been possible to consider the consequences for our relationships at this immediate stage. And, in my view, any statement just at this point would be premature.

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November 20 2012 | Articles

Consumed By Litigation: TEC In South Carolina (Part Two)

Written by:
Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

In the first part of this article we addressed questions of good faith and canonical integrity arising from TEC’s actions in South Carolina. We concluded that those actions raise troubling questions about the good faith of many church leaders in their dealing with Bishop Lawrence, including the Presiding Bishop, the Disciplinary Board, other TEC bishops and some diocesan clergy. We also concluded that TEC’s position is canonically incoherent: either its actions in South Carolina are in open contempt of its own canons or TEC has undermined the legal basis of its position by acknowledging that the Diocese has indeed left.

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November 14 2012 | Articles

Consumed By Litigation: TEC In South Carolina

Written by:
Sunday, November 11th, 2012

It is becoming increasingly apparent as we witness developments unfolding in The Episcopal Church that secular litigation objectives are paramount, trumping other principles such as the fundamental norms of Christian conduct, the canonical integrity of the church, ancient standards of catholic ecclesiology and even the pastoral care of TEC’s own people. Proof of this startling proposition abounds, including the inexplicable disciplinary charges brought against nine bishops for joining ACI in filing an amicus brief asking the Texas courts to refrain from deciding complex questions of TEC polity and in submitting truthful affidavit testimony in Illinois. But nowhere is the ascendancy of litigation imperatives more apparent than in the actions TEC has taken concerning the Diocese of South Carolina.

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November 11 2012 | Articles

Polity Politics or The Rule Of Law? A Response To Bishop Whalon

Written by:
Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Bishop Pierre Whalon’s recent essay, “Polity Politics,” offers a critique of the amicus curiae brief submitted to the Texas Supreme Court by ACI and seven bishops of The Episcopal Church. Surprisingly, there is much with which we agree in this essay, especially the conclusion Bishop Whalon reaches at the mid-point that “on the face of it, the seven bishops are right.” He goes on to assert that although we are right “on the face of it,” we are nonetheless ultimately wrong in light of his interpretation of TEC’s history, Constitution (which he never quotes) and ordination vows. While we disagree with him on these latter points, it is useful to start with the common ground where Bishop Whalon’s observations support the perspective expressed in the amicus brief.

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October 11 2012 | Articles

Title IV Under Review

Written by:
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

The recent General Convention passed two resolutions calling for fundamental review of the new Title IV. Resolution C116 called for a review of the “Constitutionality of Certain Provisions of Title IV,” including:

the constitutionality of the power granted therein to the Presiding Bishop to restrict the ministry of a Diocesan Bishop [and] the constitutionality of the creation of a charging and trial system applicable to Presbyters and Deacons in violation of Article IX of the Constitution which provides that Presbyters and Deacons shall be tried by a Court instituted by the Convention of the Diocese.

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August 15 2012 | Articles

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