Bishop Venables: Communion “Breaking Up Because Nobody is Leading”

May 7, 2008 by

From The Living Church Foundation The work of amending the Constitution and Canons of the Southern Cone in order to regularize the admission of parishes and dioceses beyond South America is about to begin, according to Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables. The Primate of the Southern Cone made a visit to the Diocese of Fort Worth for a series of meetings with clergy and lay leaders May 2-4. “The Anglican Communion in the United States has been hijacked,” Bishop Venables said, by an Episcopal Church leadership that doesn’t “mind what happens as long as they control it. “I am astounded that in America, the land of the free, so many people have been robbed of their freedom,” he said. Bishop Venables’ visit began with a private meeting of diocesan clergy at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Fort Worth on May 2. The following day, Bishop Venables met with a convocation of elected clergy and lay delegates to the diocesan convention. The convocation also included about 130 visitors who were granted seat, but not voice. There was no voting. On Sunday morning, Bishop Venables preached at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, and again later during Evensong at St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth. At each stop on Sunday he answered questions from those present. Bishop Venables visited the Diocese of Fort Worth at the invitation of its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker. In late April, Bishop Venables also visited with Anglicans who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and with the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin in California. Prior to his arrival in Fort Worth, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote a public letter to Bishop Venables. She asked him to cancel his visit in part because it was “an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this province,” and because it would prevent “needed reconciliation from proceeding” within The Episcopal Church. “This is not about schism,” Bishop Venables said. “Schism is separation on secondary issues. This is [a question of] essentials. “You [in the Diocese of Fort Worth] must decide whether or not you can stand with a group of people who have denied that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Bible is the Word of God.” Should clergy and lay delegates to the annual convention in Fort Worth next November vote a second time to amend the diocesan articles of incorporation and leave The Episcopal Church, the Province of the Southern Cone has invited the diocese to affiliate on an “emergency and pastoral basis” despite the fact that the Southern Cone’s constitution currently limits member dioceses to those geographically located in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Last December, the Province of the Southern Cone welcomed the Diocese of San Joaquin after its convention voted a second time to amend its bylaws and disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church. Despite articles of incorporation which seem to prohibit welcoming overseas dioceses and licensing deposed clergy and bishops for...

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FLORIDA: 41 Orthodox Episcopal Priests Deposed Since 2004 by Liberal Bishop

May 4, 2008 by

By David Virtue, Virtueonline When he first took office, Samuel Johnson Howard seemed the picture of sweet reasonableness, promising to work with everyone, his door open to all, announcing that he was orthodox as he followed in the footsteps of the late evangelical Bishop of Florida, Steve Jecko. In January 2004, things looked promising when the Diocese of Florida decided to uninvite Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold for the much-anticipated consecration of Howard as the next Bishop Coadjutor of Florida. There was an air of euphoria, a general feeling then that the change from Bishop Jecko to Howard would be a transition that orthodox priests could live with. They soon became disillusioned. Howard moved into the diocese snubbing his predecessor, never once consulting him on diocesan matters before he arrived or afterwards. Jecko lived in a humble $100,000 home, Howard demanded, and got, a $1 million dollar residence, one, he no doubt thought, that befit a priest who had spent his previous years at the wealthiest church in the world – Trinity Wall Street in New York City. He bought most of his home with other peoples’ money (OPM). Then began his ecclesiastical reign of terror. He was not gospel driven, he was an institutionalist, a corporatist, obedient not to those who paid his bills in the diocese, but as the CEO of a diocese whose boss resided at 815 2^nd Avenue, New York, a city with which he was all too familiar. For the orthodox clergy of the diocese, the joy quickly turned into disillusionment when it became clear that Howard had adopted the party line and would not go against the liberal Episcopal House of Bishops or his uber boss, then Frank Griswold later Katharine Jefferts Schori. When he first came into the diocese as Bishop Coadjutor, Howard demanded a bigger portion of the budget for himself and insisted that he be allowed to bring his administrative assistant, Paul Van Brunt with him from Trinity Wall Street. He got both wishes. Then Howard started to play hardball with parishes that refused to cough up their full assessment. One of the larger Network churches in the Diocese of Florida, All Soul’s Jacksonville, resolved to send 9% of its 10% to the Diocese of Florida, and to redirect the additional 1% to the Anglican Communion Network. This was in 2004. When All Soul’s sent their 9%, Bishop Howard returned the check because it did not, in his mind comply with the letter of the diocesan resolution, i.e., the Network was not a valid choice for their 1%, even though they were supporting the diocesan budget with their 9 %. The truth is Bishop Howard wanted it all, said a source at that time. All money was to go through him with no local options. When the Rev. Neil Lehbar rector, Church of the Redeemer, Jacksonville, stood up and asked when his church and the others who were withholding funds from the diocese would be "put on notice." Howard replied: "You...

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Pope’s visit to US seen as snub to The Episcopal Church

May 3, 2008 by

From Global South Anglican IN A POINTED critique of the Episcopal Church, Pope Benedict XVI told participants at an ecumenical prayer service in New York that the decision of some ecclesial communities to place their perceived prophetic witness above all else, weakened the body of Christ. Speaking at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan on April 18 during his five-day tour of the US, Benedict did not single out the Episcopal Church by name, but in circumspect terms criticized its innovations of doctrine and discipline. Traditional church protocol was also upended as the Episcopal Church’s representative to the gathering, New York Bishop Mark Sisk, was presented last to the Pope from the group of over a dozen Orthodox and Protestant leaders. The papal snub of the Episcopal Church’s national leadership began at a White House reception hosted by President George W Bush. The Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev James Stanton —- a leader of the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church —- was invited to the reception. However, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was not. Bishop Schori, who was visiting Palm Beach and Miami during the Washington phase of the tour, declined to attend the April 18 ecumenical gathering in New York, citing a prior commitment to dedicate a diocesan building in Utah. In her stead, the Bishop of New York and her deputy for ecumenical relations, the Rt Rev C Christopher Epting, attended the New York event. Following the consecration of Gene Robinson, the gay bishop of New Hampshire, the future Pope startled the Anglican world by making a public intervention in the American church’s battle over homosexuality. The then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter of greeting to conservative Anglicans gathered in Dallas to protest against the Robinson consecration, writing to assure them of his “heartfelt prayers.” “The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcend the borders of any nation. With this in mind, I pray in particular that God’s will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself,” he told the predominantly evangelical gathering. In his New York speech last week, Benedict lamented the decision of some Christian communities to depart from traditional teaching “at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel.” “Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called ‘prophetic actions’ that are based” on beliefs “not always consonant” with Scripture or Tradition. Some had abandoned “the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of ‘local options’,” he said noting that the “relativistic approach” to faith was leading to the fragmentation of the church and a diminution of its witness to the world....

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Bishop predicts gay union blessings ‘in our lifetimes’

May 2, 2008 by

From Dallas Voice Head of Episcopal Church USA visits predominantly gay Dallas congregation, urges listeners to ‘pray blessings’ on those with whom they disagree on church policies Speaking at the predominantly gay parish that was the site of her first official visit to Dallas, the leader of the Episcopal Church said Monday, April 28 that she expects the denomination to sanction same-sex union ceremonies “in our lifetimes.” Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the U.S. branch of the 80-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, also said she believes openly gay bishop Gene Robinson’s exclusion from the upcoming Lambeth Conference will only serve to increase his impact on the event. And Jefferts Schori assured supporters from Fort Worth that the church hasn’t forgotten them even though their diocese took steps last fall toward leaving the denomination as a result of a dispute about the role of gays and women. Jefferts Schori spent about 15 minutes answering questions inside The Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle after participating in an elaborate blessing ceremony for the parish’s new community vegetable garden outside. She prefaced her remarks by suggesting that she didn’t necessarily choose St. Thomas for the visit because of its unofficial status as Dallas’ gay parish or its long history of progressive stances on other social issues. “A number have people have asked me, ‘How did you decide to come here?’” said Jefferts Schori, who was invited by members of the congregation to bless the garden. “Well, somebody asked, and that’s really all it takes — that and the consent of your bishop here in Dallas.” The reference to James Stanton, bishop of the Dallas Episcopal Diocese, drew laughter from the crowd of hundreds who gathered at St. Thomas, 6525 Inwood Road. Stanton, a conservative who’s been a leader in the fight against gay Anglican bishops, approved Jefferts Schori’s visit but was not in attendance. Stanton didn’t respond to a request for comment from Dallas Voice, but he reportedly told The Dallas Morning News that his absence was due to a scheduling conflict created by a longstanding family commitment. “This is not a protest of any sort whatsoever,” Stanton told The Morning News. One audience member asked Jefferts Schori how openly gay Episcopalians should respond to church leaders, such as Stanton, who aren’t supportive. “Recognize that people come to different conclusions out of a deep sense of faith, and honor that,” Jefferts Schori said. “I think a lot of our difficulty right now is because we’re assuming the worst of people who disagree with us. When we can recognize another person as a faithful Christian who’s simply come to a different conclusion, we start at a much better place than we do when we assume that person is our enemy. So pray blessings on people who disagree with you.” Another gay audience member who said he met his partner of 10 years at St. Thomas asked when the couple will be able to walk down the aisle together and have their relationship...

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Memorandum Concludes Presiding Bishop is Subverting Constitution and Canons:

May 1, 2008 by

By George Conger for CEN Sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, according to a legal memorandum that has begun circulating among members of the House of Bishops. A copy of the April 21 document seen by a reporter representing The Living Church states Bishop Jefferts Schori demonstrated a “willful violation of the canons, an intention to repeat the violations, and a pattern of concealment and lack of candor” in her handling of the cases of bishops Robert W. Duncan, John-David Schofield and William Cox, and that she “subverted” the “fundamental polity” of The Episcopal Church in the matter of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Prepared by an attorney on behalf of a consortium of bishops and church leaders seeking legal counsel over the canonical implications of the Presiding Bishop’s recent actions, it is unclear whether a critical mass of support will form behind the report’s recommendations for any action to be taken, persumably as a violation of the Presiding Bishop’s ordination vows. Title IV, Canon 3, Section 23a requires the consent of three bishops, or 10 or more priests, deacons and communicants “of whom at least two shall be priests. One priest and not less than six lay persons shall be of the diocese of which the respondent is canonically resident.” Victims of sexual misconduct and the Presiding Bishop also may bring charges before the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee. Title IV, Canon 3, Section 27 specifies that the Presiding Bishop appoints the five bishops to the Review Committee and the president of the House of Deputies appoints the two members of the clergy and two lay members. A spokeswoman said the Presiding Bishop was unable to respond to the charges as she had not yet seen the memorandum.   Read article...

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'Shocked and saddened' Bishop of Fort Worth: Letter to KJS

Apr 30, 2008 by

David Virtue   FT WORTH: Iker Blasts Schori over Venables Visitation April 30, 2008 The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori 815 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017 Dear Katharine, I am shocked and saddened by the rude letter you released yesterday to Archbishop Greg Venables, concerning his visit this weekend to the Diocese of Fort Worth. Far from being "an unwarranted interference," he is coming at my request as an honored visitor and guest speaker. You should know that under the canons this does not require either your approval or your support. You have no say in this matter. A diocesan bishop is free to invite other bishops to visit and speak in his diocese. There are no efforts at reconciliation proceeding within this Province, which is one reason why faithful people continue to leave TEC in droves. Your attitude and actions simply reinforce alienation and bring further discord. Once again, you are the one meddling in the internal affairs of this diocese, and I ask you to stop your unwelcome intrusions. Faithfully in Christ, The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker Bishop of Fort Worth cc: The Archbishop of...

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