Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another Bishop Comments

Bishop Henry Parsley has written to his diocese his initial thoughts on the just completed HOB meeting. Bishop Parsley is another conservative Bishop who took part in the Camp Allen meetings, and is counted by those who count these things as one of the so-called Windsor Bishops.

Here is some of what Bishop Parsley wrote:
A central portion of our meeting, necessarily, was devoted to the recent Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the unfolding Anglican Covenant development process. Our discussion was respectful and full in regard to both of these important matters. As a supporter of the Windsor process I must admit that I was disappointed by some of the tone of the Communiqué, which seems inconsistent with much of the spirit of the Windsor Report and was quite different from that of the previous report of the Primates' Standing Committee about our General Convention's responses. The covenant process is in its early stages and there
is much yet to discuss.

It became clear to the bishops gathered at Camp Allen that the proposal of the Primates to establish a Pastoral Council, including appointed bishops from outside our church, to provide oversight within the Episcopal Church is not compatible with our polity. This pastoral scheme outlined in the Communiqué is not workable within our Constitution and Canons, and it was important for us to say this forthrightly.

Accordingly, we have asked for a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates' Standing Committee at the earliest possible date to discuss these matters face to face and in more depth. This is a most appropriate and reasonable request. I hope that this meeting will come to pass, as it is an essential step in the on-going process of healing and reconciliation in the Communion.

I personally support the two Mind of the House resolutions that we adopted. (atg+ notes: the recommendation that Executive Council say "no" and the invitation to the ABC and Primate Council.) The Statement we adopted I believe to be somewhat premature and unnecessarily reactive, though much of the content is accurate. I would have preferred to study and reflect on these matters in preparation for our September meeting of the House of Bishops, and I voted to refer it.

Other issues in the Communiqué will be considered further, with the help of a study document to be prepared in the coming weeks.
He continues:
It is well to remember that this is an on-going process which involves the many-faceted and multi-cultural global community that is the Anglican Communion. It requires a patient and prayerful spirit from all of us.
Here is a Camp Allen/Windsor bishop who does not want to be rushed into a hasty, premature covenant process. While he voted to refer the longer third resolution, he did not vote against it. His support of the first Mind of the House resolution is significant in that it looks like he did not agree with Draft Covenant-based assumptions that undergird the Key Recommendations, neither could he support a solution that would cause us to violate our own constitution and canons. It is clear that he would like more work done on the Covenant before we start making decisions based on it.

As more conservative and moderate Bishops weigh in, I have two hopes & prayers as we move forward:

I pray that the people who characterize the House as being willfully Biblically ignorant and canon-fundamentalist will pay attention, especially as certain groups contemplate separating dioceses and congregations from the Episcopal Church. Our vows, our obligations as stewards of the ministry of the Church and her properties, and, for the matter, the laws of the several states simply don't go away just because one party thinks they are on God's side. I hope and pray attention to who supported these resolutions before making any hasty decisions.

My other fervent prayer is the Archbishop of Canterbury will quickly and with as much enthusiasm as he can muster accept the Bishops invitation to meet with the House of Bishops. If he really values the Windsor Process and really wants to hold the Communion together, here is his chance. The longer he waits, the more grudging any acceptance will seem, the harder he will make it for himself.

(Hat tip to Jim Naughton and Daily Episcopalian.)

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