Friday, August 29, 2008

The APA and the CCP

At a recent synod of the Anglican Province of America (APA), the Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D, as their presiding bishop explained why his jurisdiction will not be part of the Common Cause Partnership at this time. For your information as readers of The Continuum, here is the relevant portion of his address:

As I address this subject, I am reminded of a quotation of a wise man, "Be careful not to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate." At no time in my ten years as bishop of this Province has anything created more discussion and controversy as the Common Cause Partnership. So much of what the CCP stands for, we of the APA enthusiastically support.

A return to Biblical standards of faith and practice and the Anglican Way are what we would like to see re-established in this country and the world. Areas of great concern to those of us who left the Episcopal Church 30-40 years ago and upon which we have stood firm has been theological opposition to the ordination of women to the sacred ministry which in turn affects the validity of the sacraments and the theological weakening of the Book of Common Prayer. We have witnessed a steady decline in the witness of the Episcopal Church over these years which culminated in their consecrating an actively gay man as Bishop of New Hampshire. Nothing seemed to disturb the Episcopal Church as much as this, although their course and direction pointed this way for many years. It has all been part of the incrementalism that has infected the church in the 20th and 21st centuries.

We have always prayed that others who in conscience disagreed with the direction of The Episcopal Church (TEC) would leave and join those of us who left earlier. That time has come; the problem is the incremental changes that have taken place in TEC has created an entire generational gap.

Those of the APA and others who left in the 70's over the ordination of women and Prayer Book are theologically and culturally different from those who are now leaving. Aside from the homosexual concerns, our issues and their issues seem so different and what we see as of primary importance are of only secondary importance to the new exiles.

We must now ask ourselves as Bishop John Broadhurst, head of Forward in Faith, U.K. has asked recently, "Are we prepared to give up what we have worked so hard to maintain and what we believe is essential to being a Classical Anglican to be part of CCP?" Although the seductive nature of GAFCON has appealed to a number of our people, having read the Jerusalem Declaration coming from GAFCON, I find little encouragement for those of us who call ourselves "catholics." It is not so much what the Declaration says, but what it does not say. We must ask ourselves, are we prepared to break communion with our APA brethren to join something of which we are not sure ultimately what it will be?

"Be careful not to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate."

There are differing opinions about what the level of participation in the CCP we should have, particularly as it is now rapidly moving to become "the New North American Province." My statement in January 2008 that the APA not join the CCP at this time was supported by the majority of the House of Bishops, the Provincial Council, and many of the Christian media. The positive effect of this seems to have been that it has raised the issue of women's ordination (WO) to a new level of consciousness.

It appears that our not joining the CCP has caused more interest in addressing the problem. Bishop John Rodgers of the Anglican Mission in America noted at GAFCON the "serious degree of impaired communion...around this matter." Bishop Hewett, who attended GAFCON representing FACA, stated that FACA and Forward in Faith, N.A. (FIF/NA) and therefore the APA, will introduce a resolution to the CCP to begin a study of the women's ordination issue. There are forces and personalities in CCP equally intent on maintaining the status quo of allowing the ordination of women. Until a resolution is reached on this vital issue, there can be no inter-communion with other members of CCP who accept the practice.

It has been argued that the APA will have no voice at the table to defend our theological position as Classical Anglicans. This is not true. In October 2007, the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, which we of the APA helped to create a couple of years ago, voted to become a member of the CCP. At the April 2008 meeting, the Rt. Rev. Paul Hewett was elected to serve as the new Moderator of FACA. Although his jurisdiction, the Diocese of the Holy Cross, like the APA, are not voting members of the CCP, through the FACA we do have a voice and a vote on the direction of the New Province. Some will argue that we need to join now because the train is leaving the station. It has been stated that if the direction or the leadership changes we can always get off. Getting off a moving train can be very dangerous and we would no doubt have numerous casualties. I will state also, that not joining now does not mean this is irrevocable. I would like to quote one of our members who had served as a lay representative to CCP, Mr. D. J. Fulton of St. Barnabas' Church.

"I am actually cautiously optimistic on this matter (WO) although I cannot tell if a resolution will be reached in 20 days or 200 years. My guess is that whenever the resolution comes it will resemble the fall of the Soviet Union - it will come unexpectedly and quickly. The APA, by being in the unique role of collaborative initiator and principled non-joiner with respect to CCP will have played an important role in the resolution.

"Be careful not to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate."

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since the days of the Elizabethan Settlement, there has always been a Protestant majority in Anglicanism, as there has always been a Catholic minority in Anglicanism. The two have always had a very uneasy alliance. The current troubles in the C of E demonstrate that the two sides cannot stay together without the force of English law.

In the late 1970s, I think the Affirmation of St. Louis signaled the departure of the Catholic Anglicans on this side of the pond.

I don't believe that the Protestant side of Anglicanism and the Catholic side will ever be able to be united again. I think that is actually a good thing. It is a rediculous alliance.

Sadly, within the Catholic Anglicans - the Continuum - there are forces that could rip us apart.
Forcing Tridentine-style Missals on those who don't want them, accompanied with degrading the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER is a schism waiting to happen.

While I don't think the Protestant Anglicans and the Catholic Anglicans can ever be reunited, I sincerely hope that the Bishops of the Continuum aggresively defend the 1928 BCP, and preserve the rights of prayerbook catholics to exist, and continue to use it.

One would hope that all the Catholic Anglicans - whether users of the Missal or the 1928 BCP - could co-exist in unity.

1928 BCP Supporter

Brian G. said...

I applaud the bishop in his brave stance not to be seduced by a seat at the neo-Anglican cool kids table. I agree that there is a the problem is "an entire generational gap," in place, but as a 25-year-old and newcomer to the movement I believe that this does not have to be the case. Though I have only my own experiences to go on, I think that most younger people are simply unaware of what classical Anglicanism is.

But I believe their are also a sizable number of young Christians who want no part of the happy-clappy contemporary scene and liturgical cheese of the Baby Boomers. These individuals wold be open to the timelessness of the Anglican way if they only knew existed.

It is my hope that the churches of the Continuum will work more in outreach to younger people; college ministries based around classical Evening Prayer could be one such means. A very, very old-fashioned Presbyterian church I used to belong to had a disproportionately high number of twentysomethings thanks to their involvement with the PCA's college ministry. There's no reason why we could not do the same.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Bp Grundorf and the APA. They have made the only right decision.

1828 BCP Supporter writes:
"Forcing Tridentine-style Missals on those who don't want them, accompanied with degrading the BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER is a schism waiting to happen."

I would happen to agree with you here, but seriously, Supporter, do you know of any place where such is currently happening? In the early days of the Continuing Church Movement, we had a few high-handed priests who made such mistakes, being very insensitive to tiny congregations which were still grieving for the familiar parishes they had been driven out of. But those were spasmodic occurrences, taking place in a by-gone era, back in the late 70's and early 80's. I have never celebrated out of any book but the Altar Service Book of the 1928 BCP. We keep an Altar Missal in the sacristy for the convenience of visiting priests. When our bishop visited, as a courtesy I offered to put the Missal out.
He graciously declined, and said he was happy to use the Prayer Book. Prayer Book vs Missal is no longer a problem in any place that I have knowledge of.
LKW

Canon Tallis said...

Bishop Grundorf and the APA are certainly doing the right thing and all the rest of us should support them in this effort. But it is not enough. Those of us in the Continuum need our bishops to meet and found a Council of Canonical Bishops and work on the problems dividing those of us who want to continue to be classical Anglicans. I am afraid that i currently believe most of those problems to be about who gets to sit upon the biggest lily pad and who gets kicked to the far side of the pond. I am also horrified by the bishops in the TAC/ACA who seem to think that they can deal with Rome. But that is their problem thought what they will be put through will be a problem for all the rest of us.

But our real problem, the problem which has, I believe, kept us from evangelizing and growing is that so many of both our priests and bishops as well have read too much theology from any and every source except real Anglican ones. As a result the laity end up largely uninstructed because the clergy, not knowing or perhaps knowing only too well, don't want to step on any toes by expounding classical Anglican doctrine and practise. And that is one reason that I tell my own laity to read this blog and a few others where the writers have a real belief in patristic Christianity.

The only time I have used a missal since I was priested was at the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and at Lincoln cathedral. In neither place did I get a choice of books. And while I do use the Altar Service Book, I recognize that it is totally inadequate for anything except a said service because it contains nothing of the music required for intoning the beginning of the creed and the Gloria or singing the prefaces. In a church where Cramner immediately provided for a Prayer Book Noted and Edward VI had a plainchant mass to the English words of the 1549 book composed for the opening of parliament, the Altar Service Book seems more a hindrance than a real help. Further it explains what led to the use of the missals in the first place.

Anonymous said...

LKW:

I wish I could agree that in all places there was no problem with bishops and high-handed priests trying to force churches to use the Missal against their will.

This problem does exist. Perhaps not in your Diocese, for which you should be thankful.....

Unfortunately, the problem does exist, I can assure you.

1928 BCP Supporter

D. Straw said...

Canon Tallis:
I very much like what you are saying. However, I am going to take issue with one thing you said. Quote: "Those of us in the Continuum need our bishops to meet and found a Council of Canonical Bishops and work on the problems dividing those of us who want to continue to be classical Anglicans."

I respectfully disagree. I think the ACC, APCK and UEC is going about it the right way. We need to start working together at a grass roots level. We need for our clergy to be partners and our laity and clergy to see that the people in the other jurisdictions are not "ogres". Giant meetings where a bunch of purple shirts get together and argue about the 2% we don't agree on have been disasters. Unity needs to move from the bottom up...Not the top down.

Anonymous said...

D. Straw:

AMEN.

Unity in the Continuum will only come about if the laity demand it.

Sadly, the Bishops (some of them anyway) are interested in being big fish in small ponds. Those Bishops who want desire unity can't bring it about because of those who want to remain small ponds.

1928 BCP Supporter

John A. Hollister said...

Canon Tallis wrote, "Those of us in the Continuum need our bishops to meet and found a Council of Canonical Bishops and work on the problems dividing those of us who want to continue to be classical Anglicans."

It would be wonderful if this could be so but I am sadly convinced that this wonder remains a long way off in the future.

One problem with achieving such a goal is the issue of how we are to define "the Continuum", the bishops of which would meet together to achieve Canon Tallis's vision. If we restrict that term to the St. Louis churches, then Father Straw's observation is a valid one: the ACC, the APCK, and the UECNA are working together and their bishops do consult on matters of common concern. So that object is possible of achievement within a reasonable time.

If, however, we use "the Continuum" to mean each group which considers itself to be part of the Continuing Church movement, then the prospect of such an episcopal synod or "Standing Council of Canonical Anglican Bishops" ("SCCAB"?) starts rapidly receeding into the indefinite future.

That is because as soon as we start broadening the boundaries out beyond the limits of Chambers/Pagtakhan Successions, we find real and subsisting differences between those various groups, differences in both practice and belief, differences that must be address first, before much productive can be accomplished in mutual discussions.

This has been the downfall of "unity meeting" after "unity conference", from Fairfield, CT to Bartonville, IL: a miscellaneous collection of church leaders assembles; pats themselves on the back for all fighting the good fight against modernism and heresy; ringingly declares that they all believe essentially the same things, so there is no reason they should remain separated; affirms their intention to meet again for mutual consultation; goes home; and nothing is ever again heard about that particular initiative.

Nothing is heard about it because it proved itself to be a house built on sand, not firmly grounded on rock.

It IS highly desirable that all those who consider themselves to be "Continuing Anglicans" should communicate with one another, but they must do so with their eyes wide open, not wilfully blinding themselves to the real issues that have, up until now, kept them apart. It is only when those issues are truly and forthrightly addressed, with courtesy and charity but with realism, that there will be any chance of healing them.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

"Those of us in the Continuum need our bishops to meet and found a Council of Canonical Bishops..."

Your model (and its not a bad one)
seems to be the EO SCOBA. But the problem with your suggestions is that not everybody in the major branches of the Continuum even agrees
about who is "canonical." The ACC/UEC/APCK convergence is the most hopeful sign on the horizon.
LKW

Canon Tallis said...

For those in the ACC, UECNA & APCK to make the assertions or even to imply that there is more unity and belief and practise in and among those groups is simply and sadly not true. I as much as any other would wish it so, but the recent defection of all or almost all of the Eastern diocese of APCK to TAC/ACA should tell all of you something. Add to that the Leo Michaels affair and you may begin asking yourself just what happened there and might continue to happen.

When Canon Hollister mentions the Chambers/Pagtakhan succession, I am sure that he has not forgotten that there are two Pagtakhan successions. The lines of both must be considered valid. I believe that I would be correct tham men in both successions have passed from one group too another if not always happily. The problem of valid episcopal orders is actually rather simple if one takes personalities out of it. A person capable of being ordained either had hands laid on him using the rite in one of the classical Anglican prayer books with the adequate number of bishops and witnesses or he did not. Given the Articles and the ancient canons, belief must be judged on a willingness to keep the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church, i.e., to use the authorized rite in the manner in which it was intended by the canons and the rubrics and other parts of the rite itself with the last being real dificulty for far too many of those already in orders. I can remember a real looney ordained by Bishop Mote and given St Peter's, Albuquerque who attempted to out Rome Rome itself to the point of making a complete farce of the mass. But Mote ignored all complaints at the time.

I am sure that all the stories of what has happened in the past are completely true. They go; they talk; and they never return, but that was then and our position seemed a good deal more secure. Given the Anglicanism-lite movements which are springing up all around us still wedded to the '79 book and WO, we have competition which was not present before and which is already on the verge of creating a new alternative North American province. Indeed, it is probably only months away. That should make everything different if we really want to see classical, orthodox prayer book Anglicanism survive, grow and thrive. We have new skills to learn and old ills to forgive and, hopefully, forget.

Bishops, believe it or not, are supposed to be leaders, men willing to take calculated risks for maintaining and spreading of the Gospel and the tradition which was entrusted to them at their consecration. They are supposed to imitating the actions we read about in the Gospels and the book of Acts and not hiding behind the type of Victorian spikery which really should have disappeared before the turn of the last century rather than the latest one.
I realize that they all (and I do mean all) feel inadequate for the job to which they have been called and consecrated, but so did St Peter and St Paul but they at least confessed it and got on with doing what the Lord had commanded even though they never appeared too happy with each other. The Continnum bishops should start doing the same and do so without attempting to out-spike each other. If they are afraid to do it in public, then they should begin to talk to each other privately. But there are no real excuses for them not talking to each other. It is part of their job and job description, being the hinges of unity. If they won't do it then the laity as well as their priests should know that they have the wrong men for the job.

Real Anglicans since the seventeenth century have been willing to talk to almost anyone because they were secure in their faith and their identity. They also knew what they believed because they knew what the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops had believed and done. And for their beliefs they went to the stake, went underground and fled the country, were taken to the tower under James II and imprisonment under William and the Georges. And their example and witness is just as relevant today.

Frankly, it would be wonderful to see the bishops of the ACC, UECNA, and APCK taking the lead if all they did was get together for a week each year to say the office together and take turns celebrating the eucharist while sharing common meals. I can see the ACC primate and his suffragans actually taking the lead in this if for no other reason that i think they have a greater sense of who they are. I pray that I am mistaken about the others.

If the clergy and laity really want to do something to further unity, then they could begin praying for all the bishops and their priests and congregations by name. I do. I even pray for some of the locals which causes my congregation to roll their eyes and moan because they know them only too well. But they say 'amen' and mean it. How many of you prayer for the congregations you know, and for the bishops, priests and deacons whom you may not know but upon whose faithfulness to the fullness of doctrine and practise we all should expect because the future of Anglicanism in their area may depend upon it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For those in the ACC, UECNA & APCK to make the assertions or even to imply that there is more unity and belief and practise in and among those groups is simply and sadly not true.

Actually, it is quite true regarding the ACC and the UECNA, and I expect details for a story to report in The Christian Challenge, and to post here, any day now. As for the APCK, we can only take them at their word, and hope they mean to further unity in fact. However, I am not sure what this has to do with the TAC-ACA, or the Kansas City fiasco from that HCC-AR bunch, because their actions are quite independent of the ACC-UEC-APCK accord.

Anonymous said...

Canon Tallis writes:

"Given the Anglicanism-lite movements which are springing up all around us still wedded to the '79 book and WO, we have competition which was not present before and which is already on the verge of creating a new alternative North American province."

Not to worry, Cannon. This "competition" is largely illusory.
The folks (and I am surrounded by them here, having at least six of their churches within 30 minutes driving time from my parish church, and 2 within 10 minutes) have problems of their own. They have yet to put together a unified front and cannot seem to resolve the problem of WO. Notice how they have stopped throwing barbs at us about our divisions? They have divisions of their own. While they have some large congegations, they have many more that are struggling. Their main problem (from face to face meetings and conversations) is the lack of theological coherence. Rick Warren seems to be their only theologian. Some of their people are starting to show up in our congregation. Having the neo-Anglicans around is, if anything, a help.
LKW

D. Straw said...

I am in the UECNA and was asked to do a visitation for the APCK back in February of this year. While our rector and I were gone to a Deanery meeting earlier this summer the closest Continuing priest to us (who happens to be APCK) filled in for us and did the service. Details were published in Glad Tidings: http://www.united-episcopal.org/Files/newsletter/GT_TRIN2-08.pdf

We have a UECNA priest serving as an assisting priest out in an APCK parish in San Diego. http://www.anglicanpck.org/dioceses/index.html He is clearly listed as a UECNA priest.

So, the APCK are very much part of the unity between the UECNA and the ACC. I am sure there are many more instances I am not aware of.

John A. Hollister said...

Canon Tallis wrote: "When Canon Hollister mentions the Chambers/Pagtakhan succession, I am sure that he has not forgotten that there are two Pagtakhan successions."

That is why I actually wrote, "the Chambers/Pagtakhan Successions", capitalized, plural.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Canon Tallis wrote:

"[I]t would be wonderful to see the bishops of the ACC, UECNA, and APCK taking the lead [in initiating inter-jurisdictional contacts among Continuing Anglicans] if all they did was get together for a week each year to say the office together and take turns celebrating the eucharist while sharing common meals."

Personally, I think this suggestion is simply brilliant. Just meet, pray, communicate, and eat: all powerful tools of basic Christian fellowship. No agenda, no publicity, no drive to issue a "Unity Communique" at the end of the week.

I hope -- and, now, pray -- that some of those bishops who read this blog -- and some do -- take this pregnant idea deeply to heart.

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

AMEN!

The route to real unity doesn't lie primarily in heavy theological and logistical discussions, even though these are questions that need to be dealt with. The route to real unity does lie in the building of mutual love and respect as brethren in Christ.

If the lack of intercommunion is taken so seriously as to keep the bishops from sharing the Sacrament, though I find such a situation unaccountable, it does seem to be a reality on the ground. In such a case, let the Mass be celebrated, in rotation in such a gathering, and if not everyone can receive, let the pain of that bring sorrow and motivation to find an answer. If there is not intense pain and sorrow in such a withhholding, then there is cause for despair.

Right Reverend Fathers, can this be begun? Why hasn't it begun already?

ed

Brian G. said...

It's unfortunate that the APA's (justified) wariness of the CCP seems to be the cause of the APA Diocese of the West bid to leave for the Reformed Episcopal Church.