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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Is Too Late To Save The Communion


In a nutshell, yes. The Anglican Communion has been split. There is no turning back and there is no repairing and there is no fixing or making better or even a reason to pretend, though apparently many in the Episcopal Church would like for us to continue to pretend (Leonardo, what do you think of pretending?)

The Anglican Communion was doomed when Bishop Wantland and Mr. Schofield and Mr. Howe all decided to "steal" the corporate jewels: "The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America", maybe before. The fate of the Communion was sealed when the diocese of San Joaquin quit and went to the Southern Cone. The full program had been developed and put into play way back then. If you haven't noticed, we in the Episcopal Church have been one step behind every twist and evil turn that came from the Primates, ACNA, Robert Duncan and Jack Iker. Ya know what, good riddance to bad rubbish. As Jesus would say, "Let the dead bury the dead." Let's get on with living.

It is time to say goodbye and move forward with our plans. Here is what I suggest:
First, send the Anglican Covenant back to the Archbishop of Canterbury in tiny little shredded pieces.

Second, reconstitute the Episcopal Church in the United States of America to create a unicameral house, the House of Delegates where each member votes and the majority plus one rules. Not all bishops, not all clergy would be members but rather a structure not unlike the house of representatives could be created and then used as a base for all future conventions.
Third, re-write the "job description" of the bishop (of all bishops) to create a truly (and only) pastoral role for this order. The bishops should be first, last and always charged with the care and feeding of the lambs including the clergy. Let's strip the mystique from this order and bring them back to earth to do what they should have been doing all along.
Fourth, title V and the canons that go with it, should be re-written to include anyone with an ecclesiastical role can be presented including lay and clergy -- for the ecclesiastical roles only.
Fifth, kick open the doors and windows and lets get EVERYONE fully included in the life and work of the church. We stand for the love and care of Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the two great commandments, let's make that ring out from sea to shining sea.
Sixth, create a prayerbook that reflects our love and care and concern and still has the prose and beauty of it all.
Seventh, collapse the dioceses and the provinces to sizes that make sense in both numbers and geography as well as finances and outreach.
Eighth, rewrite the procedures for becoming a bishop -- create bishops that are 7 year bishops and then they go back to being just regular clergy. Based on a good job description of bishops lets let everyone (well, okay, most everyone) take a crack at being a bishop.
Summary, lets stop playing like there is something to lose and nothing to gain. We have lost the Communion and we stand to gain our church back. Let's get going -- time's awastin'!

11 comments:

clint.capers said...

I, too, am ready to shed our pretending. The 8 points are just right for a beginning of prayer, study and discussion on how to move the Church forward.
Some of the points are perhaps, too radical, others, perhaps, don't go far enough but they are a good start.
As Christ's own,let's move away from wishful thinking and into a more productive reality.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Hark! Even the Archbishop of Canterbury is having trouble pretending these days...thank goodness he is British and can avoid thinking about unpleasantness, even in Entebbe, when it smacked him in the face!

So handy, denial and pretend, so versatile as LGBT Anglicans are being hunted down, scorned, demonized and even burned...not a whisper was heard except a little something about celibate bishops are somethu´n like that!

I´m not certain if it´s a case of denial and pretend or if his Mum slammed a iron frying pan down on the ¨sensitivity¨ side of his head when he was a little hairy thing.

Fred Schwartz said...

So Clint and Leonardo,

How do we get it out there so we can discuss, set goals, and mvoe forward? And, BTW, I like the bishop stuff especially --

Chris H. said...

Your changes for bishops sound great, and the number of diocese need to be reduced, but geography becomes the big problem there, at least in the West. Too many diocese west of the Mississippi are at least the size of all of New England, but only have a around 2000 members. Ideas?

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Ok, Ok...I like and respect Bishops (mostly)...my experience has been good (mostly)...I´m currently in a diocese that has a bishop that I had a nasty experience with years ago...but, that was then, perhaps now he´s a more enlightened fellow. Here´s the deal for me, I think that no bishop ought be held in such high esteem that he can´t be questioned, challenged and censored (if necessary)...I see no need to keep a person, bishop or not, on the payroll that harms, by manipulation or not, the spiritual welfare of ALL OF HIS FLOCK! The politicos of TEC who bark schismatic clap-trap about their exclusive ¨faith once delivered¨ (only to them like Domino Pizzas 2x1) is bold, brazen and excluding nonsense...the minute the ¨sinners¨ start being singled out it is clear the BISHOP either mends the situation or he/she must go...they are not leaders made to seperate, cause ill-will and determine who is first and second class participants at The Body of Christ...they are menders, fixers and encouragers...they ought be counselors and not agents of perpetuating fear and hate...enough of that crap, if they don´t have the humility and basic sensibilities to know ministry right from wrong it´s time to throw the bums/bumettes out! All of them, ¨thou shalt not divide¨...I made that one up!

Fred Schwartz said...

Chris,
Collapse diocese into large diocese where necessary and use "suffragan" bishops to cover more territory. Bishops would still be elected for a period of not more than 7 years and then return to the regular clergy (if that is the term). Eliminating the House of Bishops is a biggie for me -- it isolates and empowers those folks and that is the last thing they need.

Fred Schwartz said...

Leonardo,
The limiting rule of 7 years should slow most down and the re-adjustment of the job duties could also help. Let's let the laity do more of the politics -- not that I am overly crazy about that but by difussing the politcal power it should slow down the run to the door. The Title VI adjustments would also keep the Standing Committee (laity and clergy) in a line.

Elizabeth said...

I have some concerns about the Bishop suggestions. Experience has shown that not all Bishops are good pastors of the flock. Re-electing a Bishop every seven years would limit the damage one Bishop could do, but would also limit the good a Bishop could do. Seven years seems awfully short. It increases the chances of some really poor Bishops.

Some priests, when consecrated Bishop, turn out to be terrible administrators. I agree with the concept of having laity handle a lot of the administration.

Some of the other suggestions such as the PB changes, in a way are already happening. I think we need to let them evolve at a pace that fits the individual congregation. We are a people of the Book of Common Prayer which unifies us, but the current book allows some wiggle room for growth. I'm for letting things evolve for awhile with supplementary texts before we make changes.

Fred Schwartz said...

Elizabeth,
Seven isthe jubilation year and nothing says one cannot "re-up". As far as administration, I do not want a bishop to be political. I want her to be pastoral only. I think there is a difference between political and administrative/ion. And I do not wish to wait for the evolution of anything -- we wait for the anything more to evolve, I am tired of that type of approach, sorry. I beleive evolution has got us into the fix we are in.

Lionel Deimel said...

Soundly rejecting the Anglican covenant is certainly a good place to start getting the Episcopal Church house in order. I am certainly sympathetic to some of the other suggestions—bishops are surely too powerful—but we should be wary of too much change too fast.

An interesting conversation occurred over at The Lead about episcopal tenure. The conversation there is well worth reading.

Fred Schwartz said...

Thanks Linoenl. I posted over there as well.