Monday, September 5, 2011

Waiapu and Auckland: Predictably Protestant Anglicans

If you had asked me last week which diocesan synods in our church in these islands were most likely to approve resolutions against the Covenant and for the blessing of same sex relationships and/or ordinations of partnered gay or lesbian ministers, then I would have said that Waiapu and Auckland would be high on the list, along with Dunedin.

So it has come to pass at the Auckland and Waiapu synods that predictable motions have become resolutions of these dioceses, as you can read in Taonga here, here and here (with a general Covenant round up here).

Is the writing on the wall concerning the Covenant and our church? With two (of five) hui amorangi of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa and two (of seven) dioceses of the NZ Dioceses voting against the Covenant, even if all other episcopal units vote for the Covenant, we are a church divided on the Covenant at a synodical level (i.e. not just at the level of bloggers and commenters exchanging opinions). Since the Covenant is a document expressing the catholic longings of global Anglicanism to be coherent in theology, consistent in praxis and united in fellowship it is a-catholic of our church to think that a divided General Synod can sign the Covenant. If we are not united about the Covenant then we should refrain from signing.*

It seems that the substance of the anti-Covenanters' theology is protestant in the sense of exercising the right to protest against an attempt to develop the substantive catholicism of our church as a body with coherent doctrine measured against the doctrine of global Anglicanism. In terms of style, ironically, many of those voting against the Covenant will have been catholic (or should that be 'catholic') - our church is an odd beast these days, trending in some places towards greater catholic style in liturgical worship which often obscures an increasing liberalism in theology.

Our church is a confused church in many ways, but most importantly I raise the question whether we are confused about the nature of the church. As simply as I can put it the confusion concerns the church as the body of Christ, a unified body with diverse members. In our church we often seem to wish to preserve diversity at any cost and look suspiciously on all attempts to enhance our unity. This is a deeply unbiblical theology (cf. Ephesians 1). I wonder if the Auckland and Waiapu synods reflected on the implications of their protestantism? Were chasubles left hanging in the vestries as an expression of renewed protestant fervour?

*Astute readers may wish to ask whether I think it worth my own local diocese, Christchurch, pursuing its discussion of the Covenant in its next Synod in March 2012. I think it is worth pursuing on the following grounds:

(1) The Covenant is a great idea and Christchurch Anglicans should not be deprived of the opportunity to say so.

(2) It is early days yet for seeing where the global trend of reception or rejection of the Covenant is heading. Suppose by our General Synod in July 2012 we learned that 30+ churches in the Communion were accepting the Covenant, we might go into that GS wondering whether the GS decision itself ought to reflect diocesan and hui amorangi resolutions against the Covenant or those for the Covenant. Representatives of the anti-Covenant episcopal units are not bound to vote one way or another at GS.  The members of GS must vote in the interests of the whole church, viewing the Covenant from a different vantage point to episcopal units. On this matter they may need to consider whether going against a tide of catholicism sweeping the Communion is in the interests of our church.

Support for the Covenant by the Diocese of Christchurch (possibly Nelson, Wellington, Waikato and Taranaki, and Polynesia too) would be a sign to our GS that our whole church voting for the Covenant had some support at the level of episcopal units.

Of course by July 2012 it might be crystal clear that a tide of protestantism is sweeping the Communion ...


liturgy said...

Greetings Peter,

Is your use of the word “catholic” in this post the same as your use of the word “catholic” in your post four days ago?
Is it really helpful to use “protestant” as a pejorative term?
You appear to use the word “church” surprisingly loosely in this post, and it is unclear in many cases whether you are referring to our province or what? The confusion does not enhance your point that we are confused about church.
The viewing of vestments as a sign of a particular theological position is something, thankfully, most have long left behind. The suggestion that chasubles be somehow signals of positions on the so-called Anglican Covenant or sexuality would be a sad return IMO to nineteenth century controversy approaches.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,

I think I am using 'catholic' in the same sense.

No, 'protestant' is not intended to be pejorative here: my point is that 'protestant' is part of our Anglican character, as well as 'catholic'.

My question is whether outward catholic form might be loosened, if not jettisoned to better illustrate a renewed embrace of our protestant character.

In a sense my point is that vestments ought to be a sign of theological commitment: thus it is particularly confusing to find greater adherence to vestments (and other signs of our catholic character as a church) not illustrating greater adherence to catholic doctrine.

What are vestments for but to symbolise something about what we believe? If not, are they simply fashion accessories?

Zane Elliott said...

Hi Peter,
it has been a pretty tough weekend to be evangelical in the ACANZP! I have been watching the events unravel across facebook and as I did so one thing really surprised me - the motion against the covenant in Auckland is identical to the motion before the Diocese of Dunedin. From reading Bosco Peters blog yesterday I discovered the 'say no to the Anglican Covenant NZ' group which seems to be headed up by Ven Lawrence Kimberley. I'm not surprised that this group exists - but I was really disappointed that despite synodical process being followed this group has managed to impose its views upon two diocesan synods. Admittedly those two dioceses were probably going to reject the proposed covenant anyway, but I thought an integral part of a synod was to discern and articulate the mind of the diocese - not to give a platform to an external lobby group who have found sympethisers to lodge the same motion across the country. Is it not the job of synod reps to represent the view of their parish as opposed to a few individuals who have banded together from across the country?

I know I am still young, and somewhat green but where is the integrity of those behind this movement? And are they going to succeed in high jacking the ACANZP on this issue?

Zane Elliott said...

Hi (again!) Peter,
'In a sense my point is that vestments ought to be a sign of theological commitment: thus it is particularly confusing to find greater adherence to vestments (and other signs of our catholic character as a church) not illustrating greater adherence to catholic doctrine.' - hear hear! Will you be moving to my position on cassock and surplice? I would be thrilled to see you cast off the old shackles of alb and stole! (please note my tounge is in cheek).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Zane
I am not sure that one needs to have disquiet over motions with the same wording appearing at synods across the land. If I formed a "Let's bring ++Rowan to visit our church" organisation and rang friends in other episcopal units asking them to present a motion urging the archbishops to invite him, I don't think that would be perturbing. In the end each Synod will make its own response to such motions, and each Synod has the right not only to vote for or against such a motion, but also to move an amendment.

The same right which anti-Covenanters appear to have exercised across a couple of synods is also open to the Latimer Fellowship, the Anglican Missions Board, etc.

Father Ron Smith said...

"...the Church as the Body of Christ with diverse members'
- Peter Carrell

And that's about as 'catholic' as you can get! The word catholic does not necessarily mean monolithic - rather, the unity existing between diversely gifted members.

I really think that some so-called 'protestants' who, in the normal course of events would like to dump the conception of catholicity, are using the present conflict within the Communion to shore up their own understanding of catholicity as meaning 'protestant uniformity'.

God's creation is infinitely diverse. Why would God want us all to be the same as one another. Our unity is in Christ - not any one understanding of the institution.

The Covenant as it stands would no more guarantee catholicity than the present assortment of theological understandings of what a Covenant should consist of. A Covenant of the like-minded is only a guarantee of like-mindedness - which doesn't necessarily give us the 'Mind of Christ'.

If Anglicans wanted uniformity, why would we have moved out of the R.C. understanding of a closed-minded magisterium?

With the inclusion of Section 4, the Covenant is doomed to an isolationist view of the Church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Zane
The use of symbols in our church does vary over the years. In theory wearing a chasuble could be adopted by low church evangelicals as a vestment of choice for the 21st century. If so I would expect (say) Latimer Fellowship to run a feature explaining the theological shift behind such an adoption.

The shift from cassock, surplice, and preaching scarf to alb and stole or preaching scarf for evangelicals is a reasonable shift in keeping with the minimalist approach to robing which many evangelicals have adhered to.

The question for a young evangelical to ask re cassock, surplice and preaching scarf is whether the 'look' of this combination is a helpful look in the 21st century.

Personally I think it is a look of the past and runs the risk of symbolising that Anglican Christianity ought to have gone out of existence in 1960.

And my tongue is not in my cheek!

Zane Elliott said...

Re: 'The question for a young evangelical to ask re cassock, surplice and preaching scarf is whether the 'look' of this combination is a helpful look in the 21st century.'

I think you are right, this is really the key question - but even the Bishop of Nelson wont ordain someone who is wearing everyday clothes, so isn't it best in this case to at lest express your theological position in what you wear?
Surely a man in a black dress is no more alien to everyday people than a man in an offwhite dress?

I guess I'm fortunate to be in a parish where I can preside at the Lord's Supper in a hoody, jeans and Chuck Taylors!

Peter Carrell said...

For the time being, Zane, the Anglican church in these islands is committed to robing for many of its services and thus the Bishop of Nelson rightly insists on robes being worn at ordinations.

My point would be that I fail to see why cassock, surplice and preaching scarf continues to be considered to appropriately illustrate the theology you hold to. There is no particular reason why the better more up to date look of alb and stole cannot do that for you.

(On the general question of robing full-stop, yes, it is important that we keep discussing that).

Father Ron Smith said...

Zane, from your comments on this site, one wonders why you bother to even consider being an Anglican priest. Your obvious distaste for tradition marks you out as a dissenter. Is there some sort of kudos attached to your being very different from everyone else, or are you just kicking against the pricks?

liturgy said...

It may have been a pretty tough weekend for SOME evangelicals in the ACANZP, but others who identify as evangelical have been very much pressing for the motions being discussed.

I am dismayed at the suggestions that one’s vesture correlate to specific theological positions. I might (nearly two decades later) express things slightly differently, but I think that the paragraph on vesture in my book Celebrating Eucharist still has good points, including, “Wearing them can no longer be construed as promoting a certain "churchmanship" or theology of the Eucharist.”

The alb is the uniform of the baptised, and has been for all of Christian history. The surplice and the alb are the same garment with different cut. To suggest that a person wear a surplice but not an alb is manifest ignorance. As Peter points out, vesting is still part of the formularies of our church. The question of integrity should be addressed to those who are fervent in their advocating of some things we promise and sign up to but proudly defy other parts of our promises.

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition is not some sort of secret society. Peter has written about them previously on this site. There is nothing unusual about diocese passing similar motions. The Christchurch motion on the Covenant some time back was identical to the Nelson one.

Finally, as Peter points out similarly for General Synod, no it is not “the job of synod reps to represent the view of their parish”. Very importantly, parishes are not the only way to be church, and people are members of synod from a variety of contexts, not just parishes. And each of us comes to synod and listens and participates in the discussion hopefully with some open mind as we try to discern together the will of God. Synod representatives are not delegates.

Zane Elliott said...

Peter - 'better more up to date look of alb and stole' is a matter of opinion. I am making it clear what my theological position is by what I robe in, when required to do so.

I guess I'm trying to make it blatantly clear where I stand by wearing this garb to avoid what you rightly describe as 'trending in some places towards greater catholic style in liturgical worship which often obscures an increasing liberalism in theology.'
Wearing C and S stems from a perfectly valid liturgical and theological tradition. I wasn't raised in a church where this was standard fare, so I guess I don't have hang ups about it being old fashioned.

Father Ron, thanks for your question.
I have a great respect for tradition, but a more 'Anglo' than 'Catholic' tradition. The tradition I feel closest to is that linked with early versions or revisions of the BCP (think 1552). I am not ashamed to put my hand up and say I am strongly reformed. Why should this exclude me from responding to the call God has placed on my life? Why should this mean I am unable to serve a church I love? It saddens me that you would question why I should serve in the Holy Order of Priests simply because I think that robes, incense and bowing and scraping don’t fit the church of the future.
It is probably worth me mentioning that I wasn't raised in any church. I have found myself at home (and surprisingly serving within!) a fairly contemporary and evangelical Anglicanism. I hope I'm not coming across as arrogant, or as if I'm seeking kudos, it alarms me that I may have - I think the question I am trying to force this ancient beast (which let's be honest isn't in a great state of health) is to rethink and reclaim its Anglican and lessen some of its Catholic identity.

If you want to continue this discussion I'm really happy to over email - This is probably taking away from Peter's main points in his excellent post.


liturgy said...

"In theory wearing a chasuble could be adopted by low church evangelicals as a vestment of choice for the 21st century. If so I would expect (say) Latimer Fellowship to run a feature explaining the theological shift behind such an adoption."

The more I re-read this, the more I wonder about it...

Is there some sort of "policy" such that wearing a chasuble is significant enough to lead to such a feature? What would be the "theological shift" that wearing a chasuble would involve?

Especially noting that, like the surplice and alb being the same garment with different cut, the chasuble and the cope are the same garment with different cut...



Peter Carrell said...

I am no expert on chasubles and why people wear them, but I sense that since chasubles traditionally have been associated with the catholic wing of the church, there is a catholic reason for wearing one which has escaped receiving the wide assent of the protestant wing.

To be consisten I do not wear chasubles or copes ... :)

Bryden Black said...

I'm not sure I want to delve into vestment talk: Ceremonies in the Articles and all that!

More germane might be my comment at the Taonga site (slightly edited): What is probably most distressing about this decision (Auckland's & Waiapu's) is the way it preempts GS’s move for a Commission that would seek to consider ALL in our Church at this time (something to do with catholicity perhaps?). Now Auckland & Waiapu have simply denied any possibility of constructing a way forward that might allow ACANZ&P to be in some semblance a unified body (again, a ref to catholicity?) - using perhaps the very three-tikanga format as a model. Thanks folks for your haste - Judges 21:25 rules; OK! (and that IS a jibe at the word "protestant"!)

Edward Prebble said...

Peter, I am not sure whether this blog, or the new one about numbers is the better one to jump into, and like Bryden, I have no interest in the ‘vestment’ discussion, but i would like to offer two thoughts on the catholic/protestant theme.
First, I do find myself reacting to your “predictably Protestant” headline, and the implication that the two decisions can be somehow minimised in their significance by what you see to be predictable. Having served in both dioceses, I think there is a real difference. Yes, Waiapu has taken a proudly ‘liberal’ stance in recent decades, and therefore, their decision is perhaps not a surprise. Auckland is much more difficult to pigeonhole. It is far more diverse, encompasses all viewpoints from extreme left to extreme right (all of whom used their opportunity to express their views in a long debate) , and resists attempts to be divided into organised theological ‘camps’ or ‘parties’ in the way that seems to happen in Wellington and Christchurch. And it is very big. That means that a 2/3 majority after a very full debate is all the more significant.
Second, while I have never heard +David Rice or +Ross Bay give talks on Catholicism, I think both gentlemen can hold their heads high on that issue after the weekend. If you read the motions clearly, both express a profound commitment to the Anglican Communion and to an inclusive ecclesiology. What both are saying is that this Covenant is not the best way to achieve that, and instead promises to divide us more deeply than before. The Auckland motion (and potentially Dunedin as well soon) goes further, and offers some constructive suggestions to ACC as to a better – and more Catholic – way forward.
Peter, I did not hear any comments in the Auckland debates that would disagree with your excellent summary: ‘... change in an Anglican way will require us to hold our catholic and reformed heritage together very tightly, judiciously employing our protestant character (i.e. willingness to do things differently) along with an evangelical passion (i.e. urgency to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ)” That is precisely what our motion was arguing for.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Edward,
I take a number of your points, but disagree that saying a decision was predictable implies it is less significant. It is very significant that two synods have made the decisions they have made, whether or not they were predictable.

I won't re-engage all the arguments involved with the Covenant in a comment, but I do find it odd that lack of support for the Covenant involves a deep amount of support to the catholicism of global Anglicanism.

Edward Prebble said...

Sorry you find it odd, Peter. Try this quote from Martin Percy, Shaping the Church, 2010 p175. I think his sentiments were what Waiapu and Auckland were striving for.
There are two very different versions of the shaping of Anglican polity, and The Communon now emerging, which suggest quite different futures.
The first sees the shape of Anglicanism in concrete terms. The polity will be governed by law, and scripture will be its ultimate arbiter. Here, Anglicanism will become a tightly-defined denomination in which intra-dependence is carefully policed. Diversity of belief, behaviour and practice will continue, but they will be subject to scrutiny and challenge.
The second sees Anglicanism as a more reflexive polity; one that has a shape, but is able to stretch and accommodate considerable diversity. Here the polity will be governed by grace, not law, and the Communion itself will continue to operate as both a sign and instrument of unity. Anglicanism will continue to be a defined form of ecclesial polity, but one that tolerates and respecs the diferences it finds within itself.
[in arguing for the second option]..I believe that this may well stretch the Communion to its limits, and test its viability vigourously. But I believe the strech will ultimately be worth it. And that the shape and the shaping of the church remains a fundamentally collective and catholic enterprise, and therefore often tense and unresolved.... This is often what it is to be Anglican: provisional, incomplete. This is why the church eneds a tense diversity to help forge its catholicity; the 'church project' is always ongoing.

Janice said...

The alb is the uniform of the baptised

Really? If so, why aren't all the baptised required to wear one at church? This is a serious question.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank God for the decisions of both Auckland and Waiapu Diocesan Synods that reflect the true catholicity of our Province of the Anglican Communion.

Their catholicity involves a radical inclusivity of ALL people (including LGBTs) within the ambit of the Gospel and Church - which is also a sign of the reformation that informed our truly 'protestant' heritage. 'Semper Reformanda' - the cry of Pope John XXII, which has, sadly, been bypassed by our Roman Catholic confreres, but which cries out for social justice in the modern world.

Peter Carrell said...

Has Martin Percy ever grown a church against the trend of the church to decline in the late 20th and early 21st centuries?

I think his recipe for Anglicanism will soothe its feelings and smooth its pillow as it dies.

liturgy said...

Janice: "The alb is the uniform of the baptised

Really? If so, why aren't all the baptised required to wear one at church? This is a serious question."

Since no one else appears to be answering your "serious question", Janice -

I don't really understand why you think we are always required to wear our uniform ("at church"). I see bishops at church without their uniform; I see priests at church without their uniform; I see baptised people at church some wearing the alb/surplice, some not.

I hope that helps?



Father Ron Smith said...

"The Church's one Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord" - whom the Scribes and Pharisees saw fit to condemn to the Cross. The continuing suffering of the Church is a mark of her true affinity with her Founder.

What we need to remember in all of this is the biblical injunction from God: "What I require is mercy, not sacrifice". The Sacrifice has already been made - by the only One qualified to make it. "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us - therefore, let us keep the Feast - not with the old leaven of malice & wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of Sincerity and Truth" Alleluia!

Janice said...

Hello Bosco,

Thanks for your response to my question but, no, it doesn't help.

Wikipedia says that the alb, "is simply the long linen tunic used by the Romans," and I don't see why that should make it become "the uniform of the baptised" whether or not they're required to wear it whenever they attend church. The only people I've ever seen wearing albs, in church or out, are ordained people. In all the decades I've been a Christian this is the first time I've come across the idea that the baptised have a uniform and it is the alb. Where does this idea come from?

liturgy said...

Your point is very important, Janice, that many people now associate the alb with the ordained, and hence the lay wearing of one can reinforce the church’s clericalist tendencies about laity. Nonetheless (I cannot recall which country you are in or which denomination you belong to) I am surprised that in decades of Christian worship you have never encountered a lay person wearing an alb. Servers and those with other roles at the Eucharist would often wear an alb. Members of a choir would often wear an alb or surplice (which your Wikipedia article reminds you is just an alb with a different cut). Monks and nuns, praying as the baptised in the name of the baptised (not being ordained) wear an alb (normally there called a “cowl”). Those who have just been baptised wear an alb (normally there called a “christening gown”). I am not recommending it as the best source normally (written more than a century ago) but as I’m typing this without much time, the New Advent Encyclopaedia has: [alb] “refers to the white garments which the newly baptized assumed on Holy Saturday, and wore until Low Sunday, which was consequently known as dominica in albis (deponendis), the Sunday of the (laying aside of the) white garments.”



Edward Prebble said...

I am sorry to cut across the discussion of albs, but there are clearly two distinct conversations unfolding here, and I need to go back to the one about catholicity.

“Has Martin Percy ever grown a church against the trend of the church to decline in the late 20th and early 21st centuries?”
What an extraordinary rejoinder, Peter. Now who is being ‘odd’? Are you seriously suggesting that only those who have been numerically successful vicars are competent to comment usefully on catholicity?
I am sure the answer to your question is “No”, as Percy, like a large number of academic theologians in the UK, has never been a Vicar. On the other hand, I’ll bet that a number of the fine priests that he has trained have gone on to grow churches.

Perhaps I need to establish my credentials. In my first congregation, I managed to double the numbers 3 years running – an 800% increase in three years. So I guess I am OK by your standard.

Peter, you don’t have to agree with Percy. And you don’t have to agree with the decisions made by Auckland and Waiapu. My point was that it is unfair of you to disparage those decisions by suggesting they reflect a lack of commitment to catholicity.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Edward,
Percy sets out a 'nice' vision of Anglican catholicity, but one full of tension and what have you, in keeping with the modern-cum-post-modernist liberal Anglican project which dominates much academic theology which claims the name 'Anglican'.

I want to know about a catholicity which will help our church to grow and live rather than decline and die. I do not find that Percy as quoted does much for me on that score. But please keep talking yourself - as you say, you do have good credentials.

(Incidentally, have Percy's students who have gone on to grow churches grown them by following his theology or another?).

I think the Covenant is essential to a robust, life-giving future of catholicity in the Anglican tradition. You, the Auckland and Waiapu synods do not. I respect the fact that they are following a different vision of catholicity. Time will tell whether their decisions contribute to the unity and coherence of our church. It is always possible that I could be wrong.

My blog is premised on my fallibility!

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter. Why are you predicating the catholicity of our Church on the question of whether or not it signs up to 'The Covenant'?

The Methodist Church has a Covenant, but, as far as I know, it does not claim to be more 'catholic' than Anglicans.

Covenants deal with the basic requirements of their adherents. You, yourself could raise up a Covenant of Believers like, say, 'Mainstream Anglicans'. However, I rather think of that particular body as more like 'Slipstream Anglicans' - floating on the outer edges of the Scripture, tradition and Reason-ability of Anglicanism, without really adhering to any of it's Gospel genius for diversity.

Howard Pilgrim said...

Peter, you declare "My blog is premised on my fallibility!" A goodly principle for us all to remember in such bare threads as this. How did a discussion of significant decisions of two synods within our church, as seen almost entirely by outsiders, devolve so quickly into a spat about albs and other determinants of "catholicity"? Maybe because you chose to evaluate the decisions of those synods in terms of that criterion. As though the integrity and value of all those resolutions serve to express can be captured on a single scale, by someone completely uninvolved in the internal processes of those dioceses.

I am speaking up for Waiapu here, as no-one else has done so thus far. Let me say plainly that theological abstractions such as catholicity played no significant part in our deliberations. In a synod celebrating its rich relationships with partners in mission around the world, we looked at the proposed Covenant and saw it as irrelevant, if not counter-productive. After long consideration around the diocese, we just don't want to go any further down that track. By what criterion is that not OK?

Then after a decade and more of engaging in respectful conversations with the LGBT brothers and sisters in our midst, as enjoined by the 1998 Lambeth conference and its aftermath, we just looked at one another and declared that we all truly belong together and that their ministry among us is deeply appreciated. The card vote was well over 90% in each house on each part of the motion, and the laity were almost unanimous. All of this took place in a context of worship, prayerful discussion and with a tone of mutual respect. I am not crowing about this, just relieved that we seem to have a healthy way of exploring the mind of God together and moving forward in unity. How this plays out on a wider stage is in God's hands.

I will not presume to comment on the resolutions of your Christchurch synod. We prayed for you in our synod, and I have a strong sense that God is enabling you to face your extraordinary challenges with unity and faith.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
The Covenant is effectively an invitation to a deeper common life together as a global Communion. Why would catholic-minded Anglicans turn that invitation down?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Howard,
We are a church with a common constitution and with a common clearing house of policies and possibilities (i.e. General Synod). We are also a church being asked to consider the possibility of deepening our involvement in the mutual life of global Anglicanism via the Covenant.

So when two synods (1) vote against the Covenant; (2) make resolutions on a matter being explored (now) through the establishment of a commission of eminent persons by GS's Standing Committee, it is appropriate to make comment from afar when that afar is in the same church!

Please do comment on Chch resolutions. Do you agree or disagree with the moves we made on liturgical matters? Should we be supporting residents looking for even more of the taxpayers' dollars? Is it too late to discuss the Covenant next March?

Howard Pilgrim said...

A common constitution and eminent persons! What a richly resourced church we are. Pity that the former does not specify the latter. One should not question the transcendent wisdom of Standing Committees, I suppose. Nevertheless, I think our common constitution encourages us to maintain a deep respect for the place of diocesan synods within the deliberations of the whole. Both of the key resolutions adopted by Waiapu were in response to matters recommended for ongoing consideration by previous General Synods.

Just because some of our church politicians don't like the way things seem to be going among the flax-roots and invent a new mechanism to produce what they see as a more acceptable outcome, this doesn't require us to give their machinations more respect than the deliberations of diocesan synods. I know which process seems more catholic to me! As for "eminent people", the first book I ever read on church politics was titled Grey Eminence: it was a life of Cardinal Richlieu... another sort of catholicity for you to consider.

Now on the other matters you raised (get my reference?) ... by all means, hold the liturgical feet of GS to the fire over their devious process; you may indeed urge the government to take more tax dollars off me in order to give ChCh residents a better insurance deal; and it is never too late for the ChCh synod to come to the same blessed view on the Covenant as we have in Waiapu. :-)

Warm regards,

Peter Carrell said...

I can see, Howard, that it is no good threatening the might of General Synod against you. The blood of Luther runs thickly in your veins (Here, I stand ...) ... and you probably learned a few wiles from your study of the French cardinal. Hopefully no French rugby players will have made the same study ...

Paul Powers said...

Peter, I'm not sure why a cassock and surplice would be considered more outdated than an alb and chasuble. The general (but not universal) trend in the U.S., regardless of churchmanship, is for the priest to wear an alb and chasuble at Eucharistic celebrations, and a cassock, surplice, and stole at Morning and Evening Prayer and at other services that where the Eucharist is not being celebrated.

Of course, the 1979 TEC BCP puts more emphasis on the Eucharist as the central act of Christian Worship. So the definite trend is to have a Eucharist at all Sunday services and to incorporate it into other services such as weddings and funerals. The result is that if you go to a worship service here, you're more likely to see the priest wearing alb and chasuble than cassock and surplice.

I agree that preaching scarves (I think we call them tippets here) are pretty much a relic of the past. Just like gaiters (I doubt that my bishop even owns a pair).

Peter Carrell said...

I am sorry to hear, Paul, that Anglicans in the USA are behind the NZ Anglican times :)

Canon Neal said...

Peter, can you find no one to defend your statement that the decision by Auckland was "predictably Protestant"? I'm surprised that no one has referenced the comment by Cardinal Kasper who said much the same thing.

In April 2008, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called for the Anglican Church to “clarify its identity,” saying the church must make “certain difficult decisions” to determine whether it belongs to the Catholic and Orthodox Churches of the first millennium or the Protestant Churches of the 16th century. (By the way, Cardinal Kasper is considered a liberal in Catholic circles.)

The Protestant practice is to go it alone when I am convinced that my individual interpretation of the Bible is correct. It is in the nature of Protestantism to splinter--and we are seeing this on both sides of the theological divide on human sexuality: those blessing same sex unions, et al, are doing so contrary to the express wishes of the larger Communion; the GAFCON people are separating themselves and forming a parallel judicatory in an way unprecedented in Anglicanism. Both are characteristic of Protestantism's penchant for unilateral interpretation of scripture.

The catholic approach would be to take no action that the larger Church has not approved of. I would also add that it would be sensitive

By the way, I am in a fairly heavy Anglo-Catholic diocese where the norm is for the clergy to wear albs. I often will wear cassock and surplice when I serve at churches in the diocese (I am the Canon to the Ordinary, similar to Archdeacon in may places). I am not opposed to albs and such; I want to remind people that there is a low church strand in our diocese and in our history. I'm sure my liturgics professor, Marion Hatchett, is grimacing in glory.

Father Ron Smith said...

I find Canon Neal's suggestion that the recent actions of Auckland and Waiapu Diocesan Synods - towards the inclusion of the LGBT community in the Church, and questioning the 'catholicity' of the Covenant - should render them 'Protestant'.

I would have thought that their cry for radical inclusivity - against the culture of an exclusivist Covenant mentality - would render them more 'catholic' than those who want to exclude TEC and the A.C.of C. for their Inclusive theology.

I believe that the Covenant would further divide the Communion, in favour of exclusion of 'Sinners' - those whom Christ came into the world to redeem!

Stephen Donald said...

@Father Ron - 'Radical inclusivity' now that's a definition of the church catholic I can live with - a pity than some seemed to feel excluded by our inclusivity! As one of those present at the Waiapu synod I was impressed by the way we were able to talk to and with each other and trust this may continue for the good of the kingodm of God.

Father Ron Smith said...

Re-deaing my last post, I realise I have missed out the defining few words that should follow after the end of the first paragraph. From the words 'should render them Protestant' I should have added "to be puzzling".

That's the problem with multiply- claused sentences: they sometimes tend to get scrambled. Sorry!

Thank you, Stephen. I chose the words 'radically inclusive' because I realise, in our context in N.Z,. the idea of including Gays in the Family is quite radical for the nay-sayers, but liberating for those who have for too long been side-lined in our Church.