Opening day of the Network’s Annual Council

The Anglican Communion Network Annual Council opened today hosted by the Diocese of Fort Worth at Cathedral Church of St. Vincent in Bedford, Texas. Dioceses with representatives are Albany, Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, Rio Grande, San Joaquin, and Springfield. South Carolina is not represented. Other groups that are represented include AMiA, CANA, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Anglican Province of America and Forward in Faith.

The opening address by Bishop Bob Duncan is available here. In it he noted he was coming to the end of his term as network moderator. In a later question and answer he said he was willing to continue as moderator only if others were willing to follow his lead. It’s not entirely clear what that lead is, but as was reported earlier today on The Lead his diocese just provided a “toolbox” for parishes considering leaving the Episcopal Church.

These lines from Duncan’s address may give some indication of the direction he has in mind:

Where we are is not where we had hoped to be. God, in His wisdom, has not used us to reform the Episcopal Church, to bring it back to its historic role and identity as a reliable and mainstream way to be a Christian. Instead the Episcopal Church has embraced de-formation—stunning innovation in Faith and Order—rather than reformation.

During this past year, the Network Bishops have done everything we could to work with a broader Windsor Coalition within the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops. In order not to abandon the wider coalition in its one last stand, the Network Bishops have agreed to take part in the upcoming meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Primates Steering Committee and Anglican Consultative Council. We do so, some of us at least, without any implied recognition of or submission to the American primate, without any diminishment of our appeal for Alternative Primatial Oversight, and without any expectation that the Episcopal House of Bishops will turn from the course so unequivocally embraced at their March meeting.

At later discussion Duncan rebuked Rowan Williams saying that Williams has never really supported the Orthodox in the US. At the time of the formation of the Network Duncan said the Network was Williams’ idea.

The council unanimously approved a Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partners (scroll down). Duncan’s diocese, Pittsburgh, voted with a reservation concerning women’s ordination. Duncan favors it but many other members of the partnership do not.

Discussed today, and to be voted on tomorrow, are the Common Cause Articles. It includes this statement:

The Jurisdictions and Ministries of the Common Cause Partnership at the time of its inception are the American Anglican Council (AAC); the Anglican Communion Network (ACN); the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA); the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC); the Anglican Province of America (APA); the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA); the Anglican Essentials Federation (AEF); Forward in Faith, North America (FIF/NA); and the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC).

And it identifies as two of its tasks, “Furthering mutual understanding of its Partners with a view to eventual union when deemed appropriate … and … Support planting congregations by Partners.”

Revealing, too, is who Duncan chose to name at the start of his address:

David Anderson, John Guernsey, Andy Fairfield, Dave Roseberry, Martyn Minns, Dan Herzog, Alison Barfoot, Bill Cox, John Yates, Bill Attwood, Bill Cobb, Valarie Whitcomb, Dwight Duncan, Ron Jackson, Dave Bena, Bill Murdoch, Don Armstrong—What do these believers all have in common? Great leaders, all; yes, of course. One other thing, at least: each was a priest or bishop (four bishops in fact) of the Episcopal Church at the Network Council one year ago. None is a leader of the Episcopal Church today.

Archbishop Venables is also in attendance and led the day’s Bible study.

See The Living Church’s story here.

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