The Episcopal Church is not kicked out of the Anglican Communion

Updated 9:44 a.m. CT, February 18.

Anglican Ink reports (byline: George Conger) on a talk given at Sewanee by the Right Reverend James Tengatenga, chair of the ACC, excerpted below. The video, which had been posted on Sewanee’s School of Theology website, is no longer available, confirmed via e mail this morning by the Director of Publications and Communications at the School of Theology.

The Episcopal Church “cannot be kicked out of the Anglican Communion and will never be kicked out of the Anglican Communion,” the chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council told a seminary audience last week.

In a public conversation with the dean of the School of Theology of the University of the South held on 11 Feb 2016, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga said the legal and ecclesial structures of the Anglican Communion did not permit the primates, or any other “instrument of communion”, to discipline a member church.

Dr. Tengatenga said that in his view, the impression that the primates could take decisive action arose from a confusion of roles. In most provinces, bishops were tasked with preserving the doctrine and teaching of the church. When bishops gathered in mass in gatherings such as the Lambeth Conference, or when the leaders of provinces met at the primates meeting, the participants were often under the impression that their deliberations had the same standing as they would have in their home churches.

The primates could speak, he noted. But, “Where does it go? How is it implemented?” Action could only arise if a local church gave legal authority to a pan-Anglican agreement. The recent primates gathering in Canterbury offered an example of this problem.

“So the Episcopalians have been given three years,” he asked. “What does it mean? Nobody knows what it means,” Dr. Tengatenga said.  The primates believe they have said “something that is definitive, but it is not.” They do not have the “power to take the next step.”

He observed the “primates think they are more important than anyone else. When they attempt to bottle up the fizziness [of the development of doctrine within the Communion] that is when things explode.”

The “bottom line is that the Episcopal Church cannot be kicked out of the Anglican Communion and will never be kicked out of the Anglican Communion,” Dr. Tengatenga said, adding the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council will be held in two months’ time in Lusaka.

“Are the Americans going there? Yes. Are they going there to be rude?”

They were not, he said “because it is their right and responsibility” to attend the meeting.

“Are they going to vote? Yes, they are going to vote as it is their right and responsibility,” the ACC chairman said.

Image above: Screen capture of Vimeo of the talk.

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