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A series of essays in the Episcopal Church

Questions Regarding Realignment, Etc., in the Episcopal Church

Questions Regarding Realignment, Etc., in the Episcopal Church

By The Rev. Mark Harris

Friends: Following the suggestion from all quarters that we exercise some quiet during Holy Week and Easter week, I return refreshed and with several questions gleaned from reading the last four weeks of email:

  1. The House of Bishops, the Presiding Bishop , and coalition of the House of Bishops have in the past weeks made public statements concerning, respectively (a) a call for common mission in the midst of continued differences concerning life together following General Convention (b) the crisis in Darfur, Sudan and the situation in Iraq, (c) a coalition of bishops working on issues of poverty and justice. I have found each of these heartening. I have found no similar statements on the part of the American Anglican Council, or the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes listed on their web pages or in public statements from their leadership. Such statements are a sign of a church's concerns for mission to a broken world. Are there any such statements from the "realignment" community. If not, why not?

  2. Several Anglican Provinces have disavowed any financial support from the Episcopal Church, and in particular from the office of the Presiding Bishop and any bishop who has voted affirmatively at General Convention on the contested resolutions. They have refused to even be in the same meetings with the PB. They profess to be in solidarity with those in the Episcopal Church working for realignment. Do realignment oriented dioceses and organizations (AAC and the Network of Anglican Dioceses and Parishes) intend to exercise the same level of disavowal, refusing any monies from the Executive Council and other agencies of the Church on which the Presiding Bishop or any consenting bishop sits?

  3. The Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission, an important new initiative of the Episcopal Church receives funds from the General Convention budget to help run its office and hold its annual meeting. EPGM member organizations include organizations that support the AAC and the Network and align themselves with those efforts. EPGM also has official representation from the offices of the Episcopal Church Center. Will mission agencies in support of realignment continue to be part of an "organization of organizations" that is funded by the Episcopal Church or attended by its officers?

  4. Missionaries from the several missionary sending societies are now named as missionaries of the Episcopal Church. Several of those societies, as indicated above, have aligned themselves with the AAC and the Network. Will the missionaries of those agencies so recognized by Executive Council now repudiate their status as missionaries of the Episcopal Church? Will future missionaries of these organizations seek such status?

  5. The Episcopal Church, through its budget process, underwrites a considerable portion of the budget for the Anglican Consultative Council, which in turn provides funds for a wide variety of Anglican Communion meetings. (Over half a million dollars a year.) Will the several Provinces who have declared that they will not accept any Episcopal Church funding refuse to attend meetings which could not otherwise take place save for the funding of the Episcopal Church through the ACC? Will these Anglican Provinces consider Episcopal Church funding of the agencies in which they take part a tainting of such agencies?

  6. Are there dioceses within the Episcopal Church who have spoken out condemning the actions of General Convention who continue to receive mission funds from the Episcopal Church, by way of Domestic Missionary Partners grants? If there are, will they follow the lead of the several Anglican Provinces who have claimed to refuse to receive Episcopal Church funds and themselves refuse such funding?

In no way am I suggesting that the Episcopal Church for Executive Council withdraw from funding any diocese, province, organization, etc, because of their opposition to what General Convention did. We must continue to respond to the real needs of the Church worldwide, no matter our agreements or disagreements. And I hope that the mission focus of the AAC and the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes will parallel the concerns on matters of mission in the world of the House of Bishops, the Presiding Bishop, and Executive Council, the majority of whose members they find to be in error on other matters.

I do wonder, however, about the extent we are required by either faith or reason to underwrite meetings attended by those who have disassociated themselves from the Episcopal Church and its funding and are demanding that this Church be disciplined. And I do wonder if the agencies for realignment in the Episcopal Church find the witness of Anglican Provinces, regarding refusing funds or engagement with the Episcopal Church and its Primate, compelling?

You are welcome to submit your essays for consideration for this series. Send them to Identify yourself by name, snail address, parish, and other connections to the Episcopal Church. Please encourage others to do the same.


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