Mobilization and Transnational Advocacy Networking

in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion

Ann McClenahan

May 2001

ThD Candidate, Harvard Divinity School


“[W]hen in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became

independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical independence

was necessarily included; and the different religious denominations of Christians

in these States were left at full and equal liberty to model and organize their

respective Churches, and forms of worship, and discipline, in such manner as

they might judge most convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with

the constitution and laws of their country.”


“[T]his Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in

any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local

 circumstances require.”   

Preface, The Book of Common Prayer,

Philadelphia, October, 1789 (italics added)[1]




                The Episcopal Church of the United States of America, one of the thirty-six provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion, was founded in Philadelphia in 1789. There, its male clerical and lay leaders adopted the constitution, canons, and Book of Common Prayer under which the Episcopal Church in America operates to this day, although in amended forms that address contemporary and “local” circumstances. 

                As a result of a series of progressive actions taken over the past twenty-five years, the Episcopal Church finds itself today the target of an increasingly well-organized, professionalized, and globalized backlash movement on the part of Episcopal and Anglican conservatives.[2]  It is the purpose of this paper to examine this conflict in the light contemporary sociological theories of mobilization and transnational advocacy networking and to assess the extent to which the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion have been impacted by these activities.

                On the basis of this investigation, I conclude that the conservative movement within the Episcopal Church has successfully adopted mobilization and transnational advocacy networking strategies and tactics first developed and tested by larger, and generally secular, civil and political organizations.  In doing so, the conservative activists have built an increasingly important coalition of support, slowed the implementation of progressive initiatives, and conceivably set the stage for a fundamental shift in how the Anglican Communion relates to its member provinces.

1.      Theoretical Frameworks

While a number of the theories studied this semester propose themselves as        

appropriate analytical tools by which to understand this case, this paper will primarily focus on two frameworks.  Neither treats religious movements exclusively, or even primarily; however, both seem to accommodate movements within this particular sphere of human engagement.  The first framework or group of theories deals with mobilization and has been addressed in the work of Schattschneider, Rosenstone and Hansen, Schier, Walker, and Fiorina, among others.  Brief statements of their pertinent conclusions are as follows:

§         Schattschneider: The outcome of political conflict is determined by its scope.  Privatization of conflict is associated with localization, centralization, individualism, and free private enterprise.  Socialization of conflict, on the other hand, is associated with nationalization, decentralization, and concepts of equality, equal protection of laws, justice, liberty, freedom of speech and association, and civil rights.[3]


§         Rosenstone and Hansen: Democratic politics is a struggle for political power, and political leaders therefore mobilize public involvement strategically.  Participation depends on the ability to bear the costs of participation and the interests at stake.  For these and other reasons, political activists are unrepresentative of the population at large.[4]


§         Schier: Efficient political efforts rely upon identifying and activating small groups versus mobilizing mass engagement.  However, only inclusive participation creates majority rule.[5]


§         Walker: The most prevalent mode of mobilization is the mobilization of relatively small groups of people with shared interests who wish to petition for some form of privilege or protect themselves against regulation.[6]


§          Fiorina: Material incentives for activism have been replaced by ideological ones that motivate a minority with intensely held, extremist views.[7]



Based on the work of these six scholars, one expects political mobilization to occur when ideologically motivated leaders target relatively small numbers of likeminded supporters to join with them in challenging more mainstream commitments and policies.  Both the leaders and supporters of such movements will be unrepresentative of wider interests and seeking to gain either power and/or privilege or to guard against hostile trends, regulations, or judicial rulings.  This is the first theoretical lens through which the current conflict in the Episcopal Church will be viewed and analyzed.

                The second has been developed by Keck and Sikkink and examines transnational advocacy networks. By way of synopsis, transnational advocacy networks are defined as non-state networks of activists that are distinguished by the centrality of motivating ideas or values.[8]  In addition to values, activist networks share a common discourse and dense exchanges of information and services.  Keck and Sikkink observe that what is “novel” about these networks is their ability to “mobilize information strategically to help create new issues and categories and to persuade, pressure, and gain leverage over much more powerful organizations….”[9]  Activists attempt to not only influence policy but to transform the terms and nature of the debates in which they are engaged.

                Keck and Sikkink view the work of transnational advocacy networks in terms of campaigns, which they define as “sets of strategically linked activities in which members…develop explicit, visible ties and mutually recognized roles in pursuit of a common goal (and generally against a common target).”[10]  Over the past thirty years, there has been a dramatic increase in transnational advocacy networks focused on a wide range of campaign issues.  Networks seem most likely to develop when three conditions are present: 1) when effective channels between groups and their government are blocked or when such channels are no longer effective for conflict resolution; 2) when activists believe that transnational networking will increase the likelihood of campaign success; and, 3) when multiple forms of face-to-face and electronic communication are readily available to support network formation.

                When these elements are present, Keck and Sikkink argue that a “boomerang” pattern of influence can develop; when one state is “relatively immune to direct local pressure and linked activists elsewhere have better access to their own governments or to international organizations…[a “boomerang” effect is created] which curves around local state indifference and repression to put foreign pressure on local policy elites.”[11]   Activists scan the globe to locate audiences for their campaign messages and to develop the support necessary to create the “boomerang” effect.  Put most simply, international allies are cultivated to affect change in a targeted state.  In Schattschneider’s terms, the conflict becomes socialized – broadened – by activists in pursuit of more open, rights-oriented resolutions.  Material leverage in the form of money or prestige may be applied, as may moral leverage that prods states to act under the pressure of international scrutiny or that holds them accountable to previous commitments.

I find Keck and Sikkink’s primary observations compelling based on the cases they examine.  As will be seen, their theory helps illumine what is taking place within the Anglican Communion where conservative U.S. clergy have started networking with conservative leaders overseas.  However, not all aspects of the Keck and Sikkink framework fit, and it will be useful to have four of these aspects in mind as the case is detailed. First, Keck and Sikkink note that networks are important for participating partners in different ways: for southern hemisphere actors, networks provide access, leverage, information, and money; for northern actors, networks “make credible the assertion that they are struggling with, and not only for, their southern partners.”[12]  Second, they argue that northern activists view the erosion of state sovereignty, a constant in transnational advocacy networking, as positive, while many southern activists “take quite a different view” in light of their colonial heritages.[13]  Third, their work focuses on networks that create the “boomerang” pattern, where a more closed state structure is targeted by actors residing in more open state structures.[14]  Additionally, Keck and Sikkink presume that the “boomerang” pattern is uni-directional in the sense that pressure for reform and change flows from north to south or from open states to more closed states.  Fourth and finally, they conclude that a “global cultural process of …[expanding] of liberal values” is underway. [15]  They theorize that the expansion of conflict tends toward socialization and the prying open of previously closed, and more conservative, institutions. These points will be returned to later in the paper.

2.      Conflict In the Episcopal Church and  Anglican Communion, Part I: >From Initial Mobilization to the Creation of a Transnational Advocacy Network


The 1960s have been described as "watershed years" for the Episcopal Church, not only because of unprecedented numerical growth during that decade.  The Church became "more involved in social [and economic justice] concerns than at any time in its history," as issues being broadly debated in other religious, civic, and political venues became prominent concerns within the denomination. [16]  It was, however, this very activity that began to alienate a small subset of Episcopalians, those with more conservative theological, liturgical, political, and social orientations.  Their alienation was exacerbated by the three internal issues the Church began focus on in the 1970s and which emerged from the wider rights movements of the 1960s: the revision of the Book of Common Prayer (to be more accessible and inclusive), the ordination of women, and the rights of gays and lesbians to ordination and marriage within the Church. This paper will focus primarily on the latter two movements although all three continue to be the focus of conservative ire and initiative. [17]

Before proceeding, it will be useful to briefly outline the governing structures of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.  The approximately 7,400 individual parishes (congregations) within the Episcopal Church are organized into one hundred dioceses and ministered to by three clerical orders: deacons, priests, and bishops.  Nationally, the Church maintains a republican form of government.  Its bicameral legislative body is comprised of a House of Bishops, chaired by an elected Presiding Bishop (first among equals), and a House of Deputies, comprised of equal numbers of clerical and lay delegates.  This full body, whose membership now totals approximately 1,400 individuals, meets triennially in General Convention to amend canon law and develop the resolutions that will guide internal and external initiatives over the next three year period.  In practice, the Church is highly decentralized, with most authority delegated by General Convention to the dioceses and parishes.

Worldwide, the Episcopal Church is part of the 70 million member Anglican Communion.  An outgrowth of the Church of England, the Communion is symbolically headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is comprised of thirty-six, self-governing provinces.  The Communion holds a core set of adherences that it interprets in light of tradition, scholarship, and reason; the net result of this hermeneutic is tremendous variety in worldwide commitments and practices.  Province leadership – the thirty-six primates - meets annually and all bishops meet once a decade in conference.  There are also various councils for furthering representative contact and investigating issues of common concern.  Both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion operate as federated associations where power is primarily lodged in state (diocese/province) and local (parish/diocese) organizations and with paid, professional clergy at all levels.

In line with the progress of the women’s rights movement in the United States, positions of authority began being opened to women in the Episcopal Church in the 1970s.  In 1970, women were first seated as delegates at General Convention and admitted on an equal basis to the previously all-male diaconate.  In 1976, following the “irregular” ordination of fifteen women in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, General Convention voted to revise canon law and admit women equally to all levels of the ordained priesthood.[18]  In response, some conservative parishes and priests abandoned the Episcopal Church for Roman Catholicism, while others left and formed alternative associations.  Most frequently, however, conservative priests and parishes remained and simply chose to ignore the revised canon.  In fact, three dioceses continue to deny women ordination to this day.  This has been a continuing source of conflict between progressive and conservative members of the Church, and it was significantly fueled in 2000 by actions that will be addressed later in this paper. Despite this resistance, however, women began to be ordained, and the number of women ordained each year now closely approximates the number of men ordained.  By 1999, women represented almost 20% of all ordained clergy in the Church. The chart below details the trend in women’s and men’s ordination rates from 1974 through 1997.

Chart citation:

Source: The 1998 Episcopal Church Clerical Directory. Chart prepared from data compiled by Dr. Louie Crew at



At the international level, the 1978 Lambeth Conference of worldwide Anglican bishops also acknowledged the validity of women priests who were by then being ordained in increasing numbers of provinces.  The Communion responded (reacted) to accommodate more progressive theological interpretations being initiated by some of its oldest provinces: the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Hong Kong and Macao.  The initial acceptance of women as bishops advanced within the Communion in much the same way.  In1989, the Diocese of Massachusetts elected the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion.  As a result of this first controversial election, eleven women bishops, representing the United States, Canada, and New Zealand, attended and were recognized by the 1998 Lambeth Conference for the first time (along with over 700 of their male counterparts).  At present, twelve women have been elected to the worldwide episcopate, and nine these women are members of the Episcopal Church where they represent five percent of all active bishops.

Chart citation:

Source: Chart prepared from data compiled by Dr. Louie Crew at`lcrew/womenpr.html[19]


                Despite what some, including this author, consider to be the relatively slow progress of women into clerical positions, and particularly into clerical positions of greater responsibility, conservative laity and clergy see it in precisely the opposite way and continue to resist women’s ordination within the Episcopal Church.  In 1988, the Episcopal Synod of America was founded by conservative bishops and priests to represent these views in a more organized fashion. Its efforts have had a clear impact on the advancement of women.  This can be seen most clearly in the eleven dioceses, clustered primarily in the South, Southwest, and Midwest, that are headed by the bishops who have emerged to lead the conservative movement. As the chart below reveals, these eleven dioceses lag far behind the total Episcopal Church on matters of women’s ordination and representation at General Convention.

Chart citation:

Source: Chart prepared from data compiled by Dr. Louie Crew at;;


A second conservative response to women’s ordination can be traced to the 1980s, when selected parishes and dioceses began withholding their annual pledges from the national Church by way of protest.  By 1994, Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning was forced to acknowledge what one observer has called a "creeping congregationalism" that threatened fragmentation within the Episcopal Church.[20]  The withdrawal of funds at the national level led to a series of staff and program cutbacks as actions on the part of conservative priests and bishops effectively muted the role of the Church in the public sphere.

This trend is most clearly demonstrated by examining the funding provided by the eleven conservative dioceses in contrast to the nine dioceses that have elected women to the episcopate since 1989. The two sets of dioceses are as follows:



Conservative Dioceses

Dioceses with Women Bishops

Province 1


ME, MA, VT *, RI

Province 2



Province 3


Washington, DC

Province 4

Central FL, FL, SC


Province 5

Quincy, Springfield


Province 6



Province 7

Dallas, Fort Worth


Province 8

San Joaquin


*Now retired.  The dioceses with women bishops skew heavily to the East while the ones lead by conservative bishops cluster in the South, Southwest, and Midwest. These provinces should not be confused with the Anglican Communion provinces.  In this case, they represent organizational units within the Episcopal Church.[21]


In examining these two groups, which account for twenty of the one hundred U.S. dioceses, one finding clearly emerges. While each group accounts for roughly the same percentage of communicants, the conservative dioceses had substantially lower contributions to the national church on three key measures by the mid-1990s, as seen below.




Dioceses with

Women Bishops

Difference (Women vs Conservatives)

# Dioceses



9 (1 Retired)

(2 Dioceses)

# Communicants (1999)



+13,601 communicants

% of Total US Communicants




+0.7 percentage points

$ to National

 Church (1996)




($74,870) vs ‘95



+$330,523 vs ‘95


$ as Percent of Diocesan Income (1996)



+12.7 percentage points

$ as Percent of

Total US Pledges




+3.8 percentage points

Shaded Areas: Roughly comparable statistics based on the most recently released data for 1999. 

Non-Shaded Areas: Financial participation in the national Episcopal Church organization is substantially higher in dioceses with women bishops in terms of dollars contributed, percent of diocesan income contributed, and percent of total diocesan contributions.  The disparity increased from 1995 to 1996, the only two years for which I could locate data. Source: Chart created from data compiled by Dr. Louie Crew at

Despite conservative financial withholding, General Convention continued to propose and advocate generally progressive resolutions relative to other U.S. religious institutions.[22]  And despite conservative resistance or outright refusal to ordain women, the ordination of women proceeded across the country and within many provinces of the Anglican Communion.  Throughout the 1980s,conservative tactics of protest and activism – engaged in by no more than ten percent of Episcopal clergy and laity - consisted primarily of offering counter resolutions at General Convention, ignoring General Convention resolutions and canons with which they disagreed, and imposing financial sanctions.

In 1994, however, this decentralized, informal, and generally reactive movement started to become more organized in response to two General Convention actions taken that year.  First, General Convention reaffirmed the canon regarding women’s ordination and resolved that a committee be appointed to “promote dialogue and understanding and to discuss how the canon can be implemented in every diocese of this Church.”[23]  Conservative bishops were considerably affronted that their dioceses would be subjected to national Church-instigated dialogue. 

Second, General Convention rejected a conservative attempt to deny ordination to non-celibate gays and lesbians.  This issue had been stewing ever since a resolution was passed by the 1979 General Convention that declared homosexuality to be “no barrier” to ordination, although it did advise that “it is not appropriate” for bishops to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians.  Conservative bishops wanted this resolution to be made binding; centrist and progressive bishops found it to be a workable compromise that, because it was only advisory, allowed them to follow the courses of action they individually deemed appropriate. Since 1979, conservative bishops had been attempting to revise or revoke this resolution; in 1994, they once again failed.  Adding to this defeat, progressive bishops counter-responded to the triennial conservative effort.  Following General Convention, twenty-five of them signed the “Statement of Koinonia” which affirmed the equal validity of heterosexual and homosexual orientations and stated support for the ordination of gay and lesbian candidates.

In a reactive and highly dramatic response, ten conservative bishops coalesced to bring heresy charges the next year against a bishop of the Newark, NJ diocese on the basis of the fact that he had ordained a non-celibate gay man to the diaconate.  In ordaining an out, gay man, who was living in relationship with another man, Bishop Righter became the target of a new conservative strategy that shifted the conflict from the legislative arena to the judicial arena. However, this strategy also failed when the ecclesiastical court ruled in 1996 that the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians did not contravene Church canon law.  And in fact, it did not.  The 1979 General Convention resolution was advisory; as has been noted, it left implementation, in true Episcopal fashion, to the discretion of local bishops.

In hindsight, the combination of the 1994 legislative defeats, the 1996 juridical defeat, and the intolerable “Statement of Koinonia”, greatly fueled conservative activism.  Catalyzed by these events, conservative bishops and priests began to focus proactively on matters of organization, communication, and long-term strategy. Between 1994 and 1997, was launched as a website for the dissemination of conservative news and perspectives, the American Anglican Council was founded to “transform the Episcopal Church from within,” and a group thirty priests founded First Promise, committing – in violation of their ordination vows - to disregard all offending canons.[24]  The bishops and priests who planned and founded these organizations, along with the leadership of the Episcopal Synod of America (now Forward in Faith/North America) continue to be the leading national activists for the conservative movement within the Episcopal Church. 

They also are the activists who began to identify international sources of support.  Unlike their conservative allies in The Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A., who aligned themselves with “sister societies” in Canada, England, and Australia, the activists focused on issues of women’s ordination and human sexuality started to find likeminded bishops and archbishops primarily in the more recently established Anglican African provinces.[25]  Learning of a conservative statement on human sexuality that issued from a February, 1997 meeting of southern hemisphere bishops and archbishops in Kuala Lumpur, the Episcopal Synod of America bishops wrote a letter to one of the participating primates in which they affirmed this new statement and celebrated continued communion with “other like-minded provinces.”[26]   However, with little time to mobilize domestic support for the Kuala Lumpur statement between May when they first heard of it and July when General Convention convened, the conservative U.S. bishops once again were thwarted; in 1997, General Convention refused to endorse the Kuala Lumpur statement.

Nevertheless, having identified potential international allies, in September of that same year twelve conservative U.S. bishops hosted thirty-six bishops and archbishops from southern hemisphere provinces in Dallas.[27]  The purpose of this novel meeting was to prepare statements on “critical issues facing the Communion, in particular the issues of International Debt and Human Sexuality” within the context of a “shared commitment to orthodox Anglican faith in a fast changing world….”[28]  This was the first official meeting of what would become the conservative transnational advocacy network.  Meeting as a group, the participating bishops and archbishops spent four days planning a campaign to influence 1998 Lambeth Conference outcomes.

Their choice of issues is interesting and informative.  The statement crafted at this meeting first commends the Kuala Lumpur participants for recognizing “how the integrity of our common witness is called into question because of new teaching and lapses in discipline relating to human sexuality occurring in parts of the north.”(italics added)[29]  With its condemnation of ordination for non-celibate gays and lesbians and of blessing ceremonies for same sex unions, this part of the “Dallas Statement” is presented as a southern hemisphere statement of solidarity with the northern concerns of conservative U.S. mobilizers.  In the second half of the document, the focus shifts to southern concerns and calls on attending bishops to engage their national political and economic leaders in the development of debt reduction plans to be presented at Lambeth in ten months time.  The statement closes with a summons for “effective mutual accountability” and a call for future primate meetings to offer safe harbor for “those Anglican bodies who are oppressed, marginalized, or denied faithful episcopal oversight by their own bishops.”[30] 

The “Dallas Statement” seems to complexify certain of Keck and Sikkink’s theories.  First, it identifies two campaign issues, one primarily of concern to the north and one of pressing interest to the south.  Each issue is then matched with a commitment on the part of the other partner to bring influence to bear.  The “boomerang” pattern was actually planned to occur in two directions: the southern primates and bishops would bypass the Episcopal Church governance structures to pressure their international peers to support the conservative American agenda while the northern bishops would bring their personal influence to bear on U.S. government structures and their episcopal influence to bear on General Convention and their other northern hemisphere peers to support debt reduction.  Hence, the “boomerang” pattern might be reconceived as shown in the following two schematics which are based on Keck and Sikkink’s original.

Southern Primate “Boomerang” Pattern on Northern (ECUSA) Issues of Sexual Orientation









U.S. Conservative Bishop “Boomerang” Pattern on Issues of Southern Debt


This two-way “boomerang” effect suggests, in contrast to Keck and Sikkink, that participating partners may benefit in similar as well as in different ways.  Clearly, this is not a campaign where the U.S. bishops are merely struggling with and for their southern partners.  Their southern partners are also active on their behalf.

In addition, this particular advocacy campaign complexifies Keck and Sikkink’s perspective that the “boomerang” pattern emerges when a closed state structure becomes the target of pressure by more open state structures.  I am not familiar with the constitutions and canons of the supportive southern primates.  However, it seems likely that their forms of governance are not more open than that of the Episcopal Church, although they may be equally so.  This campaign was launched by U.S. conservatives who had only limited success in achieving their goals through the regular channels of an organization considerably more progressive than their minority constituency.  Their theologically anti-women’s ordination and anti-gay and lesbian rights interests resonate in provinces; I think it possible that this resonance is also reflected in the canon law of those provinces.

Also noteworthy, and in contrast to Keck and Sikkink’s premises, is the fact that both northern and southern actors in this network are challenging traditional ideas of ‘state’ – in this case provincial – sovereignty.  While holding certain common commitments (and even these are subject to interpretation), Anglican Communion provinces have always been free to adapt to local circumstances, as the Episcopal Church explicitly stated at its founding.  According to one canon lawyer, “[t]he global order consists of persuasive principles and instruments, not binding on individual churches, [while] the local order binds churches legally.”[31]  In calling for heightened primate cross-province intervention authority, the southern provinces have seemingly overcome the commitment to sovereignty that Keck and Sikkink presume for southern partners in a network. 

Actually, the sovereignty issue here is even more complicated.  The U.S. conservative bishops and priests support southern involvement in the Episcopal Church, but favor greater autonomy for their conservative parishes and dioceses.[32] Likewise, the southern bishops and primates are interested in becoming involved in the U.S., but it is far from clear how they would respond to primate intervention in their provinces.  While it is early going yet in this phase of the campaign, the global governance implications are beginning to appear enormous.




3.      Conflict in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, Part II:

 Early Effects and Implications of Transnational Advocacy Networking


In the almost four years since the conservative Episcopal first met formally

with the southern primates and bishops in Dallas, fault lines within the Anglican Communion have become considerably more pronounced.  By tapping into the wider Communion through this fledgling network, the U.S. bishops more than doubled their base of leadership and membership support, as is shown below:

Source: Data compiled from Anglican Communion Web Master; and The Episcopal Church Annual. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing, 2001), 14 – 17.


From a different perspective, by 2000 this transnational advocacy network

represented almost one out of every four Anglican Communion members worldwide:


Source: Ibid.         

The mix of allies is an interesting one, and when examined from the perspective of founding dates, it brings to mind the Finke and Stark observation that there is a continuing dynamic between established religious institutions and younger, more demanding, but less worldly “sects” – in this case the younger provinces.[33]  The primary members of the transnational advocacy network that is emerging in the Anglican Communion is comprised of members from the following constituencies and with the following founding dates; the southern allies, as detailed in the following chart,  are much more recently founded than their northern ally.






Year Founded*

United States


West Indies


Southeast Asia










Southern Cone of America







Second half

20th century

Average for Conservative Provinces



*Church founded, Province established, or first bishop consecrated. Source: The Anglican Communion Web Master.[34]



For cultural, political, economic, and social reasons, as well as longevity reasons, the non-U.S. members of this new transnational advocacy network are remarkably different than their U.S. and northern Anglican counterparts.  And increasingly, they are becoming the future of the Communion.  By 1998, approximately 40% of the Anglican Communion resided in Africa, and 44% of the Lambeth Conference attendees represented African and Asian membership.  The conservative U.S. bishops, in a denomination that still is showing slight signs of decline, have – rather brilliantly – allied themselves with the emergent growth arena of the Communion.

The impact of the changing Communion make-up and the effects of this new alliance could be observed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the same Conference where the first eleven women bishops made their debut.  This conference received more publicity than any other Lambeth gathering in history, and interestingly, the women were something of a sideshow.  What captured the world media was the angry debate over sexuality. 

Ultimately, and after three weeks of conversation, argument, and political maneuvering, the conservative faction carried the day, rejecting “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” by an overwhelming majority.[35]  Same-sex unions were disavowed, as were the ordinations of candidates involved in such relationships.  The Kuala Lumpur statement on human sexuality was noted to be “significant.”[36]  Further, those provinces in dissent over the issue of women’s ordination were confirmed as “loyal Anglicans,” and a record ten resolutions dealt with issues of strengthened primate authority.  According to a lay spokesperson for the U.S. conservative movement, the conference “said everything that conservative Episcopalians could hope for, even in conservatives’ wildest dreams.”[37]  The shifts in membership and strategic pre-planning on the part of conservatives clearly influenced the outcomes at Lambeth.  Not only was there a shift in the type of resolution addressed, as shown below, but there was also a strongly conservative and centralized perspective in resolutions that dealt with issues of governance and authority.

Source: Archive of Resolutions from the 1978, 1988, 1998 Lambeth Conferences of Anglican Bishops;


The concerns for international debt were also addressed. In its longest resolution, the Lambeth Conference recognized the “importance and urgency of issues of international debt and economic justice,” calling on governments, banks, and churches worldwide to lead the way in helping developing nations to get out from under their debt burden and in exploring ways of enabling the world’s poor to escape the cycle of poverty.[38]

Buoyed by their success at Lambeth, the transnational advocacy network continued to gather strength and to deepen its relationships.  Since 1998, significant initiatives and outcomes have included the following:

§         The conservative agenda has been kept in front of Anglican primates in the form of repeated petitions from the leading conservative organizations (the American Anglican Council and Forward in Faith/North America) asking primates to intervene in the Episcopal Church’s state of “exceptional” and “pastoral” emergency.  The dire situation is deemed to be a result of the continued ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians and the continued pressure on dioceses refusing to recognize and support women’s ordination.[39]

§         There have been numerous meetings of transnational network members in Kampala, Nassau, California, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and other locations worldwide.

§         In January 2000, the archbishops of Southeast Asia and Rwanda consecrated two American priests as bishops, without consulting the American Presiding Bishop, and sent them to minister to, and develop new parishes in, the United States.  This must be one of few – perhaps even unique - instances when nations from the Southern Hemisphere have undertaken missionary work in the United States.

1.        In the fall of 2000, the archbishops of South America and the Congo visited a suburban Philadelphia parish to confirm new members.  The bishop of Pennsylvania, the former Dean of the liberal Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, was forced to officially invite them to avoid a highly controversial skirmish over traditional – but clearly shifting – parameters of Anglican jurisdiction.

§         The American Anglican Council called on the primates to recognize a separate, but equal Anglican Province in the United States. Earlier strategies of abandoning or changing the Church were replaced by this new objective or by one that authorizes conservative parishes and bishops to ‘report’ to sympathetic bishops and archbishops elsewhere.

§         In his Christmas letter to all U.S. clergy, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold, a progressive who has been attempting to find a moderating path through these controversies, noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury “strongly disapproves” of the “irregular” bishop ordinations and will not recognize an alternative Anglican province in the United States.[40]

§         In February 2001, the Presiding Bishop’s Executive Council elected a moderate response to the 2000 General Convention resolution authorizing the establishment of a task force to develop an action plan for full compliance with women’s ordination by the fall of 2002.  The Executive Council instead opted, after intensive rounds of negotiations between conservative and progressive factions, to send “visitors” on listening and fact-finding missions to the three recalcitrant dioceses of Quincy, Fort Worth, and San Joaquin.[41]

§         The March worldwide primate’s meeting in North Carolina recessed without intervening in the Episcopal Church.  However, the primates agreed to consider a conservative proposal that would lead to a “drastically increased role for the primates in regulating the doctrinal affairs of member churches of the Anglican Communion, including the potential of suspension of communion against provinces or dioceses.”[42]  The Archbishop of Canterbury critiques the American Anglican Council for its "deeply schismatic" activity, but he also charges the Episcopal Church with being "out of step" with the larger Communion.[43]

§         Also in March, a parish in the progressive Washington, DC diocese called the former executive director of Forward in Faith/North America to be its new priest.  The acting bishop of the diocese, the second woman ordained to the episcopate in the U.S., rejected this call (refused to accept him as a priest in the diocese) because he would not consent to her full authority as bishop and would not commit to keep the parish within the diocese.  Her stand elicited the Presiding Bishop’s support, an unscheduled visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and aggressive letter- and fund-raising campaigns on the part of conservative U.S. bishops.  In his letter, the bishop of Florida reminded the Presiding Bishop that he had earlier endorsed a primate recommendation for “sustained pastoral care” in conflicts such as this.[44]  The situation is currently at an impasse.

§         On April 1, the conservative American Anglican Council completed the transition of its headquarters from Dallas to Washington, DC and announced the addition of new, professional staff members.[45]

4.      Transnational Advocacy Network Campaign Results

Keck and Sikkink recommend assessing the effectiveness of transnational advocacy networks by determining if they are able to accomplish the following things: 1) frame the debate and get issues on the agenda; 2) secure discursive commitments from states; 3) cause domestic and international procedural change; 4) affect policy; and, 5) influence behavior changes in target actors.[46]   On these measures, I do not think there can be any doubt that the conservative Episcopal and Anglican campaign is increasingly effective, although not yet dominant.  First, conservative initiatives are now increasingly central to the agendas of primate meetings, as they were at the most recent Lambeth Conference. Second, the “states” – in this case General Convention, primate meetings, and the Lambeth Conference – have all made statements and commitments supportive of the network agenda, or they have responded with softened actions.  Third, while there have as yet been no formal procedural changes in the Episcopal Church or Anglican Communion, the foreign consecration of Americans to the episcopate, the confirmation of Episcopalians by Anglican archbishops, and the proposed new American province are actions pressing toward more formal change.

Finally, the campaign has influenced the behavior of target actors.  The Lambeth Conference produced the highly conservative resolution on human sexuality and reaffirmed the local option for ordaining women.  The most recent primate meeting concluded with a commitment to consider greatly increased primate access and authority across provincial borders.  The impact on the Episcopal Church has been less obvious.  The dioceses that continue to refuse ordination to women were able to tone down a General Convention resolution, but not to stop it from passing.  There might be an additional domestic impact, however, although I have not been able to establish a causal link.  While the Episcopal Church leads in numbers of women elected to the episcopate, the election of women has slowed since the 1998 Lambeth Conference, as is shown below:

Source: Chart prepared from data compiled by Dr. Louie Crew at


It is surprising that the elevation of women to the episcopate would fall off at a time when the pool of eligible women candidates is larger than ever.  The only time that a decline in the number of ordained women priests occurred, between 1995 and 1997, is clearly related to the overall decline in ordinations among both men and women, and even then, the overall percentage of women ordained remained high.[47]   I conclude that it is possible, although still unproven, that the increase in international network activity is contributing to a climate of wariness in the Episcopal Church that is slowing the advancement of women into the highest clerical ranks.

5.      Conclusions

What is currently taking place in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican

Communion simultaneously confirms, complexifies, and challenges current sociological theories of mobilization and transnational advocacy networking.

                Confirms:  As many researchers have pointed out, mobilization in this case can be seen as a function of a highly-motivated leadership targeting a small number of likeminded supporters to contest and guard against more mainline interests.  Mobilization, or in Schier’s terms, activation, has not lead to inclusive participation and it continues to challenge more broadly based views.

                This case also provides confirmation of Keck and Sikkink’s work on transnational advocacy networks.  The conservative network of Episcopalians and Anglicans has mobilized information and resources to gain leverage over much more dominant organizations, and it is well on its way to having an impact on these larger entities.

                Complexifies: This case suggests that Keck and Sikkink’s “boomerang” pattern may be structured to work in two directions.  The north-to -south dynamic in this case was matched by a south-to-north “boomerang” that is keeping progressive targets under constant attack.  In addition, the conservative’s campaign suggests that issues of sovereignty can have different support and meaning at different levels (national versus state, for example) and that lines do not have to be drawn between northern and southern attitudes on sovereignty.

                Challenges: This case challenges conventional wisdom that liberal interests expand conflict while conservative interests privatize it.  By seeking out and creating a transnational advocacy network, involving primates who oversee almost 25 percent the Anglican Communion membership, the eleven conservative U.S. bishops have dramatically expanded the scope of conflict.  It remains to be seen how much success they will achieve – the network is still quite new – and it remains to see how this conservative alliance, with its very different constituent members, will hang together over time.

                There is, however, one way to think about the conservative strategy as being consistent with theory.  On the basis of eleven bishops bypassing their national legislative body with its 1,400 members to appeal instead to the thirty-six men who lead the Anglican Communion – or even to the 700 plus bishops at Lambeth once a decade – one could argue that in a rather unique way, this case confirms the theory that conservatives will seek to minimize and privatize the arena of debate.


6.      Post Script July 10, 2001

And so it continues.  I wrote this never imagining the consecrations in Denver and the further developments at Accokeek.  It remains to be seen where these significant escalations will lead.  They certainly confirm the arguments made in this paper.

By way of background: I was baptized and confirmed an Episcopalian in the Philadelphia diocese (Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, PA); received my BA from Brown University in History and Religious Studies in 1974: spent twenty years in business (marketing and advertising); received a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Harvard Divinity School in 1999.  I am currently a Doctor of Theology (ThD) candidate at HDS in its Religion and Society program.  I am still resident in the Diocese of Washington (St. Columba’s).

Ann McClenahan

3 Concord Avenue, #31

Cambridge, MA  02138


Dr. Louie Crew my permission to post this paper on his website and to forward it within the Episcopal Church.  All other uses and dissemination must have author’s prior approval.










Partial Bibliography


Darling, Pamela W. New Wine: The Story of Women Transforming Leadership and Power in the Episcopal Church. Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 1994.


Finke, Roger and Rodney Stark. The Churching of America 1776 – 1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992.


Holmes, David L. A Brief History of the Episcopal Church.  Valley Forge: Trinity Press International, 1993.


Keck, Margaret E. and Kathryn Sikkink.  Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998.


Nesbitt, Paula D. Feminization of the Clergy in America: Occupational and Organizational Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.


Roof, Wade Clark and William McKinney, American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987. 


Rosenstone, Stephen J. and John Mark Hansen. Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1993.


Schattschneider, E. E. The Semisovereign People: A Realist’s View of Democracy in America, reissued with intro by David Adamany. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1975.


Schier, Steven E.  By Invitation Only: The Rise of Exclusive Politics in the United States. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.


Skocpol, Theda and Morris P. Fiorina, eds. Civic Engagement in American Democracy.  Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1999.


Vallet, Ronald E. and Charles E. Zech. The Mainline Church's Funding Crisis: Issues and Possibilities. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.


Walker, Jack L. Jr. Mobilizing Interest Groups in America: Patrons, Professions, and Social Movements. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991.


Organizational Websites                  


American Anglican Council:


Anglican Communion:


Anglicans Online:


Anglican Pages of Louie Crew:


Archives of the Episcopal Church:


Archives of the Lambeth Conference:


Association of Anglican Congregations on Mission:


Caliper Presidential Results by County for Election 2000:


Concerned Clergy and Laity of the Episcopal Church:


Episcopal Church of the United States of America:


Episcopal Diocese of Washington, DC:


Episcopal News Service:


Episcopalians United:


Episcopal Life:


Forward in Faith/North America:




Lambeth Conference:


North American Missionary Society:


The Philadelphia Inquirer:


The Prayer Book Society of the United States of America:


The Washington Post:










Key Events Timeline


Major ECUSA and Lambeth Events                                 Conservative Responses


Worldwide Conference of Anglican                                1968

Bishops (Lambeth); theological

arguments for women’s ordination

deemed inconclusive             





ECUSA General Convention seats                                   1970

first women in its House of Deputies;

Convention admits women to previously

all male diaconate

 1971    Prayer Book Society founded to fight                                 revision of the 1928 Prayer Book







ECUSA General Convention votes                  1973

against ordination of women priests



“Irregular” ordination of 11 women                               1974

in Philadelphia     



“Irregular” ordination of 4 women                 1975

in Washington, DC



ECUSA General Convention affirms                1976

women’s ordination in canon law    







Worldwide Conference of Anglican                1978

Bishops (Lambeth) acknowledges women

priests; affirms heterosexuality as

“scriptural  norm”

Major ECUSA and Lambeth Events                                 Conservative Responses


ECUSA General Convention approves            1979

revised Prayer Book; resolves that homo-

sexuality is “no barrier” to ordination but

recommends that “it is not appropriate” to

ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians.






Worldwide Conference of Anglican                1988                        Episcopal Synod of America founded to

Bishops (Lambeth) calls for study of homo-                                   “preserve and extend evangelical faith and

sexuality, reaffirms integrity of diocesan                         catholic order” for those unable to accept

boundaries, calls for enhanced Primate role                    women’s ordination.


Barbara Harris elected first woman                                1989

bishop in ECUSA  and Anglican







House of Bishops at ECUSA General                               1991

Convention refuses to amend canon law to

prohibit ordination of gay and lesbian





ECUSA General Convention reaffirms             1994        Conservative bishops fail to get affirmation

canon concerning women’s ordination                                            of “scriptural standards of morality” at   General Convention; liberal bishops respond with Statement of Koinonia affirming equal validity of hetero - and homosexuality.


             1995   10 conservative bishops bring heresy

charges against bishop for ordaining a non-celibate gay man (Bishop Righter found not guilty by ecclesiastical court in 1996). founded to “inform and

encourage …worldwide evangelism and

discipleship in the name of Jesus Christ,

particularly in the Anglican Communion.”

Major ECUSA and Lambeth Events                                 Conservative Responses


1996   PECUSA, Inc. founded for “fund raising”

purposes and to “preserve” the “Faith once delivered to the saints”; in 1999, PECUSA, Inc. agreed to a Consent Order to cease using name (NJ).

American Anglican Council founded to

“fulfill the Great Commission, to proclaim Biblical truth and to transform the Episcopal Church from within.”


During the Anglican Encounter in the South                1997        Forty bishops and archbishops, now

(Kuala Lumpur), conservative Southern                          including Americans, meet in Dallas Hemisphere Anglican bishops and                                  following General Convention to reconfirm

archbishops issue statement against gay and                                Kuala Lumpur statement in advance of

lesbian ordination and unions, calling                                             1998 Lambeth Conference.

homosexuality a sin.                                                                            First Promise founded by 30 priests vowing

ECUSA General Convention strengthens                       to disregard offending canons and to be “in

canonical language on women’s ordination;                  communion” only with Anglican members votes not to accept Kuala Lumpur statement.                     in accord with Kuala Lumpur Statement

                                                                                                                (and hence not with ECUSA).

Episcopal Synod of America calls for              new“Orthodox Province of the Anglican

Communion in America” with oversight

from like-minded dioceses and overseas Provinces


Worldwide Conference of Anglican Bishops 1998        First Promise, now aligned with Episcopal

(Lambeth): women bishops (11) attend for                     Synod and American Anglican Council, 

first time; Provinces called to affirm that                          secures oversight from Archbishops of

“those who dissent from…ordination of                         Southeast Asia and Rwanda.

women…are…loyal Anglicans:” rejects                          Association of Anglican Congregations on

“homosexual practice as incompatible with                     Mission  petition Primates on the basis of

Scripture” and advises against legitimization of             Lambeth resolution to intervene in ECUSA

same sex unions and ordination of non-                          due to a state of “exceptional emergency”

celibate homosexuals; “in view of the very                    

grave difficulties encountered in some of the

Provinces,” calls on Archbishop of Canter-

bury to establish commission to recommend

appropriateness of “extra-ordinary ministry…

(pastoral oversight)” to such Provinces.


Anglican Primates meet in Singapore and    1999        Episcopal Synod of America becomes

Kampala                                                                                 Forward in Faith/North America –

                                                                                                                committed to “finding a way forward

                                                                                                                whereby traditional Anglicans can

                                                                                                                continue to practice the historic faith.”

                                                                                                                Meet with other conservatives in Kampala.


Major ECUSA and Lambeth Events                                 Conservative Responses


1999        American Anglican Council  requests that

                                                                                                                ECUSA refrain from “coercive national

                                                                                                                legislation,” to allow “alternative episcopal

                                                                                                                oversight” for conservative parishes, and to

                                                                                                                refrain from “resorting to civil courts in

                                                                                                                battles for church property” (against

                                                                                                                parishes intending to leave ECUSA).                                              

ECUSA General Convention requires plan     2000        In response to 1999 AACoM petition,

for full compliance by 2002 from three                              archbishops of Southeast Asia and Rwanda

dioceses currently in non-compliance with                     consecrate two ECUSA priests as bishops

women’s ordination; also passes resolution                   and send them to minister to the US.               

acknowledging same sex relationships.                           These two provinces declare that they are

Primate meeting in Portugal.                                                           no longer in communion with ECUSA.

Anglican Mission in America founded to support the two foreign missions to the US and merges with First Promise.  Announces

                “permission” to consecrate additional

bishops and “plant new churches in any part of the USA, no limits.”

                                                                                                                American Anglican Council holds Nassau

                                                                                                                Convocation to petition Primates

                                                                                                                regarding “Pastoral Emergency” in US

                                                                                                                resulting from General Convention reso-

                                                                                                                lutions; requests sanctioned alternate

                                                                                                                episcopal oversight, and notifies Primates of                                                                                                 intention to “cross diocesan boundaries”

                                                                                                                in the meantime.

                                                                                                                In November, and in response to Nassau

                                                                                                                Convocation, two Primates (South

                                                                                                                America and the Congo) visit PA church to

                                                                                                                conduct confirmations.

                                                                                ECUSA Presiding Bishop sends letters to

                                                                                                                all US clergy noting that Archbishop of

Canterbury “strongly disapproves” of the

                                                                                                                Singapore consecrations and will not

                                                                                                                recognize another Anglican province in the



ECUSA Executive Council softens                   2001        American Anglican Council petitions

2000 Convention resolution on women’s                        Primates to provide for “alternative

ordination; initial action to consist of further                 Episcopal oversight [and] the defense of

“fact-finding”.                                                                                      the biblical standard of marriage.”

Primates, meeting in NC, decline to take                       Positioned as “mechanism to build deeper

action on sexuality and greatly increased                        relationships between orthodox Episco-

Primate responsibilities across Anglican                         palians and their mainstream Anglican

Major ECUSA and Lambeth Events                                 Conservative Responses


borders.  Archbishop of Canterbury                                                brothers and sisters around the world.”

calls ECUSA “out of step” but labels                                               Forward in Faith launches series of regional

Anglican Mission in America “deeply                                             rallies.


2001        Prayer Book Society issues agenda for

Jane Dixon, second ECUSA woman bishop,                    creation of a new American Province.

now bishop pro-tem of Washington, DC,                        Conservative organizations launch letter-

rejects Accokeek  parish’s hiring of recently-                 writing and financial support campaigns for

resigned president of Forward in Faith to be                                  Accokeek, VA church. Prayer Book Society

their new rector.  Priest has called ECUSA                                      hints at formal charges against Bishop

“hellbound,” refuses to acknowledge Bishop                                Dixon and collusion with the Presiding

Dixon’s full authority as bishop because she                 Bishop to delay controversy until after the

is a woman, and will not commit to not                            close of the Primate’s meeting in NC.

lead the parish out of the diocese.  ECUSA                    American Anglican Council moves head-

Presiding Bishop voices support for Dixon;                   quarters from Texas to Washington, DC.

Archbishop of Canterbury flies in for

unscheduled visit with Bishop Dixon.
















[1] 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Preface, 10-11.

[2] When referring to the U.S. organization and U.S. membership, I will use the term Episcopal.  Although some U.S. members now call themselves Anglicans, I will use that term exclusively to refer to those provinces and individual members of the Anglican Communion which/who are not members of the U.S. organization.

[3] E. E. Schattschneider, The Semisovereign People: A Realist’s View of Democracy in America, reissued with intro by David Adamany. (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers, 1975), 6 – 11.

[4] Steven J. Rosenstone and John Mark Hansen, Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America. (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1993), 7 - 10, 234 - 236.

[5] Steven E. Schier, By Invitation Only: The Rise of Exclusive Politics in the United States. (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000), 7 – 41.

[6] Jack L. Walker, Jr. Mobilizing Interest Groups in America: Patrons, Professions, and Social Movements. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press), 12.

[7] Morris P. Fiorina, “Extreme Voices: A Dark Side of Civic Engagement,” in Civic Engagement in American Democracy, Theda Skocpol and Morris P. Fiorina, eds. (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1999), 395 – 425.

[8] Margaret E. Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998), 1.

[9] Ibid., 2. 

[10] Ibid., 6.

[11] Ibid., 200. 

[12] Ibid., 13.

[13] Ibid., 35, 215.

[14] Ibid., 202.

[15] Ibid., 206.

                [16]David L. Holmes, A Brief History of the Episcopal Church. (Valley Forge: Trinity Press International, 1993), 165.

[17] For an account of key actions on both sides from 1968 to the present, including those taken by the Anglican Communion as represented by all bishops meeting once a decade at the Lambeth Conference, see attached timeline.

[18] The ordinations were termed “irregular” because they were not authorized by canon law at the time.  Nevertheless, because the Church observes apostolic succession, and these women were ordained by apostolic bishops in good standing, the ordinations could not simply be ignored or vacated.  (Apostolic succession - the laying on of hands - is traced in the Anglican Communion back to the first Archbishop of Canterbury, 597 CE) This tactic was adopted twenty-five years later by conservatives: in January 2000, and without the permission of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, two conservative foreign Primates consecrated two American priests to the episcopate and sent them to minister to the U.S., provoking an uproar that matched the uproar over the mid-1970 ordinations.  Again, because the priests were consecrated by archbishops in apostolic succession, they are still regarded as bishops, however “irregularly” created.

[19] Dr. Crew, retiring this year from the Rutgers University English Department, is a member of the Presiding Bishop’s Executive Council and had compiled far and away the most comprehensive breakdown and analysis of Episcopal statistics.  His data are culled from official Church records otherwise presented in forms virtually unusable for analysis of this type.

                [20]Ronald E. Vallet and Charles E. Zech, The Mainline Church's Funding Crisis: Issues and Possibilities (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 12-13.

[21] Most of the conservative dioceses are in parts of the country that are politically conservative.  In the 2000 presidential election, nine of the eleven conservative dioceses voted for Bush; only Albany and Pittsburgh went for Gore.  However, six of the nine dioceses led by women bishops voted for Gore.  The remaining three, Indianapolis, Nevada, and Utah, went for Bush.  Source: 2000 County Election Results at     

[22] In their analysis of trends in American mainline religious traditions, Roof and McKinney plot the attitudes of twenty-three religious groups on four broad measures of moral concern.  Their findings reveal that those Americans claiming Episcopal Church membership demonstrate, in their terminology, a relatively high level of "tolerance," or commitment towards issues of social justice. Episcopalians ranked first on issues of racial justice, despite inconsistencies in actual practice, and fourth on measures related to civil liberties, women's rights, and moral and sexual concerns. The picture painted is one of a fairly progressive denomination, in the context of mainline American religion. Wade Clark Roof and William McKinney, American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1987), 188.  Although these findings are almost fifteen years old, I believe that they continue to be at least directionally correct.

[23] General Convention, Journal of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Indianapolis, 1994 (New York: General Convention, 1995), 842.  Resolution Number 1994-C004, “Reaffirm Canon on Equal Access to Ordination Process for Men and Women.”

[24] See;;

[25] The Prayer Book Society was founded in 1971 to fight revision of the 1928 Prayer Book.  When that effort failed in 1979, the Society transformed itself into an advocate of continued 1928 Prayer Book usage.  See:

[26] “Letter From ESA Bishops to The Most Rev. Moses Tay Primate, The Church of the Province of Southeast Asia, May 1, 1997.”

[27] The coalition of conservative U.S. bishops has fluctuated somewhat over the past ten years.  The eleven that I have primarily tracked are those most active currently; some of the original leaders have recently retired.

[28] “The Dallas Statement,” September 24, 1997.

[29] Ibid. The issue of episcopal oversight (parish priests must ‘report’ to the bishop who is in charge of their dioceses) has become increasing an issue in conservative U.S. clergy circles.  One objective of their campaign is to persuade General Convention, the Lambeth Conference, and/or primate meetings to authorize a conservative priest in a progressive diocese to ‘report’ to a conservative bishop instead.  The same objective is also being pursued on behalf of conservative bishops in the United States – that they be permitted to receive oversight from conservative international primates.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Norman Doe, Director of the Centre for Law and Religion at the Law School of Cardiff University, March 6, 2001, as reported by the Episcopal News Service, “Primates Consider Anglican ‘Common Law,” March 9, 2001.

[32] For example, the president of The Prayer Book Society envisions a new Anglican province in the United States in which “the lives of individual parishes and diocese would continue unperturbed, although strengthened by their place in a wider fellowship.”  The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon and the Rev. Dr. Louis Tarsitano, “After Kanuga: A Scenario for Unity.” http://www.epsicopalian.irg/pbs/1928/News/Kanunga_unity_Lou_03_15_2001.htm

[33] Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of American 1776 – 1990: Winners and Losers in our Religious Economy. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992), 237 – 275.

[34] In thinking about Finke and Stark’s argument, I also looked internally at the Episcopal Church. The eleven conservative-led dioceses have an average founding year of 1880, forty-four years later than the nine dioceses with women bishops.  However, given that both groups were founded on average more than 120 years ago, I find it difficult to believe that today’s conservative activism is related to differences in founding dates in this country.

[35] Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 on “Human Sexuality”

[36] Ibid. Interestingly, one of the two 1988 Lambeth Resolutions dealing with sexuality addressed polygamy, a practice in some African provinces.  In 1998, there was no mention of polygamy; issues of sexuality were refocused on gay and lesbian relationships, issues being most hotly debated in northern provinces.

[37] Doug LeBlan, “Where do we go from Lambeth?”, October 14, 1998.  http:’’

[38] Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.15 on “International Debt and Economic Justice” http://justus.anglican.prg/resources/Lambeth1998?LC98res/sec1.html

[39] “Petition to the Primate’s Meeting and the Primates of the Anglican Communion for the Emergency Intervention in the Province of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America,” December 1998 by the Association of Anglican Congregations on Mission.  The American Anglican Council “Nassau Convocation,” August, 2000.

[40]December 21,2000.

[41] As quoted in the (conservative) Forward in Faith/North American article, “Silence at the OK Corral: Executive Council Defangs Plan to Coerce Dioceses Without Women Priests.”

[42] Episcopal News Service, “Primates Consider Anglican ‘Common Law,’ March 9, 2001.

[43] American Anglican Council, “Archbishop Carey Speaks Out on the Anglican Primates Meeting, ECUSA, AMiA, and the ACC,” by Bruce Mason, March 16, 2001.

[44] Ibid., “Bishop Stephen Jecko’s Letter to Bishop Jane Dixon,” April 23, 2001.

[45] Ibid., “AAC Completes Transition of Headquarters to Washington, DC,” April 5, 2001 press release. http://www.AmericanAnglican.irg/News/News.cgm?content=155

[46] Ibid., 210.

[47] There is some debate whether the decline in ordination, as shown in the chart on p. 8 above, actually took place.  There is a possibility that it is only a function of late or inaccurate reporting.


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