Sewanee Tengatenga Alexander

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.

Sorry this video does not exist

 

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15 Comments
  1. Michael Russell

    Finally, someone who lays it out straight. The Primates’ communique is their opinion and suggestion but nothing more. We have to wonder why the ++ABC and the ++York are more befuddled than the chair of the ACC.

    Was the “rude” reference in someone’s question? It sounds totally random.

    • My guess is that the “rude” reference is to the thought that our attendance would be in some sense confrontational, an assertion of rights in the face of opposition. Bishop Tengatenga’s point is that we should expected to be there, and should expect to be there as a part of the normal course of business.

  2. christopher seitz

    No real surprise here. Tengatenga is soon leaving the post.

  3. Jeremy Bates

    One suspects that Archbishop Tengatenga has taken good legal advice. He is speaking here in terms of rights and responsibilities–though I also appreciate the fizzy-bottle metaphor.

    Simply put, the Primates have no way of demoting The Episcopal Church’s representatives to the ACC. The Primates lack any such power. That is why the Episcopal representatives will attend and vote regardless.

    What will be interesting is (1) figuring out who drafted Addendum A to the Primates’ communique and (2) seeing what the GAFCON reaction will be when events prove that Addendum A was mere rhetoric.

  4. Jeremy Bates

    The plot thickens . . . .

    Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, has now released a Lenten message saying, contra the Archbishop of Canterbury’s spin, that “there can be no true walking together”:

    “Sadly, the [Primates’ 2016] meeting had hardly finished before it was made very clear that there would be no repentance or change of direction on the part of TEC and their delegation to the Anglican Consultative Council Meeting in April expect it to be business as usual.

    “As the GAFCON Vice Chairman, Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria, has already said, it is now clear that nothing has changed as a result of the Canterbury meeting. The fabric of the Communion is still badly torn and there can be no true walking together until there is repentance for what is acknowledged even by TEC as a breach of core doctrine. There is a strong possibility that this year we shall see other Provinces taking the same step.

    “Some of you are asking what GAFCON’s approach will be during the three years that TEC are subject to sanctions and what will happen at the end of that time, given that TEC appear to have moved well beyond the possibility of changing course.

    “At our Primates Council in April, we will take counsel together on these matters . . . .”

  5. Brother Tom Hudson

    Is there a link to Abp Wabukala’s Lenten message?

  6. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

    I am reminded more and more that the Gospel of God is the loser in this Communion. Is it possible for us to “fall from grace” and not know it? It seems we all say the same Creeds, sing the same songs of praise, read from the same Book and receive the same Body & Blood. Yet our hearts seem to be far from the Gospel of God, the unconditional Love of God in Jesus. Wherever there is oppression, hunger, persecution, bigotry, bias, hatred or anything else that separates us from the Love of God, there stands the Cross of Jesus to remind us that God is Absolute Love. TEC has done nothing to proclaim this Gospel to all God’s children.

    The Archbishops have more than marriage equality to worry about. A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,”

    Who am I to judge?

  7. Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

    Correction: Like Paul, my vision isn’t what it was.
    “TEC has done nothing, but to proclaim this Gospel to all God’s children.”

    My bad. Forgive me.

  8. So, after reading Archbishop Wabukala’s Lenten message, the only way we might have proven ourselves to be “humbly walking together” would have been to accede to the extralegal statement from the Primates’ Meeting? Isn’t that analogous to the way bullies and domestic abusers operate and also get their way?

    • Jeremy Bates

      I think that’s a correct reading.

      The GAFCON Primates essentially want The Episcopal Church to repent–to admit that it was wrong.

      There’s no chance that will happen. What The Episcopal Church was not wrong, but was deeply Christian.

      Equal marriage symbolizes the love of God for all creation–including LGBTI people.

      That’s why other provinces of the Communion will soon join The Episcopal Church in the “consequented” corner.

      How the GAFCON Primates respond is another question. But at the very least, based on Archbishop Wabukala’s message, it does not look as though the GAFCON Primates will respond by urging that the Communion “walk together.”

  9. Jim Naughton

    The GAFCON folks are trying to do two things at once here–punish the Episcopal Church, and in doing so establish that a gathering of primates has the authority to mete out punishment. The second point troubles me more than the first.

  10. MaryLou Scherer

    I guess they do need the money after all

    • Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

      Usually TEC and Canada’s money.

  11. Attention: Primates!

    Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)

    ==================

    Jesus’ counsel has been proved true yet again right before our eyes, as evidenced by this report out of Sewanee.

    I have great recipes for crow and humble pie and will gladly host any primate now consternated. Lord knows, this fare has long been a staple in my diet and can be made at least palatable with Sriracha Sauce.

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