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The Episcopal Church is not kicked out of the Anglican Communion

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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Louie Crew Clay

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.

MaryLou Scherer

I guess they do need the money after all

Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

Usually TEC and Canada’s money.

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.

Leslie Scoopmire

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.”

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.

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