Meme of the Month: 2 Churches in One Body. Divorce would be best for the kids.

Centrists / General Convention / Religion

Could someone please explain to me why there are so many people very pointedly saying things along the line of “We have two churches bound together in the Episcopal Church, and now sadly after GC2006 we see that they must divorce.”

Since I see the actions of the majority at General Convention saying just the opposite, what exactly is motivating this “insight”? Is it that there is going to be a woman in charge? It can’t be because we’ve “blown off” the Windsor Report – because we sure haven’t “blown it off” no matter what you think of what happened on Wednesday.

This meme (2 churches which need to separate), which I’ve heard from Bishop Bob Duncan, from Richard Kew and from other “reasserter” bloggers, seems to be more of a talking point than it is a valid point.

Why two churches? Why not three? (Left/Middle/Right) Why not four or five? Where exactly are the boundaries of these two churches? Where are the moderates (which Bishop Duncan claims in his press release to have collapsed, but which are the cause of so much pain at the moment to the people on the “left”) supposed to fit into this bicameral model of our denomination?

Or is this just rhetoric?

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. I used to think of you as down the middle on most subjects, reporting and posting items from the “middle.”
    Now, though, I am not sure. I see, after convention, you posts taking on the stance that the revisionists have always used.
    That is sad to me.

  2. I mean, when the revisionists came out with their statement feeling that they could not go with the resolution, B033, that was passed, where was your anger and where was your calling them to a higher plain?
    I am serious! If you are a true middle of the way type character that you proclaim loudly, I have witnessed an astounding silence on this matter.
    Maybe you could post your response to those on the far left that cannot go along with B033 and those that will undoubtedly take ECUSA out of the Anglican Communion.

  3. Hi Milton – You ask a good question. I have two responses.
    1. I don’t think being a “moderate” means that you try to balance the “swats” you hand out so that your final score comes out even. I understand it to be based in an attempt to find the sacred center where I believe the most catholic voices can be heard.
    2. There is plenty of pain out there on the “left”. I am part of the cause of that pain since I voted in favor of B033. I have to own that. I think the godly thing to do at the moment is to let them express their pain and not try to either defend myself against it, or tell them that their pain must be put aside.
    I think that there are people who are intending to not conform to B033 for a variety of reasons. I do not think that the number of people who are going to reject B033 as a matter of conscience will be close to the 50% it would take to nullify it.
    I meant what I said about “fairness” in a post a little while ago. I think the real “heat” in the Church right now is that people are being told that they must accept things that they can not in good conscience accept. I do not think people who believe that women can not be validly ordained should be forced to accept woman priests. I do not think that people who believe that GC erred in B033 should be forced to proclaim their support of it.
    Does that help explain where I’m coming from a little better?

  4. Nick,
    Thanks for your response!
    You wrote, “I think the real “heat” in the Church right now is that people are being told that they must accept things that they can not in good conscience accept.”
    How do you feel about the people that cannot in good conscience accept +Gene Robinson? They have lived with complete disregard for their feelings going on three years. It didn’t just happen and TEC is telling them, by the election of ++Schori that there won’t be any change down the road or around the bend, if you will. She has stated that she is on the progressive side…no doubt.
    Who is living with the greater pain? Those that live with willful proclamations, or those living with an onslaught on their faith?
    Thanks again, Nick!

  5. If you were a member of +Gene’s diocese and could not in good conscience accept his ministry as bishop than I think that you should be absolutely allowed to seek alternative episcopal oversight. I’ve not studied the issue carefully to see the specific nuances of the various versions being suggested, but I think a real AEO should be offered.
    I know that here in the Diocese of Bethlehem, there is a standing offer to parishes that might have issues with our bishop. None have yet taken up the offer, but I believe my bishop when he makes this offer is making it seriously.
    Let’s wait and see what +Katharine brings to her new office. I’m told that she has a reputation for being fair in her diocese, and that there are some on the “right” who are pleased with her election, in spite of her stated views, because they believe that she will indeed treat them fairly.
    Kendall Harmon made a good point on the floor of convention when he pointed out that there are clergy of this church that are not welcome in all our dioceses and that this is wrong. I agree that this is a scandal and needs to be addressed. At this time I don’t think the un-catholic innovation of parallel provinces should be our first attempt at a fix. We might try actually treating each other with respect first. It’s worked for me in Pittsburgh and in Bethlehem. Grin.

  6. Nick,
    I think and strongly feel that something of side-by-sides should be accepted, in TEC, at least until this thing is worked out at Lambeth in 2008. Maybe there, in Lambeth 2008, we can see ourselves clearer to walk down the road of history. Maybe there will be utter and complete seperation. It looks like that is the way it is headed.
    I see, hear, and speak to those older members of TEC that are in my life, and the most definitely cannot accept the innovations that they are seeing themselves being made a part of. I see, hear and speak also, to people that live in the lifestyle of +Gene Robinson saying that they would never demand acceptance of what they do on others around them. They would like to be accepted as human beings on a journey…that is all well and good…but they would never demand nor legislate their lifestyle to be accepted to their mother or father. This is what is transpiring through legislative action in TEC.
    To me, and many that I speak with, that is highly manipulative of the actual situation.

  7. Thanks for voicing one of my concerns, Nick. I don’t see how it will be good for the church to avoid dealing with the contentious in a way that is respectful to both sides of the debate. I don’t see how real separation, and some versions of AEO look like total separation, permits that engagement to happen.

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