08 July 2009

Are the AC primates beginning to get the picture?

One of our "gripes" throughout out the past six years is that the AC primates simply do not understand the polity of The Episcopal Church.

In a very smart move, the primates were invited to be observers at GC09 and fifteen primates accepted the invitation.This is the largest group of primates to ever attend a General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Here are a few noteworthy comments:

From The Most Rev'd Albert Chama, Northern Zambia
The governance of the Episcopal Church clearly shows that the bishops are not the sole deciders and that the House of Deputies has the upper hand. This is very different polity to elsewhere in the Anglican Communion.

... Tensions concerning human sexuality could be calmer if we knew more about the Episcopal Church's polity.

Archbishop Henri Isingoma, newly elected primate of the Anglican Church of the Congo, said

Sometimes we pick up on a final stage and don't understand the process.

The Most Rev. Idris Jones, former primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said:

In terms of participation and democratization is this not the model the communion needs? Well, only if you've got an educated electorate.
++Jones comment is my favourite because it speaks to the heart of the matter - an educated group of people making decisions instead of a group of bible thumping men with far too much power who intend to keep and wield that power.

UPDATE: Reports are filtering out from the meeting between the leaders of the House of Deputies and the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev'd Rowan Williams.

According to The Lead he made one statement that speaks volumes about why the communion is in he state it is in:
Williams told the group that Episcopalians had to be aware that in some parts of the Communion, “bishops only want to hear from other bishops.
This is the problem in a nutshell. Prince-bishops only want to deal with other prince-bishops. They are too high and mighty, and full of themselves, to deal with the laity who are not capable of understanding scripture, tradition, or reason.

For 220 years or so TEC has been governed by a bicameral system which, like the British parliament, places the real power in the "lower house" and limits the interference of the "upper house."

I do not believe that there is a bishop in the AC who does not understand our polity - completely. When they say they do not, they are being disingenuous. As one of the eldest members of the communion, our polity is well known.

But some foreign prince bishops, and we know who they are, choose to ignore our polity because doing so suits their own selfish goals of power. By doing so they dismiss us as impudent colonials. William's statement today proves that opinion.