Saturday, September 10, 2005

Which way will they jump?

Network or Episcopal Church?

This is the scuttlebutt I've been hearing: the clergy are being polled in the Diocese of Central Florida, to see which way they're going to jump. Do they plan to stay with the Episcopal Church, or go with the Network?

Apparently the Network wants to be ready to jump ship at General Convention 2006. Apparently, the bishop wants to know he'll be surrounded by a posse of AAC-types before he goes for a break. Maybe he wants to force fence-sitters into a decision.

The clergy are being reminded they'll lose their pensions if they go. I'm not sure if this just to help the clergy see the ramifications of their decision, or likely, if the Network leaders can get enough Network wannabes worked up about it, to push for some grab of the pension fund.

There's already been a precedent set in the Diocese of Central Florida for letting break-away churches keep the property, by "selling" it to them at very low cost, at very good terms.

For a good while, the Web site for St. Lukes Cathedral in the Diocese of Central Florida has been referring to the cathedral only as a member of the Network, and nowhere does it admit being a part of the Episcopal Church. You can go to and take a look.

At least the diocesan Web site still calls the diocese "Episcopal."

How crummy, though.


Charlotte said...

Interesting. I wonder if this is going on in the other Network dioceses. I can't believe, though, that events elsewhere in the Communion are going to wait for GC 2006. It's not just about ECUSA any longer. It looks as though Archbishop Akinola will break with Canterbury and have his new "Alexandrian Communion" set up by the end of this year -- at least that's the scuttlebutt in the UK. I expect some of the Network clergy in this Diocese will go with Alexandria, but I can't imagine that a majority, even of the Network, will.

Saint Pat said...

I think that Bishop Howe has once again gotten a little case of cold feet, for just the reasons you stated. Of course, a lot of things can hoppen between now and GC 2006, and I can see Howe going for break or running back into the fold, depending on which way the wind blows.

Some of the more rabid Network partisans will demand a split whatever happens with the rest of the communion.

We certainly live in interesting times!

Charlotte said...

Agreed, unsaintly pat. There are further difficulties for the Network partisans in this Diocese, however. ++Orombi of Uganda, who has been an important voice in CAPA, is on record as opposed to women's ordination. ++Akinola does not permit it in Nigeria.

Of course the traditionalist Anglo-Catholics here and abroad remain opposed to women's ordination, but there is also a strong group among the British Evangelicals who believe, following John Stott, that it is unbiblical for a woman to exercise "Headship." They allow a kind of women's ordination, but believe an ordained woman can serve only in very limited roles, and must always be under the direct supervision of a male priest.

Most think, for these reasons, that an "Alexandrian Communion" would not permit the ordination of women.

+John Howe is, however, a strong supporter of women's ordination, and is married to a priest. A number of priests active in the Network or the AAC in this Diocese are women. They will face a very difficult choice.