Death and Resurrection of a Seminary: EDS and its future.

The Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) is, as a stand alone seminary of the Episcopal Church, dead. I was able to be there as it breathed its last. It ended with lots of words, possibly inenviable political correctness, and vague promises for an afterlife as a new entity, EDS at Union Seminary. 

Those who hope for its future and those who simply mourn its past both have to deal with the reality that if there is a resurrection body, it is not the same as the body that died.  Whatever EDS will be about in its new Union suit, it will not be the same as it was when it wore Episcopal garb. That much is sure. What is not sure is whether or not EDS/Union will remind us of anything of value in the 160 year history of the Philadelphia Divinity School, the 150 year history of The Episcopal Theological School or of the joint venture, The Episcopal Divinity School. If not, the death of EDS will be just that, death and nothing after.  If there is in the new body EDS/Union some real connection to its predecessor bodies, and those connections bend the trajectory of the work of the new body, then EDS will have found resurrection.

For now, however, the reality is that there has been a death in the family. EDS is gone. 

I have not been a regular attendee at reunions, but this year marked 50 years since graduation from ETS and because I was additionally being honored as a distinguished alumni, I went to part of the celebration of this year's graduating class and alumni days. It was an emotionally confusing occasion. 

I am always struck by the ability of us "older" types to grouse about changes to the way things were. The question is, when are those complaints more than signs of our own calcification of brain pathways and when to they actually provide useful critique? Hard to say. But there was very little to give me hope in the remarks of various elders, or in my own remarks for that matter. 

About the only thing I had to offer was in remarks I made at a panel on "Celebrating our History."  There I suggested that it seemed to me that real theological education took place in community, and that the three year residential program provided a context in which students and faculty could interact with considerable "contact."  While the ways in which community was expressed could and did change, the fact of such community was invaluable to me as a ground for theological inquiry. To lose that immediacy and intimacy of contact makes it easier to be polarized, separated, and isolated.  I have no notion if anyone heard.

Meanwhile, at the last graduation days,  I heard a surprising amount of "special" language, language that was somehow meant to signal that the speakers were all on the side of justice and the virtues of true inclusiveness. EDS went out with a politically correct bang. But I heard little about how God's sense of both justice and mercy might be so unlike our senses of the same as to make our political correctness seem like the sounds of parrots mouthing right words without content. I heard little about humility, limits of reason, and sin ingrained in the righteous and unrighteous alike.

Frankly, the EDS that spouts the proper politically correct words does not impress me at all. Rather I remember with fondness the EDS / ETS communities that were willing to hear out each of us in all our incorrectness.  That aspect of our history of engagement in matters of justice seems more to the point. Any damn fool can believe themselves politically correct. But a community of damn fools, conscious of the limitations of each of its members, might lurch its way forward to do surprising things on the search for God's justice and mercy.

It would be good if some of that seeped into the new EDS at Union thingy... then perhaps the School will live again.


Painting the Map GAFCON purple.

Its been twenty years since the Second Global South Anglican Encounter meeting in Kuala Lumpur. They issued a statement on Human Sexuality that would, the following year, lead to the takeover of the process of discussing human sexuality at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That in turn led to Resolution 1.10.   which declared homosexuality as incompatible with Holy Scripture. 

Twenty years ago this year saw the full flowering of an alliance between evangelical Anglicans from the UK, the US and Australia, along with some notables from a UK missionary presence in South America, and the leadership of a number of African Provinces.  The Kuala Lumpur meeting provided the opportunity for global north evangelicals to link with global south leaders, using the issues of human sexuality, and notably the matter of homosexuality, as a basis for building a new power base in Anglicanism. The Global South meetings affirmed a new locus of world Anglican influence - central African provinces and their evangelical allies.  It is primarily from those beginnings that the current struggles concerning who speaks for Anglicans has arisen.

Heretofore, to the extent that Anglicans had a voice that spoke its mind, that voice was a chorus made up of the mind of the Lambeth Conference, the programs of the Anglican Consultative Council, and the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury in consultation with other primates of the Anglican Communion.  All of that is now less clear and more messy.

GAFCON has recently contributed even more to the mess.

The GAFCON Primates met in April and issued a communique in which it becomes clear that GAFCON is interested in painting the world map "GAFCON purple."  Or to put it another way, to increase its claim to be the real, true and orthodox Anglican Communion, as opposed to the older and (GAFCON believes) now tired and fallen Anglican Communion under the influence of northern Europe and its western counterparts in the US and Canada.

GAFCON has been working to organize itself as a world wide communion of churches representing true and undefiled Anglicanism.  It has for some time claimed to represent the majority of the worlds Anglicans by way of the now nine Anglican Provinces and five "Branches" that make up the GAFCON community of churches. But as GAFCON's own map indicates, these are geographically a bit of a patchwork. 

This is the GAFCON world map:

The areas in purple are GAFCON Provinces (not necessarily the same as Anglican Communion Provinces). The areas in blue are "branches"- places where there are GAFCON related organizations or parishes.
Several things to note: All of North American is colored in by virtue of the inclusion of the Anglican Church of North America, which is not a Province of the Anglican Communion, but a new Church formed from a variety of churches historically rooted in several provinces of the Anglican Communion and previous breakaway groups. It covers three Anglican Communion Provinces : Canada, the US and Mexico.  Part of Brazil is now included as a extension of the Province of South America (the Southern Cone). The Brazilian component consists of portions of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil that broke away from them. But the core of GAFCON are the Provinces in Africa that make up the bulk of both numbers and provinces: Sudan and South Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Congo and Rwanda.

We should also note that some members of the Global South Encounters did not become part of GAFCON, and do not have "branches" in their Provinces, but participate in a wider occasional gathering of Global South primates.

The Anglican Communion provides a different map:

The areas in blue do not have area churches part of the communion. In some places (North Africa, for example) the presence of the Anglican Communion is very spotty, but is listed none the less. But there are Anglican Communion jurisdictions in all the areas indicated.

The GAFCON communique of April 29, 2017, works to expand the "map" of GAFCON influence by deciding to "
consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe."

Here is what the communique says about this decision:
"A Missionary Bishop

During our meeting, we considered how best to respond to the voice of faithful Anglicans in some parts of the Global North who are in need of biblically faithful episcopal leadership. Of immediate concern is the reality that on 8th June 2017 the Scottish Episcopal Church is likely to formalize their rejection of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, faithful Anglicans in Scotland will need appropriate pastoral care. In addition, within England there are churches that have, for reasons of conscience, been planted outside of the Church of England by the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE).  These churches are growing, and are in need of episcopal leadership. Therefore, we have decided to consecrate a missionary bishop who will be tasked with providing episcopal leadership for those who are outside the structures of any Anglican province, especially in Europe.
A Word of Encouragement to Faithful Anglicans within European Provinces

We wish to reassure all faithful Anglicans in European provinces that they also have our prayers and our support. We are aware that some Christians within these provinces who are contending for the faith may at first perceive the news of a missionary bishop as a threat to their hopes for reform from within.  
We believe that the complexity of the current situation in Europe does not admit of a single solution.  Faithful Christians may be called to different courses of action. We bless those whose context and conscience have led them to remain and contend for the faith within the current structures. If you are successful, you will not need a missionary bishop; if you are not successful, an alternative is at hand. The only true failure would be to waste time through inaction."

The GAFCON communique is careful not to say that this is a missionary bishop for England, Scotland and Wales, although England and Scotland are the churches critiqued. The bishop is being consecrated especially for "Europe." We might note that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion in Europe are: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. All the rest of "Anglican" Europe is overseen by the Diocese in Europe, part of the Church of England, by the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, part of The Episcopal Church, or are churches in two extra-provincial churches in Portugal and Spain. 

Two things are clear: This is really about the churches in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, not Europe. And it is at the same time about coloring in all of Europe as a new province of GAFCON. 

GAFCON is working hard to become a worldwide Communion. And as it does so it is also working to show itself to be the "orthodox Anglican Communion." That is, that it is the communion of churches true to Anglicanism and its theological perspectives, rather than the communion that includes revisionist churches, particularly The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. 

By consecrating a bishop for Europe GAFCON has determined to establish an "alternative" episcopal presence in England and all of Europe. It views this as a legitimate effort to reconvert the English people from the corrupted gospel of the CofE. 

This should raise a stink in Anglican circles, but very little seems to be happening. Where is the objection from the Anglican Communion itself? What hasn't the Archbishop of Canterbury spoken concerning this invasion? Where is the Anglican Consultative Council in all this?

Whatever other agenda there is for all this activity, the decision to consecrate a bishop for those Anglicans in Europe unwilling to be part of dioceses that have been perceived to have departed from "the faith once delivered" is a slap in the face of the Church of England and its jurisdiction as an Anglican Church. More it is somewhat akin to calling your mother a whore. 

GAFCON has essentially declared the mother church of the Anglican Communion to be no church at all. 

If the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Anglican Consultative Council had the guts to do so, this would be the time to note that by its actions the GAFCON Provinces have ceased to be in communion with the See of Canterbury.

Not to do so simply means that the GAFCON folk can keep coloring the map GAFCON purple unchallenged.

On the other hand, maybe there are wise hands at the wheel. Leaving GAFCON unchallenged and allowing them uncritical access to crayons might keep the current leadership of GAFCON and its northern evangelical allies busy long enough for them all to die out and be replaced by the next generation of leaders who might not share the same need to separate themselves from the North and West.  

I believe there will arise new Global South Anglican leadership whose experience in post-colonial Anglican engagement with former colonial powers will lessen the need to distance their churches from the older churches. Perhaps those leaders will see the differences, even on deep matters, as a basis for even deeper exploration of communion and not as a basis for abandonment. 

Those of us in Anglican Communion churches (Provinces) need to insist, however, that the Anglican Communion is a "fellowship, within the one holy catholic and apostolic church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury." (That being the definition of the Anglican Communion from the 1930 Lambeth Conference.)

Churches that determine to enter the jurisdictions of Anglican dioceses, provinces and regional churches, without the permission of the jurisdiction, with the intent to correct or convert those bodies because they have failed in their gospel mission, have every right to do so. But they have ceased to be part of that fellowship, having determined that the Anglican Communion as represented in the particular jurisdiction they have entered is false, wrong, or evil. 

The GAFCON world is real, but it is not in any way The Anglican Communion, and the sooner this is made clear, the better.  Otherwise the guys with the crayons will scrawl across their new map "The Anglican Communion" and who will be there to insist otherwise?


Anglican Church in North America and the (departed) Diocese of South Carolina

This one requires some close attention.  Here goes:

ACNA, The Anglican Church in North America, claims to unite "112,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico into a single Church. On April 16, 2009 it was recognized as a province of the global Anglican Communion, by the Primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans."

The numbers are not in dispute, at least as far as I know. However, the description of these 112,000 persons as "Anglicans" is in dispute. 

Until ACNA began to emerge as a religious group, "Anglican" was mostly used to refer to members of churches that were part of the Anglican Communion as determined by inclusion in the roster of Anglican Povinces, by the Anglican Consultative Council. That in turn relied upon the list of such bodies recognized by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York as churches in communion with the Church of England that are part of the Anglican Communion.  

So members of the Reformed Episcopal Church (now part of ACNA) were not Anglican, but rather churches with Anglican roots or background. They are churches not in communion with Canterbury, and not part of the Anglican Communion.  So a fair number of the 112,000 worthies in ACNA did not come from Anglican Churches. 

And ACNA is on shaky grounds to say that it is a province of the global Anglican Communion on the basis of recognition by the primates of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.  

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans may be a global group, but 'Global" is not part of the organizations name. "The Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans" as used in the ACNA writeup on their web pages is a stretch. There is no such GFCA. There is only "The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans."  More importantly recognition by the Primates of the FCA does not make ACNA "a province of the global Anglican Communion."  The "Anglican Communion" has not recognized ACNA as a Province, and recognition by the Primates of FCA does not make it so.

Still, given all that, ACNA has grown and taken on its own life. It is not, in the sense that "Anglican" has been used until recently, "Anglican." It is not part of the global Anglican Communion. It is recognized as a province by a large number of Anglican Communion provinces, many of whom no longer worry much about communion with Canterbury.  ACNA is a church, and is likely to become a bit stronger in the coming days.

A large part of the Diocese of South Carolina left The Episcopal Church and has been working on the issue of where to find its wider church connection. I refer to that diocese as "The departed Diocese of South Carolina," not because it died, but because it left The Episcopal Church or its clergy and bishop were deposed from TEC.  

A report in the Post and Currier  yesterday indicated that the departed Diocese of South Carolina is to decide whether or not to join ACNA next week.  If it does ACNA will probably be able to claim it is now a church of 120,000 souls and over 1000 congregations.  Taking on the departed Diocese of South Carolina would be a real gain for ACNA. 

I think the departed Diocese of South Carolina needs to be careful about this one. ACNA misrepresents itself in several ways.

ACNA lists among its goals, "The Province (ACNA) will seek to represent orthodox North American Anglicans in the
councils of the Anglican Communion."

That goal is carefully written: ACNA  "will seek to represent orthodox North American Anglicans in the councils of the Anglican Communion.That goal does not suggest that only orthodox "North American Anglicans" are Anglicans or part of the councils of the Anglican Communion. But the goal is that ACNA be the representative of such orthodox Anglicans.

Of course that goal is only a stepping stone towards the real goal of ACNA, which is to be THE representative of the Anglican community in North America, replacing the Anglican Church of Canada, The Anglican Church of Mexico and The Episcopal Church as such representatives. The turning point in this move is the world "orthodox."  If ACNA can maintain that it is "orthodox" and TEC, ACoM and ACoC are not orthodox, and convince the Anglican Consultative Council and or the Archbishop of Canterbury of that fact, then replacement of these churches by ACNA is a possibility. 

But for now ACNA seems content to contend that they are the representative of "orthodox North American Anglicans." Apparently that is part of the appeal they make to the departed Diocese of South Carolina.

The thing is, this is mostly a smoke screen of slippery language. ACNA some how takes on the use of "orthodox", "province" and its place in "the global Anglican Communion," without much foundation. 

ACNA is not "orthodox Anglican," not if Anglican means what it meant twenty years ago.
ACNA is not a "province" of anything, but it calls itself a province.
ACNA is not "a province of the global Anglican Communion."

It is a real church, and a worthy one. There is no need to dump on a church that has pulled together a wide range of people who came from are were attracted to the Anglican "way" as they understand it from at least part of their experience of The Episcopal Church or other churches in the Anglican Communion. But ACNA is not, at present, the representative of orthodox Anglicanism in North America, not a province, and certainly not a province of the Anglican Communion.

The departed Diocese of South Carolina, if it chooses to do so next week, will be joining other disaffected, disinherited
 or distanced Anglicans in a new thing, not part of the Anglican Communion and not a province of anything more global that has anything to do with the Anglican Communion as currently constituted.  It may wish to change all that, but until it does it is falsely advertising itself.

Let's be clear: ACNA misrepresents itself. The departed Diocese of South Carolina might do well to take considerable care in aligning itself with ACNA. Misrepresentation is a hard place from which to develop a lasting marriage.


A short note on the title "One Body, One Faith," and marriage.

On February 15, the House of Bishops of the Church of England brought a report with the long and labor intensive title,  Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations to the General Synod.  It can be found HERE.
The Synod declined to receive the report because the three houses (Bishops, Clergy, Laity) could not agree on doing so.

Near the beginning of the statement the bishops quote Paul in Galatians, 

"Close to the heart of the mystery of human existence is the way that identity and relationship are inseparable from one another. For Christians, it is being in Christ that secures our true identity and transforms all our human relationships. As St Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me...”(Galatians 2:19 ff)."

The bishops statement that, "it is being in Christ that secures our true identity and transforms all our human relationships" sets the basis for its case that the church's teaching on marriage should remain unchanged, but it ought to find new ways to remain in pastoral relationship with people in varying sorts of committed relationships other than marriage.  

The report strongly supports the notion that Christians constitute "one body" and that that body - Christians and certainly Anglican Christians - throughout the world and overwhelmingly hold to the same doctrine, that marriage pertains to the relationship between one man and one woman, for life. 

The bishop's report is essentially a rehash of the position taken at Lambeth 1998, but with some additional effort to fill out the ways in which the Church of England might better affirm what is good and true and beautiful in same-sex relationships. 

For many of us the Bishops report was a disaster for the future of common cause between the Church of England and The Episcopal Church. 

Fortunately because of the clergy vote the resolution to take note of the Bishops teaching failed.

Several groups in England brought this report down and have cause to continue the struggle and not loose hope. Across the pond I hope we too will take heart. England is not at rest on the matter, and the Spirit is still at work.

The defeat of the acceptance of the report was the work of new group, formed of two major groups working for full inclusion of LBGT persons in the Church - Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitudes UK.  The group uses the title "One Body One Faith." You can read about the new name HERE.

But in that title the notion the Bishops put forth remains: There is one body, and one faith. In this they are not arguing with the bishops that there is one body, but rather with the form that one body takes. And they are not arguing that there is one faith, but rather with the form that faith takes.

I think both the Bishops and their worthy opponents are mistaken in the belief that Paul's writings assume a unity of either body or faith in the realms that constitute "this world."

The classic source for this notion of "One Body, One Faith," is Paul's remarks in Ephesians: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:3-6)  "One Body, One Faith" compresses Paul's full remarks, just as the Bishops notion that in the present moment the One Body is that of Christ compresses this world and that which is to come.

The claim that in Christ we are one body and one Spirit, and that we were called in one hope, in "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" is the well established source for the notion, perhaps doctrine, that there is a unity between our identity as Christians and our transformation as part of the "new creation" in Christ.

The problem with this however, is that we are not, quite empirically, One.  Christians are many because our cultures, times, societies, languages, and even our beliefs do indeed differ. We are not of one mind on very many things having to do with the faith. In this world "One" is far from certain.

The "One" is real, but its reality is not about the churches as they are on the anvil of history, but about the church as a spiritual entity. "There is one body, and one spirit," is a phrase that connects us to the transforming character of our engagement with Christ. It is not a connection that holds much weight in the world of social commerce.

Here there are customs of marriage (between one man and one woman) that are decidedly unrelated to the One body that is Christ, and which lack any reference to the One Spirit which is that same Christ working in us. There are so many as to make it unnecessary to list them.

The unity between the one body, and the One Spirit, and indeed the great affirmation of "one hope of our calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism" is real, but it is a spiritual reality. 

It is easy to see how "One body, one faith" could be a rallying cry for those working for inclusion. But for that to work it must be shown that somehow the "one body" and the "one faith" are indeed - here and now - capable of inclusion such that all who profess the faith are in fact part of the one body.

Marriage is not such a spiritual reality, by virtue of its place in many cultures and languages.  It is a reality in the world of social commerce and social intercourse.

I believe we are wrong to put the rules and expectations concerning marriage on the level of doctrine, raising it to the circle of those concerns considered central to the notion of "One faith."  The churches (plural) rules concerning marriage are not a touchstone of unity and indeed cannot be, since marriage is not a Christian institution, but rather a community institution. It is time to stop thinking of correct marriage laws as central to the one faith.

Perhaps it is time for the Bishops and for the inclusive movement to stop talking about same-sex marriage as a doctrinal matter or something pertaining to the unity (or not) of the church.  Rather they might accept the beginning point that regarding marriage there is not one body, but many, and the unity of faith is on a different level than unity of agreement concerning marriage. 

The thirty-nine articles mention marriage only in reference to priests being able to marry. (Article 32) and Matrimony only once (in Article 25) where it is noted that marriage is not a Gospel sacrament. Perhaps we ought to take the 39 Articles at face value on this one. The Articles of Religion say nothing about the definition of marriage as a central doctrine of the church. Because it isn't. 


Revisiting Article III of the Episcopal Church Constitution... bishops for Foreign Lands.

We ought, as often as possible consecrate bishops for foreign lands, rather than consecrate Episcopal Church bishops for overseas dioceses, that is dioceses not part of the territories of The United States. It is time to be less imperial and international in our reach.

A.    The Constitution of THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH includes the following possibility:

“Bishops may be consecrated for foreign lands upon due application therefrom, with the approbation of a majority of the Bishops of this Church entitled to vote in the House of Bishops, certified to the Presiding Bishop; under such conditions as may be prescribed by Canons of the General Convention. Bishops so consecrated shall not be eligible to the office of Diocesan or of Bishop Coadjutor of any Diocese in the United States or be entitled to vote in the House of Bishops, nor shall they perform any act of the episcopal office in any Diocese or Missionary Diocese of this Church, unless requested so to do by the Ecclesiastical Authority
thereof. If a Bishop so consecrated shall be subsequently duly elected as a Bishop of a Missionary Diocese of this Church, such election shall then confer all the rights and privileges given in the Canon to such Bishops.”

This Article has been rarely been used. White and Dykman note the following use of what was Canon 10 and later Article III of the Constitution (the text above):  Haiti, in 1874, Mexico in 1879, Brazil 1899, and in 1948 consecration of bishops for the Philippine Independent Church.  Recently there has been the attempt to remove this article from the Constitution as being no longer relevant.

B.    “In the United States of America”

One of the early reasons for this canon / article was the notion that “The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America” was by intention the Episcopal / Anglican Church for the whole nation, for all places where the government of the United States of America held sway.  Churches established by PECUSA outside the territory of the United States could be formed as missionary dioceses and have some representation in the General Convention, but the forward planning and object was the establishment of national Episcopal churches in the various “foreign lands.”

In recent years, there has been some confusion of this division – between foreign and domestic – and we have talked of The Episcopal Church as being a church that includes 16 (or so) nations. We have talked of TEC as an international church. That move, from seeing the work as distinctly domestic or foreign to seeing the work as international echoes the increasingly international character of many businesses.  This move has been seen by some who find conspiracy under every rock as an effort by TEC to see itself as an international “Church” in the same way that the last two Archbishops of Canterbury erroneously slip into talking about the Anglican Communion as a church.  The error in that instance is confusing a communion of churches for a single entity. It is an error of old empire builders. Just so the conspiracy folk see TEC building empire, or at least international corporation.

C.     Reclaiming Foreign and Domestic mission.

It is time to address this confusion by reclaiming one part of the missionary vision of The Episcopal Church, namely to take our part as a national church in the development and strengthening of cognate bodies – churches like (but not the same as) ours in foreign lands.

It is time to insist again that TEC is a legitimate expression of Anglicanism in the United States of America and that as an Anglican church it has every hope that like-minded believers in other counties, in “foreign parts,” will be raised up and encouraged to form their own Anglican churches, autonomous and related to all the rest of the Anglican churches by bonds of affection and not by bondage to some international cartel or curia. 

It is time to encourage overseas dioceses of TEC to move to greater self-governance, greater self-sufficiency, greater self-propagation.  We need once again to hold up the vision of these churches in “foreign parts” taking their place at the table of Anglican Communion fellowship as independent national episcopal churches.

D.    Article III of the Constitution is a basis for establishing a new / old relationship between TEC and dioceses in foreign lands.

As an example: The Episcopal Church of Haiti has requested TEC permission to hold an election of a bishop coadjutor.  As it stands that bishop will be part of the TEC House of Bishops and the diocese will be a diocese in union with the General Convention, in other words Haiti will remain as a diocese of TEC.  

Any progress towards establishing the Episcopal Church of Haiti as an autonomous church in Haiti would involve getting permission from General Convention to withdraw from that union, and as a parallel action, the Bishop getting permission to leave the House of Bishops.  At the same time, if the church of Haiti were to become an autonomous province in the Anglican Communion, the Church of Haiti would have to establish to the satisfaction of the Anglican Consultative Council that it consisted of four (or perhaps three) dioceses and with sufficient resources.  If the Church of Haiti wanted to it could ask for “extra-provincial” status, with a concordat with an existing province which would place this diocese in relation to the rest of the Communion.

Having a TEC bishop is an expensive proposition: The bishop is expected to go to General Convention, to House of Bishop’s meetings, to have a salary and benefits based on a US standards, and to exercise ministry under the specific requirements of TEC Canon law which reflects the “local” requirements of church life in the United States of America.

If the coadjutor bishop of Haiti were elected as a bishop for foreign lands it would signal the intention that the Episcopal Church of Haiti was an emerging separate entity in the Anglican Communion seeking its connection to the whole by either moving to autonomy as a province of its own, or to union with other dioceses in a regional province of national churches. On a temporary basis connection with TEC could be continued with a concordat under which a panel of several TEC bishops would act as a council of advice to the bishop of Haiti, assuring the bishop of continued connection to at least this part of the Communion.

Freed from the constraints of responsibilities to the House of Bishops and the General Convention, and the expectations of the TEC episcopate, the church in Haiti could establish an episcopal presence that, as the Lambeth Quadrilateral proposes, was “locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.”  The episcopate, ordered locally, might exhibit such “servant leadership” as would make it possible for the Church in Haiti to ordain several bishops and establish several dioceses, thus moving it further towards being a self-sustaining church.

The canons of the Church in Haiti could also be ordered in ways that were appropriate to its location and, at the same time, through the concordat, aligned in substance to canons of TEC.

E.     What goes around, comes around.

Something very like this was the basis on which the Church in Haiti, already in place as the Orthodox Apostolic Church of Haiti, was first connected to TEC.  The consecration of James Theodore Holly as a bishop for foreign lands in 1874 was accompanied by a concordat, a bishops advisory group, and the establishment of canons for the governance of the church in Haiti. When in 1912 the church of Haiti asked to join TEC as a missionary diocese it lost the right to name its own bishop, became part of TEC and over the years has become a “regular” diocese of this church.  But it began precisely by using the canon on consecration bishops for foreign lands.

Perhaps it is time again to make use of Article III and consecrate the next bishop of Haiti as “a bishop for foreign lands.”  In doing so we would counter the unfortunate assumption that TEC ought to be an “international church,” with whatever imperial or internationalist corporate assumptions “international church” language brings.   Too, we might learn from the experience in Haiti something more about alternative ways to understand the role and function of the bishop in the church.