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How did we get to this time of crisis in Anglicanism? What have the instruments of communion done to try to unify the Communion and call its member provinces back to faithfulness? This timeline outlines the key events and defining actions over the past 40 years that have brought us to this point.
Heresy charges brought against Bishop James Pike who declared that “the Church’s classical way of stating what is represented by the doctrine of the Trinity is …not essential to the Christian faith”; Bishop Pike was censured but a heresy trial was not held because the Church believed such a trial would give it an “oppressive image” and would be “a throw back” for the institution
John Spong ordained Bishop of Newark, despite his denial of essential Christian doctrines
1987 & 1989
Panel of bishops dismissed heresy charges against Bishop Spong; he rejects among other things the incarnation, atonement, resurrection, the second coming of Christ and the Trinity
American Anglican Council incorporated
Both counts of heresy against Bishop Walter Righter were dismissed in an ecclesiastical court, which declared there was no clear doctrine involved when the bishop ordained a non-celibate gay person to the diaconate in 1990
Kuala Lumpur Statement released by the Second Anglican Encounter in the South upheld traditional theology on human sexuality
Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 upheld Scriptural and traditional teaching on marriage and human sexuality
Primates’ Meeting in Oporto, Portugal issued pastoral letter upholding the authority of Scripture
Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA) General Convention approved Resolution D039 acknowledging relationships other than marriage and existence of disagreement on the Church’s teaching
Primates’ Meeting in Kanuga, NC issued pastoral letter acknowledging estrangement in Church due to changes in theology and practice, especially with regard to the acceptance of homosexual activity and the ordination of practicing homosexuals in some provinces, and calling Communion to avoid actions that might damage “credibility of mission”
Primates meeting at Canterbury issued pastoral letter recognizing responsibility of all bishops to articulate fundamentals of faith “so as to maintain the Church in truth”
Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada approved blessings of same-sex unions
Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Hong Kong approved motion urging dioceses and bishops to refrain from unilateral actions/policies that would strain communion
Primates meeting in Brazil issued pastoral letter stating that liturgy reflects belief, and because there is no theological consensus about same-sex unions, the Primates cannot support their authorization
The Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster, Canada, issued rite for blessings of same-sex unions for use in diocese
August, 2003—General Convention
The House of Bishops defeated a resolution (B001) affirming the authority of Scripture and other basic elements of Christian faith
Both the House of Bishops and House of Deputies approved the election of a non-celibate homosexual as bishop of New Hampshire
Both houses approved a resolution (C051) recognizing the blessing of same-sex unions as “within the bounds of our common life”
Plano Conference drew 2,800 orthodox clergy and lay people to Dallas, TX
Special Primates’ meeting at Lambeth Palace issued pastoral statement condemning ECUSA’s decisions at General Convention and calling for “adequate provision for Episcopal oversight”
V. Gene Robinson consecrated bishop of New Hampshire
Anglican Communion Network (ACN) officially launched as a network of confessing dioceses and congregations in the U.S.
Lambeth Commission began deliberations
Retired Bishop Otis Charles “married” his homosexual partner (photo above) in Pasadena, Calif. (the two had five marriages between them)
Bishop of Los Angeles, Jon Bruno, performed blessing of same-sex union
Bishop of Washington, D.C., John Chane, performed blessing of same-sex union
Dioceses of Washington, D.C. and Vermont issued proposed rites for blessings of same-sex unions
Lambeth Commission released Windsor Report 2004; reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 and the authority of Scripture as central to Anglican common life, and called for moratorium on public rites of same-sex blessings and moratorium on the election and consent of any bishop candidate living in a same-sex union
Primates meeting in Dromantine, Ireland, examined Windsor Report and produced a Communiqué calling on ECUSA and Canada to voluntarily withdraw their representatives from the ACC until 2008, in addition to requesting a “hearing” at the June 2005 ACC meeting for the two suspended
churches “to set out the thinking behind” their recent actions
ECUSA House of Bishops meeting declared moratorium on consecration of all bishop candidates until General Convention 2006
ECUSA Executive Council held special meeting and announced they would send their delegation to the June ACC meeting for observation but not official participation
ACC meeting in Nottingham England, upheld Lambeth 1.10 teaching on human sexuality and endorsed the Primates’ request for ECUSA and Canada to withdraw their representatives from the ACC until the next Lambeth Conference; at the meeting, ECUSA made a presentation (embodied in their publication “To Set Our Hope on Christ”) defending a new gospel wholly incompatible with Scripture, thereby attempting to justify, rather than repent of their actions
Church of Nigeria Synod voted to change constitution, redefining the Anglican Communion around a common faith rather than the See of Canterbury
The Third Anglican South-to-South Encounter in Egypt issued a stern indictment of ECUSA and Canada and called for a common “Anglican Covenant” among churches remaining true to biblical Christianity and historic Anglicanism
Global South Primates Steering Committee issued a communiqué reemphasizing the seriousness of the crisis within the Communion and the need for ECUSA to repent and comply with the Windsor Report
Susan Russell, President of Integrity USA, “married” her lesbian partner, declaring beforehand that the action was “God willing and the primates notwithstanding”
The Diocese of California nominated two partnered homosexuals for the post of diocesan bishop; the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed “deep unease” with the nominations
June 2006—General Convention
ECUSA changed “brand” to The Episcopal Church (TEC), citing its international presence in 16 countries
TEC fell short of Windsor compliance. Resolution B033 called upon standing commissions and bishops to “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on the communion” (“manner of life” was not defined and “exercising restraint” is not a moratorium)
Rejected Resolution A161 which expressed regret for consenting “to the consecration of a bishop living openly in a same-gender union”
Refused to consider Resolution D058 “Salvation Through Christ Alone”; one deputy who spoke against the resolution declared it “too controversial” a subject to discuss
Approved Resolution A095 “Gay and Lesbian Affirmation.” Declared opposition to “any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage”, essentially moving to equate same-sex unions with marriage and defying Lambeth 1.10.
Approved Resolution A167 “Full and Equal Claim for All the Baptized”; expressed apology on behalf of TEC for “years of rejection and maltreatment by the church.” Pledged inclusion of “openly homosexual persons on every committee, commission, or task force developed for the purpose of discussing issues about sexuality” and requested the same by the rest of the Anglican Communion.
Elected Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori who does not regard homosexual behavior a sin, does not consider Jesus the one way to the Father, believes that “revelation continues” and as a diocesan bishop invited John Shelby Spong and Marcus Borg to speak to her clergy
In the Diocese of Virginia, A Protocol for Departing Congregations was “received” unanimously by the Executive Board and “by consensus” by the Standing Committee. The protocol required dissenting parishes to go through a 30-day discernment process and required a 70 percent or higher vote to separate from the diocese as well as to retain parish property. The protocol also stated that a process would be set up to resolve property issues “amicably.”
Eight Virginia parishes voted to depart TEC and affiliate with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America
(CANA), an Anglican missionary effort in the U.S. sponsored by the Church of Nigeria.
After abruptly cutting off negotiations, the Diocese of Virginia sued 11 departed Virginia congregations, including their rectors, vestries, and in some instances, their trustees, claiming that it had a right to church property under denominational trust rights created by church canons. The following month TEC joined the suit against these same congregations and individuals.
February 2007 — Tanzania Communiqué
Anglican Primates reaffirmed 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 as the standard of teaching on human sexuality in the Communion
Called for TEC House of Bishops (HOB) to “make an unequivocal common covenant” that they will not authorize rites of blessing for same-sex unions and will confirm that a “candidate for Episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent” to be consecrated as a bishop. Set a deadline of September 30, 2007 for the HOB to reply.
Established a temporary alternative structure led by a “primatial vicar” to provide pastoral care for bishops, dioceses and congregations that cannot accept the ministry of the U.S. presiding bishop or their diocesan bishop. The primatial vicar will be nominated by the bishops that hold to the “Camp Allen” principles. The presiding bishop has authority to consent to the nominee and will delegate specific powers and duties to the primatial vicar.
Called for the Primates to establish a five-member “pastoral council” to work with TEC to set up this structure, monitor TEC’s response to the Windsor Report and Dar es Salaam Communiqué and recommend a course of action should TEC fail to comply
Called for parishes under foreign oversight to negotiate a place in the new pastoral structure once it has been established and for all overseas interventions to cease. The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) and Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) have an option to work with the council to become part of the new structure.
Called on TEC and congregations involved in property disputes to suspend their lawsuits.
TEC House of Bishops urged the Executive Council to decline to participate in the primates’ pastoral scheme and characterized it as “injurious” to TEC, reaffirmed TEC’s desire to be part of the Communion, and pledged to continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the Primates that are compatible with TEC polity and canons
TEC Executive Council rejected the requests of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué and the pastoral scheme, saying only General Convention can respond to those requests and questioning the authority of the Primates to impose demands on member churches which violate their Constitutions and Canons
TEC Executive Council warned dioceses that changed their constitutions in an attempt to bypass the Church's Constitution and Canons that their actions are "null and void"
San Diego Diocese sued three Anglican parishes for their property
Canadian General Synod approved a resolution declaring “the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the core doctrine” of the church and narrowly defeated a resolution allowing dioceses to approve same-sex unions
TEC House of Bishops (HOB) responded to the Primates’ Tanzania Communiqué with a pledge not to authorize public same-sex blessings and claimed that resolution B033 pertains to non-celibate gays and lesbians. The carefully worded response was not a moratorium on same-sex blessings or future non-celibate homosexual bishops and is subject to change at the next General Convention in 2009. The HOB rejected the Primates Pastoral Scheme and called for the Bishop of New Hampshire’s full participation at the next Lambeth Conference.
Common Cause Partners College of Bishops met and charted a path to establish a separate orthodox Anglican ecclesiastical structure in North America
Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and ACC reported that TEC had “clarified all outstanding questions” and “given the necessary assurance sought of them.” A minority statement of strong dissent characterized the HOB response as a “superficial shift” rather than a change in the position taken in 2003.
Highly publicized same-sex blessing occurred in Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rev. Mark Lawrence finally received consents to become bishop of South Carolina. Lawrence was elected bishop on the first ballot in September 2006, but Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori declared Lawrence’s election "null and void," because a number of the consent responses did not adhere to canonical requirements. Lawrence was re-elected during a special electing convention in August 2007.
Diocese of San Joaquin voted 173 to 22 to leave TEC for the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
Ten parishes left Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) to realign with the Anglican Network in Canada under the Province of the Southern Cone. Among them are St. John’s Shaughnessy in Vancouver, B.C., the largest ACoC parish and church home to noted evangelical theologian Dr. J.I. Packer.
House of Bishops voted to depose retired bishop William Cox and former TEC bishop John-David Schofield for abandonment of communion even though the canonical requirement of a majority of those eligible to vote was not met.
Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori acted to reconstitute the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin by calling a special convention of the 18 parishes with members remaining in TEC and removed the remaining standing committee members. The convention ratified her appointment of retired Bishop Jerry Lamb as provisional bishop and elected a new standing committee.
1,184 biblically orthodox Anglican leaders met in Jerusalem (photo below) for Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). Participants from 19 provinces affirmed the Jerusalem Declaration and formed the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans—a movement to defend and promote the biblical Gospel. Primates Council of seven primates formed and called for the formation and recognition of a new North American province for members of the Common Cause Partnership.
Church of England General Synod voted to allow women bishops and defeated a measure to provide pastoral care to traditionalist Anglo-Catholics who opposed the change
The Lambeth Conference met using “indaba” groups to discuss Communion matters but issued no resolutions or decisions. More than 200 bishops representing over half the Communion boycotted the event. The Windsor Continuation Group called for continued moratoria on same-sex blessings, non-celibate homosexual bishops and cross-boundary interventions and recommended formation of a Faith and Order Commission to serve as a fifth instrument of communion.
Archbishop of Canterbury called for a pastoral forum to resolve disputes and continued action to develop the Anglican Covenant.
Five publicized same-sex blessings were performed by TEC clergy throughout California
TEC HOB voted 88 yes, 35 no, 4 abstain to depose Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan for abandonment of communion prior to the diocesan vote to realign. The canonical requirement of a majority of those eligible to vote was not met.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh voted 240 for, 102 against to realign the diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone
Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said she will “strongly discourage” any effort to consider or approve a proposed Anglican Covenant during TEC’s General Convention in July 2009, thereby deferring a decision until 2012. The covenant will be reviewed by the Anglican Consultative Council when it meets May 1-2, 2009 and could be presented to the provinces for approval in mid-May. Schori said it was “inappropriate to make a decision that weighty” that quickly although General Convention delegates had approximately the same amount of time in 2003 to consider whether they would approve the election of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire.
The deputies to a special convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh voted to invite the Rt. Rev. Bob Duncan back as their bishop.
In the Diocese of Quincy, 75 percent of the clergy and 82 percent of the lay deputies voted to disaffiliate from TEC. The subsequent vote to realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone garnered 92 percent clergy and 87 percent lay support. Diocesan Bishop Keith Ackerman retired for health reasons a week prior to the vote.
The Diocese of Ft. Worth voted to amend its constitution to realign with the Southern Cone, 72 to 19 among the clergy and 102 to 25 among the laity.
The Common Cause Council announced the formation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) which awaits recognition as a new province.
Presiding Bishop Schori accepted the “renunciation of ordained ministry made in writing” by Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Iker by citing his news release regarding realignment as evidence. Bishop Iker made no such renunciation which canonically requires a declaration in writing to the presiding bishop and a transfer to a church outside the Anglican Communion.
The California Supreme Court upheld an earlier court decision that buildings and property do not belong to congregations that left TEC. The court determined neutral principles of law apply, but their reasoning gave undue support to the Dennis Canon.
TEC’s Presiding Bishop announced she had deposed the Rt. Rev. Henry Scriven, a bishop of the Church of England serving in Pittsburgh, by accepting his voluntary renunciation. Bishop Scriven denied the renunciation.
Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and TEC filed formal notice of their intent to appeal the Fairfax County Circuit Court decision in favor of 11 congregations that disaffiliated from TEC
TEC’s Presiding Bishop hired a personal litigator as her special counselor in addition to the existing TEC chancellor and legal team.
The Primates met in Alexandria, Egypt and reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10, called for gracious restraint on all three Windsor moratoria, called for a professionally mediated conversation to resolve disagreement in North America, affirmed the plan for a Pastoral Council and Pastoral Visitors, and requested ACNA not “recruit” or “proselytize” to expand its membership.
The Diocese of Northern Michigan elected the Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, the sole candidate, as bishop. Forrester received lay ordination as a Buddhist in 2004 and considers himself to be both Christian and Buddhist.