TORONTO, February 7, 2000 -- Archbishop Michael Peers has used the strongest language yet in the widespread condemnation of irregular ordinations aimed at undermining the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Archbishop Peers, the Primate of The Anglican Church of Canada, termed recent ordinations in Singapore "an act of aggression: and "an open and premeditated assault on Anglican tradition, catholic order and Christian charity".
Last week in Singapore the Primates of Rwanda and South East Asia consecrated two American priests as bishops and said they would be "released" into the United States. Archbishop Peers said: "Bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of aggression".
The ordinations have been roundly condemned by liberal and conservative forces alike. Archbishop Harry Goodhew of the Diocese of Sydney (Australia) noted that a meeting of the Primates is to take place next month, and conservative church leaders, including Archbishop Moses Tay of South East Asia, had agreed in Kampala last month not to take any precipitous actions before the Primates meeting.
"I am surprised and not a little disappointed that people who were present at Kampala, and agreed upon, have moved now beyond that agreement and have taken action that is contrary to the tenor and spirit of our understanding," Archbishop Goodhew said.
An article on the web site of the conservative organization Forward in Faith America said the ordinations are likely invalid because "certain necessary ingredients to make the ordinations valid were missing and/or certain impediments were present." It lists nine `ingredients and impediments', including the veil of secrecy surrounding the event did not allow for a proper use of the Si quis", a clause in the ordination rite which allows objections to be expressed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury termed the ordinations "irresponsible and irregular" and said the action was "a grave disappointment". In the United States, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold said he was "appalled" by the "singularly unhelpful" actions and "profoundly disturbed by the caricature that has been presented of the Episcopal Church in the United States".
Archbishop Peers, who is partly responsible for planning the meeting of Primates next month, said the ordinations indicate the need for the Primates to deepen their understanding of Episcopal ministry.
The text of Archbishop Peers' statement follows:
Statement by Archbishop Michael Peers, member for the Americas of the Primates' Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion
I write as a member of the Primates' Standing Committee which, together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, has spent time over the past months planning the March meeting of Primates.
Because of the recent action in Singapore, there will be greater need at that meeting to deepen the understanding of Primates about episcopal ministry.
In the Anglican tradition, bishops are chosen by the local church according to its standards and practices. The persons chosen are affirmed by the wider church, that is, the province, and then ordained by bishops acting in, with, and for the church of the diocese and province.
Bishops are not intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactured on one continent and fired into another as an act of aggression.
The recent irregular ordination in Singapore is, in my opinion, an open and premeditated assault on Anglican tradition, catholic order and Christian charity.
I ask for the prayers of the whole church for the Primates' Meeting that it may contribute to deeper comprehension. mutual trust, and godly quietness among its members and throughout the Communion.
Archbishop Michael G. Peers
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
Member of the Standing Committee of the Primates' Meeting
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Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold presided and preached at St. John's Anglican Church in Notting Hill, London, on 29 October 2006, the last Sunday of his nine-year tenure as Presiding Bishop, chief pastor and Primate of the Episcopal Church. In his sermon Bishop Griswold spoke about his successor and those who have opposed her election because she is a woman. "There are those who have indicated that they will not sit at the same table with her. I do hope that once they meet her as a person, rather than as a fabrication of the Internet, they will be able to sense the depth and authenticity of her faith, and to recognize her as a sister in Christ and a fellow bishop." "It is ironic that though women represent the majority of the Anglican Communion, their voices and their reconciling views are woefully underrepresented." "He spoke of how easy it is for us to live with blinded sight. He explained, "Unquestioningly and uncritically we accept prevailing attitudes, opinions and biases as self-evident, as true. The dullness of the familiar can so easily keep us from seeing the inequities, the untruths, the injustices that surround us." "To be faithful to Scripture requires a willingness, indeed an eagerness, to follow the Spirit of truth wherever we may be led. However, to pray Come, Holy Ghost ... enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight is dangerous and involves risk -- the risk of being obliged to change our opinions, to cast away protective biases, to make room for the unfamiliar and sometimes unwelcome. This is what it means to bear the cost of unblinded sight". Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was formally proclaimed Presiding Bishop during a liturgy at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday 5 November 2006.
Includes photo of Bishop Griswold blessing incense at St. John's, Notting Hill.
Photo with caption. "Bishop Griswold greets fellow Episcopalian Olivia de Havilland, world famous actress who attends the Paris Cathedral each week. Ms. de Havilland read the lesson at the service to mark the rededication of the cathedral." Another photo with caption. "The Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, U.S.A. celebrates the Eucharist to mark the rededication of the American Cathedral in Paris following a splendid refurnishing".
"A group of 10 Episcopal bishops from across the spectrum of views on human sexuality met with Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold in New York September 10-11  to discuss local reaction to General Convention's [August 2003] decisions about the election of an openly gay bishop and the blessing of same-gender relationships. The meeting was at attempt to explore what Griswold called `the very deep question of how we can live with disagreement, given our very divergent points of view around the issues of sexuality'."