Bolivian Bishop Blasts Indianapolis Bishop for Saying He is Not Recognized by ABC
By David W. Virtue
The Bishop of Bolivia, the Rt. Rev. Frank Lyons has written to VirtueOnline incensed that the Bishop of Indianapolis, the Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick has written a Pastoral letter (http://www.indydio.org/) to her diocese saying he is not a legitimate bishop recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bishop Waynick ordered the Pastoral Letter to be read last Sunday, October 23rd, to all her churches.
"She unfortunately and disagreeably misrepresented my standing as the legitimately ordained Bishop of Bolivia, and a constituent member of the Province of the Southern Cone under Archbishop Gregory Venables," said Lyons.
Waynick wrote: "It may help you to know that this bishop of Bolivia is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He recently came here to celebrate confirmations and ordinations, though he is well aware he is in defiance of ancient church councils and Anglican tradition, and his actions have been denounced by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates."
Not true, said Lyons. To quote Mark Twain, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. If she had referred to the Episcopal Church's own Episcopal Church Directory for the present year, she would have found my name there nestled quietly among the dioceses of the Province of the Southern Cone on page 483, in communion with Canterbury, a full member of the Anglican Communion and in good standing." Lyons says he has received a full invitation to the Lambeth Conference next year in Canterbury.
Bishop Lyons told VOL that he had recently been in the Indianapolis area ministering to faithful Anglicans who have left the Episcopal Church. He was ordaining leaders and confirming and receiving new members.
Waynick ripped the Bolivian Bishop's actions saying, "He came here to celebrate confirmations and ordinations, though he is well aware he is in defiance of ancient church councils and Anglican tradition, and his actions have been denounced by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates. We also have a congregation of Nigerians in Indianapolis who claim the Archbishop of Nigeria as their bishop and Primate. This at least makes some cultural sense, but the Joint Standing Committee has clearly stated that trying to develop parallel jurisdictions is improper and should stop."
Wrote Lyons, "Bishop Waynick's interpretation of these events is her own as is her evaluation of the Joint Standing Committee report of who is and who is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her unique understanding of what the Primates have said cannot be more contrived. My unusual but valid activity is being taken at this time because of the failure of TEC to respond pastorally to those who oppose their highly irregular actions based in speculative theology. These actions, unheard of in Christian tradition, now divide the Anglican Communion. The response by myself and others will not stop, but will continue, until such time as there is repentance on the part of the Episcopal Church, as has been requested by the Primates. This is a situation brought about by the membership of the Episcopal Church USA and can only be brought to a solution through their own determination."
The official Anglican Communion website can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/27zw77
The full text of Bishop Waynick's letter can be read below:
A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Waynick to the Diocesan Household
To be read in all congregations on Sunday, October 20, 2007
By now you undoubtedly know that the recent meeting of the House of Bishops was full of opportunities for listening, sharing, worship, working, learning, rejoicing, and fellowship. There was also frustration, confusion, and the expression of deep feelings which can only be rooted in a deep desire to work things out. I believe important insights were gained on all sides, and that the great majority of us share a determination to remain connected to each other.
The statements released by the House of Bishops are available through links on the diocesan home page. We now have the response of the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Council of Primates linked on the home page, and a summary of that report is available as well.
The response, over all, is quite positive. The JSC has accepted our response to specific questions regarding same-sex blessings and consents for partnered homosexual persons in Episcopal elections. Our responses to these questions have not changed since General Convention 2006, when we called for the exercise of 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 would lead to further strains on communion. We also agreed to continue our practice of not authorizing public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.
I think we can safely conclude that the Joint Standing Committee's response echoes the sentiment of the House of Bishops (and many others!) that we share a deep common desire to remain in Communion. More hard work needs to be done, but we seem to be willing to do it.
My address to the Convention will include some of my further thoughts on our experiences in New Orleans and about the state of the Anglican Communion. For now let me comment very briefly on just one aspect of our ongoing turmoil.
It comes as no surprise that certain bishops, clergy and lay members are urging their constituencies to renounce the Episcopal Church. And while we have no parishes in this diocese aligned with any of the formal dissident groups, we do have three clergy - two of them retired, who have aligned themselves with the Bishop of Bolivia. They are attempting to start three congregations in places where Episcopal parishes are already present, and though they are not large in number, their presence can be discouraging and angering to some of our members.
It may help you to know that this bishop of Bolivia is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. He recently came here to celebrate confirmations and ordinations, though he is well aware he is in defiance of ancient church councils and Anglican tradition, and his actions have been denounced by the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates.
We also have a congregation of Nigerians in Indianapolis who claim the Archbishop of Nigeria as their bishop and Primate. This at least makes some cultural sense, but the Joint Standing Committee has clearly stated that trying to develop parallel jurisdictions is improper and should stop.
So what can you say when people ask you about these other congregations? You can honestly say that their leaders are not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and they are not member churches of the Anglican Communion. They hold their beliefs honestly and strongly, and they have left us in anger. It is our hope that one day they will return to us.
Far more importantly, you can say that the Episcopal Church - your church -- is focused on service to the world in Christ's name. You can say that we are Bible - based, outreach oriented servants of God in Jesus Christ. You can say that in your church all people are welcome; we don't all agree on everything, but we are striving to live Jesus' commandment to love each other as he loves us. And you can say that we know full well we aren't perfect, but we seek to be real before a God whose love for us is the most important thing in our lives, and we want others to know that love as well.
You can also say that at our upcoming Diocesan Convention a group from Rockport, IN, are petitioning to become a mission congregation of this diocese. They want to be Episcopalians!
There will be other important things happening at Convention this year as well, one of which is the change in our schedule. We will begin on Friday evening, and end with a celebration of Eucharist on Sunday morning. These changes were made in response to evaluation feedback, which has revealed several things:
Delegates value time spent with members of other congregations, engaging in worship, conversation, and fellowship as well as voting on resolutions. "There never seems to be enough time for fellowship." We have not lengthened the time for convention, but have rearranged it in the hope of providing as much fellowship time as ever.
The time people need to take from work for a Convention which begins on Thursday evening can be a hardship for many people. Our hope is that by taking Friday as the only weekday it will be less costly for our faithful lay delegates.
We hope that as many people as possible will join us in Columbus on Sunday morning. I am aware of a few parishes which are arranging for car pooling or small buses to make attendance possible. Because all active parish clergy will be vested and in procession at Convention, worship for those who cannot join us in Columbus will take the form of Morning Prayer.
Many of us who have belonged to The Episcopal Church for more than thirty years remember that in a great many places Morning Prayer was the primary form of Sunday worship in most of our parishes. Its roots are ancient, and the songs and canticles of this service have helped untold numbers to learn and remember the teachings of our faith.
For others Morning Prayer will be a new experience, and my hope is that you will use this opportunity to be introduced to a form of prayer which has not only nourished our forebears, but is encouraged as an important prayer discipline for all members today.
You may be aware that we have several small congregations whose members share in Morning Prayer whenever they do not have the services of a supply priest. Their life of faith is deep, and while they rejoice whenever they can share a Communion meal, they are very clear that their Morning Prayer is not second class worship. I urge you, then, not to count yourselves deprived in some way, but rather enriched - by sharing in their experience and discovering its beauty for yourselves.
A sample form for Morning Prayer is linked on our diocesan home page, and lay persons are able to provide leadership for this worship. My convention address will be available on our web site the Friday convention begins, and may be used as the sermon.
The Deans, staff and I will look forward to having you share what this experience is like for you; and know that, as always, those of you who are not with us in person will be held in our hearts and in our prayers.
Peace and blessings to you,
On the Mainline
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