A letter by Bishop Robert Duncan, moderator of the Common Cause Partnership, to Bishop Gary Lillibridge of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas has been made public. In that letter, dated August 11, Bishop Duncan put in writing concerns of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and other members of the Common Cause Partnership caused by the suggestions of the Windsor Continuation Group for dealing with divisions in the Anglican Communion. Bishop Duncan had initially shared these concerns with those present at the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.
The August 11 letter was forwarded with permission by Bishop Lillibridge to members of the Windsor Continuation Group and subsequently leaked to liberal activists and published online and via email on August 18.
“I am happy to publicly acknowledge this letter and my description of the concerns we in the Common Cause Partnership have about the proposals of the Windsor Continuation Group. Nonetheless, it is disturbing to discover that at least one member of the Windsor Continuation Group, a body that is supposed to be working for reconciliation in the Anglican Communion, so quickly leaked private correspondence in an attempt to gain some passing political advantage,” said Bishop Duncan.
The full text of the letter follows:
It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG.
I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.
The WCG proposes “cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction.” There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.
The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine.
The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to “freeze” the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church. The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped — constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.
The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the “holding tank” whose stated purpose is eventual “reconciliation” with TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)
The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam.
For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.
I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)
Blessings to you and yours,