Consultants reinstated as full members on ecumenical commission

By ENS staff
Posted Mar 1, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Katherine Grieb of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church and Archbishop Tito Zavala of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone have been reinstated as full members on the Anglican Communion’s chief ecumenical and doctrinal commission.

The two members have served for the past two years as consultants to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) after their full membership on that body was rescinded at the request of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Williams’ request concerning Grieb came in May 2010 following the consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool, who is openly gay, and his decision about Zavala was made in October 2010 because the Southern Cone had failed to clarify whether it was still involved in cross-border incursions into other provinces.

Grieb is an Episcopal priest and professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary. Zavala was bishop of Chile at the time but has since been elected as archbishop of the Southern Cone province.

The request to reinstate the members fully was made by IASCUFO chairman Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of the Anglican Church of Burundi.

Williams, according to an article from the Anglican Communion News Service, has asked the secretary general of the Anglican Communion to reinstate Grieb and Zavala “acknowledging that members of IASCUFO are present in virtue of skills relevant to the work of the commission and are not present as representatives of their provinces.” Yet when the sanctions were imposed, Williams cited developments and actions taken by the individuals’ provinces.

The May 2010 sanctions impacted other Episcopalians serving on ecumenical bodies. Two were asked to leave the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue and one member each stepped down from the Anglican-Methodist International Commission for Unity in Mission and the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

One Episcopal Church member serving on the Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council was initially removed but later reinstated as a consultant after it was agreed that that body is not an ecumenical dialogue but the coordination of work by full communion partners.

At the time, no mention was made about ecumenical commission members from other provinces — such as Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda – that had been involved in cross-border interventions in the United States.


Comments (2)

  1. Stuart Lauters says:

    The peculiar, precious and provincial ways by which some issues are inconsistantly handled within the Anglican communion continue to bemuse and confuse. From this ECUSA member’s perspective, the message the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to convey is that the Southern Cone’s actions are “bad,” but Uganda’s identical actions are fine. Really? Why are some treated differently? Is this a “hands off Africa” policy? When standards are unevenly applied, it appears as if there are no standards.

  2. M. Andrew Johnston says:

    Let’s prefer generosity and understanding over consistency. True, uneven application of standards invites skepticism and worse. Last time I checked, however, we all qualified as human beings — flawed, glorious, hopeless and full of possibility. The destination IS continuing the conversation, not declaring winner and losers.

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