Draft Proposal for Overseas AEO
To : Ekklesia Society Primates and Bishops
From: Alison Barfoot
Date: March 3, 2004
Background on the Need
The number of clergy, congregations with priests, and unincorporated congregations without priests who are looking for alternative episcopal oversight and affiliation through the Global South Anglican community is increasing. There have been occasional precedences where a priest and a congregation have been picked up'' by an "offshore'' bishop and diocese, e.g., Bolivia, Uganda (Bunyoro-Kitara) Malawi, etc.
With the growing interest in these kinds of relationships, it seems prudent to discuss a streamlined process in which these relationships can be pursued, facilitated, and accountable, particularly with African bishops and dioceses who have been so supportive and forthcoming with a willingness to help.
After several conversations with Bill Atwood of Ekklesia, John Guernsey, Martyn Minns, and some clergy seeking "offshore'' AEO, this proposal is being submitted as a draft for consideration of a process and protocol for establishing Overseas AEO as an interim stage on the way towards the realignment of Anglicanism in North America and the re-establishment of biblically orthodox faith as normative in North American Anglicanism. This draft proposal reflects initial tentative steps and recognises that there is still a lot of work to be done to think through structures that release Great Commission mission and ministry.
The analogy of citizenship seems helpful in this discussion. Ecclesiastical citizenship is being equated with canonical residency. The process of moving into " offshore'' AEO would consist of one to three phases, depending on the situation.
Phase One is the phase of "Dual Citizenship'', and for some clergy, this may be all that is necessary. For others it is the first step towards full AEO. The concept of "dual citizenship" is that a priest stays canonically resident in his or her ECUSA diocese, but also becomes canonically resident in an inshore diocese. The precedent for this is the many ECUSA clergy who are already honorary canons of oversee dioceses. The question then becomes: Which offshore diocese? And, how is that diocese and bishop selected? The proposed governing principle would be that these connections follow the lines of pre-existing relationships. lf a priest does not already have a pre-existing relationship with an offshore bishop who is willing to participate in this process, then a match needs to be made.
This proposal suggests that CAPA Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa), in consultation with Ekklesia take an active role in this process. The proposed role of CAPA would be to recommend a bishop, if a priest and/or congregation does not already have a relationship with a Global South bishop. There would need to be some American NACDP structure that recommends a priest and/or congregation to CAPA as a recipient of AEO.
Phase Two: Rector/Vicar leaves ECUSA for the offshore diocese, ideally with Letters Dimissory, but not necessary, since the priest already has offshore "citizenship''. The nonproperty owning congregation leaves with the priest. If the priest has a church with property and leaves ECUSA for an offshore diocese, it would be expected that the ECUSA bishop would probably depose the priest. The offshore bishop would not recognise the deposition and then Would transfer the priest to a Network bishop and diocese, who then provides AEO (a la David Moyer, Central Africa, and Pittsburgh). This would prevent "offshore'' bishops from becoming involved in property disputes.
Phase Three: The season of AEO. The "offshore'' bishop would delegate most of the day-today responsibility of spiritual oversight to the NACDP.
The additional role of CAPA would be to:
Text version of http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/overseasAEO.pdf
Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful