where is the hold-up in the Panel of Reference?

So, for quite a while the Panel of Reference set up by Archbishop Rowan Williams has been in existence. The Panel was formed by Williams as a direct response to the Windsor Report’s request that:

” In order to protect the integrity and legitimate needs of groups in serious theological dispute with their diocesan bishop, or dioceses in dispute with their Provinces, we recommend that the Archbishop of Canterbury appoint, as a matter of urgency, a panel of reference to supervise the adequacy of pastoral provisions made by any churches for such members in line with the recommendation in the Primates’ Statement of October 2003.”

On 6 May 2005 the Panel was set up with the following mandate from Williams,

“At my request to enquire into, consider and report on situations drawn to my attention where there is a serious dispute concerning the adequacy of schemes of delegated or extended episcopal oversight or other extraordinary arrangements which may be needed to provide for parishes which find it impossible in all conscience to accept the direct ministry of their own diocesan bishop or for dioceses in dispute with their provincial authorities.”

So, nothing new there, then.

However, the thick plottens. I happened across a dinner speech  given during the current Sydney Diocesan Synod by Robert Tong who was appointed to that panel. To date, of course, the reader will be aware that a number of organisations (both large and small) have made appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for intervention by the Panel of Reference; e.g. Recife Diocese, the Conneticut Six and the Florida Six. Still, no news there.

However, catch this line from Tong’s speech:

We now await our first reference from the Archbishop.

Yes, you read it correctly

We now await our first reference from the Archbishop.

Despite the numerous appeals made to Canterbury, not one of them has been passed on to the Panel!!!

Perhaps someone with a bit more clout than me can start moving this question up the chain.

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9 comments on “where is the hold-up in the Panel of Reference?

  1. Ummmm…

    Last I heard the panel was taking productivity seminars at Whitehall. Apparently, the seminars are working. They’re now behaving like perfectly trained civil servants. Lots of activity with no real work getting done.

    Tut tut,
    Mike Daley

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