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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Primates from across Africa are meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, this weekend to discuss the Church's role in promoting stability across the continent.
The meeting has been organised by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) to enable Primates to “positively engage with each other in their various contexts of their calling, to become drivers of dialogue around pertinent issues in their respective countries.”
“Africa [is] a land of great promise but we are still riddled with all kinds of challenges,” said CAPA General Secretary, Canon Grace Kaiso. “The Church in my view is indispensable in finding solutions to Africa's problems. So am anticipating some deep reflection to take place and clear mechanisms to be developed for the Primates to carry the agreed tasks forward....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, after being asked about laws there penalising gay people.
The letter said homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.
Nigeria and Uganda have both passed legislation targeting people with same-sex attraction.
The letter is also addressed to all primates (heads of national Churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Primates Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Psychology Sexuality * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria Uganda England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
In their letter, the Archbishops recalled the words of the communiqué issued in 2005 after a meeting of Primates from across the Communion in Dromantine.
The text of the joint letter is as follows:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
In recent days, questions have been asked about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction. In answer to these questions, we have recalled the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, as expressed in the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.
Read it all.
from Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council
29th January 2014
‘…by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God’ 2 Corinthians 4:2
While we should be thankful that the College of Bishops did not adopt the idea of services for blessing that which God calls sin, it did unanimously approve the conversation process and this is deeply troubling. There has been intensive debate within the Anglican Communion on the subject of homosexuality since at least the 1998 Lambeth Conference and it is difficult to believe that the bishop’s indecision at this stage is due to lack of information or biblical reflection. The underlying problem is whether or not there is a willingness to accept the bible for what it really is, the Word of God.
At Lambeth 1998, the bishops of the Anglican Communion, by an overwhelming majority, affirmed in Resolution 1.10 that homosexual relationships were not compatible with Scripture, in line with the Church’s universal teaching through the ages, but the Pilling Report effectively sets this aside. The conversations it proposes are not to commend biblical teaching on marriage and family, but are based on the assumption that we cannot be sure about what the bible says.
I cannot therefore commend the proposal by the College of Bishops that these ‘facilitated conversations ‘ should be introduced across the Communion. This is to project the particular problems of the Church of England onto the Communion as a whole. As with ‘Continuing Indaba’, without a clear understanding of biblical authority and interpretation, such dialogue only spreads confusion and opens the door to a false gospel because the Scriptures no longer function in any meaningful way as a test of what is true and false...
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Bishops Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya Global South Churches & Primates GACON II 2013 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
...the Communique reaffirms the understanding from 2008 that GAFCON is “not a moment in time but a movement of the Spirit.” This phrase is not flight of rhetoric but a claim that GFCA is among other things a God-ordained “ecclesial” entity. Secondly, the Conference identifies itself as an “instrument of Communion” called into being because of the failure of other Instruments of Communion. I suppose some will take this claim as an open rebuke of the existing organs of the Lambeth bureaucracy. It is that, and my essays on Communion governance stand as testimony as to why such a rebuke is justified. But it is more than that: it is a positive declaration that the GFCA plans to be a vehicle of God’s grace to reform and revitalize the Anglican Communion.
Some may ask by what right the GFCA appoints itself an instrument. In an early draft, the Statement Committee proposed saying that “we are conscious that we have become an instrument of Communion.” I think that wording is revealing, even if the final form moves consciousness into conviction. What I mean is that the GAFCON movement did not start out intentionally to overturn existing authorities but rather over a period of fifteen years came to realize that no other option was workable and that God had indeed formed new bonds of affection among its members during the times of trial.
So is the GFCA laying the groundwork for a separate Communion? Absolutely not! At the first GAFCON virtually all the delegates were adamant that they were not leaving the Anglican Communion, because “we are the Anglican Communion!” Some may think this is verbal trickery. It is not. There is nothing sacrosanct about the so-called Instruments of Communion. To be sure, the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference carry the weight of almost 150 years’ continuance. However, for good or ill, Archbishop Longley refused to grant the first Lambeth Conference ecclesial authority as a council and by so doing he built in a weakness that has been a major reason for the recent crisis. During the past decade, whenever the Primates proposed more authoritative action – e.g., “To Mend the Net” proposal or the Dar es Salaam Communique – Canterbury squelched the attempt.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Global South Churches & Primates GACON II 2013 Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
Watch it all.
Update: There is also a Transcript of this talk available on the GAFCON site [pdf] and on the AAC site here and on Anglican Ink copied below
TRANSCRIPT: DR PETER JENSEN, General Secretary of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
Your graces, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, actually brothers and sisters, it is a very wonderful thing to stand here and look around and see so many whose faces I know so well who I count as comrades, brothers and sisters in the long, arduous business of being Christian. As well as that, I see quite a number whose acquaintance I have just made.
My first duty today is to say particularly to the local committee who have arranged for GAFCON to take place here, how very, very grateful we are to you for the extraordinary amount of work you have done, for the skill with which you have done it, and for the endless hours of time you have put into this. I might say with the High Commissioner how much this has enhanced if I can say so and will enhance the reputation of Kenya and Nairobi.
You have been through two horrendous incidents with the fire at the airport and of course this last tragedy. You have continued on, faithfully and steadfastly. You have looked again at the security for example, I know that, but you have been so faithful in doing all this. We will not be adequately able to thank you but please accept these words as our deepest thanks to you for making this great convention possible.
Can I also say that I didn’t think it would be possible until I walked into the Trinity Centre and then I knew, since we could never build that centre in Sydney, I knew I was in the presence of people who can run a convention and do it well. So I want to lead the rest of us in applause to the local committee. (Applause).
Your Grace the Primate of Kenya we want to thank you. It is not an easy thing to extend an invitation to hundreds and hundreds of people to come. My whole aim in Sydney I have to say was to avoid the General Synod occurring ever in Sydney, always have it somewhere else. I know what it’s like, and that was nothing compared to having GAFCON here. So again and very publicly I want to say how very grateful we are to you. And today of course I want to thank you, on behalf of all your guests, for this magnificent meal that you and Mama Rhoda have been hosting for us and I want to say how grateful we are; but also I want to assure you publicly that you are loved, you are deeply loved, both here in Kenya but also around the world, and we love and honour you for all you have done for us – thank you. (Applause)
I have also been asked to say just a few words about GAFCON. One of the reasons why it is so appropriate to be here for GAFCON this week is that it was born in Nairobi, Room 1216 of the Hilton Hotel to be exact, well I have to check my records, but I think it was 1216. A number of people sitting here today were present at that meeting. And it was intentionally held here in Kenya. The leader of the meeting of course was Archbishop Akinola, and I can remember Archbishop Okoh at his right. And Archbishop Okoh’s great contribution to the meeting, amongst others, was to tell us that the word GAFCON was the word we should have. So I think it was you sir, I can’t see you, but it was you sir who gave us the word GAFCON and for that we are very grateful because it is the Global Anglican Future Conference which we decided on.
Now a number of the folk here today were present at that. How little we could have guessed that we would be here five years later and asking ourselves what has been accomplished. I heard earlier today - Archbishop Wabukala said - that in a sense the crisis has passed, and that’s true because you can’t live in a state of crisis. The crisis having been passed, the results have become permanent, or at least permanent for the time being if I can put it like that. Something has happened with grave consequences which now go on. And what indeed has happened and why?
Well, the genesis of GAFCON as you know was the authority of Scripture: Is the word of God the word of God?
Long ago, even before GAFCON, Bishop Nazir-Ali said to me that the debate we were having was about the clarity of Scripture. I’ll never forget him saying that. And I thought yes, he’s right of course: Is the Bible the Bible for everybody, that all can read, in a way in which it interprets itself? Is it the Bible for the lay people as much as it is the Bible for the clergy and anyone else? And this was Bishop Nazir-Ali’s point: that we can read the Bible too; and we can understand what it is saying to us. And the clarity of the Scriptures - particularly in the area of human sexuality - which is so important for our identity, means that we believe that we know – always ready to look again - but when we look again, the same message appears:: that human sexual expression needs to occur within the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman, and anything else is unholy matrimony, if you like.
Now it’s those great issues, aren’t they: the Bible and our obedience to the Bible, which gave us the explosion if you like which occurred at GAFCON. Since then, I see GAFCON – it’s interesting, you occasionally hear what people say about GAFCON and the FCA, not always very nice – it is often far from accurate.
I often hear it said that it is a ‘schismatic movement’, which is very funny considering how many Anglicans are involved in it - ‘it’s a schismatic movement’. And I’ve heard a view that ‘it is homophobic’ of course, and all the other terms of abuse that’s it’s so popular to throw.
I want to say to you that the GAFCON movement is a movement for Unity. I remember the Saturday night after GAFCON I, we had gathered in the room, the Primates gathered there, I gathered as the boy in the room, and the discussion was held. And I think it was I, but someone asked the question: ‘Are we leaving the Anglican Communion?’ And immediately all said: ‘No we are not leaving the Anglican Communion; that is not the intention, we would never do that.’ But our intention is to gather up the fragments of the Anglican Communion. And what GAFCON has done, particularly in North America, has been to gather up the fragments and to unite and to make sure that our beloved friends like Archbishop Bob Duncan here today, our beloved friends are kept and recognised as the authentic true Anglicans that they are, and that they don’t have to pretend to be something else. (Acclaim and applause)
And of course it is not only the North Americans but others as well, and this is going to happen in other places around the Communion, indeed it has begun to happen in other places around the Communion, where to stand for Biblical truth is going to cost you very, very dearly indeed, as it has cost our brothers here. And then you will have to ask yourself: who are our friends? Who will stand with us? And GAFCON is a way of delivering friendship, it is a way of delivering unity, it is a way of making sure that to quote the immortal words of a Nigerian bishop at our last meeting in London: ‘Now we know we are not alone’ [Approval]. I’ve never forgotten him saying that.
That’s GAFCON: Now we know that we are not alone.
Now, as we heard this morning, the Anglican Communion 21st Century is going to look very, very different from the Anglican Communion that began the 21st Century – that’s obvious. Indeed it is not only going to look different, it is different, it already is different. The events of 2008, little did we know it, was the birth of something new in the Anglican Communion. And in a sense GAFCON is called I believe to model what a Communion could be, a different Communion. I like to put it this way: that the British Empire is dead but the British Commonwealth of nations has followed.
There’s a different partnership, a different equality between the partners now, a bringing together of bishops, laity and clergy, altogether in a great conference where all may play their part, and a way of modelling and being the Anglican Communion for the sake of the whole Gospel, of Christ and the Gospel, in a way which will bring our gifts to bear for the sake of one another. That’s a great picture, and I believe in microcosm this is what the FCA movement is already and has begun to be.
Here is, when thirteen hundred and - now last night it was thirteen hundred and fifty-two, this morning it is thirteen hundred and forty-eight and one baby from Nigeria I believe – are gathering in Nairobi.
1,352 Anglican Christians are gathering here in Nairobi for a week in which we are going to seek, according to Archbishop Wabukala, we are going to seek the Glory of God.
Our prayer is that we may see the Glory of God in this week together and go home changed. We are going to hear about the East African Revival. We are going to be challenged by it. We from the West are going to be deeply challenged about the East African Revival. We are going to hear about the Persecuted Church. We are going to hear from each other. We are going to minister to each other. We are going to hear the Word of God together and sit underneath the teaching of the Word of God. It is I believe that we are going to sing the praises of God and worship together.
It is I believe going to be an extraordinary week, not just a sort of missions conference, something I know +Bob Duncan was worried about, but it is an ecclesial conference - it is more than that. [Oh you mean I’ve learned something from you?] Archbishop Duncan is always hoping I am going to learn something from him, and I have. (laughter). It is more than just a conference, it is more than that.
Now we are deeply in prayer, Archbishop Wabukala told us to be in prayer we will see the Glory of God. For my part I have asked that we will see that the Lord will maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, because Unity is what we are about.
Now that’s the genesis of FCA, GAFCON, and I have talked about it’s meaning.
And just to conclude by saying it has two great Purposes:
- First of all to recognise and authenticate Anglicans, who for no fault of their own, in a stand for Biblical truth have become disaffiliated from their own denomination or original church – to gather up the fragments of Christ’s church, and to maintain them in unity.
- And then Secondly, to bring together Anglicans from all around the world - [we’re not the only Anglicans, of course, that would be nonsense] – but to bring together Anglicans from all around the world, to release the energy of the Anglican Communion for the sake of: the Mission of the Gospel; the Sovereignty of God’s Word; the Glory of God’s Name; and the Good of God’s People.
Dear brothers and sisters as we are here today enjoying this wonderful occasion together, let’s remember what’s drawn us together, the Glory of God, and let us join in prayer that we will indeed see the Glory of God this week in Nairobi. (Applause)
Please bow your heads and let us begin as we should always begin, in prayer.
Heavenly Father and Gracious God remind us of who you are and of whose we are and of the message that you have entrusted to us. We are gathered for such a time as this and we need to be recentered, we need to be refocused, we need to have our call furthered clarified, and so Lord we need a word from you. Gracious God take my lips and speak through them, take our minds and think through them, take our wills and mold them and shape them according to your purposes. And take our hearts and set them on fire with love for your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
In the stories General Eisenhower used to tell about his associates in the military and the government, he had one favorite above all the others. He indulged in it frequently at the expense of one of his chief aides, whose name was named George Allen. George Allen had the distinct misfortune, the dubious distinction of having played in the record-setting football game with the most lopsided score of all time. The score was 222 to 0. It was a game between Georgia Tech and Cumberland played in the 1916 season. And, yes you guessed it; George Allen played quarter back on the losing side. After about three quarters of the game, when the score had begun to mount into the hundreds and the team was dramatically demoralized, there came an amazing moment, in one of the few plays where Cumberland actually had the ball, when the ball was snapped back to Allen and he missed it and fumbled the ball. The opposing linemen came charging in, and suddenly the ball was trickling around the backfield and B. F. “Bird’ Paty, who later became a prominent attorney, was looking at the ball and he looked up past the ball and there was Allen, who was shouting, “Pick it up! Pick it up!” And Paty looked at the ball, and looked at Allen and then he looked at the charging linemen and he looked back at Allen and said, “You pick it up! You dropped it!”
My dear brothers and sisters I want to begin this afternoon by being so bold as to say that we have dropped the ball. I believe as passionately as I know how to state that we live in a time and a church under judgment. The book you need to center yourself on brothers and sisters is the book of Jeremiah, and the theme of judgment hardly ever mentioned in the contemporary western church when it is unfolded in the midst of God’s working with his people you see it quickly doing three things: It does cutting, it hurts and we heard abundant evidence of that today. Secondly it sets out confusion, tremendous confusion. Read and think about the book of Jeremiah sometime and think about how confusing it was for the people on the ground. Do I listen to Jeremiah or do I listen to Hananiah? Do I stay in Jerusalem or do I go to Babylon. Maybe I ought to think about going to Egypt. It becomes so confusing for Jeremiah himself at one point in Jeremiah 20 that he doesn’t even know to his own instincts and he almost internally self-destructs. But my dear brothers and sisters, a time of judgment is not only a time of cutting, though it is that, it is not only a time of confusion, though it is that, it is also a time of clarification.
And so the purpose of this talk this afternoon for just a few moments is to center us in our common faith and mission as we begin this 48-hour journey together. One of the things I delight in saying about my hero CS Lewis is that he had an instinct for the center. He knew how to distinguish between penultimate things and ultimate things and I need to say something to us as orthodox Anglicans. My dear brothers and sisters, we’ve not always done as well in making that distinction as we need to. We’ve got to learn to give those things that, even if they are precious to us, if they are not the ultimate things. We’ve got to recover an instinct for the center of whom we are, and the center of the message we are called to proclaim. Are you all with me?
So let’s think about Anglican essentials this afternoon. What is the center of who we are?
Number 1. All my points begin with the letter C, that is to help me in case I lose my place.
The first C is catholic; we are catholic, small C. What, Kendall Harmon was forced to think very deeply, what in its essence does it mean to be a catholic Christian, because that, I believe, is what we are.
It means first of all that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It means there is such a thing, to use Thomas Oden’s wonderful phrase, as a history of the Holy Spirit. So that when I did my doctorate at Oxford in the early 1990s and I studied the whole history of western Christian eschatology there came a moment when I confronted Augustine for the first time in earnest since college and I read the whole City of God and I sat there at Latimer House in Oxford with my pitiful little heater in the freezing cold temperatures, and I wept. Because I realized the Augustine had simply leveled every single book I had read in the last ten years, in the first three chapters. No wonder CS Lewis said he read three old books for every new one. At the end of City of God Augustine says, speaking of heaven, these wonderful words:
“There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise. This is what shall be in the end without end.” Did you get that? “There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise.” Do you know that is the finest summary in the smallest amount of words of heaven I have found anywhere? We have to drink deeply from the tradition that has been handed on to us, and unapologetically.
Sunday is the 300th anniversary of the birthday of Jonathan Edwards so permit a word about the man who is called America’s theologian.
George Marsden, who is the finest church historian in my estimation writing right now, has just released a brand new book on Jonathan Edwards called Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press).
And writing about Edwards and his theology he says this:
“It is precisely because of the 20th century’s experience of human horror that Jonathan Edwards’ thinking on hell (yes you heard me use that word) cannot be so easily dismissed. Marsden goes on, Edwards believed (listen carefully to these words) that each person is “by nature incredibly short-sighted, self-absorbed, and blinded by pride.” Only a traumatic jolt could burst the bonds of self-absorption. Therefore the verbal violence of hellfire and damnation “was a gift of God to awaken people who were blindly sleepwalking to their doom.”
Interesting themes, heaven and hell, Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. That is part of what it means to be a catholic. But there is more.
Second part of being catholic, it seems to me, is to believe in order. I found myself thinking about that simple gesture that happens in so many courtrooms. Order in court.
It seems to me what catholics are constantly saying to the church is “Order in the church, order in our worship, for crying out loud.” You ought to be able to follow the service. CS Lewis has a wonderful essay were he describes how the priests are always messing with the service and there is no structure that is predictable so that the liturgy can be vehicle instead of an obstacle to worship. Order in worship is important. It is amazing to me, thinking particularly about General Convention but also the general life of the Episcopal Church that since Thomas Cranmer gave us the Book of Common Prayer we have almost gone completely full circle and we are back to the very liturgical situation that he set out to reform namely there were too many liturgies running around and there wasn’t any order so he wrote a bookof COMMON PRAYER.
And yes order in the church so there is a certain way that we go about our business: bishops, priests, deacons, vestries, canons, there is a way that God set up the church.
And most importantly in our time order in the way we make decisions. Which means that to be a catholic Christian means that the more important the decision the more widely you consult, more people need to be involved, themore important the international leadership is involved. Hello, that is what is means to be a catholic Christian.
Finally to be a catholic doesn’t just mean those seven sacraments or seven sacramental acts or however you want to delineate them. It means more than that. To be a catholic means to think sacramentally. I found myself going back to that wonderful minor classic of Harry Blamires The Christian Mind. Listen to this summary that he gives of what it means to be Christian.
“The Christian mind thinks sacramentally. The Christian Faith presents a sacramental view of life. It shows life’s positive richness as derivative from the supernatural. It teaches us that to create beauty or to experience beauty, to recognize truth or to discover truth, to receive love or to give love, is to come in contact with realities that express the Divine Nature. At a time when Christianity is so widely misrepresented as life rejecting rather than life affirming [does that sound familiar to anyone?], it is urgently necessary to right the balance. In denouncing excesses of sensuality, Christians are apt to give the impression that their religion rejects the physical and would tame the enterprising pursuit of vital experience.”
And we don’t do it. There I was watching the opening sequence of The West Wing where President of the United States, Jeb Bartlett, has his daughter gone and kidnapped. He is in massive crisis. And what does this secular program do with a country and a president in crisis but it ends the first show of this season with the President of the United States with his hands open and a priest placing a wafer in those hands. Because he needed to have a sense of contact with the supernatural.
That is part of what it means to be a catholic Christian. Ya’ll with me? Stand on the shoulders of those who came before, a sense of order in the church and to think sacramentally.
I want everybody here who defines themselves as an Anglo-Catholic to please stand up. God bless you all.
That’s right, you heard it hear first, charismatic.
I had the distinct fortune of having my roommate in college be a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien Conn. And believe it or not, we used to drive from Bowdoin College five hours one way and go to two Sunday morning worship services and the Sunday night worship service and then drive all the way back to Maine. And the one thing about that parish that I remember above all others was that when you walked in people were there to worship God for whom He was in the beauty of holiness and it was astounding to see people do that. And that is my image of what the church should be.
Worth-ship is what the word means. To give God the worth He is due for the glory of who He is. I find myself thinking of that interesting play “Equus.” That interesting play “Equus where Anthony Perkins played Martin Dysart the doctor in the Broadway version when it first came out. The story of a boy who has a bizarre form of mental disturbance where he is obsessed with horses and this secular psychologist named Martin Dysart who is working like crazy with the boy who does nothing but talk about and dream about horses reaches this amazing moment in his life where he actually begins to envy the boy even though he is profoundly aware that the boy is deeply disturbed. Because Martin Dysart the secular psychologist, realizes that the boy has something outside of himself that is beckoning him and that he has to bow down to and Martin Dysart the secular psychologist has nothing.
In an amazing moment he says in a soliloquy on the stage, “Without worship we shrink!”
And that is part of the message of the charismatic movement to the contemporary church. Worship, brothers and sisters, is a priority. To meet God for who He is.
More than just worship from the charismatic movement. Power.
If I learned anything from three-hundred-plus Terry Fullum tapes in the early 1980s I learned that Holy Spirit was the power of God to be unleashed on His people and in His world. So that in the early 1980’s when Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Range of Washington exploded with what is probably the most visible indication of something called natural power that many of us in the modern world has ever seen. At 8.32 a.m. the explosion ripped 1,300 feet off the mountain, with a force of ten million tons of TNT, or roughly equal to five hundred Hiroshimas. Sixty people were killed, most by a blast of 300-degree heat traveling at two hundred miles an hour. Some were killed as far as sixteen miles away from the original blast. The blast also leveled those incredible 150-foot Douglas firs, as far as seventeen miles away. A total of 3.2 billion board feet of lumber were destroyed in that explosion, enough lumber to build 200,000 three-bedroom homes. That’s natural power. And what the charismatic movement importantly reminds us that we need to center ourselves in this afternoon is that the power of God that resurrected His Son Jesus Christ which is far more potent than Mount St. Helens and far more powerful is the power that rests in each one of us and in His church. Do you believe that with me?
Just one quick story about the power of the Holy Spirit of all places at General Convention. Thank you for praying for us, thank you for praying for me. It was the case that the Spirit was working and certainly one of the low points was the night of August 5th when the vote came down and I was a complete mess in many many ways and very upset not least because the bishops went overtime and so the bishops were in session after the House of Deputies were no longer in session and I was commissioned to read a speech in the House of Deputies as Bob Duncan was going to read a speech in the House of Bishops repudiating the action but since the bishops went overtime the bishops made their statement but in deputies I didn’t make my statement and I was not pleased about this. I said, “Lord, what are you doing? We worked on the statement, this isn’t working out.” And I had to make the statement the next day. You know what Jesus says in John 3 about the Holy Spirit. He says the Holy Spirit blows where He wills.
And so we were trying to figure out when Gene Robinson on Wednesday was going to be introduced. And John Guernsey and I are standing there at the computer and Jim Simons calls and says he is going to be introduced right as the session begins. So we work like crazy on the statement. Then Jim Simons calls right back and says no he isn’t going to be introduced so we slow down our pace and then he calls back and says yes he is going to be introduced. And we start changing our pace again. And then he calls back and says no he’s not and then finally one more change and yes he is! And so Guernsey changes it for the 400 thousandth time in the computer and I literally rip the page off the printer and I run across the street to get in there and sure enough Gene Robinson is introduced, and I have to read the statement. The whole time this has been happening I have been praying the night before and that morning and I had one overriding impression that was bothering my spirit very deeply. The overriding impression, brothers and sisters, was this, when we had the debate in deputies on same-sex unions and on the confirmation of Gene Robinson, and you need to hear this, no one, not a single person who argued for the change and the innovation brought into the debate a perspective of those beyond our shores.
And so there I was with my prepared text and I thought, what the hay, the Spirit blows where He wills, and so I spoke from the heart and I inserted a section in the speech that wasn’t in the text. I could just imagine Guernsey’s response in the back. The Enforcer [nickname for John Guernsey] was not happy. But the Holy Spirit had other plans. I spoke this point into the microphone and then sat down. And one person from Texas stood up and then the next thing that happened was one of the really amazing moments in Minneapolis for me personally. We had a deputy stand up from Honduras and he stood up with a translator and very slowly, because each phrase had to be translated, with this wonderful cadence he said, “I am a servant of God, in Honduras, and I am charge of 52 missions, and because of what this convention has done my entire ministry has been [and I quote him directly] has been washed down the drain.” And it was as if he confirmed exactly the point I made, only it wasn’t in my speech. The Holy Spirit did one of those things that the Holy Spirit is so good at doing. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit blows where He wills in your lives right now? That’s what it means to be a charismatic Christian.
First, catholic. Second, charismatic. Third, canonical.
All right, I should have said evangelical but it had to start with a “c”. You knew it was going to come to the Bible eventually.
I do need to say a few things about the Bible although I know that John Yates is going to say a whole lot more. My dear brothers and sisters, I am so proud this afternoon to say to you that we are people who be lieve in theauthority of the Bible.
I can do no better this afternoon than to quote to you the 1958 Lambeth Conference statement which I believe every Anglican needs to memorize, that’s how important I think it is. Listen to what the 1958 Lambeth Conferencesaid about the Holy Scriptures:
“The Church [they wrote] is not ‘over’ the Holy Scriptures, but ‘under’ them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the Church conferred authority on the books but one whereby the Church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the Apostles to the life, teaching, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and the interpretation by the Apostles of these events.” [Listen to this last phrase.] “To that apostolic authority the Church must ever bow.”
Now I need to say to you that the authority of the Bible needs to be understood by us a Christians as personal authority. It is a certain kind of authority. It is an authority that is personal, and I can’t do better than one of my heroes, Austin Farrer, who was the warden of Keble College in Oxford where I had a chance to study. He’s given the perfect illustration of what it means for every Christian every day to pick up the Bible. What’s supposed to be in my mind when I hear a sermon from this document, when I hear an adult education class on this document or when I read this document? What am I supposed to think that I’m doing? Listen to what Austin Farrer says:
“What is the bible like? Like a letter which a soldier wrote to his wife about the disposition of his affairs and the care of his children in case he should chance to be killed. And the next day he was shot, and died, and the letter was torn and stained with his blood. Her friends said to the woman: the letter is of no binding force; it is not a legal will, and it is so injured by the facts of the writers own death that you cannot ever prove what it means. But the lady said: I know the man, and I am satisfied I can see what he means. And I shall do it because it is what he wanted me to do, and because he died the next day.”
That’s what it means to read the Bible. It means to read a personal letter from God stained with his own blood. Is that your perspective, when you preach from it?
Something else about the Bible, not just the Bibles authority and not just that its personal authority, but that we as Anglican Christians actually believe not only in the authority of the Bible, but the importance of loving the Bible. I like this first psalm; it says something really amazing about the godly person. It says that the man of God and the woman of God is blessed who not only meditates on God’s law but delights in it. And the word that is used in Hebrew haphats means to have emotional delight in. It’s the word of a wife delighting in her husband, or a husband delighting in his wife. We’re to have a delight of scripture. We’re to love it, not simply to read it although we should and not simply to be under its authority although we should, we need to love it, to care about it, and to steward it.
My own hero Charles Simeon (1759-1836) preached his way through the Bible and taught his congregation of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge, England not only that the Bible was authoritative but it was something to be loved. He once said this: “I love the simplicity of the Scriptures, I wish to receive and inculcate every truth precisely in the way and to the extent that it is set forth in the inspired Volume. Were this the habit of alldivines, there would soon be an end of most of the controversies that have agitated and divided the Church of Christ.”
Do we love the Bible, brothers and sisters? Love the Bible.
So what have I said so far? I said we’re catholics, I said we’re
charismatics, and I said we’re canonical. And I said we are under judgment. And I find myself gravitating to that fascinating verse, in Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, [in Jeremiah 29] plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” With these bases what is to be our focus as Anglicans as we go forward into the unknown future that God has for us. What is to keep the main thing the main thing mean for us in this time.
It means three more C’s.
First of all Christ. I’ve got to say that, I’m sorry! But it is about
Jesus. It is about the unsearchable riches of Christ and since we are in year B can I just remind you in passing of the sheer power for a moment of Mark’ Gospel. He is trying to portray a Jesus Christ who comes into people’s lives in power and who makes an authoritative claim. You remember the way that Mark unfolds the story at the end of chapter 4. That amazing scene where he stills the storm. They say who is this that at peace be still he says. And they say who is this of ye of little faith and so Mark wants to convey to his readers that the Jesus whom he is portraying has authority over the natural world. And then chapter 5 begins and you have that amazing scene with the Gerasene demoniac who is out there gashing himself among the tombs. And he suddenly because of the power of Christ is placed in his right mind. Jesus who has power not only over the natural world but over evil. And then the story goes on and Mark has that wonderful scene where Jairus has this sick daughter and Jesus is supposed to go and on his way, you remember what happens, the woman with the issue of blood comes up and touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and she is healed. Mark gives us a Jesus who has power over sickness. And now we have Jesus who has power over the natural world, and over the demonic world and over the evil world and over sickness. What is the last story in Mark Chapter 5? He goes to Jairus’ daughter’s house and she is dead, forget it, it’s over. He says it is not over that she is just sleeping and he gets everyone out of the room except the family and he says to the little girl, “Talitha cumi, “I say to you little girl arise,” and it’s the Jesus who has power over death.
This is the Jesus, brothers and sisters, that we need to unapologetically proclaim. The Jesus who makes a powerful claim, power over nature, power over the demonic, power over sickness and power the last great enemy of all, death itself.
We will be people who unapologetically will be about the Christ, proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ. We will also be people, next C, of the cross.
I’m not giving up on the Rite I language of the prayer book. “By His one oblation of Himself once offered, the full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. By the merits and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ and through faith in His blood.” What is it that Paul says in Galatians 6? “Far be in from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” It’s got to be centered on the cross, brothers and sisters; the cross is the center of it all.
To be a Christian means not to think from the world or from one’s self to the cross but to place one’s self as Luther did every single morning at the foot of the Cross and to think and to pray out from there to one’s self and the world.
Two quick comments by way of reminder about the cross. The cross is the final statement of God about the depth of the problem. To think from the cross out is to be reminded of the horror of sin. In his wonderful book Compassion Henri Nouwen tells the moving story of a family whose name are Joel and Nida Theartiga that he knew in Paraguay. And this family in the course of their life and ministry the father who was a physician becomes increasingly critical of the government in Paraguay. The military is becoming increasingly abusive and the father can’t take it anymore and he speaks out more and more boldly. Finally the government acts and they take their revenge on this physician and his wife by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. The enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but as Nouwen tells the story, as they said their prayers and thought about it, they chose another protest, a more cross-like, biblical lament. And as Nouwen describes the funeral, what they chose to do was to take their son and to take his body exactly the way they had found it in the jail: naked, scarred by electric shocks and cigarette burns and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress that it was on in prison when they found it. It was the strongest protest imaginable, because it put the injustice of human sin on total display.
My dear brothers and sisters, that’s what happened on Good Friday. The Cross in all it’s ugliness, exposed the world and exposed our hearts for what they are breeding grounds for violence and injustice; for arrogance and pride; yes, for sexual sin and immorality; for moral cowardice, personal greed, and self-interest, and all else. The cross of Christ is offensive because it exposes and condemns our rebellion and rebelliousness.
But the other thing about the cross, the great thing about the cross if we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, is that in the mystery of God’s working on the cross, God at that moment in history, the judge of history, comes into history and absorbs the judgment upon himself. PT Forsyth put it this way: “The cross of Christ is God’s only self-justification in a world such as ours.” Karl Barth put it this way: “God, by the decree He made in the beginning of all his works and ways, has taken upon himself the rejection merited by the man isolated in relation to him.” Total exposure of human sin, total absorption of human rebellion, he himself has born our sins. God made him who knew no sin to be sin, brothers and sisters, so that in him we may be the righteousness of God. Do you believe that?
My last C. Not only the Christ, and not only the cross, but finally, and here I think I get to my most heartfelt cri de coeur about the situation in which we find ourselves. It’s about conversion for crying out loud. A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century in the Episcopal Church: The 1979 prayer book! The full theological measure of its ethos has yet to be completely felt but we are now at a place of enough distance from it to begin to reflect with each other about its real impact on our common life and if we do that, and very few people are doing it, the results are deeply disconcerting.
Think with me just for a second. A prayer book that has an underemphasis on God’s transcendence and holiness and judgment, combined with a very weak sense of sin, combined with a liturgical practice that actually makes confession of sin optional, combined with a strong emphasis on baptism, combined with a baptismal covenant which is decoupled from its trinitarian and scriptural mooring so that apparently the nearly everything I read in the Episcopal church what it actually means to be baptized ONLY is revealed the last two questions in the baptismal covenant: namely, loving your neighbor as yourself, and to striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being, combined with the predominant ethos of the American Episcopal Church which is liberal catholicism combined with the predominant ethos of America which is this weird post modern miasma of malnourished pluralism masking as real community, it leads to this, and I need to say this as clearly as I can: we have a theology in practice which moves straight from creation to redemption! A nearly universalistic or in fact completely universalistic worldview in which the fall and sin have in essence disappeared!! To be created in the Episcopal Church is apparently to be redeemed (at the most you need to be baptized) and so, think about this for just a second - what are the two most recent trends worthy of mention since Convention? Some people are arguing Gene Robinson was baptized, therefore he should be consecrated a bishop. It apparently trumps everything else. If you are baptized everything else follows, and then the even more important one which really flew under almost everybody’s radar screen, the huge growing practice in the Episcopal Church of open communion. So that at All Saints Pasadena the Rector gets up and says “who ever you are, where ever you are in your spiritual journey, I invite you to come forward for grace and consolation along the way.” Any reference to God the Father? Uh-uh. Any reference to God the Son? Gone. Any reference to the Holy Spirit? Nada. Now think about this for just a second.
Over against this barely Christian ethos, if you actually place what it means to have a biblical world view, you find yourself shocked, shocked because when you read the scriptures, Luke 19:10, the reason that the son of man came was to seek and to save the lost. God comes to Abraham and says, “Go to a lost world so that through you they will be blessed because they are not blessed now.” Jesus tells in Luke chapter 15 not one, not two, but three parables. The lost coin, and the lost sheep, and then–just incase we missed it–the lost son. And Paul can cry out in 2 Corinthians 5 “I beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The overwhelming conviction of historic Christianity is: If you don’t have Christ you’re lost! Which is why number one on your sheet is to declare the great commission the first priority of our life and work. I don’t want to know when you come to see me whether you’re a good Episopalian, I want to know how many people in your parish have met Jesus Christ and are being transformed by His love.
One more Simeon story just about the lostness of the lost. I need to say this so strongly because it just is so rare in the Episcopal Church to see people that believe the way Simeon believed. I love this story. This is a first hand description of one of his sermons and the text on this particular day when Charles Simeon, a vicar at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge England, who lived from 1759-1836. Simeon is preaching and his text is “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people,” that is his text. Listen to this eyewitness description. “And after having urged all his hearer to accept God’s offer of mercy, he reminded them that there were those present to whom he had preached Christ for more than thirty years, but they continued indifferent to a Savior’s love; and pursuing this train of expostulation for some time, he at length became quite overpowered by his feelings, and sank down in the pulpit and burst into a flood of tears, and few who were present could refrain from weeping with him” When was the last time anyone of us really cried for the lostness of the lost who are all over our parishes and our lives. God cries. The gospel calls. Do we?
So what have I said? What I have said is that what it means to be an Anglican is to be a catholic, to be a charismatic, to canonical. What it means to be centered in the Anglican essentials is that we are about Christ and his cross and yes the call to conversion. And now I draw my remarks to a close. Because this word this afternoon brothers and sisters has to touch us where we really live and breathe.
You remember I started by talking about the fact that I believe that we are a church that is under judgment. Did you catch the word that I used? I didn’t say they are under judgment, I said we. It’s a real downer to hear what happened as our panel well described to us about what happened in Minneapolis. And there is a danger that we face as we begin our journey together and the danger is this.
Any sense that it is the re-appraisers, that’s the way that I like to
describe them, who are responsible primarily or even nearly exclusively for the pathetic state of affairs in which we find ourselves and our church has to be abandoned. All of Israel I remind you all this afternoon was under judgment in Jeremiah’s day and the whole Episcopal Church is under judgment including us.
The so-called orthodox, that’s us, have an enormous amount to answer for in this time. Our sins of compromise, timidity, denial, ignorance, careerism, self-interest, party spirit, the list is very long. So hear this afternoon, my brothers and sisters, the gospel for all of us. Hear it well, B. F. “Bird’ Paty in that football game, in a losing game, looked at the football dribbling around on the ground and he didn’t want to pick it up. And God’s message to us in recentering us is: We have dropped the ball!! We have lost our center as gospel people, as catholic, charismatic, canonical Anglican people. Not only have we lost our center, but hear this well; we do not even have the power to pick the ball back up left to ourselves. But dear sisters and brothers hear the good news of the Gospel this afternoon. The God who gave us the ball, who has watched us drop the ball, through the cross forgives us for dropping the ball and by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us back the ball.
Will you take the ball back up with me?
And finally you’ve heard that word used by David Roseberry, realignment. You are going to hear a lot about it. It is in our preliminary draft of the statement. And I need to say a clearly as I know how this afternoon why a realignment within Anglicanism is indispensably necessary. There has to be a new realignment, there has to be a new and different future.
At Minneapolis the Episcopal church decided to risk the whole future of the Anglican communion on this one vote, all four instruments of Anglican unity said don’t do it, many prominent Anglicans leaders worldwide pleaded for us not to do it, and we not only did it but we did it without consulting them. This is not catholic it will not stand.
At Minneapolis the Holy Spirit was grieved and a way of life which is in contradiction to holiness was celebrated and blessed, this is not charismatic it will not stand.
At Minneapolis, the Scriptures were either quickly dismissed or incredible and deliberately twisted, this decision is not canonical it will not stand.
Most importantly and finally, at Minneapolis, the will of the Father to draw all people to himself through the cross of his Son, get this now, was replaced with a new and different gospel where a therapeutic Jesus embraces people where they are. It is a gospel of affirmation rather than the gospel of salvation. We have moved from sinners in the hands of an angry God to clients in the palm of a satisfied therapist.
So the Episcopal Church is now a church where people are officially led away from Christ. And this is why we need a realignment. You’ve got to understand this. Because with the new gospel you and I who believe the traditional gospel are the embodiment of a call to holiness and believers in a gospel which those who believe the new teaching see as unjust and unchristian. We are enemies of the new gospel. Beware underneath the call to participate in the Episcopal Church from now on there is lurking a passionate desire among some to persecute many of those who disagree with this new teaching.
I was on the committee that put out C-051. I remember it well there were 45 of us. Guess what the vote was? 44 to 1. I remember it because I was the one. And there was an incredible moment at the end of Minneapolis which is the future in the Episcopal Church if we don’t have intervention. And to my utter amazement, having written a one-person minority report, which is my prerogative as a member of the committee, I watched person after person after person come to the microphone and insist that my one-person minority report be expunged from the record of the Episcopal Church. It was astounding. It was like being in a family that has an Uncle Steve and they are pretending that he doesn’t exist and they go through all the family albums and pull out his picture and go through all the family history and erase those sections where Steve is mentioned. That’s our future brothers and sisters if we don’t have help. We’ve got to have outside intervention. We haven’t moved anywhere. The church has moved from us.
Our hope is in asking for a realignment in a church were are increasing under attack with a total sense of our own powerlessness to shape the nature of our coming intervention, and that’s really good news because Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
Are you re-centered with me brothers and sisters? Catholic, Charismatic, Canonical. We are going to be about Christ, and the cross, and conversion.
As we are seated, let us pray.
Lord, you are a great God and you have given us a great and astounding message. Re-center us, and enable us to be people who preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, and his cross, and who call others to conversion in His name by the power of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us Lord, for the ways that we have dropped the ball. We confess that we have dropped the ball Lord; we confess that we don’t have the power to pick the ball back up. Lord in your mercy, you, the God who gave us the ball in the first place and who watched us drop the ball. Give us back the ball Lord, by the power of your Holy Spirit, and bring us into the new and exciting and hopeful future that only you can give us. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
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Our final talk inspired us to a revival of the missionary spirit of the Toronto Congress.
In this spirit, we lay before you the following:
Communion is a missionary movement: as Stephen Bayne said at the time, our common goal is to plant the Gospel “in every place of the world”.Read it all.
Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence (MRI) remains a compelling calling for today.
We need renewal of the structures of the Communion so as to reflect the tremendous growth of the Church in last 50 years in Global South. As the Congress noted regarding the fact of mission: “the form of the Church must reflect this”.
We must reclaim and strengthen Anglicanism’s conciliar character in these structures and in our decision-making, as MRI assumed.
We are open to a fresh articulation of an Anglican Covenant and commend the role it can have in the renewal of our Communion, and we believe that we ourselves can have a constructive role to play in leading in this.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Reports & Communiques Anglican Covenant Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, received a letter of support, dated December 14, 2012, from the Steering Committee of the Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion. The show of support, signed by The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East; The Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria; The Most Revd Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean; The Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok, Primate of South East Asia; The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, Primate of Myanmar; The Most Revd Dr. Eluid Wabukala, Primate of Kenya and The Most Revd Hector “Tito” Zavala, Primate of the Southern Cone recognizes Bishop Lawrence's Episcopal orders and his legitimate Episcopal oversight of the Diocese of South Carolina within the Anglican Communion.
Read it all.
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[Rowan] Williams spent most of his decade as Anglican spiritual leader struggling to keep bitter disputes between liberals in western countries and traditionalists, mostly from African and other developing countries, from tearing the Communion apart.
Faced with strong traditionalist opposition to gay clergy, women priests and liberal interpretations of the Bible, he tried to balance both sides and to strengthen central authority in Anglicanism so member churches did not diverge too much.
But his Anglican Covenant project failed when even his Church of England rejected the idea of a stronger center. Unlike the powerful Roman Catholic pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury is only the spiritual leader of Anglicans and has no direct authority over the Communion's member churches.
Read it all.
Despite many questions about how our decisions about doctrine and mutual responsibility are made in the Communion, and some challenges to the various ‘Instruments of Communion’, the truth is that our Communion has never been the sort of Church that looks for one central authority. This doesn’t mean that we are not concerned with truth or holiness or consistency. It simply acknowledges that all forms of human power and discipline can become corrupted, and that in the Church we have to have several points of reference for the organising of our common life so that none of them can go without challenge or critique from the others. Our hope is that in this exchange we discover a more credible and lasting convergence than we should have if someone or some group alone imposed decisions – and that the fellowship that emerges is more clearly marked by Christlikeness, by that reverence for one another that the Spirit creates in believers.
Another way of saying this is that (to use the language of a great Anglican theologian of the early twentieth century, J.N. Figgis) we are a ‘community of communities’.
Read it all.
“It is your Church, your home, ask for the best of your best of your pastors and teachers” with those words the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams concluded an extraordinary morning of welcome at the TelstraClear Pacific events Centre in Manukau, New Zealand. The response was to a question posed by a young person who was participating in a youth forum where questions were addressed to the Archbishop, Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
Dr Williams along with the Anglican Consultative Council delegation who are meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, had arrived at the centre for a powhiri - a Maori welcoming ceremony. A significant part of the morning event was a youth forum where questions ranged from Dr Williams' favorite biblical passage to church attitudes towards women, same sex marriage, what shoes God would wear, and whether it was fun to be Archbishop.
Check it out.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Consultative Council Anglican Primates * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Teens / Youth * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
The Primates of Nigeria and Kenya suggested this week that the Archbishop of Canterbury should no longer chair the Primates’ Meeting. The chairman should instead be elected by the Primates themselves, they said.
The Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, and the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, suggested the idea at a press briefing on Monday, shortly before the start of a leadership conference of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) at St Mark’s, Battersea Rise, in London (News, 6 April). A spokesman for the FCA said that delegates from about 30 countries were attending the conference, representing about 55 million “of all churchgoing Anglicans”.
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(Please note that we first covered this upcoming meeting back in March.--KSH)
Bishop [Michael] Nazir-Ali said the manifesto was now “the only game in town” to prevent the fragmentation of the Communion.
“The Covenant has gone, the primates have been unable to gather, Lambeth had a significant number of bishops missing, a large number of leaders from the Global South have resigned from the main Anglican committees – so that causes us all a great deal of concern,” he said.
He added: “The Jerusalem Declaration is not perfect by any means and no doubt can be improved, but at the moment it seems to be the only thing that a large number of people could subscribe to in good conscience.”
Read it all.
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Pope Benedict has condemned violence committed in God’s name and personally exonerated Jews of responsibility for Jesus’ death in his latest book, released on Thursday. The book, the second in a planned three-part series on the life of Jesus, is a detailed, highly theological and academic recounting of the last week in Jesus’ life.
Publishers have printed 1.2 million copies of the book in seven languages. A blaze of international publicity included teleconferences with the media in several countries.
In one section, Benedict writes that there can be no justification for violence carried out in God’s name, an assertion as applicable to Islamist militancy today as to violence that the Catholic Church itself committed in the past as it spread the faith.
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“The Anglican Church in Uganda submitted its views on David Bahati’s Private Member’s Bill formally when it was first tabled, and made clear that they were not in favour of introducing a death penalty for homosexuality. I completely support that position.
“It is important that across the world we stand in solidarity with people, flesh of our flesh, who are being in many cases victimized or demonized because of their sexual orientation...."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Uganda Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Sexuality
In spite of many assurances, some Anglicans evidently still think that the Covenant changes the structure of our Communion or that it gives some sort of absolute power of ‘excommunication’ to some undemocratic or unrepresentative body. With all respect to those who have raised these concerns, I must repeat that I do not see the Covenant in this light at all. It sets out an understanding of our common life and common faith and in the light of that proposes making a mutual promise to consult and attend to each other, freely undertaken. It recognizes that not doing this damages our relations profoundly. It outlines a procedure, such as we urgently need, for attempting reconciliation and for indicating the sorts of consequences that might result from a failure to be fully reconciled. It alters no Province’s constitution, as it has no canonical force independent of the life of the Provinces. It does not create some unaccountable and remote new authority but seeks to identify a representative group that might exercise a crucial advisory function. I continue to ask what alternatives there are if we want to agree on ways of limiting damage, managing conflict and facing with honesty the actual effects of greater disunity. In the absence of such alternatives, I must continue to commend the Covenant as strongly as I can to all who are considering its future.
These questions are made all the more sharp by the fact that the repeated requests for moratoria on problematic actions issued by various representative Anglican bodies are increasingly ignored. Strong conscientious convictions are involved here. No-one, I believe, acts out of a desire to deepen disunity; some believe that certain matters are more important than what they think of as a superficial unity. But the effects are often to deepen mutual mistrust, and this must surely be bad for our mission together as Anglicans, and alongside other Christians as well. The question remains: if the moratoria are ignored and the Covenant suspected, what are the means by which we maintain some theological coherence as a Communion and some personal respect and understanding as a fellowship of people seeking to serve Christ? And we should bear in mind that our coherence as a Communion is also a significant concern in relation to other Christian bodies – especially at a moment when the renewed dialogues with Roman Catholics and Orthodox have begun with great enthusiasm and a very constructive spirit.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Covenant Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology
The end of conciliarism, which accords with the practice of the early church, is to be regarded as tragic. The Anglican tragedy, like its medieval counterpart, may be seen as stemming from the reluctance of the central authority to relinquish or even dilute its control. This reluctance is not necessarily a matter of perversity, however. To be sure, the reluctance of Anglican Communion Office, instanced by their keeping the ACC in line in Jamaica, has seemed motivated by a desire to avoid offending TEC, which provides much of their funding. But from their perspective TEC’s financial support may appear essential for the proper functioning of the Communion. They have seemed concerned also to avoid alienating the liberal wing of the Church of England. But this may be not just out of ideological predisposition. It may also reflect a belief that the CofE could not afford the resulting exacerbation of its divisions.
To Archbishop Rowan himself, with his brilliant mind, deep learning, and winning personality, such considerations may have less application. The explanation in his case may lie more in his espousal of a theology militating against closure on any issue, and thus supportive of the inclinations of the Anglican Communion Office, as of the interests of TEC, by default. Charles Raven, in his 2010 book Shadow Gospel: the Theology of Rowan Williams and the Anglican Communion Crisis, made an impressive case to this effect. As for Rowan’s adherence to such a theology despite all his sophistication, being essentially an academic, without secular or even significant parish experience, perhaps limits his awareness of the outside world.
If, then, there is to be a revival of Anglican conciliarism, it will have to come not from the Instruments in their now compromised state but instead out of churches of the Global South, together with their Western allies. These churches have laid a basis for it already in Gafcon, their conference in Jerusalem in June 2008. There the Spirit was clearly at work, producing conciliarly the extraordinary Jerusalem Declaration. So far, despite the South-to-South Encounter in Singapore in April 2010 and the CAPA meeting in Uganda last August, the Global South leaders have not followed up on it. But by absenting themselves from the Dublin Primates’ Meeting and thereby sealing its irrelevance, they have taken on a responsibility to do so. For the sake of conciliarism and of Anglicanism itself, they need now, in American terms, to step up to the plate.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Consultative Council Anglican Primates Instruments of Unity Lambeth 2008 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
Two clear messages have gone out from Dublin.
First, the authorities in Dublin Diocese were happy to showcase TEC despite its promotion of same-sex marriage. They have hammered in a wedge that may split our Church in two.
Second, the Primates' meeting may have finally demolished the proposed Anglican Covenant, section 4.1.1 of which describes a Communion of national Churches "in which each recognises in the others the bonds of a common loyalty to Christ expressed through a common faith and order, a shared inheritance in worship, life and mission, and a readiness to live in an interdependent life".
TEC's breaches of that common faith and order are one thing; the failure of the Primates' meeting to address them is quite another....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Covenant Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
Four outside facilitators led the primates in their indaba-style discussions: Stephen Lyon, Church of England Partnership for World Mission secretary and administrator of the ACO's Bible in the Life of the Church project; Alice Mogwe, director of DITSHWANELO - the Botswana Centre for Human Rights; Dr. Cecilia Clegg, a Roman Catholic nun and an expert in reconciliation and conflict transformation who teaches at the University of Edinburgh; and the Rev. Canon Justin Welby, dean of Liverpool Cathedral and one of the Pastoral Visitors appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. All have extensive experience in facilitation and mediation, according to Anglican Communion Office spokesperson, Jan Butter. Mogwe and Clegg both participated in the Continuing Indaba Project as facilitators for one of the planning pilot conversations last year.
In addition to the four facilitators, a team of 15 "organizers", most coming from the Anglican Communion Office, managed the tightly controlled meeting of 23 primates....
Read it all.
What then shall we do? The most immediate answer is to provide an alternative to the shallow account of the Christian Gospel and the nature and mission of church now proposed by the liberal rump. As the Windsor Report suggests, a robust account of “communion” will go a long way toward meeting that goal. Nevertheless, such an account will not appear apart from work yet to be done. If not done, the politics of compromise and deal making will take over the dissidents as it has their progressive opponents. In that case, the counter example of what it is to be the Anglican Communion will not appear, and we will be left with only fragments.
This is the moment the Global South has asked and waited for. This is their time to call the Anglican Communion back to its roots in Holy Scripture and the fathers of the church. It is their time to show us what communion is all about. That effort will require of all of us not only great theological effort but also all the graces Paul places at the foundation of Christian unity—lowliness, meekness, patience, forbearance in love, eagerness for unity along with kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness. Much will be asked of everyone, but it is these, my brothers and sisters in the Global South, who, in our time, will bear the heat of battle. Those of us in provinces controlled by the liberal rump of what once was our communion, though we may help in this enterprise if asked, now in large measure are called upon to wait, watch and pray rather than control. One thing we should wait, watch and pray for is a rigorous account of what it means when Anglicans claim to be a communion of churches. We understand that meetings are now being planned within the Global South to arrive at ways to move forward despite the terrible divisions we face. I pray that a meeting soon will take place. I pray also that it will appoint a body from throughout the Communion to forge a common vision of what the Anglican Communion is called to be. Finally, I pray that those who now resist the direction manifest in Dublin will prayerfully move forward and embrace a Communion ecclesiology that gives glory to God, who has so richly blessed the missionary extension of the Gospel throughout the world. This should be a time of fresh hope in that same Gospel and its Lord.
Read it all.
[Anglican TV] ATV: What’s the most important issue going on in the Anglican Communion today?
[Greg Venables] GV: The vast majority of Anglican leaders worldwide, together with Anglicans in general, want to get on with preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the fact that there is a message of hope, and love and forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ.
But we’ve hit a problem. And the problem is that within what we call the Anglican Communion there is a significant group, which unfortunately seems to dominate much of the public life of our church, which is suppressing the truth.
The reason why we feel this urgency is because it is clearer than ever, even within our own Church, that we are under the wrath of God. Now that is not something that people like to talk about very much, and it’s not a very pleasant subject, but it is an important one.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
A spokesman for Archbishop Okoh said this week’s visit will be his first to London since his election as primate. A trip set for December 2010 was postponed due to inclement weather. The trip will also provide an opportunity for Dr. Rowan Williams to mend fences with the Nigerian Church, which along with a majority of the African church has become estranged from Lambeth over the past three years.
Regaining the trust of the estranged members of the Anglican Communion would be a “long task” and would be “difficult”, Dr. Williams said at the closing press conference of the Dublin primates meeting last month. However, that is the “task we’ve been given, it’s part of the gift of living in the Church” and “part of the cross we carry.”
Read it all.
(The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs)
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected for a three year term to the Anglican Communion Primates' Standing Committee.
The election was held among the Primates of the Anglican Communion during the group’s recent meeting in Dublin, Ireland.
“I am grateful to my colleagues in the Americas for their confidence, and look forward to working with partners around the Communion as we seek to heal a broken and hurting world,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “I have every hope that the primates can be models and leaders of that work, as variously-gifted members of the Body of Christ.”
Elected to the Primates' Standing Committee were:
Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak (Sudan) - alternate Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi)
Central, North, South Americas and the Caribbean
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (The Episcopal Church) - alternate Archbishop John Holder (West Indies)
Archbishop David Chillingworth (Scotland) - alternate Archbishop Alan Harper (Ireland)
Middle East and West Asia
Bishop Samuel Azariah (Pakistan) - alternate Bishop Paul Sarker (Bangladesh)
South East Asia and Oceania
Archbishop Paul Kwong (Hong Kong) - alternate Archbishop Winston Halapua (Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia)
Given these shortcomings, it’s hard to see how the Dublin document advances even “honest conversation,” much less “our common life in Christ” (46-47). We will all have to do better.
1. With a full 15 of their membership missing in action, many for reasons of conscience, that the Dublin primates saw fit to produce any document at all on “the purpose and scope of the Primates’ Meeting” appears presumptuous and imprudent. In the current climate of broken trust, it was bound to be approached suspiciously. For what commonly accepted criteria of Christian decision-making were used, shorn of party prejudice? And if it is pointed out that the document lacks theological conviction as well as continuity with the recent past, this only creates other problems. Why publish such a thing, when the chances are small that the text, even as a non-committal working document, will be received by a future, restored Primates’ Meeting?
2. “No meeting can allow itself to be shaped wholly by the people who are not there,” said Archbishop Williams afterward, a sound general principle. Given the deep divisions within Anglicanism, however, which the several instruments of the Communion have proven increasingly unable even to address directly, much less resolve, it may have been better to call off the Dublin meeting altogether, as Canterbury reportedly contemplated at one point: refuse to press on with business as usual, in favor of an intervention or course correction. One hears an impatience in the archbishop’s statement that “two thirds of the Communion at least wish to meet and wish to continue the conversations they have begun.” Who will take responsibility for the whole by speaking publicly and candidly about the way forward and how we will get there? The archbishop himself has done so before and must do so again, as a “focus and means of unity” for the Communion (Anglican Covenant, 3.1.4)....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
(Please note the piece to which Dr. Turner is responding may be found here).
Bagshaw envisions regional groupings of autonomous provinces committed to ongoing conversation and where possible cooperation. These groupings need not, however, be committed to mutually recognized forms of belief and practice. In his future, there need no longer be “eagerness to maintain unity in the bond of peace.” There need be only occasional meetings that might prove mutually advantageous or serve to further regional and local self-interest. What Bagshaw sketches as the future of Anglicanism more closely resembles the British Commonwealth of Nations than the body of Christ. In Bagshaw’s world adjustments to division are perfectly acceptable. As in all free trade zones, divisions simply become opportunities for regional cooperation and mutual benefit on the one hand or self-assertion on the other
I am profoundly troubled by all this first because Bagshaw’s view of an Anglican future gives the lie to all that God is up to; namely, to unite all peoples in Christ so that all people worship the one true God as God truly is. I am also troubled because the free trade zone of autonomous churches that may well lie in our future is to be ordered by centers of bureaucratic or local power rather than by Bishops whose particular charism is to maintain unity of faith, holiness of life, and peace within the church. If one thing the recent meeting in Dublin makes clear, it is that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates there assembled have abdicated the responsibility of Bishops to maintain catholic belief and practice not only within but also beyond the borders of their particular dioceses or provinces. I am troubled, in short, because Dublin spells the end of catholic order within the Anglican future he foresees. Bagshaw is quite comfortable with this eventuality. Indeed, in one place he makes the amazing statement that the discussion of the Primates present in Dublin about the differences in their roles in their various provinces was not about theology but how “to work better in the new Anglican Communion.” Just imagine a communion where theology and polity have nothing to do one with another! Bagshaw can do so with no difficulty at all. I can only say, I have a great deal of difficulty!
Read it all.
The Canadian Primate, Archbishop Hiltz, reported afterwards that the Primates at the meeting had “endeavoured to consider, as much as we could, their perspective on the issue before us”. They were successful on at least one point: the Global South absentees had wished to signal by their absence the insignificance of the Primates’ Meeting, as long as it proved unable or unwilling to enforce earlier disciplinary measures against the Episcopal Church in the United States concerning gay bishops and same-sex unions. The Primates who were present in Dublin showed remarkable compliance, redefining the Primates’ Meeting as an essentially toothless body.
Read it all.
The Anglican Communion needs to get beyond its difficulties over sexuality issues and to focus, as the Primates did at the Emmaus Centre, on much wider issues, not least the mission of the Church. While also addressing the unity of the Communion, which touches not least the proposed Anglican Covenant, the discussions at this Primates' Meeting were indeed wide-ranging.
Read it all.
Against this background, what is most remarkable about the Dublin meeting is that its working document on the Primates’ Meeting cites only the preliminary remarks of Archbishop [Donald] Coggan, but makes no mention whatsoever of the subsequent work done to implement those remarks by the Lambeth Conferences and the Covenant in specifying the role of the Primates’ Meeting, work that by now has been accepted by all the Instruments of Communion. As far as one can discern, this established understanding played no role at all in the deliberations at Dublin. While one might try to parse the provisions of the Dublin document to align it to greater or lesser extent with the accepted precedents, the simple fact is that those other sources were not acknowledged, were not quoted and were not even the subject of obvious paraphrase. Those meeting in Dublin staked no claim to continuity with the past, ignoring the will of the most authoritative of the Instruments of Communion—the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.
For all these reasons, the group of Primates who met in Dublin cannot be recognized as acting in accord with the accepted Communion understanding of the Primates’ Meeting as an Instrument of Communion. This Instrument thus joins the others as now being dysfunctional and lacking in communion credibility. The role of the Lambeth Conference as an Instrument of Communion is to “express episcopal collegiality worldwide.” But in 2008, when the bishops of most Anglicans “worldwide” were not present, it could not perform this function. It accomplished little of substance and is now regarded throughout much of the Communion as a symbol of futility. Similarly, the Anglican Consultative Council has been re-structured legally so that it is no longer recognizable as the Instrument defined in the Covenant or in past Anglican documents. The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as an Instrument of Communion is to function as “a primacy of honor and respect among the college of bishops,” as “a focus and means of unity,” and the one who “gathers” the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meetings. Whatever may be said about the cause of the disintegration, it is incontrovertible empirically that Canterbury has been unable to perform this function over the last three years. The Communion thus finds itself with no working Instrument that has been able to perform its necessary function, follow its rules, and garner credible acceptance from the majority of the Communion.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
Today, less than 8 years after the 2003 emergency Primates Meeting, 15 of the Primates are no-shows. There is loss of trust and a sense that words and efforts are meaningless - that the Episcopal Church in particular will act unilaterally against the mind of the Provincial leaders and global Anglican witness.
The Episcopal Church continues to decline, with its membership the oldest among U.S. denominations and its internal reports showing no reliable sources or patterns of growth. In an Anglican Communion of some 80 million members, only about 700,000 Episcopalians attend services on an average Sunday. The [partnered] gay bishop consecrated in 2003 downsized his diocese, spent most of his time at gay movement and media events, and recently announced his retirement after less than a decade in office.
A [partnered] lesbian bishop was consecrated, and some gay and lesbian couples have had high profile ceremonies, including a recent lesbian union worded contentiously as a variation on the Prayer Book marriage rite.
So, a small, affluent, socially homogeneous inner circle of a very small denomination indulges its fancies at the cost of a diverse, global Christian fellowship - a fellowship whose leaders hung in with misrepresentations and broken commitments while trying to maintain bonds of affection. That is, until this 2011 Anglican Primates Meeting in Dublin.
Read it all and make sure to take special note of the numbers of Primates attending.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009 Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Instruments of Unity
Speaking on behalf of the GAFCON Primates of Uganda, Rwanda, West Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, and the Southern Cone — none of whom went to Dublin — Bishop Venables said that the meeting “had ignored the difficult issues that divide us.
“There was a denial of the seriousness of the crisis facing the Communion which led to the absence of Primates representing two-thirds of the Anglican Communion, and there remains a complete lack of trust, which every day is getting worse.
“The Dublin meeting has just made things worse, as they did not deal with the reasons why people stayed away, or the causes of the divisions in the Anglican Church.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Global South Churches & Primates
The Archbishop of Canterbury will engage in a round of shuttle diplomacy in an attempt to improve relations with the Global South primates who boycotted last week’s primates’ Meeting.
Speaking during the closing press conference at the Emmaus Centre, near Dublin, on Sunday afternoon, Dr Williams spoke of his plans to visit some of the provinces of the absent Primates, such as South-East Asia. He said that he had recently met the Archbishop of Kenya, Dr Eliud Wabukala, one of the Primates who did not attend, taking part in “a very long and detailed conversation on a variety of matters”.
Such diplomatic endeavours would be a “long task”, he said; and trying to keep the diverse Communion together was “difficult”; but “the task we’ve been given, it’s part of the gift of living in the Church” and “part of the cross we carry”.
Read it all.
The former Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, Dr. Phillip Turner of the Anglican Communion Institute told CEN he was disappointed by the reports produced by the meeting. “Here we have reports on both the function and the organization of the Primates meeting that neither locate as an aspect of ecclesiology the office and role of a primate within a communion of churches nor speak of how the meeting and its standing committee are to address a province or diocese within the communion whose actions other Provinces do not recognize as in accord with scripture.”
“These reports are theologically vacuous,” Dean Turner said. “Sadly, they only display the fact that this Instrument has become dysfunctional. It has become dysfunctional because neither the Primates as a group nor the Primate who is primus inter pares were willing and able to address the actions” of the North American churches.
The “fabric” of the communion remains torn “because of a failure in leadership,” he said, noting that the “communion as we have known it is gone.”
Read it all.
For the first time in seven years, the Anglican Communion’s Primates’ Meeting has not referred directly to broken communion, the three moratoria requested by The Windsor Report (2004), or what any provinces can do to restore communion and trust.
Read it all.
As he waited at London’s Heathrow International Airport to fly back to Toronto, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, spoke to Anglican Journal staff writer Marites N. Sison about the primates’ meeting, held Jan. 25 to 30 in Dublin. A total of 13 of 38 primates were absent. This included seven who boycotted the meeting to protest issues around the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of a lesbian bishop by The Episcopal Church in the U.S. last August. What follows is an excerpt of Sison’s interview with Archbishop Hiltz....
Read it all.
Anglican archbishops concluded their six-day summit in Ireland on Sunday (Jan. 30) by issuing statements on a host of international issues, including violence against women in Africa, political chaos in Egypt, and the murder of a gay rights activist in Uganda.
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among the two dozen senior bishops, or primates, gathered in Dublin who also sought to clarify their roles in governing the increasingly fractious Anglican Communion.
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The documents posted at the close of the recent Primates' Meeting in Dublin tell the story. The takeover of the Instruments of Communion by ECUSA, aided and abetted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is now complete. Anything of substance was carefully avoided at Lambeth 2008; the proposed Covenant itself was derailed at ACC-14 in Jamaica, and then carefully defanged by the newly reorganized Standing Committee; and now the Primates' Meeting has let itself descend into irrelevance -- with the primates of the churches having most of the Anglican Communion's membership absenting themselves, and refusing to prop up the pretense of normalcy any longer....
There is not a word in any of the statements released from Dublin today about the commitment that ECUSA's House of Bishops was supposed to make, and which bishops such as +Bruno, +Shaw and the Presiding Bishop herself have so deliberately flouted ever since -- along with the General Convention of the whole Church. It is abundantly clear, based on the statements from Dublin, that the Primates who gathered there are not going to follow through with their commitments at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam. So ECUSA has prevailed, and will have its way.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates
The absent primates do not approve of the US church’s ordination of actively gay bishops or its same-sex blessings.
Defending Bishop Orombi, Archbishop Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, emphasised that, as with other relevant Anglican primates, Bishop Orombi’s position concerned “exclusion from ministry on grounds of behaviour, not orientation”.
He continued that Mr Kato had been “named in this rotten, disgraceful Ugandan publication” – the Rolling Stone newspaper in Kampala – in which “effectively, his murder had been called for.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Culture-Watch Sexuality * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda
More than a third of the worldwide leaders of the Anglican Church failed to attend last week’s primates’ meeting in Dublin.
The senior bishops or archbishops of all 38 provinces were invited to the six-day meeting at the Emmaus Retreat Centre in Swords, but only 24 turned up.
Read it all.
The Archbishopp of Canterbury has acknowledged that there remains a “critical situation” in the Anglican Communion. He was speaking at a press conference at the close of the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin.
Read it all.
Of the 38 primates who could and should be in attendance at a legitimate Primates' Meeting, we understand some 15 are absent. The GAFCON primates AND Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis and Archbishop John Chew are among those with more important things to do than attend a meeting and be manipulated by procedural rules that Dr. Williams will dominate. More important, because Rowan Williams structures the meeting to control the primates and disempower them from taking any action that he doesn't wish, and when their photographs are taken together, the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) uses that photo to announce that all is well in Rowanland.
Many of the primates have made their reasons for being absent very clear in public and private correspondence to Dr. Williams, who is the convener. However, the Anglican Communion Office, headed by Canon Kenneth Kearon, has concocted reasons for some of them that are simply disingenuous. Most of the primates have made it clear to Dr. Williams why they are absent and why they are frustrated and disappointed in his leadership. With this fact in mind, there is a question that begs to be asked; "Is Dr. Williams competent to lead the Communion?" You would be surprised if you polled liberal revisionists and orthodox conservatives to find that many on both sides would answer NO. It is time to acknowledge before the world that the emperor has no clothes, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has no competency to lead the Communion.
Read it all.
From here (requires subscription) in an earlier [24 January] London Times story:
Speaking to The Times, Archbishop Gregory Venables, who retired in November as archbishop of the Southern Cone, but is chairman of the Primates’ Council for the GAFCON conservative group, said: “There are two main reasons a significant number are not going. “There has been no real consultative preparation. In the past, we have been given a paper five minutes before a meeting and told to discuss it. The other reason is that there has been no responsible carrying out of what was decided in the past.”
He said that the meetings, which are closed to the press, did not lend themselves to open debate, adding: “You go to these meetings and there is a kind of gagging gas in the atmosphere. It is almost like trench warfare. The gagging gas comes down, and it is as if people are unable to speak.”
This is significant in that it accords with what Bishop Mouneer Anis said; note that neither agrees with what Kenneth Kearon says about their reasons for conscientious non-participation--KSH.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Anglican Provinces Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams said that the outcomes of the Primates’ Meeting in Ireland had met his “chief hopes” for the week.
Speaking at a press conference Dr Williams explained that when inviting the Primates to the meeting he had indicated what things might be considered there. These included decisions about an effective Primates’ Standing Committee, reflections on primacy itself, and expectations of the Primates’ Meeting.
“My chief hope was to emerge with greater clarity and agreement about what we expect of the Primates corporately and how best we can realise our expectations,” he said.
Read it all.
Evident Preoccupation with Issues of Anglican Crisis: The four current emphases of IASCUFO indicate that issues arising from the Anglican crisis are dominating the group’s attention. The definition of church and the related question whether the communion is a church or a communion of churches constitute an issue that is, yes, fundamental but also a bit elementary for a group purporting to be advancing the theology of the communion as a whole. The reason is probably a pervasive of sense of crisis and disintegration. The second topic of the Anglican Covenant is obviously crisis-related, as is the third on the Instruments of Communion and their inter-relations. The first half of the fourth topic, the reception of the work of the instruments and of the ecumenical dialogues, is also crisis-related, with only the second half indicating a nod to the complex and diverse ecumenical dialogues. Ecumenism is likely to get short shrift, most unfortunate in light of Anglicans’ historic role in catalyzing ecumenical relationship and work. Theology and doctrine are likely to be marginalized altogether as managing and responding to the crisis take center stage. The Anglican crisis is full-blown, I have criticized efforts to minimize it, and it deserves the kind of attention it has been receiving. It is simply unfortunate that this conflation of commissions appears to suck all other theological and ecumenical air out of the room. The health of the communion depends partly on other kinds of work moving forward and receiving support – and it may well be that this unfortunate conflation has occurred mainly for financial reasons.
Read it all.
From the ACNS preamble:
At todays press conference the panel comprised of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Archbishop of the Province of Burundi & Bishop of Matana, The Most Revd Dr John Walder Dunlop Holder, Archbishop, Church in the Province of the West Indies & Bishop of Barbados and The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane. They were welcomed by The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper, Primate of All Ireland & Archbishop of Armagh
Dr Rowan Williams said the outcomes of the Primates Meeting had met his “Chief hopes” for the week. He explained that among other letters and statements agreed by the Primates there were two outlining the scope and purpose of the Primates Meeting and its Standing Committee. His address was followed by a question and answer session with members of the media.
Listen to it all (just over 34 minutes).
On the final day of the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, Primates discussed the content of final documents that had been prepared over the week. They began with reviewing the first draft of a working document on the proposed purpose and scope of the Primates’ Meeting. They then reviewed other documents—letters and statements—covering a range of international issues.
Read it all and please note that this includes a link to six different pdf's all of which need to be considered.
You can now see this material here (see "Primates Meeting 2011" on the top left) and there.
You can now see this material here (see "Primates Meeting 2011" on the top left) and there.
You can now see this material here (see "Primates Meeting 2011" on the top left) and there.
Please note that at the request of a member of the Anglican Communion Office this photo is being removed--KSH.
You can now see material related to this meeting here (see "Primates Meeting 2011" on the top left) and there.
Last night there were five photographs linked here under this title:
Some Images From The 18th Primates'
Meeting Of The Anglican Communion,
Emmaus Retreat And Conference Centre,
Swords, Co Dublin.
But today they are no longer there--what happened?
Please note that what follows is a tentative attempt to identify those in the photograph:
The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi
Archbishop of the Province of Burundi & Bishop of Matana
The Most Revd David Robert Chillingworth
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church & Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane
The Rt Revd Paul Keun-Sang Kim
Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Korea & Bishop of Seoul
The Most Revd Frederick J Hiltz
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Revd David Vunagi
Archbishop of Melanesia and bishop of Central Melanesia
6. Central America
The Most Revd Armando Roman Guerra Soria
Primate of IARCA & Bishop of Guatemala
The Rt Revd Edward Pacyaya Malecdan
Prime Bishop elect of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines
The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu
Primate of The Nippon Sei Ko Kai & Bishop of Hokkaido
9. Papua New Guinea
The Most Revd Joseph Kifau Kopapa
Archbishop of Papua New Guinea & Bishop of Popondota
The Most Revd Dr. Barry Cennydd Morgan
Archbishop of Wales & Bishop of Llandaff
11. South India
The Most Revd Suputhrappa Vasantha Kumar
Moderator of the Church of South India and Bishop of Karnataka Central
12. The Episcopal Church
The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the USA
13. Hong Kong
The Most Revd Paul Kwong
Archbishop of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui & Bishop of Hong Kong Island
The Most Revd Phillip John Aspinall
Archbishop of Brisbane & Primate of Australia
15. New Zealand
The Most Revd Dr. Winston Halapua
Primate of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia & Bishop of Polynesia
16. West Indies
The Most Revd Dr John Walder Dunlop Holder
Archbishop, Church in the Province of the West Indies & Bishop of Barbados
The Rt Revd Samuel Azariah
Moderator, Church of Pakistan & Bishop of Raiwind
1. Southern Africa
The Most Revd Thabo Cecil Makgoba
Archbishop of Capetown
The Most Revd Maurício José Araújo de Andrade
Primate of Brazil & Bishop of Brasilia
The Most Revd Alan Edwin Thomas Harper
Primate of All Ireland & Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Revd Rowan Douglas Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
5. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
The Most Reverend John Sentamu
Archbishop of York
7. Central Africa
The Rt Rev Albert Chama
The Dean of the Province
The Rt Revd Paul Sishir Sarkar
Moderator, Church of Bangladesh & Bishop of Kushtia
We shall be grateful for any amendments and corrections--KSH.
Today’s meeting moved from the work of reflecting on the exercise of primacy and the purpose and nature of the Primates’ Meeting, to considering the role, purpose and composition of the Standing Committee of the Primates. In addition to attending the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and the Standing Committee, other roles suggested for the committee by Primates included “holding” the life, vision and spirit of the meeting between the Primates’ Meetings; helping to shape their future meetings; and acting as a consultative group for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Several groups also suggested that the Primates’ Standing Committee might have an ongoing bridging role between the Primate’s Meeting and the regions from where the Primates come....
Read it all.
Daily briefings are being released by the Anglican Communion Office, and while these have listed a number of the issues being discussed, such as what it means to be a primate in different regions of the Communion, they have not mentioned the big questions such as what the implications of the boycott might be for the future of the Anglican Communion; or what relationship these Primates can expect with their non-attending peers.
Paul Feheley, working with the Anglican Communion Office, said that the press was not being “gagged”; but there was a desire to keep the media away “to allow the Primates the space they need” to be able to have conversations “in a way that’s free”.
Of course, the absence of most of the conservatives means that there is no occasion for the briefing and counter-briefing that has been seen at earlier encounters of the Primates.
All, then, awaits the final communiqué, planned for Sunday afternoon, which is expected to deliver the conclusions of the Primates who are present. In the mean time, I count 22 Primates in a circle, deep in discussion — visible only from afar.
Read it all.
Read it all.
More than one third of the provinces of the Anglican Communion are not represented at the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin, it was confirmed on Wednesday, as the summit got under way.
An official list showed that 22 of the possible 38 Primates arrived in Dublin; 15 were absent. In addition, the Province of Central Africa, where there is currently a vacancy, is being represented by its Dean; and the Archbishop of York is also attending, to allow the Archbishop of Canterbury to preside at the meeting.
Read it all.
Jeff Walton, spokesman for IRD’s Anglican Action Program, commented:
“Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has been embarrassed by so many Anglican leaders shunning yet another pre-fabricated ‘conversation’ with the Episcopal Church.
“After snubbing repeated requests from Anglican leaders not to bless same-sex unions or consecrate openly partnered homosexual bishops, Episcopal Church leaders have effectively cut themselves off from the majority of Anglicans worldwide...."
Read it all.
While the commitment to the Communion remains strong, there is less of a tie to the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England Newspaper has learned.
The tenor of conversation among the boycotting Primates centres round the realisation that Dr Williams is unable, and apparently unwilling, to resolve the Anglican crisis. Dr Williams’ successes in persuading conservatives to go along, will not be repeated this time due to their absence. The “rump” meeting in Dublin 2011 has already been dismissed as illegitimate by some of the boycotting Primates, who represent 40 of the Communion’s 55 million active Anglicans.
Past undertakings given at the 2005, 2007 and 2009 Primates’ Meeting have not been fulfilled one Primate noted. It was not just around issues of human sexuality that action did not follow upon words, but in resolutions ranging from the appointment of an envoy to Zimbabwe to promises to mediate the Brazilian split.
Read it all.
On Day three of the meeting, Primates of the Anglican Communion began to more closely consider ‘primacy’. In small groups they discussed their understanding and experience of the theology and practice of primacy in their Provinces, at the Regional level and at the Communion level. The purpose of the morning was to share in plenary the differences and similarities of primacy in the Provinces of the Communion.
Read it all.
Conservative primates say they are disillusioned by a lack of disciplinary action against the U.S. church, despite recommendations made at previous primates' meetings, and add that there had been a lack of consultation before the meeting.
The Anglican Communion said primates refusing to attend included those of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Nigeria, South East Asia, the Southern Cone of Latin America, Uganda, and West Africa.
Last June, [Katharine Jefferts] Schori said that plans to discipline her church violated Anglican traditions, moving toward a centralized authority.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011 Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
A little candor by those in attendance would be nice: there is a problem, and it is a major problem. Are the Primates who have gathered in Dublin facing it, or are they still pretending that everybody has “moved beyond” the resolute disrespect of TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada towards their previous commitments and the commitments of the Communion at large?
Read it all.
Before the Primates attended Night Prayers, Archbishop Rowan gave a short reflection on primatial leadership using the text of Mark 10:35-45.
At the start of Wednesday morning Eucharist, Primates placed, at the foot of the altar, symbols (including photos, food, pictures and other objects) that represented the major missional challenges of their Province. This was so that these local issues are front of mind at any act of worship throughout the week.
Read it all.
Anglican leaders from around the world began their weeklong meeting on Tuesday in the Irish capital of Dublin.
Not in attendance are about a third of the 39 primates – senior bishops or archbishops – many of whom are choosing to stay away because they feel it would be a waste of time.
Just days before the Primates Meeting, Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis of the Middle East said he believes the global gatherings are "manipulated" and "orchestrated."
Read it all.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s authority is inevitably also diminished by these events, especially when his invitation to fellow Anglican primates to gather to take counsel is one which, because of who is invited, a significant number of Primates cannot in conscience accept. It is clear that, barring a miracle, there cannot again be a Primates’ Meeting in which the Archbishop of Canterbury gathers all Anglican primates from across the Communion: either the Presiding Bishop of TEC is not invited as a primate in full and equal standing or a significant number of Primates will not attend. Although some of those associated with GAFCON have spoken openly of a non-Canterbury communion, this is, thankfully, something which few are actively seeking. It is, nevertheless, increasingly obvious that this will be the next pressure point on the trajectory which has been travelled since 2003 and increasingly rapidly since 2007-8. There needs, therefore, to be a recognition that if the Instruments are unable to make themselves “fit for purpose” and the see of Canterbury continues to prove unable or unwilling to act in ways that secure the unity in truth of the Anglican Communion then God in his providence may raise up one or more other Anglican metropolitans who are able to fulfil at least some of Canterbury’s traditional responsibilities in relation to the majority of the Communion.
It is a biblical principle that we reap what we sow. The actions of North American provinces since 2003, the actions in response from other provinces and the actions (and subsequent inaction) of Primates’ Meetings have reaped quite a whirlwind. Whatever happens in Ireland there will be further consequences as a result and for some Anglicans those consequences will be painful – there are no painless ways forward from our current situation. The danger is that actions this week will produce consequences that simply harden rather than constructively address the impasse over sexuality, further erode the Instruments’ authority and alienate the majority of the world’s Anglicans. Such consequences would also undermine the covenant as the best long-term means of providing commitments and agreed structures to prevent the repetition of the last eight years and place the Communion on a firmer footing.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
Read it all, it is a very odd release which includes alleged reasons for non-attendance--KSH.
(TEC Office of Public Affairs)
I look forward to greeting many old friends at the Primates Meeting in Dublin, and I look forward to meeting those who have been elected in the past two years. I am deeply grateful that we may begin to focus on issues that are highly significant in local contexts as well as across the breadth of the Anglican Communion. Certainly issues of serving our brothers and sisters, offering good news for body, mind, and spirit, are the central ones in our province. The Episcopal Church is urgently focused on rebuilding in Haiti, seeking increased ways to bring good news to the poor in indigenous communities, inner cities, and expanding and depopulating rural areas in all the nations in our province. Across the globe, in partnership with Anglicans and others, we seek to serve the least of these, bringing light in the midst of darkness, peace in the midst of war and violence, and hope in the face of devastating natural disasters and the growing reality of climate change. We own our domestic responsibility to change our habits and ways of life that contribute to environmental damage and destruction. In all we do, we seek to recognize the face of God wherever we turn, realizing that the body of God’s creation will only be healed when all members of the body of Christ are working together.
--(The Most Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church
You can find the link here.
The segment description is as follows:
ANGLICAN SUMMIT - Canon Ken Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion interview
It starts at about 2:40 in and runs just under 6 minutes. Please take the time to listen to it all (and note it is only available for 5 more days [note,too, you may get it as well via podcast]).
A meeting of Anglican leaders in Dublin is expected to be boycotted by up to a third of those invited.
Their protest is at the inclusion of the head of the American Episcopal Church. Her church has ordained gay bishops and blesses same sex couples.
Some traditionalist archbishops want sanctions to be imposed against the American branch of the Communion.
Read it all.
DR. MOUNEER ANIS: ‘RECOVERING THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION’
Well I am jealous for his time so I will be very brief. Archbishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, was called by God from being a physician of the body to being a physician of the soul. And if there is any one that has his finger on the pulse of the Anglican Communion better than Archbishop Mouneer Anis I do not know him. Thank God he also has his stethoscope on the heart of the Anglican Communion. I just hope he finds the medicine of eternity soon that he can administer to it, but he will minister a healing balm to us today because God has gifted him as a physician of the soul for those of us who profess and call ourselves Christians and God has grafted into this thing we call Anglicanism. So I am not going to take any more of his time. Archbishop Mouneer:
Archbishop Mouneer Anis:
Thank you Bishop Mark for your welcome and your warm welcome here for me and Nancy. We enjoyed the time with you when you came and visited us and led the retreat for the clergy in the desert of Egypt and we enjoyed also Allison talking to the wives of the clergy. And for those who don’t know, the Diocese of South Carolina and the Diocese of Egypt are companion dioceses, so it is a special joy to be here in South Carolina.
I know some of you asked many questions about the bombings in Alexandria, and I want to tell you that this is the second year it happened. The first year it happened on the 6th of January 2010 as people were [Coptic Orthodox] coming out of their Christmas Eve service on the 6th, and a man killed eight of them by gun. And this year they were in the New Year’s Eve, just 20 minutes in 2011, and as they were coming out of the church, this bombing took place. It shaked the nation, not only the Christians, but also the very moderate Muslims as well, were very much shaken, because this is not something we are used to. We are used to being a very peaceful country. People can go round without any fear. But the threats that come to the church - that bombing like this is going to happen - is actually disturbing many Christians. And we – I want to tell you that something good may come out of this. Many moderate Muslims condemned this attack, and they started to see the rights of the Christians and speak about the rights of the Christians. So I want you to pray that something good will come out of this.
Along the history, Egypt is famous for this shedding of blood; especially the church. In fact the church in Egypt was founded on the blood of the Martyrs. The first one of them is St. Mark himself, whose blood baptized the city of Alexandria. So pray for us, and we are not afraid. We are ready to die, for the sake of Christ, in Egypt and pray that something good will come out for the church and out of this.
When I thought of this topic ‘Recovering the Word of God for the Anglican Communion’, I felt that I should talk about the following areas. So four areas I would like to talk about:
1. The importance of the Word of God as we see it in the Bible;
2 The importance of the Word of God as affirmed by the early Anglican Reformers in the 39 Articles and Lambeth Resolutions;
3. Where we have fallen as Anglicans; and
4. How we recover the importance of the word of God for the Anglican Communion today.
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD OF GOD AS WE SEE IT IN THE BIBLE
The writer of the letter of Hebrews, when describing the word of God, he wrote these words:
“For the word of God is alive, active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12]
Note here that the Word of God is described as ‘living’, ‘active’, ‘sharp’, ‘it penetrates’ and ‘it judges’.
It is living means that it continues to speak to us every day, at every age, and in every situation. It continued to speak, it is alive, it is a living word.
It is ‘active’ and this means that it works in us, it transforms us, exactly like the yeast working in dough which causes growth. So the word of God grows growth of the church.
It is a sharp double-edged sword – it is similar to the sword that comes out of the mouth of God in the Book of Revelation, you know the Book of Revelation puts this image of God with a sword coming out of his mouth. It is like this because it is the Word of God. This means that it does not change and it is decisive and honest. In Egypt we have a saying that describes the word of a person who keeps his or her word as a sword. So we say “This man - his word is like a sword.” It means he does not, or she does not, change his or her word - keeps it - he cannot say lies – he speaks the truth all the time. And that is perhaps the idea about describing the Word of God as a sharp double-edged sword.
‘It penetrates’ means that it can reach to the deepest and most hidden part of our soul and spirit.
‘It judges’ and discerns the thoughts of our hearts. It helps us to discern, if the thoughts of our hearts are Godly or not. Jesus in the parable of the farmer sowing the seeds described the Word of God as seeds which when accepted by the good hearts brings forth fruits of eternal life. Indeed the Word of God helps us to know Jesus and his plan for our salvation.
There is an Egyptian prostitute in the 5th Century, who converted and became a hermit. Her name is Mary. She said these words: “When I think from what evils the Lord has freed me, I am nourished by incorruptible food and cover my shoulders with the hope of my salvation. I feed upon and I cover myself with the Word of God which contains all things.”
Also the Book of Acts tells us that whenever the Word of God was preached the church grew. So, it is written like this in Chapter 6:
“So the Word of God spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.” [Acts 6:7]
Therefore I hope and pray that this paper would encourage all the faithful within the Anglican Communion to give the Word of God the most important place in teaching, preaching, worship, and theological studies.
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD OF GOD AS AFFIRMED BY THE EARLY ANGLICAN REFORMERS IN THE 39 ARTICLES AND THE LAMBETH RESOLUTIONS
Now I would like to speak about the importance of the Word of God as affirmed by the Early Anglican Reformers. We all know that the Church of England, the historical mother church of the Anglican Communion played a key role in the Reformation. This role focused on making the Word of God available in languages of the people. John Wycliffe, the morning star of Reformation started the movement of translating the Scriptures into English, the language of the people, two hundred years before Martin Luther led the Reformation. It was the recovering and understanding of the Scriptures that opened the eyes of the Reformers to see what was wrong in the practices of the church. Today the Scriptures are available in many languages and millions of copies are printed every year.
However, we need to recover its centrality and authority within our Anglican Communion in order to see what is wrong in the life and practice of the church and how we can correct it. One may ask: ‘Are we under God’s authority or the authority of the Scriptures?’ Of course we are under God’s authority; that is why we take his words as authoritative commandments which guide our lives and reveal him and his mind to us.
My brothers and sisters, we need another Reformation within the Anglican Communion. Isaiah wrote these words:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you.” [Isaiah 60:1-2]
I read these words and hear them as if they are for our Communion today.
When we look at our history, we find that the Word of God was at the heart of the Anglican Reformation. The authority of the Word was put higher than any other human authority, such as the Popes. Reformers like Thomas Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley and William Tyndale were ready to be burned at the stake in order not to go against the Word of God. Cranmer in particular was so keen for ordinary people to read the Bible. For this reason the first and the second book of Common Prayer were very much Bible-centered. He also encouraged the people to read the Bible as he wrote these words:
“Here may all manner of persons, men, women, young, old, learned, unlearned, rich, poor, priests, laymen, lords, ladies, officers, tenants and mean men, virgins, wives, widows, lawyers, merchants, artificers, husbandmen and all manner of persons of what estate or condition soever they be, may in this book learn all things that they ought to believe, what they ought to do, and what they should not do, as well concerning Almighty God as also concerning themselves and all others.”
Richard Hooker came to affirm that the Scriptures contain everything necessary for salvation. He also stated that Christ is the focus of the Bible message. In Hooker’s teaching, Scripture comes first, reason comes second, and the voice of the church, the tradition comes third. In other words, people need to examine human reason and traditions of the church in the light of the Word of God.
This understanding helps the Church to make its message and mission relevant to the time and culture in which she lives, while remaining faithful to the Biblical truth. This faithfulness to the Biblical truth led the Anglican Communion to make its motto: ‘The truth shall make you free’. What a great motto. We are set free when we know Jesus through the Word of God. However, Jesus puts a condition for receiving and enjoying this freedom. He said:
“If you abide in my Word, then you are truly my disciples and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free.” [John 8:31-32]
So it is not just a motto on the air, it is something linked with abiding with the Word of God and knowing him as our saviour. I want to come back to this point later, but here I want to affirm that the source of this truth is the Word of God.
As we read the 39 Articles of Religion we see that Scripture is quoted to affirm what Anglicans believe. Practices that are not supported by Scripture are rejected. For example Article Six states:
“Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not be required of any man.”
Some who seem to want to reform the Anglican Communion by accommodating it to culture have neglected this Article by proposing that something be required in addition to Scripture, namely the submission to supposedly popular norms of modern culture, especially regarding sexuality. But see the Article itself, it says “whatsoever” – it is not read ‘therein’ – it is “whatsoever” in the Scripture. If it is not written in the Scripture, it cannot be accepted as a norm; is not to be imposed on the Anglican faithful.
Article Twenty says this:
“The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.”
So the church has the authority to interpret, but the church does not have the authority to change the Word or to interpret in a way that is different from the Word of God.
When we look at Lambeth Resolutions, we find many references to the vital importance of the Word of God in forming us as Anglicans. At this point I will share with you some of these Resolutions.
Lambeth Conference 1888, Resolution 11.1 – “The Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament as “containing all things necessary to salvation” and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.”
Lambeth Conference 1920: Resolution 9 and Article VI - “We believe that the visible unity of the Church will be found to involve the Whole-hearted acceptance of the Holy Scriptures as the record of God’s revelation of himself to man and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith”.
Reading this resolution in particular one would say that is the very reason we are not united in the Anglican Communion because we are different; our position is different in regard to the Word of God.
Lambeth Conference 1930: Resolution 3 says this: “We affirm the supreme and unshaken authority of the Holy Scriptures as presenting the truth concerning God and the spiritual life in its historical setting and in its progressive revelation both throughout the Old Testament and in the New”
Lambeth Conference 1958 Resolution 3 “This conference affirms that Jesus Christ lives in his Church through the Holy Spirit according to his promise and that the Church is therefore both guardian and interpreter..”
And it is speaking about ‘the’ Church, it means that the whole church of Christ, not only the Anglicans. In fact, it is the Anglicans, the Roman Catholics and the others, - “The Church” – “The Body of Christ”
“..is therefore both guardian and interpreter of Holy Scripture; nevertheless the Church may teach nothing as ‘necessary for eternal salvation’ but what may be concluded and proved by the Scriptures.”
The interpreter, the whole Church, does not place herself above the Scriptures. The Scriptures interpret us, rather than we interpret the Scriptures. We are never above the Scriptures, we interpret, we are the servants – who interpret, who read together, who interpret together.
Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution III.5.b. “In agreement with the Lambeth Quadrilateral and in solidarity with the Lambeth Conference of 1888 affirm that the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation and are for us the rule and ultimate standard of faith and practice.”
I am so glad that 1998 affirmed 1888 - the same thing.
The Lambeth Conference 2008 - did not make any resolutions. [laughter, lots of laughter] but recorded a summary of the bishops’ discussion in what was called ‘Indaba’ – and NO ONE knows what is the meaning of Indaba [lots of laughter] except Africans, [laughter] like me [laughter]. Indaba means to listen to two sides and make a decision, not just listen and listen and listen and listen [laughter]. This means that what is recorded does not have the same moral authority like the other Lambeth Conferences Resolutions.
Lambeth Conference 2008 Section G in the Summary, [pg. 134], in this summary, we read this: “God’s Living Word, incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth and revealed in Holy Scripture, challenges and transforms us in ways that can be full of joy and at other times quite unsettling, even as our context influences our interpretation of Holy Scripture. We affirm that the Scripture also addresses our contexts with both judgment and consolation, with conviction and with grace. The Word of God has always held a primary and cherished place in the churches of the Anglican Communion. So shall it always be”
The Anglican Covenant includes many sections worth mentioning here, especially Section 1.2.2: “to uphold and proclaim a pattern of Christian theological and moral reasoning and discipline that is rooted in and answerable to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the catholic tradition.”
In regard to the interpretation of the Scriptures and the authority of the Church, the Lambeth Conference 1978 Resolution 11 says this: “The Conference advises member churches not to take action regarding issues which are of concern to the whole Anglican Communion without consultation with a Lambeth Conference or with the Episcopate through the Primates’ committee and requests the Primates to initiate a study of the nature of authority within the Anglican Communion”
Lambeth Conference 1998 Res III.6.b states this: “That the Primates’ Meeting under the presidency of Archbishop of Canterbury includes among its responsibilities positive encouragement to mission, intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within Provinces and giving of guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies”.
3. WHERE WE HAVE FALLEN AS ANGLICANS
This means my brothers and sisters that within the Anglican Communion we already have what we may call, we may call, a Conciliar body which is the Lambeth Conference, a gathering of bishops and Primates. This body represents all the faithful within the Communion and is capable by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in consultation with ecumenical partners to express the mind of the Communion regarding the interpretation of controversial issues.
Unfortunately, the Lambeth Conference resolutions are not binding. In other words the Lambeth Conference as well as the Primates Meeting does not have the executive authority of a Conciliar Council. It sounds from all I mentioned - all these Resolutions and Articles - that the Anglican Communion is a very Biblical Communion founded on the Word of God, formed by it, and our practices are examined by it. It also gives the impression that we are committed to read and interpret the Scripture together as Communion and with our sister churches in order to define the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of the Holy Scriptures. But the question is: ‘Are we really doing this?’ I honestly think that we are far from it. In fact if we followed what we and our predecessors decided since 1888 we would not be an impaired and dysfunctional Communion today.
4. HOW DO WE RECOVER THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION TODAY?
How can we recover from this state of dysfunction? How do we recover the Word of God as our ultimate standard of faith? How can new Anglican generations grow in a healthy, strong, united and effective Communion?
We find the answer in Christ’s Word to the church of Ephesus:
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly and I will remove the lampstand out of this place except if you repent.” [Revelation 2:5-8]
So Repent is repeated twice here. So we as an Anglican Communion need to do three things:
 Remember from where we have fallen, and
 we need to Repent; and
 we need to do things we did at first when the Anglican or the Church of England started at the time of Thomas Cranmer.
 Remember from where we have fallen
First we need to know from where we have fallen. We have fallen when some of the churches of the Communion lost confidence in the Word of God and its authority. This leads to neglecting the study of the Bible and the Biblical teaching which further leads to Biblical illiteracy. This Biblical illiteracy produced a generation of clergy and laity in those churches who do not believe in the essentials of faith, like: the virgin birth, divinity of Christ, crucifixion, the resurrection, salvation by faith, and eternal life, as defined in the three creeds: the Apostles creed, the Nicene creed and the Athanasian creed.
For some, the Bible became an ancient book of wisdom, like other ancient religious books. The Scripture become like a hermeneutical supermarket [laughter] where you pick what you like and leave out what you don’t like. The motto which I mentioned at the beginning ‘The truth shall make you free’ became meaningless, because Jesus Christ became a truth among many truths, not ‘THE TRUTH’. Revelation ends with a harsh judgment on those who add or those who take away from the Word of God.
We have also fallen when we lost the Conciliar concept that characterized the early church and the early days of the Anglican Communion. The individualistic and hedonistic spirit of our world today has penetrated the Communion deeply. This encouraged some churches to interpret the Scriptures without listening to and consulting with the other churches within the Communion. The interpretations that are produced by Lambeth Conferences have only a moral authority and are not binding.
In fact the trace of Conciliar concept that was there in the Lambeth Conferences of bishops and Primates was diluted and almost completely lost at Lambeth 2008.
The absence of conciliarity and the individualistic interpretation of the Scriptures led the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to take decisions in the light of what is prevalent and accepted in the culture; not in the light of the teaching of the Scriptures and what is accepted by the rest of the Communion. In other words these provinces allowed their cultures to influence the interpretation of the Scripture instead of allowing the Scripture to address the culture. In other words the contemporary cultural norms are given more authority than the Scripture.
In order to be fair, I must be self-critical too. Some churches in the Global South, especially in my continent of Africa, also suffer from shallowness of Biblical knowledge; not because of lack of confidence in the Scriptures, like in the West, nor in the intentional neglect of it, but because some of these fast-growing churches in Africa do not have the resources to equip enough clergy and Bible teachers in order to meet the needs of the church growth. Moreover there is more focus on praise and worship rather than the teaching of the Scriptures. This has made Africa vulnerable to the emerging heretical sects like the ‘prosperity gospel’, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism. It is also worth mentioning that the Bible is not as yet available in some tribal languages even within my own diocese.
 We need to Repent
Secondly, having said all this, we can clearly say that the need of repentance is absolutely crucial. Consider the great need of resources in Africa and the huge amount of money spent in lawsuits between churches in the United States. Indeed we need to repent.
 We need to do things we did at first
How do we recover the Word of God for our Anglican Communion today? After we repent, we need to do the things we did at first when the Anglican Communion started.
We need to regain the trust in the Scripture, as it contains everything necessary for salvation. In order to have this trust back, we have to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit that inspired the people of God to write the Scripture in the first place. We also need to prayerfully read, study and make every effort to live out God’s Word.
It is important to start Biblical literacy programs, and I want to say this is very, very important. It is important to start Biblical literacy programs for all ages in every province. Let us start with our children in Sunday Schools. The new generations widely use computers and the Internet in education, communication and entertainment and therefore and therefore it is necessary to develop computerized programs and curricula that can help the young people to learn the Word of God in a way that is interesting to them.
The use of drama as a way of teaching the Bible is very effective in areas where computer technology is not available or where illiteracy is a problem. When Temple Gardiner came to Egypt in 1800 and he found that there are many people who are illiterate - he wanted to teach them the Bible. He started to think, and write plays and drama to dramatize the Bible and that was a very important tool at that time.
We need to use the gifts of our laity and train them as Bible teachers so that they may teach others. It is worth mentioning that the Diocese of Singapore already started a few months ago a very ambitious program to teach lay people to teach the Bible.
We also need to support the existing Biblically-sound theological schools and establish new ones in order to equip orthodox church leaders.
It is also important to translate the Bible in order to make it available to the tribes which do not have the Bible in their own language.
The Anglican Communion needs to give the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meeting a Conciliar authority in matters of faith and order, including the area of interpretation of the Scriptures. The principle of: ‘What affects all, should be decided by all’ is crucial to avoid further crisis.
The Windsor Report, Section B, speaks about Authority of Scripture. It says this:
“The current crisis which constitutes a call to the whole Anglican Communion to re-evaluate the ways in which we have read, heard, studied and digested the Scripture. We can no longer be content to drop random texts into arguments, imagining that the point is thereby proved, or indeed to sweep away sections of the New Testament as irrelevant to today’s world, imagining that problems are thereby solved. We need mature study, wise and prayerful discussion and a joint commitment to hearing and obeying God as he speaks in Scripture, to discovering more of the Jesus Christ to whom all authority is committed and to being open to the fresh wind of the Spirit who inspired Scripture in the first place. If our present difficulties force us to read and learn together from Scripture in new ways, they will not have been without profit.”
My brothers and sisters, I am aware that during the current crisis within the Anglican Communion it will be extremely difficult to develop a joint effort across the Communion in order to carry out these suggestions to read and interpret together - because there is no trust, at all! What is happening caused no trust. And already provinces are taking actions and going away completely from the norm of the Anglican tradition. So it is very difficult to do this.
We have to first sort out the crisis in order to regain the trust between the churches of the Communion and its Instruments. However, the Global South and other orthodox dioceses all over the world should start today if we want to rescue and revive our beloved Communion.
Finally, I would like to remind myself, and you, with the words of the Apostle Paul to the Apostle Timothy his disciple:
“What you heard from me keep as a pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” [2 Timothy 1:13-14]
Thank you so much.
[Our thanks to a faithful T19 reader who provided this for us--KSH].
Video here thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV
See also: Q & A with Archbishop Mouneer Anis - Video and Transcript here
The Primates who have turned down the invitation to this week’s Primates’ Meeting because of developments in The Episcopal Church are still committed to the Anglican Communion.
In an interview today with BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme, Anglican Communion Secretary General Canon Kenneth Kearon told presenter William Crawley that at Communion meetings there are always a number of participants who cannot come for a variety of reasons including health or diary commitments.
Read it all.
The biennial meeting of Anglican primates will take place Tuesday in Dublin despite the absence of about a quarter of the senior Anglican church leaders, most of whom are boycotting the presence of the presiding bishop of the U.S. Episcopal Church.
As many as ten of the leaders of the Communion’s 38 provinces will not attend the meeting because of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori, who represents the Episcopal Church and a supporter of gay bishops and same-sex marriage.
Read it all and note that, As Mouneer Anis said in Charleston at the Mere Anglicanism Conference, "this is not a boycott."
Important update: You may now find a full transcript of the talk here.
See also: Q & A with Archbishop Mouneer Anis - Video and Transcript here
Unless and until there is unequivocal commitment to honour the agreed basis of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and implement the decisions of previous Primates’ Meetings (2005, 2007, 2009) expressed in the respective Communiqués, especially that of Dar es Salem 2007, it will only lead to further erosion of the credibility of the Primates’ Meeting and accentuate our failure to honour the work already done by them.
What is most disturbing and difficult is that given the intractable miry situation the Communion is already in and being further driven into, there was hardly any timely and intentional prior consultation and collegial engagement of all concerned (or at least as many as reasonably possible) in preparing for the Meeting to ensure certain degree of significant and principally legitimate outcome to hold and move the Communion together. In light of the critical importance of the Meeting, the preparations are gravely inadequate. As it stands, the Meeting is almost pre-determined to end up as just another gathering that again cannot bring about effective ecclesial actions, despite the precious time, energy and monetary resources that Primates and Provinces have invested in attending the Meeting. This, most Provinces could scarcely afford. With the disappointingly lack of serious transparent planning and leadership beforehand to prepare the Primates for a genuine meeting of minds and hearts to face the very real and obvious issues before us, it will be strenuous to expect any significant, meaningful, credible and constructive outcome of the Dublin Meeting.
Read it all (my emphasis).
The 38 primates, representing Anglicans in 164 countries, will be asked to share their thoughts on two questions: What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing the Anglican Communion at this time? What do you think is the most pressing challenge or issue facing your own province?
Rather than seeing this process as an attempt to sidestep the issue of sexuality, which has deeply divided Anglicans, Archbishop Hiltz sees it was a way forward. “If there’s any hope of some sense of renewed relationships with one another, it’s through conversations like these,” he said.
Reports that some primates with more conservative theological views are planning to boycott the meeting “does nothing to model for the church what it means to try and live with difference,” he added. “To simply say, ‘I refuse to come’ is anything but exemplary of the office and ministry to which we are called.”
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You may find the agenda here; we appreciate your prayers.
Please note the William Mckeachie piece on the Conference here also. It begins as follows:
Mere Anglicanism is all about witnessing to the God who, amidst all the ups and downs of church history, has called us -- whether as laity or clergy, whether as Episcopalians or members of some other Anglican entity, whether locally or globally -- to renew our witness to the One who gave us the Gospel and who across the centuries has providentially provided for the Anglican Way of faithfulness to that Gospel....
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East Episcopal Church (TEC) * Theology Theology: Scripture
The Primates’ Meeting must be that place where the integrity of the Instrument is worked through. If one does not attend the Dublin gathering, it remains the case that the Primates as individual leaders and as a body must propose and resolve how they will gather and do their work. Physical attendance may not be necessary at the month’s end and it is not going to happen anyway. But it remains the case that the composition and good working of the Primates as a Meeting, as a council, must be addressed by the Primates. How will they do this?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Instruments of Unity * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
There are no plans to cancel the meeting of Anglican Church leaders in Dublin this month, despite a boycott by up to a quarter of the primates, a senior Anglican has confirmed.
Up to ten of the leaders of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces have said they won’t attend the biennial meeting because of the presence of Katharine Jefferts-Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopalian Church of the United States and a supporter of gay bishops and same-sex marriage.
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Unlike some rites for blessing same-sex couples, the rite from Massachusetts repeatedly invoked the language and theology of marriage, occasionally revising the language of the Book of Common Prayer (1979).
“We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of these women in Holy Matrimony,” said the liturgy authorized and celebrated by Bishop Shaw. “Holy Scripture tells us that all love is from God, and the commitment of marriage signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and the Church.”
The rite also invoked marriage with a reading from the opinion by Margaret H. Marshall, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Health.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Ecclesiology Seminary / Theological Education
...the issue goes beyond an interchange of views. What has happened is that TEC has demonstrated repeatedly an incapacity or unwillingness to deal with the views of the rest of the Communion with actual Christian responsibility. Such responsibility is assumed in council and by respecting the decisions of council.
TEC will do this on several bases: Communion councils have no legislative authority, she says, and therefore do not require adherence; majority votes by global South patriarchs are intrinsically undemocratic, and so should not be granted power; the Kingdom of God favors diverse viewpoints, and so uniform actions in the Communion are actually unfaithful. But the main reason TEC gives for not deferring to the decisions of the Communion’s representative bodies is that she is being “prophetic”, and therefore is being called by God quite precisely to oppose and subvert these decisions.
The self-given prophetic mantle is a claim that is difficult to argue against, by definition. But it is worth noting that the convenience of this difficulty is itself a major part of the problem in the Communion: TEC has adopted a self-identity that cannot be questioned and overturned, and thereby she has become impervious to all reason. This is not just a matter of style, as though the point is “let’s all tone down our rhetoric” – a suggestion one hears a good bit, as if talking more quietly would solve our problems. No: at issue here is that TEC has laid out a way of approaching disagreement that brooks no compromise, and therefore makes impossible constructive engagement altogether. On this matter, I commend a fine essay by Cathleen Kaveny in the recent volume Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law: Alisdair MacIntyre and his Critics (Notre Dame, 2009). Kaveny, hardly a right-wing shill, ably points out how reasoned moral discourse in America especially has been utterly eviscerated of common avenues of engagement largely because of “prophetic” commitments to ideological fixities that finally amount to self-blinding.
But there is more to this prophetic self-designation: its effect of moral intransigence is simply contrary to the specifically Christian vocation of deferring to the Body, a vocation that asks that we “not insist on our own way” (1 Cor. 13:5), and “count others as better than ourselves” (Philippians 2;3)....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process * Theology Ecclesiology
Speaking on Friday, he said that his intervention was not prompted by pressure from any individual, “but by my conviction to work for the unity of this communion”.
He said that he feared that some of the Primates had “not actually consulted properly” before announcing their intention to boycott the meeting. There was “a huge desire” among “ordinary members” of the Church of Nigeria for the Communion to stay together, he said.
Responding to the suggestion made by the Primates that “the current text” of the Anglican Covenant is “fatally flawed”, Dr Idowu-Fearon said: “If those Primates believe they have a superior wisdom than the collective wisdom of those who produced the Covenant, let them meet and present their wisdom and not start throwing tantrums.”
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In short when communion is not sustained by a central juridical authority but by mutual recognition and submission within the body of Christ, there must be a means of dissent that coheres with these formative commitments. There must also be a means of addressing dissent that retains communion between a dissenting province and the Communion as a whole. Ecclesial disobedience as set forth above provides both an instrument of dissent and a response that prevents communion from lapsing into constantly dividing segments.
How are mutually recognized forms of belief, practice and worship to be sustained within a communion that does not have and does not want a centralized juridical structure? Given Anglicanism’s commitment to locally adapted expression of Christian belief and practice, in a world of competing nationalisms a covenant based upon mutual recognition and mutual subjection within the body of Christ is the only way I see to achieve this goal. Nevertheless, a shared understanding of dissent within a covenant relation must be part of the way in which the Communion sustains its common life. Apart from such an understanding, those who dissent will have no wisdom about the proper way to express their dissent, the Instruments and provinces of the Communion will have no wisdom about how to respond, and the Communion as a whole will inevitably devolve into a federation or (worse) a host of fragments that once formed a remarkable example of catholic Christianity.
To return to the beginning of this essay, the Archbishop of Canterbury, TEC’s Presiding Bishop, the ACO and the Primates will all be involved in the upcoming meeting in Ireland. Whether they admit to it or not, the question of dissent within a communion of churches will rest just under the surface of all their conversations. One can only hope and pray that the issue raised in this essay, the nature of ecclesiastical dissent, will rise to the surface of their conversations and receive the sort of attention that will allow the Anglican Communion to retain its identity, its unity and its integrity.
More concretely, the issue is this. What steps can the Primates take when they meet to bring the question of dissent out in the open where it belongs? There is an answer to this question, and it involves all the players that will come to Dublin. First, because it is the Archbishop of Canterbury who “gathers” the Primates and because his office is the primary locus of moral authority within the communion, the answer begins with him. He has authority to set the agenda for the Primates Meeting, and he should announce publically that the issue of TEC’s dissent from the moral authority of the Instruments is on the agenda. Further, if as is rumored, the Presiding Bishop has refused a request voluntarily to withdraw, the Archbishop should employ his authority to gather and withdraw her invitation....
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In the statement, which came out of a meeting of the GAFCON Primates’ Council in Oxford in October, but was released only on Wednesday, five Primates — Dr Justice Akrofi of West Africa, Dr Valentino Mokiwa of Tanzania, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, the Most Revd Henry Orombi of Uganda, and Dr Eliud Wabukala of Kenya — say they “join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present”.
They acknowledge the Anglican Covenant is “well-intentioned” but say they “have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed”.
In response, Canon Kenneth Kearon, sec retary general of the Anglican Communion, said: “The decision whether to come remains a matter for the Primates.”
The Oxford statement also reveals that GAFCON plans to build partnerships with other denominations that “share their con victions”.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected Africa’s call to suspend the Dublin primates meeting, a spokesman for Dr. Rowan Williams’ tells The Church of England Newspaper, and the meeting will go on as scheduled.
On Nov 17 Lambeth Palace confirmed that Dr. Williams had received a letter from CAPA chairman Archbishop Ian Earnest. This letter raised a “concern about the planning process for the Primates’ Meeting and request[ed] that it be postponed.”
“However, given the closeness of the time, and the fact that the majority of Primates have already indicated that they will attend, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not minded to postpone the meeting whose date was set two years ago,” the Lambeth Palace statement said.
Read it all.
....behind the scenes conversations between Dr. Williams and the primates remain on-going, CEN has been told. While reservations and supplies have been laid on by the ACC staff for the 38 primates and the Archbishop of York to meet at the Emmaus Conference Centre outside of Dublin, it is not clear how many primates will attend the gathering.
In 2008 Dr. Williams called the bluff of the Global South bishops and declined to honour their request to postpone the Lambeth Conference, due to their objections to the presence of the US and Canadian bishops. As a result a majority of African bishops sat out the every ten year meeting of the communion’s bishops.
In his Oct 7 letter, Dr. Williams warned the primates of the substantial “damage” to the communion a boycott of the meeting would entail. Whether he can find a synthesis between the opposing camps within the communion, offering suggestions as to ways the primates could meet together without actually having to meet together, remains unclear.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Consultative Council Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Global South Churches & Primates
As regards the Primates Meeting hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury due to take place early next year, we shall be able to express ourselves but the decision to attend rests solely on the individual Archbishop.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited me in my capacity of CAPA Chairman to be part of a preparatory committee. He is also anxious that a small group of primates meet with him. I would like to have your opinion and thoughts about it. I wish here on behalf of all CAPA Primates to thank the Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini for supporting me during these past 3 years as CAPA Vice-Chairman. We should value his great contribution made towards CAPA. Archbishop Kolini, I will certainly miss you wise insights but you will remain for a long time in my heart as a mentor and a committed and loyal servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
May I also thank the CAPA General Secretary and the secretariat for enabling this meeting to happen.
The Bishops have given to us a mandate when we met at AABCII. I hope that as CAPA we can bring this mandate to concrete terms. We need your support as Primates. We need your involvement so that the information can reach the grassroots. Talking about grassroots, it would be unfair for us not to take into consideration the voice of the Laity. We have a women core group but it is time that our young men and women share with us their vision for the future. I therefore ask of your support to my intention in organizing a youth gathering for 2011. I intend to invite 3 young people from each Province. Giving them a voice will strengthen our role and asking them of their vision of the Church in Africa should be part of our responsibility as leaders of this present generation. I hope that we can discuss about it and take a decision.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has proposed suspending the Primates Meeting—the fourth ‘instrument of unity’ in the Anglican Communion—in favour of holding multiple small group gatherings of like minded archbishops.
In a letter to the primates dated Oct 7, Dr. Rowan Williams suggested that given the “number of difficult conversations” and the threat of a boycott of its meetings, a regime of separate but equal facilitated small groups sessions might better serve the primates’ “diverse” perspectives and forestall the substantial “damage” to the communion a full-fledged boycott would entail.
Dr. Williams also called for a reform of the structure of the meetings, suggesting that an elected standing committee be created and the powers and responsibility of the meeting of the communion’s 38 archbishops, presiding bishops and moderators be delineated.
Lambeth Palace did not respond to a request for clarification about the Oct 7 letter, while a spokesman for the Anglican Consultative Council said it could not address the question of a potential boycott as “the content of correspondence between the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury is private.”
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The strain caused by differences of opinion about matters of sexuality appears to be evident among primates of the world’s Anglican churches. This could affect a primates’ meeting planned for January, says the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
“There is a lot of tension within the group,” Archbishop Fred Hiltz said last Sunday in his address to the Oct. 22-25 joint meeting of the Anglican House of Bishops and the Lutheran Conference of Bishops in Montreal. Some primates seem “unwilling to come to the table with everyone present,” he said. This suggests that some primates strongly opposed to same-sex marriages would not be willing to attend with primates of more favourable or nuanced views.
Archbishop Hiltz said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams may try to deal with this problem by arranging prior meetings of smaller groups of like-minded primates.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Primates from the Global South are contemplating a boycott of the next Primates’ Meeting because the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be present.
The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, the Most Revd Ian Ernest, has confirmed that he will not attend the meeting, due to take place in Dublin, 25-31 January.
Archbishop Ernest said last week that he had written to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the summer to convey his distress at the election in the United States of the Rt Revd Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as Bishop of Los Angeles. He had urged Dr Williams to exclude Dr Jefferts Schori from future Primates’ Meetings.
“There were conditions attached in that letter,” he said last week, “and I can confirm I will not attend if those conditions are not fulfilled.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Lambeth 2008 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
In sum, I see the Lambeth Conference as the only real continuity into the future; Canterbury as a possible, if hoped-for, resource for the future; the Primates’ Meeting as giving way to some alternative Global South-oriented gathering of episcopal leaders that can move matters forward into the future in a provisional way (which may involve several decades); and the ACC as altogether finished. And this is perhaps all the Communion needs at the moment: we are learning to be less demanding of immediate solutions; more patient with less structured relations; more open to a future that does not depend on institutional sturdiness, but on God’s provisions and leading; less trusting in an ecclesial politics of maneuver and control; more joyous in the face of the Cross and the Resurrection. And in the course of such learning, individual Anglicans and their congregations are going to be drawn into new forms of witness, ones they perhaps never imagined, in a sense more globally bonded because less tethered to structures whose strength lay in local orderings we have now outgrown.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Consultative Council Anglican Primates Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity * Theology Ecclesiology
US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated on Sept 21 that she had received notice of the meeting, and was planning on attending. The primates of the Global South coalition will meet next month and are expected to take up the issue of whether they will attend the gathering....
The choice of Dublin as the site of Dr. Williams’ fifth primates meeting came as a surprise to some primates, who had been led to believe after the Alexandria meeting they would next gather in Central America.
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(ACNS) The next Primates’ Meeting of the Anglican Communion will be held in Ireland between the 25th and 31st January, 2011.
Senior bishops from Churches across the Communion will be invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to attend the meeting taking place at the Emmaus Retreat & Conference Centre in Dublin, Ireland.
The Primates' Meeting was established in 1978 by Archbishop Donald Coggan (101st Archbishop of Canterbury) as an opportunity for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation” and has met regularly since then. Today it has become an important consultative meeting for Primates and Moderators and is recognised as one of the Instruments of Communion.
Recent Primates’ Meetings have been held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 2007 and Alexandria, Egypt in 2009.
1. In a spirit of unity and trust, and in an atmosphere of love the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) as well as Archbishop John Chew, the Chairman of the Global South, which represents the majority of the active orthodox membership in the entire Anglican Communion, met during the 2nd All Africa Bishop’s Conference in Entebbe, Uganda. We enjoyed the fellowship and the sense of unity as we heard the Word of God and gathered around the Lord’s Table.
2. We gave thanks to God for the leadership of the Most. Rev. Ian Ernest, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean and Chairman of CAPA and for the abundant hospitality provided by the Most Rev. Henry Orombi, Archbishop of Uganda and the entire Church of Uganda.
3. We were honored by the presence of the His Excellency General Yoweri K. Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, for his official welcome to Uganda and for hosting an official state reception for the AABCH. We are very grateful to him for his support of the work of the Anglican Church in Uganda and for his call to stand against the alien intrusions and cultural arrogance which undermines the moral fiber of our societies. We recall his admonishment to live out the words and deeds of the Good Samaritan. We are also grateful to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda for his presence and words of encouragement to us.
4. We were very happy and appreciated that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, accepted our invitation to attend the 2nd All Africa Bishop’s Conference. We were encouraged by his word to us. We also appreciated the opportunity to engage face-to-face with him in an atmosphere of love and respect. We shared our hearts openly and with transparency, and we have come to understand the difficulties and the pressures he is facing. He also came to understand our position and how our mission is threatened by actions which have continued in certain provinces in the Communion. We therefore commit ourselves to continuously support and pray for him and for the future of our beloved Communion.
5. We were very saddened with the recent actions of The Episcopal Church in America who went ahead and consecrated Mary Glasspool last May 2010, in spite of the call for a moratorium (1) and all the warnings from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and the 4th Encounter of the Global South.
This was a clear departure from the standard teaching of the Anglican Communion as stated in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. We are also concerned about similar progressive developments in Canada and in the U.K.
6. Being aware of the reluctance of those Instruments of Communion to follow through the recommendations of the Windsor Report (2) and taken by the Primates Meetings in Dromantine (3) and Dar es Salaam (4) we see the way ahead as follows:
A. In order to keep the ethos and tradition of the Anglican Communion in a credible way, it is obligatory of all Provinces to observe the agreed decisions and recommendations of the Windsor Report and the various communiqués of the past three Primates Meetings, especially Dar es Salaam in 2007. We as Primates of CAPA and the Global South are committed to honor such recommendations.
B. We are committed to meet more regularly as Global South Primates and take our responsibilities in regard to issues of Faith and Order. (5)
C. We will give special attention to sound theological education as we want to ensure that the future generations stand firm on the Word of God and faithfully follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
D. We are committed to network with orthodox Anglicans around the world, including Communion Partners in the USA and the Anglican Church in North America, in holistic mission and evangelism. Our aim is to advance the Kingdom of God especially in unreached areas.
E. We are committee to work for unity with our ecumenical partners and to promote interfaith dialogue with other faiths in order to promote a peaceful co-existence and to resolve conflicts.
F. We are committed to work for the welfare of our countries. This will involve alleviating poverty, achieving financial and economic empowerment, fighting diseases, and promoting education.
7. Finally, we are very aware of our own inadequacy and weaknesses hence we depend fully on the grace of God to achieve his purpose in the life of his church and our beloved Anglican Communion.
1. The Windsor Report Section 134.1 The Episcopal church (USA) be invited to express its regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached in the events surrounding the election and consecration of a bishop for the See of New Hampshire, and for the consequences which followed and that such an expression of regret would represent the desire of the Episcopal Church (USA) to remain within the Communion (2) the Episcopal church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion energies.
The Windsor Report Section 144.3 We call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorized such rites in the US and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorizations.
2. Windsor Report. Section D. 157 There remains a very real danger that we will not choose to walk together. Should the call to halt and find ways of continuing in our present communion not be heeded, then we shall have to begin to learn to walk apart.
3. The Communiqué of the Primates Meeting in Dromantine (2005) Section 14. Within the ambit of the issues discussed in the Windsor Report and in roder to recognize the integrity of all parties, we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference.
4. The Communiqué of the Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007. If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.
5. Lambeth 1988 Resolution 18.2(a) Urges the encouragement be given to a developing collegial rule for the Primates Meeting under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, so that the Primates Meeting is able to exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters.
Lambeth 1998 Resolution III.6 (a) reaffirms the Resolution 18.2(a) Of Lambeth 1988 which “urges that encouragement be given to a developing collegial role for the Primates’ Meeting under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, so that the Primates’ Meeting is able to exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters”.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * International News & Commentary Africa
I believe that I have been patient and hopeful that our co-operation and listening, our reasoning and brotherly concern would have brought transformation. However it is now abundantly clear to me and to my people that the Episcopal Church has no intention of honouring any of the commitments it has made whether that be in terms of ‘moratoriums’ or ‘gracious restraint’. It is to my mind hell bent on a course that is in radical disobedience to the counsels of God in Holy Scripture. You have yourself been amazingly patient with TEC, we as Primates have made our position abundantly clear on occasions without number, some of us going so far as to declare broken or impaired communion with both the TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. This it seems has been to no avail, as the recent letter to the Primates from the Presiding Bishop of TEC makes clear that a deliberate course has been irrevocably chosen by that church. In it is stated that the intention to proceed with the consecration of a second person living in an actively homosexual partnered relationship and thereby to disregard the mind of the rest of the Communion is “…not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church.”
Consequently, I feel constrained by my conscience to uphold my duty as shepherd of the flock and to forthwith suspend all communication both verbal and sacramental with both the TEC and the ACC – their Primates, bishops and clergy until such time as they reverse their theological innovations, and show a commitment to abide by the decisions of the Lambeth Conference. This suspension of communion would not include those bishops and clergy who have distanced themselves from the direction of the TEC (such as the Communion Partners group).
Read it all.
The Most Rev. Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Easter greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In February I read with great interest Bishop Mouneer Anis’ letter of resignation from the Joint Standing Committee. I am grateful for his clarity and honesty. He has verbalized very well what many of us have thought and felt, and inspired me to write, as well.
As you know from our private conversations, I have absented myself for principled reasons from all meetings of the Joint Standing Committee since our Primates meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.
The first meeting of the Joint Standing Committee was later that year in New Orleans. At our Primates meeting in February 2007, we made certain requests of the Episcopal Church. In our Dar es Salaam communiqué we did not envision interference in the American House of Bishops while they were considering our requests. For me to participate in a meeting in New Orleans before the 30th September deadline would have violated our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam and would have been another case of undermining our instruments of communion. My desire to uphold our Dar es Salaam communiqué was intended to strengthen our instruments of communion so we would be able to mature into an even more effective global communion of the Church of Jesus Christ than in the past.
Subsequent meetings of the Joint Standing Committee have included the Primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other members of TEC, who are the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis. How can we expect the gross violators of Biblical Truth to sanction their own discipline when they believe they have done nothing wrong and further insist that their revisionist theology is actually the substance of Anglicanism?
We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active Lesbian as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that TEC has no interest in “gracious restraint,” let alone a moratorium on the things that have brought us to this point of collapse. It is now impossible to regard their earlier words of “regret” as a serious gesture of reconciliation with the rest of the Communion.
Together with Bishop Mouneer, I am equally concerned, as you know, about the shift in the balance of powers among the Instruments of Communion. It was the Primates in 2003 who requested the Lambeth Commission on Communion that ultimately produced the Windsor Report. It was the Primates who received the Windsor Report at our meeting in Dromantine in 2005. It was the Primates, through our Dromantine Communique, who presented the appropriate “hermeneutic” through which to read the Windsor Report. That “hermeneutic,” however, has been obscured by the leadership at St. Andrew’s House who somehow created something we never envisioned called the “Windsor Process.”
The Windsor Report was not a “process.” It was a Report, commissioned by the Primates and received by the Primates. The Primates made specific and clear requests of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. When TEC, particularly, did not clearly answer our questions, we gave them more time in 2007 to clarify their position.
Suddenly, though, after the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Primates no longer had a role to play in the very process they had begun. The process was mysteriously transferred to the Anglican Consultative Council and, more particularly, to the Joint Standing Committee. The Joint Standing Committee has now evolved into the “Standing Committee.” Some suggest that it is the Standing Committee “of the Anglican Communion.”
There is, however, no “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” The Standing Committee has never been approved in its present form by the Primates Meeting or the Lambeth Conference. Rather, it was adopted by itself, with your approval and the approval of the ACC. The fact that five Primates are included in no way represents our Anglican understanding of the role of Primates as metropolitan bishops of their provinces.
Anglicanism is a church of Bishops and, at its best, is conciliar in its governance. The grave crisis before us as a Communion is both a matter of faith as well as order. Matters of faith and order are the domain of Bishops. In a Communion the size of the Anglican Communion, it is unwieldy to think of gathering all the Bishops of the Communion together more frequently than the current pattern of every ten years. That is why the Lambeth Conference in 1998 resolved that the Primates Meeting should be able to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters.” (Resolution III.6).
What has emerged, however, is the Standing Committee being given “enhanced responsibility” and the Primates being given “diminished responsibility,” even in regard to a process begun by them. Indeed, this Standing Committee has granted itself supreme authority over Covenant discipline in the latest draft. Under these circumstances, it has not been possible for me to participate in meetings of the Joint Standing Committee that has taken upon itself authority it has not been given.
Accordingly, I stand with my brother Primate, Bishop Mouneer Anis, in his courageous decision to resign from the Standing Committee. Many of us are in a state of resignation as we see how the Communion is moving away further and further into darkness, especially since the Primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam.
Your Grace, I have urged you in the past, and I will urge you again. There is an urgent need for a meeting of the Primates to continue sorting out the crisis that is before us, especially given the upcoming consecration of a Lesbian as Bishop in America. The Primates Meeting is the only Instrument that has been given authority to act, and it can act if you will call us together.
The agenda for that meeting should be set by the Primates themselves at the meeting, and not by any other staff in advance of the meeting. I reiterate this point because you will recall our cordial December 2008 meeting with you, Chris Smith, and the other GAFCON Primates in Canterbury where we discussed the agenda for the Primates meeting to take place in Alexandria the following month. None of our submissions were included in the agenda. Likewise, at the beginning of the January 2009 Primates meeting I was asked to present a position paper on the effect of the crisis in the Communion from our perspective, but I was not informed in advance, so I did not come prepared. Yet, other presenters, including TEC and Canada, were given prior information and came very prepared. I have never received a formal written apology about that incident, and it has caused me to wonder if there are two standards at work in how a Primate is treated.
Finally, the meeting should not include the Primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada who are proceeding with unbiblical practices that contradict the faith of Anglicanism. We cannot carry on with business as usual until order is brought out of this chaos.
Yours, in Christ,
--(The Most Rev. ) Henry Luke Orombi is Archbishop of Uganda
My dear brothers in Christ:
I write you because of developments in The Episcopal Church, about which you will soon hear and read. As you all know, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected two suffragan bishops in December, and the consent process for those bishops has been ongoing since then. One of those bishops-elect is a woman in a partnered same-sex relationship.
At this point, she has received consent from a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction, and a majority of the standing committees of this Church. According to our canons, I must now take order for her consecration. I will do so, and anticipate that both bishops-elect will be consecrated at the same service on 15 May. It has been my practice, since I took office, to preside at the consecration of new bishops, and I intend to do so in this case as well.
It may help you to know that our House of Bishops will continue to discuss these issues at our meeting later this month. The papers we discuss will be available publicly following that meeting, and we will endeavor to see that you receive copies. I would encourage you to engage in conversation any bishops whom you know in this Church, particularly those you came to know at Lambeth, whether in Bible study or Indaba groups.
Know that this is not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church. It represents a prayerful and thoughtful decision, made in good faith that this Church is ‘working out its salvation in fear and trembling, believing that God is at work in us’ (Philippians 2:12-13).
I ask your prayers for this Church, for the Diocese of Los Angeles, and for the members of the Anglican Communion. This part of the Body of Christ has abundant work to do, and God’s mission needs us all.
If you have questions about this decision or process, I would encourage you to contact me. I would be glad to talk with you.
I pray that your ministry may continue to be a transformative blessing to many. I remain
Your servant in Christ,
--(The Rt. Rev.) Katharine Jefferts Schori is Presiding Bishop of TEC
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
The Windsor Report of 2004 recommended "that the Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges" [Section D subsection 134, bullet point no 3].
That request was reiterated at the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam and followed at the Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria with a request for ‘gracious restraint’. The decision of The Episcopal Church in respect of the confirmation of an election and subsequent consecration of a partnered gay person to the episcopate has clearly signalled the end of ‘gracious restraint’. This is a development which I deeply regret. Whatever may be ‘the mind of a majority of the elected leaders in The Episcopal Church’, it does not reflect the mind of a majority of those in positions of leadership in the Anglican Communion and it is bound to create even greater stresses within the Communion at a time when consultations on an Anglican Covenant are at an advanced stage.
The action of The Episcopal Church also has implications for another serious issue that has strained the bonds of affection within the Communion, namely extraterritorial interventions by other provinces in the life of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. A moratorium on such interventions and also on the authorization of public rites of blessing for same-sex unions was requested by the Primates at Dar es Salaam. In neither of these cases has "gracious restraint" been wholly exercised.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
I have had my own disappointments and outright disagreements with Canterbury’s chosen course of action at various points over the last few years, and I have shared this with him personally. Where some have urged a “bolder” response to TEC, within the limits of his ecclesial and moral authority, I have urged the same thing. But I categorically reject the charges made here that he has set about to undermine agreements made among the Primates, as at Dar es Salaam, or to manipulate and ignore legal processes such as those in place at the ACC last May.
In the first instance, RW was personally a key player (not the only one) at getting the Dar agreement nominally accepted, through face to face persuasion on the floor, as it were. That has been stated by several GS primates present at the time. But the agreement was also made possible by the compromise work of primates who were not personally disposed to aspects of its content, e.g. Australia. The Dar agreement, in other words, was intrinsically fragile, based as it was on temporary dynamics and uncertain internal commitments. The sense of Lambeth, it soon became apparent, was that its prosecution was thereby vulnerable from the start, and at the first sign of withdrawal of strong support outside of the meeting, Lambeth decided that pressing the agreement concretely would be counterproductive to the agreements actual aims. These “signs” included TEC and AMiA both immediately rejecting key provisions, and their allies quickly standing behind them.
I believe that RW gave up too quickly, choosing instead (as he has consistently done) to rebuild alternative consensus for change through other groups (e.g. the Windsor Continuation Group). This is fair game to debate and criticize, it seems to me. But the notion that RW was the skunk in the patch here is, to put it bluntly, a matter of sinners throwing stones. The Primates Meeting had already proved to be, in certain respects, a place where bishops behaved badly, and the fact that it was judged to be a weak reed should surprise no one. I don’t believe it needed to be left at this place, but again, that is matter for debate.
As for the ACC, we all know that the running of this meeting was a procedural disaster that has set back the ACC’s credibility enormously, fanning the flames of suspicion by all and sundry. No one can mitigate that loss of trust or the justifications in general for that loss. But there is a long way between such generally well-founded worries about the ACC’s ability to do its job fairly and well, and condemning this or that individual with deliberate and malicious intent. “Manipulation” there was, I would think, although any precise assessment of blame is not possible to come by. And Canterbury’s role in this demonstrates confusion—albeit deeply regrettable confusion—rather than strategic subversion. Furthermore, the outcome with respect to the Covenant strikes me as a sign of recognition of this fact: amazingly expeditious revision, and starkly restrained in its focus. People don’t seem to admit mistakes much anymore in public; but the manner of this outcome adds up to an admission of sorts. That is my read of the matter, and I don’t think it is particularly pollyannish. Not, that is, in the face of the anti-Stalinists and anti-Czarists faced off against each other.
I remain convinced that those leaders—bishops, clergy, and laity—who can order their service to the church for the long haul, steadily and solidly faithful, ordered, engaged in commonly established processes of ecclesial life, honest and charitable, and perseverant in their commitments within and for the sake of the people shared (not just locally), will prevail. That is a promise of the Lord, it seems, to “those who endure to the end”. People like Abps. Chew and Mouneer Anis presently, or Gomez recently; and others. And, for all my concerns about this and that, Rowan Williams too has demonstrated a perserverence that is bound to his faith in Christ Jesus as Lord, and not to self-interest. From that certainly I can be strengthened. So should others be, whether or not they can affirm his decisions in this or that particular matter.
Read it all and note the date--and who do we know is the author?.
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