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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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Professor McGrath was originally a scientist, and is a leading authority in the relation of science and religion.
Bishop Nick Dill said, “I am personally very excited to be able to welcome Alister McGrath back to Bermuda. Dr. McGrath was the Principal of my Theological College and brought a tremendous academic vigour to the college, but he has an amazing ability to communicate at a level that everyone can understand. He is a humble man, but you know that what he says is backed up by research, deep thought and prayer.” Alister McGrath has spoken in Bermuda on one occasion previously.
Read it all.
The Head of the Anglican Church in St. Kitts and Nevis Archdeacon Valentine Hodge is making it clear that the Church does not support gay marriage, or condone a homosexual lifestyle.
"I can only speak...on the behalf of the Anglican Church which is the church in the province of the West Indies…um at the moment we cannot marry in church two people of the same sex...We believe in indissoluble monogamous marriage that is something which should last for life.. indissoluble.. and, we also believe that it is something between a man and a woman," the Archdeacon said, speaking on WINN FM's Breakfast Show Thursday.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces West Indies * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * International News & Commentary Caribbean * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
During a trip which will also include visits to Guatemala and Mexico, he praised the Anglican church in the West Indies for its "imaginative" contributions to the "unity and well-being" of the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Justin and his wife, Caroline, arrived yesterday in Bardados for a two-day visit at the invitation of the Most Revd Dr John Holder, Archbishop of the Church of the Province of the West Indies and Bishop of Barbados.
The trip is part of a series of visits to Anglican Primates which the Archbishop is making during his first eighteen months in post.
Read it all.
After months without a Sanctuary for worship, members of the Christchurch Anglican Church have been blessed with a newly-renovated building.
At a ceremony held at the Sanctuary yesterday (Jul. 14), members of the Anglican community joined with worshippers at Christchurch in rededicating their new building.
Standing at the door of the building, Bishop of the Diocese of the North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba, Bishop Errol Brooks made a dramatic entrance when he knocked three times at the door and said, “Let the doors be opened”.
Read it all.
The Anglican bishops of the West Indies have urged their governments to hold fast and resist pressure from Britain and the United States to legalize gay rights and gay marriage.
In a statement released on 25 April 2013 following the House of Bishops meeting in Barbados, bishops of the Church the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) reiterated their belief in marriage “defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces West Indies * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
[Bishop Howard Gregory]... told The Gleaner that while his main focus would be to perform the duties of the church he leads, tackling corruption and other critical issues are high on his agenda for the nation's good.
"I am concerned that those in governance are not doing enough to deal with issues of corruption. The contractor general has been making various recommendations of what should happen where persons violate and certain procedures, but those have still not taken place and who are the people violating those procedures?" he argued....
Read it all.
The Right Reverend Alfred Reid, Bishop of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands, has dedicated his life to selflessly ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of others for more years than he can remember.
Enthroned as the 13th Bishop of Jamaica in the Cathedral Church of St Jago de la Vega on January 25, 2001, succeeding the Reverend and Honourable Neville deSouza, Bishop Reid joins a list of several outstanding Anglican leaders who have been change agents in the Anglican movement in Jamaica.
In fact, Bishop Reid has been credited with revolutionising the way the Anglican faith is practised in Jamaica.
Read it all and please note you may find out more about the diocese at their website here.
The Bishop told Starcom Network Inc. yesterday it was a matter of people choosing which Sunday to attend church.
“I think the Anglican Church in Barbados is healthy,” he said. “The strength is there on the ground, in the parishes. What we normally have in our church is sometimes persons choosing which Sunday, or which hour on a Sunday, they would attend. So you would never get all of them at the same time in the same place.”
Holder, who is also Archbishop of the West Indies, said this had been a regular practice by members of the Anglican faith “for a long time”.
Read it all.
Anglican Lord Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the Rt Rev Dr Alfred Reid, has questioned the moral authority of the country's leaders as he deli-vered the charge at the recent 141st synod of the Anglican diocese at the Breezes Resort and Spa, Falmouth, Trelawny.
Bishop Reid said the country was plunging deeper and deeper into an abyss of fear and despair as it struggled to define the line separating the constituted authority and the criminal underworld.
"What is the state of our Jamaican society at this time...in a case such as ours where the lines are blurred that should have differentiated constituted authority from the criminal underworld, and the ordinary citizens is most vulnerable not knowing who to trust and who to fear, where an honest person must compete with extortionists of various types and where the underground economy is probably bigger than the official one?" he asked.
Read it all.
Responding to the shortage of clergy, addressing a “lack of confidence among Anglican Christians”, Christian education and fund-raising are among the priority areas which Bishop-elect Claude Berkley intends to focus on when he takes over as head of the Anglican Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago (TT).
The solemn Eucharist for Berkley’s consecration and ordination took place yesterday (also observed as the Feast of St Patrick) at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain before a packed congregation. Tents and chairs accommodated the additional persons who could not be seated inside the church. In identifying the issues he would work on, 53-year-old Berkely said he shared a common approach with the outgoing Bishop Calvin Bess.
Speaking to reporters after the more than three-hour Eucharist, Berkley said, “we have the non- ending matter of fund-raising. We need some funds to get our projects done and repair a range of buildings and put the infrastructure in place to do further work.”
Read it all.
I thought this was a nice photo.
Bishop Gumbs called on the members to be responsible for turning the crime corners in Road Town upside down just by their presence.
"Take the name of Jesus with you there and pray about the situation in those areas, and you will find after a time with you calling on the name of God there, whatever may be in that place is goning to move", Bishop Gumbs explained.
"When we leave here, we have to go out to do ministry", he said.
Read it all.
With the memory of the appointment of the third Bahamian priest to be inducted as Archbishop of the local Anglican community still fresh in Bahamian minds, Anglicans within the Archdiocese of The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos Islands have yet another reason to celebrate as Archdeacon Cornell Jerome Moss, rector at the Church of the Ascension in Lucaya, Grand Bahama has been selected as the Bishop-designate of the Diocese of Guyana.
Moss, who became rector at Church of the Ascension in 1993 and then archdeacon of the Northern Bahamas in 1998 was surprised at his selection as the new bishop of the Diocese of Guyana.
He says that it took him a few days to fully digest the news, but that he quickly got over his minor confusion and retrained his mind on what his new appointment would entail and what he would need to do in preparation for it.
"The news of the decision by the House of Bishops came as a definite surprise," said Moss at the announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Read it all.
The Anglican Communion is a family of autonomous Churches. It finds its identity in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Churches of the Communion, which are self-governing, share something of a common history, and have traditionally set their faces against centralised government in favour of regional autonomy1. The Anglican tradition was fashioned in the turmoil of reformation in Western Europe in the sixteenth century. Its historic formularies acknowledge the circumstances in which its emerged as a distinctive church polity. The non-negotiable elements in any understanding of Anglicanism - the scriptures, the creeds, the gospel sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, and the historic episcopate - are to be found in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral2; and the Instruments of Communion - the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates Meeting - provide an evolving framework within which discussion and discernment might take place. It remains to be seen if the circumstances in which the Communion finds itself today - externally and internally - might require over the years a shift of emphasis from “autonomy with communion” to “communion with autonomy and accountability”.
The principle of autonomy-in-communion described in the Windsor Report makes clear that the principle of subsidiarity has always to be borne in mind. If the concern is with communion in a diocese, only diocesan authority is involved; if communion at a provincial level then only provincial decision. But if the matter concerns recognising one another as sharing one communion of faith and life, then some joint organs of discernment and decision, which are recognised by all, are required. It is this necessity which led the WCG to articulate the move to “communion with autonomy and accountability” as being a better articulation of the ecclesiology which is necessary to sustain Communion.
So the task for the CDG was to write something which preserved the autonomy of the Churches, but which provided for a strong glue that held us together. It had to reflect the fact that as Anglicans we do not believe in one authority structure, but in dispersed authority - the whole people of God bearing witness to the Truth found in Jesus Christ, and each church rooting its witness in its own mission context.
Please take the time to read through it all (7 page pdf).
As the Covenant Design Group readies its handiwork for deliberation by the Anglican Consultative Council, the group’s chairman acknowledges that selling a unity document to a divided communion will be neither automatic nor easy.
Retired West Indies’ Archbishop Drexel Wellington Gomez identified current Episcopal Church attitudes as a danger to ratification of the proposed Covenant.
Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori already has said General Convention this summer should decline to take up for consideration the design group’s yet-to-be perfected recommendations for measures aimed at respecting local autonomy while providing accountability for divisive actions.
“The Episcopal Church has its own agenda,” Archbishop Gomez said in Dallas March 22, “and that agenda does not have much accommodation with the rest of the Communion.”
Read it all.
Archbishop Drexel Gomez says he believes that the church is being called to be a credible agent of transformation in contemporary society, and that a church convinced of its security in God's grace can be liberated from the social pressures to conform to the culture, and can take a public stand where there are matters of justice and human well-being at stake.
At a special service on Sunday, Jan. 11 at Christ Church Cathedral, he said such a church can represent the gospel by its public declarations about social issues and the "hands-on" involvement with the problems in communities, and it is then that the church would be doing the "work" that it is called to do.
"Because of what God has already done in Jesus and what God will do as he brings His new creation into fulfillment, because this good and gracious God has made provision for believers to be incorporated into His plan, believers have certain responsibilities [and] the heart of the apostle's challenge is to be steadfast."
Read it all.
Fourteen bishops of the Anglican Church in the Province of the West Indies, meeting in the House of Bishops and Provincial Standing Committee in Nassau, Bahamas, November 11-14, under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, have registered their opposition to the death penalty, while calling for intervention by government and cooperation of the Church as part of civil society, to deal with the situation which facilitates the upsurge of crime and violence in the Caribbean region.
In a communiqué dated November 14, the West Indian Bishops state that they are "of one mind in calling our people to stand with us in our opposition to the death penalty".
Read it all.
The global financial crash is an opportunity for Christian witness in a fallen world, the Primate of the West Indies has said. Speaking to the 108th synod of the Diocese of the Bahamas on Oct 26 at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau, Archbishop Drexel Gomez said “the short-term difficulties that now confront us may be God's means of illuminating the silver lining which is now ours to grasp."
The senior primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Gomez steps down from office on Dec 31. In his final diocesan synod address he called upon lawmakers to forge a common front against the economic slump.
Read it all.
From the Diocese of Pittsburgh website, here are statements from +Venables, +Gomez, Nzimbi, +Kolini. Also posted there are statements from +Mouneer Anis, +Peter Jesen of Sydney, and +Cavalcanti, Diocese of Recife.
A Joint Statement from Archbishops Venables of the Southern Cone, Gomez of the West Indies and Nzimbi of Kenya.
In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen. We the undersigned are grieved at the violation of catholic order in the declaration of deposition of The Right Rev. Robert Duncan by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and consider it to be invalid. Legitimate actions of catholic order must rise from Biblical catholic faith. Actions such as this continue to alienate countless Christian people not only within, but beyond the limits of the Communion. We continue to recognize the fidelity and validity of Bishop Duncan's orders, role, and ministry. Without reservation, we continue in full sacramental communion with him as an Anglican bishop. We thank God that by the vote of the Provincial Synod he has been given membership in the House of Bishops of the Southern Cone. Our fellowship and shared ministry with him is not disrupted.
Yours in Christ,
The Most Rev Gregory Venables
The Most Rev Drexel Gomez
The Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi
From Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda:
September 17, 2008
News is circulating around the United State and the Anglican Communion that the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops is likely to depose the Rt. Rev. Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, this week at a special meeting. I have known and worked with Bishop Duncan for a number of years, and I know him to be a godly man.
As he faces this time of trial, I encourage him to remember that he is not being deposed by God, but only by man. He will remain very much a part of the new work that God is creating within Anglicanism. In addition, he and his family will remain in my thoughts and prayers, and I am confident that the Lord will bless Bishop Duncan in this new season of ministry.
I am reminded of Joseph's words to his brothers that are recorded in Genesis. <
Most Reverend Emmanuel Kolini
Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya Church of Rwanda Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] West Indies Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh Global South Churches & Primates
The process of finalizing an Anglican covenant needs to move forward more quickly if the Anglican Communion is to be preserved.
That was the message delivered Saturday (September 13) by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, the chairman of the group charged with formulating the pact intended to help ensure unity in basic beliefs, settle disputes, and administer discipline among historically autonomous Anglican provinces.
“I believe Anglicanism has much to offer the world and has made a tremendous contribution to Christianity. But we are at a dangerous point in our history,” Gomez told more than 100 people attending the Festival of Faith at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bladensburg, Maryland.
“There is nothing on the immediate horizon that offers any kind of hope to holding the Communion together other than the covenant,” Gomez contended. “Nothing else is on the table. If that fails, we will see only further fragmentation and disintegration. That is not theory but reality,” he said.
Read it all.
Two leading Anglo-Catholic bishops presented differing visions for regaining Anglican unity at “The Hope and Future of Orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion: A Festival of Faith Conference,” held Sept. 13 at St. Luke’s Church, Bladensburg, Md.
The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies, and the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, Bishop of Quincy, were the featured speakers at St. Luke’s, an Anglo-Catholic parish in the Diocese of Washington.
The bishops agreed that Anglican unity remains torn, just as the primates said it would be, by the consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire—and by the deeper theological divisions evident in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.
Archbishop Gomez stressed the importance of a Communion-wide covenant being drafted by an international panel that he leads. “There is nothing on the horizon that offers reasonable hope of holding the Communion together, other than the covenant,” he said.
Read it all.
A prominent religious leader known not to mince words declared on Sunday that the Bahamas is presently "drifting" and he is not entirely optimistic about its future.
"I am ambivalent and sometimes I am not optimistic," said Archbishop Drexel Gomez. "I think that we are just ambling along and making our way. At present I think we are drifting a bit. I don’t really see any clear signals in terms of going in a certain direction and certainly this whole question of empowering people and creating a situation in which Bahamians feel that this is their country and they have a say in what happens, I don’t see that happening."
The Anglican Archbishop for the West Indies and Diocesan Bishop of the Bahamas, was a special guest Sunday on the Jones & Co. radio talk show hosted by Wendall Jones and Godfrey Eneas.
Read it all.
Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies and Diocesan Bishop of The Bahamas, Drexel Gomez, has left The Bahamas to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade summit of the world's Anglican bishops which, will be a tense, closely watched family reunion in Canterbury, England.
During the conference, which got underway on Wednesday, July 16 with sessions through Sunday, August 3, the Anglican church's future as it relates to homosexuality will be discussed.
The Anglican Communion has been splintering since 2003, when the Episcopal Church consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
However, to forestall conflict, the organizers of this year's Lambeth Conference have planned for no resolutions and no votes. Instead, the bishops will meet in small groups, on the theory that they will overcome their divisions by building personal relationships.
The program at the Lambeth Conference has seen the topic moved off Robinson and toward repairing the frayed relationships among bishops. They will spend their days in small group Bible study and discussions on evangelism and the humanitarian work of Anglicans worldwide. Sexuality is the main topic on just one day of the summit.
No resolutions will, reportedly, be adopted as they were at Lambeth a decade ago, when bishops voted that gay relationships were incompatible with Scripture. Instead, the conference will issue "reflections" by the meeting's end.
Read it all.
The issues which are “raising their heads” in the communion were discussed as well. Bishop Brooks remarked with great regret that so much energy is placed on issues of sexuality while the “real matter of advancing God's Kingdom is being treated as an aside.” He hopes very much that at the Lambeth Conference we may come to “a place where we can have a common mind and move forward.” But this is, as he remarked, very much threatened, if we behave in a disingenuous manner to each other. I think, if I understand Bishop Brooks rightly, he is suggesting that there is a crisis of confidence in the communion caused by the fact that people “are not afraid to say things and not keep their word.” When he was young, he was always taught that “a man's word is his bond.” It is necessary he said, to “turn on the light in the dark places.”
Read it all and please bookmark this blog for your Lambeth reading going forward.
In his final address before retirement to the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church of the Province of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez urged the Church to reawaken to the power of God’s love.
The dry and distant Anglicanism of many parts of the West Indies, must make way for a “more caring and compassionate” church, he told the West Indian bishops and the congregation of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown, Barbados on April 17.
“We must face up to the challenge to see where we stand in love,” Archbishop Gomez said, and “must devise more strategies to assist members in their engagement with God and to foster a deeper commitment” that would transform the believer and society.
The rampant individualism and selfishness of Western culture was the greatest single threat to the faith. Believers must surrender their lives to God and be faithful to his will for their lives, rather than pursue their own moral, political or social agendas.
The Church faces “the challenge of discernment and commitment” as it entered the Twenty-first century, he said, urging the bishops to hold fast to the faith once delivered, and not succumb to the siren song of culture.
Read it all.
The leadership of the Anglican Church in the Caribbean has expressed concern about the growing difficulties being experienced by people of the region because of the rising cost of food and other commodities.
Bishops and members of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Church in the Province of the West Indies, recorded their concern at a recent meeting in Barbados.
They said the worsening global situation is creating undue hardships for people everywhere.
In a communiqué issued after the meeting, the church leaders expressed concern for the poor and those on the margins of society who are finding it impossible to provide the basic needs for their families and to cope with the demands of daily living.
Read it all.
A Member of the Lambeth Commission that first proposed an Anglican Covenant has changed her mind.
Speaking at a conference in New York last week, the Dean of St John’s College, in Auckland, New Zealand, Dr Jenny Plane Te Paa, said that events since the launch of the commission’s report had “caused me to reconsider my initial support for the development of covenant”.
Among the events she cited was the behaviour at the Primates’ Meetings, which had gone from being a gathering for “leisurely thought [and] prayer” to being a “quasi-governance body universally perceived as inappropriate, unbidden, and unhelpful”.
Covenant drafts served to “protect and enhance . . . dominant male leadership, privilege, and power”, she said. In her view, the “fussing with and about one another” needed to stop, in order to reaffirm the bonds that already exist within the Communion.
Read it all.
The proposed Anglican Covenant could be applied in a variety of circumstances, including lay presidency of Holy Eucharist, according to the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies. Archbishop Gomez delivered the opening address at “An Anglican Covenant: Divisive or Reconciling?”, a conference and panel discussion April 10-12 at The General Theological Seminary (GTS) in New York City.
Archbishop Gomez is chairman of the Covenant Design Group, a task force appointed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to prepare a draft covenant for the Anglican Communion. Given his position, Archbishop Gomez said it should not be surprising that he speaks with a bias in favor of adopting an Anglican Covenant.
He outlined his role and offered a host of reasons why a covenant is not a foreign concept to the Anglican way of life, but rather is a laudable way to foster trust when the bonds of affection are strained within the Communion are strained. Most of his presentation was spent answering questions from conference attendees.
Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, assistant professor of church history at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, posed the question that if the presenting issue is human sexuality, what other issues could an Anglican Covenant address? Archbishop Gomez said that “if we took a second draft, lay presidency had been mentioned” as one possibility.
Read it all.
Noel Debien: The Archbishop here in Sydney has suggested that the authority of Lambeth has been undermined because North America has moved ahead, even though Lambeth said not to move ahead. Has Lambeth been impaired?
Drexel Gomez: To a certain extent, but all the North Americans have said they have taken a legalistic approach. The Lambeth Conference is a consultation of the various bishops. Each province is supposed to receive the resolutions of Lambeth to discuss them and to decide whether or not they're willing to accept them. But despite the legality, I believe that the Lambeth Conference - the way it has developed over this century- has attained a certain moral standing in the communion. So when the bishops as leaders of the communion, speak on an issue, I think they have a moral authority, and in this particular resolution the Lambeth 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference was passed by an overwhelming majority of the bishops present. And what they did was not to take any step, what they did was simply to reaffirm the church's traditional teaching on sexuality. And in that reaffirmation the churches in North America have had some difficulty in joining in because they're seeking a new direction. And they claim that they're doing so as a Gospel imperative, that we are guided by the Holy Spirit to effect changes in the way the church has approached matters related to sexuality and Biblical authority. I don't agree with them, neither does Archbishop Jensen, but that disagreement - I think- must not prevent us from at least trying to talk to them and trying to see if we cannot restore the traditional teaching of the church across the communion.
Noel Debien: Even though they've shown that they won't back down on autonomy, the US Episcopalians (who you've actually criticised previously as 'aggressive, revisionist theologians') but they seem to have put the brakes on, yet the global south see4ms also to want a showdown still.
Drexel Gomez: The leaders of the global south feel that North America in particular, some other parts of the communion have not taken them seriously, and are not listening to the protests that they are giving, because they say the issues as fundamental not only to the unity but the integrity of the Gospel.
Read it all.
It would be "scandalous" if gay Anglican Bishop Canon V. Gene Robinson appeared at the upcoming Anglican Lambeth Conference in July with his partner, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told The Guardian Monday.
The upcoming conference, held once every 10 years, is expected to see the coming together of a number of Anglican Bishops at the University of Kent in Canterbury. But because of the on-going schism within the Communion as a result of the ordination of Robinson almost six years ago, Gomez said some provinces recently indicated they would not attend the upcoming conclave.
"There are at least four provinces in Africa that have either said they will not attend or are still considering if they will attend, but there are three who said they will definitely not be attending," Archbishop Gomez said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Read it all.
The Anglican archbishop in charge of drawing up the document intended to reunite his warring Church said he believes that schism can still be averted in spite of divisions over the issue of homosexuals.
The Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, said that a new formula had been found that would allow the disciplining of errant churches while respecting the traditional autonomy of the 38 worldwide Anglican provinces. Urging all Anglican bishops to attend the Lambeth Conference this year, he said that it would be a “tremendous tragedy” if the Church fell apart.
A new document to be published this week would form “a basic way of holding each other accountable as a Communion”, he said. But he indicated that the Episcopal Church of the United States was unlikely to face discipline or any form of exclusion from the Anglican Communion as a result of consecrating Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
Read it all.
Speaking at the Cathedral Church of St. John, the Archbishop stated that the Church is being challenged to work and witness in an increasingly secular environment that is diametrically opposed to the truth of the Gospel.
He observed that in all the territories of the region when the Church attempts to bring a faith perspective in the public domain, she is usually greeted with hostility and disdain. He expressed grave worry that there is a tacit convention that public affairs are no business of God and so God is kept at a safe distance of private opinion and voluntary associations.
He exhorted the Province to assess its missional task in light of the current consensus, which seriously impairs the wholeness of life in our society. He then called on the Church to face the future with confidence and hope, rooted not in our ingenuity, but grounded in the Lord of the Church.
Read it all.
The 36th Triennial Session of the Provincial Synod of the Church in the Province of the West Indies has re-committed its support for the official position of the Anglican community concerning homosexual relationships.
In recent times, the church in North America, particularly in the US, has deviated from certain principles the church in the Caribbean still holds dear by embracing homosexual relationships.
The recently concluded synod, which was held in Antigua recently, has also mandated the Standing Committee to commission a teaching manual on human sexuality for use in each diocese.
Read it all.
The Anglican church in The Bahamas and worldwide is faced with a serious challenge, and Archbishop Drexel Gomez says he hopes and prays that they find a collective way forward to avoid the route of a split. This came from Gomez during his charge at the recent 107th session of the Synod, at Holy Trinity Conference Centre.
"Paul singles out homosexual intercourse for special attention because he regards it as providing a particularly graphic image of the way in which humans distort God's created order. God the Creator made man and woman for each other, to cleave together, to be fruitful and multiply.
"When human beings 'exchange' these created roles for homosexual intercourse, they embody the spiritual condition of those who have 'exchanged' the truth about God for a lie."
Read it all.
Indecision and delay in responding to the crisis of faith and order over homosexuality will likely wreck the Anglican Communion, the Primate of the West Indies told his diocesan synod last week.
On Oct 22 Archbishop Drexel Gomez told the 107th session of the Diocese of the Bahamas synod gathered at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau that reform was needed now to save the Communion.“It is clear that the future of the Anglican Communion is unclear at the moment but there can be no doubt that the future shape of Anglicanism will have to undergo significant adjustments if the Communion is to remain intact,” he said.
The adoption of an Anglican Covenant would go a long way towards restoring trust and accountability within the Communion, he said. However, the crisis of gay bishops and blessings could not be paperedover without dire consequences to the integrity of the Church as the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 ‘changed everything,’ he explained.
Archbishop Gomez also said the Communion must also resolve the issue of bishops acting outside their territories and the plight of embattled traditionalists in US and Canadian dioceses and restorecatholic order to the church.
Chairman of the Anglican Covenant Design Group, Archbishop Gomez is considered one of the key international players whose support Dr Williams’ needs to keep the Communion going. The WestIndian primate is not likely to lend his support to the ACC’s attempt to rehabilitate the Episcopal Church, however.
Speaking to The Christian Challenge magazine, Archbishop Gomez said the ACC’s joint standing committee report of Sept that gave the US church a passing grade in complying with the primates’ requests was ‘was more generous than I feel they should be.’ The Global South coalition of primates is expected to issue a statement this coming week that endorses the position of the African provinces, which held that the New Orleans statement failed to adequately respond to the requests made of the American Church by the wider Anglican Communion.
--This article appears in the November 2nd, 2007, edition of the Church of England Newspaper on page 7
The worldwide Anglican Communion will have to undergo a drastic reformation if it is to stave off a split that would shake the faith to its core, Anglican Archbishop His Grace Drexel Gomez suggested last night as he opened the 107th Session of Synod at Christ Church Cathedral.
The crisis over same sex blessings and openly gay clergymen has been simmering ever since some liberal Episcopalians endorsed both, much to the chagrin of conservative Anglican primates.
"It is clear that the future of the Anglican Communion is unclear at the moment but there can be no doubt that the future shape of Anglicanism will have to undergo significant adjustments if the Communion is to remain intact," said Archbishop Gomez, who heads The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Diocese.
The basic issue the church is faced with resolving is its relationship with the Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion in light of the consecration of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire and the ongoing ambiguity over same sex blessings.
Archbishop Gomez added that in addition, the Communion must make some decisions on the resolution of the situation created by the interventions of certain Primates on behalf of those members of the Episcopal Church who feel alienated on theological grounds.
Read it all.
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these? Feed my lambs ...; tend my sheep ...;feed my sheep ...; follow me." (John 21:15, 16, 17 and 19).
In the Gospel according to John, Jesus addressed Peter as "Simon, Son of John" on two occasions. In chapter one, Andrew, Simon's brother, introduced Peter to Jesus. On this occasion, Jesus draws attention to Simon Peter's natural human condition and his future role in the divine dispensation. Andrew brought Peter to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "So you are Simon, the Son of John? You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter). (John 1 :42). Simon, the son of John, is to become, by the grace of God, Peter the rock upon whom Jesus will build the church. Simon, Son of John, does not become Peter the rock by a process of natural development, not by a process of developing his natural potential but by a process of transformation by the power of God.
In a sense this process of transformation which began in chapter one is not completed until chapter twenty-one where we find the second occasion when Jesus addressed him as Simon, Son of John -- Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Among all the disciples, Peter was the one who had protested his devotion to Jesus most vehemently, promising to follow him even to death. "Peter said to him, Lord why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." (John 13:37)
All the Gospels record the terrible fact that Peter, the leaders of the Apostolic band, denied his master at the moment of crisis. The evangelist John, in line with the consistent teaching of his Gospel, is at pains to show that this did not arise from any moral weakness in Peter but was one manifestation of the necessary fact that the meaning of Jesus' death can in no circumstances be grasped by unaided human nature (flesh and blood), but can only be grasped by the new dispensation of the spirit which is inaugurated by the passion and resurrection of Jesus.
Peter had been among the first to be called by Jesus to follow him. And he had followed faithfully in his way. Peter is ready to lay down his life for Jesus, just as Jesus had said that the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. And Peter's word was proved true when in the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane Peter drew his sword and proposed to fight single handedly against a whole company of soldiers. But that act of the impetuous - Peter brought only a sharp rebuke from Jesus. "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?" (John 18:11). Peter is eager to follow, but he cannot because "the way" has not yet been opened. No one can follow until Jesus has done what he alone can do. Only he can "offer for all time a single sacrifice for sin." (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus does this as an act of loving obedience to his Father - "Not my will but your will be done." When Jesus has accomplished his saving work, a way will be opened along which Peter can and will follow, along with all who take up the cross and follow Jesus. Now he sees through a glass darkly and has to come to the realization that his human and loyal determination to follow Jesus leads him to act in his own strength without reliance on the will and power of God.
So in chapter twenty-one, Peter, who had promised to follow even unto death comes face to face with his friend and master whom he had three times denied. On this occasion, he is addressed by his old name, the name he had before Jesus met and called him to discipleship. Once again, as on that night of his threefold apostasy, Jesus looked at him across a charcoal fire and challenged him three times with the simple yet painfully searching question, "Simon, Son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Three times Peter answers with an affirmation of his love - but an affirmation which rests its confidence not on the strength of his own love but on the sureness of Jesus' knowledge. "Lord you know everything, you know that I love you. And three times Jesus solemnly gives to the grieved and humbled disciple the commission to be the shepherd, guiding, guarding and nourishing the flock which belongs to Jesus. "Feed my lambs;" "Tend my sheep;" "Feed my sheep" are three commands included in the overriding command of Jesus "follow me."
In the light of the Resurrection, Peter has learned what following Jesus really means. In the past, he had tried to follow according to his own desires and in his own strength. Now he will learn that following Jesus means going the way of the cross. "When you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go." (John 21 :18-19). After this he said to him "follow me."
This following along the way of the cross will glorify God, for just as Jesus manifested the glory of God in his death, so the same glory will be manifested in the disciples whom he sends out into the world. "The glory that you have given me I have given them."
So Peter receives the good news that the threefold denial is wiped out and forgiven in the threefold commissioning. "Feed my lambs;" "Tend my sheep;" "Feed my sheep." An important element in the good news is the fact that the flock which belongs to Jesus consists not of the righteous but of sinners called to repentance. We need to remember that the primacy which Peter holds among the apostles is the primacy of a forgiven sinner. "You are Peter" is said by Jesus to the one to whom in the next breath Jesus will say "get behind me, Satan." (Matthew 16: 18, 23). It is to the fisherman overwhelmed by the realization of his sinfulness that Jesus says "Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men." (Luke 5:8-10). It is to the disciple who will fall away that Jesus says, "when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." (Luke 22:31).
Peter is to be both a fisher of men and shepherd as he answers the call of Jesus to "follow me." Peter can only serve as fisher of men and shepherd in so far as he is first a disciple - one who is following Jesus along the way to the cross.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, as disciples of the same Christ who continues to invite persons everywhere to follow him, we have assembled to participate in the solemn liturgy for the consecration of Bishops in the Church of God. It is only fitting on this occasion, to reflect on the nature of Christian ministry with special emphasis on Episcopal ministry.
As Anglicans, we identify with the growing ecumenical consensus on the nature of ministry reflected in the document issued by the World Council of Churches entitled "Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry" (BEM). All ministries in the church, including the ordained ministry, are gifts (charisms) of the Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ. "For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness." (Romans 12:4-8) "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses." (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) "The Holy Spirit bestows on the community diverse and complementary gifts." (BEM, Ministry, 5) This charismatic understanding of ordained ministry is reflected in BEM's interpretation of the meaning of ordination: "Ordination denotes an action by God and the community which through long tradition takes place in the context of worship and especially of the eucharist ... The act of ordination by the laying on of hands of those appointed to do so is at one and the same time invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiklesis): sacramental sigh; acknowledgement of gifts and commitment. Ordination is an invocation to God that the new minister be given the power of the Holy Spirit in the new relation which is established between this minister and the local Christian community and, by intention, the Church universal." (BEM, Ministry, 40-42)
Ordained ministry is not only a gift of the Spirit. It is also a representative ministry. While all baptized Christians represent Christ and the church, the ordained ministry represents Christ and the church in particular ways. In his book, “A Ministry Shaped by Mission,” Paul Avis explores the concept of representation as applied to the ordained ministry. According to Avis, the ordained ministry represents Christ to the community which is already united to Christ in baptism. The ordained ministry acts as the representative and organ of the whole body in the exercise of responsibilities which belong to the body as a whole.
The understanding of ordained ministry as a gift of the Spirit and a representative ministry together with the language of "sign" and "symbol" used in ecumenical agreements in connection with the ordained ministry challenge a purely functional understanding of ordained ministry, including episcopal ministry. Because Christ's ministry is present to us only through the Spirit, ecclesial ministry is necessarily charismatic. For the same reason, it is relational. The nexus of relationships established by the Spirit creates a new way of being, which transforms both the one ordained and those for whom he is ordained, making it futile to debate whether ordained ministry in the church is functional or ontological in nature. BEM points in this direction when it speaks of ordination as establishing a "new relation" between the ordained minister and the local and universal church. Ordained ministry is neither a status nor a set of functions, but a charism of the Spirit which is to say that it is a sacramental reality.
Already in the early paragraphs of the Ministry section of BEM, the sacramental and not merely functional aspect of ministry, and indeed of episcopal office, is implied and assumed:
"The chief responsibility of the ordained ministry is to assemble and build up the body of Christ by proclaiming and teaching the Word of God, by celebrating the sacraments, and by guiding the life of the community in its worship, its mission and its caring ministry. It is especially in the eucharistic celebration that the ordained ministry is the visible focus of the deep and all-embracing communion between Christ and the members of his body. In the celebration of the Eucharist, Christ gathers, teaches and nourishes the Church. It is Christ who invites to the meal and who presides at it. In most churches this presidency is signified and represented by an ordained minister." (BEM, Ministry. 13-14) In the Anglican tradition it is primarily the bishop as eucharistic president who is the sign of communion.
In IASCER's response to the Lutheran document The Episcopal Ministry within the Apostolicity of the Church particular note was taken of the patristic tradition concerning episcopal ministry:
"Historians commonly agree that there are three principal images or models of the office of a bishop in the pre-Nicene church, which are best exemplified in Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, and Cyprian. For Ignatius, the bishop is primarily the one who presides at the eucharist. This is central for Ignatius because of his understanding of the nature of the church. For Ignatius, then, the bishop is ... the one who presides at ... the eucharistic liturgy.
Irenaeus, on the other hand, while echoing the eucharistic teaching of Ignatius, places primary emphasis on the bishop's role as teacher of the faith. The context here is the conflict with Gnosticism. For Irenaeus, the bishop is above all the one who preserves the continuity of the apostolic teaching in unbroken succession from the apostles. It is through the bishop's faithful proclamation of the Gospel in each local church that the unity of the church and the continuity of the church in the apostolic tradition is preserved.
For Cyprian, the bishop serves as the bond of unity between the local church and the universal church. Here the collegial aspect of the bishop's role comes to the fore. The Bishop is one member of a worldwide ‘college’ of bishops who are together responsible for maintaining the unity of the churches. Cyprian’s primary emphasis, therefore, is upon the bishop as the bond of unity between the local church and the church universal.
In each of theses models, therefore, the bishop is the sign of unity between the local and the universal church, either through the maintenance of eucharistic communion, continuity in apostolic teaching, or common oversight of the churches.
My brothers, you are entering the Episcopal ministry within the Anglican Communion at a time when the Communion is being severely challenged in each of the three related areas of the patristic tradition concerning Episcopal ministry. I refer to:
* The maintenance of eucharistic communion
* Continuity and apostolic teaching.
* Oversight of the churches.
The present impaired state of the Communion is due mainly to actions taken by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America in respect of human sexuality with special reference to the consecration of a bishop living in an opened homosexual relationship. The actions of the Episcopal Church have created a situation in which some Anglicans in the United States and throughout most of the Provinces of the Communion are convinced that the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is clear in its teaching and must take precedent over culture. Holding fast to this belief, they cannot accommodate those who believe the contrary. The issue is not primarily on of sexuality but one which seeks to answer the question "which relationships correspond to God’s ordering of life, and violate it?" It is a division of opinion between those of us who firmly believe that homosexual practice violates the order of life give by God in scripture and those who seek by various mean to justify what scripture does not hounour. We, in the Global South, whole heartedly support the position outlined by Richard Hays in "The Moral Vision of the New Testament:"
"Paul singles out homosexual intercourse for special attention because he regards it as providing a particularly graphic image of the way in which human fallenness distorts God’s created order. God the Creator made man and woman for each other, to cleave together to be fruitful and multiply. When human beings ‘exchange’ these created roles for homosexual intercourse, they embody the spiritual condition of those who have ‘exchanged the truth about God for a lie.’"
We believe that faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ prevents us from compromising the truth so clearly revealed in holy scripture.
While the Anglican Communion struggles through the present impasse you, as bishops of the church, will be required to give sound and faithful leadership to the people of God committed to your care and charge. In faithful obedience to Christ, you must endeavour to "build up the body of Christ by proclaiming and teaching the word of God, by celebrating the sacrament, and by guiding the life of the community in its worship, mission and its caring ministry." You cannot fulfill this ministry in your own strength. You must continue to meet the Lord in prayer as you seek to discern his will for his flock. You must love the flock of Christ as he loves us, and you must be a true shepherd "guiding, guarding and nourishing the flock which belongs to Jesus." As you grow in apostolic ministry, always remember that you are sharing tin the ministry of Jesus the Good Shepherd and never forget that in all you say and do your aim must be to follow Jesus who is indeed "the way, the truth and the life."
I speak to you as the Primate of a separate and autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion; it is one which takes great pride in its distinctiveness, and yet also in being part of the Catholic Church, finding its particular expression through the Anglican inheritance which it received from the Church of England. So I speak to you as someone who both sees and upholds a proper independence for my Province, but one which is rooted also in connectedness; which could not survive in isolation, and which would never wish to do so.
There can be little doubt that I am speaking to you at a time of great tension within the Anglican Communion. The “bonds of affection” which once held our fellowship together are strained; indeed some would say broken. A state which has been described as “broken or impaired” already is declared between some of our Provinces. Suspicion is rife, as well as accusations of heresy, bad faith and of theological and ecclesiological innovation. Rumours abound that there are plots to carry forward in some provinces a bold agenda on gay marriage, and to require toleration of it across the Communion. Other rumours inform us that the primates are plotting to impose a “collective papacy” on the Anglican Communion. Bishops and archbishops are taking over the care of churches outside their own provinces; new jurisdictions are being erected and bishops are being consecrated and set up in a spirit of competition. People are taking up more and more extreme positions and then defending them; no matter how well founded or sincere the objections.
In the three years since the Windsor Report was published, positions across the Communion have, if anything, polarised and there is less trust now between different parties and between different provinces that there has been for a long time. Everyone claims to be the defender of the true spirit of Anglicanism, and to describe that spirit as orthodox, mainstream, comprehensive or inclusive. The language has become more strident, and quite frankly, scaremongering is commonplace.
In a situation which is becoming increasingly overheated, we need to hear a voice of calm. We need to identify the fundamentals that we share in common, and to state the common basis on which our mutual trust can be rebuilt.
This is essentially all that the covenant proposal is – no more and no less. It is not intended to define some sort of new Anglicanism, or to invent some new model of authority, nor to peddle a narrow or exclusive view of what Anglicanism is. It is intended to state concisely and clearly the faith that we have all inherited together, so that there can be a new confidence that we are about the same mission.
The initial draft covenant text which has been prepared by the Design Group which I chair represents a first attempt to describe Anglicanism in a way which we intend to be true to the best and highest of all the Church of England and the other 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion, wish, under God, to be. But this first draft is the beginning of a process, and not its end: the text which exists now is only at the beginning of a long period of analysis and testing.
The draft which has been developed by the Covenant Design Group looks like this. In spite of some idiosyncratic numbering the draft falls into three main sections: first, a description of the common Anglican inheritance ( numbered section 2); second, a description of our common Anglican Mission ( numbered section 4); and third, a description of our Communion life ( numbered section 5). In each of these three sections the Design Group has sought to draft an affirmation of what is already inherited and agreed in the life of our Communion.
So Section 2 states the historic basis of Anglicanism, and draws largely for its words on either the Lambeth Quadrilateral or the Declaration of Assent used here in the Church of England.
Section 4 describes our Anglican vocation, using the Five Marks of Mission developed in the Communion by an Anglican commission on evangelism and mission building on the work of the Anglican Consultative Council and widely recognised across all Provinces.
Section 5 offers a description of the instruments of Communion which have developed over time in our common life, and sets out straightforwardly the way in which they function to support the life of the Communion.
In the Design Group, we hoped that we had done this task of description accurately and clearly. We believe that all Anglicans reading these affirmations should be able to recognise a statement in these sections of the Anglicanism which they have already been practising and living out in our 38 provinces.
From the basis of these affirmations, however, the text goes on to articulate three sets of commitments, which flow from the affirmations. These say basically:
• If this is the faith we have inherited, then we as Anglican churches commit ourselves to living out this faith together in a particular context of mutual respect and shared exploration (Section 3)
• If this is the mission with which we are charged, then this is the way we will engage in mission together (Section 4b)
• If these are the instruments of our common life, then this is the way we will use them in developing the Anglican Communion, and for each church to live up to its commitment of interdependence with the others.
I personally stand by the draft we have developed. But I already know from discussions at Dar-Es-Salaam in the Joint Standing Committee and amongst the primates themselves that there are points where we will be asked to look at our work again. Reservations centre largely on section 6 of the current draft, where the Design Group seeks to articulate the sort of commitments which arise out of an affirmation of the instruments of Communion.
The feeling amongst the primates for example, was that the role of the primates in this draft has been overemphasised and the voice of the laity under-represented. The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and of the Primates felt similarly. It is a section that will clearly have to be revisited in detail.
And the intention is to take a very critical look at the draft in the light of comments received from the process of reflection and debate going on around the Communion. The task of the Design Group shall be to produce at least two more drafts in a process which is designed to listen to all the points made and which will finally meet the criteria that I set out earlier: that is to describe the Anglicanism that we already hold in common, as a basis for greater trust and less suspicion in the future. It is fundamentally based upon a vision where all 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion can meet as autonomous but independent equals, offering mutual accountability to our Anglican sisters and brothers on the clearly articulated basis of common expectations.
The need for such a common basis is pressing. I have no doubt that it would be lovely to go back to a day when we relied on no more than the affection generated by our mutual inheritance and care. But I’m afraid that those days have gone: at present, Anglican leaders are seriously wondering whether they can recognise in each other the faithfulness to Christ that is the cornerstone of our common life and co-operation. While some feel that there will be inevitable separation, others are trying to deny that there is a crisis at all. This is hardly a meeting of minds. Unless we can make a fresh statement clearly and basically of what holds us together, we are destined to grow apart. Do we Anglicans have a clear and shared identity? It is a question that our ecumenical partners are increasingly asking of us?
For decades, Anglicans have been wondering whether increasing diversity might force the Provinces apart, and asked what holds us together. The days of undefined affection are sadly over, yet this is also not a time when proposals which are brand new would win a broad consensus across the Communion. I believe that the Covenant can only succeed if it can accurately describe a sufficient basis to hold us together, and for us to want to stay together, based upon what we already hold and believe. This stresses the importance of getting the text of the covenant right.
I dismiss the idea that this represents somehow an attempt to chain any Province into submission before a powerful centralisation as a chimera: every Province I know, every Primate I know, values autonomy. But there is a real question as articulated by Archbishop Rowan: Can we recognise sufficient of our Anglican inheritance in each other to lead us to want to renew our commitment to live as a world communion?
Now I have also heard the opinion expressed that the idea of a covenant is alien to Anglicanism. I would not accept that charge.
First of all, we are a Covenant people. In his first letter to the Corinthians in chapter 11, Paul wrote: “ For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.” In so many ways, these words at the centre of our faith not only speak to us of the sacrifice of our Lord, and the celebration of the Eucharist which stands at the heart of every Christian community, but they also speak to us of God’s covenant with us.
That covenant is an unbreakable covenant, founded in God’s gracious attitude towards us. It is God who has called us to him: it is God who has made us his people. As it is written in the first epistle of Saint Peter: “Once you were no people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” When we talk about covenant in the Anglican Communion today, some people speak of it as if the concept is strange to our life. But I have to say that if we are Christians, Christian life is born in covenant, is nurtured in covenant, and finds its destiny in God’s covenant that he will bring us to eternal life. We are a covenant people.
We celebrate covenants in many contexts of our Christian life already – in Holy Communion, in the baptismal covenant, and the covenant whenever two persons are joined in Holy Matrimony. We live and breathe as Christians in the context of covenant. In all these cases, covenant is the joyful embracing of a common life – as members of the Church, as man and wife, as participants in the Body of Christ. Are we as Anglicans not able to be joyful any more about our interdependence in Christ?
Many Anglican churches have already covenanted with their ecumenical partners. The Church of England- Methodist covenant will be the subject of debate at this synod. If we can covenant with our ecumenical partners, and find enough in common to recognise a shared faith with them, it seems to me to be a pretty pass indeed if we Anglicans decide we cannot covenant with each other. (It may be said here that a clear statement of our Anglican identity would reassure our ecumenical partners that we know ourselves what our identity is!)
And if truth be told, there is some sense that we have been living by an implicit covenant together already; loosely based upon the Lambeth Quadrilateral. But these limits have never been quite so agreed and recognised. Even so, it was said in the 1920 Lambeth Conference:
“The Churches represented (in the Communion) are indeed independent, but independent within the Christian freedom which recognises the restraints of truth and love. They are not free to deny the truth. They are not free to ignore the fellowship.”
Today we are not being asked to commit the Church of England to any specific clauses of a covenant, nor to mortgage yourselves to any particular aspects that may appear in the current draft. We are still a long way from a definitive text, in a process which will need the sustained wisdom and feedback of all the Provinces and all the Instruments of Communion before it is mature. What I understand you are on this occasion to consider is this: Are you willing to engage in principle with a process which seeks to find a common basis for the Provinces of the Anglican Communion to move forward together?
I said at the beginning of this address that in the West Indies we are proud of our autonomy lived in communion. This is as it should be. It is true of every Province of the Anglican Communion, even if some of those Provinces struggle with poverty, illness and injustice. But we also value our relationship with you, our first Province, the Church of England. I very much hope that you will be able to express your care for us, and your valuing of us by saying that we have a future together; by affirming “Yes, let us explore what holds us together. Yes – let us covenant to walk in a shared faith and shared hope – in Communion, as surely God intends us to be.” After all, did not the Apostle Paul write that no-one can say of another member of the body: “I have no need of you”? (cf 1 Corinthians 12.21-23).
(From Anglican Mainstream)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Covenant Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) West Indies
The Archbishop supports the decision of the Province of Kenya to provide resident Episcopal oversight for the clergy and congregations in the United States who placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Kenya after they had arrived at the conclusion that the Episcopal Church no longer offered them the assurance of continuity with “The faith once delivered to the saints.” The provision of adequate pastoral care and episcopate oversight constitutes a deliberate and intentional effort to provide stability in an environment in which Anglicanism is being severely tested and challenged.
The Primates of the Communion at their meeting in Tanzania in February produced a communion response to the embattled state of Anglicanism in the United States in their offer of a provisional pastoral arrangement which provided space for the participation of all the major Anglican entities in the United States. Unfortunately, the unanimous offer of the Primates was rejected by the House of Bishops and the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Church. In the face of this unequivocal rejection, the Instruments of Communion must determine the most appropriate response to this unfortunate spectacle of a fragmented Anglicanism within the United States of America.
In this context, the decision of the Province of Kenya signals a willingness on the part of that Province to act responsibly to provide care for persons already under its jurisdiction. In addition, the selection of the Rev’d. Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop is highly commendable. Canon Atwood is well suited for this particular ministry given his long association with Kenya and some of the other Provinces in CAPA and his unquestionable knowledge and appreciation of the ecclesial situation in the United States.
Finally, the willingness of the Province of Kenya to collaborate with the other orthodox Anglicans in the United States could serve the point towards a creation of a viable, stable and orthodox Anglican presence in the United States.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya West Indies Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates
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