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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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For the Anglican Communion, 2010 was not a year on which it could look back with undiluted pleasure. While not quite the Annus Horribilis that was 2003, the communion remained divided and distracted, nursing a colossal hangover watered by decades of doctrinal abandon. While individual provinces, dioceses and church movements flourished in different parts of the globe—as an international body the Anglican Communion ended 2010 crapulous, dispirited and decrepit.
The pace of decline has quickened: 2008 saw the collapse of the Lambeth Conference as a pan-Anglican body, losing its credibility through the absence of a majority of the African bishops and its rationale for being; 2009 witnessed the breakdown of the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Kingston; and 2010 foreshadowed the end of the primates meeting as a credible body of leadership for the wider church and a mounting distrust of the London-based bureaucracy.
On Nov 7, 2006 the Primate of Uganda, Archbishop Henry Orombi told his general synod: “There is a proverb that says, ‘When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold’.”
Beware “the sickness that is coming from America,” he warned.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury Episcopal Church (TEC) Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
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.”
Read it all.
...I have come to the sad realization that there is no desire within the ACC and the SCAC to follow through on the recommendations that have been taken by the other Instruments of Communion to sort out the problems which face the Anglican Communion and which are tearing its fabric apart. Moreover, the SCAC, formerly known as the join Standing Committee (JSC), has continually questioned the authority of the other Instruments of Communion, especially the Primates Meeting and the Lambeth Conference.
Some may say that the provinces within the Anglican Communion are autonomous, and each province is free to make its own resolutions. While I agree and accept the autonomous nature of each province, I believe that the participation in the decision making process that affects the life of the Anglican Communion should be for those who show respect in word and deed to the whole Communion - not those who turn their backs to every appeal and warning.
Read it carefully and read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Covenant Anglican Provinces The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Instruments of Unity Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process
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 world needs to understand that the situation that we now confront is not primarily about structure or conferences but about irreconcilable truth claims. It is worth remembering that in the Biblical narratives religious structures have often been the enemy of revealed truth. When these structures become obstacles, YHWH, in his own way and at a time of his own choosing removed them and brought His people back to Himself. Of course there is value to preserving Anglican structures but we must never do so at the expense of the people for whom our Lord Jesus the Christ gave his life.
Until the Communion summons the courage to tackle that issue headlong and resolve it we can do no other than provide for those who cry out to us. It is our earnest prayer that repentance and reconciliation will make this a temporary arrangement. One thing is clear we will not abandon our friends.
When we met in Dar es Salaam, after a great deal of effort, we suggested a way forward that had the support of all those present – including the Presiding Bishop of TEC. The House of Bishops and Executive Committee of The Episcopal Church quickly rejected this proposal on the grounds that it apparently violated their canons. We now have a counter proposal from TEC and yet there is no indication that it will meet the needs of those for whom it is supposedly designed. This endless series of proposals and counter proposals continues with no apparent conclusion in sight. Sadly, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only acceptable end as far as TEC is concerned is the full capitulation of any who would stand in opposition to their biblically incompatible innovations- this we will never do. There is a way forward - we have written and spoken repeatedly about it – the time for action is now.
Read it all.
16-October-2007 - Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndunganes' statement on The Episcopal Church - South Africa
‘Now is the time of God’s favour’ writes St Paul, reminding us that in every present moment we must grasp the opportunities offered by God’s reconciling grace (2 Cor 5:16-6:2).
The Episcopal Church has grasped that opportunity, and committed itself to the path of reconciliation. Now the rest of the Anglican Communion must make sure the moment is not lost.
As the careful and comprehensive report of the Joint Standing Committee makes clear, the House of Bishops have now provided the necessary clarifications and assurances on the responses General Convention had given to issues raised in the Windsor Report. We now have a basis for going forward together, working alongside one another to restore the broken relationships both within the Episcopal Church and within the wider Communion.
The Episcopal Church has borne unprecedented scrutiny into its affairs, often with scant regard either for its legitimate internal polity or for the principle, observed since the ancient councils of the Church, of local jurisdiction and non-interference, and in the face of all this has had the courage to take hard decisions. The Presiding Bishop, in particular, is to be commended for her self-denial in the generosity of the provisions proposed for the ministry of Episcopal Visitors. Others should now respond by also abiding by the recommendations of the Windsor Report, as the Joint Standing Committee Report underlines.
This has not been an easy road to travel. Much remains to be done and we must continue to strive earnestly together to find the path ahead. The experiences of my own Province, both through the terrible divisions of the apartheid years, and in the differences of our earliest history (which contributed to the holding of the first Lambeth Conference), have repeatedly demonstrated that holding fast to one another yields lasting fruit, while separation solves very little. Our God is the God of reconciliation, not of division, and we can take courage that he will continue to guide our way forward. I am sure that as we continue to abide in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, in whom lies the gift of unity, that we will find ourselves, our churches, our world-wide Communion, refined and strengthened, for the life of worship, witness and service to which we are called.
The discussions were honest and painful. I doubt whether any House of Bishops has been so directly challenged before, and some were offended and hurt.
In the end, the Presiding Bishop was able to tell the Joint Standing Committee that it had agreed that: first, it would not consent to consecrate any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life “presents a challenge to the wider Church”. It included non-celibate gay and lesbian persons in this. Second, the Bishops pledged not to authorise for use in their dioceses any public rites of blessing for same-sex unions.
The Joint Standing Committee agreed that the Episcopal Church had given the necessary assurances on these two issues. They saw that the Bishops had shifted ground considerably in passing these resolutions. The Committee consists of people of different views from provinces across the Communion: for it to come to this view speaks volumes of the real shift it believed the Bishops had made.
As for the pastoral care for dissenting minorities, the Presiding Bishop announced at the start of our meeting that she had appointed several bishops to minister to dioceses who found her ministry unacceptable (episcopal visitors). She felt that the theological stance of such bishops should be able to command the respect of the dissenting congregations. This was endorsed by the House of Bishops.
Read it all. It is remarkable that someone as bright as the Archbishop of Wales could be so mistaken. The Bishops shifted ground considerably?Barry Morgan apparently attended a different meeting than the Bishop of Southern Ohio who accurately noted: we have said nothing new. As for the proposed plan for pastoral care, it was devised without even consulting with the leadership of the movement it was designed to care for. This is the equivalent of General Motors managment announcing a new company policy on health care without consulting the workers.
COUNCIL OF ANGLICAN PROVINCES IN AFRICA – CAPA
COUNSEIL DES PROVINCES ANGLICANES D’AFRIQUE
A Statement from the Most Rev’d Ian Ernest,
Bishop of Mauritius, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean,
Chairman of CAPA
5th October 2007
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I write to you as the newly elected Chairman of CAPA with profound gratitude for the trust shown in me by my brother and sister delegates and also with the sure conviction that I can only serve in this role with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the mercy of God our Heavenly Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have just completed the CAPA Council Meeting for 2007 with the theme “CALLED TO A LIFE OF FAITHFULNESS” and this, I believe, will be an appropriate theme for my service among you. I do not bring long years of experience nor the resources of a large Province but what I do bring is a confidence in Jesus Christ who has been my Lord, Savior and Friend since childhood. My family members have all been faithful Anglicans for generations and we know what it is to live by His grace and have seen His hand at work in our lives.
I also bring the experience of living in Mauritius, a multi-cultural and multi-religious society that is an example to the world as we live together with a sense of mutual respect and acceptance. I have also seen God’s hand at work in the Province of the Indian Ocean as we have confronted enormous challenges both environmental and cultural and yet continue to grow in numbers and faithfulness. My hope is that I will be able to bring this experience to the challenges that confront the various provinces of beloved Communion at this time.
I take the work of reconciliation very seriously and believe that reconciling people to God and to one another is our apostolic call; but the unity that we seek must never be at the expense of the truth of the Holy Scriptures that is the bedrock of our faith. I also know that nothing can be accomplished that is not rooted in prayer and so I call on all believers to pray for the people, clergy and bishops of the Provinces of CAPA, the work to which we have all been called and the leadership of the Anglican Communion.
Be assured of my prayers and commitment, by the grace of God, to live a life of faithfulness among you.
With every blessing,
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24,25)
CAPA Primates’ Meeting in Mauritius
5th October 2007
We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) meeting 3rd to 5th October in Mauritius, Province of the Indian Ocean, issue this Communiqué from our meeting:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our one and only Saviour.
1. We have been greatly encouraged by our time together with the CAPA Council that has just completed its General Meeting. A separate Communiqué has been issued from these proceedings and we give thanks to God for the dedication of each of the delegates and the many signs of God’s blessing throughout our various provinces.
2. At the conclusion of that meeting we conducted elections for the CAPA leadership team and are pleased to announce that the Most Rev’d Ian Ernest, Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean was elected to serve as Chairman with the Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Bishop of the Diocese of Kigali and Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, elected to serve as Vice-Chairman. We are grateful for their courageous leadership and look forward to the work of CAPA going from strength to strength.
3. We are, however, aware that we live and serve within the context of the wider Anglican Communion and acknowledge that we are profoundly concerned by the current impasse that confronts us. We have spent the last ten years in a series of meetings, issuing numerous communiqués, setting deadlines and yet we have made little progress. As was clearly articulated by our brother bishop, the Most Rev’d Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East when he addressed the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church (TEC), “we want unity but not unity at any expense.” We have observed that his call for clarity in response to the Dar es Salaam recommendations and his appeal to them to turn back from their current path or acknowledge that TEC has chosen to walk a different way from the rest of the Anglican Communion was ignored. We believe, therefore, that a change of direction from our current trajectory is urgently needed.
4. While meeting in Mauritius we received a copy of the report of the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council. On first reading we find it to be unsatisfactory. The assurances made are without credibility and its preparation is severely compromised by numerous conflicts of interest. The report itself appears to be a determined effort to find a way for the full inclusion of The Episcopal Church with no attempt at discipline or change from their prior position.
5. We are convinced that what is at stake in this crisis is the very nature of Anglicanism – to understand it simply in terms of the need for greater inclusivity in the face of changing sexual ethics is a grave mistake. It is not just about sexuality but also about the nature of Christ, the truth of the Gospel and the authority of the Bible. We see a trend that seems to ignore the careful balance of reformed catholicity and missionary endeavor that is our true heritage and replace it with a religion of cultural conformity that offers no transforming power and no eternal hope.
6. In our considered opinion, however, there is a possible way forward. The Anglican Communion Covenant is the one way for us to uphold our common heritage of faith while at the same time holding each one of us accountable to those teachings that have defined our life together and also guide us into the future. We therefore propose the following actions:
a. Call a special session of the Primates Meeting. We believe that meeting together is essential if we are prayerfully to allow the Holy Spirit to work through our interactions and bring us to a common mind. We would need to:
i. Review the actual response made by The Episcopal Church – both their words and their actions.
ii. Finalize the Covenant proposal and set a timetable for ratification by individual provinces.
b. Postpone current plans for the Lambeth Conference. We recognize that such an action will be costly, however, we believe that the alternative – a divided conference with several provinces unable to participate and hundreds of bishops absent would be much more costly to our life and witness. It would bring an end to the Communion, as we know it. Postponement will accomplish the following:
i. Allow the current tensions to subside and leave room for the hard work of reconciliation that must be done.
ii. Ensure that those invited to the Lambeth Conference have already endorsed the Covenant and so can come together as witness to our common faith.
7. We make these proposals in good faith believing that they provide an opportunity for us to reunite the Communion consistent with our common heritage and give us a way forward. We also stand ready to work with the various instruments of the Communion to ensure their success.
8. We are very much aware of the plight of faithful Anglicans in North America during these difficult times. We assure them of our prayers, support and full recognition until the underlying concerns are fully resolved.
9. While these current difficulties are challenging for all concerned we do not lose heart because we know that the One we serve is faithful. During our time together we have heard numerous testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the face of enormous difficulties and we are confident that we will find a way forward that will bring honour to His Name.
10. We recognize the fellowship and participation of the following Archbishops who have announced their retirement: the Most Rev’d Bernard Malango, The Church of the Province of Central Africa, the Most Rev’d Most Rev'd Njongonkulu Ndungane, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Most Rev’d Donald Mtetemela, Anglican Church of Tanzania. We also give thanks to God for the dedicated leadership of our outgoing chairman, the Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
11. Finally, we acknowledge with grateful thanksgiving the hospitality of the Most Rev’d Ian Ernest and the opportunity to pay courtesy calls on the President of the Republic of Mauritius, Sir Aneerood Jugnauth, and the Prime Minister, the Honourable Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam.
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Reports & Communiques -- Statements & Letters: Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting Global South Churches & Primates * International News & Commentary Africa
(Church of Uganda News)
The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) has clarified its commitment to continue on their path to abandon the Biblical and historic faith of Anglicanism. They, in fact, have decided to walk apart, and we are distressed that they are trying to take the rest of the Anglican Communion with them.
We cannot take seriously a statement from TEC that merely pledges “as a body” to not do something. TEC betrayed the Anglican Communion when it elected and confirmed as bishop a divorced man living in a same-sex relationship. We were further betrayed when its Presiding Bishop agreed to the Communiqué from the 2003 emergency Primates’ Meeting that he deeply regretted the “actions of the…Episcopal Church (USA),” and immediately proceeded to assert at a press conference that he would preside at that consecration. He then explained that the Primates believed their statement “as a body,” but individual primates were free to disagree.
Now, TEC has told us that they pledge “as a body” not to “authorize public rites for the blessing of same-sex unions.” We have every reason to believe that individual bishops will feel free to disagree and continue to permit blessings of same-sex unions in their dioceses, rationalizing it as part of the breadth of their pastoral response, and all the while denying their complicity. This is unacceptable.
TEC has lost the right to give assurances of their direction as a church through more words and statements. They write one thing and do another. We, therefore, cannot know what they mean by their words until we see their meaning demonstrated by their actions.
--The Most Rev. Henry Orombi
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting
The House of Bishops expressed their rejection of the interventions by Primates from other Provinces. However they did not accept the Primates recommendation of a Pastoral Scheme. Instead they came up with an internal plan for ”Episcopal visitors” which is unlikely to solve deep disputes between Dioceses and parishes and TEC. Of course it is impossible to imagine that TEC could both be a party in the dispute as well as a judge of it.
In conclusion, I believe that TEC did not and will not change its position in regard to the issues that tear apart the fabric of the Communion. They tried to use very ambiguous language to show that they responded positively to the Windsor Report and well as the Primates recommendation. However, I see that they are determined to go their own way. I am afraid that TEC’s position may lead to more intervention and further fragmentation within the Communion. They describe their position as a new Reformation, but they forgot that the reformation led to a split!
At a time like this we need clarity and firmness to resolve this crisis. Without this the Communion will fragment because every church will take the actions she likes. I do pray for Archbishop Rowan Williams at this time, so that the Lord may give him wisdom and the love in this difficult time.
Read it all.
“The report is severely compromised and further tears the existing tear in the fabric of our beloved Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Orombi wrote. “It is gravely lamentable that our Instruments of Communion have missed the opportunity in this moment to begin the healing that is so necessary for our future.”
Archbishop Orombi said the primates never asked the House of Bishops to make new policy for The Episcopal Church. Given that General Convention would not meet again for three years, he said the primates wanted the Episcopal bishops to clarify parts of two General Convention resolutions which the primates believed could be interpreted several different ways.
“TEC has lost the right to give assurances of their direction as a church through more words and statements,” Archbishop Orombi said. “They write one thing and do another. We therefore cannot know what they mean by their words until we see their meaning demonstrated by their actions.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting
Read it all.
The Kenyan archbishop said the US church leaders' comments did not go far enough.
"What we expected to come from them is to repent - that this is a sin in the eyes of the Lord and repentance is what me, in particular, and others expected to hear coming from this church," he said.
Correspondents say it was hoped the agreement would help defuse the crisis.
But Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Ugandan David Zac Niringiye, says it was "not a change of heart" and showed the church was already split.
"What this situation has brought to the fore is the malaise - something much deeper - that the entire communion has not dealt with and the consecration of Bishop Gene really brought to the surface something that was there," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting
September 26th, 2007
A STATEMENT ON THE RESPONSE OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH TO THE DAR ES SALAAM COMMUNIQUÉ
In accordance with our desire to walk “in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called, … eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians (4:1,2) we have looked forward with hope to the response of The Episcopal Church as requested by the Primates when we met earlier in the year in Dar es Salaam. That request was the culmination of many conversations and years of painful negotiations. It was our expressed desire to provide one final opportunity for an unequivocal assurance from The Episcopal Church of their commitment to the mind and teaching of the Communion. We also made clear that it is a time for clarity and a rejection of what hitherto has been endless series of ambiguous and misleading statements. Sadly it seems that our hopes were not well founded and our pleas have once again been ignored.
While we await a meeting of all the Primates to receive and determine the adequacy of The Episcopal Church’s response it seems clear from first reading that what is offered is not a whole hearted embrace of traditional Christian teaching and in particular the teaching that is expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10. The unequivocal assurances that we sought have not been given; what we have is a carefully calculated attempt to win support to ensure attendance at the Lambeth Conference and continued involvement in the life of the Communion.
Instead of the change of heart (repentance) that we sought what we have been offered is merely a temporary adjustment in an unrelenting determination to “bring the rest of the Communion along” as stated by a bishop at one of the press conferences. We also note that while we have repeatedly asked for a moratorium on same-sex blessings –across the Episcopal Church the clergy have continued with these blessings with the full knowledge and support of the Diocesan bishops even if not technically authorized.
This attitude towards the Word of God and the requests of the Communion is at odds with the Spirit of the One we serve. The Unity that Christ commands can only be found in obedience to the Truth revealed in the Holy Scriptures and mutual submission to one another. The Gospel message of freedom, justice and dignity for all persons can only be found in heartfelt repentance and joyful obedience to the Truth.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21
THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (Anglican Communion)
THE MOST REV. PETER J. AKINOLA, D.D, CON
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria.
The Most Revd. Peter J Akinola, CON, DD
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007 Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting
Reported by Alice Linsley, who attended the event, and posted at Northern Plains Anglicans. It seems everyone's a reporter this week! Thanks All!!
Here's the Q&A portion. But read the whole entry:
Henry Orombi Meets with Kentucky Anglicans
Alice C. Linsley
Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, spoke to Anglican clergy and lay leaders at Apostles Anglican Church in Lexington, Kentucky on Tuesday, September 25. The event was well attended with representatives from all the newly formed Anglican churches in Kentucky. Also present were representatives from a missionary agency working in Uganda and a representative from the American Anglican Council.
After the preaching, His Grace took questions. Here are some points that he addressed:
Rowan Williams does not have authority to change the deadline for TEC’s response to the Communiqué because the Primates set that date in Dar es Salaam.
Rowan Williams regards many in TEC as being so long without Christian teaching that “they don’t know their right hand from their left.” (Here Orombi is quoting Williams.)
Archbishop Orombi and Archbishop Akinola are in the USA at a time that coincides with the HOB meeting to strengthen Anglicans in preparation for TEC’s anticipated rejection of the Primates’ requests to cease ordination/consecration of active homosexuals and same-sex blessings in the Episcopal churches.
Archbishop Orombi consecrated John Guernsey so that there would be an Anglican bishop in close proximity to deal with emergencies. As he expressed it: “It took me 16 hours to arrive in Virginia. If you need a fire truck to come all the way from Uganda, what would be left of the building?”
His Grace expressed gratitude for the Common Cause Partners and asked for prayer that there might be unity among them. “They must come together as brothers, taking each other’s hands,” he said. “They must stand together, all holding hands.”
When asked about the importance of Canterbury, the Archbishop responded, “Anglican identity is not tied to Canterbury.” While Anglicans recognize Canterbury as one of the oldest sees, “there are other significant sees.” In this matter His Grace follows Church tradition in recognizing the authority of older sees such as Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome and Antioch.
Read it all here.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting TEC Conflicts
For those of you like this poor elf who missed Anglican TV's live stream of today's press conference with Rowan Williams, despair not. Baby Blue has come to the rescue. Here's the link: http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2007/09/press-conference-with-archbishop-of.html
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Archbishop of Canterbury Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting TEC Conflicts Lambeth 2008 Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Resources & Links Resources: Audio-Visual
Baby Blue has the goods. Must reading. Here's an excerpt. Wow.
...My friends, you may believe you have discovered a very difficult truth from that of the majority in the Anglican Communion. It not just about sexuality, but about your views of Christ, the Gospel and the authority of the Bible. Please forgive me when I relay that some say you are a different church, others even think that you are a different religion.
I understand that it is difficult for you in your context to accept the standard teaching of the Anglican Communion. This is why you refused to accept Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10. You also ignored all the warnings of the Primates in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Your response to the Windsor Report is seen by the Primates as not clear. You cannot say you value being a member of the Anglican Communion while you ignore the interdependence of the member churches. The interdependence is what differentiates us from the other congregational churches. I would like to remind you and myself with the famous resolution 49 of the Lambeth Conference of 1930 which declares "the Anglican Communion is a fellowship of churches that ... are bound together not be a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference." With respect, I have to say that those who would prefer to speak of laws and procedures, constitutions and canons, committees and process: you are missing the point! It is our mutual loyalty and fellowship, submitting to one another in the common cause of Jesus Christ that makes us of one Church on faith and one Lord.
It is clear that your actions have resulted in one of the most difficult disputes in the Communion in our generation. You may see them as not core doctrinal issues. Many like me see the opposite but the thing that we cannot ignore is that these issues are divisive and have created a lot of undesired consequences and reactions. For the first time in centuries, the fabric of our Communion is torn. Our energies have been drained and our resources are lost; and it is difficult for both of us to continue like this.
My friends, if you really believe that the truth revealed to you is different from that shown to the rest of the Communion, then you need to uphold that claim with boldness even at the risk of losing unity. If you think it is right and necessary to ordain and consecrate practicing homosexuals and that you should bless same sex partnerships or even marriages, you should be true to what you believe is right and accept the consequences.
However, if you appreciate being members of the global Anglican family, then you have to walk along side the members of your family. Those who say that it is important to stay together around the table, to listen to each other and to continue our dialogue over the difficult issues that are facing us are wise. We wholeheartedly agree with this, but staying around the table requires that you should not take actions that are contrary to the standard position (Lambeth 1:10) of the rest of the Communion.
Full text here.
Mary says there is "more coming" and Matt+ is also blogging this for Stand Firm. Awesome.
Here's the link for Matt's post at Stand Firm: http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/6132/
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)
On her blog, Ruth Gledhill says that Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola spoke with the London Times today (presumably Ruth herself?)
You can read her report here. There's nothing particularly new, but I appreciated ++Akinola's closing reminder about hope.
Dr Akinolasaid: “It is still hoped that somehow the good Lord will save His Church from further fragmentation. We are praying for Dr Williams. We are still full of hope. Remember that we are Christians. If we lose hope, then everything is gone.”
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sept07 HoB Meeting TEC Conflicts
An audio mp3 file--listen to it all.
link is fixed
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda * Resources & Links Resources: Audio-Visual
Watch it all courtesy of Anglican TV
Cherie Wetzel of Anglicans United has very kindly sent us files of all three transcripts of ++Greg Venables' Bible teachings to the Network Council meeting. Note these transcripts are in some cases more complete than what we posted yesterday.
Monday Afternoon: http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/media/Abp_Venables__1.doc
Scripture: Genesis 12. Theme: The Example of Abraham. Leaving his land, giving up Ishmael, willing to give up Isaac.
Tuesday Morning: http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/media/Abp_Venables__2.doc
Scripture: Joshua 1. Theme God's Commission to Joshua.
Tuesday Afternoon: http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/media/Abp_Venables__3.doc
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12; James 1:2; 2 Cor 11:21 ff; Mt. 11:25-30. Theme: Count it all joy.
These are Microsoft Word Documents that you can either open and view online, or download to your computer. Note these files contain only the transcripts of Venables' teachings. Other commentary on the meetings has been deleted.
Enjoy. And do read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest these wonderful teachings! We'll post another update when Kevin K. has the cleaned up versions of the audio files posted.
P.S. Yes, Gregory Venables' official title is Presiding Bishop. I've not edited Cherie's transcripts or her file names where she uses the title Archbishop. Sorry. Better things to do with my time.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] * Christian Life / Church Life Biblical Commentary & Reflection
All THREE talks are now available as Word Files for downloading.
Now, time for this elf to be my sometimes very bossy self! Go read them!! Do more than read them. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them! And that's an order
Archbishop Gregory Venables Bible Study Monday - transcription
Anglican Communion Network, Archbishop Venables Final Post
Here is an excerpt from ++Venables' Tues. afternoon teaching:
I see people under incredible spiritual attack. I remember that moment in the end of the Screwtape Letters and the man the demons are trying to win is killed in the air raid in London. As he is departing this world, the man sees who has been dogging him for so long. He finally realizes what has been happening to him. It was a poignant moment.
We are not fighting flesh and blood. Read Ephesians 6. This battle is Big. Because it is about God’s honor and God’s name and God’s Word. It is not your battle, dear people. It is God’s battle. Let that comfort your hearts. Let that settle your mind.
I see people burdened and weighed down. Some of you are carrying very heavy burdens indeed. And I see people suffering grief. Grief in the sense of loss: bereavement. Something precious and that means so much to us is “going down the tubes”. That creates grief. It is heart breaking. Don’t go into denial. Don’t be British. Stoicism is not good. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and carry on, but not for long. Recognize the grief and deal with it. Don’t deny it.
Let me give you a few words from Scripture. 1 Peter 4:12: “Beloved do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you.”
When you stand up for Jesus, this is what happens. At the end of the day, it isn’t Anglicanism you are standing up for. It is Jesus. That’s why Anglicans do what we do. Rejoice that you have been thought worthy. You must be getting something right or you wouldn’t be in this battle. [...]
James 1:2 “Count it all JOY my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
Be careful of fear. God will put you there again and again so you have to look at it and bring it up close and then you will see who He really is. Count it all joy. Read Paul’s account of what it was like to minister for Jesus. 2 Corinthians 11. Paul had a sense of humor, didn’t he. That’s what Paul got for serving Jesus. Not a Harry Potter world, not Tolkien world; the real world.
Are you getting it? If you really want to follow Jesus and serve him, this is what happens. I know a lot of you here are not surprised. Count it all joy and a privilege to show that Jesus is still Lord. To be on this world stage - With your smile and your joy and your forgiveness of all of “them”. Show them that Jesus is still Lord.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Communion Network Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] * Christian Life / Church Life Biblical Commentary & Reflection
Go here: http://ustream.tv/channel/acn-council-meeting-2007
And look for the 3 "Past Clips" boxes.
It appears that some of the early morning videos (Bp. Duncan's speech) are still missing.
The box on the far left is the final session of the afternoon and includes Abp. Venables sermon/Bible study in the late afternoon (HIGHLY recommended)
++Venables begins speaking at 41:22 (Slide the button on the play bar to the right to advance the video time count to 41:22)
The wonderful journal First Things has made available online the full version of a feature article by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, the Primate of the Church of Uganda "What is Anglicanism?"
What Is Anglicanism?
by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi
Copyright (c) 2007 First Things (August/September 2007).
Few would deny that the Anglican Communion is in crisis. The nature of that crisis, however, remains a question. Is it about sexuality? Is it a crisis of authority—who has it and who doesn’t? Have Anglicans lost their commitment to the via media, epitomized by the Elizabethan Settlement, which somehow declared a truce between Puritan and Catholic sentiments in the Church of England? Is it a crisis of globalization? A crisis of identity?
I have the privilege of serving as archbishop of the Church of Uganda, providing spiritual leadership and oversight to more than nine million Anglicans. Uganda is second only to Nigeria as the largest Anglican province in the world, and most of our members are fiercely loyal to their global communion. But however we come to understand the current crisis in Anglicanism, this much is apparent: The younger churches of Anglican Christianity will shape what it means to be Anglican. The long season of British hegemony is over.
The preface to the Book of Common Prayer states, “It is a most invaluable part of that blessed ‘liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,’ that in his worship different forms and usages may without offense be allowed, provided the substance of the Faith be kept entire; and that, in every Church, what cannot be clearly determined to belong to Doctrine must be referred to Discipline.”
And yet, despite this clear distinction, contemporary Anglicans are in danger of confusing doctrine and discipline. For four hundred years Anglicanism represented both the theological convictions of the English Reformation and the culture of the Christian Church in Britain. The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Anglican divines gave voice to both: English Reformation theology (doctrine) and British culture (discipline). The Anglican churches around the world, however, have ended the assumption that Anglican belief and practice must be clothed in historic British culture.
Take, for instance, the traditional Anglican characteristics of restraint and moderation. Are they part of doctrine, as Anglican theology, or discipline, as British culture? At the recent consecration of the fourth bishop of the Karamoja diocese, the preacher was the bishop of a neighboring diocese whose people have historically been at odds with the Karimajong (principally because of cattle rustling). At the end of his sermon, the preacher appealed for peace between the two tribes and began singing a song of peace. One by one, members of the congregation began singing. By the end of the song, the attending bishops, members of Parliament, and Karimajong warriors were all in the aisles dancing.
The vision of Christ breaking down the dividing walls of hostility between these historic rivals was so compelling that joy literally broke out in our midst. At that point in the service, I dare say, we were hardly restrained or moderate in our enthusiasm for the hope of peace given to us in Jesus Christ. Did we fail, then, in being Anglican in that moment? Was the spontaneity that overcame us a part of doctrine or of discipline? Surely, African joy in song and dance is an expression of discipline. Yet our confidence that the Word of God remains true, and our confidence that it transforms individuals and communities—all this is part of doctrine: the substance of the Faith that shall not change but shall be “kept entire.”
In the Church of Uganda, Anglicanism has been built on three pillars: martyrs, revival, and the historic episcopate. Yet each of these refers back to the Word of God, the ground on which all is built: The faith of the martyrs was maintained by the Word of God, the East African revival brought to the people the Word of God, and the historic ordering of ministry was designed to advance the Word of God.
So let us think about how the Word of God works in the worldwide Anglican Communion. We in the Church of Uganda are convinced that Scripture must be reasserted as the central authority in our communion. The basis of our commitment to Anglicanism is that it provides a wider forum for holding each other accountable to Scripture, which is the seed of faith and the foundation of the Church in Uganda.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Identity Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Global South Churches & Primates * Theology Theology: Scripture
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
Kendall was very quick to get out the news of Ruth Gledhill's interview with Archbishop Peter Akinola, posting the news the evening of July 3rd. When we saw the post the following morning, we added the update indicating that there was more info available on Ruth Gledhill's blog.
We never, however, mentioned that there were several video portions of Ruth's interview with Archbishop Akinola available. So, for those who might have missed them, or might not have had time to watch them yet and would appreciate a reminder, here are the links:
Archbishop Akinola talks about Lambeth 2008 (6 minutes)
Dr Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria (4 minutes, he talks about his call to ministry)
Archbishop Peter Akinola and a threat of ritual sacrifice (2 minutes)
[thanks to Scott at Magic Statistics for the nice roundup post which reminded us about the videos]
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Global South Churches & Primates * Resources & Links Resources: Audio-Visual
ACNS has posted the response of Dr. Idris Jones, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, to the Glasgow airport terrorist attack.
You can read it here.
In spite of what Western church leaders fear, he has no ambitions to lead a breakaway church. “That has never been on my mind. This is the media thing. You see we have scripture. We have our traditions. We have not broken the law. It is your churches that are breaking the law. You are the ones breaking the rules. You are the ones doing what should not be done with impunity. We are saying you cannot sweep it under the carpet. Maybe in the past you could get away with it, but not any more. We have aged. So we are not breaking away from anybody. We remain Anglicans. We are Anglican Church. We will die Anglicans. We are going nowhere.”
Read it all.
Ruth Gledhill has more on her blog
In response to the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Honourable Rowan Williams, inviting the bishops to the Lambeth Conference 2008, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, who met in Kigali on 19 June 2007, resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference for the following reasons:
1. Our Primates represent the bishops, clergy and laity from their Provinces. Therefore what they decide as representatives cannot be taken lightly when it engages the faith of the churches they represent. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 have been issued in complete disregard of our conscientious commitment to the apostolic faith once delivered.
2. The manner in which the invitations to the bishops of Rwanda were issued is divisive as some of our bishops were not invited. The bishops that provide oversight to the Anglican Mission (AMiA) are not “Anglican Mission bishops,” but rather bishops of the Province of Rwanda given the responsibility to lead Rwanda’s missionary outreach to North America. We are a united body and will not participate in a conference which would divide our number.
3. The invitations to Lambeth 2008 not only contravene the Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 but also the positions taken in the communiqués that have been agreed upon in previous Primates’ meetings and in the “Road To Lambeth” document prepared for and accepted by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) bishops.
The following are issues of great concern:
1. This Lambeth 1998 Resolution has not been respected by the Episcopal Church of America (TEC), the Anglican Church of Canada, and other like-minded Provinces, which are now violating the resolution as well as holy orders by making the decision to ordain and to consecrate practicing homosexuals.
2. The leadership of Canterbury has ignored and constantly taken lightly the resolutions from the Primates’ meetings and the statement in the “Road to Lambeth” document prepared for, and accepted by, CAPA which agreed that the crisis of faith in the Anglican Communion needed to be resolved before Lambeth 2008.
3. From his actions and decision to invite TEC, a province which is violating holy orders, biblical teaching and the tradition of the church, and his decision not to invite the bishops of AMiA and CANA, the Archbishop of Canterbury has shown that he has now taken sides because the Primates have asked TEC for repentance in order to be in communion with them. In several meetings and in its response to “The Road to Lambeth”, TEC has continually rebelled against the position and counsel of the Primates.
4. In a letter sent to Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini on 18 June 2007, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, “You should know that I have not invited the bishops of AMiA and CANA. This is not a question of asking anyone to disassociate themselves at this stage from what have been described as the missionary initiatives of your Provinces…. I appreciate that you may not be happy with these decisions, but I feel that as we approach a critical juncture of the life of the Communion, I must act in accordance to the clear guidance of the instruments of the Communion….” We would like to know if there are instruments in the Communion more important than the Primates and Provinces themselves. The Archbishop of Canterbury also refers to the consecration of the AMiA and CANA bishops as irregular. We would like to know why their consecrations are considered irregular when the actions of TEC are not considered irregular. We feel that the words of the Archbishop are tantamount to a threat, and we cannot accept this.
Therefore, in view of the above, in good conscience, the bishops of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda have resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference 2008 unless the previously stipulated requirement of repentance on the part of the TEC and other like-minded Provinces is met, and invitations are extended to our entire House of Bishops.
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
Certainly one of the most difficult items for our discernment will be the question of how to proceed on the issue of same-gender relationships. Related to it are other questions. One is the deeper question of how Anglicans receive and understand Scriptures in the light of modern scholarship and contemporary experience. Another is how our decisions will impact our sister churches in the Anglican Communion. And beside that is a question as to the nature of the Communion, and the appropriate relationship between provincial autonomy and global interdependence.
Another way of putting that is, how do we wish authority to be exercised or limited within our family of churches? And perhaps most important, how will our decisions witness to the Good News of God in Jesus Christ for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters within the Church and outside it. There are of course many other questions to consider in the hard work of discernment over this issue. We are taught that the first principle of moral theology is obedience to conscience, and I ask each of you to embrace that principle, and with it the ethic of respect for the conscience of those who disagree with your own. The second principle of moral theology is to inform your conscience to bring it, if possible, into line with the teaching of the Church. And here careful listening using the Anglican approach of Scripture, Tradition and Reason will be helpful.
At the end of the day, when decisions are made, they will not be unanimous. Differences will remain, but the unanimous opinion of the Theological Commission (and of many other sources) is that the question of same-gender blessings should not be a communion breaking issue. So the alternative to that is that in keeping with a long Anglican tradition, we make room at the table for those whose views we do not share. For the table is the Lord's and not our own. And it is He who invites us to share the life that is offered there for the sins of the whole world.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings
I am extremely pleased that the Anglican Church of Kenya has named Canon Bill Atwood as a Bishop Suffragan. Bill has served as my chaplain and is therefore well known to me both as a colleague and a good friend. He is a Christian priest of character and faithful service. In the painful circumstances of the Anglican Communion I deeply appreciate the bonds which link many primates together. I welcome the prospect of congregations under my care and protection working more closely with those of Kenya and other provinces. In the absence of even a tiny indication of willingness from the Episcopal Church to address the crisis, those who wish to remain orthodox within the US cannot be abandoned. Collaboration among Provinces working in the States and the Network is helping build a unified future for those who share the historic Biblical faith.
--The Most Rev. Gregory Venables is Primate of the Southern Cone
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone] Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates
I have received news of the proposed consecration of Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi, in the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve Kenyan related congregations in North America. Canon Atwood has worked tirelessly throughout the Communion for the sake of the Gospel and is well known to many of us in the Church of Nigeria.
This action demonstrates a growing recognition by Anglican provinces in Africa that the situation in North America continues to deteriorate because of the intransigence of the leadership of The Episcopal Church. This was made most evident by the response of their House of Bishops to the carefully crafted Primates’ Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We cannot sit quietly by while those who continue steadfastly in the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ are denied adequate pastoral care and made the targets of pernicious lawsuits.
We look forward to working with Archbishop Nzimbi, Bishop-elect Atwood and this new pastoral initiative from the Anglican Church of Kenya. We pledge our ongoing prayers and enthusiastic support and cooperation through CANA – a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria already established in North America.
It should be noted that there are now more than 250 congregations in North America related to Global South provinces through a growing number of missionary and pastoral initiatives.
Our heartfelt desire continues to be that the Anglican Communion will find a way to move forward together. This can only happen, however, with a Common Faith lived out within the context of an agreed Communion discipline. We continue to pray that The Episcopal Church will heed the call to repentance and make a positive response to the request of the Primates’ in Dar es Salaam.
We continue to offer our prayers for all leaders in the Communion during these challenging times.
June 13, 2007
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts Global South Churches & Primates
From the Anglican Church of Uganda:
Statement from the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi,
Archbishop of the Church of Uganda
The Church of Uganda welcomes the announcement of the consecration of The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese in the Anglican Church of Kenya. Canon Atwood is a long time friend and partner of the Church of Uganda. In these difficult days in the Communion, we recognize that measures must be taken to provide for the care of those orthodox Anglicans in America who remain faithful to the Bible.
The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, has announced he will consecrate the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood as a suffragan bishop to oversee the U.S.-based congregations of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK).
The Aug. 30 consecration of Canon Atwood as “Suffragan Bishop of All Saints' Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi” is “part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces,” Archbishop Nzimbi said on June 12, to “support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.”
An undisclosed number of Global South primates are expected to participate in Canon Atwood’s consecration in Nairobi and are expected to work with the Kenyan Church in forming a “North American Anglican Coalition.”
The coalition will “provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the gospel,” the statement said.
Read it all.
Update: The Telegraph also has an article. Readers are cautioned not to leap to conclusions, to think for themselves, to sift through the evidence, and to consider multiple sources when a situation like this "breaks"--KSH.
A further Update: the following is in the morning email:
FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF KENYA
RE: CONSECRATION OF THE REVD. CANON DR. BILL ATWOOD AS SUFFRAGAN BISHOP ON THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST, 2007
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ.
God in His mercy has granted us a great salvation in Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit. The foundations of that faith have been celebrated and shared through many centuries and cultures. In particular, we rejoice in the godly Christian heritage of this faith that we have received in the Anglican Communion.
Now, the fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn by the actions of The Episcopal Church. The damage has been exacerbated by the failure of the House of Bishops there to provide for the care called for in the Windsor Report and to reject the Pastoral Council offered through the Primates in their Communiqué from Dar es Salaam.
Tragically, the Episcopal Church has refused to provide adequate care for the faithful who continue steadfastly in “the faith once delivered to the saints.” Following months of consultation with other provinces, the Anglican Church of Kenya is taking steps to provide for the care of churches under our charge.
As a part of a broader and coordinated plan with other provinces, the ACK will consecrate The Revd Canon Dr. Bill Atwood as Suffragan bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi of the ACK to support the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, including support of Kenyan clergy and congregations in North America.
Our goal is to collaborate with faithful Anglicans (including those in North America who are related with other provinces). A North American Anglican Coalition can provide a safe haven for those who maintain historic Anglican faith and practice, and offer a way to live and work together in the furtherance of the Gospel.
The Most Rev. Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi
ARCHBISHOP OF KENYA &
BISHOP OF ALL SAINTS CATHEDRAL DIOCESE
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Kenya Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts
(Church of Uganda)
In response to the recent announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, has sent out invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, made this statement:
On 9th December 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda, meeting in Mbale, resolved unanimously to support the CAPA Road to Lambeth statement, which, among other things, states, “We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.”
We note that all the American Bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration as bishop of a man living in a homosexual relationship have been invited to the Lambeth Conference. These are Bishops who have violated the Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”
Accordingly, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda stands by its resolve to uphold the Road to Lambeth.
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Latest News - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Global South Churches & Primates Lambeth 2008 * International News & Commentary Africa
By George Conger
THE EPISCOPAL Church has mishandled the debate on human sexuality by misleading the Anglican Communion about its intentions to regularise gay bishops and blessings, the Primate of the West Indies said on May 15. By placing autonomy above unity it has brought the Anglican Communion to the brink of collapse, Archbishop Drexel Gomez told the clergy of Central Florida. Archbishop Gomez criticised the leadership of the Episcopal Church for not being entirely straight forward with the Communion. "You just cannot have collegiality," he explained, "if when you meet with your colleagues you don't share."
He also chided the African-led missionary jurisdictions, the AMiA and CANA, operating in the United States, saying they were an unfortunate "anomaly." It was "most unfortunate" that the Episcopal Church had hid its intentions to regularise gay bishops and blessings, Archbishop Gomez said, as it had not seen "fit to share with the rest of the Anglican Communion what it intended on doing." During the 2003 Primates' Meeting in Gramado, Brazil "we had a long discussion on this business of [gay] blessings and samesex unions," he said. But at "no time during the meeting, did [US Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold] even indicate that a situation was developing in the Episcopal Church that would lead to the consecration of Gene Robinson." "It is not good enough as Frank [Griswold] had said that The Episcopal Church has been wrestling with this issue for 30 years and the Spirit has led them to this decision. We were unaware of the problem. It must be a shared discernment if we belong to the body," Archbishop Gomez said. ACC-13 in Nottingham was the "first time any presentation had been made by The Episcopal Church" on these issues, he argued.
At the 2003 emergency Primates' Meeting at Lambeth Palace, "We said unanimously, including Frank Griswold, if The Episcopal Church were to proceed with the consecration of Gene Robinson that it would tear the fabric of the Communion. And yet it proceeded and the fabric has been torn," he said. The consecration of Gene Robinson was "the first time in the history of Christendom that someone has been made a bishop who could not function as a bishop," Archbishop Gomez argued. "Theologically I do not consider him to be a bishop," he said. Bishop Robinson's episcopal ordination was an example of Augustine's argument, Archbishop Gomez stated that "a sacrament could be valid but non efficacious." He "has been sacramentally ordained, validly ordained as a bishop, but he cannot function as a bishop in most of the Anglican Communion."
Archbishop Gomez stated he was also "very concerned" about the formation of rival Anglican jurisdictions in the United States under the sponsorship of overseas primates. These "new groupings are anomalous in Anglicanism" he told Central Florida, adding "I tried hard at the last Primates' Meeting to find an answer to that" difficulty, which "complicates the situation." One of the triumphs of the Tanzania Primates' Meeting, he said, had been the agreement made by the onterventionist primates to turn over their US jurisdictions to an international pastoral council. "We got them to the point where they would stop. This was not easy to achieve," he said. "I thought the House of Bishops would jump at the opportunity" to end foreign interventions, but they "wouldn't look at it." The rejection of the pastoral council by the House of Bishops now makes it "twice as difficult to get this back on the table," Archbishop Gomez said. He also stated the Dar es Salaam Communiqué was the first statement by the Primates where each was asked to give their personal assent.
At prior meetings "we worked by consensus in our decisions," but Archbishop Williams "felt that the decision was so important, so critical" that all should be polled for their views. "Individually [Archbishop Williams] went around and individually every person said yes [to the Communiqué]. [Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori] said yes, but said it would be a difficult sell, but she would try." The question put to the Presiding Bishop was whether she accepted the communiqué, "and Katharine agreed to the proposal." Archbishop Gomez did not expect a decisive response from the House of Bishops to the September 30 deadline for compliance to the Primates' Communiqué. "On the basis of past actions, certainly over the past 10 years, I would presume that the Episcopal Church would seek someway of fudging it. And that would be a consistent pattern," he stated. He told the gathering that he had suggested a September 30 deadline for a response from the House of Bishops. "The intention was to give them two full meetings" before an answer was due, although Archbishop Williams had pressed for more time. The Episcopal Church "will have to make a decision" whether it will remain part of the Anglican Communion. "The official Church speaking through its General Convention places autonomy over its mission. That is the reality we have to face in the Communion," Archbishop Gomez said.
--This article appears in the Church of England Newspaper, May 25 2007 edition, page 7
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent a short e-mail message to the House of Bishops urging "a calm approach to today's announcement regarding 2008 Lambeth Conference invitations, a subject on which I plan to make no formal statement at this time. It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months, and the House of Bishops' September meeting offers us a forum for further discussion."
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Lambeth 2008
In response to requests for comments on the Lambeth Conference invitations, Archbishop Peter Akinola reaffirms that the Church of Nigeria is committed to the CAPA commissioned report "The Road to Lambeth"
(link here for Road to Lambeth doc)
Since only the first set of invitations had been sent, it is premature to conclude who will be present or absent at the conference. However, the withholding of invitation to a Nigerian bishop, elected and consecrated by other Nigerian bishops will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria.
The Lord bless you as you remain in Christ
The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola
Director of Communications
Primate's Office, 24 Douala Str., Wuse Zone 5, P.O. Box 212 ADCP, Abuja,
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source -- Statements & Letters: Primates Anglican Primates Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Lambeth 2008 * International News & Commentary Africa
The first invitations for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, to be held in Canterbury next summer, are being sent out today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. The gathering, which is set to be the largest Lambeth Conference in the history of the Anglican Communion, brings together bishops from the Churches in the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion together with ecumenical and other invited guests.
The 2008 Conference is intended to comprise nearly three weeks of shared retreat, common worship, study and discussion. It differs from previous gatherings in that the bishops will begin the conference with a period of retreat and reflection. It is planned that much of this retreat time will be held in and around Canterbury Cathedral.
The first set of invitations are being sent today to over 800 bishops of the provinces of the Anglican Communion. In his letter of invitation the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, pays tribute to the Conference Design Group whose members, led by the Archbishop of Melanesia, have, with his full support, proposed a programme with an emphasis on fellowship, study, prayer, the sharing of experience and discussion, all aimed at equipping bishops for their distinctive apostolic ministry:
“Their vision and their advice has been an inspiration at every stage so far. I am hugely excited by the possibilities the programme offers for a new and more effective style of meeting and learning, and for greater participation, which will help us grow together locally and internationally. … it will also be an opportunity for all of us to strengthen our commitment to God’s mission and to our common life as a Communion. In connection with this latter point, we shall be devoting some time to thinking about the proposals for an Anglican Covenant, and about other ways in which we can deepen our sense of a common calling for us as a coherent and effective global Church family.”
“The Conference is a place where experience of our living out of God’s mission can be shared. It is a place where we may be renewed for effective ministry. And it is a place where we can try and get more clarity about the limits of our diversity and the means of deepening our Communion, so we can speak together with conviction and clarity to the world. It is an occasion in which the Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his privilege of calling his colleagues together, not to legislate but to discover and define something more about our common identity through prayer, listening to God’s Word and shared reflection. It is an occasion to rediscover the reality of the Church itself as a worldwide community united by the call and grace of Christ.”
Mindful of the speculation that has surrounded the issuing of invitations to the Conference Dr Williams recalls that invitations are issued on a personal basis by the Archbishop of Canterbury and that “the Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers; it is not a formal Synod or Council of the Communion”, and that invitation to the Conference has never been seen as “a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy”. Nevertheless Dr Williams recognises in his letter that under very exceptional circumstances an invitation may be withheld or withdrawn. Under this provision, there are a small number of bishops to whom invitations are not at this stage being extended whilst Dr Williams takes further advice.
Other invitations – to ecumenical representatives and other invited guests – will be sent out in due course. Bishops’ spouses are being invited to a parallel conference; invitations for this will be sent later in the year by Mrs Jane Williams, who is the host.
The text of the Archbishop’s invitation is below:
I am delighted to invite you to the Lambeth Conference of 2008 and I very much look forward to our gathering together as bishops of the Anglican Communion.
The dates of the Conference are 16 July-4 August 2008 and I trust you will already have heard something of the vision for the Conference as it has been unfolding. It will focus on our equipping as bishops for leadership in mission and teaching, and it will also be an opportunity for all of us to strengthen our commitment to God’s mission and to our common life as a Communion. In connection with this latter point, we shall be devoting some time to thinking about the proposals for an Anglican Covenant, and about other ways in which we can deepen our sense of a common calling for us as interdependent members of the body of Christ.
This will be my third Lambeth Conference and I am very confident of the quality of the programme being developed for it. I want to offer my warm public thanks to all those from across the world who have worked so hard at planning this – especially the devoted Design Group under the Archbishop of Melanesia, those who attended the St Augustine’s Seminar last year, and our Conference Manager, Sue Parks. Their vision and their advice has been an inspiration at every stage so far. I am hugely excited by the possibilities the programme offers for a new and more effective style of meeting and learning, and for greater participation, which will help us grow together locally and internationally.
Because there has been quite a bit of speculation about invitations and the conditions that might be attached to them, I want to set out briefly what I think the Conference is and is not.
The Conference is a place where our experience of living out God’s mission can be shared. It is a place where we may be renewed for effective ministry. And it is a place where we can try and get more clarity about the limits of our diversity and the means of deepening our Communion, so we can speak together with conviction and clarity to the world. It is an occasion when the Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his privilege of calling his colleagues together, not to legislate but to discover and define something more about our common identity through prayer, listening to God’s Word and shared reflection. It is an occasion to rediscover the reality of the Church itself as a worldwide community united by the call and grace of Christ.
But the Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers; it is not a formal Synod or Council of the bishops of the Communion, which would require us to be absolutely clear about the standing of all the participants. An invitation to participate in the Conference has not in the past been a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy. Coming to the Lambeth Conference does not commit you to accepting the position of others as necessarily a legitimate expression of Anglican doctrine and discipline, or to any action that would compromise your conscience or the integrity of your local church.
At a time when our common identity seems less clear that it once did, the temptation is to move further away from each other into those circles where we only related to those who completely agree with us. But the depth and seriousness of the issues that face us require us to discuss as fully and freely as we can, and no other forum offers the same opportunities for all to hear and consider, in the context of a common waiting on the Holy Spirit.
I have said, and repeat here, that coming to the Conference does not commit you to accepting every position held by other bishops as equally legitimate or true. But I hope it does commit us all to striving together for a more effective and coherent worldwide body, working for God’s glory and Christ’s Kingdom. The Instruments of Communion have offered for this purpose a set of resources and processes, focused on the Windsor Report and the Covenant proposals. My hope is that as we gather we can trust that your acceptance of the invitation carries a willingness to work with these tools to shape our future. I urge you all most strongly to strive during the intervening period to strengthen confidence and understanding between our provinces and not to undermine it.
At this point, and with the recommendations of the Windsor Report particularly in mind, I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion. Indeed there are currently one or two cases on which I am seeking further advice. I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognises and honours the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this. Such trust is a great deal harder to sustain if there are some involved who are generally seen as fundamentally compromising the efforts towards a credible and cohesive resolution.
I look forward with enthusiasm to the Conference and hope you will be able to attend, or your successor in the event that you retire in the meantime. My wife Jane will be writing with an invitation to the Spouses Conference which will run in parallel to the Lambeth Conference. Further communication to bishops will follow soon from the Lambeth Conference Office, including details of the costs and a reply slip on which you can respond formally to this invitation. It would be a great help if these replies were received by 31 July 2007. In the meantime, should you have any queries about the Lambeth Conference itself, or if you will be retiring before the Conference, please contact the Lambeth Conference Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or consult the Lambeth Conference website http://www.lambethconference.org.
I trust you and your diocese will join with me in praying for God’s gracious blessing of our time together.
Yours in Christ,
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