Archbishop Rowan Williams’ Pastoral Letter to Bishops of the Anglican Communion

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Second, on the controversial issue of the day regarding human sexuality, there was a very widely-held conviction that premature or unilateral local change was risky and divisive, in spite of the diversity of opinion expressed on specific questions. There was no appetite for revising Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998, though there was also a clear commitment to continue theological and pastoral discussion of the questions involved. In addition to a widespread support for moratoria in the areas already mentioned, there was much support for the idea of a 'Pastoral Forum' as a means of addressing present and future tensions, and as a clearing house for proposals concerning the care of groups at odds with dominant views within their Provinces, so as to avoid the confusing situation of violations of provincial boundaries and competing jurisdictions.

Importantly, it was recognized that all these matters involved serious reflection on the Christian doctrine of human nature and a continuing deepening of our understanding of Christian marriage. A joint session with bishops and spouses also reminded us that broader moral issues about power and violence in relations between men and women needed attention if we were to speak credibly to the tensions and sufferings of those we serve.

Third, there was a general desire to find better ways of managing our business as a Communion. Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury. This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Lambeth 2008

15 Comments
Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dan Crawford wrote:

All is well. Let’s join together and whistle in the dark.

August 26, 10:41 am | [comment link]
2. Joe Barista wrote:

This is helpful…all this time I thought our mission was to call people to repentance and amendment of life, to make disciples of all nations…but now I see that concept is up for continued study and conversation, and that our primary purpose is to fulfill the United Nations’ Millennium goals.

I knew I should have gotten a social work degree instead of studying theology…how silly of me.

August 26, 10:47 am | [comment link]
3. flabellum wrote:

There we have it, the moral equivalence of the ordination of those in open and public sinful relationships and provincial border crossing to sustain those who oppose the same trumpeted loud and clear.

August 26, 11:15 am | [comment link]
4. flabellum wrote:

Oh, and indaba fudge to be applied to all future meetings of the Primates and the ACC.

August 26, 11:17 am | [comment link]
5. William P. Sulik wrote:

We were conscious of the absence of many of our colleagues, and wanted to express our sadness that they felt unable to be with us and our desire to build bridges and restore our fellowship.  We were aware also of the recent meeting in Jerusalem and its statements; many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there and were grateful that many had attended both meetings, but we know that there is work to do to bring us closer together and are determined to do that work.   

While this may be true for Rowan, it is not true for the unrepentant Americans and their kind. I wish he had the courage to acknowledge this reality.

I was always taught that “repentance” meant a turning around* - all the Americans have done is to slow the car - there has been no stopping and certainly no turning around.
——————-
*See, for example, this from the Baptismal Service:  “Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?”

August 26, 11:29 am | [comment link]
6. vulcanhammer wrote:

I recently received a comment on my blog from Deborah Pitt, who recently “outed” the Archbishop on the issue of same-sex relationships.

It’s hard to know how someone as conflicted on this issue as he is can help to bring resolution to the situation.  But, in fairness to him, I don’t see where a “unifying resolution” can be found.

August 26, 11:38 am | [comment link]
7. tired wrote:

”The Conference was not a time for making new laws or for binding decisions…”

1.  So, there were no votes or polls.  Nothing issuing from the conference is binding or authoritative.  Obviously, there was no compliance with generally accepted rules of order, so it makes sense that no business was conducted.  Got it.

”A strong majority of bishops present agreed that moratoria on same-sex blessings and on cross-provincial interventions were necessary…”

2.  Wait a minute - so was there a poll and a binding decision?  How do we know who agreed to what?  What majority?  Even if a majority agreed, it was non-binding according to quote 1. 

”The final document of Conference Reflections is not a ‘Report’… But although this document is not a formal Report, it has a number of pointers as to where the common goals and assumptions are in the Communion.

3.  Once again, without a poll or a vote or even a report, how does a body of bishops decide on “common goals” or “assumptions?”  Is this anything more than the ABC’s goals and assumptions? 

”… there was a very widely-held conviction… widespread support for… much support for the idea… addressing present and future tensions… there was a general desire…”

4.  How tiring this all is!  I think I’m catching on, though.  The only way I can make sense of this is to substitute “I, the ABC think” or “I hope there was” every time I see the words “there was”

”Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions,…”

5.  And so, the ABC takes us back to quote number 1 with another unsubstantiated assertion - no decisions, no business, no votes. 

In conclusion, some number of bishops gathered together to discuss certain things, portions of which was anecdotally recorded within a non-binding reflections document.  Based on this, the ABC is going to do whatever he wants to do – with binding effect - all the while, though, he will claim to have a clear mandate and authorization from a majority of bishops, which of course was determined with the utmost of transparency and honesty.

Pretty useful device!

Personally, I sense a groundswell of support from a majority of fellow citizens and neighbors to make me emperor over all of North America.  Although this widely held sentiment was determined in my non-binding discussions with some number of citizens, I do think it points to our common assumptions and goals for going forward as a continent. 

Now would one of you subjects kindly put an end to those superfluous political conventions, I feel a moratorium or two coming on.


wink

August 26, 12:39 pm | [comment link]
8. DonGander wrote:

“Many participants believed that the indaba method, .... that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury.”

I’d say that better than half the Anglican Bishops clearly voted against such a thought.

The following line is…

“This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year…”

The first line sets up a false standard and the second line knocks down the majority opinion. In my education that was called a straw dog arguement. Straw dog arguements are a form of propaganda.

Am I correct? And if so, should the ABC use propaganda to forward the Church of Jesus Christ?

Don

August 26, 3:05 pm | [comment link]
9. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

AMEN !  tired,  AMEN!
His science of statistics is on par with Schori’s, though with more excuse.

August 26, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
10. Billy wrote:

Since the rest of the letter seems to be a rehash of his final sermon, I found the nugget of why he wrote this open letter to be the following:
“Third, there was a general desire to find better ways of managing our business as a Communion. Many participants believed that the indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely – and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury. This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods.”
I believe he is either floating a trial balloon or putting the primates and perhaps the AAC on notice that indaba will be their method of their future meetings in the first half of next year, so that no resolutions or other real work will be done.  And he can keep on like he has after Lambeth holding the AC together by a string of “good thoughts.”  Nothing else here.

August 26, 3:36 pm | [comment link]
11. Br. Michael wrote:

I think Billy is right.  The AC only holds together if nothing is done.

August 26, 4:35 pm | [comment link]
12. Sir Highmoor wrote:

If this letter does not tell why the AC is in deep trouble from a lack of leadership nothing does.

10# and 11# - The AC is not holding together.

How can any Christian follow a leader like the ABC any longer? I certainly can not.

August 26, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
13. Little Cabbage wrote:

Sir Highmoor, Amen, amen!

August 26, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
14. Br. Michael wrote:

12, Maybe, talk to the ACI/Fulcrum folks.

August 26, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
15. Now Orthodox wrote:

When one walks with the Devil, one will soon find his hand in one’s pocket!  Flee…..!!!!!!  TEC!

OCA.org

August 26, 11:41 pm | [comment link]
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