(Telegraph) Archbishop of Canterbury to lose worldwide Anglican role under traditionalist plans

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A coalition of bishops and leaders from Africa, the Americas and Australasia said it was time for a “radical shift” in how the church is structured away from models of the “British Empire”.

They criticised what they called “revisionist attempts” to abandon basic doctrines on issues such as homosexuality and “turn Christianity merely into a movement for social betterment” during Dr Williams’s tenure.

And they said it was now clear that the leadership in England had failed to hold the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion together, leaving it in “crisis”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Global South Churches & PrimatesFCA Meeting in London April 2012

30 Comments
Posted April 24, 2012 at 5:55 am

To comment on this article: Go to Article View

The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/42495/



1. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Stating the obvious, of course, but the consequences of a globally northern and western elitist imperialistic approach - even when labelled inadaba - are coming home to roost.  Rowan’s tenure has been a futile exercise of a failed syncretistic secularism under the guise of affirming catholicism, itself an aberation of the Faith.

April 24, 8:53 am | [comment link]
2. Ralph wrote:

I think this needs to happen for the Anglican Communion to survive in some form.

In the US, it’s alleged that conservatives conspired to support the election of KJS as presiding bishop, so that there could be clarity in TEC. If something similar were to happen in England - if the next ABp of Canterbury were anything like KJS - the Anglican Communion would (and should) disintegrate.

With such a disintegration, TEC conservatives in the US and Canada aligning with the GAFCON-FCA movement would be labelled as having abandoned communion with TEC.

Also, some Anglo-Catholic devotional societies require that members be in communion with Canterbury.

Geez. Schism is so complex…

April 24, 10:55 am | [comment link]
3. billqs wrote:

#2-  If conservatives in TEC conspired to elect KJS for “clarity” purposes, it reflects on the relative powerlessness that the few conservatives left when the election occurred felt they had, and the relative dislike some of the conservatives had for the “moderate” choice, Henry Parsley.  A move such as this is not made from a position of strength, it is a strategic move that one recognizes is basically a “last stand.”

While I think it obvious that CoE is on a leftward drift, I don’t think they are as far along as TEC and so I don’t think a conservative ploy of “lets see how they like a REAL leftist running the Church” will play out.  I imagine the traditional coalition will work to put in a candidate that most closely represents their own view.

BTW, hasn’t their been an unofficial Evangelical/Catholic alternating role for Archbishop of Canterbury?  Carey was evangelical, Rowan was catcholic (but of the Affirming Catholic kind), so we should probably expect an evangelical?

April 24, 11:26 am | [comment link]
4. Sarah wrote:

RE: “In the US, it’s alleged that conservatives conspired to support the election of KJS as presiding bishop . . . “

Well, let’s make is active voice rather than passive voice.  Several frustrated moderates who had thought Parsley was a Fabulous Idea expounded that theory [aided by a few angry revisionists and some in the blogosphere/media] in an attempt to “explain away” the rise of KJS.  The reality is that *perhaps* three conservative bishops voted for KJS on the last ballot when her election was practically assured.  Nobody else was even close to making it to the required number of votes.

No, the revisionists who elected her have to take the responsibility of her glowingly successful and dynamic tenure.  ; > )

April 24, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
5. Undergroundpewster wrote:

Any “radical shift” in Communion structure is actually the natural filling of a vacuum. The powerless AoC, epitomized by its current occupant, has been waiting to be replaced by something. We have seen several attempts in the past, but the Church is still waiting.

April 24, 1:09 pm | [comment link]
6. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“No, the revisionists who elected her have to take the responsibility of her glowingly successful and dynamic tenure.”

Of course I get the sarcasm, but; oh, yuckgrin

April 24, 2:18 pm | [comment link]
7. desertpadre wrote:

Jon Bruno, who was the primary engineer in getting Ms Schori elected, is not, never was, and never will be, either a moderate or traditionalist.
desert padre

April 24, 2:29 pm | [comment link]
8. Teatime2 wrote:

OK, let me get this straight. This bunch wants to strip our Church of its history because they’re ticked and they, essentially, want to take the power south of the equator? Because this is what it seems to me that they’re suggesting—not a complaint about a central authority or power structure because THEY want to be the new central authority and power structure. This is evident by their alternative conferences and such.

Nope, sorry, not interested. Yes, I am well aware that many think of the African church in glowing terms of Christianity and orthodoxy but that hasn’t been my experience. I see a continent rife with power struggles, violence, and oppression, some of which Christians have assisted. I also see some winks and nods when it comes to African tradition being infused into Christianity. I encountered this firsthand when I was RC and African priests were being brought to the US to minister. There were many cultural difficulties, some sexual, and most were sent back. I would NOT back the Global South in a Communion power struggle.

Colonialism and ghosts of the Empire? Please, can we be any more disingenuous? If they don’t want money, partnerships and services from an “Anglo” church then they could simply decline them and loosen the ties that bind. If they don’t want to have to work with Anglo people who may have different views on a variety of topics or within Anglo institutions, then there’s the door.

But don’t try to seize an historical and traditional Church and negate its history when your own countries are rife with religious violence, instability and corruption.  We’ve gotten a glimpse of what a power shift could look like in a microcosm called AMiA.

April 24, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
9. Sarah wrote:

RE: “If they don’t want to have to work with Anglo people who may have different views on a variety of topics or within Anglo institutions, then there’s the door.”

Heh—they don’t need to go to the door; they’re just fine as members of the Anglican Communion.  They just need to happily settle down with their own internal alternative networks, conferences, and authority structures.

Hopefully that’s what they’re doing quite nicely.  And anybody who wants to join in from the Anglican Communion is more than welcome to do so, provided they agree with the Gospel.  After all, we’re all one big happy family here in the Anglican Communion!  ; > )

April 24, 3:42 pm | [comment link]
10. Brian from T19 wrote:

Geez. Schism is so complex…

too funny…I love it.

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

April 24, 5:01 pm | [comment link]
11. Brian from T19 wrote:

Teatime 2

I agree.  I have no problem with forming groups but a “shift” away from Canterbury would not be possible.  The new unaffiliated group would have an Anglican worship style, but the seat of the Communion remains in the CofE (if for nothing other than the plain definition of Anglican).  Any new group would thus be either a group within the actual Anglican Communion or would need to separate and be the Anglican Style Communion or some such thing.

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

April 24, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
12. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Any new group would thus be either a group within the actual Anglican Communion . . . “

Except that Teatime is saying that a new group that doesn’t “want to have to work with Anglo people who may have different views on a variety of topics or within Anglo institutions” should just go ahead and leave.

Blessedly, that’s not gonna happen. They’re a group within the actual Anglican Communion.

April 24, 9:33 pm | [comment link]
13. MichaelA wrote:

“Any new group would thus be either a group within the actual Anglican Communion or would need to separate and be the Anglican Style Communion or some such thing.”
Right, the sky is either blue, or it is not.  Thanks, that was very helpful… ;o)

April 24, 9:44 pm | [comment link]
14. MichaelA wrote:

Getting back to the article, its clear that this meeting is attracting a lot of attention in England, more than I thought it would. 

Perhaps many in England are starting to realise that they cannot ignore the wider Anglican world any more. It will come to them…

April 24, 9:46 pm | [comment link]
15. Teatime2 wrote:

No, Sarah, I’m saying that a group which wants to demote the ABC and fancies promoting an alternative to the Lambeth Conference has pretty much already left, de facto if not de jure. This is the same type of thing that the Americans and their allies are doing—trying to refashion and direct the Communion on their own terms. I abhor both attempts at takeover.

April 24, 9:57 pm | [comment link]
16. MichaelA wrote:

“OK, let me get this straight. This bunch wants to strip our Church of its history because they’re ticked and they, essentially, want to take the power south of the equator?”

Teatime, how about a little detailed thought about this - precisely what “history” is our church being stripped of?  I have not seen a single mention or suggestion that anyone has any plans about the role of Archbishop of Canterbury in regard to the Church of England.  Have you?  So what particular “history” are you talking about? 

“Because this is what it seems to me that they’re suggesting—not a complaint about a central authority or power structure because THEY want to be the new central authority and power structure. This is evident by their alternative conferences and such.”

What particular “central authority or power structure” are you referring to?

Lambeth Conference perhaps - exactly how “central” or “authoritative” is that? (i’ll give you a hint - go to different sources such as statements by Archbishops of Canterbury or resolutions of Lambeth Conferences in years past, and you will get very different, not to mention contradictory, answers).

Or the Primates Meeting? (same as above)

Or the Standing Committe of the Anglican Communion? (that’s a really amusing one - try and find ANY basis for its existence in any document anywhere, even though it purports to make most decisions in the Anglican Communion!)

Or the Anglican Consultative Council? (for its *existence* you will find a basis in some resolutions of a Lambeth Conference, even though there has never been unanimous agreement as to what binding force such resolutions have.  But what you will not find is a basis for the way it exercises many of its powers now).

“Yes, I am well aware that many think of the African church in glowing terms of Christianity and orthodoxy but that hasn’t been my experience. I see a continent rife with power struggles, violence, and oppression, some of which Christians have assisted. I also see some winks and nods when it comes to African tradition being infused into Christianity. I encountered this firsthand when I was RC and African priests were being brought to the US to minister. There were many cultural difficulties, some sexual, and most were sent back”

So let me get this straight - “I see a continent…” - right, its a dodgy continent so Christians from there may not have any say in our clean Western church;  “I also see some winks and nods when it comes to African tradition being infused into Christianity” - ahhh, now that is an EXCELLENT point - we in the West have NEVER done anything like that, have we?! “I encountered this firsthand when I was RC…” Of course - the Roman Catholic experience with Africans describes what the Anglican experience will be with Africans.  There is a word for that sort of thinking…

“I would NOT back the Global South in a Communion power struggle.”

“Backing” is easy, and irrelevant. Go online to Ladbrokes and you can place money on anything you like.

“But don’t try to seize an historical and traditional Church and negate its history when your own countries are rife with religious violence, instability and corruption.”

(a) Precisely how is anyone “negating the history” of anything?

(b) Precisely how is anyone “trying to seize a Church, and which “church” are you referring to?

(c) Who are you to claim ownership of any “historical and traditional church”?  I am not being rude or pejorative, but just asking the question.

I will be very interested to see if you are able to answer any of the questions above.

April 24, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
17. Sarah wrote:

RE: “I’m saying that a group which wants to demote the ABC and fancies promoting an alternative to the Lambeth Conference has pretty much already left, de facto if not de jure.”

Not at all—but certainly some people *wish* they would leave and would like to fancy that they already have.

It’s not going to be that easy, Teatime.

I’m very pleased that they’re moving forward with their own plans.  The Anglican Communion as a whole has been put through the ringer by TEC and Canada, and the manipulation and silliness of the ABC’s refusal to allow them to take the consequences of their actions.  In light of the failure of the disciplinary processes, the Anglican Communion will devolve into two groups within the larger entity, each with their own leaders, networks, events, and more.

That’s the next-best-thing to actual discipline and boundary-setting.  If there’s not going to be a boundaried, ordered, Communion of integrity and strong identity, then smaller entities within that Communion will have to supply that as best they can.

April 24, 10:39 pm | [comment link]
18. Brian from T19 wrote:

The Anglican Communion as a whole has been put through the ringer by TEC and Canada, and the manipulation and silliness of the ABC’s refusal to allow them to take the consequences of their actions.  In light of the failure of the disciplinary processes, the Anglican Communion will devolve into two groups within the larger entity, each with their own leaders, networks, events, and more.

I agree that this seems inevitable.  The problem arises in matters of practicality.  Regardless of the size of the group, the group that distances itself from Canterbury can only say that it represents itself within the Anglican Communion.  When conflict arises, the official teaching of the Anglican Communion will rest with the smaller Lambeth group.

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

April 24, 11:04 pm | [comment link]
19. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Regardless of the size of the group, the group that distances itself from Canterbury can only say that it represents itself within the Anglican Communion.”

I agree—the important thing is the stark differentiation and repudiation, as with, for instance, the Diocese of South Carolina.

April 24, 11:33 pm | [comment link]
20. Teatime2 wrote:

#16 MichaelA,
I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to address your comments point-by-point. And I never said the Western example is pure or shining. On the contrary, I stated quite specifically that the GS is pulling the same crap that the Americans did, and neither power grab is laudable.

As for history and tradition, I doubt I have to remind you that this is the ANGLICAN communion with roots in England and the C of E and it was through the work of Anglican missionaries that Christianity spread to Africa.  The Archbishop of Canterbury is the figurehead of our Communion and his office should be respected. The Lambeth conference is also a symbol of unity; to deliberately run a counter-conference is disrespectful. And to invoke colonialism in this day and age is insulting. As insulting as the other side yelling “homophobia” every time their agenda is questioned or rejected.

I know my opinion means nothing as an average pewsitter but I am so very tired of the grandstanding, proclamations, speculation, and veiled threats. From both sides. If they spent even half as much time on teaching the Good News and bringing Christ to societies that sorely need Him as they do on planning political moves and making organizational mischief, the Church would be much stronger.

April 25, 12:27 am | [comment link]
21. MichaelA wrote:

“Regardless of the size of the group, the group that distances itself from Canterbury can only say that it represents itself within the Anglican Communion.  When conflict arises, the official teaching of the Anglican Communion will rest with the smaller Lambeth group.”

I’m sorry Brian, but what is your authority for this? The collected saying of Brian?

I am not even going to start trying to unravel your comment, which despite its brevity still manages to contain at least three incorrect assumptions.  ;o)

April 25, 12:36 am | [comment link]
22. Sarah wrote:

RE: “The Lambeth conference is also a symbol of unity . . . “

Well . . . it once actually was.  Now it’s simply pretended to be by a few of the Anglican Communion leaders who need to try to maintain the facade.

We’re not unified.  There are two antithetical gospels represented in the Anglican Communion.  And the natural consequences of that are playing out in front of us.

April 25, 12:44 am | [comment link]
23. MichaelA wrote:

“I don’t have the time, energy or attention span to address your comments point-by-point.”

You do have the energy, what you don’t have is a reasonable basis for a response.  That much is obvious from your post, particularly the last sentence, which is extraordinary – Teatime lecturing the Global South for not spending enough time on “teaching the Good News and bringing Christ to societies that sorely need Him”. 

“And I never said the Western example is pure or shining.”

Your point had no meaning apart from that assumption. 

You are conveying the strong impression that deep down you believe that we in the West are somehow innately superior to those Africans, Asians and South Americans (I’ll let you off in regard to the Australians…), but you don’t want to admit that you think that way.

“On the contrary, I stated quite specifically that the GS is pulling the same crap that the Americans did, and neither power grab is laudable.”

This gets even more convoluted.  What do you mean by “the same crap that the Americans did” – what actions are you talking about?  And what do you mean by a “power grab”? Power over what, and for what purpose? 

“As for history and tradition, I doubt I have to remind you that this is the ANGLICAN communion with roots in England and the C of E and it was through the work of Anglican missionaries that Christianity spread to Africa.”

Fine, how does that support any of your points? 

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is the figurehead of our Communion and his office should be respected.”

Why should his office be respected?  There are indeed reasons, but you don’t appear to know what they are.

“The Lambeth conference is also a symbol of unity; to deliberately run a counter-conference is disrespectful.”

It may well be disrespectful, but you seem unable to articulate why this is wrong.

“And to invoke colonialism in this day and age is insulting.  As insulting as the other side yelling “homophobia” every time their agenda is questioned or rejected.”

I don’t find accusations of homophobia insulting at all, so there really is no point saying this to me. 

“I know my opinion means nothing as an average pewsitter but I am so very tired of the grandstanding, proclamations, speculation, and veiled threats.”

The Apostle Paul was accused of the same things by his opponents, so I think somehow we will all survive your accusations.

“If they spent even half as much time on teaching the Good News and bringing Christ to societies that sorely need Him as they do on planning political moves and making organizational mischief, the Church would be much stronger.”

They do.  Not just “half the time”, but many multiples of the time.  And that is why the Church in the Global South is indeed “much stronger”.

You have spoken the truth, and it is that truth which cuts the ground from under your position.

April 25, 2:01 am | [comment link]
24. Br. Michael wrote:

If Lambeth is so authoritative, how come TEC and Canada completely disregard Lambeth 1.10 and the AC resolutely not only did nothing about it, but actively defended, and still defends their, their disobedience.  And every attempt by the Global South to get the ABC and the AC to do their job of actually being a real Communion with a common belief is labeled schismatic.

And now the ineffectual ABC and ineffectual Lambeath Conf. and the other instruments of unity that ware throughly gutted by a perfidious ABC are the sine qua non of Communion?  I don’t think so.  The Communion should transcend false prophets.  But if they are, then a fake Communion is nothing I care to be a part of.

But we have had all these arguments for the past 10 years or so.  And now GAFCON will seek to step into the vacuum that is the AC.

April 25, 6:38 am | [comment link]
25. Brian from T19 wrote:

MichaelA, your mean-spiritedness aside, you fall into the “nuh-uh” trap of discourse.  Simply disagreeing with a point is not an argument.  Asking for defense of a point is just busy work. Deconstruction of statements is a cute parlor trick.  If you have something concrete to offer, let us know.

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

April 25, 8:38 am | [comment link]
26. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Simply disagreeing with a point is not an argument.”

Who said anything about an argument? That would imply some foundational basis in common for both sides to have an exchange that would clarify and perhaps teach the other.

As it is, Brian makes assertions, and MichaelA makes counter-assertions.  That’s really all that anybody can do, once one recognizes the chasm between the two foundational worldviews—simply place on the record counter-assertions, while pointing out, on occasion, the internal contradictions and irrationality of the others’ assertions.

April 25, 9:06 am | [comment link]
27. Brian from T19 wrote:

That’s really all that anybody can do, once one recognizes the chasm between the two foundational worldviews—simply place on the record counter-assertions, while pointing out, on occasion, the internal contradictions and irrationality of the others’ assertions.

If MichaelA were offering any assertion, then your statement would be true.  Saying “No it doesn’t” is not an assertion or repudiation.  Compare, for example, your counter assertions which not only make a separate point but also offer some evidence or basis for argument with MichaelA’s statements of “prove it. I’m OK with being called a homophobe. I like to grandstand because I am like the Apostle Paul.”  To paraphrase an old saying, some of us are on meat and some of us are on milk.  Apparently some of us are on hot air wink

The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that <u>interventions are not to be sanctioned</u>. - Archbishop Rowan Williams

April 25, 9:46 am | [comment link]
28. Sarah wrote:

Brian, I disagree, although of course I always think my comments are deeply substantive and on-point.  ; > )

MichaelA has utterly rejected pretty much the assumed premises of almost everything that Teatime asserted.  His most substantive point was in noting that the Global South *is* an immensely stronger and more fruitful church than the Northern/Western churches, and he rejected Teatime’s implication that both sets stand on the “same ground” and equally do not teach “the Good News” and bring “Christ to societies that sorely need Him.” The two sets do not stand on the same ground, and the idea that the Global South churches do not preach enough or challenge and bring Christ to their societies, as compared to TEC is, frankly, ludicrous. 

So his major rejection of premises—or as I put it, “counter assertions” to Teatime’s—had to do with her implication that both were somehow similar in their Gospel-focus.

Of course, Teatime’s point—as is the case with most self-perceived-moderates [I personally think she’s a very tired and frustrated conservative, but that’s an aside]—is to imply that *both actions can’t be done at once*—so a church cannot reasonably preach the Gospel, bring Christ to their societies *and* defend the faith and act to defend the integrity, boundaries, and witness of the entity in which a church resides.  That also is an unacceptable premise.  Of course, a church may and must do all three things.

It appears that Teatime disagrees with their strategy of defending the faith and integrity, boundaries, and witness of the entity in which they reside, more than she disagrees with the actual principle; surely she wouldn’t say “no, they must not defend the faith over against the revisionist gospel, nor must they defend the integrity, boundaries, and witness of the entity in which they reside.”  The Global South—in broad majority—have decided that in order to defend the faith and integrity, boundaries, and witness of the entity in which they reside, they must carve out their own subsets.

I personally think they’re right, and I’m guessing that Teatime doesn’t.  Since Communion discipline has failed, a subset must be carefully and strategically created whereby they can stand as a witness over against the revisionist subset in the Communion, rather like the Diocese of South Carolina has quite rightly done in TEC.

He then dealt—at a more minor level—with the idea that the word “homophobia” was somehow an insult—it’s no longer that, thanks to the gross deconstruction, manipulation, and misuse of the word by revisionist activists—and an equivalent “insult” to the word “colonialist.”  Neither accusation is all that insulting.

The rest of his comments seem to simply be pointing out that Teatime’s not willing to defend her assertions.

I personally can understand that stance on Teatime’s part. I don’t generally defend my assertions, beyond clarification and repudiation-of-other-assertions, since I recognize that there’s not enough foundational that we agree on to really create a meaningful exchange.  So I can understand Teatime’s refusal to really participate in an exchange with MichaelA, since they don’t agree about some pretty basic things regarding 1) the Global South’s faithful witness as opposed to TEC’s and 2) the Global South’s strategy of defense of the Gospel within the Anglican Communion.

But in summary, MichaelA offered plenty of assertions which are antithetically opposed to Teatime’s.  Probably MichaelA is simply not as cynical as I am and still believes that fruitful exchanges or arguments can still be had.  I gave up on that many years ago, once I recognized the various chasms in assumptions and premises.  All one can do is witness—to say “no, that’s incorrect and I assert an opposition to your assertion”—and then move on.

April 25, 10:51 am | [comment link]
29. Boniface wrote:

Michael A: Excellent

April 25, 10:26 pm | [comment link]
30. MichaelA wrote:

There is little I can add to points made by Br. Michael and Sarah.

I genuinely would like to see the Anglican Communion survive with Canterbury as a focus.  I fear that is growing less and less likely, and that trend is occurring precisely because there are too many people who have no interest in WHY things have come to this pass.  If we don’t comprehend the past (or aren’t interested in comprehending it) then we have litte hope of influencing the future.

April 25, 11:27 pm | [comment link]


© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com


<< Back to main page

<< Return to Mobile view (headlines)