Daily Archives: July 6, 2007

In cased you missed them: You Tube videos of ++Akinola's interview with Ruth Gledhill

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:

The videos
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)

The articles
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2026348.ece
http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2007/07/peter-akinola-w.html

[thanks to Scott at Magic Statistics for the nice roundup post which reminded us about the videos]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Global South Churches & Primates, Resources: Audio-Visual

On the lighter side: Countdown starts to find modern 7 global wonders

From Reuters:

LISBON (Reuters) – Peru’s Machu Picchu, Jordan’s Petra and the Acropolis were among the top contenders to be picked as the new seven Wonders of the World with just a few hours to go in a massive poll to pick the winners.

Voting in what may be the biggest ever global online poll closes at midnight on Friday ahead of the announcement of the winners at a ceremony on Saturday in Lisbon. More than 90 million people have voted so far.

Organizers say the contest is a unique exercise in leveling the global cultural playing field by putting hallmarks of European civilization on an equal footing with other cultures such as Mexico’s Mayas.

“We live in a Eurocentric world,” said Tia Vering, spokeswoman for the New 7 Wonders of the World (www.new7wonders.com) organization.

“When have we ever compared symbols of European civilization with, for instance, Mayan civilization?”

Europe’s leading contenders are the Acropolis in Athens, Rome’s Colisseum and the Eiffel Tower. They are competing with Machu Picchu, Mexico’s Chichen Itza ruins, India’s Taj Mahal, Petra in Jordan, Christ Redeemer in Brazil and the statues of Easter Island.

Whole article is here.

What would you vote for and why?

Posted in * Culture-Watch

From the headlines: Prophet Cartoons Protester Convicted of Incitement to Murder

From the International Herald Tribune:

Prophet cartoons protester convicted in London of incitement to murder

LONDON: A speaker at a rally protesting against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed was convicted Thursday of inciting murder.

Mizanur Rahman, 24, of London, spoke at a February 2006 demonstration protesting the publication in Europe of the cartoons, first published in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten daily.

Prosecutors showed video of Rahman speaking about British soldiers and saying, “We want to see them coming home in body bags. We want to see their blood running in the streets of Baghdad.”

Rahman also had placards calling for the beheading and annihilation of anyone who insulted Islam.

He and three others convicted of offenses at the demonstration face sentencing on July 18.

Rahman had pleaded not guilty, and said the microphone had been thrust into his hand and that he was only repeating chants from others.

From IHT
(hat tip: Abu Daoud)

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For those wishing to refresh their memory of Feb 2006’s Cartoon Crisis, Kendall has a lot of links and wrote an excellent analysis of the issue on his old blog. (If the old blog is down, here’s the Google Cache version).

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religious Freedom / Persecution

Tech update: formatting in comments (especially for links)

We’ve posted at least once, maybe twice before on the issue of HTML code and formatting in the comments. For whatever reason, HTML doesn’t work well in the comments here. Don’t know why or whether Greg G. will be able to fix it.

However, thanks to a very clever commenter, we’ve learned that what DOES work just fine is what’s known as “Bulletin Board” code. In a week now, Bulletin Board code has worked perfectly for me every time I’ve tried it. Even with complex urls which contain spaces or “arguments” (like search queries).

For most formatting (bold, italics, underline, blockquote), Bulletin Board code is just like HTML except you use square brackets instead of angle brackets.

For links, however, the code is different. Here’s how Bulletin Board code works for links. It’s actually easier than HTML:

[url= the link ] the name [/url]

thus for a link to T19 it looks like this:
[url=http://new.kendallharmon.net/wp-content/uploads/]Titusonenine[/url]

You can read more here.

Posted in * Admin

Seattle Times: Priest Drawn to Islam Loses her Collar for a Year

The latest on the Ann Holmes Redding story, in response to yesterday’s news from Bishop Wolf of Rhode Island. Thanks to one of our commenters for the hat tip on this. We hadn’t yet gotten a chance to check the latest news. Trying to work and blog at the same time is hard!

Priest drawn to Islam loses her collar for year

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times religion reporter

The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, a local Episcopal priest who announced she is both Muslim and Christian, will not be able to serve as a priest for a year, according to her bishop.

During that year, Redding is expected to “reflect on the doctrines of the Christian faith, her vocation as a priest, and what I see as the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam,” the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, bishop of the Diocese of Rhode Island, wrote in an e-mail to Episcopal Church leaders.

Redding was ordained more than 20 years ago by the then-bishop of Rhode Island, and it is that diocese that has disciplinary authority over her.

During the next year, Redding “is not to exercise any of the responsibilities and privileges of an Episcopal priest or deacon,” Wolf wrote in her e-mail. Wolf could not be reached for immediate comment.

“I’m deeply saddened, but I’ve always said I would abide by the rulings of my bishop,” said Redding, who met with Wolf last week. Redding, who characterized their conversation as amicable, said the two would continue to communicate throughout the year.

During the meeting, Redding said she took off her priest’s collar and accepted Wolf’s invitation to hold it for the year.

“I understand she’s holding it as an indication that we’re both in this together,” Redding said.

At the end of the year, the two will revisit the issue.

“I understand that one of my options would be to voluntarily leave the priesthood,” Redding said.

At this moment, though, she is not willing to do that. “The church is going to have to divorce me if it comes to that,” she said. “I’m not going to go willingly.”

But she also doesn’t completely rule it out, saying: “God will guide me over this year.”

Redding’s bishop in Seattle, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner of the Diocese of Olympia, who accepts Redding as an Episcopal priest and a Muslim, said Wolf’s decision is a good compromise.

Read the rest at the Seattle Times.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Church Discipline / Ordination Standards, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Joel Osteen to preach in the UK. Stephen Bates of the Guardian profiles Osteen

Stephen Bates of the Guardian profiles U.S. evangelist Joel Osteen who is currently on a preaching tour in Britain.

An excerpt:

Osteen was named most-watched pastor in America last year and America’s most fascinating person. This for a man whose Lakewood Church is a converted basketball stadium in Houston, Texas, whose ministry started only eight years ago and whose message is one that could charitably be described as theology lite. He gets 30,000 in his congregation every weekend and 18 million more tune in each month around the world to watch his services. That’s probably the secret. Osteen, a slight 44-year-old with a Texan drawl and a modest manner and gleaming teeth, smart suits and slicked-back hair, is not from the generation of hellfire preachers peddling old time religion. Nor, more importantly, is he one of the leaders of the religious right, men like Falwell and Pat Robertson whose pulpits and television studios have been platforms for nakedly partisan political messages designed to win secular power. Instead, Osteen’s is an affirming gospel, exemplified in the title of his book Your Best Life Now, which has sold more than 3 million copies since it was published three years ago.

Go to one of his services, as I did last year, and you will be told God wants you to do well: “God is a good God. He is smiling down on each one of you today We are going out for next week changed by God … Lord, we are filled with hope.”

Attending a service is an extraordinary experience. There are no religious symbols in the building. The stage is decorated with artificial waterfalls and a giant revolving globe, while above all flies an enormous stars and stripes.

The message of Osteen’s 12-minute sermons – precisely timed to hit the programme schedule – is studiously upbeat: if you keep a right attitude, God will reward you. It even extends to physical fitness in the obesity capital of the US: “Make changes for your health’s sake and God will make you better … if you get the physical side in balance, you will be rewarded by God.”

One on one, explains Don Iloff, Osteen’s press officer and brother-in-law, Joel knows where the rubber hits the road: “He’s telling them, God loves you, come on back. When they listen to Joel, they recognise a new face of God.”

Joel, he explains, does not have a great deal of time for pastoral work; visiting the sick, for example. There’s not enough time: that sermon takes two days to write and rehearse each week.

The full article is here.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Theology

BBC Radio 4 on Church of England Synod and Anglican Covenant

A kind reader tipped us off to BBC Radio 4’s program this morning. He says it featured a good discussion of the Anglican Covenant and the issues facing the Church of England.

Here’s the link to listen in.

The Church of England segment is 5 minutes long, beginning at 39 minutes into the program and has background and comment from across the spectrum including Marilyn McCord Adams (a well-known reappraiser), an ACI Conference participant from Wycliffe, Dr Graham Kings (Fulcrum), Christopher Hill (Bishop of Guildford), Colin Slee (Dean of Southwark).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Matt Kennedy's essays on the Articles of Religion

Over at Stand Firm, Matt Kennedy has now posted two entries in a series of essays on the Articles of Religion.

On the First Article of Religion

Who is the Son?: Essays on the Articles of Religion part 2

It has become apparent recently through reading responses to the proposed Covenant Draft, that many reappraisers within TEC reject the truth and authority of the Articles of Religion. This elf is thinking especially of SE Florida’s response which stated:

The statement “led by the Holy Spirit, it [i.e. each member Church, and the Communion] has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons,” is factually untrue and inappropriate for a Communion-wide Covenant. […] Moreover, the “truthfulness” of several of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion is debatable (e.g. Articles VII, XIII, XVII, XVIII, XX, XXIX, and XXXIII). The validity of several of the Articles has been a subject of debate and doubt in The Episcopal Church since its inception.

Obviously the question of a Covenant raises the question of the Formularies. Thus this elf really welcomes and appreciates Matt’s effort to help us examine the Articles afresh. Go read his essays!

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Resources & Links, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Christology, Resources: blogs / websites, Theology

A Houston Chronicle article about Katharine Jefferts Schori, and KJS' Virginia Podcast link

I’m not really sure we need to post yet another news story about Katharine Jefferts Schori. At least to this elf, they all begin to sound alike. But in the “For the Record” category, here’s an excerpt from the Houston Chronicle’s article on the Presiding Bishop’s recent visit there.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Episcopal leader urges teamwork in repairing the world

[…]

“The reality is that reconciliation and freedom go hand in hand,” she told Houstonians and members of the Union of Black Episcopalians in a morning service at downtown’s Christ Church Cathedral. “The irony is that freedom, reconciliation and the reign of God are all around us, and yet none of them is fully known or experienced ”” not yet.”

Jefferts Schori, who was elected the first female leader of the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church in June 2006, is on her first official visit to Houston. Her sermon was a highlight of the 39th annual meeting of the Union of Black Episcopalians, many participants said. She will lead a forum today at the conference, which concludes Friday.

“We live in a world that is not yet whole, and we understand our vocation to be its healing or repair,” she said in a sanctuary filled with both black and white Episcopalians. “Our Jewish brothers and sisters call it ‘Tikkun Alam,’ the repair of the world.”

A healed world is an ancient dream, the presiding bishop said during her sermon. Telling stories of both joy and grief is part of the healing process.

“Over and over and over again, the prophets railed against those who brought greater divisions to the world, those who bring more injustice, those whose deeds sow destruction,” she said.

Jefferts Schori said there are many kinds of reconciliations ”” “between individuals, within families, among nations, between politicians and, yes, even theological factions.”

The last was a subtle reference to the struggle between the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion over the role of gays in the church. The 77 million-member worldwide church has been in turmoil since 2003, when the Americans consecrated an openly gay bishop.

“Why is loving our neighbors such hard work?” she asked, as the standing-room-only congregation laughed.

Here’s the full article.

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Also of note on the Katharine Jefferts Schori beat:

A reader sent us links to the podcast of her recent radio appearance in Virginia. This elf has been too busy to listen and normally doesn’t like to post things without verifying them herself. However, the reader noted that the call-in section of the show was quite interesting in places. The easiest place to find all the links is the Lead blog (part of the Episcopal Cafe site).

If any readers have listened to the podcast and have specific suggestions as to short segments you recommend, we’d welcome that information. Thanks.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop

Bishop Tony Burton writes Saskatchewan clergy

Bishop Tony Burton of the Diocese of Saskatchewan in Canada has written his clergy following Canada’s General Synod. Here’s a key section:

We talked a lot at the General Synod about the implications of baptism, that Christ has grafted us into a whole new set of complicated relationships in his body to which we needed to respond. Nobody was in doubt that the body is fevered and disoriented at the moment. Our place in the Anglican Communion was never very far from our minds.

From one perspective this was a General Synod at which nothing happened””at least nothing of obvious consequence, blazing illumination or historic moment. The Synod tidied and tweaked and consolidated earlier initiatives, rekindled some old missionary loves, and decided, somewhat grudgingly, to give its troubled marriage to the Anglican Communion another chance. A few trial balloons were floated and referred away to committees. We elected an honorable man as Primate in a vote for continuity. We welcomed a new National Indigenous Bishop as a harbinger of good things to come but he had already been with us for a while and was already a much-loved member of the family. We had lunch with our Lutheran relatives. No nettles were grasped, no Rubicons were crossed, no sacred cows were slain, no blood was left on the floor, nobody stormed out.

In short, it was a miracle.

It takes only one match to begin a conflagration in a dry forest. [1] Our Communion has been drying out for a long time. In Winnipeg, we were all smokers, and a few of us lit up, but we went home with the old growth intact, hoping for rain.

This was a disappointment to many people for a variety of reasons. On the left and the right, there were plenty of people who wanted to witness the final rupture, the definitive apostasy, the moment of liberation, the beginning of a new world, clean and free from that bearded old wood.

It came close. After having passed a much-amended procedural motion which ended up stating the obvious (that same-sex blessings are not in the Creeds), the bishops defeated by two votes a motion to allow local dioceses to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions. Whether one agreed with this decision or not, there is no question that it bought time for the Anglican Church of Canada to find a way to walk together with the Anglican Communion. Encouragingly, from the beginning of this debate to the end of it, there was nothing but good will shown to Anglicans with same-sex attractions. Their full membership and inclusion in the Church, which derives from baptism, was simply not at issue.

Our condition as a Church and Communion remains grave. The doctors quarrel among themselves. We agree on neither diagnosis nor cure. Can the doctrine of Christ be separated like a yolk from its egg? Perhaps on our knees, in fear and trembling, in a theological environment galaxies away from the aridities of this present generation, but surely not by a vote of hands in a political forum.

The full letter is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Bishops, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007

3 Parishes in Connecticut approve merger

ENFIELD – Three of the four Episcopal parishes in the North Central Episcopal Regional Ministry have voted to merge and form one single parish, church officials said Monday. Parishioners of St. Mary’s and St. Andrew’s churches in Enfield and Calvary Church in Suffield voted for the merger at a special meeting on June 25.

The North Central Episcopal Ministry or NCERM, which was formed in November 1991, consists of St. Mary’s, St. Andrew’s, Calvary Church, and Grace Church in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor. Grace Church, which had decided to join the new parish in December, reversed its decision and voted not to join in the merger.

St. Andrew’s, at 28 Prospect St., had voted against the merger in December, but changed its position and decided to join.

[…]

The new parish, which has yet to be named, will temporarily be located in St. Mary’s Church at 383 Hazard Ave. while officials look for a new location, Bushnell said.

The parish will have almost 650 parishioners from Enfield, Somers, Suffield, and Windsor Locks, Bushnell said.

“The reality is that the congregations were small, independent, and struggling,” Bushnell said of the reason for the merger.

The churches were struggling in terms of finances as well as the small number of parishioners, he said.
In a letter to parishioners, Bushnell expressed his disappointment that Grace Church decided not to join the new parish.

“The joy I feel at the decision of three NCERM parishes to join together in a single new large parish is diminished by the prospect that our friends at Grace Church have declined to join us in this new venture in Christian mission,” Bushnell wrote.

Bushnell said he did not know why Grace Church declined to join the new parish.

The new parish is in the process of applying to the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut for acceptance as a single parish and if granted approval, the new parish will be admitted to the union at the Convention of the Episcopal Diocese in October.

The full article is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Connecticut

Two Canadian Anglican parishes offer same-sex ceremonies

The dust has barely settled and already, different interpretations of the decisions General Synod made last month about human sexuality have led one parish to publicly offer blessings to same-gender unions, and another to say that it would not deny a parishioner’s request for a same-sex marriage.

During its seven-day meeting in Winnipeg, the church’s highest governing body approved a resolution saying that same-sex blessings are “not in conflict” with the church’s core doctrine but defeated another that would have given dioceses the power to offer them in churches.

There is enough ambiguity in those decisions that it is left open to dioceses and churches to offer same-sex blessings, said Rev. Jim Ferry, who was fired for being involved in a homosexual relationship in 1991. He has since been given some duties at Holy Trinity church in downtown Toronto.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canadian General Synod 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Christianity Today: Reflections of an African Theologian on Mission

Christianity Today has a really interesting interview with Ugandan theologian Emmanuel Katongole. We found his reflections on the interaction between church and culture particularly interesting in this age of globalisation and important to consider as we reasserting Anglicans form new partnerships with the Global South.
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From Tower-Dwellers to Travelers
Ugandan-born theologian Emmanuel Katongole offers a new paradigm for missions.

Interview by Andy Crouch | posted 7/03/2007

Christian leaders from five war-torn countries of East Africa gathered in Kampala, Uganda, last November to strengthen the church’s witness in the midst of conflict. They were convened by Emmanuel Katongole, a Catholic priest whose biography embodies both ethnic tension and Christian hope. Katongole was born and raised in Uganda, the son of Rwandan parents. His father embraced Christian faith as an adult, and his joyful seriousness about Christianity shaped Katongole, who joined the priesthood and trained as a philosophical theologian in Belgium. Katongole now teaches at Duke Divinity School, where he is co-director, with Chris Rice, of the Center for Reconciliation. He spoke with Andy Crouch about this year’s big question for the Christian Vision Project: What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God’s mission in the world?

You’ve lived on three continents and in four countries, and your parents were from yet another country, Rwanda. How does your story affect your understanding of God’s mission in the world?

Being an immigrant can be a blessing. God’s mission, as I read it in 2 Corinthians 5:17, is new creation. God is reconciling the world to himself. And there is a sense of journey that is connected with that. When, later on, Paul says that “we are ambassadors of God’s reconciliation, God is appealing through us,” he is inviting us into a journey toward a new kind of community. People looking at Christians should be confused. Who are these people? Are they black? Are they white? Are they Americans? Are they Ugandans? In Revelation, John sees people drawn from all languages and tribes and nations: an unprecedented congregation. Living on three continents has deepened my understanding of the church as such a congregation; at the same time, it has heightened my sense of Christian life as a journey and of what it means to live as a pilgrim, a resident alien.

That is reminiscent of the name Christians gave themselves in Acts, “people of the Way.”

That is, the way of Jesus. I also take that to mean people on the way, on pilgrimage. We have settled too easily. Instead of living out that story of journey toward a new creation, we tend to live out the stories of nationality. And then we forget what it means to journey. It’s not difficult to see why we settle, because our nations or tribes or races try to convince us that life can’t get any better than this. They ask us, “Where would you want to go? Why would you want to leave?” This is not just something that happens in a superpower like America. Even small nations like Rwanda, even small tribes, have an America-sized imagination of themselves!

The challenge that Christianity faces in our time is the challenge of tribalism. There’s a church in Rwanda where the baptismal font still stands. But it bears the scars of being hacked by machetes, and the church was littered with thousands of bones of people who were killed. You couldn’t find a more strange and ironic and tragic image than that: a common baptism surrounded by killing in the name of Hutu and Tutsi.

Many of us feel we are beyond that, but the dynamics of national identity remain””even of ecclesial identity. We can be settled in our Catholic power. We can be settled in our Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, or evangelical identity, and we feel a certain power from that. We think that our mission derives from that power.

The story of the tower of Babel begins with people settled in the land. The tower speaks of strength, power, and stability. It speaks of the ability to stand above the land and survey it. Pilgrims don’t build a tower! In our day, I think what God is doing is exactly what he did for that tower””dispersing people, spreading them out, scattering them. Scattering, the way I read it in Genesis, is a good thing. It is part of God’s purpose for God’s people. It is meant to be good news for both Israel and the nations.

[…]

Are specific places and local identities important in a life of pilgrimage?

Absolutely. Pilgrimage actually makes us more aware of localness, because it brings us into contact with specific places and people. People sometimes ask me how “the church in America” should relate to “the church in Rwanda.” But that level of abstraction grows out of a tower-building mentality. There are only specific Americans from specific places with specific gifts and stories; there are only specific Rwandans.

The language of culture actually prevents us from engaging other people. It leads us to see ourselves as permanently separate from them: We have our culture, and they have theirs. It keeps us from allowing others to radically challenge us””that’s just their culture, you see, and it does not have anything to do with our culture.

What would it mean for Christians to have a certain naiveté about all these things called culture? How do we inhabit what we might call tactics instead of strategies? Strategy is the posture of an army, of a nation state, of a business that is able to conduct surveillance of its territory and all others. Tactics, on the other hand, are weapons of the weak, of those who have no place to call their own, who live in a territory that is surveilled and controlled by others.

Isn’t that a waste of our capacity to think strategically?

There are two dominant models of mission in our time. There is the model of mission as aid, which arises out of the great need we see in the world””famine, AIDS, poverty””and also out of a recognition of how much American Christians have. So American Christians go to Africa to help. This can be criticized as giving a person a fish for a day, but if that person is starving, then this model of mission actually does some good. A lot of people are being helped by this kind of mission. But the problem is that from this mission, Christians return to a tower. Their world remains their world, and Africa’s world remains Africa’s world.

Then there is the model of mission as partnership. It arises out of a sense of mutuality and solidarity between churches in the North and the South. So churches develop sister-parish relationships and so forth. The hope is to teach people how to fish, to equip them to do the fishing.

But as far as I can see, the pond in which they fish is still their pond. Christians in America have their own pond. We are still talking about your pond and our pond!

This model also overlooks the difference in power between America and the rest of the world. One gets an impression that because of the numerical strength of Africa’s church, Africans Christians can be equal partners with their Western counterparts. But we cannot pretend that the power of America does not exist. There is a new desire to learn from one another, but how deep does the learning go?

Read it all here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Theology, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

Inclusive Church: the Anglican Covenant and Extra-Provincial Bishops

From a July 5th entry on the Inclusive Church blog

The growing number of bishops created by African provinces for “pastoral oversight” in North America (and potentially in other provinces), the attempts to create a Covenant that defines Anglican doctrine and ethics, and the apparent intention to organise an alternative to the Lambeth Conference in London next year all point towards one thing. The strategy to destabilise the Anglican Communion is moving into another phase.

The creation by the provinces of Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria of extra-provincial Bishops is against the expressed wish of the Windsor Report and the post Lambeth ’98 process of listening and reconciliation. It is more evidence that the Primates of those provinces and their supporters in the US and Britain profoundly misunderstand the nature of the Communion. We very much regret that the Chair of the Covenant Design Group, the Archbishop of the West Indies, has welcomed these appointments.

Inclusive Church’s aim is to support and celebrate the traditional breadth and generosity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it has been received and passed on through Anglican history and lived out in the Communion. This creates challenges when there are fundamental disagreements. But the way to respond to disagreements is not to walk apart, nor to create separate structures, nor to seek to impose one particular point of view on the Communion. It is to engage, to communicate, to speak, to listen and to learn.

Clearly there are outstanding issues over how the Communion should respond to the reality that many Provinces include lesbian and gay Christians who live with partners in loving, faithful relationships. But the extraordinary way in which this issue has been allowed to dominate the life of the Communion over the past ten years is not coincidence.

There can be little doubt that the issue is being used by some, mainly conservative, Christians as a lever to try to change the Communion into something it is not; from a conciliar church into a confessional one. From a praxis-based Communion where the bonds between us are the bonds of fellowship and love to a codified Communion where exclusions are legally determined and legally enforced, and where the Communion defines itself not by who it includes but by who it excludes.

The Covenant process has been moved, by this group, away from its original intention which was to affirm the bonds of fellowship which exist. The way in which the draft was received by some at the Primates meeting in Tanzania is indication that, whatever the intention, it will be used to enforce a particular interpretation of the Scriptures to the detriment of the life of the Communion. We do not need a Curia, and the process of drafting a Covenant is already giving more power to the Primates than is justified by our history, by our life and by some of their actions to date.

The full text is here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Organizations, Anglican Covenant

Synod members to urge caution over Anglican Covenant

Justin Brett, a lay member from the diocese of Oxford, wants the Synod to “note” rather than “affirm” the Primates’ recommendation. On Wednesday, he described as “dubious” the idea that Synod should, as he put it, effectively write a blank cheque. He also expressed concern that the timetable for drawing up the Covenant was already well advanced.

This was not a wrecking amendment, he said. “It’s trying to make sure that when we do vote on the motion, we do so with a sizeable majority.” There was too much uncertainty surrounding the process, Mr Brett said. The various views expressing doubts about the Covenant “all hang on whether we’re absolutely sure we are doing the right thing, and have been talking long enough”.

Another amendment, tabled by the Revd Jonathan Clark, a member of Affirming Catholicism, reflects concern about the power of the Primates. It seeks to ensure that the Synod gets the chance to endorse the Church’s official response to the current draft Covenant.

The amended section (c) would read: “invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to bring back to the next group of sessions of Synod for approval a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)