Daily Archives: December 15, 2007

Bishop Epting responds to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent Letter

There were some very tough things said about The Episcopal Church in his letter. And one wonders why we continue to be singled out on the issue of the blessing of same sex unions when it is going on all around the Anglican Communion, and in other Christian communions, ”˜under the radar screen.’ Nonetheless, there was also appreciation for the hard work done by The Episcopal Church, and its bishops, and a recognition that we have probably gone about as far as we can right now in seeking to clarify our position with respect to the Windsor Report and the Primates’ requests from Dar Es Salaam.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

David Anderson responds to Rowan Williams' Advent Letter

In the Advent Letter there is no call for TEC to repent or even do better, but rather for all of us to accept that they are locked into their iniquity and we have to accept that as it is. They stay at the table, and the orthodox have the burden of trying to figure out how to live with them. Additionally, it is clear that the AMiA, CANA, Kenya and Uganda USA bishops are not only unwelcome or unworthy to sit with Dr. Williams, but he questions their LEGITIMACY. In one quote he says, “And while ”¦ I understand and respect the good faith of those who have felt called to provide additional episcopal oversight in the USA, there can be no doubt that these ordinations have not been encouraged or legitimized by the Communion overall.” It is finally not those few of us that he is really attacking, but our Primates: Akinola, Orombi, Nzimbi, and Kolini. The actions of Primate Venables really upset his sense of order as well, because now Canadian and American bishops and one entire diocese have changed provinces and moved to the Southern Cone.

Dr. Williams announces in his letter that he is seizing yet more power and initiative, principally to punish the orthodox, by several new actions. He is launching “professionally facilitated conversations” between TEC and those they are most in dispute with to see if there is any better level of mutual understanding. What part of the last ten years does he not understand? The TEC revisionists do understand us and fear us. That is why, like pharaoh, they are trying to prevent our multiplying. And we do understand the revisionists, and we are determined not to go to hell with them, no matter what the cost of our resistance. In launching this new action, he also announces that he knows who he will pick to do it. This is not collegial. This is power.

He also intends to convene a small group of Primates, hand picked by himself, to work supposedly with other groups to decide “whether”¦it is possible for provinces or individual bishops at odds with the expressed mind of the Communion {does he mean boundary crossings or adherence to Lambeth 1.10?} to participate fully in representative Communion agencies, including ecumenical bodies.” This means that those Primates who have done the morally right thing could be kicked off of Communion boards and bodies for their “disruptive actions.” Then concerning those of us who are US Anglican bishops answering to overseas Primates, this hand-picked group of primates “will thus also be bound to consider the exact status of bishops ordained by one province for ministry in another.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Integrity Responds to Rowan Williams' Advent Letter

From here:

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Dear Integrity members and friends:

By now you have read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter. In contrast to the well-known hymn quoted above, Rowan Williams’ letter gives LGBT Anglicans scant hope of liberty from the bonds of ecclesiastical discrimination. He erroneously states that Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution 1.10””which rejects “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture”””is the clear consensus of the entire Anglican Communion. He decries General Convention 2003’s approval of the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson and its affirmation of local rites for blessing same-gender relationships. He expresses frustration at our House of Bishop’s failure to implement clear moratoria on additional LGBT bishops or blessing rites. He denigrates the Episcopal Church’s polity””which includes all orders of ministry in decision making. He defends his decision not to invite Bishop Robinson to the 2008 Lambeth Conference. He expresses his intention to appoint yet another task force to talk about LGBT Anglicans rather to us””again ignoring the now 30-year old commitment to listen to our witness. With prophetic leaders like Rowan Williams at the helm of the Anglican Communion, one could despair that LGBT Anglicans will continue to mourn in exile until Jesus comes again!
But, lo, we are promised that Emmanual will come to us. Despite the present oppressive reality, we are invited to rejoice in our future liberation. There are glimmers of hope. For example, a broad coalition of individuals and organizations around the world is emerging to ensure that the voices of fairness and inclusion are heard at the Lambeth Conference next summer. Groundwork is also being done to move beyond B033 and advance marriage equality at General Convention 2009.

You can help Integrity prepare for our witness at the Lambeth Conference and beyond by making a year-end donation for this important work. Secure, online gifts can be made by going to www.integrityusa.org and clicking the blue DONATE NOW button in the left margin. All contributions to Integrity are tax deductible.

Integrity remains committed to the full inclusion of all of the baptized into the Body of Christ. With your prayers, witness, and support we will continue to work within the Episcopal Church to accomplish that Gospel Agenda.


The Rev. Susan Russell, President

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The Chicago Consultation Responds to Rowan Williams' Advent Letter

(For more information on the Chicago consultation, please read this).

From email:

The following statement, in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent Letter, comes from the steering committee of the Chicago Consultation, an international Anglican group that favors the
full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the Anglican Communion. The Consultation has more than 50 members, including two Primates of the Anglican Communion, 10 diocesan bishops in the
Episcopal Church, and representatives from Brazil, Canada, England, Ghana and New Zealand. It recently completed its initial meeting at Seabury-Western Seminary in Evanston, Ill. For more information see the attached release.

From the steering committee of the Chicago Consultation:

“The archbishop’s lengthy letter contains not a word of comfort to gay and lesbian Christians. In asserting the Communion’s opposition to homophobia, he gives political cover to Archbishop Peter Akinola
and other Primates whose anti-gay activities are a matter of public record. We are especially troubled by the absence of openly gay members on the bodies that may ultimately resolve the issues at hand.
The archbishop’s unwillingness to include gay and lesbian Christians in this process perpetuates the bigotry he purports to deplore.”

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

FatherJake Responds to Rowan Williams' Advent Letter

More meetings, more conversation, all the way to Lambeth, and most likely beyond.

It appears that Dr, Williams has taken the position that the consensus of the Communion is against TEC, and so in order to “articulate the mind of the Communion,” Dr. Williams has adopted that position. The only reason he will not give up on TEC, will not agree that the mission and ministry has failed, is because of the existence of the “Windsor” bishops and others who follow the Communion’s consensus.

Dr. Williams has polled the Communion, and has now come out in support of what he considers the majority view. It is rather ironic that he would make his stand on such a basis, while at the same time calling into question TEC’s democratic model.

This letter will probably manage to hold the Communion together through Lambeth, although it is doubtful if it will be enough to carry us through GC2009.

Dr. Williams has chosen to support those who would exclude others from the Church based on the questionable translation of seven verses from scripture. The concrete act which exemplifies his decision to support that position is his insistence on continuing to exclude Bp. Robinson from Lambeth. He seems to not recognize that by barring Bp. Robinson, he has silenced the most qualified representative of those being persecuted in the Church today. In so doing, it is Dr. Williams who has expressed a “refusal of the cross – and so of the resurrection.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Bishop Jack Iker Responds to Rowan Williams' Advent Letter

From Stand Firm:

The main disconnect for me in the Archbishop’s letter is this: On the one hand, in reference to TEC’s response to the Windsor Report and the Lambeth Resolutions, he acknowledges that “it is extremely unlikely that further meetings will produce any more substantial consensus than that which is now before us.” I believe he is correct. TEC is not going to turn back from its present course. It is not going to abide by the consensus of the Anglican Communion on matters of sexuality.

But on the other hand, he then goes on to call for “professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of The Episcopal Church and those with whom they are most in dispute” in the hope of somehow gaining “a better level of mutual understanding.” This hope is in vain. TEC does not negotiate with those with whom they are in dispute; they litigate. Numerous meetings have produced no acceptable solution for the minority to remain with integrity within TEC.

The best assistance that the Archbishop can offer to address the situation in TEC is to host a mediation that seeks a negotiated settlement for separation, without rancor or litigation.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Huckabee Sees White House 'Bunker Mentality'

Mike Huckabee, who has joked about his lack of foreign policy experience, is criticizing the Bush administration’s efforts, denouncing a go-it-alone “arrogant bunker mentality” and questioning decisions on Iraq.

Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor now running for the Republican presidential nomination, lays out a policy plan that is long on optimism but short on details in the January-February issue of the journal Foreign Affairs, which is published by the Council on Foreign Relations. A copy of his article was released Friday.

“American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out,” Huckabee said. “The Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad. My administration will recognize that the United States’ main fight today does not pit us against the world but pits the world against the terrorists.”

In one specific criticism, Huckabee said Bush did not send enough troops to invade Iraq. And he accused the president of marginalizing Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, who said at the outset of the war that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion. “I would have met with Shinseki privately and carefully weighed his advice,” Huckabee said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

NY Times: Anglican Archbishop Faults Factions

The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, sent a lengthy letter to the members of his warring Anglican Communion on Friday, saying that both sides had violated the Communion’s boundaries and put the church in crisis.

He criticized the American branch, the Episcopal Church, for departing from the Communion’s consensus on Scripture by ordaining an openly gay bishop and blessing same-sex unions, “in the name of the church.”

But the archbishop faulted conservative prelates in Africa, Asia and Latin America for annexing American parishes and an entire California diocese that have recently left the Episcopal Church, and for ordaining conservative Americans as bishops and priests.

“There can be no doubt that these ordinations have not been encouraged or legitimized by the Communion over all,” the archbishop wrote, contradicting those conservatives who said they were acting with his approval.

Of all the new moves, he wrote: “On the ground, it creates rivalry and confusion. It opens the door to complex and unedifying legal wrangles in civil courts.”

In many ways, the letter was an acknowledgment that the Anglican Communion’s factions have fought to a standstill. A meeting of American bishops in New Orleans in September did not produce the clear reversal and apology that conservatives have demanded.

In response to that meeting, leaders of the international provinces came to no consensus, he wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Germany on collision course with Scientology

Germany has sought to nurture tolerance as a national characteristic since World War Two, but it doesn’t stretch to the Church of Scientology. A new Forsa poll shows 74 percent of Germans think Scientology should be banned. The survey comes hard on the heels of a declaration from federal and regional ministers that the movement is unconstitutional. That announcement, the culmination of a row with Scientology dating back to the 1970s, opens the way for a possible ban.

Germany is not alone in refusing to recognise the Church of Scientology as a religion, but it goes further than many other countries in its rejection of the body. It see Scientology as a cult masquerading as a church to make money, a view Scientologists reject.

Agents of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a kind of German FBI, are already gathering information on Scientology and a whole chapter is devoted to it in the intelligence agency’s 2006 report. It describes the movement as having a “totalitarian character” because it seeks to exert control over its members. But the agency is not sure the government will be able to get enough evidence to ban it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Religion & Culture

The discussion of Archbishop Williams' Advent Letter

We are making it unsticky now, so to find it go here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury

Kendall Harmon: An Initial Response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent Letter

This is a thoughtful, prayerful letter and deserves to be treated as such by all Anglicans. It cannot possibly have been easy to put together.

There is much here to be welcomed.

First, he shows a profound awareness of the gift of the Anglican communion and its fragility at the present time, and desires our unity in Christ. Unity plays a strong role in the New Testament. To be part of the third largest Christian family in the world is an awesome responsibility and privilege. If Anglicanism falls apart, everyone loses. I simply cannot say how strongly some reasserters need to hear this message. Dr.Williams says he writes this “out of the profound conviction that the existence of our Communion is truly a gift of God to the wholeness of Christ’s Church and that all of us will be seriously wounded and diminished if our Communion fractures any further.” I wonder if our words and actions have a similar motivation?

Second, there is a strong underscoring of scripture’s authority and importance in our common Anglican life:

The common acknowledgment that we stand under the authority of Scripture as ‘the rule and ultimate standard of faith’, in the words of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral; as the gift shaped by the Holy Spirit which decisively interprets God to the community of believers and the community of believers to itself and opens our hearts to the living and eternal Word that is Christ. Our obedience to the call of Christ the Word Incarnate is drawn out first and foremost by our listening to the Bible and conforming our lives to what God both offers and requires of us through the words and narratives of the Bible. We recognise each other in one fellowship when we see one another ‘standing under’ the word of Scripture.

Third, there is a strong criticism of TEC’s actions. Note carefully that the actions in question were not one but two breaches caused by that fateful gathering, one having to do with the confirmation of an episcopal election, the other having to do with actual liturgical practice. The 2003 actions were not only unilateral, but they plainly imply “a new understanding of Scripture that has not been received and agreed by the wider Church.” Here we have again a reference to Scripture and the need to read and understand Scripture in, with and through the church. Given the importance of this decision, it should have been done with the wider church, but it was not. We should have sought to make a convincing scriptural case for its actions. but we failed to do so.

Let there be no mistake, the heart of the current crisis among Anglicans is a change “in our discipline” and “our interpretation of the Bible.”

More than this it is clear that New Orleans House of Bishops meeting and the JSC Report were insufficient. True, hard work went into them, but there are serious problems here, as to the assurances that were sought. In the case of Episcopal elections the tie in to a possible future General Convention receives special notice, and welcome reference is made to “the distinctive charism of bishops as an order and their responsibility for sustaining doctrinal standards.”

In the case of same sex blessings, what was asked for has simply not been given:

But the declaration on same-sex blessings is in effect a reiteration of the position taken in previous statements from TEC, and has clearly not satisfied many in the Communion any more than these earlier statements. There is obviously a significant and serious gap between what TEC understands and what others assume as to what constitutes a liturgical provision in the name of the Church at large.

(This is a much clearer and more accurate summary than that of the JSC report which had to be corrected by various participants in the New Orleans meeting).

Fourth, there is a welcome description of the Lambeth Conference as “a meeting of the chief pastors and teachers of the Communion, seeking an authoritative common voice.”

Fifth, there is again an underscoring of the need to treat homosexual and lesbian persons with the care of Christ himself. “The Instruments of Communion have consistently and very strongly repeated that it is part of our Christian and Anglican discipleship to condemn homophobic prejudice and violence, to defend the human rights and civil liberties of homosexual people and to offer them the same pastoral care and loving service that we owe to all in Christ’s name.”

That having been said, one is also left with many questions.

How can he recommend consultants given the degree of the breach? I am concerned that the Archbishop of Canterbury underestimates the depth of this problem, alas. “Actions which they deplore or which they simply have not considered” is not strong enough to describe what is, has, and will be happening. The Windsor Report’s language was stronger:

By electing and confirming such a candidate in the face of the concerns expressed by the wider Communion, the Episcopal Church (USA) has caused deep offence to many faithful Anglican Christians both in its own church and in other parts of the Communion.

(Please note carefully, not just offense, but deep offense)

Also, has he not undermined his own argument about Lambeth in the way Lambeth 1998 has been treated? If Lambeth ”is a meeting of the chief pastors and teachers of the Communion, seeking an authoritative common voice,” then why has a province which has unilaterally and blatantly repudiated that voice not suffered real consequences for so doing? What is the point of coming to a meeting to establish a common voice when those who so establish it will not honor it as common in the common life of their own province?

It is very important to underscore here something which many have missed, namely that is is simply insane to come together and discuss whether to do something which has always been considered immoral when one member family of an extended family is already doing it.

I also wish to ask why there is no mention of the fact that there has been no primates meeting since Tanzania? The Primates set in motion the process that produced the Windsor Report, received and deliberated over the meaning of that report for the wider Anglican family, and then set specific guidelines in place for TEC to respond to in order to repair the enormous breach which the TEC leadership caused. Surely they are the logical body to evaluate and deliberate over TEC’s response in New Orleans? The Archbishop of Canterbury risks arrogating to himself too much of a role here in this matter.

Finally, when Dr. Williams writes

I also intend to convene a small group of primates and others, whose task will be, in close collaboration with the primates, the Joint Standing Committee, the Covenant Design Group and the Lambeth Conference Design Group, to work on the unanswered questions arising from the inconclusive evaluation of the primates to New Orleans and to take certain issues forward to Lambeth. This will feed in to the discussions at Lambeth about Anglican identity and the Covenant process; I suggest that it will also have to consider whether in the present circumstances it is possible for provinces or individual bishops at odds with the expressed mind of the Communion to participate fully in representative Communion agencies, including ecumenical bodies. Its responsibility will be to weigh current developments in the light of the clear recommendations of Windsor and of the subsequent statements from the ACC and the Primates’ Meeting; it will thus also be bound to consider the exact status of bishops ordained by one province for ministry in another

He surely puts the emphasis in the right place but he raises so many more questions than he resolves. Who decides who is in this group or not and why, for example? What criteria do they use? By what deadline do they make their decisions? And: given that meetings and consultations have failed so far to resolve the current chasms in the Communion, how will this lead to any different outcome?

With regard to boundary crossings and the like, has not Dr. Williams allowed allowed this letter to look as if it supports the very equivalency between those actions and what TEC has done which the Tanzania Primates meeting said did not exist? Also, I do not feel that the Archbishop of Canterbury realizes that these actions have been undertaken because the Instruments of Communion have sought to provide a refuge for Communion minded Anglicans in the province of TEC, but they have consistently failed to do so.

The bottom line for me is this: we have here truth, but no consequences.

I sense Archbishop Williams really wants to have a Lambeth Conference as a conference of the whole communion. There is, I believe, a way to do this. It will mean not inviting bishops whose diocesan practice contradicts the mind of the communion; it will involve warning those who have been involved in increasing disorder in our common life, it will involve a clear declaration of the nature of the Lambeth Conference and its focus on the Covenant and that Covenant’s relationship to future Lambeth Conferences, and it will involve a called Primates meeting in the middle of the fall of 2008 to consolidate and elucidate what Lambeth and has said and done and its implications for our common life.

All though this crisis Rowan Williams has decided not to decide, and here he has done it again. Although his description of the problem is most welcome, the solution will take a Herculean effort without which the Lambeth Conference will no longer be a real instrument of the whole communion. In a real communion, there is truth, but there are consequences. I am concerned that with the underestimation of the degree of the problem and the lack of clarity involved in a real solution, Dr. Williams Advent letter will be too little, too late. I pray it may be otherwise–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Archbishop of Canterbury, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

San Joaquin bishop asked to confirm status after vote to leave the Episcopal Church

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield saying that she assumes his declaration that he is now under the authority of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone “means you understand yourself to have departed the Episcopal Church and are no longer functioning as a member of the clergy in this Church.”

In a December 14 letter which was emailed to Schofield, Jefferts Schori wrote that she was “deeply saddened” to hear of the San Joaquin convention’s actions.

“I would like to have confirmation from you of this understanding of your status,” she wrote. “Many interrelated matters depend on that status — for example, your membership in the House of Bishops and the acceptability of pension contributions on your behalf.”

Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on December 8 voted overwhelmingly to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin