Daily Archives: July 17, 2008

Martyn Beckford: Lords lament Lambeth

But the chairman, Lord Brabazon of Tara, couldn’t resist an opportunity to have a dig at the ongoing crises in the church and shot back: “If that were all that I was expected to express sympathy for in the Lambeth Conference, that would be easy to do. But I gather that it has other problems.”

For those of us who are covering the conference, at which no decisions are likely to be made nor any differences resolved, it’s not the carbon emissions which cause concern so much as the amount of hot air being generated.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Thought for the Day from Bishop Philip Poole

(ACNS) Incredible Hospitality

The laughs and sighs of the many bishops and spouses gathering to register for the Lambeth Conference gave us all a chance to simply relax and be patient, realising God may have some great revelations for us all in the days ahead, starting with the traditional English queue. Old friends embraced, people shook hands and greeted new people with a warmth and sense of solidarity as the queue moved inch by inch. Spouses compared notes, hat boxes were seen in abundance and some just took the opportunity to sit on the grass and wait!

We are here, Lambeth has begun and from the smiles and energy shown yesterday indicates we are ready to pray and work. The opening session was truly a call to prayer.

The experience of being in a diocese here in the UK was an incredible opportunity as well. The days we spent in Southwark were incredible. The greatest joy was in meeting the people, and in particular one 75 year old lay worker who through all the changes and chances of life, is faithful in her worship and service in a parish that has had to make many adjustments over the years.

We come actually more refreshed, after worshipping and learning what our fellow Anglicans are doing in the name of the Lord. I found great similarities as well many challenging ideas to take home with me and with my work with the Compass Rose Society (come see our display in Keynes College.

I sensed a true common experience, even though culture and experiences were different, and a common pledge to be Christ’s presence whether in the Mothers’ Union or ministries with kids on an estate in busy London.

I look forward to the retreat and the fays ahead with much hope.

Bishop Philip Poole
Canada, President Compass Rose Society

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams opens the Lambeth Conference

(ACNS) The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams opened the Lambeth Conference to the sounds of South African Alleluias and prayers for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He spoke to the gathering of Anglican Bishops from around the world addressing the first plenary session of the Lambeth Conference yesterday (July 16) He stressed that the Conference had a very strong emphasis on drawing together round the Bible and had been designed as a place “in which every voice can be heard and in which we build Christian relationship”.

He said that his own prayer and hope for the Conference “is not that after two weeks we will find a solution to all our problems but we shall as I have written more than once in some sense find the trust in God and one another that will give us the energy to change in the way God wants us to change. That is the most important thing we can pray for, the energy to change as God wants us to change individually and as a Communion.”
Some Bishops have chosen to stay away although only one Province (Uganda) has no Bishops present. Dr Williams acknowledged this fact, “I think it’s important I should say that it’s a great grief that many of our brothers and sisters in the Communion have not felt able to be with us for these weeks, a grief because we need their voice and they need ours in learning Christ together.”

Dr Williams said that ”“ as he had written to many people in recent months ”“ “I respect and accept the decisions that have been made but together we need in prayer to acknowledge the wound that that makes in our fellowship and to acknowledge also as I must do myself that we still have to do to mend relations that have been hurt. I hope that in these weeks we shall daily be remembering those who are not with us upholding them in our prayers, in our respect and love.

He continued: “I don’t imagine that simply building relationships solves our problems but the nature of our calling as Christians is such that we dare not and I say very strongly dare not pretend that we can meet and discuss without attention to this quality of relation with each other even if we disagree or find our selves going in different directions. The Lord of the Church commands that we must love one another in the process and there is no alternative to that. I trust that you are here in that confidence in that willingness to love one another.”

The Archbishop added that this sounded “so simple” but it had to be said “because we know as we meet that we are also a wounded body.” He added there were no magic words to heal those wounds “but as we seek to meet Jesus Christ in each other we hope that the wounds that are still open will in some sense also be open to receive the work of God the Holy Spirit in our work.”

Dr Williams concluded his address by encouraging the bishops who are now in retreat until Sunday morning “to be there and let God come to you”.

Posted in Uncategorized

Colorado Bishop Rob O'Neill: A Beginning at Lambeth 2008

In his brief opening remarks, Archbishop Williams spoke candidly about the tensions and divisions within the Anglican Communion. He spoke of the grief that is ours to share because of the absence of those bishops who have chosen not to attend. “We need their voice,” he said, “and they need ours in learning Christ together.” He went on to invite our prayers, our love, and our respect for those who are not here, observing that while we are indeed a wounded body, “the body of Christ is always a wounded body because we are a body of sinful human beings.”

The emphasis during our time together, he reflected, must be upon deepening our relationships, not imagining naively that building relationships alone will solve our problems but understanding that we dare not pretend to address the issues before us without first offering one another the kind of deep and loving attentiveness to relationship that Jesus in fact commands.

To that end, our time together over the next several weeks will be grounded in daily prayer and bible study””the source from which our other conversations will flow. As Archbishop Williams observed, “scripture gives us the language that draws us together, and we need to be fluent in that language.

I couldn’t agree more….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

WalesOnline: Challenge of a lifetime for Archbishop striving for unity

The diversity of Anglicans is only matched by giant international organisations like the United Nations. But the Archbishop[of Canterbury Rowan Williams] lacks the financial riches and physical might which world leaders can marshal to cajole and coerce their rivals.

He must rely on the power of intellectual persuasion, moral example, and the hope that the God they profess to worship will intervene.

Anglicans are irritated by the portrayal of their church as a body obsessed with sex, but the appointment of Bishop Gene Robinson ”“ a man who left his wife for a male partner ”“ was an ecclesiastical earthquake that has dominated Williams’ tenure.

Conservatives are appalled that the US church has not been disciplined for such a break with tradition. Up to a quarter of bishops have boycotted Lambeth because of the presence of their American counterparts.

Meanwhile, liberals who once believed Williams shared their convictions that homosexual practice was not incompatible with a Christian lifestyle are dismayed he has not championed their values.

In seeking to unite these two sides, he has pleased neither. But it is too early to write off the former Bishop of Monmouth as a doomed leader. His minutely nuanced understanding of this fragile church may yet ensure its survival.

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

US bishop hits out at 'demonic' African church leaders

Angered by their criticism, [Bishop of Washington John] Chane denied that the Episcopal church was guilty of leading the Anglican communion into error.

“I think it’s really very dangerous when someone stands up and says: ‘I have the way and I have the truth and I know how to interpret holy scripture and you are following what is the right way,'” he said “It’s really very, very dangerous and I think it’s demonic.

“The Episcopal church has been demonised. It has been a punching bag, and I’m sick of being a punching bag as a bishop and I’m sick of my church, my province being a punching bag.”

He made the remarks in Battle of the Bishops, a BBC2 documentary to be aired on Monday evening, which follows key churchmen from the US and Africa as they prepare for Gafcon.

In the programme the archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, known in his home country as the Hammer of God, is seen hitting out at figures such as Chane.

“Gafcon is a rescue mission ”“ it is our duty to rescue whatever is left of the church from error,” Akinola said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

From the You Cannot Make this Stuff up Department

From here:

My brother-in-law went through security at Auckland domestic airport and witnessed a passenger having to fish out her nail scissors from her handbag and leave them behind. He went through security and then boarded his plane. After being seated he could smell petrol. He knew you shouldn’t be able to smell petrol on a plane, because planes don’t use petrol. The smell got worse and eventually he got the attention of one of the flight attendants. They started to look around to see where it was coming from. They found in the overhead compartment a chainsaw in a bag that was leaking petrol into the compartment. His plane was delayed as the owner was identified and the chainsaw removed and put with the main luggage. The owner of the chainsaw said security had stopped him but had let him through because it wasn’t one of the things on their list to confiscate.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel

Michael Coren on the Anglican Church: Protecting extremist moderation

In his compelling account of four years of captivity in Lebanon, the Anglican cleric Terry Waite writes of the time he was given a radio by his captors, tuned in to the BBC and immediately heard a fellow Anglican priest giving a broadcast sermon. At last, he thought, some inspiring and wise words, a life line to sanity. “Let us consider,” opined the voice, “the case of Winnie the Pooh.”

Absurd and banal but, still, oddly comforting. And quintessentially Anglican. Because the Church of England has cultivated an image of gentleness, compromise and tolerance in a world that increasingly exhibits none of these qualities. Indeed, there are within the Anglican Communion scores of some of the finest people one could ever meet. But the latest schism within the denomination has exposed the core nastiness of a bitingly exclusive institution.

The glimmering paradox of the church is that it guards its ostensible moderation with a grim determination, as so many orthodox Christian believers can testify. They have been persecuted in Canada and beyond for two decades by the liberal hierarchy, and it is only now, after so many attacks, that they are fighting back to the point of separation.

None of this, however, should come as any surprise…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada

CSM: Over one Quarter of World's Anglican Bishops Not present at Lambeth Underscores Anglican Rift

A secondary division chipping away at the Anglicans involves the consecration of women bishops. This is more of a problem for the English “mothership” (known as the Church of England), which has signaled that it will press ahead with legislation to introduce women bishops, despite the objections of hundreds of clergymen.

“This is something that is troubling the Church of England, though it’s less of a fight in the wider Anglican communion,” says Giles Fraser, a London vicar, who notes that about 20 women bishops will attend Lambeth. “The issue of homosexuality by comparison is a bare-knuckle brawl.”

Few analysts expect an Anglican reconciliation anytime soon. “The church is already fragmented,” says Mr. Hobson. “The Evangelicals don’t really believe in the authority of a liberal archbishop and leadership. It’s hard to see how it could reunite.”

Mr. Fraser adds that the only way of keeping the Anglicans together “is to have a greater degree of subsidiarity so that each province is able to make theological decisions for [itself].”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Reminder of the Lambeth Schedule for today

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

First Day at Lambeth from Bishop Larry Benfield of Arkansas

The first event was a welcome in the Big Top, the name given to the large blue tent where plenary sessions will be held. The archbishop of Canterbury kicked off the evening with introductions of the planning committee, followed by a lots of details from those committee members about what our time together will look like. And of course, there was advice about talking to members of the press; internal official press officials wear red lanyards, while outside, accredited reporters wear blue lanyards. The bishops and spouses? We get purple lanyards.

In the most important part of his remarks the archbishop said that in planning the conference, the planning group has emphasized the need to draw together around the Bible. We need to be fluent and confident speaking to each other in the language of scripture. “We have tried to build a conference in which every view can be heard,” he said.

He further said that the Anglican Communion is a wounded body, and he hopes that we can find the trust in God and one another to change in the way that God wants us to change.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops

A Dallas News Editorial: Anglicans on the brink

More than half the world’s Anglicans live in Africa today. By contrast, The Times of London reported in May that at the current rate of decline, there will be fewer than 100,000 churchgoing Anglicans left in England by 2050.

What’s at stake here goes far beyond the future of Anglicanism. Most historical Christian churches today are struggling to deal with the clash of modernity and tradition. Noted religion scholar Philip Jenkins has written that the decline of Christianity in the West and its concomitant rise in the developing world means that we are “at a moment as epochal as the Reformation itself.”

The Anglican turmoil matters because the nature of this crisis is a global bellwether. As goes the Anglican Communion, so likely goes the rest of the Christian world.

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Update: There is more on the editorial from Rod Dreher here followed by some reader comments.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Lambeth 2008

AFP: Talk of schism over female and gay bishops worries US Anglicans

{Philip] Jenkins pointed out that of the Anglican Communion’s followers, around 20 million are in England and another 20 million are in Nigeria.

“So if the head of the Nigerian church is one of the leading supporters of GAFCon, which he is, then GAFCon becomes very important,” Jenkins explained.

GAFCon’s action fueled talk of a schism within the church, but officials and church members played that down.

“You’re jumping to conclusions. There is no schism,” said Neva Rae Fox, spokeswoman for the Episcopal Church, whose presiding bishop is Katharine Jefferts Schori — a woman.

Cook said a schism would be “disastrous” and officials would work to avoid it.

“Whichever side split from Canterbury would loose its Anglican identity… I think Anglicans from the archbishop down are willing to work their hardest to prevent a schism,” he said.

Jenkins was less optimistic that the Anglican Communion would come away intact from its many crises.

“On a global scale, it could lead to the creation of an alternative Anglican Communion, while in Britain, a lot of clergy belonging to the church will leave and go to, for example, the Roman Catholic church.

“So there would be two separate schisms,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008

A.S. Haley: The Ghost of Lambeth Past

Archbishop [automatically, by reflex]: And also with you. [Recovering] But—but why are you here, and now? And why are you in those terrible chains?

Ghost: I am the Ghost of Lambeth Past, and I am doing penance for my pride. I have come to show you how you are about to repeat the terrible mistake we made at the First Lambeth Conference.

Archbishop: Mistake? What mistake? I thought the first Lambeth Conference was a model for all the rest. There was restraint, the bishops agreed in advance—

Ghost [interrupting]: Not to call a Church council, and pass canons binding on us all? Oh, yes, we agreed to that, all right.

Archbishop: Then what is this “terrible mistake” to which you refer?

Ghost: The affair with Bishop Colenso of South Africa—you must surely know.

Archbishop: Bishop Colenso? But wasn’t he deposed by the Church of the Province of South Africa for going against the teachings of the Church? And as a result, not invited to your First Lambeth Conference?

Ghost: You are correct….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Lambeth 2008

Worth a Careful rereading–Kendall Harmon: Honesty or Obfuscation in New Orleans?

I would only update it a little and call it Honesty or Obfuscation at Lambeth and it applies completely. By the way, anyone remember who came out AFTER the New Orleans House of Bishops meeting and said that the report written about what was happening was incorrect because there were same sex blessings occurring in various parts of the Episcopal Church? Yes–it was Gene Robinson–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Primates Mtg Dar es Salaam, Feb 2007, Same-sex blessings, Sept07 HoB Meeting, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops