Daily Archives: July 20, 2008

Simon Jenkins: A broad church with narrow attitudes

Who cares if the Church of England tears itself apart this weekend? Its million active members in Britain are barely ahead of the Roman Catholics, from whose church it separated five centuries ago, and the 930,000 practising Muslims. Only 15% of babies are now baptised into the Church of England and few of them are likely to graduate to church membership.

Schism is the occupational disease of religion. If, through the defection of ecclesiastical conservatives, West Indians and Africans, there are soon to be two Anglican churches in place of one, most Britons will just not notice. But their established church remains a substantial national institution, custodian of British values even to the many who do not patronise it. When it suffers an attack of episcopal knife crime, a message goes out that “the centre cannot hold”.

The cause of the conflict, the gender and sexual orientation of bishops, is as arcane as the Pelagian heresy. It is sadly ironic that the church should be headed at this time by an archbishop, Rowan Williams, whose personality seems more ideally cast for martyrdom than leadership. His saintly pain at the refusal of the contending parties to hear his lofty platitudes has become a national agony.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Globalization, Lambeth 2008

From the Email Bag on Lambeth 2008

I am very pleased with the design of the Lambeth Conference. Rather than talking about communion and community, the AbC has set about crafting an experience of community for the assembled bishops.

This actual experience may end up doing more to help the American bishops understand this challenge than any sermon or theological lecture ever could. Time will tell.

Please note: your feedback and thoughts always appreciated, and they will not be published with your name without your permission–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Anglican Mainstream–Today at Lambeth – Sunday July 20 part 1

We are beginning to see the thrust of the controlling theology here at Lambeth.

First, all views should be represented. There is a continual knawing at the bone that over a quarter of the bishops invited are not here. This has been raised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his welcome address, and Bishop de Chickera in the opening sermon. Archbishop Philip Aspinall commented on this at length in answer to a question at the opening press conference. His answer is illuminating.

He said in answer to a question: “I am greatly saddened by Archbishop Jensen’s decision not to come. Sydney comes from the evangelical tradition ”“ a vital part ”“ and that perspective will be weaker because they are not here. We will have to find other ways to engage that perspective. It will delay us. Other bishops have important things to say that they (the Sydney bishops) need to hear. There is sadness among us all.”

In other words, the liberal vision is to have all views expressed at a meeting. However, this will always be in the controlling framework of being on a journey and never being able to settle on an answer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

A BBC Open Forum: What is the future of the Church?

We want to hear your views on the future of the Anglican Church as the Lambeth Conference continues.

We are inviting two Have Your Say contributors from the Anglican Communion to the BBC to join the debate and respond to your views and questions….

How should the Church resolve its current difficulties? What are your views on the ordination of women and gay priests? Should the Anglican Communion split? What questions do you have for our guest contributors?

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

(London) Times: Bishop says divided Church should turn to cricket

A liberal bishop from Sri Lanka suggested to his colleagues at the Lambeth Conference today that they should take the afternoon off to settle their theological differences over a game of cricket.

The sporting invitation from the Right Rev Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, came in an otherwise hard-hitting sermon in which he reminded all 650 bishops attending that the Anglican Church was an “inclusive” community where everyone was equal, regardless of sexual orientation.

The sermon marked the official start of the conference in Canterbury and confirmed the Church’s liberal direction. But Bishop de Chickera – who was preaching at the personal invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – freely admitted the “reality” of the current divisions over gay consecrations and same-sex blessings.

“The reality is that we are a wounded Anglican Communion,” he said. “Some of us are not here and that is an indication that all is not well.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

AP: Anglican bishops open key summit in UK

The meeting was designed without any votes or legislation, and no one expects the Anglicans to resolve their problems by the assembly’s end. Organizers instead hope their discussions will help clarify what direction they should take to stay together.

The Anglican spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, prefaced the gathering with a three-day private prayer retreat for the bishops that ended Saturday. In one session at the cathedral, he asked bishops to pray with someone they were afraid to meet.

“A Lambeth Conference is not a political meeting about organization or structure alone, but it is a spiritual meeting,” said Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, head of the Anglican Church of Australia. “We must go into this confident that a way has been found to the Father … . We must be confident that that way is there.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

A BBC Radio Four Sunday Audio Programme on the Lambeth Conference

The programme starts 23 minutes and 45 seconds in and includes interviews with Vincent Strudwick, Graham Kings, Norman Doe, Lucy Winkett, Judith Maltby, Paul Handley and Stephen Bates.

Please take the time to listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008

ENS: Lambeth Conference worship highlights diversity, conflict

He also challenged the church to be a “prophetic voice ”¦ regardless of where we serve in the world,” speaking for “those who for cultural, economic, military reasons cannot speak for themselves, or at tremendous cost.” He mentioned crises in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq, and said the church must “call into accountability those who abuse power.”

The church, he said, “is one institution that does not live for itself” and he called upon the bishops to “hold onto these words” as the “crux of Anglican identity and spirituality.”
De Chickera concluded his sermon with a low, rhythmic Buddhist chant as the cathedral bells tolled.

After the service, Bishop Neil Alexander of Atlanta said he was “particularly moved” by de Chickera’s sermon since it “lifted your soul,” however, Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said the inclusion of the chant was “very, very troubling” since it was an “invocation of something other than the God we know.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Sermon given by the Right Reverend Duleep de Chickera, the Bishop of Colombo


There are two realities that encompass us as we meet as a world family of the Anglican Communion. And I would like to draw your attention to both these realities, without which our conference and our forward journey will become meaningless.

The first is that our world is a torn and divided world. Bishops are expected to bring their dioceses with them to the Lambeth Conference, and Bishops whose dioceses strive to be faithful by the challenges that come to us from God’s world will inevitably bring along with their diocese the pain and the struggles, the injustice, the evil, the hostility that men and women encounter in today’s world. It is indeed a true saying that God gives the Church an agenda out of the crises of the world. And so my dear sisters and brothers in Christ, the Anglican Communion must always give the highest priority to our invitation from Christ to participate with Christ in transforming God’s world. To bring healing, peace, justice, reconciliation, abundant life, where there is oppression, where there is hostility, where there is strife, and division. This concept of the world in pain must, through this conference and after the conference, receive the energy and spirituality of our Church. No other priority can contend for that place. God has called us and placed us in God’s world so that we might participate with him in bringing this transformation.

The second reality is the reality that we are a wounded community. Some of us are not here, and that is an indication that all is not well. Certainly the crisis is complex. It is not a crisis that can be resolved instantly.

The journey ahead is a long arduous one – a journey that will demand our prayers, our faithfulness, our mutual trust in each other, and of course our trust in God who makes reconciliation possible.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Lambeth 2008, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

A Church Times Interview with Sue Parks, Lambeth Conference Organiser

But the organisation hasn’t been too terrible. There has been an enormous amount of good will, and I’ve really enjoyed working with such a wide range of people. I’ve travelled round the world talking to bishops and some spouses, and encountered a lot of good will there, too; so there’s that side of things, as well as delivering the Conference.

The sheer volume of minutiae has been overwhelming in recent weeks: tying up people’s travel arrangements and enquiries. Three-quarters of the people coming will never have been to a Lambeth Conference before. Still, we’ve had a great deal of fun along the way.

We didn’t know from the start what was happening about numbers and politics, but once Archbishop Rowan’s invitations had been sent out, and the replies started to come in, and we saw we had enough beds filled to make the Conference viable, we just tried to make the best Conference we could for the Archbishop. We could see from early on there was a huge take-up.

There is an irony, because I’m actually from the diocese of Sydney. The fact that my own bishops aren’t coming is a disappointment.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Ruth Gledhill–Lambeth Diary: Ecumenicals condemn 'with love'

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

From Claiming the Blessing and Integrity–Voices of Witness: Africa

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Todd Wetzel's latest Lambeth Reflections

…at this crucial time, many of those strong evangelical Anglicans from Africa, Asia and South America have removed themselves. The American bishops, led by Dr. Jefferts Schori, seem strengthened in their resolve to force the approval of aberrant behavior and experimental theology on the Communion. They’ve signaled a willingness to go their own way no matter what Lambeth does.

I talked with a number of bishops here. They are worried. Uncertain about the outcome of the Conference. I’m convinced that the majority of those here gathered are orthodox in their faith, determined to conform themselves to Scripture in a holy life. They must find within themselves, in the midst of this pilgrimage, the resolve to stand for the Faith and say “no” to innovations that have yet to be tested by time and have often proven so able to bring spiritual, emotional and physical suffering.

If they do not, a great cry of anguish will resonate in that great cloud of witnesses nurtured faithfully over the centuries and drawn from the battlefields of faith stretching from Canterbury to Mombassa. The anguish of betrayal. A weeping over souls now placed in peril by a Lambeth that could not find courage and lead.

An old and tired Anglicanism cannot be preserved here. But a renewed and reformed Anglicanism fit for twenty-first century mission could be reborn. Pray for the Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Bishop Orlando Guerra of Venezuela offers an early Lambeth Reflection


This is my second Lambeth Conference and of course as the rest of my companion Bishops I arrive with a lot of expectations to take back to my diocese everything that we could share on these days during the conference and also to clarify all the misunderstanding that the people thinks is about the conference.

Yesterday when we left out and went into the city, a lot of people were asking me, with some malice, How is everything going in the Conference? How are you dealing with the sexual affairs? Because the people have not a clear idea of what is the Conference for.

The addresses and meditations from the Archbishop of Canterbury have been wonderful and the three days retreat was a wonderful idea because we have had reflection on what is our lead as bishops and I felt very touched because they are very profound

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

El Camino Real Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves and Chicago Bishop Jeffrey Lee offer a Lambeth Reflection

The retreat has been about our life as bishops: how we lead as bishops is a model for the entire church.

The archbishop’s address was profound and presented in a very accessible way. It was a sacramental encounter as Christ is revealed in our gathering. The archbishop’s material has been strategic, consistent and relevant to our development as bishops, and as new bishops, we are appreciative of his leadership.

The archbishop has paved the way for the Lambeth Conference, which was his intent. He prepared us for our work ahead. All the Bible studies will continue to keep us grounded in a worshipful place and in communion with one another.

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