Daily Archives: July 22, 2008

Windsor Continuation Group – Preliminary Observations as presented to Lambeth 2008

(c) Breakdown of Trust

* There are real fears of wider agenda ”“ over creedal issues ( the authority of scripture, the application of doctrine in life and ethics and even Christology and soteriology); other issues, such as lay presidency and theological statements that go far beyond the doctrinal definitions of the historic creeds, lie just over the horizon. Positions and arguments are becoming more extreme: not moving towards one another, relationships in the Communion continue to deteriorate; there is little sense of mutual accountability and a fear that vital issues are not being addressed in the most timely and effective manner.
* Through modern technology, there has been active fear-mongering, deliberate distortion and demonising. Politicisation has overtaken Christian discernment.
*Suspicions have been raised about the purpose, timing and outcomes of the Global Anglican Future Conference; there is some perplexity about the establishment of the Gafcon Primates’ Council and of FOCA which, with withdrawal from participation at the Lambeth Conference, has further damaged trust.
* There are growing patterns of Episcopal congregationalism throughout the communion at parochial, diocesan and provincial level. Parishes feel free to choose from whom they will accept Episcopal ministry; bishops feel free to make decisions of great controversy without reference to existing collegial structures. Primates make provision for Episcopal leadership in territories outside their own Province.
* There is distrust of the Instruments of Communion and uncertainty about their capacity to respond to the situation.
*Polarisation of attitudes in the Churches of the Communion, not just n the current situation ”“ felt and expressed by conservative and liberal alike.

Read it all and please note the caution toward the top.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

The Bishop of Central Florida writes his Clergy about July 22 at Lambeth 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

After the second day of “Indaba” groups, there seems to be an incipient revolt stirring among us. Many of the Africans are saying, “This isn’t ‘Indaba’ at all! First of all, we are not a village, and we don’t know each other. And secondly, we are not attempting to solve a problem; we are talking in small groups about minor issues of little consequence.”

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu (himself an African, I believe from Uganda) is reported to have said, “If Indaba is such a great idea, why is Africa in such a mess?” There seems to be the beginning of some rumbling that we need to get to a decision-making moment in the life of the Conference.

Nevertheless, I found my two “Indaba” conversations today somewhat more interesting than yesterday’s. The first one discussed the Church’s (the Bishop’s) ministry to young people. And, from across extremely different social and cultural contexts, in many different parts of the world, there were a few key points held in common. First, the Bishop’s personal involvement in meeting with young people can be enormously significant. Secondly, the high priority of training youth leaders, and providing opportunities for young people to meet together beyond their local congregations. And thirdly, the need to provide numerous opportunities for young people to hear and encounter the Gospel, and be given opportunities and encouragement to respond with personal commitment to Christ.

I thought this was a pretty resounding confirmation of what we are attempting to do in Central Florida.

In the second conversation, once again, across extremely different local contexts, there was remarkably deep agreement that most of the implementation of the Church’s mission is at the congregational and diocesan levels, and that there is very little significant support – of any kind – that comes from the Provincial (national) or international levels of the Communion.

There was a general acknowledgement that one of the best things in the Communion is the encouragement of companion relationships between far-flung dioceses, and the proliferation of new forms of companionship at many different levels. It seemed to be agreed among the Americans that we do a few things very well at the national level: specifically, military and prison chaplancies were mentioned, along with the work of Episcopal Relief and Development. Apart from that there was not much enthusiasm for the mission efforts beyond the diocesan level.

This afternoon there was a meeting sponsored by the “Global South” (even though three of its most prominent Provinces are absent). Approximately 150 bishops attended. The history of how the Global South has come to have a life of its own within the larger Communion was recounted, and a brief update on the Anglican Covenant was presented (much more on this to come), and then Bruce MacPherson and Bob Duncan were each invited to speak, Bruce about the work of the Communion Partners, and Bob about the Network, and its evolution into Common Cause.

It was very clearly recognized that these two approaches are complimentary, CP is an “inside” strategy, and CC an “outside” strategy to attempt to maintain and further an orthodox witness and ministry in North America.

It was also clear that the phrase “Global South” no longer accurately names the configuration of Bishops represented, as all parts of the Communion were strongly in evidence. I found this a very encouraging session.

I also had a brief conversation with the Russian Orthodox Bishop who is in my Bible Study (and Indaba Group). I asked him two questions. First, how have things changed for the Church, and for you, since the dismantling of the Soviet Union? “Drastically! Before there were 6,000 parishes in my area, today over 30,000. Before there were 18 monasteries, today over 750. Today I am free to teach religion in the public schools.” Secondly, we in the West were often told that the Soviet government used to place its own people in positions of authority in the Orthodox Church. Was that true? “Yes, but we always knew who those persons were. Usually they were placed there so that, after a time, they could publicly renounce the Faith and embrace atheism.”

I think that if God isn’t finished with the Russian Orthodox, he may not be finished with the Anglican Communion, either!

Warmest regards in our Lord,

–(The Right Rev.) John W. Howe is Bishop of Central Florida

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

The BBC 2 Documentary on GAFCON can now be viewed online for those in the U.K.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

The Bulletin: Discussion Of Anglican Use Liturgy Dominates Conversion Speculations

Fr. Eric L. Bergman, chaplain of the Thomas Moore Society in Scranton and chaplain of the Anglican Use Society, explained some of the changes that have been made in the Anglican Use.
“The Anglican Use and the Pastoral Provision are now open to Continuing Church Anglicans as well as members of the Episcopal Church,” he said. “The [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] said the Pastoral Provision can apply to men in Continuing Churches and their communities.”

Fr. Bergman also said a community in Kansas City is forming because of the new opportunities, but the Anglican Use remains in the United States only, for now.
“Whether it will be expanded to other countries is anybody’s guess,” he said.

Archbishop Myers suggested those who have benefited from the Pastoral Provision over its 28 years of existence should remember that it was granted “for an indefinite period of time.”
“Catholic faithful who worship according to the Anglican Use must never see themselves as different from other Catholics or somehow privileged among other Christian communions,” he said. “We are Catholics together, obedient to the Holy Father, to those bishops in communion with him and ever faithful to magisterial teaching.”

“We long for an expansion of the Anglican Use that would welcome a body into communion,” said Bishop David Moyer, a bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion and rector of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont. “The Traditional Anglican Communion petitioned for that in October. Any move toward expansion of the Anglican Use by the Vatican is very welcomed.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Lambeth 2008, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

Cherie Wetzel: Lambeth Report #5 , Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Press was admitted to the plenary session (yes! Inside the big blue tent) to hear Brian McLaren, an American from Maryland who is an expert in evangelism and has written 10 books about it. He was specifically invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak three times at this conference. He talks about the emerging church, which I did not detect as syncretism of an emerging “Unitarian” type of church. His opening line was “I love Jesus Christ and have come to break open our models for Evangelism. We must proclaim the way of Jesus Christ. You are leaders in this church and this is one of your primary jobs, not being drained by the complex demands of institutional maintenance. You must speak on behalf of those who are not in your churches, people Jesus described as harassed and helpless; those without a shepherd.”

“Evangelism is disciple formation. Nothing else is worthy of that trust beyond Christ. You are here to save the church from division, implosion and exhaustion.”

Pretty good start, right? I did not doubt his commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But I must admit that it was a very “slick” presentation, a graphically rich Power Point that showed his points on three large screens behind him. The weakness with the presentation was in naming particular countries, continents and cultures as pre-modern, modern and post-modern. The ”˜tsunami’ of change that accompanies a culture going from pre-modern to modern, for example, could lead one to believe that the amazing numbers of conversions in Africa are not authentic; they are superficial and concentrate on how to go to heaven, not how to live on earth. Couple this with the increase in Aids/HIV that we have seen in this “newly Christianized” continent and you may have substantive proof of this shallow discipleship. This information alone may give the Americans more reason to dismiss the Africans and their requests to this conference.

McLaren has two additional sessions today and tomorrow for those who want more specific information on how to go about being evangelists in their local contexts.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Anglican Journal: Media barred from most Lambeth events

Frustration is rising among members of the media here who have been barred from attending a majority of events at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, including the daily eucharist, and who have not been furnished a list of bishops who are present or absent for unspecified “security reasons.”

“All I can say is that all provinces are represented except Uganda,” said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, who is acting as a conference spokesperson. “There were nearly 750 bishops at the 1998 Lambeth. This year, 670 are registered at this point.”

In a press conference, Mr. Feheley said it was not possible to release the names of the bishops present for “security reasons.” He would not elaborate.

Read it all. There is a balance to be struck here but so far Lambeth 2008 has not found the right mix between openness and confidentiality and security–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Lambeth 2008, Media

US Bishops drop bid to have Robinson admitted to Lambeth Conference

Canterbury: The push to seat Gene Robinson at Lambeth Conference failed yesterday after the American bishops declined to force the issue. At their July 21 provincial meeting at the Lambeth Conference the American bishops declined to take action on a request by liberal members of their caucus to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to seat the New Hampshire bishop.

Bishops attending the closed meeting tell ReligiousIntelligence.com that some bishops pushed for Bishop Robinson to be extended an invitation. There followed a substantive discussion of the Robinson issue with several bishops expressing their anger and hurt over his exclusion.

However, the American leadership declined to take up the issue and a growing number of bishops appear to be distancing themselves from the controversial New Hampshire cleric in a bid to avoid conflict with the conference organizers.

Bishop Robinson was forbidden to attend the meeting of his own House of Bishops, writing on his blog the conference organizers do not consider the American meeting to be a meeting of the American House of Bishops but a meeting of American bishops at Lambeth.

Read it all.

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

Andrew Goddard: GAFCON & The Anglican Covenant

The first and irrefutable conclusion that must be drawn from these two documents is the shocking inadequacy of GAFCON’s theological resource group and wider leadership. To have produced a briefing paper claiming to summarise the changes between the Nassau and St Andrew’s draft covenants but actually comparing the St Andrew’s draft to a quite different document unrelated to the covenant (and which many of the GAFCON team were involved in writing) is an astonishing error. That nobody in the group (or among the GAFCON leadership which released it) realised that the claimed removals from the Nassau draft were therefore all fraudulent suggests an inexcusable level of ignorance about the covenant process on the part of all those involved in writing and then disseminating this briefing paper to the wider Communion. The authorship is unclear but either we have a very small number of people writing what claims to be a representative document commended by seven Primates or we have a large group which failed to spot this basic and serious flaw. I am not sure which of these options is I would prefer to be reality. Unfortunately this all gives the strong impression that the conclusion ”“ “the new document is severely flawed and should be repudiated” ”“ was already decided upon on other grounds.

The second conclusion is that the other response of the same team is therefore seriously discredited, especially if it was put together on the basis of the briefing paper or by people who had seen the briefing paper and not realised its basic error.

Read it carefully and read it all. It is very disappointing that there was a basic documentation mistake of this magnitude–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates

Geoff Colmer of the Baptist World Alliance: Lambeth Conference – Indaba ”“ the experience

The first Indaba followed on from the Bible Study which today consisted of only five of us, a Bishop from Connecticut, North America, who is our facilitator, and three Indian bishops. It was a good experience, in which I was encouraged to participate fully. It was humbling to hear the answer to the question – set in the context of the story of Jesus walking on the water and saying to the disciples in the boat, ”˜I am, do not be afraid’ ”“ what are the things that bring fear to Christians in your own context? ”˜Waiting for the church to be burnt for the third time’, ”˜Waiting for an excuse to be attacked.’ And not just for being a minority religion, but for being linked to the West. For these brothers from India expressing faith in ”˜I am’ rather than living in fear was inspiring.

And the Indaba group? Well, so far, it’s what it said on the packing. We set some ground rules and then in quietness answered three questions. We then moved into two conversations in different pairs and then formed a group of five in which we explored in more detail the question, ”˜Who am I as an Anglican bishop?’ At this point I might have felt left out, but not only was I was fully included but the group immediately offered to ordain me to the episcopacy there and then, and were already improvising for a bishop’s staff and Episcopal ring! Of course I resisted. What followed was not significantly different to the conversation I might have with my Team Leader colleagues, or indeed all Regional Ministers.

We then took our one sentence back and with the other small groups within the larger group, shared findings noting points of convergence and divergence.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Ecumenical Relations, Lambeth 2008, Other Churches

The Bishop of Grimsby David Rossdale: The Church as Lumbering tortoise

It was the fourth meeting of our Bible Study Group and we are really relaxing into each other’s company. So far we have skirted around the gay issue, which is probably just as well as we need to secure our confidence and trust in each other before tackling it. But today was a powerful time as we talked about ”˜fear’, drawing on the story of Jesus walking on the water and the fear of disciples.

The stories of fear from members of our group who have been in the civil wars and strife of Africa were demanding. The two of us from the West really had little to contribute as, in truth, we live very safe and predictable lives. One of our number helped us understand that he fears that he would be deposed if he was known to have become soft on issues central to the thinking of his Diocese – and another piece fell into place in the jig-saw of the complexity of the issues which face the Conference.

The double dose of Indaba was clearly designed to get us in the mood for dancing together. There are certainly those who are very suspicious of this process, feeling far more at home with weighty reports, set piece speeches and a western style parliamentary approach to ordering the mind of the church – convincing them that Indaba will work may be an uphill struggle. But we all appeared willing to try and my group had a good go at establishing an ”˜Anglican Identity’. It was very much a first day at this and other groups clearly found the process frustrating.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Lambeth 2008

Instant Gratification Nation: Can Americans Still Sacrifice for the Future?

The remarkable thing about the study is that a student’s ability at age four to defer gratification is correlated with better outcomes much later in life, such as academic and social competence. For example, one follow-up paper found a statistically significant relationship between how long a student waited to ring the bell and — more than a decade later — their “ability to cope with frustration and stress in adolescence.”

New York Times columnist David Brooks has cited this study and inferred that most social problems are rooted in an inability to defer gratification. He argues that for people with poor self-control “life is a parade of foolish decisions: teen pregnancy, drugs, gambling, truancy and crime.” I agree. I can find no other compelling explanation for why someone would do something as utterly ridiculous as dropping out of high school, no matter how bad the school is.

But I’ll see David Brooks and raise him one. I find myself asking an even bigger question: Is America as a nation losing its ability to wait for the second marshmallow? By that, I mean can we still muster the political will and personal sacrifice to make investments today that will make us richer and stronger 10, 20, or 50 years from now?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology

And Speaking of Blogging…

Is there any question that as the first blogged Lambeth Conference this one is more interesting as a result? I commend the bishops for their blogging, and for the time and sacrifice they are putting in to doing it–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Lambeth 2008

Corporate 2.0: Companies tap 'bloggers-in-chief'

Yet another example–as if one was needed–of the importance and value of blogging. Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy

The Bishop of California offers some Lambeth Reflections

The Lambeth Conference brings questions of identity forward in our lives. We are with people of many different ethnicities, cultures, and languages. In the presence of great diversity our easy assumptions of identity are unsettled, and deeper ways to ground our identity can emerge. We can begin to see our life in Christ as the ground of our being, our identity.

As we are drawn deeper and deeper into relationship with one another we find that the descriptors that may catch our attention at first, those associated with ethnicity and culture, rich and capable of being explored in depth as they are, do not begin to sum up human life. Gender, sexual orientation, economic status, all these are important too. And then we begin to learn the personal histories of people, certainly conditioned and connected to all the above, but articulated in unique ways having to do with the inner life of people, their gifts and aspirations.

At some point we may come to understand, as we perceive the deepest aspirations of another person, their courage and hopefulness in the face of their own life challenges, that we are seeing Christ in that person. Christ speaks I AM from within all life, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see.

Read it all.

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

Bishop Philip Poole offers some Thoughts on yesterday at Lambeth 2008

The Indaba groups met today, twice, for the first time. We are considering the Windsor report, not with the idea of decision but with the idea of discussion. I anticipate that the discussions may be frank, direct, challenging and difficult as we listen hard to those with whom we might disagree, recognizing that we are all children of God and people loved by God. The early reviews seem to show that the conversations will vary from group to group. I pray that in all these activities God will be present and will be with us to lead the way.

Dinner provided a change of pace, as a Maori group from New Zealand celebrated a birthday of one of their members with great singing in the dining hall. The Australians, with whom they are clearly friends, offered some good natured gibes and the Maoris responded with what appeared to be an animated battle song. The dining hall erupted with laughter and applause – a welcomed respite from the serious matters under discussion during the day.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008