Daily Archives: July 24, 2008

Chris Sugden: Why many bishops did not come to Lambeth 2008

In the United States, those who disagree with …[the Presiding Bishop] have found themselves excluded: One hundred priests have been deposed and 200 congregations have been exiled from their church buildings for not accepting the liberal Episcopal Church’s position.

For the 230 bishops who declined to attend the Lambeth Conference, the problem is that the American church has blessed people in their disobedience to God. In response to a plea by English evangelical bishops to attend the conference, representatives of these conservative bishops wrote that some of their co-religionists in the United States who had objected to the consecration of V. Gene Robinson “have been charged with abandonment of communion. Their congregations have either forfeited or are being sued for their properties by the very bishops with whom you wish us to share Christian family fellowship for three weeks.”

“To do this is an assault on our consciences and our hearts. How can we explain to our church members that while we and they are formally out of communion” with the Episcopal Church, “we at the same time live with them at the Lambeth Conference as though nothing had happened? This would be hypocrisy.”

The fundamental question is this: What allows for religious freedom and religious choice? An Anglican faith that adheres to the teaching of Scripture, calls people to choose to follow Jesus and all that he teaches, welcomes all to hear the gospel but is clear where the boundaries are. Or a so-called inclusive Anglicanism that seeks to improve on the Bible, observes no boundaries, and claims to welcome all – as long as you do not disagree.

Read it all. One wonders how many so-called “first-world” bishops at Lambeth could summarize why those who are not there are not present in words the latter would agree with. Say it again after me, it is not a boycott:

Now follow along and see where this goes in terms of the subsequent developments. The husband has consummated the affair. There has been much emotional and personal damage and the relationship is extremely frail. A marriage counselor is brought in. It is suggested because of the severity of the situation that a trial separation is necessary. The husband is asked to apologize and express repentance for his actions, and to cease the affair. The situation could not be more serious.

How to take the analogy further along the steps the Anglican Communion has taken is difficult, but, roughly speaking, there have been more meetings, including meetings of outside leaders who have asked for clarification within specified time limits from the husband, and, even though a group on behalf of said leaders has written a report saying that the husband has satisfied what he is being asked to do in order to repair the breach, his actions on occasion contradict those findings. Even though he has pledged his deep commitment to the marriage, has said he is sorry she has been hurt, and that he takes his wife’s concerns with the utmost seriousness, on certain days of certain months, he is still having the affair.

What does the wife do? Well, yes, at some point she may choose to leave the relationship, but, as a Christian, if she is persevering and prays for the lovingkindess of God to prevail, she might stay in the house.

If she were to choose to stay, the atmosphere would be very different from then on, and, the one thing she must do is act differently in what is left of the relationship itself. Indeed, not to act differently is not a sign of health, but a sign of real sickness. One example of an action she might take is that she might choose to move to another bedroom down the hall from the couple’s bedroom where she would choose to sleep from then on.

You can perhaps see where I am going here. If you were to drop a reporter who didn’t know a lot into this situation, he or she might write a story with the headline: “Wife boycotts marriage bed.” The reporter could write it, but it would not be an accurate description of what is in fact taking place–KSH.

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

Common Cause Partnership Welcomes Jerusalem Declaration

We, as the Bishops and elected leaders of the Common Cause Partnership (CCP) are deeply grateful for the Jerusalem Declaration. It describes a hopeful, global Anglican future, rooted in scripture and the authentic Anglican way of faith and practice. We joyfully welcome the words of the GAFCON statement that it is now time ”˜for the federation currently known as the Common Cause Partnership to be recognized by the Primates Council.’

The intention of the CCP Executive Committee is to petition the Primates Council for recognition of the CCP as the North American Province of GAFCON on the basis of the Common Cause Partnership Articles, Theological Statement, and Covenant Declaration, and to ask that the CCP Moderator be seated in the Primate’s Council.

We accept the call to build the Common Cause Partnership into a truly unified body of Anglicans. We are committed to that call. Over the past months, we have worked together, increasing the number of partners and authorizing committees and task groups for Mission, Education, Governance, Prayer Book & Liturgy, the Episcopate, and Ecumenical Relations. The Executive Committee is meeting regularly to carry forward the particulars of this call. The CCP Council will meet December 1”“3, 2008.

Read it all.

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

The Bishop of NW Pennsylvania on Struggling with Patience

Most of the time, I cannot be characterized as a patient person. I like to ”˜cut to the chase’ and ”˜get to the bottom line.’ I am well aware, though, that this approach will not work in our current context. These issues are far beyond any easy answer that can be solved using parliamentary procedure to articulate a specific answer. Besides, as has been pointed out, that hasn’t exactly been working for us. So I will make every effort to listen to my brothers and sisters without the need to defend or critique, but with a heart turned toward what God who might actually be calling me to change.

Read it all.

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

Bishops Lillibridge & Reed (West Texas) give audio reports from Lambeth

Find the links on this page.

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

George Conger: Lambeth Attendees data still Awaited

One Rwandan bishop and five Kenyan bishops have broken ranks, defying their House of Bishops to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference. However, no Nigerian or Uganda bishop has defied his church’s decision not to attend the every-10-year conference due to the presence of the American bishops.

“We’re sorry they are not here,” Archbishop Rowan Williams said, of the approximately 250 bishops from the four African provinces, Sydney and other evangelical dioceses who are absent.

Initial claims that a Nigerian bishop had bucked his Church have proven false.

However, Archbishop Peter Akinola told ReligiousIntelligence.com the whole issue of who was or was not at Lambeth was immaterial. “At this point it is a non-issue for us. After Lambeth, any Nigerian who may have chosen to flout our provincial and collective decision will have to answer to the general synod. It as simple as that.”

Access by the media to the gathering of bishops is sharply restricted, and the bishops themselves have scant knowledge of what is taking place. Unlike past conferences, there is no daily newspaper and what information that can be gleaned from official channels is available only to those bishops with laptops.

Read the whole article.

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

Lambeth Conference’s legitimacy ”˜called into question’

Dr Williams said: “There is a question about the legitimacy, so to speak, of what emerges from this. It’s a point I put as strongly as I can to the people who are not here in fact; that if they want their voice incorporated in this, this is the way to do it.”

One of the three English Bishops boycotting the conference, the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, said: “If Rowan wants to put that point to me, he should ask me himself.

“It’s not a question of who’s there and who’s not. It’s a question of does anybody feel that what Lambeth does is a definitive statement of what the Anglican Communion believes, because thus far it’s not been the case that people have held to agreements made.”

Bishop Broadbent also rejected the suggestion that by not being there, he could not have his voice incorporated: “I don’t think anyone’s ruled themselves out of the right to comment on the Conference’s conclusions. The bigger question is will Lambeth produce any definitive solutions to the problems of the Anglican Communion, and even if they do, will the Churches in North America take any notice?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008

Sarah Hey: A Glance at the Media Covering the Lambeth Conference

News — and sometimes Not-News — is flying thick and fast. The big news of yesterday, from my point of view, was the stand that the Bishop of Sudan took publicly — and from what I have heard through the grapevine various TEC people are meeting with him today. Whatever happens in such a rumored meeting, I’m confident that TEC will be clever enough to articulate 1) the roses, sunshine, and bubblegum of their “relationships” with the Province of the Sudan and 2) just how humble and gentle and non-retributive and generous the Episcopal Church actually is in response to the Primate of the Sudan’s remarks. That’s basically the best they can do — and of course, they must do their jobs.

Which brings me to a little glance at the press in general.

Read it all.

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

Bishop Howe Writes His Clergy about July 23 at Lambeth 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Indaba groups focused today on “The Bishop and Social Justice” – which really meant “The Bishop and the Millennium Development Goals,” in preparation for tomorrow’s London day. The day will begin early, with buses leaving campus at 7 AM to travel about three hours to Whitehall Place, where a “Walk of Witness” through the streets of London will be led by Archbishop Rowan and Lady Jane Williams, on behalf of the MDGs.

The Archbishop said in May, “This walk will be a poignant public act of commitment by the Anglican Communion and other faith groups to continue to put pressure on those who have the power and resources to help end extreme poverty across the globe. It will be about pledging, as a Church, to play our part in continuing to develop lasting solutions. It will also be a walk where we will be in step with those who know at first hand the impact that the unfair distribution of the world’s resources can have on daily living and life opportunities.”

The walk will pass a number of London landmarks, including the gates of Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben,” and Westminster Abbey, ending at Lambeth Palace, the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Upon arrival there will be a “rally,” expected to draw in the neighborhood of 1,600 persons, including members of Her Majesty’s Government, an address by the Archbishop (whom we are coming to affectionately call “the Energizer Bunny”) and Hellen Wangusa, the Anglican Communion’s Observer to the United Nations.
In our Indaba groups today we focused on the twin questions: “What can I, as a Bishop, do…” and “What can we, as Bishops, do to further the MDGs”? In our group it became evident that most of our Dioceses are already fairly deeply involved in implementing at least some of the MDGs (think: houses in Honduras, relief efforts in New Orleans, Mustard Seed outreach in Ft. Pierce, etc., and our plans for a major effort to combat malaria this fall).

(Of course, the point of the effort is not so much that churches and Dioceses will implement the MDGs as it is to induce governments to do so, and there is a small irony here in that the present Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown, is already under a fair amount of criticism for his very overt commitment to the MDGs! But perhaps the effort will encourage him, and others, to “keep on keeping on.”)

Tomorrow afternoon, we then go on to lunch at Lambeth Palace (where the PM will address us), and then to Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Garden Party.

Anecdote: ten years ago Warren Richardson told me it was a “lifelong dream” of his to attend the Opening Eucharist of a Lambeth Conference. I said I would see what I could do. I contacted the then ABC, George Carey, who said, “No, every seat in the Cathedral will be assigned, but if he would like, I can get him an invitation to the Queen’s Garden Party.”

So, Warren and Pam took their vacation that year by coming to England for the Party. Warren told me he had a little speech prepared, should he happen to be introduced to Prince Philip. He and the Prince had been at the same place in Georgia some time earlier, and Warren wanted to relate that point of contact to him.

Well, about half an hour after we all arrived, the Queen’s ushers, in their bowler hats, came out to create a large open rectangle among the guests, and shortly thereafter the Queen and the Prince came down the stairs, and headed into the midst of it. At that point one of the ushers came directly to Warren and asked, “Would you care to meet Prince Philip?” “I WOULD; and my Bishop would, too!” exclaimed Warren; “He’s right over there.” (The Prince was very gracious to both of us.)

This afternoon we had our first “Hearing” regarding the “Windsor Continuation Group” and the effort to produce an “Anglican Covenant.” If anyone thought we might be close to completing that task at this Lambeth Conference, I think s/he was quickly disabused of the notion. I would guess there were 300 present, and following an opening update of where we are in the process we had about an hour for comments. 21 people each spoke for approximately three minutes apiece, eight of them Americans. (We haven’t entirely given up trying to dominate the proceedings!)

The tone was set by the first speaker, a Bishop from TEC, who used his time to assert the need for the FULL acceptance of LGBTs by the Church; he was really quite animated about it, and then he ended by declaring, “And I believe in the Virgin Birth, the bodily resurrection of our Lord, the necessity of his death upon the cross for our salvation; I believe him to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and I believe the Bible contains all things necessary for our salvation!”

Almost all of those who spoke were fairly to deeply critical of the efforts to date, albeit for all different kinds of reasons. There was great anger expressed by a number of our Bishops over the incursions into their Dioceses by international jurisdictions. And there was a claim by one of them that, “Less than 7/10 of one percent of The Episcopal Church has defected” over “the issues,” so “Please, let’s stop repeating the ‘myths’ about how deep this ‘crisis’ is.”

One of our Bishops apologized on behalf of TEC for our “tearing the fabric” of the Communion.

One of the predominant themes from many (both TEC and others) was that we do not want a Covenant that can be used “juridically” to expel, discipline, or exclude.

Apparently, a number of others wanted to speak, but we ran out of time. They were invited to write down their concerns, and to come to the other Hearings scheduled later during the Conference.

Tonight I have just come from a meeting of seven of the “Global South” Primates, several of the British Bishops, and 14 of our American Bishops, some involved in “Common Cause” and some in “Communion Partners.” The point was again made that CP is an “inside” strategy, and CC an “outside” one, but that both are needed; and we want to do the best we can to support each other. The Primates were very clear in repeating several times their promise of solidarity with both efforts.

It is nearly midnight, and tomorrow is going to be a long day. Thanks for your prayers.

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

Anglican Journal: Lambeth Conference will deal with ”˜breakdown of trust’

There has been “a breakdown of trust” among members of the Anglican Communion, there has been “an inconsistency between what has been agreed and what has been done,” there is “turmoil” in the Episcopal Church of the U.S., there is “a diminishing sense of communion,” the bitter divide over homosexuality is affecting relations with the church’s ecumenical partners.

These were preliminary observations made by the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) on the state of the Anglican Communion and on the responses by Anglican provinces to the Windsor Report. These responses were presented to bishops for discussion Monday at the Lambeth Conference. The WCG was created last February by the Archbishop of Canterbury to “address outstanding questions arising from the Windsor Report and the various formal responses from provinces and instruments of the Anglican Communion.”

The Windsor Report, produced in 2004 by an international commission, outlined ways of healing divisions within the Anglican Communion over human sexuality. It recommended a moratorium on public rites of same-sex blessings and on the election of a gay person to the episcopate, the enactment of an Anglican Covenant, and an end to cross-border interventions.

Read it all.

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

US News and World Report: A Conference of Anglican Leaders Confronts Deeply Divisive Issues

It was not the most joyous of starts for the Lambeth Conference, the once-every-10-year gathering of the bishops of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England. Speaking last Sunday at the formal opening ceremony in the city’s storied cathedral, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, observed that the global association of Anglican churches, including the Episcopal Church of the United States, faced the most serious challenge of its history.

The absence of roughly one fourth of the Communion’s 880 invited bishops underscores his words. It reflects the growing schism between conservative and liberal factions with strongly differing views on tradition, doctrine, and Scripture, particularly as they touch on the hot-button issues of homosexuality and women in the clergy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Irish Times: Clerics unlikely to solve rift on same-sex unions or gay clergy

The Lambeth Conference is now believed highly unlikely to resolve the controversy over the ordination of actively gay bishops or blessings for same-sex couples.

The two issues have riven the Anglican Communion in recent years and have led to about a quarter of its bishops worldwide boycotting the current conference, which continues until August 3rd.

In a statement yesterday, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Right Rev John Neill, said he believed that “we are now engaged at Lambeth not in solving an issue, but in staying together for the sake of Christ, the church and above all the world which he calls upon us to serve”.

This “has not happened because anybody is trying to impose a liberal agenda.

“Liberals and conservatives should not attempt to demonise one another.

“We need both, but we need more, we need to be together,” he said.

Read it all.

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

Lambeth walk to demand world leaders to keep their promise to end poverty

(ACNS) The Archbishop of Canterbury will today (Thursday 24th July) lay down a challenge to world leaders on behalf of the worldwide Anglican Communion and other faith groups: you must keep your promises on aid and development as failure to do so will lead to further starvation, disease and death in the world’s poorest countries.

Dr Rowan Williams will be joined in his plea to governments across the world by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who will also address the audience of 650 Anglican bishops, their spouses, and representatives from other faith groups and Churches. The rally, set in the courtyard of Lambeth Palace, follows a walk of witness through central London, where up to 1,500 faith leaders, diplomats, parliamentarians and NGO heads will take to the streets to highlight the urgent need for more action on tackling poverty through sustainable solutions.

In the Archbishop’s letter ”“ which is the event’s manifesto ”“ he will outline how this generation has a genuine opportunity to eradicate extreme poverty. The document stresses, however, that most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by global leaders in 2000 to halve poverty by 2015 will not, as things stand, be fulfilled by this deadline ”“ and in fact, risk never being achieved at all.

The letter will be handed to the Prime Minister during the rally by Dr Williams, flanked by Christian and other faith leaders including Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster; Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi; Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE; Dr Indarjit Singh OBE; and other senior representatives of Muslim and Sikh organisations.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008, Poverty

Cardinal warns Anglicans not to live in the 'fleeting present'

A Vatican official told the world’s Anglican bishops that ignoring Christian tradition and making decisions apart from the wider church are like degenerative diseases.

At the Lambeth Conference, where the Anglican bishops are struggling with such issues as the ordination of women, gay bishops and gay unions, Cardinal Ivan Dias appeared to allude to a “spiritual Alzheimer’s” threatening to destroy the historical memory of the Anglican churches.

Read it all.

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

Note to Blog Readers on Lambeth Coverage Resources

If you have found information sources for Lambeth 2008, please let us know. Do not assume that since you have heard about it or read it, we have. We never mind hearing about something twice, but dislike not hearing about it at all. Please contact me at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com with your good ideas on this front–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

ENS: Lambeth Digest, Day 3

Some bishops attending the Lambeth conference on July 23 reacted to a statement made the previous day by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul of Sudan that the Episcopal Church had lost its way and asked Gene Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire who is in a same-gender partnership, to step down.

“We have had some harsh words from our good friend Daniel Deng Bul,” said Bishop Jeffrey Lee of Chicago in a video statement also available on youtube aimed at the diocese and released July 22.

He confirmed that the longstanding companion relationship between his diocese and the Diocese of Renk, where Deng served as bishop until his election this year as primate of Sudan, would continue. “He had harsh things to say about the Episcopal Church and some of the actions we have taken. I had a chance to talk to Daniel, and what I can say to you, bottom line, is that our affection for each other continues. His affection for the Diocese of Chicago and gratitude for many gifts we have given and brought to the Sudan continues.

“My commitment is that our relationship will continue, that it’s bigger and deeper than differences over discipline matters and the things that divide us. My commitment remains to the Episcopal Church and the processes we have taken to the full inclusion of all God’s people and we were able to share about that.”

Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade, primate of Brazil, said he thought the Sudanese archbishop’s statement was “very sad,” adding that “now is the moment for listening and conversation, not the moment for ‘agree with me or I won’t talk with you.’ It is the moment for being open, sharing and especially listening.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008