Daily Archives: July 30, 2008

The Bishop of Minnesota offers some thoughts from Lambeth 2008

I would like to do a little reflecting on [what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said], to put it in our context and how I heard it. I think we will continue to hear more in it as we share it this week, but this is a near first-impression.

In our work on the “Windsor process” and the development of a possible covenant for the Anglican Communion, much of the attitudes and the work drafted thus far is very legal in its foundation and seems to be based in fear and formed by politics. Whether apologies from TEC have not been heard elsewhere, or whether they have been diminished by someone’s dismissively saying, “They did not really mean it,” or “That’s not enough” (both have been said repeatedly)””for whichever of those reasons, the reaction of a good many is still anger and sometimes hostility. It is understandable, given that we have really upset the Communion, some because our actions go against profound beliefs, and some because the response to those actions has severely impaired our ability to engage in mission partnerships around the world. I have sympathy for both of those reactions. But reactions are feelings and responses are actions and behaviors which, especially in a conflicted situation, need to be helpful for healing and reconciling the body, not causing more harm. The response of many is to want to punish us, to make sure that we have suffered “enough,” and that drives the wish to make a covenant for the Communion that will identify clear behaviors that are acceptable and others that are unacceptable, and clear consequences if anyone transgresses or deviates from the acceptable behaviors.

What I hear in Rabbi Sacks’ address is 1) a profound emphasis on unity based in the “faith covenant”””the many shared sufferings in our past and present; 2) the need to forgive each other in order to redeem the past; 3) the need to respect the dignity of each other so that we can come together to share, to be in relationship, to find our emerging identity in Christ, and to be transformed. On that basis, and only then, will we be able to build a “faith covenant,” full of shared dreams, aspirations and hope in order to make commitments for mission. This is where I come back to what I was writing the other day about a covenant which is about invitation, persistently inviting back to the table those who would isolate themselves or ostracize others.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Windsor Report / Process

Vatican official: Anglican Communion must stay true to Scriptures

Cardinal Kasper told the bishops, “It is a strength of Anglicanism that even in the midst of difficult circumstances, you have sought the views and perspectives of your ecumenical partners, even when you have not always particularly rejoiced in what we have said.”

He said even as the Roman Catholic Church prays that Anglicans will find ways to strengthen their communion the bishops must remember that what is at stake “is nothing other than our faithfulness to Christ himself.”

The Catholic Church is convinced that its teaching that homosexual activity is sinful “is well-founded in the Old and in the New Testament” as well as in the tradition of Christianity, he said.

Read it all.

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

Bishop Carol Gallagher offers some Lambeth Reflections

The conversation at Lambeth has been focused on Covenant. I am concerned that covenant is how we legislate when we don’t have the desire for constancy and faithfulness. We have decided that prescribing a written remedy is better than finding a way to be constant in our love and care for one another. We maybe haven’t fed each other enough, we haven’t depended upon each other enough, we haven’t wanted the companionship enough to evoke constancy and faithfulness. Have we spent enough time listening to each other, both in demands and in purring, in light and in darkness? Have we held each other close as the world closed in around us? Constancy and faithfulness don’t need a covenant, they need a loving desire for the presence of others. I want this day to be imbued with the desire for the companionship of others – no matter how we disagree. I pray that God will infuse me with love so deep that I want to follow other bishops and Anglicans around, sit in their office and enjoy their presence in my life. I pray that we all might have a persistent, insistent love for one another, so that we might move beyond legislation to community. Beyond contract to family. Jesus reminds us that love -constancy and faithfulness- are the signs of our discipleship, not a covenant. Just love. “I give you a new commandment that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:34-35) May love take hold where contract cannot.

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

Living Church: 'A Problem of America' at Lambeth

Bishop K.D. Daniel of East Kerala in the Church of South India (United) never wavered in his determination to the Lambeth Conference, but that does not mean he is happy with the situation in the Anglican Communion.

“The problem we are basically facing is a problem of America,” he said. “They want to push their problems on to other nations.”

Bishop Daniel was one of 16 nominated to serve indaba group listeners on July 25. This is the group that will prepare the conference “Reflections” paper.

Issues of human sexuality do not predominate in East Kerala, said Bishop Daniel. His diocese is about 360 miles long, but averages less than 50 miles in width. It was created about 25 years ago by dividing the Indian state of Kerala in half. Western Kerala has a prosperous and growing service-sector economy, including tourism, public administration, banking and finance, transportation, and communications. East Kerala is much less developed with large tropical rain forests and agriculture as the primary source of employment. Unemployment is high in East Kerala, Bishop Daniel said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Bishop Nick Baines offers some Thoughts on Yesterday at Lambeth

The moral and spiritual authority of Rowan is obvious. When people criticise him for lack of leadership, they need to realise what he is doing here. In the light of the Scriptures and faithful to Christian history he seeks to enable Christians of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to recognise the call of Christ to a ministry of reconciliation for the sake of the world. He refuses to let us off the hook by allowing us to indulge in politics without being reminded of the challenging and costly vocation to carry a cross and lay down our life (and our rights). His call to different wings of the Church to offer a ‘generous love’ to those on other sides is not the appeal of a weak man. In true Christian – and cruciform – style, he stands between people and, arms outstretched – holds them together even though in doing so he is pulled apart. To call this ‘weak leadership’ is to call the Cross a pointless gesture.

Rowan did something risky but powerful. He tried to articulate – give voice to – the thinking and feelings of people on different sides of our current divides. I think he demonstrated his real ability to understand and express what different people are thinking and saying. He gave generous expression to their point of view and enabled us to see what it feels like to think the way ‘the other’ does. In so doing, he also exposed the dark sides of passionately felt theological and ecclesiological positions. This was a brutally honest expression.

The problem might be, however, that the only people to hear it might be those who are able to hear anyway. Those who are already entrenched in their prejudiced positions will probably prove unable to hear and respond to Rowan’s call for the generosity commanded by Jesus. In fact, he said: ‘We can only do this [sacrifice for the sake of others] if we are first captured by the true centre – the generosity of God [who laid down his life for us in the first place].’ His statement that ‘we seem to be threatening death to each other, not offering life’ is simply and unarguably true. ‘We need to speak life to each other’, he said – and the need is obvious.

The questions remain….

Read it all (the entry timestamp is Wednesday 30 July 2008 – 12:01am).

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

Makes the Heart Sad (2)

Delta Air Lines doubled the fee for checking a second bag on domestic flights to $50 each way.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Travel

Makes the Heart Sad (1)

From here:

LAKE CITY, Ga. ”“ More than 1,800 people showed up to help ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” team demolish a family’s decrepit home and replace it with a sparkling, four-bedroom mini-mansion in 2005. Three years later, the reality TV show’s most ambitious project at the time has become the latest victim of the foreclosure crisis. After the Harper family used the two-story home as collateral for a $450,000 loan, it’s set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse on Aug. 5. The couple told WSB-TV they received the loan for a construction business that failed.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market

(London) Times Continues their Lambeth Voices in which a panel of Anglican bishops share their views

Here is some of the thought of Bishop Mouneer Anis of Eygpt, Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East:

I find that many of our North American friends blame us and criticise us for bringing in the issues of sexuality and homosexuality but in fact they are the ones who are bringing these issues in. Here at Lambeth, you come across many advertisements for events organised by gay and Lesbian activists which are sponsored by the North American Church. If you visit the marketplace at the conference, you will notice that almost half the events promoted on the noticeboard promote homosexuality and are sponsored by the North Americans. And in the end, we, the people who remain loyal to the original teaching of the Anglican Communion, which we received from the Apostles, are blamed. They say that we talk a lot about sexuality and that we need to talk more about poverty, about AIDs, and injustice. They are the ones who are bringing sexuality into this conference. It’s not us. We want to talk about the heart of the issues which divide us, not only sexuality. That is just a symptom of a deeper problem.

They talk about the slavery and say that 200 years ago Christians were opposed to the freedom of slaves and they compare us to those Christians for our attitude to gay and lesbian practises. To be honest, I think this is inviting us to another kind of slavery, slavery of the flesh, to go and do whatever our lusts dictate. Sometimes, I think that maybe because of the pressure in Western culture to push the practise of homosexuality, our friends in the West are pushing these issues. But, on the other hand, I see many who live in the West and still want to preserve the faith and the tradition of the Church. Should we allow culture to pressure the Church or should the Church be distinctive, light and salt to the world? Cardinal Ivan Dias said that we didn’t bring the Gospel to the culture we could end up suffering from spiritual Alzheimers.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Interviews from Lambeth: The Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh

PH: What are your personal thoughts on the Conference?

BKC: There are two words to convey my experience of Lambeth: privilege and pain. The longer I’m here the greater the sense of privilege. This is my first Lambeth Conference, so I have nothing to compare it to ”“ some bishops I’ve spoken to have three Lambeths under their belts!

I do feel privileged to meet with men and women of faith whose stories and experiences are humbling. The contexts of people’s ministries are so varied. One bishop from Sudan has had to literally run for his life once and has been attacked several times. Another bishop is surviving on an income of just $30 per month. The story from Ethiopia and Somalia is that six million people are seriously hungry, close to starving, and this seems likely to rise to 15 million by the end of the year. The impact of these personal testimonies is deep. I do have a strong sense of the amazing family which is the Anglican Communion. It is made up of a huge variety of people working in different contexts, engaged in mission and trying to honour the Lord.

As for the pain, I’m conscious of the profound pain that many bishops are ”“ so evidently ”“ not here. They represent a majority of Anglicans. We are praying for and remembering them every day. I also find it painful that there is division among us. I would say that we are having frank, honest and robust exchanges of views. At this time we face a huge challenge. Our listening must be genuine with an end purpose. There is an understanding of various viewpoints but many I have listened to are convinced that we must move towards some kind of resolution. It is increasingly clear that at the heart of the tension there are those who see developments on human sexuality as that ”“ development, while others see it as a departure from what has been accepted for two thousand years. There is uncertainty about the future. For me it is a deeply painful to see the church I love experiencing such a foundational fissure. The heart of Anglicanism is experiencing a ”˜cardiac arrest’!

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

Leander Harding: Response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Second Lambeth Presidential Address

There is another subtle subtext to this message. The Archbishop has implicitly described the dispute as a North vs South dispute. The imaginary conversation sounds like a conversation between TEC and the African churches. There is an implication that Africans and others in the global South are in a pre-critical cultural context and that those in the global North are dealing with the complexity of a post-critical situation with a more enlightened and nuanced understanding of homosexuality. This is inaccurate and an oversimplification. Among other things it misses the massive disagreement and division in North America and fails to register the sophistication of the scientific and theological objections to the homosexual agenda in the church that cuts across the global North-South divide. The Archbishop’s statement sadly implies that all who resist the homosexual agenda in the church have not engaged seriously the cultural and scientific issues.

A final disappointment is the Archbishop’s failure to grasp the degree to which in North America and among North Americans the dispute is far deeper than over the proper response to homosexuality. The uniqueness and divinity of Christ are very much at play in our setting. The Archbishop is right that it is easy to judge too sweepingly and too harshly but his statement does not really register the worry that many traditionalists have in North America about fidelity to basic Christian doctrine on the part of the leaders of their churches. It is not the case that traditionalists are making judgments on the basis of the homosexual question alone. Statements by key leaders in the Episcopal Church contradict the most basic teachings of the faith including the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What is even more worrying is the use of the traditional language of faith with a very different intention and meaning by many of our leaders. I think traditionalists in North America would like this concern to be truly heard by the Archbishop and the Lambeth meeting and not implicitly dismissed as prejudiced or over-reaction.

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

Church Times Blog: Bishops talk about Windsor Continuation Group's proposals

The Bishop of Alabama, the Rt Revd Henry Parsley, described the Continuation Group’s suggestion of a pastoral forum or “holding bay” for disaffected groups within the Communion, as “interesting”.

“My sense is it would bring people together face to face to talk about these things, I think that will be a tremendous step forward so we’re not sending communiqués across the ocean, so we don’t really talk about things in person.

“Secondly I think it’s all about forgiveness, we’ve all heard each other in some ways and we need to move forward and heal.

“I’ve great hope for this Communion, I spoke in the hearing on the third session on the Continuation Group’s proposals, and spoke of the formula truth plus forgiveness equals reconciliation, and that’s true and is Christ’s message. Not that it’s easy but I’ve hope.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Bishops, Windsor Report / Process

Anglican Journal: Rowan Williams attempts to bridge sides in human sexuality debate

Archbishop Williams also reiterated his support for an Anglican Covenant “that recognizes the need to grow towards each other (and also recognizes that not all may choose that way),” saying he saw no other way forward “that would avoid further disintegration” of the Anglican Communion, that has been at odds over the place of homosexuals in the life of the church.

He again underscored his proposal for a council saying the Communion needs “a bit more of a structure in our international affairs to be able to give clear guidance on what would and would not be a grave and lasting divisive course of action by a local church.” He said that such a body would be useful not just for addressing the issue of sexual ethics, but other differences.

“It could just as well be pressure for a new baptismal formula or the abandonment of formal reference to the Nicene Creed in a local church’s formulations; it could be a degree of variance in sacramental practice ”“ about the elements of the eucharist or lay presidency; it could be the regular incorporation into liturgy of non-scriptural or even non-Christian material,” he said.

Read it all.

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

Notable and Quotable (IV)

This Conference is a wonderful venue and program for each of the bishops and spouses to draw nearer to God and to our neighbor. We are attempting to move along those lines that bring us closer to God and to each other as we worship and pray together; study the Scriptures and exchange viewpoints and experiences from our different contexts in Bible studies, Indaba groups and various programs.

This is by no means easy. There are serious disagreements among us. There is frustration with aspects of the Indaba group process. There are moments of dismay and discouragement. But we are here for God and for one another and, by God’s grace, we shall continue to listen to God and to each other, for the sake of Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.

Bishop George Councell of New Jersey in one of his thoughts on the current Lambeth Conference

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

Notable and Quotable (III)

That it is advisable that a consultative body should be formed to which resort may be had, if desired, by the national Churches, provinces, and extra-provincial dioceses of the Anglican Communion either for information or for advice, and that the Archbishop of Canterbury be requested to take such steps as he may think most desirable for the creation of this consultative body.

–Resolution 5 of the Lambeth Conference of 1897

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

Notable and Quotable (II)

The Conference approves the following statement of nature and status of the Anglican Communion, as that term is used in its Resolutions:

The Anglican Communion is a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, which have the following characteristics in common:

1. they uphold and propagate the Catholic and Apostolic faith and order as they are generally set forth in the Book of Common Prayer as authorised in their several Churches;

2. they are particular or national Churches, and, as such, promote within each of their territories a national expression of Christian faith, life and worship; and

3. they are bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference.

The Conference makes this statement praying for and eagerly awaiting the time when the Churches of the present Anglican Communion will enter into communion with other parts of the Catholic Church not definable as Anglican in the above sense, as a step towards the ultimate reunion of all Christendom in one visibly united fellowship.

–Resolution 49 of the Lambeth Conference of 1930

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Theology