Daily Archives: August 3, 2008

Anglicans see blunt talk from Catholics as sign of friendship

The cardinal, he said, made it clear that because of the ordination of women “the status of the dialogue (between Catholics and Anglicans) will almost certainly change; nevertheless I rejoice in the cardinal’s opening paragraphs in which he speaks of his hope to remain in serious dialogue in search for full unity, so that the world may believe.”

“In spite of our apparently contradictory behavior,” Bishop Hill said, “Anglicans remain committed to the goal of full, visible unity.”

While telling the Anglicans that the Roman Catholic Church believes the ordination of women and the acceptance of homosexuality go against Scripture and tradition, Cardinal Kasper acknowledged that the Anglicans have acted out of a sincere desire to affirm the dignity of all people and to promote the full involvement of women in the life of the church.

Bishop Hill suggested that future Anglican-Catholic dialogues look at “the nature of the tradition of the faith down the ages.”

“I am sure the cardinal and I would agree that tradition must be in continuity with the apostolic faith in the deposit of the Scriptures, and also that tradition is nevertheless dynamic, led by the Spirit, and not mere historicism,” he said.

Read it all.

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

Full Audio of the Final Lambeth 2008 Press Conference

You really need to take the time to listen to it all.

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

Bishop John Howe of Central Florida writes his clergy- Sunday, August 3rd 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Fourteenth Lambeth Conference has come to an end. The “Reflections Paper” I described to you yesterday has been released (all 44 pages of it!), and the Archbishop of Canterbury has just concluded his Third and Final Presidential Address, stating unambiguously that Jesus Christ is, indeed, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and that we find our unity in him.

Shortly the “Reflections Paper” will be available online (Anglican Communion web site, also the Episcopal News Service web site).

In our Indaba group this morning we discussed our discomfort at the thought that this Paper might be read as if it had the character and (moral) authority of the Reports and Resolutions of previous Lambeth Conferences. We drafted a brief Introductory Statement that we wish to be attached to the Paper. (Note: this is the Statement of OUR group of 40 Bishops, not that of the Conference as a whole.)

Nevertheless, if you download (or otherwise receive) the “Reflections Paper” it would be my hope, personally, that you read it in the light of the following Introduction:

“The statement which follows cannot hope to capture the mood and experience of the Lambeth Conference 2008.

“Cold words are inadequate to express the quality and passion of the journey we have shared. We have listened intently to one another, we have laughed together and wept together. We have discovered in our Bible Study and Indaba Groups the kind of friendship and fellowship which is life-changing.

“This statement represents a distillation of insights and opinions, not from a single group but from 16 Indaba Groups and it therefore takes the form of a patchwork which no editorial process can make seamless without creating a garment that never existed.

“In order to read this document with appreciation you must allow yourself to imagine that you are in a safe space with others whom you have come to love and whose opinions you have grown to respect at the deepest level. Only the reader can breathe love, humor, tears, admiration, urgency and imagination into this document so that it can truly live, and so that the experiences that gave it birth can be seen to have animated our renewed relationships.”

Again, my profound thanks to all of you for your prayerful support of the Bishops gathered here in Canterbury for the past three weeks.

Warmest regards in our Lord,

The Right Rev. John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

Posted in Uncategorized

AP: Anglican leader urges ban on gay bishops

The spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans urged church leaders Sunday not to consecrate any other gay bishops for now, as he ended a once-a-decade Anglican assembly that was dedicated to preventing schism in the troubled fellowship.

In his final speech at the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the Anglican Communion needs “space for study and free discussion without pressure” about whether to accept changes in the traditional biblical understanding of same-sex relationships.

“A fellow Christian may believe they have a profound fresh insight. They seek to persuade others about it. A healthy church gives space for such exchanges,” he told the 650 bishops at the meeting in Canterbury, England. “But the Christian with the new insight can’t claim straight away that this is now what the Church of God believes or intends.”

Read it all.

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

Bishop Mark Lawrence: GAFCON is Heir Apparent

Bishop Lawrence criticized the existing Instruments of Communion of being too slow to adapt. “I witnessed a new birth last month [at GAFCON],” Bishop Lawrence said. “The Global South has come to its place of maturity. I don’t know how the two structures will work together in the future. Those who adapt the quickest will be the ones who win the day.”

Bishop Zavala challenged Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to state clearly to the rest of the Communion the intentions of The Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops.

“I don’t want to put words in her mouth,” he said. Bishop Zavala said the current crisis is rooted in The Episcopal Church’s decision to disregard Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference and consecrate a partnered homosexual person as Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire.

“If there is no moratorium then the Communion will split,’ he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

In Massachusetts an Episcopal priest Performs "a blessing ceremony' for a same sex couple

Rebecca Anne Binder, the daughter of Dr. Martha Connell and Dr. Jack Binder of Scarsdale, N.Y., was married on Saturday to Amanda Elizabeth Laws, the daughter of Oneida Méndez-Laws and the Rev. Thomas Laws of Montclair, N.J. Ms. Binder’s father, who was authorized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, officiated at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Charlestown, Mass., where Ms. Laws’s father, an Episcopal priest, participated in a blessing ceremony.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

Statement by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the conclusion of Lambeth 2008

(ENS)

Many bishops came to this gathering in fear and trembling, expecting either a distasteful encounter between those of vastly different opinions, or the cold shoulder from those who disagree. The overwhelming reality has been just the opposite. We have prayed, cried, learned, and laughed together, and discovered something deeper about the body of Christ. We know more of the deeply faithful ministry of those in vastly differing contexts, and we have heard repeatedly of the life and death matters confronting vast swaths of the Communion: hunger, disease, lack of education and employment, climate change, war and violence. We have remembered that together we may be the largest network on the planet ”“ able to respond to those life and death issues if we tend to the links, connections, and bonds between us. We have not resolved the differences among us, but have seen the deep need to maintain relationships, even in the face of significant disagreement and discomfort. The Anglican Communion is suffering the birth pangs of something new, which none of us can yet fully appreciate or understand, yet we know that the Spirit continues to work in our midst. At the same time patience is being urged from many quarters, that all may more fully know the leading of the Spirit. God is faithful. May we be faithful as well.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

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

The Final Lambeth 2008 Reflections Document

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Final Integrity Statement from Lambeth 2008

CANTERBURY, UK””In spite of extraordinary pressure to do otherwise, the Archbishop of Canterbury has managed to achieve his stated goal of a Lambeth Conference of reflection rather than resolutions. The long predicted coup d’état that was going to emerge from this Lambeth Conference and vote the Americans and Canadians out of the Anglican Communion failed to materialize. There is much to be grateful for in that.

In his July 29th presidential address, Rowan Williams clearly set the theological and biblical perspectives of those who embrace an inclusive gospel within the container of Anglican comprehensiveness. That in itself is a tremendous step forward for the Anglican Communion. It should signal that it is time for the conversations to cease about whether those who hold an inclusive perspective are still Anglicans””much less Christians. It is time to move on to how we, as a diverse community of faith, are going to move forward in God’s mission in spite of our differences.

The 43-page “Lambeth Indaba: Capturing Conversations and Reflections” provides a snapshot of the diversity of opinion and perspective held throughout the global communion and resists the temptation to offer””much less insist””on the means to reconcile the differences that challenge us. We call on our bishops to resist the temptation of those who will try to turn this descriptive document into a proscriptive edict.
This is particularly critical in the language around moratoria. The inclusion in this set of descriptions of the conversations in the bishops’ Indaba groups of the “desire to enforce a moratoria” on further consecrations of bishops who are gay or lesbian and on the blessing and celebration of same-sex unions is an accurate reflection of how some in the Anglican Communion would prefer we moved forward.

So is the reflection about “the positive effects in parts of [the Communion] when homosexual people are accepted as God’s children, are treated with dignity and choose to give their lives to Christ and to live in the community of faith as disciples of Jesus Christ with fidelity and commitment.”

And, while the Archbishop of Canterbury in his concluding address expressed his own preference for moratoria as a way forward, we are reminded that we are, as Anglicans, bound together in bonds of affection rather than authority. We believe we are called to find that way forward, not only within the bonds of affection to our Anglican siblings, but within the parameters of the polity and practice of an Episcopal Church forged in the crucible of the American Revolution.

With Lambeth Conference 2008 and the failed coup d’état behind us, Integrity calls on our bishops to lead us all forward in faith and in God’s mission: to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, and to let the oppressed go free.

We challenge them to partner with the House of Deputies to break the cycle of being bullied into bigotry and distracted from mission and ministry by those who would exclude us because of our commitment to the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ. We look forward to General Convention 2009 and the opportunities we will have there to move the church further forward on the journey toward full inclusion.

We pray that our bishops will build on the relationships they have developed here in Canterbury with bishops from around the Communion to enable the witness of the Good News of God in Christ Jesus made present in the lives, relationships and vocations of LGBT Episcopalians to be shared more widely throughout our Anglican family of faith. We stand ready to resource and support that work going forward.

We remind our bishops that we cannot live up to our baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being if we tell some of them that they are good enough to arrange our flowers, play our organs, direct our choirs, teach our Sunday Schools, and lead our worship””but not good enough to have their vocations affirmed and their relationships blessed. There is nothing “generous” about asking the LGBT faithful to bear the burden of unity of the Anglican Communion on their shoulders and there is no theological defense for sacrificing a minority of the baptized to the will of a majority.

We give thanks for the extraordinary privilege it has been to be part of the cloud of witnesses who have offered to this Lambeth Conference incarnational opportunities to engage with brother and sister Anglicans from all over the globe. We pray that our witness, along with our Inclusive Church Network allies, will continue to grow as we partner together to proclaim God’s justice and to live God’s love.

Finally, we recognize with deep regret that the exclusion of the Bishop of New Hampshire from this gathering of his peer bishops in the Church of God has sent a signal to LGBT people around the world that the Anglican Communion still considers them “strangers at the gate.” We commit ourselves to continue in the struggle until our church and our Communion live up to the high calling to be the Body of Christ in the world where all members are truly welcome, valued, loved, included, and challenged.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Concluding Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008

And this is emphatically not about forcing others to conform ; it is an agreement to identify those elements in each other’s lives that build trust and allow us to see each other as standing in the same Way and the same Truth, moving together in one direction and so able to enrich and support each other as fully as we can. What I am saying, in effect, is that every association of Christian individuals and groups makes some sort of ”˜covenant’ for the sake of mutual recognition, mutual gratitude and mutual learning.

Does this mean that we are all restricted by each other’s views and preferences, incapable of arguing or changing? It was a problem familiar to St Paul, and you have already, in this Conference, heard something of how he dealt with it. But let me try to say how this affects our current difficulties. A fellow-Christian may believe they have a profound fresh insight. They seek to persuade others about it. A healthy church gives space for such exchanges. But the Christian with the new insight can’t claim straight away that this is now what the Church of God believes or intends; and it quite rightly takes a long time before any novelty can begin to find a way into the public liturgy, even if it has been widely agreed. Confusion arises when what is claimed as a new discernment presents itself as carrying the Church’s authority.

And that’s why the pleas for continuing moratoria regarding certain new policies and practices have been uttered. Such pleas have found wide support across the range of views represented in the indaba groups. The Church in its wider life can’t be committed definitively by the judgment of some; but when a new thing is enshrined, in whatever way, in public order and ministry, it will look like a definitive commitment. The theological ground for a plea for moratoria is the need to avoid this confusion so that discernment continues together. The Resolution of Lambeth ’98 was an attempt to say both ”˜We need understanding and shared discernment on a hugely complex topic,’ and ”˜We as the bishops in council together are not persuaded that the new thoughts offered to us can be reconciled with our shared loyalty to Scripture.’ Perhaps we should read that Resolution – forgetting for a moment the bitterness and confusion around the debate and acknowledging that it remains where our Communion as a global community stands – as an attempt to define what a healthy Church might need – space for study and free discussion without pressure, pastoral patience and respect, unwillingness to change what has been received in faith from Scripture and tradition. And this is not by any means to say that a traditional understanding and a new one are just two equal options, like items on the supermarket shelf : the practice and public language of the Church act always as a reminder that the onus of proof is on those who seek a new understanding. To say that the would-be innovator must be heard gratefully and respectfully is simply to acknowledge the debt we always owe to those who ask unfamiliar questions, because they prompt us to explore our tradition more deeply.

It’s worth adding, too, that the call for a moratorium on interventions across provinces belongs in the same theological framework. Such interventions often imply that nothing within a province, no provision made or pastoral care offered, can be recognizably and adequately Christian; and this is a claim not lightly to be made by any Christian community regarding any other without grave breach of charity. And it seems to be widely agreed in this Conference that internal pastoral and liturgical care, strengthened by arrangements like the suggested Communion Partners initiative in the USA and the proposed Pastoral Forum we have been discussing, are the way we should go if we want to avoid further ecclesial confusion.

So I hope that, if part of the message of Lambeth ’08 is that we need to develop covenantal commitments, and that one aspect of this may be what you could call covenanted restraint, this will be seen in the context of a unity not enforced but given in Christ.

Read it all.

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

AFP: Anglican conference draws to close as divisions persist

Anglican clergy from across the world gathered Sunday for the final day of the Lambeth Conference, held once in a decade, amid a bitter row about the topic of gays in the church.

The Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, southeastern England, is a key event for the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has around 77 million followers led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

About 650 bishops and archbishops attended the 20-day event for intensive sessions of worship, study and conversation at the University of Kent campus.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

From the Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Department

Trying to do my share to help the environment, I set up a trash basket at my church and posted above it this suggestion: “Empty water bottles here.”

I should have been a little more specific, because when I went to check it out later, I didn’t find any bottles in it. It was full of water.

–Mahood Jawald of Dunbar, West Virginia in the July 2008 Reader’s Digest, page 194

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia

Allie: Lambeth Spouses Conference Matters Too

One major aspect of the Lambeth Conference that seems to hardly get mentioned at all is the 540+ spouses who gather daily for their own conference.

Like the bishops, the spouses meet daily for worship, meals, plenary sessions, bible studies, and self-select sessions.

The team that put together the Spouses’ Conference, under the direction of Jane Williams, had a very difficult task. They had to build a conference for a group of people who appear to have very little in common other than having spouses with similar jobs. They are, among other things, mothers, wives, fathers, husbands, clergy, professionals, professors, seamstresses, and full time bishops’ wives.

While the bishops were discussing issues in the church, and learning about episcopal ministry and each other. There spouses were learning about world issues, each other, taking trips to different parts of England, making art, praying, and for many of them, being introduced to many of the issues facing the church. They had the opportunity to discuss struggles in being a bishop’s spouse. A few commented that it was good being able to see the work that was being done around the communion in person.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Kendall Harmon: A caution as We Go into the Final Heavy Press Cycle

Please read widely from a variety of points of view and if something is asserted, check the documentation if you can to make sure it is accurate. Seek not to jump to conclusions.

And get ready for this: if the Conference goes as I have been concerned it might (and I defer judgment in any final sense until the end), one of the responses is going to be: see, people like that (ie people who are concerned) just do not understand, they are against–and then you fill in the blank–meeting face to face, group process, face to face encounter, the importance of understanding different contexts, the Archbishop of Canterbury personally, etc. It does not follow that if Lambeth 2008 failed to do the most important thing that nothing good in the process occurred, but it is the larger overall outcome that matters. The Windsor Report used the metaphor or image of sickness to describe the state of the Communion (when it was written, now it is worse). The central question remains did the conference contribute the helping the serious sickness of the Anglican Communion overall heal or did it do the opposite? KSH.

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

The Bishop of New Jersey offers some more Lambeth 2008 Thoughts

We were each invited to share something about context within which we address the issue of homosexuality. Our Indaba group did a good job of listening as each bishop responded. Still, I must note my deep disappointment that we are talking about gay and lesbian people rather than listening to them. I believe that Bishop Robinson’s exclusion from this Conference profoundly diminished this process.

We addressed challenging questions about the three moratoria. In the course of our discussion, our Bible study group agreed that it is not enough for the bishops and provinces to agree to observe moratoria. Just stopping certain activities is not enough. There is no life in that. We need to know “Why?” and “For how long?” The moratoria should be in the service of a larger project of coming to a shared understanding of the Scripture, of an exploration of theological anthropology and an articulation of sexual ethics. Only by clearing space for those wider discussions will the moratoria speak life rather than threaten death (to echo the Archbishop of Canterbury) to the Communion. We hope that the Conference final statement will spell this out.

We also did a line-by-line reading of the St. Andrew’s Draft of the proposed Covenant. There is broad support for the Covenant, but lots of concern and outright opposition to the Appendix.

Read it all–and I agree about the why and the how long. The Windsor report, by the way, answered the second question and pointed well on the way to the first.

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