Daily Archives: August 9, 2008

Katharine Jefferts Schori: The road from Lambeth

But the forms and structures of the various provinces of the Anglican communion have diverged significantly, in ways that challenge those ancient ties to England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those provinces are the result of evangelism tied to colonial structures, whether of Britain or her former colonies, and that colonial history has still to be unpacked and assessed. The present attempts to manage conflict in the communion through a renewed focus on structural ties to old or new authorities have generated significant resistance, both from provinces who largely absented themselves from Lambeth and from dissenting voices among the attending bishops.

The Anglican communion’s present reality reflects a struggle to grow into a new level of maturity, like that of adult siblings in a much-conflicted family. As we continue to wrestle, sufficient space and respect for the differing gifts of the siblings just might lead to greater maturity in relationship. This will require greater self-definition as well as decreased reactivity. Jesus’ own example in relationships with his opponents and with his disciples will be instructive.

Read it all.

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

Bryden Black: Why should the Communion be predisposed to endless debate and keeping the qtns alive?

My concluding comment to both the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops at Lambeth is this. “Holding paradoxes in appropriate tension” – which is the call from Lambeth 2008 – may be a useful process in certain domains. Our understanding of the behaviour of light in contemporary physics is one such. But to ask Athanasius or the Cappadocians of the 4th C, and now the Anglican Communion of the 21st C, to stay in formal fellowship with those whose beliefs and practices are “essentially” contradictory and not merely complementary (as are the two contemporary models regarding light) is itself anathema – as many a Church Council canon has affirmed. At root, the traditional logic that undergirded the idea of comprehensiveness is no longer the contemporary logic that is driving the call for inclusivity, in all manner of spheres. It is therefore a “catastrophic failure of leadership” (Nelson Mandela), I submit, to permit, let alone to foster, the continuation of such an incoherent form of Communion as is now the result of Lambeth 2008.

This comment is not born of frustration or fear. Nor does it try to preempt what may or may not happen at the next ACC meeting in May 2009 re the proposed Covenant, nor the extended probable scenarios beforehand via the Primates or thereafter via all the provinces. On the contrary, it has grown itself from a fellowship that is quintessentially Anglican, a process of broad conversation and engagement, pastoral and intellectual, local and international, with the living and the dead, over 25 years, coram Deo. It comes, as with Archbishop Orombi, out of “love [of] the Lord Jesus Christ, and … love [of] the Anglican Communion”. Such love comes too with a final concern: “For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

Jim Edmonds has A Banner Day

Makes a Cub’s fan’s heart glad–watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Sports

What was Bill Cosby up to in Baltimore?

Mr. Cosby’s appearance in the predominantly black neighborhood was to encourage residents to enroll in Baltimore City Community College. During a nearly hour-long speech, Mr. Cosby said it’s never too late for high school dropouts to improve.

“There’s no love out there,” Mr. Cosby said of the street life. “The only thing out there is how to write your entrance exam to jail. We’ve got to teach. The church is open. Go on in.”

Mr. Cosby has been the source of controversy when he has addressed mostly black audiences. His criticisms of men fathering children out of wedlock have been called divisive. He spent most of his Baltimore speech, however, imploring his audience to seek self-improvement and to build pride within their community.

Young people of St. Ambrose said Mr. Cosby’s message of hope at St. Ambrose could be a catalyst for change.

“It means a lot for someone that popular,” said Maulana Waters, 15, “to come out and speak to regular people like us.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

Bishops back Rowan Williams in gay sex row – even though some don’t agree with him

Dr [Tom] Wright said: “At this stage it is very important that we focus on what Lambeth did and not what what happened eight years ago.”

He said Lambeth had been successful in taking forward the Covenant process and the conference had achieved its objectives.

He said: “People can make political capital out of anything. Lambeth was a great achievement and we must build on that.”

Read it all.

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

David Anderson offers some Analysis of recent Anglican Developments

Reports came in from Lambeth that a number of TEC revisionist bishops were spreading misinformation in their Indaba groups about the state of litigation in the United States. Their claim was that the orthodox churches and dioceses “were suing them,” and the blame was really to be put on the orthodox. This is untrue, but it has been proven that if a lie is told often enough, people begin to believe there is something to it. Let us look at a few examples of lawsuits in the US.

In California, the bishop of Los Angeles is suing the orthodox churches, as is also the case in the diocese of San Diego. The Los Angeles orthodox churches won in the lower court and were reversed in a Court of Appeals, and the case is now before the California Supreme Court. The point to take away is that Bishop J. Jon Bruno initiated the lawsuit, demanding even the children’s Sunday School crayons (no, I am not joking, you can read it in the public record), and for anyone, especially a California bishop, to assert that they were sued first is a deliberate untruth.

In Virginia, Bishop Peter Lee had worked out an arbitration procedure that would have allowed the churches and the diocese to negotiate an agreed-upon settlement and avoid litigation. The churches proceeded with their parish votes and the registration of the vote tallies with the local Court Houses, as per the 1867 Virginia law that applied to church splits. When the TEC Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori heard about it, she advised Bishop Lee that “there is a new sheriff in town.” Lee was told that if he didn’t sue the churches, TEC would sue him. Bishop Lee uncharacteristically buckled under the pressure, and without advance notice, launched the lawsuits. For him to say that the Virginia churches sued him would be a gross violation of the truth also.

Somewhere in the United States, a parish may have asked for a declaratory judgment to settle issues of property title, or may have, once they were sued, filed a counter suit in defense, but it has been the model of the orthodox churches not to use the courts to attack bishops, dioceses, or TEC. The very aggressive stance that TEC has taken was first formulated by leadership within the Presbyterian Church in the US, and it appears that TEC Chancellor David Booth Beers is following the Presbyterian game plan to a “P.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

US News and World Report: Strife Inside the Anglican Church

But the ultimate value of Lambeth””and indeed the continued unity of the communion””may depend on new instruments that Williams alluded to in his formal speeches to the bishops. One is a proposed Pastoral Forum, which would enforce a moratorium not only on all actions relating to the hot-button sexual issues but also on the creation of new jurisdictions within the territories of already existing ones. The other is a long-standing proposal for a new “Covenant for the Communion,” an explicit statement of beliefs that all practicing Anglicans would presumably have to sign on to.

But conservative Anglicans say they see nothing new in these proposals and furthermore doubt that they would be enforced any more vigorously than the existing instruments are. “I would say what Lambeth is doing is far too little and far too late,” says Martyn Minns, missionary bishop of the breakaway Convocation of Anglicans in North America. Liberals have their own reservations. Robinson, a conspicuous presence on the fringes of the conference, to which he was not invited, says that the loose Anglican confederation with its tradition of tolerating divergent views is in no need of fixing “with either a covenant or a Pastoral Forum or anything of the sort.” And calling the various proposals a “series of big ‘ifs,’ ” Jefferts Schori says that the Episcopal Church “will continue to define itself through its legislative processes.”

Even church-watchers who were impressed by what they heard about the collegial quality of the Lambeth Conference fear that it only papered over the differences. “I was encouraged by the personal relationships formed by the bishops,” says the Rev. Frank Kirkpatrick, author of The Episcopal Church in Crisis and a professor of religion at Trinity College in Connecticut. “But I’m not sure Lambeth resolved anything.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Religion and Ethics Weekly: Lambeth Conference Wrap Up

KIM LAWTON (Managing Editor, RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY): Well, I think the big news from the meeting was that there wasn’t any big news. A lot of people feared that there might be some kind of an actual split at this meeting. That didn’t happen. About a third of the bishops boycotted. That did have an impact, but there wasn’t any big explosion. They’re still hanging together, but this sort of uneasy stalemate continues.

[Bob] ABERNETHY: And what does the stalemate mean for the typical American Episcopal parish?

LAWTON: Well, not much in the short term. There are — the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion is upset that the U.S. elected a gay bishop, that same-sex blessings occur inside some Episcopal churches. The Communion would like that to stop. But the bishops that are doing that in the U.S. say, “We’re not going to stop.” The majority of the Communion is not happy that some Americans have said, “We don’t want to be part of the Episcopal Church,” and so they’re affiliating with these African churches in some cases. The Communion says well, we don’t like that, that isn’t done in the Anglican Communion. That should stop. But it probably will continue. And so the question is, can all of this still happen within one Anglican umbrella?

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

RNS: Black U.S. Bishops Question Conservatives' ties to African Allies

For five years, conservative Episcopalians eager to escape their liberal American church have been building ties with African Anglicans half a world away.

But they have few connections with black Americans in their own back yard, say black Episcopal bishops gathered here for a once-a-decade meeting of Anglican prelates.

“It’s something that I like to point out,” said the Bishop Eugene Sutton,the first black Episcopal bishop in Maryland, “the historical anomaly of dioceses that have nothing to do with the black community going all the way to Africa to make these relationships.”

Moreover, Sutton and other black bishops here say that the use of Scripture to reject homosexuality in the Anglican Communion evokes previous eras’ Biblically based arguments in support of slavery and racism.

African prelates, however, reject that argument, and American conservatives say it is shared theology — not race — that motivates their alliances.

“This is just another revisionist attempt to use anything to undermine the orthodox position of the church and spread the agenda of inclusiveness,” said the Right Rev. Peter Beckwith, the conservative bishop of Springfield, Ill.

Read it all–one I did not get around to posting until now, as it is ever thus. Interestingly, I did just notice now that this article is in today’s Washington Post–KSH.

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

(Times) Leading churchmen reflect on what was, and was not, achieved by the recent Lambeth

Here is one:

Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester
The conference was an effective if low-key holding operation, which brought home to those in North America and elsewhere the depth of disunity which their actions were causing. Only future events will show whether the tide can be fully turned towards increased unity ”” and truth. There were some excellent plenary addresses and visiting lecturers. The highlights, as ever, were in the shared meals and conversations, and in new friendships.

Read them all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

On the Non-New Views of Archbishop Rowan Williams on the Question of Non-celibate Same Sex Unions

These views are not surprising and they are not new. I refer interested readers first to this Telegraph article (and please note the date–July 2001). Second, there is the full text of his essay entitled The Body’s Grace.

Third, I remind readers of this Time Magazine interview (July 2007):

Isn’t the Scripture straightforward on homosexuality?
It’s impossible to get from Scripture anything straightforwardly positive about same-sex relationships. So if there were any other way of approaching it, you’d have to go back to the first principle of human relationships. Those theologians who’ve defended same-sex relationships from the Christian point of view in recent decades have said you’ve got to look at whether a same-sex relationship is capable of something at the level of neutral self-giving that a marriage ought to exemplify. And then ask, is that what Scripture is talking about? That’s the area of dispute.

You yourself once thought it possible that same-sex relationships might be legitimate in God’s eyes.
Yes, I argued that in 1987. I still think that the points I made there and the questions I raised were worth making as part of the ongoing discussion. I’m not recanting. But those were ideas put forward as part of a theological discussion. I’m now in a position where I’m bound to say the teaching of the Church is this, the consensus is this. We have not changed our minds corporately. It’s not for me to exploit my position to push a change.

Finally, there was a very long interview with Dr. Williams on February 12, 2003 in the Daily Telegraph by Charles Moore and Jonathan Petre which included this section:

Q: What are you going to do when the Bishop of New Westminster in Canada issues his rite of same-sex blessing?
A: I don’t think this kind of thing is something that any diocese can declare on its own. It does raise quite large doctrinal questions which are not best dealt with on a local basis.
Q: Given that he has said that he is going to do it, what will you do?
A: The Province of Canada will obviously have to face these questions in the first wave, and then it is probably something that the primates of the Communion will have to discuss.
Q: Apart from that unity point, what is your own view of same-sex blessings?
A: I’ve never licenced one or performed one because I believe that there are significantly serious questions about how that is to be distinguished from marriage not to rush into the innovation. So it is very complex and I don’t have a quick answer.
Q: How will you deal with bishops or clergy in this country who do undertake them?
A: I can only speak with past experience. When I have encountered cases where a cleric has performed a same-sex blessing I have said that this must not happen again. Anything that is done in the name of the Church must be something done by more than just an individual.

For reasons I will never understand I cannot find a working url for this latter interview (yes, I tried the Telegraph site and numerous other approaches) so if any of you can and could plass it along I would be very grateful–KSH

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

A Statement from Rowan Williams in response to Press reports on the Archbishop's correspondence

In response to the recent coverage of the correspondence dated back to 2000, the Archbishop Canterbury has made the following statement:

In the light of recent reports based on private correspondence from eight years ago, I wish to make it plain that, as I have consistently said, I accept Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics and thus as providing the authoritative basis on which I as Archbishop speak on such questions.

That Resolution also recognises the need for continuing study and discussion on the matter. In the past, as a professional theologian, I have made some contributions to such study. But obviously, no individual’s speculations about this have any authority of themselves. Our Anglican Church has never exercised close control over what individual theologians may say. However, like any church, it has the right to declare what may be said in its name as official doctrine and to define the limits of legitimate practice. As Archbishop I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

19 C of E bishops believe that the Archbishop of Canterbury has been misrepresented

Sir, As bishops in the Church of England, we wish to protest in the strongest possible terms at what we regard as a gross misrepresentation of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

First, your front-page story (August 7) and the further material inside were presented as though he had just made a fresh statement, whereas the letters now leaked were written, in a private and personal context, between seven and eight years ago (this only became apparent six paragraphs into the report). One can only wonder at the motives behind releasing, and highlighting, these letters at this precise moment ”“ and at the way in which some churchmen are seeking to make capital of them as though they were ”˜news’.

Second, Dr Williams did not say ”˜gay sex is good as marriage’ (your front-page headline) or ”˜equivalent to marriage’ (your inside headline). In his first letter, he concluded that a same-sex relationship ”˜might . . . reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage’. This proposal (whether or not one agrees with it, as many of us do not) is far more cautious in content, and tentative in tone, than is implied by both the articles and the headlines. In the second letter, Dr Williams stresses that same-sex relationships are not the same as marriage, ”˜because marriage has other dimensions to do with children and society’.

Third, the Archbishop has said repeatedly, as he did in one of the letters, that there is a difference between ”˜thinking aloud’ as a theologian and the task of a bishop (let alone an Archbishop) to uphold the church’s teaching. He has regularly insisted, as he did in his closing address at Lambeth, that the church is right to have a basic ”˜unwillingness to change what has been received in faith from scripture and tradition.’ He has spoken out frequently against the ”˜foot-in-the-door’ tactic of divisive innovation such as the consecration of the present Bishop of New Hampshire. As he said in that same closing address, ”˜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’. Nor, despite regular accusations, is this prioritising of the bishop’s task mere pragmatism or the pursuit of a ”˜quixotic goal’ of Anglican unity. It expresses what Jesus himself taught: the fundamental and deeply biblical teaching on the vital importance of church unity and of working for that unity by humility and mutual submission.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Archbishop may be forced to do fundraising tour to solve £1m Lambeth financial crisis

The once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world, which was branded an “expensive exercise in futility” when it finished on Sunday with no agreement over the divisive issue of homosexuality, cost almost £6million to stage.

Most of the money was spent on hiring the University of Kent campus in Canterbury for three weeks, and for providing food and transport for the 670 prelates and their spouses.

But the Lambeth Company, the arm of the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion that runs the conference, urgently needs to raise at least another £1m.

To help pay its bills, it was disclosed yesterday that the Archbishops’ Council, part of the Church of England, has provided the organisers with an interest-free £600,000 loan after holding an emergency meeting.

Read it all.

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