Many of you will be aware of – and hopefully attending – our ‘Intentional Discipleship: East Meets West’ event across the Diocese from 11-15 July. We would like to update you about some developments concerning the gatherings for your information. We have enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Province of South East Asia and were very much looking forward to welcoming all four of its dioceses: West Malaysia, Kuching, Singapore and Sabah, to the event, which was due to culminate in the renewal of our partnership agreements with each diocese. However, we are sad that the four dioceses have now informed us that they will not renew the partnership agreements, and that Singapore and Sabah dioceses have decided to withdraw their participation from the whole event. This is because they have concerns about our recent ad clerum on Welcoming and Honouring LGBT+ People. We respect their decision and their concerns which are held with integrity.
Category : Same-sex blessings
(AI) Anglicans in SE Asia breaks with the C of E Diocese of Lichfield over their embrace of the new sexual morality
The first point to note is that the Archbishop is not being asked to do the impossible. Ever since Archbishop Charles Longley invited Anglican bishops to the first Lambeth Conference in 1867 it has been accepted that it is for the Archbishop of Canterbury to decide which bishops should be invited. He can invite who he likes and not invite who he likes and he is not obliged to have the agreement of any other person or body about the matter. The buck stops with the Archbishop.
This means that Archbishop Welby can fulfil the requests made in both the bullet points in the GAFCON letter. However, this still leaves the question of whether he should do so. To answer this question it is necessary to recall what has taken place in the Anglican Communion in the twenty years since the Lambeth Conference of 1998.
Two key things have happened.
First, in spite of being repeatedly urged not to do so, a number of provinces of the Anglican Communion (The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in Canada, the Episcopal Church in Brazil, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Aorateara, New Zealand and Polynesia) have acted in ways that go against Scripture and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference by accepting, in terms of both doctrine and practice, the blessing of same-sex sexual relationships, same-sex marriages and the ordination of those in same-sex sexual relationships.
Secondly, in response to these developments, Anglicans in the United States, Canada and Brazil who have remained loyal to Scripture and Lambeth 1.10 have established the two alternative orthodox provinces mentioned in the first bullet point– the Anglican Church in North America and the Anglican Church in Brazil.
By acting in the way that they have, those Anglican provinces which have accepted same-sex sexual relationships have rejected the obligations that go with being a member of the Anglican Communion.
(Anglican Taonga) Talks in Christchurch have begun to try to reach an amicable separation between members of 4 evangelical congregations who do not want to bless a shape of life outside of bounds for Christians and the Diocese
Negotiations are under way which will see most of the members from four Christchurch congregations cut their links to the Diocese of Christchurch.
These negotiations follow from the decision taken by this year’s General Synod on May 9 which paved the way for the blessing of same-sex partnerships.
Following that decision, four conservative evangelical Christchurch parishes held votes to decide whether their members would disaffiliate from the diocese – and, in each case, large majorities chose to do so.
On Wednesday last week, Archbishop Philip Richardson along with senior diocesan staff and archdeacons met with vicars and wardens of the four parishes in question to discuss how their members could disaffiliate “in a respectful manner while maintaining good communication and leaving doors open.”
The Diocese of Wangaratta, at it’s recent synod, passed the following motion,
That this Synod:
a) acknowledges the widespread national and local support for the recent changes to Australian marriage laws, to include same-sex couples
b) commends the pastoral value of the Bishop authorising a Form of Blessing for optional use in the Diocese of Wangaratta alongside, or in addition to, a wedding conducted by a civil celebrant, and
c) requests that the Bishop of Wangaratta ensure opportunity for the clergy and laity of the Diocese to engage in further discussion as part of the process leading to the potential Diocesan provision for blessing of civil marriages.
Moved: Archdeacon Clarence Bester
Seconded: Ven Dr John Davis
The motion was passed overwhelmingly on the voices. A number of observations can immediately be made:
- The motion comes from the leadership of the diocese, presented by an Archdeacon and the former Vicar General of the Diocese.
- The sentiment of the motion is in clear contradiction to a number of motions at the 2017 General Synod and position established in the more recent Bishops’ Agreement which Bishop Parkes of Wangaratta agreed to….
Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has urged the Anglican Church to show full acceptance of lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual‚ transgender‚ questioning‚ intersexual and asexual people.
He was speaking at St George’s Cathedral‚ Cape Town‚ on Saturday at the funeral service of the Reverend Canon Rowan Smith‚ a former Dean of the Cathedral who identified as gay and campaigned for the rights of the LGBTQIA community.
Archbishop Ndungane asked for the kind of leadership “that we saw in the dark days of apartheid” and added that the Anglican Church had excluded a “huge part of itself” in respect of people of different sexuality.
The blessing of same sex marriages remained an unresolved issue‚ and the Church’s failure to deal with this issue meant that its Christian humanity was suffering‚ the retired archbishop said‚ according to a statement issued by his office.
What is perhaps a more pressing question is what would happen to the Anglican-Methodist Covenant were either church to change its opposition to gay marriage. Would a sudden change by the Methodist Conference in 2019 or 2020 scupper the long proposed deal…?
It certainly might make the strong conservative base on the Church of England’s ruling general synod less enthusiastic.
But difference in teaching on sexuality is not officially a block on sharing ministry.
The Church of England is already in direct ‘communion’ with its sister Anglican churches in Scotland and the US. This means that priests in both churches are recognised as such by the Church of England and so they can, as long as the local bishop agrees, come and minister in CofE parishes.
Both the Episcopal Church in the US and the Scottish Episcopal Church permit same-sex marriage, and while they faced sanctions from the wider Anglican Communion, they remain in communion with the CofE.
At its first meeting since the decision, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Sydney passed a motion which “notes with deep regret that the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has amended its Canons to allow bishops to authorise clergy to bless same-sex unions”.
The Committee also conveyed to the Primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia that it ‘notes with regret that this step is contrary to the teaching of Christ (Matt 19:1-12) and is contrary to Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.”
Further, the Diocese expressed “support for those Anglicans who have left or will need to leave the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia because of its abandonment of biblical teaching, and those who struggle and remain; and prays that the ACANZP will return to the doctrine of Christ in this matter and that impaired relationships will be restored.”
I heard a strange argument recently. When the question of sexual ethics and the teaching of the Bible was raised with a senior leader, the reply was – well look how bad your church is. There followed a long list of sins and offences, some of them very serious: corruption, adultery, strife, false teaching. This is all very tragic. But it is not equivalent to changing the doctrine of the church and actually blessing what God condemns.
I am sorry to say, having been Bishop now for many years that nothing would surprise me. Indeed, knowing my own heart, nothing would surprise me. Indeed knowing the Bible, nothing would surprise me. Our own doctrine tells us how bad we are, even though the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. Our own Prayer Book majors on the confession of sins and with very weighty words indeed. And I hope our practice assumes the possibility of sin and even crime in our midst – it is always wise for two people to count the offertory for example.
Of course this is not the whole story. Christian people, blessed by the Holy Spirit of God are being transformed from one degree of glory to another. The Christian church so often shines in the darkness and Christians live for God sacrificially and lovingly. But this side of eternity we are far from perfect.
But that is what puzzled and worried me about this argument. It was as though the person did not know how bad the church can be and is in his own culture. You can find tribalism, sexual immorality and false teaching in all the churches. You may even find the leadership turning a blind eye to it. But–it is one thing to point to the sins of the church. It is another thing altogether to justify an official change in doctrine and practice to incorporate them! After all, no-one is pretending that greed is good or that corruption is Christian. But many are actually officially changing the teaching and practice of the church in a way which denies scripture. That is the problem.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
Martin Davie from 2016–‘The Communion cannot decide to agree to disagree about sexuality and focus on discipleship instead’
One final point to note in relation to Intentional Discipleship and Disciple Making is that a concern for a fresh emphasis on Christian discipleship cannot be separated from the current debate within the Anglican Communion about human sexuality. The Communion cannot decide to agree to disagree about sexuality and focus on discipleship instead. This is because in the Bible, and in the orthodox Christian tradition building on the Bible, right sexual practice, consisting of sexual abstinence outside heterosexual marriage and sexual faithfulness within it, has always been seen as an integral part of what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. This being the case the acceptance and advocacy of alternative patterns of sexual conduct in parts of the Anglican Communion has to be seen as inimical to Christian discipleship and rejected as such. To be serious about discipleship means being serious about sexual holiness and rejecting all forms of behaviour incompatible with it.
This church has put on record the fact that Tikanga Pasifika is against the blessing of same-gender relationships.
However, Tikanga Pasifika chose not to veto the motion which opens the door to these blessings outside the Diocese of Polynesia.
The Anglican Church in Polynesia has expressed its desire “not to be an obstacle” or to hinder the progress of the recommendations for Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pakeha in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Bishop Andy Lines, speaking on behalf of Gafcon UK, said today:
We are not surprised, but nevertheless deeply saddened and concerned by the decision by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa to accept Motion 29 and so pave the way for the blessing of same sex relationships.
We note that only those in civil marriages or lawfully recognised partnerships will be eligible for these blessings. This shows that while a short time ago many church leaders around the world were arguing for such blessings but drew the line at same-sex marriage (as in the Church of England’s Pilling Report), now that line appears to have been removed. With this decision, another Anglican Province follows TEC, Canada and Scotland in believing it has the authority to redefine marriage, and offer the Church’s blessing to relationships which the Bible and centuries of Christian tradition clearly teach that God warns against and cannot bless.
It is encouraging that despite the huge pressure to conform to Motion 29 and the secular humanist ideology behind it, many courageous New Zealand Anglicans not only voted against the Motion, but are already looking to the emergence of new Anglican structures, which remain faithful to the Scriptures in contrast to those who have departed from them.
We pray for Rev Jay Behan and others in Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand, and rejoice in their close association with the majority of Anglicans worldwide who continue to preach the biblical gospel of repentance from sin and new life in Christ. Jay and other representatives from FCANZ will receive a warm welcome and full support from all at June’s Gafcon gathering, and ongoing solidarity from Gafcon UK as they plan for the future.
Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand response to the General Synod Decision to Bless Same Sex Relationships
It is with deep sadness that the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand (FCANZ) receives the news that General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui has passed the Motion 29 Report allowing the blessing of same-sex relationships. While we are thankful for the gracious spirit in which the debate was held, we disagree with the final outcome. We believe the General Synod has acted in a way which leaves behind biblical authority, the apostolic tradition, and the doctrine and practice our church has always held. Upon the passing of the motion General Synod members Rev. Jay Behan (Chair of FCANZ) and Rev. Al Drye immediately resigned.
FCANZ believes that God loves all people, from all walks of life, calling each of us to repent and have faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes speaking of this love involves saying difficult things that run counter to the culture of today. However we remain convinced that it is good for all humanity and the only place for the church to stand.
In light of the decision of the General Synod we are ready to support people and parishes that cannot remain within this changed Anglican structure. We will work together nationally and internationally to provide fellowship and support as we look towards new ways and structures of ministering the unchanging good news of Jesus.
In a statement the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand said: ‘While we are thankful for the gracious spirit in which the debate was held, we disagree with the final outcome. We believe the General Synod has acted in a way which leaves behind biblical authority, the apostolic tradition, and the doctrine and practice our church has always held.’
It added that it was ready to welcome other conservatives who opposed the decision.
‘FCANZ believes that God loves all people, from all walks of life, calling each of us to repent and have faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes speaking of this love involves saying difficult things that run counter to the culture of today. However we remain convinced that it is good for all humanity and the only place for the church to stand.’
But Very Rev Ian Render, who is dean of Waiapu Cathedral and also gay and married, said in the debate: ‘I’m standing to remind you of all the people we have lost along the way. The people who were candidates for ordination – but who were turned down because of their relationships, or their declared sexuality.
‘The people who have been left in limbo, for year, after year, after year….
(Church Times) Clergy and laity doubt accuracy of letter from William Nye to the Episcopal Church (TEC)
In a response to a consultation by the Episcopal Church on same-sex marriage (News, 20 April), Mr Nye said that there had not been time to consult the wider Church, and that it “reflects discussions among staff of the Church’s Archbishops’ Council only”. This raises questions of governance, says a letter to the Church Times, signed by more than 110 members of the clergy and laity, who say that they wish to “dissociate” themselves from Mr Nye’s response.
“Unless the content of the letter is tested synodically, he surely cannot claim to speak for the Church of England as a whole,” they write. “Mr Nye’s letter, written on Archbishops’ Council stationery, gives the impression that he was acting as an agent of the Council and its trustees and writing with its authority. But, as he acknowledges, his response is simply the fruit of conversations held among a small cadre of professional staff. As a governance matter, this will not, we think, do.”
Canon Simon Butler, Vicar of St Mary’s, Battersea, and a member of the Archbishops’ Council, confirmed online last Friday that Mr Nye’s letter “does not reflect the views of the Archbishops’ Council. We have never been asked. . . As a Council member I was not even made aware of the existence of this consultation, let alone asked to comment.”