Category : Lambeth 2008

Lambeth’s £288,000 deficit due to incompetence

Poor planning, inexperienced management, and weak financial controls contributed to a £288,000 deficit for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a report released last week by the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners has concluded.

The management team, conference structure and business practices were not up to the job, the report found, stating that the “arrangements in place for the 2008 conference were less robust than they needed to be.”

The conference’s opaque management structure had left no one in charge, with the result that there had been a “disconnect between design on the one hand, and capacity and execution on the other.” The lack of clear lines of authority had led to cost overruns, with the financial team “not always aware” of the commitments made by conference management staff. Two examples cited by the report were the “failure to recognise a commitment for expenditure of £411,000 on the Big Top” the blue tent that served as the principle venue for conference meetings, and IT support.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Lambeth Conference: funding

The Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council each agreed, last August, to make available to the Lambeth Conference Company up to £600,000 as required to enable the Company to honour its commitments while fundraising efforts continued. Both bodies regarded these amounts as interest free loan facilities. Of the £388,000 actually borrowed by the Company, £124,000 has now been repaid, leaving £132,000 owing to each organisation as fundraising continues.

By the end of 2008, the review reports, the projected deficit had reduced from an estimate of over £1 million in August 2008 to £288,000, in part as a result of further fundraising efforts and in part due to actual costs proving lower than had been cautiously projected earlier in the year. The total cost of the event was £5.2million, as against the budget of £6.1million.

Read it all and make sure to follow the links to the report and the appendices.

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

Bishop Mark Lawrence's Full Address to the Diocesan Convention of South Carolina

These two key dimensions of our vision, however, must be carried out with Another Fundamental Dimension of our diocesan life. Our constitution reads “The Church in the Diocese of South Carolina accedes to and adopts the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church”¦.” The relationship is there””though we may understand how it needs to be carried out in different ways. Certainly many of us in this diocese, but let us remember by no means all, have been on a very different course from the policy setters at recent General Conventions. The Standing Committee and I, following the path trod by Bishops Allison and Salmon, have felt compelled on several occasions to differentiate ourselves from statements or actions of various leaders in TEC””such as compromises toward the Uniqueness of Christ; certain non-Canonical actions of the Presiding Bishop and the HOB; as well as the controversies regarding Human Sexuality. I anticipate the continued need for such differentiation in the months and years ahead.

Beyond differentiation there is important witness still left to do, and from which I believe God has not yet released us. I believe the House of Bishops, and the Executive Council, following the lead of General Convention 2006 has resisted the change that the Holy Spirit seems to be urging us toward as Anglicans””such as, the call toward a more responsible autonomy and inter-provincial accountability. Yet these bodies have fearfully protected the prior century’s polity and structure when 21st Century structures are needed. It continues to astonish me that so many leaders in our Church favor revision of our doctrinal and moral teaching and yet uphold relatively recent canons and polity with a fervor that would be admirable if held toward the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. This heel-dragging protectiveness was shown clearly in New Orleans in 2007 when the HOB refused to adopt the Primates’ Communiqué from Dar es Salaam, arguing that it was contrary to the polity of our Church. The bishops were soon followed by the Executive Council, therein making it difficult if not impossible for the Presiding Bishop to follow through with the Primates’ directives. If we had received the Primates’ recommendation the four dioceses which have since left would be intact and in TEC today! Even more recently, this fear was shown afresh when individual bishops who seemingly have little respect for the Windsor Process and the Anglican Covenant accepted the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend Lambeth and then spoke against any progress towards a Covenant. They will not be able to hold back the future of global Anglicanism permanently. Either Episcopalianism will repent of its unscriptural autonomy or it will spread its splintering tendencies of the last forty years throughout the Anglican Communion.

I believe our steadfastness will be of service within TEC””if only by challenging the structural conservatism of the theological innovators to face the changes of the future. Even more importantly it will be of service for the Anglican Communion as it moves towards the emerging structures God is providentially shaping.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Windsor Report / Process

Pastoral visitors plan ”˜is too little, too late’

American Church leaders claimed this week that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s new group of Pastoral Visitors is ”˜too little, too late’. As the number of lawsuits between the Episcopal Church (TEC) and breakaway conservative groups approaches 60, some say the initiative ”“ intended to help repair the torn fabric of the Anglican Communion ”“ lacks integrity.

The names of the bishops who will act as ”˜mediators’ were announced this week by Lambeth Palace. The statement said that the bishops had attended a meeting at Virginia Theological Seminary in the USA from February 25 ”“ 28. The purpose of the new group is to assist in healing the current tensions in the Anglican Communion by holding ”˜face to face’ meetings with church leaders in both the new American provinces and TEC.

But the Rev Philip Ashey, Chief Operating Officer for the American Anglican Council, a grouping of conservative Anglicanism, was deeply concerned about Lambeth’s response. Speaking from Atlanta, Georgia, he said: “Every pastoral visitor programme suggested so far has …[omitted] the participation of the parties who have been aggrieved, those people who have left TEC.”

Read it all.

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

A Church of Ireland Gazette Editorial Worries About the Primates Meeting

Added to what at least appears to be a communiqué ”˜spin’ on Archbishop Coggan’s 1978 address, in a press briefing last week the Archbishop of Canterbury referred to a “need for a shift of focus in the life of the Communion from autonomy of provinces with communion added on, to communion as the primary reality with autonomy and accountability understood within that framework”. Precisely what that implies remains somewhat mysterious, but one can see the direction in which such a comment points. There is a slippery slope here, and it is important that the Primates’ Meeting should remain essentially for the purposes of consultative fellowship. The Anglican Communion should avoid a formal College of Primates.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address at General Synod 2009

This is only one example of what people do not want to lose in the life of the Communion. And it is a good Pauline principle, if you read II Corinthians, that we should be glad of the honour of being able to support other churches in their need. Who knows whether some other structure than the Communion as we know it might make this possible? But the bare fact is that what now, specifically, makes it possible is the Communion we have, and that is not something to let go of lightly. Hence the difficult but unavoidable search for the forms of agreed self-restraint that will allow us to keep conversation alive ”“ the moratoria advised by Lambeth, very imperfectly observed yet still urged by the Primates as a token of our willingness not to behave as if debates had been settled that are still in their early stages at best.

The Communion we have: it is indeed a very imperfect thing at the moment. It is still true that not every Primate feels able to communicate at the Lord’s Table alongside every other, and this is indeed a tragedy. Yet last week, all the Primates who had attended GAFCON were present, every one of them took part in daily prayer and Bible study alongside the Primates of North America and every one of them spoke in discussion. In a way that I have come to recognise as very typical of these meetings, when talk of replacing Communion with federation of some kind was heard, nearly everyone reacted by saying that this was not something they could think about choosing. We may have imperfect communion, but we unmistakably want to find a way of holding on to what we have and ‘intensifying’ it ”“ to use the language I used last summer about the proposed Anglican Covenant. Somehow, the biblical call to be involved with one another at a level deeper than that of mere affinity and good will is still heard loud and clear. No-one wants to rest content with the breach in sacramental fellowship, and everyone acknowledges that this breach means we are less than we are called to be. But the fact that we recognise this and that we still gather around the Word is no small thing; without this, we should not even be able to hope for the full restoration of fellowship at the Eucharist.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Identity, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Eucharist, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting Alexandria Egypt, February 2009, Sacramental Theology, Theology

Stephen Noll's Address at the Mere Anglicanism Conference

The two understandings of discipline and the roles of Canterbury and the Primates collided at the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in February 2007. The early rounds of the conflict went to Rowan Williams, who had invited Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori despite a recommendation in the Dromantine Communiqué that Episcopal Church officials refrain from attending Communion events until Lambeth 2008. He then set the agenda of the meeting with only four hours devoted to the Episcopal Church’s reaction, and he endorsed a Joint Standing Committee report which claimed that the Episcopal Church had satisfied the conditions of the Windsor Report and the Dromantine Communiqué.

At this point, the Global South Primates interrupted the set agenda and pushed back.[46] The final Communiqué was surprisingly strong, in which the Primates “unanimously” [made their recommendations]….

For a few brief weeks, it appeared that a final separation was imminent. Then Canterbury struck back:

1. by issuing invitations to Lambeth 2008 to all Episcopal bishops except Gene Robinson (May 2007);

2. by accepting an invitation to the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans (September 2007) and commissioning a report from the Joint Standing Committee that was not part of the Dar “process”;[50]

3. by denying by word and deed that September 30 was a real deadline; and

4. by giving the Episcopal Church a weak pass in his Advent 2007 letter, which was all that was necessary to get it over the hurdles posed by the Dar Communiqué.

Most significantly, in the year intervening between Dar and Lambeth 2008, Archbishop Williams refused to call a follow-up Primates’ Meeting, despite the clear expectation in the Communiqué that he would reconvene the Primates to judge the Episcopal Church’s response and despite an urgent appeal from the Global South Steering Committee that he do so. Apparently the Archbishop had concluded from the Dar es Salaam Meeting that the Primates’ authority had been enhanced too much and that they needed to be relegated to the B-league as an honorary council of advice.[51] The hope of Communion-wide discipline of those who had broken fundamental Christian doctrine had evaporated in a cloud of verbiage and dithering.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Bishop Iker’s address to the Mere Anglicanism conference

At the core of the present fragmentation in the life of the Anglican Communion has been an avoidance of the conciliar process beyond the national level and an elevation of provincial autonomy over catholic consensus through the councils of the wider church. The conciliarist principle holds that local option must submit to the consensus of the wider church, which represents the whole church, not just a segment of it. Lesser synods must submit to the decisions of greater synods. Though the Anglican Communion has the structures in place that could promote conciliarism as a way of addressing current controversies, particularly the Lambeth Conference of Bishops and the Primates’ Meeting, these instruments of unity have been prevented from functioning in an effective way.

The Windsor Report (2004) proposed a conciliar approach to addressing the crisis prompted by the Robinson consecration and the blessings of same sex unions in North America. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to discipline offending bishops by not inviting them to participate in the Lambeth Conference. The Primates’ Meeting was prevented from following through on the moratoria demands they had made of the Bishops of The Episcopal Church in their Dar es Salaam Communiqué (2007), and the 2008 Lambeth Conference was carefully orchestrated to prevent the Bishops from acting as a council of the church to address the sexuality crisis that has so deeply divided us.

Until the Anglican Communion addresses the prevailing system of elevating provincial autonomy over all else, we will be unable to function as a conciliar church and address controversy as a truly catholic body. Any claim to autonomy must be understood within the context of what it means to be a part of the larger body of the church catholic. There are limits to provincial autonomy that fall short of independence from the rest of the church and the principle of common consent. When we speak of autonomy, it is always autonomy in communion and interdependence. This has been made more difficult to address in light of the fact that the Lambeth Conferences have intentionally been designed to act merely as conferences, without legislative or canonical authority. They have not been seen as councils or synods of bishops with anything but a certain kind of moral authority. And when Lambeth resolutions are rejected or ignored, as in the last decade, there are no consequences, no discipline, and no accountability. Instead of discipline for American and Canadian bishops who openly rejected the teaching of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1:10 and refused to comply with the recommendations of the Windsor Report, Archbishop Williams and his planning committee decided that Lambeth 2008 just would not adopt any resolutions or make any recommendations. We would simply have carefully orchestrated indaba groups and times for honest sharing of feelings.

Read it all.

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

The Anglican Church in Canada Primate's New Year's Day address

The theme of Lambeth was “Equipping Bishops for Leadership in Mission and Strengthening Anglican Identity”. Each day began with a celebration of the Eucharist followed by a study of the “I Am” sayings in the Gospel according to John. Much of our time was spent in “Indaba”. Indaba is an African word meaning a meeting for purposeful conversations among equals. In those circles we discussed a wide range of topics including evangelism, the authority of scripture, sexuality, a covenant for the Anglican Communion, ecumenism, and social justice.

The matter of blessing same-sex unions was very much a part of discussions in the conference. In the Reflections report produced by the conference it was noted that a strong majority of bishops present agreed that moratoria on same-sex blessings and cross-provincial interventions were necessary. In a letter following the conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged that while the majority of bishops had spoken that way, “they were aware of the conscientious difficulties this posed for some and that there needs to be greater clarity about the exact expectations and what can be realistically implemented. How far the intensified sense of belonging together will help mutual restraint remains to be seen”.

At the fall meeting of the Canadian House of Bishops we had a full discussion of the call for moratoria and issued a statement in which we said, “a large majority of the House can affirm the following:

“A continued commitment to the greatest extent possible to the three moratoria ”“ on the blessing of same-sex unions, on the ordination to the episcopate of people in same-sex relationships and on cross-border interventions ”“ until General Synod 2010. Members of this House, while recognizing the difficulty that this commitment represents for dioceses that in conscience have made decisions on these matters, commit themselves to continue walking together and to hold each other in prayer”¦

“We ask for your continuing prayers as we steadfastly seek to discern the mind and heart of Christ for the wholesome care of all members of his Body, the Church. We share a deep hope that though we may never come to consensus over this matter of the blessing of same-sex unions, we will live with differences in a manner that is marked by grace and generosity of spirit, one toward another.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Jordan Hylden: Anglican, or Episcopalian?

What about the definition of Anglican? In the October issue of First Things, I expressed the hope that last summer’s Lambeth Conference, and particularly the leadership of Archbishop Rowan Williams, gave strong evidence that the center of the Anglican communion intended to hold together; that the Episcopal left and the GAFCON right would not, in fact, carry the day and so lead the communion ever-further down the road to fragmentation and incoherence. Since that time, most of the action has been on the GAFCON and Bishop Duncan side; and the more influence they have, the less chance there is of an eventual coming-together of things.

But the ball is now in center court, as it were””this February’s meeting of the Anglican primates will be crucial, as will the meeting of the Covenant Design Group in April and the Anglican Consultative Council’s meeting in May. If Anglicanism is truly to mean something beyond the local, these meetings will carry forward the Lambeth vision of a genuinely covenanted “global” and “catholic church,” with its ministry, faith, and sacraments “united and interdependent throughout the world,” as Rowan Williams has put it.

There are, of course, no guarantees. The forces of dissolution and division right now are strong, and it is always much easier to pull apart than it is to hold together. The question “Anglican or Episcopalian?” may always be with us; but at the least, we may still be able to hope that the question “What kind of Anglican are you?” will not become just as common.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, --Proposed Formation of a new North American Province, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Common Cause Partnership, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, TEC Conflicts, Windsor Report / Process

Archbishop Rowan Williams Interviewed in the New Statesman

One friend suggests his refusal to “speak out” is a reflection of Jesus’s own approach, especially when Christ refused to answer Pontius Pilate’s questions at His trial, as described in Mark’s Gospel. “I think that, again, one of the things the Gospel ought to do is make us question the way we put our questions,” Williams says. “So that, right throughout the ministry of Jesus as well as at His trial, a hostile person sitting there could say, ‘He never gives a straight answer to a straight question: “Do we pay tribute to Caesar?”‘ And Jesus pushes it back and says, ‘What are we really talking about?’ I think it’s always important to ask before we make the snap answer: what are we really talking about?”

Thirty years ago, Rowan Williams had a formative experience in Liverpool that would help define his approach as a churchman and an archbishop. “When I first went to train in a parish in the 1970s, I went to one of the worst council estates in Liverpool for a bit as part of my student experience, and the vicar said to me something I’ve never forgotten: ‘The people here have doors slammed in their face every day of the week. I want to make sure they don’t have another one slammed on the seventh.’ That’s a very central vision for me and that’s what I try to work with.”

It is a vision that helps guide him through the crises threatening his church.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Lambeth 2008, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

The 2008 Lambeth Conference Bible Studies Booklet is now available

Check it out (pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008, Theology, Theology: Scripture

John Richardson's Notes on a Talk by Christina Baxter on the Anglican Communion and its future

Because of weaknesses of ACC, Donald Coggan called first meeting of Primates. This has been crucial in helping people understand one another and work on issues facing Anglican Communion. It has no legislative power ”” it is a consultation.

Anglican Communion is facing many things, many challenges, growing in some places, declining in others, making decisions which offend some parts of Anglican Communion and lacking opportunities to dialogue.

Who is an Anglican? Answer, “Does the ABC recognize you?” He only recognizes bishops, by inviting them to Lambeth. Problem for ABC, if he doesn’t invite a bishop, what does it say about the people in that diocese?

ABC has lots of influence, but no power. If a Bishop is behaving notoriously, he cannot remove that person. He can only talk with ABp or Primate of that area and plead with them.

ACC is in same situation. It has influence but no power.

Lambeth Conference is the same. It has influence, but it has no power.

The Primates’ Meeting is in the same situation.

Read it carefully. A couple of comments. First, I prefer very much the category of authority rather than power. Second, it is NOT true to say that the Lambeth Conference, for example, has no authority, it does have authority, the question is what kind of authority does it have. Again, my preference is to talk in terms of personal and moral authority rather than legislative authority. But this is all a matter for further prayerful reflection–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

Bishop Keith Sinclair's Address at the NEAC Conference

The first invitation to the Lambeth Conference was given by Archbp. Rowan in May 07. The invitation included the bishops of TEC (except Gene Robinson or those consecrated under the jurisdiction of African provinces to serve in the US with disaffected parishes from TEC). The Windsor process set up to identify what was at stake in the Anglican communion after that consecration in 2003, and how the Communion should respond was still ongoing as TEC had been given until 30 Sept to intimate whether they would be complying with the requests made of them by the Primates meeting which had taken place in Dar es salaam in Feb. They and had not yet done so. Would an invitation to Lambeth before that date be like a letting off the hook? What would the impact of the invitation be in other parts of the Communion. The answer soon came.

The Archbishop of Uganda declared that those who consecrated Gene Robinson, and had not repented or apologised for that consecration, were just as responsible for the breach in the Communion as Gene Robinson himself, and if those TEC bishops were to attend Lambeth neither he nor the other bishops of Uganda would be coming.

Vinay Samuel in his recent address to the Reform Conference identifies this moment, this invitation given to the TEC, as being the trigger for GAFCON. I think he is right about that. At GAFCON in my conversations with African Bishops, this was the moment when they became convinced that nothing would be done to discipline TEC. From then on, other provinces declared they would not be coming to Lambeth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Concerns are expressed over Indaba group ”˜manipulation’

THE ARCHBISHOP of Jerusalem and the Middle East has welcomed Dr Rowan Williams’ decision to hold the 2009 Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, telling The Church of England Newspaper the witness of Egypt’s embattled Christians in the face of persecution can serve to strengthen the Anglican Communion.

While the agenda and locale remain to be settled, the Bishop of Egypt, Dr Mouneer Anis, said he was proud to be able to host the conference. However, suggestions by the Archbishop of Canterbury that he would use the Indaba process to manage the Primates’ Meeting has prompted private scorn from the primates contacted by CEN, and public criticism from evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics unhappy with the ”˜manipulation’ and management of the Indaba process at Lambeth.

“I want [the primates] to see, to feel the history of the Church as they walk through Alexandria,” Dr Anis said on Nov 11. For in Alexandria one “steps in the blood of the saints shed in obedience to the faith, a faith that has been watered by the blood of the martyrs.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Chris Sugden: Lambeth 2008 – a retrospect

What agenda did emerge? When the Archbishop of Canterbury was asked this question at the closing press conference, he immediately referred to the statement of the Windsor Continuation Group that came at the beginning of the conference.
This called for a complete cessation of
(a) the celebration of blessings for same-sex unions,
(b) consecrations of those living in openly gay relationships and
(c) all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction

The group writes that “cessation of activity. .. applies to practices that may have already been authorised as well as proposed for authorisation in the future. “ The agenda also included the Pastoral Forum, for which bishops from overseas jurisdictions in the United States had not asked.

Had this agenda been discussed with the Primates, or endorsed by the conference? The closing presidential address had enumerated these and received a standing ovation, but not from the Presiding Bishop of TEC who stood with arms folded.
Some bishops probably saw from afar this attempt to produce an agenda out of what were only styled as reflections. The Moderators from the Churches of North and South India, Pakistan and Bangladesh issued their own statement as the conference ended. As other bishops had claimed to represent over half the church going Anglicans, they claimed to “represent nearly a quarter of the human race practicing and living all the major faiths of the world”. In other words, they knew what they were talking about in inter-faith matters. They applauded the walk of witness on world poverty but concluded that this “will mean an equitable sharing of resources within the Communion”. They were saddened and disturbed by the ”˜fractured nature of the Anglican Communion’ which “seems primarily to have been caused by the issue of human sexuality”¦”¦We acknowledge the biblical norms on human sexuality and urge that within the Anglican Communion this may be upheld for the effective witness of the Gospel.” They ask that “our differences, self-justifications and arrogant attitudes may be crucified and that we all experience the power of the resurrection for the transformation of our life together in the Communion.” Primates from the Global South, the Council of Anglican Province of Africa Bishops and the Bishops of Egypt also made public statements as the conference ended. Did this flurry of ”˜minority reports’ represent a frustration at not having any opportunity to express a common mind and a protest against the Conference leadership?

Missing most glaringly from the Reflections are the presence of sin and disobedience in the leadership of the communion, clear disobedience to revealed truth in Scripture and a total avoidance of the issues of power in any relationships local or global. Mere repetition of being gracious and not rushing to judgment is the ploy that unethical power uses to mask its strategies of continuing hegemony.

Read it all.

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

Andrew Goddard: Life After Lambeth 2008

I remain convinced that to understand the heart of our struggles we need to recognise that there are two distinct but related issues. One is the issue of sexuality and attitudes to Anglican teaching, discernment and practice on this subject as found in Resolution I.10 of Lambeth 1998. The other ”“ in some ways the more complicated one, especially for evangelicals ”“ is the issue of ecclesiology and what it means to be a global communion of Anglican churches….

In relation to North America, GAFCON is clearly seeking to be the means of constituting a new Anglican province. While I am among those who believe this is a sign of failure, it is now the inevitable consequence of developments over recent years and the key task is to ensure it is at least as good a “second best” as possible rather than something worse. The aim must be not only to build the church and spread the gospel in the US and Canada. The aim must also be to establish a structure which, even if initially only recognised by a few provinces, is able and willing, once the Anglican covenant is agreed, to make the necessary affirmations and commitments and so align itself with the newly configured covenantal Communion. The danger is that this development may become ”“ whether intentionally or not – the trigger for a fracturing of the wider Communion and the founding of a more narrowly defined purely confessional fellowship which is shaped less by the ecclesiological vision of Windsor and more by the forces of post-colonialism and hostility to the American church’s response to same-sex unions.

And what, finally, of our own Church [of England]? That is, I take it, where much of our discussion will focus today and I don’t want to pre-empt that but a few comments as I close. We would be foolish to deny that the fault-lines in North America and the wider Communion are not present here or to pretend that realignment in these other contexts can take place without effecting us. In particular, if the failings of Lambeth place more weight on the Archbishop of Canterbury, they also place more pressure on the province of which he is Primate. However, it would be both foolish and dangerous to pretend that our own situation is anywhere near as dire as that of either the American or Canadian churches or to claim that we are called to follow their path. The challenge especially for evangelical Anglicans in the CofE is therefore to find a way of maintaining their own unity and rejecting further fragmentation, standing in solidarity with others here in England and across the Communion who are committed to biblical teaching, and supporting the covenant process and all other means of reforming, healing and revitalising the Anglican Communion and serving God’s mission in the world.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Common Cause Partnership, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), GAFCON I 2008, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, Theology

Bishop Tom Wright: The Bible and Tomorrow’s World

What we desperately need, if we are to pursue a biblical, Christian and indeed Anglican mission in the postmodern world, is the Spirit of Truth. There is no time to develop this further, but it is vital to say this one thing. We have got so used to the postmodern sneer that any truth-claim is instantly suspect. And at that point many Christians have lurched back to the apparent safety of a modernist claim: conservative modernists claim that they can simply look up truth in the Bible, without realising what sort of book it is, while radical modernists claim they find truth in today’s science, without realising what sort of a thing that is either. But we cannot go back; we have to go on; and the Spirit of Truth, often invoked in favour of any and every innovation in the church, is actually at work when we live within the great story, the love story, God’s love-story, and become in turn agents, missional agents, of that story in the world. Truth is not something we possess and put in our pockets, because truth is grounded in the goodness of creation, the promise of redemption for that creation, and the vocation of human beings to speak God’s word both of naming the original creation and of working for new creation ”“ the word, in other words, of mission. The Spirit of Truth is given so that, living within the great biblical story, we can engage in those tasks.

Read it carefully and read it all.

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

A Statement from the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Canada

We spent several hours in conversation on the implications of the appeal from the Primate.

As a result of these conversations a large majority of the House can affirm the following:

A continued commitment to the greatest extent possible to the three moratoria — on the blessing of same-sex unions, on the ordination to the episcopate of people in same-sex relationships and on cross-border interventions — until General Synod 2010. Members of this House, while recognizing the difficulty that this commitment represents for dioceses that in conscience have made decisions on these matters, commit themselves to continue walking together and to hold each other in prayer.

The House also affirms:

A commitment to establishing diocesan commissions to discuss the matter of same-sex blessings in preparation for conversations at General Synod 2010.

Continued commitment to exercise the greatest level of pastoral generosity in keeping with provisions approved by this House in Spring, 2007 and continued commitment to the Shared Episcopal Ministry document approved in Fall, 2004.

We ask for your continuing prayers as we steadfastly seek to discern the mind and heart of Christ for the wholesome care of all members of his Body, the Church. We share a deep hope that though we may never come to consensus over this matter of the blessing of same-sex unions, we will live with differences in a manner that is marked by grace and generosity of spirit, one toward another.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

The recent Diocesan Convention Address of the Bishop of Michigan

One final story goes to the heart of the connectedness of the body. At various times I found myself in formal and informal discussions where concerns were voiced about differences in the interpretation of scripture as it relates to the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the Church. I was astonished to hear stories of brutality and murder against Anglican Christians in some parts of the world where Christians and Muslims coexist in an uneasy peace. We were told that clergy and their families as well as lay members of congregations are regularly targeted to be beaten and/or killed after a news report reached their area from the “west” about gay marriage or other actions which appear to the perpetrators as direct acts against God.

I can tell you that none of the bishops I spoke with asked us to undo what has been done. None of the bishops I spoke to were willing to tear apart the Communion over their disagreement with us. However, I must share with you that they did ask us to slow down, and in the midst of our pursuit for justice remember to seek justice for those whose lives are lost in response to some of the actions we have taken; actions we call righteous. How our relationships with others in the Anglican Communion are defined as we step off into the future are as yet unclear. I know only that we must put our whole faith and trust in God.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

George Conger–The Seinfeld Conference: A Reflection on Lambeth 2008

It could have been called the “Seinfeld Conference.” The once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops held this summer in Canterbury””the 2008 Lambeth Conference””was the conference about nothing.

Designed to avoid controversy, Lambeth 2008 set out to make no statements, take no stands, and avoid provoking new conflict within the Anglican Communion. By its own lights, the July 14 to August 3 meeting was a triumph for its organizer and host, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, for during those three weeks the oft foretold crack-up of the Anglican Communion did not happen.

Yet bishops from both the left and right branded the conference a failure. Lambeth 2008 was about nothing, said nothing, and achieved nothing, and by its inaction, the Anglican Communion was left in a worse place than if it had never taken place at all, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda said.

Divided over issues of doctrine and discipline, with homosexuality garnering the most media attention, the bishops refrained from hurling anathemas at one another and in the end issued a paper expressing mild statements of concern on global warming, poverty, disease, hunger, domestic violence and other generally bad things””while also mildly affirming””in a non-provocative way””generally good things: peace on earth, the brotherhood of mankind, and church unity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Conflict resolution methods recommended for warring Anglican bishops

Warring Anglican bishops could be forced to confront each other in divorce-style “mediation” or conflict resolution, under proposals published today.

Theologians and canon lawyers responsible for drawing up the drafts of a new covenant, a document which is intended to re-unite the divided Anglican Communion around agreed practices and beliefs, have proposed that different forms of conflict resolution be examined to see if any might be suitable for use by Anglican bishops.

The document, drawn up after consultations with the bishops attending Lambeth Conference earlier this year, discusses the various types of conflict resolution that might be suitable.

Possible models include professionals involved in arbitration, mediation and reconciliation.

Read it all and follow the link to the proposals themselves.

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

Bishop Ted Gulick of Kentucky on the 2008 Lambeth Conference

One of the things that I re-learned in-depth is that the Episcopal Church probably has the most federal understanding of what the Anglican Communion is and the churches in the developing world have the
most organic, or unified understanding of the Anglican Communion. … If you’re living in southern Africa and you go to Eucharist in Zimbabwe, you feel like you’re in your church. It feels like one church to them”¦. From our end of the spectrum, we feel like we’re in a federation of churches that share a heritage. ”¦ As they expressed their reaction to our actions, they were also expressing the depth of their sense of communion with us.

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

George Conger: Hollow Men, Lambeth 2008. What Happened and Why

“MORALITY, LIKE ART, means drawing a line someplace,” Oscar Wilde once observed. Anglican bishops historically wield the pen, drawing the line between error and truth, between right and wrong doctrine.

Yet at some point in the mid-20th century, the bishops of the church began to abdicate this responsibility – even before the American Church reformed its ordinal in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, removing the injunction to bishops that they “banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word.”

Where once the church celebrated Anglican comprehensiveness, it now celebrated diversity. Confessionalism morphed into conversation, as those charged with guarding the faith suffered a loss of nerve. The church, like the universities, the arts, literature and other repositories of high culture in the West, was trampled underfoot by the long march of the left through the institutions.

THE 2008 LAMBETH CONFERENCE of Anglican bishops in Canterbury July 16-August 3 was a milestone in this march of relativism. While nothing extraordinary happened – no fist fights or beatific visions – a number of prelates came away from Lambeth realizing the Anglican Communion no longer worked. Its structures were not a place for holy men, but for hollow men: bishops who knew in their hollow hearts they were stuffed with straw, trapped in a purposeless whirl of apathy and spiritual torpor called “dialogue.” The Anglican Communion had finally broken, coming to an end “not with a bang but a whimper.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

The Bishop of Tasmania on the 2008 Lambeth Conference

One of the saddest moments of the Conference for me personally occurred in our Indaba when a bishop spoke earnestly of his views on same sex issues with a brief and solemn conclusion. Some minutes after I saw him surreptitiously pass a sheaf of the TEC briefing notes to the TEC bishop seated in front of him. He had parroted one of the ’sample narratives’. I wanted to shout and to cry. Any idea of transparency and trust through Indaba had been tragically thrown in our face. Set piece parroting surreptitiously orchestrated was poisoning our communion. God have mercy on us! Although I spoke to our Indaba facilitator of this privately we, as an Indaba group and Conference, had neither the wit nor the will to address our hiddenness.

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

Covenant Design Group: Lambeth Commentary

ACNS spoke to the Chairman of the Design Group, Archbishop Drexel Gomez about the Covenant Process.The full transcript is available below:

The Lambeth Commentary to the Saint Andrew’s Draft – what is it exactly?

At the Lambeth Conference, the bishops spent a great deal of time and attention looking at the Saint Andrew’s Draft for the Anglican Covenant – discussing the principle and the text, its merits and demerits. It is very important that their views are made available to the Communion as the Provinces assess the Saint Andrew’s Draft, and so they have now been published in a Lambeth Commentary which has been drawn together by the Covenant Design Group from the materials produced at the Conference.

And what was the reaction of the bishops at Lambeth?

Happily, it has been positive – and I say that as one who is a firm supporter of the current draft. A number of concerns were expressed about how the idea of a covenant might impact on the life of the Communion, but when the bishops looked at the detail, then there was a surprisingly high degree of satisfaction with many parts of the text.

Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Lambeth 2008

C of I Gazette: Inquiry established into Lambeth Conference finances

Following reports of a £1.2m shortfall in the funding of this year’s Lambeth Conference, the Church of England’s Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners have set up a review, under the independent chairmanship of John Ormerod, a former senior partner of Deloitte, to examine the financial management of the Lambeth Conference.

The team has also been asked to make recommendations regarding the future involvement of the Council and the Board of the Church Commissioners in assisting the financing of meetings of the Lambeth Conference. A spokesman for the Church of England told the Gazette: “The inquiry is due to report back to the Council and the Board early in 2009 with a preliminary report on the financial difficulties and how these arose. A final report, examining the way forward, will be produced in summer 2009. The Council and Board have indicated that the inquiry’s report should be published.” The membership of the inquiry will be: John Ormerod; the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, and Christina Baxter (both Archbishops’ Council); and Timothy Walker, Third Church Estates Commissioner.

Last August, the Board and the Council met to discuss an approach from the Lambeth Conference Company – the body with responsibility for the finances and administration of the Lambeth Conference 2008 – for financial help.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Lambeth 2008, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Roman Catholic Addresses at the Lambeth Conference

In my view they have received too little attention.

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

Doug Leblanc: Christ's church will not merely survive; it will prevail

Further, when Christians take different sides on theological questions, we cannot all be correct. At the Last Judgment, we all will know God’s truth with the greatest clarity. Until then, we can — we should — be more alert to how our fellow Christians may be serving God and what we may learn from them.

Another Lambeth Conference has convened and adjourned. Does anyone doubt that most of the tensions within the church will persist in the months and years ahead?

I’ve often fallen prey to a false assumption that conflict — whether in my marriage or in the church — is an inherent evil. I live as a better Christian by remembering this advice from premarital counseling: Conflict is not the problem.

It’s in how we respond to conflict that we practice the presence of God — or the presence of hell. Where do I prefer to dwell in that moment? For what eternal place am I preparing my body and soul?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, TEC Conflicts, Theology

The Archbishop of Wales Reflects on the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Some of us who attended the 1998 Lambeth Conference were not looking forward very much, if I am honest, to the one in 2008. The 1998 Conference, although it produced a lot of useful documents on mission, unity and human rights and a whole range of other subjects, fell apart on the issue of human sexuality towards the end of the Conference. The plenary dealing with Human Sexuality was the only one that refused to accept a report from a group that had been discussing the issue for three weeks and insisted on altering it, thus losing the balance of that carefully crafted document. The result was a bad tempered debate that soured everything. In reality, the issue of human sexuality had simmered under the surface of the 1998 Conference from the outset and that shows that it isn’t just the consecration of Gene Robinson or public rites of same sex blessings in Canada that are wholly responsible for the present crisis in the Communion. Throughout the ’98 Conference groups met in secret on and off campus, pursuing their own particular views on human sexuality and briefing against each other, so that when it actually came to the Resolutions, there was bound to be a conflagration and indeed, there was.

From the outset, the 2008 Conference ”“ the 14th Lambeth Conference to be held, did not appear to have a dangerous under-current simmering beneath the surface. Everyone knew of GAFCON’s meeting, i.e. the meeting of around 200 bishops who had refused the Archbishop’s invitation to Lambeth and who met in Jerusalem beforehand. Everyone knew that Gene Robinson had not been invited; everyone knew that there were different views on sexuality, and everyone knew about the events that had taken place since ’98, yet there seemed to be a genuine desire on the part of everyone to engage constructively with those holding different views. Admittedly 200 Bishops were absent mainly from Africa, one or two from England and Australia but that too needs to be seen in perspective. Uganda was the only Province not to be represented by a bishop and some of the African Bishops had come under intense pressure from their Primates not to come, even though some of them wanted to. (This tells you something about the power of Primates in some Provinces of the Communion and why some of them fail to understand why the whole Communion does not fall into line when they speak).

It helped to know, of course, that nothing would be decided at this Conference ”“ no Resolutions would be passed as has happened at most Lambeth Conferences. It was a return to the intention of the first Lambeth Conference called in 1867 by Archbishop Longley for brotherly counselling and conferring in response to a crisis caused by the Bishop of Natal who believed in a non literal interpretation of the Scriptures….

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