Jesus is light, life and love.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) December 25, 2019
Jesus is light, life and love.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) December 25, 2019
The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks of the rise in rough sleeping, foodbank use and increasing personal debt over the last decade of austerity.
He said: “It has got worse over the last nine years. Rough sleeping has gone up. That is a matter of fact. People will argue about the causes but it is a fact it has gone up.
“Foodbank use has risen. There has been a huge rise in the client base of Christians Against Poverty, the debt-counselling charity. Also, people’s tolerance for minorities has gone down. Minority groups have had a much harder time, asylum seekers, immigrants. The use of vitriolic language has gone up significantly. We have had an MP murdered. I am not saying we are in a crisis, I am just saying the direction of travel is not what we want.”
Asked whether he thought politicians realised the damage austerity has done he said: “Yes. Not all of them, obviously. But the vast majority do and they are really concerned about it….”
Inside this week’s Big Issue, The Archbishop of Canterbury delivers his Christmas message, discussing food banks, austerity and rough sleeping.https://t.co/wDik1OuDvc
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) December 16, 2019
In our response to and involvement in the election campaign, as in our actual voting, we should be prepared to look at these global realities as much as our domestic troubles – simply because there is no middle or long term security for us that is not also a secure future for the entire global neighbourhood. And so we need to recognise that planning has to be long-term and patient: the assurances of decisive, transforming action overnight are fantasies – though they are fantasies very much in tune with our feverishly short-term culture and all those pressures that make politics more and more a matter of advertising and entertainment.
Grown-up planning and negotiating take time. We have good reason to be sceptical of reckless promises. Churchill famously promised his electorate ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat’ – confident that the public he was addressing were strong and adult enough to see that a comprehensive victory would take time and would cost a great deal.
Who are the politicians who take the electorate that seriously? Who genuinely think that there is in this country a capacity for shared heroism in pursuing victory over what seems a massive, sluggish but inexorable destructiveness at work in the world economy, and victory over the deeply ingrained habits that still drive our ludicrous levels of resource consumption in the developed world?
Well, they don’t seem in abundant supply. But the national community is surely still capable of vision.
Read it all (subscription).
‘Grasp that the only real prosperity is sustainable prosperity, that the only realistic development plan is one that involves peacemaking and ecological balance.’ Our Chair Rowan Williams calls us all to see the bigger picture for #GE2019 in @thetimes https://t.co/HTSenb0ezS
— Christian Aid (@christian_aid) December 4, 2019
The prophet Isaiah, writing some half a millennium before Christ, spoke of judgement for society’s injustices and sins. When it all happened and much of the nation was enslaved, he wrote of the hope of return, of God’s transforming power. It is some of the most beautiful and passionate poetry of the Bible – and the return happened. Isaiah’s readings accompany the Church through Advent. He paints a vivid picture of a time when all nations will be at peace, when there will be no more tears and pain, no weapons or division and justice will prevail. It can all seem removed and unreal. Something to dream of, but not a reality.
On the contrary, Isaiah the prophet was utterly realistic. He lived in a country that preferred the illusion of all being well to the reality of social sin. Reality was his stock in trade. It was in reality that he held the vision for what could be if the people co-operated with God, if a value-based nation, albeit occupied and dominated by others, could seek the common good, as we might call it. We too can see how our hope for the future may start to change the present. Hope, in the sense of purposeful expectation, motivates action. Hope inspires us to follow God where God already is: at work in the world.
That is why Christian waiting and looking forward is never passive. It empowers hope to take courage and aspire to change the world. It makes space for God to work in our lives, being open to the challenge of the Spirit.
That is the hope-filled invitation that Jesus Christ offers to each of us – and that is why we wait both by praying, and by living out this joyful call to walk with God who brings light out of darkness, and purpose out of waiting.
That the Chief Rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews: pic.twitter.com/DNxr0Qxht5
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) November 26, 2019
The leader of Anglicans worldwide, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, has said he hopes the emergence of conservative Anglican body Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) will not lead to a schism.
“I hope and pray not because we are called to love one another. I value them, I talk to them, I listen to them, I’m not proud enough to think I am right and they’re all wrong,” he said at Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday night.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says Jesus would not have got a UK visa under the points-based system being proposed by the government.
The clergyman, who has been outspoken about social justice, said there would have to be a “shortage of carpenters” in Britain for Jesus to be granted entry during an event at the CBI conference in London.
He said: “Our founder Jesus Christ was of course not white, middle class and British – he certainly wouldn’t have got a visa – unless we’re particularly short of carpenters.”
The Archbishop was talking as part in a discussion on social inequality chaired by the BBC Business Editor Faisal Islam who shared a clip on his Twitter feed.
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) November 18, 2019
[Yesterday]…afternoon, 13th November 2019, Pope Francis received in audience His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied by His Grace Archbishop Ian Ernest, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and Representative of the Anglican Communion to the Holy See.
During the friendly discussions, the condition of Christians in the world was mentioned, as well as certain situations of international crisis, particularly the sorrowful situation in South Sudan.
At the end of the meeting, the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury agreed that if the political situation in the Country permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity in the coming 100 days, according to the timing set by the recent agreement signed in Entebbe, in Uganda, it is their intention to visit South Sudan together.
— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) November 14, 2019
Good communities are places where mental health issues do not prevent people from having authentic and honest relationships. Good communities are able to hold pain, honour and acknowledge it, whilst putting it within the wider story of God and His hope for His people.
Christians believe we have a saviour, a rescuer, who knows intimately what it means to suffer. Amidst all the brokenness, Christ weeps with us. In his resurrection, I believe Christ restores us. Not necessarily in the way we expected, but he makes us whole in a way that makes sense.
It is my prayer today that anyone who is walking in darkness knows this: you are not alone. You are truly valued and deeply loved. Reaching out and talking to someone can be the first step back into the light.
Thrilled to have The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury @JustinWelby as a keynote speaker at our National Conference 6 Feb 2020. Tickets selling fast! Book your place here: https://t.co/XoETqd5BNX pic.twitter.com/8sLFYwXCDL
— CofE Found. Ed. Lead (@CofE_EduLead) November 7, 2019
What are the challenges for a rural diocese like Herefordshire?
The Archbishop of Canterbury has spent the first day of his three-day visit to the diocese in the city centre, but he accepts the rural nature of Herefordshire throws up some challenges.
He said quite often the problems are hidden behind the beauty of one of the Church of England’s most rural dioceses.
“I think every diocese is challenging nowadays, I don’t suppose there was ever a time when they really weren’t,” The Most Reverend Justin Welby said.
“I think particularly now it is very challenging and every diocese has its own particular challenges.
“Obviously a rural diocese like Herefordshire you’re dealing with much smaller communities, the whole agricultural sector where the Church has always been very engaged for a thousand years.
“And often the problems in a rural diocese are hidden behind beautiful buildings, rolling hills, you know grazing cattle, yet they are as real.
“So yet the challenge of the Church to love and care for the communites is as great, but the capacity to do so is a big challenge.”
Read it all and enjoy all the pictures.
— Kathy Bland (@Kathymessybland) October 14, 2019
Archbishop Welby has written to clarify the College of Bishops’ statement, issued two weeks ago. He repeats his view that a no-deal Brexit would be a “moral failure”, an expression that attracted “intense criticism”, he reveals.
The College of Bishops produced a statement a fortnight ago which included the sentence: “In writing, we affirm our respect for the June 2016 Referendum, and our belief that the result should be honoured” (News, 4 October).
Archbishop Welby argues, in response to criticism of the statement, in the Church Times and elsewhere: “To honour or respect the 2016 Referendum result is not to sign up to Brexit at any cost.
“Honouring the result means no more than paying proper attention to an outcome that saw 52 per cent of those who voted favouring leave, but 48 per cent favouring remain.”
He goes on: “It does not mean that the Bishops have aligned themselves with any particular political party, faction, or wing within a party.”
Archbishop Welby argues, in response to criticism of the statement, in the Church Times and elsewhere: “To honour or respect the 2016 Referendum result is not to sign up to Brexit at any costhttps://t.co/mmhUFeQHrv
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) October 10, 2019
Scotland’s role as a global leader in ethical finance is being highlighted at a world summit in Edinburgh.
Senior representatives from more than 200 companies and organisations are attending Ethical Finance 2019.
Speakers include Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The summit aims to “help define and shape the transition to a sustainable financial system where finance delivers positive change”.
The event is being hosted by the Scotland-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI).
— BBC Scotland News (@BBCScotlandNews) October 8, 2019
The Ecumenical Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr William Adam, is to be the new Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. His new role, which he takes on with immediate effect, will be held alongside his role at Lambeth Palace, which he has held since 2017. He succeeds the Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, who was appointed to the post in 2014 and held it until earlier this year, when he became President, Provost and Vice-Chancellor of Canada’s Thorneloe University.
Will Adam was ordained in the Church of England in 1994 and held parish appointments until taking up his post advising the Archbishop of Canterbury. From 2017 until now he has also served as Ecumenical Officer in the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity. He has experience of ecumenical dialogue at national and international level.
As Director of Unity, Faith and Order, Dr Adam will have overall staff responsibility for the ecumenical dialogues in which the global Anglican Communion is engaged, including with the Baptist World Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the Roman Catholic Church. He will also serve as secretary of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).
The Ecumenical Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Will Adam, is to be the new Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion.#AnglicanNews #Anglican #Anglicanshttps://t.co/vlgmmC6vmx
— Anglican Communion News Service (@AnglicanNews) September 3, 2019
The Archbishop of Canterbury will give a “full and very transparent account of what happened” when he becomes the first C of E Primate to visit the site of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, in India, his interfaith adviser said this week.
After a trip to Sri Lanka to show solidarity with the Christian community in the wake of the Easter bombings, the Archbishop will begin a ten-day trip to India on 31 August, travelling to seven cities and towns in the Church of North India and the Church of South India.
At a briefing for journalists on Tuesday, his interfaith adviser, the Revd Dr Richard Sudworth, emphasised that the visit was pastoral rather than political, after being questioned about whether the Archbishop would be challenging the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on the status of minorities (News, 16 January 2015).
“The Archbishop will be going to listen and learn what the situation is,” he said. “There seems to be a very varied picture, and what we are encouraged by here is that the Indian constitution does give freedom of religion and belief, and that is something we will be hoping to affirm and hear about as we travel around.”
Read it all (registration).
LATEST Archbishop of Canterbury’s forthcoming trip to India is to be ‘pastoral, not political’ https://t.co/rSA3nZHciN
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) July 31, 2019
The archbishop of Canterbury has thrown his weight behind calls for the government to make the reporting of sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults mandatory.
Justin Welby told the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA): “I am convinced that we need to move to mandatory reporting for regulated activities.”
Regulated activities cover areas where professionals come into routine contact with children and vulnerable adults, such as teaching, healthcare and sporting activities. In a church context, this would cover clergy and youth leaders.
Survivors of clerical sexual abuse have argued that mandatory reporting of allegations or suspicions of abuse to statutory authorities is a vital component of effective child protection. They argue that a failure to comply should lead to criminal sanctions.
— londonchurchfinder (@ldnchurchfinder) July 11, 2019
Upon his return to the plantation, Henson hatched a plan to escape to Canada with his wife, Charlotte, and four sons. He traveled 600 miles—with the youngest two in a knapsack on his shattered shoulders—several years before the Underground Railroad was even established.
Henson’s family joined a freeman settlement called Dawn, (now the site of Dresden, Ontario), near the location of a long-running series of riverside Christian camp meetings. But rather than settle into life as a free man, Henson returned to America again and again and rescued 118 slaves as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
As part of his fight for the freedom of others, Henson spoke and traveled extensively in an effort to raise funds and attention for the abolitionist cause and the work at Dawn. He traveled to the first World’s Fair at the Crystal Palace in London, where he won a bronze medal for the community’s high-quality black walnut lumber.
Through his new British Christian friends, he was given an audience with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Henson’s handlers told him to expect no more than 15 minutes with the second-highest-ranking man in the empire. After more than half an hour, the Archbishop asked, “At what university, sir, did you graduate?” Henson’s answer? “I graduated, your grace, at the university of adversity.”
He was born into slavery. He became a Methodist minister. He inspired “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” He met the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen of England wrote about him in her diary. He was an Underground Railroad conductor.
Meet Josiah Henson https://t.co/Jv4rFSlT4E
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) June 11, 2019
Watch it all.
The Spirit makes real for us, each of us, the reality of the love of God in Jesus. It’s a love which doesn’t just forgive and restore us, which doesn’t just invest us with a value and worth beyond our comprehension, but a love which turns us towards others to truly love them.
For the first time this Sunday, in Trafalgar Square, and thanks to the Mayor of London, thousands of us will gather from dozens of different churches. It’s something that is fairly different and unusual, and isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we will get together to pray for a renewing touch of God’s presence with us. Because we need God.
Because we need God to break the barriers down between us, to bring love between people of different backgrounds and opinions, we need God to give us his love and his hope.
The gift of God is for us all. We simply need to ask. This is prayer. Prayer is the simplest yet most profound practice of opening up our hands and hearts and lives to God. And everyone can do it. At any time. In any place. And of all the things we could do, I think this is what we need to do more than ever.
Please join us in Trafalgar Square on Sunday as we pray and wait on the presence of God to set us free — so that we have strength, courage and love to live in the middle of all that occupies us.
We need God to break the barriers between us, to bring love between people of different backgrounds and opinions. We need God to give us his love and his hope. That’s why we’re gathering in Trafalgar Square on Sunday to pray for #ThyKingdomCome: https://t.co/6bq1TAmv3A
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) June 7, 2019
1:27 Asked a question about the fallout surrounding the Lambeth Conference, Welby asserts “There has always been … controversy around the Lambeth Conference. It’s why we meet. Because when we meet together as opposed to when we not meet, not communicate, we’re able to listen to each other. And so we’ll see what happens at the Lambeth Conference when we get there”
2:19 “We just have to find a way of [preaching the gospel around the world] that respects each other’s difference and to love and show concern for each other.
3:11 On the question of human sexuality (driven by the fact that the Kenyan courts had just reiterated the definition of marriage as heterosexual): “The Bible is clear, and I’ve said on numerous occasions in public, that my own view of Christian marriage is the traditional view … that has always been the view of Christian marriage but I continue to work with – and in our changing culture in England – to listen very carefully to and to seek to be full of love for those who disagree with me. “
5:19 As Sapit responds to the same question we see Welby nodding in agreement, particularly as Sapit says “… our constitution state [sic.] very clearly that marriage is between a male and a female and that is the teaching of the church. That is what the Archbishop of Canterbury is referring to as the traditional view of Christian marriage; it is between a male and a female for life.”
“Welby’s performance is a clear display of what Anglican commentators have already called his “chameleon” nature. He will say one thing in one place then another in another, depending on who he thinks the audience is.” https://t.co/tqtQ8PpqPb pic.twitter.com/1amNDHeOcW
— GAFCON (@gafconference) June 7, 2019
Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality–our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.
So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful–but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.
The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world–to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.
— CatholicismPure (@CatholicismPure) May 30, 2019
Hail Dunstan, star and shining adornment of bishops, true light of the English nation and leader preceding it on its path to God.
You are the greatest hope of your people, and also an innermost sweetness, breathing the honey-sweet fragrance of life-giving balms.
In you, Father, we trust, we to whom nothing is more pleasing than you are. To you we stretch out our hands, to you we pour out our prayers.
Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, celebrated for his work in restoring monastic life & reforming the English Church, died #OnThisDay in 988 AD. His saints’ cult was the most popular in England until Thomas Becket (d.1170). Portrait of Dunstan, 16thC, from Lambeth Palace. #otd pic.twitter.com/NqN6CxwLyp
— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) May 19, 2019
Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Bishop of Mauritius and former Primate of the Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean, is to become the Archbishop of Canterbury’s next Personal Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He will take up his new role towards the end of the year following an official Papal Visit to Mauritius by Pope France in September.
In his current role, Archbishop Ian has worked closely with his Roman Catholic counterpart, the Bishop of Port Louis, Cardinal Maurice Piat. The two have written joint statements on environmental and social issues and have delivered joint Christmas messages for Mauritian television.
The two co-lead one of the top schools on the Mauritian island of Rodrigues, the ecumenical Rodrigues College, which was formed in 1973 by the merger of St Louis Roman Catholic School and St Barnabas Anglican School. When Archbishop Ian’s mandate as Archbishop and Primate of the Indian Ocean was renewed in 2012, he invited a Roman Catholic priest to preach the sermon.
“I feel deeply honoured and humbled by this appointment”, Archbishop Ian said. “It is a calling from God which I accept with all humility. I will try my best to honour this calling and to honour the office.
“I look forward to working in close collaboration with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Board of Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome.”
— r_rabbit (@r_rabbit) May 18, 2019
A groundbreaking video message by the Pope has been recorded by the Archbishop of Canterbury on his personal mobile phone during private talks in the Vatican.
It is the first time an Anglican archbishop has interviewed a pope, and marks an extraordinary warming of relations between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches as well as the personal friendship between the two church leaders, who have met five times. In the video, to be broadcast to a rally of Christians in Trafalgar Square next month, the Pope expresses his support for a campaign, launched four years ago by the Most Rev Justin Welby and John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, to mark the 11 days between Ascension Day and Pentecost as a time of intensive prayer for Christians across the world.
The campaign, called Thy Kingdom Come, will focus on empowering Christians to be witnesses for their faith. It offers themes that they can explore on each of the 11 days. These include the person of Jesus, thanks, being sorry, offering, praying for someone, help, celebration and silence. The days of prayer will be marked in 114 countries, with much of the material being distributed online. Resources will be published in seven languages on various websites. About 65 Christian denominations, including Roman Catholics, Orthodox, evangelicals, Pentecostals, Baptists and the Salvation Army, have agreed to take part.
Read it all (subscription required).
— The Church of England (@churchofengland) May 18, 2019
“Following information provided by the police, I [Justin Welby] have suspended the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson from office, having obtained the consent of the Bishops of Birmingham and Worcester (the two longest serving bishops in the Province of Canterbury). If these matters are found to be proven I consider that the bishop would present a significant risk of harm by not adequately safeguarding children and vulnerable people. I would like to make it absolutely clear that there has been no allegation that Bishop Christopher has committed abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. The Bishop of Grimsby, David Court, will take on episcopal leadership of the diocese. It should be noted that suspension is a neutral act and nothing further can be said at this stage while matters are investigated. I ask for prayers for all affected by this matter.”
Commenting today the Bishop of Lincoln said: “I am bewildered by the suspension and will fully cooperate in this matter. For the sake of the diocese and the wider Church I would like this to be investigated as quickly as possible to bring the matter to a swift conclusion.”
BREAKING NEWS: The Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, has been suspended by the Archbishop of Canterbury following information provided by the police pic.twitter.com/9vhX6zN0yj
— BBC Radio Lincolnshire (@BBCRadioLincs) May 16, 2019
It is only in recent times that invitations to the Lambeth Conference have become a matter of controversy. Until the last full conference in 1998, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited all diocesan bishops, and latterly suffragan and assistant bishops, together with their spouses to a conference in Canterbury.
It was never even thought that the Archbishop had the right to discriminate among bishops as to who had the right beliefs or pattern of Christian living. The assumption was that it was for each separate province of the Anglican Communion to appoint or elect bishops. The Archbishop had the power to invite but not to exclude individual bishops.
Of course, there have always been difficulties. During the 1980s and 1990s, when women were first appointed to the priesthood and episcopacy, there were some provinces that openly questioned whether they should attend Lambeth Conferences. Episcopacy is a universal ministry and the Anglican Communion’s unity depends on having a commonly accepted standard for ministry.
But the Archbishop of Canterbury issued invitations to all bishops, including women bishops. And the Anglican Communion managed to come together in spite of a degree of ‘impaired communion’ among the provinces and bishops.
The issue of sexuality proved much more intractable and controversial. And the reality is that for most evangelical Anglicans in particular, the issue of ordination of women was a secondary matter on which Christians could legitimately disagree. In contrast evangelicals view sexuality, and departing from God’s ordained order of marriage between a man and a woman, as a primary issue. This is because they argue that to agree to homosexual marriage is to defy the clear teaching of the Bible.
The ordination of a practising gay bishop in 2003 was described by a statement of an emergency Primates’ Meeting as a ‘tear in the fabric of the communion’. And so it proved to be. At no meeting since 2003 has there been full representation of bishops across the communion. And the Windsor Commission, led by Bishop Tom Wright, looked into the crisis and concluded that liberal provinces, such as the US and Canada, which had departed from Communion teaching on sexuality, would be disciplined by having ‘membership’ of the Communion and representation in its bodies limited.
This should have led to the exclusion of North American provinces from the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Instead, Archbishop Rowan Williams decided to rehabilitate the provinces which were broken with the Communion and invited their bishops. And then he broke with the practice of inviting all bishops and decided to exclude the gay bishop – Gene Robinson. This act of petty discrimination could easily have been avoided had he stuck to the Windsor principles and excluded all the Bishops of the US or Canada. Or he could have limited their role to that of observers.
As a result, at least one third of Anglican bishops refused to attend the Lambeth Conference, including all of the bishops from three of the most populous provinces: Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.
Archbishop Welby has stuck to the principle that it is not in his power to exclude individual bishops. As a result of this two practising homosexual bishops will be in attendance at the 2020 Lambeth Conference. But he has discriminated against their same-sex spouses.
This act of discrimination could land him into further trouble. It is all very well discriminating against a bishop, who chose that role for all it entailed, but to discriminate against their spouse is another matter. Modern culture will find it hard to forgive or forget such ‘cruelty’.
Interestingly enough at last week’s Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong, Archbishop Welby said that the Council was barred by English law from debating the invitations because ACC was governed by charity law and doctrine was not mentioned in its purpose. This is a clumsy and convoluted way to avoid debate of a difficult issue. And it didn’t work. Rancour over the decision spilled over into the final working session of the conference and Archbishop Welby stepped in and issued an apology.
“I ask your forgiveness where I made mistakes,” he said. With this somewhat ambiguous apology came a proposal to renew the Anglican Communion’s attempts to listen to the experiences of homosexual people (in accordance with the famous Lambeth Resolution 1.10).
But Archbishop Welby’s attempts to bring Anglican Bishops together at the next Lambeth Conference by discriminating against individuals will fail like those of Archbishop Williams in 2008. The Church of Nigeria has already said that it will not send bishops to the conference. And the Global south movement, ‘Gafcon’ is now organising a separate meeting in Rwanda in June 2020 for bishops who don’t attend Lambeth.
It is now time to stop pretending that the Anglican Communion can go back to pitching itself as a worldwide body of Christians. It is now a series of networks united by a common history. Our defining characteristics of a universal ministry and common worship are long gone, and even those so-called ‘instruments’ of communion are disputed and threadbare.
–This column appears in the Church of England Newspaper, May 10, 2019 edition on page 11; subscriptions are encouraged
…there is one development I wish to comment on: the announcement of a GAFCON Bishops Conference June 8-14, 2020 in Kigali Rwanda (prior to the July 2020 Lambeth Conference).
Of the Lambeth 2020 Conference of Bishops, the GAFCON Primates wrote:
“We were reminded of the words of Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored. They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility.
We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury. We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation.”
Let’s not forget the context. The 1998 Lambeth Conference of Bishops passed Resolution I.10 upholding faithfulness in marriage between one man and one woman for life, abstinence in all other cases, and rejected as incompatible with the Bible homosexual “practice,” the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions and the ordination to Holy Orders of those in same-gender unions. This Resolution was passed by a vote of the overwhelming majority of bishops of the Anglican Communion (526-70).
Ten years later at the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury decided to suspend the practice of Anglican bishops declaring the official teaching of the Church through resolutions. For the first time, the Lambeth Conference engaged in small group Indaba discussions that resolved nothing. The 2002 institution of rites for the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) and the 2003 consecration of a Bishop in a same gender union in New Hampshire USA (TEC), in defiance of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) were allowed to stand unchallenged by the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Over 300 bishops….[declined to compromise the gospel and declined the invitation to attend] in protest of that advance decision by Canterbury, published the Jerusalem Declaration and formed Gafcon instead.
We need to recognise ourselves in community, not just as atomised individuals, but, as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:27, ‘You are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it’. We may perform different functions with the gifts given to us by the Spirit, but ‘the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
Jean Vanier, who as we know died a week ago, the founder of L’Arche communities, was a visionary who took hold of this – living out the idea that we are strong in our weaknesses and in our human relationships with one another.
As Christians, we must recognise that it is not in our independence but in our interdependence that our strength and humanity is found.
We need to love the whole more than ourselves. There is too much of a tendency in our world, and even in the church, that we would sometimes prefer to rule over the ruins than to serve in the intact structure. As Desmond Tutu wrote, ‘We are different so that we can know our need of one another, for no one is ultimately self-sufficient.’
“In the past decade or so, I have seen and spoken to lots of young people who are trying to reconcile their sexuality and their faith, who end up self-harming, attempting suicide or who suffer with depression and mental illness,” says Foreshew-Cain. “Because if you believe God is condemning you for your essential being and that you have got to be something other than you are, where does that leave you?” He pauses. “Lizzie wasn’t the only one, and she won’t be the last.”
Statements from the most senior figures in the C of E have done little to ease his concerns. Welby, who recently announced that same-sex partners would not be invited to the Lambeth conference in 2020, while heterosexual spouses would, said he was pained by his decision and regretted the conflicts racking the church.
“Honestly, a lot of us in the queer community are very fed up with straight, white, cisgendered men talking about their suffering when they are inflicting it on other people,” says Foreshew-Cain. “It’s a bit like an abusive partner hitting you and saying: ‘This hurts me more than it hurts you.’”
The picture he paints is one of disorder, barely held together by a carefully cultivated ambiguity among the church’s top brass: bishops who quietly voice support for same-sex marriage behind closed doors vote against any liberalisation towards gay and lesbian clergy in the synod, he claims. Parishioners, tired of the endless debates, are abandoning a church at odds with itself. And young Anglicans, hoping to find acceptance and often succeeding in local parishes, are finding institutional debates about their place the source of intense pain.
Foreshew-Cain is sceptical that much will change – at least not until the conclusion of the next Lambeth conference in 2020. But a reckoning will come, and it seems the point of compromise is long past. “These campaigns are not going to go away. Gay people in the church are not going to go away. And the moral question mark over the integrity of the church is not going to go away. It’s only going to become more intense.”
The rebel priest: ‘Gay people in the church are not going to go away’ https://t.co/F88r3hZojC
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 7, 2019
The GAFCON Primates consulted on the matter during their meeting this past week in Sydney and have written in response to Welby. While the contents of that letter have not been made public, I understand that they have made it very clear that the presence of those who participate in the consecration as bishops of actively partnered homosexuals, let alone the presence of those specific bishops, is in clear contravention of Resolution 1.10 Lambeth 98 and repeated calls for discipline from the Primates.
Beach also noted that Welby has sought to persuade conservatives to attend Lambeth by claiming that Resolution 1.10 will be reopened for debate and that if they do not attend, they may lose the vote. He went on to observe that continuous attendance at other meetings had simply failed to achieve anything and that “we’ve found that our voice is louder when we don’t attend certain events so we’re not manipulated from within them”.
Speaking to the matter a little later in the meeting, Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney pointed out that it was “incongruous” to not invite the spouses of those gay bishops when the bishops themselves were the issue. On the question of whether they would attend Lambeth he said “we’re going to remain firm”.