Category : Windsor Report / Process

Why Some Primates Did not Attend the Dublin Primates Meeting

From here (requires subscription) in an earlier [24 January] London Times story:

Speaking to The Times, Archbishop Gregory Venables, who retired in November as archbishop of the Southern Cone, but is chairman of the Primates’ Council for the GAFCON conservative group, said: “There are two main reasons a significant number are not going. “There has been no real consultative preparation. In the past, we have been given a paper five minutes before a meeting and told to discuss it. The other reason is that there has been no responsible carrying out of what was decided in the past.”

He said that the meetings, which are closed to the press, did not lend themselves to open debate, adding: “You go to these meetings and there is a kind of gagging gas in the atmosphere. It is almost like trench warfare. The gagging gas comes down, and it is as if people are unable to speak.”

This is significant in that it accords with what Bishop Mouneer Anis said; note that neither agrees with what Kenneth Kearon says about their reasons for conscientious non-participation–KSH.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

(Reuters) Primates shun Anglican talks over U.S.Bishops in Same Sex Partnerships

Conservative primates say they are disillusioned by a lack of disciplinary action against the U.S. church, despite recommendations made at previous primates’ meetings, and add that there had been a lack of consultation before the meeting.

The Anglican Communion said primates refusing to attend included those of the Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Nigeria, South East Asia, the Southern Cone of Latin America, Uganda, and West Africa.

Last June, [Katharine Jefferts] Schori said that plans to discipline her church violated Anglican traditions, moving toward a centralized authority.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Jonathan Clark responds to Dr. Goddard: Could we lament together our inability to remain united?

There’s a dynamic of divergence in the Anglican Communion. It is absolutely clear to most people in the Anglican / Episcopal churches in North America that the gospel demands the full inclusion of gay people. It is absolutely clear to those who speak for most churches in the developing world (though not all) that this inclusiveness merely dilutes the gospel. It provides evidence that the churches in North America ”“ and the UK is under intense suspicion as well ”“ are falling into a decadent decline. They just can’t be trusted; the only thing to do is to change the whole structure radically, either from within, or through a totally new structure. The first is preferable of course, as it means you inherit the resources; but either is preferable to the status quo.

The thing which is the obvious gospel imperative for one side is for the other side an equally obvious sign of the opposite. Blessing same-sex relationships is an unavoidable call of faith ”“ or a clear rejection of Christian values. Planting new churches is mere obedience to the call to proclaim the good news ”“ or an obvious rejection of the body of Christ in the churches already present.

No wonder a moratorium can have no effect. But what can anyone then do? Maybe giving up blaming the ”˜other’ would help: no-one can be asked to act against their conscience, however misguided any of us might think it is….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Andrew Goddard–Actions and consequences: Reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s authority is inevitably also diminished by these events, especially when his invitation to fellow Anglican primates to gather to take counsel is one which, because of who is invited, a significant number of Primates cannot in conscience accept. It is clear that, barring a miracle, there cannot again be a Primates’ Meeting in which the Archbishop of Canterbury gathers all Anglican primates from across the Communion: either the Presiding Bishop of TEC is not invited as a primate in full and equal standing or a significant number of Primates will not attend. Although some of those associated with GAFCON have spoken openly of a non-Canterbury communion, this is, thankfully, something which few are actively seeking. It is, nevertheless, increasingly obvious that this will be the next pressure point on the trajectory which has been travelled since 2003 and increasingly rapidly since 2007-8. There needs, therefore, to be a recognition that if the Instruments are unable to make themselves “fit for purpose” and the see of Canterbury continues to prove unable or unwilling to act in ways that secure the unity in truth of the Anglican Communion then God in his providence may raise up one or more other Anglican metropolitans who are able to fulfil at least some of Canterbury’s traditional responsibilities in relation to the majority of the Communion.

It is a biblical principle that we reap what we sow. The actions of North American provinces since 2003, the actions in response from other provinces and the actions (and subsequent inaction) of Primates’ Meetings have reaped quite a whirlwind. Whatever happens in Ireland there will be further consequences as a result and for some Anglicans those consequences will be painful ”“ there are no painless ways forward from our current situation. The danger is that actions this week will produce consequences that simply harden rather than constructively address the impasse over sexuality, further erode the Instruments’ authority and alienate the majority of the world’s Anglicans. Such consequences would also undermine the covenant as the best long-term means of providing commitments and agreed structures to prevent the repetition of the last eight years and place the Communion on a firmer footing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

A Response to Ephraim Radner from the Bishops of Toronto

….Dr. Radner takes issue with our description of a consensus: that a few should not be able to prevent an action representing the wish of the vast majority. He seems to imply that the conscience of the few should count. If so, then what does he make of those people, priests, Dioceses and Provinces who cannot go along with the supposed “virtual unanimity” in the communion? His claim validates positional authority, vested in the current Instruments of Communion, to override the eddies underneath the surface. We acknowledge that the Christian tradition has opposed homosexual relationships of any kind. It is a strong tradition which must have its respected voice. From our pastoral engagement, however, we realise that the received tradition on homosexuality no longer holds sway over significant number of people in our Diocese. We respect that it still has authority over many among us, and within a vast majority of Anglicans in the world whose contexts are not ours. But what of those who in good conscience, like the homosexually inclined person described by Rowan Williams, do not agree with it? They, too, are caught between holding together their loyalty to their conscience and their loyalty to the Communion, and in parts of Canada and elsewhere, loyalty to their bishop. This is certainly a difficult tension, but hardly a new or an impossible position in which to be. We ask again, but will they be given the same protection and freedom customarily extended to theological minorities in the Diocese of Toronto and is extended again clearly in the Guidelines? All too often majority is invoked to force compliance. When that happens we are not talking about authority, only power, and it frequently backfires. When the majority fails to listen to the real needs and pains of the minority, and when they do not help work out a legitimate way to accommodate, the minority often act inappropriately. We, as bishops of Toronto, by these Guidelines aim at foreswearing coercion and are willing to live in the tensions created while continued discernment is engaged. We appeal to others to do the same.

But neither will we be coerced. This can come from many directions, from those who believe we are too timid and from those who believe we are too bold. In the end, those who have power in the Communion will decide what to do with Dr. Radner’s accusation and do with us what they will, or not. We on our part are happy to maintain the bonds of affection with all members of the Communion, and eager to collaborate in Christ’s mission with any who are willing. We are also eager to continue the dialogue and listening that Professor O’Donovan commends and have committed ourselves to those processes across the Communion. While ready to make an account of our actions, we do not make a habit of answering every charge in public, but a person of Dr. Radner’s stature warrants an exception.

Read it all and note that Dr. Radner has responded to their response.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Ephraim Radner: How Shall we Hope for the Anglican Communion?

…the issue goes beyond an interchange of views. What has happened is that TEC has demonstrated repeatedly an incapacity or unwillingness to deal with the views of the rest of the Communion with actual Christian responsibility. Such responsibility is assumed in council and by respecting the decisions of council.

TEC will do this on several bases: Communion councils have no legislative authority, she says, and therefore do not require adherence; majority votes by global South patriarchs are intrinsically undemocratic, and so should not be granted power; the Kingdom of God favors diverse viewpoints, and so uniform actions in the Communion are actually unfaithful. But the main reason TEC gives for not deferring to the decisions of the Communion’s representative bodies is that she is being “prophetic”, and therefore is being called by God quite precisely to oppose and subvert these decisions.
The self-given prophetic mantle is a claim that is difficult to argue against, by definition. But it is worth noting that the convenience of this difficulty is itself a major part of the problem in the Communion: TEC has adopted a self-identity that cannot be questioned and overturned, and thereby she has become impervious to all reason. This is not just a matter of style, as though the point is “let’s all tone down our rhetoric” ”“ a suggestion one hears a good bit, as if talking more quietly would solve our problems. No: at issue here is that TEC has laid out a way of approaching disagreement that brooks no compromise, and therefore makes impossible constructive engagement altogether. On this matter, I commend a fine essay by Cathleen Kaveny in the recent volume Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law: Alisdair MacIntyre and his Critics (Notre Dame, 2009). Kaveny, hardly a right-wing shill, ably points out how reasoned moral discourse in America especially has been utterly eviscerated of common avenues of engagement largely because of “prophetic” commitments to ideological fixities that finally amount to self-blinding.

But there is more to this prophetic self-designation: its effect of moral intransigence is simply contrary to the specifically Christian vocation of deferring to the Body, a vocation that asks that we “not insist on our own way” (1 Cor. 13:5), and “count others as better than ourselves” (Philippians 2;3)….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Philip Turner–Unity, Order and Dissent: Addressing Dissent Within A Communion of Churches

This is the third in a series of essays on the proposed Anglican Covenant.” The first, entitled “Communion, Order and Dissent,” attempted to present what might be called the inner logic of the covenant”“a logic that rests upon a commitment by all the provinces to “mutual subjection within the body of Christ.” The second had the subtitle “On How To Dissent within a Communion of Churches.” Its purpose was to show that communion, as understood by Anglicans, must have as a part of its ideation an understanding of how to dissent from common belief and practice. Apart from such an understanding communion cannot survive the inevitable disagreements that arise within and between its member churches. This third essay explores ways to address dissent that serve to sustain communion even in the face of actions that plainly are at odds with Christian belief and practice as “recognized” within the Anglican Communion. If an agreed upon understanding of the nature of dissent is necessary to sustain and strengthen communion, so also is an agreed upon understanding of appropriate ways to address dissent. No matter how deep their divisions may be these are questions the Primates dare not ignore if the communion of Anglicans is to be sustained.
In the near term, however, it is a virtual certainty that they will address neither the question of dissent nor that of response to dissent. The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the Primates to meet in Dublin, but he has done so in a way that guarantees that no significant business will be done. By inviting the Primate of a Church that has acted against the request of all the Instruments of Communion he has called for a meeting a significant number of Primates feel they in good conscience cannot attend. In view of these circumstances, there seems no good reason to call such a meeting. What of any possible value can be achieved?

A primary Instrument of Communion appears to have reached an impasse. The Communion’s mechanisms for sustaining communion have become dysfunctional. A part of the reason for this sad state of affairs is what the Bible calls “hardness of heart.” A part, however, stems from a lack of understanding of how to dissent and how to respond to dissent within a communion of churches.

This essay addresses the question of response to dissent….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

(CEN) 2010:”ˆA year that brought further dismay to the Anglican Communion

For the Anglican Communion, 2010 was not a year on which it could look back with undiluted pleasure. While not quite the Annus Horribilis that was 2003, the communion remained divided and distracted, nursing a colossal hangover watered by decades of doctrinal abandon. While individual provinces, dioceses and church movements flourished in different parts of the globe””as an international body the Anglican Communion ended 2010 crapulous, dispirited and decrepit.

The pace of decline has quickened: 2008 saw the collapse of the Lambeth Conference as a pan-Anglican body, losing its credibility through the absence of a majority of the African bishops and its rationale for being; 2009 witnessed the breakdown of the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Kingston; and 2010 foreshadowed the end of the primates meeting as a credible body of leadership for the wider church and a mounting distrust of the London-based bureaucracy.

On Nov 7, 2006 the Primate of Uganda, Archbishop Henry Orombi told his general synod: “There is a proverb that says, ”˜When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold’.”

Beware “the sickness that is coming from America,” he warned.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Philip Turner–Unity, Order And Dissent: On How To Dissent Within a Communion of Churches

In short when communion is not sustained by a central juridical authority but by mutual recognition and submission within the body of Christ, there must be a means of dissent that coheres with these formative commitments. There must also be a means of addressing dissent that retains communion between a dissenting province and the Communion as a whole. Ecclesial disobedience as set forth above provides both an instrument of dissent and a response that prevents communion from lapsing into constantly dividing segments.

How are mutually recognized forms of belief, practice and worship to be sustained within a communion that does not have and does not want a centralized juridical structure? Given Anglicanism’s commitment to locally adapted expression of Christian belief and practice, in a world of competing nationalisms a covenant based upon mutual recognition and mutual subjection within the body of Christ is the only way I see to achieve this goal. Nevertheless, a shared understanding of dissent within a covenant relation must be part of the way in which the Communion sustains its common life. Apart from such an understanding, those who dissent will have no wisdom about the proper way to express their dissent, the Instruments and provinces of the Communion will have no wisdom about how to respond, and the Communion as a whole will inevitably devolve into a federation or (worse) a host of fragments that once formed a remarkable example of catholic Christianity.

To return to the beginning of this essay, the Archbishop of Canterbury, TEC’s Presiding Bishop, the ACO and the Primates will all be involved in the upcoming meeting in Ireland. Whether they admit to it or not, the question of dissent within a communion of churches will rest just under the surface of all their conversations. One can only hope and pray that the issue raised in this essay, the nature of ecclesiastical dissent, will rise to the surface of their conversations and receive the sort of attention that will allow the Anglican Communion to retain its identity, its unity and its integrity.

More concretely, the issue is this. What steps can the Primates take when they meet to bring the question of dissent out in the open where it belongs? There is an answer to this question, and it involves all the players that will come to Dublin. First, because it is the Archbishop of Canterbury who “gathers” the Primates and because his office is the primary locus of moral authority within the communion, the answer begins with him. He has authority to set the agenda for the Primates Meeting, and he should announce publically that the issue of TEC’s dissent from the moral authority of the Instruments is on the agenda. Further, if as is rumored, the Presiding Bishop has refused a request voluntarily to withdraw, the Archbishop should employ his authority to gather and withdraw her invitation….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden–Truth or Conviction: questions over the Anglican Communion Covenant

The Covenant sets some of the credal statements of the Christian faith in a specific framework. The premise of this framework is that the doctrinal and theological disagreements which have surfaced within the Communion are not about fundamentals but have arisen through problems in communication and understanding, as people have differing convictions.

Are the doctrinal and theological matters in current dispute matters of right and wrong, truth and error, or matters of personal conviction over which better communication will produce unity and harmony? The Covenant process is only capable of dealing with disagreements of the latter kind. Better communication in such a framework requires an attitude of openness, a process of listening and adequate time. So the Covenant puts in place such a decision-making process in the Communion….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Stephen Noll: The Orthodox-Anglican Divide

The GAFCON statement notes a third sad fact about the Anglican Communion today:

The third fact is the manifest failure of the Communion Instruments to exercise discipline in the face of overt heterodoxy. The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, in proclaiming this false gospel, have consistently defied the 1998 Lambeth statement of biblical moral principle (Resolution 1.10). Despite numerous meetings and reports to and from the ”˜Instruments of Unity,’ no effective action has been taken, and the bishops of these unrepentant churches are welcomed to Lambeth 2008. To make matters worse, there has been a failure to honour promises of discipline, the authority of the Primates’ Meeting has been undermined and the Lambeth Conference has been structured so as to avoid any hard decisions. We can only come to the devastating conclusion that ”˜we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.

This third fact is also in line with the observation of Metropolitan Hilarion that the source of false teaching and lax discipline in the Communion has its origins in the “North and the West,” that is to say, in Canterbury’s own jurisdiction. I have noted elsewhere that the “Instruments of Unity” as currently constituted are under the sway of the “Lambeth bureaucracy,” and hence the ecumenical failure of Anglicanism can only be laid at the door of Canterbury himself. This tough fact is exactly what Hilarion has brought to the banquet table at Lambeth Palace.

So GAFCON and the Orthodox share the sober critique of contemporary Anglicanism. It would be facile to say that today’s Anglican confessors are of one mind with the Orthodox. Surely there are issues of substance and ongoing discussion between the two.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Instruments of Unity, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Ephraim Radner–Same-sex Blessings, Toronto, and the Anglican Communion

To repeat the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury: “But again ”˜pastoral response’ has been interpreted very differently and there are those [”¦] who would say: ”˜Well, pastoral response means rites of blessing’, and I’m not very happy about that.” The Archbishop is not alone in his feelings. But the bishops of the Diocese of Toronto have decided to pour more fuel upon the smoldering flames of that unhappiness.

Interestingly, the Toronto Guidelines tell us that parishes can go forward with requesting to be designated as places where same-sex blessings can be performed only when some kind of “consensus” within it has been found on the matter. This is further explained as follows: “Consensus is not total agreement; however, every effort should be made to reach a decision where everyone feels heard and is willing to live with the wider body’s decision.” This is explicitly qualified in this manner: “The way forward should not be achieved or prevented by a few taking an opposing view to the vast majority”.

An obvious question arises in the face of this definition of consensus and its requirements: is there in fact a “consensus” of this kind in the Diocese of Toronto around the motives, meaning, and substance of the new Guidelines? The process for putting the Guidelines together precluded such a consensus, and the implementation of the Guidelines moves forward without it. How should those within, but also those outside of the diocese interpret this failure to discern consensus? For we should also ask another and related question: where do the bishops of the Diocese of Toronto stand vis a vis the “consensus” of the Communion’s bishops and her “consultative organs”, a consensus that in fact is equivalent in this case to a unanimity? Do they stand with the “vast majority”? Or do they stand with “a very few taking an opposing view” that is thereby seeking to “prevent” a “way forward” towards the healing of the Communion? Does this matter to them?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Andrew Goddard–Framing the Anglican Covenant: Trick or Treat?

So, who wants an Anglican covenant? For some reason it is never acknowledged that the only province to sign up so far is Mexico, whose primate is a Patron of Inclusive Church (the other province close to signing is that well-known neo-Puritan African province, South Africa). He perhaps wants it for the same reasons many others have welcomed it.

The covenant will, for example, force the Church of England to stop thinking of itself simply as, in the words of the advertisement, ”˜the mother church of the Communion’ whose actions are so important that on its own it can prevent developments such as the covenant. It will create a more egalitarian and post-colonial international fellowship of churches affirming not simply an English ‘mother church’ but a common inheritance of faith and shared vision of life together “in communion with autonomy and accountability” (3.1.2). That will then shape their commitments, including mutual accountability, to one another and to a pattern of life marked by such virtues as spending time “with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection, to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God” (3.2.3).

Above all, the covenant will hopefully help refocus the Church of England and all covenanting churches on mission. That mission is not, as in the advert, defined by whether or not some outside the church are ”˜put off by the Church’s apparent reluctance to change’. It is rather ”˜God’s call to undertake evangelisation’ and ”˜share in the healing and reconciling mission’ of God in Christ ”˜”for our blessed but broken, hurting and fallen world”’ (2.2.1).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

TEC Affiliated Bishop Lamb expresses concerns about Dan Martins becoming Springfield bishop

Obtained via email; in wide circulation at present so important for blog readers to see; please read it all and follow all the links–KSH.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
The Central Third of California
The Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, Bishop
The Rev. Canon Mark H. Hall, Canon to the Ordinary

Dear Bishops and Standing Committee Members,

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin joins me in sending you this letter that outlines our grave concerns about the election of the Rev. Daniel Martins as the Bishop Diocesan of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.

Our concern is not about the electing process, but about the suitability of Daniel Martins to be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church. We write to you now before the consent process is in full swing, so you will know of our concerns and have a chance to review pertinent information about Daniel Martins and his involvement in the attempted separation of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin from the Episcopal Church. We also request that you visit Daniel Martins’ website (http://cariocaconfessions.blogspot.com/) and review his comments about the startup of the Continuing Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.
All of the material concerning Daniel Martins’ relationship to the Diocese of San Joaquin can be found on our diocesan website (www.diosanjoaquin.org) under “Updates” on the right sidebar or by direct link at http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/dioceseofspringfieldconsent.html.

Daniel Martins came to the Diocese of San Joaquin in 1994 when he was called to be the rector of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Stockton. He remained at St. John’s until August 2007 when he accepted a call to St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw, Diocese of Northern Indiana. St. John’s is the oldest Episcopal Church in Stockton (and was one of the leading parishes in the diocese.) Only months after Martins left St. John’s, the parish chose to follow John-David Schofield in the attempt to leave the Episcopal Church. It is our contention that Daniel Martins did not prepare this congregation to remain in the Episcopal Church, but did just the opposite. St. John’s, Stockton is one of the few incorporated parishes in the diocese, and we were forced to file suit to recover this property for the Episcopal Church.

While residing in the Diocese of San Joaquin, Daniel Martins was very active in diocesan affairs. He was elected a deputy to General Convention multiple times, the last time in 2006. The Diocesan Council meeting minutes on April 8, 2006 report on a discussion of the upcoming Diocesan Convention resolution regarding disassociation from the Episcopal Church. In response to a question as to why deputies to General Convention 2006 had questions about the timing of the resolution, the Rev James Snell is referenced: “Read e-mail from Dan Martins. Endorse substance of proposal but concerned that (1) language provocative, (2) timing is ill-advised (prior to GC 2006) – diverts attention, (3) resolution will be spun by Bps adversaries, (4) robs GC deputations of effectiveness and credibility at GC. If GC rejects Windsor Report, then it will be time to act and Dan will lead the charge.” (See http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/CouncilMinutesApr2006)

In John-David Schofield’s address to convention in December 2006, when the first reading of the proposed change to the Constitution was made, he made the following statement, “Working independently of this Virginia meeting, three of our rural deans: Frs. Dan Martins, Jim Snell, and Richard James came up with a substitute for the original proposed changes to our diocesan constitution.” This substitute amendment became the very amendment that the disaffiliating parties attempted to use as their vehicle to leave the Church. (See http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/SchofieldAddr2006)

When former Bishop Schofield called for a vote in 2006 on this constitutional change removing the accession clause (after rejecting the motion for a secret ballot) and called for a vote by delegates standing in favor, reliable witnesses noted that Daniel Martins voted in the affirmative.

The Standing Committee and I contend Daniel Martins was instrumental to the process that led to first and second votes by the diocese to change the Constitutions and Canons that resulted in the failed attempt to unilaterally leave the Episcopal Church. Further excerpts from Diocesan documents are available at our diocesan website. (See for example, email dated June17, 2007 from Martins to Standing Committee http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/Email6172007, Standing Committee minutes from June 2007 http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/SCMinutesJun2007, and email from Dan Martins in December 2006 http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/Email12182006).

We also urge you to read excerpts from Daniel Martins’ blog entitled “Confessions of a Carioca.” (See http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/doc/DanMartinsBlogExcerpts) The following are examples from his blog.

3-5-2008: There’s a new group of Non-Jurors in the process of formation even as I write. They are former clergy and laity of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Their principled stand places them between the “rock” of their former bishop, whom they have loved and served loyally, but whom they cannot in good conscience follow to the Province of the Southern Cone, and the “hard place” of the noncanonical rump “remaining” Diocese of San Joaquin, which they cannot in good conscience join because it represents the raw exercise of naked illicit power by the Presiding Bishop, and because to do so would compromise their oath of loyalty to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

7-13-2008: Now, aside from the … what shall we say? … ungenerous … tone of the missive, it raises some curious issues. It comes as no news that, for a number of substantive technical reasons, I recognize neither the constitutional foundation of the “Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin” nor the authority of Bishop Jerry Lamb. By any rational reading of the Constitution & Canons of the Episcopal Church, we’re talking about a bogus diocese with a bogus bishop, though they have some impressive-looking stationery. That they exist at all, and are able to maintain the chimera of legitimacy is a result only of the raw exercise of naked political power on the part of the Presiding Bishop. She is manifestly guilty of presentable offenses but it will never happen because the political calculus just isn’t there.

Out of concern for the Episcopal Church, we urge you to review the information in this letter, on our website (http://www.diosanjoaquin.org/dioceseofspringfieldconsent.html), and in Daniel Martins’ own blog.

Upon reviewing the materials, we believe that it is clear that Daniel Martins not only actively supported and voted to attempt to remove the Diocese from the Episcopal Church. Furthermore, it is implicit in his writings and actions that he clearly holds the belief that a Diocese may leave this Church unilaterally, which is contrary to our understanding of Anglicanism and the polity of the Episcopal Church.

In closing, the consent process, as mandated by our canons, is the only way the wider Church can respond to the election of a person to be a bishop. Accordingly, we would ask you to join us in withholding consent for Daniel Martins to become the Bishop of Springfield.

Peace,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Jerry A. Lamb is Bishop of San Joaquin [the TEC Affiliated Diocese]

Members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquin

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: San Joaquin, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Bob Griffith–Our Anglican troubles… continued

All these machinations we are hearing from the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. concerning steps being taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) and the governing structures of the Anglican Communion because we snub our nose and refuse to abide by a couple requests made of us by those bodies, increasingly smacks of people who are used to getting their way, but no longer can.

Now, honestly, I have to admit that abiding by these two requests will impact my life, but only minimally. What I have to acknowledge is that I don’t always get my way, I don’t have a “right” to anything within the Church or the Body of Christ, and that I consider myself to be part of a Church that is Catholic – all of these things cause me to recognize, acknowledge, and abide by things I don’t like, think is fair, or consider to be right. It isn’t all about me or my group. By saying that, I do not even consider that I stop advocating for myself, my group, what I think to be God’s will, what I believe to be right for the good order, safety, and benefit of all, and an advocate for those who are terribly abused by other Anglicans around the world and demand that they stop their abuse.

Soon, “imperialist” America will have to deal with the rest of the world standing up to us. How will we as a people and as a nation act when this really starts to happen in earnest? Will we join the rest of the world as equal partners or… will we continue to act like imperialists and attempt to force our will on the world or… will we retreat into isolationism?

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

CEN–Questions over ACC letter on the Southern Cone raised

In his Oct 14 press release, Canon Kearon said “I have not received a response” to this request for “clarification” from the Southern Cone.

Canon Kearon’s claim, however, is at odds with Bishop Venables’ memory, as he reports having had two telephone conversations with Canon Kearon and one with Dr. Williams about this issue.

Bishop Venables further stated that he told Dr. Williams and Canon Kearon in the three conversations that he could not give a definitive answer to Canon Kearon’s letter until after the meeting of the Southern Cone standing committee.

A spokesman for the ACC confirmed that Canon Kearon had indeed “followed up with two phone calls” his June letter to Bishop Venables. However, the secretary general had “received no clarification as to the current state of his interventions by mid July as requested,” ACC spokesman Jan Butter said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Ecclesiology, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

(Living Church) Western Louisiana Endorses Covenant

The Diocese of Western Louisiana endorsed the Anglican Covenant at its 31st annual convention Oct. 15-16 in Alexandria, La.

Delegates passed by an overwhelming majority a resolution offered by St. Mark’s Cathedral of Shreveport that endorsed the Covenant. The resolution added that the diocese “remains committed to the Constitution and Canons of General Convention of the Episcopal Church while seeking to pursue our identity as constituent members of the Anglican Communion in communion with the See of Canterbury.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils, Windsor Report / Process

Kendall Harmon (II)–The (London) Times' Interview with Rowan Williams Has very little which is new

When it comes to the controversy about blessing non-celibate same sex unions among Anglicans, the issue needs to be carefully defined–both in terms of what it is and in terms of what it is not.

A long time ago, at General Convention in 2003, I spoke on this matter and began this way:

….[I] am very concerned that our categories are clear at the outset. This isn’t a debate about who is included; Christ invites and includes all people. This isn’t a debate about pastoral care, which is the church’s living out her theology in practice that varies greatly depending on the circumstances. There is a distinction between orientation and practice that has to be kept in mind, people have urges and inclinations and desires but we need to distinguish between having them and acting on them. Finally, this is about the call of God to his church and its leadership to be holy as God is holy.

It is VITAL that the traditional position is correctly defined since it is so often mischaracterized and recently even caricatured in this discussion. Professor Gerard S. Sloyan puts it this way, “The physical attraction of adults of both sexes to..the opposite sex is natural and to those of the same sex is not necessarily perverse. Only when such attraction is acted upon is it ethically wrong: for Christian, Jew and Muslim it is sin.” He also writes: “Marriage both is and is meant to be the normal outlet for sexual activity, while for unmarried Christians of whichever orientation no other is envisioned” (Theology Today, July 2003 edition, pp. 159-160; and 156).

Notice carefully what Professor Sloyan is saying: there are only two states of human existence, singleness, and marriage. Therefore there are NO relationships outside of marriage which the church can officially sanction as places where sexual activity may be celebrated

Not long after the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in 2006, Archbishop Rowan Williams wrote the Anglican Communion as a whole in a letter entitled “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today” in which he made a similar attempt to distinguishing what the issue is and what it is not:

Unless you think that social and legal considerations should be allowed to resolve religious disputes ”“ which is a highly risky assumption if you also believe in real freedom of opinion in a diverse society ”“ there has to be a recognition that religious bodies have to deal with the question in their own terms. Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching. And, to make clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about ”˜inclusion’, this is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against ”“ and so it is a question about how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures

.

The church’s standard for human behavior has been clear: faithfulness for those who are married, and abstinence for those who are single. This means that anyone who is single, a sinner like the rest of us, who pledges that they are upholding the church’s teaching in their life and ministry is eligible in theory for a position in church leadership.

If you keep this in mind, and you keep in mind what was already known about Rowan Williams before he became the Archbishop of Canterbury, then you will see that notwithstanding some poor headlines and other comments about it, the Times interview today breaks little new ground.

In a crucial section of the Times interview today, Ginny Dougary does us no favors by using this language: “Much of this discord hinges on the interpretation of whether or not the Bible permits openly homosexual clergy.” This is good on the Bible permits part, but not good on the “open” part because she fails to make the crucial distinction between orientation and practice. When she says “open” what she means is someone in a non-celibate same sex partnership and clear about that in numerous public settings.

She then cites a now famous chapter Rowan Williams wrote in a book entitled “the Body’s Grace”: “If we are looking for a sexual ethic that can be seriously informed by our Bible, there is a good deal to steer us away from assuming that reproductive sex is a norm.” Notice, however, that the quote that she gives is incomplete. The full quote is this (and it is all the same sentence): “In other words, if we are looking for a sexual ethic that can be seriously informed by our Bible, there is a good deal to steer us away from assuming that reproductive sex is a norm, however important and theologically significant it may be“.

The article goes on this way: “‘When I read this out, he replies: “That’s what I wrote as a theologian, you know, putting forward a suggestion. That’s not the job I have now.””

Dr. Williams here reflects a distinction he understands between the role of an academic theologian and the role of an Archbishop, where his being a catholic Christian and seeking to guard the church’s unity takes primacy over other matters. He has made this point in numerous settings over the years.

The article continues a bit later as follows:

One can also see that the spectre of the Communion being sundered on his watch must weigh heavily on him. “Yes, I believe that the Church suffers appallingly when it begins to fall apart ”“ and its mission suffers in other ways, too. But on your specifics ”“ the fact is that since the 1998 Lambeth Conference, every single public pronouncement on the question of sexuality has underlined the distinction between civic liberties and human dignity for gay people, which have always been affirmed, and whether or not the church has the right to bless same-sex unions or ordain people in same-sex unions. Now I know that those two are blurred but the point has always been made.”

Once again we see Rowan Williams the theologian making the necessary distinctions, exactly the distinctions so often missing not only in media accounts but in the church debates themselves.

Ginny Dougary is not satisfied:

But why shouldn’t gay couples be blessed if we are all equal? “The Church isn’t answerable to an abstract idea of equality, or rather it can certainly say everyone is equal in the sight of God. But what forms of life does the Church have the freedom to bless? The Church is obedient to Revelation. Now if you believe it’s very clear in Revelation that the only relation that can be blessed is between a man and a woman, then you’ve got a problem.”

.
This sounds like the man who wrote the whole Anglican communion in 2006 and said “it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against….”

And later in the interview we get the same distinction:

To put it very simply, there’s no problem about a gay person who’s a bishop.” Really? “It’s about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe. So there’s always a question about the personal life of the clergy.”

This latter part of this article is the one eliciting the most headlines, but if it is seen in the context of the many statements Rowan Williams has made while Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as in the context of the full Times article, it is not anything genuinely new. It is, however, the most he has said about it publicly in a good while–KSH

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * By Kendall, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

The Full Text of the Chairman's Address at the 2nd All Africa Bishops’ Conference

(Please note that the video for this address was posted last evening–KSH).

Finally, but not the least, we cannot shy away from the state we are in. We cannot afford to continue to lurch from one crisis to the next in our beloved Communion. Despite attempts to warn some western provinces, action has been taken to irrevocably shatter the Communion. Sadly existing structures of the Anglican Communion have been unable to address the need for discipline. These can become irrelevant to our needs as Africans and are now, moreover, unrepresentative demographically. We need new structures that are credible and representative of the majority.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, Africa, Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Church Times–Standing Committee blocks move to expel US

A proposal to separate the Episcopal Church in the United States from the Anglican Communion was rejected by the Communion’s Standing Committee (SCAC) when it met in London over last weekend.

The suggestion, from Dato’ Stanley Isaacs (Church of the Province of South East Asia), led to a discussion, and acknowledgement by committee members of “anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues”, the ACNS reported. But “the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues”, and would therefore be “unhelpful”.

The Committee also heard the rationale behind the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pente­cost letter, which proposed excluding from certain ecumenical dialogues provinces that had breached moratoria. Dr Williams and the Communion’s secretary general, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said that the Archbishop “had not acted unilaterally but with the support of the secretary general”, and that they had acted within their powers. The action “had not been punitive in intention”, but had followed “the breaking of the agreed moratoria ”” in response to the needs of the Communion in respect to ecumenical dialogues and faith and order bodies”.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Episcopal Committee Is Working on Rite for Blessing Same Sex Unions

Armed with a new $400,000 grant and the support of the Episcopal Church, a Berkeley seminary is convening priests from across the country to craft the liturgical rite for same-sex couples to receive religious blessings.

The new rite, which will take years to complete, will most likely consist of a series of original prayers, Bible readings and two essays: one on the theological meaning of same-sex blessings, and one advising priests who administer the new rite. If approved, the new blessing would be just the third addition to Episcopal liturgy since 1979.

“This is very significant,” said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, chairwoman of the church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, who is heading the effort. “It does acknowledge a fuller participation of gays and lesbians in the life of the church.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Consultative Council, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

ACI–Contrasting Futures for the Anglican Communion: A Transformed ACC and the Anglican Covenant

In light of these developments, we draw the following conclusions:

* It is not appropriate for one of the Communion’s four Instruments to be an English company regulated by UK and EU law like any other UK company. To repeat what we said above, we do not question the need for the proper and efficient management of the Communion’s charitable assets by fiduciaries complying with all relevant laws. We are not convinced, however, that this role should be confused with the historic role of the Instruments of Communion in “the discernment, articulation and exercise of our shared faith and common life and mission” and in particular with the role of the Communion’s Primatial leadership, which bears special responsibility for “doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have Communion-wide implications.” (Covenant 3.1.4.)
* We urge the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates not to cede their independent authority to the corporate charter of the ACC, but to insist that their authority cannot be infringed by the ACC.
* It is now beyond doubt that the newly transformed and empowered ACC Standing Committee cannot function as the committee required by Section 4 of the Covenant.
* The Covenant remains the only hope for preserving the traditional faith and order of the Anglican Communion. We call upon member churches of the Anglican Communion to adopt the Covenant with all deliberate speed and, having done so, to make proper arrangements for the responsibilities assigned to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion in Section 4 to be undertaken by a body that has both the competence and ability to assess threats to the Communion and recommend appropriate action.

Read it carefully and read it all.

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

San Diego to Allow Same-sex Blessings

The Diocese of San Diego has joined several other dioceses ”” including Massachusetts, Southeast Florida and Southern Ohio ”” that have decided since General Convention 2009 to allow some form of public blessings for same-sex couples.

The decision by the Rt. Rev. James Robert Mathes, Bishop of San Diego, reflects the recommendations of the diocese’s Holiness in Relationships Task Force Report [PDF].

“My approach on this matter, and several other things, is to be in conversation with the community,” Bishop Mathes told The Living Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Phil Ashey: Whither the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion?

When asked by the American Anglican Council for the minutes of this December meeting, Anglican Communion Office officials told us that they were not yet available as they needed to be approved at next week’s meeting. For now, we are left to guess why Janet Trisk, a white priest and lawyer, was chosen to replace a black laywoman on the SCAC if their intent was to promote diversity. Are we to understand that there was really no other qualified lay representative from Africa who could replace Ms.Walaza? And was there not even another qualified clergy representative from Africa who could take her place until such a lay representative could be found? (See the ACC roster here) Is it merely a coincidence that Janet Trisk played a major role at ACC-14 in delaying and bottling up Section 4 of the Anglican Covenant, as documented on video by Anglican TV and live-blogged on Stand Firm in Faith by AAC Communications Officer Robert Lundy, and that her participation on the SCAC will almost certainly further the agenda of those who would weaken an already-weakened Anglican Covenant?

And what about those new “proposed bylaws” of the SCAC – can we have a look at them? Again, in the words of Mr. Butter from the Anglican Communion Office (ACO):

Asked if copies of the proposed new bylaws were available for review, the ACO responded that “discussions about the Articles are still ongoing between the legal advisor and the Charity Commission, so they are not yet available.”

Is it any wonder that the majority of the Anglicans in the Global South, and the GAFCON Primates, have concluded that the ACC, the SCAC and its unpublished bylaws are simply a tool for the West to continue to exercise colonial hegemony over the rest of the Anglican Communion?

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Windsor Report / Process

Church of England Newspaper: Rules out at ACC

(By George Conger)

Observance of the Anglican Consultative Council’s bylaws are discretionary, a spokesman for the organization tells The Church of England

ACC spokesman Jan Butter told CEN the future membership rules of the organization which seek to promote gender parity take precedence over its existing rules.

However, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s press spokesman tells The Church of England Newspaper, the ACC staff’s views are not the final word on the matter, as the appointment of Bishop Ian Douglas and Canon Janet Trisk to the ACC Standing Committee are under legal review.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Windsor Report / Process

Andrew Goddard: Reflections on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost Letter

That we have reached this stage in our common life is a sign that as a Communion we have failed and are failing to present “a true sign of hope in a world of bitter conflict and rivalry”. Although the removal of provinces from representative ecumenical and faith and order functions is now a necessity this does not entail ”“ as the Archbishop has repeatedly stated ”“ an ending of all relationships. The issues of sexuality that have triggered this conflict will not go away and they continue to be live issues in many provinces of the Communion. The Continuing Indaba Project is one means of seeking to keep conversations going on various issues and to deepen mission relationships even in the midst of the differentiation now being implemented at other levels of the Communion and it would appear, from the letter, that other possible patterns of ongoing conversation are being discussed.

For almost a decade the actions of the American church and groups within it and the responses to these by other provinces have often dominated the life of the Instruments as well as damaging our united mission. The decision to confirm and consecrate Mary Glasspool was a clear signal that the American church is unwilling to heed the pleas of the wider Communion and desist from such divisive actions….

The Archbishop’s letter is perhaps in part an attempt to defuse the current difficulties by acknowledging that there is a fundamentally different vision of faith and order in TEC and releasing key Communion institutions ”“ the Instruments, faith and order and ecumenical bodies ”“ from being caught up in the tensions and conflicts that result from this reality. By removing those responsible for breaches of the moratoria from these bodies, they may be better able to focus on their task as Instruments of communion and the church’s mission. Alongside this, the tensions and disagreements over issues related to the moratoria may now be able to be addressed in other contexts which are less symbolically significant and where the issues that continue to divide us can be addressed without being distorted by the recent history of difficult meetings of the Instruments since at least 2003. As noted above, this will likely require carrying the logic of these decisions through into the Instruments, Standing Committee and covenant process. However, painful as it will be, if this is what is being done then it is possible that the Pentecost letter will ultimately be seen as having set a path which will assist the Communion’s renewal in the Spirit.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Southwark Cathedral Dean Colin Slee's Sermon this past Sunday

It seems to me that love must, by its essential nature, be always unconditional. We welcome Katharine Jefferts Schori to this pulpit because we love our sisters and brothers in the Episcopal Church of the United States; not because she is female, or a woman bishop ahead of us, or has permitted a practising lesbian to become a bishop (As it happens she couldn’t have stopped it after all the legal and proper canonical electoral processes resulted in the election and nomination), we welcome her because she is our sister in Christ.

The lesson from the Hebrew Scriptures is enormously topical. Disaffected Anglicans have been threatening to ”˜walk separate ways’ for many months. Abram and Lot travel together and their herdsmen bicker and fight, in modern translation there is ‘strife’ between them. They reach agreement to take separate paths and settle down and so their mutual belonging as members of one family is secured. The lesson is even more pertinent because it describes how Lot ended up near Sodom, which was a very wicked city, and of course it is sodomy that so curiously and constantly preoccupies so many disaffected Anglicans. The story of Sodom is often misrepresented from scriptures, the abuse which leads to its reputation and much social mythology, current even today, in Chapter 19, is a more sophisticated story of torture and coercion than misrepresented as a matter of sex.

It may be that some Anglicans will decide to walk a separate path. I believe the Chapter and congregation of this church will walk the same path as the Episcopal Church of America, the links are deep in our history, especially here. Their actions in recent months have been entirely in accord with the Anglican ways of generosity and breadth. They have tried to ensure everyone is recognised as a child of God. They have behaved entirely in accord with their canon laws and their freedom as an independent Province of the Church, not imposing or interfering with others with whom they disagree but proceeding steadily and openly themselves.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on Addressing Anglican Differences

It is as if the breath of the Spirit has the capacity to translate the gospel of the Word made flesh, not only into the different languages of the first day of Pentecost, and all the languages of our twenty-first century world; the Spirit can also translate into every culture of our world ”“ and between the inculturation of the gospel in different cultures. So, when we cannot understand each other, we must be sure that we have listened carefully to the still small voice of the Spirit. Is the Spirit speaking to each of us? Can we recognise the presence of Christ, which is the touchstone, the standard, of the true Spirit of God?

I am convinced that in our current situation within the Communion neither have we done, nor are we continuing to do, enough of this sort of listening to one another. We do not understand one another and one another’s contexts well enough, and we are not sufficiently sensitive to one another in the way we act. Autonomy has gone too far. I do not mean that we should seek a greater uniformity ”“ I hope it is clear I am saying nothing of the sort. But we risk acting in ways that are so independent of one another that it becomes hard for us, and for outsiders, to recognise either a committed interdependent mutuality or a common Christian, Anglican, DNA running through our appropriately contextualised and differentiated ways of being.

Bishop Katharine, what I am going to say next is painful to me, and I fear it may also be to you ”“ but I would rather say it to your face, than behind your back. And I shall be ready to hear from you also, for I cannot preach listening without doing listening. It sometimes seems to me that, though many have failed to listen adequately to the Spirit at work within The Episcopal Church, at the same time within your Province there has not been enough listening to the rest of the Anglican Communion. I had hoped that those of your Bishops who were at the Lambeth Conference would have grasped how sore and tender our common life is. I had hoped that even those who, after long reflection, are convinced that there is a case for the consecration of individuals in same sex partnerships, might nonetheless have seen how unhelpful it would be to the rest of us, for you to proceed as you have done.

There are times when it seems that your Province, or some within it, despite voicing concern for the rest of us, can nonetheless act in ways that communicate a measure of uncaring at the consequent difficulties for us. And such apparent lack of care for us increases the distress we feel. Much as we understand that you are in all sincerity attempting to discern the best way forward within your own mission context, the plea is: be sensitive to the rest of who are still drinking spiritual milk and are not yet eating solids.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Ruth Gledhill: Pentecost and the Anglican schism

Christians in the West have just finished celebrating Pentecost, the feast which marks the day the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and rendered them able to speak om foreign languages

But in the schism-torn Anglican Communion there has been a little less hand-waving than usual. Instead there has been the descent of the Archbishop of Canterbury in admonition of his church, in a letter where he gives tongue to uncharacteristic displeasure.

After years of suffering the spectacle of the conservative and liberal members of his Communion fight a towering Babel-like war of words over sexuality, in which neither side has ever seemed truly to understand the others, Dr Rowan Williams has finally been moved by the spirit of the times to act….

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

(London) Times: Warring Anglicans removed from ecumenical faith group

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admonished warring Anglicans for creating “recrimination, confusion and bitterness” all round.

He has punished those who have broken the rules by removing them from the body that deals with dialogue with the Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other churches, and the body that decides matters of faith.

In his Pentecost letter, Dr Williams called for Anglicans to pray for renewal in the spirit of God.

And he bewailed the failure by liberals to stand by moratoria imposed on the consecration of gay bishops and on same-sex blessings, and the failure by conservatives to observe that on boundary crossing.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Instruments of Unity, Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, Theology, Windsor Report / Process