Monthly Archives: July 2008

BBC: Bishops raise homosexuality issue

Anglican bishops have been discussing Bible teachings on homosexuality at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.

The debate took place among a group of about 40 bishops, but there was no formal resolution on an issue which has frustrated Church traditionalists.

The subject has driven the Communion to the brink of a permanent split.

Members of the Lesbian and Gay Christian movement held a protest and unfurled a banner outside a sports hall where the delegates were meeting.

Read it all.

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

Audio of Bishop Harold Miller : Competing Numbers, Apologies, & “The Troubles” in the AC

Listen to it all.

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

Bishop John Howe of Central Florida writes his clergy- Thursday, July 31st

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I have just come from a specially scheduled session billed as a time to think concretely about “moving forward.” It was clear there is absolutely no consensus as to how we are to do that – or even what it means.

HOWEVER, I think a few things can be said at this point. At least, these are my impressions.

First, positions taken ten years ago have not significantly changed. The great majority of the Bishops here would still agree with Lambeth 1:10, and indeed, the Archbishop of Canterbury was very clear in repeatedly saying, “We are not here to revisit Lambeth 1:10; it is the position of the Communion.” At the same time, there is a strong minority position, held not only in the US and Canada, but by some in nearly every part of the Communion, that believes it is a justice matter, a “gospel imperative” to work for the “full inclusion” of all people, particularly “LGBTs”.

But secondly, the atmosphere in which those differences are held is vastly different than it was a decade ago. Today, in some of the Indaba groups there was a real willingness to listen to and appreciate the convictions of those holding opposite views on issues of human sexuality. (This, I think, was true of those who worked together in the sub-section on Sexuality last time; but it certainly was anything but true of the Conference as a whole.)

Thirdly, there is no question that those who are here care deeply, even passionately, about the Anglican Communion. They want it to continue, to be healed and robust, and they want to be part of it.

Some will say, “Yes they want to be part of it so long as they can be part of it on their own terms.” And there is an element of truth in that, for “their own terms” are positions held tenaciously by all sides.

Most of the GAFCON folks have stayed away. My sense is that most of them – not all, thank God – have given up on the Communion, and they are working toward a “new ecclesial structure.” But those who are here do not see that as a Communion solution; it will be another basically protestant denomination (or denominations) with quasi-catholic ceremonial.

Those who are here are wrestling with the Archbishop’s pointed question of two nights ago: “What sacrifices are you willing to make for the good of the Communion?”

Two days to go, and then the wrap-up on Sunday. It has been a very long nearly-three weeks. Don’t stop praying.

Warmest regards in our Lord,

–(The Right Rev.) John W. Howe is Bishop of Central Florida

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

Tony Clavier offers Thoughts on Rowan's Second Presidential Address

We believe in that sure and certain hope that God will create us anew. Newness implies change. “We shall be changed.” We have no right to ask God to reserve certain sections of our existence and keep them the way we like them. Daring to die is the greatest “risk” in living. Daring to die to our greatest and most informed beliefs and aspirations, not because they are necessarily wrong, but because they must be transformed by and in grace is that necessary action some have institutionalized into what is called “conversion.” For us it means Baptism but a baptism done once but lived into daily.

+Rowan is asking our bishops on our behalf to risk such a death. Ironically it is the province which makes the most of Baptism which seems less able to penetrate the radical nature of the sacrament. The very systems we have adopted in the church by which to make decisions imply that some will win, will hold on to what they want, and others will lose and even lose the things they most cherish. +Rowan has challenged all sides in the present war to dare surrender at the Cross as the way to renewal and revival. Perhaps he could have said more. Perhaps he said enough!

Read it all.

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

Lambeth gives momentum to a push for a safer Communion

(ACNS) Organisers of a recent conference in Woking, Creating a Safer Church, talked to us about their work and what they hope their subsequent participation at the Lambeth Conference has achieved.

Helen Blake is a relationships counsellor and also lectures in pastoral care and counselling at St Mark’s Theological College in Canberra. Her husband Garth Blake is a senior Sydney barrister and Chair of the Professional Standards Commission of the Anglican Church of Australia. They were present at the Lambeth Conference to offer their expertise to others seeking resources on how to tackle the abuse of power in their provinces and dioceses.

They hope to establish an international network within the Anglican Communion to deal with issues around the abuse of power.

What is your role here at the Lambeth Conference?

Garth: My wife Helen and I took a seminar looking at caring marriages and preventing abuse in marriage. We were recently at international conference at Woking near London, looking at abuse issues. We had a very helpful and encouraging conference that really fed into today’s theme of the abuse of power in relationships, marriage, and within the church.

What was the driving force behind the conference at Woking?

Garth: It came from the Australian General Synod in 2004, where it was suggested an international network be developed. It’s taken a while to get here.

Read it all.

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

Globe and Mail: Anglicans likely to sidestep decision on gays

Although today is billed as global Anglicanism’s high-noon shootout over homosexuality, the issue likely will get sidestepped again, exasperating both conservative and liberal Canadians who belong to the world’s third-largest Christian church and are fed up with the dispute.

More than 600 Anglican bishops assembled for the decennial Lambeth Conference in the ancient English cathedral city of Canterbury are to meet in indabas – a Zulu word for “purposeful gatherings” – to talk all day about homosexuality, which has threatened the church with imminent schism over the past five years.

But they are to pass no resolutions, make no declarations.

Rather they are to be limited to “reflections” on a proposal from the church’s spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, to create a “pastoral forum” for the 77-million-member church, the mandate of which would be to keep the homosexual debate frozen in place and prohibited from going anywhere.

Read it all.

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

More from the BBC Today Programme: New hopes in gay bishop row

Today the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops will discuss the contentious issue of homosexuality and the church. Almost a quarter of bishops boycotted the Conference in protest at the appointment of gay bishop Gene Robinson, who says he was not invited but has come to Britain to argue his case from the fringes.

Listen to it all.

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

Thought for the day from Bishop Sean W Rowe of Northwest Pennsylvania

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

Cardinal Walter Kasper's Full Address to the Lambeth Conference

It is significant that the Windsor Report of 2004, in seeking to provide the Anglican Communion with ecclesiological foundations for addressing the current crisis, also adopted an ecclesiology of koinonia. I found this to be helpful and encouraging, and in response to a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury inviting an ecumenical reaction to the Windsor Report, I noted that “(n)otwithstanding the substantial ecclesiological issues still dividing us which will continue to need our attention, this approach is fundamentally in line with the communion ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council. The consequences which the Report draws from this ecclesiological base are also constructive, especially the interpretation of provincial autonomy in terms of interdependence, thus ”˜subject to limits generated by the commitments of communion’ (Windsor n.79). Related to this is the Report’s thrust towards strengthening the supra-provincial authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury (nn.109-110) and the proposal of an Anglican Covenant which would ”˜make explicit and forceful the loyalty and bonds of affection which govern the relationships between the churches of the Communion’ (n.118).”

The one weakness pertaining to ecclesiology that I noted was that “(w)hile the Report stresses that Anglican provinces have a responsibility towards each other and towards the maintenance of communion, a communion rooted in the Scriptures, considerably little attention is given to the importance of being in communion with the faith of the Church through the ages.” In our dialogue, we have jointly affirmed that the decisions of a local or regional church must not only foster communion in the present context, but must also be in agreement with the Church of the past, and in a particular way, with the apostolic Church as witnessed in the Scriptures, the early councils and the patristic tradition. This diachronic dimension of apostolicity “has important ecumenical ramifications, since we share a common tradition of one and a half millennia. This common patrimony ”“ what Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey called our ”˜ancient common traditions’ ”“ is worth being appealed to and preserved.”

In light of this analysis of episcopal ministry as set forward in ARCIC and the koinonia ecclesiology found in The Windsor Report, it has been particularly disheartening to have witnessed the increasing tensions within the Anglican Communion. In several contexts, bishops are not in communion with other bishops; in some instances, Anglican provinces are no longer in full communion with each other. While the Windsor process continues, and the ecclesiology set forth in the Windsor Report has been welcomed in principle by the majority of Anglican provinces, it is difficult from our perspective to see how that has translated into the desired internal strengthening of the Anglican Communion and its instruments of unity. It also seems to us that the Anglican commitment to being ”˜episcopally led and synodically governed’ has not always functioned in such a way as to maintain the apostolicity of the faith, and that synodical government misunderstood as a kind of parliamentary process has at times blocked the sort of episcopal leadership envisaged by Cyprian and articulated in ARCIC.

I know that many of you are troubled, some deeply so, by the threat of fragmentation within the Anglican Communion. We feel profound solidarity with you, for we too are troubled and saddened when we ask: In such a scenario, what shape might the Anglican Communion of tomorrow take, and who will our dialogue partner be? Should we, and how can we, appropriately and honestly engage in conversations also with those who share Catholic perspectives on the points currently in dispute, and who disagree with some developments within the Anglican Communion or particular Anglican provinces? What do you expect in this situation from the Church of Rome, which in the words of Ignatius of Antioch is to preside over the Church in love? How might ARCIC’s work on the episcopate, the unity of the Church, and the need for an exercise of primacy at the universal level be able to serve the Anglican Communion at the present time?

Read it all.

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

Thursday Afternoon Press Conference: Everything’s going to be alright

Check it out.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Bishop Pierre Whalon of Europe offers some Thoughts from Lambeth

When it came my turn to speak, I remembered the following story, told me by members of our African refugee congregation in Rennes, Brittany, France:

During the height of the genocide in Rwanda, a Hutu militia patrol stopped at a village, populated mostly by Hutus but with several Tutsi families as well. “Bring out your Tutsis,” said the militia commander. “We know from others that you have Tutsis living among you.” The Hutu villagers refused. “If you do not give them up, you will die with them.” “How can we give them up?” they asked. “We are one in Christ.”

You can imagine what happened next.

As I told this story, I finished by saying, “There are many here who say, ”˜I am Tutsi, you are Hutu,’ ”˜I am for gays, you are against gays.’ But we must first be one with those martyred sisters and brothers, one in Christ first, or we cannot be his disciples.

Read it all.

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

Riazat Butt: The Episcopalian superiority complex

What bishops should be more concerned about is her insinuation that a non-white culture leads to domestic violence and that white, western culture is too civilised and too advanced to allow such atrocities to occur. Roskam fails to recognise that domestic violence affects people regardless of their class, ethnicity, religion, gender or geography.

But perhaps bishops should not be surprised by her attitude, which has echoes in an incident from the previous Lambeth conference in 1998, when another American bishop claimed African Christians had only just developed from believing that rocks and trees have spirits and did not understand modern science. This rhetoric, and the underlying assertion of superiority, plays into the hands of conservative evangelicals who are fed up with colonialist attitudes, but also of people who argue that religion, its followers and leaders are backwards and irrelevant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(Times) Catholic-Anglican relations reach new low

The Roman Catholic Church has finally ended all hope that Anglican priestly orders will ever be recognised as valid.

In an address to the Lambeth Conference of 670 Anglican bishops from around the world, the cardinal who heads the Council for Christian Unity said the dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics would be irrevocably “changed” as a result of the ordination of women and the recent vote to go ahead with consecrating women bishops.

Cardinal Walter Kasper also reiterated the Vatican’s stance that homosexuality is a “disordered” condition.

In a well-attended closed session at the conference at the University of Kent University, Canterbury, Cardinal Kasper said relations between the two churches are now deeply compromised. He urged bishops to consider their shared inheritance, which he said was “worthy of being consulted and protected.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Lambeth 2008, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Thursday Morning Press Briefing: “This is not about revisiting Lambeth 1.10” Ian Douglas

Basically the indaba groups, for those who do not know, are made up of 40 bishops, 5 groups of eight. Sometimes they separate into 8 person bible study groups and then come together again. The aim is to enable listening and understanding in relationship to the impact that the Anglican Communion’s engagement with same sex issues has had on our participation in God’s mission.

It is important in stressing that aim; that it is not designed to be a conversation revisiting .Lambeth 1.10. It is not a conversation about anthropology or moral and ethical understandings of same sex sexuality, the focus is on how has the way the Anglican Communion has engaged in these conversations been consistent with participation in God’s mission.

The specific question given to the bishops in indaba group is: How have the same-sex initiates impacted my diocese’ part in God’s mission?

The indaba will see a short 10 minute video of faces of people around the communion speaking to that question. The point is that it is good for the bishops to be together but let’s not forget the wider body of Christ and how these conversations effect their lives in the Church

The bishops it is then suggested will move to the bible study groups where they can begin to answer this question for themselves”¦this is what this initiative has meant in my diocese.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Lambeth 2008, Media, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Press Conference with Bishop Peter Beckwith (live blog)

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts

A BBC Today Programme Audio Segment: New moves to end gay bishop row

The Lambeth conference of Anglican bishops discusses “human sexuality”, the subject which divides traditionalists and liberals. The Archbishop of Canterbury hopes to draft a statement that can hold the worldwide Anglican Communion together on this issue. Clive Hanford, the person in charge of drafting this statement, says it can be done but they have to be ‘cautious’.

Listen to it all.

Note carefully the comments of Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington (see city Lexington, Kentucky) which once again misses the central fact that there are different kinds of differences. The Elizabethan settlement was about allowing for difference within a community with a certain bedrock underneath on which difference was not possible (the statement [never said by Augustine] of Meldenius–“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity”– is sometimes cited in this regard). It is precisely the issue of what kind of a difference this is which is currently at issue, and moving to an Elizabeth settlement on it settles the debate about the nature of this difference in practice before the theological debate about it is settled. This is what the Windsor Report was trying to get at, and Rowan Williams just made the same argument again in his second Presidential address to this Lambeth, and TEC has still not fully reckoned with that argument–KSH.

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

Pontifications: Is the Episcopal Church a Truly Catholic Church?

In the early 70s the large majority of catholic Episcopalians firmly opposed the ordination of women to the presbyterate and episcopate, believing that it was contrary to the will of Christ and the ecumenical tradition of the Church. When the 1976 General Convention decided to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood, most Anglo-Catholics decided to remain within the Episcopal Church and to fight for a reversal of church policy. What happened? The older generation retired or died. The younger generation, including the present writer, eventually got with the national church program. Seminaries and bishops carefully weeded out the opponents of women’s ordination from the prospective ordinand pool. Thirty-five years later we find that a new orthodoxy has been successfully imposed and the opponents of women’s ordination marginalized. Twenty years ago one might have been forgiven for thinking that it was still possible to reverse this situation, but surely no one can persuasively argue this any longer. Something very similar is now happening on the question of the moral legitimacy of same-sex unions. The goodness of same-sex unions is now widely affirmed in the Episcopal Church. New ordinands are expected to support this policy and the doctrine underlying it. Perhaps freedom to oppose this policy is still allowed in some dioceses (presumably Texas); but the number of such dioceses declines each year. Within a decade or two Episcopal priests will no longer be permitted to teach the catholic understanding of Holy Matrimony nor to declare the immorality of same-sex unions. In the inclusive Church, even tolerance has its limits. The recent history of the Episcopal Church demonstrates the harsh truth of Neuhaus’s Law: “Wherever orthodoxy is optional, it sooner or later will be proscribed.”

Yet Fr Dunlap is committed to remaining within the Episcopal Church. I know many faithful believers who are likewise committed to remaining in the Episcopal Church. I certainly do not criticize Fr Dunlap for doing so, though I find his assessment of the state of the Episcopal Church to be deeply flawed. The Episcopal Church, Dunlap insists, remains a catholic Church, despite false teaching and practice. Hence he does not need “a reason or strategy” to stay in the Episcopal Church. Really? Is the catholicity of the Episcopal Church so apparent, so manifest, so self-evident, so primordial that it needs neither defense nor apology? What would the Episcopal Church need to do to move itself over into the category of heretical or schismatic Church? In Dunlap’s judgment, the decision to ordain women to the presbyterate and episcopate does not represent a church-dividing departure from catholic order, despite the contrary judgments of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. He notes that he made his peace with the innovation some time ago. But what about the popular embrace of the pan-sexual morality? What about the ritual blessing of same-sex unions? What about the Episcopal Church’s consistent refusal to assert the evil of abortion? What about denials by many Episcopal preachers that the salvation of humanity is accomplished through Christ and Christ alone? What about the refusal to discipline bishops and priests who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ and his bodily resurrection? Are the historic episcopate, communion with the see of Canterbury, and liturgical use of the Nicene Creed really sufficient to secure the catholic identity of the Episcopal Church?

Read it all and if interested follow the discussion here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

A Quick Word About Hat Tips

A hit tip in the blogosphere is an acknowledgement of the source where you got something. Blogs and websites that honor the unwritten code of the blogosphere, like Thinking Anglicans or Stand Firm or Episcopal Cafe, will occasionally give T19 a hat tip and we appreciate it. We try very hard to do the same (and to all those who email an idea and are terrified and say–please no hat tip!– we will never use your name without permission, the most you will see is initials in that case). There are, however, certain other websites that consistently borrow material from here and do not acknowledge it. Be aware that we know who you are and no–it is not impressive–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet

Mark of Enough About Me Chimes In

The Archbishop of Canterbury, quite simply put, is so insulated from the people he is supposed to help guide and represent that he can no longer be taken to be “a part” of us.

While Williams, whose intellect has been woefully inadequate to the realities of his current office and whose quite obvious and destructive prejudice against America, represented by TEC, is in the archepiscopacy of Canterbury, there can be no reconciliation. Either America will be thrown out to make way for a volume business in Third World souls (and never mind the quality of the Christian), or TEC will be “allowed” to remain, without the possibility of ever having any trust in the Archbishop of Canterbury until Williams is out of the office.

He is, quite simply, untrustworthy. I believe that he – Williams – is also exceptionally power-hungry and selfish, as this grab for centralized power coming out of a Windsor Continuation Group entirely devoid of liberals demonstrates.

Read it all.

I will consider posting comments on this article submitted first by email to Kendall’s E-mail: KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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

Amos Kasibante–The Lambeth Conference: a view from the margins

The church in Africa has often said that it conceives its mission in terms of service rather than power. It preaches to political leaders and leaders in other fields to use their position in service to humankind, especially the vulnerable. That means, in fact, that the church is concerned about the question of power.

It cannot avoid engaging the critical question of the manifestations of the use or abuse of power, which often lie at the heart of ethnic war and conflict in countries like Uganda where Church growth is phenomenal. And it is not just a matter of the bishops or the church challenging society about the proper use of power and position.

They too need to engage critically with the way they exercise their power over clergy and laity alike. It is inevitable to comment about the absence of the bishops at Canterbury of the Church of Uganda.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Lambeth 2008, Uganda

Church Times Blog–Greg Venables: We’re still not addressing the basic issue

Regarding the observations put forward by the Windsor Continuation Group, he said they were covering ground the Primates had already looked at.

“Since the Primates haven’t been able to move it along some of us don’t have much hope it will take us anywhere.

“Dar-es-Salaam put forward the idea of a pastoral council and the House of Bishops in the States didn’t want it. They want their autonomy.

“The North Americans have said they’re not going to move back and those who have left their national churches are unlikely to go back.

“Unless we talk about the real reasons why we are divided there’s little hope of putting it back together again.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], Lambeth 2008, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Bishop Tom Wright: The Bible and Tomorrow’s World

Now of course the point of all that is not simply an interesting set of skirmishes about different ideas. The point is that these ideas had legs, and went about in the ancient world making things happen. They altered the way you saw things, the way you did things, the goals you set yourself and the ways you ordered your world and society. From the beginning no serious Christian has been able to say ”˜this is my culture, so I must adapt the gospel to fit within it’, just as no serious Christian has been able to say ”˜this is my surrounding culture, so I must oppose it tooth and nail’. Christians are neither chameleons, changing colour to suit their surroundings, nor rhinoceroses, ready to charge at anything in sight. There is no straightforward transference between any item of ordinary culture and the gospel, since all has been distorted by evil; but likewise there is nothing so twisted that it cannot be redeemed, and nothing evil in itself. The Christian is thus committed, precisely as a careful reader of scripture, to a nuanced reading of culture and a nuanced understanding of the response of the gospel to different elements of culture. You can see this in Philippians, where Paul is clear that as a Christian you must live your public life in a manner worthy of the gospel, and that whatever is pure, lovely and of good report must be celebrated ”“ but also that Jesus is Lord while Caesar isn’t, and that we are commanded to shine like lights in a dark world. There are no short cuts here, no easy answers. Prayer, scripture and complex negotiation are the order of the day.

There is of course a very particular Anglican spin to some of this. Many parts of the older Anglican world, not least here in England itself, have become very used to going with the flow of the culture, on the older assumption that basically England was a Christian country so that the Church would not be compromised if it reflected the local social and cultural mores. That strand of Anglicanism has always been in danger of simply acting as Chaplain to whatever happened to be going on at the time, whether it was blessing bombs and bullets in the first world war or going to tea at Buckingham Palace. Within that world, the Bible has often been quietly truncated. We don’t like the bits about judgment, so we miss them out. We are embarrassed by the bits about sex, so we miss them out too ”“ and then we wonder why, in a world full of hell and sex, people imagine the Bible is irrelevant! The Bible is a kind of spiritual Rorschach test: if you find you’re cutting bits out, or adding bits in, it may be a sign that you’re capitulating to cultural pressure. Equally, of course, there are many parts of the Anglican world where nothing but confrontation has been possible for a long time, and there people may have to learn the difficult lesson that actually the world is still charged with the grandeur of God, and that the biblical Christian must learn to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, no matter who they are, what they believe or how they behave. It is crucial to our vocation, and to our particular vocation granted our particular histories, that we rediscover the art, which itself is rooted in scripture, of discriminating (as Paul says) between things that differ, and of affirming what can and must be affirmed and opposing what can and must be opposed. Those of us who are involved in the business of politics and government know that this is a difficult and often thankless task, but it must be undertaken.

Read it all.

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

IOC agrees to Internet blocking at the Olympic Games

he Chinese government confirmed Wednesday what journalists arriving at the lavishly outfitted media center here had suspected: Contrary to previous assurances by Olympic and government officials, the Internet would be censored during the upcoming games.

Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages – politically sensitive ones that discuss Tibetan succession, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse.

On Wednesday – two weeks after its most recent proclamation of an uncensored Internet during the Summer Games – the International Olympic Committee quietly agreed to some of the limitations, according to Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC press commission, Reuters reported.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, China, Sports

Reflections upon the Lambeth Conference 2008 Second Draft

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Lambeth 2008

Cardinal Kasper: Church Teaching Needs to be Scriptural

“I know that many of you are worried, some deeply worried, by the threat of fragmentation at the heart of the Anglican Communion,” the cardinal said. “We are profoundly in solidarity with you.

“Our great desire is that the Anglican Communion be united, rooted in this historical faith, which our dialogue and relationships, over the course of four decades, have brought us to believe is widely shared.”

Cardinal Kasper directly addressed the two issues that are causing conflict within the Anglican Communion, and which brought some leaders to boycott the Lambeth Conference altogether: the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex marriages, and the ordination of women.

He assured his listeners that the Catholic Church believes its position on both issues is deeply rooted in sacred Scripture.

“In light of the tensions of past years in regard [to questions on human sexuality], a clear declaration from the Anglican Communion would offer us greater possibilities to provide a common testimony on human sexuality and matrimony, a testimony painfully necessary for the world of today,” Cardinal Kasper suggested.

Read it all.

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

Bishop Howe of Central Florida writes his clergy- Wednesday, July 30th

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The 14th Lambeth Conference seems to have begun shifting its attention, as of the Archbishop’s Second Presidential Address last night. We are increasingly focused on the question of what this Conference will say to the churches of the Communion, to the wider ecumenical community, and to the world at large.

Perhaps that in itself is a problem! Perhaps the attempt to address all of these constituencies simultaneously is a mistake.

As of this point, we have seen two preliminary drafts of a Statement from the Conference. The first was in the form of “bullet points” derived from the Indaba group discussions. The second, distributed today, is already a thirteen page single-spaced document that reflects, almost like the minutes of a much-too- long-meeting, virtually everything we have discussed and done – even with four more days to go!

If that is what we end up issuing, of course, no one will read it! My plea to those on the “Reflections Committee” today was: give us a one page Statement that the whole world will read!

We have had what (I think) have been a couple of downright silly exercises! Today, for instance, in our Indaba groups we were each asked to prepare a sermon outline of any Biblical passage of our choosing, no longer than 300 words in length. Several people in our group were then asked to summarize orally (no longer than three minutes) what their sermon would be about, and how they would present it. So far so good.

Then we were asked to identify the “particularly Anglican” elements of approach, style and content!

As if there is any such thing!

In our Bible Study today, on John 11:1-44 (“I am the resurrection and the life”) we were asked almost the identical question: “Having heard each other’s interpretations of this text, what would we as a group say is Anglican about these interpretations?” (Our group unanimously agreed this was the “dumbest” question in the prepared materials, so far.)

Nevertheless, I think that for nearly everyone the best part of the Conference has been, precisely, the Bible Studies. The groups of eight have gotten to know each other, have learned from each other, have shared a bit about our families, ministries, very different social and cultural situations, prayed with and for each other. For instance, one of the Bishops in my group, from North India, is Vinod Malaviya, from the Diocese of Gujarat, where the series of bombings took place yesterday. Twenty-five people killed and 175 injured. It was incredibly poignant and moving to have him lead our noon-day prayers today.

This afternoon we had another meeting of the Communion Partners Bishops, and one of the concerns we plan to share in the closing days of the Conference is the absolute necessity of having ratification of the Anglican Covenant take place at the DIOCESAN level, and not (just) the Provincial level.

We plan to remind our fellow Bishops of what the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to me last October:

“I would repeat what I’ve said several times before – that any diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in TEC. The organ of union with the wider Church is the bishop and the diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such….

“I should feel a great deal happier, I must say, if those who are most eloquent for a traditionalist view in the US showed a fuller understanding of the need to regard the bishop and the diocese as the primary locus of ecclesial identity rather than the abstract reality of the ‘national church.'”

Please pray for those who are charged with trying to pull together the strands of the Conference and make a coherent Statement regarding it. And pray that all of us will be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as we move into the final phase of our time together.

With warmest regards to all of you,

–(The Right Rev.) John W. Howe is Bishop of Central Florida

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

Anglican Journal: Bishops share common commitment to remain biblical

Acknowledging that varying and often-clashing biblical interpretations about homosexuality have led to deep divisions, the world’s Anglican bishops on Wednesday began to look deeply at how they use the Bible in the hope of finding “a high common ground” on the way they approach scriptures.

Some people “find it hard to understand why there’s so much division in the Anglican Communion,” said Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia and official spokesperson of the conference. “A lot of it has to do with the Bible.”

It was the first time that Anglican bishops discussed the question of “how do we use the Bible?” said Archbishop David Moxon, co-presiding bishop in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and bishop of Waikato.

He said that the bishops’ discussions around the theme “Living Under Scripture: The Bishop and the Bible in Mission” tried to seek responses around such questions as “What is (the Bible’s) value to us? Where does consensus lie?” He said that discussions would continue in the months ahead.

Read it all.

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

Dave Walker Bishop of Dudley offers Lambeth reflections from Today

Tomorrow is sex day here at Canterbury, so tonight I’m missing any number of receptions being hosted by groups wanting to get the last word to bishops in advance. Meanwhile the work on the “conference document”, whatever that will turn out to be, continues apace; the listeners draft texts which we then meet each afternoon to critique. Today’s session was remarkable only for the fact that hardly any USA bishops spoke, otherwise we made the usual range of strengthening and clarifying amendments that 600 articulate adults are always going to be able to provide. We’re being told that a number of people have responded to Rowan’s question last night about what they might offer in generosity to those of an opposing view. There’ll be more discussion on that tomorrow.

Read it all.

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

Makes the heart Sad (3)

GM to shave its headcount by 15% (5,000) by Nov.1

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy

The Bishop of Minnesota offers some thoughts from Lambeth 2008

I would like to do a little reflecting on [what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said], to put it in our context and how I heard it. I think we will continue to hear more in it as we share it this week, but this is a near first-impression.

In our work on the “Windsor process” and the development of a possible covenant for the Anglican Communion, much of the attitudes and the work drafted thus far is very legal in its foundation and seems to be based in fear and formed by politics. Whether apologies from TEC have not been heard elsewhere, or whether they have been diminished by someone’s dismissively saying, “They did not really mean it,” or “That’s not enough” (both have been said repeatedly)””for whichever of those reasons, the reaction of a good many is still anger and sometimes hostility. It is understandable, given that we have really upset the Communion, some because our actions go against profound beliefs, and some because the response to those actions has severely impaired our ability to engage in mission partnerships around the world. I have sympathy for both of those reactions. But reactions are feelings and responses are actions and behaviors which, especially in a conflicted situation, need to be helpful for healing and reconciling the body, not causing more harm. The response of many is to want to punish us, to make sure that we have suffered “enough,” and that drives the wish to make a covenant for the Communion that will identify clear behaviors that are acceptable and others that are unacceptable, and clear consequences if anyone transgresses or deviates from the acceptable behaviors.

What I hear in Rabbi Sacks’ address is 1) a profound emphasis on unity based in the “faith covenant”””the many shared sufferings in our past and present; 2) the need to forgive each other in order to redeem the past; 3) the need to respect the dignity of each other so that we can come together to share, to be in relationship, to find our emerging identity in Christ, and to be transformed. On that basis, and only then, will we be able to build a “faith covenant,” full of shared dreams, aspirations and hope in order to make commitments for mission. This is where I come back to what I was writing the other day about a covenant which is about invitation, persistently inviting back to the table those who would isolate themselves or ostracize others.

Read it all.

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