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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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