Daily Archives: January 11, 2016

Jonathan Parker reflects with John Stott on #Primates2016-Church in the Most Painful Way

[John] Stott takes time in his speech to detail the specific circumstances in which a Christian might be justified leaving his or her denomination. To him, those circumstances include the following situations (as The Very Rev. Justyn Terry once summarized Stott’s points):

When an issue of first order is at stake, such as deserves the condemnation of “anitchrist” (1 John 2:22) or “anathema” (Gal 1:8-9)
When the offending issue is not just held by an idiosyncratic minority of individuals but has become the official position of the majority
When the majority have silenced the faithful remnant, forbidding them to witness or protest any longer
When we have conscientiously explored every possible alternative
When, after a painful period of prayer and discussion, our conscience can bear the weight no longer

These, I take it, are the kinds of criteria that GAFCON leaders and others are weighing as they gather together. And, in particular, Stott’s fourth point seems to be what the Archbishop of Canterbury is trying to explore. While I have reasoned hope that these criteria have not been met and the Communion still has a way forward, they are (it must be said) not simple questions.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Theology

David Ould–Portents, Prophecy and Predictions – What Will Happen at the Primates’ Gathering?

I’ve done my very best over the past month to talk to as many people in the know as I can and I think the very best outline of events I can give you is this:

1.the GAFCON Primates will hold the line on discipline. I have this from a source very close to senior GAFCON leadership. I would be very surprised if more than a handful of GAFCON Primates don’t join in this very clear stand.
2. the same source advises me that a number of the non-GAFCON Global South (GS) Primates will also be taking this same stand.
3. Justin Welby will invite TEC and the ACC to consider their position, acting as mediator not enforcer. This is now my gut speaking. I can’t see Welby execute discipline himself. He is far too rooted into his “reconciliation” scheme to actually take the lead that he needs to. He also has the unity of the Church of England to consider. If it were known that he was the one who clearly told TEC/ACC that if nothing changed they were no longer welcome, nor at the upcoming Lambeth Conference, then he might very well face an open revolt just the other side of the Lambeth Palace walls.
4. TEC/ACC would ask for more time. Perhaps a night to sleep on it, perhaps another appeal to “not being able to speak on behalf of the General Convention” (which was the way Griswold and then Schori avoided the issue before). They then might come back with a proposal that would be simply unacceptable to GAFCON. They will also effectively be calling Welby’s bluff to do something, daring him to be the one to enforce the will of the majority GAFCON group (and, no doubt, portraying that will as bullying).
5.Welby tries to broker an agreement rather than taking the lead.
6. GAFCON/GS partners walk. We never get to the Gathering – the meeting has failed because Welby has failed to lead at the moment where he should. I first made this prediction back in September when the meeting was originally announced.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

(Church Times) Archb Welby hopes to mend relations in Anglican family as Primates meet in Canterbury

A schism in the Anglican Communion would be a “failure” but not a “disaster”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Monday, shortly before the opening of the first meeting of Primates since 2011.

Interviewed on Today on BBC Radio 4, Archbishop Welby said that he “certainly” wanted reconciliation; but he went on: “There is nothing I can do if people decide that they want to leave the room,” Such a walk-out ”” reckoned to be 90-per-cent likely, according to one senior church source”” “won’t split the Communion”, he said.

He explained: “The Church is a family, and you remain a family even if you go your separate ways. That has always been the case, and it always will be. God puts us together, and we have to work out how we live with that, and how we serve God faithfully in a way that shows that you can disagree profoundly and still love and care for each other.”

He went on: “A schism would not be a disaster in the sense you put it. God is bigger than our failures. But it would be a failure. It would not be good if the Church is unable to set the example to the world of showing how we can live with one another and disagree profoundly, because we are brought together by Jesus Christ, not by our own choice.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Canadian Anglican Leader Fred Hiltz calls for spirit of openness at Primates’ Meeting

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

(Christian Today) A Ruth Gledhill article on the Primates Gathering

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(AI) The agenda is the first item on the agenda at the Primates gathering

The opening business session of the meeting of primates of the Anglican Communion is scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm, local time, sources tell Anglican Ink. Some primates drawn from each of the competing factions attended public worship of Morning Prayer in Canterbury Cathedral on the morning of 11 January 2016, and the day’s events will be concluded with Evening Prayer in the Cathedral. Attendance at these services is a matter of private conscience, AI has learned, and is not part of the meeting’s program. A Eucharist service will be offered as well, but it also is not part of the formal agenda as the primates as a corporate body have been unable to celebrate communion together since their 1993 meeting at Lambeth Palace.

The first item on the agenda is the creation of the agenda.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Church split over whether to bless non-celibate Same Sex Unions would not be disaster but a failure

A split in the Anglican Church over the issue of homosexuality “would not be a disaster, but it would be a failure”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of Church leaders, Justin Welby said he wanted “reconciliation”, but that would mean “finding ways to disagree well”.
Views range from liberals in the US – who accept openly gay clergy – to conservatives in Africa, who do not.
There are fears of a permanent schism in the 80m-strong Communion.

Read it all from the BBC.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Ee blog) Why the Anglicans’ meeting matters

On January 11th, 38 leaders of Anglican provinces around the world will begin a five-day meeting in Canterbury, the spiritual home of the global Anglican communion. They have been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby…in what observers are calling a last-ditch attempt to save the third-biggest Christian denomination in the world, with some 85m followers. Why is this meeting so important for Anglicans and what is likely to happen?

Anglican primates usually meet every two years, but have not convened since 2011, largely because of an ongoing dispute about homosexuality. In 2003 the Episcopal Church (the American wing of Anglicanism) consecrated a sexually active gay bishop and last year moved towards allowing its clergy to solemnise same-sex marriage. The Anglican communion cannot excommunicate people or provinces and, as a result, conservative bishops have formed a group, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which is threatening to break away entirely. (If this meeting had not been called, they might have done so already.) Another group of conservatives in America has already split away from the Episcopal Church to form the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). At the last primates’ meeting in 2011, a third of the archbishops did not show up, in protest at the Episcopal Church’s stance on homosexuality. It is clear, wrote one cleric at the time, 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.” That miracle has come to pass. The appointment of Michael Curry, a more conciliatory head of the Episcopal Church, may have helped. He has not balked at an invitation being issued to Foley Beach, leader of ACNA, despite his breakaway church’s never having been officially recognised as a province of the Anglican communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016

Andrew Goddard's Analysis of the current Anglican Communion State as the Primates Gather

The conundrum could be filled out along the following lines:

Failed response: The Communion has not found a way ”“ other than repetition of requests ”“ to implement its response.
Leading to same patterns of behaviour continuing:
Despite finally agreeing a text, the covenant has at best stalled, perhaps sunk.
Although interventions have ceased that is because of the creation of a new province and it is clear that some provinces will again intervene elsewhere if they think necessary.
Rites to bless same-sex unions are authorised and provinces are now taking the much more theologically significant step of canonical and liturgical acceptance of same-sex marriage.
Undermining the goal:
The long-standing declarations of impaired and broken communion between individual provinces remain
This gathering of Primates will be the first since 2009 to convene practically all Primates
It appears this meeting has only happened because of the invitation to ACNA’s Archbishop.
Despite much wonderful work inter-provincially, many provinces are barely remaining together in the Instruments, it looks like some do not wish to remain together, and the Communion as a whole is clearly not living out its commitments as a Communion.
Consequences: Four Options

Faced with this conundrum there is a need to consider its consequences.

Read it all from Fulcrum.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O God, who by a star didst guide the wise men to the worship of thy Son: Lead, we pray thee, to thyself the wise and the great in every land, that unto thee every knee may bow, and every thought be brought into captivity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

–Psalm 1:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Fulcrum) Paul Avis–An Agonistic Ecclesiology ”“ on Ephraim Radner’s “A Brutal Unity”

The Church as a ”˜killer’ is an almost unbearable thought, a prime cause of theological vertigo, but Radner is unsparing in driving home his point. In fact, he has simply picked up a few pebbles on a vast beach of examples. A wholesale catalogue of horrors would probably make the third article of the Creed, ”˜I believe in ”¦ the holy catholic Church’, stick in our throats. There is, therefore, a profound challenge for theological work here: ”˜the reality of Christian division ought to be the topic of a central theological discipline’ (p. 125). Ecumenical theology as we know it, Radner suggests, does not do this because it is focused on the healing of divisions. The ecumenical movement today is far too tolerant of division. The urgent imperative of unity has been replaced by a view of Christian division as ”˜a collection of multiple benignities’ (p. 139). While eschatologically orientated ecclesiologies, that project unity into the future, are blind to the past, the Church only truly knows herself by looking backward to see what she has become over time (pp. 141, 160).

Unless there is passion, desire and radical intentionality there will never be unity. But that intention must be expressed in action, in a common life of activity. It is practice that shapes the Church. Unity is ”˜a life that is shaped by a single desire’ (p. 171). To be of one mind, as the apostle exhorts, is not a mental attitude, but an act or series of acts in time (p. 399). Radner’s definition of unity is ”˜charity lived in distinction’ (p. 88). Charity is self-giving, self-emptying (kenosis) ”“ not a giving away of our identity, but of power and privilege.

The antidote to division is conciliarity, the practice of the Church coming together in a representative way to wait on God in prayer and Bible study. The subject of conciliar activity is always the Scriptures (p. 211). T

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Books, Ecclesiology, Theology

Michael Sadgrove on the Open Letter to the Archbishops on Eve of the Primates Gathering

Thirdly, I’ve signed because the church must be a place of compassion and love. The Quakers (who have often been a long way ahead of the C of E in matters of justice, including their acceptance of homosexual people) are known as the Society of Friends. This is how St John sees the church gathered in the upper room, where disciples are set fee to love one another in a way that echoes God’s eternal love for them. Human pain and suffering have a particular claim on our compassion. And we shouldn’t make any mistake about the suffering and pain many gay people around the world experience. I include in this gay clergy and other ministers in the Church of England who, in an ecclesiastical culture perceived to be hostile, live in real fear of being found out. The Primates have a special responsibility to make sure that our churches are communities of hospitality and friendship that do not collude with hypocrisy. They, we all, have that calling because this is how God himself is always reaching out towards each of us. It’s a great deal harder to act hospitably than to uphold simple binaries that banish the non-approved from acceptance. This truly is ‘tough love’.

I hope that this letter will not come across as trouble-stirring or polemical. It’s meant to be firm but eirenic in tone. It would be great if it helped give the Primates confidence as they debate human sexuality, if it helped them to know that every step they take, however tentative, towards changing entrenched attitudes and welcoming gay Christians into their communities will be warmly and gratefully supported. The first step, maybe, is to recognise that just as with female ordination, there will be differences of view among the Primates and this needs to be respected. (I’m not sure that it altogether is, yet.) As Justin Welby has said, in grown-up communities there must always be room for ‘deep disagreement’.

But our letter is looking for much more than this. We’re looking for a deep change of hearts and minds. We use the word ‘repentance’. That’s undeniably a strong word, but nothing is less is called for in the face of any great wrong we have committed. I am pretty confident that in decades to come, we as churches shall be saying we are deeply sorry for the way we have mistreated and oppressed gay people in the past. So why not say it now? That would make the Anglican Communion a place of hope and sanctuary for LGBTI people across the world.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Primates Gathering in Canterbury January 2016, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology