**Porter: Shared Conversations will lead to CofE Synod Same Sex Legislation Change in February 2017

[BUMPED for topical reasons]

Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter – from ‘A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015’ at St Brides, Liverpool

OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.

I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.

Listen to it all below – quote is from 11 mins 20 seconds in.

The previous report from January 23rd, 2015 on a meeting with David Porter is here


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

13 comments on “**Porter: Shared Conversations will lead to CofE Synod Same Sex Legislation Change in February 2017

  1. CSeitz-ACI says:

    It’s quite clear Mr Coward is fully opposed to anything like what David Porter is suggesting. He wants full equality in all realms, much as TEC will shortly have it (Advent 2015). It is important to grasp this if one is a conservative Christian. Any concession will be seen as a sign of second-class treatment. So one wonders what the point of Porter’s suggestion genuinely is? It breaks trust with the traditional position and also alienates those he believes, presumably, he is aiding. What he is offering they reject.

  2. Robert Lundy says:

    So just to be clear here, the leader of an alternative sexuality pressure group claims Justin Welby will push the gay agenda as far as possible in the CofE in February, 2017. IF THIS IS TRUE, the Primates of the Anglican Communion should know and appropriately respond. Also, IF THIS IS TRUE, every Christian in the Church of England should do everything possible to hold Justin Welby accountable.

  3. tjmcmahon says:

    This is certainly consistent with Coward’s earlier report on meeting with Porter ( http://new.kendallharmon.net/wp-content/uploads/index.php/t19/article/58467 – you will need to use the “googlecached.pdf” link as the others have mysteriously disappeared)

    “The intention is to change the tone of the conversation and take some of the toxicity out of it, acknowledging that there is no agreement between, say, us and Reform. David assumes there will be a fracture and when it happens, it will be small and done with profound sadness, with a measure of grace, disagreeing well. The Conversations are a process in which it is hoped to find grace in each other where there are profound disagreements. Maybe 80% of the C of E will hold together with
    fractures at either end of the spectrum.”

    Porter apparently assumes that most people in CoE, even most nominal conservatives, will accept formal SSB’s in church, just as nominal conservatives in TEC accepted them in 2009 (as long as “not in my backyard”). I think Porter and Welby hope that the diehard progressives will ally themselves with TEC and start an “Episcopal Church in England” while expecting the remaining traditionalists to opt for the AMiE.

  4. CSeitz-ACI says:

    I’m just curious. What LGBT couple will stay in a CofE for a blessing instead of marriage? If LGBT marriage bloc becomes an “Episcopal Church in England” wouldn’t that siphon off all LGBT advocacy in the CofE?

  5. tjmcmahon says:

    Dr. Seitz,

    I don’t know that it would siphon off all gay advocacy in the CoE, but indeed many of the “first movers” might leave, which is part of the intention.
    I am reasonably sure that the point of the exercise is to get the most progressive of the progressives, and the most traditional of the traditionalists, to leave, and keep the “80%” (or Bp. Idowu-Fearon’s 70%) in between in the “official” CoE. Actually, this has probably been happening in TEC as well, it is just that the conservatives who leave are vocal and form new ACNA parishes, while the progressives who leave go to more liberal Church of Christ or Unitarian groups, or just leave organized religion altogether- and are less noticeable than a new ACNA parish popping up.

    In a way, I think Dr. Welby is approaching his current organization in the same way as he might have approached labor relations when he was in the oil business. If one small group of employees complains whenever any change is made, and another complains that things don’t change fast enough, you might try to get rid of both groups, because neither is productive and their poor morale infects the company, and keep the ones in between who show up on time for work and seem reasonably happy and productive.

    Of course, that in no way addresses the “Prime Directive”, which is to maintain oneself in communion with the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and that is where Dr. Welby and the facilitated conversation strategy fall short. Unity and relative uniformity of the smaller group (CoE) takes precedence over unity with the larger group (the Church)

  6. CSeitz-ACI says:

    “which is part of the intention”

    This is a speculation I cannot know. I don’t think wagering on “doing x creates y effect” is good Christian ecclesiology or ethics.

    I was simply noting that if one wants to have an “Episcopal Church in England” that does ssm, I can’t understand why the LGBT bloc would not leave to be a part of it.

    Same sex blessing is a second call treatment for the LGBT collective. Unless I am missing a big group that prefer ‘blessings.’

  7. tjmcmahon says:

    Dr. Seitz,

    I agree that the facilitated conversation process/strategy is not good Christian ecclesiology- my own point in #5 being that the process more appropriate to a business than a church.

    However, I chose the word “intention” because Porter designed the process in the belief that one outcome would be that 20% of the CoE members would leave (per the quote in #3, granted this is Coward’s analysis, but neither Porter nor Welby has raised their voice to correct it if in error). When you initiate a process with a probable outcome, it is your intention that the probable outcome is the result. Else you would chose a process with a different probable outcome. It is not the way the Church is supposed to do things, but it is the way the CoE is currently doing things.
    The “70%” and “80%” numbers bandied about in recent commentary from Anglicans are the result of common approximations for standard deviations in statistical analysis. Again, not the way to run a church, but application of business forecasting techniques into ecclesiology. They figure no matter what they do, they are going to lose part of their “customer base” and are trying to minimize the total loss, and control the outcome so as to lose the most bothersome customers.

  8. CSeitz-ACI says:

    Your comment was addressed to my comment. I did not want to ascribe to intentions on the same terms.

    I was merely saying that I don’t know any LGBT coalition that would find a ‘blessing’ fine; especially when a marriage is possible. If this is true, the effect–intentional or not–would be to evacuate the CofE of all LGBT advocacy. Then it would be unclear why traditionalists would need to leave.

    Whether this is the actual gambit one cannot know for sure. My original point was that it is clear Coward does not like what he has gathered from Mr Porter. And I don’t think he is playing games.

  9. New Reformation Advocate says:

    May I introduce some new ideas into this thread? I appreciate all that has been said so far, but I think some much more fundamental and radical issues need to be addressed. I will suggest a few of those decisive issues below, but let me preface them with this simple, modest observation.

    Whether Colin Coward is correct or not on his timeline, the writing is clearly on the wall for the CoE for all with the eyes to see it. At the very least, the CoE is “[i]a house divided against itself[/i]” and it can’t and won’t stand much longer. Neither will “the Anglican Communion” as we have known it up until recently. That is not a pessimistic Cassandra-like prediction that Troy will fall; it is simply a common sense acknowledgement of the grim reality we must face.

    In light of that dire and unpalatable situation, here are a few provocative questions that are meant to stir the pot and spark some more vigorous and adventuresome discussion or even debate.

    1. While I welcome ++Wabukala’s call for orthodox Anglicans (espeically, but not only, in the Global South) to stop playing the silly games of the “Shared Conversations” and the general Indaba nonsense, I suggest that it’s high time to up the ante and push back even harder. Why not demand the termination of David Porter? Or failing quite such a radical move, why not openly and publicly denounce him by name and say openly and for the record that we have “no confidence” in him or in any other pro-gay advocates?

    2. More basic yet, it is high time to press ++Welby to take sides, once and for all. As the actions of activists like Coward show, there will be no negotiated settlements allowed in this Anglican Civil War. We are at a Mt. Carmel sort of fork in the road, where the most faithful and appropriate stance is that of Elijah in calling the People of God to a fateful, momentous choice. It is time for the orthodox primates, and the whole GFCA and GS majority of Anglicans to tell not only ++Welby but the whole HoB in the CoE, “How long will you go on limping between two opinions?” Man up, take sides, and live with the consequences!

    3. It’s time to face facts, bite the bullet, and start undertaking the complete redesign and overhaul of global Anglicanism in order to recover the classic doctrine, discipline, and worship of historic Anglicanism. It is time to boot the liberals off the Anglican Island, once and for all, in a way that will make the Great Ejection of the hardcore Puritans in 1662 look very small in comparison.

    4. Among other things, that means coming to grips with the fatal flaws in our inherited Anglican system, which include the virtually unlimited autonomy of the various provinces around the world, and the lack of a central magisterium (which is now a necessity, though it need not like the Roman model). The infamous “ecclesial deficit” that Michael Poon and others have highlighted simply must be corrected and remedied.

    5. Finally, last but not least, this means that we Anglicans must renounce our Erastian ways and mentality once and for all. We desperately need a new Global Anglican Settlement that will replace the obsolete and defunct Elizabethan Settlement, since the secykar government (in the UK, the US, and virtually everywhere in the Global North), and the general “mainstream” culture in the Global North, has turned from being our firend into being our enemy.

    In sum, I am asserting that the old style Anglicanism that we’ve known and che4rished is outdated in many ways, because it was designed for a Christendom world that no longer exists, not even in England. The 1500 year marriage between Christianity and western culture has quickly passed through a brief stage of feigned neutrality or “separation” and is now headed into the divorce court, where the only thing left is to fight over the dividing of the asssets. As the frank comments of Colin Coward show, the final settlement will be far from amicabke.

    The immensity of the challenge we face might be imagined this way. Traditional Anglicanism has always been thoroughly Erastian, which in the past conferred many benefits to offset the huge liabilities that came with that corrupting, co-opting arrangement. But state church religions are always, always, always bad for the Church in the end. They always end up favoring the State at the expense of the Cburch. Just look at the pathetic Scandanavian Lutheran Churches. Q. E. D.

    The CoE (and much of Anglicanism in the Global North) resembles the splendid Gothic cathedrals of England and Europe. Those magnificent soaring structures were designed in such a way that those high vaulted ceilings are totally dependent on the external support provided by “flying buttresses” that prop up those cathedrals from the outside. In a similar way, Anglicanism as we have known it heretofore is almost completely dependent on the external support of the general “Christendom” culture, if not the direct support of the State per se. Remove the flying buttresses and a Gothic cathedral will immediately collapse into utter ruin. Likewise, now that the “mainstream” western culture has turned against us, much of Global North Anglicanism is inevitably now collapsing.

    There is no sense trying to rebuild the walls that have collapsed. We aren’t going to win our culture back (at least not for many generations). We are in a genuinely new cultural context that is fundamentally hostile to biblical, classical Christianity.

    So let’s face facts, and start thinking about how we can completely redesign orthodox Anglicanism for a new, post-Christendom age, by adopting an openly adversarial, confrontational approach to the dominant culture.

    Is such a revolutionary change even conceivable, much less possible? I don’t know how feasible it is. All I know is that it simply must be attempted. But there is no doubt but that such a complete overhaul of traditional Anglican assumptions about our relation to the general culture will amount to nothing less than….

    You guessed it.

    A New Reformation.

    David Handy+

  10. MichaelA says:

    This article provides an interesting context for the ABC’s call for a meeting of Primates of the Anglican Communion in January.

  11. Militaris Artifex says:

    Reverend Doctor Seitz, If you are correct in your assessment that “Mr Coward … wants full equality in all realms, much as TEC will shortly have it,” perhaps it should be suggested to Mr. Coward that he should take the matter up with Christ Himself. What I understand your assessment to imply is that Mr. Coward wants our Lord to bless what I understand the Bible to identify, unambiguously, as an abomination. If Mr. Coward wishes to avoid that characterization, I suspect that he is in for a very big disappointment. Perhaps, were Mr. Coward sincerely to actually ask our Lord for His solution to the issue, Mr. Coward might actually begin to understand Christ’s expectation of our conduct, rather than expecting that part of Christ’s body which is the Anglican churches to accomodate his particular preferred conduct.

    [i]Pax et bonum[/i],
    Keith Töpfer

  12. MichaelA says:

    Well put, #11.

  13. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Well, new grist for the mill, but I doubt it makes into the conversations:

    Can’t have those pernicious facts floating about, mucking up plan, now can they?