Thinking Anglicans

Global South: church press reports

Today’s Church Times has a detailed report by Pat Ashworth which reveals further information about the reactions of some supposed signatories, including lengthy comments from Drexel Gomez and Greg Venables, both of whom are unhappy about what happened.

‘Signatories’ of Akinola letter say they didn’t sign

The Church Times also has a related story by Bill Bowder concerning planning for the next Lambeth Conference, Dr Williams hopes for ‘Lambeth-lite’

And editorial comment at Invitations to Lambeth which includes this passage:

…There is, however, one thing that Dr Williams needs to do urgently. He must make it plain and public that all properly consecrated bishops will be invited to the next Lambeth Conference. The Akinola letter says: “We do not see why you cannot warn [the US and Canada] that they will not be invited to Lambeth 2008 unless they truly repent.” The reason (apart from the fact that these Churches largely pay for the conference) is that the usefulness of the conference would thus be fatally compromised. A blanket invitation issued at this stage — before the US General Convention muddies the waters further — would make it clear that the Lambeth Conference will stay true to its history, and be the debating chamber for the Communion. A blanket invitation might mean that Bishop Robinson is joined by Bishop Cavalcanti, and perhaps even Bishop Kunonga; but the gathering is large enough not to be unbalanced by a few such individuals…

CEN coverage of the GS letter on the web this week is rather brief.

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Christopher ShellGöran Koch-SwahneMerseymikeAlan MarshSimeon Recent comment authors
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badman
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badman

The quote from Bishop Venables in the Church Times seems to me to be an enormously encouraging suggestion of reconciliation in spite of disagreement: “I certainly don’t see any point in setting up an alternative Anglican Communion because that in itself would be a contradiction. Anglicanism isn’t like that. Even if one side here wins, it stops being Anglican. That isn’t our way; it’s what keeps us from being a sect.” Bishop Venables has been very much on the side of the debate opposed to the ECUSA and Canadian position on same sex issues. I do hope he has been… Read more »

lizw
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Akinola’s “silence equals consent” response is very troubling, if correctly reported. Attitudes like that make it much harder for those of us who are interested in a genuine process of sharing, learning and dialogue between those of different views – they undermine the basis of trust which that process requires.

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Logically, there are two things wrong with Gregory Venables’s statement (at least, when taken out of context, which perhaps I am doing): (1) He appears to be viewing ‘Anglicanism’ as a more fundamental thing than ‘Christianity’. Yet it is secondary conceptually, smaller in scope, and younger in age. In three ways it is less fundamental; in no ways is it more fundamental. Christianity already holds all these differing viewpoints in tension / communion. Witness WCC, Churches Together, etc etc.. So what need is there for Anglicanism to do the same? (2) It is a very odd & inaccurate view of… Read more »

RMF
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RMF

They remove the Mother Church from their constitution, demand the exclusion of the Communion’s founding members, call Europe a spiritual wasteland, attack ++Canterbury….this is not Anglican. Do they intend to be in Communion or not? The conciliatory and Christian tone of ++ Canterbury throughout is in stark contrast to the belligerent and attacking tone of this letter and subsequent comments. As far as some dissenting congregations setting up a “rival” Anglican province in America, that is poppycock. All they are doing is removing themselves from Communion over obsession with one consecration of a rightfully elected bishop. Do they also call… Read more »

Tobias S Haller BSG
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Heartily agree that the best thing Rowan could do at this point is invite all bishops to Lambeth. The “disinvitation” of the delegations to the ACC was a serious misstep in any kind of discernment process: dialogue implies presence. Those who absent themselves from Lambeth will then reveal who it is who is “walking apart.”

J. C. Fisher
Guest

While I generally agree w/ the Church Times editorial, must comment on this:

“A blanket invitation might mean that Bishop Robinson is joined by Bishop Cavalcanti, and perhaps even Bishop Kunonga; but the gathering is large enough not to be unbalanced by a few such individuals…”

AS IF meek-n-mild little +Gene Robinson COULD “unbalance” Lambeth? Even if he tried? C’mon! (Another one of those cases where drawing “moral equivalences” is DEAD WRONG)

[Besides, Lambeth ’98 already introduced “Bishops’ Husbands” at tea time. What’s one more? ;-)]

Dave
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Dave

The ABofC is only doing moderately well at sticking to the agreed position of the Bishops of the Anglican Communion (and the CofE HoB’s own recent statement on Issues of Sexuality) – that homo-sexual sex is against the teaching of scripture, and is sinful. By not speaking clearly in support of the AC Bishops’ position he is encouraging dissent… but we are not supposed to be a church of anarchy (as I believe +Southwark recently commented).

++Canterbury would do better if he actively supported the teachings of the church he wants to lead !

BrianMcK
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Pat Ashworth makes the interesting point that, “The controversy over the letter has added to the emerging question whether the Global South is defined by geography or theology. Australia was absent from the Encounter, except for the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who was present as an observer, and has expressed “sympathy with the central tenor” of the letter. Central America, Mexico, North India, Pakistan, and large parts of the Far East–Japan, Korea, Melanesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea [don’t forget New Zealand!] –were also absent.” It seems that the Global South is indeed a “Great Unknown South Land”

Martin Reynolds
Guest

What a good article by Pat Ashworth.

Prior Aelred
Guest

I am sorry, perhaps I have badly misunderstood this, but I thought that “Some Issues in Sexuality” said that gay (& lesbian) couples were OK — partners eligible to be full members of the parish & synod, etc. — as long as they were lay — being openly (& actively) gay is only prohibited if you are ordained. Is this correct? Is same sex activity only sinful if at least one of the participants is ordained? I confess to being thoroughly confused about the theological rationale behind this line of reasoning.

Simon Sarmiento
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Aelred:
SIHS published in 2003 doesn’t say anything other than what IHS published in 1991 said.
IHS does make a distinction between lay and clergy in terms of discipline. What it says is that clergy may not be in an “active” relationship, and that lay people who are in such a relationship “are not to be rejected”.
This has been the de facto policy of the CofE House of Bishops for nigh on 14 years.
See http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001318.html

Prior Aelred
Guest

Simon —

I thank you for the clarification of wording, but isn’t the implication of the policy a different morality (or standards or some such thing) for clergy and laity? What is morally acceptable (“not to be rejected”) for the laity is unacceptably for thr clergy. Surely I am not the only person who finds this troubling.

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Different standards for church leaders and for congregants (who potentially may be no more than passers-by) are unavoidable. For these reasons: (1) The Pastoral Epistles (2) The leader represents to the world (rightly or wrongly) the standards of his/her own organisation. (3) A different question is being asked in each case. In the case of the leader, the question is ‘Who should be promoted?’. In the case of the congregant,it is ‘Who should be welcomed/included?’. Note that welcoming and inclusion (at a human level) are not the same as membership (official or spiritual). It is entirely to be expected that… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Yes, its quite bizarre, but can an established church expect to get away with trying to impose banishment from the church for all gay and lesbian people in relationships?

I don’t actually think this is feasible, but I agree that it’s a theological nonsense.

Simeon
Guest

I’ll admit to partaking in more than just a bit of schadenfreude over this.

I was sure the “neo-cons” of the Anglican Communion were going to turn on each other once they’d parted company with the moderate/progressive wing (purity movements always seem to). But it looks like they can’t even wait *that* long…

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell wrote: (1) The Pastoral Epistles (2) The leader represents to the world (rightly or wrongly) the standards of his/her own organisation. (3) A different question is being asked in each case. 1. The pseudo-epigraphic Pastorals are 2nd century forgeries. Surely you know that. 2. One of our charges as Church is to critize the ways of the World, not condone, accept and facilitate. 3. This is Donatism. V e r y much forbidden in the Church. Betwixt an Apostle and a drunkard, there is a great difference, but betwixt Christ’s Baptism administred by an Apostle, and Christ’s Baptism… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Yo-runn (which I think is how your name is suposed to be pronounced). To take the last point first: every conceivable organisation expects different standards as between (a) those whom they welcome and (b) those whom they promote. Otherwise, there would be no way of deciding whom to promote. You could not be more wrong on the Pastoral Epistles. Just look at the fullest 20th-21st studies. There are several views which command quite a lot of assent: (1) Genuineness – a high proportion of the longest & fullest recent commentaries, e.g. Mounce, Knight, Johnson, Fee. The detailed studies of… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell (why ever try pronounce my Christian name on the Internet?) wrote: “every conceivable organisation expects different standards as between (a) those whom they welcome and (b) those whom they promote. Otherwise, there would be no way of deciding whom to promote.”

Now, in my experience “every conceivable organisation” hires – and promotes – people on the grounds of exams, previous employments/merits, phychologial health, physical health, suitability and so on.

Not because of “different standards”???

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

I can think of few organisations which tolerate people in leadership roles who break the company rules or seek to subvert its aims and objectives – let alone promote people in the first place who are known to be opposed to what the organisation stands for. In the case of the Church of England the standards are well-known, including conformity to a certain way of life, knowledge of the scriptures and maturity in faith. A high standard is set because those who are ordained must themselves set high standards. And the standard consistently expressed when General Synod has the opportunity… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But it is well known that the Church of England is diverse in opinion and make-up. Thats its problem – and why it would make far more sense if we all went our separate ways.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Goran:
Yes – I was making a distinction between welcoming and employing. Not every church would seek to employ everyone who walks through its doors. But churches welcome everybody without distinction. There is thus a great disparity between who is welcomed and who is employed.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell,

I’m sorry, you still have to explain the rationale behind your “double standards” – apart from good old victorian hypocrisy that is ;=)

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Goran-
In what sense is what I just wrote (which was fairly obvious) not an explanation?

Naturally, the vast spread of Christianity under (and engineering skill of) the Victorians is as nothing compared to the much more important fact that some of them were hypocrites. As compared to our own generation, none of whom are hypocrites?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Although, just for the record, I certainly agree with Goran that the same right and wrong apply to everyone, leader or not. As it’s not as though right can cease to be right or wrong cease to be wrong. In the case of leaders, sin is inevitable and will therefore be allowed, whereas unrepentant sin will not be. Precisely the same goes for the Christian rank and file. People should be welcomed at any point of development or degradation (albeit there is an expectation of transformation), but not if unrepentant. So: no double standards. The same Christian principle applies to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Well, That’s much better ;=)

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Yes,but what is it better than.It is only a restatement of what has always been the orthodox stance. The point which the orthodox wish to stress, and to be digested is this: No-one has ever held anything against anyone (Jeffrey John, Gene Robinson) for having certain temptations – since we all have different temptations. Nor – necessarily – for giving in to them on occasion. The crux of the matter is neither of these. The crux is, rather, that these and others say that these things, e.g. extramarital sex do not classify as sins /’temptations’ (or anything so negative) at… Read more »