Thinking Anglicans

archbishop issues pastoral letter

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a Pastoral Letter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates and presiding bishops. The full text of it is included in this Lambeth press release.

This is reported here by ENS and here by the Living Church.

The pastoral letter include this:

In our uncertainties and explorations in the Communion, my prayers are not only for those who, like ourselves, have the responsibility of leadership in our Provinces, but most especially for all those ordinary people of God, in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere, who are puzzled, wearied, or disoriented by our present controversies. So many say they simply do not want to take up an extreme or divisive position and want to be faithful to Scripture and the common life. They want to preserve an Anglican identity that they treasure and love passionately but face continuing uncertainty about its future.

This letter includes information about the initial report Joint Standing Committee’s group of four “set up to advise in the wake of the Episcopal Church’s 75th General Convention”:

…You will recall that the Joint Standing Committee appointed a small group of representatives from its number (two Primates and two laypeople, along with staff support) to assist me in preparing an initial response…

The membership of this group is not named in the letter but is: Archbishop Bernard Malango (Central Africa), Archbishop Barry Morgan (Wales), Mrs Philippa Amable (West Africa), and Mrs Elizabeth Paver (England). Their initial thinking is presented as follows:

It is clear that the Communion as a whole remains committed to the teaching on human sexuality expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, and also that the recommendations of the Windsor Report have been widely accepted as a basis for any progress in resolving the tensions that trouble us. As a Communion, we need to move forward on the basis of this twofold recognition.

It is also clear that the Episcopal Church has taken very seriously the recommendations of the Windsor Report; but the resolutions of General Convention still represent what can only be called a mixed response to the Dromantine requests. The advisory group has spent much time in examining these resolutions in great detail, and its sense is that although some aspects of these requests have been fully dealt with, there remain some that have not. This obviously poses some very challenging questions for our February meeting and its discernment of the best way forward.

Concerning the proposed Anglican Covenant, the archbishop says this:

My earlier observations — building on the Windsor Report — on the possibility of a Covenant have on the whole been received with sympathy, and the work on this continues. At the March meeting of the Joint Standing Committee, it was decided to adopt a short introductory paper on the Windsor Covenant proposals, outlining some of the issues that would need to be addressed. It would be of great help to receive observations from any of you who have not yet expressed views on this paper (available at http://www.aco.org/commission/covenant/index.cfm.).

The Joint Standing Committee also asked me to appoint a small Covenant Design Group to take forward the work. I have asked Archbishop Drexel Gomez to chair this and would now welcome your suggestions for membership before I proceed to nominate people who might serve. We are envisaging a small number of full members (perhaps no more than ten in the core group) with a wider circle of ‘corresponding members’, and in the first instance I shall be looking for nominations representing expertise in ecclesiology, missiology, ecumenical relation[s] and canon law. If you wish to make a nomination, perhaps you could indicate something of the background and competence of the person or persons you suggest. I hope, as I wrote earlier, that this will be a major and serious focus for the Lambeth Conference, and the work now commissioned will be a vital task in preparation for the Conference.

10
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
10 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
Cheryl CloughJohn Henry*ChristopherPrior AelredJ. C. Fisher Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I do not think that Canterbury is all that keen to maintain traditional Anglican leeway or comprehensiveness, now. It is probably still okay for progressive believers to show up at Anglican parishes, but they need to realize ahead of time that they are going to have to keep pretty silent, and their value in institutional terms is innately less, their church citizenship having been debited in favor of Canterbury’s preference for the increasingly new conservative Anglicans who obviously still claim to be the majority. The shift to the right has already been taken, if our starting two touchstones are Lambeth… Read more »

Cal McMillan
Guest
Cal McMillan

Well, what can I say? This is a letter to remind provincial and national Primates of their need to be responding to various instruments, enquiries and other works-in-progress. All wrapped in considerable chairmanlike blahblah artfully crafted to stroke all interested parties at least once and above all, taking pains to point out that Cantuar himself has extricated his person from the nitti gritti – things have been delegated to others and in due time….so on and so forth. All very commendable, I’m sure. Only where he comments on the Dromantine requests does he seem to single out TEC as having… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Now we look only backwards as Anglicans newly covenanted, especially in our closed legacy negative presuppositions about non-straight folks and their relationships and their bodies. If Lambeth 1.10 cannot now – by fiat, by consensus, by sheer inertia? – be corrected or questioned by anything from modern biology, psychology, and the rest of what we know, Lambeth 1.10 is hardly the best practice touchstone for defining the starting boundaries of what Anglicans can be allowed to know, let alone believe. Wow. If Windsor is the touchstone for mistaking the so-called TEC innovations, along with its confused confidence in favor of… Read more »

Jon
Guest

The mixed response is that GC didn’t explicitly do anything about SSB’s one way or the other, and didn’t clearly enact a moratorium on the consecration of partnered gay bishops, although the resolutions may result in such a moratorium appearing to come into existance.

On Lambeth 1.10, I suspect the situation isn’t so much that it has been placed beyond question as that the rest of the Communion has to do more work before any new result could be obtained, and Archbishop Williams may be unwilling to work on several large projects at the same time.

Jon

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I do not hear that the new conservatives admit that they have more homework to do on sexuality, let alone more homework and accounting to do among us in connection with their special readings of scripture. The rightwing claim is always that their special and especially clear and rigid conscience and authorities place inquiry/discussion/differences out of bounds. Hence, agreeing to disagree is no longer an Anglican Communion value, and common worship/witness is by new conservative definition impossible unless trumped in advance and rooted mainly in the new covenanted conformity/confession. The comments are vague concerning common Tikkun – as if Tikkun… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

“It is clear that the Communion as a whole remains committed to the teaching on human sexuality expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference” What kind of Orwellian double-speak is this? “The Communion as a whole” is clearly NOT committed to Lambeth 1.10! (Unless, to continue the Orwell analogy, Big Brother is going to kick out anyone who disagrees w/ 1.10, till he gets a “whole” that does!) +Drexel Gomez, to chair the Covenant Design Group? (Design for disaster?) >:-0 God, this is so depressing… 🙁 Lord have mercy! [And God bless the Episcopal Church! And all those… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I was in the House of Bishops when Same Sex Blessings were discussed & it was strongly felt that this was directed towards the Diocese of New Westminster & that it was not necessary for General Convention to say anything since TEC has never authorized blessings for same sex unions (although the vote was only barely short in the 2000 General Convention, IIRC). But I agree that the tone is oddly unhealthy — Lambeth has never had juridical standing & it is being used selectively (as is the WR, for that matter) — there is way too much equivocation &… Read more »

*Christopher
Guest

As I noted elsewhere, we are getting a foretaste perhaps of a future covenant in which Lambeth 1.10 (and mark you only the part about “homosexuality being incompatible with Scripture”) and Windsor (but selectively) are law rather than advisory, recommendations, reports. The ahistoricity of it all goes to show how the winners write the history, but this time not without disagreement from voices that once would have remained silent.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

“As I noted elsewhere, we are getting a foretaste perhaps of a future covenant in which Lambeth 1.10 (and mark you only the part about ‘homosexuality being incompatible with Scripture’) and Windsor (but selectively) are law rather than advisory, recommendations, reports. The ahistoricity of it all goes to show how the winners write the history.” Christopher is right on the mark. And ++Rowan Cantuar, who knows better, is part of the deception. How come he is silent while, in his very public pronouncements, ++Peter Abuja supports anti-gay/lesbian legislation in Nigeria and other human rights violations of which even the neocon… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Christopher, I liked your posting, but I wonder if the disagreement has always been there. The internet has exposd the roadblocks that were put in the way to of “the filthy unworthies”. Plus we can now see the “under construction” signs and who is working to build them. Plus we can now point to alternative highways so that we are not stuck behind a union lockout. Better, we don’t have to travel down the highway until we find ourselves blocked in, we can communicate to avoid certain highways and bypass years of nihilistic dead end travelling that would not have… Read more »