Thinking Anglicans

new presiding bishop at work

ENS reports that the new ECUSA Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote on 1 November, her first day in office, to the four Global South primates who are offering to meet those dioceses seeking APO inviting them to meet her also, while they are in the USA.

The Living Church has also reported this with the headline Presiding Bishop Offers to Meet Global South Visitors.

The letter is addressed to The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria, The Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies, The Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi, Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Justice Akrofi, Primate of West Africa. The text reads:

To my esteemed brothers in Christ:

While I have not yet had the privilege and honor to meet all of you, I very much look forward to working with you in the coming years as we endeavor to lead the Body of Christ in this portion called the Anglican Communion. I deeply value the possibilities we have in the Anglican Communion for addressing the mission God has given us to reconcile the world he has created. In the spirit of Lambeth 1998, the Episcopal Church has identified the Millennium Development Goals as the framework for our missional work in the coming years. I would hope we might see the common interest we all have for seeing those Goals met, as they provide a concrete image of the Reign of God in our own day, where the hungry are fed, the thirsty watered, and the prisoners of disease and oppression set free.

I understand that you will be in the United States in mid-November for a gathering at Falls Church, Virginia. Considering the difficulty and expense of such a journey, I hope that during your visit you might be willing to pay a call on me, so that we might begin to build toward such a missional relationship. If that is a possibility, I hope you will contact this office as soon as possible. I would be more than happy to alter my schedule to accommodate you.

I look forward to hearing from you, and meeting you. May God bless your ministries and your travels.

Her web pages include the following statement, dated 23 OCtober, which is curiously hidden in a PDF file:

“What do you consider the most important priorities for the Presiding Bishop?”
From the Desk of The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of Nevada

The Presiding Bishop keeps us focused on the Reign of God, through unceasing attention to mission in the context of baptismal ministry. Christians and their communities are meant to be transformative elements in this world, laboring to create something much more like God’s Reign. The church’s work is to recognize where we have not yet attained God’s dream, speak gospel to that reality, and equip and empower all the baptized to do the work of transforming those places of not-yet. There are two obvious foci for our ministry: moving our sanctuaries into the streets to encounter and transform the bad news of this world; and implementing the Millennium Development Goals, which provide a signal opportunity in this age to realize the dream of God for all creation.

This church must embrace and celebrate all the diverse cultures, languages, and origins of the many parts of the Episcopal Church – Haiti, Taiwan, Province IX, the Churches in Europe, Virgin Islands, as well as the many cultures within the U.S. – First Nations, African-American, Spanishspeaking, Asian, and all Anglo varieties. None is more important than another; all are essential to the transforming work of the Body of Christ.

Ultimately, the Presiding Bishop’s role is one of bridge-building and boundary crossing. If we are to reconcile the world, we must be bold enough to enter unfamiliar territory and partner wherever necessary to build toward the Reign of God. The Body is strengthened as all parts are honored, whatever their color or language, or liturgical, theological, or political stripe. God is to be found in that wilderness of difference, and reconciliation requires the crossing.

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David Chillman
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David Chillman

This strikes me as a pretty smart move. It’s a friendly invitation, pointing out that as they are going to be in the country anyway, why don’t they pop on over for a nice chat? No sane person is going to be offended at this. So it puts the ball firmly in their court. Either they refuse the offer and appear to all and sundry as misogynistic bigots, or they accept and find themselves talking with the great She-Devil. Once they do this, it will completely undermine any attempts to exclude her from the next Lambeth Conference. How could they… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

” … you will be in the United States in mid-November for a gathering at Falls Church, Virginia. Considering the difficulty and expense of such a journey … “

Considering what the frequent flyer accounts of some of these fellas are likely to look like, I wonder if the PB’s tongue was just a tad in her cheek. Many of us await with interest the responses of these gentlemen, some of whom are prone to their own bouts of issuing [far less friendly] open letters.

I think our new PB is a subtle thinker.

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

Ladies and gentlemen: this is what a faithful *Anglican Primate* looks like. Alleluia! 😀

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

Cynthia wrote, “Considering what the frequent flyer accounts of some of these fellas are likely to look like…”

Heh. No kidding… As I’ve previously wondered regarding Bp. N.T. Wright, one wonders when these flying primates (shades of the “Wizard of Oz” 😉 spend time in their *own* provinces, tending to their *own* knitting ?!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

One model of God’s reconciliation plan is that God will allow humanity to regain some of its lost glory as and when God thinks they are capable of handling and treating such gifts with respect. One group of characters that had become diminished were “Eishes Chayil” or women of valour. Schori is certainly demonstating valour, and may she continue to grow in wisdom as well. God knows that to heal this planet we are going to need people who take responsbility and boldness to lead us into viable paradigms. We certainly don’t need “leaders” who are mediocre duck-shovers. Who would… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

The Presiding Bishop-Elect’s letter might have some implications for the status of Episcopal bishops who subsequently choose to affiliate themselves with one or more of the Primates who are traveling to Falls Church. I haven’t seen this addressed elsewhere,and I don’t know how well I’m going to do at exploring it now, but here goes. Assume: 1) The four Primates refuse +Katharine’s invitation. 2) Then, at Falls Church, one or more of them agrees to an APO agreement (or current equivalent) with one or more of the Bishops and Standing Committees currently requesting it. Consequence: As +Katharine was not a… Read more »

Thomas+
Guest

KJS Website has been put together quite recently, and though the document in question appears to be new, in fact it is just one old page of the Profiles of those nominated for election, and was published “urbi et orbe” early in 2006, before the election in Columbus.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I am so happy to see KJS take to the saddle – or is it to the skies? – so quickly. I have simply fallen quite in love with her talk of the reign of God, and I guess she and I must share a deep interest in the OT Prophets. More power to KJS I say, then. She is doing a great job already of representing pretty much exactly the sorts of provincial Anglican leadership that has too long been missing from our global family scenes. Thanks to her, and many prayers and best wishes for the near and… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Very encouraging. The conservatives are furious, so she must be doing something right.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

You can download the program for tomorrow’s festivities and also Sunday’s ceremony of seating from the ENS website. They are PDF files. I will be at Saturday’s celebration, and am looking forward to a grand event. There will be streaming video, and I expect the ENS site will be a portal or have instructions for the video.

I am esepcially looking forward to the smudgers – the Native American version of incense – and the MUSIC! Take a look at the program and see for yourselves!

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

I hope this comment is considered related. As everyone seems so excited about the new presiding Bishop, I wondered if anyone had read the transcripts of her interview with robin Young over on your favourite site Anglican Mainstream (http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=876).

What do you think about what she said about Jesus and other faiths?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Alex I read the link, thank you. She is obviously getting used to the media and will fumble a little bit at the beginning. That is the same for anyone in her position. She will have a harder time of it that some as there will be a suite of people looking for ways to justify nitpicking and rejecting her. I don’t have a problem with her position Deuteronomy 10:17-19 “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the… Read more »

Robert L
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Robert L

I think it sounds a lot like those in the Orthodox church saying ‘We know where God/the Church is, but we do not know where it is not’. It doesn’t go quite as far as the Roman Catholic church saying they are the one true church, while other ecclesial communities preserve some sort of qualified grace.

Folks who make a big deal of her comments in that interview are going looking for a bone to pick.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

But of course they are, Robert, that’s the point of the question. They want a simple answer: If you aren’t a Christian, you can’t access God, and you are going to Hell. That seems so simple to them. An answer that essentially says that people of other faiths can get into Heaven too, even if it is qualified by saying “but by the Incarnation of Christ” is Unitarian or something. And of course, we all know that salvation is about getting to play in the Heavenly sandbox after you die. That it might be about theosis, about something in this… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

And to continue from Ford’s posting. They find it hard that God might “level” the playing field to encourage all souls to come into relationship with God while at the same time exhort souls to attempt to climb the mountain and become the best possible. God loves those who have the courage and dare to climb Mt Everest, while at the same time God loves who tried and failed, or lacked the wherewithall or courage to even try. Puritans believe that only those who can reach the “approved” mountain are in God’s grace, and they build barriers and obstacles to… Read more »

David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
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David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)

Significant the CT article this week on the incontrovertibility of the hypothesis that ConsEvs are actually damaging the faith by driving away anyone who can’t sign up to quasi-puritanism.

About time all those claims that ConsEvs are ‘paying for us ‘liberals’ ‘ were rephrased to read ‘We’re paying for your illusory of success’

NP
Guest
NP

David Rowett – it seems as if you really believe this twisted argument that the churches which attract thousands across England every week having grown strongly for decades in ENGLAND and which see the most non-Christians coming along and converting are actually responsible for the failure of the “liberal” churches to attract many people at all…….since the departure of Peter Mandelson, the Labour Party has lacked a really creative spindoctor – you should apply!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, The model presented in Evo churches is attractive to those who need the rules spelled out for them so they can know they are loved by God since they obey the rules. In comfortable middle class places, it reaffirms that God is a comfortable middle class SUV driving suburbanite who loves what they love and hates what they hate. In wealthier places it tells them God wants them to be rich. Ther are numerous reasons why people join any church, Evo or otherwise. Some join liberal churches because they haven’t gotten over their adolescent rebelliousness and believe God wants… Read more »

mynsterpreost
Guest
mynsterpreost

NP: I simply quote from research. Perhaps the researcher is a spin doctor, how can I tell? Have a look at the article and pick the bones out of it yourself, I suggest: if you wish to challenge the findings, go ahead.

NP
Guest
NP

How many times? Anglican evo churches are seeing growth in all parts of England – all classes and all races but if you want to console yourselves that it is just a narrow phenomenon, go ahead – we are too busy running Alpha courses to worry about the spin being put on the growth we see in England and around the world…..praise the Lord, he is doing his work!

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘Alpha courses’ do not introduce people to spirituality, alas. They are rather effective inoculations against it, regrettably. Strong on indoctrination, and the use of group dynamics to manipulate and indoctrinate individuals. Manipulation of people is anti-spirituality and against respect for the integrity and spirituality of individuals. (Just notice where the power lies on an ‘Alpha’ programme, just notice what cannot be voiced.)

Please, try not to mistake these kinds of attitudes and dynamics for ‘the work’ of the ‘Lord’.

NP
Guest
NP

laurence – you judge Alpha harshly – I hope you are bearing much good fruit!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, I don’t doubt your faith for a minute. And I apologize for the times I have judged it and gotten angry. It is not my right to judge anyone, since I’ll be judged myself. But, I ask again, can you accept that people whose understanding of Christianity is different from yours, whose faith is not based on the ideas of the Reformation, also have a place at God’s table? While I sincerely doubt that you and I have anything close to the same understanding of the Eucharist, the Church, authority, the meaning of redemption, or a lot of other… Read more »

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Sorry for not responding sooner. I fell foul of the word limit. Sorry! Ford (Re: 4th Nov Comments) Conservative Evangelicals, as a group, make many mistakes as do all groups, and in some ways are very unloving, and this has created the view that we are all about keeping people out of heaven. Our conduct and speech is the reason for this misunderstanding. Actually we are all (should be, in many cases) about getting as many people in as possible. We believe though that there is a truth that we can know, that God revealed himself perfectly in Jesus Christ,… Read more »

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Cheryl (Re: 3rd Nov Comments) Christianity is all about Grace, and being forgiven because of what Christ has done and not because of the things we do. God requires perfection, and we cannot attain that. He has levelled the playing field by offering forgiveness through His Son Jesus, so that no matter what our past or present struggles are, we can relate to him through His Son, and have a relationship with the Living God that we can be sure will last for eternity. From the people I have talked to (Non-Christian and Christian), we can all see in our… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Hello Ford Yes – of course you would be welcome to participate – we invite all to examine themselves as directed in Corinthians and say explicitly that everyone who counts themselves a believer and follower of Christ is welcome to the table – we are very conscious that none of us are worthy and all come by grace. Sorry if my brief messages ever give the impression that I am a “grace-killer”. I am not. The only thing I cannot stand in church is those who tell some that they do not need to repent when the Lord does demand… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“We believe though that there is a truth that we can know, that God revealed himself perfectly in Jesus Christ, and then infallibly in His Word. We believe that people need to know this (the gospel) so they can enter through what the Bible calls the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14). “ Alex, I believe the same thing. I would imagine most of us do. The thing is about your last statement. It would mean, for instance, that Mahatma Gandhi has no place in the Kingdom because he was a Hindu. I much prefer to listen to what Mother Julian was… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – you say ‘who is saying we have no need of repentance? In my experience, “liberals” are just as strong on this point as “conservatives” I recognise there is sin and hypocrisy in everyone but I think this statement is amazing. Even if conservatives are sinners, which they are, this is no defence for the sins of liberals. Someone who knew what he was talking about told us to strive to be perfect because our Father is perfect – there is no room for the lie that any sin is acceptable – that is just false and horribly, tragically… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP,
No, actually, I don’t. Plotting and scheming are not Biblical. Fostering rancor isn’t Biblical. I appreciate he may well think he has to lead his group out of the Anglican communion, and I have no argument with him if he feels that. I can’t see much that’s Christian in the way he’s going about it, though.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, Sorry to double post, but how is my comment “amazing”? Are you saying “Liberals” don’t call people to repentance? If so, you haven’t talked to many “liberals”. Change of life is a very important part of being Christian. We must always examine ourselves and pattern our lives after the Gospel. I was recently involved in a debate about the Masons, for instance, which got on to issues of greed and wealth and how such organizations serve to perpetuate the oppression of the poor. That we are called to turn aside from these things as Christians, and that those in… Read more »

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Ford (About Gandhi) You sum it up perfectly by saying “I much prefer”. Of course I would love it if everyone went to heaven, but what I want and what God wants don’t have to be the same thing. You would rather listen to Mother Julian, someone I have never heard of, as oppsoed to Jesus, the most famous man in history, God incarnate, the conqueror of death and Satan, the one who took the punishment that you deserved? Is that really true? How can you believe in the Bible infallibly, yet hold this lady as a higher authority as… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Alex, We are coming at this from two very different viewpoints. I peg you for an Evangelical, am I right? That would mean that much of the Catholic Tradition which is so meaningful for my faith is likely “following the traditions of men” as far as you’re concerned. It relates to how we understand authority, redemption, the working of the Spirit in the world, sacraments and their meaning, and a whole lot of other things. For example, I believe that Christ’s death was the atoning sacrifice for human sin, but I don’t believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement, which you seem… Read more »

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Ford, sorry for the delay, You are right in some ways, I do hold a reformed evangelical view, but I call myself a Christian, and that only on the basis of 1 Corinthians 3. I consider the Bible as the final authority, but to ‘write’ off the great minds of the past would be a tragedy. I have a groaning Christian bookshelf, to gain more knowledge from the current minds. This knowledge does have to be checked with the Bible though, as we are told in 1 Corinthians 14, Prophecy (speaking a word from God) is a gift and has… Read more »