Thinking Anglicans

primates meeting: ABC called authoritarian

According to Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph this morning, headlined Drive to bar liberal from Church’s crisis summit:

…But in a humiliating blow to the Archbishop’s authority, senior conservative leaders privately wrote to him last month warning that he had no right to invite Bishop Schori to the summit without their consent.

In an atmosphere of growing distrust, they have now demanded a change to the agenda so they can decide whether to admit her at all…

and:

…As part of a power struggle with Dr Williams, they also accused him of a “fait accompli” by deciding to include the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, at the primates’ meeting for the first time.

Dr Williams argued that as he had to chair the meeting, Dr Sentamu was needed to represent the Church of England. But the conservative group, led by the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, claimed that Dr Williams was adopting authoritarian powers rather than acting as “first among equals” among his fellow leaders.

They may try to bar Dr Sentamu from the five-day summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The conservatives refuse to attend Holy Communion with liberals at the summit. The group, who make up more than 20 of the 38 primates, will finalise their strategy before the summit starts on February 15. They will present a blueprint for a “parallel” Church to accommodate a range of conservatives in America, but this is unlikely to be acceptable to the American Episcopal Church…

In another development, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has convened a special meeting of its (normally triennal) General Synod which will meet from 6-8 February, see SOKOTO TO HOST GENERAL SYNOD IN FEBRUARY:

“It is going to be a history making event. It is expected that there will be an amendment of the constitution of the Church of Nigeria at this meeting. So it will be on record that this amendment was made in Sokoto.”

See this 2005 press release for background on the amendment.

The Telegraph takes this seriously: it has a leader today, Challenge for the Church which says:

The question now is how much damage the end of the Communion would do to the Church of England. That depends partly on Dr Williams. The Established Church is founded on an English pragmatism that finds space for Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative. Alas, that pragmatism cannot be exported.

The Anglican Communion is one of several supra-national bodies (such as the Commonwealth) whose ambitions no longer correspond to reality. Dr Williams should let it fade away, and instead apply his intellect to holding together our national Church.

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Merseymike
Merseymike
14 years ago

At last even the telegraph is starting to see sense

The Anglican Communion has no future. Without its malign influence, I am sure that the bulk of the CofE could hang together, bar the headbangers who would join the First Church of Akinola.

These people aren’t interested in anything than building a fundamentalist church in their own image. Williams must stop being so naive.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

I’m sure Abp Rowan will get fed up of these squabbling children before long, and do just what the Telegraph counsels — take up a pastoral mission to the church on his doorstep and delegate the affairs of the wider Communion to some suitable subcommittee.

Bill Carroll
14 years ago

The ABC needs to communicate, clearly and publicly, that excluding Bishop Jefferts Schori is not on the table and then cancel the meeting if the attempt is made to change the agenda to put her membership to a vote. If his office has any meaning at all as “instrument of communion,” it is to insist that the (autonomous) churches that make up the Anglican Communion must have a seat in the bodies where we consult with one another about matters of mutual concern. The appeasement should have stopped long ago. It must stop here. I say this as someone who… Read more »

Tim
Tim
14 years ago

“he had no right to invite Bishop Schori to the summit without their consent.”

Really? Isn’t this a Primates’ meeting, and isn’t she a Primate?

Why doesn’t Nigeria have the decency and balls to get out of the communion and see how many follow of their own volition?

Jeremy
Jeremy
14 years ago

Pardon me, but isn’t it the ABC’s job to issue invitations to the meeting of Primates as well as Lambeth? If so, it would seem to me that the conservatives would have no real recourse. The ABC sent the invitation. The only choice the other primates have is to RSVP either in the affirmative or the negative.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
14 years ago

Merseymike, I would hate to be part of a parochial CofE that washed its hands of all the emerging liberals in African countries just because the conservatives are shouting louder at the moment. “I’m alright Jack” is not an attitude we should be taking just because it’s easier. We must continue to fight for the Anglican Community as long as it exists.

Shawn+
Shawn+
14 years ago

This is not the end of the Anglican Communion–it is the beginning of the Nigerian Communion, which will be committed to spreading their interpretation of the Gospel regardless of humanity’s divine call to love, forgiveness, inclusion, and redemption. I would much rather be in an Anglican communion that celebrates God’s diversity in creation, that affirms Christ’s gift on the cross, freeing humanity from the cycle of violence, bigotry, and vengeance, and allows us to embrace one another without prejudice, as God embraces each of us. If the Anglican Communion must affirm its particular dialect of Christianity as one of radical… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
14 years ago

Merseymike is spot on. The sooner the ABC learns the truth of the old couplet “Bad company is a disease, Who lies with dogs shall rise with fleas”, the better.

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“Conservative Global South leaders, who represent well over half the worldwide Church, are determined, however, to discipline the liberal Americans” And here is the point! It isn’t about gay people, it isn’t about sex, it isn’t even about scriptural authority. These are merely the pieces with which the game is being played. It is about getting power over and punishing the awful Westerners, the inheritors of the Colonialist legacy. That they lack the nerve, and perhaps the ability, to argue from a religious and theological perspective is taken, falsely, as an indication that their position has no theological legitimacy, bolstered… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
14 years ago

ps. Have only just read the “Telegraph” story. Akinola & co. claim that Rowan Williams is “adopting authoritarian powers”? Talk about “all the nerve of the town cow”! You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

To paraphrase Lincoln, “You can please some of the people all of the time and you can please all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.”

And surely by now the ABC must be wondering why he ever decided to leave Wales!

Pluralist
14 years ago

Beware of Daily Telegraph reports and editorials. As I understand it, Rowan Williams is not arranging: massively complicated plans to divide the 38 Anglican provinces into “constituent” and “associate” members of the Communion [editorial] He is rather hoping to produce a Covenant into which provinces can opt in or opt out, and therefore being in full or impaired communion. Those left out will surely form their own connections. Where the Daily Telegraph is right is that the emphasis on an Anglican Communion is wrong anyway. It is as if the Archbishop is trying to present a “Church” to the Pope,… Read more »

jnwall
jnwall
14 years ago

The essence of the Anglican Communion is the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Therefore, some “if’s.” If Akinola and his followers believe they can address the ABC in this tone, then the ABC’s authority in the Communion has evaporated. If the contents of the message to the ABC are as reported here, then Akinola is seizing the moment to consolidate his power, the ABC has truly lost all control of events, and I suspect the Anglican Communion, at least as we have known it, is dead. If +Rowan acqueses now to orders from Nigeria, as Yeats put it, things… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

I am glad that the Nigerians and other conservatives are coming further out, into the global open. (Chapman Memo gone global?) They have hidden behind the sexual sins smokescreens for way too long. (Canterbury loves that smokescreen apparently as much as they do, or at least finds plenty of occasions like equal adoption to use its disguises.) Honest discernment needs honest raw data into which we can all, all, all inquire; and weigh; and reach provisional conclusions open to further truth. The current church preoccupation with counting orgams is frankly medieval in its details and foundations. It sounds presuppositional negative… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
14 years ago

++Rowan Cantuar deserves no better than how he is being treated by ++Peter Jasper Akinola. After all, since GC2003, he has pandered to the “bully”, who now even presumes to be the “gate-keeper” of those to be invited, or uninvited, to the Primates’ meeting.

Rowan and Peter deserve each other, having turned the Anglican Communion into a farce.

Weiwen Ng
14 years ago

Merseymike, I have to disagree. the Anglican Communion has a future. if possible we should hang together. viewed in that light, the actions of these unnnamed “conservative leaders” are reprehensible.

however, if the Communion has to split, I would obviously prefer that the Akinola gang leave rather than liberal provinces be expelled. to that end, if they’re so offended that ++KJS and ++Sentamu are coming, I’d love for them to leave.

if they leave, or if they chose to stay and engage with the rest of the Communion (not condemn it), then the Communion has a future.

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

There are serious questions lodged about/against the closed conservative views, including most urgently three doubts the rest of us may entertain. We may doubt whether this closed reading/allegiance trend can successfully scrutinize and avoid its own innate pulls into idolatry – using the legacy religious materials, up to and including scripture-by making them idols to whom we must bow down free from any and all questions. We may doubt whether love the sinner/hate the sin is an adequate practical frame for just those historical instances in which we find we have believed dramatically false things about the neighbors. We may… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
14 years ago

Anglican puritans want dominance at any cost…they insist and demand we listen/believe with the blindly…they don’t want adult conversation about anything with anyone because they have all their twisted “Scriputural” answers to all of their “selective” questions already…they *are* unreasonable to the MAX…such a emotionally unstable and *driven* force of arrogant spewing has only one way to go…the famous “fall” will come because, like it or not, God and human beings of all denominations/backgrounds are NOT going to be patient with such nonsense, basic greed and smugness nor with the boastfulness and manipulating/behind-the-scene religious takeover “tactic” of this mob of… Read more »

tobias haller
tobias haller
14 years ago

It seems to me that the ABC has only two options in dealing with the impending division: either agree with Akinola &c and essentially bless their takeover of the WWAC, or stick by the actual rules — few as they are — and let those depart who are unwilling to coexist, or commune. The effort to “constitutionalize” the “fellowship” is destroying it faster than simply letting it be, and in ways that will have far greater destructive impact, in the C of E and elsewhere. Dividing into parallel jurisdictions out of communion with each other is simply a novel name… Read more »

David H.
14 years ago

“But in a humiliating blow to the Archbishop’s authority, senior conservative leaders…”

And so the end-game begins. It really is almost sad to watch Abp. Williams’ authority and position, and the whole AC for that matter, implode like this.

“Almost,” except that I’m so perturbed at the way he continues to give in to the bullying of the “senior conservative leaders.” It’s truly Neville Chamberlain-esque in its cluelessness…

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

The Nigerian Christians still must live in country where half their countrimen are Muslims, and the need for co-existence is seen in the tone of the church’s statements quoted above. It is no excuse for supporting oppressive laws, but it is something we cannot ignore. I doubt they would have had such a chance to have their conference in Sokoto if they were not seen as standing against the decadent immoral West.

Aaron
14 years ago

Has anyone bothered to inform these “senior conservative leaders” that Primates are not INVITED to this meeting? It’s a meeting of Primates…if you’re a Primate or Presiding Bishop of a church within the Anglican Communion, you have every right to be there. This distinction seems to have eluded +++Rowan as well, or he’d never have debated whether or not to “invite” ++Katherine in the first place.

I have to say, though, they have a point about the ABY. He may have historic precedence over even Canterbury, but York has long been second fiddle and, hence, not a Primacy.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

Y’know what really gets me? As Honest Pete Abuja’s Purity Roadshow trundles on, his financial backing is increasingly going to come from the sorts of folks whose financial wheeler dealings and politickings has caused so much suffering to the peoples of the GS in the first place. Someone defended City of London bonus payments recently – has it struck anyone else that the payment of that sort of obscene cash comes from somewhere, and usually from harsh investments in GS countries? So ++Abuja is being paid, ultimately, by the folk who have violated his own flock. Makes a spot of… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
14 years ago

Erika – we wouldn’t be

We would be part of a global movement without colonial ties which could pursue links with exactly those people – who are currently marginalised and persecuted in places like Nigeria

What I think has no future is the Anglican Communion. A global network of inclusive churches is certainly something to welcome

John-Julian, OJN
John-Julian, OJN
14 years ago

Actually, we can see the beginning of these problems back in the 19th century when the C of E decided to divide up the mission areas. Sub-Saharan and Western Africa went to the Evangelical CMS, and the progeny of that tradition are now sitting up and howling about sola scriptura (as CMS taught them to do). The only reasonable end is that the ABC do what the ABC has always done: just issue the dang invitations — to all. That will set up Akinola & Company to be the “Deciders” rather than the ABC. It will then be clear just… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
14 years ago

David Rowett is spot on when he writes: “So ++Abuja is being paid, ultimately, by the folk who have violated his own flock. Makes a spot of b*gg*ry look pretty thin even for a raging fundamentalist, no?”

For ++Peter Jasper Akinola homosex is the SIN that trumps all other sins. At the same time, through CANA and Mr. Martyn Minns, ++Abuja engages in thievery, coveting, and alienating, the parish properties of the Virgina dissidents, which canonically belong to the Diocese of Virginia. Since when is “stealing” and “coveting” no longer a sin, ++Peter Jasper?

Athos
Athos
14 years ago

Aaron writes: “if you’re a Primate or Presiding Bishop of a church within the Anglican Communion, you have every right to be there” which of course begs the question. Is Schori a bishop or even a priest for that matter? She certainly would not be recognised in England as a bishop (as her performing any episcopal acts would be illegal) and even her priestly orders are still open to question. Just because the TEC deems to “consecrate” Schori a bishop knowing full well that this is contentious does not mean that the rest of the communion have to accept such… Read more »

Raspberry Rabbit
14 years ago

As with all of these things there are just zillions of meeting that I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for – all that strategizing, all those linked conversative blogs, all that provision of funding and infrastructure that must be necessary to coordinate a proper schism – all that preplanned wiping the floor with the reputations of people who have been identified as the enemies of God. Incredible!

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
14 years ago

“It is clear that those most involved in the power struggle within the Anglican Communion are about to strike. The Church of Nigeria has been unwilling to wait on a Communion-wide solution to the present conflict and has taken matters into its own hands by establishing a scismatic off-shoot in the USA.” “We have reached this point several times before, but it appears that there is now a concerted effort from American conservative groups to force a decision at this conference that will give them a new legal standing in their attempt to seize control of the assets and property… Read more »

Walsingham
Walsingham
14 years ago

@Aaron:

A minor nitpick, but please remember that the Archbishop of York is indeed “Primate of England”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is, of course, “Primate of *All* England”, but the Archbishop of York is most certainly a primate, even if he is not *the* primate of the Church of England. I think ++Rowan’s rationale for having him there is thus perfectly acceptable and even downright sensible, provided ++Rowan acts at the meeting only in his capacity as chairman and not as the head of the Church of England.

Charlotte
Charlotte
14 years ago

Missing from all the commentary I have seen so far is an accurate estimate of the number of Primates willing to back Archbishop Akinola’s planned split from the rest of the Communion. I think, however, that many fewer Primates will be willing to back him in this consequential action than have been willing to go along with his previous actions, which in the Evangelical view will have been, by and large, merely symbolic gestures. Refusing to take Communion at Dromantine with representatives of the Episcopal Church, for example, would be, for many Evangelicals, a merely symbolic gesture, expressing the absence… Read more »

Pluralist
14 years ago

I agree with drdanfee when he stated: (Canterbury loves that smokescreen apparently as much as they do, or at least finds plenty of occasions like equal adoption to use its disguises.) This is additional to my point, and picked up by others. That, at the same time as Akinola and company are clearly being strategic, and, after their own meeting, coming to the primates meeting for an outcome, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been involved in allying the Church of England in an anti-equality stance and the bishops are going to introduce smothering amendments to two clear motions to the… Read more »

JNWALL
JNWALL
14 years ago

The Archbishop of Canterbury is rapidly approaching a point of decision. The choice he faces is between 1. to be Peter Akinola’s lackey and cede all real leadership to the Global South, or 2. to exercise leadership, to be a man, and affirm his place as the one who is the spiritual leader of Anglicans worldwide. I pity the Church of England if he takes the former course, as every sign suggests he will.

Aaron
14 years ago

Athos – There is no Communion-wide mechanism for choosing Primates. It is something done by the national church itself. As long as ECUSA is a member of the Communion, the other Primates have to accept her as its Presiding Bishop. If they think that gender is somehow tied to one’s ability to serve God (a heterodox position that denies the efficacy of the incarnation…if anyone should object to another province’s choice of Primates, that’s a pretty good reason right there) that’s their problem. It’s up to them to decide if their position is worth severing communion. Unless/until they do, they… Read more »

Aaron
14 years ago

Walsingham: Good point, in which case the “conservative leaders” are making a bald power play without a shred of legitimacy.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

“The essence of the Anglican Communion is the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury.” This sounds odd. I thought the Anglican Communion was a family of AUTONOMOUS churches. The ABC is a primus inter pares, and a symbol of unity, nothing more. Is it not rather odd that he is “chairing” the meeting of the primates? Can one church declare itself out of communion with another Anglican church without thereby leaving the Anglican Communion? Can a church declare itself out of communion with the C of E without thereby leaving the Anglican Communion? The proposed covenant idea is supposed to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
14 years ago

John-Julian wrote: “Actually, we can see the beginning of these problems back in the 19th century when the C of E decided to divide up the mission areas. Sub-Saharan and Western Africa went to the Evangelical CMS, and the progeny of that tradition are now sitting up and howling about sola scriptura (as CMS taught them to do).” I must agree with JJ. The irony of the Last Battle on Colony Hill waged by the Colons of The New Global Moi Empire Enterprise – a branch of the New American Enterprise Inc., funded from Chicago, Pittsburgh and Colorado – in… Read more »

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

“Just because the TEC deems to “consecrate” Schori a bishop knowing full well that this is contentious does not mean that the rest of the communion have to accept such high handed, aggresive and arrogant actions.” As the early Christians were branded “atheists” (because they prayed to God-in-Christ, not Caesar), now TEC is branded “contentious…high handed, aggresive and arrogant” because we pray over (laying hands on) Bishops Jefferts Schori and Robinson. TRUTH will out. What if they threw a Primates Meeting, and everybody came? Conversely, what if they threw a Primates Meeting and, like the wedding gathering of the parable,… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

“According to English canon law membership of the Anglican Communion lies in the joint hands of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.”

I did not realize they had this power! So the churches making up the Communion are “autonomous”, but their membership of the Communion is decided by the C of E alone?

Does this mean that the Global South are lobbying the C of E to declare ECUSA out of the Communion, threatening to withdraw themselves if this is not done? This would surely be a rather ineffective blackmailing tactic.

NP
NP
14 years ago

When do we see TEC Global launch?
It will be such a relief (for both sides) when it does

Femi
Femi
14 years ago

Thank God our Archbishop is not willing to sit with the American primate who supports the ordination of a gay bishop.

No matter what it would cost gay-right movement will never succeed in Nigeria.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
14 years ago

Aaron: “which of course begs the question. Is Schori a bishop or even a priest for that matter? She certainly would not be recognised in England as a bishop (as her performing any episcopal acts would be illegal) and even her priestly orders are still open to question. Just because the TEC deems to “consecrate” Schori a bishop knowing full well that this is contentious does not mean that the rest of the communion have to accept such high handed, aggressive and arrogant actions.” Aaron, from the little I know about Anglicanism, the ordination of female bishops is perfectly legal… Read more »

Athos
Athos
14 years ago

Aaron A bishop in order to fulfill his role has to be a bishop standing in the Apostolic Succession which primarily means upholding the teaching and practice of the Apostles. If a Church decides (on their own fiat) to elect a person to that Office knowing full well that many will dispute her ability to stand in the Apostolic Succession they should not be surprised (and neither should we) if they discover her ministry is not welcomed. AS Rowan Williams said with regard to Jeffrey John a bishop’s minstry if it is to be effective must command allegiance over the… Read more »

cryptogram
cryptogram
14 years ago

In 1913 the Bishop of Zanzibar, Frank Weston, made a presentment to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, accusing the bishops of Mombasa and Uganda of “propagating heresy and committing schism”, because they had made common cause with protestant missionary societies in East Africa, and celebrated the Lord’s Supper with them in a Presbyterian Church at Kikuyu. Weston’s letter is an astonishing document, containing no fewer than 13 “whereas”. There is a sad irony in the fact that the heirs and assigns of these bishops will apparently refuse to communicate with other Anglican bishops in Weston’s own cathedral in Zanzibar.… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

Athos? Isn’t that the place where no female, even an animal, is allowed for fear of it polluting the place and distracting the faithful?

David H.
14 years ago

Athos wrote, “All the traditionalists are doing is reacting to the provocation of fundamentalist, intolerant liberalism.”

Congratulations! “fundamentalist, intolerant liberalism” gets the George Orwell Doublethink award of the week!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

Truly a breathtaking example! Proctors from the Ministry of Truth will be delivering your award shortly…

Ann Marie
14 years ago

Athos,

Your comment on women’s lack of ability to be priests or bishops is not even deserving of a comment and so I shall not even try other than to say there are no words describe my frustration and pain over some people’s lack of ability to see reality.

Ann Marie+

Leonardo Ricardo
14 years ago

“Thank God our Archbishop is not willing to sit with the American primate who supports the ordination of a gay bishop. No matter what it would cost gay-right movement will never succeed in Nigeria.” Femi Yes, any “rights” movement has trouble in Nigeria where it is much more common for, thuggery against fellow citizens, tribal discrimination, exploitation (of oil workers) repression of LGBT people, their friends and families and JAIL (proposed anti-human rights legislation that “your bishop” endorses) for “assembly” in public. Such viciousness against fellow Christians/Muslims/others and general all-around ignorance plus the rampant greed factor still are considered “high… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“It would not have for them the significance such actions carry in Catholic theology.” Charlotte, This is a good point. They have been saying for some time that we have two different churches in one. They are right. Some primates attended a celebratory dinner that night, when, to me, what they had done was cause for grief. The only way I can make sense of it is that they either put their lust for power ahead of the Kingdom and its values, or they really didn’t attach any significance to the Eucharist as anything other than symbol. And, Femi, you… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
14 years ago

“Is Schori a bishop or even a priest for that matter? She certainly would not be recognised in England as a bishop (as her performing any episcopal acts would be illegal) and even her priestly orders are still open to question. Just because the TEC deems to “consecrate” Schori a bishop knowing full well that this is contentious does not mean that the rest of the communion have to accept such high handed, aggresive and arrogant actions.” Is Williams really a bishop, much less an archbishop? He was chosen through a barely quasi-democratic process in which the laity were almost… Read more »

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