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Affirming Catholicism on General Synod

Press release 1 March 2007

Anglo-catholics affirm dignity of difference

Members of Affirming Catholicism made a series of influential contributions to the Church of England General Synod this week, helping the body move in a more progressive direction without alienating conservative sensitivities.
In an agenda which included key debates on the replacement of Trident (the UK nuclear deterrent), lesbian and gay Christians and criminal justice, speakers prompted Synod to consider the plight of those who were marginalised in the Church or society.

Mr John Ward, a lay member of Synod, spoke movingly on the place of lesbian and gay people in the Church during a debate sparked by a motion from fellow Affirming Catholic, the Rev’d Mary Gilbert. His speech, which focussed on his own experience as a gay Christian in the Church, received sustained applause from Synod members who eventually passed an amended motion affirming the integrity of divergent views on the issue in the Church, and committing the Church to keep dialogue going.

Speaking of the debate, Mr Ward said:

Being an Anglican means learning to live respectfully with difference. I feel encouraged by the affirmation many have given to me as a gay man this week, and I am hopeful that continued gracious dialogue will allow Church members ultimately to reconcile their differences.

In a debate on the criminal justice system Synod members backed a report urging the Government to invest more resources in preventing crime and rehabilitating offenders, many of whom suffer from social disadvantage or mental health problems. Mary Johnston, a lay member of Synod and a Trustee of Affirming Catholicism, spoke of her own recent experience as a victim of crime and called on the Church to consider especially the terrible impact of violent crime for the families and friends of both victims and offenders.

Summing up the week, the Rev’d Jonathan Clark, acting Chair of Affirming Catholics in Synod, said:

A Catholic vision of the gospel emphasises the dignity of humanity. I’m delighted that Affirming Catholics have played an important part in helping Synod reconcile its own differences as well as focus on the need to welcome and support those whom society has traditionally excluded.

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Tim
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“hopeful that continued gracious dialogue will allow Church members ultimately to reconcile their differences.”

Akinola should well be embarrassed by this humble approach.

Dave
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Dave

Of course Mr Ward doesn’t just want to “allow Church members ultimately to reconcile their differences” in any way that is true to traditioanl scriptural Christianity. By reconciliation, he means that the outcome MUST include full acceptance that he, and other clergy who came out at GS can continue living in same-sex sexual unions. By calling for a dialogue aimed at reconcilition, he is prejudging the outcome! So what he is actually asking for is a re-definition of Truth, dressed up as “reconciliation”. Such a “reconciliation” will exclude the plain meaning of scripture, and anyone who believes and lives by… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

ps I still wonder at the several clergy who *claim* to be making a stand for [their] truth by coming out in GS as living in same-sex sexual relationships. But it is all just words – they don’t have the conviction of their beliefs to actually risk openly rejecting their Bishop or leaving the church! Unlike US conservatives..

JCF
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JCF

“What we actually need is a proper debate about “truth” where both “sides” explain the truth that they believe”

Truth is ***Jesus Christ***, Dave. I don’t understand why you should be in any doubt about this. :-/

Pluralist
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Such a “reconciliation” will include the interpreted meaning of scripture: the understanding of the whole and a proper assessment of the relativity of the parts. Your view is not the only view, and no one needs to leave. Inevitably it is the sectarian position that ends up breaking away, those with more definite views. They are the ones who find an adapted position one they cannot live with. However, many can, do and even welcome the change towards inclusion. I do welcome it. The testimonies at General Synod have done much to edge the Church on to a position where… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

For once I agree with Dave.

The only answer is a separation. Given the choice, I can think of few religions or beliefs i would wish to follow than evangelical Christianity. I have precisely nothing in common with its followers and do not wish to be part of an organisation where such views are given credibility or respect.

This is all too wishy washy – its about time liberals recognised conservative evangelicals are the enemy and need opposing not accommodating with.

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

Dave, I really find your posting here offensive. You have made many statements like this, but on this occasion I think you have crossed a line. Frankly I find it bewildering that you promote a view that the Bible trumps statements contained within it – try “if you love me, keep my commandments and I will pray the father that will give you another comforter, that he will bide with you…” Or, perhaps more pertinent to this discussion: “I give you a commandment, that you should love one another…” I think it’s time you accounted for how the actual words… Read more »

Pluralist
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_This is all too wishy washy – its about time liberals recognised conservative evangelicals are the enemy and need opposing not accommodating with._ Merseymike I’ve little in common either, but the trouble is the continuum carries on through. One group or other is likely to walk or be pushed, but the difficult issue is what happens to the middle (at the moment) bunch. These might be called open evangelical, and they are split. They clearly have some doctrinal affinity with those who would have purity land, and be exclusive about sexual matters to the point that others will ignore them.… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Pluralist wrote: “the difficult issue is what happens to the middle (at the moment) bunch.” Dear Pluralist, yes I agree.. I think that Liberals will never be happy until they create a pure church – free from ‘enemies’ who are less liberal than themselves! If you want to consolidate the liberal clutch on power in the CofE you will have to find a way to slice off conservatives layer at a time. Which is why I totally support the continued inclusion of Reform, FiF etc (who are actually more conservatve than me!). Or you could be honest and just split… Read more »

mynsterpreost
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mynsterpreost

Dave, to use an old English expression, that’s a load of cobblers. ‘Conforms to your true ideals…etc’. As one who (for some on this list) might be seen as a liberal, I spent a large dollop of Saturday interviewing prospective ordinands. One was a staunch evangelical, worshipped at a ‘Reform’ church and according to your hypothesis I should block his progress to ordination to hasten the theologico-ethnic cleansing of ecclesia anglicana. In point of fact, even though he and I are poles apart, I will be pushing hard for his recommendation. I suppose that he can’t be a real evangelical… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Dear Mynsterpreost, you might want to re-read Pluralist’s posting – which is what I was replying to. He and Merseymike were agreeing that “its about time liberals recognised conservative evangelicals are the enemy” and saying that it is probably a necessary evil to keep less conservative evangicals in the CofE – presumably on political grounds, to ensure that those thrust out are unlikely to form a serious alternative church.. If you really disagree with them you should be rebuking them – not just attacking me. Otherwise you sound as if you are just trying to keep me quiet, while quietly… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Dear kieran crichton I certainly don’t think that the Bible trumps statements made within it – but those statements have to be interpreted in the light of the whole teaching of the Bible – you can’t just make them mean anything you want. The truth of CHRISTianity was revealed 2000 years ago in the incarnation and work of Jesus Christ. Our experience is at best partial! I don’t think that people cannot be followers of Christ just because they have “gay” sexualites AS SUCH – and I do listen to what everyone says – but authority for our beliefs, morals,… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Dear Dave, The phrase “Scripture, Tradition and Reason” is often heard in these squabbles as coming from Dr Hooker. I only just found out (on the HOB list) that this – as most everything these days coming out of American political antagonism, it seems – is a lie. Dr Hooker says Scripture, Reason and the Voice of the Church. Moreover, Scripture is either plural or singular (the Scripture) as it comes, and the Voice of the Church is not immutable, as per late Modern American Heterosexism, but mutatis mutandi; present and future, both to be established with Reason – which… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Dear Göran, You need look no further that the first line of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Council’s response to UK Governments Consultation Document on Civil Partnerships (which turned out to be gay marriage) to see a better rendering of the Anglican approach – that we usually summarise as “Scripture, Tradition and Reason”

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/info/papers/civilpartnership.doc

Can’t get more authoritative than that in the Anglican world!

NP
Guest
NP

Goran – the “voice of the church” is saying that Lambeth 1.10 is the “standard of teaching” as the ABC puts it repeatedly

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Lord Druid of Wobbley more “authoritative” than Dr Hooker?

Really, Dave!