Thinking Anglicans

more news from Alexandria

Last updated 13.00 GMT Thursday

Earlier reports on the primates meeting are here, and then here.

Riazat Butt for the Guardian has a report on the Zimbabwe statement, Archbishop seeks envoy to tackle Mugabe.

Matthew Davies at ENS has Primates express ‘horror’ at Zimbabwe crisis. (Scroll down for a report on other topics.)

Ruth Gledhill has also reported on it both for Times Online, see Archbishops call for Robert Mugabe to resign, and on her blog, see ‘Mugabe must go’ say Anglican archbishops.

George Conger reports for the Living Church that Primates Need Extra Time for Windsor Group Presentation.

…In December, the WCG met at the Diocese of West Texas’s conference center and prepared a final draft of its report to the primates. The report was given to the primates Tuesday, but placed under a media embargo until the close of the conference…

Colin Coward of Changing Attitude has Primates meeting Day 4 – Zimbabwe and also Primates meeting Day 4 – Will the Communion hold?

Brenda Harrison also at Changing Attitude has Primates’ Meeting Day 4 – The mysterious Mr Dobbs. It appears that CANA is represented in Alexandria after all:

Rumour has it that the Primate of Nigeria was detained for two hours by Immigration authorities on arrival in Cairo, and was released only after the intervention of the Dean of Alexandria’s driver. He was then whisked off by car by one Revd Canon Julian Dobbs, who is not accredited to the conference but staying in the Helnan Palestine Hotel. Archbishop Akinola was previously refused entry to Jordan in 2008 for the GAFCON conference which then hastily decamped earlier than planned to Israel…

…Bearing in mind the absence of Chris Sugden et al, apparently on the instructions of the conservative Primates, Mr Dobbs’ presence is of considerable interest. He was appointed in December 2008 by The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) to the position of Canon Missioner…

ACNS now has Primates Press Briefing Tuesday 3rd February 2009 complete with audio recording of the session. Also a loosely-related story, Archbishop of Canterbury in surprise greeting for Adelaide pilgrims.

Paul Feheley Anglican Church of Canada ‘Hasten to prayer’

George Conger Religious Intelligence Anglican Primates call for action on Zimbabwe

Reuters Anglican primates call for Mugabe resignation

ACNS USPG welcomes Primates Meeting Statement on Zimbabwe

Riazat Butt Comment is free More than talk?

Riazat Butt Guardian Archbishop of Sudan calls for New Hampshire bishop Gene Robinson to resign

There were renewed calls yesterday for the resignation of the Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, and of the clergy those who consecrated him.

The demand came from the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Reverend Daniel Deng, who last summer shocked Anglicans by issuing a statement condemning the 2003 decision to consecrate Robinson, a non-celibate gay man, and the US bishops responsible for his appointment…

…Signs of strain are beginning to show. The archbishops of Nigeria and Uganda failed to appear for a group photograph in the hotel grounds, nor did they materialise for a high-profile visit to the prestigious Alexandrian Library.

This is not mentioned in the report from Matthew Davies of ENS Sudanese archbishop appeals to fellow primates for urgent support but see in comments below, where Colin and Riazat discuss what actually happened.

George Conger Living Church Primates Begin Work on Final Communiqué

ACNS has a photo gallery, here.

Colin Coward also has photos, in Primates meeting Day 5 – Biblioteca Alexandrina visit.

ACNS now has Primates Press Briefing 4th February 2009 with link to audio of the event, and a PDF of the Climate Change presentation.

Colin Coward has Primates meeting Day 5 – Sudan, Bangladesh, Global Warming and sex obsession.

ACNS also has Primates Support efforts to improve coordination of Anglican Relief and Development work and Archbishop of Canterbury vists Greek Orthodox Leader in Alexandria.

George Conger Religious Intelligence War is looming in Sudan, warns Archbishop

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The story David Virtue was hunting for was clearly that of a conflict between Archbishops Sentamu and Makgoba. He didn’t seem to have been aware of the extraordinary presence of two holy and thoughtful Anglican leaders from Southern Africa, the courage they show and the tragedy they described. More shocking than that was David’s parting remark as he left the press conference – “I want sex stuff”.- Colin Coward – It would seem that the Virtue-on-line reporter was not impressed by the emotional and heartfelt presentation by the South African Bishops, who related their experience of the evils of the… Read more »

Thomas+
Guest
Thomas+

Dobbs’ presence there is two fold– First, to be CANA’s “ambassador.” He less well known than the usual suspects, and less likely to draw attention or become a point of controversy. It is, in fact, CANA/ACNA in mufti in more than one way!
Second, he is there to report back in real-time to the American leadership… They can’t wait to know what is going on only by reading the blogs, even DV’s !
Well, in fact there is a third point– He is on “vacation” !

Pluralist
Guest

The tactic or strategy of keeping some of the usual known stirrers away is undermined by the reality that there are always more in the queue.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Archbishop Akinola cannot be trusted in public without a handler?

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

I find it fascinating that Primate, Metropolitan, and Archbishop of All Nigeria Peter Akinola has been detained by both the Egyptian and Jordanian authorities. Do they know something we don’t?
I read Virtue Online a few times. I don’t mind a conservative religious point of view, but supreme smugness that “I’m right and you’re wrong, so don’t confuse me with the facts” doesn’t do anyone any good in the cause of imitatio Dei when discussing complex issues.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Surely we all know by now that Akinola is the GAFCON leader most keen on replacing Canada and TEC with the new assembled conservatives only entity in waiting. Orombi has in the past looked to be right in line behind him. But Akinola and Orombi already have large churches, a numerical count of which they hardly ever tire in reminding all the rest of us. So to Duncan, Minns, and others the emotional pressures of needing to get the neocon Anglican count going in USA and Canada must feel more electric and maybe pressing. A convergence of realignment campaigning like… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Mr Dobbs was engaged in deep conversation with David V yesterday at the hotel bar, hastily breaking off when the Primates emerged from their afternoon session to grab ++Peter and hurry him down a corridor. He was later seen pushing a paper into ++Peter’s hand as he went to dinner.” – Brenda Harrison, Report from Alexandria – Yes, Lapinbizarre, it would appear that Akinola is, yet again, acting on orders from his ACNA advisers – among them the almost incognito Julian Dobbs, Canon Missioner for CANA. The fact that Mr Dobbs was granted access to the Nigerian Primatial Archbishop immediately… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

There are photos of today on Virtue’s site. Another group photo – with +KJS and minus some of the GAFCONistas (although not +Venables). Looks like a trip to the Alexandrian Library too, and unless they were hiding it looks like said primates boycotted that too. Avoid being photographed fraternising publicly with TEC at all costs it appears! 🙂

Brenda Harrison
Guest
Brenda Harrison

I wouldn’t want to jump to the conclusion that Mr Dobbs is here by invitation of ++Peter, or that he is briefing him. There is no sign of the disrutive behaviour that was apparent at Dar-es-Salaam, where the conservatives were not only resourcing ++Peter and others, but were also trying to influence ++Rowan and the direction of the Primates’ meeting. ++Peter is his own man and he has a strongly independant mind; Dobbs is not his handler. David Virtue is cosying up to some African bishops and to Mr Dobbs. It may well be that Mr Dobbs is here at… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

MJ I think those photos are on the ACNS site, to which I have just added a link above.

Colin Coward
Guest

I don’t think Riazat is quite fair when she says there were renewed calls or a demand for the resignation of Gene Robinson from the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Reverend Daniel Deng. Daniel Deng had talked at length about the situation in Sudan, the reason he was present at the press briefing. It was David Virtue who, out of the blue, asked a question not about the situation in Sudan the Archbishop was there to focus on, but about the statement made by the Archbishop in the course of the Lambeth Conference in July. Pushed by David, the Archbishop… Read more »

riazat butt
Guest
riazat butt

@Colin Coward – you’re right it was peripheral and what Deng should have done is sidestepped DV’s question and said: I am here to talk about the crisis in Sudan. That would have been a legitimate answer and highlighted how life and death issues were occupying the Anglican primates, it would have also been a way to show that there is great solidarity among the primates on many issues. It amazes me that nobody has pointed it out to these people that they can dictate what the press are writing and by going off message you lose control of the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“There were renewed calls yesterday for the resignation of the Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, and of the clergy those who consecrated him. “The demand came from the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Reverend Daniel Deng, who last summer shocked Anglicans by issuing a statement condemning the 2003 decision to consecrate Robinson, a non-celibate gay man, and the US bishops responsible for his appointment. – Riazat Butt -Alexandria Despite the moving pleas of the Archbishop of Sudan for support for his needy Province, in a time of dire distress; this prelate still has time… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

After reading Colin Coward’s most recent posting, I realise that perhaps Riazat was ‘jumping the gun’ here – in reporting that Abp. Deng made a fresh demand for Bishops Gene’s dethronement. However, David Virtue’s importunate questioning if often the occasion of a re-iteration of some previously uttered remark – in direct response to Virtue’s specific questioning. It is very important for Virtue-on-line to have something derogatory to report – hence the off-key questions
Virtue’s reporting is rarely impartial.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Riazat “It amazes me that nobody has pointed it out to these people that they can dictate what the press are writing “ Are you saying you are not even a little bit responsible for what messages you choose to report and, more to the point, how you choose the report them? This has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative. A statement that the resignation of Bishop Robinson was demanded by Sudan would make me, an ordinary Guardian reader, believe that this had been a point on the agenda of the Sudanese Archbishop, something he really wanted to… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Erika:

Exactly…”when questioned” is precisely the form the report should have taken. By not making it clear that the renewed call for resignation came as an answer to a question from a particular person–and one with a history regarding this issue–Riazat failed in her journalistic duty to report all the circumstances.

Imagine if President Obama, in the midst of a press conference relating to the Middle East, were asked about abortion. Would it be right for the lead of the story to be “President Obama today renewed his support for abortion rights….”?

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Exactly…”when questioned” is precisely the form the report should have taken”

And this incident makes me wonder how many of the news stories focused on various primates’ disapproval of +Gene, with inflammatory quotations, were in fact the result of provocative questions from such as Virtue. I find much of what Virtue writes to be unhealthily preoccupied with gay sex – not orientation, but sex. So I discount 99% of it.

john
Guest
john

I’m greatly enjoying Colin Coward’s bloggings.

Can’t help feeling either that our Anglican lot are currently showing quite a bit better than the Pope’s lot.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“they can dictate what the press are writing and by going off message you lose control of the story.” But what about the media’s responsibility to report the truth accurately? It isn’t fair to make you answerable for the sins of the media, and I’m bringing this up to show how you may have possibly bought into a particular concept without even realizing it. ABp. Deng was there to focus on the situation in Sudan, and was blindsided by a question from David Venom. Yet you give no indication of that. One clause indicates he was responding to a question,… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But it really is about time that the church started to get a bit more canny when it comes to the press. You can’t blame Riazat – something was said, she reported it

And, frankly, if it is his view, the he is a homophobe – stop making excuses and blaming pothers. This is the church or at least people within it making these comments not the press

riazat butt
Guest
riazat butt

I’m sorry but isn’t there something in Christianity about judging not lest ye be judged? @Father Ron Smith – your first point was my point exactly not sure about your second point when ++ goes on the record to say that the issues need to be resolved and brought to an end. @Erika/Pat/Cynthia – here is the *whole* copy that appeared on the Guardian website – which TA failed to paste – there was a link to the story but you clearly didn’t follow it otherwise you would have known that he was responding to a question. Archbishop of Sudan… Read more »

riazat butt
Guest
riazat butt

Erika/Cynthia/Pat et al – why don’t you read the whole story and not just the three paragraphs reproduced here? I would cut and paste it but there is a 400 word limit. There is a link to it – all you need to do is click – go on, you might be pleasantly surprised although your disapproval is so intense right now it would take a miracle for you to think better of me. Anyway you’ve made your mind up already so I shall say goodbye to TA – remind me not to get involved again

Robert Ian williams
Guest
Robert Ian williams

The best Kept secret…the primate of Sudan will never be asked to join the GAFCON club beause his province has voted for women bishops…and women bishops are off the FCA agenda

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

If Erika, Pat and Cynthia and others really didn’t read the whole of Riazat’s report before commenting on it then I shall be extremely disappointed. My normal practice is to only quote small amounts of newspaper reports, in order to entice TA readers to read the whole article. (This is partly so as not to deprive the newspaper websites of their readers and hence their advertising revenue.)

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Riazat,
I did read the story but clearly not carefully enough.
I apologise unreservedly.

Simon,
I clearly should have read the story more carefully. But maybe you should have quoted a little more sensitively too?
We don’t always have the time to read every link. I do try to do so when I comment on it, but very often I simply scan what you post and take it to be a more or less faithful representation of a report.

riazat butt
Guest
riazat butt

I will go home eventually – I am still in terminal two, three hours after my flight landed because I need to charge my phone. @FordElms – the references to control and spin could well refer to the efforts of the organisers – here in alex and lambeth – who tried to exercise control by restricting access to people and ensuring certain subjects were never broached (such as the WCG report). You are sorely mistaken if you think it is not the job of a press office to distort, spin or control. That is exactly what they are paid to… Read more »

john
Guest
john

Riazat,

We are liberal Anglicans. We scrap. We criticise. We remain in fellowship. We have no desire to convert you to Christianity. We are entirely in favour of Islam, as a legitimate alternative voice. I personally greatly enjoy your spunky columns. Stay with us.

John.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Riazat, I have previously described you here (TA) as an outstanding religion reporter. Your ill-tempered defensiveness is truly disappointing. What Colin Coward (and others) pointed out, isn’t a “100% liberal line”, but simply FAIR: that the Sudanese Archbishop was prompted to speak of +Gene Robinson, from a single question by a known activist (D Virtue)—and should have been reported as such, from Line 1 of (anyone’s) coverage of the press conference. [If you wish to become Archbishop Deng’s press secretary, instructing him HOW to respond to non-sequitur questions, is quite a different matter!] JC Fisher (who read your article, in… Read more »

susan hedges
Guest
susan hedges

Well, I read it. And I listened to the press conference. To lead with that headline and statement is provocative. But you must get people to read, right? Shame on you, Ms. Butt.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Anyway you’ve made your mind up already so I shall say goodbye to TA – remind me not to get involved again I did go back once the context was made clear. My criticism was not the story, but Mr. Virtue’s determiination to drag the gay issue inappropriately into any story he is supposedly ‘covering’ for his blog [which I guess accounts for his credentialing as a journalist?]. My speculation was about how many other times his obssesions resulted in similar off topic questions of people whose real concerns were quite different. You are a real journalist and I’m sorry… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

I think the real blame for this whole matter of reporting what the Archbishop of the Sudan said – in answer to a direct and provocative question from ‘Virtue-on-line’, lies, not with Riazat Butt, but rather with that well-known agent- provocateur, David Virtue. Interestingly, if the fact that the Archbishop’s remarks were made in response to Virtue’s opportunist questioning of the Abp. (quite out of context with the matters being brought to the Conference by him) had been more clearly obvious to readers of the article, then perhaps none of us may have jumped to the wrong conclusion – that… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Riazat:

I did read the whole thing…and the problem, as I see it (and I was a working journalist at one time), is that your lead doesn’t make the circumstances of the renewed demand clear. Indeed, the fact that it came in answer to a question isn’t mentioned until the third paragraph…and the identity (and ecclesiastic politics) of the asker are never made known at all. To me, the news would have been that a provocateur, posing as a reporter, tried to hijack the news conference.

Colin Coward
Guest

Riazat, your presence in Alexandria was wonderful and the taxi drive to and meal at the fish restaurant unforgettable. I think your reporting of the Primates meeting has been good. The circumstances were better than Dar es Salaam were better, but still not ideal. Primates had been told they didn’t need to talk to the press, and mostly they didn’t. David Virtue has his own network of Primates and so do I, and each of us enjoyed private and confidential conversations, which were not so easily available to Riazat. David Virtue asked a provocative question about homosexuality at every press… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“What I have become increasingly aware of and alarmed by is the level of vitriol I attract – from liberals mostly – who don’t agree with my reporting because I have not incorporated their views to an extent they are happy with.” I am not upset that you didn’t incorporate my views, since “my views” aren’t all that liberal. My comments are on your participation, perhaps unconsciously, in a media culture that is more and more abandoning principles of accuracy and truth in reporting in favour of the far more salable scandal and sensationalism. Why is it necessary to have… Read more »