Thinking Anglicans

Peter Selby on the Covenant

Bishop Peter Selby spoke at the Inclusive Church residential conference this week.

There is a press release from Inclusive Church reproduced below the fold.

The full text of his lecture is available here: When the Word on the Street is Resist.

The Church Times has a news report (on the website only) see Covenant would not be Anglican, says Selby.

Bishop Peter Selby – We need the Archbishop’s gifts in the sexuality debate

Speaking to the Inclusive Church residential conference “Word on the Street – reading the Bible inclusively”, Bishop Peter Selby this week called on members of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion to continue in conversation about the divisive issue of homosexuality. He warned against creating a ‘two-track communion” where those who disagree with the official position on this one issue are excluded from decision-making and from ecumenical dialogue.

The conference also heard lectures from biblical scholars Dr Richard Burridge, Dr Andrew Mein and Dr Paula Gooder who each spoke on aspects of inclusion in the Bible.

Bishop Selby said: “Our main concern has to be that what is being proposed is no way to discern the truth about the matters in dispute, and we must be sure to make that point clear at every opportunity.”

Speaking about the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he said: “The Archbishop has removed himself from his natural area of thought in the matter of sexuality, that is his remarkable capacity to bring a godly wisdom to bear on secular developments, a gift we need more than any other in attempting to work out how to assess current developments in human attitudes and behaviour in matters sexual. Instead the issues that surround sexuality are now treated by him only as ecclesiastical problems, to be resolved as such.”

In a detailed analysis of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent Reflections on the US General Convention, Communion, Covenant, and our Anglican Future, he showed how the Anglican Covenant as currently proposed would send unintended messages of exclusion.

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“If homophobia is contrary to the intentions of those advocating the traditionalist cause, it has been allowed to provide a good deal of the fuel for the debate, and the Archbishop’s personal opposition to homophobia does not exempt him from complicity in the way that energy is being used – Bishop Peter Selby, to ‘Word on the Street’ – This really does describe the anguish of those of us who support the advocacy of the LGBT Community and their ministry in the Church – that the ABC, despite his own personal convictions, continues to allow for homophobes to dictate the… Read more »

Pluralist
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It is a consistent argument and at last directed where it should be directed: at the Archbishop who seems to have both hands gripping the steering wheel set against bishops in office who will say nothing. I think it is such a consistent argument and so well directed that it is an exocet against this Covenant.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/10/exocet-at-last.html

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Who will they send to Uppsala for the consecration due in 5 weeks?

Fr Mark
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What Bishop Peter says sounds very good. But why is it that only retired bishops can openly speak any sense on this issue?

Tobias Haller
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I do not read Bishop Selby’s comments as directed against the proposed Covenant per se, but rather at Archbishop Rowan’s post-GC “Reflections” and the “spin” from the ACI+Wright. Of course, in our day spin has come to be the dominating force: beginning with the spinning of Lambeth 1.10 into “the teaching of the Communion.” It seems to me the caution here is that should a Covenant be adopted it might find itself spun in similar ways, and used as a sifter rather than a container — a means to separate rather than to unite.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

I read Selby as finally having the courage to name the elephant in our global Anglican rooms, rather deftly and accurately. What piles of unnamed elephant dung lie all around us these days, with everybody thinking, I’d better watch just exactly where I step here? Less and less that is supposed to be quintessentially Anglican these days happens to pass a common sense, real world Anglican believer smell test? The queer folks RW and others are so oddly doubtful of, we already know up close and personal – our extended family members, our average to excellently competent coworkers, our school… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I would give this some credit if the author were still drawing a salary rather than a pension.

Pluralist
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“I would give this some credit if the author were still drawing a salary rather than a pension.”

That was my point too, but Jonathan Hagger/ Mad Priest jumped all over me at Mark Harris’s blog for being unfair to Peter Selby who spoke up on the gay issue when in office. I would just welcome the fact that he’s made the case, and criticise those who keep silence despite sharing apparently similar opinions.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Yes, Adrian – (as he reminds his listeners) he was better than most in his own limited way, but there is little more ex than a retired bishop – hence the massive media coverage.

That is my point – one and a bit ragged cheer for this man – but if this is the best we can muster, well …..

And it’s not just the bishops – the English academics are inert or perhaps in shock!

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“I would give this some credit if the author were still drawing a salary rather than a pension.’ – Martin Reynolds – So, Martin, you give Bishop Peter Selby absolutely no credit for ‘speaking out’, just because he is a retired bishop? As an Englishman, you must surely be aware of the personal danger attached to any ‘in office’ priest or bishop who dares to speak on behalf of the LGBT community (that already exists within the C.of E.?) You, as a journalist, must surely be aware that to do is tantamount to being either categorised as ‘gay’, or, in… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Ron: “For any priest or bishop – at this point in time – to acknowledge the fact that they are actually homosexual (whether celibate or partnered, in the Church of England) would be like committing professional suicide.” Yes, I think that’s sadly quite true. However, the thing that has really shocked me over the course of this ecclesiastical tragedy running for the last six years or so now is the complete lack of guts of the “nice” straight people in positions of power in the Church. None of them speak out (though they may be privately very supportive of… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I am a Welshman living in Wales and a priest in good standing in that Province. My contact with English bishops (other than those who emigrated from here) was minimal until I was part of the strategy team for LGCM – what I found was shocking. I could not believe their duplicity and willingness to be two faced and tell outright lies or at the very least dissemble with a cheesy grin. I suppose in that company Selby is a giant, but – call me old fashioned – I find it hard to laud a bishop for telling the truth.… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

How very interesting, and how very awful. Makes a real mockery of the C of E’s Back to Church Sunday, doesn’t it? How many people who didn’t come to church that Sunday (or any other) have gay family, friends, co-workers, and don’t like to stand by and see them insulted?

Why would any decent person want to be a part of this organization? I’m rather glad they have decided to break Communion with the North American churches.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“How many people who didn’t come to church that Sunday (or any other) have gay family, friends, co-workers, and don’t like to stand by and see them insulted?” Granted, I’m not in the CofE. But, still, I’m a gay man, I go to a more or less conservative parish. I doubt very much that, even if I wanted to, I coud get married there. “The gay issue” isn’t on anybody’s radar, except so far forth as to wish that it would go away and to be appalled at the behaviour of Don Harvey. Yet, I am not in the least… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Ford, you’ve made a good point. I come back to what Bishop Selby said: “There is no doubt that the decision not to allow the appointment of a gay person as a bishop is seen also as a representative action, giving a message far wider than one about the admissibility of a particular individual. I’ve not seen the point more sharply made than in the comment with which Jan, my wife, opened her letter to the Church Times following the 1987 debate on sexuality, that ‘the outcome of the debate will confirm to those with whom I work – children… Read more »