Sunday, 6 March 2005

English bishops speak up

Update
related news story by Ruth Gledhill Break-away bishops could undermine truce on gays

One of the signatories, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Rev John Packer, said: “This is a strong statement of support for listening to the experience of lesbian and gay Christians.

“Many lesbian and gay Christians, rightly or wrongly, feel that the primates’ statement did not emphasise the need to emphasise them in the same way that the bishops of the Church of England did at our recent General Synod. We wanted to make it clear that we had in no way reneged on that promise. Sometimes I feel that people are saying they want to listen, when in fact they have already made their minds up.”

The following letter appears in Monday’s edition of The Times, signed by the bishops of Salisbury, Chelmsford, Leicester, Ripon & Leeds, St Albans and Truro.

The Church and homosexuality

Sir, We are encouraged by the commitment of the primates of the Anglican Communion to “the underlying reality of our communion in God the Holy Trinity” whilst engaging in dialogue and listening, in relation to the issues which have “obscured” that communion. The communiqué issued at the end of their week-long meeting in Newry (report and leading article, February 26) recommends actions which will allow that dialogue to continue and articulates the deep bonds of affection which continue to unite us.

We do not believe that the different responses of our sister churches to lesbian and gay people are of such significance that we should break the bonds of communion. We welcome the positive steps which will now be taken to engage in dialogue with lesbian and gay people. This call has been repeated by successive Lambeth conferences and we will do all that we can to facilitate that mutual listening throughout the Communion. We assure lesbian and gay Christians of our commitment to the principle of the Lambeth conference that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.

We remain in full sacramental fellowship with all the churches of the Anglican Communion, including those of Canada and the US, and we seek to remain in full communion with all of them. We also clearly state our continuing solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the global south.In a world ravaged by the effects of poverty, war and disease our communion must seek to serve the whole human family.

We assure the Archbishop of Canterbury of our support for him in the ministry with which he has been entrusted and we offer him our love, our fellowship and prayers.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 6 March 2005 at 11:06pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England
Comments

"....recommends actions which will allow that dialogue to continue and articulates the deep bonds of affection which continue to unite us.

We do not believe that the different responses of our sister churches to lesbian and gay people are of such significance that we should break the bonds of communion...."

Sound like warm liberal words, smoothly contradicting the Primate's statement!

Their disagreement with much of the rest of the communion was strong enough that ECUSA was prepared to knowingly "break the bonds of communion"! And I do wonder whether these gentlemen's perceived importance of "our differences" will suddenly become much more stark if the Communion and CofE, after a few years of further consideration/debate, decides to reaffirm that homosexual sexual relationships are sinful - and to call for all Anglicans in such sexual relationships to repentance and discipline.

Stronger words would be uttered, one suspects!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 7 March 2005 at 12:58am GMT

Thank you bishops of Salisbury, Chelmsford, Leicester, Ripon & Leeds, St Albans and Truro for your sane, balanced and compassionate letter.

You are a credit to your Lord and Saviour.

Kath

Posted by: Kath Williamson on Monday, 7 March 2005 at 1:30pm GMT

"Sometimes I feel that people are saying they want to listen, when in fact they have already made their minds up.”

That practice is not confined to one side of the divide. Such a request by the bishop of St. Albans came some time after he had made his mind up.....

Posted by: Robert Leggat on Tuesday, 8 March 2005 at 2:49pm GMT

It seems to me that time and energy would be better spent on both sides of this issue, if we listened to the plain, unambiguous dialogue of God in Scripture, rather than engaging in more "dialoigue", ad nauseuem, about how one "feels" about homosexuality.

God is immutable, and his Word stands as given.

Homosexuals are as welcome to receive the grace, faith, and salvation offered by God through Jesus Christ, as are all others engaged in behaviors which God calls sinful.

Salvation is not a license to sin, but rather an opportunity to be obedient to God and his Word.

Posted by: Fr. Ray Boeche on Tuesday, 8 March 2005 at 5:16pm GMT

God is immutable, and his Word stands as given.

So I guess that the redefinition of usury in the MIddle Ages to mean 'excessive interest' will now be retracted and the faithful can give up their ISA's?

Whether we're neoplatonist or not, the only Word which stands absolute is the one who became incarnate. I was always deeply amused by otherwise orthodox evangelicals who (at Durham mid 70's) emnblazoned on their bibles 'The Word Of God' without bothering to consider any of the many dodgy and untenable assumptions they were making.

Posted by: david rowett on Tuesday, 8 March 2005 at 7:20pm GMT

"sane, balanced and compassionate" - and a disgrace!
We fully support the Archbishop of Canterbury - except that we distance ourselves from the communique.
We are "in full sacramental communion" with those who have broken the world wide communion already.
But we reserve "solidarity" for our (so-called) "brothers and sisters" in the Global South.
Never have I seen a clearer example of speaking with forked tongue.
These Bishops have been very unwise indeed. Ruth Gledhill is right: they have broken the truce in the CofE. Their public pronouncements are deliberately provocative and never let it be said that the conservatives were the ones that were responsible when the CofE disintegrates.

And while we're on the subject, part of the listening process that we are all committed to - as one poster says above listening to other human voices that is, not God's - will of course be listening and respecting the voice of those who have turned away from homosexual sin and committed themselves to celibacy - it will, won't it?

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 8 March 2005 at 7:47pm GMT

Well, Neil, when we listen to those who have turned away from *heterosexual sin*, don't we hear from those who have chosen *either* of the grace-filled options, celibacy . . . or marriage? Why should we not do the same listening to redeemed sinners of homosexual orientation: celibacy, or marriage (i.e. to a partner of the same sex, as God has divinely so ordered them)?

We will listen to married homosexuals, won't we? (By God's grace, there are more and more every day!)

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Wednesday, 9 March 2005 at 6:30am GMT

There is no doubt that what is intended is that we listen to those who are in homosexual partnerships, yes. I think associating the Bible's grace word with them however is disingenuous.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 9 March 2005 at 9:44am GMT

JCF wrote; "Well, Neil, when we listen to those who have turned away from *heterosexual sin*, don't we hear from those who have chosen *either* of the grace-filled options, celibacy . . . or marriage? Why should we not do the same listening to redeemed sinners of homosexual orientation: celibacy, or marriage"

JCF, Just because I think that all homosexual sexual relationships are sinful - because men should not have sex with men - doesn't mean I don't want to listen to people who are living like that !

After all I am a sinner as much as you, or they, are !!

Dave.

ps I recently heard that some trainee Anglican priests were thrown off an ordination course... for having a heterosexual sexual relationship (adulterous I presume). I didn't think that Theol Colls had it in 'em !!

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 9 March 2005 at 6:59pm GMT

I just don't understand this double standard. Really, I don't.

Either Christian marriage---where two ask God to make them one---is a means of grace, or it isn't. What goes on in the bedroom (w/ what bodily plumbing) is irrelevant.

And as fine a bishop as I believe +Gene Robinson is/will be, I really wish the first bishop of (out) homosexual orientation had been female. The Pavlov's Dog-type association of "homosexual" and "men having sex with men {shudder!}" MUST be broken. When one meets a heterosexual (any heterosexual: man, woman OR couple) does one normally *first* think of their *sexual practices*? And yet, one CANNOT say the word "homosexual" or "gay" without somebody chiming in "men having sex w/ men!" (or even start graphically describing *one form* of it). WHAT IS IT w/ this bizarre obsession?

I swear, it's enough to make me wanna start describing sex between women, just to give us one other mental picture to consider!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 12 March 2005 at 3:02am GMT
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