Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Inclusive Church and LGCM press releases

Inclusive Church Press Release
Wednesday 22nd June 2005

Inclusive Church welcomes the reinstatement of the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada within the bodies of the Anglican Communion.

The grassroots network of Anglican Christians and various church interest groups and bodies regrets that the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham today was not able to include the North American churches unconditionally. However, that the vote taken failed to achieve a clear majority is an affirmation of the diversity of the communion and a powerful reminder of our identity as Anglicans. Now, we can move forward to the listening process called for by the 1998 Lambeth Conference and begun at the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Revd Giles Goddard, Executive Secretary of Inclusive Church said: “The landscape has changed. The Church is not polarised in the way people have assumed. The simplistic characterisation of the Global South and the West has been shown to be false. Inclusive Church looks forward to building on these creative dialogues formally and informally to combat the many forms of exclusion within and beyond our Church.”

LGCM - see below the fold.

Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement - Media Release - 22nd June 2005

The meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council being held in Nottingham was pressed to discipline the American and Canadian Anglican Provinces following a surprise resolution laid on the table at the beginning of the gathering this week.

The motion passed in a much reduced form with 30 votes for and 28 against with 4 registered abstentions. The meeting was closed to outsiders and the ballot was secret.

Speaking from Nottingham the General Secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Revd Richard Kirker said today:

“This is a very significant vote. The narrowness of its success and the fact the Americans and Canadians decided not to attend as voting delegations shows the Communion does not have the heart for the agenda inspired by American conservatives and led by the Archbishop of Nigeria.

“My hope is that they will stand back now and rethink. They may have forced this humiliation on their American and Canadian sister churches, but they can now see that they have not won the hearts of most Anglican Provinces.

“We had been led to believe that the views of the conservatives were practically universal, that is patently not the case. After the presentations from Canada and America justifying their positive stance towards homosexuals, I talked to three delegates from Asia, Africa and South America, each said they had changed their view
and were reconsidering their position.

“There has been far too little open debate outside North America and Europe - hearts can still be changed.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:35pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: InclusiveChurch
Comments

Do these folks inhabit the same universe with the rest of us? There seems to be a very serious disconnect with the facts here--or, perhaps this is just an example of that most political of virtues--the ability to "spin" the facts to suit the needs of the moment.

Posted by: Steven on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 12:28am BST

Wow, talk about denial. Yes, we lost the vote and the primates communique was affirmed in every detail...but because the vote was so close, we have been reinstated?????

These guys are desperate.

Posted by: Matt Kennedy+ on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 12:47am BST

I am a thinking anglican (two graduate degrees) and I think you need to repent and return to the Lord, for the sake of your own soul to say nothing of the souls of those you claim to minister to.

Posted by: Gerald Hastings on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 4:06am BST

What a hoot! Can you imagine what their press release would have said if the vote had been ever so slightly the other way, and they had really (but barely) been reinstated? This is way, way beyond spin.

Posted by: DGus on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 4:23am BST

This press release reminds me of George Bernard Shaw's comment "England and America are two countries divided by a common language." There is no other explanation for IC/LGCM to have reached their cheery conclusion based on the lambasting E"c"USA has foisted upon itself, as evidenced by the day's events.

Posted by: Andy on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 5:35am BST

Well, at last this sounds like the faintest inklings of sanity.

"To Set Our Hope on CHRIST": that's what ECUSA does (and, come what may, will continue to do). Shall I continue to hope that millions of other Anglicans---all around the world---will join us in this?

"Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 5:39am BST

OK - run the first line of the Inclusive Church statement by me again.

"Reinstatement"? Perleeeez....

Come on Inclusive Church. Read Ruth Gledhill or listen to Piggott (BBC) this morning. They understand what happened yesterday.

Posted by: Peter O on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 8:51am BST

The only thing I can figure out is that the Inclusive church read the quite badly reported AP report by Jill Lawless, entitled, "Conservative Anglicans fail in bid to censure North American churches over gay issue" posted on this site and published in the Globe and Mail. This article misunderstands clauses 4 and 5 to mean that the N. Americans are excluded from only the finance and standing committees (when actually clause 5 simply says that the voluntary withdrawal from the ACC stipulated in clause 4 is to INCLUDE the standing and finance committees as well as the general administrative council). Reading this false report, the Inclusive church believes that the N. Americans have not been asked to leave the general administrative council only two committees and that they have thereby been "reinstated." See what mischeif one bad report can do.

Posted by: Matt Kennedy+ on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 11:15am BST

Why is it that conservatives never seem to need a two thirds majority on important matters? Do remember that the *overwhelming* vote in favour of the ordination of women as priests in England in 1992 is still often described as a 'narrow' victory because the 2/3rds majority was just attained in one house of synod, the other two having passed it with even greater majorities. Nonetheless opposition to women priests is no bar to ordination in the Church of England. Clearly in Anglicanism, the maths are never straight forward.

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 11:31am BST

I quite like the view of this coming from some quarters which reminds us of how the Windsor Report set a new standard for Anglicans - "What touches all should be decided by all".
In part this also covers my serious concern over the decision to significantly change the structure of the ACC by the admission of the Primates at a time when two Provinces were not in a position to cast a vote
This matter is of such consideable structural significance that it should have been postponed to a later date.
I am one who believes the current disaster owes much to the poor performance of the Primatial Group, it is not a time for them to be grasping at more influence.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 12:08pm BST

It was a narrow victory even though it was an overwhelming majority since victory is surely relative to the amount needed to win. Since it was only just over the amount needed to win in one house of synod, it was a narrow victory since if it had not been over 2/3rds, the whole vote would have been lost.

I am wholly in favour of the ordination of women, but there is no point pretending that the vote was not narrowly won, demonstrating the depth of opposition in some quarters, even though the majority of the CofE wanted it.

More importantly, let's get this in perspective (conservative and not-so-conservative): this vote is just reaffirming what the primates already said. It is not a huge victory for the conservatives or a huge defeat for the North Americans (or even a huge victory for Inclusive Church, as their bizarre press release suggests). What is far more concerning is the co-option of the Primates; I would very much like to see the voting figures on that one.

Posted by: Sean on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 12:28pm BST

The two resolutions are actually very good news for lesbian and gay men in the Global South, and in particular for this former Anglican.

Twice we have written to provincial officials (South East Asia) to dialogue with lesbian and gay people. West Malaysia returned the courtesy of a private conversation. Singapore ignored us completely.

The polarisation of the issue makes it difficult for decent conversation to happen without any event being manipulated for political ends.

Listening is a good way to start, if we go beyond talking about listening! It was called for since the last Lambeth Conference and nothing happened. Any mechanism that invites conversation is good.

Of course ex-gay (and other queer folks) should be listened to. They form a very small minority among the non-heterosexual sexualities spectrum and are badly represented.

Free Community Church (http://www.freecomchurch.org/ )in Singapore dialogued with ex-gay men and our experience is that when you empower them to speak their authentic personal voices, they defy the caricatures we make for them.

Posted by: Tuck on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 12:30pm BST

I had to read that first sentence several times. The only way that a "plain-sense" reading can make any sense of it is that it is a wish--not yet come to fruition--expressed as a statement. All in all, a poor choice of words, I'm afraid. It either looks potentally misleading or clueless.

Posted by: Derek on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 1:14pm BST

How strange to see ECUSA taking an interest in democracy! It not only ordained women without the consent of the Anglican Communion, or even of the majority of its own dioceses, but illegally - according to its own canon law, which has become rather precious of late to bishops seeking to depose and dispossess the surviving orthodox Anglicans in their midst.

Now that we have seen the gay issue being sorted out, it is time to turn some attention to the other unilateral actions of ECUSA and Canada - the purported consecration of women as bishops.

Posted by: vscoles on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 1:18pm BST

Matt said, "The only thing I can figure out is that the Inclusive church read the quite badly reported AP report by Jill Lawless, entitled, "Conservative Anglicans fail in bid to censure North American churches over gay issue" posted on this site and published in the Globe and Mail. This article misunderstands clauses 4 and 5 to mean that the N. Americans are excluded from only the finance and standing committees (when actually clause 5 simply says that the voluntary withdrawal from the ACC stipulated in clause 4 is to INCLUDE the standing and finance committees as well as the general administrative council)"

The fact remains that the Akinola faction, which had been pretty successful in convincing world media that the US and Canada stand completely alone in the Anglican Communion and that the rest of the world was eager for the opportunity to kick them out, only barely mustered a plurality to pass a resolution that was less severe than the one they proposed. And they did this with the 6 US and Canada votes sidelined.

Of course the Inclusive Church press release was spinning it their way, but I don't think you would have gotten a clearer picture of what really happened if all you read was Bob Duncan's statement yesterday, either.

And of course the vote isn't really good news for the Episcopal and Anglican (Canada) churches, either. But it does restore some balance to the picture. As a mainstream Episcopalian myself (that is, one who acknowledges and can live with the decisions made by the canonically mandated discernment processes of my church), I feel rather better this morning about our standing in the Communion than I did yesterday morning.

Posted by: Mark on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 1:48pm BST

The divide is bigger than I realized.This spin is just incredible

Posted by: tessa on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 2:00pm BST

Is this especially a characteristic of 'conservatives', Judith?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 2:46pm BST

Well, I agree that this press release is a bit more than spin. Perhaps we could call it “playing twister.”

;o)

But I do think that this outcome is a positive one for North America. Akinola and company proposed a resolution that would have asked the ECUSA and Canada to withdraw from all instruments of unity. Apparently, it was soundly defeated. What did pass was a request to continue to withdraw from the ACC including the two sub-committees. This is not a big deal because they may not have been on those committees anyway and the ACC will not meet again until after Lambeth 2008. Even this minor “punishment” barely passed. It affirmed the traditional teaching on sexuality, but no one expected that to change at this ACC. The resolution to continue the listing process was passed unanimously. Why would they pass it unanimously if the issues over sexuality were said and done in their minds?

So, I don’t think we should break out the champagne just yet, but perhaps we can breath a sigh of relief. It was a positive outcome for North America and for progressive minded Anglicans in other parts of the world.

By the way, this is a wonderful site! It’s very nice to meet you all.

Wade Bond, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Posted by: Wade Bond on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 3:05pm BST

Ummm...as a moderate Anglican deeply saddened by the decision to exclude ECUSA and Canada even more from the Communion -- I'm confused by the LSD inspired spin on this press release. Here's my question: who wrote this, and what drugs is he on?

Posted by: Greg Jones on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 3:09pm BST

From a liberal perspective, I thought the spin was rather daft too.

Tha main problem, though, is that so many people are basically desperate to hold things together at all costs. So, what should be an opportunity - a new statrt, a progressive liberal Anglican denomination without the evil doctrine of Akinola and the premodern fundamentalists - ends up being a threat, and all sorts of guff about unity and listening takes pride of place.

As I am a tough rather than a wet liberal, I find it all quite frustrating.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 3:26pm BST

I refuse to believe that homosexual, transsexual and bi-sexual Christians as well as heretical revisionists are, by their very being, any more brilliant or more stupid then the rest of us. How the ...., can they have chosen the fools behind this press release to represent them!!??

Posted by: Antony on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 3:59pm BST

What is going to happen now to our people in England? Are they going to be persecuted by the fundamentalists or will Inclusive Church stand up for them?

Posted by: Tom Cranley on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 4:07pm BST

"The motion passed in a much reduced form" !!!

Indeed? According to Simon's report four of the five clauses were passed completely untouched, and the fifth was amended in order to make it explicit and more clear which committees were included under the rather vague heading of "entities".

If that is much reduced, friends at LGCM, then I'm a shadow of my former self.

Posted by: John Simmons on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 4:47pm BST

Rev Nduka is worried about the ECUSA forcing ourselves on *others* like rejected lovers when in fact, +Uganda and those same *others* are gang raping/violating some of OUR Dioceses in the U.S. as we speak!


Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 8:29pm BST

Much could be quickly decided if a professional poll were done of the people in the ECUSA pews as to whether they are for or against the ordination of female priests,the ordination of homosexual priests, the blessing of same sex unions, and the consecration of practicing homosexual bishops. Sadly, this will never get done as the controlling liberal faction is terrified of the poll resulting answer.

Posted by: R. Parrish on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 10:26pm BST

"Sadly, this will never get done as the controlling liberal faction is terrified of the poll resulting answer." R. Parrish

This comment is absurd, feardriven and factless.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 11:55pm BST

"in fact, +Uganda and those same *others* are gang raping/violating some of OUR Dioceses in the U.S. as we speak!" - Leonardo Ricardo

Ah, yes, the much vaunted, nuanced, tolerant love of our liberal brothers on display once more.

Posted by: Matthew on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 12:37am BST

The original ACC resolution was amended for one simple reason; they do not have the authority to tell the North Americans that they are banned from all positions of leadership within the Communion. They can only address membership within the ACC, and its committees, which they did.

Resolutions from Lambeth, the Primates, or the ACC, and statements from Canterbury, have the authority of recommendations for TEC. The only binding resolutions come from General Convention. This is how it has been from the beginning of TEC. I doubt if it will change, regardless of how many purple shirts from foreign parts want it to.

The closeness of this vote should put to rest once and for all the claim that the whole communion is against the North Americans. That is good news indeed.

The sad new is the Primates being added to the only instrument of unity to include laity, priests and deacons. The Primates will call the shots now. For all intents and purposes, the ACC has ceased to exist, other than a sub-committee of the Primates' meeting. Their grab for control has been successful. The laity now have no voice in the future of the Communion.

Posted by: Jake on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 3:13am BST

For what it's worth in this context, the ACC has never been a democratically-elected body. How do people come to be appointed? In many cases because they support the ECUSA line.

How many people from the global south have ever held senior office at the ACC?

It's all too much like a client regime of an American agency - funded and staffed by ECUSA as a means of propagating its warped gospel around the Anglican Communion.

As of this week, all that is now at an end, and the future lies with majority Anglicanism.

Posted by: vscoles on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 10:03am BST

"The sad new is the Primates being added to the only instrument of unity to include laity, priests and deacons. The Primates will call the shots now. For all intents and purposes, the ACC has ceased to exist, other than a sub-committee of the Primates' meeting. Their grab for control has been successful. The laity now have no voice in the future of the Communion."

Apparently it would seem that the move to include the Primates came from John Paterson et al (see his speech earlier in the week where he called for a greater involvement of primates in the ACC etc).

Nevertheless, I am a little perplexed at your frustration that the Primates will be calling the shots. Do you want to be in an *episcopal* church or not? That means that people with silly purple shirts will by definition call the shots.

Posted by: Sean on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 10:25am BST

I agree with you Sean, there are plenty of Presbyterian ("liberal") groups that Jake can join if he has misunderstood one of the fundamental identities of Anglicanism.

Posted by: Antony on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 2:46pm BST

I asked this question at the end of another posting, the one on the vote to include the Primates as "ex officio" members of the ACC. I've had no reply.

In my experience of bodies with ex officio members, they have seat and voice but no vote. Is this the case with the primates as ex officio members of the ACC? There was a concern voiced in one comment that for those provinces which have only one ACC member the primate would now be that member, eliminating all hope of there being lay membership from those provinces. If indeed ex officio means seat and voice with no vote, can an ex officio member replace a voting member?

And, finally, with regard to "episcopal" meaning that men and women in funny purple shirts get to call the shots, the Episcopal Church in the USA, when it was set up after our Revolution against England, almost didn't happen, for the very reason that many former Church of England U.S. Americans had an aversion to the "prince of the church" rulership of bishops and didn't want bishops at all. That's why we set up our bicameral government, so that no single order - lay, deacon, priest, or bishop - could call all the shots.

It may be that we of ECUSA are among the few provinces that do not view our bishops as absolute rulers who can call all the shots. We're not likely to give up that aspect of our church government any time soon - or late for that matter.

I remain, yours faithfully in Christ Jesus,
the Reverend Lois Keen, St. Martin's, Boothwyn, PA

Posted by: Rev. Lois Keen on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 3:00pm BST

Lois Keen asks about ex officio members. My experience here in England is the opposite of hers: ex officio members are full members with seat, voice and vote. This is certainly true of our synods and parochial church councils.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 3:22pm BST

Remember this one? "Committees meet for hours and hours, to write minutes"
Long live the local church!
;-)

Posted by: Tony Somervell on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 4:06pm BST

Lois Keen has a somewhat curious notion of the early history of PECUSA. The Church of England's first mission there was in the 17th century, and it was well established, with many parishes, and a leading role in many aspects of public life by the time of American independence. Long and anguished efforts were made to obtain bishops for these colonies, but the English government, for various reasons, refused to allow the Church of England to consecrate anyone. There was a great deal of fear that once the Church in America had its own bishops, it would pass out of the control of the Crown, and perhaps even oppose the Crown, as had happened in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The system of government inherited by ECUSA came along with the source of its episcopal orders: the same Scottish Episcopal Church, which consecrated Samuel Seabury.

Posted by: vcoles on Friday, 24 June 2005 at 7:02pm BST

Some years ago, members of the house of bishops were asked, "Where do you get your authority?" The majority responded, "From the people."

If we are to be the Body of Christ, we listen to one another; we recognize that each of us may offer the word of God, not just those wearing purple. Thank God most ECUSA bishops understand this. Apparently, this is not thecase in other places.

Of course we are persons "under authority." The bishop's judgement is the last word. But, at the same time, to exclude the other orders means that necessary perspectives will be missing, resulting in poor judgements.

Unless the bishop is also a pastor, and listens to the people, he is at best nothing more than a figurehead functioning as a sacramental machine, and at worst an egomaniac.

Posted by: Jake on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 4:07am BST

"My experience here in England is the opposite of hers: ex officio members are full members with seat, voice and vote."

Huh? Wha??? (Yanks and Brits, two peoples divided by a common tongue again?)

All I can say is, if (and God willing, *when*) ECUSA and the AngChCanada are back (voting!) on the ACC, the assinine decision to include the over-bearing Primates *better* get re-visited!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 4:39am BST

vcoles,

That is a rather unusual reading of history. Of course there were some (primarily Tories) who wanted bishops. But the majority of Yankees despised the aristocracy, and still do. Call no man Lord. No King, and no Archbishop.

To miss this point is to continue to misunderstand some of the underlying principles that steer the Episcopal Church. We don't appoint; we vote. We're into the democracy thing, you see; giving the people a voice and all of that. The best way to lose the respect of the people is to start acting like a prince, as many bishops and politicians have learned.

How does this distaste for foreign aristocracy work into the current situation? The only authority the Yankees will ever respect is that of General Convention. The Primates can talk until they're blue in the face, but the pompous tone that some have recently adopted only strengthens the resolve of many Episcopalians to ignore them.

Posted by: Jake on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 3:05pm BST

Jake is right, vcoles.

Yes, there were a number of attempts to obtain bishops during the Colonial Period. But the opposition on this end of the pond came from lay people, not aristocrats. Lay people didn't want the Lords Bishops lording it over the people of the parish like they did in England. In that respect, American Episcopalians are quite positively influenced by Congregationalism.

On the other hand, High Churchmen, like Seabury, finally convinced people that bishops should be PART of the picture. And so, we first received the Episcopate from the Scots in 1784,--NOT from the English!

Seabury, by the way, was the first Anglican bishop outside of the UK, so the “Anglican Communion” could be said to have begun with the American Church. Seabury was also first American bishop to wear a miter, and probably the first to wear a chasuble (“smock”), as well.

Posted by: Kurt on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 4:32pm BST

Seabury was also a Tory. The difference being those Anglican clergy who continued to pray for the King during the revolution were identified as Tories, and most of them hightailed it to Canada fearing for their lives. Those Anglican clergy who prayed for the Continental Congress were considered patriots.

The first house of bishops consisted of Samuel Seabury, a Tory, Samuel Provoost, a patriot, and William White. Since Provoost would not speak to Seabury, White spent most of his time trying to mediate a peace between the two of them.

The consecration of Bp. Bass, our fourth bishop, was held up for seven years because of this split in the House of Bishops. Things don't seem to have changed much, except for the size of the House. The bishops are still split over this and that, and often won't talk to one another.

But, talk we must. After all, we can no longer run the traitors off to Canada, as most likely, in today's climate, they don't want them either.

Posted by: Jake on Saturday, 25 June 2005 at 8:01pm BST

Jake, I think you need to understand that the Scottish Church was outlawed and persecuted for many years following the arrival of William on the English throne. It had supported the Jacobite cause and continued to recognise the descendants of the exiled monarchy as lawful monarchs, rather than the protestant usurpers in London.

It was NOT a case of the colonies refusing to have bishops, but the King refusing to permit an independent episcopate and a new province to develop, which would have been the case if the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London were to be replaced by bishops capable of consecrating their own colleagues and successors.

And the delicious irony is that it was the Scottish bishops who finally consecrated Seabury in a private house (rather like some of the Continuing consecrations these days) and sent him to America with instructions to create an episcopacy based on the Scottish model - which he did very effectively.

In some senses therefore PECUSA is itself the first Continuing church - as well as the SECOND province of Anglicans outside England. (Scotland came first!)

And given the status and pay which the modern ECUSA attaches to its remarkably numerous episcopate, one can hardly say that bishops are somehow an unwanted phenomenon in the life of American Anglicanism.

Unless of course GC 2006 decides to dispense with bishops?!

(Might be one way out of a certain little difficulty?)


Posted by: vscoles on Sunday, 26 June 2005 at 1:26am BST
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