Saturday, 24 February 2007

Presiding Bishop on the Tanzania meeting


Episcopal News Service has published an audio recording of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaking to people who work at the Episcopal Church Center in New York last week. You can find it here.

It is a little less than 25 minutes long, but I strongly recommend listening to the whole of it.

There is a detailed ENS news report of this, Presiding Bishop briefs Church Center community on Primates’ Meeting by Mary Frances Schjonberg. This quote has drawn some attention elsewhere:

The “low point” of the Primates’ Meeting came, Jefferts Schori said, when one primate equated homosexuality with pedophilia and another said he couldn’t see why the Anglican Communion should study homosexuality if it doesn’t need to study murder.

The Living Church also has a report, Presiding Bishop Outlines Discernment Process, Schedules Webcast.

Next Wednesday, while the English General Synod is debating Private Members’ Motions, there will be a live webcast featuring the Presiding Bishop, see Presiding Bishop sets live webcast to discuss current issues. The recorded programme will be online for viewing afterwards.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 24 February 2007 at 10:57pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

I was quite heartened to hear ++KJS' vision of the communiqué as an opportunity for evangelization rather than as a threat to TEC. While I am sure that those who insisted on the somewhat draconian conditions of that document saw it only as a way to constrict TEC's freedom, I am just as sure that they never considered that relationships such as those that will exist through the Pastoral Council will allow for two-way communication. Listening to her speak I once again rejoiced that God has given ++KJS to us at this most difficult of times.

Posted by: Nick Finke on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 12:02am GMT


_The “low point” of the Primates’ Meeting came, Jefferts Schori said, when one primate equated homosexuality with pedophilia and another said he couldn’t see why the Anglican Communion should study homosexuality if it doesn’t need to study murder._

Yes, and they are primates. What a disgrace. Did anyone take the minutes?

_She said that a “saving grace” of the primatial vicar proposal is that it would eventually end the incursion of other primates into the Episcopal Church._

No it won't - they are not going. This has been made clear now. They'd only go if TEC became something it is not. If TEC is removed from the communion, they will switch the parked tank engines back on and start firing.

_conversations will be meant for the bishops to hear what is being said among the people of their dioceses_

Any chance of the same in Appointeeland? Or are they here just going to make declarations to journalists and on the radio, or issue statements?

I think Jefferts-Shori is holding the line quite well, especially given the difficulty she is in. She's doing a good job: she might get to be in a communion of diverse views or she might be leading the Church in a missionary direction and perhaps a less wide but important communion. I mean TEC would not abandon people, and it certainly ought not to be abandoned either. Whereas Rowan Williams remains thoughtful, he seems in been compromised to the point of having abandoned any obvious ethical principles except unity (with leaders who equate homosexuality with murder and paedophilia), whereas Jefferts-Schori in being thoughtful and compromised seems to have kept her principles.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 12:51am GMT

PB Schori's remarks addressed to the staff at 815 just opened the door for a rebuttal by Abp. Venables, another Primate who keeps invading TEC's dioceses. To quote him:

"Tragically, in the Presiding Bishop’s remarks to the Church Center community just two days after the close of the meeting she misguidingly argues that there was agreement and understanding among the Primates that blessings of same-sex couples could continue as “pastoral care” as long as there was no official published liturgy for it. That assertion quite scandalously demonstrates the very concern that the Communiqué addresses in identifying this situation.

'There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.'"

Posted by: John Henry on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 3:21am GMT

No request for deposition of Bishop Robinson.

Bishop Jefferts Schori elected to the high counsels of the Communion

No Primate objects to her on grounds of her gender.

No statement that TEC will be expelled for non-compliance.

Breakaway parishes in confusion as to their reaction to a pastoral council.

Legal cases continuing in Virginia

If this is a conservative victory, it's a hollow one.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 9:28am GMT

Robert Ian - The strategy is to claim victory. Up the ante. Make it seem like TEC can't comply anyway - so why try. Hope that TEC walks away. If we don't - their goose is cooked and they know it.


Posted by: C.B. on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 2:44pm GMT


What's going on is more important than whether this is a "conservative" victory. Two important principles are evolving/developing.

The first is a "Bill of Rights" type limitation on Provincial power: Thou shalt not eliminate the right of believers to worship in accordance with the ancient faith, even if your provincial direction is otherwise. We see this in the recent declarations related to non-acceptance of female leadership by an American Diocese, as well as in the continuing accommodations made for "flying bishops" in England. It can also be seen in the guarantee of a primatial vicar in the TEC for dissenting groups.

The second is the development of a Communion body or bodies empowered to interdict provincial departures that are deemed to be heterodox by the Communion as a whole.

The first merely preserves certain rights, is relatively limited in scope, and seems intended to reach even to situations where reasonable minds might disagree. It does not, for example forbid questionable Provincial developments, merely assures that dissenters are not forced to abide by them. The second is more broad reaching, and seems intended for situations where (at least in the opinion of a majority of primates) reasonable minds cannot disagree.


Posted by: Steven on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 3:11pm GMT

She makes a very good point. It would be very easy, and a lot less costly (both in monetary terms and in personal cost to many involved) for TEC and its allies to walk away and get on with its mission. But that would abandon LGBT Anglicans in the rest of the Communion, and put an end to the listening process (to the extent that it has even started) in most of the Global South.

It is very easy to be inwardly focused and to say the rest of the world "I have no need of you" (cf. 1 Cor 12:21). It is much more difficult and more costly to be a part of, and to bear witness to, the wider world. Yet that is the Gospel imperative.

I commend the Presiding Bishop for not taking the easy road.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 4:19pm GMT

Yes part of the struggle now will be to get beyond dueling sound bites. I have to admit I sometimes find myself asking, as I listen to Venebles and the like: Who are these people, for real? If Venebles were having dinner in my home with my non-straight family, what in the world would we be doing together? Would he have anything to say to a six year old or ten year old or seventeen year old son or daughter of two mommies or two daddies? Why are Venebles and others so interested in counting my orgasms or lack of them?

I still think PB KJS is a great blessing and her leadership comes at just this fraught or vexed moment to assist us.

I appreciate that she is openly leaving it open as to what TEC will finally decide to do. Modeling that openness to continue the world conversation, either inside as a member of the communion, or outside as a former member of the communion.

I do hope she can speak just as clearly in the HoB as she has returned to speak with us.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

I do hope the HoB will speak up for LGBTQ folks all round the world, because the conservatives never really wish to speak of them except in negatives.

I hope that if the HoB speaks of leaving, they will clearly leave the doors open to all who might ever wish to return, even as guests or visitors. The parable of the prodigal son, not the penance of the king standing in sackcloth and ashes in the snow for three days outside the pope’s villa.

I hope that if burdens must be born, we will all share them as much as possible - because among other things that is the easiest part to explain, even to very little children - who can understand that we all have chores or deprivations to bear as we get through a hard time that nobody wished to happen.

I hope that if we must conform to backwards religious thinking, imposed from foreign shores, we at least may clearly say that our compliance is willing and that we still do not agree with the so-called teaching of Lambeth 1.10 as the only possible way to think about these matters.

If we must say that SSB's are officially out, and constitute police offenses among us, I hope we can say just how we hope to continue to support couples who are not straight through what means of witness and care, first at home in our own province, and also by proxy all round the planet.

PB KJS insists that we remember the wider, planetary vision; and that is quite a good thing, no? We just cannot continue to witness by accepting the return to closet silence, invisibility, and living only in response to the worst of what conservative believers are currently able to perceive of us.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 5:32pm GMT

We also gotta do something more constructive about where our TEC money goes and why. People much more in the know about our money than I probably need to figure that one out, and present it to us as akin to weighing whether and how much we used to invest in South African apartheid.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 5:36pm GMT

Dont' worry Jim - this 'staying in' to keep the listening process alive is not an argument because other provinces (not least the CofE) will continue to ensure that. Huge numbers of priests are happy to offer (unauthorised) blessings of God's gay people.

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 6:16pm GMT

>>>Why are Venebles and others so interested in counting my orgasms or lack of them?

Here is my admittedly cynical but, I think, correct answer to that question.

Obsessing over The Gays provides an excellent way for:

1. Irrelevant backwater clerics like ++Cone to become Major Players on the World Stage.

2. Victims of colonialism to stick it to whitey at long last, after all these years, without alienating the Western financial/political establishment.

3. Political reactionaries in the U.S. to wreck the mainline churches, which have traditionally been a principal voice for justice in this country.

4. Fundamentalists in the U.S., Britain, Canada, and elsewhere to impose on their churches by force ideas that democratic processes have rejected again and again.

5. Heterosexuals, with their 50% divorce rate, to focus on someone else's sexual "failings."

6. Those competing with the Muslims, like Akinola, to show that they can be just as "strong" on "morals."

In short, this is not a dispute over theology among people of good will, as Rowan Williams and KJS insist, mistakenly, on viewing it. It is a political dispute in which The Gays have proved to be a very useful tool.

Posted by: JPM on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 8:00pm GMT

"If this is a conservative victory, it's a hollow one"

Doesn't matter tupence whether it's hollow or not, unless you play by the rules ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 25 February 2007 at 8:30pm GMT

JPM, that's an OUTSTANDING analysis. Bravo! (or Brava! ---whichever)

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 6:28am GMT
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