Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Jerusalem speaks on GAFCON

Updated Wednesday evening

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani has issued a press release:

Re: Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June 2008

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Bishop Suheil Dawani, has expressed his concern about the Global Anglican Future Conference planned for the Holy Land in June this year.

“Regrettably, I have not been consulted about this planned conference,” said Bishop Suheil. “The first I learned of it was through a press release.

“I am aware that the post-Christmas announcement that this conference is to be held here has excited considerable interest around the Anglican Communion, and has become the subject of online discussion. Yet we Anglicans who minister here have been left out in the cold.

“I also note that the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, who appears to be one of the organisers, is encouraging clergy and lay people from his diocese to attend the conference with him and his bishops. He speaks of the meeting taking place because the Anglican Communion is, he says, ‘in disarray over fundamental issues of the gospel and biblical authority’.

“I am deeply troubled that this meeting, of which we had no prior knowledge, will import inter-Anglican conflict into our diocese, which seeks to be a place of welcome for all Anglicans.

“It could also have serious consequences for our ongoing ministry of reconciliation in this divided land. Indeed, it could further inflame tensions here. We who minister here know only too well what happens when two sides cease talking to each other. We do not want to see any further dividing walls!

“I believe our Primate, Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis,is also concerned about this event. His advice to the organizers that this was not the right time or place for such a meeting was ignored.”

“I urge the organizers to reconsider this conference urgently.”

Update
Further reports on this:

Religious Intelligence has this by George Conger Warning over Anglican conference. It includes this:

The leadership team of GAFCON contacted ReligiousIntelligence.Com to say that a letter was sent to Bishop Suheil Dawani on December 24, two days prior to the press announcement. Two of the leadership team, Archbishop Peter Akinola and Archbishop Peter Jensen, had already reqested a meeting with him to discuss his concerns with him in the next two weeks.

Episcopal News Service has this by Matthew Davies Jerusalem bishop objects to conservative Anglicans’ planned Holy Land pilgrimage.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 6:42pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

I have to admit concerns about some participants having such a volatile conference in such a volatile place.

Especially when some rush off to the pulpit to gloat about who is going to hell, and why and how it is all their fault, and that it all weaves back to some chick called Eve.

Can you imagine what some of their "loving" bombshells of truth could instigate if their "love" is picked up by the local media?

Plus, I don't know why they want to have it in Jerusalem, it's not like their hearts are in alignment. After all, Jerusalem has always been about peace, compassion, mercy, a light of salvation to both gentile and Jew, an end of tyranny and oppression.

Let the boys squabble in the rubble, they can have the rocks but they don't have Jerusalem's heart.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 7:19pm GMT

Could anything be more foreign to the spirit of Anglicanism, or to the synodal texture of churchhood, or to the Christian Gospel of reconciliation?

It is true that Synods, which are a representative expression of the life of the body of Christ, a time of mutual enrichment and mutual forgiveness, have been used since ancient times as weapons in ecclesiastical civil war. One would think that Bishops today would have learned something from the mistakes of history.

And to go on with this divisive activity in the tinder-box which is Israel today is to show crass oblivion to contemporary history as well.

Posted by: Joe O'Leary on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 7:46pm GMT

Wow. Bravo to Dawani for speaking up about our global Anglican differences and our global call to reconciliation and dialogue across our Anglican hot button controversies. How calming to find a bishop of Jerusalem who will not be baited by waiving the bright red alarm flag of homosexuality around, so vigorously in the conflict-weary Middle Eastern cultural air. To speak a calming word of peace in this context may be emotionally loaded, difficult - hence all the more needed. Many, many thanks.

Is the realignment juggernaut already so completely bought and paid for by the conservative wealthy USA funders, that Scaife plus Ahmanson plus others must simply have their divisions, regardless? How arduously will such rich folks pass through the eye of the needle in that ancient city?

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 8:01pm GMT

“And to go on with this divisive activity in the tinder-box which is Israel today is to show crass oblivion to contemporary history as well.”--Joe O'Leary

You said it, Fr. Joe! These wacky Evos—with Jensen of Sydney leading the charge—are becoming more than just an embarrassment. This conference of theirs could end in tragedy.

Posted by: Kurt on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 8:11pm GMT

The desert has long been a place of retreat and contemplation - think of Jesus being tempted - and later uin his ministry seeking a place apart from the crowds - think of the early desert Fathers and Mothers.

I suggest that this group assemble in Tel Aviv as their flights arrive, and then be convoyed into the desert - and be dropped off with some tents and a few dates and figs - maybe a locust or two - and a little water - just enough to drink, no more. I suppose they should be given a chance at the airport to change into suitable attire - purple is SUCH a hot color.

About 40 days should do the trick.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 8:14pm GMT

Why Jerusalem in the first place? My guess is that someone has conflated Dr Akinola's hatred of Islam with the philo-zionist strain of American right-wing Christianity, which sees Israel as America's leading ally and think that a right-thinking Anglican body must demonstrate its support for Israel. It would not occur to such people that the native Christians of Israel tend to be Arabs distinctly lacking in enthusiasm for Zionism. In their histories, it is always Muslims who drive Christians from their homes, never Jews.

This could really turn into a shambles.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 8:45pm GMT

But it's been reported recently that Scaife is a proponent of "open" marriage (as his second one heads towards oblivion due, once again, to his infidelity). I'm still trying to understand how a twice-unfaithful multiple divorcee can be taken as anything but the punchline to a very good joke as a Self-Proclaimed Protector of Traditional Marriage(TM).

Posted by: heh on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 8:54pm GMT

WHOOOPS! Don't you hate that when that happens?

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 2 January 2008 at 9:32pm GMT

The American right wing apocalyptic fundamentalists bankrolling this surprise party in Jerusalem don't give a damn about the conflict there. As far as they are concerned, the Palestinians are mere cursed sons of Ham. The Philo-Semitism is all a mirage. The Jews are only fodder for an apocalyptic agenda; they will either see the Light and come to Jesus, or be consumed away in the Great Tribulation. The real problems of the real people who live in Jerusalem doesn't interest the right-wing evangelicals in the least. No matter what happens in Jerusalem, they will have their noses too far buried in Revelations and Daniel to notice. They will only listen to people who will tell them what they want to hear; like other fundamentalist Christians and right-wing Israeli settlers.

For that reason, I predict that GAFCON will go ahead with the meeting and the venue. What the natives think, what we think, still less what the other bishops gathered in Lambeth think is of no concern to them.

Posted by: counterlight on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 1:38am GMT

"I'm still trying to understand how a twice-unfaithful multiple divorcee can be taken as anything but the punchline to a very good joke as a Self-Proclaimed Protector of Traditional Marriage(TM)."

Sooooooo true.

Yet it merely illustrates what ought alreday be self-evident: Our "Worthy Opponents" have no sense of irony (let alone of consistency).

Has anyone popped over to Stand Firm, T19, etc. to see whether they are now gang-pillorying ++Middle East and +Jerusalem the way they did Dr. Poon+? (Myself, I haven't the stomach.)

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 2:39am GMT

Well, either Sugden and company will have to back down and relocate, or the new Communion starts from landing the aircraft.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 3:19am GMT

From the Conger article: "However, public identification as a pro-Israel church is a worrisome development for the small Arab Anglican community in the Palestinian Authority territories, and could have baleful consequences its leaders tell ReligiousIntelligence.com."


In other words, the self appointed thought police of the Anglican Communion don't really give a rat's backside if Palestinian Anglicans become terrorist targets. After all, a few dead Arab Christians is a small price to pay to rid the Church of fags.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 5:24am GMT

Cynthia

I think your idea is brilliant. Each and every one of these holy men should go into the wilderness.

Like Jesus, they should cut themselves off from all human contact and be reliant upon God and the angels for all food and sustenance. Nor do they need to meet or communicate with any other soul - either within the communion nor on a personal level. Also, since they are from God, they can all do it at the same time, since God and the angels will keep their communion running whilst they are all isolated and purifying themselves.

So they don't need to pack any linen, shelter, food or water, because their divinity will protect them from all consequence.

Or maybe they aren't that pure after all? Maybe they are just opportunistic idolators who think if they flatter Jesus and don't insult his mother then each and every other manifestation on this planet is fair game.

Don't see them in the desert without preparation or human support? Don't trust their divinity or "solo scriputural authority" either.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 7:55am GMT

I believe on a previous blog I incorrectly put these words into the mouth of the Bishop of Egypt...sorry!

Surely they should have checked with the bishop first....imagine Bishop Robinson heading a Conference of the Liberal Pan Anglican Alliance in Sydney!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 8:27am GMT

Letter sent on 24/12... to +Jerusalem... in advance of a public statement on 26/12....

Am I the only one thinking this was a deliberate fig-leaf exercise - what (realistically) are the chances of a letter being prioritised on one of the great Christian holy days, especially in that part of the world....hm??

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 9:57am GMT

Robert: ... or maybe Surrey?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 11:05am GMT

“...imagine Bishop Robinson heading a Conference of the Liberal Pan Anglican Alliance in Sydney!”—Robert Ian Williams

THAT would be a REAL hoot, wouldn’t it!? They could begin each day of such a Conference with a Solemn Eucharist, celebrants in miters and chasubles, setting off smoke alarms with the incense!

Posted by: Kurt on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 1:50pm GMT

Interesting (and worrying) that Anglican Mainstream seems not to have noticed anything other than the Jerusalem Post's delight in the prospect of a pro-Israel Anglicanism.....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 5:12pm GMT

"....imagine Bishop Robinson heading a Conference of the Liberal Pan Anglican Alliance in Sydney!"

Actually, you may be onto something there... And I'm sure the many LGBT Sydneysiders would welcome it far more than the Palestinian Anglicans will be welcoming the anti-Palestinian Scaife/Ahmanson-financed regiments of New Improved and Purified Anglicans "pilgrimaging" (or crusading?) into Zion.

Looking forward to the day that there will be Episcopal/Anglican missions in the heart of otherwise progressive-friendly (including LGBT-friendly) cities such as Sydney (home of Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras) and Buenos Aires (B.A. has domestic partnerships, y'know) and Durham and Pittsburgh - to be followed by missions to Lagos and Ft. Worth and Kampala and Nassau (Bahamas) and Kingston.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 6:18pm GMT

The reason that Martyn Minns is not invited to Lambeth 2008 is that he is cause of division and it represents scandal. It seems to me that it is far worse division and scandal that Akinola, Jensen, Minns and Sugden are causing, with consequences for real lives. Though they are hardly going to go to Lambeth themselves (and Sugden/ Minns can't) there should be a formal withdrawal of invitations to these two.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/01/gafcon-division-scandal-exclusion-from.html

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 7:29pm GMT

When Spong came to Sydney in 2007 there was a communications lock down and parishes were directed not to invite him to talk to their parishioners.

Spong did his thing here and around Australia, being more warmly welcomed in some parts than other.

Counterlight's posting is not that farfetched, God knows I sat through enough bible studies and sermons to know such sentiments run strongly and are generally accepted within some circles.

In fact, I have several friends who refuse to associate with Anglicans anymore because everytime they tried to put up someone as a good character to emulate, there would be the collective discussion about whether or not they were "saved" or "condemned".

As the list of saintly people on the "condemned" grew too big, many decided they would rather be with those saints anyway.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 7:42pm GMT

"A letter was sent to Bishop Suheil Dawani on December 24, two days prior to the press announcement."

Suggested holiday mailing deadlines in Canada suggested that a letter destined for the Middle East would need to be sent by October 12 (surface mail) or by December 3 (air mail) in order to reach Jerusalem prior to Christmas Day. Using premium courier services, the deadline would have been later - December 19 or 20 depending on the service used.

Now, these are the mailing deadlines from Canada. The timings would be similar for letters mailed from the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia, all of whom have world class postal operations. I hazard to guess at the mailing deadlines from Abuja.

Therefore, sending a letter internationally to Jerusalem, regardless of the postal product used, mailing it on the 24th and expecting it to arrive on or before the 26th would be . . . well, it wouldn't be particularly smart.

The upshot of it all is that the decision to announce the conference within 48 hours of mailing the letter reflects a limited number of possibilities:

* Every single person involved in organizing GafCon is completely incompetent.

* No person involved in GafCon gives a rat's backside whether the Bishop in Jerusalem likes it or not.

All other possibilities are derivatives of these two.

I will leave it to others to determine whether it is more charitable to attribute the GafCon gang's behaviour to malice or to incompetence.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 7:49pm GMT

"I will leave it to others to determine whether it is more charitable to attribute the GafCon gang's behaviour to malice or to incompetence."

Y'know, those aren't mutually exclusive possibilities.

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 8:34pm GMT

"I will leave it to others to determine whether it is more charitable to attribute the GafCon gang's behaviour to malice or to incompetence."

Any reason I can't chalk it up to both?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 8:55pm GMT

Malcolm+, I don't see why we have to choose between malice and incompetence.

The GAFCON crew seem plentifully endowed with both.

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 8:58pm GMT

V da S said:
Looking forward to the day that there will be Episcopal/Anglican missions in the heart of otherwise progressive-friendly (including LGBT-friendly) cities such as ...Durham.

Indeed! My memories of the diocese are that there was no shortage of clergy who would greet an LGBT friendly mission with glee....

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 9:26pm GMT

The Sydney Morning Herald reports
"Dr Jensen, the main Western leader of the conservative evangelical strand, said he hoped to meet Bishop Dawani in Jerusalem next week. The other main conservative Anglican leader, the Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, will be there, too."
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/antigay-bishops-on-crusade-to-jerusalem/2008/01/03/1198949986488.html

Posted by: obadiahslope on Thursday, 3 January 2008 at 10:07pm GMT

It appears that +Jensen and +Akinola are flying to Jerusalem to make Bishop Dawani an offer he can't refuse.

Capish?

Posted by: counterlight on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 2:54am GMT

As opposed to the offers that currently come from 815?

Posted by: Peter O on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 9:19am GMT

"As opposed to the offers that currently come from 815?"

Which would be what, precisely? That TEC will act in ways in which it genuinely believes it is called to act while accepting that other churches will act according to THEIR calling as they see it? That TEC will not intervene in other churches? That TEC will not insist that everybody else do what TEC says? What, exactly, are the "offers" TEC is making that no-one else can refuse? What is TEC demanding from everybody else? That they accept that gay people deserve respect? TEC hasn't even asked the Global South to tone down the rhetoric about us being worse than animals, or a cancer on the Body of Christ, she hasn't even told Akinola he ought not to support jailing us. So what's the issue here?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 4 January 2008 at 3:19pm GMT

There's been a lot of rubbish published on this post. Letters take up to two days to arrive and I received post here on December 25th.

Jews are not responsible for Christians leaving, despite the best efforts of your bloggers to state the opposite.

Israel is no more volatile than was Manchester, where members of the Jewish community were commonly beaten up in broad daylight by people purporting to be anti Israel.

Blogs like this do nothing for peace in the region and a great deal for war.

Posted by: Dr. Irene Lancaster on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 at 12:37pm GMT
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