Tuesday, 26 August 2008
pastoral letter from Lambeth
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today sent a letter to the bishops of the Anglican Communion, setting out his personal reflections on the Lambeth Conference. You can read the full text of it at Archbishop’s Pastoral Letter to Bishops of the Anglican Communion.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Tuesday, 26 August 2008 at 1:38pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
| Lambeth Conference 2008
I'm still missing any reference to what the conservatives will do as their contribution to a compromise.
A one sided moratorium without any clear path for future developments doesn't sound convincing.
".... many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there [Gafcon]." Is Williams ever going to have the guts to quit kissing-up to these people?
Having just had a quick read of the Dr Williams' letter I wonder if I'm missing something. There appear to be only TWO moratoria; border crossing and same-sex blessings. - May there yet be something good come out of Lambeth 2008? Could it be that gay partnered candidates for ordination as bishop, who comply with the celibacy demand, are now to be allowed to proceed to election/selection/ordination? Surely not!
"there was much support for the idea of a 'Pastoral Forum' as a means of addressing present and future tensions, and as a clearing house for proposals concerning the care of groups at odds with dominant views within their Provinces,"
I do like the way he's stated it here. Sauce for the goose and all that.
I await the day when the "conservative" primates allow liberals within their jurisdictions access to the Pastoral Forum.
As if that'll ever happen.
"Could it be that gay partnered candidates for ordination as bishop, who comply with the celibacy demand, are now to be allowed to proceed to election/selection/ordination?"
I doubt it. There was a celibate gay candidate for bishop a couple of years ago. Suddenly, celibacy wasn't enough, he also had to preach the sinfulness of homosexuality in order to be acceptable. There's always somewhere else to move the goalposts to.
The thing that is always missing in these statements is that TEC has already complied with the requests made of it by Windsor. We have expressed regret for the disturbance in the Communion caused by our consecration of Bp Robinson. We have declared a moratorium on the consecration of bishops in same-sex partnerships. We have refrained from approving any rites for the blessing of same-sex unions. That is what we have done, and that is all as a church we are able to do. The ABC's commission set up to review our actions after the House of Bishops' meeting in New Orleans agreed that we had complied with what had been requested of us.
We are now being asked to continue those moratoria. And, of course, we will continue them, because the only body of TEC that could change our policy at this point is our General Convention and it does not meet until next year.
The reason we do not get credit for what we have done is that the Anglican Right, on the basis of no authority whatsoever, wants us to do things OTHER than what was asked of us. Clearly the Anglican Right has its own agenda, its own goals, which are furthered by confusing in people's minds the requests made of us by duly constituted authorities with the far more extreme demands of the Anglican Right.
For instance, the Anglican Right wants us to repent of the consecration of Bp Robinson (never asked of us) and to depose Bp Robinson (never asked of us). This is totally self-serving hypocrisy on the part of the Right, and no good can come of it, which is precisely what they want.
The ban on gay bishops has already been agreed by TEC, so no need to include it amongst the moratoria ABC recalls are "necessary" going forward. The only contribution to the compromise conservatives are asked to make is to continue with further dialogue, though not to revise the Windsor/Covenant commitment to Leviticus 18:22/Lambeth 1:10 upon which our global Anglican identity is being forged.
Either GLBT people are to be included in TEC in all aspects, as earlier General Conventions have stated, or they are not. The official leadership of TEC should stop wringing its hands and cringing about actions it rightfully took.
I find myself extremely concerned whether some consider the moratoria on same-sex blessings and the consecration of partnered same-sex bishops to be permanent. Because I read Windsor and subsequent statements as the moratoria being temporary. I seriously doubt the conservatives consider any moratorium on border crossing or diocese poaching to be permanent, if they pay any attention to that moratorium at all. Based on their (mis)interpretation of Resolution 1.10, they’re quite capable of very selective editing.
I hope that TEC's apology for the acrimony and anguish caused by the way in which TEC consecrated +Robinson is not taken to mean TEC is apologizing for taking that action, because for most, that is not the case.
I second Malcolm+ at 5:37: While conservatives expect Western or Northern provinces to bend over backwards to accommodate conservative dioceses/parishes, I seriously doubt that the conservative provinces of the South will give the slightest thought to granting similar accommodation to liberal dioceses/parishes.
Thank you, Ford Elms. As a result of ++Rowan's actions, I think I can already hear the goalposts being pulled up.
"The only contribution to the compromise conservatives are asked to make is to continue with further dialogue, though not to revise the Windsor/Covenant commitment to Leviticus 18:22/Lambeth 1:10 upon which our global Anglican identity is being forged"
“Continuing” dialogue is priceless!
If this is where it remains then the Communion is indeed splitting.
In the last few weeks I have repeatedly said that this moratorium can only work if the conservatives, but even more so those who occupy the middle ground, begin to take the listening process seriously, work openly and visibly against the irrational hatred against gays that come from their extreme corners, and help their African friends see that persecuting gays has no theological basis.
To date I have heard nothing from any conservative about what they might want to contribute in real terms.
It strikes me that this "compromise" is nothing of the sort.
Let us not fall into despair. Archbishop Rowan is acting here as the Primus Inter Pares -spokesperson for the reality of Lambeth 2008. We must accede to the fact that there were no resolutions issued by the Conference; and therefore no explicit direction from the ABC (which he is not, in any case, able to give).
What Archbishop Rowan is stating in his letter is what had already been agreed to by the Leaders of our Communion - with regard to the implementation of the Windsor Document. The Windsor Continuation Group's consultation is still a 'work in progress'
to be ratified by a later meeting of the ACC.
That will be the time when the Laity, Clergy and Bishops of the Church will get their chance to debate and ratify any further movement on the WCG proposals (which the ABC was outlining in his letter).
This gives us all a time to wait upon the Holy Spirit to help us in formulating more permanent strategies in mission - before the representative Church Body (ACC) gathers to formulate a policy.
With the moratoria on the ordination of gay bishops, and the blessing of same-sex partnerships already in place (officially) in the USA and Canada; it will be up to the conferees at the ACC Meeting to judge whether the Global South entity has also met the requirement of moratorium on its incursion into foreign jusrisdictions, and act appropriately.
Not simple, I know. But - a possible way forward?
i have come to believe we were wrong to give in to any of their demandds but particularly to suspend our participation in the ACC or other gatherings. When we tried to be conciliatory they saw it as a sign of weakness and an opportunity to rearm.
Meanwhile Ecclesiastes 3 keeps reminding me that there is a timre to cast awy stones if not to rend. Perhaps the way to a truely united Anglican Communion lies is holding on until they walk away and a century later come to talk about reunion -- rather like the Methodists.
"We were conscious of the absence of many of our colleagues, and wanted to express our sadness that they felt unable to be with us and our desire to build bridges and restore our fellowship. We were aware also of the recent meeting in Jerusalem and its statements; many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there ...."
Was he conscious of the absence from any official roll or venue of the duly elected, consented to, and consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire, who has crossed no borders, poached no churches, but gone about being the effective bishop of the people who chose him with God's help, and, wherever he could, witnessing to the creaive healing power of Jesus in his life? Huh? miss him, Rowan?
Or did you miss the voices of out and witnessing GLBT people,lay and ordained?
And what were the wonderful thoughts from GAFCON? They must read your fawning cringing suck-up statements and just roll on the floor laughing at you. They probably think of you not as first among equals, but as their very own tame Lord High Pointy Hat.
"...with regard to the implementation of the Windsor Document."
Windsor was a REPORT, designed to clearly state the situation at that time. It is flawed in its inaccurate history of the beginning of ordained women's ministry and it exhibits a faulty understanding of the process of electing and consneting to the consecration of bishops in TEC.
You don't 'implement' a report.
E.G.: This morning, the city council has issued a report stating that city sales tax revenues are down this year.
So - how would you 'implement' that report?
"all of us were a full part of the worshipping community that had been here since Augustine came to Canterbury in 597"
Is Dr. Williams referring to the same worshipping community of St. Augustine, which sought to impose papal control by submitting the British Church to the Roman Pontiff and whose shrine and relics were destroyed by the English Reformation?
Primus inter pares means just that - 'First among equals'. Rowan does not arrogate to himself the role of the papacy - only that of a conciliator among pastoral representatives.
The Church - the Body of Christ - is much more than a gathering of its Bishops. This is one reason why our focus should be upon the more truly representative Body; of lay, episcopal and clerical Members of the Anglican Consultative Council of the Church (ACC), which will be meeting early next year.
"Lord, give me patience" - but hurry up about it!
The ban goes only so far.
One can only imagine what will happen if the so-called conservatives ignore Rowen.
Then TEC and many other Anglican Communion Churches may very well ignore the so-called moratorium.
Lapin picked up on "...".... many of us expressed a clear sense of affinity with much that was said there..."
That underlines the sentiment of this letter. There is an "affinity" or sympathy with the positions advocated by GAFCON, but a huge credibiilty gap in terms of the issues raised by the "liberal" spectrum of the communion.
If islands weren't about to be submerged; if violence, famine, plague weren't so rampant (particularly on the African continent); if the evidence didn't exist about the abuse and degridation of women, if the evidence didn't exist about the abuse of children, or the mistreatment of "the other" by Christian priests - then it would be okay to be in open affinity with the GAFCON precepts.
However, in these days of the internet, they can not hide the evidence of the bigger picture, nor the evidence of the priests' corruption and collusion.
So to have credibility they have to be seen to be concerned about what they haven't given an iota for nearly 2000 years. No wonder they have such dissonance between their solo scriptural interpretations and precedents and being "credible" to informed literate peoples. Harking back to what has been done for the last 2000 years merely makes them part of the problem - it is how they made the pleasant land desolate. Zechariah 7:9-14.
The Holy One of Israel laughs at their rebellion and tosses her head as their walls of greed and deceit collapses around them whilst she threshes and devotes their ill-gotten gains to the Lord of all the Earth (see Isaiah 30 & 37 and Micah 4 & 5)
"Could it be that gay partnered candidates for ordination as bishop, who comply with the celibacy demand, are now to be allowed to proceed to election/selection/ordination?"
I just answered an earlier question on another thread about what came out of Lambeth with the following:
The document issued by the Windsor Continuation Group, see
used two phrases, first it summarised the original Windsor Report as asking for a moratorium on
"the consecration to the episcopate of those living in partnered gay relationships"
and second, it summarised its own proposal (yet to be confirmed, inasmuch as this document is not its formal report) as
"consecrations of those living in openly gay relationships".
In neither case did it make any reference to celibacy, still less to the UK civil partnership statement of the CofE bishops.
I suppose the question is how you define an "openly gay relationship".
Does it become "gay" because the two people sharing a house and a life are gay, or does it become "gay" when there is a sexual relationship?
Common sense suggests the latter. Realpolitik might not!
"In neither case did it make any reference to celibacy, still less to the UK civil partnership statement of the CofE bishops."
Simon, when Jeffrey John was proposed as candidate for the episcopate, one of the reasons given for his "unsuitability" was that, whether or not he was celibate now, he did not repent of his past "homosexual behaviour" and did not preach that it was sinful. I am not aware how formally that position was expressed, but I have frequently seen it expressed informally, both here and on other fora. I may be wrong in assuming that it is a widespread attitude among the Religious Right, all the same.
Gee, Erika . .. .
I dunno,... being openly gay since I was 18,(1982)
and it now being 2008, ... I'm assuming if just 2 guys are roommates, ..duh ...they are JUST ROOM MATES!!
This place is slippin'.
This is yet another example of bishops being more trouble than they're worth, especially when writing to each other. By all means, let's not abolish them (yet...), but here's an alternative set of moratorium-type ideas:
No more jet travel outside of the national boundaries of their provinces for at least two years for every bishop calling themselves an Anglican
No more letters other than those needed for normal diocesan business (i.e: no more megaphone internet encyclicals from bishops of any persuasion)
Stick to your own diocese, and no-one else's
No more networking, Networking or any other form of FOCA-ing, GAFCON-ing, Lambeth-ing or OTHER-ing, and if you feel the need to do these things, take 10 normal (that is, not ordained) people with you
Start a vegetable patch, be nice to your neighbours and just attend to your own corner of the Lord's pasture.
A little bit of insularity might go a long way for a while, especially if it involves grounding some of the helium-heads among the episcopate.
And that goes for you too, +Rowan.
Although I agree mostly with you kieran, I wonder what ++Rowan's going to do about raising cash for his indabafest? Surely one trip to shake down those rich heathen, wickan, universalist, revisionist, heretical and queer-loving Episcopalians, no?
I'd like to suggest that the thrust of all this is quite serious, serious enough for decisions to have to be taken by TEC and the ACC to stop participating in this charade.
And yet, that Pastoral Letter somehow strikes me as weak and even pathetic, that is to say I'd expected from his alternative parallel conference a whole list of things to do, and yet somehow that is not there.
The one concrete thing is the Pastoral Forum, but if you look at the people it is meant to relate to, they say they asked for similar in 2007 but they are not asking for it now. They have set up their own, they are now going to make their own province.
So it looks like the Pastoral Forum will collapse, like the Covenant should (people say I'm too optimistic about this, but I do see it going nowhere except to a group of provinces), simply because it is not wanted by those it labels as heterodox not suitable by those who label themselves as orthodox.
It is all going to end in a heap, and maybe then Rowan Williams will resign and the whole policy come to a complete end.
From what you say you don't strike me as a gay bashing evangelical. And I wondered how they would interpret the statement.
You see, I suspect that nothing put perfectly white straightness will ever be enough for them, much as they claim that it's behaviour not orientation they object to.
Can you remind me: when the WCG's work is ratified by the upcoming ACC, will TEC and Canada be voting members, or will they still be asked to "voluntarily" exclude themselves?
I cannot predict what they will be asked in the future to do, but here is the text of the 2005 resolution:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001210.html shows the names of those who put the motion forward.
Passed by 30 votes to 28, with 4 abstentions. A secret paper ballot was used.
The Anglican Consultative Council
(1) takes note of the decisions taken by the Primates at their recent meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in connection with the recommendations of the Windsor Report 2004;
(2) notes further that the Primates there reaffirmed “the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion”;
(3) endorses and affirms those decisions;
(4) consequently endorses the Primates’ request that “in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference”;
(5) further requests that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada withdraw their members from all other official entities of the Communion for the same period.
interprets the reference to Anglican Consultative Council to include its Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Finance and Administration Committee.
Further to what Simon has posted:
Even if the motion itself, which he posted, did not limit itself to the period before Lambeth, rendering the request for abstention inoperative now that Lambeth is over, there is a widespread sense that when we did voluntarily abstain, we were screwed royally and our abstention grossly abused. Talking to some of our delegates, there was a palpable sense of betrayal at the way they were treated and the way the conservative wing behaved.
We have also noted that if we had not abstained, there would have been a majority for the position we were taking rather than for its opponents.
I should guess it will be a frosty Friday in Hell before the ACC and TEC abstain at the meeting of the ACC this fall.
“in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference”;
In light of so many subsequent events - Gafconistas refusing to came to Lambeth, a duly elected, consented to and consecrated bishop of TEC being disinvited to Lambeth, among others too numerous to mention, isn't that phrase 'in order to recognise the integrity of all parties' a hoot?
I would say that the integrity of the ABC is, right now, in light of all that has happened since this resolution, in shreds.
Following on Simon's post about the previously-engineered absence of TEC and ACofC at meetings of the ACC; I would think that the Archbishop of Canterbury would not make the same mistake again.
Surely, he will recognise the need to include all of the elected membership of the ACC to be present at the next meeting of ACC? Otherwise, one would expect TEC and the ACofC to interpret their lack of an invitation to that meeting to assume their right to act as individual provinces of the Anglican Communion, with predictable consequences.
For Global South to opt out of attending would prove their unwillingness to cooperate on any level with the rest of the Communion.
To insist on any determination of the 'impasse' without the presence of TEC and ACofC would surely be a situation that would cause further satisfaction to the secessionists, and a more confrontational problem for the Communion?
"Watch and Pray".
"I would think that the Archbishop of Canterbury would not make the same mistake again."
The triumph of hope over experience.
I admire your optimism, but see no basis for it in the past behavior of the ABC, starting with his shameful betrayal of Jeffrey John - and getting worse at each next step.
Abstaining was stupid.
If the two-bit totalitarians want to silence us, let them try.
It is worth noting that the totalitarian extremists couldn't command a majority at the last ACC meeting even with our ever so stupid abstentions.
Why should the ACC and TEC abstain?
Because some people don't agree with them?
Maybe black people shouldn't vote so that whites can rule the country.
Maybe women shouldn't vote so men are not accountable. (It's not the institution of marriage that is under threat, but rather that many men steal, violate and humilate women with impunity or even church condonement).
Rowan was correct to state that some camps had adopted the Millenium Development Goals to buy votes. TEC moves with conscience and looking for heurmeuntic consistency. Others are simply white-washing opportuntists attempting modern day "Black Noir" legislative strategies.
(1) Thank you for reminding me of the history. I had forgotten that the withdrawal was requested by the Primates to which the ACC acceded. Conceivably, as there is a Primates meeting in advance of the ACC meeting, the same request could be made again.
As Cheryl and others have made plain, it is chicanery, pure and simple.
(2) As I recall, there was a proposal, by the Primates, for membership in the ACC. Has this gone anywhere? Again, another attempt to "load the dice".
The proposal for the primates to become members of the ACC has gone to all the provinces for approval. A two-thirds majority is required for it to take effect This is likely to take quite a while, if indeed it is ever achieved, but I expect there will be a progress report made to the next ACC meeting.
The exact wording of the resolution is quite lengthy, and can be found at
>>>There was a celibate gay candidate for bishop a couple of years ago. Suddenly, celibacy wasn't enough, he also had to preach the sinfulness of homosexuality in order to be acceptable.
Well, Ford, he might not have been engaged in sexcrime but he was most assuredly guilty of thoughtcrime.
Thank you, Simon: from a quick read, it appears that the situation is as follows:
- the Primates attend as ex officio members,influencing through argument and the weight of their office, the eventual outcome.
- as a counterbalance, they do not get to vote; votes being limited to clergy and laity.
Can someone more familiar with the subject, in all its complexity, confirm this?
"It is all going to end in a heap, and maybe then Rowan Williams will resign and the whole policy come to a complete end."
Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 27 August 2008 at 3:40pm BST
Dear, dear Pluralist. Do be very careful of what you are saying about the possibility of +Rowan's secession from his position as ABC & P.I.P. - if only for the fact that there may be more danger lurking in the background here. What do you think of the more frightening possibility of a Palsce Coup - by Rochester, Winchester, Uganda, or even Nigeria. (Discount Sydney here, he is just not in the running).
The superb irony here is that Archbishop Rowan's heart is warmer - on sex and gender issues - than the cardiac temperature of these other contenders within the Episcopal College.
Perhaps the ABC's calm influence at Lambeth 2008 (Orthodox Eucharistic spirituality and prayer - with hermeneutical insights) might yet be at work in the hearts and minds many of the Bishops of the Communion. After all, "God works in a mysterious way: God's wonders to perform".