Friday, 15 May 2009
looking back at the ACC
Updated Friday evening
First in the Church Times.
From last week: Pat Ashworth Dr Williams calls for ‘shared honesty’ and Gomez gives warning over Covenant
This week: ACC’s close vote delays debate on Covenant and ACC backs up Windsor moratoriums
Next, Ephraim Radner wrote at ACI The Wisdom of the Cross: Some reflections on ACC-14 and the Anglican Covenant.
And, in the CEN Defeat for Archbishop as Covenant draft is rejected by George Conger.
Friday evening update
Colin Coward has some comments on the reports in Dreaming of global cooperation in the Church.
Anglican Journal reports Canadian delegates to ACC hopeful about future of Anglican Communion.
Episcopal Life has a video titled ACC participants reflect on meeting.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Friday, 15 May 2009 at 2:35pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
I want shared honesty and mediated discussions between the Anglican world leadership and their lesbian and gay brothers and sisters whom they are shafting through the appalling and contrary policy of "gracious restraint" ....... about time we started doing a bit of demanding perhaps.
Gee I am really really really really tired of figures like Gomez or Radner glossing on about how they are doing the best for me, with their hard work to compromise their own views just barely making them able to even conceive that I as a gay person am really really really in the rooms with them, or - gasp - really alive and thriving beyond all their nasty conceptions about me, on the same planet.
I am exhausted at times by Radner's sense that his own keen superiorities are simply to be taken categorically for granted by all of us. His high tone is always that of the Superior Heterosexual Man, unaffected by the pitiful struggles or faults of those unfortunate queer folks. He is clearly quite Superior, even to the family members, friends, coworkers, or general neigbors of queer folks anywhere on the planet. Bravo then, Radner is not soiled and emasculated by bothering with having to change his mind? (So he has God's call to threaten all of us, more or less preaching, Chaos is at our doors if we do not rush to police and punish believers (especially when any change for the better?)
What point? His threats only make clear that this new covenant is really about stopping change. Period. He hopes to render change invisible by urging a new, global matter of Anglican crime. Radner is way too intelligent not to know exactly what he has been doing. Even if all provinces signed off tomorrow, change would still be bubbling up all around us. Cases would have to be brought, prosecutions successful as demonstrations of how anathema change is to the covenant. Yet change will not stop or slow down.
If the covenant cannot be a new means of rendering change irrelevant and criminal, leaders like Rander would hardly bother with it. Again these high and mighty threats, with both Gomez and Radner saying My Conservative Way or hit the road Jack. Don't be deceived: meaningful change in our theological anthropologies is NOT categorical Chaos. Just the opposite. New data lead to new models, and these provisionally shape us as we continue to commit to open minds and hearts in our following of Jesus.
What sort of covenant police with punishment is it, then; change, open minds, open hearts are new Anglican crimes? Can we only choose, Anglican Meanness?
Radner seems to think that the Covenant Design Group is virtually another instrument of communion, and he seems to want to bypass the ACC or at least not allow it to have a deliberative voice (preferring, in retrospect he says, for the CDG to have solicited comments from the ACC, then to have the CDG revise the covenant, and then to send it off via Rowan directly to the Communion). I think the ACC is the most synodical of any of our instruments, and I don't appreciate giving so very much power to committees or working groups that have been set up outside of any synodical processes.
Indeed, Windsor and the CDG seem to be products of crisis management, and this way of proceeding is producing potentially profound changes to the polity of the Anglican Communion. No doubt there is some quality reflection here, and no doubt grace can get a purchase on the proceedings, but the whole thing seems to be proceeding at an unholy pace, urged on by repeated warnings/threats that this is the only game in town (to quote my bishop, Tom Wright), that everything will explode if we don't commend the covenant more or less as is (paraphrasing Drexel Gomez -- a graduate of my college), both sentiments seemingly echoed by Rowan himself.
I myself think that the introduction of a covenant is a huge departure from our way of proceeding, and to revamp our communion via a process with so many reluctant participants -- well, something's not right, not right at all.
I think our first mistake was to regard the penultimate Lambeth Conference as a deliberative body, when it wasn't (and still isn't). While there was a majority view with regard to sexuality, there was also a minority view, and an honest abiding of that conference would have concluded that the communion was not of one mind, unless 'consensus' is reduced to majority voting. What has happened is that some churches in the communion want to force a consensus that has not yet emerged, and they want the rest of the communion to act according to the majority view until the matter is settled.
I can't help but think that this undermines the very emergence//differentiation of Anglicanism from Roman Catholicism. To affirm that individual churches cannot take prophetic stands that will be found unacceptable within the wider church is to rule out any integrity to Anglicanism in the first place: presumably we should all repent and become RCs again. But if there is a charism within Anglicanism that is valuable to the whole Church, then we need to allow the same messy dynamic that allowed us to take a medieval stab at reforming RCism to have some play in the present day.
I think Joe makes some excellent points.
What Radner writes is sometime quite breathtaking!
However it might be borne in mind that the proposed Covenant along with the developed Common Canon Law published by Prof Norman Doe is envisaged by many as the 5th Instrument of Communion.
I am still awaiting clarification of the views stated at the ACC by the Archbishop of Canterbury in relation to homosexual clergy and just how they relate to the statements of his own House of Bishops. In England Clergy have the legal right to enter into Civil Partnerships and they have been accorded the 'gracious' privilege of doing so with their Bishops 'support' if they declare that their relationship is not sexually active. Dr Williams makes no such distinctions when he speaks at these gatherings, nor do the documents of the various Windsor Groups. How is this to be resolved? Perhaps those who have been voted onto the General Synod of the Church of England could ask the question.
Thanks Pluralist, all Swiftian recalling ...
...it was our baby, several ... tossed it around the nursery without as much as offering it a bottle of milk. ...
... There is no justification for what the ACC has done to my baby and they did not have the father's permission - yes, the one in heaven, and me, as Mary, who sits alongside the father in heaven and gives him motherly advice. ...
...then you get Western parents with their fancy theories such as from Mr Spock and Captain Kirk, and the Americans even sent a woman ...
...No other Communion child has undergone such a deep and wide-ranging and temporally patient scrutiny when born in hospital and since and with instant open-hearted surgery, rooted on common prayer and worship by the doctors and professors of theology when operating. ...
...Let's be honest. Political manoeuvering is the standard method that the Holy Spirit uses to advance his agenda in this twisted and upside down world of scheming and monumental suffering that is brought about. Look at the disastrous first Council of Jerusalem in the Book of Acts, and then Nicaea and then Lampal. ...
...I want to breastfeed. I want it able to be devious: as it was a baby to grow up and be a little beastie with all sorts of independent diocese friends....
You have been reading Swift, haven't you? Thanks, LOL. Radner is among the better stage jugglers from the right in Anglican realignment that I have read; yet even though he seems to spin up to forty different plates in the air at the same time? Always so careful to turn them, exactly, to the right, never left? How impressively spindly those little poles beneath them are?
After the fourth show or so, it all gets really repetitive as he yet again tiresomely spins plates instead of setting a kingdom feast table for dinner with all the uninvited-invited guests of that Good Lord who sent us into the highways and byways in the first place. Alas, God invited gay folks to the feast, and there is precious little Radner can actually do about it, sub species aeternitas.
Shhh, don't startle R, he's spinning again.
You have been reading Swift, haven't you?
"Andrew Carey, noted for his consistent negativity to Archbishop Rowan, says he “read widespread reports of confusion and mismanagement.” He didn’t read my blog, did he, but only the reports by conservatives, those who spin everything negatively." Colin Coward, C.A. -
Why is it that most of the so-called "Press Representatives" at ACC14 were from the conservative end of the spectrum on Communion affairs? When one considers that people like the failed appointee to the Board of ACC, Mr Ashey, (who was then accorded status as an official Press officer at ACC14), have been accorded official status as 'Press", one wonders what are the parameters for qualification as an official press representative? Does one not have to work for an official news organisation to gain accreditation?
I think the situation was the reverse, i.e. Mr Ashey was FIRST accredited as Press by an American lobby group, and THEN nominated as a Ugandan delegate to the Council.
As to your second question, I am not sure what external body would determine who was and was not an "official news organisation" but in practice it has not been difficult for lobbyists to get press status at church meetings.
Simon is right - Mr Ashey applied for press accreditation before he was nominated as a Ugandan delegate, but hadn't been granted accreditation. He arrived at ACC14 and initially walked into the plenary conference room without any authority, but was later granted permanent visitor status. We were all distinguished by different colour ribbons - he was wearing blue for visitor, I was wearing white for media.
You don't have to work for an official news organisation to gain accreditation. I wouldn't be accredited to write for the CA blog or newsletter if that was the rule.
Those reporting ACC14 in Jamaica were either from the news service of a Province (Canada and TEC) or from an organisation with a blog, web site or newsletter (Changing Attitude, Anglican Mainstream, VirtueOnline) or from a Church Newspaper (CEN - George Conger for one day).
I keep wondering whether the people who disagreed with the final resolution on the covenant have yet noticed that it got a majority vote - and that the procedures, however flawed, revealed the majority view. The louder voices suggest not (the majority do not claim to be confused - is there anyone who voted for the final outcome who has said they were?), but there are some who will be more astute about the context.
On the other hand, have the people who voted for delay noticed how narrow the vote was? I believe so, on the whole, and there will be 'progress' that some would rather avoid.
Are we playing brinkmanship or Kingdom building?
Thankyou Simon and Colin for clarifying my lack of understanding about Press accreditation at ACC14 and other meetings of the Church. It does seem that any lobby group is free to apply for accreditation and perhaps that is all for the best. I still wonder, however, whether Mr Ashey, with 'Visitor' Status (considering his having been rejected for membership of the Council by the JSC of the ACC) should be encouraged to ask questions at an official Press Conference? Are
"Visitors" classed as 'Press' in that situation?
"In coming to this conclusion with respect to the Covenant text, the ACC acted without any clear sense of its brief, or publicly articulated sense of its goals and processes in so doing."
- Ephraim Radner, A.C.I -
Ephraim Radner, refers here to the decision of ACC14 to refer Section 4 of the proposed Anglican Covenant Document for further revision, before submitting the complete document to the Provinces for further discussion. In doing so, he intimates that the members of the Council were negligent in their proper responsibility to what he obviously considers the most vital section of the Covenant.
He could perhaps be forgiven for this stance, if he were the only person on the committee, which worked on the document, to criticise the decision of the Council. As it is, however, ABp. Drexel Gomez (who was on the working commission for the Covenant) and other conservatives who have vested interests in furthering the agenda of the so-called *Anglican Communion Istitute* - have also expressed their displeasure with the decision of ACC14. Was this because it interfered with their plan to recruit ACNA to the Communion under the guise of the words "other Churches" in Section 4?
One can only view the testy questioning of the procedures of the Council by Radner and Gomez as illustrative of their frustration at the Council's determination to ensure that the finished Covenant document meets with the approval of the majority of the Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion.
To accuse the elected membership of the Council of a lack of 'any clear sense of its brief' in deciding to reject the wording of Section 4, is to say that only those who agreed with the wording were faithful to the integrity of the Communion. Such hubris is difficult to imagine!
I've received the following comment on what Colin writes concerning ribbons.
"Visitors had orange tabs – blue was for staff. So if you see pictures you can understand. Local volunteers wore green. Network people – such as Jenny Te Paa – also were wearing orange."
"All plenary sessions of ACC were open and so Mr Ashey attended as a visitor and anyone could have joined him. He did not have access to any other meetings."
"Many of us are exhausted by this calling we have taken up, by the attacks it has engendered from all sides, and by the public indifference from Communion quarters to our work. We are friends of the Communion and its unity, as far as it can be maintained; yet some might think that such friendship is itself diseased." - Ephraim Radner -
In his final comments on what he chooses to call the 'Negative' aspects of ACC14's rejection of Section 4 of the proposed Covenant Document, Radner here cannot hide his bitter disappointment that his work, and that of Archbishop Gomez, on the detail of the Covenant Document has actually been questioned - by one of the offical *Instruments of Unity* in the Communion. It is almost as though the design group were actually in control of the process of ratification of this document, instead of, as was surely intended, an ad hoc group appointed by the Communion to try to find a mutually accpetable way of keeping the Communion together.
It is interesting that Radner dismisses the idea of another ad hoc group being given the task of refining the demands of Section 14. When will he and Gomez admit that Section 14 actually needs to be fundamentally changed - in order to meet the parameters of a typically Anglican ecclesiology, which is to avoid a proscriptive document, in the interests of finding ways of accommodating and celebrating theological differences within the Communion. Section 4 turned out to be something rather like a Papal Bull, seeking to discipline those who think differently from others - largely on a presumption of Biblical inerrancy, regarding gender relativity and sexual orientation.
The ACI, unfortunately for its high-powered advocates, is not an 'Instrument of Communion' for world-wide Angicanism. Nor, as a notably conservative body, is it the ideal place for the formulation of polity - for a Church which seeks to bring the love and joy of the Gospel to the marginalised and neglected people of this world who are crying out to be accepted and loved by Christ and his Church.
"Anglican Mainstream leader The Rev. Dr. Chris Sugden noted the long drawn out process of provincial decision-making in some cases would seem to increase the likelihood that those dioceses who wish to sign might take steps to do so outside the province."
- Global South web-site -
Here, again, is Dr Sugden of 'A. Mainstream', making statements that he really is not qualified to give - and on the Gobal South web-site, too.
When will he and the re-Asserters realise that they no longer have a strangle-hold on the polity of the Anglican Communion? Their defeat at ACC14 should have warned them that they have missed their chance to influence the Anglican Communion towards a repressive and proscriptive fellowship of like-minded puritans.
ACNA, ACI and Global South need to draw in their horns and reflect on whether or not they want to belong to the new and vibrant Scriptural, Traditional and Reasonable ethos of the world-wide Communion. Or do they want to become a family of Newly Protestant Puritans, ruled by Law rather than the N.T. charism of Love.