Tuesday, 24 November 2009

letter to Uppsala and Canterbury

An Open letter from the LGBT Anglican Coalition* to the Archbishops of Uppsala and Canterbury has been published.

As Anglican clergy and lay people, we were dismayed to see that there was no official representation from the Church of England or any other Anglican Church from the British Isles at the service of consecration of Bishop Eva Brunne of Stockholm and Bishop Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund of Härnösand.

We do understand that, as the Church of England has not yet finalised plans for the ordination of women as bishops – though we hope and pray that will happen soon – it might not have been possible for an Anglican bishop to have laid hands on the ordinands as part of the consecration. But that should not have prevented a bishop from attending and representing the Archbishop of Canterbury at the consecration on November 8th in Uppsala…

Read the whole letter here.

*The LGBT Anglican Coalition is a new network of groups working for the full and equal inclusion of LGBT Christians within and beyond the Church of England.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 11:38am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | InclusiveChurch
Comments

Well done on forming a strong coalition. That is what we need. Porvoo is still on the agenda for the Church of England and like you I deplore the absence of any episcopal presence from England at the service in Sweden. Una

Posted by: Una Kroll on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 11:57am GMT

Dr. Williams seems to have a really emotionally/spiritually ill-balanced way of dealing with LGBT realities around him at Church...he simply activates ¨rude¨ and ¨snide¨ and occupies himself with nonsense like The Anglican Covenant (that will punish honor instead of engage truth)...meanwhile ignoring The Church of Sweden, their Royal family and TEC´s Bishop Robinson (and God forbid any other kink in his current sensibilities). BTW, I saw the webcast interviews of the candidates for Bishop Suffragan (two openings) at The Diocese of Los Angeles...button down your mitre, dear ABC as there are brilliant candidates, that may not be to your ¨liking¨, coming...ah, that Holy Spirit, she´s a busy one...so many lessons to learn in OUR TIME!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 2:24pm GMT

Thank you LGBT for your open letter to the two Archbishops. Porvoo is of the Spirit, and we have seen many Blessings so far. May that same Spirit be allowed to flourish in the United Kingdom, instead of denials of that movement by those opposing , or afraid to speak out.

Pray that Archbishop Rowan may be given the courage to say what he believes, as he has written in the past, instead of the negative speak of his 'advisors'. We heard that speak at the end of his radio interview at the Vatican.

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 3:10pm GMT

Just a note, that I was part of the Eucharist welcoming Bishop Eva to her Cathedral here in Stockholm the week after the consecration and was privileged to read the Gospel (in English) as part of that service. Nick Howe.

Posted by: Nick Howe on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 7:39pm GMT

Rowen is merely upholding Lambeth 88 in not sending a representative to the consecration of someone in a same-sex relationship contrary to the Primates agreed moratorium.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 8:35pm GMT

This was a good and courageous action on the part of the LGBT Coalition movement. No doubt there was some political reason why our Churches should not have been officially part of the ordaining process, but I, for one, am sorry that this did not take place. Thanks for this initiative from the Coalition, and prayers for the enlightenment of the Church of England Bishops on the determination of LGBT to be heard and seen.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 8:43pm GMT

Probably the ONLY way these prelates are going to do the right thing is by PUBLICLY shaming them in the media and by demonstrating loudly at their various cathedral churches. If they are not made to feel UNCOMFORTABLE by shaming them and how serious and immoral their recent lack of support for women bishops in Sweden has been as demonstrated by their absence from Eva Brunne's consecration. Their horrible SILENCE on the glbt proposed homophobic laws in Uganda, is NOT acceptable by ANY moral standards.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 9:17pm GMT

I am surprised that no one attended the consecration of this person; after all the possibility of attending the ordination of a woman, who is also a practicing lesbian, can hardly be missed. Could it be that we secretly know that to consent to this act could be wrong, shock horror.

Posted by: mark wharton on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 11:07pm GMT

"Could it be that we secretly know that to consent to this act could be wrong, shock horror." - Posted by mark wharton

Um, No.

[And IF you were right, MarkW: as if there had never been a "practicing" sinner ordained before? With a full panoply of purple-shirts present&consenting? O_o ]

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 2:21am GMT

Jeremy: "Rowen is merely upholding Lambeth 88 in not sending a representative to the consecration of someone in a same-sex relationship contrary to the Primates agreed moratorium"

But I don't think the current top-down Anglican control-freakery extends to being able to dictate every other church's policy for it as well as stamping out internal dissent. Thank goodness for that, as someone needs to be able to throw the current Anglican institutional complicity in unethical behaviour into relief.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 11:27am GMT

What on earth is a practicing lesbian ?

Surely, it needs no practice, being a matter of being.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 12:02pm GMT

"I am surprised that no one attended the consecration of this person..."

Although the absence of a representative of the CofE might make it seek as if no one who was anyone attended her consecration, I am informed that there were actually Swedes (some of them in episcopal orders) in attendance. ;-)

The Swedes don't seem to be making a big deal about this. I wonder if we should be.

Posted by: BillyD on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 3:40pm GMT

Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese, Anglican Church of Uganda, writes in his screed (referenced above): "Homosexuality is infectious." He is welcome in the Church of England; his diocese is partnered with Winchester. The Church of England is silent on the proposed Ugandan laws, and silence gives consent.

But it refuses fellowship with the Church of Sweden, because the Swedish church has ordained a partnered Lesbian as a bishop. The Church of England has said it will no longer license Swedish priests to officiate in its churches, and is considering repudiating the Porvoo Agreement altogether.

Domestically, the Church of England demands the right to discriminate, without limit, against gay and lesbians in non-religious employment and services, even though such discrimination is no longer legal. The Church of England wants to be able to say to a typist who has applied for a job: "We will not hire you unless you can prove you are heterosexual." It wants to be able to say to a hungry person coming to its food pantries: "We give food only to heterosexuals." Its priests preach hate from its pulpits and call it religious free speech.

The Church of England demands that all other churches in the Communion agree, and sign a document stating that they agree. Those who will not sign their Covenant will be chucked out of the Anglican Communion. Agree with the Ugandans, repudiate the Swedes, and lock out gay and lesbian people, or the Church of England will break Communion with you.

I say (again) that for the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada, there is no point in continuing the struggle to remain in communion with such a Church. Let's shake the dust off our shoes and be about the Lord's business, in company with the Swedish Lutherans, the ELCA, the UCC and United Methodists, the Old Catholics, the Utrecht Union, and the rest who "get it.". New Zealand is welcome to join us.

I applaud all of the people within the Church of England who are trying to change things from within; perhaps they'll want to join us as well.

Posted by: Charlotte on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 7:39pm GMT

I am at a loss here.

I had understood that the UK Porvoo churches invited to Uppsala this turn were Wales and Ireland.

If this is so then this letter is aimed at the wrong Primate.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 at 10:38pm GMT

++Cantuar did receive an invitation, though the Swedes explain they didn't expect him to attend, as he seldom does.

Posted by: Geoff on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 4:22pm GMT

Charlotte, you wrote:
"The Church of England has said it will no longer license Swedish priests to officiate in its churches, and is considering repudiating the Porvoo Agreement altogether."

What is your source for this claim? It's news to me.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 4:39pm GMT

'"Homosexuality is infectious." He is welcome in the Church of England; his diocese is partnered with Winchester.' - Charlotte, on Wednesday -

Ah. Well! That explains the negative stance of the Bishop of Winchester, whose speech in the House of Lords recently sounds very much like the theology of Bishop Abura of Uganda. This attitude is, of course, further evidence of the more unfortunate legacy of the Colonial Churches.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 26 November 2009 at 11:41pm GMT

Simon: See the answers to the two General Synod questions regarding the Church of England's position on the Church of Sweden's recent actions. In your archives for June 2009, I believe. It all got a bit lost in the recent furor over Anglican Ordinariates, but, yes, I believe that is what the answer said. If clergy in the Church of Sweden apply for a license to officiate in Church of England services, licenses will be denied, because of the Church of Sweden's position on same-sex marriages and their election of a partnered Lesbian bishop.

I think it was shortly thereafter that I gave up altogether on the Church of England.

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 1:26pm GMT

Charlotte, do you mean these questions?
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/003887.html
I don't see how you draw such a conclusion.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 2:32pm GMT

From the reply to the second question:

"However, in both contexts, the interchangeability of ordained ministries is subject to the discipline of the churches involved, which in the case of the Church of England is the discipline set out in the Revd Tony Higton’s 1988 General Synod motion and in the 1991 report Issues in Human Sexuality."

If another church as a whole is at variance with the positions taken in those documents, then it cannot participate in an interchange ministers and ministries with the Church of England. Individual ministers within that church could, I suppose, be licensed, if their own positions are in conformity with the Church of England's, but the general agreement subsisting between the two churches is no longer in effect.

That's how I read the answers to the General Synod questions, and it seems to me to be the plain meaning of the words.

Similarly, the Episcopal Church in the US has taken positions at GC 2009 that put it at variance with the Church of England, which has accordingly warned us that we cannot be part of the Anglican Communion even if we sign the Anglican Covenant. OCICBW.

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 7:33pm GMT

Simon, I cannot trnasfer the actual wording from the PDF document here , but Charlotte appears to refer to the sub-penultimate paragraph of the Letter to the Archbishop of Uppsala from the ACC/FOCG committee, which mentions: (Quote)

"Changes in the understanding of human sexuality and marriage in one member church of the PORVOO fellowship would lead to an impairment of the relationship between the churches, with particular implications for the interchangeability of ordained minsitry" (unquote)

I agree with Charlotte here. This does seem to be a rather direct statement suggesting that what has already happened in Sweden (the ordination of a lesbian-partnered Bishop) 'would' ('has'?) led to an impairment....with particular implications for the interchangeability of ordained ministry'.

This was in the Letter. Has there been any retraction of this statment?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 10:27pm GMT

Charlotte and Fr Ron

The answer to the synod question simply recites an existing CofE policy. I really don't understand how you can read so much into such an innocuous answer. So far as I know, nothing at all has yet changed. The Church of Sweden has never subscribed to the CofE documents mentioned, which are around 20 years old now. The Porvoo Agreement itself was not signed by either Sweden or England until the mid 1990s, well after these documents were written.

Turning to the para of the letter, "would" is not at all the same as "has" but again nothing at all has yet changed.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 November 2009 at 11:51pm GMT

Simon, since that answer was given at Synod, has anyone from the Church of Sweden applied for a license to officiate in the Church of England? If so, what has happened? That would tell us what policy is actually in effect in the Church of England.

Like Fr. Ron, I read the answer as a scarcely veiled threat to the Church of Sweden. To say that nothing at all has "yet" changed is not reassuring.

Posted by: Charlotte on Saturday, 28 November 2009 at 12:06pm GMT

Charlotte, please. There is no evidence at all of a change in policy in this area. It is now over five years since the New Hampshire consecration and American clergy still come to the UK. Why on earth would you expect a fast reaction to a Swedish event, which only took place a few weeks ago?

The Church of England does not move fast.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 28 November 2009 at 3:48pm GMT

All right, then. I'll wait and see. Much depends on the terms on which the Americans will be permitted to remain in the Anglican Communion (if in fact we are). If the terms offered by Canterbury are ultimately dishonorable terms, I don't think we can or will, nor should we remain in Communion with them.

Recent actions (and inactions!) on the part of the Church of England have suggested to me that the terms they will impose on us will be dishonorable and the price of Communion too high. But perhaps not.

In any case, I think it would be wise for us in North America to continue to pursue union with churches that deal openly, honestly, and honorably with their gay and lesbian members.

Posted by: Charlotte on Sunday, 29 November 2009 at 4:35pm GMT

Charlotte raises an interesting question about just how relationships in The Porvoo Group have been changed by developments such as women bishops etc.

Some time ago there was a very sniffy piece from the CofE Faith and Order Group (FOAG) and we were led to believe that this would be followed up by a major work from Professor Oliver O'Donovan. I hear that it circulated for a while but as far as I can remember FOAG never published the promised work.

What is of major significance - and I am surprised it hasn't been posted here as Simon is more than aware of it - is that the new Anglican Roman Catholic discussions announced last week are on ....... wait for it .....
ETHICS!
To learn all about it go here:
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2009/11/26/ACNS4669

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 29 November 2009 at 11:59pm GMT

"Recent actions (and inactions!) on the part of the Church of England have suggested to me that the terms they will impose on us will be dishonorable and the price of Communion too high. But perhaps not." - Charlotte, on Sunday -

The more hopeful phrase here, Charlotte, is your *perhaps not*.

Hopefully, the Covenant initiative will have to be sanctioned by ALL the 'Instruments of Unity' before it can be regarded as incumbent upon ALL Provinces fo the world-wide Anglican Communion - not just the ABC and the Lambeth Conference Bishops. The Anglican Consultative Council has become an important 'Instrument of Unity', composed as it is of episcopal, clerical and lay membership - a more truly representative Body belonging to the whole Communion. Diocesan and Provincial Synods are powerful constituents of the Anglican Way.

This is my hope, and the hope, I venture to suggest of ALL Synods of the Provinces of the Communion - especially those which, like you and me are are representative of the Gospel needs of LGBT persons who happen to be supporters of LGBT persons; whether Anglicans or not.

Any Covenant which outlawed the ordination of LGBT persons would have great difficulty in recruiting those of us who feel that this is a prophetic initiative - consonant with the authentic inclusivity of Christ's Gospel.

This is not just a matter where the Church of England can expect - or be expected - to impose conditions upon Anglicanism world-wide.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 30 November 2009 at 4:51am GMT
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