Monday, 19 April 2010

Fourth Anglican Global South Encounter

ACNS has the background: Fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter begins in Singapore

Read news items from Global South Anglican:

Read the full texts of the Opening Addresses:

A Welcome Address from the Conference Host, Abp John Chew

Welcome Address from the Chairman, Abp Peter Akinola

GSE4 Thematic Address 1: “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” - Abp Nicholas Okoh

Sermon at GSE4 Opening Service - Abp Peter Akinola

Update Video of this sermon now available here.

An extract from the sermon is below the fold.

…In our Anglican Communion, we have worked very hard in the last three years trying to agree and sign up to a new Anglican Covenant. Covenant is a very serious and weighty matter. Be it between God and his people or between business partners and even in the context of marriage, the terms and conditions of any covenant must never be taken lightly.

Initially, it was felt that a comprehensive Anglican covenant would help heal the wounds and restore confidence in our relationships within the Anglican family, as it would provide for accountability. But as things stand today in the Communion, this Encounter gathered here in Singapore needs to assure itself if the proposed covenant offers any such hope.

More importantly, has the real problem that tore the fabric of the Communion been addressed? Can the Covenant address the problem? As we are gathered here today, there are those who are in what they call ‘impaired communion’ and others in what is called ‘broken sacramental communion’ with The Episcopal Church in North America and the Anglican Church of Canada. All calls for accountability and repentance have not been heeded. Decisions taken by the Primates to resolve the problem at their meetings in Brazil, Dromantine and Dar es Salam have been jettisoned. Consequently, the Communion has not been able to mend the ‘broken net’.

This, sadly, is the eighth year since we have not all been in communion with one another, globally, in the same Anglican Church. It appears that some of our leaders value the ageing structures of the communion much more than anything else, hence, the illusion that with more meetings, organisations and networks the crises will disappear. How wrong.

We all know that signing the covenant will not stop TEC from pursuing its own agenda. In fact only recently, it elected and confirmed another openly practicing lesbian priest to the episcopate. The Communion is still unable to exercise discipline. We are God’s Covenant to the world, yes, but we are divided. We lack discipline. We lack the courage to call ‘a spade a spade’. Our obedience to God is selective.

My sisters and brothers from around the world, I am troubled, I am sad in fact I am confused. If the churches in the Global South sign up, would they then become a new Communion? Wouldn’t that further polarize the church? On the other hand the Churches in the Global South cannot forever continue to merely react to the actions of the Western churches. If TEC for political reasons chooses to sign, and we can’t stop them, but continues to disregard the mind of the Communion on these matters that have caused us so much grief, it will make nonsense of the whole exercise.

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"We all know that signing the covenant will not stop TEC from pursuing its own agenda. In fact only recently, it elected and confirmed another openly practicing lesbian priest to the episcopate. The Communion is still unable to exercise discipline. We are God’s Covenant to the world, yes, but we are divided. We lack discipline. We lack the courage to call ‘a spade a spade’. Our obedience to God is selective."

And here Bishop Akinola reveals his complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Communion from its inception. It was never intended to "exercise discipline". It was and is intended to foster friendship and understanding, to allow peoples of differing lands and cultures to share in the love of God and Christ, to recognize what we have in common even as we celebrate our differences.

It is not that our obedience that is is rather that our understanding of what the obedience requires of us differs. We in TEC believe it requires treating all people--including gays and lesbians--as children of God, entitled to the same dignity as heterosexuals. Akinola and his followers disagree...and refuse to see "agreeing to disagree" as an answer to the problem.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 19 April 2010 at 11:38pm BST

As long as these leaders at the Anglican Communion prefer their own company as opposed to the rest of OUR religious community...well, they are very, very sad men who will strive to be the TEACHERS...unfortunately, for them and many of their followers, they lack humility (even as they pontificate about having dump trucks full of it). They only ¨listen¨ to the sound of their own collective high pitched voice. It won´t work for the Bishop of Rome and it won´t work for them.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Monday, 19 April 2010 at 11:39pm BST

I am a gay man.

I believe Jesus is God.

I believe every word of Scripture is inspired by God.

I don't believe there is any word in God's Holy Scripture which translates to "person with an inborn homosexual orientation."

I believe God has forgiven me of my sinfulness and called me to a holy life.

I believe I can no longer go back to my earlier, sinful way of being a gay man (OK, not as sinful as one might think, but for the sake of argument, let's say I was really, really sinful).

I believe that obedience to God can include a lifelong, sexually exclusive, publicly accountable relationship with another man.

So, how are my fundamental beliefs different from those of the Global South? How am I less Scriptural or less concerned about holiness?

Oh, and, Abp. Akinola--if you're going to preach about God honoring covenants, how about the covenant between Jonathan and David, or Ruth and Naomi, or "eunuchs" in general?

Posted by: Ashpenaz on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 12:30am BST

"This, sadly, is the eighth year since we have not all been in communion with one another, globally, in the same Anglican Church."

The passive voice . . . AS IF it's not ***their own decision*** break communion (by boycotting Lambeth, for example). Chutzpah, as it's said in Yiddish.

"these matters that have caused us so much grief"

You know, if Akinola could meet LGBT Anglicans, and discuss the aspects of our *shared grief*, we might be able to make a breakthrough.

But I don't hear "grief" from Akinola. All I hear is rage and *contempt*.

Lord have mercy.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 6:11am BST

The politics of hatred is at play here. It includes misogyny and homophobia. It also excludes rather than includes others with different ways of thinking. It is a sickness and a disease whose main symptom is intolerance. It doesn't remotely mirror the teachings of Jesus. It is the politics of hatred.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 6:17am BST

TEC is exercising discipline. It is the discipline of tolerance, companionship, humility, compassion, inclusion, generosity, faith, love, peace, justice, mercy, kindness.

It necessitates the faith to challenge paradigms, to embrace the new, to take thinking to its logical extension and then ask "why are some excluded?" And then the wisdom to recognise hypocripsy, selfishness, complacency, tyranny, injustice, sycophantry, idolatry. It necessitates looking at the paradigms and not "the big guy" who "buys" one exemption from justice.

TEC is not grappling with female genital mutilation, female decapitation with no guilt or remorse, violence with no conscience, hate theology with no self-awareness of hypocrisy. They are not working to "preserve an order" that necessitates the dehumanisation, mutilation, subjegation or mistreatment of others.

There are some associated with "alternatives" that are of the credibility gap between their companions and their conduct. Shame on them for not making the leap of faith to break the chains of suppressions and tyranny.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 10:35am BST

"But on a more sobering note, in difficult economic times like these, to gather some 20 key Global South Provinces, close orthodox associates from the West and senior ecumenical partners is only possible by the grace and will of our Risen Saviour and Lord!"
- Archbishop John Chew -

The economic difficulty here, of course is quite possibly ameliorated by the largesse of the American Right Conservative promoters of this conference, at whose invitation certain Primates
were right royally feted (and briefed) by their
munificent hosts in Bermuda.

It's amazing that - despite 'difficult times like these'- so many bishops, ex-bishops and devotees can afford the time and the money to travel
thousands of miles to repeat the same old threats and shibboleths. What about the poverty back home on the ranch, who is carrying out the mission to the poor and the outcast?"

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 11:46am BST

Where is there a list of the primates actually in attendance? I note that the GS Anglican website - at - apparently only notes "representatives" from the following provinces:

Representatives from the following Provinces:

1. Anglican Church of Burundi
2. Province of Central Africa
3. Province of Congo
4. Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
5. Province of the Indian Ocean
6. Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East
7. Province of Kenya
8. Province of Melanesia
9. Province of Myanmar
10. Province of Nigeria
11. The Church of North India (United)
12. Province of Papua New Guinea
13. Province of Rwanda
14. Province of South East Asia
15. Province of Southern Africa
16. Province of Southern Cones
17. Province of Sudan
18. Province of Tanzania
19. Province of Uganda
20. Province of West Africa

Is the Southern Africa representative the primate?

In any case, Brazil isn't there at all, nor Mexico, nor IARCA, nor TEC Province IX -- so again, let's all remember that this isn't really the "Global South," it's "Selected Theologically 'Correct' Components of the Global South." Mustn't let in any true Global South folks who *disagree*, you know. (Even if some of them *used* to be invited.)

Posted by: David da Silva Cornell on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 at 5:03pm BST

Ashpenaz - so glad to hear what you affirm in sentence 2,4 and 5. Jesus said "if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Jn 8-31-32. Keep abiding. Freedom is glorious and so worth the cost.

Cheryl -- you ignore the many of traditional theology who are passed over in the discernment process, denied ordination, and prevented from receiving calls in the majority of intolerant-of-conservative-liberal dioceses. When I objected to being excluded from such a diocese, citing their own "broad tent, room enough for all" PR, the bishop told me, "honestly, the tent has narrowed." So much for being inclusive.

Posted by: Rob on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 at 7:39am BST

David: Don't forget the Philippines.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Thursday, 22 April 2010 at 9:33am BST

The one thing these prelates have is plenty of wind. Sound a fury signifying nothing. Nothing but bile.
Last year my partner and myself were invited to be guests at the consecration of the asast. Bishop of Kuching. It was a wonderful Mass of the tractarian tradition. Sadly we had to sit through a rambling sermon of 45 mins. Who was the preacher Arbp John Chew.The Bishop of Kuching and the whole congregation made us most welcome, and the next day we attended the opening Mass for the diocesan synod , and were guests at the meal following. I gave the Bishop of Kuching the book of collects for Inclusive church, which he accepted.
We were on holiday in Sarawak at the time.

Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by: Fr John on Thursday, 22 April 2010 at 4:18pm BST

"Sadly we had to sit through a rambling sermon of 45 mins. Who was the preacher Arbp John Chew."
- Fr. John on Thursday -

Dear Father John, I cannot possibly comment on your experience of the preaching of Abp. John Chew at the Kuching Mass; however, I do think he might have changed his tune somewhat - being faced with the prospect of schism by the Global South in their latest 'Encounter in Singapore.

I sincerely believe that, having had time and the recent experience of the so-obvious machinations of some of his G.S. colleagues, Abp. Chew could have arrived at a more eirenic and sane view on what servanthood is all about. His reflection to the GSE4 Meeting (available on video on the G.S. site) shows some evidence of a deeper under-standing of what schismatic action would mean for the effectiveness of world-wide mission. It was worth hearing his exposition on the basis of the 'Suffering Servant' passages of Isaiah. I would certainly recommend your giving time to hearing (and seeing) Abp. Chew on this video clip. There certainly was a hint of a more humble approach to the problems of the Church than I have yet heard from any other G.S. official.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 23 April 2010 at 12:31am BST
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