Saturday, 3 September 2011

correcting misapprehensions...

Colin Coward has penned four notes to correct various claims made by Anglican Mainstream recently.

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream – 1

On August 17th, 2011 Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream, responded to the open letter from Rev Benny Hazlehurst (writing on behalf of the LGBT Anglican Coalition) about conversations with the two groups of bishops appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, one broadly conservative, the other broadly liberal.

The first issue I want to address is whether or not the broadly liberal group, then convened by John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln and now by Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells, had engaged in conversations with Changing Attitude or any of the other LGBT groups…

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream – 2: What happened at Lambeth 1998

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream – 3: The Listening Process

Misapprehensions by Anglican Mainstream 4: The Listening Process will change the Church

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 2:23pm BST | TrackBack
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Section three is where the meat of the issue is and I'd welcome comment on the "via media" I put across in response to Colin there.

Posted by: Peter Ould on Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 3:43pm BST

I'm sorry, have I missed something? I just don't see why this is important. Whether or not 'Anglican Mainstream' is trying to rewrite history the fact is that GLTB people have quite a lot to say to the church for everyone to hear and maybe rather more than 'Anglican Mainstream' and Mr Ould would like will actually listen.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 11:07pm BST

"I fear that Anglican Mainstream and other Anglican bodies want to rewrite history and deny the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, make us non-persons in the Church."

Where the rubber meets the road. Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 1:41am BST

Anglican Mainstream is anything but mainstream but their hubris in choosing that name is consistent with the conservative tendency to rewrite history and obfuscate by using looking-glass like names for operations.

Giddings is clearly shown to be badly mistaken, if not an outright liar, by Coward, yet the Anglican tendency (at least on the more liberal side) to appear nice will prevent that from being said openly.

And in the end it matters little since Lambeth 1:10 is not doctrine nor law and has little bearing on anything 13 years after the fact, despite the ugly machinations of the conservative factions to turn it into such at the conference and in the years following.

I have not forgotten the unChristian behaviors revealed at that Lambeth conference nor the acid tongued vituperative nature of the conservatives who created Lambeth 1:10 out of whole cloth to the dismay of the kinder, gentler, and very naive bishops present.

Rewrite history all you want, Mr. Giddings. I pray for God's mercy on all of us and care little for your teapot tempest.

Posted by: Priscilla Cardinale on Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 3:11pm BST

Richard says "I'm sorry, have I missed something? I just don't see why this is important".

I think it is important.

Conservative groups like Anglican Mainstream do not want to participate in the listening process, as they already know the answer and don't need to listen.

But such groups also place great emphasis on Lambeth 1.10 as being a hugely authoritative statement (because it give them a statement about homosexuality they like).

So if it can be demonstrated that the listening process is a direct response to, and authorised by, Lambeth 1.10, then it would place some form of obligation on those conservative groups to a) participate in the listening process and b) take account of the outcomes.

Anglican Mainstream can't have it both ways. Either Lambeth 1.10 is authoritative, in which case they must participate in the listening process. Or if they are seen to ignore the listening process they ignore Lambeth 1.10, which makes it harder for them to claim 1.10 as as authoritative statement on homosexuality.

I am not an expert here, but that is the point I think Colin is trying to make.

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 3:17pm BST

Anglican Mainstream and other right wing religious organizations not only want to devalue the glbt communities by their homophobia and hatred, they also want to disenfranchise the glbt communities from the Churches. It is particularly disturbing that the Archbishop of Canterbury is NOT showing that he has a spine by standing up to the Fundamentalist elements in the Anglican World. He seems to be accommodating them in every way while he has turned his back on the glbt communities both inside and outside the Church.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 4:19pm BST

There are three reasons why it's important, Richard.

First, the letter was signed by Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream. Philip is Lay Chair of General Synod and Canon Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream, is a member of General Synod. They are both influential on Synod and with the hierarchy of the Church of England.

It worries me that Dr Giddings presents in his letter a version of history in relation to Lambeth 1.10 and the Listening Process that is either ignorant of the facts or a deliberate rewriting of history. He above all, and in connection with Canon Sugden, should be clear about the relationship between the two and present it as accurately and truthfully as possible.

Secondly, false or mythic readings of events, if uncorrected, stand as the truth when people research online. I have learnt how important it is to correct mistakes.

Thirdly, I believe the rewrite of history is a deliberate attempt to undermine the Listening Process and persuade the Communion to abandon any movement towards the recognition of homosexuality as an identity and the full inclusion of LGB&T people in the Anglican Communion.

I have no doubt that their aim will fail, but along the way, it's no good allowing mistakes to go uncorrected. Otherwise they have a habit of returning as the authorised version and will be used against us.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 5:12pm BST

Peter Ould

Surely in Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10, parts (c) and (f) should be read in the light of part (a). Overall, this resolution follows 1978 Resolution 10 and 1988 Resolution 64.

It is not only Lambeth Conferences which have emphasised the need for deepening understanding of complex issues of human sexuality across the Communion, of which study and dialogue involving listening are a part. For instance Resolution 39 of the Anglican Consultative Council 2005 noted 'the recommendations of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network on Theological Education set out at paragraphs G, H, I, J and K of its 2004 report and refers them to the Theological Education for the Anglican Communion Network (TEAC) for consideration and appropriate action'.

Recommendation I was that 'that each Province of the Communion undertake to commit itself to ensuring that all of its teaching institutions immediately and intentionally include theological studies of human sexuality in accord with Lambeth Resolutions of 1978, 1988 and 1998 respectively. We further recommend that each Province commit themselves to the ongoing studies called for in the Windsor Report, and that each Province report back to the next ACC meeting on their progress. (The APJN recognizes a very significant curriculum omission in most Anglican Theological Colleges is that of human sexuality. Given the urgings of all three of the most recent Lambeth Meetings for the "theological study of sexuality" to be undertaken within the Communion and especially given the current situation of extraordinarily heightened tensions among and between Provinces arising from vastly differing understandings of human sexuality (which in turn has given rise to the production of the Windsor Report), then these theological studies are seen by APJN as being of the highest priority.)'

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 12:24am BST

'Mainstream' devotees obviously have not understood the biblical injunction: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church". But then, selective interpretation of the Bible, for 'Mainstream', may be more important than the implementation of justice in the Church.

I've long thought that 'Slipstream' might be a more apt title for this sodality.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 12:50am BST

So if it can be demonstrated that the listening process is a direct response to, and authorised by, Lambeth 1.10, then it would place some form of obligation on those conservative groups to a) participate in the listening process and b) take account of the outcomes.

Perfect summary Simon.

Posted by: Peter Ould on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 8:58am BST

Thanks, Simon and Colin, that's helpful. I suppose that the other question is: why now? Since 'listening' has been offical policy since 1998 one might ask why 'Anglican Mainstream' has suddenly decided that it doesn't mean what most of us thought it meant. Is the answer that with the recent establishment by the Bishops of the two groups, there is now an official mechanism for 'listening' and that there is a possibility that the process might actually lead to some change in the offical position? It is therefore necessary to undermine the basis of these groups at this early stage so that any unwanted recomendations can be dismissed.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 9:15am BST

'Angican Mainstream' has no authority.

Why do they seem to imply otherwise.

I am glad to see that Peter Ould has accepted the listening process, in his post here.

Not only did Lambeth 1.10 call for listening to gay folk, it actually a matter of common decency.


Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 5:06pm BST

Peter Ould,

It doesn't need to be demonstrated that the listening process is a direct response to, and authorised by, Lambeth 1.10, and this places an obligation on conservative groups to a) participate in the listening process and b) take account of the outcomes.

That has been the position of the Anglican Communion since 1998 and it is only groups like Anglican Mainstream that 13 years later are still trying to deny reality.

Richard Ashby, maybe it is that the setting up of the two groups has convinced Anglican Mainstream that a change in the official position is now possible. There are plenty of other changes afoot to worry those who believe that the Church of England can be persuaded to maintain its present position and refuse equality in ministry to LGB&T people, civil partnerships being just one example.

The cynical me might well agree with you that this is a strategic move by conservative groups to preempt change and undermine the work recently initiated by the House of Bishops. The majority of bishops are now firmly aware of the urgent need to change attitudes!

Posted by: Colin Coward on Monday, 5 September 2011 at 6:44pm BST

Thinking Anglicans might be interested to learn that, at their very recent Synod Meetings, two New Zealand Dioceses, Auckland and Waiapu, have given evidence of their 'LISTENING' to the LGBT people in their dioceses. The outcome of this is that both dioceses have accepted the fact that LGBTs are entitled to be part of the Church, and that this should not prevent them from being considered for the process of discernment for ordination.

Further, the Waiapu Diocese has asked our Church (ACANZP) to approve a form of Same-Sex Blessings. I am proud to be a part of the Anglican Church in New Zealand that seems to be moving ahead of some of the other Provinces, but in the same direction as TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Both Dioceses in ACANZP are questioning the value of the Anglican Covenant process which includes the exclusivist policies of Section 4:2.

Details of the Synodical proceedings can be found on the web-site: 'Anglican Taonga'

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 at 1:35am BST
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