Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Porvoo consultation on marriage

From 1 to 4 November, the Churches of the Porvoo Communion held a consultation in Turku, Finland on the Churches’ teaching on marriage. Delegates represented the Anglican Churches in England, Ireland and Scotland, and the Lutheran Churches in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Observers were present from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia, the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, and the Latvian Lutheran Church Abroad.

Read more about this:

Church of Ireland Gazette High-level Porvoo Communion consultation on marriage

…The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Michael Jackson, and the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, attended from the Church of Ireland. Archbishop Jackson had been invited to give a series of Bible studies and Bishop Burrows acted as a Group Convener.

Each member-Church of the Porvoo Communion was invited to submit copies of its marriage liturgies and regulations. Dr Jackson told the Gazette that this material, together with lectures on the interpretation of biblical passages related to marriage, on theological arguments surrounding the issue of same- sex marriage, and on aspects of human genetics “gave scope and shape to the discussions”.

The Archbishop said that in a climate of “tension” relating to marriage practice across the Churches of the Porvoo Communion, the consultation had been conducted “in a spirit of attentive listening and courteous interchange of ideas and experiences”.

Bishop David Hamid Anglicans and Lutherans in Northern Europe meet to discuss the doctrine of marriage

…During the days together members from each Church shared their official teaching on marriage, as well as their pastoral experiences. There were also presentations covering aspects of the scriptural foundations for marriage, the development of doctrine, and human genetics.

The consultation concluded that differences over the introduction of same-sex marriage remain unresolved. The Churches hold a variety of views and pastoral practices along a theological spectrum. Some believe same sex marriage to be a legitimate development in the Christian tradition, whilst others see the potential for a serious departure from the received tradition. Nevertheless the consultation affirmed the benefits of “belonging to one another” and the value of honest encounter. The strong relationship of the Porvoo Communion, provides a “platform of sustained communication in the face of issues which raise difficulties for [the Churches]”

The full text of the communique issued can be found here (PDF).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 8:57am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | Church of Ireland | Porvoo Communion
Comments

Why aren't we breaking Communion with these heretics? We must keep the faith pure and unsullied at any cost and regardless of who we hurt. They certainly aren't real Christians Churches any more if ever they were. There's always been far too much sex in Scandanavia anyway.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 11:23am GMT

Well, if the Porvoo Communion can do it, why not the Anglican Communion ?

It's hardly rocket science.,

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 4:28pm GMT

We (Wales) were due to be represented but the priest who was going had to officiate at a funeral and nobody else could go at short notice....... that's the story ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 7:09pm GMT

"Some believe same sex marriage to be a legitimate development in the Christian tradition, whilst others see the potential for a serious departure from the received tradition. Nevertheless the consultation affirmed the benefits of “belonging to one another” and the value of honest encounter."

Yet no one was ordered to the back-of-the-bus ("Second Tier")? Imagine! O_o

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 9:56pm GMT

If this report is correct, this meeting represents an entirely appropriate way to deal with issues that divide members of Christ's Body, with charity, with gracious acceptance of others' views, and with commitment to communion and to the future of the relationship.

No need for a Covenant here. This should be a model for the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: jnwall on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 10:51pm GMT

I'm with jnwall's response to this Good News

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 6 December 2011 at 11:49pm GMT

The Covenanters have been whining that Covenantsceptics won't play along, admit the sky is falling and offer up an alternative means of forcing everyone to behave like adults whether they want to or not.

Well Rowan, here's your alternative. Get together. Talk like adults. Admit we don't all agree. Then say we're committed to love each other anyway just like Jesus tells us to do.

Seems to work better than your silly Covenant.

And nobody thrown under the bus.

Imagine!

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 5:12am GMT

Malcolm French: "Get together. Talk like adults. Admit we don't all agree. Then say we're committed to love each other anyway just like Jesus tells us to do. Seems to work better than your silly Covenant. And nobody thrown under the bus."

Exactly: you've hit the nail on the head.

There is a reason why respectfully agreeing to differ works within the Porvoo Agreement and not in the Anglican Communion, though. It is to do with power. The C of E has no power over the Scandinavian churches: if any Anglican bishop gets his (still always his!) knickers in a twist over what the Swedes, Danes or Norwegians think and do about marriage, there is precisely nothing the Anglican bishop can actually do to stop them behaving however they want to. They will go ahead, ministering however they see fit within their own countries whatever any Anglicans think about it. So power is taken out of the equation: where Anglican leaders cannot impose their opinion on others, they are forced to sit and listen and accept difference, rather than engage in the intra-Anglican male power politics with which we have all become so depressingly familiar in recent years.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 2:05pm GMT

Hmmmmm ........... not quite the sweetness and light we might wish.

Where are Estonia and Lithuania and remember that Vanags of Latvia has already stopped ordaining women and declared his church out of communion with any church that ordains, blesses or marries gay people. Indeed the churches in Latvia whipped up anti-gay feeling against Riga Pride,

Also we must recall the vituperative report from England FOAG attacking those Porvoo churches allowing gay partnered bishops and blessing gay marriage and regretting there was no process to stop a member church moving unilaterally.

Uniquely when Eva Brunne was consecrated bishop of Stokholm there was not a single bishop from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland taking part.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 6:31pm GMT

Fr Mark is right. The issue is power, but also culture.
The Africans, and their American and English co-conspirators, believe they have the power to force the rest of us into line with their view of our religion.
The Scandinavians have no such illusions, and the CofE has no compelling interest in trying to force the other Porvooians to abandon their own views.
The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada should join the Porvoo group, if they will have us. The Lutherans have somewhat different traditions, but they are our people.

Posted by: Andrew on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 7:42pm GMT

The Episcopal Church is already in communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 9:58pm GMT

> Uniquely when Eva Brunne was consecrated bishop of Stockholm there was not a single bishop from England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland taking part.

I think it is the case that not all of these churches was invited to send a bishop to this consecration.

Believe it or not, there is a rota.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 10:18pm GMT

Regarding Porvoo Consecration issues, by the way, I can confirm that a Swedish bishop who happens to be female has acted as a co-consecrator at a UK diocesan bishop's consecration.

I attempted to teach her the Gay Gordons at the ceilidh afterwards.

She was an eager learner.

Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth on Wednesday, 7 December 2011 at 10:22pm GMT

Kelvin's right, my hint at conspiracy was a little thin!

Still - nobody filled the place in the rota that time ...... Glad to hear women have been warming their hands on episcopal duties in some secret UK location ....... but I think "Gay Gordons" and "ceilidh" may reveal something more than the sexual preference of the Gin ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 8 December 2011 at 9:27am GMT

The difference between Porvoo and the Anglican Communion is that they don't pretend to be the same denomination. There is distance and space between the members of Porvoo that doesn't exist between Anglicans. If members of the Latvian Church don't like something the Church of Sweden does, they can go home, shake it off and shake their heads at "Those crazy Swedes..." Sharing a name and sharing bishops, most of the rank and file expect more unity in the Anglican communion. With no space/fences, we get into the "They don't agree with me so they aren't REAL Episcopalians/Anglicans". And with so many variations, nobody on the outside knows what "Real" is. Several of the local Episcopal parishes have more in common with other denominations than they do with other Episcopal parishes in the same diocese depending on how conservative or liberal each area is. Tensions get higher depending on whether your parish attitude has the same Liberal/Conservative view as the bishop. Being neighbors can be easier than being family.

Posted by: Chris H. on Thursday, 8 December 2011 at 11:49am GMT

Chris H's contribution is a good one. Porvoo is a sort of extension of what used to be called ( in the 1950's and 60's) "the Wider Episcopal fellowship"...something we havent heard about for some 40 years...not sure when it died a death...

Posted by: Perry Butler on Thursday, 8 December 2011 at 5:29pm GMT

Chris H
"Tensions get higher depending on whether your parish attitude has the same Liberal/Conservative view as the bishop."

I would like you to explain this to me. My bishop has a few views I don't share but he doesn't really influence what happens every Sunday in my local parish at all.

In fact, my priest has a few views I don't share and among the congregation there are many different views on many different issues.

Why is it hard for you to live with people who don't agree with everything you believe in?
So hard, that they have to be removed?
Even if they are continents away?

I genuinely don't understand this.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 8 December 2011 at 5:40pm GMT

"Sharing a name and sharing bishops, most of the rank and file expect more unity in the Anglican communion."

Perhaps the rank and file can take a leaf out of their Porvoo brethren's book. Obviously there are definitions of "unity" other than uniformity of matrimonial discipline available, and they work fine for the Porvoo churches. For all the issues I have with Luther's "two kingdoms," it appears to have served them well in this instance, allowing provinces to determine their own relationship with the state's regulation of contracts without converting it into a communion-dividing issue. In the Anglican Communion, we still have people trying to turn one particular variety of church marriage into a timeless moral absolute, when church marriage in any variety only dates to the Reformation (an awfully late juncture after the Biblical period to promote an "allowable estate" into a binding moral law).

Posted by: Geoff on Thursday, 8 December 2011 at 8:22pm GMT

Maybe Porvoo works, because it is as the Anglican Communion SHOULD be: ***in (holy) communion*** (unlike Anglican bishops/Primates who boycott other Anglican bishops/Primates at the altar!), ***consultative only***, and ***respectful of diversity***.

That's all the AC was supposed to be (vis-a-vis Lambeth, as conceived).

Then Rowan got this "Anglican Church" model in his head---while all these excommunicating boycotts were going on---and somehow, Porvoo became the holy remnant! O_o

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 9 December 2011 at 3:16am GMT

"Maybe Porvoo works, because it is as the Anglican Communion SHOULD be"

Hear hear.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 9 December 2011 at 7:58am GMT
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