Saturday, 12 January 2013

Civil partnerships and bishops: Global South Anglican statement

A statement has been issued from the Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion:

We, Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion, are deeply concerned and worried by the recent decision of the Church of England’s House of Bishops which approves that clergy livingin civil partnerships can be candidates to the episcopate.There is already an ambiguity regarding civil partnerships per se. We learnt that most civil partnerships, according to the Office for National Statistics in the UK, take place among the most sexually active age group. In addition dissolutions of civil partnerships are now increasing especially in the last few years. This puts into question the motives behind this civil partnership and adds to our confusion in the Global South.

When the Church of England allowed civil partnerships in 2005, they said that “The House of Bishops does not regard entering into a civil partnership as intrinsically incompatible with holy orders, provided the person concerned is willing to give assurances to his or her bishop that therelationship is consistent with the standards for the clergy set out in Issues in Human Sexuality.” Now, with allowing candidates for episcopacy to do the same, to whom should they give assurances? Clarification on this point is needed.

Sadly, both the decision to permit clergy to enter civil partnerships and this latest decision which some call it a “local option,” are wrong and were taken without prior consultation or consensus with the rest of the Anglican Communion at a time when the Communion is still facing major challenges of disunity. It is contrary to “the inter-dependence” which we try to affirm betweenchurches within the Communion. Moreover, it does not only widen the gap between the Church of England and Anglicans in the Global South, it also widens the gap between the Anglican Communion and our ecumenical partners. Further, it jeopardizes the relationship between us Anglicans living in the Global South and followers of other faiths, and gives opportunities to exploit such departure of moral standards that this type of decision may provide.

The Church, more than any time before, needs to stand firm for the faith once received from Jesus Christ through the Apostles and not yield to the pressures of the society! In other words, the Church needs to be “salt” and “light” and to present a distinctive message from that of the secular world around us.

We strongly urge the Church of England to reconsider this divisive decision.

+ Mouneer Egypt
The Most Revd Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Nicholas Abuja
The Most Revd Nicholas Okoh
Primate of All Nigeria Bishop of Abuja
Vice-Chairman, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++ Ian Maritius
The Most Revd Ian Ernest
Primate of the Indian Ocean Bishop of Mauritius
Hon. General Secretary, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Bolly Kuching
The Most Revd Datuk Bolly Lapok
Primate of South East Asia Bishop of Kuching
Hon. General Treasurer, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++ Stephen Yangon
The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo
Primate of Myanmar Bishop of Yangon
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Eluid Nairobi
The Most Revd Dr. Eluid Wabukala
Primate of Kenya Bishop of Nairobi
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Bernard Matana
The Most Revd Bernard Nhatori
Primate of Burundi Bishop of Matana
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Hector Chile
The Most Revd Hector “Tito” Zavala
Primate of the Southern Cone Bishop of Chile
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

++Henri Kinshasa
The Most Revd Kahwa Henri Isingoma
Primate of Congo Bishop of Kinshasa
Member, Global South Primates Steering Committee

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 3:23pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

Which is why the Church of England rightly rejected the Covenant.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 4:09pm GMT

Not sure the letter has anything to say.

They ask for clarity on how the matter will be policed, as has everyone, and then say the decision must be changed.

Not exactly joined up thinking, but this statement isn't really about cogent argument or even good theology, it's about giving the CofE a kicking ............

Notice all of the "middle of the road" Primates, once seen as the "secure centre" by the likes of the ACO leadership and advisers like the lawyer John Rees. Happy now to do their worst.

Still, there is something about all this mischief making.
It obviously sets out to put some further distance between them and the CofE and furnishes their store with a position intended to appeal to ecumenical partners who have threatened severe repercussions if there is a move to be more accepting of gay people.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 4:36pm GMT

ERIKA,
I FULLY AGREEE WITH YOU.

Besides we have communion and a general understanding of real Christian life with our Canadian and American colleagues, as well as our relatives and colleagues of the Porvo communion.
All of whom have no problem with same sex relationships.

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 4:38pm GMT

..."most civil partnerships, according to the Office for National Statistics in the UK, take place among the most sexually active age group." By which they mean "adults" I presume. One does wonder at the levels of confusion in the Global South. By the time I finished the first paragraph I was laughing so hard I had to put my coffee down.

Posted by: Terra Incognita on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 4:48pm GMT

Does the Global South (GS) consult with the Church of England (CofE) when the GS decides to launch their latest "Homosexuals, you are doomed, doomed! to the fiery pits of Hell and to government ostracism!!" campaign?
No.
Does the GS consult with the CofE when the GS makes decisions denying women's ordination?
No.
Does the GS consult with the CofE on "anything" besides how awful and tainted the GS feels the CofE has become?
No.
But the GS is miffed that the CofE doesn't consult with them.
** Yawn **

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 5:25pm GMT

"Stand firm for the faith once received by Jesus Christ" would indicate to myself as well as many others that Jesus would have INCLUDED gay people under his protective umbrella. Homophobia of many bishops as well as lay people is really the culprit here. Those who wish to EXCLUDE gay people and women from any aspects of the institutional Church have not dealt with their own homophobia and in many cases, misogyny. Embracing gay people and honoring their relationships presents a clear understanding of the inclusive love of Jesus. Hatred and fear that surround the "conversation" are factors that fuel all of this. Yes, ignorance may play a role as well but homophobia and misogyny are at the heart of this battle for dignity.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 5:44pm GMT

There are plenty of bishops, clergy, and lay people from the "Global South" who either do not agree with the oppression of LGBT people, or are at least willing to suspend judgement. There is a vitriolic group that pretends to speak for all, but that is far from the total picture.

With all the problems of poverty, disease, and violence in many of these countries, a topic that Jesus and the Bible addresses quite significantly, the meddling is ridiculous.

So glad that the Covenant failed.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 6:09pm GMT

Clearly a forgery. Surely eight out of nine GS Primates would not sign themselves as "++ Name". Any self-respecting Primate would know that the double-plus convention is an Internet forum joke convention to refer to an archbishop with no connection to real practise. But it is obvious that the author of this document either did not know that, or got sloppy in preparing the text for on-line disribution.

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 6:10pm GMT

"Sadly, both the decision to permit clergy to enter civil partnerships and this latest decision which some call it a “local option,” are wrong and were taken without prior consultation or consensus with the rest of the Anglican Communion at a time when the Communion is still facing major challenges of disunity."

Some yearning for the Covenant, methinks? How the worm has turned.

The Anglican Communion is a family of independent churches. Nothing more.

And the Church of England is the church of and for England. Not Nigeria.

Of course, if Dr. Williams hadn't tried to foist the Covenant on the entire world, the Global South wouldn't have this "prior consultation" talking point.

Anglican Communion Office, meet your own petard!

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 6:21pm GMT

My, isn't Justin going to have fun at the next Lambeth Conference?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 6:53pm GMT

This is actually a letter signed by nine people that doesn't say very much - that's all.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 8:42pm GMT

"My, isn't Justin going to have fun at the next Lambeth Conference?"

I would think his stance now has to be that provinces should generally mind their own doctrinal business.

These meetings become a lot easier when bullying is named and resisted.

Now if the GS were to outvote the CofE on some attempt to impose doctrine--well, then we will see how powerless the Anglican Communion really is.

It could be an amusingly edifying spectacle, as doctrinal bullies call for lashing the wayward . . . including the Church of England.

I look forward to Canon Kearon calling Archbishop Welby in on the carpet.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 11:44pm GMT

Jeremy wrote: Now if the GS were to outvote the CofE on some attempt to impose doctrine--well, then we will see how powerless the Anglican Communion really is.

Yes. Well in North America we've pretty much worked that one out. Interestingly enough, Rowan's shoddy treatment of +Katharine Jefferts Schori and +Gene Robinson, and kicking Americans off of some of the committees as punishment for our inclusive and loving view of following Jesus Christ didn't change the mind or heart of a single Episcopalian. Nor did it have any influence over our choice to continue to liberate God's children.

I read that the Indaba process has gotten to the point of agreeing that the different provinces don't need to agree on everything to do God's work in the world. That seems like a much more promising direction.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 12:14am GMT

Alan Perry
Compare these signatures with those on an earlier letter
http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/images/uploads/Global_South_Letter_to_the_Crown_Nominations_Commission_(20_July_2012)_Signed1.pdf

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 7:46am GMT

One could surely have expected the 'Global South' Primates to have registered their corporate dismay at what the C.of E. House of Bishops has decided. After all, they have the ante-room activists of GAFCON to support their anti-Gay theories.

On wonders when exactly the split will occur from the current notional Headship of the See of Canterbury? A lot will obviously depend on how Archbishop Justin deals with the bullying ethos of the likes of Nigeria and Uganda - with their overt support from the Diocese of Sydney, Australia, and of ACNA and its GAFCON sponsors.

Unity in Diversity seems further away than ever.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 10:31am GMT

I think the GS leaders need reminding that these homophobic interferences will encourage those in their own country who persecute LGBT people. Some of them will be killed, just for existing. Church leaders who take this sort of line are complicit in that real persecution. Their comments are beneath contempt.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 11:18am GMT

Technically, I think this should say, "Some primates of the Global South..." have issued a statement, as there are many provinces not represented here.

One that is not absent is the primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. ECS and Salisbury Diocese have a 40-year link relationship that is a model for how these things should work. Coincidence? Perhaps mutual relationship in the body of Christ really does work towards overcoming difference and sources of friction.

Posted by: Jesse Zink on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 1:47pm GMT

Mr Zink. ++Deng signed the July 2012 letter referenced in the link above, in conjunction with the same GS primates as herewith.

Posted by: seitz on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 4:44pm GMT

See my blog reflection on this : http://jeremypemberton.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/two-types-of-abuse/

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 7:03pm GMT

Jeremy wrote: I think the GS leaders need reminding that these homophobic interferences will encourage those in their own country who persecute LGBT people. Some of them will be killed, just for existing. Church leaders who take this sort of line are complicit in that real persecution. Their comments are beneath contempt.

Exactly. This is what everyone needs to consider. The consequences of homophobic, exclusive talk is that people get killed. People in Uganda. People in the USA at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. I bet the UK has hate crimes as well. Those are the fruits of hate. Homophobia is hate. Exclusive policies are the result of hate and therefore inconsistent with Christianity, just another chapter of oppression by the church.

When one considers that no one has been harmed or killed because of the inclusion of women and LGBT persons, one might at least hit the "pause button" on judgement.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 13 January 2013 at 11:23pm GMT

Seitz: but not this one. Interesting, no?

Posted by: Jesse Zink on Monday, 14 January 2013 at 11:02am GMT

Cynthia and Jeremy,You are quite right when you comment on homophobic, exclusive talk leading to murder. I had a Kenyan Bishop staying with me during that dreadful Lambeth Conference. They get a weekend off midway through. He told me about the levels of violence against gay men and also dire tales of what the 'witch doctors' engage in. Savage torture. It enrages me that so many ignorant Christians can be led to turning a blind eye to the Christ suffering in their midst as a result of their hateful doctrine and propaganda.

I was also aware that the wearing of purple is somewhat worshipped by many of the laity in Africa. It is not worn with ease and may signify a strong sense of dominant power rather than humble service. This hard hearted legalism and crazy biblical interpretation seems to stamp its crozier for sacrifice in order to cleanse. Heartbreaking. I wonder how far removed from 'witch doctor' status these particular GS Bishops are. Terrible thought I know - but are they recognising what they are consenting to and therefore guilty of and tainted with? I sadly suspect the answer is 'Yes' in some cases and life is considered to be expendable in the cause of righteousness - especially when their notion of sin stems from a perverted sexual theology. The consequences are barbaric.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Monday, 14 January 2013 at 7:05pm GMT

"Compare these signatures with those on an earlier letter"

Interesting that Sudan and PNG include the double-plus in the earlier letter, but not the rest of the archbishops. But so much for my claim that it's not in actual practise. Curious.

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Monday, 14 January 2013 at 11:36pm GMT

There's also the issue of titling oneself by one's first name, followed by the name of the diocese. Outside of England, it seems a bit precious, particularly when it results in things like "Mouneer Egypt" and "Hector Chile."

That practice is rarely ever used in TEC, perhaps because so many dioceses are named after geographial regions. So we would have things like "Philip Central Gulf Coast" and "Andrew Upper South Carolina," not to mention my favorite, "Mary El Camino Real," which vaguely sounds like someone who wandered in from a carnival.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 at 12:28am GMT

There is (or so would appear) now a clear division between the C of E and the Global South.

Senior C of E bishops are proclaiming how attached to CPs they are (in the debate on equal marriage).

GS lets it be known its against CPs or at least extremely suspicious of them. It's actually very funny - in countries that don't have them (homosexuality is criminalised in most of the countries above and I think none has civil partnerships) CPs are viewed with great hostility.

Whenever marriage is being seriously debated (usually only when a Bill is about to be introduced) they become loud advocates of CPs. It's funniest to watch this process with the Roman Catholic Church. Same Bible, Pope and magisterium. Same God, same gospel; but widely differing teachings depending on what serves locally. But in each locality the message is pushed with the same vehemence and self evidence.

It is worth enquiring if any of the signatories above have ever spoken out against the criminalisation of homosexuality that is so prevalent within countries represented by the Global South.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 at 8:00am GMT
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