Monday, 15 February 2016

General Synod - Monday's business

Press preview

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Donating organs and blood is Christian duty, C of E synod to be told

Today’s business

Order paper 1

Questions paper

Live video stream

Full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address: Archbishop reflects on Primates’ meeting in Synod address

Official summary of the day’s business: General Synod February 16 sessions: Monday PM

Audio from all the sessions at General Synod February 2016

Press reports

Antony Bushfield Premier Synod’s sexuality conversations “going to be risky”

Harry Farley Christian Today Welby at Synod: Primates meeting was ‘spun more than Donald Trump’
African churches could face ‘consequences’ for supporting criminalisation of homosexuality

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Gay rights and same-sex marriage will dominate C of E summer synod

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 15 February 2016 at 2:03pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

Archbishop, do you take us for fools?

The Archbishop of Uganda left on Tuesday. We know that.

Just tell us whether the other GAFCON primates who left departed before the foot washing, or after.

Then we will know what to make of this meeting.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 15 February 2016 at 11:07pm GMT

LGBTI campaigner Jayne Ozanne asked Mr Porter: “What involvement at a panel level will LGBTI have in these conversations?

“It is terribly important that we listen to all involved. We need to ensure that we’re hearing from real people and not just talking about them.”


Haaaaahahahahahaha!

No, really.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 5:59am GMT

In response to Question 16 'Gender Fluidity and Transgender issues',the Bishop of Coventry only mentions 'Some issues' and the forthcoming General Synod debate of the Blackburn motion. However, the House of Bishops reached a decision on this matter in 2003. This decision, which is still not widely known, states that, among the range of views in the Church about transsexualism, two positions ‘could properly be held’. One was that ‘some Christians concluded on the basis of Scripture and Christian anthropology that … ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘sex change’ were really a fiction’, and the second was that ‘others were persuaded’ in response to ‘profound and persistent’ indications ‘that medical intervention … was legitimate and the result could properly be termed a change of gender.’The House's legitimation of the second position enabled people with Gender Recognition to marry someone of the opposite sex in Church of England churches, and should not be forgotten. 'Some issues', incorrectly, implied that marriage was still a matter of debate.

Posted by: Christina Beardsley on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 7:58am GMT

Never mind the consequences - feel the sincerity! ++Justin holds the same line that he did in the press conference after the Primates meeting - the 'consequences' follow inevitably from TEC's action as surely as night follows day, as if it was a law of nature and the Primates were only reminding us of it. This, I am sorry to have to say, is nonsense.
We are told that all the Primates washed each other's feet during the final Eucharist. Does this mean ALL, or only all those who were present? It must be the latter, for we already know that ++Uganda had left the meeting on Tuesday, having failed to secure repentance from TEC. And Foley Beach has told us that the majority of the GAFCON Primates had left the meeting before the final session. If he is right, it shows the tear-inducing display of unity in a very different light. We need to be told the truth, but ++Justin did not see fit to mention it to General Synod, except perhaps tangentially in his opening remarks decrying the way the outcome had been spun.
I can understand the view of the African Primates that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for them to advocate a liberal view of equal marriage when it is so completely against their prevailing culture. But this argument cuts both ways and the CofE finds itself as the church by law established in a state which has recently widened its definition of marriage, and where public opinion is shifting very fast to a liberal view on this issue. If our Primates just ignore this and speak proudly of the exemption we have been given, we will seem even more fossilised and irrelevant than we already do.
++Justin appears to value holding the Anglican Communion together above all else, and rejoices that he can claim to have been successful in doing so. I think that, on this issue at least, it would have been a better outcome to accept that our cultural differences are so great that we need to walk apart for the present. In God's good time, it may be possible for us to walk fully together again, but to pretend that it is possible now is whistling in the wind.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 11:02am GMT

Malcolm Dixon - after years of evidence, even under rowan Williams, why do you expect anything .... Time for tec(UK)

Posted by: S Cooper on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 2:23pm GMT

S. Cooper: Time for tec(UK)

tec (Eng) surely, as Scotland, Wales and Ireland are not involved with what the ABC and the CofE are up to.

But then, why not (equally) ACC (Eng), just for one alternative -- it's not as if tec was the only player on its side in this particular game.

Posted by: John Holding on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 4:39pm GMT

Easy to say, S Cooper, but much less easy to do. I would not want the CofE to be forced into the sort of litigious environment that has developed between TEC and ACNA in the USA.

I concede, reluctantly, that it is probably unwise to expect anything different under current leadership, but we can always hope, and pray!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 9:02pm GMT

I think TEC is a better term, with the national abbreviation following, because TEC simply means "The Episcopal Church." It shouldn't be allowed to become another exercise in Empire with a new Archbishop of Washington, or New York, or wherever doing a power-grab and spinning it as humility.

Not ACC(UK), not TECUSA mission in UK, but The Episcopal Church of England (or what they will, as it is their church in partnership with, not subject to, ours).

No more playing at Rome.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 6:24am GMT

Thirty Nine years to the day since Janani Luwum was martyred in 1977 by Idi Amin, the self proclaimed "Last King of Scotland". Now, there was a great Archbishop of Uganda, worthy of his statue being placed on the west front of Westminster Abbey and a sterling Witness for Christ.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 6:30am GMT

TEC(UK) would not solve anything at all.
It would be a nice alternative for a few hundred people in large cities.

I want the CoE to change so that we can all benefit from it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 10:21am GMT

Totally agree with Erika.

If LGBTI members of the Church of England depart to a putative TEC (UK)... well the Church of England is not going away, it is still going to be serving community after community across England, often in precious and valuable ways, and frankly the LGBTI case will be weakened if people just leave the Church of England.

What is needed is not schism and division into smaller and smaller sects, but the courage and grace to be a Church where we love one another even in all our differences, and respect the wide-ranging views and values of different people inside the Church.

Yes, the Primates and episcopy have failed those principles, marginalising and alienating LGBTI people, inside and outside the Church. But change is happening in the nation at large, and change can come - through presence not absence in the Church, through argument, through action and challenge.

I personally favour more action rather than just talking, but I believe the real challenge from God lies not in 'being right' or being schismatic, but in seeking grace to build, to co-exist, to respect the consciences of people with whom we disagree, to love those people, to endure, to resist injustice, and - hopefully - to become a Church organisation where many priests, and local communities and churches ***within the Church of England*** champion and welcome and celebrate LGBTI lives and relationships.

I am hugely hurt and dismayed by the outcome of the recent Primate's meeting.

I am also dismayed at the evangelistic harm being done by the Church's public position on LGBTI issues.

BUT

I also draw from my understanding of the eternal Trinity, that God in very nature exists in community and the exercise of love.

And believe that, as a Church, our calling and challenge and need for grace, is to work out and live out how we live together in community, with all our differences, all our unique contributions, and how we seek to express and extend that impulse of community to the towns and villages around us, to the blighted communities, to the minorities, to the old, to the young.

So yes, if people want, a few hundred people could opt to start a few city churches called TEC (UK) - though I don't think TEC themselves seek to do that.

(Continued in 2 of 2)

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 1:01pm GMT

However, I see that as surrender. In a sense, then the LGBTI-critical voices in the Church of England 'win' and we all go away to our own thing. Instead, I believe, if people truly want change in the Church of England, then the last thing we should do is go away. This is probably like the case for women priests all over again, but forty years on. People endured, people refused to give up, people stayed, serving in community, serving (alongside others with other views) the communities around them.

I favour actions and networks *within* the Church to expedite the need for change, and to challenge top-down efforts to suppress good conscience. But I believe the way forward is to serve - in harness - with others in our church *community* who may hold different views to us, but love God and seek to love our fellow human beings in our secular communities...

...discovering unity in Jesus Christ as we live community and serve community... a unity that is only ever in Jesus Christ, and needs much grace... a unity in diversity, a diversity of many people, each uniquely loved, known, understood by God.

In our service of others, we may discover the grace of our fellowship, the grace of God, and learn to recognise God in each other, and respect one another's consciences, and be a community that has love, not schism, at its heart - an abiding community in village and town, doing what we do anyway... serving, visiting, comforting, being there, a presence... over the generations.

Holy, Holy, Holy.

Union and communion forever. A mystery. A grace.

Yes, we need to resist in the name of justice. Yes, we need to argue, and challenge, and disagree. But we do not need to enact schism, because our exclusion is exactly what the champions of the Anglican Covenant sought to do: to drive out and exclude. Instead, the greatest turns out to be love, to champion justice, to argue against prejudice, but to love one another, recognising the best in each other, in Christ, and finding - in all our differences - community with God through opening our hearts to God, and our very present need for grace.

Sorry if some of this sounds waffly! It's hard to put heartfelt ideas into words.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 1:03pm GMT

Agreed, Erica.

TEC has its own domestic issues to deal with, without getting mired in border crossing. It's a church for America, not England, or anywhere else.

Besides, you can't import equality. If English Anglicans want lesbian and gay sisters and brothers in Christ to be treated equally, make change happen: vote pro-affirming candidates onto General Synod and change CoE policy; lobby, lobby, lobby; ignore unjust rulings; and for God's sake, stop paying money into the coffers of homophobic dioceses.

No one came to TEC's rescue: its members fought for change. The way to bring change to other provinces is to follow TEC's good example, not expect them to do the job for you.

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 6:52pm GMT

Erika: exactly so. Schism is rarely a good idea. The Church of England needs to act as the Church of England. The two-letter word in the middle is important. Another tiny splinter sect is not a great example of mission.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 8:38pm GMT

I agree with James Byron's larger point. But I must disagree with the notion that TEC is "a church for America, not England, or anywhere else."

In fact, TEC is a church "for" many nations.

TEC Province II includes the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, and also Haiti.

TEC Province VIII includes Micronesia and Taiwan.

TEC Province IX includes Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Central Ecuador, Litoral Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.

Mexico and Philippines amicably decided to become independent. Others may do the same.

But as it now stands, TEC is for many nations and continents.

To me a parish or two in England would logically fall under Province II, with other Episcopal parishes in Europe.

But I take James's point that change in TEC came from within, and that change in the CofE must do the same.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 at 8:47pm GMT

I thank Jeremy for that important correction: I allowed rhetorical simplicity to cloud the facts, my bad.

SFAIK, in none of those cases are there competing Anglican provinces on the same territory. (The CoE also has a branch for Europe, mainly, like TEC, for ex-pats.) Nor did TEC rock up and plant churches 'cause local Anglicans didn't like the theology of their current province. Doing so would be like the Federal govt. (which, outside the states, also has several incorporated and unincorporated territories) declaring neighborhoods across Britain to be U.S. protectorates!

Still, with negotiation, it may be possible for TEC to open, say, Province II churches in Britain. Would people really want to be members of a province that includes NY and NJ, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands? It wouldn't just be a quick way to establish equal rights: the center of gravity would shift 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. (And given the fun and games at General Theological Seminary, equal rights are no guarantee: TEC is undoubtedly better than the CoE, but it has a far-from-perfect record here.)

If people want an affirming local congregation in England, why not just join a Lutheran church, the Unitarians or the URC? If, by contrast, people want English Anglicanism to reform, it has to be done internally and church-wide. Despite what some Anglo-Catholics and Con-Evos would like to believe, Anglicans aren't congregationalists.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 5:58am GMT

"The [Jan 2016 Primates] gathering voted to impose de facto sanctions – or “consequences” in the preferred lexicon of the church – on the US episcopal church which approved same-sex marriage last year. But... Welby said that churches within the Anglican communion that backed the criminalisation of homosexuality could also face consequences at the next formal meeting of primates in 2020."

The priorities here (can't have same-sex couples in TEC marry un-"consequented"!---while LGBT people elsewhere in the AC continue to be legally punished, cheered on by their Anglican churches, for another **4 years**) say everything one needs to know about Welby's MORAL BANKRUPTCY. This is *repulsive*. Kyrie eleison!!!

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 6:29am GMT

TEC in the U. S. is not a church for anywhere else. TEC - The Episcopal Church - is a church for anyone that wants the episcopal model of church. The Episcopal Church of England would be fine for England. The Episcopal Church of Ireland would be fine for Ireland. The Episcopal Church of Spain, Sweden, France, European Union, Uganda, Jerusalem, wherever is fine.

Stop trying to make a one-world-one-size-fits-all empire and pretending that that is what God ever intended!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 18 February 2016 at 8:50am GMT
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