Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Updates from the Global South and from GAFCON

As some of our commenters continually remind us, it’s important to keep straight the distinction between the Global South and GAFCON. They are two separate, albeit overlapping, groupings.

Global South Primates’ Communique, September 9, 2017 (Cairo)

[GAFCON] Chairman’s September 2017 letter

Is Gafcon divisive? by Peter Jensen

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 4:08pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Peter Jensen's letter is breathtaking in its sense of spiritual superiority and bigotry. Talk about the tail wagging the dog! Jensen claims the Anglican Communion has broken away from GAFCON. As former leader of a Puritan Sect, he is quite deluded when he believes this bible-bashing group of fundamentalists is not divisive. Its very existence causes mischief and disunity.

Posted by: FrDavidH on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 6:42pm BST

In his piece, Jensenj refers to GAFCON as a "movement". Throughout my 30+ years of ministry, I have chosen not to join any Church "association", although there may have been ones with which I was sympathetic. I have chosen to do this in the belief that they do not add to the harmony of the broadness of the CofE, and merely help to propagate some of our deep divisions. I am perhaps naïve or misguided in this, but at present, have no regrets about all my non-memberships of such "movements".

Posted by: Shamus on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 6:53pm BST

Global South: "we are obsessed with homosexuality and it is the only topic we see fit to write about at any length".

GAFCON: "we are obsessed with homosexuality and it is the only topic we see fit to write about at any length".

Sorry, you said these are separate groupings which need to be distinguished? Why, given they have precisely the same bigoted opinions?

"When we knowingly have fellowship with those whose teaching endangers the gospel itself, we are in danger of catching the same disease and at the least endorsing it and putting others at risk."

What a delightful metaphor for your fellow Christians! That their prayerful and honestly held opinions are a "disease"!

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 11:15pm BST

Jensen's fear of catching something from associating with the wrong people is a little weird although undoubtedly sincere. It wasn't Jesus's way of seeing things either although I know the proof texts he would cite to the contrary.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 11:35pm BST

Interesting to note that Bishop Bill Musk, appointed to be the Anglican Communion representative on the co-ordinating group for the bishop's 'teaching document' on human sexuality was an official speaker at last year's Global South Primates meeting in Cairo, where the final communique described the blessing same-sex civil unions as a clear departure from orthodoxy, and criticised 'the inability of existing Communion instruments to discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action', and their unwillingness 'to discipline those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith'. So not exactly a neutral appointment.

Posted by: Revd Dr Charles Clapham on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 11:47pm BST

"We rejoice and pray for the upcoming meeting of Gafcon in June 2018 in Jerusalem and give thanks for this renewal and reformation movement."

Statement from the recent 'Global South Primates'

We are constantly being urged by 'moderates' to distinguish between the sexism and homophobia of the GAFCON Primates and the so-called moderation of the Primates of the Global South.

However, when push comes to shove, in statements like the above; their objectives are the same: Intentional schism on the basis of institutional homphobia and sexism.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 12:46am BST

"We are constantly being urged by 'moderates' to distinguish between the sexism and homophobia of the GAFCON Primates and the so-called moderation of the Primates of the Global South."

No, Ron, you are individually being urged not simply to refer to the groups as one and the same thing. This is important because the GS group is a sizable conservative bloc of more than half of the entire AC.

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 8:51am BST

"Jensen's fear of catching something from associating with the wrong people is a little weird although undoubtedly sincere"

I'm sure it is. Does that make it better than people who merely go along with bigotry for career advancement or out of an inability to speak out? I'd never really thought about it like that: that it's better to a sincere bigot than a superficial one. Sometimes we can treasure honesty a little too much, I think.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 9:42am BST

Those with a taste for church history may find Bishop Bill Musk's talk to the 2016 Global South gathering interesting, in that he uses the Donatist controversy to reflect on current Anglican communion politics. Musk seems to have considerable sympathy for the Donatists' moral rigour, and for attempts by African bishops to assert the independence of the African church from interference from overseas (Rome at the time, Canterbury now, by implication). But rather ironically, given that the Global South regards itself as defending orthodoxy, in subsequent church history and theology it is the Donatists who are regarded as schismatics, and the more generous/inclusive Augustinian view as orthodox. So if you draw one lesson from the Donatist controvery for modern day Anglican politics, it seems to me the opposite of Musk's conclusion: namely, that it's the Global South and Gafcon who are the schismatics, and that those who argue for inclusion are the orthodox.

(Bill Musk's talk is at http://www.ad-ne.org/the-anglican-way/lessons-from-carthage/ )

Posted by: Revd Dr Charles Clapham on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 10:38am BST

""We are constantly being urged by 'moderates' to distinguish between the sexism and homophobia of the GAFCON Primates and the so-called moderation of the Primates of the Global South."

No, Ron, you are individually being urged not simply to refer to the groups as one and the same thing. This is important because the GS group is a sizable conservative bloc of more than half of the entire AC. "

If it walks like a duck...why try to treat it as some other form of waterfowl?

And again I ask, as I often do: The GS primates may lead "more than half of the entire AC," but do the views they hold and profess represent those of their congregations? Especially, do their people really make sexuality a first order issue? Or are they more concerned with justice, poverty, and the other things that are truly problems in the Global South?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 11:30am BST

This is important because the GS group is a sizable conservative bloc of more than half of the entire AC.(sic)

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 8:51am BST

The size of this appalling anti-lgbti grouping means nothing to me, and the millions of us whom they oppress, and whose lives they demean and endanger.

Yes, am not one bit impressed with their use of their power and influence either....

The Lotus Sutra speaks of a dark age, such as our own, and points to ways going forward...

As John Keble said, "You will always find the Church of England in my parish."

And you will always find the living , loving light, where 'two or three are gathered together in My name....

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 1:48pm BST

I have personal experience of two "Global South" provinces: Jerusalem and the Middle East, and SouthEast Asia, having lived in the former for twelve years, and the latter for five years.

I can categorically state that in Egypt and North Africa most Anglicans (excluding the Sudanese refugees) do not support the Presiding Bishop's position on sexuality.

In SouthEast Asia, I also know of priests in Singapore and elsewhere who are inclusive.

Remember, the "Global South" does not include a host of global south provinces including, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Philippines, Brazil, and many more.

Posted by: Iain Baxter on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 2:28pm BST

I find Iain Baxter's comment very helpful and interesting.

It is good to have first-hand, on the ground information. And in this instance that information is encouraging to me. I should welcome further up-dates, as and when possible.

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 3:17pm BST

What authority or role do these Evangelical bishops feel they have I wonder ?

They do not believe in apostolic succession as understood by Catholics, but nor do they believe, it would seem, in representing, speaking for or entering into dialogue with their priests and people.

Passing strange....

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 3:19pm BST

' "When we knowingly have fellowship with those whose teaching endangers the gospel itself, we are in danger of catching the same disease and at the least endorsing it and putting others at risk."

What a delightful metaphor for your fellow Christians! That their prayerful and honestly held opinions are a "disease"!'

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 at 11:15pm BST

They give the impression that they have no faith in God, and no belief the redemption of life. Or to use other language, they believe neither in Incarnation nor Resurrecion...

In theory maybe -- but in practise, no !


Let alone : 'all things returning to perfection through him from whom they took their origin.'

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 3:38pm BST

'..endangers the gospel itself,'

A weak gospel is this, and hard to credit it with much power at all, if it needs so much cosseting.
A weak fretful message - hardly a rapier-like blade of truth and love !

This is why these bishops fail their dioceses and the world, as they cower away from modern life and the world of today, in some attic that is no Upper Room - let alone Cenacle.

Tragic waste...

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 3:49pm BST

It is time the 'Global South' Primates actually declared their hand. By their most recent statement - despite crs' protest - they are still involved in the now discredited polity of institutional sexism and homophobia. My question is: How representative are they of the Anglicans they purport to represent?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 10:33pm BST

Ron, you don't read well. My 'protest' is not your take on it.

Once upon a time there were serious disagreements between Gafcon and the other GS provinces. The point of grasping that they are different entities is that this is now coming to an end. This marks a significant development, esp vis-à-vis the ABC. This is why properly grasping their history enables one to understand the development over the past 5 years. That is my consistent and only point, which has nothing to do with LGBT advocacy or lack thereof. The myopia around this single theme is exhausting.

Posted by: crs on Wednesday, 20 September 2017 at 11:35pm BST

"My question is: How representative are they of the Anglicans they purport to represent?"

Lusaka 2016 demonstrated that the broad rank and file are not onboard with the homophobia/misogyny project of GS and GAFCON leaders.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 21 September 2017 at 5:29am BST

"How representative are they of the Anglicans they purport to represent?"

Suppose, arguendo, the answer to that is "entirely". Then what? Should we persecute LGBT people on the basis of a majority vote in another country? If the Church of England's leadership wants to make that argument - that we'd love to be inclusive, but unfortunately we are more concerned with the homophobic violence of our friends in other countries than with the ethics and morals of the country in which we are the established church - then let them do so. I suspect it wouldn't end well.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 21 September 2017 at 8:24am BST

"That is my consistent and only point, which has nothing to do with LGBT advocacy or lack thereof. The myopia around this single theme is exhausting."

The myopia is entirely on the side of the GS and GAFCON. When do they ever make statements or issue pronouncements on any other subject?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 21 September 2017 at 11:30am BST

Thank you for a good morning laugh, Pat!

As has been noted many times, this theme occupies 95% of all commentary here, including yours. I was comenting on nothing to do with LGBTI issues but rather on the more precise evolution of two distinct groups, so as to understand the dynamic at work in the wider communion.

Naturally enough--why should one be surprised--this got immediately converted into LGBTI issues. The gravity pull is simple unstoppable.

Posted by: crs on Thursday, 21 September 2017 at 12:02pm BST

I've said it before ... there's no point getting one's knickers in a twist about this. Nothing will change their minds. Let them at it. Let events take their course. Stop obsessing. Concentrate on stuff that matters - like bringing as much delight to the world as possible. Life abundant not life resisting (Harry Williams - nobody seems to regard him these days, regrettably).

Posted by: Stanley Monkhouse on Thursday, 21 September 2017 at 5:02pm BST

Is this relevant here ? Do Trinidad and Tobago count ?

an Evangelical contribution ? ............

https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/taking-trinidad-and-tobago-to-court/#gs.e5HhlV0

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Thursday, 21 September 2017 at 8:20pm BST

crs, in the GS letter, paragraphs 6-9 are directly related to their homophobia. Okoh's letter is all about LGBT acceptance and the failure of the Anglican Communion to accept the homophobic pronouncements of the the January 2016 primate's meeting. And Peter Jensen's rant is simply openly homophobic and particularly nasty for a clergy person.

The gravitational force is coming from GS, GAFCON, and Jensen. I am grateful that boards like TA and Episcopal Cafe are full of affirming people. To live on the receiving end of this hate, regardless of how ignorant, irrational, arrogant, narrow minded, and unlearned, they may be, is very difficult without allies who respect my dignity, see Christ in all persons (including LGBT), and yearn for justice and peace - which I'm sure you recognize from TEC's Baptismal Covenant.

So thank you, TA!

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 22 September 2017 at 4:20am BST

Cynthia, I am sure that is all true. It just was not the point I was making about GAFCON and GS and their histories. Sometimes it is nice to be able to speak about something other than LGBTI issues.

Posted by: crs on Friday, 22 September 2017 at 1:37pm BST

Laurie,
Your contribution makes a valid point. Growing up in Bristol, the one joy I found was that we Gays were one together regardless of our class, race or religion. We had to be to hold together.
That same spirit is needed today, when in some areas things are easier. We are all one with our Creator, whatever , whoever we are.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by: Fr John E Harris-White on Friday, 22 September 2017 at 4:21pm BST

How did one miss this ? !

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/07/27/archbishop-of-canterbury-gay-people-are-not-more-sinful-than-anyone-else/

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Friday, 22 September 2017 at 8:44pm BST

Re Pat O'Neill ( and Fr. Ron)."If it walks like a duck..."

Pretty much it. One can make fine distinctions between the two groups based on political strategy and clout together with superficial historical variables. Both are close on the political spectrum while they jostle for ascendancy: Think, just for example, of the current Tory party.

However analysis of values yields kindred and affinity i.e patriarchal, post colonial, essentially enmeshed in the political culture of their home countries, with regards to sexuality essentially sexist and homophobic by democratic standards.

Are they Siamese twins? No. Probably not even identical twins, but most definitely "fraternal twins".

Most forms of organized religion globally are in the orbit of patriarchy rationalized against some sort of "revelation" or other. Its about ideological market share.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 12:45am BST

@Laurie, and the Pink News article from July:

Yes, of course, all people sin, all people can be selfish, but why is there even the need to raise the issue of sin in the context of loving, caring fidelity and commitment?

While glossing over the key problematic issue in the human sexuality debate, by saying "All people are sinners"... Justin studiously avoids affirming gay sexuality itself as 'not sinful'. The question one wants to know, from one charged with the pastoral care of the national Church, is this:

"Is gay sex a sin?"

He simply never faces up to this. He avoids it. And then he sets the issue of gay people in the context of sin.

All the welcomes in the world do not resolve my discomfort, if my Church says my devoted, tender, loving relationship, and its sexual expression and joy, is "sin". And in doing so, theologically vilifies something integral to myself and my partner, setting the tone for marginalisation, and a mandate for homophobes to cite the Church in support of their prejudice.

Not to mention the catastrophic evangelistic damage this all does in the eyes of a more magnanimous and generous public, who view this as evidence that the Church is negative and out of touch with common human decency.

Gay sex is not a sin.

Justin, should stop being elusive and opaque, and have the courage to say what he believes. He was parented in HTB in the days when Nicky Gumbel said "Homosexual practice is one of the results of human rebellion against God... Homosexual practice is not natural... Homosexual orientation may be caused by lack of love... by incest or sexual abuse... we are called to love those living in a homosexual lifestyle, but love does not involve condoning sin... We are called to speak out against the practice of homosexuality" (Alpha publication).

This was the Christianity in which Justin was schooled. Does he still view gay sex itself as sin?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 9:24am BST

Archbishop Nicholas: "a unity that undermines collective decision making as a communion... is a false unity."

Yup. The Anglican 'Covenant' all over again. Rule from the centre, and imposition of uniformity. Uniformity enforced over a 'worldwide' Church.

We've been there before. In England, this top-down approach was repudiated when the Covenant was rejected.

And yet, even within the local confines of the Church of England, there is a tendency of some bishops and archbishops to try to establish uniformity, where in reality our precious Church has many and diverse views, held in conscientious good faith.

Unity is *not* imposing a fake uniformity. Unity is finding our love and our grace in Christ Jesus, and in opening to that love, in serving, in caring... and growing in grace so we love one another, in our various diversities.

Unity in Christ is more than an Anglican Covenant. The challenge hinges less on homogeneity, and more on how we seek God's grace and love, and try to live in it, and share it. Unity is not about "collective decision making" by a bunch of guys who demand imperium and obedience for their decisions.

Thankfully, the idea of a central worldwide Anglican Church - which is essentially what they are promoting - is a fantasy. Rather, there are scores of local Anglican provinces... with the US, Canada, Scotland, all diverging on sexuality issues... and England trending that way, New Zealand, Australia...

And yet, we can still find unity and love in Jesus Christ - even, or especially, with those whose views are different to our own. Archbishop Nicholas's self-alienation from the next Primate's meeting is a pity.

Interestingly, although the male primates of GAFCON and the Global South seem to want "collective decision making as a communion" they did not seem happy when ACC-16 in Lusaka collectively decided a more inclusive approach (even if Justin tried to market their gathering as acceptance of the Primate's Covenant-style methods, spinning and gyrating on the term "receive" and its egregious misinterpretation).

What the Primates seem to want is domination of conscience: imposing *their* view as a uniform demand on other people's faith and consciences. Looking at the Global South's Primate picture, it is all SO, SO masculine and projects to me a sense of entitlement. "We are the ones who know best, and if you disagree, there may be... consequences."

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 10:01am BST

Pat O'Neill "If it walks like a duck..." I am assuming you are not a keen bird watcher then Pat? .... And fine Rod if the rest of us are also happy to be lumped in with actually very varied and conflicted groupings because others presume at a distance are our twins. And not all twins get on either.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 10:17am BST

As a matter of interest are there any Provinces or Dioceses in the Global South that would be considered liberal or progressive?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 2:02pm BST

Thanks for making my point, Rod. Life as seen through the single lens of LGBTI...

"If all you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail."


Posted by: crs on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 2:17pm BST

R: David Runcorn "And not all twins get on either." No, but that doesn't change their DNA. Various nuances in political tactics or strategy are often grounded in the same cultural matrix.

Re: CRS on hammers and nails, what a good metaphor for the passion of Christ. The passion narratives, however understood classically, can be taken over as a drama about the deprivation of human rights: an enemies list,the abuse of process, the sham trial, flogging, mocking and public shaming, terror as a tool of social suppression, torture and death to dissidents.

The person on the cross is every slave; every trafficked child; every refugee displaced from their home by western wars or scorned while seeking sanctuary; every victim of religious minority persecutions of all types; every gay or lesbian or trans-gendered youth literally hounded to death; every victim of austerity and tax corruption; and on top of it all the complicity of religions of all types. This can be the only interpretation of the cross of Christ in these times.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 23 September 2017 at 4:39pm BST

As usual there is virtually only the one subject discussed here. But in answer to Andrew Godsall, the "Global South" (where did that term come from ?) includes the larger part of the Anglican/Episcopal Communion, with a variety of and within provinces and dioceses, the majority I guess moderate or evangelical.

Posted by: J.R.Bunyan on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 at 2:19pm BST

"As usual there is virtually only the one subject discussed here"

You might want to re-read the statements with a highlighter and annotate all of the sentences that are refering to LGBT inclusion. Isn't that the whole "orthodoxy" bit?

Justice is boring to those who aren't suffering injustice. For those of us who are, we've learned that silence = death.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 at 9:57pm BST
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