Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori conducted a live webcast this morning. You can view a recording of this at varying levels of video quality or in audio only, here.
A transcript of the first part of the broadcast is here.
An ENS news report on this: Presiding Bishop engages in a live ‘Conversation with the Church.
Updated again Friday evening
Our own accounts of the two private members’ motions are in the preceding two items.
Telegraph Synod rejects church’s gay ‘marriage’ advice and Synod rejects gay clergy policy
Associated Press Anglicans Vote on Gay and Lesbian Issues
Christian Today Church of England Synod Passes Compromise Resolution on Homosexuality
Evening Standard Church tones down motion on gays
Reuters Anglicans lock horns over gays as rift deepens
Guardian Synod disarray over civil partnerships
Times has only a nib here (scroll down)
And the Living Church has reported on the Presidential Address of Monday, in Goodwill and Patience Needed, Archbishop Says.
The Church Times report of Wednesday is now here.
Update Anybody who wants the full text of Paul Perkin’s opening speech in the afternoon debate can find it here.
This afternoon Synod moved onto a debate about Civil Partnerships and passed this motion.
That this Synod
(a) acknowledge the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage; and
(b) note the intention of the House to keep their Pastoral Statement under review.
The final motion was very different from the original below proposed by the Revd Paul Perkin.
That this Synod, deeply concerned that
(a) in an understandable desire to remedy injustice and remove unjust discrimination, the Government’s Civil Partnership Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of the relationship of marriage;
(b) the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement, while reiterating the Church’s basic teaching on marriage, has produced a recipe for confusion by not stating clearly that civil partnerships entered into under the CP Act would be inconsistent with Christian teaching;
(c) the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has given to bishops the task of ensuring that clergy who enter into these partnerships adhere to church teaching in the area of sexuality without giving the bishops the clear means to do so; and
(d) by declaring that lay people who enter into such partnerships should not be asked about the nature of their relationship, in the context of preparation for baptism and confirmation, as well as for the purposes of receiving Holy Communion, the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has compromised pastoral discipline at the local level:
declare its support for bishops, clergy and other ministers who continue to minister the godly discipline required by the scriptures and the canons and request the House of Bishops to set up a study of the ways in which that discipline is being applied and the implications thereof for future pastoral guidance and bring a report to Synod by the July 2007 Group of Sessions.
The House of Bishops were not happy with this and, on their behalf, the Bishop of Liverpool proposed this amendment.
Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
(a) acknowledge the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage;
(b) recognise the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement as a balanced and sensitive attempt faithfully to apply the Church’s teaching to civil partnerships; and
(c) note the intention of the House to keep the matter under review.”
Not wishing to accept the implied endorsement of the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement the Revd Paul Collier successful proposed the following amendment to the Bishop’s amendment..
Leave out paragraphs (b) and (c) and insert:
“(b) note the intention of the House to keep their Pastoral Statement under review.”
The Bishop’s amended amendment was then carried to produce the final version of the motion at the top.
There was another amendment to the Bishop’s amendment, but as it referred to a section of text removed by Paul Collier’s motion it lapsed. We give it below for the record.
In paragraph (b) after the words “civil partnerships” insert the words “, in the light of legal advice given to the House of Bishops, which this Synod urge the House to make available to it”.
General Synod discussed Lesbian and Gay Christians this morning and, on a show of hands, passed the following motion by a substantial majority.
That this Synod
(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10);
(c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth Resolutions, including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality; and
(d) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the Church.
The motion started as this private motion proposed by the Revd Mary Gilbert.
That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire; and, bearing in mind this diversity,
(a) agree that a homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life;
(b) invite parish and cathedral congregations to welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church; and
(c) urge every parish to ensure a climate of sufficient acceptance and safety to enable the experience of lesbian and gay people to be heard, as successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978 (resolution 10), 1988 (resolution 64), and 1998 (resolution 1.10) have requested.
However the House of Bishops was not happy with this motion, so on their behalf the Bishop of Gloucester proposed the amendment below to completely reword the motion.
Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
“(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10); and
(c) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church.”.
But Mr John Ward thought this went too far so he proposed the amendment below to the Bishop’s amendment.
(i) After paragraph (b) insert as a new paragraph
(c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth Resolutions, including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality;
and re-letter the remaining paragraph accordingly; and
(ii) at the end of paragraph (d) as re-lettered insert the words “and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the Church.”
Both the amendment and the amendment to the amendment were carried by Synod so that the final motion put to Synod was as shown at the top.
Immediately after the opening speech of the debate there were motions to move to next business and then to adjourn the debate but Synod wanted to proceed with the debate and defeated both these procedural motions.
There was another amendment, but it was heavily defeated. We give it below for the record.
At the end insert as a new paragraph:
(d) (or (e) as the case may be) in the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address given on Monday 26th February 2007 ask the Mission and Public Affairs Council to research, prepare and publish missiological ideas for clergy and parishes seeking to share faith with and disciple those who are lesbian and gay.
Telegraph Bishops raiding funds to spend on homes
Church could relax rules on wedding venues
The Times Bishops raid funds to pay for palaces
Guardian Church plans cuts to pay for bishops’ homes
ekklesia Mission budgets may be cut to fund C of E bishop’s palaces
The Church of England sought to rebut the above reports with this press release:
Statement on the Church Commissioners’ expenditure on mission
Associated Press Anglicans to vote on issues regarding gays and lesbians
Updated and republished Tuesday evening
While the General Synod meets, Political Spaghetti continues to report on the progress of the legislation that is officially supported by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
daily episcopalian reports the latest development affecting gay Anglicans in Nigeria here:
Pray for Davis, and write to Lambeth.
In a later report, Matt Thompson tells us that:
The Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) just announced their public support of Peter Akinola in a press conference in Abuja, condemning any group that might wish to make same-sex marriage lawful in Nigeria.
And in an even more recent posting, he reports that
The Nigerian Senate is expected to vote on the legislation this Thursday (less than 48 hours from now). The Nigerian House is ready to vote as well.
and provides a long list of contacts in Nigeria, the USA, and the UK (including Lambeth Palace) for those who wish to express their concern.
This morning’s business is reported officially here.
This afternoon’s business is here.
Church Times Synod report: Tuesday.
For an explanation of what happened, or rather didn’t happen yet, in the debate on the draft Church of England Marriage Measure read Alastair Cutting’s report here. He had better internet access than the press this afternoon. He also has some pictures.
For another view of Questions yesterday, see Synodical goings-on.
Lionel Deimel, Joan Gunderson, and Christopher Wilkins have published a detailed analysis of the statistics previously discussed here.
Here is part of it:
…We now turn to the Coalition numbers. It is virtually impossible to verify the 48,000 number of “Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses.” The 194,312 number of members for “Network Dioceses” is consistent with the declared Network dioceses and their numbers shown in TEC statistics. This is an over count, however. There is opposition to the Network in all Network dioceses, and, in most of them, the opposition is highly organized. Moreover, the Network is not equally strong in all Network dioceses. In Pittsburgh, the 13 parishes that have formally declined membership in the Network have 6,200 members, including the 2nd and 3rd largest parishes in the diocese. This is just over 30% of the diocese. Pittsburgh’s diocesan dynamic is by no means unique. Typically, at least 25% of the Network diocese membership shown actually opposes the Network, and many more parishioners find the entire conflict distracting and would prefer a system that minimized diocesan division instead of exacerbating it. Some parishes are quite divided, and in almost every parish will have some parishioners that disagree with its stance (whatever that is), but 25% dissenter seems a fair guess, accounting for all the intermixing of partisans of anti-Network sentiment in the typical Network diocese. Applying this analysis would mean that reducing the 194,312 number shown for Network dioceses to 145,734 would be realistic.
Most questionable is the 201,501 figure shown for “Non-Network Windsor Dioceses.” PEP has been unable to verify this figure. It does not correspond to the number of members in various dioceses whose bishops attended the Camp Allen meetings, and there seems to be some confusion about just who is or is not a “Windsor bishop.” Among the bishops who attended the first meeting were two who retired (Salmon and Herlong) and were thus no longer diocesans. Another bishop (MacDonald, of Alaska) left his TEC see for Canada. The diocese of a fourth (Wolf, of Rhode Island) has steadfastly refused to endorse any resolutions supportive of the Windsor Report. A fifth bishop is on medical leave from his diocese (Lipscomb), and his successor, who has already been chosen, has not joined this group. Five bishops did not return for the second meeting at Camp Allen in January. Four new bishops attended that meeting (Jenkins, Gray, Jacobus, and Parsley). Bishop Parsley has been adamant that those in his diocese should not join the Network!
Mark Harris has posted Numbers, we’ve got numbers, we’ve got lots and lots of numbers. and more recently More on the Moderator’s Numbers.
epiScope has useful links to the sources of statistical data used.
Reuters Anglicans appear “obsessed with sex”
Telegraph Williams: Church appears ‘obsessed with sex’
Guardian Public view us as sex obsessed, archbishop tells Anglican synod
The Times People think we are sex-obsessed, says Archbishop
Somerset County Gazette Bishop slams Government’s Trident renewal plans
Three reports from Monday:
BBC Church seeks unity on gay rights
Telegraph Anglicans to review stance on gay clergy
Yorkshire Post Michael Brown: A tale of two archbishops as a Church is torn apart
The full list of Questions can be found here.
A few of the prepared written Answers are below. The full audio, including the supplementary questions and their answers, can be found here. We will transcribe more written answers, and a few of those supplementaries later on, when time permits.
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Joint President of the Archbishops’ Council:
Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q17. Does the Council regard the transitional period proposed to be given by the Government for the Roman Catholic adoption agencies “to adapt” to the requirements of the Sexual Orientation Regulations as:
1. a time in which faith groups are expected to rewrite their teachings so as to conform with the Government’s own agenda;
2. time to fall in line with the idea that the Government has reversed the long-standing principle that it should not be illegal for someone to act in accordance with his or her conscience; or
3. something else?
Mrs Alison Wynne (Blackburn) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q18. In the light of fears that the introduction of the proposed Sexual Orientation Regulations for England, Wales and Scotland will severely hinder freedom of conscience, what representations has the Archbishops’ Council made, or will it now make, to the Government concerning those regulations?
Mrs Sarah Finch (London) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q19. In view of the threat to freedom of conscience posed by the introduction of Sexual Orientation Regulations, is the Archbishops’ Council pressing for urgent further consultations with the Government, in order to preserve one of the most precious freedoms we enjoy in this country?
Mrs Sarah Finch (London) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q20. What consultations is the Archbishops’ Council having with other faith groups in the United Kingdom, with a view to joint discussion with the Government to preserve our freedom of conscience?
With permission I shall answer this with questions 18, 19, and 20.
Last June the Archbishops Council submitted a carefully argued response to the Government’s consultation paper on the proposed regulations. The Government had already accepted the principle that some special provisions were needed to safeguard the manifesting of religious convictions. The issue at stake was how widely those provisions should be drafted to reflect a proper balancing of conflicting rights. Since then, Archbishops’ Council staff have stayed in close touch with the representatives of other churches and religious organisations. There has also been a series of exchanges with Government ministers and advisers.
The Regulations for Great Britain have yet to be published and will in some respects be different from those already approved by Parliament for Northern Ireland. It remains to be seen therefore, precisely what the impact will be on churches and religious organisations generally. But the decision already announced in relation to Roman Catholic adoption agencies has rightly caused concern about the State’s willingness to impose requirements on voluntary organisations that are in conflict with the religious convictions and consciences that are the inspiration for their work. Whatever view is taken of the Roman Catholic policy on adoption, there are deeper issues here about the rights, liberties and dignities of independent bodies in relation to the State. To use the law to make it impossible, after a transitional period, for a religious organisation to carry on doing work that is manifestly for the common good is a new and troubling development.
The Archbishop of York to reply as Chairman of the House of Bishops’ Standing Committee:
Mr Robert Hammond (Chelmsford) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q22. Noting how some of the words and actions of the celebrities in the Big Brother house, although apparently not intended to be, were perceived by the media and public as being racist, is the House of Bishops aware that some of its words and actions (like those of other Church leaders) about same-sex relationships may be perceived by the media, public and gay and lesbian Christians as being homophobic, and assuming that this is not its intention, what action is being taken to change this perception?
I think there are three issues here. First, just as with Big Brother we have to be realistic about the editing process in the media which often presents a polarised binary narrative of them and us. In such circumstances our words and actions are oversimplified as being either pro-gay or anti-gay, thereby distorting the message. Second, the distinction is made within the Church between orientation and practice is a distinction which is lost to many outside the Church who might employ the term “homophobic”. Finally the House is committed to listening process as outlined in subsection 3 of Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference and is also committed to “minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals” as outlined in subsection 4.
Church of England official page for all this. Go there for more audio links.
The outcome of THE FUTURE OF TRIDENT debate was that the following motion was carried by 206 votes to 38:
‘That this Synod recognising the fundamental responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government to provide for the security of the country:
1. welcome the response from the Mission and Public Affairs Council to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee’s inquiry expressing serious questions about the proposed renewal of the UK’s minimum deterrent;
2. call on Christian people to make an informed contribution to the issues raised in The Future of Trident in the light of Christian teaching about Just War; and
3. suggest to Her Majesty’s Government that the proposed upgrading of Trident is contrary to the spirit of the United Kingdom’s obligations in international law and the ethical principles underpinning them.’
Some key items from Questions will be reported in a separate article here shortly.
See earlier report of statistics used by Bishop Duncan, referred to by the Bishop of Winchester (“something over a quarter of its bishops and dioceses”) and mentioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury (“perhaps amounting to nearly one quarter of the Bishops”).
Who are these bishops? And do they each speak with the authority of their diocesan conventions, or only as individuals? Does having a “Windsor bishop” automatically create a “Windsor diocese”? And if so what is the extent in each diocese of dissent from that position?
Let’s start with the simplest question, the numbers of bishops.
As best I can tell, and I welcome corrections and comments on this:
All ten Network bishops are to be included in this list. OK, right now South Carolina doesn’t have a diocesan bishop in office, but it’s safe to assert that the bishop-elect should be included.
Outside the NACDAP, the following fourteen bishops appear to be candidates:
The Rt. Rev. Jim Adams, Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray Diocese of Mississippi
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida
The Rt. Rev. Russ Jacobus Diocese of Fond du Lac
The Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins Diocese of Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas
The Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev. Edward Little, Bishop of Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., Bishop of Northwest Texas
The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley Diocese of Alabama
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas
The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island
The Rt. Rev. Mark L. MacDonald, of Alaska, because he has subsequently accepted a post in the Anglican Church of Canada.
So we have a total at present of 24 (including South Carolina).
There are I believe 109 established posts in ECUSA for bishops with jurisdiction, and a quarter of that number would be 27+.
The Guardian newspaper in Tanzania carried this report: Interview with The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
The BBC Northern Ireland radio programme Sunday Sequence also had an item about the recent primates meeting.
See what William Crawley wrote about it on his blog, Schori lifts the lid on the Primates’ Meeting.
Stephen Bates and Archbishop Alan Harper are interviewed.
Go here and fast forward about 35 minutes to hear the material. About 12 minutes. URL valid only for one week.
Part of what William Crawley wrote:
Katherine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, briefing some New York church officials on Friday about the Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania, said the low point of the meeting was when one primate compared homosexuality to paedophilia and another questioned whether the church even needed to study homosexuality “if it doesn’t need to study murder”.
On today’s Sunday Sequence, I asked the new Archbishop of Armagh, Alan Harper, if that was the low point of the meeting for him too. He replied, “It wasn’t one of the high points”, then remarked that those views were not shared by many other primates at the meeting. When I suggested that the comments were “disgraceful comparisons”, he repeated the claim that they weren’t widely shared in the meeting…
and on a related topic, this:
…Northern Ireland decriminalised homosexuality twenty-five years ago. It will be interesting to see how many Irish churches take the trouble, in this anniversary year, to add their voice to the many others now being raised in opposition to the Nigerian government’s proposal. Might we even expect the Archbishop of Canterbury to assert his moral authority and call on his Nigerian brother bishops to prophetically challenge their government’s plans rather than offering the state religious support for an abuse of human rights?
The BBC World Service programme Reporting Religion has this:
On this week’s Reporting Religion, we take a detailed look at leadership in the troubled Anglican Church. Dan Damon explores whether the existing leader, Archbishop Rowan Williams, can really handle the pressure. What should he do to unite two opposing groups? Or is he wasting his time trying to find unity in his Church? Dan is joined by one of the Archbishop’s supporters and one of his critics.
Those interviewed include: Andrew Brown, Bishop Tom Butler, Bishop Josiah Fearon, Stephen Bates, Bishop Zac Niringiye.
Listen here. This URL will be valid for one week only. 16 minutes long.
Episcopal News Service has published an audio recording of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaking to people who work at the Episcopal Church Center in New York last week. You can find it here.
It is a little less than 25 minutes long, but I strongly recommend listening to the whole of it.
There is a detailed ENS news report of this, Presiding Bishop briefs Church Center community on Primates’ Meeting by Mary Frances Schjonberg. This quote has drawn some attention elsewhere:
The “low point” of the Primates’ Meeting came, Jefferts Schori said, when one primate equated homosexuality with pedophilia and another said he couldn’t see why the Anglican Communion should study homosexuality if it doesn’t need to study murder.
The Living Church also has a report, Presiding Bishop Outlines Discernment Process, Schedules Webcast.
Next Wednesday, while the English General Synod is debating Private Members’ Motions, there will be a live webcast featuring the Presiding Bishop, see Presiding Bishop sets live webcast to discuss current issues. The recorded programme will be online for viewing afterwards.
Matt Thompson has comprehensive coverage of the pending Nigerian legislation at Political Spaghetti.
Passage Imminent III contains a detailed analysis of the Nigerian church’s position on all this, and notes that more than one Muslim legislator is reluctant to proceed.
According to the BBC:
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body for Nigerian Christians, called for speedy passage of the law, describing same sex unions as “barbaric and shameful”.
Here is the most recent United Nations report:UN independent experts oppose proposed Nigerian ban on same-sex relationships.
A conference with this title was held last Saturday.
My own report of the conference appears in this week’s Church Times. The text of that report, on the CT website next week, is meanwhile reproduced here (with permission), below the fold.
Conference hears of Iraqi gay persecution
by Simon Sarmiento
AN Iraqi gay-rights campaigner, Ali Hilli, received a standing ovation at a conference on faith, homophobia, and human rights in London on Saturday.
Mr Hilli, the founder of Iraqi LGBT, described how multiple fatwas issued by leading Shia clerics, with the collusion of the Iraqi government, were giving divine authority for the murder of gays and lesbians by Badr and Sadr militias. This had recently been confirmed by a UN Human Rights Office report, which also quoted a religious court judge as saying: “Most [gays] have been killed, and others have fled.”
The Iraqi government had condemned the UN report, saying that rights for homosexuals “are not suitable for Iraqi society”.
The 200 people attending the conference, organised by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), included representatives from a wide range of organisations, and all the main faiths. They ratified a statement that “deplored” what it regarded as “internalised homophobia within religious institutions”.
Christian leaders in the UK were criticised, particularly in relation to the recent attempt to exclude Roman Catholic adoption agencies from the forthcoming Sexual Orientation Regulations in England, Wales, and Scotland.
A former Labour Cabinet minister, Lord Smith of Finsbury, was critical of the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd George Cassidy. In a recent House of Lords debate on the new Northern Ireland anti-discrimination regulations (News, 12 January), Bishop Cassidy had said that “the regulations clearly demonstrate the need to strike a fair balance between the rights of homosexual people to be treated with dignity and respect, and the rights of Christians and other people of faith to manifest their religious beliefs.”
Arguing that “there was not an absolute right to manifest a belief in action if that action caused harm to others,” Lord Smith said that Bishop Cassidy had merely put more elegantly some of the justifications of discrimination used by others outside the House of Lords.
Lord Smith also expressed sadness that Dr Williams, in his attempts to hold the Anglican Communion together, had appeared to “give house-room to arrogant and homophobic views from some parts of the Anglican Communion”.
The conference’s statement said: “We reject the activities of certain religious leaders’ seeking exemptions from equality legislation, and attempts to base this on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, such a right being for all, not just for some. . .
“We believe that full civil rights for LGBT individuals are not only consistent with the right to religious freedom, but are rooted in the best and fundamental teachings of all major faiths: love, justice, compassion, and mercy, such values being shared by all who seek the common good.”
The following letter has been posted as a PDF file on the CANA website:
Convocation of Anglicans in North America
Polycarp of Smyrna
February 23, 2007
Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our one and only Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing after a truly historic meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the Primates of the Anglican Communion met to chart a way forward. The stakes were enormous and it was an intense spiritual battle. The setting was idyllic — the meetings were held in the White Sands Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean — but the struggle was so fierce, we never found time to walk on the beach. Angela and I were there as members of a staff support team for Archbishop Peter Akinola and the other Primates of the Global South.
What were the results?
Many important topics such as the development of an Anglican Communion Covenant, Millennium Development Goals, and Theological Education were discussed. But the ongoing intransigence of The Episcopal Church (TEC) forced the Primates to devote the majority of the meeting to following through on The Windsor Report and especially determining the adequacy of the response from TEC.
One of the most positive outcomes from the meeting was a clear and unambiguous declaration of what we, as Christians and as Anglicans, believe. This was expressed both in terms of core creedal statements through the Covenant and also in a powerful recapitulation of our convictions regarding marriage and human sexuality: “in view of the teaching of Scripture, [the Conference] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.” Someone commented that this was almost un-Anglican in its clarity!
The Primates also recognized that while mission initiatives such as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) do create some “difficulties,” they have a valid and important place in the Anglican Communion as TEC decides whether to abandon its innovations and seek to reclaim its place in mainstream Anglicanism. I was especially gratified by the recognition given to the important role that Archbishop Akinola and the Church of Nigeria have played in providing a safe harbor for those who simply want to get on with the work of the Gospel without compromise of our core beliefs.
While rejecting any attempt to draw a moral equivalence between our so-called “interventions” and the “innovations” now embraced by TEC, the Primates concluded that The Episcopal Church had NOT responded adequately to the requests of The Windsor Report and gave them one last chance with a date certain set for September 30, 2007. The Primates were clear that after that there will be serious, though not yet specified, consequences. It is clear that The Episcopal Church must decide if it will uphold the biblical teachings of the Anglican Communion or choose to walk apart.
The Primates urged the suspension of all property litigation since they — and we — do not believe that this is the way that our disputes should be handled. We already have communicated with both diocesan and national church leadership, urging them to follow through on this important request and we pray that there will be a positive response.
The Primates also recognized that many dioceses and congregations within TEC do want to embrace the principles set out in The Windsor Report and proposed a complex and unprecedented restructuring of TEC to accommodate them. At the heart of that proposal is the establishment of “Primatial Vicar” who will provide oversight in conjunction with the Presiding Bishop and a Pastoral Council jointly appointed by member dioceses, the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If it sounds terribly complicated . . . it is. “It is an experiment,” said Archbishop Rowan Williams at the final news conference. “Please pray!”
What does it all mean for us?
First of all, it means that we are part of a Communion that is determined to stand on the truth of the Holy Scriptures and is not willing to abandon such a stand despite enormous pressure from The Episcopal Church and its leadership. We are also part of a Communion that is led by gracious leaders who are both patient and wise — who are determined to do all that they can for the unity of the Church but who will not give up biblical truth for the sake of a false unity.
With regard to CANA, we were recognized as having a valid place in the life and work of the Anglican Communion, under the Primate of Nigeria, and our mission and ministry understood as prompted by our desire to serve as faithful Anglicans. As to whether there will be an eventual reconciliation between the various Anglican bodies operating in the USA — that question awaits both the response of TEC and also the effectiveness of the various structural recommendations. In the meantime, we will continue to work to provide a life-boat for all those who wish to embrace biblical truth and the Anglican tradition in North America.
Our task is to continue to grow and reach out to the people around us with the Good News of God’s inclusive and life-transforming love. We are to be reflections of the character of Christ into a world that is so desperately in need of hope. We have been distracted for too long by the endless struggles of TEC. We are no longer a part of TEC and our call is to show the world a new way of living and a new way of loving.
Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement. To God be the Glory!
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns,
Missionary Bishop of CANA
Anglican Mainstream has issued a Statement on the Outcome of the Primates’ Meeting at Dar es Salaam in February 2007.
It includes the following among other points (emphasis added):
We are concerned that…
What is most interesting about the response though is its total omission of any reference to the Covenant draft. Graham Kings of Fulcrum has already commented that:
The word ‘Covenant’ is nowhere to be found in the Anglican Mainstream response to the Primates’ Meeting, published yesterday:
This is very strange in that the discussion of the Anglican Covenant was a key feature at Dar es Salaam and was published the same night as the communique. It is crucial to the whole Windsor Process.
Maybe the clue is in Chris Sugden’s article about the so called Covenant for the Church of England, ‘A Covenant for a Confused Church’ in the Church of England Newspaper, 5 January 2007. In the following paragraph concerning the Communion, ‘NTW’ refers to the Bishop of Durham:
Who will provide the new consensus? It will not just be a matter of writing a theology or covenant that all can agree and everything will work. NTW’s project will not deliver the goods. It is not possible to solve these problems by getting agreement on the substance, on one agreed theologically orthodox correct statement.
It would be good to hear Anglican Mainstream’s views on the Covenant now.
The American Anglican Council has issued this press release: AAC Statement on the Primates’ 2007 Communiqué.
This includes the following:
…In a related development, the AAC also announced this week its formation of a Communiqué Compliance Office, which will monitor TEC’s acts of compliance and non-compliance with respect to the primates’ requirements throughout the period leading up to the Sept. 30 deadline.
“As a non-ecclesial body, the AAC is in a unique position to function as a watchdog on TEC’s compliance with the demands of the Dar es Salaam communiqué,” Canon Anderson explained. “Over the coming months, the newly created office will continuously gather information from around the United States and provide monthly accountings to the primates so that there is no doubt where TEC stands when the clock runs out…”
The American Anglican Council (AAC) announced today that the 21 recent Virginia inhibitions are null and void and declared them lifted. When the clergy from two of the three Episcopal dioceses in the state of Virginia were declared inhibited in January by the current bishop of middle and northern Virginia, the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee, the clergy he acted against had already transferred to other Anglican jurisdictions…
…AAC President Canon David C. Anderson announced today that, after a careful examination of the facts, the inhibitions imposed on the 21 Virginia clergy associated with the departing congregations were baseless and without jurisdiction, and therefore have been lifted.
Asked by what authority the AAC could lift the inhibitions, Canon Anderson replied: “By what authority did Bishop Lee attempt to impose the inhibitions on clergy belonging to Uganda and Nigeria? Those faithful clergy are now declared Uninhibited for Christ!”
The Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan, has published a “Pastoral Letter”. Whether you read it on the NACDAP website where it is titled “in Response to Primates’ Meeting” or on the Pittsburgh diocesan website where it is “Regarding the Primates’ Meeting” it is the same letter.
But only on the Pittsburgh site (so far) is there a live link to the statistics referenced in the text (a very small PDF file, stored in fact on the NACDAP site).
About these statistics, he writes:
In the statistics table the following further claims are made:
Against this the table claims the “Non-Windsor Dioceses” have a total of 1,761,563 baptised members (630,004 average Sunday attendance) in 5,792 parishes (again no total clergy figure).
These claims clearly confused the Bishop of Winchester.
The Times Jonathan Sacks Failure is one of the greatest gifts bestowed on the faithful
Telegraph Christopher Howse The man who made Byrd live
Guardian It may be a poor imitator of Jesus’s inclusive love and tolerance but the church is necessary, says David Self in Face to Faith.
Church Times Giles Fraser Why Lent needs to be a bit less busy
And, See addicts as victims, not criminals by Paul Vallely
The Tablet also has full coverage of the primates meeting on its website today:
Anglicans give US Church months to conform by Victoria Combe
Winds of change by R. William Franklin
‘Through many dangers, toils and snares …’ by Stephen Bates
And an editorial Stumbling towards unity
Update here’s a longer version of the Stephen Bates article from Comment is free which has titled it Tablet of stone.
The questions to be answered at this month’s sessions of General Synod have been published. You can download them as an rtf file or read them online. They are scheduled to be answered as the last item of business on Monday 26 February 2007
The Anglican TV video of the final press conference is now available here.
More ACNS pictures are available starting here.
ENS has published Episcopal bishops offer Tanzania communiqué reflections, predictions for future with links to many remarks in full.
titusonenine has the remarks of Archbishop Henry Orombi primate of Uganda, here.
For the comments of the Primus of Scotland, Idris Jones see this.
Archbishop of Canada, Andrew Hutchison is reported over here.
AMiA has issued this press release.
What Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA said can be found here.
And David Anderson of the American Anglican Council said this.
The Church Times has full coverage on the web today:
The Living Church has three new articles:
House of Bishops Will Begin Response to Communiqué in March
Primates’ Communiqué Draws Mixed Reactions From Bishops
Panel of Reference Not Bound by TEC Polity
Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press has AP Analysis: Episcopal choices
The Daily Nation in Kenya has Anglican bishops warn of split
The New Vision in Uganda has Orombi boycotts Holy Communion over gays
The East African Standard in Kenya has Anglican Bishops Issue Ultimatum Over Homosexuality
Tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph has this:
Archbishop warns Church may still fall apart by Jonathan Petre
and Why the Anglican Communion matters by Rowan Williams
This is a further selection of what other blogs are saying:
wannabepriest An unplayable delivery? Reflections on Tanzania
Raspberry Rabbit Time to quit the Jiggery-Pokery
The Ugley Vicar Charlie Brown’s football: why the Covenant is an irrelevance
Tony Clavier The Primates Speak
Anglican Scotist A Tacit Liberal Triumph at Tanzania
Scott Gunn More thoughts on the cost of Communion
Ken Arnold Giving Up Church for Lent
Caught by the Light A Personal Manifesto
Anglican Centrist Ash Wednesday
The Guardian today has a leader:Unity over integrity:
Compromise is often necessary and rarely glorious; but the outcome of the meeting of Anglican primates, which has just ended in Tanzania, does not even have the merit of balance. The communique issued at the end of the five-day session will dishearten all those who retained some hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury might be able to steer the church into less turbulent and more tolerant waters. It hands conservative elements of the Anglican communion much of what they wanted, while testing the patience of progressive members, many in Britain and North America…
And the BBC website is catching up, Anglican leaders struggle to unite by Robert Pigott
Otherwise, the London-based media have apparently reached saturation point on this story. However, the US media are just revving up:
New York Times Many Episcopalians Wary, Some Defiant After Ultimatum by Anglicans by Laurie Goodstein
Washington Post Some U.S. Bishops Reject Anglican Gay Rights Edict by Alan Cooperman
Associated Press Episcopal leader asks for time by Rachel Zoll
Los Angeles Times U.S. Episcopalians react to church ruling by Rebecca Trounson and Louis Sahagun
USA Today Anglicans ‘in interpretive free-for-all’ over their future by Cathy Lynn Grossman NB this headline has now been changed from “free-fall” which I thought much better…
Washington Times Episcopal diocese mum on lawsuits by Natasha Altamirano
Newsweek Difficult Choices by Lisa Miller
PBS Newshour Anglican Leaders Demand U.S. Church End Gay Unions
Updated Tuesday evening
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments at the final press conference in Tanzania.
George Conger has this report in the Living Church Primates Elect New Standing Committee Members and Alternates
Bishop Christopher Epting on Anglican Primates’ “Pre Meeting”
Updates Tuesday evening
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori via ENS A Season of Fasting: Reflections on the Primates Meeting
Also Audio: Presiding Bishop reflects on Primates’ Meeting from ENS
Jan Nunley at epiScope Answers to reporters’ questions
Jane Lampman in the Christian Science Monitor After Anglican meeting, Episcopal Church on notice
The Church Times updated its report entitled Primates’ meeting ends.
February 20, 2007
Meeting of Primates in Tanzania
We acknowledge the huge complexity of the issues which the Primates of the Communion brought to Tanzania and the fears and expectations which surrounded the meeting.
In that context we congratulate the Archbishop of Canterbury and his fellow Primates on their achievement of a united communiqué. We are acutely aware that compromises have been made by all sides. This is a sign of the great generosity of those present at the meeting.
There is a cost to discipleship and sometimes it is high. The cost demanded of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is immense, and has been for generations. The continuing failure of the Communion to address the pastoral needs and receive the ministerial gifts and insights of the whole community is part of that cost.
The heart of the Gospel for us is not about sexuality. The continuing arguments are damaging the Church’s mission and undermining the Gospel. Anglicanism has in its DNA the ability to embrace diversity. For example we recognise diversity over the nature of the Sacraments, in worship, and in the interpretation of scripture.
Why then are parts of the church so obsessed by the single issue of homosexuality? It is not a defining issue nor can it be the benchmark of orthodoxy.
We are pleased that the ‘listening process’ called for by the Windsor Report is receiving serious attention from the Primates, as is the consideration of a common hermeneutical method. But the listening process must not be a sop to lesbian and gay people and their supporters. It cannot be undertaken without those involved being open to the possibility of change. So far there is little evidence of that openness.
As the debate becomes more disconnected from the reality of everyday life of those we serve, it is increasingly clear that TEC is becoming a scapegoat. For example, the demand for TEC to forswear same sex blessings ignores the reality that across the Church of England such blessings are happening right across the country as parish priests respond to the pastoral needs of their community.
We acknowledge the pain experienced on all sides and we would not wish to see those who disagree with us being driven from the church. If that happened all of us would be the poorer. Therefore we commit ourselves as members of an inclusive church to continue the process of dialogue and relationship to which the Primates have called us.
Overshadowed by the rest of the report, the Primates recommitted themselves to the Millennium Development Goals. It is clear to us that in a world riven by injustice and poverty we should be uniting in raising our voices to ensure that those goals are met so that the gospel can be proclaimed afresh for a new generation.
For further information and to sign up as a supporter of InclusiveChurch’s aims, go to http://www.inclusivechurch.net
Author: Giles Goddard (Chair) on behalf of the InclusiveChurch Executive
07762 373 674
Kendall Harmon Early Reaction to the Communique
Scott Gunn Primates’ Meeting — what does it all mean?
Fr Jake The Primates Strike Out
BabyBlue Quote From Bishop Minns
Tobias Haller Of the Products of Primates
Anglican Centrist Primates’ Meeting Communique
Anglican Scotist Just Say No
The InclusiveChurch and Changing Attitude response was already published here.
Fulcrum has published two documents: Fulcrum response to the Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting February 2007 and Fulcrum response to the Covenant for the Anglican Communion.
Integrity has published Primates Choose Bigotry Over Baptized.
Affirming Catholicism Primates aim to keep Americans in the fold
I will add links to other group statements here as I discover them.
See also Episcopal groups react to Primates’ communiqué from ENS.
Updated Tuesday morning
Reuters Katie Nguyen Anglican Communion wants U.S. action in gay row
The Times Ruth Gledhill
Primates draw back from sanctions for liberal Anglican dioceses and later
Liberals uncensured as rift is patched up
and on her blog Anglican Covenant now published and TEC put on notice
Jim Naughton has Bishop Jefferts Schori’s initial reaction.
And he also has early reactions from bloggers.
Guardian Stephen Bates No schism for now: Williams gets tough on liberals to save the church
Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre (website updated 9 am)
Anglican Church leaders give ultimatum to liberals and The Anglican crisis: Q&A and Katharine Jefferts Schori: unapologetic feminist and pro-gay liberal
Anglican primates struggle for consensus (new headline on older, now out of date story) and also The Anglican crisis and Hardliners warm to the woman they hate.
New York Times Sharon LaFraniere and Laurie Goodstein Anglicans Rebuke U.S. Branch on Same-Sex Unions
Los Angeles Times Morris Mwavizo and Rebecca Trounson Anglican leaders press for rift fix
Associated Press Elizabeth A Kennedy Anglican Leaders Rule on Gay Bishops
Episcopal News Service Matthew Davies
Design Group releases text of draft Anglican Covenant
Primates endorse pastoral council, primatial vicar in closing communiqué
BBC radio report on the Today programme by Robert Pigott, listen here:
Anglican archbishops have demanded that the liberal American church accept a separate organisation for breakaway traditionalist congregations.
Includes interviews with Mark Hill and Theo Hobson.
George Conger reports for the Living Church Overtime Required for Primates to Agree on Communiqué Wording.
THE PRIMATES’ MEETING OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION
from Inclusive Church, Changing Attitude England,
and Changing Attitude Nigeria
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
19 February 2007
Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude give a cautious welcome to the communiqué issued today by the Primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in Dar Es Salaam. We commend the work that the primates have done to further the mission of the church and to strengthen the bonds of the Anglican Communion. In particular we value the progress achieved on the listening process and the Anglican Covenant.
The standard of teaching on human sexuality set out in Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of 1998 has never been one that Christian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people have accepted. It was drafted and agreed in our absence. The bishops who drafted the original version of the Resolution refused to meet us and hear our testimony. It is not possible for us to be bound by teaching drafted by a largely male, heterosexual body of bishops. The Anglican Communion can never come to an integrated teaching on human sexuality until it has listened with open mind and heart to our experience and Christian testimony. We subscribe to a high Christian sexual and relational ethic. We object outright to the idea that it is possible to divide our innate sexual identity as lesbian and gay people from what the church insists on calling ‘genital activity’. Like heterosexuals we believe the love between two mature adults should be expressed in a faithful, life-long partnership in which sexual expression is integral.
The Primates request that the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church ‘make an unequivocal common covenant with the bishops that they will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention’. The request not to authorise any Rite of Blessing in the Episcopal Church will be an intolerable burden for LGBT Anglicans. The Episcopal Church is not alone in having many faithful lesbian and gay couples who seek God’s blessing on their relationship. We know that in England, the USA and Canada as well as other Provinces, priests will continue to find ways to bless such relationships. If the church can condone the blessing of so many inanimate objects, it is surely right to bless the love of two people of the same gender. We pray for the day when the church can support the authorisation of same-sex blessings.
The Primates also request that the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church ‘confirm that ‘a candidate for Episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent’. There is no prohibition on a single or celibate lesbian or gay priest receiving the necessary consent. Dioceses who wish to nominate a partnered lesbian or gay priest and such priests themselves are being asked to make a great personal sacrifice. In England, priests who are gay will also continue to be nominated and consecrated as bishops, as they will in other Provinces.
The Revd Giles Goddard, chair of Inclusive Church, said:
“The arguments over human sexuality have been dominating the life of the Anglican Communion for too long. We need, urgently, now to find a way to move on, so that the Gospel for all people can be freshly proclaimed in a changing world. The Primates meeting has begun to show us a way forward. We trust that the Lambeth Conference will be allowed to be a restatement of the heart of Christ’s message of love for the world.”
The Revd Scott Gunn, TEC representative to Inclusive Church, said:
“I am grateful that Bishop Katharine is recognised as the legitimate ecclesiastical authority in the United States. My hope is that the Anglican Communion can return to its focus on mission and evangelism. I hope they will shift the focus of attention away from a legalistic examination of the Episcopal Church towards a Gospel life of hope, reconciliation, justice and love.”
The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said:
“I rejoice that the Primates are committed to the continuing unity of our world-wide Communion of churches. We LGBT Anglicans in Changing Attitude England and Nigeria are also faithfully committed to our church. We know the pilgrimage journey to our promised land of full inclusion is going to be long and hard. There are millions of Anglicans who have yet to learn about the deep faith of LGBT people in the Lord Jesus Christ and of our lives committed to prayer, worship, justice and evangelism. We are present in every Province and country of the Anglican Communion and we want to participate in the listening process in order that our stories of faithful obedience to God can be heard. We have been misrepresented for too long. Now is the time for people across the world to learn about LGBT Anglicans in Africa, Asia and South America.”
“I am saddened that our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church have been asked to carry a burden on behalf of us all. With the Episcopal Church and the Canadian Church, we in England are also seeking honesty in the ordination of priests who are lesbian or gay priests and the consecration of bishops who are gay. We look forward to the day when we can include our lesbian sisters among those who will be consecrated as bishops in England.”
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, said:
“Our presence here in Dar Es Salaam at the Primates meeting demonstrates our loyalty to the Communion. We are committed to participating in the listening process and we want to be heard. We hope the Anglican Communion office and Canon Philip Groves, facilitator to the listening process help us communicate our experience directly to them if the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) refuses to participate.”
“My own Primate received me warmly the first time we met on Wednesday 14 February. I had hoped the next time we met we would have been able to develop our first meeting and have some conversation together but it didn’t happen. I hope we will meet again and he will be able to hear the voice of one of his own gay Nigerian members.”
STATEMENT ON THE PRIMATES’ MEETING OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION
We celebrate the fact that the majority of Primates have modelled what it means to be an inclusive church this week, welcoming Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from the Episcopal Church of the USA. Bishop Katharine has brought hope to many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Anglicans across the world. She is committed to the full inclusion of all people in the Episcopal Church. Her voice will remind other primates that Gospel justice will not have been accomplished until the church is fully open to everyone, including LGBT people. Her presence has changed the Primates’ Meeting from being an exclusively male club. Another step has been taken towards the full inclusion of women in our church. We long for the day when all people are welcomed into the church, without regard to race, sexual orientation, economic means, gender, physical or mental challenge, or any other division.
We approve of the progress made by the Revd Canon Philip Groves as he develops his work on the listening process, inviting every province in the Communion to demonstrate how they are responding to the Lambeth 1.10 commitment to listen. We look forward to the development of his proposals for the Lambeth Conference 2008 and offer our full support to him in his work.
We hope that the Listening Process will be undertaken by every Province with the awareness that to listen properly means being open to the possibility of change by all involved. We trust the Holy Spirit, through this process and through our common Anglican life, to lead us into all truth.
The primates and the bishops who will gather at the Lambeth Conference 2008 have yet to hear directly from LGBT people. This remains a major challenge for the church. The listening process needs to be undertaken in every province and by every primate and bishop. We urge renewed emphasis on the listening process throughout the Communion.
The cost of the decision not to authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in the Episcopal Church is a serious means that LGBT people in America are being asked to carry an intolerable burden. As in England and other parts of the Communion which acknowledge that God blesses covenanted, faithful relationships, we know that priests with the courage of their own spiritual convictions will continue to welcome those who come for blessing.
We welcome the framework of the draft covenant for the Anglican Communion. For 500 years Anglicanism has been a creedal, rather than a confessional church. We believe that the ancient creeds of the church are sufficient now, as they have been for over 1,600 years. We remain concerned about the increased tendency in Anglicanism to centralise authority.
In particular we welcome the commitment to ensure that ‘biblical texts are handled faithfully, respectfully, comprehensively and coherently’ [3(3)], to ‘nurture and respond to prophetic and faithful leadership and ministry to assist our Churches as courageous witnesses to the transformative power of the Gospel in the world’ [3(4)] and ‘to seek to transform unjust structures of society’ [4.1].
From its inception, the church has been diverse in its theological understanding. We believe that in our many diverse cultures it is to be expected that people will experience God and express their faith in a variety of ways appropriate to their own culture. In our conversations with Tanzanian Anglicans from local congregations, we have heard that while they may not agree with our own view of human sexuality, there is a high level of understanding and acceptance of diversity. They view the threat of schism as posing a great danger to local mission and evangelism, while they continue to hope for a global, diverse Anglican Communion.
As we work to build up the Kingdom of God, we urge sensitivity in our diverse cultures, that not all cultures people are prepared to welcome LGBT at this time.
Members of Inclusive Church, Integrity USA, and Changing Attitude Nigeria and England have worked together in harmony this week. We have prayed for the Primates. We have given many interviews to the press and media. We have built friendships with other Anglicans across our diversity of opinions. We have talked to many members of the Tanzanian press and helped them some of them begin to understand the experience of LGBT people. We have made contact with LGBT Anglicans from Tanzania and we hope to build on our new friendships. Those Primates who spoke with us encouraged us to work for the unity of the Anglican Communion and for the full inclusion of all, and especially LGBT people.
We encourage all people to pray for the primates, bishops, clergy, and people of the Anglican Communion. We especially urge prayer for the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Primate of Nigeria Peter Akinola, and the Primate of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori. Each of these three Primates faces tremendous pressure of leadership, and we pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them.
Conclusion: Hope for living the Gospel
We look forward to a time when our conversations will be dominated by concerns of mission, evangelism, and service rather than by threats of discrimination, persecution, and schism.
We read the Gospels as commending radical inclusion. Jesus again and again shared meals with outcasts, treasured those whom the culture rejected, and taught that religious practice must be loving. St. Paul urged the earliest Christian communities to be people of Gospel love and hope, rather than people enslaved to the Law. We firmly believe that LGBT Christians belong at the centre of our common life in Christ, not at the margins.
We hope that the church will live this vision. In short, we seek a church that embraces all people as God’s precious children. We want an inclusive church.
The Revd Colin Coward
Director of Changing Attitude England
+44 7770 844302
Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria
The Revd Scott A Gunn
ECUSA representative to Inclusive Church
+255 762 400949 (in Tanzania until 2 p.m. GMT Wednesday 21 February)
+1 508 720 1500 (in the US any time)
The communiqué has finally been published by ACNS.
Read it here.
A PDF version is available here.
On the Covenant it says: we ‘urge the Provinces to submit an initial response to the draft through the Anglican Communion Office by the end of 2007’. The minutes of the primates’ meeting are to be published soon in order to ‘assist and stimulate reflection throughout the Communion’. A revised draft will be discussed at the Lambeth Conference, and ‘a final text will be presented to ACC-14, and then, if adopted as definitive, offered to the Provinces for ratification’.
The ‘Episcopal Church has taken seriously the recommendations of the Windsor Report, and we express our gratitude for the consideration by the 75th General Convention’, but ‘The response of The Episcopal Church … has not persuaded this meeting that we are yet in a position to recognise that The Episcopal Church has mended its broken relationships’. ‘We believe that it would be a tragedy if The Episcopal Church was to fracture, and we are committed to doing what we can to preserve and uphold its life’.
We ‘have been emboldened to offer a number of recommendations. We have set these out in a Schedule’.
TEC is asked to clarify its position on the Windsor Report:
Answers to be received by 30 September 2007.
TEC and congregations involved in property disputes are urged to suspend legal action and agree not to alienate property from TEC without its consent, nor to deny the use of the property to congregations.
No doubt there will be plenty of comment by the morning!
Updated 9.30 pm London time
No progress. Jonathan Petre has written this for the Telegraph: Anglican crisis talks ‘to last into the night’.
The final communique is delayed by several hours. The latest information is that a press conference will be held at 11 pm Tanzanian time, or 8 pm London time.
Meanwhile the Church Times has published Primates’ meeting ends.
Dave Walker has this cartoon.
The covenant document is published and can be found at the Anglican Communion Office website:
ACNS Report of the Covenant Design Group and also
Another ACO copy of the document starts here.
The final press conference will be addressed by the Archbishops of Tanzania, Canterbury and Australia tonight at 18:45 Tanzania time (GMT 15:45). The Communique is five pages long and will be released with the covenant in time for the press conference. The Communique was presented as a unanimous report by the communique group which included Archbishops John Chew (South East Asia), Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean) and Drexel Gomez (West Indies). Drexel Gomez chaired the discussion of the Communique. The agenda has been completely changed today, the Lambeth Conference will be discussed this afternoon. Jim Rosenthal, the Director of Communications, expects the Primates to be working on the Communique till the last second. There will be a group photo of new Primates at 16:00 Tanzania Time. Jim Rosenthal also referred to the story in today’s Times about the Anglican Communion and Rome. He expressly said that the report was released a week and a half ago and was not leaked. He denied that there was anything new in it.
Times story link. ACNS has now published Clarifications regarding the front page article in The Times, 19 February 2007, on Anglican - Roman Catholic relations.
TA will report separately on this whole story after the Tanzanian meeting is over.
Ruth Gledhill has some hot news here:
…Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has been elected onto the all-important policy-making Standing Committee…
George Conger reports in the Living Church Divisions Remain as Deadline for Communique Approaches.
Jonathan Petre in the Daily Telegraph thinks Anglican Church on verge of schism.
The New York Times has Archbishop of Canterbury Appears to Chide Faction of Anglicans by Sharon LaFraniere.
The Times has a leader titled Bitter Fudge.
The video of the press conference on Saturday evening is now available here.
The full text of Sunday’s sermon in Zanzibar is now online at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.
Updated Sunday evening
Reports of the service in Zanzibar:
Associated Press Elizabeth A Kennedy Anglican Leader Encourages Humility
Reuters Katie Nguyen Anglican head calls for humility in gay clergy row
There are some Associated Press pictures here.
Geoffrey Rowell wrote in Saturday’s edition of The Times that As we outlaw discrimination so we need discernment.
Christopher Howse wrote in the Telegraph on Saturday about liturgical language: Like, see what I’m praying?
Last week in the Church Times Njongonkulu Ndungane wrote about Why Anglicans must hold together.
The BBC radio programme Sunday carries two reports from Tanzania by Trevor Barnes, the first one is at the start of the programme and lasts about 7 minutes. URL for this one here.
The second one starts 26 minutes into the programme and lasts about 6 minutes. URL for this one.
George Conger’s next report for the Living Church was Inside the ‘Ring of Steel,’ Primates Under Intense Pressure to Reach Agreement.
Episcopal News Service has Millennium Development Goals, theological education addressed by Primates and also In Tanzania, Carpenter’s Kids transforms AIDS orphans’ lives.
Changing Attitude had Report from the White Sands Hotel, Dar Es Salaam - Late night extra.
Andrew Goddard on behalf of the Anglican Communion Institute has analysed the Report of the Communion Sub-Group.
Press Conference notes for Saturday are here.
Updated Sunday midday
Latest Associated Press report: Anglican leaders in Zanzibar for Holy Eucharist as row over homosexuality threatens to fracture Anglican Communion.
Stephen Bates in The Guardian Archbishop snubbed in gay bishop row
Jonathan Petre in The Telegraph Dr Williams will find little comfort
Telegraph leader Divided communion
Sharon LaFraniere and Laurie Goodstein in The New York Times Anglican Prelates Snub Head of U.S. Church Over Gay Issues
Changing Attitude Day 5 report from Colin Coward.
Scott Gunn blogs A quiet day here in Dar
Reuters South Africa has Anglican preacher undeterred by anti-gay hostility
Anglican TV has posted a video of yesterday’s press conference
Giles Fraser in today’s Face to Faith column in The Guardian Fissiparous evangelical Christians are now being reunited by hatred (probably written a few days ago)
Dave Walker has a comprehensive view of the entire event so far at The Primates Meeting.
Jonathan Petre has blogged again, see Reeling on the ropes.
The Living Church has filed Amid Lowered Tensions, Primates Review Draft Covenant by George Conger. He notes:
At the 2005 meeting in Northern Ireland, 14 primates declined to receive the Eucharist with Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. In Dar es Salaam, the formerly recusant primates of the West Indies, Pakistan, Central Africa, Congo and Tanzania received with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, as did the new primate of the Indian Ocean. The primate of Sudan, who in 2005 did not receive, is absent from Dar es Salaam. Two primates who arrived late to the meeting, representing the Philippines and Myanmar, were not present for the controversy.
Different times, circumstances and people prompted this change, one Global South leader noted, adding however that the resumption of eucharistic fellowship by some did not represent a relaxation of opprobrium for the actions of The Episcopal Church.
Episcopal News Service has filed two reports by Matthew Davies
Seven ‘Global South’ Primates refuse to share Holy Communion
Primates discuss Covenant, Listening Process; continue Windsor consideration
Anglican Journal has 7 conservative primates refuse to take communion with fellow leaders
Global South Anglican has published A Confused Report: Initial comments on the Communion Sub-group Report by Michael Poon.
titusonenine has published In Defense of Rowan Williams: An Alternative Explanation for the Infamous Gang of Four Committee Report by Craig Uffman.
Caro Hall has more blog reflections here.
Tobias Haller has this to say.
Late addition: BBC Setback for Church conservatives should have been included here also.
Giles Fraser foresaw this event when he wrote his column published in today’s Church Times entitled Wormwood with the Primates:
Allow them to do our work for us. The fact that they won’t take communion together is a cracking start.
As Jim Naughton notes this is less of a big deal than the last time, but the Associated Press wasn’t on hand for that.
According to Stephen Bates in the paperback edition of his book, fourteen refused to communicate at Dromantine:
Footnote 22 on page 319:
The following primates are understood to have declined to take Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury: West Indies, Southern Cone, Pakistan, Uganda, Nigeria, Central Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania, West Africa, Indian Ocean, South East Asia, Sudan.
Jim Naughton has some information to report relating to Drexel Gomez’s view on this.
George Conger has a report for the Living Church about what happened: Communion Broken, Says Global South:
News of the broken communion arose at an impromptu press briefing at 1:30 p.m., given by Canon James Rosenthal, director of communications for the Anglican Consultative Council. Canon Rosenthal said that some of the Global South primates had attended the corporate Eucharist that day, the first of the conference.
This followed a press chase of Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria shortly after the primates’ broke for lunch and worship. Dressed in mufti, Archbishop Akinola was spotted by reporters lounging in the lobby on the second floor of the White Sands Hotel, site of the conference.
As Archbishop Akinola descended the stairs, with a sheet of papers and file folders in his hand, a paparazzi frenzy began as photographers, reporters and television cameras descended upon the Nigerian church leader.
As questions were shouted at him, Archbishop Akinola responded “no comment” and placed his files in front of his face and began running back toward the “ring of steel,” the security cordon surrounding the primates’ section of the hotel.
Pursued by reporters including one clad in a bathing suit and towel, the archbishop made good his escape.
Later in the afternoon, taking a side route, Archbishop Akinola returned to the office and was closeted with the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, Bishop of the Convocation of Anglican Churches in North America. A press briefing by Bishop Minns is expected later.
Peter Ould has some notes again from today’s press briefing.
Ruth Gledhill has blogged about it: Communion broken in Dar es Salaam.
The Associated Press story is evolving, here is the latest version as of now: U.S. Anglican Leader Met With Boycott.
The following statement has been released via the website of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
SITTING AT THE LORD’S TABLE:
Statement from Global South Primates - This line has now been changed to read: Primates explain absence at Holy Eucharist
A number of the Global South Primates have not shared in the Holy Eucharist today with their fellow primates. They include Abp. Peter Akinola, Abp John Chew, Abp. Benjamin Nzimbi, Abp Justice Akrofi, Abp. Henry Orombi, Abp. Gregory Venables, and Abp. Emmanuel Kolini. They represent more than 30 million faithful Anglicans. They have released this statement:
“We each take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist very seriously. This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion. It makes clear that the torn fabric of the Church has been torn further. It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with The Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired.
Scripture teaches that before coming to sit with one another at the Lord’s Table we must be reconciled. (Matthew 5:23-26 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-29) We have made repeated calls for repentance by The Episcopal Church and its leadership with no success. We continue to pray for a change of heart.
We are unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding, “Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith” (Book of Common Prayer)
This is a painful decision for us and also for our host and brother, the Most Rev’d Donald Mtetemela. He understands our painful dilemma and accepts our decision. Pray for the Church.”
Friday, February 16, 2007
White Sands Hotel, Jangwani Beach, Tanzania
Anglican TV has posted videos of the press conferences held in Tanzania:
These videos are each 30 minutes in length.
Matt Kennedy on Stand Firm has written Response to and Refutation of the Wholly Inadequate Communion Sub-Group Report.
Anglican Centrist wrote Anglican Centrist - Evening Analysis Revised.
Kendall Harmon responded to this as follows:
The reason why the report makes schism more likely is because the report is not true and there is no real reconciliation and communion without truth. Heaven knows I don’t want schism, but now the atmosphere is even more clouded going into tomorrow because people did not do their homework. It is not the first time in Anglican history that a poor report has been given and it will not be the last. This situation is still redeemable, but the brink, is, alas, closer. One still watches, hopes and prays–KSH.
And Kendall also asked another question here.
Over at Global South Anglican Terry Wong also has some links, and adds his own comments too.
Jim Naughton has his analysis here.
Dan Martins has A Glass Half Full.
Mark Harris thinks that Dan Martins & Kendall Harmon give us reason to be vigilant.
GetReligion has this analysis.
Guardian Stephen Bates Anglican leaders avoid church split over homosexuals.
Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre Primates consider ‘parallel’ Church.
New York Times Sharon LaFraniere and Laurie Goodstein A Move to Heal Anglican Rift, but Short of Conservatives’ Goal.
Associated Press Elizabeth A Kennedy Anglican Leaders Discuss Stance on Gays
Reuters Katie Nguyen Anglican summit scrutinises US stance on gay clergy (updated version, adds quotes, details)
The Church Times (press deadline Wednesday afternoon) has this report from Pat Ashworth Tale of two hotels: archbishops assemble along with lobbyists near Dar es Salaam.
The Times paper edition has only a nib here.
Changing Attitude Day 4 report from Colin Coward.
Jonathan Petre has blogged Another bloody day in Paradise.
Steve Bates has blogged too, Crossing the divide.
Ruth Gledhill has blogged TEC ‘regret’ ok, says Gang of Four.
ACNS has published some Photographs.
Peter Ould has blogged someone’s press conference notes here.
Over at Stand Firm Greg Griffith is extremely unhappy with the latest report. It is a falsehood perpetrated on the communion.
Andrew Hutchinson Primate of Canada, blogs here.
The American Anglican Council is not happy: A Statement by the American Anglican Council on the Communion Sub-Group Report.
George Conger has this report for the Living Church: Cordial Day of Listening Marks Opening Sessions in Tanzania.
ENS’ Matthew Davies has Primates engage in ‘intense listening,’ discuss Windsor response.
Reuters Katie Nguyen Anglican summit scrutinizes U.S. stance on gay clergy.
George Conger also wrote this piece for the Church of England Newspaper: Archbishop backs place for Schori.
Anglican Journal has Primates’ meeting begins with all at the table.
Here is the report of the Communion Sub-Group given to the Anglican Communion Joint Standing Committee of the Primates meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council.
At their meeting in London in March 2006, the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council nominated four of its members to assist the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion in discerning the response of the Anglican Communion to the decisions of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Some of these decisions related to requests made of the Episcopal Church in the Primates’ Statement of February 2005 at Dromantine, which incorporated the Primates’ response to the recommendations of the Windsor Report. The group appointed met in London in September 2006.
A PDF version of the report is here.
The Living Church Presiding Bishop Attends Primates’ Orientation Session by George Conger.
That previously missing ENS story has been posted, In Tanzania, Episcopal Church missionaries, Presiding Bishop share perspectives, together with a later report by Matthew Davies Primates convene; Windsor response leads agenda.
Elizabeth A Kennedy of Associated Press has filed Episcopal leader’s gay views won’t waver.
The Anglican Church of Canada has Anglican Primates begin meeting in Dar es Salaam by Paul Feheley.
Katie Nguyen of Reuters sent Anglican summit scrutinises U.S. stance on gay clergy.
Colin Coward of Changing Attitude has Report from the Primates meeting - Day 3.
Kendall Harmon has written an article about why The Episcopal Church has Failed to Respond Adequately to the Calls of Windsor.
On BBC radio this morning, the Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt was interviewed. He thought that schism could be avoided if the leadership of the Episcopal Church would:
…stop oppressing a significant minority of itself, about a quarter of its bishops and dioceses, and allow them to exist and flourish in full communion with the rest of the Anglican Communion…
and he then repeated this:
…the really critical question is whether the majority of the Episcopal Church will allow space for what is something over a quarter of its bishops and dioceses, and many more than a quarter of its members to continue to hold the full beliefs of the church, both in terms of creeds, about Jesus, about God, and about marriage and Christian behaviour…
The Living Church has a preview of today’s session, On Day 1, Spotlight on The Episcopal Church.
From ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg reports Letter to Williams calls for rejection of alternative primatial oversight. The letter itself can be found here.
And Matthew Davies filed In Tanzania, Episcopal Church missionaries, Presiding Bishop share perspectives which seems to have got lost at the ENS site.
The Scotsman has this report: Church faces wider split over gay unions.
Updated again 10 pm Wednesday evening
Guardian Stephen Bates Williams faces fresh effort to stop Anglican split over gay clergy and in G2 The real Mr Big? on Archbishop Peter Akinola.
Telegraph Jonathan Petre Archbishop faces Church split
The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop faces boycott at gay summit and on the Comment pages It is time for the Anglican Luthers to divorce. There is a longer version of the latter on Ruth’s blog, Time for Anglicans to divorce.
Reuters Katie Nguyen Anglican leader faces tough summit to avoid schism
Changing Attitude has a second report from Colin Coward, and there is also this press release from Davis Mac-Iyalla relating to the Nigerian anti-GLBT legislation which is to be debated again today, 14 February, by Nigerian lawmakers.
Late morning update
Another Living Church report: UN Anglican Observer May Brief Primates.
Toronto Globe and Mail Michael Valpy Anglicans face ‘a bit of pruning’ over gay rights
Reuters George Obulutsa Tanzania bishop breaks ranks in gay Anglican row
Changing Attitude Davis Mac-Iyalla meets Archbishop Peter Akinola
Early Evening update
BBC Robert Pigott Anglicans facing threat of schism
Reuters Katie Nguyen US pro-gay bishop attends Anglican meeting
Associated Press Elizabeth A. Kennedy Anglican conference opens in Tanzania amid struggle over the Bible and sexuality link amended to longer version of this report
10 pm Update
Living Church George Conger Primates’ Official Opening Session Likely to Be Contentious
Dar es Salaam Daily News Anglicans meet on gay saga
Scott Gunn has reports: Conspiracy theories abound — news from this afternoon’s briefing, and then here, and here, and here.
Updated again Tuesday midnight
The Living Church has these reports:
Large Class of New Primates in Tanzania by George Conger
Elections and Politics Part of Tanzania Meeting by Steve Waring
Hero’s Sendoff for Presiding Bishop by Steve Waring
The Independent has a catch-up briefing:
The Big Question: Why is the Anglican Church facing a schism, and can it be prevented? by Adrian Hamilton
The Christian Science Monitor has Anglican leaders under pressure to prevent schism by Jane Lampman
And there is a report from Changing Attitude here.
The Living Church has Global South Will Propose Two-Province Solution
Ruth Gledhill has some information about an additional Nigerian attendee, see In case of spiritual crisis….
Alternate Primates’ Meeting Agenda Proposed
Primates’ Session with Episcopal Bishops Changed to Thursday
Telegraph Jonathan Petre Primates in their unnatural habitat
AAC David Anderson Security Goes Tight Around the White Sands Special Compound
The Times Ruth Gledhill It is time for the Anglican Luthers to divorce
Updated again Monday evening
Two British newspaper correspondents have reports this morning:
Daily Telegraph Jonathan Petre is already in Dar es Salaam, and reports Archbishop’s peace talks threatened.
…To the consternation of officials, the conservative primates have set up their own headquarters in the neighbouring Beachcomber hotel, at which they will determine their collective strategy, and they are threatening to snub Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the liberal leader of the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism…
…Anglican officials are hoping that divisions between hardliners and moderates will surface within this group over the next two days, allowing Dr Williams to appeal to the middle ground. “Much will depend on whose voices dominate the Global South caucus,” said one.
But a leading conservative, the Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Bernard Malango, said many of his colleagues would find it “very difficult” to work with Presiding Bishop Schori. He added that the presence of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, for the first time was also problematic because it had been decided without full consultation. In a warning to Dr Williams, he said: “If people have come in a spirit of give and take, that will happen. But if people have made up their minds to bring certain people here, then it will be difficult.
“I don’t want to see the Church damaged but if some groupings, especially those who are not faithful to the scriptures, decide to do their own thing, then that puts me in a difficult situation…”
Guardian Stephen Bates Archbishop battles to ward off final Anglican split on homosexuality.
…Conservative archbishops, mainly from the developing world, have gathered in Dar es Salaam for a separate two-day conference in advance of a formal meeting on Wednesday to plot tactics and agree a strategy before Rowan Williams arrives tomorrow…
…Archbishops, particularly those from Africa, want the American Church to be thrown out of the Anglican Communion because the church has been supportive of gay relationships, which they see as being in defiance of biblical injunctions.
They are being supported and lobbied at the meeting by English and American conservative, mainly evangelical, factions who also want to overthrow the US church’s liberal leadership and claim it for themselves.
In a further uncompromising sign, the Most Rev Peter Akinola, the primate of Nigeria and leader of the so-called “global south” archbishops opposed to any accommodation with the church’s homosexual members, has told Dr Williams that he objects to the presence of John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, at the meeting…
The local paper in Dar es Salaam, the Daily News reports Gays debate comes to haunt Anglican Church Summit.
A SHOWDOWN on the issue of gay church leaders is shaping up ahead of the Anglican Church Summit starting in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday…
…A number of delegates have already arrived in Dar es Salaam for the Summit expected to come up with a new vision on church solidarity as well addressing divisive tendencies. Several delegates attended Sunday morning service at the St Alban’s Cathedral in the city centre…
And the Global South Anglican has published The Long Road to Full Inheritance: Anglican Communion, Anno Domini 2007 by Michael Poon. Also there is Do you love me? – A Question for our Primates too by Canon AkinTunde Popoola.
Stephen Bates also has a strongly-worded critique of several English bishops at Comment is Free in Blathering bishops. And a leading conservative agrees with him:
…Furthermore Scott-Joynt & Co always seem to intervene just when a big church meeting is in the offing. Martyn Minns, one of the breakaway conservatives in the US Church, told me yesterday: “They always seem to have these thoughts and feel the need to share them just at the worst possible time.”
And he concludes with this:
…The outpourings of the Bishop of Winchester and his colleagues are counter-productive, both from the perspective of changing anyone’s minds and for the reputation of the Church of England, and they also serve to undermine the Archbishop of Canterbury as he strives to keep the worldwide communion together this week in Dar es Salaam.
Furthermore they are deeply divisive within the CofE’s bench of bishops, where Scott-Joynt and Nazir-Ali are both regarded as insufferable by many of their colleagues. What a happy ship it is.
The Toronto Star has Canada could play a key role as divided Anglican bishops meet.
And in case you were wondering where Dar es Salaam is, ACNS has provided a map along with other information.
Jonathan Petre has also blogged about it: Ring of steel around the archbishops.
…The burgeoning bunker mentality can, perhaps, be explained by the palpable anxiety of the organizers that the meeting could be derailed before it has even started by the powerful conservative group of Global South primates, who are determined to seize control of events.
They have set up their own headquarters a hundred yards up the road in the Beachcomber hotel, where they are holding strategy meetings before moving en masse to the White Sands for the official five-day meeting beginning on Thursday, where a bloody showdown is looming.
When I mentioned to one of the conservative primates that there was consternation among Anglican Communion staff about what is effectively an alternative headquarters, he replied: “This isn’t the alternative headquarters. It is THE headquarters.” With that sort of attitude to contend with, Dr Williams will have his work cut out.
David Anderson of the AAC has also reported from Tanzania: News from Tanzania: Primates Already Arriving, Meeting in Dar Es Salaam
The Anglican primates have been arriving in groups, some earlier than others, to attend several meetings scheduled prior to the general Primates’ Meeting. It is anticipated that several primates will not arrive, although that is unclear until the meetings actually start. We have been told that the primate of Wales will not attend due to a long planned sabbatical, and the primate of North India will also be absent.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is arriving somewhat late and will miss some or all of the joint meeting of the primates and Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). With Dr. Williams arriving late, Wales not attending, and a few others understood not to be coming; it may be that the joint meeting consists mainly of the Standing Committee of the ACC and Primate Bernard Malango (Province of Central Africa).
It has been suggested by some that the reason for the poor showing has to do with a lack of timely planning on the part of the organizers. The minutes of the last meeting are said to have not been given to the members in attendance until yesterday, and there is a difference of memory as to what the minutes should actually reflect.
The usual contingent from the news media is present in Dar Es Salaam, including Stephen Bates from London’s Guardian newspaper, the Rev. Canon Chris Sugden for Anglican Mainstream, the Rev. Canon David Anderson for the American Anglican Council’s Encompass publication, and Bishop Martyn Minns and wife Angela Minns for Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) News. Prayer intercessors from the United States led by Rose-Marie Edwards are covering the meetings in prayer, along with other groups off-site. Bishop Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh) is on location, and other familiar faces from both sides of the main issues are expected to arrive momentarily..
The Episcopal Church has joined the Diocese of Virginia in its legal dispute over possession of the property of 11 congregations in which the majority of the members and clergy voted in 2006 and early 2007 to leave the denomination and affiliate with African Anglican bishops.
Lawyers filed a 20-page complaint in the County of Fairfax, Virginia, courts on February 9. The complaint lists the Episcopal Church as the plaintiff and names as defendants the former clergy and vestry members of 11 parishes and missions, as well as trustees who technically hold title to the real property of some of the parishes.
The complaint names the parishes as defendants “because their real and personal property and affairs are currently under the de facto control of individuals who claim the right to sever the link between the parties and the Diocese and the Episcopal Church, to divert the parishes’ real and personal property for their own use in affiliation with another denomination outside the United States, and to exclude the parishes’ faithful Episcopalian members for use and control of that property.”
The clergy and vestry, or vestry committee members in the case of the two missions, are named because they “have left the Episcopal Church, yet continue to exercise control over the real and personal property” of the congregation…
Stand Firm has a 2 Mb PDF file of the legal document here.
Press release from the seceded parishes here.
Society of Catholic Priests PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
12th February 2007
An open letter has been sent today to the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, Wales and Armagh on behalf of an Anglican clergy organisation (The Society of Catholic Priests), which represents over 500 priests, calling on them to refrain from action against The Episcopal Church of the USA at their meeting in Tanzania this week. The letter warns the leaders of the Anglican Communion gathering in Dar es Salaam not to treat the Episcopal Church in the USA as the source of all the problems in the Communion. Instead, the Rev’d Jonathan Clark, who heads up SCP, asks the Primates to recognise that:
fractures within the Communion run not between but through provinces, dioceses and parishes.
Action against the Episcopal Church would only delay a discussion that needs to take place across the whole Anglican Communion. The letter points out that members of SCP would experience action against The Episcopal Church also as a rejection of their belief that issues of sexuality should not be used as doctrinal tests.
The Society of Catholic Priests represents anglo-catholic clergy working in Britain and Ireland as well as other parts of the Communion. The Society focuses on providing mutual support to priests in their spirituality and work of mission. Its position is that ‘the church should ordain to serve as deacons, priests and bishops in the church of God all those whom the church discerns as being called by God to such offices regardless of race, gender, disability or sexual orientation’. This is the first public statement on behalf of the Society on the issues which threaten to divide the Communion.
The Rev’d Richard Jenkins, Director of sister Anglican organisation Affirming Catholicism said:
This letter reflects a real and concern among ordinary clergy that the Anglican leadership isn’t doing enough to value those who in conscience feel that the Church should take a more open attitude to lesbian and gays. Staying together with integrity means learning to value all shades of opinion.
For further information please contact Rev’d Jonathan Clark
/ +44 20 7254 6072 / 07968 845698
1.In 1994 a group of priests from the Southwark Diocese, who felt they could no longer belong the traditional catholic societies for priests, met over a period of six months. The meetings allowed them to reflect on thier theological position and find a way of providing priestly support and formation as well as encouraging Catholic evangelism. From those meetings the Society of Catholic Priests was born.
2.The Society has at the last count 547 members, organized in chapters across England, Wales and Ireland. The Council of SCP is headed by the Rector General, elected by the membership for a three year term. See www.scp.org.uk for more information.
3.The present Rector General, Jonathan Clark, is Rector of St Mary Stoke Newington and St John Brownswood Park in the diocese of London and the London Borough of Hackney (see www.stmaryn16.org for more information on St Mary’s). He also represents the diocese of London on the Church of England’s General Synod.
An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Archbishop of Wales and the Archbishop of Armagh
Stoke Newington Church St
London. N16 9ES
12th February 2007
Dear Fathers in God
I am writing to you in my capacity as Rector General of the Society of Catholic Priests, a society which has over 500 members, men and women priests, across the provinces that you lead. We are not a campaigning organisation: our aims are the formation and support of priestly spirituality, and catholic evangelism. But I feel obliged, on behalf of the members of the Society, to write to you on the eve of your meeting in Tanzania.
The impression is being created in some quarters, and notably I fear in the Bishop of Winchester’s contribution to the Church of England Newspaper this week, that The Episcopal Church of the USA is the sole cause of the problems in the Communion, and that suitable action against it will lead to some sort of resolution. As you know, but may I remind you, that is not the case. The fractures within the Communion run not between but through provinces, dioceses and parishes.
Were the Primates’ Meeting to follow through the Bishop of Winchester’s suggestions in creating structures of official recognition for an ‘orthodox’ body within The Episcopal Church, not merely the vast majority of The Episcopal Church, but hundreds of clergy and thousands of lay people across your own provinces would feel that they were being judged, excluded and condemned. Members of SCP would feel that such an act by implication judged them, along with The Episcopal Church, as ‘unorthodox’ – not merely those who happen to be gay or lesbian, but all of us who believe that issues of sexuality should not be used as doctrinal tests.
I do not envy you your task of maintaining the Church’s unity at this time, and along with the whole Society I pray for you in it. But I am sure that any scapegoating of one branch of the Communion will only temporarily, if at all, put off the real work we will have to do in every part of the Church. As members of SCP we commit ourselves ‘to seek the peace and unity of Christ’s church, aspiring to live in full communion with all of the baptized’. I hope that you will find a way forward which enables us to remain, along with our brothers and sisters who see things differently, valued members of the Church.
Yours in Christ
Rev’d Jonathan Clark, Rector General
Ruth Gledhill contributed this morning to the BBC radio programme Sunday. She has posted the full text of her essay on her blog, headed The Anglican Communion’s ‘Via Dolorosa’. Audio now available here (about 3 minutes).
The bottom line:
…Sometimes I just wish the Anglican hierarchy could step back and consider for a minute how all this looks to the outside world.
To friends of mine in journalism and at the school gates, it looks no better than the politics of the playground. They laugh about it, or shake their heads with incomprehension. Yet these are not children but Anglican bishops and archbishops we are talking about. Is it any wonder that secularism is on the march in Britain today?”
In the New York Times Laurie Goodstein profiled Bishop Katharine: New Episcopal Leader Braces for Gay-Rights Test:
…In an interview in her office last week, Bishop Jefferts Schori said the conflict was more about “biblical interpretation” than about homosexuality.
“We have had gay bishops and gay clergy for millennia,” she said. “The willingness to be open about that is more recent.”
She said that what she wanted to convey to her fellow primates was that despite the highly-publicized departure of some congregations (a spokesman said 45 of 7,400 have left and affiliated with provinces overseas), the Episcopal Church has the support of most members, who are engaged in worship and mission work, and not fixated on this controversy.
“A number of the primates have perhaps inaccurate ideas about the context of this church. They hear from the voices quite loudly that this church is going to hell in a handbasket,” she said. “The folks who are unhappy represent a small percentage of the whole, but they are quite loud…”
Asked how she would respond if primates walked out on her, she said, “Life is too short to get too flustered.”
The Observer carries a report by Jamie Doward Last bid to stop Anglican split. Too bad nobody told Doward that Archbishop Morgan won’t be at the meeting. But it contains the following:
According to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), some 100 bishops worldwide are homosexual, though many are not active.
And from Pittsburgh, Lionel Deimel has a detailed reflection, High Anxiety in Pittsburgh.
Anxiety is high in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the emotion probably cuts across any divisions in the diocese one might identify. The cause is the upcoming meeting of the Anglican Communion primates in Tanzania and its possible aftermath. What is in store for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and, particularly, for the loyal Episcopalians who are living within its boundaries?…
According to Jim Naughton:
“Word comes from Tanzania that Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA, Canon Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream and Father David Anderson of the American Anglican Council are already in Dar es Salaam. I wonder if they are aware that their presence in Tanzania, like their presence in Northern Ireland, convey to the rest of the world that they don’t trust Peter Akinola, Bernard Malango, Gregory Venables et. al. to manage on their own?”
Episcopal News Service has recorded a video interview with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori which discusses her recent visit to the Episcopal Church of Cuba.
For background on this visit, see In Cuba, Presiding Bishop affirms ‘sea of possibilities’ for ending oppression and Cubans hail appointment of woman bishop.
The interview, conducted by Jan Nunley, on February 8 in New York, is linked here. It is about 11.5 minutes long.
The New York Times has Inviting Africa’s Anglicans to Gather Under a Bigger Tent by Sharon LaFraniere. It is an interview with Njongonkulu Ndungane.
This Reuters report appeared in the Canadian National Post Anglican split goes far deeper than gay dispute.
And a report by Pat Ashworth last week Ardour v. order on both sides also dealt with the forthcoming primates meeting.
Episcopal News Service reports Presiding Bishop brings message of ‘Shalom’ to Episcopal Urban Caucus conference.
The Episcopal Urban Caucus website is here.
This was also reported in the Raleigh, North Carolina newspaper the News & Observer, which headlined the story Episcopal leader backs gay equality.
There is a TV interview with Bishop Katharine linked from here. It is preceded by an interview with Lord Carey. The first interview is about 12.5 minutes. The second one is about 8 minutes.
Also, Bishop Katharine’s latest contribution to Episcopal Life is reproduced here: Three mission questions.
The latest letter from Giles Goddard starts here. (I’m sure it will be on Fulcrum as well, quite soon.)
InclusiveChurch is appealing for donations. The campaign, launched last month, is named A Thousand Hundreds.
HOW YOU CAN HELP US SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
It was, in the end, two American parishes in Virginia going over from the Anglican Communion to the Archbishop of Nigeria that did it. And as a result, the broad, worldwide Anglican organization known as InclusiveChurch is doing two things: making a stand, and starting an appeal.
We know we don’t have much time.
The decision for everyone to go their separate ways could be taken at the Lambeth Conference next year. Meetings leading up to it start
You can help, whether you’re not a regular churchgoer or not, by contributing to our A Thousand Hundreds campaign. We’re looking for a thousand donations of a hundred pounds.
There are full details of this appeal on the IC website.
The Church Times reported the launch, see ‘Broad centre’ group launches campaign by Rachel Harden.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Gays, marriage and Rowan Williams.
Background: Rowan Williams remarks at launch of National Marriage Week. Andrew Brown’s observations on this.
Stephen Plant writes in The Times about Charles Wesley’s hymns: Churches must ask why the English Hymnal is out of tune.
Martyn Percy writes in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column that Anglican dioceses should be more expressive of their catholic identity.
…Bishops have a vital role here in presiding over diversity while maintaining unity. This is why the key to some of the current divisive Anglican dilemmas may lie in dioceses and provinces becoming more expressive of their catholic identity, and celebrating their coherence amid their diversity. A diocese is a part of a larger, organic whole - a branch of the vine. Therefore, exercising its freedom and expressing its particularity is less important than maintaining its connectedness. Naturally, such restraint need not impose limits on diversity. It merely asks that the consequences of exercising one’s freedom be more fully weighed.
As the Anglican primates meet next week in Tanzania, there will be much to contemplate. How to hold together amid tense, even bitter diversity. How to be one, yet many. How to be faithfully catholic, yet authentically local. In all of this, an ethic of shared restraint - borne out of a deep catholicity - may have much to offer the Anglican communion. Without this, Anglicans risk being painfully lost in the issues that beset the church - unable to see the wood for the trees. Or perhaps, as Jesus might have said, unable to see the vine for the branches.
In the Tablet Tina Beattie asks Has liberation theology had its day?
In the Church Times Giles Fraser explains: This is what is wrong with rights.
Earlier in the week, Andrew Brown wrote on Comment is free about Shuttered windows to the soul.
Today, the Church Times had this report by Rachel Harden Primates head into a storm in Dar es Salaam.
From the Bahama Journal there was a report by Stephen Gay [sic] headlined Anglican Church To Make Decision On Homosexuality Issue which quotes Archbishop Drexel Gomez’s opinions.
Religion News Service issued Anglican, Episcopal Leaders Head to Summit in Africa By Daniel Burke.
Episcopal News Service issued Tanzania’s Anglican Church to host Communion’s Primates near ‘Abode of Peace’ by Matthew Davies.
Addition ENS also has New Primates elected for Hong Kong, Middle East.
Duke University published the text of an address by Lord Carey which discusses at length the background to this meeting.
Jim Naughton has published some thoughts about what may happen, On feeling unprepared.
The Tablet has an article by Conor Gearty which analyses the RC Church’s handling of the recent adoption agencies row.
Misunderstanding the depth of post-socialist commitment to equality and diversity, especially that of sexual orientation, was a serious mistake in the Church’s handling of the gay adoption issue, according to a leading Catholic human-rights lawyer
There is also an editorial opinion article A welcome modest concession.
The key subtext to the recent row over the right of Catholic adoption agencies to discriminate against homosexuals was the widespread public perception that the Catholic Church is a homophobic institution - a position reinforced by gay lobby groups, which regard the Church’s defeat over the adoption issue as a singular triumph over a powerful enemy…
The Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt has expressed his views in the Church of England Newspaper. They are reported by Anglican Mainstream here. This needs to be read in full, but contains several statements that are stronger than most of what Tom Wright has said. Some samples:
…Perhaps most controversially, the Primate of the Episcopal Church might be seated as a full member of the Meeting — and I am in no doubt that this would destroy the authority in the Communion, and in the eyes of our Ecumenical partners, of the Windsor Report…
…Many parishes, among them most of the largest in the church, have left TEC and sought episcopal oversight from eight or nine other Provinces…
…Thousands of families and individuals have left TEC, not only on account of the General Convention’s decisions about sexual behaviour but also because they find that TEC — and its new Presiding Bishop (PB) Katherine Jefferts Schori — are increasingly departing from basic Christian belief in the Lordship and Uniqueness of Christ…
…I hope that the ABC and at least a clear majority of his colleagues will recognise and support the Windsor-compliant bishops and dioceses of the TEC as a “college” of bishops, still formally within TEC but commissioned by the Primates both to hold together their own life (including by appropriate means that of the three Forward in Faith dioceses currently threatened with extinction by TEC) and to offer episcopal ministry to “Windsor-compliant” parishes in Dioceses whose bishops are unsympathetic to them…
Updated Saturday 10 Feb
First, Reuters today published this story: Nigeria’s Akinola is driving force in Anglican world.
The worldwide Anglican Communion is officially led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, but he’s facing growing competition these days from Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria.
A staunch defender of traditional Christianity, the energetic Akinola, 63, leads a movement of “Global South” churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America that has brought the 77-million-strong Communion to the brink of schism…
Second, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has published this: A COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE SPECIAL ONE-DAY GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD AT AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH, DENDO ROAD, SOKOTO ON WEDNESDAY 7TH, FEBRUARY, 2007. It covers various subjects but includes the following:
The forthcoming Primates’ meeting
The Synod is pleased to hear that the Primate of All Nigeria would be taking part in the meeting of Primates of the Anglican Communion that will hold in Dar es Salaam, February 14th – 20th, 2007. While commending him, the Primate, for his principled stand on the thorny issues plaguing the Communion for some time the Synod is prayerfully looking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this particular meeting to the end that Biblical authority will be upheld. The Synod, while still working towards the unity of the Anglican Communion, strongly believes that such unity must be rooted in Biblical orthodoxy.
The 2008 Lambeth Conference
The Synod reaffirms its earlier resolutions on the 2008 Lambeth Conference and stands firmly on the recommendations of the document, “The Road to Lambeth,” as a condition for our participation in this gathering.
Our brethren in CANA
The Synod welcomed the report from the Bishop of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) and the increasing number of congregations and clergy who are now part of this important missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). We welcome them as full and constituent members of our Anglican Communion family. We rejoice in their faithful witness during these turbulent times. We are saddened to hear that the profound division in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia has now led to the unholy situation where an Episcopal Bishop has initiated costly legal action against churches whose only offence is seeking to remain true to the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” We assure them that we stand with them and will continue to uphold them with our prayers…
and concludes with:
Vote of Confidence
The Synod notes with great delight the visionary, purposeful and dedicated leadership given by our Primate, the Most Reverend Peter J. Akinola. Worthy of special note is his unflinching resolve to uphold the authority of the Word of God against onslaughts from modern apostles of false doctrines. The Synod assures him of our prayers and enthusiastic support.
The Most Revd. Peter J. Akinola, DD, CON
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria
The document mentioned above The Road to Lambeth is linked to from here.
Third, there is this article in Time magazine: Blunt Bishop. It starts this way:
The most Rev. Peter Akinola of Nigeria was in New York City late in January making one of his increasingly frequent forays into what he once would have considered enemy territory. Only journalists from religious publications were invited to cover the occasion, at Manhattan’s swank Metropolitan Club—which probably suited the Archbishop, who has become wary of the mainstream press since a December New York Times story that advisers feel wrongly portrayed him as a homophobe. But a friend of the Nigerian primate’s told TIME that Akinola received a standing ovation. The actual guest of honor was a Christian missionary accused under Australia’s anti—religious vilification laws of making anti-Muslim statements. (He appealed, and the case was sent back to trial court.) But Akinola, wearing a gray Western suit over his usual purple shirt, clerical collar and 3-in. wooden cross, was the man most of the religiously conservative attendees had come to see. In cadences that approached preaching, he commended the missionary for what Akinola called his faith and courage at a crucial moment for the Gospel. He cited challenges to Christianity in Australia, Africa and even in England and quoted a biblical verse recounting God’s need for a hero in a debauched land, to “stand in the gap.”
The image could be described as unintentionally double-edged. To a significant number of critics, far from bridging a gap, Akinola, 63, is actively involved in widening one. As primate to 17 million Nigerian Anglicans and head of an African bishops’ group with a total flock of 44 million, he is one of the most influential leaders in the Anglican Communion, the global 78 million— member confederation that includes the 2.2 million congregants in the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.). Indeed, he is the highest-profile figure in the southward shift of Christianity as a whole. Yet he may exercise that influence by helping pull his communion apart, largely over the issue of the church’s stance on homosexuality…
Update There is a further official press release from Nigeria, SOKOTO SURPRISE FOR ANGLICAN LEADERS: “Let them hit me first”, with pictures.
Recently Stand Firm interviewed Kendall Harmon and this is viewable at Kendall Harmon Advises - Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Greg Griffiths published his own opinions in My Predictions. My Warnings. My Call to You.
At the same address, Matt Kennedy has
(so far) written The Case For Discipline part 1: The Call to Communion and The Case For Discipline Part 2: A Petulant Response. A third instalment expected. The Case For Discipline Part 3: Rejecting the Call.
Earlier he wrote Tanzania: Expectations, Promises, and the Danger of Impotence and Sarah Hey wrote Tanzania Predictions.
Today, the Church of England Newspaper and Fulcrum publish To Cleave or To Cleave? The Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania by Graham Kings.
…In general terms, it seems to me that there are not two groups of ‘Anglicans’ in the USA (ie liberals and conservatives on the issue of sexuality), nor three (as some have suggested), but at least five - and it may be better to use the more fluid word ‘streams’ than groups…
First, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued this reflection “For the People of the Episcopal Church”: In this season: Christ in the stranger’s guise. In part it reads:
As the primates of the Anglican Communion prepare to gather next week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I ask your prayers for all of us, and for our time together. I especially ask you to remember the mission that is our reason for being as the Anglican Communion — God’s mission to heal this broken world. The primates gather for fellowship, study, and conversation at these meetings, begun less than thirty years ago. The ability to know each other and understand our various contexts is the foundation of shared mission. We cannot easily be partners with strangers.
That meeting ends just as Lent begins, and as we approach this season, I would suggest three particularly appropriate attitudes. Traditionally the season has been one in which candidates prepared for baptism through prayer, fasting, and acts of mercy. This year, we might all constructively pray for greater awareness and understanding of the strangers around us, particularly those strangers whom we are not yet ready or able to call friends. That awareness can only come with our own greater investment in discovering the image of God in those strangers. It will require an attitude of humility, recognizing that we can not possibly know the fullness of God if we are unable to recognize his hand at work in unlikely persons or contexts. We might constructively fast from a desire to make assumptions about the motives of those strangers not yet become friends. And finally, we might constructively focus our passions on those in whom Christ is most evident — the suffering, those on the margins, the forgotten, ignored, and overlooked of our world. And as we seek to serve that suffering servant made evident in our midst, we might reflect on what Jesus himself called us — friends (John 15:15)…
Second the American newspaper USA Today carried this interview with Bishop Katharine recently:Episcopal church’s new dawn. Some quotes from it:
“…It’s no longer the social norm to be a Christian,” Jefferts Schori says. Her answer isn’t to ramp up on orthodoxy but to reach out to all ages and cultures with Christlike social action.
Critics say she equivocates on essential doctrine — the necessity for atonement and the exclusivity of salvation through Christ. They cite interviews in which she has said living like Jesus in this world was a more urgent task than worrying about the next world.
“It’s not my job to pick” who is saved. “It’s God’s job,” she tells USA TODAY.
Yes, sin “is pervasive, part of human nature,” but “it’s not the centerpiece of the Christian message. If we spend our time talking about sin and depravity, it is all we see in the world,” she says…
…Indeed, asked about her critics, Jefferts Schori doesn’t blink. She leans in, drops her voice even lower and cuts to the chase.
She sees two strands of faith: One is “most concerned with atonement, that Jesus died for our sins and our most important task is to repent.” But the other is “the more gracious strand,” says the bishop who dresses like a sunrise.
“It is to talk about life, to claim the joy and the blessings for good that it offers, to look forward.
“God became human in order that we may become divine. That’s our task.”
Reactions in the blogosphere to Tom Wright’s recent interview have been strong. Here are some links:
Anglican Scotist Anglicanism’s Conceptual Space: A Sketch, Part II (Wright’s Fallacy)
daily episcopalian N. T. Wright chooses sides
Caught by the Light “Doctrinal Indifferentism”
Raspberry Rabbit Of course there are plenty of choices to be made
Fr Jake Durham Lobs Charges in the 11th Hour, Again
Preludium “Doctrinal Indifferentism”: Bishop Tom goes for the full body blow, and misses.
Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside Perhaps Wright Is Not Wrong; Just Misinformed
Vocatio! - Living into Call What Church Will we Choose and will we Reform it?
On Thursday 1 March General Synod will debate a diocesan synod motion from Lichfield on Media Standards. There are two background papers, one from the diocese and one from the Archbishops’ Council Communications Office.
The motion from the diocese is:
‘That this Synod ask Her Majesty’s Government to undertake an enquiry to examine the notion that standards of human behaviour are being fatally eroded by constant subjection to suggestions and images via the media promoting the exploitation of other human beings.’
The Bishop of Manchester (the Right Revd Nigel McCulloch) has already submitted this amendment:
‘Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
“(a) welcome the media’s contribution to an open and informed society, significantly influencing people’s awareness of themselves, each other and the world;
(b) affirm the Church’s support for the highest media standards and express its concerns at the current tendency to exploit the humiliation of human beings for public entertainment;
(c) call on individual Christians to contribute positively to the debate about standards in the media; and
(d) call on Her Majesty’s Government to note this Synod’s concerns.”.’
Ruth Gledhill has an exclusive interview with the Bishop of Durham Tom Wright. You can read it on her blog under the headline Primates: Schismatics to be “pruned from the branch”.
…He was quite unequivocal. He said too many in TEC are guilty of “doctrinal indifferentism.” The Covenant Design Group in Nassau successfully produced a good document, he said. The Primates have little choice but to follow Windsor at the meeting next week. And if Windsor is followed, then Gene Robinson and those who consecrated him should voluntarily absent themselves from the councils of the Communion, including the Lambeth Conference, unless they express regret in the terms set out in Windsor. Only a Windsor-rooted response in Tanzania can save the Communion from schism. “Almost everybody involved with this question recognises that there is no way forward from here without pain. It is painful for everybody. There are not going to be winners and losers. There are going to be losers category one, two, three, four and five…”
“…The question is, is there any solution that a solid central ground will assemble around? My view is that it would be a solution based on the Windsor Report and what has flowed from it. It is the only thing on the table. If we are going to scrap that we would have to go back three years to start all over again. The solution would consist of the Primates accepting what the Covenant Drafting Group did in Nassau. The word is they made good progress at that meeting. I assume that means they will have something to put before the Primates. Then the question is how far that can be taken and how soon. I assume the immediate plan is to take it to Lambeth 2008. There is also the question of what the provinces will say about it.
“The more sharp-edged question is who is seen to be speaking for the American evangelicals. Rowan has invited to Dar Es Salaam two of the leading Windsor bishops, the ones holding the ground around the Windsor report, who are not secceding and going to Nigeria but who are not going to waver in the terms that Ecusa got it wrong and it is still getting it wrong and needs to be called to order. The question is how that is going to be resolved in the first few days of the meeting. I do not have a game plan on how that is going to work. Rowan is head and shoulders above all of them in terms of his wisdom and ability. He listens extremely carefully to everybody and then goes away and prays about it. He is never an uncritical listener. There is noone who Rowan will allow to tell him what to do. He will think and pray through everything that he hears. His commitment is to work for the unity of the Church and the advancement of the Gospel. Those who want to go and do their own thing do not like it when the Archbishop of Canterbury says the unity of the Church means you cannot…”
“…If the Anglican Communion, and particularly the American church and others like it, can be renewed according to the pattern of the Windsor Report, which is of course according to the pattern of Scripture, then those who are looking to foreign jurisdictions will find a way to come back into the fold. Then there would be a sigh of relief all round. In American there are dozens of breakaway bits and pieces, it is confusing and very messy. It is very American. But it is very unhelpful to the cause of the Church and the Gospel. As for what would happen to Gene Robinson? Pass. I really do not think there is a good answer to that one. The Windsor Report quotes the Archbishop of Canterbury himself saying in 2003 that if Robinson were in most other provinces of the Anglican Communion, he certainly could not be a bishop. As a priest he would be under discipline because of what has happened in terms of his marriage and partnership. In most provinces he could not have been a bishop. Therefore to ask other provinces to come to Lambeth and accept Gene Robinson as one of their number is a very big ask…”
Read the whole interview.
Read about this in the Guardian today, University to ban gay marriages on campus by Jessica Shepherd.
The heads of a university closely aligned to the Church of England plan to ban civil partnership ceremonies on campus. The vice-chancellor, chair of governors and deputy pro-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University argue that the church’s position on homosexuality makes it wrong to conduct lesbian and gay “marriages” on the university’s premises…
…Canterbury Christ Church currently offers its premises for civil marriages at its campuses in Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells. From spring 2007, it is likely that new legislation will forbid institutions licensed for civil marriage ceremonies to refuse to conduct civil partnership ceremonies. There is unlikely to be a clause allowing them to opt out on religious grounds…
The Church of England held its press briefing for this month’s General Synod yesterday. Synod will be meeting in the newly refurbished Assembly Hall, at Church House, Westminster, from February 26 to March 1. There are a few press reports this morning.
Stephen Bates in The Guardian Church of England to debate tighter controls on pornographic material
Ruth Gledhill in The Times Send for missionaries to halt church decline, bishops told
Manchester Evening News Church may debate BB racist bullying claims
The CofE’s own news item on the Synod agenda is here and is headlined “Key debates on Trident, criminal justice, schools, the media, issues in human sexuality, clergy pensions, clergy terms of service, marriage law and other legislative proposals on Synod”.
Tuesday afternoon update
Ekklesia Prisons and opposition to Trident replacement on C of E agenda
Papers for this month’s sessions of the General Synod of the Church of England are starting to appear online and are listed below. The list will be updated as more papers become available.
Last updated: Thursday afternoon
(with the days on which they are scheduled to be debated or otherwise considered. Business may be rescheduled, particularly legislation, marked #.)
GS 1597B Draft Dioceses, Pastoral and Mission Measure Part I (pages 1 to 15); Part II (pages 16 to 30); Part III (pages 31 to 45); Part IV (pages 46 to 62) (Tuesday#)
GS 1598B Draft Amending Canon No 27 (Tuesday#)
GS 1599B Draft Vacancy in See Committees (Amendment) Regulation 200- (Tuesday#)
GS 1597-9Z Report by the Steering Committee (Tuesday#)
GS 1635 Report by the Business Committee (Monday)
GS 1636 Electronic Voting: Report by the Business Committee (Wednesday)
GS 1637 Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure (Tuesday#)
GS 1638 Draft Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations (Tuesday#)
GS 1639 Draft Amending Canon No 29 (Tuesday#)
GS 1637-9X Report and Explanantory Memorandum (Tuesday#)
GS 1640 Resolution under Paragraph 17 of the Schedule to the Church Funds Investment Measure 1958 confirming the appointment of a successor body corporate to act in place of the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England (Wednesday#)
GS 1644 The Future of Trident: Report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council (Monday)
GS 1645 The Future of Clergy Pensions: Report from the Archbishops’ Council (Tuesday)
GS 1646 Achieving the First Two Hundred Years: Report by the Board of Education (including the Dearing Report: Five Years On) (Wednesday)
GS 1647 Taking Responsibility for Crime: Report from the Mission and Public Affairs Council (Thursday)
GS 1648 Fresh Expressions (Tuesday)
GS Misc 843A Civil Partnerships Background Paper for General Synod debate on Civil Partnerships proposed by Paul Perkin (Wednesday)
GS Misc 843B Civil Partnerships Background Note from the House of Bishops (Wednesday)
GS Misc 844A Media Standards: Their Effect on Individuals and Society A background paper from the Diocese of Lichfield (Thursday)
GS Misc 844B Media Standards: Their Effect on Individuals and Society Paper prepared by the Archbishops’ Council Communications Office (Thursday)
According to Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph this morning, headlined Drive to bar liberal from Church’s crisis summit:
…But in a humiliating blow to the Archbishop’s authority, senior conservative leaders privately wrote to him last month warning that he had no right to invite Bishop Schori to the summit without their consent.
In an atmosphere of growing distrust, they have now demanded a change to the agenda so they can decide whether to admit her at all…
…As part of a power struggle with Dr Williams, they also accused him of a “fait accompli” by deciding to include the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, at the primates’ meeting for the first time.
Dr Williams argued that as he had to chair the meeting, Dr Sentamu was needed to represent the Church of England. But the conservative group, led by the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, claimed that Dr Williams was adopting authoritarian powers rather than acting as “first among equals” among his fellow leaders.
They may try to bar Dr Sentamu from the five-day summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The conservatives refuse to attend Holy Communion with liberals at the summit. The group, who make up more than 20 of the 38 primates, will finalise their strategy before the summit starts on February 15. They will present a blueprint for a “parallel” Church to accommodate a range of conservatives in America, but this is unlikely to be acceptable to the American Episcopal Church…
In another development, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has convened a special meeting of its (normally triennal) General Synod which will meet from 6-8 February, see SOKOTO TO HOST GENERAL SYNOD IN FEBRUARY:
“It is going to be a history making event. It is expected that there will be an amendment of the constitution of the Church of Nigeria at this meeting. So it will be on record that this amendment was made in Sokoto.”
See this 2005 press release for background on the amendment.
The Telegraph takes this seriously: it has a leader today, Challenge for the Church which says:
The question now is how much damage the end of the Communion would do to the Church of England. That depends partly on Dr Williams. The Established Church is founded on an English pragmatism that finds space for Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative. Alas, that pragmatism cannot be exported.
The Anglican Communion is one of several supra-national bodies (such as the Commonwealth) whose ambitions no longer correspond to reality. Dr Williams should let it fade away, and instead apply his intellect to holding together our national Church.
From the Church of England Newspaper
Turbulent Times: Continuing our series in which campaigning groups outline their future for the Church. This week: Inclusive Church.
Why it is time to focus on the positive aspects of the Church
by Brian Lewis
The Anglican Communion is a truly remarkable phenomenon, an extraordinary kaleidoscope of churches each embodying its own particular history and engaging with its local community in its own distinctive way. The existence of the Communion has meant that churches that are very different from each other have been able to work together as partners, partners in mission sharing spiritual gifts, and partners in material assistance and development.
Inclusive Church hopes that through the work of the Primates’ meeting and the actions of the other “instruments of unity” the Anglican Communion will come to a renewed understanding of its worth and a deeper historical perspective on its differences. There is much talk of the fractures in the Communion but not enough recognition of the works of partnership and the expressions of unity that still go on in very many places; churches from “the North” (including TEC) and “the South” (including in Africa) are still working as partners in mission, poverty relief and development. We hope for a communion that recovers a broader perspective on the issues of the current day and we dare to hope that the Church of England will contribute to this by developing its own understanding of what it means to be an inclusive church. The Church of England will, by a more honest and tolerant recognition of the divergent views within itself, contribute to the wider Communion discovering ways to hold differences without irrevocable division.
When we speak of our hope for an inclusive church we mean a church that will live out the promise of the Gospel. A church that will celebrate the diverse gifts of all members of the Body of Christ, and in the ordering of our common life open the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their gender, race or sexual orientation. The just ordering of the Church’s common life will strengthen its proclamation of the Gospel. Our failure to be inclusive is a real barrier between the church and the wider society we seek to serve and evangelise.
A theology of inclusion is not in opposition to theology that values conversion and sanctification. For us inclusion means that we recognise that God desires salvation for all regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation and that we are all called to lives that are faithful, honest, other enriching and socially responsible again regardless of our race, gender or sexual orientation. It is the church’s task to help the Christian discern a pattern of holy living in response to that Gospel challenge. That response will be based on the serious reading of, and attending, to Scripture in a way that does not confuse the Gospel with either the presuppositions and exclusions of the first century, or an uncritical acceptance of the mores of the culture of today.
The ordination of women to the priesthood is not the church giving up obedience to God and following the culture of the day, it is the church joyfully recognising the leadership gifts God has given to women as well as men and bringing that into the life of our church in our world today. We believe that Scripture teaches us God intends men and women to work in partnership, a partnership expressed in ministry, lay and ordained. This is not a departure from biblical truth it is the church coming to understand it more fully over time, a process encouraged and authenticated by women responding faithfully to God’s call as the church has increasingly opened its lay and ordained ministries to women.
The society in which we live and proclaim the Gospel accepts the right of women to full participation at all levels. So deeply is this part of our society that we have legal sanctions to prevent individuals or organisations denying women the opportunity to advance to all levels of leadership. Yet we have only managed to hesitantly and conditionally recognise what women in the priesthood have brought to the church. Our failure to move easily and speedily to bring women into the episcopate has made us appear strange, irrational, and frankly unwell to the society we hope to evangelise.
We hope for a church that will have the courage to say Yes to women in ministry and leadership. We believe that when our church finally admits women to the episcopate in a way that does not diminish the fullness of that ministry this will not change the essential nature of the episcopate but rather remove an artificial cultural barrier that excludes those whom God has called. It is an uncomfortable truth that some of reactions to the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori to the position of Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church revealed how superficial the Communion claim to agreement on women in the episcopate is. Women bishops in the Church of England will be an encouragement to those parts of the Communion where this is not yet a reality and strengthen the place in the Communion of those churches in which women already take their rightful place.
If attitudes to women bishops (especially primates!) are one apparent challenge to the Communion’s unity, differing approaches to homosexuality seem to be an even greater threat. Then again we are told that the principal cause of division is not homosexuality but the proper place of Scripture in determining the theology and ethical position of the Church. But first let us note that the same level of division has not come from divergent views of how the Bible should determine the church’s position on other issues. For example some churches in the Communion allow those previously divorced to marry in their churches, others regard that as a betrayal of the clear teaching of the Bible but there is no talk of dividing the Communion over it. We are left with the question of why the issue of homosexuality has produced the visceral response, the violence of language and the depth of division that it has.
The issue of homosexuality is not new - not even to the bishops of the Anglican Communion. Nearly thirty years ago, in 1978, the Lambeth Conference resolved:
“While we reaffirm heterosexuality as the scriptural norm, we recognise the need
for deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would
take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and
medical research. The Church, recognising the need for pastoral concern for those
who are homosexual, encourages dialogue with them.”
With the notable exception of a few (the Churches in Canada and the USA for example) this study has not been carried out and where it has the results have been ignored in the other parts of the Communion.
The Lambeth Conference of 1988 resolved
1. Reaffirms the statement of the Lambeth Conference of 1978 on homosexuality, recognising the continuing need in the next decade for “deep and dispassionate study of the question of homosexuality, which would take seriously both the teaching of Scripture and the results of scientific and medical research.”
2. Urges such study and reflection to take account of biological, genetic and psychological research being undertaken by other agencies, and the socio-cultural factors that lead to the different attitudes in the provinces of our Communion.
3. Calls each province to reassess, in the light of such study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude towards persons of homosexual orientation. “
Could a Lambeth Resolution have been more carefully and studiously ignored?
It is in the context of these resolutions and the complete failure of the Communion to respond to them that we should see the more widely quoted resolution 1.10 of 1998.
We are however, where we are, and Inclusive Church is determined to journey in hope. It is not too late for the Primates to listen to each other with a greater spirit of generosity than they appear to have found in the recent past. The “Windsor process” might achieve greater success if it is broadened to involve the whole Communion at deeper levels. At present it seems to depend on the Bishops indeed the Primates alone. The Lambeth Commission was mandated to report to the Archbishop of Canterbury in preparation for the meetings of the both Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council. It was perhaps a lost opportunity that the Primates acted at Dromantine without waiting for the ACC to meet and bring its wisdom to the table. Their call for members of the ACC to voluntarily suspend their own membership was particularly damaging. The ACC is after all the duly constituted representative body of laity, clergy and bishops in the Communion. When the ACC did meet with the “voluntary” self-suspension of the North American churches it was notable that the suspension was confirmed by a margin less than the votes of the excluded provinces. The Primates decision to exclude would not have been confirmed by the ACC if it had met with its properly constituted membership. May we hope that the Primates will seek ways of acting that are less about determining who may come to the ACC and the Lambeth Conference and more about listening to what might come from those bodies if they are allowed to have their own integrity and purposes.
If the ACC has been somewhat sidelined, how much more the Church of England. With the Archbishop of Canterbury engaged in his delicate role as the “fourth instrument of unity” and choosing to exercise that role in the manner he has, the Church of England has been effectively voiceless. The recent decision to add the Archbishop of York to the Primates meeting may help but it is late in the day and with due respect to the Archbishop of York he was not the one chosen by the due process of the Church of England to represent it.
It is our hope that the Church of England will make a more positive contribution to bringing reconciliation to the Communion by modelling a more irenic and constructive model of debate than we have seen within the Communion to date. At its next meeting General Synod will consider a private members motion that calls for recognition of the diversity of views within the Church of England and the honest and sincere nature of those views. It is a serious attempt to set the ground for a genuine intelligent conversation within the Church of England about the nature of homosexuality, how we read and attend to scripture and how we proclaim the gospel afresh in the society in which we are set. This is not a naive expression of the view that if we can just talk to each other we will discover that we all really agree. We might, but its also very possible we won’t. If we can not come to agreement we still owe it to the people of the church and to the mission of the church to get past caricatures of each other and come to a deeper understanding of what it is the other is really saying. We do not yet know what we might achieve by sitting down to understand the others context, nor should we imagine that we have already heard all that the other has to say, or that we each understand what the other means by the language used. This is not a romantic call to sentimentality it is an invitation to the hard work of dialogue.
The Archbishops’ Council report “Into the New Quinquenium” (General Synod Feb. 06) speaks of the life of the Church being expressed “in its transforming engagement with the society in which it is set”. We journey in hope to the day we become an inclusive church, ordering our common life with justice and celebrating the gifts God has given all his people; while we remain hampered by the cultural presuppositions of a previous age we can not hope to engage and speak to the society in which we are set.
The Rev’d Brian Lewis is a member of the Inclusive Church Executive, a member of General Synod, a parish priest and chairs the Newham Faith Communities Forum.
The Church of England has been reviewing the conditions of service of its clergy. General Synod has received and debated two reports and an implementation group has been set up to put the reports’ proposals into effect. This will involve legislation and a draft measure will be introduced when General Synod meets at the end of this month. This is scheduled for debate on Tuesday 27 February.
The Church of England has added a section to its website about the legislation: The Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Legislation. As well as links to the two reports and other material there is a very useful set of frequently asked questions which are well worth reading.
LESBIAN AND GAY CHRISTIANS
The Revd Mary Gilbert (Lichfield) to move:
700 ‘That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire; and, bearing in mind this diversity,
(a) agree that a homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life;
(b) invite parish and cathedral congregations to welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church; and
(c) urge every parish to ensure a climate of sufficient acceptance and safety to enable the experience of lesbian and gay people to be heard, as successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978 (resolution 10), 1988 (resolution 64), and 1998 (resolution 1.10) have requested.’
124 Signatures (February 2006)
ITEM 12 LESBIAN AND GAY CHRISTIANS
The Bishop of Gloucester to move:
Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
“(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64; 1998: 1.10); and
(c) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church.”
The background note issued by the House of Bishops concludes:
The House of Bishops does not believe that it would be in the interests of the Church of England or the Anglican Communion for the Synod to attempt to pass a motion that was either so ambiguous as to cause confusion and misunderstanding or so clear-cut as to exacerbate the polarisation that already exists. A member of the House will, therefore, be moving on behalf of the House a substantial amendment which, if carried, would enable the Synod to make a positive statement without creating fresh divisions.
Details of the second PMM are below the fold.
The Revd Paul Perkin (Southwark) to move:
701 ‘That this Synod, deeply concerned that
(a) in an understandable desire to remedy injustice and remove unjust discrimination, the Government’s Civil Partnership Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of the relationship of marriage;
(b) the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement, while reiterating the Church’s basic teaching on marriage, has produced a recipe for confusion by not stating clearly that civil partnerships entered into under the CP Act would be inconsistent with Christian teaching;
(c) that the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has given to bishops the task of ensuring that clergy who enter into these partnerships adhere to church teaching in the area of sexuality without giving the bishops the clear means to do so; and
(d) that by declaring that lay people who enter into such partnerships should not be asked about the nature of their relationship, in the context of preparation for baptism and confirmation, as well as for the purposes of receiving Holy Communion, the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has compromised pastoral discipline at the local level:
declare its support for bishops, clergy and other ministers who continue to minister the godly discipline required by the scriptures and the canons and request the House of Bishops to set up a study of the ways in which that discipline is being applied and the implications thereof for future pastoral guidance and bring a report to Synod by the July 2007 Group of Sessions.’
110 Signatures (February 2006)
ITEM 14 CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS
The Bishop of Liverpool to move:
Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
“(a) acknowledge the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage;
(b) recognise the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement as a balanced and sensitive attempt faithfully to apply the Church’s teaching to civil partnerships; and
(c) note the intention of the House to keep the matter under review.”
The background note issued by the House of Bishops concludes:
The House acknowledges that there continues to be a variety of views within the Church over whether Parliament was right to have legislated to create this new form of legal status. It is now, however, more than two years since the legislation obtained Royal Assent and the House does not believe that there is anything to be gained by attempting to reopen the public policy arguments that for now at least must be regarded as settled. The question, rather, is whether the Pastoral Statement produced by the House constituted in all the circumstances a balanced and sensitive response to the new situation created by the legislation. A member of the House will move a substantial amendment to the motion inviting the House to agree that it was.
The leader includes this:
…But more broadly even than this, politicians need to consider whether they are dealing a fatal blow to the policy, now promoted by both main parties, of drawing the religious and voluntary sector deeper into the functioning of the welfare state. Ministers have seen that the voluntary sector has a lot to offer; not just expertise but compassion and dedication beyond the call of duty between the hours of nine and five. But those qualities arise precisely because the motivation comes from deep religious commitment. With that religious commitment comes religious convictions, not all of which are likely to be compatible with a monolithic liberal-progressive orthodoxy. In short, the Government may be beckoning the voluntary agencies on board with one hand, and waving them away with the other. And this will be made worse if the perception grows that even politicians with deep religious convictions are no longer welcome in public life. Religion has long had a place in British public life, although as an influence rather than as a protagonist…
Paul Roberts has published a series of articles on his own blog under these headings
Three posts on clergy life (1) - clergy stress
Three posts on clergy life (2) - “If you meet George Herbert on the road, kill him”
Three posts on clergy life (3) - visiting
Three posts on clergy life - coda - you get the priests you plan for
Don Cupitt writes Face to Faith in the Guardian: In the post-Derrida world, church leaders are now recognising that they are in a fix.
In The Times Jonathan Romain writes that Clergy need help to love their congregants as themselves.
Christopher Howse writes about RH Benson in the Telegraph.
The Church Times has a column by Giles Fraser that talks about blogs and those who comment on blogs: Poisoning the wells of open debate. He doesn’t mention this blog.
Giles also wrote this book review article for the New Statesman Blind Faith. The book is American Fascists: the Christian right and the war on America and the strap line is Christian fundamentalism offers America’s underclass hope and security - at the price of total obedience. Now it is threatening the Church of England. The article ends this way:
The challenge for the mainstream churches in this country is to recognise that fundamentalism is now beginning to get a grip over here, even within the traditionally liberal and inclusive cloisters of the Church of England. The gay debate is just the beginning of a takeover bid for the soul of the church. And given the way this country’s church and state are joined at the hip, it is no surprise that some are predicting a constitutional car crash. The leadership of the C of E, caught in the oncoming headlights, does little to resist. The quotation from Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies with which Hedges opens his book, ought to be written in letters of fire on the bedhead of the Archbishop of Canterbury:
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend the tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
And on the same theme, Simon Barrow wrote this splendid paper for a consultation convened by the Church of England, Facing up to fundamentalism: A description, analysis and response for the perplexed. It’s worth reading in full.
The Living Church has an interview with Bishop Martyn Minns: Bishop Minns: CANA No Different Than Diocese of Virginia.
The document filed by the diocese in the case of Truro Church can be found here.
An amazing collection of links relating to this legal dispute can be found here (hat tip titusonenine).
The Church Times this week published a whole series of articles about Virginia, most of which are not available on the web. This one, by Paul Handley, is: Virginia tells secessionists: see you in court.
In today’s Church Times Mark Hill, Chancellor of the diocese of Chichester and the diocese in Europe, writes that the Civil Partnership Act allows more government control of the Church.
The delicate constitutional relationship between the Established Church and the state has been dealt a body blow by the Civil Partnership Act 2004. It has nothing to do with homosexuality or the nature of marriage. Indeed, the media furore about gender orientation and its implications for Anglican unity has probably served to obfuscate an assault on the self-governance of the Church of England, which has been surreptitiously effected by two obscure sections in the Act…
Pat Ashworth has two significant reports in today’s Church Times on African views of the Anglican Communion.
LOUD voices from Africa, aided by the “almighty dollar” and internet lobbyists, are distorting the true picture of what Africa’s 37 million Anglicans really think about sexuality and the future of the Anglican Communion, says the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Musonda Mwamba.
The Bishop, by background a lawyer and social anthropologist, was giving the keynote address to senior judges, lawyers, bishops, and clergy at the Ecclesiastical Law Society conference “The Anglican Communion: Crisis and Opportunity”, in Liverpool at the weekend. The minds of most African Anglicans were concentrated on life-and-death issues, and they were “frankly not bothered about the whole debate on sexuality”, he said…
Read the full report at ‘Listen to the majority African voice of grace’.
THE Bishop of Central Tanganyika, the Rt Revd Godfrey Mdimi Mhogolo, has dissociated his diocese from the statement issued in December by the House of Bishops of Tanzania, the province where the Primates Meeting is to be held this month.
The Bishops declared a “severely impaired” relationship with the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), and announced that Tanzania would not knowingly accept any money from dioceses, parishes, bishops, and individuals that “condone homosexual practice or bless same-sex unions”. They described ECUSA’s response to the Windsor report as “a failure to register honest repentance for their actions” (News, 15 December).
In a long and reflective letter to the Anglican Communion, dated 26 January, Bishop Mdimi sets out Tanganyika’s position on matters of faith: “We try to express Jesus Christ in the sufferings and challenges of our communities. We cry with those who cry, and bring hope for a better future to those who suffer…
Read the report in full at Gay question is ‘not central to faith’ says Tanzanian bishop.
And the Church Times also has a leader commenting on this: Medicine or surgery? which includes:
…The Windsor process is not yet finished; and so the mechanism for expelling provinces or dioceses from the Communion is not in place — even though, at present, the Archbishop of Canterbury can withdraw his recognition. Judging by the pre-meeting rhetoric, the Global South Primates are not inclined to wait for the bureaucracy to catch up with them. Since their last meeting, the province of Nigeria has developed its mission in the United States — in contravention of the Windsor report. Archbishop Akinola and others believe that they can shun the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, and thus enlarge the gulf between the Episcopal Church in the United States and the rest of the Communion.
It would be helpful if these Primates confirmed whether they are working to kill or cure. The one thing on which those on both sides of the homosexuality divide seem to agree is that the energy this dispute absorbs could be better spent. The analogy of a divorce is often used: the wrangling between two fundamentally incompatible people can cause such grief that they are better apart. The expressions of relief by those on both sides of the split in the diocese of Virginia attests to this…
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh has issued a press release, Revised Appeal Reveals Coup Plans against Episcopal Church which starts:
The release, on January 29, 2007, of the text of a third version of the request for alternative primatial oversight (APO) advanced by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh should dispel any doubts about the goals and strategy of its leaders. The Rt. Rev Robert Duncan is clearly attempting an ecclesiastical coup against both The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion…
The text to which reference is made can be found here. Links to the earlier versions are in the press release.
Ekklesia reports in Evangelical leader welcomes UK equalities legislation that:
A prominent evangelical Christian, the Rev Malcolm Duncan, who heads up the Faithworks movement – which is involved in public service provision – has welcomed the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) that some Catholic and Anglican leaders have described as compromising their consciences.
In a statement on the Faithworks site and in an extended article, Mr Duncan declared: “Much of the mainstream media has portrayed this as a defeat for the Church. We strongly believe this is not the case.”
The extended article can be found here: Wrong debate, wrong language by Malcolm Duncan.
Updated Thursday morning
This ENS article also includes a second story Province III bishops issue statement in support of diocesan leadership. You can read about the latter in more detail at daily episcopalian: More support for Bishop Lee. And the text of the main diocesan press release is available there also: Virginia goes to court.
The Living Church report is headed Diocese of Virginia Files Suit Against Departing Congregations.
Washington Post Diocese Sues 11 Seceding Congregations Over Property Ownership
Richmond Times-Dispatch Episcopal leaders eye title to property
Washington Times Episcopal diocese sues breakaways for property
Falls Church News-Press Episcopalian Diocese Files in Court for Removal of Defectors from F.C. Site and Editorial: The Real Falls Church.