Comments: Josiah Idowu-Fearon interview on BBC radio

A very troubling interview. I think I heard the Archbishop imply that he would like to see more burnings of churches – in fairness, without loss of life, though how exactly one might arrange that is hard to comprehend. He also, when asked directly, refused to condemn the imprisonment of gays as morally wrong – such actions merely went against the spirit of resolution 1.10!

Part of the absurdity of judging everything solely from the perspective of resolution 1.10 is that there is unlikely ever to be another Lambeth Conference which could reverse or modify that statement. The Anglican Communion is beyond repair.

Posted by William Raines at Sunday, 9 August 2015 at 6:21pm BST

What the Archbishop actually said, in answer to a question about the Anglican Communion being messy, was that he would like to see it more messy so that we could concentrate on things that matter, like preaching the Gospel and getting rid of government corruption. He also said, on the subject of sexuality, that all member churches are bound by Resolution 1.10, and that includes both the Episcopal Church and those who oppose its recent decision to change the definition of marriage.

Posted by John Barton at Monday, 10 August 2015 at 8:56am BST

William, there'll be another Lambeth Conference in three years' time, and every ten years thereafter. I agree that it won't repeal 1.10, but some of the groundwork for repeal could be laid.

If a Communion-wide majority emerged between conferences, there's nothing to stop an extraordinary meeting being held; or, if that's impractical, remote voting.

The difficulty isn't practical. That's the least of it. The difficulty is persuading bishops to change their minds about something that'd go against everything their beliefs and culture tells them is right. It's hard enough in England, where, despite widespread social acceptance, LGB people are further away than ever from being accepted by the church.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 10 August 2015 at 1:18pm BST

The interviewer said 'so you think the Ametican Episcopal Church should do as it's told or get out' to which the Archbishop said yes quite clearly and then tried to hide behind Lambeth 98 yet again.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Monday, 10 August 2015 at 3:25pm BST

There's a strong case to be made that the TEC should just leave the Anglican Communion and be done with it.

The majority of provinces, England included, are uncompromising in their view that homosexuality is a sin, demanding repentance and lifelong abstinence. This doesn't look set to change anytime soon, if ever. By staying, TEC compromises itself for no good purpose.

I hold the alternative view, that TEC should stay and fight for change, but recognize that it may be a hopeless battle.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 10 August 2015 at 11:49pm BST

Any marginalisation of TEC, or any other Anglican Provincial Church, because of their Gospel-motivated movement towards the inclusion of LGBTIQ members, will surely be counter-productive of any attempt by the new Sec.-General of the Anglican Communion to achieve the restoration of the former 'Unity in Diversity' charism for which we were, formerly, recognised.

Unless he is looking forward to a GAFCON-led Communion, centred around outdated moral imperatives, rather than the Gospel of radical inclusion modelled on the radical and sacrificial love of Jesus.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 12:46am BST

Disappointing and profoundly disrespectful of TECs deeply theological and democratic processes. He wants our PB to come "explain himself" when he knows full well that our PB is a woman. Our PB elect won't be installed until All Saints. And he wants TEC to be open to "correction." We're more than happy to correct the Anglican Communions homophobia, but I don't think that's what he meant.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 2:15am BST

Doesn't seem aa Lambeth planned for 2018 James

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 9:23am BST

re James' comment - that there is a Lambeth 2018 already in focus - this seems a most unlikely event. Unless is is the creation of the ABC after his earlier intimation that such meetings might no longer be possible. However, with a Nigerian bishop now Sec.General of the Anglican Communion, one supposes there could be a faux-Lambeth, led by the GAFCON Primates. But that wouldn't be typically 'Unity in Diversity' Anglican.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 10:43am BST

"[A]ll member churches are bound by Resolution 1.10."

Oh, so the Lambeth Conference is now a legislative body for every province? Says who?

Why do bishops indulge in this fantasy?

Oh snap, this bishop is now the secretary-general, so of course he fantasises about centralisation of Anglican power.

To put it another way, why does the press tolerate this fantasy?

As for Lambeth 2018, it's not going to happen.

Either the Global South attends and they outvote the rest of the Communion and issue some very nasty statements; or the Global South does not attend and the Communion looks schismatic.

The Archbishops do not want either outcome, so they won't call a conference.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 4:14pm BST

I am saddened, but not shocked, that Idowu-Fearon should fall back again to the presumptive status of Lambeth 1998 1.10. First, if the first part were to be incumbent on all churches (the part that says LGBTQ reality is "incompatible"), so is the second part (that says the LGBTQ community is to be respected, supported, and above all listened to). As it has never been established that Lambeth has ever been anything more than a consultation, the continued assertion that Lambeth actions are of some legislative value is simply inaccurate, however often voices like Idowu-Fearon's repeat it. To state that "all churches are bound by 1.10" begs the question of what the actual nature of that accountability is.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 4:23pm BST

"There's a strong case to be made that the TEC should just leave the Anglican Communion and be done with it... By staying, TEC compromises itself for no good purpose."

We don't feel that we're compromising anything. We are going the way of our conscience and we encourage all to stay in the Communion and in dialogue. We have ministries and relationships all over the world, there is no reason to cut those off due to irrelevant bigotry from the top.

If +Josiah has that much of a problem with us, then he is welcome to refuse the $1.8 million or so that our General Convention just included in our budget. We'll spend it well on partner ministries in the world or racism at home.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 6:01pm BST

Cynthia, I agree that TEC should stay, but disagree about it being a compromise. The Anglican Communion has been an officially homophobic organization since Lambeth '98, and by remaining a member, TEC is associated with that policy, and its fallout.

I'm not one for moral purity, so believe the association can be justified, but it does carry a cost, from TEC bishops not standing in solidarity with Gene Robinson in Lambeth '08, to the presiding bishop shoving a "moratorium" through General Convention in '06, and leaving LGBT episcopalians in a "crucified place" for three years.

Homophobia, like all bigotry, corrodes and corrupts.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 10:34pm BST

"[I]rrelevant bigotry from the top."

It's not "the top." And we need to stop thinking of it that way.

The Anglican Communion is a family of churches, not a hierarchical organisation.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 11:49pm BST

In the end, it is the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the only cleric authorised, by tradition, to offer invitations to a Lambeth Conference. Not even the new Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion has that particular privilege.

However, as we all know, it did not take any initiative of the ABC to offer invitation to the fist (or last) GAFCON Conference. That was solely at the initiative of self-appointed prelates in the Global South who deliberately by-passed the ABC and Lambeth-friendly Primates in order to set up their own faux-Anglican Communion sodality.

The irony now is that a Nigerian Bishop from the Global South - Iduwo-Fearon - has been appointed Sec.General of the ACC, by none other that the ABC! How's that for an idiosyncratic outcome? And how does it bode for the future of the non-Gafconites membership of the ACC?

Will the next 'Lambeth' be held in Nigeria?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 12 August 2015 at 5:11am BST

William, Archbishop Josiah said that as Secretary General of the Anglican Communion it would be wrong to offer personal opinions. However, the imprisonment of gays goes against the spirit of Lambeth 1.10. Before his appointment, he did give his personal opinion, opposing criminalisation.

Richard, he did not agree with the interviewer's question that TEC should do as it's told or get out. He said all those who act against 1.10 should be given the opportunity to explain themselves.

Jeremy, you are right that the Lambeth Conference cannot legislate for individual churches. But surely the "Bonds of Affection" which hold member churches together, imply a respect for and loyalty to Conference resolutions.

'Father Ron', please reconsider your racial stereotyping.

Posted by John Barton at Wednesday, 12 August 2015 at 12:37pm BST

"The irony now is that a Nigerian Bishop from the Global South - Iduwo-Fearon - has been appointed Sec.General of the ACC, by none other that the ABC! How's that for an idiosyncratic outcome?"

I think this is the ABC trying to head GAFCON off.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 12 August 2015 at 2:33pm BST

John Barton, you say, 'But surely the "Bonds of Affection" which hold member churches together, imply a respect for and loyalty to Conference resolutions.'

Nonsense. It is not possible to leverage 'bonds of affection' into the force of law.

You yourself acknowledge that the Lambeth Conference is not a legislative body for the provinces. So why do you try to have it both ways?

Let's face the facts.

First, no bishop who attends the Lambeth Conference, and no province represented there, is under any obligation to implement its resolutions. Each member church is self-governing, and if a Lambeth resolution is not enacted back home, then the resolution has no authority there. This is especially important in a church such as TEC, which relegates bishops to only one house of its governing body. If TEC bishops were to present a Lambeth resolution as binding in any way, they would be seen--and rightly so--as trying to do an end run around the House of Delegates.

Let's also face the fact that any 'bonds of affection' that remain in this Communion are badly frayed. And why? Because some member churches are marrying people of the same sex. Other member churches support throwing same-sex couples in jail.

There's no disguising that disagreement, and there's no easy way around it.

On this issue, any Lambeth resolution that doesn't waffle affectionately is going first to be bitterly opposed, and then to be completely ignored, by one side or the other.

Therefore, thinking strategically, rather than give any force to remaining 'bonds of affection,' the Church of England should be extremely careful about the authority it accords the Lambeth Conference.

Non-GAFCON bishops are going to be outvoted, time and time again; so the CofE will someday find itself on the wrong end of a Lambeth resolution.

If the Church of England was founded on any principle at all, it was the principle that foreign bishops have no jurisdiction in England. The Church of England should continue to bear that foundational principle very much in mind.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 14 August 2015 at 4:51pm BST

One supposes there will always be Anglicans who want a Communion as described by John Barton.

Equally, there will be those who want something like a Lutheran World Federation, as described by Jeremy above. Independent national entities.

The lines that divide these two run straight through the Church of England.

I see no reason why those who want a Communion should not have one, and say as well they are preserving the Instruments of Unity and so forth.

Equally, those who want a federation style Communion can have theirs. They can decide if they want things like Lambeth Conference, a Primates Meeting, and so forth.

The pain and cost accompanying the present situation are just very high. Think of the millions of dollars gone forever inside TEC. Even if +Curry would bring an end to this, the fallout has been enormous. Even in liberal stronghold like LA look at the tragic public witness and pain.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 14 August 2015 at 8:27pm BST

" Think of the millions of dollars gone forever inside TEC. Even if +Curry would bring an end to this, the fallout has been enormous. Even in liberal stronghold like LA look at the tragic public witness and pain.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 14 August 2015

Yes, Christopher. And who is to blame for the terrific spending on lawyers? No-one except the piratical dissenters who have succeeded in the break-up of The Episcopal Church. You can't leave a Church and then claim the property!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 12:14pm BST

60M dollars. 60 Million.

You realize I hope that the money spent in TX, SC and Illinois is totally forfeit? TEC lost. The courts ruled that erstwhile dioceses had a better understanding of TEC polity than TEC attorneys did.

Griswold did not pursue this line. Maybe Curry will also not do this.

Yes, you can leave and claim the property. It has happened. Fact on the ground.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 17 August 2015 at 7:06pm BST

And that ground, cseitz, is very shaky indeed. Obtained by force of law but not necessarily morality. Unfortunately, that can be rendered as "whoever has the more vociferous lawyers, wins"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 1:21am BST

You seem not to understand that the TEC litigation team has spent vast sums of money to defend an understanding of the polity of the church that others dispute. Forcing this understanding has not succeeded, in spite of this 60M investment.

With David Booth Beers nearing retirement, and with a new PB, perhaps this ill fated litigiousness will end.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 1:51pm BST

cseitz, TEC has won in a number of dioceses, including Virginia, where I am right now. There are people and congregations that left without seizing the property. At the heart of this matter is the most fundamental doctrinal issue - who is a child of God? The schismatics are fighting to keep the property and their doctrine of exclusion, having lost that doctrine in the larger church (by very democratic and theologically rigorous processes). TEC is fighting to keep its property, maintain the integrity of the decisions of the larger church, and say powerfully that ALL people of children of God, no exceptions.

I'm sorry that the schismatics feel justified in stealing. No one is getting killed over it, on their side (gays and transgendered people do get killed sometimes, due to the bigotry and rhetoric). The final outcome is an inclusive church that I hope becomes even more focused on mission. I believe we can count on +(+)Michael to lead us in that focus.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 20 August 2015 at 2:07pm BST

TEC entered court and asked that judges resolve a dispute in favor of the litigators' special view of TEC's polity. The courts determined that the documents to which TEC litigators were appealing did not uphold their claims, and ruled against their special pleading. This has cost lots of money. In the most recent cases in TX, SC and Illinois the expert testimony for TEC under oath declared there is no hierarchy stated in TEC's governing documents. He was not even brought in in SC.

You will reiterate your private theological positions and declare them probative but the facts are as stated.

SC, FW, Springfield disputed the polity assertions of TEC litigation team and they won. No one was asking anyone about who was a child of God.

The next round of Title IV--after TEC's infighting in LA--will likely have to do with how Bishops 'make provision' for ssm; or not. But I think it fair to say that GC has pretty much hedged in all diocesan bishops. So this is now a fait accompli.

Posted by cseitz at Thursday, 20 August 2015 at 8:39pm BST
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