Comments: ACC-16 - Monday reports

The election of Alistair Dinnie to the ACC standing committee is an encouraging move.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 18 April 2016 at 9:32pm BST

«The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, the ACC’s chairman, reminded members of their constitutional mandate to consider “the desirability of achieving (so far as practicable) appropriate regional diversity and a balance of representation between clergy and laity and between the genders.”»

We see this so often. Calls to ensure diversity. But not of sexual orientation or gender identity, nor even disability, only gender and (effectively) race (expressed as regional diversity). The church is by no means the only culprit but it really should know better.

Either elect the best people regardless or focus on diversity across everything. But to pick out gender and/or race for special treatment I find abhorrent.

And the meeting had stressed the crises around poverty and of refugees - but when it comes to the composition of the committee, suddenly refugees are invisible.

At times like this I feel ashamed to be a part of the church. No wonder membership is declining when our leaders spend days talking of disadvantage and injustice but then totally ignore that same disadvantage and injustice when it comes to election to their own ranks.

Utterly disgusted.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 4:09am BST

I know that my Scottish friends are highly skeptical, but I think that there might be a sea change.

Evidence:
1. the ACC resolutions, which "declines to go along with 'consequences,'" and takes up more important matters.
2. ++Justin's address, combined with his frank talk with Robert Mugabe.
3. +Joshiah lifting up TEC as a model for "walking together" rather than a "problem province."
4. Me and everyone I know wants something new and more hopeful, just, and loving out of the ACC, and it's past time we get it!!!!!!!

What will really be telling is the treatment of the three Jeremy's and other gay clergy and lay readers when ++Justin gets back.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 5:36am BST

The problem with Justin's assertion that "it is clear that the majority view is that marriage is between a man and a woman" lies in the implication that - because it's a majority view worldwide, that worldwide majority view should be imposed as a uniformity on provinces (and indeed, local church communities) where the heterosexual only view does not prevail.

The problem does not lie in his open admission of deep differences of views within the communion, but in the attempts of some (including the Primates, and indeed the bishops collectively in England) to impose a uniform conscience on people who disagree. That attempt to dominate other people's conscience is a disaster, and drives schism.

As Kelvin said this week, the problem for the Church is not LGBT people, but the Primates and those groups who effectively want to re-introduce an Anglican Covenant mentality, to enforce one view upon everyone. That simply won't hold.

It is excellent that Alistair Dinnie, himself an active participant in the same-sex marriage conversations in Scotland, and in a committed gay relationship for decades, has been appointed to the ACC standing committee. It is better still, that the Scottish Episcoplal Church edges towards gay and lesbian marriage in 2017, on the basis of letting local church communities decide.

That is *precisely* the respect for conscience that is needed in England too. It is the maturity to exercise 'unity in diversity'.

In England, it may well be true that the majority of Anglicans accept and affirm gay relationships - and both Provinces and local churches should be able to exercise sincere conscience for themselves. To try to impose a uniformity (via Covenant, via Episcopal Letter, via Primates consequences and requirements) is an immaturity.

It is precisely the problem (which is why England rejected the Anglican Covenant). The bishops are out of step and out of order.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 7:37am BST

Has ACC accepted the 'consequences' for TEC by "receiving" the report of the Primates' meeting?

Depends how different people understand the word "receive".

As reported by 'Living Church' here - http://www.livingchurch.org/acc-churns-out-resolutions :

'The Archbishop of Canterbury told the delegates that he was pleased with this action, saying that Resolution C34 “covers issues we need to cover,” establishing sufficient concurrence between the ACC and the Primates’ Meeting. “The consequences [for the Episcopal Church] stand,” Archbishop Justin Welby said in a news conference Monday afternoon.'

Any clearer?

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 8:45am BST

"What will really be telling is the treatment of the three Jeremy's and other gay clergy and lay readers when ++Justin gets back." Cynthia

I don't know about the other two Jeremys but I can confirm that the Church is continuing to fight Jeremy Pemberton every step of the way.

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 11:23am BST

Susannah,

Not clearer. I am beginning to suspect that such ambiguity is deliberate (like the clapping at the start of ACC-16 when nobody was sure what it meant) so that during the meeting everyone thinks they have got their way. Trouble is, it is highly divisive afterwards.


I do agree with your observation that quoting worldwide majority views is unhelpful but for a different reason. +Justin gives the impression that doctrine is set by popularity. Thinking about it, that might be the case, but it is a squirmifying concept all the same and one I find hard, in itself, to reconcile with Scripture.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 12:27pm BST

By St. George, I think he's GOT IT!

In the future, Welby said, “When I talk to people I am going to be honest. Let’s never pretend that things are other than they are. We are not entirely united on the issues around human sexuality. We have profound and important divisions among us. It’s clear what has been the majority opinion among us. It’s also very clear that, when it comes to criminalization, that we are deeply committed to combatting that in every place where we find it and not supporting those who support it.”

Posted by Leonard Clark at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 2:55pm BST

Archbishop Welby said what he had to say regarding the consequences, but he's not the only interpreter.
Here is the situation as far as I understand it regarding the consequences.

1. Remove the two women from TEC who serve on either an ecumenical commission or the faith and order group. That was within the archbishop's power. He did it. The ACC doesn't figure in this consequence.

2. No TEC people on the standing committee. None ran. Bishop Ian Douglas thought hard about running for chair, and decided against it. (His letter explaining his thinking is here: http://www.deputynews.org/douglas-letter/). At times during the last few years, TEC has had two members on a body on which the great majority of provinces have none. As sanctions go, not having a member of your church chair the standing committee is a "consequence" currently being suffered by every province but one.

3. TEC folks not voting on issues of doctrine or polity at this meeting. Our folks were there. They voted on every issue. I leave it to others to pore over the resolutions to determine whether any of them touched on those issues. There was the possibility at this meeting of voting on the creation of new provinces, Peru, I think, and one other. That didn't happen. But it seems unlikely to me that had it happened, our reps would not have voted. And, for what it is worth, Bishop Douglas served on the resolutions committee.

Finally, the withdrawal of C35 ("welcoming" the primates communique) in the face of likely defeat tells us something. This was a resolution that, at least at the outset of the legislative process, had the support of the Archbishop Welby and Secretary General Fearon. It did not pass and the far milder C34 "receiving" the communique did.

I don't think it can be argued that the most important of the sanctions stood. Had the TEC folks had their voting rights limited at the ACC that would have been a pretty breathtaking acquiescence to a primatial power grab. But the Standing Committee made clear almost as soon as it had gathered that it was not going to acquiesce (statement here: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/04/08/anglican-communion-standing-committee-issues-report-to-acc/) and it didn't.

Posted by Jim Naughton at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 3:12pm BST

As so often, Susannah is illuminating.

As a basis of governing "... it is clear that the majority view is that marriage is between a man and a woman" is just plain silly, and nothing on which to base any kind of genuinely Christian policy. The majority used to favor slavery and feel that left-handedness was bad (my brother was force to write with his right hand, and has never been able to do it easily or fluently since); genius and great talents have never been of the majority...

Let us rather do justice to a minority who wish to form lifelong committed unions in Christ's church, and turn out thoughts to that other minority who wish to punish LGBT people for their very being.

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 7:41pm BST

"I don't know about the other two Jeremys but I can confirm that the Church is continuing to fight Jeremy Pemberton every step of the way."

I'm so sorry to hear that, Laurence. I pray for better for you guys and all the LGBTQI members and allies in the Church of England.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 20 April 2016 at 10:11pm BST
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