Comments: ACC-16 - It's all over now

It has been a bad year for the Archbishop of Canterbury.


It is clear that GAFCON doesn't believe he is supporting them. He has totally alienated himself with many liberals too. Worse his claim that ACC in Resolution 34 endorsed the consequences for TEC looks as dubious as his claims of unanimity at the primates gathering which transpired to be unity only among those who had not walked out or left. I no longer trust his veracity and I doubt I am alone. And his apologies to LGBT people are looking vacuous.

Worse still, my impression is that ACC-16 was productive and cordial not because of ABC but in spite of him. It is clear he was pushing for recognition of the consequences against TEC (was he a supported of Resolution 35?) but the ACC was having none of it.

If he was a Prime Minister, back benchers would be meeting to plot his replacement.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 20 April 2016 at 10:43pm BST

Kate, don't rush into too hasty a judgement on the Archbishop of Canterbury. At least he was brave enough to face Zimbabwe's Prime minister, Robert Mugabe; informing him of the Primates' call to denounce the criminalisation of LGBTQI people around the Anglican Communion. That's more than any other Church of England prelate has done, so far. After all, he needn't have bothered, but was determined to do so. Now, that's pretty brave!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 1:44am BST

"If he was a Prime Minister" then the one I think he would most resemble would be Harold MacMillan for, like him, Justin Welby seems to be "unflappable"

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 9:54am BST

++Justin is caught between a rock and a hard place. I do think he needs to be a little more specific in what he thinks the Church (& specifically the C of E) is apologizing for in an environment where it seems unlikely that there will be in a substantive change towards fully affirming LGBTI brothers and sisters in Christ. Unanimity is to be aimed for, of course, but only top the extent that is animated through virtue. I worry that with the focus on phrases like 'the majority.....' leadership is becoming increasingly utilitarian. (I also don't think that the Church knows what the majority think on all manner of issues, and that it probably doesn't want to know, less a great big discrepancy is revealed between what those in leadership think and believe and is more widely thought and believed).

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 1:23pm BST

ACC passed resolution 16:23. We know what the resolution says: the conversation now is, what does it mean? The American delegation leaving ACC have a more nuanced and fluid interpretation than the Archbishop. I think they have it correct.

Archbishop Welby's claims about the resolution appear to be in the direction of, look Primates it all worked out the way you wanted, so can we all just calm down?

The problem with Welby's spin is that conservatives inside TEC will want to seize upon it to keep up their rear guard action against their church's canonical changes on same sex marriage. The hoped for outcome for conservatives was a demonstrated smack down for their own Province.

Ironically the diplomatic hero of ACC on this issue appears to be TEC bishop Ian Douglas. He attended the meeting (in contrast to at least one of the ex officio primates). He declined to offer for election. Welby's claim that the Primates got what they wanted has as much do more to Douglas' gesture as it does with the somewhat pacific resolution 16:23.

Question: The lad from Egypt was absent. Does anyone know how many of the remaining four ex officio member Primate were in attendance?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 1:56pm BST

"Kate, don't rush into too hasty a judgement on the Archbishop of Canterbury. At least he was brave enough to face Zimbabwe's Prime minister, Robert Mugabe; informing him of the Primates' call to denounce the criminalisation of LGBTQI people around the Anglican Communion. That's more than any other Church of England prelate has done, so far. After all, he needn't have bothered, but was determined to do so. Now, that's pretty brave!" Father Ron Smith

I agree, the ABC, is showing signs of enlightenment, real concern and serious interest in OUR LGBTI Anglican lives...maybe his time has come, as OURS has (mostly), to face the reality of ALL of his fellow human beings...not just those with the power to outcast LGBTI Anglicans at various of the Anglican Communion. Light and REALITY seem to be seeping in...for that I am glad as WE must hault entirely the persecution of LGBTI Anglicans by GAFCON leaders and others...the age of unenlightement, prejudice and hatemongering must be replaced with LOVE for our sisters, brothers, cowworshippers and best friends who are "Gay" and NOT astray!

Posted by Leonard Clark at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 2:26pm BST

Where is the bravery?

President Mugabe reportedly asked about the Anglican Communion's stance on same sex marriage. ABC,gave a factual answer - one which President Mugabe probably already knew. There is no indication that ABC expressed his personal view, nor that he expressed any criticism of Zimbabwean law.

The Archbishop was accompanied by several bishops and the British Ambassador.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 4:08pm BST

When it comes to communications, this Archbishop of Canterbury and his successor have both spun far too aggressively.

The idea that Primates2016 was unanimous is silly. And the idea that the ACC is united and walking together is equally silly.

Four Primates tried to instigate a boycott. And with three delegations, they succeeded.

The Archbishop is trying to tamp down expectations, which is good; but he's also trying to misportray the facts on the ground. Despite what he is saying or implying, "received" does not mean "accepted" or "agreed with."

Let's just acknowledge that the ACC did not agree with the Primates. Why is that so difficult?

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 21 April 2016 at 11:42pm BST

"Welby's claim that the Primates got what they wanted has as much do more to Douglas' gesture as it does with the somewhat pacific resolution 16:23."

Rest assured there were many discussions between the two parties well before Lusaka took place, and at Lusaka itself. +Douglas wasn't operating in a beneficent bubble.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 22 April 2016 at 11:41am BST

Rod, all the other primates on the steering committee were there. As I understand, Archbishop Makgoba arrived a day late and Archbishop Deng Bul left a couple of days early, both due to previous commitments in their home countries.

Posted by Jim Naughton at Friday, 22 April 2016 at 3:49pm BST

@ Cseitz, "Rest assured there were many discussions between the two parties well before Lusaka took place, and at Lusaka itself. +Douglas wasn't operating in a beneficent bubble." And you know this how? Even if you are in the ball park, your musings in the fist part of your post are not evidence of the motivation you assign in your final sentence.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 22 April 2016 at 5:00pm BST

"+Douglas wasn't operating in a beneficent bubble"

Nonetheless, he made a great gesture that removed at least one distraction from the excellent Gospel work of ACC-16.

ACC acted independently of the primates, as their organizational policies call them to do. It also includes a much more diverse assembly then the exclusive, older men, in the primates. It shouldn't be surprising that in a diverse body, people can "walk together with difference" far more generously than in a small homogeneous group.

The age of top down polity is over. Few people are going to accept spiritual leadership from those who support and enable human rights abuses. GAFCON can continue to try to force a square peg into a round hole, but that whole paradigm has an expiry date.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 22 April 2016 at 7:12pm BST

Surely you are joking?

If anyone believes that as of the conclusion of the Primates Meeting, the various lines of communication amongst +Welby, +Josiah, +Curry, and other TEC operatives, including the Bishop of CT, were not going full-time, well...

If you believe +CT just decided to demur without any input or discussion from the ABC or head of of ACO...

Of course the alternative is to believe that +Welby genuinely seeks to get the Instruments to present a common face. You may not like that, or the idea of Instruments as such, but just read what is being put forward. +CT was not acting independently, and TEC liberals vehemently wished it were otherwise. But so it was and is.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 1:14am BST

Cynthia

Dr Tengatenga agrees with you. http://www.anglican.ink/article/tec-will-go-acc-meeting-lusaka-and-they-will-vote-acc-chairman-says

«He observed the “primates think they are more important than anyone else. When they attempt to bottle up the fizziness [of the development of doctrine within the Communion] that is when things explode.”»

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 9:14am BST

«Rest assured there were many discussions between the two parties well before Lusaka took place, and at Lusaka itself. +Douglas wasn't operating in a beneficent bubble."»

I see that as quite a serious charge. In Anglicanism not only are the provinces independent (and interdependent), so too are the Instruments of Communion. You seem to be suggesting that one Instrument of Communion (are you suggesting the Primates or ABC?) attempted to dissuade a province from exercising their independence in the context of another Instrument. That's a big deal.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 10:54am BST

Kate, isn't that exactly what happened?

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 12:48pm BST

Kate:

Purple-to-purple talk has its own area code. Always has. Always will.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 1:33pm BST

I Googled the term HB2 and was surprised just how much support LGBT people now have in USA. (HB2 is the anti-LGBT House Bill in North Carolina - the so-called 'bathroom bill'.) Even more surprising is the widespread support for trans people who are overlooked by most Christian liberals focused only on same-sex marriage but ignoring that trans people need recognition by the church in their new genders.

Even conservative Ireland now popularly backs same-sex marriage and, being one of the latest to the party, has the most progressive approach to gender recognition in Europe.

Against that background, if Anglicans don't come up with a credible approach to LGBT issues - and soon - they risk the same sort of cultural backlash as N Carolina. The world has changed even since January.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 4:52pm BST

Whatever happened, Christopher, the Standing Committee doesn't contain members from all provinces and TEC has had plenty of representation in that last term. Rotating off, was perfectly natural.

As for not running to chair the committee? Given that only one province is ever represented in the chair position, it doesn't really seem like a "consequence." Whatever led to +Douglas' decision not to stand for election, it was wise and generous. I personally had no appetite to fight over TEC's "right" to lead an elected body!!!

ACC wants to walk together, Anglican Women want to walk together, so let's walk together and not fight over details that only kick up sour grapes and besmirch ourselves and others.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 23 April 2016 at 6:48pm BST

But Cynthia, don't expect Christopher to 'walk together' with anyone but his own ideas at ACI - 3 theologians and a web-site. He gets his kicks from 'kicking against the pricks' that he lives with in TEC and the A.C of Canada

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 11:36am BST

TEC will rotate off, but their strong influence will remain, unfortunately.

Posted by Kenneth Jones at Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 4:46pm BST

Fr Smith, is life getting that bad? Lighten up on the personal attacks, please. Everything will work out in the end as God wills. I don't "live with pricks" (I believe that word must mean the same as in your cultural home) in TEC or the ACC. Sunday blessings. It's a blog. Let's keep things in perspective!

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 24 April 2016 at 9:19pm BST

Christopher, the term you seem to object to is specifically biblical. Perhaps the word I should have used is 'goad' - that may better suit the sort of pressure being exerted on ACI to act as though it were still part of TEC, instead of being a constant pain in the arras.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 25 April 2016 at 3:43am BST

"TEC will rotate off, but their strong influence will remain, unfortunately."

Hm. Our "strong influence" is merely the Gospel of the Radical Love of Jesus Christ, crucified on the cross for ALL people. And it seems to me that lots of people in the ACC are arriving at that conclusion of their own accord.

Inclusion is the imperative of the Gospel of Jesus. There simply is no justification for letting difference get in the way of walking together and enacting a Gospel of Love that addresses violence, climate change, etc.

I think, Kenneth, that your beef is with Jesus and not TEC. There is no evidence of Jesus excluding or condemning people, except for church leaders (Pharisees) for using the Law to demean people - He had strong words for that. The Acts of the Apostles is all about including more and more people, defective though we may be.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 25 April 2016 at 7:10am BST

Dear Cynthia...

"There is no evidence of Jesus excluding or condemning people."

I share so much of your theology, and the over-riding imperative of God's love, but...

"Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire..."

"He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire..."

"I have come to bring fire upon the Earth... Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but division..."

"Are only a few going to be saved?"... "Many will try to enter through the narrow door but will not be able to... the owner of the house will say, I don't know you... Away from me!"

Lazarus pleaded "I am in agony in this fire..." ... "Between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, nor can anyone cross over."

"It will be just like it was in the days of Noah... the flood came and destroyed them all."

"Those enemies of mine that did not want me to be king over them... bring them here and kill them in front of me."

"Unless a person is born of water and the Spirit, they cannot enter the sovereign realm of God."

"Whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God' wrath remains on them."

"Whoever enters through me will be saved... No-one comes to God except through me..."

"If anyone does not remain in me, they are like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body... rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell."

In the currency of the scriptures, there is quite a bit of excluding from God going on. Exclusion doesn't get much more crushing than if it involves the eternal destruction of the many, the parting of sheep from goats. And that is problematic and challenging.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 25 April 2016 at 3:52pm BST

Cynthia, Jesus and I have a good relationship, and it is TEC's leaders that I have a beef with....not Him. Unfortunately, TEC will continue to try to influence the ACC by using their money, as they have in the past. That has got to end if the ACC is going to be fairly run and benefit all....including the ACNA, which is a member province of GAFCON.

Posted by Kenneth Jones at Monday, 25 April 2016 at 4:36pm BST

Mr Smith, This sentence just seemed incoherent. "...that may better suit the sort of pressure being exerted on ACI to act as though it were still part of TEC."

What pressure is being exerted on ACI? and "to act as though it were still part of TEC"? What does that mean?

Your frame of reference frequently baffles me, but you've outdone yourself this time!

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 25 April 2016 at 9:12pm BST

Perhaps, Christopher, you might better understand my comment if I were to be more specific:

ACI's 'Institutional' provenance douesn't really mean anything to anyone outside of your own little clique. The only people clinging to your skirts from any other province of the Anglican Communion are those like ex-bishiop Nazir-Ali - now a subscriber to ACNA-theology - and other assorted malcontents. This is no basis from which to preach the Good News of God's love for ALL people.

You may be right though, about no real 'goad' being applies to you to remain within the eirenic family of TEC. They may prefer to you to take up residence with their opposition at ACNA, which seems to be where you heart now abides.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 1:22am BST

Kenneth, Jesus and I also have a great relationship too, and I'm gay and got married in the Episcopal Church to my spouse, after 23 years.

It's pretty insulting to our sisters and brothers in the ACC to say that TEC money is influencing their theology. I just met a bunch of Anglican Women from around the world at the UNCSW; they are an amazing group of strong, brilliant, passionate, and independent sisters.

Walking together is a theology and it has nothing to do with money. Jesus commanded us to love one another. He didn't give us an "opt out" for people who don't agree with us 100 percent. After all, we agree on the core concerns of Jesus to love our neighbor, without caveat.

The problem isn't TEC money. The problem is that you think Jesus gives us an "opt out" on loving our neighbor. That theology is highly flawed because no one is qualified to judge, which is probably why Jesus said "don't judge."

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 6:15am BST

Cynthia: "Jesus commanded us to love one another."

That is such an urgent imperative.

Far more important than being right, is finding grace.

This thread has not been a stellar example of that exhortation.

It's a lesson I need as much as anyone else. We all need it.

The whole Anglican Communion at this time needs it.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 4:32pm BST

Dear Mr Smith:
you seem to consume a lot of bandwidth diagnosing a 501c3 ACI you struggle to understand, much as your previous confusions over the GS, Gafcon, etc. Is ACI presently doing something you dislike or is this just a tic on your part?

Radner: priest in TEC, now retired and no longer in TEC, formerly missionary Priest in Burundi and Haiti, presently licensed in the ACoC. Living in Toronto. Professor of Historical Theology.

Turner: retired from TEC. Wife priest in TEC. Missionary Priest in Uganda in the Idi Amin period. Doing a locum stint to assist EDOT. 80 years old. Former Dean of Berkley Divinity at Yale. The Episcopal school at Yale.

Seitz: Priest in TEC for 35 years; licensed in SEC for 9 years; licensed in ACoC; Research Professor University of Toronto (Wycliffe); presently Priest-in-Charge, St Luke’s Fontainebleau France (Church of England). (Professor Yale (1987-97); St Andrews (1998-2006).

I might hope you gather from this that we have all served in the Anglican Communion as our Christian Church home, and do not locate Anglican ministry within a national, independent denominationalism. I hope that makes sense but I somehow doubt it…

I am sorry our existence causes you such sustained consternation or confused response. Why not let it go? It's time to think positively, not pick at your sore spots.

Amities en Christ.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 4:36pm BST

cseitz, please stop pretending you know why Ian Douglas decided what he decided. He talked to many people and made up his own mind.

Posted by Jim Naughton at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 6:19pm BST

Of course he talked to many people and made up his mind. That is exactly my point! If you think he only spoke to TEC folk, you are living in a fog bank.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 9:22pm BST

Mr Jim Naughton-- please forgive me. You speak as though your perspective is self-explanatory on a UK blog site.

And with a good deal of forcefulness!

Are you the same Jim Naughton who used to work for the Diocese of Washington (DC)? I am not sure what he now does.

I may have assumed wrongly that you were this person.

Posted by Christopher Seitz at Tuesday, 26 April 2016 at 11:24pm BST

" Is ACI presently doing something you dislike or is this just a tic on your part?" - cseitz -

Well Mr Seitz, from the record of retirements you have listed above; it would seem that ACI is now quite moribund. So, No, Christopher, now that the 3 theologians seem to be out of the picture; they are no longer a real threat to anyone, let alone TEC. I cannot sustain my lack of charity.

Enjoy your times in Fontainebleau for the C. of E. Can't be very fertile ground for ACNA. Agape!
Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 1:35am BST

"Kenneth, Jesus and I also have a great relationship too"

There have been a couple of comments like this and I am interested in understanding how one knows if one has a "great relationship with Jesus"?

Personally I would say I have direct experience of God and of the Spirit but my relationship with Jesus is based on faith, not experience. Secondly, I couldn't begin to guess whether even God thinks I have a good relationship with Him. We love each other, but a good relationship suggests more than that.

If others here know they have a good relationship with Jesus, am I missing something? Is there something I am not doing?

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 9:36am BST

"I cannot sustain my lack of charity."

Thank God that is over.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 11:36am BST

Mr Smith: you have consistently misunderstood that ACI's work isn't related to TEC as such, even when I have just gone to pains to explain its character beyond single provinces!

Your acknowledgment of a lack of charity is appreciated for its honesty. I hope that wasn't also confused.

TEC has become a new entity according to the desires of the present generation. Soon it will have a new kind of BCP. It has developed a GC polity wherein Bishops can be constrained, even as it has been noted that the GC is itself deeply in need of reform. It has shrunk considerably, beyond handicapping for demographic purposes in the West and in the USA. Its own statisticians are candid about the challenges of so many small dioceses. It is no longer concerned overmuch about consistency in polity, with a Pb granted authority nowhere envisioned in the Constitution, and without concern about that. It has spend monumental sums in civil court, dubiously accounted for.

So retirement from or withdrawal from TEC has been a bit of a developing reality for many of us for some years, as it has become what it now is.

But ACI's fate does not depend upon TEC health or un-health.

(Parenthetically, your comments about ACNA have always been eccentric. ACNA has no time for ACI and never did).

May your return to charity be worn as a phylactery and may it be broad and long.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 27 April 2016 at 3:16pm BST

cseitz: from me: Pax vobiscum

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 28 April 2016 at 11:51am BST
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