Comments: Archbishop of Canterbury sets out vision for 2017 Primates Meeting

"The Anglican Communion position is set out in Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That is our lodestar."

Anyone who is navigating by a controversial resolution of a Lambeth Conference is lost already.

Posted by badman at Wednesday, 1 February 2017 at 9:33pm GMT

Members of the US based Episcopal Church voted in all votes at Lusaka. This press release is not accurate on that point.

If I remember rightly, the ACC is a charity regulated by the Charity Commission of England and Wale. I'm uncertain that the Primates' Meeting can legally determine who votes at ACC meetings.

The ACC constitution is available online here:
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/39479/the-constitution-of-the-anglican-consultative-council.pdf

It does not seem to me to contain any provision for a group of Primates from the Anglican Communion (and elsewhere, let us not forget that a Primate of a non-Anglican Communion church was invited last time) can rule that some members of the ACC must desist from voting on specific items of business.

It would make for an interesting legal case in the English courts if any attempt were made to try to implement such a ruling at an ACC meeting.

[As everyone involved in the workings of the ACC must be aware, I presume]

Posted by Kelvin Holdsworth at Wednesday, 1 February 2017 at 10:46pm GMT

The idea, posited in the Bishops' Statement, that the Doctrine of Marriage has remained unchanged throughout its history in the church is not true.

The new rite omits reference to the need for openness to procreation. It also permits the (re) marriage of legally divorced persons. So how is it 'unchanged'?

The House of Bishops had the opportunity to affirm Civil Partnerships, which they fudged. Now that Equal Marriage is affirmed by the State, they are now faced with the need to recognize those in the Church who have legally married their same-sex partner. What other alternative is there, than excommunication?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 5:35am GMT

Perhaps the change of tone suggested in the report from the CofE house of bishops last week could begin very simply.

Drop the use of the term 'same sex attraction' and variants thereof. This is the language of oppressive forces in the church. It sounds ponderously detached and semi-academic, but it is dehumanising. Any bishop who signs up to anything using this language is identifying with these oppressive forces. They are perpetuating a source of harm and hindrance to LGBT people seeking to walk in the way of Christ, however that walking is expressed.

If the CofE is as committed to changing the tone as the bishops claimed to be last week, then abandoning the language of 'same sex attraction' and referring to LGBT people in their own terms might be adopted as a consistent policy in all meetings involving English bishops at this Primates meeting.

Posted by Victoriana at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 11:18am GMT

The General Secretary of the Anglican Communion welcomes last week’s report by the English House of Bishops, and notes ‘I support the Bishops’ declaration that doctrine on marriage should not change – that marriage *should* be a lifelong commitment between a man and woman (my emphasis)’.

But he has clearly misread the document as that is not what GS2055 says. It says, in numerous places, citing e.g. Canon B30.1, *not* that marriage *should be* lifelong (that is, an argument based on 'intention') but that *it is* lifelong. The Bishops’ report states that ‘that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part (citing Canon B30)’ (¶18) and reaffirms ‘our current doctrine of marriage as between one man and one woman, faithfully, for life’ (¶34). There is no reference to ‘should be lifelong’ in the document – *it is* lifelong is what the Church of England 'teaches' but clearly does not practice.

Posted by Judith Maltby at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 12:09pm GMT

"This article was updated on 2 February to make clear that no formal votes were held on issues of doctrine and polity at ACC-16. None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus."

Posted by cseitz at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 1:02pm GMT

"This article was updated on 2 February to make clear that no formal votes were held on issues of doctrine and polity at ACC-16. None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus."

Which ought to read , The Anglican Communion News Service , as a P.R. vehicle for the Communion Office, is updating this article so that it reflects the political spin doctoring of the ABC and the Communion Secretary.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 2:23pm GMT

Lambeth 1998.1.10 is less lodestar than millstone.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 4:03pm GMT

So there we have it. The entire purpose of the Shared Conversations becomes abundantly clear in this announcement. The enforcement of B30 and the quadruple locks are what the English bishops use to navigate the C of E ship towards the 'lodestar' of Lambeth 1:10, as if these were the entire sum of our ecclesiology, missiology and ecumenism nowadays. It seems as though the shepherds are huddled together, feeding each other rather than their flocks. There's little spiritual nourishment in the Holocaust Memorial Day report, adding insult to injury by being published on that day. B30 is a blunt instrument in the way it is applied to one set of people, but not to others - i.e. divorcees.

Posted by Andrew at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 4:48pm GMT

Gillis and Haller.

It may not suit your take on where things should be heading; I doubt it does....

But it does say where things are headed. Looks like +Welby believes the CofE have done what is necessary--and right--so as to enable the Primates to gather.

The question he was facing was, How many can live with this? That is the question of course. It looks like he believes the vast majority of Primates can.

So now the question is, will those with a novel understanding of marriage feel they want any longer to be a part of this Primates Meeting? From what one reads on this weblog, the answer is for many: NO.

Posted by cseitz at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 5:16pm GMT

The Anglican Communion News Service is gaslighting us. People voted on resolutions in Lusaka. They also voted on the consent calendar. Perhaps the word "formal" is meant to suggest that asking a room full of people to raise their hands to suggest agreement or opposition to a resolution isn't a "formal" vote. But, that is not work that word can do.

Posted by Jim Naughton at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 6:56pm GMT

Those who inhabit the universe of alternative facts — such as novel understandings in which Lambeth is authoritative and the Primates speak for all Anglicans — are welcome to their views. Others will be happy to continue to see, and participate in, Lambeth and the Primates' Meeting as these events were intended and constituted: as forums for conversation, fellowship, and cooperation in the mission of the church. No doubt the recent statement by the English House of Bishops will provide the Archbishop with sufficient material to continue the charade for those of the novel view, while actually getting on with whatever conversation and fellowship may be possible with all present.

At this point, however, one wonders why the charade aspect need continue, except for those who enjoy such things. Given that an increasing number of the members of the Church of England no longer accept its peculiar doctrine of marriage ("the union of one man and one woman [at a time] that is lifelong [except when it isn't]"), it should be clear that, qal wahomer, they have little interest in the doings of the Primates' Meeting.

But that does not mean I think the aspects of conversation, fellowship, and cooperation in mission should cease, or that those entitled to participate should stay away. It is in these, rather than in a surmised uniformity of doctrine or canon law, that the Anglican Communion subsists, per its own definition.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 7:29pm GMT

Chris, my comment pertained solely and specifically to the "update" statement on the ACNS article. I know a little something about media. No one who is politically astute is likely to buy into the ACNS/Communion Office spin. But my comment is simply an aside on what otherwise has become a rather predictable jejune ecclesiastical conversation.

As for where things may be heading, to the extent that I care at all, the Canadian Church seems to be heading in the right direction, even if belatedly and in fits and starts. If that puts us in the penalty box with foreign prelates, so be it.

These days I'm much more concerned about saving the planet for my grand-children than I am about some first century saviour mythology divorced from geo-politcal realities.


As for where things may be heading at The Communion level, I'll let you worry about it Chris. Clearly, at this juncture, it is more of a concern to you than it is for someone like me.

There is a murder of crows sitting on the snowy pine trees outside my window as I write this. Seems like a good enough metaphor for International Anglican Primates gatherings.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 7:39pm GMT

Teresa May, Trump, Welby. All seem to wish to govern by executive fiat rather than through democratically elected bodies. In the case of Welby that is the General Synod and in acting this way before they have decided on the matter (which won't even be February) he is most certainly not acting in a collegiate manner. Synod ought to censor him.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 8:08pm GMT

"This article was updated on 2 February to make clear that no formal votes were held on issues of doctrine and polity at ACC-16. None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus."

This an odd usage indeed. What bemuses me most is that it so twists the point: "None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus" could hardly satisfy those who didn't want the Episcopal Church's representatives in the room in the first place, or participating in a decision in any way.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 8:27pm GMT

So, anyone brave enough to start a global, liberal communion? The alternative is just more years of time wasting.

Posted by S Cooper at Thursday, 2 February 2017 at 11:09pm GMT

"So, anyone brave enough to start a global, liberal communion?"

This is the question you must continue to put to people like Haller and Gillis.

I think you are correct to see where things are headed, at least from what we read.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 7:00am GMT

BTW, just what doctrine was subject to formal voting at the last ACC meeting?

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 7:29am GMT

The 1948 Lambeth Conference said the vocation of the Anglican Communion was to disappear I believe.......

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 12:52pm GMT

"What will happen when the leaves fall and the trees become bare?"

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 1:35pm GMT

'Gillis and Haller.'

( cseitz)

I regret to see this failure of courtesy and polite behaviour here.

Must Lgbt and our supporters expect this these days ?

Posted by Lauri Roberts at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 2:19pm GMT

It seems to me, from the U.S. side of the pond, that storming off and starting some competing version of the Anglican Communion is precisely what the conservatives (as represented by cseitz) are hoping for. After all, they can then say "you didn't get what you wanted, so you took your ball and went home." It validates everything that the conservatives accuse the Northern hemisphere progressives of being--absolutist, judgmental, high-handed.

Instead, and it seems to me that this is Presiding Bishop Curry's approach, the better way is to stick with the Communion while being clear about our perspective on these disputed question. If the conservatives can gather the votes and clout to kick us out, then so be it. But it will be the conservatives who are being exclusive, the conservatives who are being absolutist and insisting on getting their way. I suspect they do not have the organization or collective will to do that--why let them off the hook and do the work for them?

At the time of the last meeting, the Episcopal Church was out on its own with regard to same-sex marriage. In the intervening time, two additional provinces have joined us. Who knows what will happen in the next few years? By staying stuck in, even if it means taking a few slings and arrows, we are a witness to an alternative view. That goes away if we voluntarily leave.

Posted by Mike Boyle at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 2:34pm GMT

S Cooper, the question is not whether some new liberal communion is needed, but whether some new conservative, conciliar communion will emerge over the next decades. The Anglican Covenant has not been adopted by a majority of the provinces, and its failure in the "Mother Church" (so far) does not promise the transformation of the whole Communion into some sort of centrally governed world church.

My guess is what may happen is a split, in which some of the Global South provinces will continue with the development of their own governing structure independent of the present Anglican Communion; it is not clear if they will at that point cease their participation in the present grouping. If they do, the remaining provinces, including the "liberal" churches of the Global North (for want of a better term, as it likely includes Southern Africa and Brazil, to name only two) as well as some of the still-conservative Southern churches who value the fellowship of the Communion over any novel form of conciliar government, will continue to share in the affectionate relationship that has defined the Anglican Communion from its beginning until very recent years.

This is not "time wasting" unless you see the Communion as the heart and soul of the work of the church. One of the hallmarks of Anglicanism is its focus on the so-called national church as the primary locus of government, and the local church as the focus of mission. International bodies are there for cooperation on international projects; but most of the church's work is local. This is the doctrine of subsidiarity that has been central to Anglican thinking for some centuries — to do at the higher level only what cannot be done at the more local level.

Anyway, that is my prognostication, such as it is. I've been right so far.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 3:17pm GMT

s. Cooper "So, anyone brave enough to start a global, liberal communion?"

Christopher: This is the question you must continue to put to people like Haller and Gillis.

Me: There's no reason to leave the Anglican Communion just because some primates elevated marriage to a doctrinal level that it never held before. This is clearly a bigotry of arrogant men. The men and women at Lusaka wanted nothing to do with it. That is the REAL Anglican Communion, Christopher.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 7:23pm GMT

Once again, it has be said that the Churches of the Anglican Communion are independent and autonomous as, for example, my Church of Australia's Constitution makes clear. Lambeth Conference resolutions, including 1998's 1.10 (reached by dubious means) do not bind any Church of the Communion. What is done by the US Episcopal Church (for which I have much admiration and which I have often visited) or any other Church of the Communion is not my business. However, there is no likelihood of the Australian General Synod ever approving "same sex marriage". Though a traditional, liberal Anglican, I myself support what Tobias Holler, using an unjustified adjective, calls a "peculiar doctrine of marriage", as very many Christians (and others) still do. If the Australian law changes, my view of marriage will remain the same. However, I do support civil unions and the blessing of them. What does concern me is the serious intolerance that can be found on both sides of this debate. I left a Uniting Church congregation when week after week in its Sunday bulletin it declared supporters of marriage as the union only of a man and a woman as "homophobic" and a failing in charity (1 Cor 13). But in some places obviously the obsession with this subject goes on and on. There are far, far more important matters confronting churches, communities, society, and our world, and far more suffering as I know even just from my walking, as hon.C.of E.chaplain (at 81) the wards of my hospital week by week.

Posted by John Bunyan at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 9:11pm GMT

I must agree with Lauri here:

"'Gillis and Haller'...

I regret to see this failure of courtesy and polite behaviour here."

Couldn't we please use first names, or at least titles like Mr?

It just seems good manners and respectful, and less de-humanising when we are in debate or disagreement.

My name is Susannah. I would be unhappy if someone referred to me as Clark. Fortunately no-one ever has.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 11:18pm GMT

" Gillis and Haller", lol! Starsky and Hutch, Marley and Scrooge, Martin and Lewis, Crosby and Hope, Rogers and Hammerstein, Bert and Ernie, Kenny and Spenny, Francis and Ratzinger, Gaga and Bennett, Phil and Don, Seitz and Radner....


"And each one there
Has one thing shared
They have sweated beneath the same sun
Looked up in wonder at the same moon
And wept when it was all done
For bein' done too soon
For bein' done too soon
For bein' done"

-lyrics by Neil Diamond

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 11:38pm GMT

"anyone brave enough to start a global, liberal communion"

Not interested. Why would I want to be effectively pushed out of my own Church which I've been in all my life and which I love (in the process surrendering it to even more deeply embedded conservative values)? In reality, local churches are often made up of a cross-section of Christians with different views, all trying to serve their local community, and I love that about our Church. So to me, inclusion is the whole challenge, not running away, but working for a more inclusive church. If conservative primates want to threaten to leave (as they often do) then that's their business, but it is THEY who would then be leaving.

The challenge is not to 'be right', but to love. The challenge is learning to share communion and local life with diverse people. That's part of growing up as a Church. The Church has a lot of 'growing up' to do. But where it is (demonstrably) unjust, then people need to be there, right in its midst, challenging and critiquing it, even resisting its injustices locally, in good conscience... not upping sticks and schisming.

Some conservative Christians (and some of the Primates) would be only too happy if we deserted the Church and left it to them. Not going to happen.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Friday, 3 February 2017 at 11:40pm GMT

Exclusion is homophobic, John. I'm tired of pulling my punches. It is saying there's something wrong with us. That's a message that is received loudly and clearly by bullies and their victims. The rate of LGBT teen suicide and abuse is horrific, and I'm not going to be polite about it.

I'm married. In my church. Sacramentally married. And Christians who are called to marriage should have it, just as those called to ordination should be ordained.

The CoE Bishops pussyfoot with language like a "new tone," etc. But the fact is, either we're all created in the Image of God or none of us are. And barring anyone is a problem.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 3:01am GMT

Lots of interesting prognostication.

The GS is the largest bloc of Anglicans. The question not very long ago was whether the Gafcon contingent within it would split off. That hasn't happened.

In the meantime the HOB of the CofE has clearly sought to send a message to the GS that marriage is not going to be altered. The timing of that decision and the announcement of a meeting of Primates is obviously linked.

Liberals like Haller and others probably believed that GS would split, with Gafcon leaving. That did not happen. The real question will be whether the majority bloc of the Communion accept the CofE's present teaching on marriage.

I was in SE Asia last Fall and spoke to their bishops. No one there speaks about leaving anything and it would not occur to them. They view the situation in the CofE and the ABC with great sympathy and wish him well. That goes both ways.

No one is in a position to "vote X out." That is a fantasy. At issue, as S Cooper puts it, is whether the Anglican Communion represents a polity and a faith one wants to identify with. I hear TEC and the ACoC say increasingly No. That is not us. I don't disagree with their sentiment given the views they wish to foreground.

So the meeting in the Fall of 2017 will be revelatory.

By the way, what doctrine was formally voted on at the ACC meeting? The ACC setting doctrine for the Communion seems like a stretch...

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 7:38am GMT

'I'm tired of pulling my punches.' Cynthia, I doubt anyone on TA would ever accuse you of doing that.

Posted by David Runcorn at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 9:04am GMT

On names. Must be a cultural thing. Being called by last name is a typical practice. I prefer "Mr" as basic politesse but Gillis doesn't like this. Makes him think his father is being addressed. I don't typically refer to people by first name unless I have been introduced to them. So I suspect people will continue to see different practices. I have no problem with that. To my students and professional colleagues I am "Professor"; in church contexts "Father" from some and other usages from others; to friends and family, Christian name; with some one knows well, last names, etc. Most people just get used to the variety.

Have a great weekend. Great rugby football Angleterre v France.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 9:27am GMT

Christopher, it is possible to "identify with" the Church of England, without identifying with the Anglican Communion as a whole. I am a member of the Church of England. Membership operates at a province by province basis. It's lovely if provinces can find love for one another, but my Church is not the Anglican Communion: that is a constructed political entity, not a Church. My Church is, and always has been, the Church of England. Along with half the members of the current Church of England, I embrace and affirm gay and lesbian sexuality... regardless of what the Primate of Uganda says I should believe.

I am entirely committed to "identifying" with the Church of England - even when bishops try to impose their conscience on the conscience of other people. There is no consensus in the Church of England on issues of human sexuality. And my commitment to the Church of England means believing in its present and future potential, and critiquing, reasoning, persuading, demanding change. God calls us into being as an ongoing process, and that's happened in TEC in their Church, and it's happening (I believe) here in the Church of England.

So why ever would I choose to leave? Sadly, in the end, the demands and blustering of GAFCON are pretty much irrelevant to the development of conscience in our Church. And the Primates and bishops of our Church - the Church of England - should not be trying to placate Churches like the Ugandan and Nigerian provinces, with their very different cultures, at the expense of social conscience in the Church of England, acceptance of diversity, and the obvious pain and diminution being visited on LGBT people.

Running away from the struggle for social justice is not really the life experience or temperament of people like me who are trans and lesbian, who have had to resist, have had to face down prejudice and abuse, have had to struggle to survive. As others have mentioned, too many LGBT people DON'T survive - they succumb. We have discussed one very sad case of a teenage girl here on these boards. It's a tragedy and a disaster. Do I abandon the Church to conservatives who would perpetuate this kind of cruel marginalisation? No way.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 11:41am GMT

People in England have changed their societal conscience on LGBT+ issues. Our Church is a Church for England, a mission to England. So yes, I "identify with" the Church of England, and it is the Church we ALL belong to as members, and it has a future, but it may be a future that involves pain, because pain is part of love. Love comes at a cost. It may involve resistance to overbearing authority, false media output, political manipulation, oppression of conscience.

In some ways, though painful, these are exciting times to be alive and part of the Church of England. Who would have thought we'd have women priests, back in 1900? Should the supporters of female ordination all have left the Church back then?

Same with the affirmation and acceptance of gay and lesbian sexuality, which grows year by year among the church membership. This is at least half the Church of England already. That's what makes media spin and illusions of consensus pretty despicable - because it is a lie, the Church is already changing from within. The bishops can't impose top-down rule forever, based on appeasing African prelates.

Change will come from within. It may not be easy. Neither are the battles over race and gender. Change does come. Love is always pressing against the boundaries of oppression for change and justice. Love is essential, even in the process of resistance. It is what gives us integrity. It is what is needed to serve the people who get vilified because of their orientation. Because they, too, long to love and cherish.

If for no other reason than the teenage girl who took her life, I will not leave the Church of England. I will not be threatened by African primates or English bishops. Instead, many of us choose to abide in our Church, to press for change, to keep serving and sharing in our local communities, even alongside Christians with different views. I don't think it's "brave" to walk out of the Church of England. I think schism is really sad. What I do know, is that teenage girls like Lizzie deserved a better and more caring and affirming Church. Do we abandon lesbian and gay people growing up in our Church?

Do we just accept what the bishops tell us, and do as we're told?

Posted by Susannah Clark at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 11:42am GMT

For those interested in a clear cut unequivocal rejoinder to the obfuscation and spin doctoring about ACC Lusaka and voting on doctrine, there is a very good post by a TJ (Thomas) McMahon, posted on Feb. 3rd. Home run!

www.episcopalcafe.com/archbishop-of-canterbury-setting-a-primates-meeting-for-later-in-the-year/

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 2:02pm GMT

"Sadly, in the end, the demands and blustering of GAFCON are pretty much irrelevant to the development of conscience in our Church. And the Primates and bishops of our Church - the Church of England - should not be trying to placate Churches like the Ugandan and Nigerian provinces, with their very different cultures, at the expense of social conscience in the Church of England...".

The conservative portion of the AC is not 'Gafcon' nor is it Nigeria and Uganda. There are 28 provinces in the GS, most conservative, and many like SE Asia, Egypt, Burundi, Indian Ocean not a part of Gafcon.

Liberals who persist in viewing the conservatives in the AC as a couple of Gafcon provinces simply do not understand the AC as such, and so also do not understand why Canterbury does not wish to isolate himself from them.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 3:02pm GMT

"I prefer 'Mr' as basic politesse but Gillis doesn't like this."

We've had this discussion. As a priest, I've never been thrilled with being called " Mr." As stated previously using an old Anglo-Catholic pun, Mr. Gillis was my father, I am Mr. Gillis' son, Father Gillis. ( :

Seems to me that the polite thing to do would be to address people as they have requested, or at least refrain from continuing to address in them in a particular manner when asked to do so. So I repeat, my comments, here and elsewhere, are always tagged/signed 'Rod Gillis'. Use that if you want to be polite.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 3:41pm GMT

This would be "a TJ McMahon" otherwise well known for his support of Gafcon, ACNA and critique of ACC and the ABC. He wanted the ACC to have been crushed under the directives of the Primates and when this did not happen as he wanted he has wanted to make clear all know it.

Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 3:44pm GMT

Dr Seitz, I hope my note upstream (3 February 2017 at 3:17pm) has corrected your misconception as to what I may believe or may have believed concerning the Anglican Communion. I am pleased to see we agree on a number of points, including the lack of authority for the ACC to issue doctrinal judgments for the whole Communion. (I do not believe any of the Instruments has that authority, which likely goes beyond your view.)

Meanwhile, I think it _possible_ that some of the GS churches may decrease their participation in the Communion structures -- they have said so themselves on a number of occasions. They may even split... some day. +Welby has, as I also noted, done as much as he can to help keep the ties with England frayed but taut.

But I do not know where you are "hearing" that TEC of the ACoC are saying "no" to the Anglican Communion as a "polity and a faith" with which they wish to identify.

It is only the novel development of central or conciliar authority in the Anglican Communion towards which I have seen any form of official resistance on these shores. The historic "polity" (such as it is, as a fellowship of churches) is perfectly acceptable.

As to "faith" it only becomes problematical when some seek to raise marriage to a level of doctrine above even that of order (about which the Communion was able to agree to disagree for a time when the ordination of women to the episcopate became an issue -- which it still is in some places.)

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 3:49pm GMT

John Bunyan, to clarify: I meant "peculiar" in two senses.

The understanding of marriage as lifelong (or not, with the provision for remarriage after divorce) is widely held in Protestant churches such as ours, but it is not that of the Church of Rome, which holds marriage to be indissoluble once consummated.

It is also, I believe, a bit odd and self-contradictory; and as a matter of fact I hold to that part of the definition myself, as a "should be" rather than an "always is." This is why many Protestant church bodies have included phrases such as "by intention life-long" to their wording. That is a much more honest, and less "peculiar" turn of phrase.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 4:40pm GMT

Fr Gillis

What happened to lol?!

" Gillis and Haller", lol! Starsky and Hutch, Marley and Scrooge, Martin and Lewis, Crosby and Hope, Rogers and Hammerstein, Bert and Ernie, Kenny and Spenny, Francis and Ratzinger, Gaga and Bennett, Phil and Don, Seitz and Radner...."

Fr Haller, if the kind of polity that the ABC and Primates are modelling emerges, I think it clear that TEC will disapprove.

Fr Gillis: I didn't realise anyone in charge here was taking issue with how people were being referred to. Seems a bit silly. I don't like referring to people I don't know personally by their first names. I don't like being called by my first name by people I don't know. But I can't imagine calling attention to it. People adjust to things like this. Cultural differences. Je vous en prie.

Glad Scotland won. Hope France can do as well.

Happy Sunday.


Posted by cseitz at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 5:52pm GMT

Re: Dr. Seitz, "Fr Gillis: I didn't realise anyone in charge here was taking issue with how people were being referred to. Seems a bit silly."

D'accord! Being called Mr. Gillis is a pet peeve of mine which gets the better of me sometimes.
( :

"Cultural differences. Je vous en prie." Exactly. De Rien.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 9:39pm GMT

Re: Tobias Haller (4:40 pm), Certainly,you are correct about the Anglican Church of Canada wishing to continue its identification with the Anglican Communion. The relationship Canadian Anglicans have with The Communion is immensely important to them; but one thing that needs to be reckoned with, based on the vote of our most recent General Synod, a yes vote on "first reading" to allow SSM in the Church, is that threats about "dire consequences" or being told we are "walking apart" appear to be wearing very thin with the majority of Canadian Anglicans in general and even the majority of Canadian bishops in particular.

That's my reading of my province. However personally, given all that is going on in the world with regard to the future of the planet, a meeting of Anglican bishops with the focus described so far, causes my eyes to glass over. Hence my candid views in the latter half of my comment (Feb. 2, 7:39 pm) above.

So, while fun to lampoon there is no "Gillis and Haller". It would be quite unfair to pair up your interesting and well resourced comments with my current general insouciance with regard to instruments of communion as they pertain to sex and marriage. I'm just not on the same page, in terms of interest, as are other folks on this thread, either pro or con.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 10:32pm GMT

Dr Seitz, I don't see anything "political" in the ABC's letter or the commentary. He refers to exactly what I think most Anglicans would like the Primates' Meeting to be: a gathering with time "to share our experience and in prayer and fellowship, to support one another and seek how best we can serve the call to preach the gospel." The press release says the meeting is for "fellowship and consultation" -- realizing that the English use the latter word with a somewhat stronger sense than do Americans it still seems to fall short of any kind of political restructuring. That sort of thing seems to have been more interesting to his predecessor; I imagine Welby and a majority of the Primates (and more importantly, their churches) would be happy with peaceful coexistence, and a returned focus to more pressing issues such as the refugee crisis.

Blessings and peace.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 10:49pm GMT

Hmmmmm. I do find it rather ironic that my post on the Cafe has been lauded by Fr. Gillis and panned by Dr. Seitz (I hope I have used everyone's preferred title). Dr. Seitz is correct, I am THAT TJ McMahon (someone said my name too many times, and here I am), a person who is generally termed a conservative or traditionalist commenter on several blogs.

I do take exception to the characterization that I wished to see the ACC "crushed", I do not believe I said anything of the sort in any venue. I admit I would have liked to see the ACC act in concert with the Primates meeting, and I believe the former chair and ABoC are substantially responsible for the ACC not doing so. I acknowledge that my opinion on that point is probably not held by many on Thinking Anglicans, and do not wish to distract the discussion with sidebars on that point.

But while I am here....

To state the obvious, the Anglican Communion would have a remarkably better future if the leaders of the Communion would be straightforward in their communication with the rest of us. We have all enjoyed too much Anglican fudge, and it is affecting our blood sugar and judgment. I have not read an account from any participant of the ACC meeting that contradicts the statement of the TEC delegation, and it is consistent with reports made at the time of which I am aware.

I imagine the press release was a first draft, probably written by someone without much knowledge of the workings of the Communion, that was sent out by mistake before being edited by senior staff in the press office. The attempt to then "save" the situation by editing the offending paragraph was very clumsy. Instead, they would have been better off sending out an apology for the error, followed by a re-written draft with accurate information, either consistent with the statement by the TEC delegation, or demonstrating in what way that statement was not accurate.

It being late afternoon Saturday here as I write this, I will wish you all a blessed Sunday, and assure you of my prayers for the Church of England and the Episcopal Church, Gafcon, ACNA, the Global South and the world, that all may follow God's will, and not our own.

Posted by TJ (Thomas) McMahon at Saturday, 4 February 2017 at 11:33pm GMT

"'I'm tired of pulling my punches.' Cynthia, I doubt anyone on TA would ever accuse you of doing that."

David, last summer, about a week before the Pulse shooting, a family in our parish had a young relative, nephew and cousin, commit suicide. He was an LGBT teen living in a very conservative religious community. It had long been hard going on him. And then he got raped and trafficked by a neighbor. This child wasn't a cast out. But, it turns out that about 40 percent of homeless youth are outcasts from religious homes and most of those kids ended up being trafficked and suffering an array of abuse. The rate of suicide from bullying, the lack of protective services, and the whole religious language that there's something wrong with us LGBTQI people leaves us very vulnerable, especially our youth.

I may have made my points forcefully before, but now it's even more personal. Comfortable people contributing to inflicting horror on the vulnerable is surely not what Jesus had in mind for us. The Good News is liberation, not judgment.

The "theology" from the CoE bishops is dreck. A faith that is about superstition (the sky will fall if we liberate these people) rather than the Gospel of the Good News for all people everywhere, most especially the vulnerable.

Look at the world. We need the Good News, not the dreck the bishops are pushing.

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 5 February 2017 at 2:50am GMT

"would be happy with peaceful coexistence" -- but of course all would prefer things like this.

I think you misread the situation in that +Welby issued a call for the meeting precisely in the context of the HOB statement on marriage, and specifically referred to this.

Why do this if you want a anodyne gathering for fellowship? You do it because you are trying to persuade the GS the CofE will not go in the direction of TEC or the ACoC and that you believe strongly in a common view on the issue as that which most Anglicans--and controversially for you,most catholic churches--embrace.

The question, then, is what surfaces in the meeting in the light of this threshhold.

Sunday blessings.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 5 February 2017 at 7:45am GMT

Apologies Mr McMahon. I assumed you would not take issue with the description of your view of the ACC, especially given that you were being held up by a clear progressive.

I do not disagree with your characterisation and with your hopes for greater clarity.

My only caveat is that I doubt the ACC is in a role where anyone believes it formally votes on doctrine. I don't want to lift it above its remit in order to question its actions, much less the ripostes of the TEC delegation. There is a question of proportion here.

Sunday blessings.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 5 February 2017 at 9:11am GMT

Re: TJ (Thomas) McMahon, "Hmmmmm. I do find it rather ironic that my post on the Cafe has been lauded by Fr. Gillis and panned by Dr. Seitz."

What a brawl, eh! ( :

"I have not read an account from any participant of the ACC meeting that contradicts the statement of the TEC delegation, and it is consistent with reports made at the time of which I am aware."

Yep, that is the bit which needs to be laid alongside the ACNS/Communion office spin.

"someone said my name too many times, and here I am" To quote Bettlejuice, "don't you hate it when that happens"

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 5 February 2017 at 1:17pm GMT

"My only caveat is that I doubt the ACC is in a role where anyone believes it formally votes on doctrine."
- The Revd Dr Professor Christopher Seitz

So which of the Instruments, Revd Dr, "formally votes" on doctrine?

Or were the Primates talking through their hats when they dictated that consequence? "TEC shan't do something, that we in the AC don't actually do!"

The other issue that leaves me with questions is how does an assembly such as the ACC know that it has reached a consensus? Does it not do so with some form of taking a vote, no matter how "informal" that might be?

Posted by David Allen at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 12:05am GMT

Well now, ain't this interesting.


http://www.anglican.ink/article/anglican-communion-news-service-plays-loose-facts-lacky-managers

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 1:03am GMT

The Anglican Communion's polity is a challenge for itself, especially given the growth of the communion internationally. The calls for enhanced responsibility for the Primates was an acknowledgement of this.

I suspect the calls from the Primates for TEC not to be involved in doctrinal affairs was a sort of minimalism that would allow time to unfold. A holding action.

Obviously a Communion in which Holy Communion does not take place at Primates meetings because provinces are not in communion with one another is a Communion in peril. The minimalism is a reflection of that.

The Office of Bishop is another place where a hallmark of Anglicanism is now deeply compromised. Bishops are consecrated to guard doctrine. They make solemn oaths. But if they are no longer in communion with one another at the international level, and are now ruled over by General Convention in the context of TEC, it is difficult to see how they are signs of the unity they were consecrated to be.

What TEC is or is not to do touches on more than ACC meetings, though the timing of that meeting may have meant it got disproportional attention after the Primates decision. It is not really clear what the remit of the ACC is, in point of fact, when it comes to matters of doctrine and anglican practice, given the centrality of the office of Bishop which alone spans the provinces of Anglicanism.

I think most people know how rules of order govern things like vote-taking. I am unware of any formal voting procedures that were enacted to set doctrine at the ACC meeting. But I am unsure what role the ACC has beyond the kind of fellowship and communication gathering Fr Haller identified. I think the topic is a tempest in a teapot.

The gravity of the AC at present probably exists in the conjunction of Instruments See of Canterbury and Primates, given the central role given to the former and his desire to work together with the latter.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 12:23pm GMT

The ACC constitution defines the ACC's "objects" as: "The Council's objects ("the Objects") are specifically restricted to the following: to advance the Christian religion and in particular to promote the unity and purposes of the Churches of the Anglican Communion in mission, evangelism, ecumenical relations, communication, administration and finance"

(Oddly, the online document frequently omits periods at the end of sentences, even when what follows is clearly a new paragraph or section)

Section 5 goes on to enumerate the "powers" of the council, but indeed, these powers do not extend to the doctrine of the Church, other than in the sense of support for certain committees.

My own conclusion on review of the section 5 is that the ACC's primary functions are related to inter-Communion communications, polity insofar as it relates to the Communion level (as opposed to any given national church), finance and ecumenical relations, focused on the joint activities of the Communion's churches when they are acting in concert. Frankly, given its own constitution, it should not be allowing resolutions titled "...Doctrine..." or that deal with it at all, other than arranging funding (which point I must concede to Dr. Seitz, ACC-16 resolution titles or wording notwithstanding).

However, section 5 also includes this: "5.1 To facilitate the co-operative work of the member Churches of the Anglican Communion in conjunction with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conferences and the Meetings of the Primates of the Communion."

That implies that the ABoC, Lambeth Conferences and Primates meetings each have equal weight with the ACC, and also implies that the ACC should not be in the business of contradicting Lambeth or the Primates. No doubt, in good Anglican fashion, the chair or standing committee could construct its own "interpretation" of the meaning of a statement by one of those other bodies, but to suggest that a decision taken by the Primates has no authority or influence within the ACC flies in the face of the constitutional requirement to "...work in conjunction..."

Given that it is clear that the ACC does not have authority over doctrine, whatever authority there is over those doctrinal commonalities that bind Anglicans together must lie in the hands of the ABoC, Lambeth Conferences and the Primates meetings.

However, this also leads to the conclusion that ACC-16 went far beyond its constitutional authority, in that it self defines 12 of its 45 resolutions as being on the subject of "Unity, Faith and Order" including one that seems self contradictory, entitled "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (16.17).
"...recognizes that Anglicans and Lutherans share a common understanding of God’s justifying grace, as the Helsinki Report stated that we are accounted righteous and are made righteous before God only by grace through faith because of the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and not on account of our works or merits; and
recognizes that in 1986 the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a statement Salvation and the Church, which observed that our two Communions are agreed on the essential aspects of the doctrine of salvation and on the Church’s role within it."

I am not a theologian by any stretch, but I am scratching my head over how one can hold the Lutheran doctrine of justification while simultaneously holding the Roman Catholic doctrine of salvation, as this would seem to have made the last 500 years of church history a mere academic exercise. And yes, I do recognize that Justification and Salvation are not the same thing, but also read substantial parts of the Catholic catechism and see them as deeply interwoven, particularly in Catholic doctrine, where various Protestant churches are more "bullet point" lists by comparison.

It is also interesting, and perhaps indicative of the state of the Communion, that where once ACC resolutions "authorized" funding, or "directed" that a committee be formed for a given purpose, most of the ACC-16 resolutions use wording along the lines of "requests the Standing Committee to review the current resourcing of this work through the Anglican Communion Office", without even requesting that the standing committee report back in 3 years with its conclusions or setting any priority for the particular project.

Posted by TJ McMahon at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 2:37pm GMT

There is also an irony here. Calling so much attention to what is viewed by the left as ACNS misreporting, joins up with a critique of the same by Gafcon (and McMahon, e.g.) and others, who want the problem sorted out in complete reverse direction than the progressives.

One side says, "haha we voted on doctrine and the Primates are exposed as lacking force" and the other side says "let the Primates enforce what they said on the matter; we don't like obfuscation or minimalising things so as to get along." And of course certain Primates will feel they have been used, and indeed said so after Lusaka.

If anything this will make the Primates wonder what good it is to meet and make statements if there is no follow through. Saying the ACNS is covering up a real problem or misreporting may mean seeing to it that similar problems don't get repeated next time. The system is already stressed out way beyond its load limits. Canterbury has to decide if the system is going to function any longer and/or what the alternatives are.

I would suspect if the meeting in the Fall of 2017 is going to happen with robust attendance, the kind of problem exposed by the handling of this, and the attention paid to it now by left and right for different reasons, will lead to some assurances being made.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 2:49pm GMT

Mr McMahon, thank you. I think the real point you have made is "and also implies that the ACC should not be in the business of contradicting Lambeth or the Primates." Surely this is correct.

The Instruments were not conceived as 'balanced powers' à la judicial, legislative and executive.

The Primates simply assumed that TEC would respect what they said. After all, +Curry was with them and shortly after the meeting took no issue with its position.

And as the ACC really oughtn't to be arrogating to itself responsibilities for doctrine that don't conform to its remit, perhaps none of the Primates expected the TEC delegation would have it in view to turn a See of Canterbury and Primates Meeting decision on its head.

But this is where we find ourselves.

I simply wonder if the ACNS tried to soft-peddle this out of a certain desire for politesse that is otherwise missing in our present season, *and further because the next season of the AC's life really is unaffected by the ACC and its delegations, but instead needs hard-won agreements amongst the Primates/Provinces, entities Canterbury has obviously sought to reassure by virtue of the HOB decisions on the character of marriage as unaffected in the CofE.*

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 4:33pm GMT

" I don't like being called by my first name by people I don't know. "

Christopher It's your Christian name. Do you refer to the apostles by their surnames? Do you 'know' them? The Christian name is the only appropriate name to use.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Monday, 6 February 2017 at 10:41pm GMT

"Do you refer to the apostles by their surnames? Do you 'know' them?"

In fairness, Andrew, one cannot refer to the apostles by their surname as both family names and modern etiquette concerning their use are less than a millennium old. And surely you aren't making an implicit argument for a quirky form of restorationism to be applied specifically to personal nomenclature.

Posted by Mitchell at Tuesday, 7 February 2017 at 6:31am GMT

Look, obviously people call you whatever they want in forums like this. Just read the thread.

I was indicating preferences in my context of address. "Fr Gillis" prefers to be referred to that way. I had being using a generic (Mr/Ms)to even the terrain. It is a practice we used at Yale so that students and faculty were equally referred to. I'm sure those days are gone.

You can and do call me what you want to, obviously. Sounds a bit rigid to insist there is only one way to refer to people. St Peter the Apostle must be referred to as Peter. This is the side of liberalism that comes across as totalitarianism.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 7 February 2017 at 7:41am GMT

"Sounds a bit rigid to insist there is only one way to refer to people. St Peter the Apostle must be referred to as Peter. This is the side of liberalism that comes across as totalitarianism."

I am afraid I think that's nonsense. It's a Christian name. That's how Christians refer to each other.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 8 February 2017 at 5:18pm GMT
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