Thinking Anglicans

More about Riga

Here are two additional documents:
First, the statement issued by the Diocese in Europe, and then – below the fold – the document from Latvia to which, it appears, Bishop Geoffrey Rowell was responding.

STATEMENT FROM THE DIOCESE IN EUROPE RE. GAY PRIDE MARCH AND SERVICE IN RIGA

The Bishop in Europe returned from a visit to the United States to find the Latvian Church leaders’ Common Statement relating to the gay, lesbian and bisexual parade ‘Riga Pride 2005’, but because of his absence abroad that statement did not reach him until after the parade and the service had taken place.

St Saviour’s Riga had not requested any permission for such a service to take place and the bishop was concerned at reports of such a service occurring. He confirms that the Common Statement states the official position of the Anglican Church, which does not recommend the blessing and legitimising of same sex unions and teaches clearly that the proper context of sexual intercourse is within marriage as a lifelong commitment of a man and a woman. The Church of England honours close and celibate same sex friendships and has also committed itself of listening to the experience of gay and lesbian people.

Bishop Geoffrey believes it is inappropriate that, as churches wrestle with the proper pastoral care for those of homosexual orientation, a church service to be used in what would seem to be a lobbying and confrontational way and has made this clear to the Chaplain and Church Council. He will discuss the events with the Chaplain of St Saviour’s and the Church Council in due course.

COMMON STATEMENT

by
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia
The Latvian Roman Catholic Church
The Latvian Orthodox Church
The Latvian Baptist Union

Christ says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. And whoever comes to me I will never drive away”. Prophet Isaiah characterises the natural state of a human be like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. Each person during lifetime constantly faces temptations, which burden the consciousness and injure the soul. Some people among us face a temptation which is being called homosexual orientation. Us and them Christ invites to come to Him, saying – repent from the sins and believe in Good News. The Good News is that Christ grants forgiveness and inner healing to everyone who repents from sins and comes to Him in faith.

July 23 in the church of the Anglican St.Saviour’s congregation a service is scheduled to take place as part of the gay, lesbian and bi-sexual parade “Riga Pride 2005”. The programme of the event as well as its name (pride), testifies that the participants of the parade want to go to the church and come to Christ not to repent their sins and receive forgiveness, but to stand before Him with pride about their homosexual life style. However Holy Scripture declares it a sin, which denies the person the eternal life. The service as well as lectures that strive to prove the opposite are deceiving oneself and others. The leaders of the largest Latvian Christian denominations call upon Christians to pray for these people who are in dangerous delusion, may God lighten their minds and does not permit them to carry away others, especially young people. We also call upon the leadership of the Riga St.Saviour Anglican congregation to be aware that a service with such approach contradicts the official position of the Anglican Church, which denies homosexual relationship as incompatible with Scriptures and does not recommend to bless and legitimise same sex unions. We call upon the bishop of the Church of England Diocese in Europe Geoffrey Rowell to direct his attention to what is happening in the congregation in Riga which is under his supervision.

We call upon the Riga City Council to be aware of its responsibility, giving permit to organise the event, the aim of which is to challenge and change the fundamental moral values, which have formed the moral basics of our society for hundreds of years. Attempts to define anew what is family and marriage, carry great and far-reaching public danger. Attempts to obtain the rights to adopt children, which socialist powers recently achieved in Spain, substantially violate rights of children and subject them to an experience that cripples soul and world view. Article 2, paragraph 3 of the law “On Meetings, Marches and Pickets” permits denial of such demonstrations that cause danger to the morality of the society. Riga City Council is sovereign in its deed and will have to take up all the responsibility for the consequences of the event.
Family – father, mother, children is the only society forming unit, which in the history of civilization has proved itself as being a powerful factor in sustaining a healthy and vital nation. The blessing of the Creator attends the family institution. Not only legendary Sodom but also Roman Empire perished as a result of moral collapse. We do not want our nation to experience a similar fate. Love towards God and our nation motivated us to come up with this common statement.

Riga, July 19, 2005

Archbishop of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia Jānis Vanags
Cardinal of The Latvian Roman Catholic Church Jānis Pujāts
Metropolite of The Latvian Orthodox Aleksandrs
Bishop of The Latvian Baptist Union Jānis Šmits

12
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
12 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
john CWilliam TigheSimon SarmientoJ. C. FisherMark Beaton Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

This should not surprise ; the churches in many former Soviet bloc states are well to the Right, and this is an example.

Note the use of the term ‘socialist powers’.

I sincerely hope that the church in Latvia will stand firm against the mealy-mouthed compromise of Rowell.

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

I see St Saviour’s is an Anglican-Lutheran church. In the light of this letter, does this mean the service took place against the express will of the Lutheran Archbishop of Latvia?

IT
Guest
IT

Charming letter. The unwritten part is “the Bishops therefore affirm that Good Christians should join with neoNazis to threaten and abuse the marchers in the name of good moral values. “ Or to quote the preceding blogpost: “Approximately 100 marchers celebrating “Riga Pride 2005” on July 23 were pelted with eggs and tomatoes and threatened with violence during the country’s first ‘gay pride’ march by several thousand onlookers. While neo-Nazi skinheads and Russian nationalists played a prominent role in peppering the marchers with abuse, the majority of the mob were Christians from Latvia’s mainline churches: Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Orthodox… Read more »

Nadine Kwong
Guest
Nadine Kwong

“I see St Saviour’s is an Anglican-Lutheran church. In the light of this letter, does this mean the service took place against the express will of the Lutheran Archbishop of Latvia?”

The Anglican priest there is also a Lutheran pastor, but when I checked the St Saviour’s website, I did not find the church itself listed as jointly Anglican-Lutheran, just C of E. Is there somewhere any evidence that this a joint congregation/church, and not just C of E, aside from the dual status of the chaplain individually, being licensed as both an Anglican and a Lutheran cleric?

Andrew Brown
Guest

Older readers will remember Geoffrey Rowell as the promoter of the cause of Garry Bennett, Saint and Martyr, a man to whom the notion of Gay Pride was also anathema.

Dave
Guest
Dave

IT wrote “Charming letter. The unwritten part is “the Bishops therefore affirm that Good Christians should join with neoNazis to threaten and abuse the marchers in the name of good moral values.”

Hi IT, There is a huge difference between believing that something is sinful and attacking people! I don’t think that arguing the contrary is reasonable or consistent since many liberal contributors here would consider my attitude to LGBT people as sinful, yet would dissociate themselves with any violent attacks against the likes of me!

If you wouldn’t do it why should we ?

J. C. Fisher
Guest

“There is a huge difference between believing that something is sinful and attacking people! I don’t think that arguing the contrary is reasonable or consistent since many liberal contributors here would consider my attitude to LGBT people as sinful, yet would dissociate themselves with any violent attacks against the likes of me! If you wouldn’t do it why should we ?” You’re ignoring the question of *power*, Dave. The proponents of a point-of-view backed by temporal power, *rarely* have to resort to physical violence to assert that POV: they have structures in place to do that for them (for example,… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

J.C. Fisher, I really don’t think you’d be arrested in your courthouse unless you were disturbing the peace. You would be politely refused, as would others seking to register relationships that are not marriages. Couldn’t you arrange for your partner to have power of attorney?

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Yeah, yeah Mark: and the *back of the bus* will get you where you’re going, just like the front will . . . >:-(

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

We are wandering away from discussing the events in Riga. Further comments that don’t deal with Riga in some way won’t be published.

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

I just discovered a link to this posting. When I interviewed Archbishop Vanags in July 1999 (an edited version of the interview appeared in the May 2001 issue of *Touchstone*), he told me that St. Saviour’s Church *had been* jointly Anglican/Lutheran, but when the man whom he described as “the most notorious public gay man in Latvia,” the journalist Karlis Streps, was allowed to act as crucifer on the occasion of a visit of Abp. Carey to Latvia, he (Vanags) insisted that the the parish would no longer be considered to be in any way affiliated with the LELC, and… Read more »

john C
Guest
john C

Having just been in Riga, I saw there were still undercurrents of the anti-gay backlash remaining. Earnest youngsters were gathering petition names against ‘gay propaganda’; they were impervious to any argument. A generation ago they would have been communist Pioneers, before that Hitler Youth; not much sign of Christian carity, I’m afraid.