Thinking Anglicans

Rowan Williams speaks at Global South meeting

Press release from Lambeth Palace
For immediate use
31st October 2005

Archbishop – church’s hope ‘only in Christ’

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told Anglican Church leaders from the Global South that the only ground for unity in the church ‘is to be found in Christ’. Speaking at the 3rd Anglican Global South to South Encounter meeting at Ain al Sukhna, some 80 miles south of Cairo, Dr Williams said that the church had to be focussed on Christ:

“The church is one because Jesus Christ is one; the church is holy because Jesus Christ is holy; the church is catholic because Jesus Christ is the saviour of all; the church is apostolic because as the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us. In other words, if we are to understand the nature of the church at all, we are to understand who Jesus Christ is and what he does.”

“Someone said recently that the path to heaven doesn’t lie necessarily through Lambeth. I agree. The path to heaven lies solely through Jesus Christ our Saviour and the unity he gives and the only use and integrity of our instruments of unity comes when they serve that.”

“Now I don’t suggest that we can forget the practical questions that are laid upon us at the moment in our Anglican fellowship. But I do say that we shall never begin to answer them adequately unless our eyes, our minds and our hearts are with Jesus, are where Jesus is.”

The Archbishop said that one of the greatest challenges faced by Anglicans was the development of authentically local voices in liturgy.

“In all sorts of ways the church over the centuries has lent itself to the error, indeed the sin of trying to make cultural captives, whether it is the mass export of Hymns Ancient and Modern to the remote parts of the mission field … the shadow of the British Empire that hangs over our own Communion or the export of American values and styles to the whole world; we are in a real difficulty here…. The question comes back again and again; ‘How do we encourage people to write liturgy, to write prayer books, to write Eucharistic prayers, in their own language with the rhythm, the association and resonance that your own language has for you and no other has.”

He said that the church had to find its holiness ‘under the cross’; where people were in need of healing:

“… our holiness takes us where Jesus goes; our holiness takes us to those Jesus died for; it takes us into the neighbourhood of those who are forgotten, who have no voice, those who need healing and forgiveness. It takes us into very strange places indeed and the holy person, as we all know, is often found in very odd company.”

Following the lecture, Dr Williams answered questions from the conference on a number of areas.

On sexuality, he affirmed that the church had not been persuaded of the acceptability of same sex unions. These questions, though, would not go away.

“Theologians will go on discussing this and it will not be possible to stop them. For nearly a century, in the 4th century in this country of Egypt, the conflict over the Trinity raged between theologians and bishops and was not resolved overnight. I distinguish as clearly as I can a question a theologian may ask and an action or determination a church may take or a bishop may take. I think this is a necessary distinction for the life and health of the church. It would be a tragedy if the church sought to suppress questions; it is equally a tragedy when the church seeks to create facts on the ground that foreclose discussion and reflection on such questions.”

On the question of authority within the Anglican Communion, he said that he had no desire to assume further powers:

“Since I do not have canonical power outside my own province, my freedom is limited. I say it as a matter of actual fact; I do not have authority over the canons and constitutions of another province… I don’t want to be a kind of pope, solving the problems of every province.

“For me, the prospect of an Anglican ‘covenant’ or a convergent system of canon law is the best hope that we have. That being said, many provinces as we know, are wedded to the idea of an absolute constitutional independence.”

On the Windsor Report, he said that it was too early to come to a judgement as to whether or not the responses of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada satisfied the terms of the report:

“I don’t think we could say that they have satisfied in a simple and direct way what Windsor asked because that process is still continuing and will continue. Archbishop Eames gave an optimistic reading of this; I’m waiting to see.”

On the status of the networks of dissenting parishes in the United States and Canada, he said that he was happy to recognise them as part of the Anglican Communion.

“There is no doubt in my mind that these networks are full members of the Anglican Communion; that is to say that their bishops, their clergy and their people are involved with the Communion which I share with them, which we all share with them. Now formal ecclesial recognition of a network, as if it were a province, is not so simply in my hands or the hands of any individual. But I do want to say quite simply yes of course; these are part of our Anglican fellowship and I welcome that.”

The Archbishop’s full text is here.
ENDS

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J. C. Fisher
Guest

I’m confused. Is the ABC saying that there’s *more than one Anglican bishop* in Recife (Brazil)?

I just don’t see how this can be workable. :-/

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

“In the best manuscripts of John’s Gospel, that is what is said; ‘the only God’, not ‘the only Son’ monogenis theos; the unique God who stands next to the Father, in the bosom of the Father” What a wonderful thought to have the ABC preaching in 2005 about the modern scriptural understanding of the Trinity where so long ago the Church argued about it for a century so long ago, and where the Trinity is so controversial to the Muslims of the region. “So that Paul marks off very, very clearly, what is and is not part of the unity… Read more »

Rodney
Guest
Rodney

I wonder how the Archbishop will apply those thoughts and attitudes in the fight which is to come in his own province. The speeches made in proposing various motions, and Bishop Broadhurst’s address to the Forward in Faith conference a week or so ago make interesting listening. They aren’t available in print.

http://www.forwardinfaith.com/news/audio.html

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Archbishop Williams’ comment on the Network dioceses and parishes in the US is very interesting in the light of two recent matters: the Via Media proposals to declare these dioceses ‘vacant’ after GC 2006; and the publication of statistics for 2004 on Ecusa. These show that average Sunday attendance is down over 27,000 (-3%) on 2003. The trend in 2005 is not likely to point in a different way, as large churches like Christ Church Overland Park (c. 1000 ASA) and numerous parishes in LA, Florida and elsewhere which left in 2005 are included in the 2004 figures (as are… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“The age profile of the membership means they are not going to be having many if any children. Americans are living longer (most people expect to continue into their 80s), so the church is not going to die off in 10 years, but it looks like it will be smaller and older.” Mark More third rate, seat of your pants, doomsday Marketing Studies/Projecting Mark? I believe the Holy Spirit is at work trying very hard to carry a message of love and tolerance for ALL of our Christian Brothers and Sisters in our church and at many of the *other*… Read more »

steven
Guest
steven

Mark:

Not with a bang, but with a whimper! The withering of ECUSA will continue apace once it has shed the pesky forces for life within its sphere.

Steve

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

What never ceases to amaze me is the “love-hate” relationship with ECUSA on the part of Biblical literalists. Why not be honest with oneself, cut one’s losses and join a sect of the like-minded? Why wait until the 2006 General Convention? General Convention will elect a new Presiding Bishop, who will not be a Biblical literalist. General Convention will not laicize Bishop V. Gene Robinson. In all probability it will affirm same-sex unions as a “local option” (N.B. many dioceses are drafting liturgies for same-sex blessings!). General Convention will express regret for having offended the provinces of the Global South,… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Leonardo, Third rate? Moi? Yes, I read once that Archbishop Matthew Parker called Anglicanism ‘Golden Mediocrity’, and I thought, yes, that will be me when I have the gold! (Still waiting.) If you can project these statistics in a different direction, bonne chance – but it would mean changing a generational trend, and I cannot see how it can be done in an ordinary demographic way, because people in the 50s and 60s just don’t have babies. The only way is to bring new people into the church, i.e. mission. No dance from me. I find the decline of a… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

How to mix Demographics with Statistics and get Ageism…

Peter
Guest
Peter

John Henry, this is precisely why most ECUSA Bishops will be excluded from Lambeth 2008!

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

John Henry asks of the Biblical literalists, ‘Why wait until the 2006 General Convention? ‘
Perhaps because they are taking Luke 13:6-9 seriously (‘literally’)? Passionate patience.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, Peter. There won’t be a Lambeth 2008. At least, not one which you would be interested in. There may well be a Lagos, Cairo, or Sydney 2008, where I may expect to find you.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“…but there is no guarantee” Mark Nope, there ain’t Mark. There is NO guarantee that fear, ignorance, prejudice, bigotry and hate will succeed in destroying the loving relationships between family members, dear friends and all the *other* spiritually connected brothers and sisters who are members of OUR Episcopal/Anglican Churchs anywhere/everywhere. Everyone (mostly) seems to thrive in OUR atmosphere of Christian Fellowship and Service…that’s mighty hard love stuff to snuff….verdad Mark? It’s not ALL about birth’n babies in “traditional” families you know Mark. There are lots of beautiful Christian babies making their way into the world with loving parents who are… Read more »

Dave C.
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Dave C.

ECUSA’s own statisticians are the ones who recognize how demographics of ECUSA members do not favor growth. They estimated an average age of 57. http://www.ecbf.org/arch11.html Unless God is opening up some wombs like he did for Sarah, I don’t think it is reasonable to expect growth though current members having children. Add to that the ECUSA estimate of lower than average birthrate for Episcopal women anyway (1.5 when 2.1 would be required for maintaining replacement numbers) and several other demographic factors http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/2004GrowthReport(1).pdf and you get a recipe for a declining church. Mark Beaton is not spreading some skewed information to… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

But whence all the hot air?

These statistics seem to “prove” something to the anti-moderns, that go far beyond demographic banalities.

Western women ceased having one child per year in the early 19th century. Women in pre-modern societies still do.

Which of these really gives cause for celebration?

Peter
Guest
Peter

Merseymaike, let me remind you about your wisdom in the autumn of 2008, it will be a true pleasure. Just a hint, have a close look on the General Synod election results – hardly a victory for your lot!!

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Thank you, Dave. As you said, I was simply recounting what 815 people like Kirk Hadaway was saying in 2002 (when the loss was 1.1%) and updating it 3 years later (now c. -3%). It was Hadaway who pointed out the low fertility rate of Ecusa families. Ecusa’s problems are in fact not much different from the other ‘mainline’ (oldline) Protestant churches of the ‘North’ and ‘West’, and you can find the same demography in Australian and New Zealand Anglicanism (other than in the Diocese of Sydney). Let me also say that having a conservative or traditional outlook in itself… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

Hola Dave C. and Mark and a muy Buenas Dias from down global southway in Latinoland, Here’s a few other commonly found (Googled) sources for you to note “church membership trends/declines”…unfortunately “slacking membership” is a problem at most EVERY church (conservative ones too) and NOT a slap at OUR Episcopal/Anglican face (although a perspective member/family would probably not be encouraged to join a church with non-stop ugly bickering/name calling and prejudice going on). Check ’em: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_tren.htm http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Topic&TopicID=10 http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/csrpl/RIN%20Vol.1No.2/Church_lies_polling.htm Also, just for the modern day *miracle* record Dave C., God *is* opening up some “new wombs like he did Sarah” and… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

Why wait until the 2006 General Convention? -JH

Many Christians are praying for God’s intervention and an outpouring of love that leads to repentance.

It will happen.

Ann Marie
Guest
Ann Marie

It is wonderful that people are praying for the outcome of GC 2006. Openness to the Spirit is so important. My question might be: If GC 2006 supports same – sex blessings and ordinations and consecrations of homosexuals who are in same sex relationships – will people accept that as the working of the Spirit or will they deny the activity of the very same Spirit for which they have been praying? I may not agree with all that happens at a synod but I accept because I have recognized the working of the Spirit in the decisions that are… Read more »

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“Many Christians are praying for God’s intervention and an outpouring of love that leads to repentance.”–Tunde

Yes, many of us are certainly praying for that. Unfortunately, the hearts of Duncan et. al. are hardened, so the Holy Spirit will have a difficult time convincing them.

steven
Guest
steven

“Many Christians are praying for God’s intervention and an outpouring of love that leads to repentance.”–Tunde

Yes, many of us are certainly praying for that. Unfortunately, the hearts of the revisionists and their allies are hardened, so the Holy Spirit will have a difficult time convincing them.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Peter; then you are saying that you won’t be joining any breakaway which may take place but are going to slug it out within the CofE?

I think a split is likely, and that will involve conservative provinces no longer looking towards Canterbury. Do you not wish to join them?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Is that not also true of the conservatives, Steven, from the perspective of a liberal?

steven
Guest
steven

Merseymike: You are correct–there is symmetry. Since both sides consider the other to be “revisionists”, either side can take my restatement of Kurt’s post as correct from their point of view. Thus, I hopefully cannot be accused by either side of name calling (or maybe can only be accused by both sides of name calling). However, this once again brings up the irremediable divergence in viewpoints. In this regard it seems to mirror great schisms in the church catholic from the past. In both the East/West and Romist/Protestant schisms this criticism was, in one way or another, also leveled by… Read more »

Mark Beaton
Guest
Mark Beaton

Goran comments: ‘But whence all the hot air? These statistics seem to “prove” something to the anti-moderns, that go far beyond demographic banalities. Western women ceased having one child per year in the early 19th century. Women in pre-modern societies still do. Which of these really gives cause for celebration?’ I will resist the temptation to answer the first question, ‘From about 59 N, 18 E’. What these ‘demographic banalities’ indicate is the aging and slow death of certain churches in the North and West, Sweden included. Consider these facts. 7.6 million people are nominally ‘members’ of the Church of… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“Many Christians are praying for God’s intervention and an outpouring of love that leads to repentance.”–Tunde Yes, I agree, many of us are praying for enlightenment/love and MUTUAL respect as we face the ongoing feardriven, hate and ignorance that has always delivered discrimination and shame on us in our religious communities. Your hope/prayer is not a NEW prayer for God’s *intervention* for people like me. I think that most of us who live with honesty in the REAL world want the “hating” to stop. In TRUTH, I think, we have been praying for the religious/social oppression, torture, murder and slandering/demeaning… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Merseymike, how can you know that you are hearing what God is saying ? You reject what He previously said (as recorded in the Bible) ! Don’t you worry that you are listening only to your own socio-cultural perceptions ?

ps Regarding looking to Canterbury; even the ABofC has now said that he comes to God through Christ not through Canterbury !

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Yes, Dave, but then one can be a Christian without being an Anglican. To be an Anglican, its Canterbury. Simple as that.

As for ‘what God is saying’, thats not really a concept i would use. I am suspicious of those who claim to hear the voice of God. They largely appear to be dangerous and extreme.

steven
Guest
steven

Merseymike:

Even if true, what’s in a name? Or, to misquote someone, “a rose by any other name still smells the same.” To me an “Anglican” is one who adheres to the basic formularies of Anglicanism. If Canterbury were no longer “Anglican” under this definition and someone else were, I’m going with the someone else. But then, it looks like I’ll be going with someone else one way or the other at this point . . .

Steven

David Huff
Guest
David Huff

MM wrote: “I am suspicious of those who claim to hear the voice of God.”

Reminds me of the words of a retiring Church of Ireland Primate. “Lord keep me always in the company of those who fearlessly seek the truth. And, hide me under the shadow of thy wings from those who think they have found it.”

Amen.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Merseymike wrote. “As for ‘what God is saying’, thats not really a concept i would use.” Dear Merseymike and David Huff, I’m surprised because I thought that you were both among those liberals that claimed that the acceptance of homosexual partnerships was a new move of the Holy Spirit. I’ve read enough liberals who say that they have listened to God through their experience of the lives and ministry of homosexual persons, and believe that God is doing/saying something new ? But I wonder about how you can know that you are hearing what God is saying if you reject… Read more »