Thinking Anglicans

Williams on the moratorium

Updated Friday evening

The Living Church carries a report from the WCC Assembly in Brazil in which Rowan Williams is quoted as saying, in response to a question about the moratorium on consecrating non-celibate homosexual bishops:

“I believe if there is ever to be a change in the discipline and teaching of the Anglican Communion on this matter it should not be the decision of one Church alone,”

Read the full story with further quotes: Archbishop Williams: Episcopal Church Should Maintain Consecration Moratorium .

He made this statement on Friday, 17 February.

On Monday, 20 February, the Diocese of California announced the names of five candidates for its election of a diocesan (scheduled for May). The Church of England Newspaper reports on this matter under the headline New row brewing as USA considers another gay bishop. The final paragraph reads (emphasis added):

Dr Williams stressed his opposition to the move. “If there is ever to be a change on the discipline and teaching of the Anglican Communion [on homosexuality] it should not be the decision of one Church alone. “The Church must have the highest degree of consensus for such a radical change,” he argued, adding he was very uneasy about the way in which change has gone forward in the American Church over this issue.

That first sentence is misleading insofar as the California announcement had not yet been made.

Update A further report on Rowan Williams’ WCC attendance has been published by ACNS: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams addresses WCC General Assembly. Part of this report:

Archbishop Williams began the day with an open discussion for Anglicans attending the Assembly, where he talked about the life of the Anglican Communion generally, and laid out his vision for the way that we can move forward together as a world-wide group of Christians. He described how, in his view, neither of the two polarised positions taken by some in the Communion represent a good way forward, and described this by saying: ‘I would be very sad to see Anglicanism becoming either the Church of a western liberal elite or the Church of anti-intellectual post-missionary society. I am putting it very bluntly here, and I think the dangers that we face in the Communion very serious.’

He concluded by saying: ‘who knows what God has in store for the Anglican Communion? When I try to look into the future of the Anglican Communion eighteen months forward, I have no idea what might happen. But if God has a purpose for us in the Communion, then we can relax. I do not mean to say we can stop, and do nothing. I mean we can stop at least being so desperately and bitterly anxious. So often our Anglican world gives off in the media a sense of bitterness and anxiety. Well that is the last thing we want to share with the world. We need to be honest. We need to work. We need to recognise there are no short answers. We need to do all that because we believe God has something to say to us, and with us, in the context of the World Church, which is why we are here in this Assembly. That is, because we believe God is faithful to his calling and his promise.’

18
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
18 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
Alan MarshCheryl CloughDaveMerseymikeruidh Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
bls
Guest

When will Rowan Williams speak out against Nigeria’s new laws criminalizing homosexuality, which also criminalize even advocating gay rights? More to the point: When will he – or anyone – speak against the Anglican Church in Nigeria’s open support for these laws?

I’m afraid I don’t listen very carefully to much the Archbishop has to say these days.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

I find it noteworthy that the ABC left the “[on homosexuality]” out of his statement. A lacuna perhaps admitting his embarrassment, that he knows full well that there *is* NO “discipline and teaching of the Anglican Communion” (which could suffer a “radical change”) regarding [that which cannot be mentioned] in the first place?

He certainly sounds embarrassing from here. >:-/

[So, the CEN printed something misleading? There’s a shocker! {sarcasm/OFF}]

Mark Harris
Guest
Mark Harris

Thank you for correcting the error in the C of E Newspaper report.

Thank you too for Archbishop Sentamu’s comments on Guantanamo Bay and related matters of US arrogance. We have a great deal to repent. It would be wonderful if we could value good relationships that support good ministry in the world without repentance at all, and hold our real criticism for the outrage of the sorts of Western arrogance represented by Guantanamo and save our repentance for those things that require our serious attention.

Marshall Scott
Guest

We will have to wait to see how the Holy Spirit moves in all of this: how the Spirit moves in General Convention; how the Spirit moves in the Election in California; how the Spirit moves in the perception of the rest of the Communion, and especially in the heart of Rowan. There will be a great deal of furor now over the nominations in California. I can well believe that all five named candidates are qualified, and perhaps would be good, Godly bishops. It will be interesting to see whether other names are offered. But this election will not… Read more »

Ian Montgomery
Guest
Ian Montgomery

IF – and I repeat – IF, California elects a partnered gay person, and, IF General Convention voted to confirm such and IF the consecration were to go ahead THEN we will have a mess that will force some kind of “walking apart” which will be messy, tragic. It will be the de facto dismissal of the concept of mutual responsibility and interdependence that makes communion possible around our Anglican world. Politics and polemic will have triumphed. The splintering and sundering will be ugly, painful and bring no honor to Christ, the Lord of the Church. It will be hailed… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

A split is the only way, Ian. The only way. The pathetic compromises of Williams are no alternative. We need the American church to take the bold steps that will at least bring forth a possibility of a Church worth belonging to – and the Church of England, in my view, isn’t such a church at the moment. I am waiting to see what happens whilst positively NOT worshipping within it until it does.

RMF
Guest
RMF

The candidates for California bishop have all served faithfully and well, bringing the Word to people and bringing people into the Church. They have done nothing wrong. To the contrary, they have done everything right. Therefore, they have presented their names. So why should they not continue to use their God-given gifts for the lifting up and further building of the Church? Why should they not serve as they have done for many, many years, if in the end the discernment process discerns them? ++Rowan threw Canon Jeffrey under the wheels and I suppose this is what he would like… Read more »

RMF
Guest
RMF

I should note my error about the Church in Scotland. It is the Church of Scotland and not the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopal Church considering blessing cp’s.

bls
Guest

“It will be the de facto dismissal of the concept of mutual responsibility and interdependence that makes communion possible around our Anglican world. Politics and polemic will have triumphed. The splintering and sundering will be ugly, painful and bring no honor to Christ, the Lord of the Church. It will be hailed as “prophetic” by its proponents, as US hubris by its opponents. Meanwhile the “lost child” will be most of our congregants and congregations who are already bewildered and dismayed by the forces so destructively at work.” But of course the anti-gay policies and pogroms advocated by the Anglican… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

certainly a strong group of very well qualified candidates, three of whom show quite clearly (contrary to the assertions of some) that liberal congregations are declining in membership.

As far as the complaint about “one church”, maybe some diocese in Canada should elect Peter Elliott to purple, because I guess just having a partnered gay Prolocutor of General Synod isn’t enough.

badman
Guest
badman

The Archbishop of Canterbury says “it should not be the decision of one Church alone” – in context, clearly meaning one national church within the Anglican Communion acting alone. That might be overcome by a gathering movement in, for example, not only ECUSA, but the Canadian, English, Welsh, and Scottish churches of the Anglican Communion. But this is subsumed in his much stronger statement requiring “the highest degree of consensus for such a radical change.” This is a firming up of his Presidential Address to the ACC meeting in Nottingham in June 2005 when he said: “…where there is a… Read more »

Tobias S Haller BSG
Guest

Should the independence of the Church of England have been “the decision of one church alone”? Should the apostles have listened to the “consensus” of the Sanhedrin and stopped preaching Christ? Good thing for us that the Council agreed with Gamaliel instead of Caiaphas. (Caiaphas was the one who said it was good that one should suffer for the many: a good utilitarian at heart.)

Marshall Scott
Guest

I still don’t think we’ll know what Rowan actually believes until we see the invitations to Lambeth. As to his current comments: I can well imagine he’s feeling squeezed from both sides. The Nominating Committee in California has made a statement, even if not as stridently as the Global South Primates (at least those who are actually speaking). I reviewed the initial candidates for California, and I would note that they are the perfect “spread” to accommodate our American perspective on a fully diverse list of candidates. From this American perspective, I would suggest broad diversity was probably seen as… Read more »

ruidh
Guest

Badman, I think that if the EC were actually able to restrain its impulse to elect and confirm these candidates we might find that much of the oposition would take care of itself. I agree with Merseymike that schism seems inevitable. But, givin the international reaction to date, it would be the EC committing schism if these consecrations were to occur. If, instead, we can avoid this provocation, I think we might find that a number of our opponents in the South will pull themselves out of union rather than have to continue to live in Communion with the US… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I’d agree, badman. Given that the CofE is declining and dying, and we know that conservative Christianity has little appeal in Britain, it is in danger of becoming an irrelevant and largely ignored sect – and disestablishment will complete the process.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Why does this seem like deja vu all over again ? A liberal diocese may elect a person in a same-sex sexual partnership to be their bishop in the pre-GC period, so it must go to full GC for approval. Thus the debate is diffused onto aspects of a person’s ability, rather than just focussed on the real issues (sexual righteousness, and schism with the Church).

I guess it’s bye-bye ECUSA.

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

I recently sent a private email and commented that God could be using the Anglican communion as a “safe environment” to role model dialogue on difficult issues. There are some issues that are so vexatious and passionate that if one tries to draw the lessons out directly in that area one is likely as not to precipitate violent civil unrest, for example the look at the passion and violence that is arising out of the Danish cartoons or sectarian violence in Iraq. Thus God could be using the Anglican Communion to demonstrate how to develop respectful dialogue on passionate issues… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Merseymike would like to believe that the Church of England is declining and dying, but the statistics published by Church House suggest otherwise – not to mention the substantial numbers of people coming forward for ordination (by way of contrast with other denominations) and the massive growth of Fresh Expressions. His oft-expressed desire to split the Church of England would of course be an opportunity to refashion it after his own preferences, or at least to join the particular splinter of which he approves. But it is not going to split. It is growing, and changing, and rapidly becoming a… Read more »