Thinking Anglicans

full text of Rowan Williams' reflection

The full text of The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today: A Reflection for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion can be found on the ACNS website, and also on the Lambeth Palace site here.

The audio version can be found here (about 6.3 Mbytes mp3 format).

For press release, see TA item immediately below this one.

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Joe HauptmannMerseymikeAbigail Ann YoungCynthia GilliattNP Recent comment authors
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Joe Hauptmann
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Joe Hauptmann

Since the ABC cannot kick out TEC, we form a new club they will not be able to join. Sounds like the old joke, my parents did not abandon me, they just moved and did not tell me where. Will churches around the world get to realign or is this “privilege” only for Americans?

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Joe — I think the statement is a bit more nuanced and balanced than that. For example it has this to say: ‘Where such bigotry does show itself it needs to be made clear that it is unacceptable; and if this is not clear, it is not at all surprising if the whole question is reduced in the eyes of many to a struggle between justice and violent prejudice.’ That seems to be a clear statement about the language and behaviour of some. The statement also rather glosses over the difficulties that individual provinces will have — it states that… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

There is a lot of really good stuff here. I don’t agree with everything, but I’m moved to commend the ABC for a thoughtful, well-reasoned approach (and, I won’t even snarl about the occasional jibes as he throws these at all involved). However, everything before and after seems to me to be either a prelude or a postlude to one critical paragraph: “The idea of a “covenant” between local Churches (developing alongside the existing work being done on harmonising the church law of different local Churches) is one method that has been suggested, and it seems to me the best… Read more »

New Here
Guest
New Here

Joe raises an excellent question about other realignments.

Let the progressive elements in the UK, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and elsewhere engage in their own “realignment.”

Rowan, God bless him, can preside over an assembly of third-world fundamentalists and embittered American reactionaries–at least until Akinola overthrows him and declares himself Anglican Pope.

Joe Hauptmann
Guest
Joe Hauptmann

Simon — I respectfully disagree. Perhaps my jaded view comes from having once been a divorce lawyer here in the states. From this side of the pond it appears that some voices are louder than others; witness the fact the quiet with regards to African incursion into TEC jurisdiction. Although it could also be argued that the ABC would not have put up with TEC’s actions as long as he did if we were not Americans. Given how little progress has been made in the Global South churches on the issue of female bishops, any waiting will be an effective… Read more »

Derek the Ænglican
Guest

This is the kind of thouightful, measured–and clearly comprehensible–statements that ++Williams should have been puuting out for a while now. He makes lots of excellent points; I especially like the one noting that local communities are dealing with the same problems that international bodies are. This deserves careful re-reading and study. I can only pray it is the beginning of ++Williams using his considerable intellectual powers publically on behalf of the church at the present time–something that we haven’t seen much of recently, I’m afraid.

Charles Allen
Guest
Charles Allen

Speaking as a gay Priest, I think this could be a promising way forward, though I’m not sure of the adequacy of the distinction between “constituent” and “associated” Churches. That depends on what he means by saying that the latter would have no direct part in the decision-making of the former. If our Church (TEC) were relegated to associate status, I think it would be time to talk honestly about money. Should we continue to fund decision-making bodies where we have no vote? Could they accept that money and still have any integrity of their own? Maybe we should fund… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

A quick couple of comments. The ABC seems to be proposing a communion with 1st class and 2nd class members. 1st class get to make the rules; 2nd class get to press their noses against the glass. What hope that the 1st class would ever make rules to include the 2nd class? Does he propose this for whole provinces, or does he envision, say a province with both sorts of groupings, 1st and 2nd class? If the AAC/Network/AMiA become the 1st class part of our province, as this document seems to suggest, and the rest of us get to press… Read more »

Ley Druid
Guest
Ley Druid

I feel sorry for Dr. Williams. How can one coherently argue the importance of the lack of consensus over one bishop Gene Robinson when the whole of the Anglican Communion has “a historic ministry not universally recognised in the Catholic world”? How can one be consistent in saying “arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching” and then propose “ways of translating this underlying sacramental communion into a more effective institutional reality” that are neither explicitly Biblical nor drawn from historic Anglican teaching? I suspect Dr. Williams is smart enough to realize that… Read more »

Tim
Guest

Seems quite a good summary to me. I particularly like this: “It may be tempting to say, ‘let each local church go its own way’; but once you’ve lost the idea that you need to try to remain together in order to find the fullest possible truth, what do you appeal to in the local situation when serious division threatens?” I could almost think he’d been reading my comments from last week. And as responses go, I think it squashes the _Times_ article referenced yesterday: he knows exactly what’s going off and where things are suboptimal, and is pushing for… Read more »

Brian
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Brian

This really stinks for the US. The ABC is sacrificing us to the Africans and South Americans. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the US

Andrew Nadell
Guest
Andrew Nadell

If the Episcopal Church USA is relegated to associate rather than consitutuent status, where will the Scottish Episcopal Church, and indeed the Church of England itself be placed? Is it too cynical to imagine that this is another form of schism, with the “Global South” as the constituents and the older churches as associates?

Steven
Guest
Steven

Some additional thoughts. First, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. It is quite possible that those who are unwilling to covenant will be unwilling to be second class citizens, they may want to form their own communion with their own “covenant”. However, I would expect a long struggle to make the covenant loose enough to allow TEC and a variety of others to join in before we get to that stage. Second, I was interested to find that the ABC’s statement was being lambasted my most of the commentors over at a conservative nemesis site that will… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

The beginning of the split. In the usual convoluted RW style, but its clear what the outcome will be – I hope the US and other churches will see this not as a threat but as an opportunity to create something better than the Anglican Communion could ever be.

Gerry Lynch
Guest

There’s a lot of interesting thinking in the document, but at the end of the day seems to be more about the world as Rowan wishes it to be, not the world as it really is. Perhaps the debate shouldn’t be about the human rights of homosexual people – but as long as senior Anglican clergy, in England and abroad, lead the charge to deny gay people their rights, it will be. It may well be imperative for the Church to defend homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage; but it’s an imperative that it rarely acts on –… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Gerry: Part of the problem was that there was no hiatus for the “listening” to take place in. Lambeth 1.10 anticipates a STOP to certain practices and a listening period so that the church can listen and evaluate and determine whether to support those practices and positions. There was never any stop. As a matter of fact, there was an acceleration by LBGT advocates, especially in TEC. As a result we now have chaos. As a consequence of this, and as it usually does, chaos is begetting more rigorous attempts to restore order. We’re moving towards a period of more… Read more »

LurenceRoberts
Guest
LurenceRoberts

Just want to thank Gerry Lynch for his spot-on analysis and upbeat delivery. I’m with you on this. I think he gets to the nub of things, here. Thanks !

Dave
Guest
Dave

If having to sign up to a forthcoming [but not for many years] Anglican Covenant will be the means by which ECUSA et al will finally be disciplined then I worry that we are going to have to have *all the same arguements we just had* over and over again until a Covenant is agreed and in place… 🙁 BUT Justice delayed is no justice, and as ECUSA/TEC has failed to do what they were asked to do, then there should be action now! I think that would be congruous with the ABofC’s announcement, but he didn’t actually say it..… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest

Steven, eight years isn’t exactly a short time. Rather than the beginning of a listening process, we’ve seen some Provinces actively campaign to deepen the legal and social persecution that gay people are forced to live under in their societies. One can only come to the conclusion that many Bishops who supported Lambeth I.10 – often held up as if it were some biblical proof text – did so in bad faith. Rather than blame ECUSA for all the ills in the Anglican world, why not hold people to account for the promises that they entered into? That doesn’t seem… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

ps Several TEC folk’s postings have mentioned withdrawing their funding of the ACC office.. Do they think that that should have *influenced* what the Communion decided ?!!!

It would make a lot of sense to put the ACC on an even footing now by proportionate funding from all full-member Provinces (rather like the Parish share in the UK – based on membership and average income)… That should spread the load and also stop anyone thinking that they can buy influence.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Liberals in TEC couldn’t adhere to that because we think its wrong, Steven. There simply is no place for homophobia in any church I would want to be part of. I admire them for their courage.I do not admire the wets in the CofE accepting any old bull….

I too doubt whether the sort of swift and agreed split which we both want to see, from our different positions, will happen. Too many people who enjoy ‘politics’ for the sake of it.

Byron
Guest
Byron

It would seem that the bottom line for TEC is a continued “waiting at the door” by gblt folks so that TEC can remain a “constituent” member of the communion. How sad when there really isn’t any actual biblical basis for condemnation of gay relationships – just a way of interpretating old texts with 21st century glasses on. So for the 20 percent of us in the liberal wing, we must capitulate to the 20 percent in the conservative wing or force TEC into being an “associate” member – not likely given the American penchant for playing a strong central… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

The Archbishop frequently mentions how our relationships within the Anglican Communion are centered in our relationship to Scripture and our gathering at the Eucharistic table. It is not we in TEC or Canada who have refused table fellowship with the other members of the Communion. It is not the moderate and progressive bishops and deputies who refused to participate in each day’s opening Eucharist in Columbus, and who have refused at other General Conventions. It is not moderate and liberal members of our own House of Bishops who have refused to meet as well as refused to be at table… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

The Archbishop says “Where such bigotry does show itself it needs to be made clear that it is unacceptable” But when it does show itself, he doesn’t make it clear, does he? He has said nothing about the Nigerian bill and the Nigerian hierarchy’s enthusiastic endorsement of it. He says nothing, here, about Akinola’s CAPA statement 4 days ago that “the full participation of people in same gender sexual relationships in civic life” – civic life mark you! – cannot be reconciled “with the teaching on marriage set out in the Holy Scriptures”! And, whereas the Americans are named and… Read more »

thomas bushnell, bsg
Guest

‘Where such bigotry does show itself it needs to be made clear that it is unacceptable; and if this is not clear, it is not at all surprising if the whole question is reduced in the eyes of many to a struggle between justice and violent prejudice.’ That seems to be a clear statement about the language and behaviour of some. thus far says Simon Kershaw, quoting +++Rowan. no Simon, no, it is not a clear statement. to be a clear statement, the archbishop needs to say who it applies to. he has not been shy about blaming the episcopal… Read more »

LaurenceRoberts
Guest
LaurenceRoberts

In real life, once the twins, triplets or however many are safely separated, this is a new beginning ! A life of autonomy and interaction beckons. Autonomy, agency, subjectivity and inter-subjectivity come into play. Play is the most basic, human and sane life giving activity (Homo ludens etc)…… How will things be played out in the churches ? The great thing is we can all play our own part . In a time of similar turmoil and upheaval, John Keble said,” You will always find the Church ( of England) in my parish.” Isn’t that t’other side of the coin… Read more »

jonathan clark
Guest
jonathan clark

Seems to me that some of the posts so far are trying to locate ++Rowan on one side or the other of the liberal-conservative divide, just as (as one would expect) he’s trying to do something rather more creative. As he clearly states, under the covenant as he envisages it, all three centrifugal tendencies (Prot, Catholic and ‘liberal’) would undertake to be held in check by the other two. This is a million miles from Ruth Gledhill’s pronouncement that ‘who are unwilling to sign up to a covenant setting out Anglicanism in its orthodox and traditional, biblical form will be… Read more »

Ray McIntyre
Guest

This comment from the AC is simply pandering to the arch-epicopal bigot ++Akinola. It is unacceptable that people should be sidelined because they are attempting to be true to the spirit of God.

Fr. Ray McIntyre
Priest, ACI

Dave
Guest
Dave

Some folk seem to be having difficulty distinguishing between “bigotry” and faithfulness to the teachings of the Bible and the Church for the last 2000 years! So here’s a primer:

Faithfulness: Full of faith; disposed to believe, especially in the declarations and promises of God.

From the “devil’s dictionary”: BIGOT. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that *you* do not entertain.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

As far as I am concerned, anything except absolute equality counts as bigotry and institutionalised homophobia.

There won’t be a place for liberals in this new set-up – I hope!

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Its perfectly possible that both the teachings of the Bible and the church for the past 2000 years are bigoted.

Thats why we need revision, Dave. Orthodox or traditional Christianity just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

But there are already ‘constituent’ Churches in the Anglican Communion ever since the 1st (near-fatal) Lambeth conference in 1868: the Church of England, The Episcopal church, the Canadian.

Anything optional to this will be just optional, to the side, and so far no Anglican Province has opted for the Windsor Report – they only blame others for not adhering to it ;=)

This “covenant” buisness cannot be. I do not know what Dr Rowan is imagining.

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

“There was never any stop. As a matter of fact, there was an acceleration by LBGT advocates, especially in TEC.”

This is flat-out nonsense. What LGBT acceleration? There certainly haven’t been any more (out) gay bishops! (Whereas the acceleration of diocesan-boundary crossing is inarguable!)

“So the right next step is to extend the dis-invitation of TEC”

Lord have mercy! 🙁

john davis
Guest
john davis

Thank you all for the discussion. A comment though about the Australian situation. The diocese of Sydney has not responded positively to Windsor. In the context of a discussion about lay presidency rather than same sex issues, how would the following read from ++Cantuar’s reflection: “Some actions – and sacramental actions in particular – just do have the effect of putting a Church outside or even across the central stream of the life they have shared with other churches.” That could mean that Australia (with Sydney’s support) joins the associates club. But then, we don’t actually have a Covenant yet.

NP
Guest
NP

What are you talking about, Ray McIntyre?

“It is unacceptable that people should be sidelined because they are attempting to be true to the spirit of God.”

So, you think the Spirit of God contradicts what he inspired in the Bible?

Just making up a religion you like?

Fine – but pls do not pretend it is Christianity as you “liberally” ignore inconvenient Bible passages

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

I hope TEC will, if reduced to ‘associate’ status, cease financing a body which will give it no voice in its decisions. I pay local, state, and federal taxes willingly, even though I don’t always approve of the policies these entities enact. That is because as a citizen I can vote and lobby and write letters to my representatives and to the governor and the president. I have a voice, even when I am in the minority, and I can seek to influence policy. Disenfranchise me, and still tax me? No. Oh! That’s taxation without representation. I think we’ve been… Read more »

Abigail Ann Young
Guest

I was very impressed by the breadth of this Reflection, although I don’t agree with all of the archbishop’s points. I especially was struck by this paragraph: “Unless you think that social and legal considerations should be allowed to resolve religious disputes – which is a highly risky assumption if you also believe in real freedom of opinion in a diverse society – there has to be a recognition that religious bodies have to deal with the question in their own terms. Arguments have to be drawn up on the common basis of Bible and historic teaching. And, to make… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think it goes without saying that TEC will fund its own activities, not those of a communion with which it has merely a loose association and which promotes theologies which are not acceptable and which should not be encouraged.

Joe Hauptmann
Guest
Joe Hauptmann

The Church of Nigeria has just elected a Bishop to oversee their mission to North America. Do you think we will hear a responce to this by the ABC any time soon?
http://www.anglican-nig.org/bshpelects_jun2006.htm