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.

39 comments

  • Joe Hauptmann says:

    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?

  • 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 these differences exist, but the covenant idea does not readily extend there, I think. That perhaps is a big failing with the covenant idea. It will not resolve the issue within ECUSA and it will not seolve it within the CofE either.

  • Steven says:

    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 way forward. It is necessarily an “opt-in” matter. Those Churches that were prepared to take this on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness; and some might not be willing to do this. We could arrive at a situation where there were “constituent” Churches in covenant in the Anglican Communion and other “churches in association”, which were still bound by historic and perhaps personal links, fed from many of the same sources, but not bound in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion, and not sharing the same constitutional structures. The relation would not be unlike that between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, for example. The “associated” Churches would have no direct part in the decision making of the “constituent” Churches, though they might well be observers whose views were sought or whose expertise was shared from time to time, and with whom significant areas of co-operation might be possible.”

    There we have it. You’re in more fully, but with less autonomy, or you’re out more fully, but with more autonomy. This has been coming for a long time. One of the questions unanswered is how this will be handled at the “local” level. Must this be at the national church level, or can it be at the diocesan level? Can it go as low as the local church next door? Hmm. A lot still to be worked out here, but at least the process is beginning in earnest.

    Steven

  • New Here says:

    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 says:

    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 ban on TEC practices. It will be interesting to see if under the new WWAC the ordination of female clergy will continue. I think the result will be a WWAC far more in line with the neoconservatives than the ABC thinks it will be. Losing the TEC will be popular around the world if for no other reasons that it’s the Americans. Losing the largest churches such as Nigeria is something he dare not risk.

  • 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 says:

    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 only those bodies that demonstrate visible commitment to a multiple “listening process,” one that (for now) had to include BOTH the experience of LGBT Anglicans (and others) AND the experience of those who cannot in good conscience reconcile same-sex relationships with their readings of Scripture and tradition. It would have to include much more than those voices, of course, but it would at least have to include those particular voices for as long as this remains such a divisive issue. Or maybe we should try to make a visible commitment to such process one of the requirements for constituent membership. That would be a challenge for our Church as much as it would for any of the others, and we would have to agree on who gets to decide that such a visible commitment really exists in truth and not just for show. But in any case, if RW’s reflection can shift the terms of the debate to sorting all this stuff out, I’ll be grateful. And I don’t think I can substantively disagree with any of the theological reasoning he presents here.

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    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 our noses agianst the glass, then I certainly hope the 1st class members will take over entirely the financial commitment to the Anglican Communion that TEC has been paying. That will leave us ever so much more for mission and ministry! Same deal if all of TEC is second class. We should stop financing our own oppression.

    As a deacon and as a priest I affirmed obedience to my bishop and others in authority over me. I di not promise to ‘obey’ the Bible. I affirmed that all things needful for salvation are found in the Bible. The language os ‘obeying’ the Bible is that of the fundagelicals in the states [many of whom skip actually reading it.]

    I expect more than usual typos and spelling errors in this – am racing a thunderstorm!

  • Ley Druid says:

    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 you can’t
    Irrespective of whatever he says, Anglicans will continue to do what they have always done: acting according to what they discern to be God’s will.

  • Tim says:

    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 unity where it counts. As a role juggling extremes on homosexuality and women-bishops, I don’t envy him the job.

    I’m not sure that `covenant’ is completely the right way to go about it, least of all with its potential for a two-tier communion, but maybe a document that reiterates “the definition of being in the Anglican Communion is that you’re in communion with Canterbury (whether you agree with everything that they, or other churches in the communion, say or do, or not)” might be reasonable.

  • Brian says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 remain unnamed. So, in some quarters this is apparently being taken as Anglican “fudge”–if only in the sense that it delays action rather than taking action that (in some folk’s eyes) is mandated at this point.

    Hmmm. Doesn’t seem like “fudge” to me, but maybe I’m just too middle-of-the-road. (Although some here may rush to differ!) However, that will be determined by how it is executed rather than by what it seems to say.

    Steven

  • Merseymike says:

    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 says:

    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 – in many cases, the reverse is true. Rowan is right when he says that the debate should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry. But he is wrong when he says that it is not that – it is, for the tens of thousands of gay clergy who must live out their ministry in fear of exposure, and even for us laypeople who week in and week out hear the endless stream of abuse from our ‘brother Anglicans’. It seems we are to be fully included in the church as long as we agree to keep our mouths shut and not rock the boat.

    All the pretending in the world won’t reduce this to a debate about church governance when that isn’t really what it’s about. Anglicanism’s structures survived not only the ordination of women intact, but also the most profound differences imaginable on the nature of priesthood itself, the nature of the sacrament, the nature of salvation, what we mean by the divine inspiration of scripture and the purpose of Christ’s incarnation. Despite that, the issue that brings us to the point of breaking communion is how gay people should be treated in the Church. Pretending that it isn’t is just plain patronising.

    And pointing out that the process of listening to the experience of homosexual people, as demanded in the hallowed Lambeth I.10, hasn’t progressed very far, is little better. The reason why it hasn’t progressed very far in many Provinces is because any homosexual person daring to speak about their experiences is liable to be ostracised by the church (at best) or thrown in prison. In fact, if Archbishop Akinola has his way anyone, gay or straight, arguing against the current legal position in Nigeria will go down for five years. So much for the listening process, which many bishops had no intention of engaging in when they voted for Lambeth I.10 – i.e. they lied. Until Rowan shows some inclination to challenge that refusal to fulfil the promises his fellow Primates made eight years ago, his credibility with me will remain zero. Actually, if he just made it publicly clear that he was repelled by some of the more vituperous insults flung at us poofters from across the Mediterranean, you know, stretched out his brolly when the spittle started flying, he’d go up enormously in my estimation

    Oh, but if I’m wrong and this is really about church governance, then creating an Anglican curia is going to be every bit a radical departure from Anglicanism’s heritage as three tendencies of churchmanship drifting apart from one another.

  • Steven says:

    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 stringent methods and controls. All of this could have been avoided, at least in the short run, by adhering to Lambeth 1.10, something liberals in TEC found impossible to do.

    But, this is old news. The question is whether we can move forward in a Godly manner towards a new system and what that system will be. As the saying goes, the devil’s in the details! And, what we have so far is very thin on details.

    Steven

    PS-As usual Merseymike, I agree on the basic fact: the conjoined twins need to be separated as quickly and painlessly as possible–within each province and worldwide. My only question is whether folks can summon the good will and charity that God demands in making sure that it is done in a fair, loving and equitable manner. I continue to hope for the best, but fear the worst. /s

  • LurenceRoberts says:

    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 says:

    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.. In fact I think the congruous position is that TEC (unlike other liberal provinces such as Scotland and Canada) can’t now be “in” until a Covenant is in place – so that they can rejoin by formally agreeing to it.

    So the right next step is to extend the dis-invitation of TEC from the organs of unity until the Covenant is agreed by those who have chosen to walk together(whether traditionalists, evangelicals or biblical liberals). I guess that dioceses and local churches in the USA (etc) that fulfill the Windsor conditions (Moratorium on Gay Blessings and on same-sex-partnered Bishops, repudiation of the wrong actions at GC2003 – or repentence if they consented but now would not) could be allowed to take part at the appropriate levels (eg Bishops invited to Lambeth’08) but they will undoubtedly have to suffer some degree of estrangement… *unless* the ABofC/Primates set up a temporary structure… the Diocese of Europe might be a good model and precedent – with overlapping jurisdictions, and some co-operation short of being actually one church.

  • Gerry Lynch says:

    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 terribly radical or unorthodox to me.

  • Dave says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 role. So the choices for glbt Anglicans is to “sacrifice” (wait for many years until common sense prevails. if ever) for unity – or be blamed for a secondary role for TEC as soon as Lambeth 2008 concludes. This is not a happy Episcopalian – thanks ++Cantuar!

  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    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 with their sister and brother bishops.

    I have read his statement twice, both times on-line and hurridly, as Virginia seems to be in the path of a multitude of thunder and lightning storms today, and I have to go online between storms. He mentions +Gene’s election and consecration several times. Does he mention the aggresive violation of diocesan borders anywhere? I may have missed his doing so.

  • badman says:

    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 shamed in this piece, the “Global South’s” band of merry Windsor-breaching Nicean-non-compliant flying bishops, and gay bashing bigots, are not. Is that making it clear? I don’t think so.

    On a different point, is it really “The only reason for being an Anglican” that a balance between protestantism, catholicism and liberalism “seems to you to be healthy”? That might be one reason, and it might be a very good reason. But it is a million miles from many people in the pew. Most English people’s reason for being an Anglican is that this is the national, established church into which they were born and it is broad enough for them to find their own place within it and to stay there in their worship of God and in their search for truth. Many, many people find their place in the protestant part, or the catholic part, or the liberal part, and don’t much care for the other parts, let alone think that a balance between all three of them is “healthy”. They may be wrong. But they’re out there. I’m amazed that the Archbishop doesn’t appreciate that. Is it because he’s Welsh, and from a disestablished church in a country where non confirmity has in the recent past been a far more vigorous tradition than Anglicanism?

    On the other hand, there is every sign in his Text of Reflection that he does appreciate the Church of England position in all this. The Church of England is “not sure (as usual)”. “The divisions don’t run just between national bodies at a distance, they are at work in each locality” – some blog commenters on other sites seem to think that this is a Metternichian game of alliances and territorial blocs, but the Church of England, at least, is never going to move or re-align as a bloc, because it is too various in itself to form one. The Archbishop articulates a distinctively English Anglican concern when he wants the Anglican church “to survive with all its elements intact” – all. He is not supporting purity here. He is putting forward diversity, difference, as the essential quality of Anglicanism; reformed, Catholic, liberal. “The different components in our heritage can, up to a point, flourish in isolation from each other. But any one of them pursued on its own would lead in a direction ultimately outside historic Anglicanism.” I regard this as directly contrary to the Nigerian church’s redefinition of itself in September 2005 away from “communion with the See of Canterbury” to “communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the ‘Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church'” of which it, of course, is to be the judge, and in which liberalism, one of Dr Williams’ three essential components, has no place at all.

    The Archbishop has for some time now made it clear that when it comes to practising gay bishops, or same sex blessings, he will not support different practices, but will require what in November 2005 he said should be “an overwhelming consensus” which, as he said on the same occasion, is presently “unimaginable”. This Text of Reflection takes the same line, even making the unexamined assertion that it is “foreclosing the debate” to ordain someone “whatever his personal merits” in a practising gay partnership without “very much wider and deeper consensus before any change is in view”.

    There are three problems with this. First, it of itself “forecloses the debate” to rule out something believed by some to be a “clear” issue “about human rights and dignity” in the absence of “wider and deeper consensus” which is acknowledged to be unattainable for the indefinite future. Second, it dooms the Church never to lead on questions of sexual morality, but only to follow when the question has ceased to be controversial – to lag behind, indeed. In those countries, like the UK and Canada, such institutional homophobia threatens to make the Church a discredited and ineffective force amongst the mass of the unchurched, and especially young, population. And, third, such a position seems calculated precisely to drive away the liberal component which the Archbishop here endorses as an essential part of the Anglican balance, the “cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly”.

    The Archbishop is right that he cannot resolve these disputes by personal fiat. He is also right that in the Communion as a whole, blessing of homosexual partnerships “as a clear expression of God’s will” (in itself, an extremely loaded way of framing the issue) is only accepted by “a small minority”. But I respectfully suggest that he is wrong to think that he can have his broad church reformed-Catholic-liberal Anglicanism and eat it, by singling out Americans as the problem and refusing to accept any official teaching or practice which does not conform to the Global South majority.

    It is his duty to exercise leadership. That does not mean telling people to fall into line; he has not the power to do that, although if is telling anyone that, he is telling the Americans. It means being active, speaking out, commanding respect, carrying conviction, cajoling, persuading. It means dealing even handedly with everyone and being fair. It means finding and promoting solutions. For too long, the Archbishop has been paralysed, silent, downtrodden, and opaque. Surely the logic of his Text of Reflection is that the solution on the issue of homosexual rights is to accept diversity, as with the ordination of women – not to rule it out until there is wide and deep consensus in favour of change which never comes, and allows the consensus against change to sit complacent, but to allow any consensus for change to develop in the only way it can, and always does, by a combination of pioneering action forcing the issue and the passage of time during which the issue is tested, debated and, one or way or the other, resolved.

  • ‘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 church. but he cannot bring himself to say that it is ++Akinola who is a bigot; that it is +Iker who is a bigot; that it is +Nazir-Ali who is a bigot. so no, it’s not clear. to be clear, he needs to say who it applies to.

  • LaurenceRoberts says:

    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 ?

  • jonathan clark says:

    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 consigned to “associate” status’. Just ‘cos she says it doesn’t mean it’s there in what ++Rowan said!

  • Ray McIntyre says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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.

  • 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 says:

    “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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 down this path before. Perhaps we should all send teabags to the Archbishop.

  • 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 clear something that can get very much obscured in the rhetoric about ‘inclusion’, this is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behaviour a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behaviour it must warn against – and so it is a question about how we make decisions corporately with other Christians, looking together for the mind of Christ as we share the study of the Scriptures.”

    It seems to me that this is precisely the point that we recognised in the Anglican Church of Canada when the last General Synod asked the Primate’s Theological Commission to reflect on whether the question of blessing same-sex unions was a matter of theology (meaning that General Synod would have to deal with it on behalf of the whole church) or a matter of praxis (meaning that individual dioceses could deal with it locally — the argument of the diocese of New Westminster). The Theological Commission found it was a theological question and produced the St Michael Report as a way forward — it’s a scripturally-based reflection on the issues and the various points of view held on them within the ACC. One of the things it calls for is an re-examination of our whole understanding of Christian anthropology and of Christian marriage, saying that the blessing of same-sex unions cannot be adequately approached without dealing with those matters as well. And over the past three or four months discussion papers have been appearing by members of theological commission and other theologians on relevant issues in the debate.

    When the question of blessing same-sex unions comes back to the floor at the next General Synod, along with the St Michael Report, I am sure there are going to be all manner of outside observers from other parts of the Anglican Communion looking on and trying to tell us what to do. But I do not think they will be able to fault us for not taking pains with the issues in terms of theology and Scripture or with putting the cart (ordaining openly gay clergy to the episcopacy) before the horse (dealing with same-sex blessings).

    Of course we have benefited from the way that so much time and attention in the so-called reasserter camp have been focussed on the situation of the Episcopal Church, leading up to its General Convention. But we’ve have the sense and the good leadership to use our time out of the spotlight well. Unfortunately, with GC over, I am afraid that the attention of the American conservatives will be falling on us next!

    Abigail

  • Merseymike says:

    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 says:

    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

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