Thinking Anglicans

some group and personal reactions

Updated

In no particular order:

Anglican Communion Network

Anglican Communion Institute

American Anglican Council

Kendall Harmon

Affirming Catholicism UK see below the fold (now on the web here)

Tobias Haller

Mark Harris

Fr Jake

Jim Naughton

Archbishop of Sydney

Update
The Archbishop of Cape Town

Updated again
Matthew Thompson on PoliticalSpaghetti first re Archbishop Akinola, and second re Bishop Duncan.

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE USE

DIRECTOR OF AFFIRMING CATHOLICISM WELCOMES ARCHBISHOP’S STATEMENT BUT WARNS AGAINST “PARTITION”

The Director of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism, The Rev’d Richard Jenkins, welcomed the Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Challenge and Hope” for the Anglican Communion but warned against creating a “two-tier” Church. The Most Rev’d Rowan Williams published his reflections on the state of the Anglican Communion today, 27 June, in the wake of last week’s American Episcopal Church’s General Convention where delegates passed a motion expressing regret for “straining the bonds of affection” by consecrating a gay man as bishop in 2003, but fell short of offering the repentance which conservative Anglicans wanted to hear.

Responding to the situation the Archbishop called on Anglicans to value equally the liberal, catholic and reformed traditions in their Church, and asked them to exercise mutual restraint in making decisions which might split their Communion. For provinces not willing to enter into a proposed formal but voluntary covenant to limit their autonomy, Dr Williams suggested a “two-tier” Communion of constituent and associated Churches.

Richard Jenkins said,

The Archbishop has issued a challenge to Anglicans: learn to live together with mutual respect and restraint, or call time on the unique Anglican approach to diversity and unity. I’m grateful for the clarity of his statement which identifies the underlying theological issues we are dealing with, and also repeatedly condemns homophobia. However, I want to warn against the possibility of a two-tier Communion. As a Belfast-born Christian I have to say that partition doesn’t work. We are all diminished by division and need each other’s insights to flourish. If a formal covenant is intended to help us to live in solidarity with each other then it must function in a dynamic way, not simply acting as a brake on every development. This will be a difficult task but one which we will apply ourselves to.

The Archbishop’s statement paves the way for more formal consideration by the Communion of the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report which first recommended an Anglican Covenant.

Affirming Catholicism will make its own consideration of the issues at a day Conference “Anglican Unity and the Limits of Diversity” to be held later this year, on Saturday 4 November.
ENDS

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Martin Reynolds
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I have no doubt that the response most closely read by Lambeth will be that of the Archbishop of Sydney. As Rowan struggles with a longer vision to hold even a divided Church in some form of community, others have clearer and more immediate plans for the short and medium term that will inevitably thwart him, Dr Jensen makes this clear. My concern has always been that the attention has never been on the real players here – there is a very urgent move for a new Anglican Reformation and they will not be persuaded by Dr Williams’ vision of… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest

Archbishop Williams no doubt hopes that minds will change if delaying tactics are kept up. Certainly the kind of bigotry that Akinola represents is likely to implode soon; and his followers in the US, who should no better, are likely to come to their senses, ashamed. If not, the power of rational persuasion, conscience and the Gospel, within Anglicanism, must be tragically feeble.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The Affirming Catholicism statement is not correct to claim that RW would be calling time on anglican diverse unity. There always have been, and by definition always must be, limits beyond which the diversity cannot go and still count as Christian. Anglican satanists, for example? It is bound to happen on one of the more new age fringes (see Peter Jones, ‘Pagans in the pews’).

Also examination is needed of the too-fundamentalist dogma that diversity, even extremes of diversity, is always a good thing. Who says?

David Huff
Guest

I feel strongly that Martin is on to something here. It’s plainly obvious that ++Williams has “lost control of events.”

And while there may be angst over a communion with extremist, Third World conservatives at the helm, there’s also the hope of one formed from moderate to progressive elements of the Church in Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., etc…

So I’ll pray for that last hope, and try hard to let the others go in peace.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think that Williams may as well give uptrying to come up with a compromise. It is quite clear that a split will happen. ECUSA will go its own way and take others in its midst. So will Sydney, who are effectively the brains behind the so-called ‘Global South’. What will be left won’t be worth having.

RIP Unified Anglicanism

Steven
Guest
Steven

Martin: I think you are correct. The other players, traditional or r———-, seem to take it for granted that what the ABC proposes will come to pass, one way or another. Some are guardedly optimistic, while others are opposed, but all seem to consider the process a given. Jensen goes in a completely different direction that I find disconcerting. To him, the communion is broken past repair, patch jobs or compromise. His assumption seems to be that the ABC is running up with a band-aid after the patient has already expired. Apparently, the proposals of the ABC, which seem draconian… Read more »

Tuck-Leong
Guest
Tuck-Leong

Thanks for the comment, Martin. The form and idea of a covenant is good; but its function is perverted by partisan wrestling of its meanings. I don’t think it is possible to sustain the myth of communion by imperialist coercion into a model of being church. Better it is to give space to a koinonia forming from grassroot relationships. A two-tiered structure might just provide an opening for that. I am quite certain that such a simplistic model for an Anglican federation will quickly diversify into different networks of relationships. I think it augurs well too for the future of… Read more »

Rob Hall
Guest
Rob Hall

Thank God for the Archbishop of Cape Town. In a few paragraphs, he’s offered us an incisive and theologically-grounded approach which – to me at least – has much more to commend it to the Communion than the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “divorce that dare not speak its name” paper. Remember when reading Archbishop Ndungane’s response that this is from a man who knows personally the cost of struggling with difference in many contexts. He spent three years jailed on Robben Island for his part in the anti-apartheid struggle. Two paragraphs from the Archbishop of Cape Town’s response: “It is our… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Martin —

I believe that your insight is brilliant.

I am also impressed by the comments from the Primate of South Africa (but there is nothing new about that).

We can stay together if we want to stay together, in spite of not agreeing about everything.

Acts 10:28 is a good verse for meditation.

ranunculus bulbosus
Guest
ranunculus bulbosus

Assuming that the covenant as eventually drafted is unswallowable by ECUSA, why should we assume that other provinces will subscribe to it? And I don’t just mean the obviously liberal provinces like Canada and Scotland and New Zealand — when it comes to giving up autonomy, I imagine even some conservative-skewing provinces will be hesitant.

And in particular — what about the CofE? Can we really imagine it signing up to any but the most mild of covenants?

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

This is all bad news, as far as I can see, for those of us who are “affirming” catholics, believe in the saving life, death and resurrection of Christ, but who believe in the primacy of Canterbury and in the communion which binds us together as one (argumentative) family in Jesus Christ.

As laymen where are we to go. Will we remain in communion with one another if we’re in an “associate” Anglican diocese?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I am not surprised by the Archbishop of Sydney’s response, he is quite correct to say that the parties had already separated and it is just a matter of doing the divorce paperwork. Using Sydney as an example (and it may apply to the other extreme in other dioceses), there is the issue of where do the liberal elements of the Anglican communion go whilst remaining in Sydney? One of the reasons I became so involved in this debate is when it became apparent there were difficulties with tolerance, I contemplated moving parishes. However, it soon became clear that there… Read more »

New Here
Guest
New Here

Why do we never hear anything about Sydney? It seems to me that the actions of Jensen and his followers represent a much greater departure from Anglican norms than most, if anything, that is happening in the U.S.

Is it just because the gay issue is more emotional than, say, allowing laypeople to celebrate the eucharist?

Warren Eckels
Guest
Warren Eckels

The Episcopal Church unofficially, perhaps inadvertently, prepared for a split at General Convention when its bloggers stopped using ECUSA (Episcopal Church of the USA) and started using TEC (The Episcopal Church) as shorthand.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear New Here, it depends what we mean by “Anglican”.. which will, of course, be the subject of debate around the forthcoming “Covenant”.

To me heresy and immorality are *much* more serious departures than allowing unauthorised people to preside at the eucharist!

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

And don’t foget that Jensen is Akinola’s puppetr master. he controls whats going on behind the scenes.

Takeover time, folks. Time for liberals to have a bit of steel in their backbone – which will mean telling Williams the Spineless to get lost.

New Here
Guest
New Here

Yes, Dave, we all know that sex is more important to you than a direct attack on a key sacrament. That is a given.

But I think that most people would consider treating the sacrament as a mere symbol that any person off the streets can “consecrate” a bit more extreme than having a “bad” bishop somewhere.

NP
Guest
NP

I’ll tell you why you don’t hear Sydney being attacked – they are not ignoring the Bible, making up their own religion…..and they are growing strongly.

Who was the ABC supposed to choose – strong growing Sydney, Reform and “Alpha” churches or dwindling ECUSA and “liberal” churches?

As everyone knows, Rowan Williams is a clever man – he was never going to choose failure.The experiment in “believe what you like and let’s play church” is coming to an end….after wasting a lot of time, money, energy and credibility for the CofE

Cheryl Clough
Guest

New Here (et al) It is not appropriate to argue the debate on particular personalities. Especially in a situation where it could easily become litigious. Further, there is a deeper and more urgent need to understand the systemic patterns and develop theological models that recognise the perversion of the churches into power mongering at any cost. Those models need to be generic and able to apply across denominations, faiths, cultures, and economic systems (irregardless of whether they be agrarian, capitalist, socialist, or any other permutation). I’ve also been contemplating the “biblical” truth of this debate some further. We are already… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The very terms ‘sacrament’ and ‘consecrate’ are neither of them foundational or early christian terms. Nor are the worldviews they presuppose. One can’t appeal to tradition and simultaneously ignore the biblical root of the tradition.

Steve Watson.
Guest
Steve Watson.

Why are some people suggesting the Anglican Church of New Zealand might leave the Communion (or however you want to phrase it)? There is no ‘blessing’ of SSUs, and while there are probably partnered homosexual clergy, none of this is officially sanctioned in any way. Anglicanism is in very serious decline there, Anglo-Catholicism has all but disappeared, but there are still a good number of healthy evangelical churches. Although it is one of the weakest provinces theologically speaking, I doubt that most Anglophile of countries would give up close links with Canterbury. Canada, OTOH, is a different matter. A schism… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

“lay presidency” – please show me where this rule is in the Bible?

I am sure people like Jensen would be against it if the Bible were against “lay presidency”

Disobeying man-made rules is not the same as disobeying the Bible

The “schism” in the Anglican church is all about the authority of the Bible – we are seeing a re-focussing on it which is long overdue, led by the ABC now

Steve Watson.
Guest
Steve Watson.

Opposition to ‘lay presidency’ may be a matter of faith or order. For a catholic, it’s simply counterfeit (since only episcopally-ordained priests can consecrate bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ) and therefore an act of deception, as well as presumption. For churchly evangelicals, on the other hand, it has to do with respecting the order of the church and its leadership. Yet even advocates of ‘lay presidency’ don’t advocate a free-for-all. They would be quite happy for authorized deacons and readers to lead, just as they preach and sometimes baptize. Since ‘laypeople’ can baptize in an… Read more »

Steve Watson.
Guest
Steve Watson.

Please help me – my question was a sincere one about what is inherently wrong with the idea of ‘lay presidency’ in liberal eyes (if indeed it is considered wrong). I recall that Giles Fraser has raised this question but it hasn’t been debated here, as far as I know.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Steve

There was some discussion about lay presidency a few months ago (some one else might find the link/dates). I don’t have a problem with it per se, as I think if God wants to He can find an isolated individual on an island if He wants to (after all, God was finding humans before the Torah was written). The issues of recognition of gender GLBTs does not change with lay presidency, the arbitrary boundaries can still be enforced.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Steve Watson, we did debate lay presidency here some time ago and at least one liberal contributor admitted that they thought that liberals were allowing it (but maybe only ‘unoffically’). As an ex-liberal I must say that I had the feeling that that was the case! Dear New Here, I don’t know where you get your priorities from, but if read the Christian scriptures you will find that heretical faith and immoral conduct separate you from God (to put it mildly) whereas there is no mention of the need for a “priest” to preside at any of the sacraments..… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The convolutedness of “proofs” always stunn me!

Allegoría, allegoría, allegoría.

Not plain scripture.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

No-one has addressed the question of who invented the idea of a ‘president’ other than Christ in the first place. Whoever it was, why should we follow them?

The whole idea of having a representative of Christ is absurd when Christ is present anyway; nowhere more absurd than in a context whose very raison d’etre is his presence.

If one person can break bread, how much more a gathering of people?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Show me any kind of ‘presidency’ — ‘lay’ or otherwise, in the Bible–or communion services either for that matter…..

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

An off-the-top-of-my-head list of non-foundational ideas that came in later:
(1) Sacrament
(2) Communion / Holy Communion (1 Cor 10 is in a non-capitalised sense)
(3) Eucharist (in the present sense, ie referring to a ceremony rather than a thanksgiving)
(4) Blessing food as opposed to thanking God
(5) ‘presidency’
(6) ‘lay’.
No wonder an answer cannot be reached when the initial concepts are later inventions.