Thinking Anglicans

news from Kigali

Updated Thursday evening

Some news reports from the Global South bishops meeting at Kigali in Rwanda:

Reuters Conservative Anglican bishops to sign anti-gay pact:

Conservative Anglican bishops largely drawn from developing countries are expected to agree on a pact condemning the ordination of gay clergy, Nigeria’s archbishop said on Wednesday.

The agreement, expected to be signed later this week by clerics from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia meeting in Rwanda, is likely to deepen rifts between the conservatives mainly from the “Global South” and liberals in the United States and Europe.

“In order to put to rest this issue of homosexuality, we are working on an Anglican covenant with provisions that very clearly say what it means to be an Anglican,” Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola, told reporters.

“Who ever subscribes to this covenant must abide by it and those who are unable to subscribe to it will walk out.”…

Associated Press via Beliefnet: Anglican Conservatives Seek Formal Statement Banning Gay Priests

…Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola said the proposed statement, or covenant, is being drafted at this week’s gathering of 25 bishops mainly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. The meeting in Kigali ends Friday.

“We have provisions in the covenant that very clearly state what it means to be an Anglican. The dos and don’ts of an Anglican,” said Akinola, the chairman of Global South grouping, which represents more than two-thirds of the Anglican Communion’s members.

…Akinola and his backers see moves to embrace homosexuals and many other liberal church movements as violations of Scripture.

Akinola said that proposed Global South document would condemn homosexuality and demand that any followers in disagreement must “walk out.” …

IRIN AFRICA: Anglican prelates focus on poverty eradication:

KIGALI, 20 Sep 2006 (IRIN) – A conference of Anglican prelates, which opened on Wednesday in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, is due to deliberate ways of overcoming poverty in the South, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria said.

“In the past we went to the North, cup in hand, asking for donations to enable us to do our work; this can’t continue,” said Akinola, who is chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa representing some 37 million believers.

Twenty-five archbishops from North, South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are attending the conference, which runs until 22 September.

The archbishops are part of a conservative network known as Global South, which brings together churches opposed to changes in the doctrines of the Anglican church…

New Times (Kigali) via allAfrica.com Rwanda: Premier Makuza Hails Visiting Religious Leaders

26 comments

  • Merseymike says:

    Given that no liberal, and many in the moderate position within the CofE, would be unlikely to be able to sign such a covenant, is this the first sign of the takeover bid?

  • Neil says:

    ‘In order to put to rest this issue of homsexuality’
    Isn’t the whole point that this is and will continue to be an open question for debate just like the ordination of women both within the so called ‘Communion’, and also the wider church? Of course, on a personal level, just like the Archbishop of Canterbury I am sorry the issue was not put to rest a long time ago…but homophobic bigotry seems to take a lot longer to heal, and the Holy Spirit is taking rather a long time to bring light and knowledge to the likes of the Nigerian Church. Gay boys and girls are not the ones threatening to foreclose the debate in order to put the matter to ‘rest’. This is chilling language.

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    “those who are unable to subscribe to it will walk out”

    You gotta love the euphemism “will walk out”, when the clear implication is “will be kicked out”!

    “put to rest this issue of homosexuality”

    LA-LA-LA-Not Listening-LA-LA-LA-Shaddup!!!

    Lord have mercy…

  • Well, Mike, it would seem to be a step toward establishing a different structure. With the petition from Rwanda and the Anglican Mission in America being presented this week to this gathering, including its call that Archbishop Akinola lead “a true Anglican communion” into being, it may well be part of a big step. On the other hand, I would hardly call it the first.

  • Prior Aelred says:

    Well, I don’t know whether to trust Reuters or if ++Akinola is exagerating, or if by “Anglican” he is referring narrowly to Nigeria (it would certainly seem not) but what is presented seems to make a mockery not only of continuing dialogue on a question that the ABC says remains open, but also of the listening process commended at Lambeth. It would also seem to exclude almost all of the first world Anglican Churches (except the Archdiocese of Sydney, of course, and possibly the Evangelicals of the C of E — who might find a puzzled ++Rowan Williams among their number).

  • Lois Keen says:

    Does this mean the Kigali participants’ covenant is intended to supercede, and beat to the punch, whatever covenant Archbishop Gomez’s group, yet to be determined and convened, will write/would have written at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury? Or are the Kigali participants Archbishop Gomez’s covenant writing group? In which case, does that mean that the Archbishop of Canterbury will endorse whatever the Kigali meeting writes?

    Lois Keen

  • Leonardo Ricardo says:

    I just got *it*…of course Drexel Gomez is the ideal choice to frame the Episcopal/Anglican “convenant” as it will be filled with extreme and frightened thinking to “set us ALL straight” quite literally and morally!

    It would be *so* tempting to sign up/take-the-pledge for more ignorance, fear, hatred, shame and self-destructive behavior in my Christian life. Truly, it’s hard to move away from the familiar, yet unholy, stuff but I know God wants me to leave my anger and victimhood behind. God promised me a fresh courage to love my family and my neighbors unreservedly and then let my family and neighbors love me! God insists on me being the authentic and more honorable version of me!

    God and I have signed a new “convenant” you see and I think ++Gomez is a tad out-of-step with God and reality! Perhaps he too will find his way clear to see Gods “will” via a less frightened, more trustful and prayerfilled reality.

    Reality is nice, it just takes some getting used to…spread the word to the Global South they need some fresh Good News!

  • A new definition of “walk out” ;=)

  • Colin Coward says:

    Archbishop Akinola is quoted as saying “we are working on an Anglican covenant”. Who is “we”. Those in agreement with him at the meeting in Kigali, or the whole Communion?

    If he means the entire Communion, work on the Covenant will be guided amongst many other things by the commitments made in the Dromantine Communiqué of February 2005, that “we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual persons. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual persons that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.”

    An Anglican Covenant which adheres fully to ALL the commitments made over the past three years in different documents and meetings of Primates and others, which “very clearly say what it means to be an Anglican” cannot therefore, as Archbishop Akinola so categorically states, “put to rest this issue of homosexuality” in the way I assume he intends. He is trying to make policy by bullying +Rowan and the Communion.

    If he subscribes to the covenant, he must abide by it, and Peter Akinola will have to walk out if he doesn’t fulfil the above commitment to homosexual persons. This is my fantasy, but it’s as realistic as his, except he’s a primate and I’m a non-stipendiary priest, and he’s a bully and I try not to bully but act in Christian ways.

    His bullying will work if we who want to maintain the Anglican character and ethos of the Commuion don’t get ourselves better organised. That doesn’t mean sniping at +Rowan all the time or expecting him to solve problems for us. It means setting out our stall better and developing international strategies equal to the conservatives and prejudiced extremists.

    I’d like to hear from Tunde again. What is his opinion of the Dromantine Communique and the conflict inherent between the Communique and the views expressed by his Primate?

  • The good news is that they are going to start working on poverty. One of my great delights in the last few months is watching the jihadists and pax imperialists scramble to be seen to be there for the oppressed. God bless the book of Zechariah and the internet – the stigma of being a wasteful shepherds apparently costs more ignoring the needs of poor. Now if we can just get them to work on the idea of a God that women desire (aka book of Daniel)…

  • Merseymike says:

    OK, Andrew and others, I take your point – not so much a first move but it does seem all the more solid and definite, and clearly would encompass far more than just the USA and part of Canada.

  • Tim says:

    “those who are unable to subscribe to it will walk out”

    Yeah, and probably be blamed for “walking away” or “leaving the true faith” too.

    Since when did Akinola get to define anglicanism anyway?

  • David Huff says:

    Göran wrote, “A new definition of ‘walk out’ “

    Heh. Well, my bishop (+Stanton, Dallas) as well as the other ACN types often twist words in that Orwellian fashion. They’re walking backwards, so it seems that the bulk of TEC is moving farther & farther away from them. Hence, the vast majority of the church is “walking out”.

    Then you have to say it loudly and often, because that makes it true (right ?)

  • Nadine Kwong says:

    Can someone here provide or link to a definitive list of which “Global South” Primates are present in Kigali for this meeting? All I can find are repeated assertions that “twenty-some” Primates planned to attend.

    I suspect that some or all of the Global South Primates are again being excluded from the “Global South” on the basis of “revisionist” leanings (or at least, insufficient recitation of the nostrums of the Akinolites) but would like to know for certain. Is ++Brazil there? ++Central America or ++Mexico? How about ++Southern Africa?

    Neat trick, that would be; excising “inconvenient” geographic/demographic members from the “Global” “South” . . .

  • Nadine Kwong says:

    “Well, I don’t know whether to trust Reuters or if ++Akinola is exagerating, or if by “Anglican” he is referring narrowly to Nigeria (it would certainly seem not) but what is presented seems to make a mockery not only of continuing dialogue on a question that the ABC says remains open, but also of the listening process commended at Lambeth. It would also seem to exclude almost all of the first world Anglican Churches (except the Archdiocese of Sydney, of course, and possibly the Evangelicals of the C of E — who might find a puzzled ++Rowan Williams among their number).”

    Hear, hear, good Prior Aelred.

    How fascinating that “Anglicanism” may ultimately be deemed to exclude the Church of England!

    And how tragicomic and troubling it is that the Akinolaites are attempting to hijack/limit/restrict “Anglican(ism)” — which predates the “Anglican Communion” (let alone 3 of the 4 “Instruments of Unity/Communion/Conformity”) by centuries (and in the case of the 4th Instrument of Unity/Communion/Conformity, the Abp. of Canterbury, predates by *centuries* — to refer only to a latter-day confessional statement they are still drafting up, to be administered by institutions newly established or, at their hoariest, established only within the past 150 years. (Taking into account that the ABC *qua* “Instrument of Unity” has only evolved into said role within that time period.)

    Which reminds me: ++Rowan, old chap, we see that you have “lived into” being an Instrument, but where’s the “Unity” part???

    Uppsala and Utrecht look better each day, as does a new and *true* Communion based on a new sort of three-legged stool, where all the churches acknowledge heritage from one or more of the Churches of England (whether or not Cantuar comes along), Sweden, and Utrecht.

    Such a Communion would be Anglican, but also more than *just* Anglican, and could model Our Lord’s injunction that we may all be one.

  • Richard III says:

    And when did Peter Akinola become the one to define for all what being an Anglican was and was not?

  • Paul Bagshaw says:

    Is it a coincidence that this statement is made just as Bishop Iker says: no more talking, it’s time for action; and Bishop Duncan says he’s not in communion with Frank Griswold?

    What will the bishops meeting in Texas say: any guesses?

  • Cynthia says:

    “In order to put to rest this issue of homosexuality, we are working on an Anglican covenant with provisions that very clearly say what it means to be an Anglican”

    I feel a lot like Alice talking to Humpty-Dumpty when I read this.

    I thought one was Anglican by virtue of being in communinion with Canterbury. Silly me. It was sex all along.

    I bet if we go back to the minutes of the first Lambeth Conference, we will find, written in hitherto invisible ink, in a special secret code, the denunciation of gays signed by all bishops attending. We’ll have to borrow Archbishop Akinola’s secret-ink-revealing glases and his magic decoder ring… maybe he can lend them to the ABC so he can get with the program too.

  • Merseymike says:

    I would agree about being organised as Colin has stated above – but numerically, the pro-gay forces are not in a majority

    I have thought for a long time that this is the ‘bottom-line’ position of the so-called global south. And if that is the case, then its clear that there is no place for either gay or lesbian people, or their friends and supporters, within their vision of Anglicanism.

    If that is the case, and there is a divide, what will those of you who value unity of the Communion above all else do?

  • Kurt says:

    “Uppsala and Utrecht look better each day, as does a new and *true* Communion based on a new sort of three-legged stool, where all the churches acknowledge heritage from one or more of the Churches of England (whether or not Cantuar comes along), Sweden, and Utrecht. Such a Communion would be Anglican, but also more than *just* Anglican, and could model Our Lord’s injunction that we may all be one.”–Nadine Kwong

    Right on, Nadine! Even if Williams signs on to the neo-Puritanism, I’m sure that there are plenty of people in the CofE who will say to him “Thank you, but no thank you!” and join with a new worldwide Communion encompassing the USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Japan, Sweden, Utrecht etc.

  • In answer to Merseymike’s question, what I am going to do if there is a divide is — remain a member of my parish in the Anglican Church of Canada. If the Anglican Covenant is really written in such a way that it puts “to rest this issue of homosexuality”, then I don’t expect the ACofC will be able to sign off on it. I value the visible unity of the church, but being a part of my own parish and diocese are more important to me than being part of the Anglican Communion. And in the end, what Abp Akinola or even Abp Williams do are not going to change the process of prayerful reflection on the subjects of marriage, same-sex unions, and more that we have been called to as a church by the St Michael Report. I don’t know what’s going to happen when General Synod meets to discuss and receive that report but I would rather devote energy to that process than to worrying about the reactions of others, even though some of them are going to be painful.

    Abigail

  • Merseymike says:

    Kurt: I certainly hope you are right – although there are some who seem to suggest that they would prefer to stay with Canterbury, even if Akinola’s ideas proved to dominate.

  • Terence Dear says:

    Further to Kurt and Mike: Whatever Covenant is drawn up, Rowan Williams cannot at the moment sign up to it on behalf of the CofE. He would have to Dis-Establish the Church first and I think he would meet strong opposition from conservatives as well as liberals if he tried to do so.

    The only body that is empowered to decide the teaching of the CofE is its General Synod. The ‘Instruments of Unity’ have no “jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual” over the CofE as it is currently established by law. The Queen is the Supreme Head on earth of the Church in all spiritual and ecclesiastical matters, as well as temporal. Her Prerogative to appoint bishops cannot at present be subject to approval by “The Instruments” if this were to be a requirement of the Covenant. Although she usually acts on the advice of the Government, which in turn seeks the advice of the Church, she is known to have insisted personally on appointing Donald Coggan as Archbishop. The other side of the coin is that Desmond Tutu could not become AofC because he was not in a position to swear allegiance to the Queen.

  • Merseymike says:

    I certainly think an Established Church would have difficulty siging up to anything as anti-gay as proposed

    After all, the Church had to compromise on civil partnerships, and beneath all the spin, the reality was and is that it had no choice but to recognise them. Can’t see the Government being happy with a church which states its lack of inclusion of gay people even in the laity.

    Its interesting that David Cameron is an Anglican churchgoer and I gather, a liberal theologically?

  • Alan Marsh says:

    “Can’t see the Government being happy with a church which….”

    What do you think the government might do? Lock up synod members who voted for the motion?

    That day can’t be too far away, come to think of it. No doubt the GPA will be watching and noting the names.

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