This is the planned agenda item for the afternoon session. It now appears that at 2.30 pm discussion of this item will be preceded by the closed session mentioned in an earlier item, as requested by Peter Akinola.
Proposed Resolution from the Joint Standing Committee on the listening process as requested by the Primates at Dromantine
In response to the request of the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in Resolution 1.10 to establish “a means of monitoiring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion” and to honour the process of mutual listening including “listening to the experience of homosexual persons” and the experience of local churches around the world in reflecting on these matters, this Council requests the Secretary General:
1. To collate relevant research studies, statements, resolutions and other material on these matters from the various provinces; and
2. To make such material available for study, discussion and reflection within each member Church of the Communion; and
3. To identify and allocate adequate resources for this work, and to report progress on it to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the next Lambeth Conference.4 Comments
Archbishop Akinola wants the following document considered, in closed session. See also his cover letter here.
The ACC has just decided to go into closed session at 2.30 pm to do so.
A Global South statement regarding the request for listening
The Primates Meeting asked ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada to explain the thinking behind their recent actions.
The presentations that we heard from ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada did not explain that thinking with reference to the teaching of the Anglican Communion as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 and statments from Primates Meetings in Brazil, Lambeth and Newry.
They also failed to explain why they have chosen to:
– depart from the received and agreed teaching of this Communion
– ignore all four instruments of unity
– disregard the processes by which we come to a common mind, and
– overlook the specific request described in the Windsor Report.
Instead they advocated a position that reinforces our current divisions.
The proposal that the Communion “listen to the experience of homosexual persons” is an ongoing concern but must be preceded by an affirmation of Lambeth 1.10 and the Primates Communiqué at Dromantine.17 Comments
Draft Resolution on the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada
The Anglican Consultative Council
(1) takes note of the decisions taken by the Primates at their recent meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in connection with the recommendations of the Windsor Report 2004;
(2) notes further that the Primates there reaffirmed “the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion”;
(3) endorses and affirms those decisions;
(4) consequently endorses the Primates’ request that “in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference”;
(5) further requests that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada withdraw their members from all other official entities of the Communion for the same period.
Stanley Isaacs (South East Asia)
Peter Akinola (Nigeria)
Henri Isingoma (Congo)
Amos Kiriro (Kenya)
Andres Lenton(Southern Cone)
Gerard Mpango (Tanzania)
Samson Mwaluda (Kenya)
Bariira Mbukure (Uganda)
Damien Nteziryayo (Rwanda)
D Okeke (Nigeria)
Elizabeth Paver (England)
Humphrey Peters (Pakistan)
Enock Tombe (Sudan)
Again today, reports will be linked here as they become available. My apologies for misplaced items yesterday.
Full text of Peter Elliott’s presentation (PDF FILE)
Anglican Church of Canada press release Canadians address Anglican Consultative Council
Full text of Susan Russell’s presentation
Washington Times N. American wings defend stances on gays
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steve Levin U.S. Episcopal leaders defend ordaining gays
Anglican Journal Solange de Santis Canada, U.S. tell Council about debates on gay issues
The Times Ruth Gledhill US Anglicans bless ‘sacred’ gay unions
Guardian Stephen Bates Vengeance in the air as churches face expulsion
Canadian presentation: ‘Key messages’ for the Anglican Consultative Council
Kendall Harmon “liveblogged” the American presentation here
PDF download of the report To Set Our Hope On Christ
Associated Press Jill Lawless U.S., Canadian Anglicans Gather in England
Washington Times Julia Duin Alexandria seminary official to defend gay clergy0 Comments
press reports and releases will be linked here as they become available.
TLC Archbishop Says Common Ground Still Exists
also a series of photos from Nottingham
ENS Theological education: Archbishop of Canterbury underscores global importance
(this report covers other events of Monday as well)
Guardian Stephen Bates Williams pleads for Anglicans to hold together
Press Association Gay Bishop Decision to Be Discussed
Anglican Church of Canada Rowan Williams stresses value of friendship in opening address to Anglican Consultative Council
Not a report on today, but a preview of tomorrow, Ruth Gledhill US church leaders justify ordination of gay bishop0 Comments
The full text is now available from ACNS here, or below the fold.
I recommend reading the entire document carefully.6 Comments
Rowan Williams was interviewed for an hour (less commercial breaks) by Melvyn Bragg. This was recorded last Thursday, and was shown today, Sunday, at noon on ITV1.
No transcript of this interview is available as yet.
The following news stories have appeared:
Press Association Archbishop Threatens to Reopen Rift on Women Bishops
Observer Woman might head church, says Williams
Telegraph Homophobia is rife, says Archbishop
Further news reports today on the ACC meeting will be posted here, newest items at the top.
TLC George Conger ACC Meeting Opens with Dinner and Orientation0 Comments
Anglican Consultative Council
The meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council which begins today in Nottingham could be a slightly awkward affair. The ACC is the only worldwide Anglican body which includes lay people and priests as well as bishops – all thirty eight provinces of the Anglican Church send representatives. This time, however the Anglican Churches in the United States and Canada were asked to withdraw their delegations because of the row over the ordination of Gene Robinson and the blessing of same sex unions. Stephen Bates is the Guardian’s Religious Affairs correspondent and has written a book about the divisions in the Church over homosexuality.
Listen here with Real Audio (3.5 minutes)
Profile of Archbishop of York
The Church of England is to get its first black archbishop – as Archbishop of York John Sentamu will be the Church’s second most senior figure and stands 98th in a line that stretches back Paulinus in the year 625. It is a remarkable journey for someone who began his working life as a lawyer in Uganda. Mike Ford reports.
Listen here with Real Audio (10 minutes)
The appointment of John Sentamu to the number two job in the Church of England has provoked plenty of column inches in the papers – most of them positive. Much is made of his background. He worked as a lawyer and judge in Uganda before escaping to Britain; he was beaten up under the Idi Amin regime when he refused to acquit one of the president’s cousins. Much is also made of the fact that he is the Church of England’s first black archbishop – the Independent newspaper adds for good measure that he is the first “senior prelate of the Church of England to be flagged down by the police and asked the standard PC plod stop-and-search questions” Here are some reactions to his appointment – The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin chairs the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, the Most Rev Henry Orombi, is Archbishop of Uganda & and Bishop of Kampala, but first here are the views of Rt. Rev. Joe Aldred a pastor in Birmingham, and secretary for minority ethnic Christian affairs in Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Whatever the ethnic background of the incumbent the position of Archbishop of York is, potentially at least, a hugely important one – both in the life of the Church and in the life of the nation.
Listen here with Real Audio (2.5 minutes)
BBC news report based on the above, Archbishop vows to ban homophobia
The archbishop told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme homophobia had “no place” in the Church.
He wanted people to stop using “ghastly” language that implied people were “not human beings” because of their sexual orientation.
Archbishop Sentamu, who was born in Uganda, was appointed to the second highest post in the Church on Friday.
“I want to say to people, ‘Please, please, please don’t use such ghastly words,’ because every human being regardless of their sexual orientation are standing in for God, each one of them is actually loved of God.
“And when you use language which implies they were not human beings who are you to do that because you did not create them?’”
Richard Chartres writes in The Times about church finances. In Church coffers are half full, not half empty he writes in part:
ALL Barchester has been roused by reports that a cash crisis in the Church of England could lead to a cut in clergy numbers by up to a third, with worshippers being directed to meet in one another’s homes. This doomsday scenario is mistaken, but despite Archdeacon Grantly’s derisive snorts, it is good to have a serious debate about the present state of the Church of England…
…The report which gave rise to the initial press reaction will be discussed by the General Synod next month. Its main thrust is that “the key challenge facing the Church is not financial but the need for it to develop a more dynamic mission emphasis”. This is the point on which we need the real debate to be focused.
The inhibiting factors have to be faced. One is the way the Church does its business, with the postwar explosion of boards, synods, councils and committees, all involved in a carousel of consultation,. John Sentamu, the new Archbishop of York, as Primate of England is just the right person to tackle this plate of spaghetti. His appointment is very good news…
Over in the Guardian Jane Shaw writes about the Anglican Communion in Rival bids for the Anglican franchise, and she concludes her column with:
…There is a new set of alignments, in which people want to be with other people who read the Bible like them more than they want to unite with all other Anglicans. These alignments cross national boundaries. We might call this the confessional versus the communion.
The bullying behaviour of those united in an alignment to oppose the North American decisions suggests that they have no interest in the integrity of the communion unless we all think like them.
The Windsor report, the 2004 document meant to sort out the divisions within the communion, attempts to do that by changing the nature of the communion. We need to be clear about that. We will go from being a “fairly loose federation of kindred spirits, often grateful for mutual fellowship but with each province reserving the right to make its own decisions”, as church historian Henry Chadwick described the communion in 1993, to one in which, as the report says “no province, diocese or parish has the right to introduce a novelty”.
Local differences, or dispersed authority as we understand it in Anglican terms, will have no place in this more authoritarian global structure. Someone’s version of Anglicanism will prevail, but whose? Who will own the Anglican franchise?
Christopher Howse in the Telegraph discusses Prayer and God’s rescue plan6 Comments
The Yorkshire Post has this column by Michael Brown A life less ordinary for the very different Archbishop together with this front-page news report Archbishop elect calls for visionary church and a leader here (scroll down)
From the London papers:
leader Ebor’s handicap
Stephen Bates A cleric’s journey: from Idi Amin’s Uganda to York
Ruth Gledhill and Andrew Norfolk Church reveals its changing face with choice of a visionary Bishop
Alan Hamilton A fearless campaigner who stood up to terror of Idi Amin
and this online only analysis by Ruth Gledhill The man to help the CofE live again
Ian Herbert Judge who fled Amin becomes first black archbishop in C of E
As the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Nottingham draws near, many articles have appeared concerning it.
The Episcopal News Service published Listening central as delegates, observers prepare for ACC-13
and also this account of the recent Province IV Synod: From Nigeria, New Zealand: Voices on Windsor Report heard in U.S. forum.
Presiding Bishop Griswold has issued this letter to ECUSA bishops which mentions that:
In addition to making our presentation we will deliver to the members of the ACC a document entitled To Set Our Hope on Christ. This report is offered as a response to the request put to us in the Windsor Report paragraph 135 which asks the Episcopal Church to explain “from within the sources of authority that we as Anglicans have received in scripture, the apostolic tradition and reasoned reflection, how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the flock of Christ.” The report was prepared by a small group coordinated by my Canon Theologian, Mark McIntosh of Loyola University Chicago. We can be very grateful for his efforts and those of Michael Battle, Katherine Grieb and Timothy Sedgwick (all of the Virginia Theological Seminary) Jay Johnson (the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California), Bishop Roskam, and Kathryn Tanner (University of Chicago). As well, we can be grateful for the work of Dr. Pamela Darling, an historian who has compiled an appendix which delineates our church’s exploration over these last 40 years of issues of human sexuality. Once the text has been delivered to the members of ACC it will be available online and you will receive word about how copies may be obtained in booklet form.
The Anglican Journal has Church Groups Make Plans for Council Meeting in Nottingham.
And the CEN has now added this week’s trenchant View from Fleet Street column, by Stephen Bates in which he comments:
…It is clear that the North Americans are no more going to retreat from what they – rightly in my opinion, for what it is worth – perceive to be a more realistic, tolerant and Christian attitude towards gays in the clergy, than that the bishops of the Global South will be struck by a blinding revelation that homosexuality does not have to be the defining, now-or-never, communion-breaking issue for Anglicanism.
The best analogy I’ve heard in all this has been that of Kendall Harmon, the South Carolina theologian, who says it is as if the two sides are playing tennis, but on separate courts, so that there is no one to bat the ball back from the other side of the net. As in any divorce, schism or civil war, it is when the two sides not only stop talking to each other but also cease listening – a process which implies the possibility of change and even reconciliation – that breakdown is inevitable. They may not openly admit it, but too many people in Anglicanism just want to bring that on.
Well, the time has come. It is surely evident that the strains of keeping together an international communion, traditionally based on mutual affection and respect for each other’s traditions and provincial autonomy, are just too great when stretched across societies of vastly different cultural, social and religious realities, particularly when it is evident that there is no mutual understanding and appreciation left to hold the show together…
The main bulk of the papers for next months meeting of General Synod arrived in the post this morning, and are listed below. I’ve also included papers due to be circulated next week (marked with an asterisk).
I’ll add links to online copies as they become available.
GS 1572 Report of the Business Committee
GS 1578 Thirty-Ninth Report of the Standing Orders Committee
First Notice Paper (listing proposed amendments to standing orders)
GS 1579 Church Urban Fund: A New Future
GS Misc 789 Covering Note from the Mission and Public Affairs Council
GS 1582 Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report *
In the Spirit of the Covenant: Report of the Joint Implementation Commission
GS Misc 784 Covering Note by the CCU
Listing continues below the fold.0 Comments
The new Archbishop of York is to be the Rt Revd Dr John Sentamu, currently Bishop of Birmingham.
Here is the Church of England press release
Here is the Downing Street announcement
Here is the Lambeth Palace statement
Here is the Diocese of York press release
Here is the Diocese of Birmingham announcement
Church Times ‘Surprised’ choice for York
Doug LeBlanc has a roundup of comments about John Sentamu in “You have wasted your saliva”18 Comments
The Church Times has a lengthy report, Revealed: conservative plans to set up global network of ‘authentic’ Anglicans. This report says in part:
It is hard to see how the Anglican Global Initiative could exist within the existing Anglican Communion, even though the articles state that members should be “respectful of the historical role and authority entrusted to the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Primates’ Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference”. No mention is made anywhere of the other instrument of unity, the ACC.
The document proposes affiliating with other traditionalist organisations in North America and the United Kingdom, “as an authentic expression of the worldwide Anglican Communion”.
None of these others is named, but the document does refer to the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, which was established last autumn to channel aid from traditionalist parishes in the US ( News, 1 October). The Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes and the Anglican Communion Network were involved in its setting up.
The Church Times editorial is also about this, see Planning for a band of the like-minded. An extract from this:
We are disturbed, however, by the upsurge of organisations that define themselves as representing the only true spirit of Anglicanism, or, for that matter, of Christianity. We are relieved that the proposed Anglican Global Initiative is quiescent for the present; but the implications of a body of this kind are grave. It is, of course, laudable that its promoters wish to “hold to the centrality and authority of holy scripture”, to “propagate the historic faith and order”, and to “pursue the apostolic mission of the Church to a troubled and fallen world”. We concur with their desire to “alleviate human need and to provide an effective means to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, while promoting unity through common action within the Anglican Communion”.
The problem is that, while everyone else in the Anglican Communion would also concur with these statements, it is clear that the framers of the articles have only a select band of parishes and dioceses in mind. The rest of the Church, by implication, has “schismatically separated itself from the fellowship of most members of the Anglican Communion”. Where and how the numbers divide is anyone’s guess. Moreover, there is always a good chance that if you are accusing others of schism, you may be schismatic yourself.
Rowan Williams delivered a lecture last night at Lambeth Palace, entitled The Media: Public Interest and Common Good.
Lambeth Palace also issued a press release about it, in advance: Archbishop delivers major address on media.
Reports of this speech:
Ruth Gledhill in The Times Archbishop hits out at web-based media ‘nonsense’
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has criticised the new web-based media for “paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry”. He described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was “close to that of unpoliced conversation”.
In a lecture to media professionals, politicians and church leaders at Lambeth Palace in London last night, Dr Williams wondered whether a balance could be struck between the professionalism of the classical media and the relative disorder of online communication.
Dr Williams also extended his wide-ranging critique of journalistic practice to the traditional media, arguing that there are “embarrassingly low levels of trust” in the profession and that claims about what is in the public interest need closer scrutiny. He called for a “more realistic, less fevered” approach to stories by journalists and added: “There is a difference between exposing deceptions that sustain injustice and attacking confidentialities or privacies that in some sense protect the vulnerable.”
He attacked the “high levels of adversarial and suspicious probing” that send the clear message that any kind of concealment means “guilty until proved innocent”, and he challenged journalists and broadcasters to attempt to regain lost public confidence…
Stephen Bates and Owen Gibson in the Guardian Archbishop attacks ‘lethal’ media
The Archbishop of Canterbury last night launched a wide-ranging attack on the media, accusing journalists of distorting debate, contributing to a climate of national cynicism, and unjustly attacking institutions over their secretiveness.
In the most trenchant statement on public life he has made in his three years at Lambeth Palace, Dr Rowan Williams appeared to take in tabloids, broadsheets, weblogs and broadcasters with equal vehemence. He charged all with conspiring against public understanding.
The speech at Lambeth Palace represented a departure for the archbishop, who has been criticised in church quarters for his reluctance to speak out on public matters, leading to accusations that his advisers prefer him to say nothing controversial.
Dr Williams claimed that some aspects of current journalistic practice are “lethally damaging”, contributing to the “embarrassingly low level of trust” in the profession.
The archbishop said: “We need to deflate some of the rhetoric about the media as guardians and nurturers of democracy simply by virtue of the constant exposure of ‘information’ and we need to be cautious about a use of ‘public interest’ language that ignores the complexity and, often, artificiality of our ideas of ‘the public’. “
He accused the media of manipulating fear, exhibiting violent conflict between people for entertainment, and living off internal feuds: “Corrupt speech, inflaming unexamined emotion, reinforcing division, wrapped up in its own performance, leaves us less human: fewer things are possible for us. Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow.” His attack encompassed national newspapers which “communicate as if every reader … shared the same fundamental values, preferences and anxieties”, broadcasters for their obsession with breaking news, and weblogs which indulge in “paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry”…
The Guardian also has an editorial about this, which should be read in full, Good news. Two quotes from that:
…Since he has spent much of the last three years avoiding as many journalists as he could, his analysis lacks the kind of practical sympathy arising from shared experience that he believes journalists should show towards their victims. It certainly lacks the snap that might propel it in the market place. But he makes a couple of deep and important points. The first is that the media, just as much as other powerful forces, tend to destroy the autonomy of the professions they write about. A professional, by definition, has knowledge and understanding unavailable to outsiders. Journalists, Dr Williams believes, should be illuminating this kind of inside knowledge and allowing readers to share it imaginatively; instead they concentrate on dragging mere facts into the light, which may well be misleading even if they are correct…
…The archbishop wants a society in which journalists, readers and their subjects all talk back to each other and try to learn from each other. This will strike most journalists and those who have to deal with them as extraordinarily utopian. Yet Dr Williams is right. There is something wrong with a society in which this seems a ludicrous aspiration. He should talk about it with journalists more often – and not just at them.
We don’t often link to the Sun on Thinking Anglicans, but its report is headlined ‘Fever’ call to media.2 Comments
Updated Thursday twice
Two sources have published reports concerning a draft document which is titled: THE ORGANIZING CONSTITUTION OF THE ANGLICAN GLOBAL INITIATIVE.
Stephen Bates has this report in the Guardian Conservative Anglicans’ church plan revealed. It starts out:
Conservative Anglicans have drawn up detailed plans to set up their own church within a church, with their own constitution and decision-making synods, according to a document seen by the Guardian.
The move, days before representatives from the church’s 38 provinces meet in Nottingham to discuss the state of Anglicanism, appears to be the latest stage in the 77 million-strong communion’s widening split over homosexuality within the priesthood.
The draft organising constitution for a group to be called the Anglican Global Initiative envisages that it would operate within the Anglican communion. The document proposes that it should be headed by two conservative primate archbishops from the developing world “to affiliate and unite in love, holiness and true godly fellowship through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Anglicans in [the] global south with Anglicans in North America and the United Kingdom”…
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh has issued a press release about the document, with the title Akinola and Gomez Prepared to Start Alternative Anglican Communion which can be read here and in part says:
Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh (PEP) has obtained a draft constitution for an organization called the “Anglican Global Initiative” (AGI), apparently intended to be a shadow, alternative, or parallel Anglican Communion for so-called orthodox Anglicans. The document, which has circulated among leaders of the Episcopal Church, USA, and the Anglican Church of Canada since the Primates Meeting of last February, was discussed at a January Nairobi meeting of “Global South” primates led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola. The constitution, which seems not to have been formally agreed to by meeting participants, names Akinola and Archbishop Drexel Gomez, of the West Indies, as interim co-presidents. Akinola and Gomez have been two of the most vocal critics of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Church of Canada for their treatment of homosexuality.
Despite provision in the draft document for appointment of a group of 12 laity and a synod of bishops, all power lies in the hands of an Executive Council of primates and one lay representative of their choice. Between meetings of this Council, power is exercised by the president(s). One provision would allow the Moderator of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes (NACDAP) status as a primate. The top-down polity outlined by the constitution is also reflected in the document’s omission of the Anglican Consultative Council from a list of Anglican Communion entities owed respect for their “historical role and authority.” (The other three “Instruments of Unity” are named.)
An analysis of the text of the draft suggests that it was drawn up in close consultation with the NACDAP. It is prefaced by “If it becomes necessary, REALIGNMENT GUIDELINES.” “Realignment,” usually without any clear explanation, is a common theme of NACDAP spokespersons. The structural charter of the NACDAP and the AGI constitution each has an Article IX concerning property, with the AGI version closely following that of the NACDAP. The AGI constitution makes provision for a uniform canon law, recognizes the Anglican Relief and Development Fund by name, and commits to setting up missions in disregard of diocesan boundaries and directly serving dissident parishes, not only in North America, but in Britain as well. The AGI constitution was probably drawn up after the October 2004 meeting of CAPA (Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa) for presentation in Nairobi. Attached to it is what appears to be a preliminary draft of the statement actually issued January 28, 2005, at the close of January Nairobi meeting…
Steve Levin in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has Plan realigns Anglican church. Comments in that article include:
The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan Jr., bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese and moderator of an organization of representatives from about 10 dioceses around the country — including Pittsburgh — who believe the Episcopal Church has overstepped its canonical boundaries, said he first learned of the draft yesterday.
He dismissed it as looking “like the work of some lawyers” but said a similar document could eventually emerge.
“It’s within the structures of the Anglican Communion,” he said. “There are numerous subgroups within the communion. This is a proposal for another subgroup.”
Those who want to see what the original document looks like should examine the 0.9 Mb PDF file available here.
The story is also reported in the Church of England Newspaper as Conservative Anglicans planning separate branch
John Gladwin wasn’t the only person recently affected by the policies of the Province of the West Indies.
From the Trinidad and Tobago Express a profile this week of the American priest who had her invitation to return to her native country withdrawn by the local bishop, God loves Gays.
Ifill’s attitude of inclusion-expected, of course, from a priest-landed her in the midst of a local controversy last month, when she became the second cleric from whom an invitation to speak here was withdrawn. The Trinidad and Tobago Anglican diocese cited conflicts between its and the invitees’ views on homosexuality. (The other rejected priest was UK bishop John Gladwell.)
Ifill says media headlines referring to her as “pro-gay” distorted her views on the issue. Her stance might best be described as open and non-condemning.
“I still struggle with the issue,” she says. “Every day you see scientific research and evidence contrary to what we think might be someone taking on (homosexuality) because it’s a fad or because they feel to go this way.”
Ifill tells the story of praying and crying with a suicidal gay young man who had been ostracised by his church and family. The painful experience had a great impact on her outlook.
“It’s very, very hard for me to come hard and fast on any particular side,” she says of the conflict that has been rending the international Anglican community.
But Ifill is certain that her role in dealing with gay parishioners is the same as dealing with straight, that is, to counsel, comfort and-above all-accept.
“The church is called to reconcile all people to God and to each other,” she says. “The church has a mission in this world to preach the gospel and we cannot be about alienation.”
Ifill’s moderate position was close enough to the church’s liberal extreme—concentrated in the USA, Canada and the UK, which supports gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, to alarm local bishop, Calvin Bess.
He, like other West Indian Anglican leaders, believes gay relationships are a contravention of God’s laws and therefore not consistent with Christianity.
“The whole question of homosexuality has been pronounced upon by the word of God,” Bess says in a phone interview. He cites biblical passages some believe prohibit homosexual acts. One, Leviticus 18:22, reads: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.”
“Who am I to go contrary to the word of God and stay a minister?” says Bess.
Reassurances from Ifill that she would not preach anything contradicting the West Indian position weren’t enough.
“She had a number of programmes in schools,” says Bess. “How would she know the kinds of questions those children were going to ask? I cannot allow myself to be seen as somebody who is saying one thing and doing the opposite. I would look like a madman.”
Ifill is regretful of Bess’s decision and the rift in the worldwide Anglican church.
Here’s the earlier reports of her disinvitation, Anglicans blank another foreign priest on gay issue and West Indies Withdraws Invitation to American Missioner.
For good measure, here’s a recent piece by Angela Infill, What Is Expected of the Baptized?.49 Comments
Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes this week on Crying out for vengeance
This month in Harper’s Magazine Jeff Sharlet has a major article: Inside America’s most powerful megachurch. This was discussed in last week’s Church Times Press column by Andrew Brown in Where they queue to get in
Pastor Ted has been getting a lot of publicity lately in the USA, follow the links from The Church of No Questions
There’s a second article in that same Harper’s issue, Feeling the hate with the National Religious Broadcasters5 Comments
The process of inculturation in southern Africa has led some priests to introduce animal slaughter. Michael Bleby reports in Bringing new blood into church
There was also a related news story by Bill Bowder, Blood used to welcome ancestors
For many unmarried couples, christening of their children is a substitute for another service, Alan Billings finds in Why baptism parties are getting bigger
Boycotting Israel, especially its universities,would not have helped anyone, argues Ed Kessler in Sense triumphs in boycott row1 Comment