Thinking Anglicans

GS: Wednesday and ensuing press reports

Updated again Friday evening

The official reports on today’s business, with links to audio recordings, are here: Morning and Afternoon.

Our own accounts of the two private members’ motions are in the preceding two items.

Telegraph Synod rejects church’s gay ‘marriage’ advice and Synod rejects gay clergy policy
Associated Press Anglicans Vote on Gay and Lesbian Issues
Christian Today Church of England Synod Passes Compromise Resolution on Homosexuality
Evening Standard Church tones down motion on gays
Reuters Anglicans lock horns over gays as rift deepens
Guardian Synod disarray over civil partnerships
Times has only a nib here (scroll down)

And the Living Church has reported on the Presidential Address of Monday, in Goodwill and Patience Needed, Archbishop Says.

The Church Times report of Wednesday is now here.

Update Anybody who wants the full text of Paul Perkin’s opening speech in the afternoon debate can find it here.

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PB webcast

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori conducted a live webcast this morning. You can view a recording of this at varying levels of video quality or in audio only, here.

A transcript of the first part of the broadcast is here.

An ENS news report on this: Presiding Bishop engages in a live ‘Conversation with the Church.

There is also Presiding Bishop’s webcast gets reviews from participants, viewers

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GS: Civil Partnerships

This afternoon Synod moved onto a debate about Civil Partnerships and passed this motion.

That this Synod
(a) acknowledge the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage; and
(b) note the intention of the House to keep their Pastoral Statement under review.

The final motion was very different from the original below proposed by the Revd Paul Perkin.

That this Synod, deeply concerned that
(a) in an understandable desire to remedy injustice and remove unjust discrimination, the Government’s Civil Partnership Act undermines the distinctiveness and fundamental importance to society of the relationship of marriage;
(b) the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement, while reiterating the Church’s basic teaching on marriage, has produced a recipe for confusion by not stating clearly that civil partnerships entered into under the CP Act would be inconsistent with Christian teaching;
(c) the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has given to bishops the task of ensuring that clergy who enter into these partnerships adhere to church teaching in the area of sexuality without giving the bishops the clear means to do so; and
(d) by declaring that lay people who enter into such partnerships should not be asked about the nature of their relationship, in the context of preparation for baptism and confirmation, as well as for the purposes of receiving Holy Communion, the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement has compromised pastoral discipline at the local level:
declare its support for bishops, clergy and other ministers who continue to minister the godly discipline required by the scriptures and the canons and request the House of Bishops to set up a study of the ways in which that discipline is being applied and the implications thereof for future pastoral guidance and bring a report to Synod by the July 2007 Group of Sessions.

The House of Bishops were not happy with this and, on their behalf, the Bishop of Liverpool proposed this amendment.

Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
(a) acknowledge the diversity of views within the Church of England on whether Parliament might better have addressed the injustices affecting persons of the same sex wishing to share a common life had it done so in a way that avoided creating a legal framework with many similarities to marriage;
(b) recognise the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement as a balanced and sensitive attempt faithfully to apply the Church’s teaching to civil partnerships; and
(c) note the intention of the House to keep the matter under review.”

Not wishing to accept the implied endorsement of the Bishops’ Pastoral Statement the Revd Paul Collier successful proposed the following amendment to the Bishop’s amendment..

Leave out paragraphs (b) and (c) and insert:
“(b) note the intention of the House to keep their Pastoral Statement under review.”

The Bishop’s amended amendment was then carried to produce the final version of the motion at the top.

There was another amendment to the Bishop’s amendment, but as it referred to a section of text removed by Paul Collier’s motion it lapsed. We give it below for the record.

In paragraph (b) after the words “civil partnerships” insert the words “, in the light of legal advice given to the House of Bishops, which this Synod urge the House to make available to it”.

The background papers to this debate are available online: GS Misc 843A from Paul Perkin and GS Misc 843B from the House of Bishops.

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GS: Lesbian and Gay Christians

General Synod discussed Lesbian and Gay Christians this morning and, on a show of hands, passed the following motion by a substantial majority.

That this Synod
(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10);
(c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth Resolutions, including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality; and
(d) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the Church.

The motion started as this private motion proposed by the Revd Mary Gilbert.

That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire; and, bearing in mind this diversity,
(a) agree that a homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life;
(b) invite parish and cathedral congregations to welcome and affirm lesbian and gay Christians, lay and ordained, valuing their contribution at every level of the Church; and
(c) urge every parish to ensure a climate of sufficient acceptance and safety to enable the experience of lesbian and gay people to be heard, as successive Lambeth Conferences in 1978 (resolution 10), 1988 (resolution 64), and 1998 (resolution 1.10) have requested.

However the House of Bishops was not happy with this motion, so on their behalf the Bishop of Gloucester proposed the amendment below to completely reword the motion.

Leave out all words after “this Synod” and insert the words:
“(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognise that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978:10; 1988:64; 1998:1.10); and
(c) affirm that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to a faithful Christian life or to full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the Church.”.

But Mr John Ward thought this went too far so he proposed the amendment below to the Bishop’s amendment.

(i) After paragraph (b) insert as a new paragraph
(c) welcome the opportunities offered by these Lambeth Resolutions, including for the Church of England to engage in an open, full and Godly dialogue about human sexuality;
and re-letter the remaining paragraph accordingly; and
(ii) at the end of paragraph (d) as re-lettered insert the words “and acknowledge the importance of lesbian and gay members of the Church of England participating in the listening process as full members of the Church.”

Both the amendment and the amendment to the amendment were carried by Synod so that the final motion put to Synod was as shown at the top.

Immediately after the opening speech of the debate there were motions to move to next business and then to adjourn the debate but Synod wanted to proceed with the debate and defeated both these procedural motions.

There was another amendment, but it was heavily defeated. We give it below for the record.

At the end insert as a new paragraph:
(d) (or (e) as the case may be) in the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Presidential Address given on Monday 26th February 2007 ask the Mission and Public Affairs Council to research, prepare and publish missiological ideas for clergy and parishes seeking to share faith with and disciple those who are lesbian and gay.

The background papers to this debate are available online: GS Misc 842A from Mary Gilbert and GS Misc 842B from the House of Bishops.

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GS: Wednesday press reports

Telegraph Bishops raiding funds to spend on homes
and
Church could relax rules on wedding venues
The Times Bishops raid funds to pay for palaces
Guardian Church plans cuts to pay for bishops’ homes
ekklesia Mission budgets may be cut to fund C of E bishop’s palaces

The Church of England sought to rebut the above reports with this press release:
Statement on the Church Commissioners’ expenditure on mission

Associated Press Anglicans to vote on issues regarding gays and lesbians

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Homophobia in Nigeria continued

Updated and republished Tuesday evening

While the General Synod meets, Political Spaghetti continues to report on the progress of the legislation that is officially supported by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

daily episcopalian reports the latest development affecting gay Anglicans in Nigeria here:
Pray for Davis, and write to Lambeth.

In a later report, Matt Thompson tells us that:

The Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) just announced their public support of Peter Akinola in a press conference in Abuja, condemning any group that might wish to make same-sex marriage lawful in Nigeria.

And in an even more recent posting, he reports that

The Nigerian Senate is expected to vote on the legislation this Thursday (less than 48 hours from now). The Nigerian House is ready to vote as well.

and provides a long list of contacts in Nigeria, the USA, and the UK (including Lambeth Palace) for those who wish to express their concern.

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GS: Tuesday

This morning’s business is reported officially here.

This afternoon’s business is here.

Church Times Synod report: Tuesday.

For an explanation of what happened, or rather didn’t happen yet, in the debate on the draft Church of England Marriage Measure read Alastair Cutting’s report here. He had better internet access than the press this afternoon. He also has some pictures.

For another view of Questions yesterday, see Synodical goings-on.

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more on the "Windsor" statistics

Updated

Lionel Deimel, Joan Gunderson, and Christopher Wilkins have published a detailed analysis of the statistics previously discussed here.

A Modest Analysis of NACDAP’s “Anglicans in the United States”.

Here is part of it:

…We now turn to the Coalition numbers. It is virtually impossible to verify the 48,000 number of “Network Parishes in Non-Network Dioceses.” The 194,312 number of members for “Network Dioceses” is consistent with the declared Network dioceses and their numbers shown in TEC statistics. This is an over count, however. There is opposition to the Network in all Network dioceses, and, in most of them, the opposition is highly organized. Moreover, the Network is not equally strong in all Network dioceses. In Pittsburgh, the 13 parishes that have formally declined membership in the Network have 6,200 members, including the 2nd and 3rd largest parishes in the diocese. This is just over 30% of the diocese. Pittsburgh’s diocesan dynamic is by no means unique. Typically, at least 25% of the Network diocese membership shown actually opposes the Network, and many more parishioners find the entire conflict distracting and would prefer a system that minimized diocesan division instead of exacerbating it. Some parishes are quite divided, and in almost every parish will have some parishioners that disagree with its stance (whatever that is), but 25% dissenter seems a fair guess, accounting for all the intermixing of partisans of anti-Network sentiment in the typical Network diocese. Applying this analysis would mean that reducing the 194,312 number shown for Network dioceses to 145,734 would be realistic.

Most questionable is the 201,501 figure shown for “Non-Network Windsor Dioceses.” PEP has been unable to verify this figure. It does not correspond to the number of members in various dioceses whose bishops attended the Camp Allen meetings, and there seems to be some confusion about just who is or is not a “Windsor bishop.” Among the bishops who attended the first meeting were two who retired (Salmon and Herlong) and were thus no longer diocesans. Another bishop (MacDonald, of Alaska) left his TEC see for Canada. The diocese of a fourth (Wolf, of Rhode Island) has steadfastly refused to endorse any resolutions supportive of the Windsor Report. A fifth bishop is on medical leave from his diocese (Lipscomb), and his successor, who has already been chosen, has not joined this group. Five bishops did not return for the second meeting at Camp Allen in January. Four new bishops attended that meeting (Jenkins, Gray, Jacobus, and Parsley). Bishop Parsley has been adamant that those in his diocese should not join the Network!

Mark Harris has posted Numbers, we’ve got numbers, we’ve got lots and lots of numbers. and more recently More on the Moderator’s Numbers.

epiScope has useful links to the sources of statistical data used.

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GS: Tuesday press reports

Updated
Church Times Synod report: Monday
Ekklesia C of E strengthens opposition to Trident

Reuters Anglicans appear “obsessed with sex”
Telegraph Williams: Church appears ‘obsessed with sex’
Guardian Public view us as sex obsessed, archbishop tells Anglican synod
The Times People think we are sex-obsessed, says Archbishop
Somerset County Gazette Bishop slams Government’s Trident renewal plans

Three reports from Monday:
BBC Church seeks unity on gay rights
Telegraph Anglicans to review stance on gay clergy
Yorkshire Post Michael Brown: A tale of two archbishops as a Church is torn apart

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GS: Question Time

The full list of Questions can be found here.

A few of the prepared written Answers are below. The full audio, including the supplementary questions and their answers, can be found here. We will transcribe more written answers, and a few of those supplementaries later on, when time permits.

The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Joint President of the Archbishops’ Council:

Mr Andrew Presland (Peterborough) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:

Q17. Does the Council regard the transitional period proposed to be given by the Government for the Roman Catholic adoption agencies “to adapt” to the requirements of the Sexual Orientation Regulations as:
1. a time in which faith groups are expected to rewrite their teachings so as to conform with the Government’s own agenda;
2. time to fall in line with the idea that the Government has reversed the long-standing principle that it should not be illegal for someone to act in accordance with his or her conscience; or
3. something else?

Mrs Alison Wynne (Blackburn) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:

Q18. In the light of fears that the introduction of the proposed Sexual Orientation Regulations for England, Wales and Scotland will severely hinder freedom of conscience, what representations has the Archbishops’ Council made, or will it now make, to the Government concerning those regulations?

Mrs Sarah Finch (London) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q19. In view of the threat to freedom of conscience posed by the introduction of Sexual Orientation Regulations, is the Archbishops’ Council pressing for urgent further consultations with the Government, in order to preserve one of the most precious freedoms we enjoy in this country?

Mrs Sarah Finch (London) to ask the Presidents of the Archbishops’ Council:
Q20. What consultations is the Archbishops’ Council having with other faith groups in the United Kingdom, with a view to joint discussion with the Government to preserve our freedom of conscience?

Answer
With permission I shall answer this with questions 18, 19, and 20.

Last June the Archbishops Council submitted a carefully argued response to the Government’s consultation paper on the proposed regulations. The Government had already accepted the principle that some special provisions were needed to safeguard the manifesting of religious convictions. The issue at stake was how widely those provisions should be drafted to reflect a proper balancing of conflicting rights. Since then, Archbishops’ Council staff have stayed in close touch with the representatives of other churches and religious organisations. There has also been a series of exchanges with Government ministers and advisers.

The Regulations for Great Britain have yet to be published and will in some respects be different from those already approved by Parliament for Northern Ireland. It remains to be seen therefore, precisely what the impact will be on churches and religious organisations generally. But the decision already announced in relation to Roman Catholic adoption agencies has rightly caused concern about the State’s willingness to impose requirements on voluntary organisations that are in conflict with the religious convictions and consciences that are the inspiration for their work. Whatever view is taken of the Roman Catholic policy on adoption, there are deeper issues here about the rights, liberties and dignities of independent bodies in relation to the State. To use the law to make it impossible, after a transitional period, for a religious organisation to carry on doing work that is manifestly for the common good is a new and troubling development.

(more…)

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GS: Monday

The February General Synod was opened, and Rowan Williams delivered this Presidential Address.
Audio of this here.

Church of England official page for all this. Go there for more audio links.

The outcome of THE FUTURE OF TRIDENT debate was that the following motion was carried by 206 votes to 38:

‘That this Synod recognising the fundamental responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government to provide for the security of the country:

1. welcome the response from the Mission and Public Affairs Council to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee’s inquiry expressing serious questions about the proposed renewal of the UK’s minimum deterrent;

2. call on Christian people to make an informed contribution to the issues raised in The Future of Trident in the light of Christian teaching about Just War; and

3. suggest to Her Majesty’s Government that the proposed upgrading of Trident is contrary to the spirit of the United Kingdom’s obligations in international law and the ethical principles underpinning them.’

Some key items from Questions will be reported in a separate article here shortly.

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who are the Windsor bishops?

See earlier report of statistics used by Bishop Duncan, referred to by the Bishop of Winchester (“something over a quarter of its bishops and dioceses”) and mentioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury (“perhaps amounting to nearly one quarter of the Bishops”).

Who are these bishops? And do they each speak with the authority of their diocesan conventions, or only as individuals? Does having a “Windsor bishop” automatically create a “Windsor diocese”? And if so what is the extent in each diocese of dissent from that position?

Let’s start with the simplest question, the numbers of bishops.

As best I can tell, and I welcome corrections and comments on this:

All ten Network bishops are to be included in this list. OK, right now South Carolina doesn’t have a diocesan bishop in office, but it’s safe to assert that the bishop-elect should be included.

Outside the NACDAP, the following fourteen bishops appear to be candidates:

The Rt. Rev. Jim Adams, Bishop of Western Kansas
The Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray Diocese of Mississippi
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, Bishop of Florida
The Rt. Rev. Russ Jacobus Diocese of Fond du Lac
The Rt. Rev. Charles Jenkins Diocese of Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge, Bishop of West Texas
The Rt. Rev. John Lipscomb, Bishop of Southwest Florida
The Rt. Rev. Edward Little, Bishop of Northern Indiana
The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana
The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., Bishop of Northwest Texas
The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley Diocese of Alabama
The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota
The Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas
The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island

I omit:
The Rt. Rev. Mark L. MacDonald, of Alaska, because he has subsequently accepted a post in the Anglican Church of Canada.

So we have a total at present of 24 (including South Carolina).
There are I believe 109 established posts in ECUSA for bishops with jurisdiction, and a quarter of that number would be 27+.

More on this later.

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Tanzanian interview by Rowan Williams

The Guardian newspaper in Tanzania carried this report: Interview with The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

Jim Naughton has some comments about this, and also makes reference to the Lambeth Conference encyclical of 1878, see Alarming words from Rowan Williams.

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Sunday Sequence

The BBC Northern Ireland radio programme Sunday Sequence also had an item about the recent primates meeting.
See what William Crawley wrote about it on his blog, Schori lifts the lid on the Primates’ Meeting.
Stephen Bates and Archbishop Alan Harper are interviewed.
Go here and fast forward about 35 minutes to hear the material. About 12 minutes. URL valid only for one week.

Part of what William Crawley wrote:

Katherine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, briefing some New York church officials on Friday about the Primates’ Meeting in Tanzania, said the low point of the meeting was when one primate compared homosexuality to paedophilia and another questioned whether the church even needed to study homosexuality “if it doesn’t need to study murder”.

On today’s Sunday Sequence, I asked the new Archbishop of Armagh, Alan Harper, if that was the low point of the meeting for him too. He replied, “It wasn’t one of the high points”, then remarked that those views were not shared by many other primates at the meeting. When I suggested that the comments were “disgraceful comparisons”, he repeated the claim that they weren’t widely shared in the meeting…

and on a related topic, this:

…Northern Ireland decriminalised homosexuality twenty-five years ago. It will be interesting to see how many Irish churches take the trouble, in this anniversary year, to add their voice to the many others now being raised in opposition to the Nigerian government’s proposal. Might we even expect the Archbishop of Canterbury to assert his moral authority and call on his Nigerian brother bishops to prophetically challenge their government’s plans rather than offering the state religious support for an abuse of human rights?

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Reporting Religion

The BBC World Service programme Reporting Religion has this:

On this week’s Reporting Religion, we take a detailed look at leadership in the troubled Anglican Church. Dan Damon explores whether the existing leader, Archbishop Rowan Williams, can really handle the pressure. What should he do to unite two opposing groups? Or is he wasting his time trying to find unity in his Church? Dan is joined by one of the Archbishop’s supporters and one of his critics.

Those interviewed include: Andrew Brown, Bishop Tom Butler, Bishop Josiah Fearon, Stephen Bates, Bishop Zac Niringiye.
Listen here. This URL will be valid for one week only. 16 minutes long.

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Sunday interviews Venables and Sisk

The BBC radio programme Sunday interviewed Archbishop Gregory Venables and also Bishop Mark Sisk this morning.
About 6 minutes long.
Better URL from the BBC
now here.

Transcripts here and here.

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Presiding Bishop on the Tanzania meeting

Amended

Episcopal News Service has published an audio recording of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori speaking to people who work at the Episcopal Church Center in New York last week. You can find it here.

It is a little less than 25 minutes long, but I strongly recommend listening to the whole of it.

There is a detailed ENS news report of this, Presiding Bishop briefs Church Center community on Primates’ Meeting by Mary Frances Schjonberg. This quote has drawn some attention elsewhere:

The “low point” of the Primates’ Meeting came, Jefferts Schori said, when one primate equated homosexuality with pedophilia and another said he couldn’t see why the Anglican Communion should study homosexuality if it doesn’t need to study murder.

The Living Church also has a report, Presiding Bishop Outlines Discernment Process, Schedules Webcast.

Next Wednesday, while the English General Synod is debating Private Members’ Motions, there will be a live webcast featuring the Presiding Bishop, see Presiding Bishop sets live webcast to discuss current issues. The recorded programme will be online for viewing afterwards.

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Homophobia in Nigeria

Updated

Matt Thompson has comprehensive coverage of the pending Nigerian legislation at Political Spaghetti.

See his four five (so far) recent posts, One, Two, Three and Four; and now Five.

Passage Imminent III contains a detailed analysis of the Nigerian church’s position on all this, and notes that more than one Muslim legislator is reluctant to proceed.

According to the BBC:

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body for Nigerian Christians, called for speedy passage of the law, describing same sex unions as “barbaric and shameful”.

And I saw no mention at all of this matter in the recent Communiqué from the Primates, or in any of the ensuing primatial statements so far.

Here is the most recent United Nations report:UN independent experts oppose proposed Nigerian ban on same-sex relationships.

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Faith, Homophobia & Human Rights

A conference with this title was held last Saturday.

My own report of the conference appears in this week’s Church Times. The text of that report, on the CT website next week, is meanwhile reproduced here (with permission), below the fold.

A press release giving more details of the event is here. See also these pictures and audio files, the draft programme, and the full text of the statement made.

(more…)

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Martyn Minns writes to the CANAites

The following letter has been posted as a PDF file on the CANA website:

Convocation of Anglicans in North America
Polycarp of Smyrna
February 23, 2007

Dear Friends:

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our one and only Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am writing after a truly historic meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where the Primates of the Anglican Communion met to chart a way forward. The stakes were enormous and it was an intense spiritual battle. The setting was idyllic — the meetings were held in the White Sands Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean — but the struggle was so fierce, we never found time to walk on the beach. Angela and I were there as members of a staff support team for Archbishop Peter Akinola and the other Primates of the Global South.

What were the results?

Many important topics such as the development of an Anglican Communion Covenant, Millennium Development Goals, and Theological Education were discussed. But the ongoing intransigence of The Episcopal Church (TEC) forced the Primates to devote the majority of the meeting to following through on The Windsor Report and especially determining the adequacy of the response from TEC.

One of the most positive outcomes from the meeting was a clear and unambiguous declaration of what we, as Christians and as Anglicans, believe. This was expressed both in terms of core creedal statements through the Covenant and also in a powerful recapitulation of our convictions regarding marriage and human sexuality: “in view of the teaching of Scripture, [the Conference] upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage.” Someone commented that this was almost un-Anglican in its clarity!

The Primates also recognized that while mission initiatives such as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) do create some “difficulties,” they have a valid and important place in the Anglican Communion as TEC decides whether to abandon its innovations and seek to reclaim its place in mainstream Anglicanism. I was especially gratified by the recognition given to the important role that Archbishop Akinola and the Church of Nigeria have played in providing a safe harbor for those who simply want to get on with the work of the Gospel without compromise of our core beliefs.

While rejecting any attempt to draw a moral equivalence between our so-called “interventions” and the “innovations” now embraced by TEC, the Primates concluded that The Episcopal Church had NOT responded adequately to the requests of The Windsor Report and gave them one last chance with a date certain set for September 30, 2007. The Primates were clear that after that there will be serious, though not yet specified, consequences. It is clear that The Episcopal Church must decide if it will uphold the biblical teachings of the Anglican Communion or choose to walk apart.

The Primates urged the suspension of all property litigation since they — and we — do not believe that this is the way that our disputes should be handled. We already have communicated with both diocesan and national church leadership, urging them to follow through on this important request and we pray that there will be a positive response.

The Primates also recognized that many dioceses and congregations within TEC do want to embrace the principles set out in The Windsor Report and proposed a complex and unprecedented restructuring of TEC to accommodate them. At the heart of that proposal is the establishment of “Primatial Vicar” who will provide oversight in conjunction with the Presiding Bishop and a Pastoral Council jointly appointed by member dioceses, the Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If it sounds terribly complicated . . . it is. “It is an experiment,” said Archbishop Rowan Williams at the final news conference. “Please pray!”

What does it all mean for us?

First of all, it means that we are part of a Communion that is determined to stand on the truth of the Holy Scriptures and is not willing to abandon such a stand despite enormous pressure from The Episcopal Church and its leadership. We are also part of a Communion that is led by gracious leaders who are both patient and wise — who are determined to do all that they can for the unity of the Church but who will not give up biblical truth for the sake of a false unity.

With regard to CANA, we were recognized as having a valid place in the life and work of the Anglican Communion, under the Primate of Nigeria, and our mission and ministry understood as prompted by our desire to serve as faithful Anglicans. As to whether there will be an eventual reconciliation between the various Anglican bodies operating in the USA — that question awaits both the response of TEC and also the effectiveness of the various structural recommendations. In the meantime, we will continue to work to provide a life-boat for all those who wish to embrace biblical truth and the Anglican tradition in North America.

Our task is to continue to grow and reach out to the people around us with the Good News of God’s inclusive and life-transforming love. We are to be reflections of the character of Christ into a world that is so desperately in need of hope. We have been distracted for too long by the endless struggles of TEC. We are no longer a part of TEC and our call is to show the world a new way of living and a new way of loving.

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement. To God be the Glory!

In Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns,
Missionary Bishop of CANA

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