Thinking Anglicans

News from the Big Blue Tent (15)

Today Anglicans circled prayerfully and slowly around, worked hard at not stepping on each others toes, and eventually all ended up in the centre admiring Canterbury. Yes, it was the official opening of the new University Labyrinth on the slope behind Eliot College and with wonderful views over both city and cathedral. I’m not sure whether the Conference simply coincided serendipitously with the labyrinth’s creation or not, but it made a fine late addition to the programme and afforded yet another way of holding all we are doing before God.

Our indaba group on sexuality was every bit as moving as I had hoped for. Emotionally I think the Conference has gone a long way towards endorsing what I would call responsible, accountable, contextual diversity. The tricky bit may be trying to capture that in a text that will survive the flights home, the determined shredders of the blogosphere and the efforts of some of our absent friends.

The morning video journal, before the dismissal at the end of the Eucharist, featured Tom Shaw from Massachusetts (thank you spell checker) and a Tanzanian bishop (whose name I didn’t catch) explaining how they keep up a warm and loving dialogue on human sexuality, that has now lasted several years, across their obvious and persisting theological differences. It was an example of the same graciousness that has been the hallmark of the last two weeks, but it shows it doesn’t have to end when Lambeth is over. The video introduction featured Rowan, who started by saying, “The 1998 Lambeth Conference spent a lot of energy discussing sexuality”, at which point the audio failed, whilst the picture jumped once or twice then stuck on a still of the Archbishop with his eyes closed (a blink stretched into eternity). Clearly this is where the energy finally ran out. The whole big blue tent roared with laughter, especially Rowan himself, and the mood, already buoyed up by a splendid sermon from the Archbishop of Burundi, rose even further. It was a good start to a good day.

Highlight of the day: I’m invited to supper at the Old Palace Canterbury tonight.

Lowlight of the day: when I get back I’m going to have to pack as tomorrow is my last day here before returning to Worcester for the Three Choirs Festival.


Lambeth: Thursday press conference

Updated Friday morning

Today the press conference on sexuality occurred. Jim Naughton has captured the event well in Live: talking sex successfully, and see also his earlier, Live: talking sex.

Listen to the press conference here.

Anglican Journal Marites Sison No consensus yet on sexuality, but bishops make ‘significant step forward’

ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation and videos of both the presentations are also available, Archbishop Ian Ernest here, and Bishop Colin Johnson here.

Sorry, it has been pointed out to me that these videos do not have individual Permalinks, you have to locate them from here, by date. The date for these two items is 07/31/08.


Lambeth: Orombi attacks Williams

Updated Friday morning
The full article in The Times by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi can be read at The Church cannot heal this crisis of betrayal.

And Ruth Gledhill writes about it: Rowan Williams betrayed churches over gay bishop, says African leader

Ruth Gledhill reports: Lambeth Diary: Rowan accused of ‘betrayal’

In a comment piece in tomorrow’s Times, the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, will accuse the Arcbishop of Canterbury of a betrayal at the very deepest level. He will argue that even the Pope is elected by his peers, but Dr Williams in his office is little better than a remnant of colonialism.

Also, in The Times Cardinal Kasper is reported to have been very negative, see Catholic-Anglican relations reach new low over women bishops

The full text of this is now available in English at Zenit Cardinal Kasper to Anglican Communion


Lambeth: Tom Wright's talk

Fulcrum has the full text over here.


Lambeth: BBC reports

Robert Pigott has updated his diary, see the 30 July entry at Lambeth diary: Anglicans in turmoil

Hear what coverage the Today programme had this morning by going here. And also here. 0735 and 0855.


Lambeth: Church Times blog reports

Pat Ashworth has Rowan Williams: a call for mutual generosity

and also Windsor: mixed responses

Ed Beavan has Bishops talk about Windsor Continuation Group’s proposals

and Greg Venables: We’re still not addressing the basic issue


in other news

Riazat Butt has a Lambeth Diary in the Guardian. Today it is titled Group meetings to resolve conflicts mocked by bishops.

It also mentions the use of diplomatic passports by archbishops. Here’s some more background from Uganda. It’s an inter-faith issue as you can see.

Kampala Monitor Uganda: Religious Leaders Holding Diplomatic Passports Illegally

…Religious leaders who hold diplomatic passports include the Archbishop the Church Of Uganda, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, the Archbishop Of Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Uganda.

When contacted, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said; “I can’t comment on a matter which I have not heard. I will give a comment later.”

However, the Muslim Supreme Council Publicist, Hajji Nsereko Mutumba, defended the religious leaders’ right to possess diplomatic passports. “Did they get these passports through the window?

Religious leaders are sacred people. They are bigger than even ministers. They should hold these passports,” he said. Mr Kasaija, who was defending his Shs290 billion 2008/9 budget said Ugandan diplomatic passports have been abused by criminals who masquerade as diplomats.

He said officials who are supposed to access diplomatic passports include; government ministers and their spouses, foreign service officers, their spouses and children below the age of 18, the head of public service, the chief justice, justices of the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, chancellors and vice chancellors of public universities, the governor and deputy governor of Bank of Uganda, recognised traditional and cultural leaders, the speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament, permanent secretaries, chairpersons and vice chairpersons of permanent commissions…

Red Pepper State Probes Mufti, Orombi over Diplomatic Passports.


Lambeth Voices

Times Online has a roundup Lambeth Voices: a panel of Anglican bishops share their views with Faith Online. Mouneer Anis is forthright in his views.

Other Blogging Bishops are rounded up regularly by Episcopal Café and the most recent articles in this series are Bishops blogging, July 30, and Blogging bishops, July 29.

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Lambeth: Wednesday press conference reports

Today, the press conference was concerned with the interpretation of the Bible. The speakers were Archbishop David Moxon and Professor Gerald West from South Africa.

Jim Naughton has this: Live: the Bible press conference

Anglican Journal Marites Sison Bishops share common commitment to remain biblical

Episcopal News Service has a report by Mary Frances Schjonberg Lambeth bishops wrestle with Scripture and there is also video of Professor Gerald West addresses media at Lambeth News Conference Search for this video on date 07/30/08.

There are no reports of this in the British newspapers so far.


News from the Big Blue Tent (14)

Tomorrow is sex day here at Canterbury, so tonight I’m missing any number of receptions being hosted by groups wanting to get the last word to bishops in advance. Meanwhile the work on the “conference document”, whatever that will turn out to be, continues apace; the listeners draft texts which we then meet each afternoon to critique. Today’s session was remarkable only for the fact that hardly any USA bishops spoke, otherwise we made the usual range of strengthening and clarifying amendments that 600 articulate adults are always going to be able to provide. We’re being told that a number of people have responded to Rowan’s question last night about what they might offer in generosity to those of an opposing view. There’ll be more discussion on that tomorrow.

The spouses fled the campus this morning, being taken on a range of day trips to different parts of Kent and its environs. It was suggested over breakfast that the group going to Rochester might pay a friendly call on the bishop; if he won’t come to Lambeth, Lambeth could come to him. In its wilder versions the idea involved large quantities of rainbow ribbon.

I’m clearly getting a reputation in my bible study group; one colleague was quite adamant that I wasn’t going to be allowed to go through a whole session without telling them a story about St Francis of Assisi.

Highlight of the day: a brilliant lecture on scriptural authority by Tom Wright, who combines immense scholarship with a highly engaging style. Unusually for a 4pm slot the room was packed.

Lowlight of the day: my debit card was jammed then swallowed by the ATM. Still, that solves the question as to whether I pay £22 for the official photo. In any case, Dave Walker’s cartoon version gives a far more complete picture of our time here.


Africa speaks

Yesterday, Dr Maria Akrofi of Ghana addressed the daily press conference.

Watch it all here.

Read the report by Pat Ashworth Rape and the abuse of power: bringing it home to the bishops.

ENS had Bishops, spouses discuss power abuses in joint session


Tuesday on the lawns at Canterbury

I’ve no idea what a “cage match” is, but Jim Naughton described one that didn’t happen here yesterday.

See Live: the cage match that wasn’t.


Lambeth: Wednesday news reports

Guardian Riazat Butt Gay clergy: Archbishop urges Anglican factions to ‘show generosity’

The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop of Canterbury’s unity plea to Lambeth Conference and also Lambeth Diary: Rowan begs, ‘Choose Life’

Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury accuses Anglicans of threatening ‘death to each other’

Anglican Journal Marites Sison Rowan attempts to bridge sides in human sexuality debate


News from the Big Blue Tent (13)

Today we threw over the usual timetable and spent the morning as spouses and bishops together studying the story of the rape of Tamar as a way into seeing what societies, including our own, do to the powerless. To make safe space for all we were divided into male and female on separate halves of the Big Blue. Riding Lights Theatre Company provided some fascinating drama on the same theme from the New Testament, showing us how women are accepted as long as they are infantilised, useful or invisible. The story of how all the men around Tamar work to silence her voice was pretty salutary. Chaplains were available then and all afternoon to help people deal with the personal issues raised. This could have been trivial and corny but ultimately it was challenging and profound. I suspect the more paternalistic the home culture the more shocking the day was. And for many of us the read across to other minorities including LGBT who are invisible, allowed to participate only in as much as they prove particularly useful or blocked from seniority was pretty obvious. It will form part of the narrative we take forward.

Rowan spoke after Evening Prayer, but that’s heavily reported elsewhere so I won’t repeat it here. Conference organisers and insiders to the process seem upbeat about how it is going, the rest of us have to either trust that or make an uninformed decision (not that I’m suggesting bishops ever do make uninformed decisions).

A couple of blogs ago Leonel mentioned the Origins bar at Darwin (yes I know, that really is corny) so we fixed up to have a drink there this evening and I got introduced to some of the wonderful stewards who, for pocket money, look after us all the time. Two weeks in and they’re still smiling. I asked whether they had been put off bishops for life and were all about to become Baptists, but they seemed pretty happy at working with us.

Highlight of the day: the first cool breezes on campus for days

Lowlight of the day: the harrowing scenes of the aftermath of the winds and floods in Burma, shown as part of that province’s presentation of itself during Evensong.


Anglicanism's Wizard of Oz

See this comment article by Stephen Bates on Comment is free about Davis MacIyalla.


Lambeth: Second Presidential Address

The full text of this has just been released and can be read at ACNS:

The Archbishop of Canterbury Second Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008


Lambeth: more on the WCG documents

Telegraph George Pitcher Anglicans struggle to find a safe place for sex

Times Ruth Gledhill’s blog Lambeth Diary: ‘Pastoral Forum’ proposed

The Bishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham and the Bishop of Mississippi, Duncan Gray gave statements to the WCG hearing. Both can be read by scrolling down at this page.

ENS has video of last night’s news conference about the document, here.

Integrity issued a press release, LGBT Anglicans Back on Chopping Block

The Inclusive Communion response is available as a PDF here.


Lambeth: Tuesday news reports

BBC Robert Pigott Oppose gay bishops, Anglicans urged

Guardian Riazat Butt Anglican forum to deal with controversial issues in bid to heal rift between factions

Telegraph Martin Beckford Archbishop of Canterbury to create group to punish rule-breaking Anglican churches

The Times Ruth Gledhill Anglicans to halt gay bishop consecrations and same-sex blessings

Anglican Journal Marites Sison Proposal calls for moratorium on same-sex blessings and gay ordinations

ENS Mary Frances Schjonberg Windsor Continuation Group proposals on homosexuality issues, interventions, get mixed reception

Living Church Steve Waring ‘Time Out’ Proposed at Lambeth Conference


Lambeth: Windsor Continuation Group documents

Updated and republished 11 pm Monday Originally published at 7 pm

The full text of the Preliminary Observations issued by the Windsor Continuation Group is now available at ACNS.

Windsor Continuation Group – Preliminary Observations to the Lambeth Conference (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

This document is NOT a report by the Windsor Continuation Group. It constitutes their preliminary observations on the life of the Communion and of the current state of responses to the recommendations of the Windsor Report, and offering some suggestions about the way forward. These observations are offered to the Lambeth Conference for conversation and testing. Are they an accurate description of the current state of our life together?

Update at 11 pm Monday

The document as published by ACNS currently lacks the final page of the paper version which reads

Update 2 pm Tuesday
The omission described above has now been corrected.

Ministering “pastorally and sensitively to all”.

The WCG note that the Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998 included a call for “all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex”.

We further note that in Dromantine in January 2005, the primates stated that “the victimisation or diminshment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship”.

We believe that the time is ripe for the bishops of the Lambeth Conference to reaffirm the commitments expressed in these statements, and to invite them to be committed to challenging such attitudes where they may exist in the societies, churches and governments of the nations in which they proclaim the Gospel as good news for all without exception.

Also, there are problems with the two links to PDF files at the bottom of the ACNS page. One of those links is to the PDF version of the same document(s), which contains the same omission, and the other is a PDF version of the first draft of the Indaba process document, but I am unable to open it on a Macintosh.


News from the Big Blue Tent (12)

One of my hopes in writing this daily piece is that it helps those beyond the university campus to hold what is going on up here in prayer. Today I got to be part of that when I joined the Third Order Franciscan Praying Presence at Greyfriars in the city. Franciscan tertiaries from the UK and beyond are following a daily prayer routine for the conference in the place where the very first Franciscan house in England was founded, during the saint’s lifetime, in 1224.

The chapel is part of the original buildings and has miraculously survived the reformation and all that has happened since. My task was to preside at the noon Eucharist and then share lunch. It was a chance to preach on the day’s text (John 10.1-10; I am the door of the sheepfold) and relate it to the Franciscan charism. Prayer is being stepped up on campus too. From today on there is a vigil from 0900 to 2100.

This afternoon saw the second set of Windsor Continuation Hearings, the papers for which are now available on Thinking Anglicans. The pattern tended to be conservative TEC followed by liberal TEC with some good, and good natured, speeches on both sides. Most telling was the temperamentally conservative bishop who personally opposed the consecration of Gene Robinson but still has territorial invasions in his diocese. We need a tool that will allow these to be examined; maybe the WCG paper suggests something (though it needs some beefing up in my view). (By the way, thanks for all the comments and links readers have added, as I said, I’m not responding to each but am taking you with me on the journey.)

Tonight’s main speaker was Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, he’s well worth listening too, especially on religion and culture, but I’d accepted an invite from USPG who kindly support our work with Peru. Anyway, last time I invited Rabbi Sacks to something he sent apologies, so it felt fair enough. The USPG reception was humbling. In rapid succession I spoke with the Bishop of Harare and the Archbishop of Burma, amazing people living out Christian lives and ministries under appalling conditions. The Archbishop of Southern Africa spoke movingly to the assembled gathering. A wise friend from a conservative African province said to me, “If you disagree with your husband or wife, you don’t kick them out; you just carry on walking side by side and believe things can change in the future”.

This morning’s Eucharist was presided over by the Indian Ocean province. I was surprised to see my friend Graham Cray, bishop of Maidstone and suffragan of Rowan on the platform. For a moment I thought I had the media scoop of the conference: “Diocese of Canterbury goes for alternative provincial oversight”. Surely not even Rowan’s worst nightmares feature that eventuality. All was soon cleared up; the province had invited its three links to each put a bishop on the altar.

Highlight of the day: hearing the voices of children outside playing in the summer sun as we celebrated the Eucharist in the thirteenth century Franciscan chapel.

Lowlight of the day: the heat and humidity in the Spouses’ Venue for the Hearings session. Is God trying to tell us something about bishops and hot air?