Thinking Anglicans

more on primates meeting

The Church Times has a report by Pat Ashworth covering the recently leaked letter from Rowan Williams to the primates, in which it was disclosed that Dr Williams invites Dr Jefferts Schori to Primates’ Meeting.

Today, in the Telegraph Jonathan Petre reports that Archbishop fears Church schism in gay row. This is based on an interview in an ITV documentary to be aired tomorrow in Britain (11 am, ITV1). According to the Telegraph:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that he fears losing control of the worldwide Anglican Church, which is on the brink of schism over homosexuality.

In a surprisingly frank assessment of the crisis, Dr Rowan Williams said that he feared anything that set Christians more deeply at odds with each other.

“And because I am an ordinary, sinful human being, I fear the situation slipping out of my control, such as it is,” he said…

“I fear schism, not because I think it’s the worst thing in the world but because, at this particular juncture, it’s going to be bad for us. It’s going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness.”

In a documentary on Canterbury Cathedral to be broadcast on ITV tomorrow, the archbishop added: “We can’t take it for granted that the Anglican Communion will go on as it always has been.

“Of course that’s unsettling, of course that’s painful for everybody, but there’s no way of moving on without asking the hard questions.”

No doubt more will be reported when the documentary has been broadcast.

Update
Having watched the TV documentary and corresponded with the ITV press office, I can now confirm that this interview with Rowan Williams was recorded around Easter 2006.

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Peter O
14 years ago

The Church Times report is negligent because it completely fails to say anything about the “pre-meeting” that has been setup by Rowan. Church Times is spinning “Everything fine and dandy with business as usual” when in reality the existence of a pre-meeting indicates the opposite.

Dave
Dave
14 years ago

I don’t agree that scism is inevitable. But it is time to ‘rebalance’ the heirarchy. Maybe the old establishment sees this comin too – and realise that change will mean loosing or sharing authority with people they percieve to be outsiders? That’s the inevitable outcome of shifting demography.. and opposition to such changes seems to be the inevitable reaction of human leaders. In some circumstances, delay, foot dragging and symbolic support for TEC (remember ++Griswold being asked to preside at Canterbury after all this started?) might have encouraged enough ‘rebels’ to depart so that things didn’t have to change. But… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

Umm, Peter… Three paras of the Church Times report: Dr Williams goes on to say that, given the “acute dissension” in ECUSA and its widespread effects in the Communion, he intends to invite “two or three other contributors from that province, for a session to take place before the rest of our formal business, in which the situation may be reviewed”. He says he is currently consulting about how this could be best organised. He also emphasises that ECUSA is not a monochrome body, and contains “a full range of conviction”. Dr Williams reminds the Primates of the unequivocal support… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

“and a large, rapidly growing minority in the Church of England” No. A larger share of a diminishing cake (and a minority which is itself declining numerically, according to figures). The Open Evangelical movement has been written out of things, I seem to recall, in many ConsEv pronouncements. I wonder how many CE ConsEv churches are ‘entryist’ in the same way that The Falls and Truro seem to be – ie their growth is fuelled by dissenters from other traditions who see the ‘conversion’ of the CofE as their goal, in much the same way as the UK Labour Party… Read more »

Peter O
14 years ago

Do you know what Simon, I completely missed that paragraph when I read the piece yesterday. My apologies (and thanks for pointing it out).

Dave
Dave
14 years ago

“A larger share of a diminishing cake”

Dear mynsterpreost, The size of a minority is relative to the whole population! Though I think that we have actually grown in absolute terms too – and would do a lot more once we had support and enabling, rather than suspicion from too many in the heirarchy.

And as an open evangelical myself I don’t feel at all written out. If anything I feel like I’m in the new centre! I do sympathize with the conservative evangelicals who HAVE been written out for too long!

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

“Though I think that we have actually grown in absolute terms too”

I think statistics posted on this site some weeks ago indicated to the contrary. And the CCE document seemed to be pretty dismissive of open evangelicals, did it not? As has a significant amount of material to have come from that quarter?

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

“It’s going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness.”

I’m sorry — just where does the ABC think the WWAC is currently?

FWIW: the psychology of Christian fundamentalism (by someone who doesn’t like it):
http://www.counterpunch.org/davis01082005.html

laurence
laurence
14 years ago

How to gain perspective ?

Listen to more jzz — or jazz, or even sing !

Make liitle pictures with water colour or collage with old envelopes,greetings cards, letters, ephemera, leaves, pressed flowers, mags and newsprint ?

Open heart….

Any other suggestions from folks here ? ……

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

What pyrrhic victories are anticipated by so many via what pyrrhic claims. If I had not personally mystically been invited to follow Jesus of Nazareth, along with being mentoried over many surprising years by the Holy Spirit using a wide range of conservative to progressive to interfaith believers to non-believers, I should long ago have joined the wise British average citizen who is revealed in surveys as preferring to refrain from nonsensical religion altogether because it consistently has to mean war and weighing in against the best in other people who are different from you. No matter who wishes –… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
14 years ago

Dave, you are nothing like any of the open evangelicals I know…..who wish to distinguish themselves from some of the views and most of the tactics of the conservatives It is clear enough that there is going to be some sort of change, and perhaps some sort of federal structure will emerge. I still think that what happens in the CofE is probably most important as to whether the Communion splits as a whole ,and whether structures which would lead inevitably to different international structures become a reality. It appears that the conservative evangelicals want to force some sort of… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

Thanks Prior A. Fabulous quotes. “I know you’re a Christian, but who are you a Christian against.” Kenneth Burke Religion remains of course the one thing we are enjoined to treat with kid gloves as if this is the one area of life where criticism and a rhetoric that tries to energize the force of criticism is verboten. Violating this rule is also the quickest way to lose what current statistics indicate will be the 93% of one’s audience who say they believe in God. It is thus important that I indicate up front that this is not a contract… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

I do wish authors (and commentators in general) would talk about the Revelation rather than ‘Revelations’…

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

Dave wrote:
I do sympathize with the conservative evangelicals who HAVE been written out for too long!

Funny, but I seem to have spent most of my ministry (and my teaching career before that) under fire from ConsEvs because I happened to pass on what I’d been taught at University and Theological College. Now if that’s what it was like when they were written out of the script, I shudder to think what it will be like when they have the whip hand.

laurence
laurence
14 years ago

I shudder to think what it will be like when they have the whip hand.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Saturday, 6 January 2007 at 5:37pm GMT

Whip being the operative word…

dave williams
dave williams
14 years ago

David,

As you will be aware if you engage with conservative theological establishments such as Oak Hill, there is no need to burn your theology books! Conservative establishments pride themselves in stocking, reading and engaging with a wide range of theological literature.

That doesn’t mean to say that we have to agree with everything!

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

though I don’t pretend to understand much of Davis’ article, I find his observation interesting that ‘telos’, the hinge-pin of it all, winds up being Bad News for everyone (but the elect), not Good News for the whole of Creation (which I believe is the Pauline viewpoint).

That such a perversion of the Gospel should be the end result of so much Christian labour is a tragedy. And it’s no good the ConsEvs saying that they are being misrepresented by Davis – that’s the Gospel which Davis has heard preached to him, and that’s the end of it. A Kakangellion.

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Drdanfee et al = beautiful posts. The comments about there being a magnetic church that brings in like minded discontents from the other places is probably valid. That has probably been the nature of religion from its very beginnings. In fact that is probably what Sarah and Abraham were doing too. The concerns about fundamentalism are excellent. One of my fears is that many people first go to church in times of crisis. At that time they are very susceptible to brain washing. If the church has an ethics of helping people live reverential lives free of abuse or coercion;… Read more »

Marshall Scott
14 years ago

I found the Petre article okay, but somewhat inflammatory, or at least a bit inflamed, in some of his description. I especially noted his description of the coming Primates Meeting as “make or break.” It doesn’t have to be; and if it is it will be because of those who seek to force Canterbury’s hand.

In a way, it sounds as if the coming General Synod of the COE will be perhaps more critical. If conservatives there choose to force issues, that will reverberate, I imagine, in a way that divisions in The Episcopal Church never could.

Pluralist
14 years ago

We’ve lived through an odd period when there has been a rationale towards ecumenism but, when it came to the Church of England, it was not possible. The Methodists became very frustrated, largely because of traditionalist Anglo-Catholics as well as some others. Now those tradionalists are sidelined, off on their own, and there is renewed potential not just for the Methodists but others too with the C of E. Trouble is, whilst a schism in the Anglican communion would (will) reverberate into the Church of England, it will also have shock waves into other denominations here. Indeed it could split… Read more »

Dave
Dave
14 years ago

Cheryl Clough wrote: “And on the schism – surely it is clear that the schism has been there all along. The only thing that has changed is that the liberal inclusive end is sick of having its neck strangled and is now making a stand;….” Dear Cheryl, ie trying to push out the other “end”!! You have begun to believe your own propaganda if you really believe that the liberal end is any more inclusive that the conservative end – in absolute terms. The only difference is the basis you use for deciding whether a particular group is to be… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

I still continue to feel a strange mixture of belated deep sympathy and exasperation with Rowan Williams. That he should show leadership in persistently convening conciliar meetings – but be mostly unable to clearly model (let alone vigorously preach) welcome for the entire range of Anglican believers – (while at the same time he makes offhand comments through which he says that the worldwide church is not monochromatic and that none of us are beholden to unintelligent readings of scripture). Well. What in the dickens to make of such help, from the likes of such a friend? Meanwhile, the loudest… Read more »

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

“liberal American branch of Anglicanism, which precipitated the crisis by consecrating a gay bishop in 2003.”

Typical Tell-a-lie spin.

“The crisis” begins every time an LGBT person is honest enough to say who he or she IS—by God’s Grace—and is then knocked over the head for it.

[Corporately, the AC crisis can be said to begin w/ Lambeth ’98: the point at which a *majority* began becoming a *dictatorship*]

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“You have begun to believe your own propaganda if you really believe that the liberal end is any more inclusive that the conservative end – in absolute terms.”

Dave,
How many “liberals” have declared themselves in impaired communion with other Anglicans or any other such behaviour because they disagreed with “Conservative” Evangelicals over such issues as Biblical authority or any other issue one which they differ? No-one has broken with the Diocese of Sydney over lay presidency, for example.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

Dave wrote:
“Conservative establishments pride themselves in stocking, reading and engaging with a wide range of theological literature.

That doesn’t mean to say that we have to agree with everything!”

Which explains why back in 1984 Maurice Woods, former principal at Oak Hill, denounced in ringing tones what +David Durham said about the resurrection, despite thr fact that, according to the then ACCM syllabus, he was supposed have ensured that it had been taught to his ordinands as orthodox Christianity.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

Dave wrote
Conservative establishments pride themselves in stocking, reading and engaging with a wide range of theological literature.

May I therefore recommend ‘The Queer Bible Commentary’ (SCM 2006) from which I preached at this morning’s 8.00?

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

I have now watched the documentary. The context in which the quotes in the Telegraph were shown is last Holy Week at the cathedral, and the emphasis is on the custom there of holding two separate Renewal of Vows/Blessing of Oils services, one for the diocese and one for the Provincial Episcopal Visitor’s constituency. However, there were other quotes from an RW interview interspersed throughout the programme, some of which related explicitly to the Anglican Communion disputes. What was unclear was the date at which the interview had been held, and therefore in what context RW was actually answering the… Read more »

pat ashworth
pat ashworth
14 years ago

Thank you, Simon! Spinning was not what I was about.

Pluralist
14 years ago

A trash listings rag had it down as a repeat.

laurence
laurence
14 years ago

Thanks David, for recommending the Bible Commentary — sounds promising. I shall try and google it. Good ole SCM must still be going strong…… unlike SPCK ,

I came across these lines, yesterday, and they ‘go’ with your sermon at the early service perhaps.

‘Something, something was done for freedom,
under the early stars’

Davis d'Ambly
Davis d'Ambly
14 years ago

I want to thank JCF for his post about the truth.

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Ford Thanks for coming to the defense of the liberals. Your comments about Sydney are valid, but I have to admit if there was an impaired liberal Anglican movement in Sydney, I would be part of it. Most of us walk away to other denominations, or choose to go it alone in the wilderness as we see the right hand running amock and aiming to foray into other denominations too. e.g. EMU’s intention to take back the Uniting Church. In that sense Dave’s comment is valid. Plus that end knew that eventually we would realise we would have to fight… Read more »

Dave
Dave
14 years ago

Dear Cheryl and Ford, I think that your reactions to Sydney are not because of Lay Presidency, but because they are mostly conservative – and successful. After all, Sydney decided to *refrain* from creating official Lay Presidency, even though they thought it was ok – because of the problems it would cause within the Communion.

Unlike TEC, they listened!

laurence
laurence
14 years ago

Thanks Cheryl thought-provoking and deep as always. Love your scriptural breadth and depth.
Glad to have been reminded of the Hosea 4.
laurence

laurence
laurence
14 years ago

‘..Sydney decided to *refrain* from creating official Lay Presidency..’

Unofficial ‘Lay Presidency’ is still Lay Presidency and gravely offensive to Catholics, striking at the very root of sacramental life and calling into question the sacramental life of that Church.

The decision to go with it unofficially, while affecting not to ‘officially’ sounds dishonest to me. Does it have integrity ?

Sydney may be ‘conservative’, but if it is, it most certainly is not conservative Anglican.
In Anglican terms it has apparently abandoned the eucharistic faith and practice of the Anglican Church

‘Success’ is hardly a Christian concept.

kieran crichton
kieran crichton
14 years ago

Dave, your comments about lay presidency in Sydney are, at best, only partly correct. The fact is that it has been happening there for a considerable period of time, and that no moves have been made to stop it – much less any open concern for the effects of this on the Communion. It is clear that there are to be no consequences for Sydney’s place in the Communion, even though the practice of lay presidency is absolutely inimical to the notion of ‘godly order’ in a way that gay clergy clearly are not. At least gay clergy don’t have… Read more »

Richard Helmer
14 years ago

Dave,

It strikes me as much easier to put down relatively minor question of sacramental theology (Who presides? While I disagree with Sydney’s experiment, I never imagined or wanted them getting drummed out of the Communion over it). . .

. . .much easier than re-condemning, in the name of Anglican unity, a whole segment of the population “back to the closet,” or worse.

ruidh
ruidh
14 years ago

“I still continue to feel a strange mixture of belated deep sympathy and exasperation with Rowan Williams. That he should show leadership in persistently convening conciliar meetings – but be mostly unable to clearly model (let alone vigorously preach) welcome for the entire range of Anglican believers – (while at the same time he makes offhand comments through which he says that the worldwide church is not monochromatic and that none of us are beholden to unintelligent readings of scripture). Well. What in the dickens to make of such help, from the likes of such a friend?” I’m not picking… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
14 years ago

“After all, Sydney decided to *refrain* from creating official Lay Presidency, even though they thought it was ok – because of the problems it would cause within the Communion.”

The status of lay presidency in Sydney is very similar to the status of blessing gay unions in TEC — it happens without being officially permitted. It happens in Sydney and is widespread. TEC is at least honest when GC03 said that gay blessings were being done. We haven’t seen that kind of honesty from Sydney.

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Dave My comments about Sydney are based on personal experience and an articulation of the choices I have made, and why. Where I find cross-corroborating evidence that my perspective is not unique, I will bring that forward. Provided it does not cause undue distress to any particular issue or is particularly defamatory against any particular individual. Whenever I have felt that I might have crossed the line, I have apologised to the relevant parties, in writing, BEFORE being asked for an apology. I have NEVER had one apology, neither verbal nor in writing. These people believe that what they are… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

No, Dave, my issues with Sydney start with the obvious fact that their leaders do not have anything approaching a Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, and presumably other sacraments as well. I mean no disrespect when I say that a Eucharist without a priest is no Eucharist at all. I would argue that those who have not maintained the threefold order are not intending to do the same thing we are when they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. That this has been going on in Sydney means that their leadership has a very unAnglican understanding of the sacraments of the Eucharist… Read more »

Kurt
Kurt
14 years ago

“…and the fact that they are openly hostile to other Anglicans from different traditions in the Church (try being Anglo-Catholic in Sydney)”. – Ford Elms

You said it, Ford! Despite their profession of love for the 1662 Prayer Book, these Sydney Calvinists violate the Ornaments Rubric when they refuse to allow priests to wear a Chasuble instead of a Cope when celebrating the Divine Liturgy. Yet they are always self-congratulating themselves on their “tolerance.”

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

My exasperation with Rowan Williams involves his demonstrated inabilities or obfuscations when it comes to taking the third sides in this split, i.e., all the believers in the mixed middles, and institutionally, a first possible firm and clear stand for the Anglican disarmament exemplified in our legacy Elizabethan Settlement. He would not have to reinvent the wheel to show that sort of institutional leadership. That institutional legacy space is freely offered to him by Anglican history. Neither would he have to take sides, for/against LGBTQ people on any particular issue or theme – well, except maybe for standing for the… Read more »

Dave
Dave
14 years ago

Dear All, In the end Eucharistic presidency is a matter of church order. It is of a lower order than moral issues – which are *salvation* issues. Haven’t you heard that King David, when he was hungry, asked for the bread offering, which was only legal for the priests to eat, and gave it to his men ?!! But when, after his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, David sought God repenting in sackcloth and ashes…. God still had the child die! ps Article XXIII states that: “It is not lawful for any man to take upon… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
14 years ago

Moral issues are only salvation issues for conservative evangelicals.

Many other evangelicals certainly do not share that view. Neither does the Church of England.

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

“In the end Eucharistic presidency is a matter of church order.”

And ordaining to the episcopacy a priest who happens to have same-sex partner ISN’T??? (Or changing the marital liturgy only a couple of pronouns?)

You make mountains out of molehills, Dave, and molehills out of mountains.

Lord, grant us ALL More Light!

[My last off-topic post here, Simon. ;-/]

laurence
laurence
14 years ago

‘…. God still had the child die! …’

Excuse me ? Do you know what you just wrote ?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
14 years ago

Moral issues are salvation issues, Dave? But I thought we were saved by grace and by faith, not by works…. Or maybe you’re a crypto-mediaeval after all!

Dave
Dave
14 years ago

Dear Merseymike, I do sometimes wonder whether you pay attention to what goes on in CofE churchs. In every main service you will find yourself saying a confession something like: “Father eternal, giver of light and grace, we have sinned against you and against our neighbour, in what we have thought, in what we have said and done, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We have wounded your love and marred your image in us. We are sorry and ashamed and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

One of the problems with the Lord’s prayer is that if the Lord wants people to unconditionally love, that had better not include GLBTs or their sympathisers, or spirited women for that matter either. I’ve been shaking my head for the last day thinking that the one thing that all the “establishment” people seem to have overlooked is that ordinary people leading ordinary lives are being hurt. Sometimes very maliciously. The tragedy is that once upon a time they could pretend that they didn’t know they were hurting people. Now the evidence is out that they do, but they are… Read more »

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