Thinking Anglicans

global voices

Updated Wednesday

The Anglican Journal has a copy of the lecture delivered recently to the Ecclesiastical Law Society by Bishop Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba of Botswana.

I recommend that you read it in full: The Anglican Communion: crisis and opportunity.

The Anglican Communion Office has published a lot of material relating to the Listening Process. The section on Reports from the Provinces starts here:

The Facilitator of the Listening Process has collated relevant research studies, statements, resolutions and other material on human sexuality from the various Provinces. Summaries of the responses are here available for study, discussion and reflection across the Communion. This was called for by ACC 13 and commended by the Primates in their communiqué of their meeting in February 2005…

Go here to find the index of the individual summaries. It includes responses from the Global South.

Here is the press release from ACO about this: Listening Process Summaries now on-line. It includes:

…In addition to the summaries, and the materials being formulated on our website, A Study Guide for use at the Lambeth Conference 2008 on: The Process of Listening to Gay and Lesbian people and Mutual Listening on Human Sexuality is underway. The facilitator requests contributions for the study guide, the full details are on the website.

The Primates also asked for ‘the preparation of material to assist the bishops at 2008 Lambeth Conference.’ The Facilitator for the Listening Process is asking for contributions to be used in the writing of a Study Guide…

Go here to read about A Study Guide For use at the Lambeth Conference 2008 on: The Process of Listening to Gay and Lesbian people and Mutual Listening on Human Sexuality.


  • NP says:

    Nice to see a quote from St Paul – so “helpful” to pick and choose “appropriate” bits from Paul and ignore those that might actually shed some light on the AC situation

  • Caelius Spinator says:

    The Listening Process reports are fascinating.

    But I remain dismayed to see:

    “In Nigeria the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2006 is passing through the legislature. The House of Bishops has supported it because we understand that it is designed to strengthen traditional marriage and family life and to prevent wholesale importation of currently damaging Western values. It bans same sex unions, all homosexual acts and the formation of any gay groups. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria has twice commended the act in their Message to the Nation.”

    And this is striking:

    “Finally, neither in the Old Testament nor in the New do we have any record, or even mention, trace or hint concerning marriage bond between same sex partners.” It is possible to read I Samuel 18 chastely. It is very difficult to describe the covenant between Jonathan and David without there being no connection with the marriage bond whatsoever.

  • I’m glad to see the responses from the individual provinces. While I have not read all of them, I have read perhaps half. What I note is a distinct difference in tone. All make some reference to the cultural context, and most make reference to the impact of media on the culture. That said, there seem to be those who say, “Within our context, we’re working to be as accepting and attentive as possible, and we’re taking seriously the “listening” clause of Lambeth 1998-1.10;’ and those who say,”When homosexual persons are willing to change, we are happy to listen and be pastoral.” I was surprised and pleased at the significant variation in tone and willingness that I found across the “global South.” I noted for example how different were responses from Nigeria and from West Africa; or from Southern Cone and West Indies (and yes, credit where due: West Indies has more going on than I think many expected). I think this is important information.

  • lapinbizarre says:

    The Southern Cone response is a fine piece of sanctimonious paranoia. No namby-pamby Lambeth 1:10 nonsense here.

  • Erika Baker says:

    The report from the CoE includes the following paragraph:
    “Dioceses have reported a huge variety of approaches and responses. Some dioceses are aware that they need to do more. Others are pleased with how they have moved on the subject. One diocese has developed a listening process with their companion link diocese in Nigeria and has built on this experience.”

    Does anyone know more about the joint listening process with Nigeria, which will probably become illegal once the new Nigerian law is in place.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    Yes, things are certainly beginning to move. But is little and late. Too late to be prophetic …

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    ‘The Church of England has played an important role in the development of the discussion of human sexuality in English society and in the Anglican Communion.’


    The C of E entry is misleading (above) and complacent.

  • Maduka says:

    My take on this

    Conservative voice: Areas in close proximity to Islam, overwhelming evangelical in outlook, borderline states (Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya Tanzania). Significant majority.

    Moderate Voice: Very poor Church in need of sponsorship, does not want to rock the boat (Burundi).

    Liberal Voice: Influence of South Africa is stronger than influence of Nigeria (South Africa, prob. Botswana).

  • Fr Joe O'Leary says:

    Haven’t time to read it all but what I did read has authority. That Africa can speak in such measured tones shows up the ghastliness of Tanzania clearly. The primates discussed homosexuality for a week in Africa without adverting at all to the widespread injustice against homosexuals on that continent. Tanzania will be remembered as a shameful moment in Anglican history.

  • Margaret says:

    Thank you for posting the sermon. It was enlightening and a very worthwhile read.

    There was just one point that grated on my nerves. It was the assumption that somehow all the liberal talk about poverty and AIDS actually meant they cared. It would be really interesting to see an equivalent of that academic study that led to Arthur Brooks “Who really cares?”. I suspect (but no-one not even me can prove) that just in the world, in the church the liberals are all talk and no action and the conservatives don’t say the words but rather do the deeds.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    Margaret I don’t really mind who does it –as long as some one does — and without strings.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    This seems more like a studying process rather than a true listening process. Study is fine. But is here an avoidance of listening to lgbt people direct.

    There is little evidence of lgbt people being listened to, or of the right conditions for that being created. It takes confidence building measures, safety and so on ….

  • Erika Baker says:

    Our diocesan listening process is a good example. We were invited via the diocesan newspaper to write in with our experience.

    It took us 3 attempts to facilitate a direct meeting. We then met with the person in charge of the listening, who was pro-lgbt but wasn’t sure how to convince his bishop.

    Genuine listening by those who don’t agree would have been much more constructive than this farce.

  • Leonardo Ricardo says:

    +Peter Akinola of Nigeria “listens” only to the sound of his own shrieking voice while silently plotting to incarcerate fellow Anglicans just for “being!”

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    Erika what a disheartening and very difficult process to hav had to undergo. Few would have had your staying power.

    If bishops and people think that others can listen for them i.e instead of them –then they have not yet understood the mystery of being human or of ministry ….

  • I think the Study Guide process gives us an unprecedented opportunity to get both personal experiences and academic contributions into the process, and hopefully out into public view. I have just sent an email to the dean of the seminary from which I graduated years ago (posted on my blog). I expressed my hope that members of the faculty would make contributions to the Study Guide process according to their individual interests and expertise; and that the seminary would publish those contributions. Scholars though Bishop Wright and Dr. Radner and Dr. Harmon may be, I would like to hear from a much broader swath of the academic leadership of the Communion.

  • Rodney in Melbourne says:

    The Anglican Church of Australia is in dire straits. When I last had anything to do with it in 1995 the writing was on the wall – the stench of death was already detectable. Reading the report about its pathetic response to the glbt people in this community makes me think it’s time to put lots of black crepe on the chandeliers and around the doors of all those tired, deserted Victorian churches. Then shut the doors and bring the bulldozers. And as far as I can tell there is not a glimmer of hope. Vale, old friend.

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Rodney.

    Are there places or groups to nourish spirt and nurture hope for you ? Or good projects. I hope so…..

  • Rodney in Melbourne says:

    Laurence, there are faint flashes of hope here and there among Catholics and the Uniting Church. But poor old Anglican Australia is pretty well a lost cause. Speaking purely as an outsider, please understand, there are a few theological teachers who can see a way into a living future, but the general run of the church leadership (by which I mean the ordained, even though the outfit is synodically governed) suffers from the dominant managerialism which blights the whole culture, both religious and secular. In Australia it is impossible to imagine a meeting of Anglican bishops, faced with the issues which have been on the table in TEC recently, being either willing or able to speak with the courage and clarity we have seen on the other side of the Pacific in these recent days. I’ve looked for, but have been unable to find, a single published word by the Australian Primate about the meeting in Tanzania, much less any comment from any bishop (or priest or deacon) about the draft covenant, or an expression of dissent from the proposed interference in the affairs of an independent church. Could it be that the dead hand of the all powerful, all wealthy Sydney diocese lies over all?

  • Laurence Roberts says:

    Thanks Rodney.

    It does sound difficult and discouraging. It sounds moribund. I had no idea. I t shows my ignorance…I had thought that beyond Sydney diocese things were probably fairly okay. And Sydney has the vibrancy of Mardi Gras and all that I had been thinking. Are there anglican religious communities much? They can bring a new dimension sometimes, if open. Also is there much Quaker presence, projects or activity in your neck of the woods? Also i wonder about other spiritual movements beyond christianity. And any artistic life or expression of spirit…Sorry, just thinking aloud really. And linked to sources of hope i have found. ( Also buddhist sanghas, meditation groups and retreats can be very supportive of spiritual life and hope.)

    Glad to hear of the RCs and Uniting Church though.

    I saw a short YouTube clip on line somewhere of Peter Jenson and he seemed harmless, eccentric — I lost my fear of him and what he stands for. He seemed a bit helpless— maybe that’s an impression he cultivates? (No idea really). It was rather funny too. Perhaps I just identified with his (apparent) eccentricty ! (I can’t talk ! ..)

    Hope these thoughts and queries make some sense….

    with best wishes

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