Auburn Faber Traycik of the Christian Challenge has published Conservative Leaders Will Ensure Communion’s Orthodox Stand In Gay Dispute. This is a report of what Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies said to a day-long Festival of Faith at St. Luke’s Church, Bladensburg, Maryland. Here is the first part of it:
“This is a fight we are engaged in and we will see it through to the end. We are determined to see that the Anglican Communion ends up on the right side of the debate” over homosexual practice.
So West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez declared outside Washington, D.C. Saturday, drawing a standing ovation from a sizeable gathering of orthodox believers during a day-long Festival of Faith at St. Luke’s Church, Bladensburg, Maryland. The event also featured retired Quincy (IL) Episcopal Bishop Donald Parsons.
Gomez assailed opponents for characterizing fidelity to the consistent witness of scripture on homosexual practice as homophobia, bigotry, and fundamentalism. He said that he and co-religionist Anglican leaders would keep the Communion in line with the 2,000-year consensus of Christianity on same-sex relations, holding that the issue relates to “God’s ordering of life.” It is therefore – contrary the recent declaration by the Anglican Church of Canada – a matter of “core doctrine.”
But the leading conservative primate (provincial leader) also warned of a liberal recasting of official Anglicanism if some conservative provinces boycott the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops. A few provinces have already determined to skip the meeting over the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to include therein all Episcopal prelates who have violated the Lambeth ‘98 sexuality resolution except actively gay prelate Gene Robinson, and to exclude U.S. missionary bishops backed by African provinces.
Gomez also sees obstacles to fulfilling the hopes of embattled American conservatives that The Episcopal Church (TEC) would be deemed by primates this fall to have left the Communion, a move they thought could help usher in a new jurisdiction for faithful U.S. Anglicans.
Such Communion housecleaning is still hampered by a weak top-level Communion structure that is already undergoing de facto change, but which awaits formal strengthening via the prospective Anglican covenant, which would be binding among provinces that adopt it. That is something Gomez knows a lot about, and talked a lot about in Bladensburg, as he not only helped produce the 2004 Windsor Report which (inter alia) recommended a covenant to help alleviate Anglican structural problems, he heads the panel that is designing the pact. Backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and his fellow primates, the covenant is a key agenda item for Lambeth ‘08, which, however, already appears to be in trouble due to Dr. Williams’ controversial handling of invitations to the once-a-decade meeting.
GOMEZ TOLD his Washington-area audience, which numbered over 200 at its peak, that he sees little prospect that all 38 Anglican primates will meet later this year to determine the Communion status of TEC, whose bishops and Executive Council have rebuffed the primates’ last-ditch pleas to forswear further same-sex blessings and actively gay bishops, and to cooperate in the primates’ plan to provide an alternative leadership for disaffected Episcopal dioceses and parishes. Episcopal bishops have until September 30 to give a final answer to the primates’ appeals, before which time Archbishop Williams is due to meet with the prelates. Gomez and others still hope TEC will have a change of heart, but no one is predicting one.