Thinking Anglicans

Gomez on the Communion

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.

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Pluralist
13 years ago

He’s like a general who says, “Forward! To Lambeth! Quick march!” Only to find that the other generals are taking the troops in a completely different direction, over the hill and far away.

Bill Carroll
13 years ago

“weak top-level Communion structure”

This is part of the problem. Why see it as a top-level structure, which must therefore be “strong?” Why not see it as the structure with the broadest reach, which must therefore employ the greatest charity to maintain diversity-in-unity. I think that the “weakness” of the Communion structures might be the weakness of God that is stronger than human strength. Only the strange, weak power of the Gospel can hold such a diverse Communion together.

Pluralist
13 years ago

It is quite heartfelt, but it has to be said that if a chunk walk off those who remain can still have access to their ideas, even if it is in the end to reject them and they reject the views of those who remain. People say no to Roman Catholicism as it is, Orthodoxy as it is, Presbyerianism as it is, and so on. Ecumenism is always useful, but the dynamic here is apart. Once a split happens, and they organise along the lines of bibliolatry, and no doubt their own Covenant (like that on the Global South website)… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

AB Gomez is correct in his awareness of the immense sea changes going on in our modern thinking, but he distorts and mistakes the causes, consistent with characteristic con-evo believer mistaking of the roots of our shared dilemma. How nice to hear again that we are called to share and live the witness to Jesus. How confusing to hear, hinted and in detail, about how much police power and coercion and strong arm covenant tactics are needed to shore up conformity in a diverse-minded communion. What service, exactly, does Ab Gomez think his sort of police leadership can do for… Read more »

C.B.
C.B.
13 years ago

In a nutshell – The church’s view of gays is core doctrine. The AC must stay anti-gay to retain it’s core doctrine. A covenant is needed to discipline TEC for not keeping with core doctrine. That takes time. In the meantime, only individual provinces can break communion with TEC. There won’t be any Primates meeting after September 30 – it costs too much. Best that everyone should show up at Lambeth instead. TEC probably won’t be disinvited from Lambeth. In the end, a second province in the US might be the best resolution for all involved. But alas, that takes… Read more »

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

““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.” Who’s this “we” ++Gomez keeps talking about? The “over 200 at its peak” audience? ++Gomez’s side is fracturing: his comrades-in-arms (against icky f*gs) are divided whether to attend Lambeth or not. He admits that the Primates aren’t meeting again (whether they could exclude TEC or not). AngChCanada (who have the virtue of *not* being the loathesome Yanks) has voted, “not core doctrine”:… Read more »

EPfizH
EPfizH
13 years ago

Although I am not suggesting that C.B. is wrong, I am wondering why he feels confident that a second province will come into existence in the US? Will the primates not see this as a precedent setting that could have enormous impact for their terrain? An unhappy minority enlists the help of overseas primates. The overseas primates set up shop in their territory. When the several shops are strong enough, they join together and the primates give it their parent’s seal of approval? This also assumes that the primates will become the dominant “instrument of communion” and others will accede… Read more »

John Bassett
John Bassett
13 years ago

C.B., I am not so sure that the Covenant will sail through. I don’t think it will happen unless the Church of England goes along with it, and that is not completely up to General Synod. Parliament has the right to review and reject acts of the synod, and it has done so as recently at 1989. I could easily see the Commons rejecting it both as a transfer of power from the national church to the primates and because of the general intent of the Covenant is to punish ECUSA for its inclusion of gays and lesbians. There’s something… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

“…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…” My observations is the souls who want to stick to this consensus, also want to stick to the consensus that males are not taught by females, that Jesus had no soul mate, and the Holy Spirit is just some kind of divine energy source without any personality or opinions of its own. They have put a peacock tail on their gilded Jesus that is so big that the thing just can’t fly anymore. For example: Their Jesus is… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

Drdanfee referred to repairing the fractures and healing this world. That involves acknowledging the two cherubim of the ark who are the two annointed to serve the Lord of all the earth (Zechariah 4:3-14). The second who completed the resurrection of Jesus after teams of angels brought the body and Jesus’ holy spark back together. The God of gods is just and kind and would never abandon souls because someone’s ego isn’t being flattered. Jesus states that “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 4:14) That statement can be made true if Jesus acknowledges the second cherubim… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
Viriato da Silva
13 years ago

“Who’s this “we” ++Gomez keeps talking about? The “over 200 at its peak” audience?” And that would be the same 200-some audience to which the writer refers earlier in the piece as being “a sizeable gathering of orthodox believers”… “Sizeable”?! I suppose so, in the sense of “being able to be sized,” but by that definition, a crowd of 2 would *also* technically be “sizeable.” Considering that this “sizeable gathering” was able to draw upon the entire “reasserting” population of Greater Washington, DC (home of Truro and The Fall Church), it doesn’t seem that ++Gomez was much of a draw… Read more »

NP
NP
13 years ago

JCF – the “we” he refers to are the same people who demanded and got TWR, the Tanzania Communique and the upcoming Covenant

(you can still pretend there is some great “anglican” majority backing TEC and VGR….where are they??)

C.B.
C.B.
13 years ago

EPfizH – I am not confident that there will be a second province, but in reading Gomez I thought I detected at least the outline of what he may see as a way forward. As John Bassett points out it is not clear that we will have a covenant. But as Gomez appears to be a GS “moderate” of sorts, from his point of view the covenant is essential to keeping the AC from flying apart. Right now, the conventional wisdom is that two provinces in the same geographic area would set a very bad precedent for everyone. But Gomez… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
Viriato da Silva
13 years ago

“(you can still pretend there is some great “anglican” majority backing TEC and VGR….where are they??)” Uh, I can’t recall *any* “reappraiser” actually assert *that*. More like: 1. There are far more Anglicans that *do* back TEC and, yes, even +VGR around the globe (and even in Nigeria), than your “reasserting” lot wish or ever concede. 2. There are fewer Anglicans that *strongly* back the fullblown reasserting agenda — i.e., the points of “disciplining” TEC via expulsion, unless +VGR is deposed or no more gay bishops are made or SSUs are blessed — than +Duncan, ++Akinola, & Co. wish or… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

“…GS will isolate themselves, in order to best protect themselves and have the freedom to plant healthy cells wherever they can or want. They are in a battle and the question for them is – what structures are able to facilitate a victory and which one are merely going to expose them (and others) to more corruption.” The word corruption fascinated me. It’s corrupt to desire an end to tyranny, to want peace and abundance? It’s corrupt to think that we should treat others (even those we don’t like) with respect and how we would like to be treated ourselves?… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

Here it is, as in the daily free version of the Church of England Newspaper. News Digest England to get ‘flying bishop’? NIGERIA is on the verge of appointing its own ‘flying bishop’ in England to represent disillusioned Anglicans, the Church of England Newspaper has learnt. A new bishop to be appointed by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola could be consecrated before next year’s Lambeth Conference if plans succeed. A source describing himself as a ‘worker in the Nigerian diocese’ said he was aware of such plans and that such a person would be employed as a ‘mission co-ordinator’. Rumours regarding… Read more »

C.B.
C.B.
13 years ago

Cheryl – I hope you know I wasn’t speaking for myself – but merely entering into the mindset of Gomez and Akinola.

NP
NP
13 years ago

Viriato…..so, you stick to the hope of some silent majority happy to see flagrant contradiction continue in the AC….how do you explain away TWR and the Tanzania Communique?

Bring on the Covenant… the AC needs to make progress and stop allowing itself to be hijacked by a single-issue, rights-based agenda

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

C.B.

Blush. You entered into the mindset very well, I missed the tongue in the cheek.

Mind you, the retort is appropriate for any souls who are thinking that way.

Maybe that is a Balaam moment that what came out wasn’t interpreted the way it was intended, but the blessing for God’s children happened anyway?

Everything in Creation comes from God, is for God and returns to God. Some paths are more convoluted than others, but there is nothing in Creation that is not of God. That includes GLBTs.

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