Updated Monday evening
…The next Lambeth Conference has been summoned for July-August 2008. The Archbishop of Canterbury is responsible for the guest list, and he has invited all except for the Bishop of New Hampshire on the one hand and some of the new bishops appointed to care for the dissidents on the other. Thus, for example the Bishop of New Westminster has been invited although his actions have caused the Reverend David Short and his congregation (which includes Dr Jim Packer) to withdraw as far as they can from the Diocese. An invitation to share the Conference under these circumstances has posed a real difficulty for many of us.
Several African Provinces have indicated that they will not be attending Lambeth, because to do so would be to acquiesce with the North American actions. They are not ending the Anglican Communion, or even dividing it. They are simply indicating that the nature of the Communion has now been altered by what has occurred. They see that since the American actions were taken in direct defiance of the previous Lambeth Conference, the Americans have irreparably damaged the standing of the Conference itself. They asked without success for the Conference to be postponed. They do not think that this Conference is what is needed now. To attend would be to overlook the importance of the issues at stake.
The Anglican Future Conference is not designed to take the place of Lambeth. Some people may well choose to go to both. Its aim is to draw Biblical Anglican Christians together for urgent consultation. It is not a consultation which can take place at Lambeth, because Lambeth has a different agenda and far wider guest list. Unlike Lambeth, the Future Conference is not for Bishops alone – the invitations will go to clergy and lay people also. It seeks to plan for a future in which Anglican Christians world-wide will increasingly be pressured to depart from the biblical norms of behaviour and belief. It gives an opportunity for many to draw together to strengthen each other over the issue of biblical authority and interpretation and gospel mission…
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the reaction of the Primate of Australia, Phillip Aspinall to Dr Jensen’s decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference:
…Dr Aspinall said in a statement that he was disappointed over the move by Dr Jensen, and urged him to reconsider.
“I find it difficult to understand the view that the Lambeth Conference is not a proper place to deal with issues facing the international Anglican Communion,” Dr Aspinall said.
“Lambeth happens once every 10 years and basically all the bishops of the international Anglican Communion are invited.
“It is a very significant gathering in which the vast majority of bishops will participate.”
He said the only way to address issues of “deep difference” in the church was to “come together, pray together, study the scriptures and speak openly with each other”.
“That some bishops seem willing to forego this important opportunity is disappointing,” Dr Aspinall said.
He said he hoped that another key conservative bishop, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who heads the Anglican Church in the West Indies, could convince Dr Jensen to rethink his move…
Earlier Ruth Gledhill had written about the Gafcon ‘power struggle’. She reproduces the text of a lengthy note about GAFCON by an unknown hand.
There are also links there to her video interview of me, and another interview of Jim Rosenthal, made just after the Lambeth Palace press conference two weeks ago.
And today, The Times has published Ruth’s article Archbishop aims to save divided Church. It is neither Rowan Williams nor Peter Jensen but rather Drexel Gomez, who is interviewed:
The Anglican archbishop in charge of drawing up the document intended to reunite his warring Church said he believes that schism can still be averted in spite of divisions over the issue of homosexuals.
The Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, said that a new formula had been found that would allow the disciplining of errant churches while respecting the traditional autonomy of the 38 worldwide Anglican provinces. Urging all Anglican bishops to attend the Lambeth Conference this year, he said that it would be a “tremendous tragedy” if the Church fell apart.
A new document to be published this week would form “a basic way of holding each other accountable as a Communion”, he said. But he indicated that the Episcopal Church of the United States was unlikely to face discipline or any form of exclusion from the Anglican Communion as a result of consecrating Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003…
There is more in the Sydney Morning Herald for Tuesday:
Article by Peter Jensen Lambeth boycott needed to stand by biblical view
Newspaper editorial article Absence is no argument:
THE old adage that the absent are always wrong is not necessarily true. But in matters of tactics, it remains a useful rule of thumb: you cannot win a debate by boycotting it. Yet this is precisely what Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop, Peter Jensen, and the bishops of his diocese are proposing to do by refusing to attend this year’s Lambeth Conference – a once-in-a-decade meeting of the world’s more than 800 Anglican prelates. It is the latest development in a potentially schismatic dispute over church attitudes to homosexuality between the conservative leaders of the strongly evangelical Sydney diocese and their allies, notably in Africa, on one side, and more liberal Anglicans elsewhere (including Australia)…