Thinking Anglicans

GAFCON, Lambeth, Covenant

Updated Monday evening

The Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen has issued this statement Why I am going to Israel. This is essentially a repeat publication of his 27 December statement:

…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…

Update

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)…

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
29 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
13 years ago

Interesting that Drexel Gomez should emerge as the main conciliator between Lambeth and Gafcon – given that he was one of the Prelates present at the ‘ordination’ of bishops by African Primates for the express purpose of infiltrating into the territory of TEC. – a Lambeth No-No! Can he now really be trusted to encourage the breakaway GAFCON bishops to attend Lambeth – as well as embarking on their widely-advertised pilgrimage to the Holy Land? I guess, though, as the original convenor of the newly-proffered Covenant, he has to at least make a show of even-handedness towards all parties. Why… Read more »

MJ
MJ
13 years ago

For a humorous take on the current ‘power struggle’ this is well worth a look:

http://elizaphanian.blogspot.com/2008/02/inside-story-on-gafcon.html

Simon Butler
Simon Butler
13 years ago

Simon, it seems your quotations are from Peter Jensen’s December 27 statement not the February 4 statement.

Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

Simon B
You are quite right. The 4 February statement is essentially a repeat of the 27 December statement. How odd 🙂
Simon

Pluralist
13 years ago

If Ruth Gledhill is right, and presumably its from interviewing, then the St Andrews Draft of he Covenant, which is a more softer version with no effective sanction and no disciplining, is as good as useless anyway. I see it as going back to square one. Not that the other squares were ever acceptable.

http://www.pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

“… a new formula [has] been found that would allow the disciplining of errant churches while respecting the traditional autonomy of the 38 worldwide Anglican provinces.”

What planet is Drexel Gomez on?

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

One wonders if Archbishop Gomez has had something of a change of heart — he certainly did participate in schismatic consecrations disapproved by Canterbury & the Windsor Report & I have never heard any official expressions of regret. Archbishop Jensen is retroactively according Lambeth a status it has never had — no church was bound not to approve ordinations of persons with a same sex orientation or blessing their unions any more than churches must be expelled from the Anglican Communion for refusing to participate in the listening process called for in the same resolution. People are just making things… Read more »

christopher+
christopher+
13 years ago

What might it mean when Archbishop Gomez says, on one hand, that the Episcopal Church is unlikely to face “discipline” or “exclusion” for – openly – having a partnered, gay bishop, and, on the other hand, that a new formula has apparently been found that would allow the disciplining of ostensibly “errant” churches?

Is this “new formula” just an attempted future ban – in effect – on openly gay, partnered bishops (and/or other clergy)? I suppose we shall see…

Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

This is a good summary of recent developments given the complexity of the issues, and a good scoop on the St Andrew’s Draft for Ruth!

The Draft is due to appear on the ACO website on Wednesday, keep your eyes peeled.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

Notice how Jensen leaves out mention of lay presidency…the Communion won’t be the same when he signs that.

Notice how marriage is restricted to the gay issue and no mention of dealing with the division over divorce and re-marriage which divides the ” orthodox.”

For “Biblical interpretation”, remember this means as we see it!

Tobias Haller
13 years ago

I look forward, even though it will be Ash Wednesday, to seeing the formula for simultaneous cake possession and consumption. It may make a nice change from fudge. Or perhaps not. In fact, it may be just the thing for an official fast day.

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Thanks for the link MJ, it was a lovely way to start the day. Jensen is right, they are dealing with a force that will put pressure on Anglicans “to depart from the biblical norms of behaviour and belief”. Actually, it’s not just Anglicans, it’s also Catholics, Christians in general, Jews of all forms, Muslims, Hindu’s, humanists, secularists… The pressure is being put on to depart from accusations, vilification, complacency, elitism, greed, corruption, violence, tyranny, deceit, xenophobia. The pressure is on to honor what Jesus was ordained to do – bring healing to all the peopleS of all the nationS.… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Freud’s rule of thumb about perceiving possible clues to unconscious human motives was to look at the real world effects various particular human actions had, whether or not the actor consciously intended to have that effect. None of the human family is infallible, so of course our actions have unintended, indeed sometimes unforeseeable consequences. However, sometimes our actions avowedly lack this or that intention, when any reasonable observor could have surmised that some particular impact was a likely outcome given some operational context of people, era, situations, and so forth to which we are all reasonably privy. In that part,… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

Apparently we shall all see the new draft in less than 48 hours. I am a rare creature in that I am enthusiastic for a Covenant. I admit it would have little to do with the purpose of the present drafts, even if it might share some of their deeper sentiment. I am sure Canon Vincent Strudwick who was on the original Covenant Committee would be able to write it to my satisfaction., but there may be some lurking here who might be able to write a facilitative document that would enshrine my sense of Anglicanism where diversity has become… Read more »

Brian R
13 years ago

Jensen has written an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald in justification of his stand which even the editorial rejects. “Absence is no argument”
http://www.smh.com.au/editorial/index.html?page=2
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/lambeth-boycott-needed-to-stand-by-biblical-view/2008/02/04/1202090320695.html
He even has the hypocrisy to refer to the condemnation of Muslims.

poppy tupper
poppy tupper
13 years ago

no, martin reynolds, we do not want a covenant or any other sort of loyalty oath. the world is subtle and full of surprises. human nature is various. god is perceived through a glass darkly, even by the saints here on earth. a covenant is a denial of all of this, in seeking to pin down, and explain, and legislate. as anglicans we have the good fortune to have the book of common prayer, the 39 articles of religion, the creeds and the ordinal. these are as elusive in their meaning as life itself, and give us plenty of room… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

“covenant is a denial of all of this” – I believe it can be an affirmation of “all this”, but there you are …… I am far from a Covenant fundamentalist, I favour the line of others here in the sense that it must have “added value”, and that I can imagine such a Covenant should not disturb you unduly Poppy.

I think I was finally convinced of the usefulness of a Covenant listening to the arguments against it from Sydney’s Robert Tong.

Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

“as anglicans we have the good fortune to have the book of common prayer, the 39 articles of religion, the creeds and the ordinal”

This is not factual.

There are Churches currently a part of the Anglican Communion who do not share this historical inheritance and others who no longer give any status to these ancient formularies (saving the creed).

poppy tupper
poppy tupper
13 years ago

all a covenant will do is tie the hands of future generations. rw has been such a flop that i can imagine he would want to leave some sort of print on the future, but a covenant will be less like a signature, more like a dog messing the pavement to show it has been there.

Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

Oh dear – a dog turd argument!

I give up!

Kurt
Kurt
13 years ago

‘“as anglicans we have the good fortune to have the book of common prayer, the 39 articles of religion, the creeds and the ordinal”’ [Jensen] “This is not factual. There are Churches currently a part of the Anglican Communion who do not share this historical inheritance and others who no longer give any status to these ancient formularies (saving the creed).” Martin Reynolds That’s right, Martin. Concerning the Articles of Religion, they have never been very popular in the American Church. In the Proposed Prayer Book of 1785, the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England had been cut down… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“There are Churches currently a part of the Anglican Communion who do not share this historical inheritance and others who no longer give any status to these ancient formularies (saving the creed).” What I am about to say does not apply to those from other Communions who are now in communion with us. I have been thinking a bit lately, though, about how Common Prayer is no longer common. I have an aunt who comments that when she goes to any other church, she knows what worship to expect, but she has no idea what will happen when she goes… Read more »

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

Martin Reynolds —

A “good” covenant (a different word for the sake of the Scots?) is theoretically possible, but all of the evidence that has been produced so far demonstrates that such a document is not likely to be produced.

And of course no one trusts the primates (which started as a Bible study group & ought to be completely suppressed) since they have repeated demonstrated their untrustworthiness — they can’t even break bread together — how can they “guide” the church when they are symptomatic of the problem (or maybe ARE the problem)?

John B. Chilton
13 years ago

Simon, the SMH editorial is not a permalink (it points to the current day). Here’s the permalink,

http://www.smh.com.au/news/editorial/warm-relations-to-hot-seat/2008/02/04/1202090317556.html?page=2

Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

Thanks, John. Now fixed.

John B. Chilton
13 years ago

Jensen is receiving little or no support from Australian bishops outside Sydney,
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/lambeth_conference/australian_bishops_oppose_bish.html

Tobias Haller
13 years ago

I still think a covenant based on mission and ministry can be a productive and helpful tool; even given a minimum of doctrinal centrality as with the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral; but no more than that, please.

Kendall Harmon
13 years ago

The SMH referring to this incorrectly as a boycott shows a lack of understanding as to the motivation of those making this decision.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

“A boycott is the act of abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with someone or some other organization as an expression of protest or as a means of coercion.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott”

Kendall: Please explain how the actions of the GAFCON attendees who refuse to go to Lambeth do not fit this definition.

29
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x