on Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 12.46 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion
Two ACNS reports by Jan Butter:
African Anglican bishops in Uganda draw a line in the sand in their final conference statement
The statement discussed in this article is now available over here.
Seven days in Entebbe – A reflection on the All Africa Bishops Conference
A very touching report. If the world is to advance, if faith is to grow, we really DO have to start seeing whole pictures, and not snapshots. It is plain that the church in Africa is doing great things, even if it is doing some terrible ones too. I have read elsewhere on TA the people think that liberal churches should not have helped fund this gathering. I think it is plain that they should have.
@Rosemary Hannah: The lead paragraph of the first ACNS report is: “Four hundred bishops from Africa announced today that ‘business as usual’ was no longer an option for the Anglican Church there and that Africans should “take their destiny into their own hands”.” Very well then — let them do so. They don’t want the “tainted” money of the Episcopal Church. Let them not take it, then. And let us not push our “tainted” money on them. There are other organizations in Africa doing good work. Let us support them instead. Let the African churches go entirely their own way,… Read more »
Establishment of the Church of England is about far more than religion. Religion would not even be top of the ‘list’.
I have no sympathy at all with discrimination against same sex attraction and relationships – at all times and in all places I have argued this for the last 40 years – more than 40 years.
But I do not think we can be the ones to close the door on African churches. I think we should continue support while speaking firmly of what we believe. I think we should continue to offer finance. I think we should try to understand how recently homosexuality came to be understood in the west. I think we should forgive.
Charlotte, it is not my impression that the C of E sides with the Nigerians and Ugandans on the question of homosexuality. The congregations broadly reflect English people generally, who are now very liberal on this question. The bishops are frightened of rocking the Anglican Communion boat but very, very few of them are hardliners who actually support homophobia – certainly way short of a majority. It is the meekness of the C of E leadership which has appeased Nigeria and Uganda, not agreement. As to establishment, the new Prime Minister is a practising member of the Church of England,… Read more »
While I have sympathy for Rosemary’s Hannah’s sincerity, I believe she is either naive or in denial about these particular denominational churches. I am not a member of any group advocating for homosexual persons, in the church or elsewhere, and I have only come to accept loving and monogamous homosexual relationships as religiously valid within the past twenty or so years. But I can recognize an evil effect, which I believe these African churches will have, no matter how sincerely they believe their positions to be. Therefore, to enable that effect, by the donation of money (whether from TEC or… Read more »
@badman: “David Cameron is more likely to give the Church of England the benefit of establishment and stop it falling too far out of line with the public at large” which, as you say, is nowhere nearly as anti-gay as the Church’s leadership. Well, but what story will they tell “the public at large” to explain why they forced TEC out of a Communion that makes comfortable room for Uganda and its “Kill Gays” law? Will they say it’s because we have a woman as Presiding Bishop? (no, probably not) Because gay people can worship as gay people in TEC?… Read more »
It is not true that in most C of E congregations gay people are closeted. In the majority gay people openly in relationships are welcomed and in all sorts of roles. In a minority that will not be true, but those are the minority. There will of course be congregations where the demographic (congregation old and poor) causes their social attitude to gay people to wash over into their religious attitude. There will be congregations where the priest’s attitude (evangelical, conservative) has the same effect and there may not always be a good match between priest and congregation, causing more… Read more »
Charlotte: “Because gay people can worship as gay people in TEC? It’s my understanding that if a gay or lesbian person wants to be a part of a Church of England congregation,in all but a favored few, he or she had better be totally closeted. Keep in mind that the C of E attracts less than 5% of “the public at large” as worshippers, and that the average age of the parishioners is 60.” None of this is true. If you’re from TEC please feel angry with us – many of us are pretty angry with our leaders and deeply… Read more »
Chloe and Rosemary Hannah have convinced me that my understanding was false and wrong-headed. Thank you both.
Dear Charlotte, I think you are getting the situation in the Church of England out of all proportion. Most Anglicans would gladly accept gay people into their congregations. It is only some of the leadership of the anti-gay crowd – like Chris Sugden for instance – and some of the Bishops, who are keen to keep the Global South contingency on-side. Most English people have gotten over the fact that homosexuality is just one of the components of human sexuality, and are not anti-American – especially not anti-TEC.
Jan Butter is a genuine enthusiast for the Anglican project and for Christian life generally, he has taken on a tough job at the ACO and I sincerely wish him well.
Jim Naughton slouching in his usual seat in the corner of his Cafe gave Jan quite a tough lecture on the realities of conference journalism in response to this piece – I strongly suspect he is right despite the smell of absinthe from over there!