Thinking Anglicans

Canadian, African, and American Bishops in Dialogue

A Sacrament of Love: Our Continuing Testimony of Grace

This statement was released by the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue after their third meeting June 4 to 7 in Toronto, Ont.

The statement is also available as a PDF file.

The list of participants is at the end of the statement.

The Anglican Journal reports: Anglican communion ‘a gift from God’

This week, the Anglican Church of Canada hosted the third Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. And judging by the bishops’ comments, the future looks bright for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Growing out of Lambeth 2008, which uncovered divisions and disagreements between African and other Anglicans on the issue of human sexuality and same-sex relationships, the dialogue held its first meeting in London in 2010 and it second last year in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The group was originally organized by Archbishop Colin Johnson of the diocese of Toronto, who is also metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Ontario.

After their meeting at the Manresa Retreat Centre, a Jesuit facility east of Toronto, almost 20 African, American and Canadian prelates and their associates attended a Communion service at Church House, the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada in Toronto…

And the Anglican Church of Canada website has this: Canadian, African bishops affirm common mission.

On one level, the first wedding held at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national offices will resemble many other weddings, with finery, music, and celebration. But it is a moment of Anglican Communion harmony that might not have happened 10 years ago: the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, will conduct the marriage service for the Primate of Central Africa, Archbishop Albert Chama, and his childhood friend Ashella Ndhlovu, a resident of Toronto.

The June 8 event is a happy postscript symbolizing the deepening friendships emerging from the Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue. The bishops held their third meeting at the Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre in Pickering, Ont., June 4 to 7.

Seventeen bishops from Africa, Canada, and U.S. met for prayer and discussion of two topics: mission and the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant…

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Rod GilliscseitzFather Ron SmithtmbrownRandal Oulton Recent comment authors
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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

From number 10 in the joint statement “We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion.” Really?

Malcolm French+
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@ Rod Gillis:

Even I won’t question that the Anglican Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion – in much the same way that the Tower of Babel was an attempt to reach heaven or the Titanic was an attempt to build the ultimate in unsinkable ocean transport.

Father Ron Smith
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It just shows what Love can do! Take one Central African Archbishop, and one childhood sweetheart living in Toronto, Canada, and dialogue become possible. Weddings often change people – not only the two concerned, but also their friends and family. Let’s all hope that this marriage is something more than just the union of two persons who love one another. May it also signify the meeting of minds within the Anglican Communion, about the authenticity of ALL people – regardless of race, gender, sexual-orientation, social standing, or any other artificial stumbling block to our common membership of the Body of… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The Covenant was ( hopefully one may use a past tense here) always a plan for hegemony–not unity.
One hopes the bureaucratic baffle gab in the joint statement is not a bell weather for Canada’s next GS. Interestingly the Statement seems to reflect a view similar to that found in the Canadian hierarchy, that the only real problem with the covenant is Section IV.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

“We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion.”

This doesn’t say it’s a successful attempt, or anything worth supporting. It’s just a nice, diplomatic way of saying “Well, they tried.” Putting the best possible construction on a failed idea allows all parties to move on with no loss of face. Not so bad, really.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re Charlotte “…to move on with no loss of face. not so bad…” Hmm. I wonder if it may be a little less benign than you think perhaps? With apologies in advance to Marshall McLuhan, the bishops statement is really a way for the bishops to wear a mask in public. Perhaps the goal is to present the unity they feel obliged to model, the unity the rest of us expect them to create on our behalf, even when it is elusive? Bishops appearing in public without unity may make them feel somewhat,well,exposed, vulnerable, naked even. Hence the statement functions… Read more »

Malcolm French+
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Just to be clear, I certainly don’t dismiss Rod’s concern – and I really wish I had a better sense of what’s going on across Canada re: the Anglican Covenant. That said, I find the entire para 10 (see below) – with it’s nearly explicit acknowledgement that the Covenant may fail – to be less of a problem than the first line. As to the matter of the first three sections, I refer to the Executive Archdeacon of Edmonton’s analogy that the Covenant is rather like being attacked with a knife by a guy with a bad haircut. You tend… Read more »

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

“We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion.”

Relax. That’s in the same vein as Canadians saying “sorry” after you bump into them. You don’t want to know what the actual words were in their heads, lol.

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

Just googled Ashella Ndhlovu. She works at a Rape Crisis centre, and helps organize Take Back The Night walks. Whatever her views on other things, she’s not going to be a pushover on women’s rights.

tmbrown
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tmbrown

I think this conversation about the brief reference to the Anglican Covenant in the document rather misses the overall positive significance of the conversation now reaching over three years. The conversation gives lie to the view that all African Anglican bishops and provinces are set to excommunicate the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church, which is certainly what the David Virtues of this world would like us to think. Dialogue and attempts at mutual understanding are still possible despite the dividing wall of 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, certainly a much more problematic statement than the Anglican Covenant. The… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Anything so strongly rejected by the Diocese of Sydney and GAFCON cannot be all bad.

Posted by: tmbrown

Amen to that. If both Sydney and Gafcon are in direct opposition to something (someone), that is just worthy of a second glance, at least. Make no mistake, the Covenant was not a good idea, but not quite so bad as the puritanical agenda that Gafcon strives after.

cseitz
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cseitz

We just had another bishop from Burundi with us in Toronto, a good friend and former student of Professor Radner (who taught in Burundi after Yale). He was there for the covenant event along with ++Josiah Idowu-Fearon from Nigeria and Professor Paul Avis from the CofE and Bishop Stephen Andrews (ACoC). The Archbishop of Burundi is also a friend of ACI and spoke at our Houston event ‘Anglicanism — A Gift in Christ’ some years back. He is a fine man and a charitable (what one would call here) ‘conservative.’ Glad to see him present. I know the Radners are… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I appreciate the tone of the comments of tmbrown overall, but I contest this statement “I hope self-righteous opposition to the Covenant does not become a new Puritanism.” Don’t confuse resolute opposition to Covenant political brokering with “self righteousness”. I’ll name two concerns from among several in the Canadian context that I’m posting from, (1) The vilification of the Canadian Church by foreign bishops and (2) The almost neurotic avoidance strategies the Canadian bishops engage in when dealing with controversy. I’m grateful for the meeting of African, American, and Canadian Bishops, especially for their commitment to face to face respectful… Read more »