Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of Canterbury preaches in Nairobi

Updated

The full sermon is available as a video, here (27 minutes).

The context of this event is explained here.

Updates:

Lambeth Palace has issued this press release: Archbishop Justin visits Nairobi.

The Church Times carries this news report by Madeleine Davies New structures needed, Welby tells GAFCON Primates and this additional commentary Archbishop and Gafcon Leaders size each other up by George Conger.

There is also this report by George Conger Welby backs GAFCON vision for a renewed Church which says there were some changes made to the sermon at its second delivery.

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Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre
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Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre

It seems, from George Conger’s account, that the Archbishop delivered his sermon twice and that there were changes, apparently intended to smooth ruffled Gafcon feathers, between the two deliveries. Conger reports “His sermons also sparked mixed responses. Following the first presentation, Archbishop Pete Akinola, the former Primate of All-Nigeria, told Anglican Ink Archbishop Welby’s sermon was “outrageous”. The Nigerian leader was incensed that Archbishop Welby had suggested there was a moral equivalence between the normalization of gay bishops and blessings by the Episcopal Church and the violation of ecclesiastical boundaries by church leaders from the Global South. “Did you hear… Read more »

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

There’s a lot of huffing and puffing around this latest GAFCON Conference, presumably in an attempt to make it seem more than it really is – that is simply a gathering of conservative bishops and clergy, certainly not an alternative Anglican Communion. However, even for a natural conservative like Justin Welby it must have felt like going into a lions den of hubris, and some difficult inconsistencies. GAFCON is really, if you trace it back to its root source, all about the civil war between conservatives and liberals currently being waged for the soul of the United States of America… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I agree with ‘concerned Anglican’ that gafcon is really a reflection of U.S. political conservatism writ large – because of its effect upon the Africa-linked affiliates of American Republican politics. the rise of ACNA and other North American churches of conservative ex-Anglicans, was spawned by gafcon Primates as quid-pro-quo for America’s continuing support of their home-based mission. The oddity in the mixture is the high-profile presence of former Archbishop Peter Jensen, from the Sydney Anglican Diocese in Australia; which, of course, has its own revisionist understanding of Anglican polity, that excludes women clergy and encourages Lay-presidency at the Eucharist. While… Read more »

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

I’d beg to differ with Concerned Anglican; it was an awful sermon and attempting to take widely differing stances on homosexuality on different continents will only get Welby into trouble in the long run. Thanks to this crafty Internet thing, Kenyans and Nigerians can easily find the text of Justin’s EA remarks in September, just as I can see a video of him preaching in Nairobi, telling people that “kind of behaviour” (I think he means the gays) isn’t the only thing that “dishonours marriage” but also the seemingly more mundane matters of wife-beating, adultery and pornography -see for yourself… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

I watched the video. Thank you, for presenting it for us to see. I agree, ¨Justin Welby has done rather well¨ (Justin Welby is a champ, he was in Guatemala and I see he still is doing his best to hold differences in tension with prayer).

Archbishop Akinola (emeritus) ought remember his extremist/divisive part regarding the massacre at Yelwa, stop with the ¨outrageous¨ mischiefmaking and pray for Anglican/others unity in silence:

http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2008/02/abp-akinola-and-massacre-of-yelwa.html

Leonard Clark Beardsley
Leonardo Ricardo, Guatemala

Karen MacQueen+
Guest
Karen MacQueen+

Archbishop Welby thinks he took a courageous stand against same sex marriage and experienced “hatred”from same sex marriage supporters. I wonder how this “hatred” compares to what is visited upon LGBTI persons in the countries represented by the prelates with whom he was visiting. Is this guy for real? Do we have another ABC who lives somewhere in a moral universe far from reality in which hate mail is equivalent to rapes, beatings, and murders? It’s all hate right? That wasn’t bad enough. Welby goes on to refer to his opposition to same sex marriage as the Church’s effort “to… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“How these Christians hate one another” — a sound scolding! But his tinny evangelical tone makes me miss his predecessor.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I’m not sure why Mervyn and Karen are surprised that an evangelical homophobe with a history of comparing same-sex relationships to adultery should turn out to be an evangelical homophobe who compares same-sex relationships to adultery. That’s the way the CofE is going: it’s how it spoke in parliament, it’s how its synod votes, it’s how a large portion of its worshippers think. Decent people shouldn’t be taken in by the small, brave minority of people who will speak out with the CofE: the CofE is institutionally homophobic, and proud of it.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I haven’t watched the video, but Church Times has this: His opposition [to the bill] – “at great personal cost and being the object of much hatred” – was rooted in a desire to honour marriage, “not because we hate or fear anyone, whatever their sexuality”. It was, he said, “not just that kind of behaviour that dishonours marriage”, but also violence, adultery, and pornography. With Karen and Mervyn I’m having trouble understanding this as anything other than linking homosexuality with violence, adultery, and pornography, as behaviors that “dishonour marriage.” This is just reprehensible. And then we have the suggestion… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Precisely, Karen McQueen. I rarely comment on CofE stuff, because they have, through the ABC, divorced themselves from TEC. The ABC is nothing to us.

It astounds me how someone who compares me to wife beaters, child abusers, pornographers – even murderers – can stand there with crocodile tears and trembling lip to ask why, oh, WHY? do I not want to be their brother?!

You threw me away. Enjoy my absence.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“With Karen and Mervyn I’m having trouble understanding this as anything other than linking homosexuality with violence, adultery, and pornography, as behaviors that “dishonour marriage.”

That is indeed what he appears to have said. Most regrettable.

He is squandering his chance to be taken seriously.

badman
Guest
badman

This is what he says in the recording of his sermon:- “Let marriage be held in honour by all. Let the marriage bed be kept undefiled. For God will judge fornicators and adulterers”. Power – sex. In every church, in every time, this is a source of weakness. We are called to be faithful because God is faithful to us – the writer goes on to say that. In England, we in the Church, when the Government brought in the Same Sex (Marriage) Bill, which is now law, disagreed with it and spoke against it, because we seek to honour… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Well at least our Abp did not come back waving a piece of paper and saying ‘peace in our time’!
But, regrettably, in other respects, it bears some comparison with Mr Chamberlain’s ill-fated visit to Munich.
One can only admire his desire to demonstrate the eirenic qualities for which many believe he was elected, but choosing to sup with the superannuated dinosaurs Jensen and Akinola seems ill-advised, as does saying that he wished he could have attended GAFCON.
If it was an attempt at appeasement, both Akinola and Jensen appear to have treated it with contempt.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I don’t think he was expecting his speech and actions in the House of Lords to come at great personal cost. He was visibly shocked when he realised that even there the majority of people believed his stance to be homophobic.

I’m not quite sure what the personal cost actually is. He hasn’t lost his job or his position in the church. Some people who were only cautiously optimistic about him now dislike him. Ah well.

He’s probably lost his influence in the Lords. The most astonishing thing about that is that he is surprised by it.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“at great personal cost” Yes. This is the most outrageous part. What about the suffering of LGBT persons? Especially those of us who have been bullied, sacked, attacked, ostracized, and excluded from our full human rights? And what about the suffering of LGBT persons in some countries in Africa, especially the GAFCON provinces? There is a “cost” in oppressing people. Thomas Jefferson wrote that he shuddered when he reflected on the fact that God is Just, of course, he was thinking about slavery. But yes, there is a cost to hurting others, it just isn’t nearly as harsh as being… Read more »

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

Justin Welby, like his predecessor, appear to have little savvy when it comes to the power and speed of the modern day media. Did he think he could make a speech in Nairobi, sucking up to most of GAFCON’s well-known prejudices, and not have it reported back in the UK and the USA? It was both an insult to the LGBT community; and an insult to his audience – does he think they don’t read what he says when he’s back home? I want to like Justin Welby, but he’s getting more slippery by the day.

Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre
Guest
Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre

“…. at great personal cost”? Drama queen!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I’m quite tired of hearing what our church leaders are against when it comes to gay people.
I would much rather they stated telling us what they are for!

Is there a way of turning the debate to that question? It should be quite illuminating and it could provide a way forward and out of all this wearying negativity.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Nevermind the content of the sermon, I just reacted to this: “GAFCON vision for a renewed Church”

There’s an oxymoron if ever I saw one.

But if Welby compared same-sex marriage to adultery and domestic violence: ANATHEMA.

Helen
Guest
Helen

In listing thse sins which “dishonour marriage”, I think Welby was actually trying to challenge his audience. I think the suggestion was that these things are commonly done, even accepted, in the society to which he was preaching, and that his audience needed to recognise that if gay marriage was sinful (and I suppose I’d better say that I don’t think it is!), they had to recognise that all these other things were just as bad. In other words a mote and beam point.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Now that I see the full text, it looks as though the Archbishop was using the vague phrase “That kind of behavior” in order to achieve some sort of plausible deniability back in the UK.

I don’t understand why anyone thinks that people will tolerate such slippery wordsmanship.

Obviously his local audience heard “that kind of behavior” and understood the Archbishop to mean “homosexuality.”

I will understand the Archbishop the same way.

Could a chaplain to the Archbishop please explain to him that homophobia is a sin?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I agree with Helen, this was an attempt to put sin into context and not to pretend that there is this one unique sin of homosexuality that leaves all others in the shade. It’s still an unfortunate argument because, as our opponents so often remind us, we are not arguing to legalise and bless wife beating. It’s not consistent with what we’re actually saying about homosexuality. A much more valid approach would be to say that some churches, having done the theology, have come to the genuine conclusion that marriage equality is possible and blessed by God, and while we… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

Oh, dear — “at great personal cost” and “hatred” — I think his predecessor never spoke in this self-serving and touchy way — a whiff of vanity and wounded ego, methinks. And NO empathy with lgbt folk.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

*In other words a mote and beam point.* It’s possible. But if so, it’s spectacularly incoherent. The problem with arguing that “if you’re going to condemn X, you should also condemn Y and Z” arguments is that if you are in favour of X, you are presuming people will react by saying “oh, OK, as Y and Z are OK, X is OK as well”. But I doubt the CofE, and doubly so in Nairobi, is going to start claiming domestic violence, pornography and adultery are good things, so on this occasion Welby’s argument reduces to “you should be condemning… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

I agree with Helen and Erika, Interested Observer. It was a bad choice of analogies on Justin Welby’s part though, even for someone who does not support equal marriage. I certainly do not regard him as a gay-hating bigot – there are plenty of people in the world who are actually working to have LGBT people jailed or killed, of whom he is not one. However I cannot recall ever suggesting that those making such claims about Archbishops of Canterbury were ‘misunderstanding the deep thinking of theologians whose intellectual hems we are not fit to kiss’. Can you remind me… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I’ve seen you, more than once, counter the proposition that Rowan Williams was soft on homophobic bigotry with reference to “The body’s grace”, which apparently demonstrates what a first rate thinker Williams is. If only people understood it, they’d see how wrong they are. “The body’s grace” is third-rate gibberish: it’s ten pages of saying almost nothing, dressed up in faux-intellectual clothing. For example “Solitary sexual activity works at the level of release of tension and a particular localised physical pleasure; but insofar as it has nothing much to do with being perceived from beyond myself in a way that… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

Whatever you think of the theology in ‘The body’s grace’, Interested Observer, obviously Rowan Williams’ intention in giving a talk for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement in 1989 arguing that a biblical sexual ethic allowed for non-procreative sex, including between members of the same sex, was to promote greater acceptance of same-sex relationships. And that was the effect, encouraging many Christians to join in acknowledging the good that could result from same-sex partnerships. The previous year, Rowan had protested at the Diocese of London’s treatment of LGCM and written in a Jubilee Group booklet, ‘The past year has been… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I agree with Savi Hensman, that Rowan Williams’ ‘The Body’s Grace’, gave great encouragement to people in the Church who happened to be blessed/cursed with intrinsic LGBT-ness. I really believe that he was bludgeoned into a seeming turnaround by the homophobia of the gafcon primates at Lambeth. This experience undoubtedly un-nerved him – to the point where he had to effectively withdraw the candidacy of Jeffrey John for the role of bishop in the Church of England, aided and abetted by the nervous nellies in the C.of E. House of Bishops. Rowan’s concern for institutional unity overcame his quest for… Read more »

Commentator
Guest
Commentator

Whatever Lord Williams said in his address to LGCM in 1989 his actions and words have shown him to go back on that position. Indeed, I seem to remember him denigrating his previous opinion as those of a youthful theologian and not to be owned by a mature archbishop.

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

Certainly Rowan Williams failed to follow through on his promising earlier opposition to homophobia, for which I have frequently criticised him, including in Guardian ‘Comment is free’. Labelling him as a ‘gay-hating bigot’ however would have been inaccurate and unjust.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Labelling him as a ‘gay-hating bigot’ however would have been inaccurate and unjust.” I would agree. The problem is that he sided with bona fide gay hating bigots in Uganda and Nigeria, in the name of “unity.” Where “unity” with the more inclusive TEC was clearly not a concern. It put him on the wrong side of the narrative of the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice. The gay hating bigots have caused much suffering. It’s always nice to see compassion for the suffering rather than support for the oppressors, especially in a Christian religious leader. Speaking as… Read more »