Thinking Anglicans

More reports on same-sex marriage

Today, the Archbishop of Canterbury was in Bury St Edmunds. See this report, with video, from the Bury Free Press what he said there: VIDEO: Archbishop of Canterbury addresses same-sex marriage during visit to Bury.

…Addressing the complexities the Church of England faces on the issue to an audience of 900 guests in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, he said: “We’ve a huge responsibility here for Christians all around the world.

“It’s complicated because throughout history the scriptures teach and the church is understood that sexual activity should be within marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman and to change our understanding of that is not something we can do quickly and casually. It has to be done with profound thought and not just because as there is there’s a very clear majority in this country in favour of gay marriage.

“Parliament has spoken very clearly and we accept that and that’s right and proper.

“We have to be those who are faithful to the tradition we’ve inherited and adapt and change as each generation comes along in a way that’s faithful to the God who loves us and we do that in the context of the whole church.

“It is unbelievably difficult, unbelievably painful and unbelievably complicated.

“I haven’t got a quick one-liner that solves the problem – I wish I had and I would dearly love there to be one but there isn’t.”

He continued: “The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else.

“We need to be really blunt about that. We need to listen to them but we need to listen to Christians around the world and we need to listen to each other and in the discussions rather than shouting that one side’s homophobic and the other side’s betraying the gospel – we need actually to listen to each other as human beings.”

Some other items:

The Church Times had a leader titled: Room to manoeuvre. It concludes:

…So, what can be done? The most immediate prospect is an outbreak of small-arms fire, as liberals attempt to counter the House of Bishops’ negativity by expressing their welcome for same-sex marriage in various ways, perhaps not all legal. Similarly, we can expect conservatives to reassert traditional views of marriage, quietly supported by a significant proportion of churchgoers who remain uncomfortable with the new definition of marriage.

These are more than mere skirmishes, and the Bishops find themselves with little room to manoeuvre. The time and energy needed for the facilitated talks is running out, undermined by the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in society at large, and the damage being done to the Church’s pastoral reputation every time a couple is rejected or a potential ordinand is turned down. If meaningful dialogue is to take place as it ought, a new interim position needs to be forged that takes a more realistic view of the new terrain. The half-hearted homophile passages in the Bishops’ pastoral guidance should be revised, and the reluctant concession about prayers for couples in civil partnerships needs to be strengthened and extended to same-sex marriage. The Church’s reservations about the equivalence of gay and straight relationships needs still to be acknowledged; but some of the pressure would be off. And then the Church might learn how to disagree well rather than, as at present, obnoxiously.

And there was also this news report: Gay-wedding day dawns as Church remains clouded.

Both the Bishop of Buckingham and the Dean of St Albans have written for Pink News:

Bishop of Buckingham: Allowing gay people to marry enriches the public understanding of marriage

Dr Jeffrey John: Most Church of England people agree, same-sex weddings ‘have God’s blessing already’

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sjh
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sjh

As I said in another thread, there will be no concrete changes in the CofE. They are once again sacrificing LGBT people to GAFCON – the ABC stated clearly it is about the global communion. As they will never change, we can expect nothing here in England. All cosy stuff about loving gay people and repenting of homophobia is just PR. They are siding with deeply homophobic bishops who believe LGBT people should be imprisoned and worse. They have made their moral choice now we have to make ours

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

Isn’t it time we just dropped the name “Church of England”. I mean, who are we trying to kid?
The Anglican Church in England would at least be more honest.

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

“We’ve a huge responsibility here for Christians all around the world… “ Surely the Church of England would be better of if it recognized that is is the Church of ENGLAND and neither a papal monarchy, nor owned by the churches of Uganda and Nigeria, etc. Then it might be able to assume a prophetic leadership role rather than scurry about trying to please everyone while pleasing no one. “… to change our understanding of that is not something we can do quickly and casually.” It has been neither quick nor casual, but has dragged on for decades. The C… Read more »

John
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John

Most of this is very positive. All power to the Bishop of Buckingham and Jeffrey John. Welby knows he’s busted. Where are the stentorian voices on the conservative side? Nowhere. They know they’re busted. Personally, as I listened to ‘the World Tonight’ last night and heard the two British Asian Hindu guys talking about their imminent wedding to the woman interviewer, I wept. This thing is so good, its self-evident goodness will sweep the board.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“to change our understanding of that is not something we can do quickly and casually”

How convenient.

When done by politicians, it is cynically known as “kicking into the long grass”.

When done by bishops, it is a mature period of reflection and prayer.

The effect is the same: less change, more injustice.

John Holding
Guest
John Holding

I’d be more impressed if the ABC noticed, just in passing, that among those in the world-wide anglican family he wants to take into account are a number of churches that do accept and bless marriages between same-sex couples. As for the CofE having to do that — that’s nonsense. The CofE is one of a number of sister churches, that’s all. As ABC he may, perhaps, have to consider more — but that’s his problem, not that of the CofE and the sooner he recognises that, largely, no one really notices or cares about what the CofE does, the… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“but we need to listen to Christians around the world”

Including the ones literally calling for the DEATH of gay people?

This is exactly the sort of false equivalency MAKING “the church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people”.

For heaven’s sake, +++Justin, let your yes be Yes, and your no be No!

Randal Oulton
Guest
Randal Oulton

Important, encouraging news though I don’t know where this belongs as the African topic has vanished off the scrolling. Moderator please feel free to move to a better place:

In Midst of New Anti-gay Law in Uganda, Anglican Bishop Provides Safe Haven for Gays

http://www.towleroad.com/2014/03/in-midst-of-new-anti-gay-law-ugandan-cleric-provides-safe-haven-for-gays-.html

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else.

“We need to be really blunt about that. We need to listen to them but we need to listen to Christians around the world.”

Because it’s not the Church of England. It’s the Church of the World, don’t you know.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Who’s for +Buckingham being Transferred to Lambeth Palace? Seems he is more open to leading and nurturing the Mother Church of England, without kowtowing to GAFCON.

Father David
Guest
Father David

We shall only really be sure that the C of E has cured itself of institutional homophobia when Jeffrey John is given a richly deserved and long overdue diocese. There are plenty currently vacant to choose from. After all fine words butter no parsnips.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Father Ron, I hereby confidently predict that + Buckingham will remain Area Bishop of Buckingham until he retires. He won’t be offered a diocese let alone Lambeth. As the old Spiritual has it “Sit down, you’re rocking the boat” and the Church Establishment don’t like it, no, not one little bit. Besides, Bishop Alan will be 60 next year, far too long in the tooth to be preferred. It seems that younger bishops are now all the rage judging by the recent consecration of the Bishop of Dudley,

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Quick? Casual? The AbC has to be joking. We have had BSR (1970) Gloucester (1979), Osborne (1989), Issues (1991), Pilling (2013). Please note the gaping chasm between Issues and Pilling – only filled by Issues Study Guide (2003), a naked attempt to try and make out that Issues was the answer. As we know, Issues became (somehow) the gold standard, and a test of “orthodoxy” on this matter, to which everyone seemed to have to subscribe. It was published as a contribution to debate, but the debate never really happened. There was just more drift, and the vague hope that… Read more »

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

This thing about ‘we need to listen to the world’ really roils me. On the one hand, the voices of some quite frankly horrific views (bear in mind the Church is always calling upon itself to repent of homophobia) seem to be given the same weight, if not more, than the life giving views in one’s own country. When life and death are set before us we should choose life. On the other hand, if we are refraining from doing the right because of our historical post colonial connections then there should be a degree of honesty about that. If… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Jeremy I have approved your very long comment, but please don’t make a habit of that…
S

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Sorry, Simon. I promise to try and be good! 🙂

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

Re: Uganda, Nigeria, Scott Lively: Stop hiding in the bunker, ++Welby! LEAD! The world, and suffering LGBT people all over it, need the encouragement of a brave voice speaking for them. More limp, nothing-meaning hand-wringing only gives license to the voices of hate and fear. ++Welby has the chance to tip the balance in favor of equality, tolerance, and inclusion – in short, to lead, to be a prophetic, Christian voice. I can only believe that such a voice would do more to bring in the many, many persons who are affronted and estranged from Christianity than all the “purists”… Read more »

Roger Antell
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Roger Antell

“It is unbelievably difficult, unbelievably painful and unbelievably complicated.” Ah, the sympathy vote. You people have no idea of the suffering I’m going through. Unfortunately for the ABC, as I have written elsewhere, this is another example of how the arguments for equal marriage have now been won and the CofE is flailing around and hitting out at anyone they think they can intimidate. This ‘I’m really suffering’ reply is another attempt to deflect attention from the abysmal failure of the CofE to really engage with the gay people who form its congregations, lay ministers, clergy and bishops, let alone… Read more »

Linda Woodhead
Guest
Linda Woodhead

Well said Jeremy Pemberton. There are whole swathes of historical and theological materials which have been ignored, and it is nonsense to say the Church’s current position on gender difference is ‘the traditional’ one. As to practicalities, the CT leader is right we need a better interim ‘holding’ position, given that there are conscientious, faithful people on both sides. As Jeremy says, the current position only supports opponents of SSM. A good interim position would be fairer to all parties. My surveys last year find 44% of Anglicans in favour of allowing same-sex marriage, 43% against. The proportion same-sex marriage… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I think you’re all over-complicating matters. Justin Welby doesn’t side with homophobes because he feels forced to by a misplaced sense of solidarity with African churches, because of a misplaced sense of concern about ensuring wide acceptance for policy within the CofE or because of a Christian love for his fellow evangelicals. No, William of Occam just called, with a newly sharpened razor. What’s the most parsimonious explanation for Justin Welby’s enthusiasm for homophobic policies? It’s because he supports them. Why is Welby so keen to pander to violently homophobic African churches? He agrees with them. In each case, if… Read more »

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

I was in St Edmundsbury Cathedral yesterday where Archbishop Justin was present to preside at a joyous, vibrant and colouful service of Holy Communion to launch the celebrations for the centenary of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich. Instead of a sermon, the Archbishop answered a number of questions from young people on pilgrimage (the theme for the centenary is ‘Pilgrims in Time’), prayer, and how to live out faith that is strong and relevant to the world today. Inevitably, perhaps, given that the first civil same-sex marriages had just taken place, he was also asked a question about… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Significantly, Justin Welby pointed out that only about 1.5% of Anglicans are in the Church of England; 85% are in sub-Saharan Africa and that if the C of E changes its policy on gay marriage, “those people could not in good conscious [sic] accept the help they desperately need.”

So, Welby has just baptized RADICALLY IRRATIONAL OBSESSIONS into “good conscience”?! [“I’d rather starve, than accept food from a hand which—half a world away—may have just blessed homos”]

I despair. Kyrie eleison.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Significantly, Justin Welby pointed out that only about 1.5% of Anglicans are in the Church of England; 85% are in sub-Saharan Africa”

If the CofE is stating, as policy, that the social mores of sub-Saharan Africa act as a veto on any changes it might make in this country, then it is signing its own death warrant. Welby is making an open admission that the policies of GAFCON are more important to him that the country in which he is the established church. That cannot possibly be acceptable to, inter alia, other members of the House of Lords.

Iain Baxter
Guest
Iain Baxter

Did the Archbishop really say “those people could not in good conscious accept the help they desperately need.” Is his argument that if we act justly towards gay and lesbian people in England, churches in Africa will not take our money? I would suggest that if the African churches turn down support from the Church of England, then money could be sent to other more accepting organisations working with the poor and needy in those countries. If the “help” mentioned is not money, but teaching and advise, it is very clear that they have already rejected any of that with… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Thanks for that report, David. So, a 900-strong congregation gave an ovation to the appeasement of murderous homophobia. Including, we can presume, those young people you mentioned. So much for the youth of Britain being united in outrage at discrimination against their gay friends. If the crudest emotional blackmail can incite a cathedral to applaud the sacrifice of gay people, maybe affirmation is a battle that just can’t be fought in the present Church of England. Perhaps this is an organization in which LGBT people won’t be accepted as equals in the foreseeable. As I said, thanks for the report.… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Well, this IS the policy that has driven Lambeth and the ACO since before the meeting of Primates at the Dromantine. It was then in an interview with the deputy editor of The Times, Rowan Williams made it clear, for the first time, we gay folk were to be sacrificed to the greater good of the Communion. The explanation seemed to be that we were too small a group to represent any serious challenge and that there was a near unanimous hatred of us throughout the vast majority South, majority opposition and antipathy on the English bench and sizeable opposition… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

James, you said “If the crudest emotional blackmail can incite a cathedral to applaud the sacrifice of gay people, maybe affirmation is a battle that just can’t be fought in the present Church of England.” Is the “African” argument a valid reason? Or is it that after decades of casting around for a killer argument to use against gay equality, and seeing each one crumble in turn, the CofE authorities now think they have found a new one that seems to work – we would love to make progress on gay equality, we are not homophobic really, but these African… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“As the old Spiritual has it “Sit down, you’re rocking the boat” “

Just an FYI–not an old spiritual, but a wonderfully funny parody of same by Frank Loesser in the musical “Guys and Dolls”.

John
Guest
John

‘A just interim position needs to allow all the parties to have their views recognised and respected, in some better proportion to their numbers. Which means a genuine plurality. But that is where we need to get to anyway – permanently, in my view.’ I totally agree with this. Of course, achieving that just interim position will take some doing. Time presses. People have lives (and deaths). Disobedience is the way to go. Being a feeble, unprincipled person, I never understand why many people with a particular view-point, legitimate enough in itself, always insist that EVERYBODY has to toe the… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“we would love to make progress on gay equality, we are not homophobic really, but these African churches are not as advanced as us,” It has a name on the left. It is called “the racism of low expectations”. Under the guise of being progressive, it infantilises and removes moral agency. You see it in many guises: “it’s OK to criticise Christians because they are rational and not likely to bomb you, but Muslims are a little bit violent and you can’t be too careful”. “Oh, young black men, they’ve got a fine natural sense of rhythm and all, but… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

It is perhaps good to recall that Americans and Canadians are also “Christians around the world” and have a voice in the councils of the communion — in spite of efforts to exclude them. The real test will be to see if Welby bends to the explicit pressure to trim the Primates of “western” influence. A wise host will invite all, and let the unhappy depart on their own.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Let’s be sure that we understand the final level of Welby’s argument–a level apparently unstated in his cathedral appearance. It isn’t just that African churches won’t accept charity from the Church of England, and that this hurts the poor in Africa. No, no. As others have said above, that point is easily rebutted. The CofE can just work through other charities that serve Africa. Rather, Welby’s concern is that African churches won’t accept financial aid from the Church of England if it supports equal marriage, but the African churches _will_ accept that aid from other churches elsewhere. Which means that… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Again, I think Interested Observer fails to see the heavy irony in Simon’s comment – he also seems to miss the fact that Simon Dawson is characterising if not caricaturing the way the CofE appears to promote its policy for the domestic consumer.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Yes, Jeremy, and if it is not the Queen’s shilling they are taking then it used to be TEC who produced the cheque book at every Communion event.

Now it is those nasty fundamentalist Americans who are trying to take control with their cheque books, or those separated TEC parishes or even worse and most likely, the diocese of Sydney, spreading its unique form of Calvinism.

It is true that Sydney has taken control over priestly formation in several African countries.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

On this occasion, I don’t believe I have missed irony.

Simon laid out his perception of what Welby is arguing.

I agreed, adding that his perception of Welby’s thinking (that you have to “make allowances” and “give time” and generally accept lower standards) is, in fact, the racism of low expectations. Aside from giving it a name, I don’t see any difference.

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Martin,

You are right, in that I am “characterising if not caricaturing” what appears to be a policy. I have no idea if what Archbishop Justin is doing is a deliberate ploy or not, and in fact I have come across the same argument in other places too. But it does seem to be an effective argument which could easily gain traction. So the argument as I have outlined it (or similar) should be described and challenged as widely as possible before they become established.

Best wishes.

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

I think somebody needs to remind His Grace of the debate and votes on the Anglican Covenant. As those demonstrated, we don’t like taking orders from outsiders in the Church of England. On this specific issue, some of it is natural and quite correct revulsion at being told what to do about same-sex relationships by people who thing that those in them should be locked up for long prison terms and, in some cases, executed. Some of it is because we started the Anglican Communion, and don’t like being told what’s acceptable within it by Johnny Foreigner. It’s a bit… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

If the Church of England – into which I was baptized and confirmed in the Coventry Diocese many years ago – has to tailor its current theology by the homophobic and sexist status quo of the GAFCON Churches, then I have, in all conscience, to sever my personal ties with our Mother Church. Not because I want to, but simply because I do not, and cannot, identify with homophobia or sexism in the Church to which I, notionally, belong. I say notionally, because that was my cradle of catholicity. However, as a retired priest still working for the Gospel in… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“some of which ignore the reality of the Archbishop’s position as leader of the world-wide Anglican Communion but also the priority of showing the love of Christ to all our brothers and sisters in Christ.” Good grief! Where to start? Let’s start with Desmond Tutu, he’s an Anglican African leader who believes in human rights for all, including LGBT persons. Condoning human rights violations for the sake of unity with the violators? Wow! Africans won’t accept the help they need if we don’t coddle their human rights violations? You know, TEC still has a very strong and vibrant presence in… Read more »

John
Guest

If some people start clapping at a big, public, charged event, others will join them. It’s a psychological thing – the Prince of Wales clapped the speech at Diana’s funeral which largely consisted of an attack on himself. The reality – as we all here know – is that church opinion on ‘gay marriage’ in church is split about 50/50, and the yeas will certainly rather soon become the majority. It’s important to discern positives and build on them.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Good grief! Where to start? Let’s start with Desmond Tutu, he’s an Anglican African leader who believes in human rights for all, including LGBT persons.”

And let’s continue with Bishop Christopher Senyonjo who will continue to minister to Ugandan lbgt people despite the risk to himself.

I’d rather we listened to those than to the morally bankrupt once who supported a 5 hour public celebration of the Ugandan anti gay laws:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/uganda-celebrates-anti-gay-law-with-five-hour-ceremony

IT
Guest
IT

Really breathtaking. The churches in Uganda and Nigeria are supporting the criminalization of homosexuality; I suppose people in the UK should feel fortunate that Abp Justin is at least not calling for gays to go to prison. If that’s the standard, there’s no hope.

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

That’s it for me. Justin Welby has just hung himself on one hook too many. I am still trying to get my head around the notion that we cannot support same-sex marriages in our country because it will upset homophobic Christians in other countries who will refuse our aid if we do not do what they want! And he got applause for that?

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

No IT, it’s much worse than that. The Primate of Nigeria has now admitted that these laws were initiated by the Churches of Nigeria and Uganda. Sadly, Jeremy Pemberton’s cautionary tale of ineptitude and failure to act is just a part of a catalogue of disasters we have seen happen. Many years ago before these laws were known we (LGCM) had intelligence from inside Akinola’s office that the first drafts emanated from there. We passed on this intelligence to Lambeth and ACO secretly to protect our source. She has recently died. Despite all this, despite clear evidence of their murderous… Read more »