on Tuesday, 7 April 2015 at 6.40 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion
Titusonenine has published a transcript of a lecture given by Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon in Toronto in 2013 titled The Instruments of Unity and the Way Forward.
The original audio recording can be found here, at the website of The Cranmer Institute.
The transcript can be read from this link.
Having just listened to the address by the new Secretary General (Bishop Josiah) to the Toronto Conference in 2014, I am impressed with the clarity with which he has discerned the situation in today’s divisions in the Anglican Communion. He believes that the Instruments of Union are still necessary, but need some reform. 1. The ABC to represent the face of the Communion to Ecumencial partners – not as supreme authority but as wise presider in AC affairs. 2. The Lambeth Conference to be open to discussion rather than cross-Communion decisions. 3. The ACC to receive, discuss and implement the… Read more »
Further to my previous comment; Bishop Josiah did mention the fact that, in the African (GAFCON) cultural ethos, their is little scope for debate. The old style of monarchical rule by Archbishops still holds sway. What the whole Communion needs is for each Province to be allowed to discuss theological matters that can then be put to Primates’ Meetings. That might enable a better climate for conciliation.
Seems like the Archbishop is, once again, trying to have it both ways.
The Global South is obviously meeting with some success in its pressure campaign to remake the Communion into a Curia.
Perhaps it’s time for The Episcopal Church to stop feeding, financially, the mouth that bites it.
It seems to me to be something of a mistake to legislate a schism into being.
Not all provinces will have both conservative and liberal bishops all the time to be taken to the Primates’ meeting.
Few faithful Anglicans find it helpful to be labelled extremists.
Father Ron, I haven’t had a chance to catch up on the Bishop’s lecture in Toronto I am only responding to the four points you heard in it. It seems to me that I don’t want the Primates’ Council making decisions. If the ACC can facilitate and/or respond to discussions, well and good. For them to implement decisions would appear to create a super-national level of authority.
I’m somewhat glad to see that the comments from the crowd at Titus 1:9 are no happier with this appointment than we are here and at Episcopal Cafe.
Good Lord. Wouldn’t it be better for the ACC to focus on the real work of the Gospel? Say perhaps to work on the Five Marks of Mission and work together to further those “marks?” What is ripping the communion apart is an intense desire by some conservatives to impose their ignorant theology of sexuality on a very large group of extremely well educated people. The Anglican Communion would carry on just fine if there was a mutual respect for the different places we find ourselves. When Africa is 100 percent literate, largely college educated, at peace with the variety… Read more »
Cynthia nails it.
An Anglican Communion that seeks to impose doctrine on the provinces would no longer be Anglican.
“When Africa is 100 percent literate, largely college educated, at peace with the variety of tribes and religions there, and mostly prosperous, ” — Cyntia I’m not sure the USA, or the UK, for that matter, can meet all those criteria. In the USA, I doubt the KKK and the Black Panthers regularly get together to discuss baseball over at the local kosher deli, for example. Nor, for that matter, Southern Baptists and Unitarians. In the UK, it seems to me that Scottish and Welsh and English peoples have been known to vehemently disagree, as well as some Muslims and… Read more »
If I have understood Josiah I-F correctly, what he is proposing in the Toronto address is that the Archbishop of Canterbury assumes a quasi-papal role and that the Primates’ Conference becomes the Curia. No wonder Welby was keen to endorse this appointment: it is his dream come true. Unfortunately, this strikes at the heart of Anglican polity as we understand it, with Primates having authority over individual dioceses and their bishops. Presumably, the next step will be an Anglican equivalent of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (aka Inquisition) and the silencing of theologians not ‘on message.’
In my understanding (I may, of course, be wrong), the new Secretary-General is against authoritarian dictats being issued by any monarchical hierarchs in the Anglican Communion. Rather, is he not suggesting that we get back to the original proposals for fellowship – proposed at the calling together of Anglican Church Leaders at the first Lambeth Conference (to settle an African dispute) In fact, Bishop Josiah admits to the monarchical ethos of most African Primates, who have rejected the ‘leadership’ of the Archbishop of Canterbury as being ineffective. Therein lies the problem of GAFCON insularity – their perceived need for authoritarian… Read more »
Regarding the concerns of our friends from TEC and the A.C. of Canada that they will in some way miss out on (or not want to be a part of) any future configuration of the Anglican Communion; may I advise them to look in on videos from the recent Inclusive Anglicans web-site, wherein a Church of England Bishop argues against any prospect of marginalising TEC and the A. C. of Canada. To the contrary, both Churches are vital to the health and survivability of Anglicanism in the modern world. Gospel inclusivity is an important element in our future relevance to… Read more »
OK Peter. I was over-the-top. Let’s amend it to “when African Anglicans are 100 percent literate, largely college educated, at peace with the variety of tribes and religions there, and mostly prosperous.” Now we can compare oranges to oranges as I believe the last vestige of the KKK left TEC with Mark Lawrence. I would also say that disagreeing with our Unitarian brothers and sisters isn’t the same as murdering them… So I was saying when disagreements in Africa are no longer addressed with massacres, rape, kidnapping, and other violence, they might have spiritual space to see the Kingdom of… Read more »
What Kelvin Said. (“1 Conservative & 1 Liberal”: who gets to decide THOSE categories, pray tell? I can just imagine when TEC shows up, and someone decides their Official Conservative “isn’t conservative ENOUGH” }-/ )
How many languages do most Americans speak? Most Africans speak 3. As for peace and prosperity solving all our problems, welcome to the Land of Nowhere, and certainly not the USA.
Is it Christianly appropriate to speak of +Mark Lawrence as if he were sympathetic to the KKK?
Yes, Chris, we don’t have perfect peace and prosperity here in the US. But we don’t have Nebraskans going into Kansas and kidnapping the girls. Texas and Massachusetts are not in a war of ideology, or for oil. Muslims and Christians are not fighting. And there are laws against hate crimes, rather than criminalizing difference. How very peculiar that you would deflect Africa’s very intense problems of poverty and violence with the issues in the US. Of course the “developed” countries have problems, however, they are not on the scale of the problems of Africa and Haiti. I have yet… Read more »
This is all old hat now. The ‘15% extreme liberals’ were the 66.6% of English dioceses who threw out the Covenant in 2012. Welby has so far been extremely cautious about resurrecting those international meetings which highlight divisions over Lambeth 1.10: GAFCON support for anti-gay legislation and TEC’s dissent from it. He wants to tackle homophobia but probably not under the intense media focus that these meetings attract. That said, Bishop Josiah’s lecture will have gone down well in Lambeth Palace.
I did not say that Mark L. was sympathetic to the KKK, but I suspect some of his followers are/were. They certainly hold some views in common. A fact that would give me pause. KKK manifestos denounce LGBTQ people. The KKK in Mississippi and Alabama are angry about equal marriage being the law of the land, and publicly announced that they plan to fight it. South Carolina has always had Klan presence and the Southern Poverty Law Center reports increased recent KKK activity. I can’t imagine that SC has the gay-friendly Klan chapter. So while it is somewhat rude of… Read more »
Cynthia, though you may not intend your posts to come across as patronising to non-white peoples, that is how they might be read. I have a lot of respect for the Episcopal Church but do not think such an approach is helpful. (I would also question whether it is just to link Mark Lawrence with the KKK, however strongly you and I might disagree with his beliefs and actions.) What reads to me (rightly or wrongly) as an emphasis by you on the cultural and moral superiority of Americans is not entirely convincing, given the brutal direct and proxy wars… Read more »
Here’s a roundup of comments about Bishop Josiah, published by the Episcopal News Service
“What is ripping the communion apart is an intense desire by some conservatives to impose their ignorant theology of sexuality on a very large group of extremely well educated people.” I’m quite sure I wouldn’t identify as a conservative, but this is ridiculous. Genuine theological differences cannot be reduced to a matter of “ignorant” African conservatives and “extremely well-educated” American liberals. Many conservative evangelicals are extremely well-educated, and the level of theological discourse coming from my fellow liberals doesn’t assure me that they’re all quite as smart as they think they are! “The Anglican Communion would carry on just fine… Read more »
Savi, I am not comparing the cultural and moral superiority of the US! I’m making two separate comparisons and I understand if it wasn’t clear. One comparison is TEC to African Anglican churches, the other is the socio-economic situation of the West vs literacy and poverty in Africa. Nigeria has 60 percent illiteracy (80 percent for women) and 60 percent live in $1.25 per day poverty. I won’t defend US policy. I am a Witness to human rights abuse that was sponsored by Uncle Sam, I’ve protested all the wars and helped pick up the pieces of awful policy in… Read more »
I re-read my comments looking for bits that could be patronizing to nonwhites. I wrote very fast and thought maybe I had really been unclear so I took a look. Savi, are you overstating this? For one thing, I’m talking about conditions in Africa, especially Nigeria so I’m hard pressed to see how I was patronizing nonwhites from the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America… I think it’s extremely difficult to spin my words as promoting the “cultural and moral superiority of Americans.” I know a couple people tried. I spoke of the relative prosperity, literacy, and peace of the… Read more »
Savi, I’m not Cynthia, but I would point out – gently as possible – that we citizens of the U. S. are often on the receiving end, here and elsewhere, a similar sense of superiority. Americans are always bad, the cause of all wars everywhere else, and, if it weren’t for Americans, the world would be peaceful. That’s how it comes across to us, most of the time. In addition, we continually hear of the complexities of other cultures and places but the U. S. – which is an incredible diversity and mixture of cultures and attitudes – seems to… Read more »
Cynthia, most of us simply do not have time to respond to your often lengthy and repetitive polemics. Do not, however take silence for agreement. On this occasion, however I feel I must respond. I’ll ignore linking M. Lawrence to the KKK for that is merely an insult to someone in the privileged west. If you cannot see that it is condescending, offensive and imperialistic to say… “When Africa is 100 percent literate, largely college educated, at peace with the variety of tribes and religions there, and mostly prosperous, they will likely find themselves with a renewed sense of the… Read more »
Cynthia and MarkBrunson, I agree that the Episcopal Church has been unfairly treated, something I have written about extensively, including on the Guardian online (e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/jul/14/episcopal-bishops-anglican-gay, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/may/17/glasspool-mary-lesbian-bishop-anglican). Likewise I have repeatedly criticised Nigerian Anglican primates’ support for human rights abuses (e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/jul/26/archbishop-okoh-nigeria-homosexuality). Obviously extreme poverty is undesirable in itself and can, sometimes, increase the risk of injustice and repression. However, so can a range of other factors. Such phrases as ‘When Africa is 100 percent literate, largely college educated, at peace with the variety of tribes and religions there, and mostly prosperous, they will likely find themselves with a renewed… Read more »
Well said Johnny May.
Perhaps this discussion can become clearer if we abstract it a bit.
As a general matter, does a nation persecute minorities more, or less, when the nation is in economic trouble or in political turmoil?
History–including that of pre-WWII Germany and Italy–suggests that the answer to this question is quite clear.
Psychology probably has much to say on this subject as well. People under stress tend to try to find an Other to blame.
The German war machine was not waiting for economic hardship to begin persecuting Jews.
The frightening thing about the run-up to WWI was the enormous economic prosperity and cultural hauteur. See now The War that Ended Peace.
Jeremy, All entirely valid points but, as I believe you fairly intimate, there are many, many exceptions to the “general”. The exceptions are both individual and communal and it is for just that reason that with don’t stereotype and thereby stigmatise entire continents, races, people groups or members of the same. It is that which is so grossly offensive to modern ears particularly when the actual existence of the truly holy- martyrdom compares so starkly with the invented negative stereotype. As I understand the glorious gospel it frees us from having to conform to the world around us and from… Read more »
This post from Husborne Crawley seems relevant:
Johnny May, I understand full well that many Christians in many parts of the world are being murdered because they are Christian.
Do you understand, or does Bishop Idowu-Fearon understand, that every year, gay people are abused, driven to suicide, or even murdered because they are gay?
“They may well not agree with you on issues of sexuality but when they are shedding their blood because of a vital, lively faith in Christ they deserve to honoured not patronised.” Not Cynthia here, but I’m responding. I feel for (com-passion) all, All, ALL PEOPLE who are “shedding their blood” (itself a euphemism for “being attacked and murdered”). And I can certainly see that they are being murdered for not-being-Islamists (as are many, many Muslims also, BTW). But I must protest a dismissive “not agree with you on issues of sexuality” with the concurrent assertion of a “vital, lively… Read more »
I understand your point, Savi. What I’m saying is how it *feels*, not what you mean. When it’s one example consistently used to stand for many, it begins to feel like a pattern, you see. That, too, is unhelpful. Unfortunately, we are not simply thinking creatures, but feeling ones, as well. As for “unique” evil in Africa, I think it was exported in its basic form – and I won’t point fingers at any one example, since from Belgium to Germany to UK to USA, we all are answerable for that one. They learned well industrial-era “christianity” and the Victorian… Read more »
Jeremy, what a very curious response to my post which doesn’t address the points I made but nonetheless to reply to your post: 1.I would not speak for Bishop I-F or any other bishop. 2.Of course I understand that people are abused, driven to suicide etc for their sexuality just as I understand that in the UK we have a crisis in suicide amongst middle-aged men. In both cases the causes are as myriad and complex as the individuals involved. Quite what you suggest the necessary equivalence is between martyrdom for the faith and persecution of people for other reasons… Read more »
Thank you Jeremy, for your reminder of Johnny May’s inference that the death of a gay person is not as much a martyrdom as the death of a Christian. This point evades the issue that Jesus, the Martyr par-excellence, died for all sinners – among them those who are killed for their being ‘different’. Murder is still murder – whoever is the victim.
I have delayed approving any comments here for 24 hours, as the discussion was becoming overheated. I have now approved some of the pending comments. Please can we keep the discussion polite and respectful.