Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on ACC-16

The Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on the recent Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka: ‘Holding together in diversity’ [also online here].

Tom Ferguson, the Crusty Old Dean responds: Justin Welby’s Doomsday Device: Or, Humpy Dumpty as Archbishop.

…In a desperate attempt to keep spinning what did or didn’t happen at the most recent Anglican Consultative Council. yesterday Archbishop Welby released his own fanciful interpretation, which can be found here, dropped on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend in England, weeks after the conclusion of the meeting itself. Let’s count the problems here…

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cseitz
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cseitz

“It should be noted that at the same time they also decided to make provision for those who disagreed, and no diocese could be compelled to accept this change…” Knowing that this arrangement will time out shortly, and is a decoration at best, one might wonder if +Welby puts this kind of remark down simply as a marker. He surely cannot believe that a concession made for a few dioceses is expected by anyone to obtain more than a year or two. This is common knowledge. So perhaps this belongs to some kind of logic that is difficult to follow.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Anglican Communion “News” Service, Anglican Communion Public Relations Bulletin more like it. For a guy who does not play hockey, Archbishop Welby is not bad at stick handling. Spin, counter spin, it is all usually forward looking. The message from Welby is surely aimed in part at Canada, which has a vote on same sex marriage scheduled for July i.e. “The Primates’ Meeting in January set out some consequences for any Province, now or in the future, which goes out on its own …” This will keep the heat on a pot that has already boiled over. Of course, past… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Let us consider some of the comments made here by Justin: 1. (on TEC agreeing to the marriage of LGBT couples) “It should be noted that at the same time they also decided to make provision for those who disagreed, and no diocese could be compelled to accept this change, nor can an individual priest.” If this is being portrayed as a good thing, then you could ask, why doesn’t the Church of England make provision for those who disagree here, and say that no individual priest can be compelled to accept the Bishops’ ban on gay and lesbian marriage… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

(continued…) 5. “No member of TEC stood for office at the ACC elections.” So? And it’s worth noting that Alistair Dinnie, an openly gay priest planning to get married, was elected to the Standing Committee of the ACC. 6. “…some Provinces (Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda) had chosen not to attend for reasons which I fully understand. I hope they are reassured by the conclusions we reached which fully backed up those of the Primates’ Meeting.” No, they didn’t back up the consequences. They rejected the word ‘welcome’ in that context. This is Alice in Wonderland (written by my ancestral cousin,… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Earth to Lambeth: Your spin is late and laughable.

It’s sad to say it, but no one believes the Archbishop of Canterbury anymore.

June Butler
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June Butler

COD Tom Ferguson’s commentary on the ABC’s “reflection” is the best.

“Crusty has said repeatedly on this blog he is well aware that actions have consequences, and The Episcopal Church may indeed need to face them for actions taken (actions which COD fully supports, BTW). But have the courage to impose them openly and fairly. Instead all we have seen is that Humpty Dumpty now runs the Anglican Communion, where words mean what he wants them to mean.”

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I would not be so quick to say that Archbishop Welby’s spin and the spin from TEC/Canadian delegates to ACC-16 are totally irreconcilable. Both perspectives seemed aimed at diffusing a crisis. Both perspectives seem grounded in an overall concern for The Communion. It’s a kind of good cop bad cop routine in some ways. Keep in mind that large politcal blocks, like the global south, are hardly ever as hard core as their most radical port-parole. Welby may well be thinking that the mantra, hey you got most of what you wanted, will appeal to the less radical, and at… Read more »

John B. Chilton
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John B. Chilton

Two peoples divided by a common language.

Does “receive a report” have a specific, say legal, meaning other than its plain meaning?

Kate
Guest
Kate

One wonders whether +Justin believes his own spin.

Edward Prebble
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Edward Prebble

Rod Gillis : “The message from Welby is surely aimed in part at Canada, which has a vote on same sex marriage scheduled for July”

And perhaps for Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, where General Synod will be considering these issue next week.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Wow. I really tried to give Justin Welby the benefit of the doubt. Alas, he has lost my respect. He violated my trust when he elevated the “informal gathering of primates” into a “Primates Meeting,” and twisted their over reach into the power to impose sanctions on any province where the local governing body doesn’t yield their conscience to the primates – some of whom are human rights violators.

How long is his term?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I suspect it makes one feel more powerful to describe +Welby as ‘humpty dumpty’ but of course he isn’t a fictional fatty. His role as ABC makes his evaluations and statements carry weight within the context of his wider remit: the provinces of the Anglican Communion, the ACC, Lambeth Conference. This is what he is trying to hold together, at its widest swath. The consensus reaction to TEC at Canterbury tells one that his goal was to keep as many onside as possible; even +Curry left in agreement with the consequences, and said so. +Middle East stayed away but probably… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

As Rod has said elsewhere, Canadian priests may start to disobey if justice is withheld, and we need it to happen in England too. Not to resist is desperately close to collusion. Imagine if the bishops had said, “No priest may marry a couple who are black.” And then imagine no priests, no PCC, no local church, had the courage to disobey. Gay and lesbian couples are human too. We spend a lot of time bemoaning the situation re human sexuality here. But apart from a few individuals like the Jeremy’s, where is the solidarity? Where are the Rosa Parks?… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

(continuing…) To them (to us) it is not a debate or a selected ‘lifestyle’ or a theology. It is simply our lives, and who we are. The marginalisation of our lives in our Church, and the implicit suggestion that our deepest relationships are sinful… is deeply wounding, and perhaps just as bad, seems appalling to ordinary non-churchgoers, who are bemused and frankly disgusted by the Church’s position. To resist, to insist on local conscience and integrity to all these people (part of our own communities) would send a huge signal, and would be met with respect and support. Otherwise, I… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“How long is his term?”

I’m beginning to think it has nothing to do with the person, but has everything to do with the office.

Something about being Archbishop of Canterbury makes one think a little too imperially–that the Anglican Communion must be kept together, or appear to be kept together, no matter what the cost in credibility or (more importantly) in human rights violated and Christians confounded.

Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

Not long after the Windsor Report was published, NT Wright began to write as though the other members of the panel had suddenly died and he was the sole living interpreter. Justin Welby is doing something similar here, asserting that he’s the only one who really understood what was happening at meetings at which many others were present. It’s hard for me to understand why he thinks he would get away with this, and that makes me worry about his judgment. There was a member of the Episcopal Church sitting at Welby’s table of eight during the meeting. He had… Read more »

Tom Downs
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Tom Downs

Speaking of consequences. What should the consequences be for those who refuse to meet at the Lord’s Table? What should the consequences be for the older brother who refuses to join in the Father’s party because his “prodigal” brother will be there? Whatever its faults, TEC always shows up. Perhaps the ABC should be suggesting consequences for those who refuse to take their part in the Anglican Communion.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“He is arguing that there must be consequences for provinces that step out “alone” on certain issues, but the baseless assertion that there is now a process in place to dispense such consequences is clearly intended to keep other provinces from joining the province that stepped out “alone.” He’s attempting to freeze the communion’s homophobic status quo, and he’s creating new powers for himself and the other primates in his effort to do so.” This is why Justin’s statement isn’t merely “spin.” It is darker and nastier than that. It is usurping power that no one has granted to him… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

‘In isolation, individuals can be picked off, as the Jeremy’s have found. Collectively, and in a network of protest (just action and integrity of conscience), the *reality* that there IS no uniformity becomes substantial (and would get wide support in the media).’ Susannah – you’ve made this point before, a number of times, and I totally agree. I give it until the summer after General Synod debate and report back on the post-Pilling process when it will be clear which way the wind is blowing. I believe many priests are already going the extra mile in being patient with pathetic… Read more »

S Cooper
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S Cooper

Been saying for a long time….. While TEC & friends are desperate to be part of the same club as gafcon, this stuff continues (numbers matter to Canterbury – remember liberal Williams Not inviting a TEC bishop to Lambeth 08?? TEC even accepted that…). Liberals need their own global communion – why not have it? Alternative? Years and decades of more political strife which helps nobody. Let’s have the foundation of a liberal global communion free of all the compromises and politics

June Butler
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June Butler

What if Justin’s spin succeeds in frightening the bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada into voting against marriage equality in their church? As of now, it seems that’s what the House of Bishops is likely to do. With such a result, what “victory” will Justin have won? An empty “victory” of reinforcing inequality of which he should be ashamed, as he should be ashamed of the manner in which he treats members of his own church.

Kate
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Kate

“The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.” – Primates communique So why has +Justin not also spoken up about the 150+ anti-LGBT state and city ordinances which have cropped up in USA over the past month, including numerous bathroom bills which will criminalise trans people? The new measures are commonly presented in terms of religious freedom. We need the leader of the… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“So why has +Justin not also spoken up about the 150+ anti-LGBT state and city ordinances which have cropped up in USA over the past month, including numerous bathroom bills which will criminalise trans people? The new measures are commonly presented in terms of religious freedom. We need the leader of the Anglican Communion to speak against them.”

I can tell you, Kate, that TEC leadership are speaking out about these bills. I can’t imagine that anybody expects any support whatsoever from the ABC, but of course it would be nice.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Bishop Jane Alexander (Edmonton) Canada was elected to the Standing Committee. The Diocese of Edmonton by enactment of their diocesan synod has a form for blessings same sex civil marriages I gather.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A seminal paragraph from the article (above) by Tom Ferguson, on the ABC’s treatment of the ACC: “Crusty is now beginning to worry, because Justin Welby obviously has a plan. His un-Primates Meeting claimed authority it didn’t have. He has now ex-post facto made that into a Primates Meeting which established a disciplinary process for the Communion as a whole. And has now claimed that the Anglican Consultative Council has endorsed it in its entirety, based on claiming his interpretation as definitive.” Obviously, in arranging for the ACC Meeting to ‘receive’ the report from the Primates’ Assembly as if it… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

I am ashamed that we continue to support this corrupt “communion” by remaining, thus perpetuating and reinforcing the corruption and wrong-doing.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Christopher Seitz you wrote: “By saying it, when it goes away, he can then declare more forcefully that TEC has gone into its own realm?” Nice try, once again, to scapegoat TEC. The problem for you is that the C of E is every bit as diverse as TEC on this issue, and we will have to come to some kind of settlement about it, just as we did over women in the episcopate. The C of E will have no credibility if it can’t stop the in fighting, and will have no credibility if it ends up even appearing… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

With respect, Mr Godsall, you seem to miss the point I was making, viz., +Welby makes it sound like a permanent reality in TEC is allowing Bishops to do what they wish on the ss marriage front. That is the reality my comment was directed to, not whether it is like or unlike anything in the CofE. Indeed, it is both at once. My point was that this is not a permanent reality in TEC and no one believes it is. That being the case, why would he say this? Non one expects that the diocesan polity of TEC is… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

There is now a Canadian bishop on the Standing Committee. Other dioceses in Canada also have policies that differ with the Primates/GAFCON. Note the following from a recent letter to the Diocese of T.O. from their archbishop.

“We recognize that some of our clergy and postulants are openly partnered or in civil same-sex marriages. They are a valuable part of our clerical family. They are, or will be, available for placement in parishes that will affirm this.”

I’ve attached a link to the letter, just scroll down to the section, ‘Where Does This Leave the Diocese of Toronto?’

http://www.toronto.anglican.ca/2016/03/07/archbishop-reflects-on-changing-the-marriage-canon/

Susannah Clark
Guest

One correction, with apologies, to my earlier post. I wrote:

“Alistair Dinnie, an openly gay priest planning to get married, was elected to the Standing Committee of the ACC.”

Alistair is a lay representative of the Scottish Episcopal Church, not a priest, which I knew (having visited his blog at http://the-farthest-shore.blogspot.co.uk ) but I was writing too fast for my own good.

My apologies to Alistair.

RPNewark
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RPNewark

Cynthia: “How long is his term?”

Until 06 January 2026, his 70th birthday, unless the Supreme Governor of the Church of England at that time grants, at the request of the CofE (not sure which body), an extension which (I think) may only be for a maximum of one year.

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Cynthia, see also this archive article by Peter Owen:
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/005419.html

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Jim Naughton says that “He’s attempting to freeze the communion’s homophobic status quo, and he’s creating new powers for himself and the other primates in his effort to do so”.

But you cannot create powers without people’s consent. You can say that you have powers, but without people letting you assume those powers, you don’t have anything.

What real powers do people think Justin Welby has just assumed that he could rightfully exercise?

Mark Michael
Guest
Mark Michael

I thought it might be helpful for me to chime in. I was at the meeting in Lusaka as the reporter for The Living Church. I must say that I was really puzzled by the Episcopal delegation’s interpretation of the ACC’s action (as transmitted by ENS, et. al.) Archbishop Deng, who proposed the motion about “receiving” the Primates’ communique was the only delegate to speak publically before the ACC about the Primates’ Meeting, urging the body to concur in the Primates’ judgment. The “welcoming” resolution was proposed by delegates from more moderate provinces, and I assumed it was intended as… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Yes Christopher I’m with that but you wrote: “By saying it, when it goes away, he can then declare more forcefully that TEC has gone into its own realm?” I’m focussing on the second part of that. You seem to be suggesting – but I admit you don’t write very clearly – that the Archbishop can, at some later date, say that TEC has gone in to its own realm. But the CofE will most likely have come to some both/and solution by then, and I don’t think anyone in the C of E will be able to point any… Read more »

NJW
Guest
NJW

My understanding of process under English law is that to ‘receive’ a report is taken to imply approval of any proposals it contains, or actions reported in it. This is certainly the case in company and local authority settings – and in those church organisations where such a process is used (which is not so frequent).

Susannah Clark
Guest

Mark: “but I have yet to see word from any other delegate that disagrees with the Archbishop’s interpretation…” I should love to know Alistair Dinnie’s view on that. It would be really strange if an openly gay delegate (seeking marriage himself) thought it was somehow okay to sanction TEC for the very thing they support. As I have written previously, I “receive” unwanted junk mail in the post. That doesn’t mean I agree with it or want it. To “welcome” it would have been far more clearly affirmative. And that was rejected. I hate this playing with words, by the… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Mr. Michael, with all respect, I think you’ve been spun.

With “receive” the Archbishop is truly grasping at straws, linguistically and legally.

Besides, the ACC has been fighting a running battle with the Primates over constitutional authority as between the two. My strong suspicion is that no one at the ACC wanted to give the Primates any encouragement whatsoever.

Of course, time will tell how ACC delegations themselves understood what just happened. Perhaps in New Zealand or in Scotland before Canada.

Susannah Clark
Guest

NJW: “My understanding of process under English law is that to ‘receive’ a report is taken to imply approval” If that was so, why was there no debate about it? Do you think Alistair Dennie “received” the Primates’ Statement in the sense you (coherently) suggest? Or the TEC representatives? But, of course, all these motions were rushed through. Anyway, here in the Church of England, the Primates’ Statement won’t be simply “received” in the sense that you mention. Why do we think the Church of England rejected the “Covenant” if it wasn’t because we rejected the idea of ‘consequences’ if… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

When many nationalities are gathered, words can only have their most commonplace meaning.

Receive a report = a report reached us

There’s no way it can be taken to mean more.

What I suspect is happening is that some did not see the ACC as independent so when they received the report from the Primates it was assumed that they automatically approved it because ACC is subordinate to the Primates. That is a nonsense of course and completely misunderstands the ACC.

Jonathan Tallon
Guest
Jonathan Tallon

To ‘receive’ a report is ambiguous. My understanding is that in much American procedure (Robert’s Rules, for example), to receive a report is simply to hear it. To approve the report, you would need to adopt the report. This may or may not be different from English Law. ‘Reception’ is also a term in church doctrine, meaning the acceptance of a teaching by the Church. I have a vague memory that this caused problems with Baptism Eucharist and Ministry (1980) when churches were asked to receive the document. The Orthodox were concerned that this implied approval, whereas the WCC was… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Mr Godsall, I know that your focus drifts toward the CofE… My statement is very basic. 1. TEC is not giving dioceses freedom to do as they please on any long term basis. 2. Everyone knows this. 3. When the ABC refers to the diocesan ability to say No to ssm, what does that mean? a) confused, b) misspoke, c) putting a marker down, d) ? I asked a question (see question mark in your quoted bit). I don’t know. I think it is odd and I asked if there was some logic to this public statement re: dioceses in… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Rejoice, everyone. Things are looking up! TEC Bishop Susan Goff has been appointed an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Liverpool! This is surely a ‘Sign of Contradiction’ against the recent gathering of Primates in Canterbury, who seemed set on the exclusion of TEC from the Family Consultation Group. Here is the link” http://www.episcopalcafe.com/bishop-susan-goff-receives-historic-appointment/ With Bishop Susan’s provenance of radical inclusion, at least the Diocese of Liverpool should begin to understand what it means to minister the love of Christ to ALL people. Furthermore, Bishop Susan was one of a group of TEC Bishops welcomed at the Vatican last year… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

This all just goes to show that the hermeneutics and textual criticism of resolutions and press releases is as fraught with difficulty as the interpretation of Scripture. This is especially true when translating English to English. 🙂

Alastair Newman
Guest

Ugh, my head’s spinning…

(And I’m a wordy lawyer!)

Jim Naughton
Guest
Jim Naughton

Mark Michael, the idea that people who participate in a meeting need to wait until a press conference after the meeting to truly understand what happened in a meeting that they helped shape is peculiar. As is the idea that you can determine a person’s views based on the province they are from. You seem to be advancing the idea that you understand legislative process and legislative language better than Bishop Douglas, who was on the resolutions committee at this meeting, and Gay Clark Jennings, who presides over a legislative body of more than 800 people. Is this the case?

Mark Michael
Guest
Mark Michael

Dear Suzanne and Jeremy, Thanks for your response. You may well be right that I have been “spun.” I’m not a seasoned veteran of these contests like Bishop Douglas (or Archbishop Welby). But I do think the burden of proof for the interpretation of the decision rests with the Episcopal delegation. Maybe you’re right that Mr. Dinnie agreed with the Episcopal delegates’ interpretation of what happened, but surely someone could ask him. I understand from the ACN article that the delegates who had proposed the “welcome” resolution withdrew it because it was unnecessary. So I guess they were “spun” as… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest
Jim Naughton

Mark Michael, the two proposers of the resolution, who sat at the ABC’s table, withdrew it because it became clear that it was not going to pass. There were extensive, observable conversations on this matter taking place during lunch on the day resolutions were considered. The notion that C34 did the same work as C35 was an interpretation developed after it became clear that C35 needed to be withdrawn. ENS, as far as I know, stands by its reporting, and the Canadian delegation clearly agrees with them as the Anglican Journal has reported: “Alexander said this refusal to punish TEC… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I just opened a copy of TLC and read this: “The archbishop (Josiah Idowu-Fearon) said he met with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to discuss the situation of those remaining within the Episcopal Church who dissent from General Convention’s recent decision to authorize the blessing of same sex marriages. ‘Since the enthronement service of the new presiding bishop, a committee is being formed by Bishop Curry…to work out how TEC helps those bishops, clergy, and congregations that cannot support same-sex marriage'” (Living Church, 1 May, page 8). Maybe this position of +JI-F lies behind +Welby’s remarks about TEC dioceses retaining the… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

In Canadian synodical process (and I speak as a former Secretary of the Synod of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada — not to be confused with General Synod), to “receive” a report means that the report is entered in the minutes of the synod, but does not mean that the synod has endorsed its content nor taken action on any recommendation contained therein.