Thinking Anglicans

Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue

Last June the Anglican Church of Canada reported on a consultation held in May that included bishops from Canada, Ghana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Burundi, Zambia, England, and the United States.

Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue finds unity in diversity

Introduced by the Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante as an ecumenical contribution from the Methodist Church of Ghana, the Akan concept of sankofa served as a guiding framework for the Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, which took place from May 25-29 in Accra, Ghana…

Sankofa—literally, ‘It is not a taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind’—refers broadly to the unity of past and present, where the narrative of the past is a dynamic reality that cannot be separated from consideration of the present and future.

Professor Asante’s paper is available in full as a PDF here.

The full text of the document that emerged from the May meeting is here: Testimony of Unity in Diversity

The signatories are:

Bishop Jane Alexander: Edmonton
Bishop Johannes Angela: Bondo
Bishop Victor Reginald Atta-Baffoe: Cape Coast
Bishop Paul Bayes: Liverpool
Bishop Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith: Asante Mampong
Bishop Michael Bird: Niagara
Archbishop Albert Chama: Primate of Central Africa
Bishop Garth Counsell: Cape Town
Bishop Michael Curry: Primate, The Episcopal Church
Bishop Given Gaula: Kondoa
Bishop Michael Hafidh: Zanzibar
Archbishop Fred Hiltz: Primate of Canada
Bishop Michael Ingham, New Westminster (retired)
Bishop Shannon Johnston: Virginia
Bishop Julius Kalu: Mombasa
Bishop Edward Konieczny: Oklahoma
Bishop Sixbert Macumi: Buye
Bishop Robert O’Neill: Colorado
Archbishop Daniel Sarfo: Primate of West Africa
Bishop Daniel Torto: Accra
Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya: Swaziland
Bishop Joseph Wasonga: Maseno West
Bishop Joel Waweru: Nairobi

And there is also a paper giving the historical background to these conversations. The Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue emerged after the 2008 Lambeth Conference as a way for bishops from different backgrounds to continue an ongoing, respectful dialogue in the midst of significant disagreements, primarily over the issues of human sexuality and same-sex marriage.

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CynthiaRod GilliscseitzJCFSusannah Clark Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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On the Testimony of the Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue: A welcome and heartfelt plea for ‘unity in diversity’ and prioritising love and common ground, even in all our differences – the common ground we find in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ… and the service of our neighbours. “Our purpose is neither to resolve nor to ignore differences, but to deepen relationships and therefore to nurture mutual understanding.” Exactly. The key is not to demand uniformity, but to open our hearts to love. “In our Anglican tradition this means unity but not uniformity. Unity in… Read more »

cseitz
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cseitz

“Exactly. The key is not to demand uniformity, but to open our hearts to love.” Would you judge the Nicene Creed and the conflict that led up to it — Arians, Eusebians, semi-Arians, the ‘orthodox’ — to have been avoidable if everyone at Nicaea had sought ‘love’ instead of ‘uniformity’ in Catholic Confession? Is the Nicene Creed a uniformity that excluded a wider group who might have loved each other into a ‘deeper consensus’? One wonders about the ‘uniformity’ vs ‘love’ options, unless the latter is a sentimentality only. What kind of ‘love’ did Bonhoeffer exhibit that demanded his rejection… Read more »

keithmcianwil
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keithmcianwil

Interesting how Bonfoeffer, or the name Bonhoeffer, becomes a new Shibboleth for one’s orthodoxy or fundamentalism. One often hears the line that “orthodoxy is the party that won out”; seems so true but of course could count both ways. Whose orthodoxy? Whose false teaching? What with all those exclusions, excommunications and anathemas being issued, heresy trials, witchburnings, Christian authoritarian fatwas – so removed from the Gospel – yet backed up by authoritarian regimes. I don’t seem to read that, other than the Shema, Jesus left us any Creeds or the Fundamentals of Scripture. No fencing off of the altars. Can’t… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

See Anglican Journal;

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/bishops-consultation-helps-keep-communion-together-says-hiltz

“[Canadian Primate Archbishop] Hiltz used this opportunity to bring up the Canadian church’s upcoming vote on same-sex marriage.

‘I plunked it right on the table: the marriage canon [vote],” he said. “Some of them, I think, were actually relieved that the elephant in the room was no longer the elephant in the room, that I actually had put it right on the table.’ “

Clearly, opponents of same sex marriage are unhappy with this kind of diplomacy. It does not play well with conservative longings for a kind of political hegemony based on a romantic reading of church history.

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

Instead of “reconciliation” and “unity in diversity” we need to be clear that the split has already happened – the East and the West cannot coexist, once again.

Rather than repeating the historical blunders of the churches which led to rancor and even murder, acknowledge it, separate firmly and completely, without further contact and continue on to useful work, rather than the vanity project that the idol of “church” has become!

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I wonder what Nicea would have been like without Constantine…or the English Reformation without the Royal Supremacy?

Fr William
Guest

How are these expensive jollies relevant to my parishioners and me? How is General Synod similarly relevant? Or faciltated conversations? or the rest of the narcissistic nonsense that is viewed with such scorn by all except the club. People believe what they like irrespective of what bishops say. So do I.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ keithmcianwil. “I don’t seem to read that, other than the Shema, Jesus left us any Creeds or the Fundamentals of Scripture.” Interesting observation. The Canadian (traditional) Book of Common Prayer provides for the Hear O Israel, “the two great commandments” to be recited as an alternative to the ten commandments at the opening of the Communion Service, where one or the other serves a didactic purpose. However, The Book of Alternative Services Services (1985), in the services of morning and evening prayer, allows the, Hear O Israel to be used as an affirmation of faith, as an alternative to… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

With phrases like, “We hope our dialogue will be seen as a sign of love for our Communion”, The Testimony of Unity in Diversity is a very compelling document. The Sankofa perspective draws out some of the traditional ways Anglicanism has understood itself. “Sankofa challenges us to ask questions of ourselves and teaches us that the past is a dynamic reality that is always present with us. …In our Anglican tradition this means unity but not uniformity.” The document is worth the read most especially for the stories from local churches. And,this observation from Professor Asante’s paper regarding theological assimilation… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Christopher, Love is not ‘sentimental’ when you are nursing a person dying in anguish and distress. It is a practicality. Love is not ‘sentimental’ when you are visiting an isolated old person with mental health issues, and you try to do something about the stench and the squalor they live in. Love is not ‘sentimental’ when you try to divert time, energy and funds to communities in abject need, or take practical steps to live alongside them in their lives. Jesus never just said “there, there” – he took practical steps to respond to deep needs of humanity. Same, of… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“Is the Nicene Creed a uniformity that excluded a wider group who might have loved each other into a ‘deeper consensus’?” Perhaps. I love the NC, but I don’t make an idol out of it. I don’t mistake the pointing finger for the God being pointed to. “What kind of ‘love’ did Bonhoeffer exhibit that demanded his rejection of false teaching?” Dr Seitz, are you seriously comparing non-Nicene Christianity, to Nazism? The “teaching” of the Nazis wasn’t merely a “false” ideology, it was MURDEROUS. ALL of our ideas about Absolute Truth (the Divine) must be measured, FIRST, by the reverence… Read more »

cseitz
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cseitz

Well, a pointing finger is pointing in some direction and not pointing in others. Arianism was wildly popular and dominated the known world. It had a high deity and a Jesus Christ who was higher than us and lower than God. One supposes ‘love’ would enable us to see it as OK, but this is not what happened. The finger did not point in that direction but resolutely away from it. One can regard that as wrong, of course. But that would require a different creed to be recited than the one now being recited. When I’m in my sick… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ cseitz, “When I’m in my sick bed I don’t want pastoral aid that doesn’t know where the finger is pointing!” Good point. You might ponder your own aphorism. To continue with your metaphor of pointing, you seem to be saying — Oh my, Look over there! Perhaps it is more comforting to talk about circumstances surrounding the arrival of the Nicene Creed which is, as much as we all like to pay our tithes to it, an arcane post biblical construct that attempts to account for mythological biblical statements in theoretical terms, forged under a particular politcal agenda, and… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Perhaps it is more comforting to talk about circumstances surrounding the arrival of the Nicene Creed which is, as much as we all like to pay our tithes to it, an arcane post biblical construct that attempts to account for mythological biblical statements in theoretical terms, forged under a particular politcal agenda, and using a conceptual framework that is now philosophically obsolete.” I love this! Thank you, Rod. I am grateful for the work being done in these dialogues and am very proud that my bishop is part of it. These discussions, along with other work at more grassroot levels,… Read more »