Thinking Anglicans

More about the exclusion of some spouses from the Lambeth Conference

Updated Friday evening scroll down for additional press releases from TEC House of Bishops meeting

Updated again Monday

Here is the response from the University of Kent to those who have written to them complaining about their hosting of a discriminatory event:

We reported previously on the row about invitations to spouses of bishops attending the Lambeth Conference next year, first here, and then also here.

On 14 March Ben Bradshaw MP asked in the House of Commons about this matter.

Watch the video here.

Ben Bradshaw Labour, Exeter

May we have a statement from the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman, on the outrageous decision by the Church of England to issue the official invitation to next year’s Lambeth conference and explicitly forbid the same-sex spouses of bishops from attending, when the heterosexual spouses of bishops have been warmly invited? This is a totally unacceptable position for our established state Church to adopt, and this House needs to tell the Church we have had enough of it.

Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

I was not aware of that situation, and I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for raising it. If he would like to write to me, I will certainly raise it with my right hon. Friend Dame Caroline Spelman.

Today the Church Times has a report about the Canadian bishop, Kevin Robertson, affected by this:  Gay bishop accuses Primates of homophobia.

…When asked if he believed the fierce opposition to his presence, let alone Mr Sharma’s invitation, from GAFCON­ aligned Primates was driven by homophobia, he replied “I do.”

“Because it appears there’s an inconsistency,” he said, pointing to a blog by the Secretary-General of the Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, which announced the policy of barring gay spouses (News, 22 February).

Dr Idowu-Fearon wrote that it was because same-sex marriages were inconsistent with a resolution on marriage from the 1998 Lambeth Conference which defined marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

“I know as we approach 2020 that there are bishops who have been divorced and remarried, in some cases more than once, who are being invited, and their spouses are also being invited,” Bishop Robertson said.

“So to hold up Lambeth 1.10 as the reason for Mohan and Becki not to be invited seems a little thin; it doesn’t seem particularly consistent…”

Meanwhile, the American bishop affected, Mary Glasspool, has addressed the American House of Bishops. Read the whole of what she said: The Way of Love and Lambeth: Bishop Mary D. Glasspool speaks to the House of Bishops. (more…)

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Lambeth Conference spouse invitations

Updated again Thursday

We reported earlier on this: Spouses of bishops not invited to Lambeth Conference unless of opposite sex.

The Lambeth Conference website drew attention to the exclusion and linked to the earlier article from Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon. Here is how it looked:

Until last night. When the reference to this matter was removed from that page:

The blog article remains in place, so presumably there has been no change in policy.

Updates

Two other developments relating to the Lambeth Conference invitations:

Episcopal News Service Executive Council asks bishops, spouses to ‘prayerfully and carefully consider’ response to Lambeth decision

Executive Council has asked The Episcopal Church’s bishops and their spouses, and the House of Bishops collectively, “to prayerfully and carefully consider her/his/their response, choices and actions” in the light of what it calls the “troubling circumstances” of the decision to exclude same-sex spouses from the 2020 Lambeth Conference of bishops.
Council unanimously approved a resolution on Feb. 25 that says it finds the decision “inconsistent” with the positions of The Episcopal Church and with multiple statements of Anglican Communion entities that have urged the church to listen to the experiences LGBTQ persons.
“Exclusion of spouses at Lambeth Conference: When does all mean all?” calls the decision “particularly misguided and inconsistent with the stated purposes of the conference,” in part because the conference planning group decided to run a joint program for bishops and their spouses, rather than the traditional parallel programs. The FAQs section of the Lambeth2020 website says that the joint conference “is in recognition of the vital role spouses play across the Anglican Communion and a desire to support them.

Premier Bishop to attend Lambeth Conference without wife in protest at bar on gay clergy partners

The Bishop of Liverpool has said he will attend an international summit of Anglican leaders without his wife next year, in protest at a bar on the partners of gay clergy.
Rt Rev Paul Bayes described the decision to prevent same-sex partners of clergy from attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference as an “act of exclusion”.
In a message posted on Twitter, he said: “I deeply regret that, in the fractious complexities of our life as a worldwide people, this act of exclusion has taken its place.
“It is a grief to me and to my wife, and to many others. Despite this, I aim to attend the Conference, alone, in the hope of a common future.”

GAFCON has this view: Lambeth 2020 Descends into Confusion.

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Spouses of bishops not invited to Lambeth Conference unless of opposite sex

Updated 

ACNS has published this article by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon: The global excitement about Lambeth Conference. To date most of the excitement about this article has related to the following paragraph (emphasis added):

I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend. But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies.

The Sunday Times reported this first (£): Married gay bishops told: don’t bring your spouse to Anglican conference.

Reuters had Anglican Church slammed for excluding same-sex spouses from 2020 conference

Christian Today has Same-sex spouses not invited to Lambeth Conference

By far the most informative article is this one from Episcopal News ServiceSame-sex spouses not invited to next year’s Lambeth Conference of bishops

The Episcopal Church currently has one actively serving bishop who has a same-sex spouse. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009 and consecrated May 2010. She has been bishop assistant in the Diocese of New York since April 2016. She is married to Becki Sander, her partner of more than 30 years.

Glasspool told Episcopal News Service Feb. 18 in a telephone interview that she received a letter from Welby on Dec. 4, 2018, in which he said that he was writing to her “directly as I feel I owe you an explanation of my decision not to invite your spouse to the Lambeth Conference, a decision that I am well aware will cause you pain, which I regret deeply…”

Do read the further detail of her exchanges with the archbishop. And the article has been extended to include comments from Bishop Kevin Robertson (Toronto) and to refer to the new bishop-elect of Maine.

Update

OneBodyOneFaith extends hospitality to shunned Lambeth partners

OneBodyOneFaith has expressed its sadness and disappointment at the decision to exclude same-sex partners from the 2020 Lambeth Conference, and offered hospitality to those partners who would still like to attend.  

Tracey Byrne, Chief Executive, responded by promising to ensure that same-sex partners of bishops who wished to join them in Canterbury, would be warmly welcomed.  ‘We are called to follow the example of Jesus in extending the table to those with whom we don’t necessarily agree, and we applaud the effort of the organisers to do just that – but we need to go further. Radical Christian inclusion demands no less from us.  These partners may be few in number but they are hugely symbolically significant, prophetic even.  We are reaching out to them over the coming weeks, and have already been contacted by members and supporters offering accommodation.  We will do everything we can to ensure that they are there in Canterbury next year.’

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Lambeth Conference and GAFCON

From an ACO press release: The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has called on Anglican bishops to attend the next Lambeth Conference despite differences within the Anglican Communion.

Lambeth Conference: Archbishop of Cape Town calls on bishops to “express your difference”.

…”I know people talk about the fabric of the communion as torn”, he said, “but we are all fallible human beings in need of God’s love and grace, and we need each other.”

Archbishop Thabo made his comments in a video on the Lambeth Conference website. In it, he says: “As said in Sepedi [the language of Northern Sotho]: one bangle doesn’t ring, two bangles will make a beautiful noise. So we are never alone in this journey.

“Whether you agree with where the communion is, whether you don’t agree, come and express your difference in this beautiful space which is a gift from God. Don’t just stay at home and say ‘I’m not going’.

“We want to hear that voice. It’s not a conference of like-minded people; it is a conference of Anglicans. I mean, for God’s sake, Anglicans, from our inceptions, we’ve always had push and pull. So push and pull should not be a distraction, but it should be celebrated.

“It’s what I call at home, ‘celebrating the gift of difference’. So I encourage all bishops and their spouses to make every possible effort to come and see what God is doing through us in his world…”

The Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria, has issued a statement which is headlined simply Warning from the Chairman, headed by a photograph of the marriage last year of Toronto suffragan bishop Kevin Robertson, who has been invited to attend the Lambeth Conference in 2020. Bishop Robertson was also among those who this week attended this: New Anglican Communion bishops receive induction in Canterbury, Lambeth and the ACO.

Archbishop Okoh eventually concludes that:

…With great sadness we therefore have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages…

This was promptly reported in Christian TodayGAFCON leader says Lambeth Conference ‘will be an obstacle to the gospel’

Andrew Goddard had earlier analysed this situation: Lambeth 2020: what is the future of the Anglican Communion?

Last September, the Church of Nigeria had issued a communique which included this:

…It supports the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria in reaffirming the Statement of GAFCON 2018 that the Archbishop of Canterbury should invite as full members to Lambeth 2020 the Bishops of the Province of the Anglican Church in North America and the Province of the Anglican Church in Brazil, and that he should not invite those Provinces that have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices that are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions. In the event that this does not occur the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) unanimously resolved that they will decline any invitation to attend Lambeth 2020 and all other meetings of the Instruments of the Communion.

Even earlier, the Church of Uganda had made a similar decision: Ugandan bishops pledge to boycott Welby’s landmark Lambeth Conference 2020.

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Interim Director for Anglican Centre in Rome

Further to our report of 21 December, the directors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have made this announcement: Appointment of an Interim Director for the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome are very pleased to announce the appointment of The Very Revd Dr John Shepherd as the Interim Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

Dr Shepherd was Dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia from 1990 to 2014. During his time as Dean over $19,000,000 was raised to fund a complete restoration and development of the cathedral and Old Deanery alongside the building of the Cadogan Song School. Dr Shepherd has had a distinguished ministry in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. He was ordained at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne in 1966 having completed his BA at the University of Melbourne. He also has a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Seminary in New York and a PhD from St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge — his doctorate focused on the changes in the doctrine of sacrifice in sacred music during the English Reformation.

He has been a parish priest in Melbourne, on Long Island, in Manchester and Cambridge and he was Chaplain of Christ Church, Oxford from 1980-1988. He is a regular contributor to the Expository Times and The Times, in London. He has taught music as a university lecturer and is a noted theological commentator. Dr Shepherd’s wife, Joy, was Principal of St. Hilda’s Anglican Girls’ High School in Perth from 1997-2014.

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Director of Anglican Centre in Rome resigns

The Anglican Communion News Service reports: Director of Anglican Centre in Rome steps down after “sexual misconduct” allegation.

The governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have announced the resignation of the Centre’s director, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, following an allegation of sexual misconduct. The Anglican Centre in Rome is the permanent Anglican Communion presence in Rome. Its director is also the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Representative to the Holy See.

The resignation was announced today in a statement by the Centre’s Governors – its independent board of trustees. They said: “the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have accepted the resignation of its Director Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi following his suspension last week over an allegation of sexual misconduct.

“The Governors are now taking urgent steps to appoint an interim director, who will also act as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.”

The statement from the Governors can also be found here.

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New Zealand rejects Sydney overlap proposal

Archbishop Donald Tamihere and Archbishop Philip Richardson of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia have replied, on behalf of the ACANZP General Synod Standing Committee, to the proposal made by the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, in August.

See GSSC responds to Sydney.

Like it or not, to be Anglican in Aotearoa New Zealand means facing into 200 years of a unique, shared and difficult history between Maori and Pakeha – and acknowledging the pillars of that shared history.

These pou include Anglicans bringing the gospel to these shores in 1814; the foundational and church-brokered Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 – and, after 150 years of struggle by Maori Anglicans, the adoption of Te Pouhere, the Three Tikanga Constitution of The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

So, a proposal advanced by the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, that there should be two Anglican Churches in New Zealand, both linked by heritage – but the new one not recognising “the laws, promises, and solemn commitments” that bind The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and which grew out of that painful shared history, does not work.

That is the view of the General Synod Standing Committee – and that view has been expressed in an open letter signed by its co-chairs, Archbishops Don Tamihere and Philip Richardson, and sent to Archbishop Davies today.

The letter concludes: “We cannot recognise a Church as Anglican which does not encapsulate this 200 years of relationship and history.”

Anglican Communion News Service reports: New Zealand Church leaders reject Sydney proposal for overlapping Anglican jurisdiction.

Archbishop Davies’ proposal was contained in this document. The proposal was described in Sydney as: Archbishop presents proposal for NZ Anglican future. We reported it in August as Archbishop of Sydney proposes ‘Distinctive Co-existence’ for ACANZP.

The New Zealand reply to it is contained in this document. It’s worth reading this in full.

The Anglican Church League in Sydney reports it as Thanks, but no thanks: New Zealand Church leaders reject Sydney proposal.

 

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Book Launch: Intimate Conviction

You are invited to the launch of a book that addresses the role of the church (past, present and future) in the criminalization of consensual same-gender intimacy across the Commonwealth. This event is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Last year Anglicans for Decriminalization, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and our local and international partners held the “Intimate Conviction” conference in Jamaica.

This was the first-ever global event that discussed the role of the church (past, present and future) in the criminalization of private consensual same-gender intimacy. The event was live-streamed and there were presentations by international agencies and Christian leaders from all over the Commonwealth, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Archbishop of the West Indies and the Bishop of Buckingham.

An edited volume of some of the presentations is now ready and will be launched in London on 4 December. Attendance is free but booking is required.

Details here:  Intimate Conviction Book Launch.

School of Advanced Study
Room 349 Senate House-South Block
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Date: Dec. 4
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided.

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13 English bishops write to GAFCON

Thirteen evangelical bishops of the Church of England have written a letter in response to this document: Letter to the Churches – Gafcon Assembly 2018.

Their letter is titled Remaining Faithful within the Church of England.

The signatories are:

Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden
Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham
Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
Richard Jackson, Bishop of Lewes
Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn
Alistair Magowan, Bishop of Ludlow
Nick McKinnel, Bishop of Plymouth
James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Mark Rylands, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Exeter
Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford
David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke
Paul Williams, Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham

Readers who do not keep up with GAFCON statements may also be interested in:

Rev Dr Stephen Noll’s Commentary on the ‘Letter to the Churches’

Chairman’s Letter – October 2018

Nigerians join Ugandans not attending Lambeth 2020

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Archbishop Welby addresses UN Security Council

Episcopal News Service has a comprehensive report: Church ‘cannot, will not walk away’ from reconciling role in global conflict, Archbishop of Canterbury tells UN.

Churches are the on the front line of mediation efforts across the world, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the United Nations Security Council on Aug. 29, in part because they are often “the only functioning institutions in a fragile or pre-conflict situation.”

He said that churches and other faith communities are “intimately present where there are conflicts; we cannot and will not walk away from them.” He cited the role of Sudanese Anglican Primate and Archbishop Justin Badi Arama in peace efforts in South Sudan.

Welby repeatedly stressed that mediation must take place within the context of reconciliation.

“Where mediation is about resolving conflict, reconciliation is the process of transforming violent conflict into non-violent co-existence where communities have come to terms with history and are learning to disagree well,” he said during a briefing that made him the first archbishop of Canterbury to address the Security Council. “Mediation by itself, however skilled, is like using a garden hose to put out a forest fire, when what you need is rain over the whole area to let new life grow and sustain itself.”

The full text of his speech is available here.

A video recording of it is over here.

 

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Archbishop of Sydney proposes ‘Distinctive Co-existence’ for ACANZP

sydneyanglicans.net reports: Archbishop presents proposal for NZ Anglican future.

Archbishop [of Sydney] Glenn Davies has addressed some of the leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ACANZP), proposing ‘Distinctive Co-existence’ as a solution to the issues facing the Church after their Synod’s decision to allow the blessings of same gender relationships….

…The essence of the Archbishop’s proposal was what he called ‘Distinctive Co-existence’, modelled on the jurisdiction of Anglican Churches in continental Europe.

“It is interesting that within Europe there are two overlapping Anglican Churches: the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC).  Each has differing constitutions and canons, yet they share the same Anglican heritage. Could not the model of continental Europe provide a new way forward for Aotearoa and Polynesia?”

The full text of the archbishop’s proposal is available here.

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ARCIC III: Walking Together on the Way

The third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) published its first agreed statement, Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be the Church – Local, Regional, Universal, earlier this month. The statement is online: Walking Together on the Way. Also available are two commentaries: one Anglican and one Roman Catholic.

News and comment on the statement include the following.

Anglican Communion News Office Groundbreaking document released on how Anglicans and Roman Catholics can learn from each other

Simon Caldwell and a staff reporter Church Times ARCIC III: Anglicans and Roman Catholics can learn much from each other, says new agreed statement

Church Times editorial Bold undertaking

Paul Lakeland The Tablet Give and take: what the Catholic and Anglican Churches can learn from each other

Durham University Centre for Catholic Studies First Agreed Statement from ARCIC III (The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, Phase 3)

Christopher Lamb The Tablet New Arcic text charts a way forward

Simon Caldwell The Boston Pilot ARCIC document hailed as ‘groundbreaking’ by Catholics and Anglicans

Nicholas Jesson International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission Agreed statement on ecclesiology: Walking Together on the Way

Joshua J. McElwee National Catholic Reporter Catholic-Anglican dialogue document suggests both churches can learn from other

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Some reports on the Gafcon Assembly

The Global Anglican Future Conference which has been meeting this week in Jerusalem has issued a communiqué. The full text is here: Letter to the Churches – Gafcon Assembly 2018. The full text of the Presidential Address by Archbishop Okoh is available: Proclaiming Christ Faithfully to the Nations God’s Gospel.

The Church Times has two reports: GAFCON participants lay claim to Anglican orthodoxy and Two thousand meet at GAFCON conference in Jerusalem.

Covenant has some commentary from Esau McCaulley of ACNA, including Kenya Ponders Future with GAFCONThe Living Church reports: ACNA Archbishop Named GAFCON Chairman.

The Anglican Communion News Service was refused accreditation to cover this event. See Third Gafcon conference underway in Jerusalem and then also Facts, fiction and fake news.

There was also a row about this letter to the GAFCON primates from the Secretary General which led to this Response to the ACC Secretary General’s Criticism of Gafcon’s Ministry Networks.

Prior to the conference there had been the regular monthly letter from the then Chairman: Chairman’s June 2018 letter.

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Brazilian Anglicans vote to marry same-sex couples

Updated Tuesday morning

Savi Hensman reports at Ekklesia:

Brazilian Anglicans’ ‘yes’ to marrying same-sex couples

The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil has decided to open up church marriage to same-sex couples. On 1 June 2018 its synod voted by a huge majority – 57 in favour, three against and two abstentions – to amend the rules (canons) on who could marry.

“I felt the decision was a result of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work. This widens our boundaries, allowing us to be more welcoming to the diversity of people in our country”, said the Primate (most senior bishop), Francisco de Assis da Silva.

This follows decades of discussion on sexuality, with more intensive debate in recent years. A handful of churches in the Anglican Communion (and certain other denominations) already allow clergy to marry same-sex couples, though Brazil is the first in the South to say ‘yes’…

Update
The Anglican Communion News Service now has this comprehensive report: Brazil’s Anglican Church changes its canons to permit same-sex marriage. This article includes comment from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, and lists the state of play on this topic in other provinces which have taken, or are contemplating, similar action.

As of 2 pm Monday, there is no other report on this in English elsewhere, except for the press release copied below the fold, which has appeared at Anglican Ink.

(more…)

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Nigerian primate calls for Nigeria to leave the Commonwealth

A report in the Nigerian newspaper, The Guardian, is headlined Britain urges Nigeria, others to legalise same-sex marriage.

British reports of the speech by Theresa May contain no mention of same-sex marriage, but refer only to laws criminalising same-sex relationships across the Commonwealth.

See for example these reports:

BBC Theresa May ‘deeply regrets’ UK’s colonial anti-gay laws

Guardian [UK newspaper] Theresa May says she deeply regrets Britain’s legacy of anti-gay laws

Nevertheless, the Nigerian report continues:

…In swift reactions, some leading Nigerian religious leaders rejected the call for same-sex marriage.

The Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, who was bitter with May’s call, said Nigeria should pull out of the Commonwealth.

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who spoke to The Guardian on phone from Rome, said: “In my church, we condemn same-sex marriage. The National Assembly has clearly taken a position that is very much in line with that. It is also against our culture, which considers it as an abomination.

“Theresa May can say whatever she likes, but I hope that our own leaders know what is good for our people. I think she should also think of releasing the looted funds in their banks if she really wants to help us. The era of imperialism is over. I don’t know whether the Commonwealth has now become a legislative assembly. It is not a place where you legislate for everybody. We should let her know that we do not want it.”

“This is Nigeria, we have our values. I am sure our president understands that. Our relationship with the Commonwealth does not cause us to sell out our values.”

And there are further quotes from other Christian and Muslim leaders.

Another report: Disregard Teresa May’s counsel on same-sex marriage, CAN tells Buhari

Hat tip to George Conger, who recently reported on this: Okoh urges Nigeria quit the Commonwealth. He also noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury had described the Commonwealth as a “blessing to the world”. And also here.

The Anglican Communion News Service reports today that the Archbishop of Canterbury urges African Anglican leaders to shape the world

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told African Anglican leaders that the strength of the Church on the continent is a gift to the world and that is has the ability to shape the globe – but it must move forward. Speaking at a regional primates meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) in Kenya, Archbishop Justin Welby said the Church in the region was full of life and energy. It had grown and had enormous power even though Africa had often struggled economically.

In a wide ranging address, Archbishop Justin urged CAPA leaders to learn from the mistakes of the Global North – to be wary of individualism and not to be complacent about the numbers of young people currently in churches across the continent…

It seems he did not mention decriminalisation.

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New Zealand approves same-sex blessings

Updated Saturday

Anglican Taonga reports: Yes to blessings

…The Anglican Church this morning has paved the way for the blessing of same gender relationships.

At 11:20 this morning, by majority vote, General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui passed Motion No 7 – which is the motion which accepts the report and recommendations of the Motion 29 small working group.

That acceptance is subject to the appointment of a select committee which will consider and report back to General Synod – before it finishes today – on a range of detail which the Synod must be sorted before the passage of the constitutional and canonical changes necessary to give the decision effect.

The decision, nonetheless, is clear – after almost 50 years of debate about human sexuality, the Anglican Church has created a pathway for the blessing of same-gender couples…

The report that was adopted is a lengthy document which can be found here.

The Polynesian component of the church, Tikanga Pasifika, will not be changing its practice, but has not exercised its right to veto the proposal. See explanation here.

See also Slow start. Big finish.

Updates

FCANZ response to General Synod Decision to Bless Same Sex Relationships, downloadable copy here.

Gafcon UK offers support to FCA New Zealand after same sex blessings vote

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William Nye writes to The Episcopal Church about marriage rites

Updated again Thursday

Madeleine Davies has a report in the Church Times: Nye letter warns about same-sex marriage rites

PROPOSALS to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes….

The 8-page letter is contained in a file of responses from other Anglican Communion churches to a consultation request from The Episcopal Church for comments. This forms part of the materials prepared for the forthcoming General Convention in July.

The response from William Nye is now available separately here.

The response from the Scottish Episcopal Church is here.

There is also a response from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).

And there are ecumenical responses too.

Updates

Reports of this letter have also appeared elsewhere:

The Times (behind paywall) Anglicans threaten split over ‘gay-friendly’ marriage rites

Premier American Anglicans would face ‘consequences’ over gender neutral wedding services

Further mentions:

Christian Today Pro-LGBT Anglicans hit back at letter threatening split over US gay friendly prayer book

Episcopal Café Who answers for the Church of England when the Episcopal Church asks about marriage?

Susan Russell Simon Says: “Let’s get the truth of the situation out there”

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South Sudan has a female bishop

George Conger reported on 3 February: First woman bishop for GAFCON province

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan has consecrated its first female bishop. Anglican Ink has learned that on 31 December 2016, the Most Rev Daniel Deng Bul, primate of South Sudan and Archbishop of Juba consecrated the Rt. Rev. Elizabeth Awut Ngor as assistant bishop of the Diocese of Rumbek.

Archbishop Deng, who retired last month, upon the election of his successor, the Most Rev. Justin told Radio Good News: “It was in my dream to ordain a woman as bishop in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan before I leave”.

Rumors of a female bishop in South Sudan arose early last year, but queries to the provincial secretary and Archbishop Deng were not answered. The website of the Anglican Consultative Council does not show an assistant bishop for Rumbek and no mention of Bishop Awut’s consecration has been made on the Anglican Communion News Service. However, group photos taken at last month’s meeting of the South Sudan House of Bishops showed one bishop in a skirt holding a handbag. Subsequent queries identified her as Bishop Elizabeth.

Bishop Elizabeth becomes the third African female bishop, following the Rt. Rev. Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya, who was elected bishop of the Diocese of Swaziland on 18 July 2012 and ordained and installed on 10 November 2012. Her appointment was closely followed by the election, on 12 October 2012 of Margaret Vertue as bishop of the Diocese of False Bay. She was consecrated and installed on 19 January 2013.

Bishop Elizabeth also becomes the first female GAFCON bishop. The GAFCON primates had asked the Churches of Uganda and Kenya to hold back from electing women bishops until GAFCON was of one mind on the issue. With the election of Bishop Elizabeth, pressure will mount for the East African churches to follow suit

GAFCON has issued: A Statement on the Consecration of a Female Bishop in South Sudan

From the beginning of the Gafcon movement there have been a variety of understandings among our members on the question of consecrating women to the episcopate. Recognising that this issue poses a threat to the unity we prize, the Primates agreed in 2014 to do what was within their power to affect a voluntary moratorium on the consecration of women to the episcopate. They then set up the Task Force on Women in the Episcopate, chaired by Bishop Samson Mwaluda which presented a report to the 2017 Gafcon Primates Council.

In discussion at this Council, the Primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Deng Bul (who had not been present when the moratorium was agreed) shared with us that his personal decision to consecrate a female bishop was an extraordinary action taken in the midst of civil unrest in a part of his country where most of the men were engaged in armed conflict.

The Gafcon Primates chose to not allow this anomaly to change the course followed since 2014. The Task Force was asked to continue to provide theological resources, and the Provinces were urged to continue the study of Scripture, to consult with one another and to pray that God will lead us to a common mind. The voluntary moratorium remained in place.

In accordance with these decisions, the Task Forces’ Report, which can be read here, is now being discussed at the regional level in advance of the April Gafcon Primates Council and the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem this June. Our hope is that the newly elected Primate of South Sudan will join us in these discussions as we seek to find a common mind, looking to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Peter Jensen, General Secretary
February 2018

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Primates Meeting: further reports

Updated yet again Saturday

See previous reports here.

ACNS has published these reports:

The Primates have issued this communiqué: God’s Church for God’s World.

Primates’ Meeting [Final] 2017 Press Conference (video)

GAFCON earlier published this press statement: We Are Not Walking Together.
In response to the communiqué linked above, GAFCON has issued this “initial response”: Can Two Walk Together Unless They Are Agreed?
GAFCON UK also issued a statement: Response from Bishop Andy Lines to the Primates’ Communiqué.

Church Times Primates’ Meeting ends with call to avoid narrow-mindedness and focus on ‘total gospel’

ENS Primates conclude Canterbury meeting ‘renewed in their ministry’

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Primates Meeting: reports from Tuesday

Updated again Thursday morning

See previous reports here.

Anglican Communion News Service

Scottish Episcopal Church Primus briefs primates on same-sex marriage decision

Video: Primates’ Meeting Press Briefing

Video: Anglican Primates’ statement on Las Vegas shooting

Video: Prayers for victims of Las Vegas shooting

Archbishop Welby “taken aback” by Las Vegas prayer criticism

Scottish Episcopal Church

Primus addresses the Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting

Media reports:

BBC Anglicans sanction Scottish Episcopal Church over same-sex marriage

Guardian Scottish bishop defends same-sex marriage: ‘love means love’

Herald World’s Anglican bishops punish Scottish Episcopal Church over same-sex marriage

Christian Today Scottish Anglicans defiant as they face ‘consequences’ for passing gay marriage: ‘Love means love’

Updates
Church Times Primates reprimand Scots, but will not fall out over it (scroll down for report of briefing by GAFCON)

This blog article by Beth Routledge who is a member of the SEC: Response to the Primates’ Meeting is strongly recommended.

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