Thinking Anglicans

Initial media responses to Canterbury CNC proposal

Updated yet again Saturday morning (scroll down for details)

For details of the proposal see earlier article.

Charlie Bell has written a blog post: The proposals on Canterbury – and why they are wrong.

His arguments are detailed and clear, and I recommend you read them in full. He concludes:

Unfortunately this is another example of cart before horse – the proposal in general is a good example of why theology and ecclesiology need to be embedded at the heart of decision-making and policy change in the Church of England. This proposal should be – at the very least – paused and reflected on with some seriousness before it goes further. Whilst in paragraph 19 and 20 we are told that we need to be ‘realistic’ about what can be done, and that ‘to begin to address the questions facing the Communion is, in the end, about the conversion of more than structures, but of the hearts of all involved, and of their practice of relationships through the Church to which we all belong.’ This may well be true, but this proposal is putting practical changes before the deep thinking about the nature of the Anglican Communion that needs to be done. It is not fit for purpose and should be rejected until this work is complete – or even started.

Unfortunately, this proposal – with its apparently unrecognised ecclesiological implications – is not new in terms of major change being brought in for what appear to be pragmatic reasons, yet carrying these major repercussions. I have written previously about the changes to consecrations implemented during Covid – which appear to be permanent. The entire direction of travel is concerning, and needs rethinking. We have experts in theology and ecclesiology – it remains mystifying that they are not invited to the table in the name of pragmatism. The O’Donovan review into the CNC must surely be the start (incidentally a review that did not consider the communion implications in detail but did (5.19) refer to the Canterbury CNC) – not the end – of the work required.

The Church Times has published a detailed article: Communion is asked: Do you want to help choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury?
This is also detailed, and worth reading carefully. It includes the following observations:

…The consultation document is not a neutral document but instead a piece of advocacy for the new proposal. It argues that many of the issues that the Archbishop of Canterbury addresses are global concerns that call for a Communion-wide response. It states: “The Communion-wide brief of the Archbishop can help facilitate learning from churches whose life is vibrant and growing.

“This dynamic enhances the role of the worldwide Communion and its significance for the Church of England. These considerations alone suggest that the balance of representatives on the CNC does not reflect the current nature of the role.”

It points out that the structure of the Anglican Communion, and the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is “rooted in England’s colonial history”. It argues, therefore: “The Church of England and the Communion cannot escape asking why a British cleric should always be primus inter pares” [“first among equals”]…

And it notes the following anomaly:

…The document suggests that the five international CNC members would come from each of the five regions in the Communion: the Americas, the Middle East and Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Europe.

The proposal, however, specifically excludes “the four provinces of the British Isles” i.e. the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church of Ireland, as well as the Church of England. Since the diocese in Europe is part of the C of E, this would leave this region to be represented by one of the Extra-Provincial Churches (Spain, Portugal, Bermuda, or Falkland Islands)…

The Times has a report by Kaya Burgess: Alarm over Anglican plan to give overseas churches more say in choosing future Archbishops of Canterbury. This is behind a paywall, so many people will not be able to access in full,  but it starts out this way:

…English priests and worshippers have expressed surprise and anger at proposals for a five-fold increase in the power that Anglican churches overseas will be given in nominating the Church of England’s most senior bishop.

Concerns have been raised about whether the proposals could set back hopes to see a woman or a backer of same-sex marriage appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, as many Anglican churches globally still do not allow women to become bishops while most steadfastly oppose the idea of conducting gay marriages in church…

And among comments from some clergy, it also includes this quotation from me:

“There’s no way any other province of the Anglican Communion would tolerate having someone from the Church of England added to their selection process for bishops. I don’t think there’s any valid argument for it.”

My wider point was that, even if none of the concerns existed about gender, sexuality, etc, this would still be a very bad proposal on ecclesiological grounds.

Update Thursday

The Archbishop of York has responded to the Times article with a letter to the editor (scroll down all the way). Copy over here.

Update Friday

The Church Times has this: Leader comment: Wider still and wider . . . Representing the Communion on the CNC for the see of Canterbury.

The Times has a second letter (scroll down) from a diocesan bishop (Worcester) supporting this proposal and a second news article reporting on the two letters from bishops.

Update Saturday

Today the Times has no less than four letters, all opposing the proposal, from Christina Baron, Nigel Seed, Desmond Tillyer, and Anthony Archer.

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Consultation launched on membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury

Press release from the Church of England

Consultation launched on membership of the Crown Nominations Commission for future Archbishops of Canterbury
14/01/2022

The Archbishops’ Council has launched a consultation on a proposal to change the make-up of the body which nominates future Archbishops of Canterbury.

The proposal would give the worldwide Anglican Communion a greater voice on the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) for the See of Canterbury.

At present the entire Communion outside of England is represented by just one of the current 16 voting members, compared to six from the Diocese of Canterbury alone.

The proposal would increase the Anglican Communion representatives to five while reducing the number of members from the Diocese to three. As at present, there would also be nine other members from the Church of England, including six elected by General Synod.

The idea originated from the Diocese of Canterbury itself where the Diocesan Synod agreed a motion asking the Archbishops’ Council to consider decrease the representation of the Diocese of Canterbury on future CNCs for the See of Canterbury.

The consultation, which will include key partners from across the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, will run until March 31.

Responses will be collated in the spring with an expectation of a final proposal being put to the General Synod for a vote in July. If approved it would change the Synod’s standing orders, which govern CNCs.

The General Synod, as part of the consultation, will also debate the proposal within the consultation document at its next meeting next month.

Responding to the consultation

  • Download the consultation document. Translations of the document in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese will be available in due course. To request a translation, please use the email address below.
  • If you would like to respond, please complete the consultation response document and return it to the email address below. This consultation will close on 31st March 2022.
  • If you have any queries on this consultation, please contact Elise Sandham, Private Secretary to the Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, by email on the address below.
  • canterburycnc.consultation@churchofengland.org
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In memoriam Desmond Tutu

picture of Desmond TutuDesmond Tutu (picture from the Church Times)

The funeral of Desmond Tutu was today. Below are links to a number of articles about him.

Church Times: Obituary: The Most Revd Desmond Tutu and From our archives: Interview: Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town (2006)

Richard Burridge The Spectator The Father I knew: A tribute toDesmond Tutu

Adriaan van Klinken The Conversation February 2020 Desmond Tutu’s long history of fighting for lesbian and gay rights.
Follow this link to reach the full text of the chapter from which the above article is an excerpt.

Andrew McGowan The Conversation July 2021 Radicalism mixed with openness: how Desmond Tutu used his gifts to help end Apartheid

Chris McGreal Guardian When Desmond Tutu stood up for the rights of Palestinians, he could not be ignored.

Two archive news items (hat tip Rod Gillis) on the ordination of women:

1989 Washington Post: Ban on ordination of women causes anguish for Tutu
2014 Huffington Post: Archbishop Desmond Tutu Awesomely Calls Out Religious Leaders Who Won’t Ordain Women

Earth and Altar Richard Pryor Desmond Tutu: The Full Flowering of the Anglican Social Gospel

Here is the text of a sermon preached at Southwark Cathedral in 2004 and you can listen to a 2007 sermon preached at St Albans via this link: St Albans gives thanks for the life and witness of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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Why Botswana is different

There is another African country, whose Court of Appeal has just confirmed the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships.  See for example, this Reuters report: Botswana appeals court upholds ruling that decriminalised gay sex, or this in the Guardian: Botswana upholds ruling decriminalising same-sex relationships.

The Anglican Peace and Justice Network reports: Alice Mogwe Receives Prestigious Award

Botswana activist Alice Mogwe spoke about the African and Anglican roots of her commitment to human dignity as she was presented with the prestigious Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Human Rights Award for 2021. Mogwe, the President of the International Federation of Human Rights, is a leading figure in the world-wide human rights community and in 2018 she became the first person from civil society to address a High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

In her acceptance speech entitled ‘What I learnt on the Way’ she emphasised the significance of human dignity as the basis of all right relationships between people and peoples. The concept of Botho – made famous as Ubuntu by her friend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – is the foundation of all she has fought for from her awakening to the present day…

The full text of her acceptance speech can be found here.

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Ghana: archbishop issues a second statement

Updated Saturday afternoon

On 22 October, we published Anglican bishops in Ghana support anti-gay legislation. This was updated on 26 October to add the first statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

Yesterday, 12 November, the archbishop issued another statement: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement following a meeting with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana. This is copied in full immediately below.

The Church Times reported this way: Welby apologises for Ghana LGBTQ+ pronouncement.

Update: Today, the General Synod Questions and Answers file was published (ahead of the session next Tuesday afternoon). Two questions relate to Ghana. These are copied below the fold.

Statement 12/11/2021

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement following a meeting with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana last week:

On 3rd November, I met online with the Anglican Archbishop of Ghana, the Most Revd Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, and several bishops and senior clergy from the Anglican Church of Ghana. We discussed their response to the draft Bill that is before the Ghanaian parliament, aimed at strengthening family life but including within it provision for the criminalisation of many LGBTQI+ people.

I welcomed this conversation, which should have happened before my previous statement. That is not mere diplomacy: Christ commands us to speak directly and prayerfully with our brothers and sisters. I apologised for failing to do so.

We affirmed that the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 represents the last and most widely accepted statement by the Anglican Communion on the question of human sexuality.

We agreed that all human beings are made in God’s image and are worthy of love, respect and dignity, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to demonstrate the love of God by protecting all vulnerable people and communities.

This was a conversation between equals: I have no authority over the Church of Ghana, nor would I want any. I say that partly because of Britain’s colonial history in Ghana, but also because of the very nature of the Anglican Communion. We are a global family of churches who are autonomous but interdependent: a holy, catholic, apostolic Church bound together by history, sacraments, liturgy, and the love of Jesus Christ for each and every person.

One of the key conclusions of the meeting is that human dignity is always paramount, and that cultural, social and historical contexts must also be considered and understood.

I encourage continued good conversation with the Anglican Church of Ghana, with the same courteous but clear and robust conversation as I experienced, ahead of any future public statements.

(more…)

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Anglican bishops in Ghana support anti-gay legislation

Updated 25 October and 26 October

The Telegraph reported last week: Ghana’s parliament to vote on what could be world’s toughest anti-gay laws

From the USA, both the Living Church and Episcopal Café have also reported this story:

The Anglican bishops of Ghana have issued this statement:

We, the House of Bishops representing the Anglican Church, Ghana (Internal Province of Ghana) have thrown our weight behind the anti-gay (LGBTQI+) Bill currently before the House of Parliament, Ghana. Our support is borne out of the belief that LGBTQI+ “is unbiblical and ungodly”.

We see LGBTQI+ as unrighteousness in the sight of God and therefore will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the bill comes into fruition.

We further state that, aside Christianity, the Ghanaian tradition and culture do not permit such act. This is about morality today and that of the future generation yet unborn. We as leaders must leave a legacy everyone will be proud of. Christ- like legacy of hope. It will be recalled that earlier on in the year, (28th February 2021) during the enthronement of His Grace, the Most Reverend Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith as Archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and all Angels, AsanteMampong, His Excellency the President of Ghana in no uncertain terms, condemned this unholy act.

The Anglican Church, Ghana sees this homosexual practice as an act condemned by scriptures both in the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 20:13 clearly declares that, a male lying with a fellow male is an abomination and punishable by death. Similarly, in the New Testament, Paul speaks of homosexuality as “contrary to sound doctrine” as recorded in 1 Timothy 1:10 ‘for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine’ It must be noted in our earlier declaration that, the church does not condemn persons of homosexuality tendencies but absolutely condemn the sinful acts and activities that they perform.

We therefore appeal to our members and the public not to embark on any form of harassment, intimidation, hostilities etc. on individuals or groups associated with LGBTQI+ but rather, see them as potential souls to be won for Christ.

We as a church assures that, we will gladly open our counselling and support centres for the needed transformation services required by these persons or groups. We further advocate for intense education on the Human Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 to avoid acts of emotionalism and sentimentality by our members and the general public.

We will consistently urge our members and the general public to join the church as it prays towards eliminating any impediments towards the realization of the bill. We are hopeful that the House of Parliament will listen to the cry of many Ghanaians who are anxious to see the bill passed. May God continue to bless our beautiful homeland Ghana and free us from all forms of unrighteousness.

Dr Charlie Bell wrote this letter to the editor of the Church Times:

Sir, — This week, the Anglican Church in Ghana urged the government to get on and pass the anti-LGBTQI Bill. The Bill calls for the imprisonment of LGBTQI activists and those who show public displays of affection, for the criminalisation of LGBTQI support groups, the implementation of forms of conversion therapy and forced surgery for intersex people.

We have heard much in the run-up to the delayed Lambeth Conference about walking together as a communion — a communion whose Primates have pledged to work against homophobia.

Not a word has been spoken by any bishop in the Church of England about this looming, Church-sponsored infringement of basic human rights. It is quite scandalous that our pledge of commitment to the Anglican Communion appears to focus on the men in power rather than the most vulnerable in the pews.

Updates

Via Media.News published this by Peter Leonard: Ghana: “Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have….!”

Portsmouth Diocese has published: Senior staff issue statement on our links with Ghana

A statement regarding our links with the Anglican Church in Ghana, and the support of its bishops for a bill being considered by the country’s Parliament:

Our bishop-designate, Bishop Jonathan Frost, our commissary bishop, Bishop Rob Wickham, and the senior staff of the Diocese of Portsmouth said, “As a diocese, we have long-standing, formal links with the Anglican Church in Ghana, which we value. However, we are dismayed to hear that the country’s Anglican bishops have thrown their weight behind the ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’ Bill.

“We are seeking urgent conversations with our colleagues in Ghana to ask why – not least in the light of the communique signed by all Anglican Primates in 2016, in which they pledged to reject criminal sanctions against members of the LGBT+ community, and to challenge homophobia.

“We strongly oppose the bill currently being considered by the Ghanaian Parliament, which proposes imprisonment of members of the LGBT+ community for being who they are, and to criminalise those who wish to support them. We believe this to be a fundamental violation of people’s human rights, which we believe will lead to state-sponsored violence that will threaten the lives of those in the LGBT+ community and their friends. As Christians, we also believe this stigmatises people in a way that does not affirm the value of each person as a unique individual, created in God’s image.

“We are committed to our relationship with our Anglican brothers and sisters in Ghana, and there is much mutual respect. Our close relationship prompts us to challenge each other as fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, sharpening each other’s thinking and speaking up against injustice in our respective countries.”

Statement made by:

  • The Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, Dean of York and Bishop-designate of Portsmouth
  • The Rt Rev Rob Wickham, commissary bishop for the Diocese of Portsmouth
  • The Very Rev Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth
  • The Ven Peter Leonard, Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight
  • The Ven Jenny Rowley, Archdeacon of Portsdown
  • Canon Will Hughes, acting Archdeacon of the Meon
  • The Rev Allie Kerr, associate Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight
  • Victoria James, Diocesan Secretary
  • The Rev Max Cross, chairman of Portsmouth’s Inter-Diocesan West Africa Link (IDWAL) committee

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said today:

“I am gravely concerned by the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament. I will be speaking with the Archbishop of Ghana in the coming days to discuss the Anglican Church of Ghana’s response to the Bill.

“The majority of Anglicans within the global Anglican Communion are committed to upholding both the traditional teaching on marriage as laid out in the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I:10, and the rights of every person, regardless of sexual orientation, before the law. In Resolution I:10, the Anglican Communion also made a commitment “to assure [LGBTQ+ people] that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” Meanwhile on numerous occasions the Primates of the Anglican Communion have stated their opposition to the criminalisation of same-sex attracted people: most recently, and unanimously, in the communiqué of the 2016 Primates’ Meeting.

“I remind our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Ghana of these commitments.

“We are a global family of churches, but the mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ.”

Notes: 

1. The 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10: https://www.anglicancommunion.org/resources/document-library/lambeth-conference/1998/section-i-called-to-full-humanity/section-i10-human-sexuality 

2. The 2016 Primates’ Meeting Communiqué: https://www.anglicannews.org/features/2016/01/communique-from-the-primates-meeting-2016.aspx

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Archbishop of Canterbury criticises Primate of Nigeria

Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding comments by the Primate of Nigeria

05/03/2021

The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Reverend Henry C Ndukuba, issued a statement on Friday 26 February 2021 which referred to “the deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality”. The statement goes on to use phrases like, “[homosexuality] is likened to a Yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough”. It also states that “secular governments are adopting aggressive campaign for global homosexual culture.” (sic)

I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks.

I have written privately to His Grace The Archbishop to make clear that this language is incompatible with the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion (expressed most clearly, albeit in unsuitable language for today, in paragraphs c and d of resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998). This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words. It affirmed that “all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.”

The Anglican Communion continues to seek to walk together amidst much difference and through many struggles. I urge all Christians to join me in continuing prayer for the people and churches of Nigeria as they face economic hardship, terrorist attacks, religious-based violence and insecurity.

The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, that God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope.

+Justin Cantuar:

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Organisational change at the Anglican Communion Office

Press release from the Anglican Communion Office: Standing Committee review leads to shift of focus in the Anglican Communion Office (full text copied below)

Further information about the changes can be found on the Anglican Communion website: anglicancommunion.org/renewal2021.

Press release:

The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion has announced changes to the operational priorities of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) which will see it taking more of a coordinating role; with programmatic activity instead focused in provinces, regions, networks and agencies. Currently, three charities serve the Anglican Communion through the ACO – the Anglican Alliance, the Lambeth Conference Company, and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). Today’s announcement relates only to those staff employed by the ACC.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, was commissioned by the Standing Committee to chair an international review in May 2020. The review committee reported in September and, after continuing deliberations, the Standing Committee announced their decisions publicly today after they were shared with staff last week.

The Review recommended that the work of the ACC should focus on supporting the Instruments of Communion and those elements of programmatic work which could not be undertaken more effectively regionally or within provinces. The new focus for ACC staff will be to facilitate and coordinate programmatic work by member churches and authorised networks.

The restructuring has placed a number of staff at risk of redundancy and a formal process of consultation is underway.

In a written Case for Organisational Change distributed to staff, the Standing Committee said that the proposed changes were not only driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. It said that the re-focussing recognises that “the resource gaps between provinces in terms of education and technology have reduced significantly and the resource available to the Communion has increased as a result. It said that “aspects of the programmatic work undertaken at the ACO would be more effectively undertaken through provinces, regions or other agencies across the Communion with the ACO coordinating and communicating that work across the Communion.”

It went on to say that “the more centralised approach which currently dominates project / programme work, has a negative impact on diversity and inclusion and does not reflect the breadth of culture and diversity represented in the Communion, in particular those parts of the Communion who do not have English as their first language or as an official language of their country or province.”

Vice Chair Maggie Swinson, a lay canon in the Church of England’s Diocese of Liverpool, said: “The direction commended by the review report will draw provinces into active participation in the Communion’s work and our common mission to build the kingdom. Staff in the office have served us well and it is a sadness that, in our efforts to increase provincial engagement through devolving aspects of the Communion’s work, some redundancies may result.”

The President of the ACC, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said: “The Anglican Communion is a global family of churches that are called to share the good news of Jesus Christ in an extraordinary range of contexts. This review has been an important part of discerning how we can draw more fully on the gifts, resources and wisdom of provinces across the Communion, as we seek to serve a world in need.

“I’m grateful to Archbishop Thabo, Canon Margaret Swinson and all those who have led this work. I would also like to thank all the staff at the Anglican Communion Office who have served with such passion, commitment and faith over many years, and assure them all of my prayers throughout this process.”.

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, responding to the changes by saying: “This review takes us back to the original rationale behind the setting up of the ACO. The new structure will enable the ACO to assist the 41 provinces to act out our Five Marks of Mission in a united collaborative manner, as well as enable them to become the family of churches that God wants us to be in order to advance God’s mission.”

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New format and new dates for Lambeth Conference

From the Lambeth Conference website: Dates for the Lambeth Conference announced.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced revised dates for the 15th Lambeth Conference. Hosted in Canterbury, Kent, the face-to-face conference will be planned for the 27th July – 8th August 2022 (with the official conference ending on the 7 August and departures on the 8th August).

The conference has been rescheduled from the original 2020 dates due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference organisers will continue to monitor the implications of COVID-19 and follow official health guidance in the months ahead.

With the theme of ‘God’s Church for God’s World – Walking, listening and witnessing together’ the conference will focus on what it means for the Anglican Communion – shaped by the five marks of mission – to be responsive to the needs and challenges of a fast changing world in the 21st Century.

This will be the first Lambeth Conference to meet both face-to-face and virtually. As well as the meeting in Canterbury in 2022, the Lambeth Conference will now be planned as a conference journey, that runs in phases before, during and beyond the face-to-face gathering.

Starting in 2021 the focus of phase one will be on introducing some of the major themes and strategic pillars of the conference programme. The conference community of bishops and spouses – and wider Anglican audiences – will be invited to take part in the Lambeth Conversation in different ways. This will be facilitated through a combination of online, regional and intraregional meetings and supporting resources.

With bishops and spouses invited from 165 countries of the Anglican Communion, the conference community represents a diversity of cultures and Christian tradition. The virtual phase of the conference will give more time to meet one another, start to discuss conference topics and have greater opportunity to share insights and experiences from their provinces and church communities.

It will also ensure that the use of conference resources and planning for future outcomes in the life of the Anglican Communion can be as effective as possible.

A working group is being appointed to shape the conference journey, comprised by representatives from around the communion. These are the Bishop of Penrith, Emma Ineson (who also serves as a member of the conference Design Group); the Right Revd Bishop Anthony Poggo, (Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs); the Revd Prof Joseph D Galgalo (Vice Chancellor and associate professor of Theology at St. Pauls University in Kenya) and the Bishop of Amritsar, The Right Revd Pradeep Samantaroy (The Church of North India – United). The group will work with the Archbishop of Canterbury and wider conference teams to construct an engaging programme relevant to key issues in the world and the life of the Communion.

Phil George, the CEO of the Lambeth Conference Company, said:

With the message of ‘God’s Church for God’s World’, it’s vital that planning for our meeting of bishops and spouses responds to the new world we find ourselves in since COVID-19. Despite the challenges and disruption that the pandemic has caused, we’ve also seen huge creativity and adaptability as churches have started to meet virtually. The opportunities that technology provides for online meeting and engagement, have opened up new ways for us to connect, pray and be community for one another. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the Working Group to help develop and deliver the Lambeth Conference conversation.

The timetable and further details for the pre-conference programme will be released in 2021.

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Lambeth Conference delayed until 2022

See this announcement:

The Lambeth Conference reschedules to 2022

In March it was announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and global restrictions on travel and mass gatherings, the Lambeth Conference of 2020 would need to be rescheduled to the British summer of 2021.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has now taken the important decision to reschedule the Lambeth Conference by a further year to the British summer of 2022. The conference will meet in 2022 in Canterbury. In the above filmed message to the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop has also announced that a wider programme will be developed before and after the event delivered virtually and through other meetings.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Archbishop of Canterbury and conference planning teams have been monitoring the situation, following relevant advice from public and global health authorities as it becomes available. They have also undertaken ongoing consultation with Primates, bishops and spouses – about the impact of COVID-19 in their countries.

As with most large scale events and conferences of this nature – planning for events in such an unstable climate is difficult. As an international gathering (the Lambeth Conference invites bishops and spouses from over 165 countries) there are a significant number of uncertainties that make preparations for a 2021 meeting challenging.

Whilst some lock down measures are starting to ease in some countries, social distancing measures, travel restrictions and quarantine measures could impede logistics and delegates’ travel planning for the foreseeable future. There are also the risks of a potential second wave of the virus and the reality that there are different phases in how the pandemic is spreading around the world – with no vaccine yet available….

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Inclusive Eucharist planned for eve of Lambeth Conference

The Guardian reports this today: Lesbian priests to lead church service on eve of Anglican summit.

LGBT+ campaigners will hold a church service led by two high-profile married lesbian priests on the eve of the Lambeth conference, a once-a-decade assembly of Anglican bishops from around the world that is expected to be dominated by conflicts over sexuality and marriage.

The move is likely to rile conservative bishops who maintain that homosexuality is a sin.

An “inclusive” eucharist at a church in Canterbury will be presided over by the Rt Rev Mary Glasspool, an assistant bishop in New York. The preacher will be the Rev Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, a daughter of Desmond Tutu, the veteran South African anti-apartheid campaigner.

The service is intended to send a strong message to up to 1,000 bishops from 165 countries who are due to gather at the University of Kent at the end of July for almost two weeks of prayer and discussion about issues facing the worldwide Anglican church…

The press release about this is copied below.

The Telegraph has now covered this too:
First married lesbian bishop to lead service ahead of global Anglican summit to protest ban on gay partners

(more…)

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Anglican Communion Office updates

Updated

Three articles from the Anglican Communion Office:

Changing the way the Anglican Communion communicates

A look ahead at 2020 for the Anglican Communion Office

Anglican Primates gather in Jordan for “very strategic meeting” ahead of Lambeth Conference

Anglican Primates meet with King Abdullah II and Heads of Churches in Jordan

The Church Times has this report:

‘Grown-up’ Primates’ Meeting affirms Anglican links with Canterbury

 

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Bishop of Truro’s report on FCO support for persecuted Christians

The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, prepared a report for the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on the subject of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s support for persecuted Christians.

This has now been published: Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO support for Persecuted Christians.

There is an excellent summary of it at Law & Religion UKIndependent Review of FCO support for persecuted Christians.

The government press release is here.

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Anglican influence in Botswana’s decriminalisation of same-sex relationships

Earlier this month, there was surprising news from Botswana: Botswana scraps gay sex laws in big victory for LGBTQ rights in Africa.

Botswana’s High Court has overturned a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations in a landmark victory for Africa’s LGBTQ movements.
The court in the southern African country unanimously ruled on Tuesday that the legislation was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest.
“A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness,” Justice Michael Leburu said, noting that discriminatory law not only serves as a detriment to LGBTQ people, but holds back all of society.
“Societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity,” he said…

CNN also carried this comment article the next day: Africa is doing better on LGBTQ rights than you think.

Living Reconciliation reported on the role of Alice Mogwe in this achievement: We Believe in Human Dignity

Decriminalisation of LGBTQI people is a victory for human dignity.
The 11 June 2019 decision of the Botswana High Court, to strike down colonial laws which discriminated against LGBTIQ persons was greeted with joy by those seeking to promote human dignity.
Alice Mogwe – Anglican lay woman, Human Rights defender, and founder and Director of DITSHWANELO – the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, welcomed the ruling with joy.
‘We believe in human dignity: that all are made in the image of God’ she said. ‘This is a step on the road to dignity for LGBTIQ persons in Botswana, a great step, but still a step. It offers the hope of more to come. LGBTIQ people need to have dignity in all our communities, in their families and among all of our people. This can make it possible.’
Alice has been journeying with LGBTIQ people on their road to freedom for over 20 years. In 1998 DITSHWANELO created a project focused on the rights of LGB persons. This led to the establishment of a fledgling group called LeGaBiBo – Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo).  It was seeded and nested by DITSHWANELO.
Many human rights groups advocate for the voiceless and speak for the oppressed. Alice has long championed human dignity over human rights and her aim is to enable people to speak for themselves, not to be spoken for…

Law & Religion UK reported on the court’s decision here: Same-sex relationships in Botswana:Motshidiemang 

On 11 June, in Motshidiemang v Attorney General [2019] MAHGB-000591 16, the Botswana High Court held that the criminalisation of sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex was unconstitutional. Tafa, Leburu and Dube JJ concluded that ss.164(a), 164(c), 165 and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code violated the constitutional rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality. The Court began from the proposition that sexual relations between consenting adults in private were none of the law’s business:

“What regulatory joy and solace are derived by the law, when it proscribes and criminalises such conduct of two consenting adults, expressing and professing love to each other, within their secluded sphere, bedroom, confines and/or precinct? Is this not a question of over-regulation of human conduct and expression, which has the effect of impairing and infringing upon constitutionally ordained, promised and entrenched fundamental human rights?”…

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Kenyan Anglicans support continued criminalisation of homosexuals

Two recent news reports from Kenya:

Anglican Bishops Extend Special Gesture To The Kenyan Gay Community

Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Bishops on Sunday welcomed gay worshippers to fellowship with them but held on to the principle of not officiating their marriages in church.

This came after the high court ruling that declined to repeal sections of the penal code that criminalized same-sex relationships…

ACK Church shuts doors on gay marriages but welcomes gay worshippers (emphasis added)

The Anglican Church has declared it will not officiate same sex marriages.

The stand comes just weeks after the High Court in Kenya declined to declare unconstitutional some parts of the Penal Code which criminalises same sex relationships.Today, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby from the Church of England said the Anglican Church believes in the biblical definition of marriage and relationships. He however noted that with the modern world, Christians should learn to respect each other’s differences in order to preach God’s word.

He said there exists so many differences in the world that the church has to deal with.”My own view of the Christian marriage is the traditional marriage (between a man and woman),” said Welby who is in the country for a visit. Welby steered clear of the Kenyan court ruling, which is the latest upset of the global gay community saying he is not fit to directly comment on it.

“But just so you know in England, it is not currently possible to have same sex marriage in the church,” he said. Same sex marriage is however legal in England…

The Anglican Church of Kenya has published this video recording of a Press Briefing by the Archbishop of Kenya And the Archbishop of Canterbury at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi. So you can see and hear for yourself exactly what the two archbishops actually said.

To understand how all this is.viewed from a GAFCON perspective, you need to study this lengthy article by Phil Ashey whose formal position is President & Chief Executive Officer of the American Anglican Council and leads the GAFCON Lawyers Task Force.

Walking In The Light: A Study In Contrasts

He refers to the video recording:

At about 3:00-3:37 in the video you can listen to what Archbishop Justin Welby says about the upcoming Lambeth Conference 2020.  He says that the Lambeth Conference of Bishops has always been marked “by controversy” since it began in 1867.  He notes that the Lambeth Conference scheduled for 2020 has not met since 2008.  He notes that “When we are able to meet together rather than…not communicating, not meeting together we are able to listen to each other. And so we will see what happens in the Lambeth Conference when we get there.”

And further on he continues:

Beginning at 3:56 Archbishop Welby says “the Bible is clear,” and that “my own personal view, which I have stated on numerous occasions in public…is the traditional view of Christian marriage…which has always been the view of Christian marriage…”

But note what else he says and what he does not say:

  • That he is also “deeply torn” on the traditional definition of Christian marriage as between a man and a woman for life, and that he confesses publicly that “I am equally convinced that it may be that I am wrong… and that “Anglican theological methodology never closes things down.
  • That, therefore, he believes that Marriage is a secondary issue over which Anglicans can agree to disagree;
  • That he would approve the Church of England’s blessing of same-sex “unions” as a way to gain traction within English culture;
  • That he approves the public, liturgical celebration of “gender-transitions” in rites approved by the Bishops of the Church of England that are almost identical to baptism;

And there is a lot more about what is wrong with the Church of England and the Lambeth Conference which you can read for yourself.

But earlier in the article Ashey says this about Archbishop Ole Sapit:

With regards to the question about the Kenyan Supreme Courts recent decision against legalizing same-sex marriage, he applauds the Supreme Court for upholding the traditional view of marriage as between a man and a woman for life, for not introducing into the laws of Kenya a redefinition of marriage contrary to the teaching of the ACK;

The recent Kenyan Supreme Court decision was not about same-sex marriage per se, but about retaining the criminalisation of homosexuals generally. It seems nobody is prepared to comment on this, although the primates of the Anglican Communion have previously spoken quite clearly.

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ACC-17, Lambeth 2020, and GAFCON: further reports and comment

Continued from here and from here too.

The Church Times has

The Episcopal News Service has

The Anglican Communion News Service has:

From a different perspective, there is:

And more links from the GAFCON viewpoint can be found here.

 

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Invitations to bishops: Lambeth 2020 and Kigali

Here’s a roundup of developments on the issuing of invitations to bishops and spouses.

There have been at least two articles responding to the reports of claims made at the ACC-17 meeting that the matter. of the invitations to Lambeth could not be part of the formal agenda for that meeting:

Andrew Goddard has written a lengthy essay analysing the options open to the archbishop: Ethics and policy for invitations to Lambeth 2020.

The Ontario House of Bishops has released this statement of support for their colleague.

GAFCON has issued A Communiqué from the Gafcon Primates Council.
Concerning Lambeth 2020, it says this:

We were reminded of the words of Jeremiah 6:14, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Last year in Jerusalem our delegates urged us not to attend Lambeth 2020 if godly order in the Communion had not been restored.  They respectfully called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to effect the necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility.

We have not yet received a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury.  We note that, as it currently stands, the conference is to include provinces who continue to violate Lambeth Resolution I.10 thereby putting the conference itself in violation of its own resolution: failing to uphold faithfulness in marriage and legitimising practices incompatible with Scripture. This incoherence further tears the fabric of the Anglican Communion and undermines the foundations for reconciliation.

It also announces an alternative event for those disinclined to come to Canterbury:

Gafcon Bishops Conference 2020

On the one hand, we have no interest in attempting to rival Lambeth 2020.  On the other hand, we do not want our bishops to be deprived of faithful fellowship while we wait for order in the Communion to be restored. Therefore, we have decided to call together a meeting of bishops of the Anglican Communion in June of 2020. The conference will be primarily designed for those who will not be attending Lambeth, but all bishops of the Anglican Communion who subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration and Lambeth Resolution I.10 are invited to join in this time of teaching, worship, and fellowship. We shall meet June 8-14 in Kigali, Rwanda, and be hosted by Archbishop Laurent Mbanda and the Anglican Church of Rwanda.

Apparently without spouses.

There are also several paragraphs describing GAFCON’s view of the currrent situation in various regions of the world.

Lest it be thought that GAFCON is concerned only about sexuality, the following item confirms this is not the case:

Women in the Episcopate

The Primates received the Interim Report of the Task Force on Women in the Episcopate, the result of a four-year comprehensive study, and affirmed its recommendation that “the provinces of Gafcon should retain the historic practice of consecration only of men as bishops until and unless a strong consensus to change emerges after prayer, consultation and continued study of Scripture among the Gafcon fellowship.” We authorised the Task Force to continue this consultation.

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ACC-17: Excitement on Saturday

UPDATED on 9 May

Continued from here.

Difficulties in the final business session of the meeting are reported by both our regular sources:

Read both accounts to try to understand what happened.

The closing press conference could not be live streamed due to technical difficulties. A recording of it was made, and can be viewed here. However, at present this recording appears to have no sound.

Update

Andrew Atherstone has published his account of the meeting: What really happened at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC 17)?

Do read all of this.

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More from ACC-17 in Hong Kong

Continued from here.

Updated again Friday noon

Further reports by Paul Handley in the Church Times

And more from Mary Frances Schjonberg at Episcopal News Service

EFAC has responded to Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s earlier comments in this press release.

Anglican Communion News Service

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ACNA bishops invited to Lambeth Conference as “observers”

The Anglican Communion News Service has published a news article titled: Archbishop of Canterbury invites ecumenical observers to the Lambeth Conference. This reports that such invitations have gone to a much wider group of churches than at previous conferences.

It also says that:

In addition to leaders of Churches in Communion and ecumenical partners, representatives from Churches formed by people who left the Anglican Communion are also being invited to send observers. These churches – the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), the Anglican Church of Brazil and the Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa (REACH-SA) – are not formally part of the Anglican Communion but are recognised to different extents by some of the Communion’s provinces.

This has provoked the following response from Archbishop Foley Beach of ACNA:

Yesterday I received a letter from Archbishop Justin just moments before the invitation was reported online. I read the online report first and was disappointed to see that the original “news” source had furthered a partisan, divisive, and false narrative by wrongly asserting that I left the Anglican Communion. I have never left the Anglican Communion, and have no intention of doing so.

I did transfer out of a revisionist body that had left the teaching of the Scriptures and the Anglican Communion and I became canonically resident in another province of the Anglican Communion. I have never left. For the Anglican Church in North America to be treated as mere “observers” is an insult to both our bishops, many of whom have made costly stands for the Gospel, and the majority of Anglicans around the world who have long stood with us as a province of the Anglican Communion.

Once I have had a chance to review this with our College of Bishops and the Primates Council of the Global Anglican Future Conference I will respond more fully.

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