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.
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.
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.
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
London WC1E 7HU
Date: Dec. 4
Time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Refreshments will be provided.
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:32 Comments
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.
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.27 Comments
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 other13 Comments
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.
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.
Updated Tuesday morning
Savi Hensman reports at Ekklesia:
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’…
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.
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:
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.
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.16 Comments
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.
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.
Reports of this letter have also appeared elsewhere:
The Times (behind paywall) Anglicans threaten split over ‘gay-friendly’ marriage rites
Further mentions:110 Comments
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
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.
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.
Updated again Thursday morning
See previous reports here.
Anglican Communion News Service
Scottish Episcopal Church
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.46 Comments
Updated again Tuesday afternoon
This week the Anglican Communion Primates Meeting will take place again in Canterbury. See Anglican leaders head to the Communion’s “Mother Church” for 2017 Primates’ Meeting.
Update An additional official page is now available: The Primates’ Meeting 2017: in-depth coverage
Biographies of all the primates are available here.
The Anglican Communion News Service has published a number of video messages and blog articles from various primates.
The Anglican Journal published Hiltz looking forward to talks on human trafficking at Primates’ Meeting.
Recent media coverage:
Kelvin Holdsworth wrote The Scottish Episcopal Church and the upcoming Primates’ Meeting.
The LGBTI Mission has published this briefing: Anglican Primates’ Meeting October 2017.
OneBodyOneFaith has published Calls for continued listening as Anglican Primates meet in Canterbury.
And we reported earlier the open letter to the primates from the General Synod Human Sexuality Group.
THE Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury this week has begun in a spirit of “extraordinary” fellowship and warm collegiality, journalists were told on Tuesday.
One of the Primates’ first actions was to invite the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, the Most Revd Michael Curry, to pray at the beginning of evensong on Monday in response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Sources have described the fellowship among those at the closed gathering as “extraordinary”. Any suggestion that the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church — expected to be told of the “consequences” of his Church’s recent vote in favour of same-sex marriage (News, 29 September) — might feel uncomfortable was inaccurate…
Do read the whole report.
And there is also this: Anglican Primates express ‘shock and distress’ at Las Vegas massacre.20 Comments
Is Gafcon divisive? by Peter Jensen37 Comments
The Church Times this week carries a report on New Zealand: Priests could be authorised to offer same-sex blessings in New Zealand
Here are some links from New Zealand that contain more information:
AnglicanTaonga New way forward? Report out now
Full text of the report here.
Blessing Same-Gender Couples
An appeal court in Kenya has confirmed a lower court ruling that three priests who were suspended because of allegations that they were homosexuals, must be reinstated, because there was no evidence to support the allegations. Previously the Employment Court had so ruled, but the Anglican Church of Kenya had appealed against this.
The Anglican Church will still have to reinstate three priests sacked over alleged homosexuality and pay them Sh6.8 million after the Court of Appeal dismissed its application to stop the execution of the orders by a lower court.
Justice Philip Waki, Justice Roselyne Nambuye and Justice Patrick Kiage threw out an application by the Registered Trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya that sought an order to halt the enforcement of a judgment by the Employment Court in Nyeri.
Judge Byram Ongaya of the Employment Court had, on September 2016, directed the church to reinstate Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Rev James Maina Maigua and Rev Paul Mwangi Warui so that they could perform their pastoral duties.
The court found that it was unlawful for the church to suspend the three priests from pastoral work without evidence that they were homosexuals.
Justice Ongaya also ordered the church to pay the priests all their accrued salaries from August 2015, when they were sacked.
Archdeacon Gachau was awarded Sh2,437,780, Rev Maigua Sh2,224,996 and Rev Warui Sh2,219,814.
However, the church applied to have the execution of the judgment suspended pending the determination of an appeal seeking to overturn the court orders…
There is also a report in Christian Today Anglican priests sacked for being gay must be reinstated, Kenya court rules.14 Comments
The BBC reports: Unity and division as Justin Welby visits Africa
…Throughout his visit, Mr Welby has been accompanied by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali. On the issue of refugees, the suffering of displaced persons and the desperate plight of South Sudan, there is complete unanimity. But there are other issues that are troubling their relationship.
Mr Ntagali is a leading conservative evangelical, whose province in Uganda is continuing to grow in Christian converts.
But he was angered by the American Episcopal Church’s decision to endorse same-sex relationships and walked out of a global gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year.
He issued a statement saying that he would not be returning until “godly order” had been restored and the Bible returned to what he said is its rightful place “as the authority for our faith and morals”.
Since then, the Canadian and Scottish Episcopal Churches have formally voted to endorse same-sex marriage.
Mr Ntagali says the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that the growing Ugandan church will not remain in fellowship with those who support same-sex unions.
“This is the basis of our faith and it is founded in the Scriptures,” he explains.
It is a theological tussle that has the potential to pull the Anglican Communion apart – a communion that numbers no less than 80 million Christians in 166 countries.
The next gathering of archbishops will again take place in Canterbury, this coming October. But Mr Ntagali has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury explaining that he will not be attending.
Another detail is contained in this report: Anglican splits over sexuality as Uganda’s archbishop boycotts October’s Primates meeting.
The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, has said that he will not attend the next gathering of Anglican Primates in October because of divisions over sexuality issues.
Archbishop Ntagali was asked by the BBC’s Martin Bashir, who is traveling with the Archbishop of Canterbury to South Sudan and Uganda, whether he would attend the next Primates conference. ‘No…I made it clear I am not attending,’ replied the archbishop, before attempting to stop the interview, which he said was supposed to be about the refugee crisis in the region…
The Anglican Peace and Justice Network has published this:
Fifty years ago today the British Parliament took the first steps on a long journey to end the victimisation and diminishment of LGBT people by decriminalising consenting ‘homosexual’ acts in private.
We celebrate this step and lament that more progress has not been made.
Anglicans can celebrate that in 1967 Archbishop Michael Ramsey strongly supported the change in law; a change that enabled gay men and women to live private lives without fear.
A change in law is not a change in heart and mind. The first step was tolerance and from there acceptance. Over recent years there has been a move to celebration and the road continues for the full celebration of LGBT people in society and church.
The recent commitment of the Archbishops of Canterbury to a ‘radical inclusion’ signifies a new path for the Church of England confirmed by the General Synod of the Church of England rejecting ‘conversion therapies’ and making a commitment to the welcome of transgender people.
None of this would be possible if the first step of decriminalisation had not been taken.
We celebrate the first step on a long road.
However, ‘homosexuality’ in some form or other remains criminalised in 72 countries around the world. LGBT people continue to face diminishment and victimisation and where one suffers we all suffer. Our humanity is diminished when sisters and brothers are victimised.
In many countries the laws are rarely used, but their existence breeds a culture of fear and legitimises violence, intimidation, and bullying. People are not free to be who they are and it is impossible for their voice to be heard.
All the instruments of the Anglican Communion have made clear their commitment to the end of criminalisation in every nation, most recently the 2016 Primates Meeting – where the Archbishop of Canterbury was explicit in its commitment to decriminalisation.
The good news is that some are speaking out. The Archbishop of the West Indies and the Bishop of Jamaica have both spoken out publicly and courageously for decriminalisation in cultures where homophobia is rife. Anglican lay people are also acting. Human Rights lawyer Alice Mogwe was one of the leaders of a successful campaign for the rights of LGBT people to organise in Botswana.
Now is the time for more action
APJN calls upon every Anglican to support Anglicans for Decriminalisation. Please read this article from Maurice Tomlinson and support the campaign Anglicans for Decriminalisation by signing the petition.
We also lament that transgender people have this week come under attack from the President of the USA. The direct target of his words may be a small group of people in the US military, but the result is the legitimisation of prejudice against transgender people everywhere.
* Today we celebrate a monumental first step, let it give hope.
* In celebrating this step let us not be content until there is an end to the criminalisation of LGBT people around the globe.