Thinking Anglicans

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MARCH 4TH 2020

FIRST MARRIED LESBIAN BISHOP AND DESMOND TUTU’S DAUGHTER TO CELEBRATE “INCLUSIVE EUCHARIST” AHEAD OF LAMBETH CONFERENCE.

Two high profile same-sex married Anglican priests have been invited by a group of UK Christian organisations to lead an “Inclusive Eucharist” that is to be live-streamed on Saturday 25th July in Canterbury.

The Rt. Revd Mary D. Glasspool, Assistant Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, will preside and the Revd Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, an Episcopal priest now living in Holland, will preach at the service.

Speaking about the importance of welcoming all, Revd Canon Tutu van Furth said:

“Welcome and hospitality are prized values of the Middle Eastern heritage of our Christian tradition. We want every person who joins us in worship to know to the very fibre of their being that they are welcome.”

Bishop Glasspool explained the need for such a service, commenting:

“It is an honour and a privilege to be a part of this “Inclusive Eucharist,” in which we say to all people everywhere: You are loved by our Loving God and welcome at Christ’s table. Like others, I initially queried the use of the phrase “Inclusive Eucharist”, given that all eucharistic celebrations are, of their very essence, inclusive. However, I am aware that there are sadly many places in the world where this is not yet the case. I hope that, in some small way, this celebration can be a part of changing that.”

The service is being organised by a group of inclusive UK Christian organisations, including the Campaign for Equal Marriage, Inclusive Church, OneBodyOneFaith, the Ozanne Foundation and Women and the Church (WATCH). It will be held at a church in Canterbury on the eve of the main service for the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury Cathedral. Due to an expected high demand, entrance will be by ticket only, however the service will also be live streamed.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Rt Revd Mary D. Glasspool serves as Assistant Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of New York and is the first married lesbian bishop in the Anglican Communion. She was elected as suffragan bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in 2009 and consecrated the following year (before marriage equality became law in 2015). She was therefore the first open, partnered lesbian to be elected and consecrated bishop. She and her wife, Becki, have been partnered for 32 years.
  2. Revd Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth was ordained into the Episcopal Church of the United States in 2004 and has served as the Executive Director of The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (2011-16). In 2016 she relinquished her licence to serve as an Anglican priest within the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, South Africa, following her marriage to Marceline van Furth, with whom she lives in Holland.

 

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Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 year ago

What a very positive lead up to the Lambeth conference.. Let the Bishops attending the conference have the same courage as these two ladies, and speak honestly of their own personal situation, and speak out for our inclusivity. Let not the African Bishops bully the conference, as they have often done in the past. I remember being at an evening meeting in Canterbury, when two of the African Bishops bullied one of our, English Bishops.. His Diocesan was the Chairman, and soon put matters to right

Fr John Emlyn.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Wonderful!

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

Obviously the Archbishop of Canterbury needs to show that he believes in the radical new inclusion he talks about and attend.

Not going would be yet another snub to LGBTI people

Father Ron Smith
1 year ago

What a lovely preliminary celebration with which to greet Lambeth 2020. And what a distinctive message it will give to the assembled bishops and partners (excepting those, of course, who have been banned!).

Bishop Mary Glasspool is absolutely the perfect coordinating Celebrant. And who better than the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth – to assist in this powerful Statement of Faith for LGBT+ Anglican Christians?

The Presence of Christ in this Eucharist will be every bit as evident as that at any of the Celebrations of the Lambeth Dads and Mums.

Phil Allcock
Phil Allcock
1 year ago

Good news! We can’t keep waiting to become inclusive until parts of Africa catch us up. Very proud of ECUSA.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 year ago

This is obviously a very positive and welcome development. But keep a very close eye on it because it could still yet come to nothing – thanks to the very rigorous safeguarding measures we are have all been applauding. I can’t help wondering whether Welby will invoke the current H of B guidelines that requires any celebrant and/or preacher from outside a given diocese to hold a Licence or PTO in another diocese *and* have explicit clearance (in the form of a temporary PTO) to function in another bishop’s diocese. I gather bishops’ offices are having to process quite a… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Broadhead

Just to clarify my own understanding, is it only the priest who can invite somebody to preside at eucharist, or does the PCC have the ability to call a service and invite somebody to preside or preach, speaking on behalf of the wishes of the church community? For example, Justin can hardly sanction an overseas bishop because it’s outside his remit, and if a PCC organised a service and made the invitation, I don’t really see how Justin could sanction the lay members of a church, short of locking them out, which would be such a PR fiasco it simply… Read more »

Susannah Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

Scrap my last comment! The more I think of it the less I like what I wrote! It’s too much of a mess to start going down those paths. Best wishes to the organisers though. I think the planned eucharist will be wonderful. I can’t see it not going ahead, assuming health issues permit. We especially need to honour the partners who have been excluded from the conference. They deserve huge welcome and affirmation if they come, as I hope some of them will.

Tim Chesterton
1 year ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I don’t know about the canons in England, but in Canada no priest can exercise priestly ministry within a diocese without permission to do so from the diocesan bishop – either a license or ‘permission to officiate’. This applies to bishops as well as priests.

ACI
ACI
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Broadhead

Getting a safe-guarding clearance for a PTO is no simple thing, especially for non UK folk. FBI background checks take time, as well as any other countries where the clergy may have been active.

Kate
Kate
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Broadhead

Justin can be politically naive but he isn’t stupid enough to risk headlines that he has forbidden Desmond Tutu’s daughter to celebrate communion. So, if he wanted to stop it he could, as you say, suggest that Bishop Rose nneds to deal with it. But given how much Rose makes of championing racial diversity, there is no way she would risk being the one to ban a black woman from celebrating the Eucharist. The same goes to disciplining any organisers. The loss of reputation for either Justin or Rose makes the cost too high. In truth, the inclusion of Mpho… Read more »

Jayne Ozanne
Jayne Ozanne
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Broadhead

Worry not – we have gone through all correct channels and approached the appropriate people.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Jayne Ozanne

Keep up the amazing work and thanks for everything you do Jayne – this is a wonderful opportunity to find inclusion in faith and sacrament. After the shocking exclusion of partners, this eucharist will be such a good way of saying ‘Come, each one of you, and know you are loved by God.’ I think it’s a beautiful idea.

Kate
Kate
1 year ago

I think the chances of Lambeth 2020 going ahead as scheduled are now looking quite small. It looks as though international efforts to contain the coronavirus are failing – or have failed. It seems inevitable that at some point in the next 3 months the British Government will advise against holding large gatherings and, even if they don’t, many attendees will be reluctant to fly.

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