Thinking Anglicans

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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Kate
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Kate

Archbishop Rowan [Williams] talked of repudiating the cross and resurrection. The Archbishop Nicholas [Okoh] talks of an obstacle to the Gospel. Surely neither means this literally? I think such hyperbole is unhelpful.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Unhelpful is an understatement. Rowan Williams position was repudiated when the covenant went down. Thanks be to God.

The Diocese of Maine has just elected a bishop who is married to his male partner. I hope that doesn’t put us (TEC) further down on the naughty step, but now we aren’t alone on that step.

Meanwhile, I haven’t heard any good news about the human rights of LGBTQ+ people in Nigeria and Uganda…

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

Kevin Robertson (not Robinson) was a duly elected and consecrated Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada and he was out, gay, and art reed beforehand-for many years. How convenient to seize upon a picture of his wedding in Toronto. Does anyone think Okoh would have done anything differently without the picture? Should kevin Robertson have refrained from marriage “just in case” it offended GAFCON, who are always and endlessly offended anyway?

peterpi -- Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi -- Peter Gross

Well said.
The professionally grieved are always easily offended.

Bill Broadhead
Guest
Bill Broadhead

Regardless of who goes to the Lambeth Conference, one thing is certain: they’ll need a few quid in their pocket before packing their suitcase. I just happened to overhear a conversation on the York to London train last week (no names will be mentioned). £10,000 per bishop and spouse, and to be paid out of the local diocesan pot. For just over a week in university accommodation? Is every diocese going to have to find this sort of money (including my own which, on latest figures, is over a million quid in the red)? Or is this just the C… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

The Bishop Chester has been public about the cost on the Psephizo website/blog that Savi refers to below. He says: “Presumably the increase in the unit fee from under £3k to £5k, for a shorter meeting, means that it is anticipated that the attendance will be limited”

So yes it looks like £10K per bishop and spouse is accurate.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

The person you overheard on the train was exaggerating. The true cost is given on the Lambeth Conference website and is only £4,950 per person, so £9.900 per couple. Excluding transport.

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Yes, that figure has been discussed in my diocese, with transatlantic airfare on top of it.

jpm
Guest
jpm

Perhaps Howard Ahmanson is still sending out the checks. Someone ask Dr. Seitz.

crs
Guest
crs

Who is H Ahmanson? I am an academic theologian. You will know better about politics.

crs
Guest
crs

Anyone want to answer the questions this essay poses at its end? See the covenant link at The Living Church on the Robertson marriage at St James Cathedral in Toronto, with a bishop brought in from outside and the Toronto Archbishop and colleagues in the pews.

crs
Guest
crs
Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Rhetorical questions like those raised by opposition parties in parliament. ‘Mr. speaker…Mr. speaker …we are outraged…we are apoplectic….we demand answers …blah blah … yada yada ..” Questions that are designed to increase the political hype. As if the Anglican Church of Canada and the diocese of T.O. were somehow answerable to the pro-Covenant crowd.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

The bishop “brought in” was the new Bishop of Niagara, Susan Bell, who had served for many years in the Diocese of Toronto and was a close friend of Kevin Robertson. There is no story here. She was asked as a friend to officiate and it has no political meaning. The attendance of the Archbishop in the pews (and, I assume the newly consecrated bishop, Andrew Asbil) would have been as friends/invited guests. People are always looking to make something of anything and shame on The Living Church for so much the incitement that they seem to be about these… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

The office of dean of the cathedral is currently vacant (Bishop Asbil having been the dean prior to his election), so it was certainly within Archbishop Johnson’s prerogative under the policy to invite another priest or bishop, particularly one who is a close friend of the couple, to officiate. According to a legal opinion of the Chancellor of General Synod, Canon 21 does not define marriage as between a man and a woman, and there is no canonical obstacle to same-sex marriages in the Canadian church. The 2019 vote is simply a matter of making that explicit and making the… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Mr Pratt, thank you for endeavouring to answer the questions posed. Not sure why others seem to be afraid to do so.

If I hear you corrrectly the General Synod vote this summer does not need to have transpired. It isn’t relevant because, why? “The 2019 vote is simply a matter of making X explicit.” So a marriage was OK because the vote isn’t in doubt. Is that the idea?

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Dr Seitz,
Yes. The point was made before the vote in 2016, that altering the language of the canon was unnecessary. This is the justification used by those bishops who are allowing marriages to take place, and a negative vote in 2019 will probably not result in any alteration of practice in those dioceses.

That said, I think it is important for the vote in 2019 to pass and make it explicit, to speak with clarity about the matter.

Elisabeth Staton
Guest
Elisabeth Staton

Well, you’ve now seen the result: the vote was NO. Then at least 10 dioceses sent out letters that they were proceeding with SSM anyway. I think it is clear that the vote was a smokescreen all along. Years of “listening” and “dialogue” ???? What for? Bad enough that the lay delegates do not represent parishioners’ views. Now you have a church that repudiates its own governance. Seriously, the Diocese of Huron has devolved the decision to the parish level, letting individual Parish Councils decide. Let the divisions begin. If you think we’re divided now, watch individual parishes be torn… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

In the responses to Andrew Goddard’s piece, I was especially struck by Peter Carrell’s comments – see https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/lambeth-2020-what-is-the-future-of-the-anglican-communion/#comment-358449, https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/lambeth-2020-what-is-the-future-of-the-anglican-communion/#comment-358453, https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/lambeth-2020-what-is-the-future-of-the-anglican-communion/#comment-358474. Credit to those ‘conservatives’ who are deeply committed to Anglican unity and willing to recognise the strength and sincerity of arguments for affirmation, even if they do not agree.

crs
Guest
crs

Thank you for pointing this thread out. Interesting comments from +Chester and various others. Is the next Lambeth Conference a meaningful gathering? 1920 may be circling back, when +York himself wondered what this was really about. His position is probably the default one anyway. Even as 1920 and 2020 are completely different Communions demographically, with the CofE barely attended by the vast proportion of English population.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

The Living Church seems to be anxious to print misleading articles by so-called conservatives without background or balance. Same-sex marriage has been taking place in the Diocese of Toronto and there was nothing new or unusual about the marriage of Kevin Robertson. Archbishop Johnson had made it clear that the Diocese of Toronto would proceed with this after it seems that the General Synod ballot has failed by one clergy vote. (There were majorities of bishops and laity and it was found that an electronic glitch had caused the missed clergy vote.) Other Diocesan bishops, such as Ottawa and Niagara… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Icky gay people? Come on. You can do better than that.

Please answer the questions posed by the TLC. essay Your calling this terribly even-handed publication–to the chagrin of many–“anxious to print misleading article” just sounds anxious on your part.

The questions are there. Why no answers? Seems not ‘thinking anglican’ but hiding anglican.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The article, posturing with phony questions which imply their own answers, this is freshman debating stuff, a poor man’s ‘question period’. Savvy politicians know it’s not called ‘answer period’ for a reason.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

Please see my comment earlier on. As Rod Gillis said, the questions do not deserve an answer.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“Seems not ‘thinking anglican’ but hiding anglican” ‘Thinking’ ? Is that what socially conservative Anglicans are calling the theological fig leaves they are using to cover their political strategy for Lambeth 2020?

crs
Guest
crs

Why such fear of addressing the questions posed about good order in the ACoC? So much for thinking.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

You mistake boredom for fear. Rhetorical questions usually signal an inquisitor’s advancing parade of straw men. So much for thinking, indeed. ( :

crs
Guest
crs

Boredom? You don’t sound bored to me, but quite engaged, as usual.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

These questions are not really questions at all. They really don’t care about the answers. They are really statements and the answers are irrelevant, except to make something out of nothing and to create an opportunity for unnecessary and unfriendly reactions. This is nothing about fear. It is about not responding to people who are trying to provoke and bully you for their own ends.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Because that is what they do . . . keep spinning rhetorical questions, keep it out of the real world and the impact, keep it away from anything that doesn’t give them the answer they want. Ignore it. Let the dead bury the dead.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

I think “the answer,” CRS, is simply that people are getting on with their lives. People get married, especially religious people. If there is deeper, symbolic meaning, it is only that the anti-marriage crowd don’t have sway everywhere anymore. The deep meaning is that people in the church in the US, Canada, and Scotland don’t have to suffer because of cultural attitudes in other parts of the world, or within our own countries. The symbolism is that the Light of Christ is bursting forth, even though some oppose it. I’m sure that a social scientist would see connections between the… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Thank you. More boilerplate. You do write an enthusiastic entry, that I will give you. The question is whether the extremely low, decliningly low reality is “bursting forth” into anything but your own prose.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“More boilerplate”. The ACC is ‘erastian’, the General Convention of TEC is ‘The General Congregational Convention’ or some such thing, the C of E is moribund given its demographics, 2020 is 1920 back to the future, ‘conciliarism’ should realign the ABC as the spiritual head of the Communion, perhaps with someone like Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (see above). Your own boiler plate is much like Scrooge’s chain, described by Marley’s ghost as “ponderous”.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Presumably, if not more and more national churches were supporting marriage equality, the GAFCON churches would have no reason to be so outraged and flounce off. We only keep having these debates because more and more Christians are turning away from increasingly incomprehensible attitudes.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Just don’t bother with playing their game.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

It is a game. A mind game. Your advice is right on Mark.

CRS
Guest
CRS

mind game? You win the Bernard Lonergan prize in that category!

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Actually, I was thinking of John Lennon in that regard . His tune has been an ear worm during this thread. peace and love, man ( :

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Are these the questions to which CRS demands answers? “Further, one wonders why Robertson’s wedding occurred when and how it did. Why at this point in discernment, when in only six months we will know with certainty the actions of General Synod 2019? Why not earlier, if Robertson and his partner already had their relationship blessed? And why only three days before the retirement of Archbishop Johnson? Why include Bishop Susan Bell, making this an inter-diocesan affair?” My question: Why is TLC playing the prurient snoop about someone else’s wedding? Oh, of course. It’s because the Nigerians and the Ugandans… Read more »

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

There is something very inhuman and unChristian about all this intrusiveness and criticism of the personal lives of two people who committed the unspeakable crime of being married. Kevin Robertson and s partner simply did what all “straight” people can do all the time and what is permitted by the Canons of the Diocese and the laws of Canada. How terrible that he can’t receive the same respect and congratulations we would normally offer a married couple. His personal life is assigned by the GAFCON bots in a cruel and prurient way. Kevin and his partner at least have the… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“Why is TLC playing the prurient snoop about someone else’s wedding?”

Uh, because the author lives in Toronto and attends the seminary founded by St James Cathedral? He is a member of covenant, hosted by TLC.

And again, why such fear in answering questions, writing hostile rejoinders instead?

Kate
Guest
Kate

“And again, why such fear in answering questions, writing hostile rejoinders instead?”

Maybe because some of us feel that the tone and presentation of the questions is disrespectful and don’t wish to dignify them with answers.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

In all seriousness, crs, the questions have been answered about three times in the comments above. Your provocative accusations of fear are absurd. There is nothing to fear in telling the truth, which has been done abundantly. To recap: The “visiting bishop” Susan Bell, was until recently a priest in the Diocese of Toronto and a close friend of Bishop Robertson, as well as many other Toronto bishops and clergy. She is a graduate of Wycliffe College. It is not unusual for clergy to invite friends to perform their marriage. The office of Dean was vacant. Invited guests included Archbishop… Read more »

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

I googled and found that crs is referring to Wycliffe College. I hope that he is not trying to insinuate that this is a liberal (Trinity) vs conservative (Wycliffe) issue, since those divisions are not relevant. Hopefully he is not throwing shade at Bishop Robertson and Archbishop Johnson based on this. In general, there is more conservatism at Wycliffe, but clergy from Wycliffe, including those in the Diocese of Toronto, are not necessarily opposed to same-sex marriage. This includes serving bishops who are Wycliffe graduates, as well as Bishop Bell, who performed the marriage. Whatever his agenda is, there isn’t… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Dear Mr Grand, I am Senior Research Professor at Wycliffe. Trinity College is a chiefly undergraduate college, with a small divinity contingent and a small student body. My comments had nothing to do with Trinity (as you can see). I am not “throwing shade” (whatever that means) but was asking people to respond to questions as to why the synod vote this summer was not being respected, why this timing, why days before Colin’s retirement, and so forth. “More conservatism” is likely your term for the six principles in Wycliffe’s historic charter, as founded by the laity of St James… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The only people who can answer questions about their wedding are the couple concerned. It’s not very helpful asking random people on a website who don’t know the couple and expect them to be able to provide answers.

Elisabeth Staton
Guest
Elisabeth Staton

Dr. Seitz, if you ever end up reading this 5 months later, the trolls that live on conservative blogs have only one goal. I admire your tenacity in trying to engage them….but know what their ultimate reality is. They are not here to persuade, discuss or anything as positive as that. Those who support Robertson et al are as different from you as chalk and cheese. I have read your work…keep the Faith.

Paul Waddington
Guest
Paul Waddington

Maybe, they will pay the bill for the marquee this time!

Kate
Guest
Kate

I do wish that those inclined to invoke Lambeth 1.10 would read the text carefully. For example “We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them 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;” According to Lambeth 1.10, Bishop Kevin Robertson is a” full member[s] of the Body of Christ” and therefore fully entitled to attend Lambeth 2020. Moreover, the Nigerians and their ilk “commit themselves to listen to the experience” of people like… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“Cherry picking” indeed. Lambeth 1:10 is essentially a recommended policy statement, useless as such. Socially conservative Church opinions on same sex marriage all come down to fundamentalism or some sort of dogmatic quasi-fundamentalism of some sort. Outside the holy huddle in which they are produced, they have no intellectual credibility. More liberal church opinions are not a whole lot better when based largely if not entirely on so called ‘biblical’ arguments; but at least they have as subtext a compassionate intuitive grasp of the larger issues, and so relatively harmless at a pragmatic level.

Kennedy Fraser
Guest
Kennedy Fraser

But it seems his husband will not be welcome at Lambeth. According to the Gen Secretary, same sex spouses will not be invited.

https://www.anglicannews.org/blogs/2019/02/the-global-excitement-about-lambeth-conference.aspx

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.

Second marriage spouses, I assume, are invited. (At least he called them spouses). were there any polygamous bishops and wives invited in the past?

Susannah Clark
Guest

Radical inclusion indeed…

Kate
Guest
Kate

I agree Susannah. This is far from the promised inclusivity.

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

That’s just plain rude [to not invite same-sex spouses]. Nothing says the Good News of Jesus Christ or Body of Christ like exclusion and judgment…

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Cruel seems a more appropriate term, especially coming from an organization with a mountain of rhetoric on family. That is how I feel about it anyway.

Jo B
Guest
Jo B

Is it too generous to hope that the decision is out of a misguided desire to protect said spouses from the bigots likely to be present?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Is the decision not to invite spouses in same sex marriages lawful? (The Lambeth Conference is a charity.)

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Perhaps this question should be asked in the Commons and the Lords. Is the Archbishop of Canterbury personally engaging in unlawful discrimination?

crs
Guest
crs

That could make a lot of sense. It would helpfully clarify that the ABC has legal constraints in this arena, if indeed he does. It would further clarify why a role in identifying who is Anglican, which is a role attributed to him, is a role constrained by what Westminster says. Anglicans in the Communion are of course not Anglicans in the established Church of England, which is its own province, alongside the province of York.

Northerner
Guest
Northerner

I don’t understand the statement that “the established Church of England, which is its own province, alongside the province of York”. The Church of England is certainly one of the provinces in the Anglican Communion. York is an internal province in the Church of England—not a province in the Anglican Communion. Similar to the internal provinces in The Episcopal Church, or the internal provinces in The Anglican Church of Canada.

crs
Guest
crs

Is there not a Province of York?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Is there a lawyer in the house?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Last I heard Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is on record as supporting same sex marriage. Interesting that he has been chosen as the chair of The Design Committee. His call to try and get everyone at the table (article above) is on message with +Welby. According to the Communion Secretary invitations have been sent out to every active bishop. That includes bishops from provinces who have clearly chosen not to opt in non-binding resolution Lambeth 1:10. The exclusion of spouses of same sex partnered bishops seems rather cruel;but the invitation to same sex partnered bishops as well as to bishops who… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

This article from Episcopal News Service, Same Sex Spouses Not Invited to Next Year’s Lambeth, contains comment from Bishops Mary Glasspool and Kevin Robertson

https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2019/02/18/same-sex-spouses-not-invited-to-next-years-lambeth-conference-of-bishops/