Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth Conference spouse invitations

Updated again Thursday

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

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

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

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

Updates

Two other developments relating to the Lambeth Conference invitations:

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

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

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

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

GAFCON has this view: Lambeth 2020 Descends into Confusion.

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Kate
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Kate

If the Lambeth Conference believes there is a good reason not to invite same sex spouses at least they should own that decision, be public and give reasons.

My worry is that some traditionalists might have objected to same sex spouses being described as spouses, claiming that even that was unacceptable.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

The discrimination that dare not speak its name?

Fr John Emlyn Harris-White
Guest
Fr John Emlyn Harris-White

Is Justin Welby above God ? God has called these two couples to live together, and joined them in love, care and support of each other. Those of us joined in a Civil Partnership, acknowledge and know that it was God who brought us together, keeps us in his love and care, and support us in our daily life. In our life together, and our worship together with our Christian family at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral Edinburgh, we are loved as a couple. Our good friends in the congregation , and the clergy expect us to be together, and become… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Those whom God has joined together,” let no Archbishop put asunder.

Annn Reddecliffe
Guest

Surely, this is about gender based discrimination, not sexuality. Two bishops, who are in a same sex marriage (not to each other) have still been invited. Being gay or lesbian was not a bar to them being invited to Lambeth 2020. It is the gender of their spouses that is the important matter. Take the example of Bishop Glasspool. If she had been married to a man, her spouse would have been invited. However, she is married to a woman, so her spouse is not invited. This is treating a man and a woman differently in the same situation. I… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Is there a lawyer in the house?

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

It’s lawful. The C of E has exemptions from the Equalities Act.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

But is it the C of E that is acting? I think not. See this from the Lambeth Conference webpage:

The Lambeth Conference Ltd, St Andrew’s House, 16 Tavistock Crescent, London, W11 1AP, United Kingdom.
Registered Charity No. 1121679.
Company Registered in England & Wales. Company No. 05985741.

So the real issue is whether “The Lambeth Conference Ltd” is exempt from the Equality Act.

crs
Guest
crs

Good questions. Let the experts weigh in!

Thank you for revealing “The Lambeth Conference Ltd.”

Now we have an Instrument of Communion which could be constrained/aimed toward, not by the Communion’s mission, but by “Equality Act” pressures in English law.

Is there a lawyer in the house?

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

I’m sure the legal fees will be found to prove it is

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

I suspect it doesn’t matter. Firstly, the Schedule 23 religious exemptions have “behalf or auspices” clauses. For example, Equalities Act 2010 As amended, Sch. 23 S.2(3) “The organisation does not contravene Part 3, 4 or 7, so far as relating to religion or belief or sexual orientation, only by restricting…(b) participation in activities undertaken by the organisation or on its behalf or under its auspices”. Secondly, there are exemptions for charities (of any type, not religious in particular) in S.193 which at least arguably apply. It’s appalling behaviour by the CofE and shows just how relaxed about discrimination its senior… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I seriously doubt that the Lambeth Conference, an Instrument of the Anglican Communion, is either “on behalf” of, or “under” the “auspices” of, the Church of England. That’s taking a very Anglocentric view of the matter, one to which every other province would no doubt take exception.
If the Lambeth Conference were on behalf of, or under the auspices of, the Church of England, then would Synod get a say in how the conference is run?

crs
Guest
crs

If it should turn out that the ABC cannot act independently of English legal constraints; or that Lambeth Conference cannot; or the ACC, due to being registered as a charity, then one obvious concern would be finding an alternative to this. The AC, as you note quite rightly, cannot be ‘under the auspices of the CofE.’

Is it?

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“That’s taking a very Anglocentric view of the matter” As this is a discussion which would happen, in the extremely unlikely event it came to a court, in an English court under English law adjudicated by English judges, Anglocentric is fine. You would not struggle to show that, for the purposes of the act, an English-based company regulated by the UK Charities Commission acting on behalf of a group of Anglican churches was acting on behalf of the CofE. And it wouldn’t matter anyway, because the legislation in couched in terms of religious organisations, not the CofE. “The Anglican Communion”… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

The LLC is acting under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop is not an organisation.
“The Anglican Communion” is an organisation? Of any sort? Really? Prove that, please.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Prove that, please.” With pleasure. “Organisation” is not defined in the legislation, and therefore takes its ordinary meaning. “An organized group of people with a particular purpose”, say. https://www.anglicancommunion.org (note “.org”) starts “Welcome to the official website of the Anglican Communion, a family of churches in more than 165 countries.”. It has staff vacancies today including “Director for Communications, To lead the communications function of the ACO” and the webpage is “Published by the Anglican Communion Office © 2019 Anglican Consultative Council”. The ACO is “serves and supports the Communion in 165 countries around the world. It is based at… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Can the kind English folk here explain just what is wanted, legally?

If the Anglican Communion is now captive to English law; or people believe that should be so, it would be good to know.

Sunday blessings.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

The Anglican Communion Office is an employer with a London address and staff employed in London. Any actions it takes in terms of contracts, employment, purchasing, depositing funds fall under English law. It is bound by English law on discrimination unless it wishes to claim a religious exemption: in order to do that it would either have to be a religion itself, or would need to be acting under the auspices of or on behalf of a religion. Now some people might like to try a very fine piece of nit-picking to separate the Anglican Communion Office from the rather… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Thank you for your interpretation.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“The Anglican Communion Office is an employer with a London address and staff employed in London. Any actions it takes in terms of contracts, employment, purchasing, depositing funds fall under English law.”
I’m now very curious.
What contracts are signed by, or on behalf of, “The Anglican Communion” or “The Anglican Communion Office”?
What bank accounts are in the name of “The Anglican Communion” or “The Anglican Communion Office”?
And even if any were, is “The Anglican Communion” or its “Office” in fact really a trade name of the Anglican Consultative Council? (See the copyright ownership above.)

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“What contracts are signed by, or on behalf of, “The Anglican Communion” or “The Anglican Communion Office”?” The contract of employment of its 11–50 staff. The lease on its building. The invoices for its web hosting. “What bank accounts are in the name of “The Anglican Communion” or “The Anglican Communion Office”?” The ones it pays its staff from? I’m not sure what argument you’re trying to make. Are you seriously claiming that The Anglican Communion Office isn’t an “organisation”? Then they should stop presenting themselves as one: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-anglican-communion-office/about/ This conversation appears to be going around in circles. What point… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“My contention is that it is a UK company subject to UK law, but would claim an exemption on discrimination legislation on the grounds that it is acting under the auspices of a religion. I see no reason to think I am wrong.” The matter I wished clarified. Thank you.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: IO, “The Anglican Communion is, at first reading, subject to the law of the country where its offices act under the direction of its secretary general. And that’s England.” Above you wrote,
“It’s appalling behaviour by the CofE and shows just how relaxed about discrimination its senior management are, but it’s probably not illegal.” How do these two replies fit together?

(I think you were responding initially to Jeremy’s statement, “So the real issue is whether “The Lambeth Conference Ltd” is exempt from the Equality Act.”

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Wait, you’re really arguing that recognition by the UN is what determines what is an organisation under English law?
Do you realise how desperate an argument that is, legally? It’s laughable.
Please refer us to the charity number . . . . Oh, wait. There isn’t one!

Peter Owen
Admin

To clarify: The Lambeth Conference Ltd is both a charity (number 1121679) and a private limited company (number 05985741), in both cases registered in England & Wales. Both numbers are given at the bottom of the home page of the Conference’s website.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Peter Owen: Yes, I posted those numbers above. The issue Interested and I are disagreeing over is whether the _Anglican Communion_ is an organisation. He thinks it is, I think it’s not.

Peter Owen
Admin

Sorry Jeremy, I misunderstood you.

To return to IO’s comment about who employs the staff of the Anglican Communion Office and holds the funds, it is the Anglican Consultative Council. You can find this in the ACC’s annual report for 2017.

See page 4 under Structure, Governance and Management.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Good sleuthing, Peter Owen, thank you.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

You yourself admit that the copyright is not in the name of the Anglican Communion, but rather is in the name of the Anglican Consultative Council.
I could call my dog’s kennel the Anglican Communion Office, but that wouldn’t create any organisation in law.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“I could call my dog’s kennel the Anglican Communion Office, but that wouldn’t create any organisation in law.”

If your dog kennel is the registered address of limited companies and an employer of staff, then it is an organisation.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Interested, are you making these assertions about contracts out of personal knowledge? Or are you merely guessing or supposing? I ask in part because the Wikipedia page about Archbishop Idowu-Fearon identifies him not as the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, but rather as the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council. Additionally, the “Terms and Conditions” page of the Anglican Communion News Service has the following language, which to me suggests that the Anglican Communion Office is nothing more than a d/b/a or brand name for the Anglican Consultative Council: This site is operated by the Anglican Communion Office… Read more »

Paul Waddington
Guest
Paul Waddington

It has come to something when the Lambeth Conference has to be managed by a Limited Liability Company.

Does this have anything to do with the Lambeth Conference not paying for the tent that was hired last time round?

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

In itself, there’s nothing unusual, or, in my opinion, wrong with a charity also being a limited company unless it’s being used as a front to avoid paying its debts. Are you able to elaborate on the ‘tent’ story, please?* Is there a marquee company somewhere owed £ thousands? If so, why? Thank you.

*I’ve been unable to find anything by Googling.

Susannah Clark
Guest

If Justin wants to save face, at the very least it would be smart to include ‘companions’ in the invitations to the Lambeth Conference. This would have the benefit of enabling single and widowed bishops to have accompaniment and support, and it would mean that – even if they are same-sex spouses – those not yet invited so far in this furore could still be invited to come: as companions. I’m not saying that’s right, but it would at least be more inclusive: for gay and lesbian couples, and unmarried gay and lesbian partners, as well as widows and single… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Rather like the WAGs (wives and girlfriends, or rather wives or girlfriends) who once accompanied the England football team, but were left home in the last World Cup, the spouses of bishops will be a distraction. The bishops should spend as much time as possible at the Conference conferring with each other. Traditionally, ever since Katerina von Bora (Frau Luther), vicars wives and bishops wives played a very significant role in the community, as did mayors’ wives and royal wives. When the post-holder is a woman, it just isn’t the same. People aren’t interested in Princess Anne’s husband, for example.… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“the spouses of bishops will be a distraction” Perhaps. I travelled a lot for work without my wife, but lately (as we no longer have children at home to look after) she is sometimes coming with me. If it’s somewhere nice, she takes a week off work, we pay for her plane ticket, we pay for her own food but the hotel room is on expenses. She spends the day poolside or tourist-ing on her own, we do dinner together and we perhaps have a weekend doing tourist stuff. Since I’m only being paid for 8 hours a day, what… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Well indeed I am sure that Mrs Observer is a most delightful distraction, in the best possible sense of the word. But as you say you are only on duty 8 hours a day. I suppose I was thinking that the bishops ought to be conferring more than 8 hours a day, and putting away for those few days all distractions. Perhaps this is unfair.

Marian Birch
Guest
Marian Birch

Given the cost per person – which I understand to be approx. £4900 without travel – I would have thought there was a strong argument for not having any spouses there at all. Apart from the way that assuming spouses should come tends to reinforce traditional understandings of wives (and yes it is effectively wives – but they are the great majority of spice) as ‘help meets’ to their husbands. But £4900 x 2 sounds astronomic – and I do wonder if it is good use of resources.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I wonder also. But… the idea is that, in much of the world, a bishop’s wife plays a significant ministerial role. I don’t buy into that. It is said that many dioceses consider a candidate’s wife when nominating/appointing/electing a bishop. The bishop is the consecrated holder of the see. Of course his wife (or the husband of a female bishop) has a role to play, but it is not one of jurisdiction. The bishop sits in the cathedra; the spouse sits in a front pew. No disrespect to the spouse (I believe in equality and I’m in favor of the… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Why not save a whole shed-load of money by not inviting any spouses to attend Lambeth 2020, a jolly than will certainly cost a whole lot more than the Bishop of Llandaff’s clergy conference in sunny Spain. Better still, why not cancel Lambeth 2020 altogether?

Kate
Guest
Kate

Well done Bishop Paul [Bayes]. Hopefully others will follow.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

It is blatant homophobia. If the organisers were sincere about being faithful to the traditional understanding of marriage, they would not invite divorced-and-remarried bishops (or bishops married to divorcees). Anyway why should spouses be invited (or assumed to be interested) to a conference of their partners’ work? It wouldn’t happen in any other sphere. Even if Philip May tags along to the occasional international banquet I’m sure he isn’t invited to sit at the conference table.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

If it was homophobia then surely, like last time, they would not have invited bishops who are known to be gay. This is about marriage.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

I suspect they think they are being bold to invite gay bishops. But if it was just about respecting traditional marriage discipline why is it OK to recognise a marriage where one or both partners has a former spouse still living?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“They would not have invited.” It’s one person doing the inviting–the Archbishop of Canterbury–and I suspect that he knew that for various reasons, he could not get away with not inviting all bishops.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“If it was homophobia then surely, like last time, they would not have invited bishops who are known to be gay. This is about marriage.“ Of course it’s homophobia. It’s not about ‘marriage’ it’s about same sex marriage. How can that not be homophobic? To deny a group something another group takes for granted is discrimination, pure and simple. I’m not racist, I just don’t want them moving in next door. I’m not sexist, I just don’t think women should be doctors. I’m not homophobic, I just don’t think two women can get married. I find it beyond belief that… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Andrew, I don’t think it’s homophobic to have a view of marriage being based on a man and a woman, if you sincerely and conscientiously believe that scripture says that and you see the scripture as authoritative on that issue. At that point, ideally, the conviction is about marriage. Obviously, I’d agree that a lot of people are homophobic anyway, beyond the specific point about marriage. My problem with this ‘ban’ is that it ignores the conscience and good faith of those Christians (half the Church here in England I suspect) who equally sincerely believe gay and lesbian relationships are… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

Susannah, what I’m concerned with is the effect rather than the motivation. If a person is driven to oppose equal marriage on the basis of scripture, not wanting anything to change, hating homosexuals or because the little fairies at the end of the garden tell them to do so, is irrelevant: the effects are what matter, and the end result, for whatever reason, for whatever motivation, is always homophobic. If you’re staring at the barrel of a gun you don’t really care if the person with their hand on the trigger really wants to kill you, is just following orders… Read more »

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Of course I accept that sincere traditional Christians can have genuine reasons for opposing same-sex marriage. But how can these same sincere traditional Christians sit light to traditional teaching about divorce and remarriage? Either you believe that our understanding of the tradition evolves, or that it doesn’t. You can’t pick and choose.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

I acknowledge the struggle with the issue of the exclusion of particular spouses from Lambeth. But the discussion here has been ranging more widely. In many parts of the Anglican world the role of the spouse is hugely significant and influential in society and ministry. This reflects, in part, local cultural understandings of marriage – ironic this, in the light the conflicting issue here. Episcopal spouses thus share the work, cost, isolation and, often, danger of ministry and are expected too within their church and society. (This was also true in the CofE of my parents’ world – though ‘danger’… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

David, n arguing the importance of including spouses, you are raising the need for those who believe in equality to boycott the event.

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

I don’t understand Kate. I support equality. There are different views at this point on the best way forward.

Kate
Guest
Kate

If it is just a jolly for wives and husbands, their exclusion isn’t a huge deal and it is sufficient for those who believe in equality to follow the lead of the Bishop of Liverpool.

If, however, you are right, David, that attendance is important for spouses then I would expect bishops who believe in equality to refuse to attend as well – as TEC seem to be considering.

Marian Birch
Guest
Marian Birch

But David, isn’t the exclusion of same-sex spouses precisely imposing ‘one cultural world view of marriage and ministry upon another’? So why is it OK for that ‘imposition’ to be made, but not the views about the roles of married women that have developed in the western world during the last 50 years or so? Why is one imposition OK and the other unacceptable? Let me make it clear that I believe that any attempt to ‘coerce’ married women into viewing their primary Christian or professional vocation as being supportive of their husband’s ordained or episcopal ministry is a view… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Is there any decision or way forward in the present conflicted context that would not be experienced as an imposition on one group or other? I get your point about imposed roles and expectations in marriage btw.

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

No, I don’t think that there is a way forward in the present conflicted context. That’s the tragedy. I suspect that it might come down to how we can manage some form of divorce. I thought the GAFCON statement was interesting in its suggestion that marriage by itself isn’t the entirety of the issue, rather the fact that openly gay bishops are being invited on any terms. I can’t see how this circle can be squared at present (or maybe even ever).

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

‘I struggle to believe that to be the way to work for the changes we seek’

It seems to me that equality is served either by all spouses going or none. It’s not served by some going but not others. The ‘status quo’ is never neutral.

Yes, whether the presence or not of heterosexual spouses is a good idea is a bit of a diversion. The exclusion of same-sex spouses is yet another example of shocking homophobic bullying from Lambeth Palace.

Revd Dean Henley
Guest
Revd Dean Henley

A lot of thought does seem to have gone into considering the need of some for hanky panky whilst resident at the conference. Some of those in opposite sex marriages seem unable to manage without it for a couple of weeks. Has anyone done any theological research on the spiritual benefits of temporary abstinence? Is this something the Living in Love and Faith people could consider in time for the next Lambeth Conference in 2030?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Heterosexual hanky-panky. Perhaps the Archbishop has disinvited certain people in order to prevent purer-minded bishops from having to wonder what other forms of hanky-panky might be going on down the hall.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

I wonder at the claim that there are distinctions between the importance of bishops’ spouses in western countries (not much)and other countries (a lot). After all, over a century and a half ago, Anthony Trollope skewered the idea of bishops’ spouses helping to run the church in his Barchester novels, particularly “Barchester Towers”. It’s possible that he created this plot line out of whole cloth but I suspect it was based on (at least as he perceived it) what was going on in the Church of England in the mid-19th century. I’m also curious when spouses were first formally invited… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Basic consistency clearly means that both partners should be invited or neither, and this is recognized on both sides of the argument.” – GAFCON

Hard to disagree with them, isn’t it? Although most of us would go further and extend consistency to cover re-married divorcees as well.

But it is hard to reconcile their wish for exclusion with the Gospels. Jesus scandalised everyone by welcoming Mary the harlot. It is pretty clear that he wouldn’t support exclusion.

William
Guest
William

Surely it is rather unfair leaving Mrs Liverpool at home while the Bish packs his bags for a free holiday in Canterbury. The point would have been better made if His Lordship has declined the invitation to Lambeth himself.

TJ McMahon
Guest
TJ McMahon

If you will permit a comment from the conservative side of the aisle…. One is left to wonder who this decision was intended to please. Those Global South or other bishops who might stay home because a gay bishop was invited are not likely to come if the bishop is still invited, but the spouse barred from attending. Clearly, those in favor of the attendance of the 3 bishops will be in favor of the attendance of their spouses. So, what is the purpose of this stratagem? How does the fate of the Conference (“if I invite your spouses,,,, there… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I agree with you that in this case, the Archbishop’s attempt to split the baby has pleased no one.
But then I have a very low estimation of Canterbury’s strategic sense.

TJ McMahon
Guest
TJ McMahon

I recall about 10 years ago, an incident with some parallels, when Katharine Jefferts Schori was invited to preside and preach at a service in England (I am thinking Southwark Cathedral, but am open to correction). Due to the CoE having not yet approved women bishops, Rowan Williams prohibited her from wearing a mitre or carrying a crozier. In the event, she carried her mitre in procession (but did not wear it on her head). I don’t know what the reaction was in England, but TEC leadership and bloggers were quite upset over it at the time. In the current… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

I appreciate the Bishop of Liverpool’s stand on behalf of Lambeth Conference participants with same-sex spouses, but to me, this appears to be punitive for his wife — unless she and the bishop talked this over and mutually agreed. “Honey, I’m appalled that same-sex spouses can’t go — so I’m having you boycott the event.” What would be lovely is if various bishops and provinces agreed to disagree in mutual Christian support and respect. But that seems to be beyond one or more groups’ ability. All too often, when people or groups believe they have received divine TRUTH, they presume… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

More generally, that Gafcon link led me to this: https://www.gafcon.org/news/warning-from-the-chairman Which is bizarre. Aside from my regular question as to why it is that conservative Anglicans all feel the need to write in that peculiar register, as though they are a cargo cult taking its inspiration from 1920s ideas of Oxford colleges as refracted through Inspector Morse novels, are Gafcon _really_ reduced to publishing photographs of gay men getting married (and, I presume similarly to their consternation, married by a woman) as a sort of “down with this kind of thing” warning of the end times? Is that the best… Read more »

Peter K
Guest
Peter K

I’ve got a lot of sympathy with those who are disappointed/ angry/ furious at the decision not to invite same-sex spouses to Lambeth 2020. However anyone who has heard the speech from the Bishop of North India at General Synod will perhaps understand some of the wider dilemmas involved – the Bishop was explaining a little of what was involved in living as a religious minority in a culture with a (rather hostile) dominant religion. Commenters on TA should be in no doubt that Hindu agitators in north India, and no doubt agitators in other parts of the world, would… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest
David Runcorn

Thank you Peter K. This is an important perspective.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

A few thoughts on this one: 1) Should we really be going down the road of playing one persecuted group off against another? 2) Who decides whose rights trumps whose? Can we really compare persecution of different groups and decide one is worse than the other? 3) Equal marriage is not the cause of Christians being ostracised /persecuted in India or any other country, and Christians will continue to be treated as pariahs regardless. Equal marriage will be used as a post hoc justification for prejudice, but that prejudice will be there regardless of what happens at Lambeth conference. Should… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

7) As so often, this is being framed as ‘LGBT people are the problem’. We are not. Homo/transphobia is.

Peter K
Guest
Peter K

Fr Andrew, I am sympathetic – but before we criticise the archbishops too harshly we do need to remember that they have pastoral responsibility for both LGBT people and persecuted Christian minorities. It’s a heavy responsibility they carry, and no course of action is going to be pain-free.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

No. The Archbishop of Canterbury does not have “pastoral responsibility” for anyone outside of the Church of England. That is a plain falsehood.

peterpi -- Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi -- Peter Gross

Thank you, Fr Andrew.
That same “We mustn’t upset the homophobes” gets played all the time. TEC better not have gay/lesbian bishops or Muslims will riot in Somalia, we’ve heard before. If people are intent on rioting, I doubt not inviting same-sex spouses to an obscure conference thousands of miles away will prevent them from doing so.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

1. This line of argument reminds me of Welby’s “people are killed in Nigeria because of same-sex marriages in North America” argument. That argument essentially posited that marriages should be held hostage because some people, somewhere, are so fundamentalist as to be violent about their religious bigotry. Considered as a reason to stop a marriage that is legal in the jurisdiction where it is taking place, that argument was and is ridiculous. 2. As to spouses at Lambeth, I’m skeptical of the line being drawn. Agitators of anti-Christian violence will whip up “additional” hostility because _spouses_ are present, over and… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

Point 3 is well-made.

If the gospel is offensive, does that mean we stop living and declaring the gospel?

There are Christians being abused and persecuted in many places – for example in Pakistan.

Shouldn’t we stop preaching the gospel, because it might incite some fundamentalists to attack Christians?

Shouldn’t we appease the crazies and water down our gospel?

And discriminate against innocent parties, because maybe that will placate the fanatics?

It won’t.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

“There are always bigger pictures – we need to make sure we hold this wider situation in view when we draw our conclusions.” There are and we should. The bigger picture includes the campaign for human rights for sexual minorities everywhere on the planet. Human rights advances are undermined by long standing systemic persecution of sexual minorities, aided and abetted by the superstitious quackery found in all manner of religions–Christianity/Anglicanism ( still) included. The Lambeth Conference decision, that minorities are politically expendable, sends exactly the wrong kind of message to the wider world. It may embolden oppressive entities and further… Read more »

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Human rights are human rights. We don’t bargain with human rights for one group at the expense of another – because then it isn’t human rights, it’s privilege. Appeasement of thugs is hardly a winning proposition for anybody. It’s one of the red herrings that the ABC and others use as convenient. It’s abhorrent.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Remember the letter written by William Nye the Gen’l Sec’t to the Archbishop’s Council—the letter applauded with glee by giddy conservatives? Nye wrote: “The matter affects us at a second level, in that the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as one of the instruments of unity within the Communion. as well as Primate of all England, puts the actions of the Church of England under particular scrutiny in a way that no other Province experiences.” (See TA archives April 20, 2018). It is impossible to believe that the dual role of the ABC was not a factor in the… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

So? I agree with your assessment of the “straightforward” political calculus. The political rationale was straightforward for Pilate too. Mr. Nye sought to excuse bigotry, discrimination, and inhospitality due to the conflicted role of the Archbishop. That’s not news. Nor is any Archbishop of Canterbury’s eagerness to maintain his own colonial role. That has all been obvious for the past 15 years at least. What’s much less obvious is why the rest of the Communion should continue to tolerate the evil at Canterbury. There are no provincial colonies anymore, and what little moral authority Canterbury had left is fading fast.… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Most importantly, to whom does the Archbishop of Canterbury owe his duty? Other bishops’ flocks? Or his own flock in England?” It is interesting that this topic is not discussed in the CofE. Different shades of opinion in the CofE will have different views as to the correct outcome, but that there needs to be an outcome is surely indisputable. What seems to be happening is that the CofE is by stealth becoming an advocate for a conservative worldview which does not chime with many potential members under sixty, in order to retain some vague colonial influence over bigots in… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

I wouldn’t be too hard on the character Pilate in the passion stories. He asks, “what is truth?” but is depicted by the authors as an unwitting indicator of what truth is. Perhaps political life at the AC office is unwittingly imitating the evangelists’ artistry. “Does it [C of E] serve England?” Good question. The answer belongs to folks in England. My hope is that the Canadian Church will decide decisively in favour of same sex marriage at this years’s second reading at GS. As for the church’s ability to develop an intellectually credible narrative in the modern western world… Read more »

John Bunyan
Guest
John Bunyan

I haven’t read all the comments. Just a note about the wording above. There is no such thing as the “Anglican/Episcopal Church” and no-one should be allowed to get away with that term. There are autonomous churches in the Anglican tradition, some officially or unofficially associated with GAFCON, some members of the federated “Anglican Church of North America”, many accepted by the Archbishop of Canterbury as in communion with him. My Anglican Church of Australia is constitutionally in communion solely with “the Church of England” unless the latter strays – but such is our Constitution that I don’t think our… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

Leaving aside the contested principles, and the questions about the legal status of the AC and the CofE (neither are legal ‘persons’ although both have constituent parts that are), the fact is that this was another PR own goal. It was never necessary to include the “(excluding same-sex spouses*)” condition and all it did was to put the ACO on the back foot from the start. By excluding it, the onus would have been on the complainants to raise the matter, to which I should have thought the answer was that this is a matter of hospitality and the host… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

The Gen Sec stated the reason for the decision was Lambeth 1.10. Perhaps he was trying to reassure–not Gafcon’s two big provinces, his own and Uganda–but the Global South, which is a larger grouping. I have in mind SE Asia, Indian Ocean, and Egypt/Middle East, for example. You are correct that Nigeria and Uganda have made it clear they are not coming, due to the presence of TEC, ACoC and SEC, but the Global South is a much bigger grouping than just those two. My hunch is he wants to position his office around Lambeth 1.10 to try to gain… Read more »