Anglican Unscripted: Sept 25 2011 September 27, 2011Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland, Global South, Lambeth 2008, Property Litigation, Rio Grande.
Today is history is still happening and Kevin and George explain the Déjà vu that surrounds the first and (maybe) last Lambeth conference. Sound confusing — then click to play.
Also in this episode your hosts discuss the Global Souths momentous challenges on the other side of the Great Wall, and Canterbury Contributor Peter Ould brings us news on the new woes in the Church of Ireland. Finally AS Haley has help for those of you who can’t sleep at night because you are uncertain if TEC will ever change?
Canterbury’s international agenda in tatters: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 23, 2011 p 1. September 23, 2011Posted by geoconger in Anglican Consultative Council, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Global South, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting 2011.
First published in The Church of England Newspaper.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s strategy to hold together the Anglican Communion was left in tatters this week after the primates representing the Global South coalition of churches gave his leadership a vote of no confidence.
The Global South primates—representing the majority of the Anglican Communion’s members—have repudiated the course chosen by Dr. Rowan Williams for the “instruments of communion”, saying it lacked moral and theological integrity.
With the Anglican Covenant process under increasing pressure from liberals and conservatives, and his programme of dialogue around the topics dividing the church, but not addressing the divisions within the church, rejected by a majority of the Communion, Dr. Rowan Williams’ international agenda appears to have all but collapsed.
The latest blow came in a statement released after Aug 30 to Sept 10 Global South meeting in China. While the primates said they were “wholeheartedly committed to the unity of Anglican Communion and recognize the importance of the historic See of Canterbury,” they were not pleased with what Dr. Williams’ subordinates were doing.
The instruments of communion: the Lambeth Conference, the Primates Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, “have become dysfunctional and no longer have the ecclesial and moral authority to hold the Communion together.”
The Global South primates stated it was “regrettable” that the 2008 Lambeth Conference had been “designed [so as] not to make any resolutions that would have helped to resolve the crisis facing the Communion.”
The Dublin 2011 Primates Meeting was also a failure. It had been “planned without prior consultation with the Primates in regard to the agenda” and there had been “no commitment to follow through the recommendations of previous Primates’ Meetings.”
They noted that the call made by the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences for the Primates Meeting to “exercise an enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” had been “completely set aside.”
The primates’ strongest criticisms, however, were reserved for the London-based Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) which it accused of bias.
The ACC, “the Anglican Communion Standing Committee, and Communion-level commissions such as the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Liturgical Commission no longer reflect the common mind of the churches of the Communion because many members from the Global South can no longer with good conscience attend these meetings as issues that are aggravating and tearing the fabric of the Communion are being ignored,” the primates said.
The archbishops of Southeast Asia, Uganda, Jerusalem and the Middle East, West Africa, the Southern Cone, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Myanmar (Burma), and Central Africa observed the communion had “undergone a tremendous transformation in recent decades. Today, the majority of Anglicans are found no longer in the west, but in churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America that are firmly committed to our historic faith and order.”
“At the same time,” the primates noted that many Anglicans in the West were “yielding to secular pressure to allow unacceptable practices in the name of human rights and equality.”
These political ideals must not trump God’s unchanging word, they argued. “Beginning with the undermining of Scriptural authority and two millennia of church tradition, the erosion of orthodoxy has gone as far as the ordination and consecration of active gay and lesbian clergy and bishops, and the development of liturgies for same-sex marriage.”
The primates Sept 9 statement said they would not be quitting the communion, however, but would focus their energies on creating a “Decade of Mission and Networking” as a “unifying vocational platform on which we realize and build up our common life and witness.”
Economic and educational ties within the Global South would be strengthened, they said, and gave their commitment to “support faithful orthodox Anglican churches and groups in the west which share our historic faith and order.”
Lambeth’s £288,000 deficit due to incompetence: CEN 3.26.09 March 26, 2009Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.
Poor planning, inexperienced management, and weak financial controls contributed to a £288,000 deficit for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a report released last week by the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners has concluded.
The management team, conference structure and business practices were not up to the job, the report found, stating that the “arrangements in place for the 2008 conference were less robust than they needed to be.”
The conference’s opaque management structure had left no one in charge, with the result that there had been a “disconnect between design on the one hand, and capacity and execution on the other.” The lack of clear lines of authority had led to cost overruns, with the financial team “not always aware” of the commitments made by conference management staff.
Two examples cited by the report were the “failure to recognise a commitment for expenditure of £411,000 on the Big Top” the blue tent that served as the principle venue for conference meetings, and IT support. The conference finance director “did not know” about the Big Top bill, while the conference “organiser did not know it was not in the budget.” Rather than charging a flat fee for internet usage by conference goers, the University of Kent changed the conference for individual log-ons, leading to a bill of £80,576—over £65,000 over budget.
The report stated that “at no stage in its review did the group find any evidence of financial malpractice or dishonesty.” However it questioned the competence of the conference team, asking “whether the match between available skills and needs was as good as might be wished. Specifically the conference required people with: a good understanding of the wider church and the expectations and ways of working of key stakeholders; strong commercial and financial skills; and ideally experience of delivering a high-profile complex conference for participants with different languages and from different cultures.”
Income was lower than expected due to the boycott by over 200 bishops, but was also hampered by poor planning. There was also no relation between the fees charged conference participants and actual costs, the report stated, with the conference determined on a political rather than fiscal basis.
Fundraising also began late and had been hampered by the political uncertainties within the Communion, the report noted, while the 2004 decision by the ACC to discontinue setting aside funds for the conference left it chronically short of funds.
Charted as a condition for the extension of an emergency loan in July from the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners to keep the Lambeth Conference solvent, the review committee led by John Ormerod, a former partner of accountancy firm Deloitte, with the Rt. Rev. Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, Dr Christina Baxter, principal of St John’s College, Nottingham, and Timothy Walker, Third Church Estates Commissioner, submitted its report on Feb 16.
It offered 16 recommendations to the Anglican Consultative Council and other “stakeholders” in the conference that stressed the need for sound business practices and clear lines of authority, and that planning for Lambeth 2018 begin so as to avoid the problems of the last conference.
Lambeth Conference facing £500,000 debt: CEN 2.06.09 p 6. February 10, 2009Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
Fundraising failures pushed the 2008 Lambeth Conference into a half million pound deficit, report financial statements for the July 16 to Aug 3 conference seen by The Church of England Newspaper.
At year’s end, total income for the gathering of 617 Anglican bishops was approximately £4.4 million, while expenses were approximately £4.9 million, giving a shortfall of £501,783. A surplus from the 1998 conference, however, has reduced the loss to £313,000.
Initial estimates by conference staffers pegged the loss at almost £2 million. On Aug 7, the officers of the Lambeth Conference Company, a charitable corporation chartered in 2007 to manage the conference, asked the Archbishops’ Council to extend an emergency loan to keep the company solvent.
The conference company’s trustees, ACC General Secretary Canon Kenneth Kearon, General Synod Secretary General William Fittall, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, Christopher Smith met on Aug 11 with the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners, and an interest free £600,000 loan was extended to the company.
In a statement released on Aug 8, Canon Kearon said “the projection of a deficit in the immediate period following the Conference was always recognized,” and that “the shortfall in funding is unclear as bills come in to be settled, but it is likely to be approaching £1 million.”
The conference budgeted income at £5.4 million and expenses at £5.58 million. Adding in the surplus from 1998, organizers hoped to end the conference with a surplus of £25,000.
The Anglican Communion comprises 729 dioceses, missionary districts, and ecclesial entities divided into 38 provinces and six extra-provincial jurisdictions. Approximately 260 dioceses and jurisdictions within the Communion were not represented by their diocesan bishops at Lambeth. While a number of sees are vacant and some bishops were prevented from coming, 214 bishops from 10 provinces boycotted the conference.
From Africa’s 324 dioceses, 200 diocesan bishops (61 percent) were identified as having refused Dr. Rowan Williams’ invitation. No Nigerian or Ugandan bishops attended Lambeth. Initial reports that one of Rwanda’s nine bishops attended the meeting proved false. While the Rt. Rev. Vénuste Mutiganda, the Bishop of Butare was present at Lambeth—he had resigned his see before leaving for Canterbury.
The boycotting bishops and their spouses led to a reduction in projected conference fee income by £494,000. However accommodation costs for bishops and spouses came in £523,000 under budget.
The principal cause of the conference shortfall came in the Lambeth Conference Fund Appeal. Organizers forecast raising £1.44 but collected only £1 million.
In October, the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners launched an investigation into the shortfall. A report from the panel, whose members include John Ormerod, a former senior partner with Deloitte, representatives from the Archbishops’ Council, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens of Leicester and Christina Baxter along with Third Church Estates Commissioner Timothy Walker, is expected by mid-year.
Here is a letter to the editor of The Church of England Newspaper that offers a clarification to this story:
Feb 13, 2009
Sir, Your story under the heading ‘Lambeth Conference facing £500,000 deficit’ (February 6, page 5) may have inadvertently misled readers. It was announced last August that the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners had each agreed to provide an interest free loan to the Lambeth Conference Company to enable it to meet its financial commitments while fundraising efforts continued. Although the two bodies agreed to loan up to £600,000 each if needed, further fundraising and lower than expected expenditure meant that the company in the event drew down only £188,000 of the loan from each body. It has subsequently repaid £50,000 each to the Council and the Commissioners.
The loans currently outstanding to cover the deficit, therefore, stand in total at £288,000 not £500,000.
Director of Communications
Archbishops’ Council, Church of England
Lambeth, Gafcon and the American church’s legal wrangling topped the international church news in 2008.
Designed to avoid controversy, Lambeth 2008 set out to make no statements, take no stands, and avoid provoking new conflict within the Anglican Communion. By its own lights, the July 14 to Aug 3 meeting at the University of Kent in Canterbury was a triumph for its organizer and host, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, for during those three weeks the oft foretold crack up of the Anglican Communion did not happen.
While Lambeth was not by schisms rent asunder or heresies distressed—no anti-Popes set up residence in Abuja to preside over rival Communion as a result of the July gathering—functionally the tear in the fabric of the church begun in 2003 was all but completed. A third of the bishops—representing over two thirds of the communion’s active members—refused Dr. Williams’ invitation, even as the Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson was prevented from defending himself before the assembled bishops in Canterbury.
The plan for Lambeth was that if the bishops “just kept on talking”, while avoiding discussion of the underlying issues dividing them—the person of Christ, the efficacy and nature of the sacraments, the place of Scripture within the church—-a ceasefire would emerge giving time for healing.
However, “the miracle hasn’t happened,” Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina said on Aug 2. “It was a good try,” but Lambeth did not prevent the crack up of the Anglican Communion.
“We talk but nothing is decided. People are frustrated,” and Lambeth did not address these needs.
Lambeth 2008 drew 617 bishops from the communion’s 722 dioceses, 5 missionary districts, and 2 ecclesial jurisdictions. In protest to the presence of the bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson, 214 bishops boycotted the conference. From Africa’s 324 dioceses, 200 diocesan bishops (61 percent) refused Dr. Williams’ invitation.
Three Roman Catholic cardinals also attended the Conference and offered a harsh critique of Anglican-Catholic relations. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor urged the bishops to put their house in order, and decide what they believed. “If Anglicans themselves disagree” over contentious issues like women priests “and find yourselves unable fully to recognize each other’s ministry, how could we?” he asked.
The Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to Lambeth was blunt. Women or homosexual bishops would exclude “even the theoretical possibility of the Orthodox churches acknowledging the apostolic succession” of Anglican bishops, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna told Dr. Williams on July 28.
On August 3, the conference released a statement that noted the broad desire for a “season of gracious restraint” marked by abstentions from further gay bishops and blessings, and a halt to foreign incursions into the jurisdictions of the North American provinces.
In the closing press conference, Dr. Williams said “the pieces are on the board” for the resolution of the Anglican conflict. “And in the months ahead it will be important to invite those absent from Lambeth to be involved in these next stages.”
Yet by year’s end, Dr. Williams had yet to contact the boycotting bishops to take part in the “next stages” nor was he able to honor his promise that “within the next two months” a “clear and detailed specification for the task and composition of a Pastoral Forum” to support embattled traditionalist would be delivered to the communion.
The Lambeth call for restraint was soon rejected by left and right. On Dec 3, traditionalists in the US and Canada ratified a draft constitution for the Anglican Church in North America, institutionalizing the cross-border violations denounced by Lambeth. By mid-December five Canadian dioceses announced plans to begin work on rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, while 9 American dioceses issued formal calls for the US church to end its self-imposed ban on further gay bishops.
“We have gotten this far without formally announcing our division, but we [just] haven’t announced it” yet, Bishop Venables said on the closing day. “I hoped we would be able to talk about very serious things [at Lambeth]. We tried to but were unable to,” he said.
Standing in contrast to Lambeth’s indecision, was the June Gafcon Conference in Jerusalem. The gathering of Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals and Charismatic Anglicans formed a confessing movement centering upon common doctrinal beliefs rather than a common historical heritage or tie to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
On June 29, the 1200 delegates-including 291 bishops representing two thirds of the communion’s members—endorsed the “Jerusalem Declaration”: a 14-point manifesto that set the foundations of a “confessing movement” to provide a haven for traditionalists.
The Jerusalem Declaration “is really calling us back to our roots,” Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda said, and states “as Anglicans were we really belong.”
Nor was the Jerusalem Declaration was a mark of schism. We are “not saying we are the only faithful Anglicans,” Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen said, nor were we forming a “church within a church.” Gafcon provided a bulwark against “Western revisionist” theology by preparing a “fellowship” of Christians to “support each other in truth,” while “charting the way forward for a Gospel-centered future,” Dr. Jensen explained.
It also “creates order out of chaos,” he said. The church splits and lawsuits that had arisen since the Episcopal Church consecrated a gay priest as Bishop of New Hampshire were spiraling out of control, Dr. Jensen said.
With an estimated $5 million spent in litigation, the American church news was all but consumed with lawsuits and parish and diocesan secessions. Eleven breakaway parishes that formed the nucleus of the Nigerian backed Convocation of Anglican Churches in America (CANA) won their legal fight to quit the Diocese of Virginia and to keep their property—while lawsuits waged in New York, Florida and half a dozen other states saw the national church prevail over the parishes.
Three dioceses: Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth quit the Episcopal Church, joining the Diocese of San Joaquin in affiliating with the Province of the Southern Cone, prompting litigation in the church and secular courts. As a result of their secessions the US House of Bishops expelled the Bishops of San Joaquin, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh from their ranks—while the Bishop of Quincy took early retirement.
Litigation over parish secessions was the order of the day in Canada as well—as dioceses brought suit to gain possession of parishes that had quit the church to affiliate with the Anglican Network in Canada—a partner in the new Anglican Church in North America. Complaints by the Archbishop Fred Hiltz in January about the intrusion of the Southern Cone into Canada received a sympathetic hearing, but Dr. Williams explained that he had no power to do anything about it.
The Diocese of Sydney synod reiterated its long standing support for diaconal presidency at the Eucharist, and embarked on a campaign to offer a Bible to every home in the region. The Dioceses of Perth and Melbourne appointed the first women bishops in the country, while Adelaide continued to dig out from under the financial burden brought on by clergy abuse scandals in the 1990′s.
New Zealand elected the former bishop of Edmonton, Canada, the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews as Bishop of Christchurch—and witnessed a division over how best to proceed over the gay issue at its meeting of General Synod.
The Church of Ireland continued its push toward breaking with the island’s sectarian past, and early in the year issued a statement confirming that the pope was not the anti-Christ.
Politics, persecution and pogroms drove the church news for the majority of Anglicans in the developing world.
A “silent genocide” underway in the Eastern Congo, church leaders claimed, has killed thousands and driven over 100,000 from their homes as rival war lords clash with government forces. The Archbishop of Burundi along with other church leaders in East Africa has sought to mediate between the Congolese government and rebel leaders-even as tensions in Burundi between Tutsis and Hutus remain high.
The shadow of genocide still hangs over neighboring Rwanda, with the Anglican Church taking the lead in providing a moral witness to combat the “genocide ideology” that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands almost 15 years ago.
Across the border in Uganda church leaders lamented the collapse of peace talks to end the 23 year old war with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Archbishop Henry Orombi has called upon the LRA to lay down its arms, but church leaders in the north of the country warn that military force will not bring an end to the conflict.
Peace has broken out across South Sudan, as the political settlement that ended the decades old civil war between the Islamist government in Khartoum and the predominantly Christian government of South Sudan appears to have taken hold. However, the crisis in Western Sudan’s Darfur region continues to sap the efforts at rebuilding the country.
Stung by the country’s post-electoral violence, Kenya’s bishops have joined with other Christian leaders in seeking constitutional reforms for the government, and an end to the tribal jealousies that all but closed the country down in January.
The Anglican Church in Ghana, however, has celebrated their country’s break with the past, applauding an apparently successful presidential and parliamentary election. Plans for division into a Ghanaian Church and a Province comprised of Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Guinea, and Cameroon are also underway.
The Church of Nigeria continued its tremendous growth throughout 2008, adding almost three dozen new dioceses and continuing to play a prominent role in the social and intellectual life of the country. However, tensions with the Muslim minority remain high with continued bouts of sectarian violence plaguing the country. In December fresh riots broke out in Jos, leaving hundreds dead and over a dozen churches burnt to the ground.
Attacks by Hindu militants upon Christians in Orissa opened the year in India, while Islamist terrorists closed the year with terror attacks on Mumbai. Christians in Pakistan continued to live and work under legal and social pressures. The future for the country’s Christian minority was grim, the Bishop of Raiwind warned, unless the government took firm steps to control Islamist aggression.
With hundreds of thousands dead and millions left homeless by Cyclone Nargis in May, the Church in Myanmar (Burma)’s focused on rebuilding and reaching out to the those afflicted by the worst natural disaster to strike the country in the modern era.
Zimbabwe’s natural disaster, however, has been man-made by the regime of Robert Mugabe. Fraudulent elections, a complete collapse in the country’s economy and infrastructure—and by year’s end outbreaks of cholera and starvation in what was once the bread basket of Africa, have left the country all but bereft of hope. Mugabe crony Dr. Nolbert Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare who quit the province of Central Africa to form his own Anglican Church of Zimababwe maintains a hold over most the church properties in the diocese, but has the support of only a handful of worshippers.
Dr. Sebastian Bakare, who came out of retirement to lead the embattled Anglican Church in Harare, has risen to become one of the leading moral voices in the country—and has won international accolades for his pursuit of justice and freedom in the country.
The scandal over the Church of Papua New Guinea’s former primate, Archbishop George Ambo, joining a “cargo cult” and in the process, being sought by the police for questioning in the theft of typhoon relief supplies, ended after the archbishop sought the pardon of the church and received absolution for his sins before his death in July.
Crime was also the focus of much of the work of the Church of the West Indies, with debates over the reinstitution of capital punishment, as well as a call for self-examination over the moral corruption of society.
Concerns are expressed over Indaba group manipulation: CEN 11.14.08 p 7. November 14, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Lambeth 2008, Primates Meeting 2009.
The Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East has welcomed Dr. Rowan Williams’ decision to hold the 2009 Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, telling The Church of England Newspaper the witness of Egypt’s embattled Christians in the face of persecution can serve to strengthen the Anglican Communion.
While the agenda and locale remain to be settled, the Bishop of Egypt, Dr. Mouneer Anis said he was proud to be able to host the conference. However, suggestions by the Archbishop of Canterbury that he would use the Indaba process to manage the Primates’ Meeting has prompted private scorn from the primates contacted by CEN, and public criticism from Evangelical and Anglo-Catholics unhappy with the manipulation and management of the Indaba process at Lambeth.
“I want [the primates] to see, to feel the history of the Church as they walk through Alexandria,” Dr. Anis said on Nov 11. For in Alexandria one “steps in the blood of the saints shed in obedience to the faith, a faith that has been watered by the blood of the martyrs,” he said.
At least 35 of the Communion’s 38 Primates, along with the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu are expected to be present for the Jan 31 to Feb 5 meeting. The Archbishops of the West Indies and Melanesia, the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez and the Most Rev. Ellison Pogo retire in December, and their successors have not yet been named, while a successor to Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa has yet to be appointed. Archbishops Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Henry Orombi of Uganda, Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, and Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya who boycotted the 2008 Lambeth Conference are expected to attend the Alexandria meeting.
Dr. Anis told CEN a detailed agenda for the meeting had not been shared with the primates. However, he hoped time would be set aside for the archbishops to meet with Egyptian Christians, including the Coptic Patriarch, Pope Shenouda III. He would be “happy to meet the primates” Dr. Anis noted, as “I know [Shenouda] loves the Anglican Church.”
“He speaks to me always that we need to keep our orthodoxy” in the Anglican Communion, Dr. Anis said, noting that “a man like that deserves to be listened to as the successor of St. Mark.”
Egypt’s Christians, numbering some 8 million are the largest Christian minority in the Middle East and have been under considerable pressure from Islamic fundamentalists in recent years. Egypt’s Christians had “survived many challenges,” Dr. Anis said, yet had been “schooled to faithfulness” through persecution and oppression.
While details of the meeting have yet to be disclosed the primates, in his Aug 26 letter to the Anglican bishops after Lambeth, Dr. Williams said he might apply the Indaba process, of guided small group discussions, at the Primates Meeting.
“Many participants [at Lambeth] believed that the Indaba method, while not designed to achieve final decisions, was such a necessary aspect of understanding what the questions might be that they expressed the desire to see the method used more widely — and to continue among themselves the conversations begun in Canterbury,” Dr. Williams said.
“This is an important steer for the meetings of the Primates and the ACC which will be taking place in the first half of next year, and I shall be seeking to identify the resources we shall need in order to take forward some of the proposals about our structures and methods.”
However, traditionalist leaders have balked at Dr. Williams’ suggestion that the Indaba process be used in the more intimate surroundings of the primates’ meetings, as their experience with the Indaba process at Lambeth was not as rosy as Dr. Williams had painted it.
A number of evangelical bishops at Lambeth questioned the integrity of the Indaba process. At Lambeth the bishops were divided into groups of 8 for morning Bible studies. These groups were then reformed into mid morning Indaba groups of 40, where a set series of questions was presented to the bishops for discussion and each bishops allotted two minutes to respond. The bishops’ observations were then gathered by “listeners”—appointed by the Lambeth Conference organizing committee from among nominees submitted by the Indaba groups—who were tasked with recording the perspectives offered.
The process was open to manipulation, the Bishop of Tasmania, the Rt. Rev. John Harrower noted. Writing to his diocese after Lambeth, he stated “one of the saddest moments of the Conference for me personally occurred in our Indaba when a bishop spoke earnestly of his views on same sex issues with a brief and solemn conclusion.”
“Some minutes after I saw him surreptitiously pass a sheaf of the [Episcopal Church] briefing notes to the [Episcopal] bishop seated in front of him.” Before leaving for Lambeth, each of the American bishops had been given a set of “talking points” by the national church in New York.
Bishop Harrower’s American colleague “had parroted one of the ‘sample narratives’. I wanted to shout and to cry. Any idea of transparency and trust through Indaba had been tragically thrown in our face. Set piece parroting surreptitiously orchestrated was poisoning our communion. God have mercy on us! Although I spoke to our Indaba facilitator of this privately we, as an Indaba group and Conference, had neither the wit nor the will to address our hiddenness,” he said.
Anglo-Catholic Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth told CEN his experience of the Indaba groups was equally problematic. In his group, Bishop Iker reported that the bishops became frustrated at the regimentation of the conference and its avoidance of discussion of the presenting issues before the Communion.
Members of his Indaba group asked Bishop Iker to speak to the estrangement of his diocese from the national Episcopal Church’s leadership. After Bishop Iker spoke, the Bishop of Northwestern Pennsylvania, the Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, rose and told the Indaba group that Bishop Iker had exaggerated the divisions within the Episcopal Church.
In reading the summary of the Indaba discussions the next day, Bishop Iker found his portion of the exchange did not appear in the conference record. Bishop Iker asked the head of his Indaba group how he could ensure that his remarks could make be included in the daily report. He was told to either put his remarks in writing or to speak during the plenary session of the conference.
Rebuffed in his first attempt to address the Conference due to the number of bishops wanting to speak, Bishop Iker was successful in his second try, and told the bishops at Lambeth of the difficulties his diocese faced. He then handed a copy of the remarks to a member of the Indaba editing team, the Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island, for submission into the conference record.
“The next day nothing I said from the floor” had been included in the daily report. “I waited another day,” Bishop Iker noted, and when my concerns failed to appear” he stated he approached Bishop Wolf to ask for an explanation.
Bishop Iker said he was told by Bishop Wolf “we decided that your comments should be given to the Windsor Continuation Group.” No further action was taken by the conference in reporting Bishop Iker’s Indaba remarks.
“I tried to get my concerns recorded [at Lambeth] in the three ways” dictated by the Indaba process. “I think [the Lambeth Conference organizers] controlled what went to the group” through their management of the conference bureaucracy, Bishop Iker charged—apparently stifling dissent in order to achieve a predetermined end.
Following an Indaba process where “no decisions are made” and “all viewpoints have the same merit” at the primates meeting would not serve the Communion well, he charged. Using Indaba in Alexandria would be “catastrophic” Bishop Iker said.
The Hollow Men—Lambeth 2008, What Happened And Why: Christian Challenge Aug-Oct 2008. October 22, 2008Posted by geoconger in Lambeth 2008, The Christian Challenge.
|“MORALITY, LIKE ART, means drawing a line someplace,” Oscar Wilde once observed. Anglican bishops historically wield the pen, drawing the line between error and truth, between right and wrong doctrine.
Yet at some point in the mid-20th century, the bishops of the church began to abdicate this responsibility – even before the American Church reformed its ordinal in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, removing the injunction to bishops that they “banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word.”
Where once the church celebrated Anglican comprehensiveness, it now celebrated diversity. Confessionalism morphed into conversation, as those charged with guarding the faith suffered a loss of nerve. The church, like the universities, the arts, literature and other repositories of high culture in the West, was trampled underfoot by the long march of the left through the institutions.
THE 2008 LAMBETH CONFERENCE of Anglican bishops in Canterbury July 16-August 3 was a milestone in this march of relativism. While nothing extraordinary happened – no fist fights or beatific visions – a number of prelates came away from Lambeth realizing the Anglican Communion no longer worked. Its structures were not a place for holy men, but for hollow men: bishops who knew in their hollow hearts they were stuffed with straw, trapped in a purposeless whirl of apathy and spiritual torpor called “dialogue.” The Anglican Communion had finally broken, coming to an end “not with a bang but a whimper.”
Read it all in The Christian Challenge
|We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
T.S. Eliot The Hollow Men (1925)
The Seinfeld Conference – A Reflection on Lambeth 2008: IRD 10.20.08 October 20, 2008Posted by geoconger in IRD, Lambeth 2008.
It could have been called the “Seinfeld Conference.” The once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops held this summer in Canterbury—the 2008 Lambeth Conference—was the conference about nothing.
Designed to avoid controversy, Lambeth 2008 set out to make no statements, take no stands, and avoid provoking new conflict within the Anglican Communion. By its own lights, the July 14 to August 3 meeting was a triumph for its organizer and host, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, for during those three weeks the oft foretold crack-up of the Anglican Communion did not happen.
Yet bishops from both the left and right branded the conference a failure. Lambeth 2008 was about nothing, said nothing, and achieved nothing, and by its inaction, the Anglican Communion was left in a worse place than if it had never taken place at all, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda said.
Divided over issues of doctrine and discipline, with homosexuality garnering the most media attention, the bishops refrained from hurling anathemas at one another and in the end issued a paper expressing mild statements of concern on global warming, poverty, disease, hunger, domestic violence and other generally bad things—while also mildly affirming—in a non-provocative way—generally good things: peace on earth, the brotherhood of mankind, and church unity.
Yet, Dr. Williams’ hopes that if the bishops “just kept on talking”, while avoiding discussion of the underlying issues dividing them—the person of Christ, the efficacy and nature of the sacraments, the place of Scripture within the church—-a ceasefire would emerge and pan-Anglican bonhomie would prevail.
“The miracle hasn’t happened,” evangelical leader Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina said on Aug 2. “It was a good try,” but Lambeth 2008 did not prevent the crack-up of the Anglican Communion.
Read it all at the IRD.
Inquiry launched into Lambeth Conference shortfall: CEN 10.15.08 October 15, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
|The Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners have launched an investigation into the finances of the 2008 Lambeth Conference in England. John Ormerod, a former senior partner of Deloitt, will chair the inquiry into the estimated £1 to £2 million deficit run up by the July 16 to Aug 3 gathering of 617 Anglican bishops in Canterbury.
The committee’s brief will be to investigate how the Conference came to be so dramatically over budget, and to examine ways of eliminating the debt. Two representatives of the Archbishops’ Council, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, and Christina Baxter will be on the inquiry board along with Third Church Estates Commissioner Timothy Walker. A report is expected within nine months.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.
The Bishop of Botswana September 27, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of the Province of Central Africa, Lambeth 2008.
The Rt. Rev. Trevor Mwamba, Bishop of Botswana. Photo taken July 18 at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The Bishop of Montreal September 27, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Church of Canada, Lambeth 2008.
The Rt. Rev. Barry Clarke, Bishop of Montreal. Photo taken at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The Moderator of the Church of Pakistan September 27, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Church of Pakistan, Lambeth 2008.
The Rt. Rev. Alexander Malik, Moderator of the Church of Pakistan and Bishop of Lahore. Photo taken at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
Wales will respect Lambeth moratorium: CEN 9.12.08 p 1. September 11, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Lambeth 2008.
Support for the election of Dean Jeffrey John to be Bishop of Bangor in the Church in Wales appears to be drying up in the face of conservative activism and the desire of the Welsh hierarchy not to provoke a conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Liberal activists charge the furore over Dr. John’s possible election was a false controversy, stage managed by those seeking to embarrass Archbishop Barry Morgan and the Church in Wales. “The present rekindling of the [Jeffrey John] saga is mischievous and a deliberate attempt to stir trouble,” the Rev. Martin Reynolds of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement told The Church of England Newspaper.
He added that as a Welsh priest, he was unaware of any “elector who was keen to advocate” Dr. John’s candidacy.”
Last week the Rev. Peter Jones, canon treasurer of Bangor Cathedral and vicar of Conwy told the Western Mail he would resign if Dr. John were elected bishop, saying he “would be strongly opposed to the appointment.”
“Jeffrey John is a strong advocate of changing the Church’s traditional teaching on homosexuality and I accept the teaching of Holy Scripture that homosexual acts are wrong. Therefore to have someone deliberately seek to undermine that teaching – that is clearly not someone who is suitable to hold office as a bishop in the Church of God,” Canon Jones said.
On Aug 29 one of the American bishops of the Church of Nigeria charged the Archbishop of Wales was seeking to seat Dr. John as Bishop of Bangor. Bishop David Anderson of CANA said Dr Barry Morgan’s support of the election of Dr. John would break the Lambeth “ceasefire”.
“Dr Williams might well wish not to know until too late, so that nothing is left on his doorstep for evidence,” he said, but “Dr Williams, if you are on record as knowing about this, and the event takes place despite all the ‘moratoria’ recommendations that were made, the Archbishop of Canterbury will not get a free pass on this one,” Bishop Anderson said.
Mr. Reynolds told CEN Dr. John was “unlikely to be elected to Bangor or any other Welsh diocese” as he is “too little known here as he has spent nearly all his life in England.”
He added that he believed Dr. John to be an outstanding priest and he would have had “a transforming effect on any Welsh diocese – his energy and passion for God is infectious and there are many fine Anglican Christians here who would warm to a man of God with [his] heart and mind.”
It was a mistake to suggest that the Archbishop of Wales could impose a candidate on a diocese, a church spokesman said. “Nominations for the Bishop of Bangor will be made by members of the Electoral College when it meets in Bangor Cathedral on Oct 7,” Church in Wales spokesman Anna Morell said.
“The nominations will be confidential both during and after the election. For a nomination to be successful, it has to have a two-thirds majority. There are 47 members of the college, made up of 5 diocesan bishops, 12 elected members from the Bangor Diocese (six lay and six cleric) and six elected members from each of the other five Welsh dioceses (three lay and three cleric),” she explained.
Sources within the Church in Wales have told CEN that the church’s leadership does not support Dr. John’s candidacy and last week Dr. Morgan issued a statement endorsing the Lambeth moratorium.
“The issue of homosexuality is one which is, sadly, threatening the unity of the world-wide Anglican Communion (of which the Church in Wales is a part) at the moment,” Dr. Morgan said.
“In order to preserve that unity and prevent members leaving, the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked for a moratorium on the consecration of bishops in same-sex partnerships to allow time for differences to be discussed and hopefully, resolved. The bishops of the Church in Wales respect this request and will discuss it with the electoral colleges concerned during the coming months,” the archbishop said.
Lambeth ceasefire collapses in Canada: CEN 9.05.08 p 8. September 9, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
|The Lambeth ceasefire has collapsed in Canada after the Diocese of New Westminster moved to reassert “control” over two conservative congregations who had broken with Bishop Michael Ingham to join the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).
On Aug 26 the Dean and Chancellor of New Westminster, acting on behalf of the vacationing Bishop Ingham, invoked the Canadian Church’s Canon 15 and sought to dismiss the wardens and parochial trustees of two parishes: St Matthew’s Abbotsford and St Matthias & St Luke in Vancouver, replacing them with nominees loyal to the diocese.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.
The Anglican Communion has been broken and it is an “illusion” to believe things can ever be the same again, the archbishops of the Gafcon movement said last week following their first organizational meeting in London.
The leaders of the conservative wing of the Anglican Communion, representing more than half of the church’s active members, on Aug 29 released a statement affirming the aims of the movement—now known as the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA)—and restated its commitment to the reform and renewal of the communion.
However, they disagreed sharply with the course taken by Archbishop Rowan Williams in avoiding a full and frank airing of the issues, with one insider telling The Church of England Newspaper the Anglican Communion’s sex wars had taken on a Dickensian quality, and like “Jarndyce and Jarndyce” was still dragging its “dreary length before the court, perennially hopeless.”
The Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Primate of Uganda, Archbishop Henry Orombi, the Primate of Rwanda, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, the Primate of Kenya, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, and the Primate of the Southern Cone, Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables—later joined by the Primate of Tanzania, Archbishop Valentino Mokiwa also offered a critique of suggestions made by the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) that another committee such as a “Pastoral Forum” might successfully address the issues dividing the church.
While applauding the aims of the “Windsor Process” and the intent of its supporters, the premise underlying the WCG’s argument was flawed, the FCA archbishops said. The WCG had argued that unless all parties agreed to moratoriums on gay bishops and blessings, as well as cross-border incursions “the Communion is likely to fracture.”
However, the “Communion fractured in 2003, when our fellowship was ‘torn at its deepest level’,” by the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
The response to the Robinson ordination had been a series of hapless committees that pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases that achieve nothing. We are “continually offered the same strategies which mean further delay and unlikely results. Indeed, delay itself seems to be a strategy employed by some in order to resolve the issue through weariness,” they said.
Sadly, the archbishops observed, there were now three realities that “must be faced,” and are “past the time when they can be reversed.”
“First, some Anglicans have sanctified sinful practices and will continue to do so whatever others may think.” Second, those “affected by this disobedience have rightly withdrawn fellowship while wishing to remain authentic Anglicans. So-called ‘border-crossing’ is another way of describing the provision of recognition and care for those who have been faithful to the teachings of Holy Scripture.”
And, third: “there is widespread impaired and broken sacramental communion amongst Anglicans,” the archbishops said, noting that the “hope that we may somehow return to the state of affairs before 2003 is an illusion.”
The way forward for the communion lay not through committees but through spiritual revival, the archbishops said. “We believe that the Jerusalem Declaration provides for a viable way of helping to deal with the crisis in the Anglican Communion brought about through the disobedience to Scripture by some in North America and elsewhere.”
The Aug 29 communiqué stated the primates had created a Secretariat and an Advisory Board, “which will work with them on fulfilling the aims of the movement.”
The FCA “isn’t a new church, nor is it an alternative power [bloc]” within the Anglican Communion Bishop Venables told CEN. “It is about the survival of Biblical values within the communion.”
“What is being worked out” in the formation of the FCA “is the Gospel. Gafcon [FCA] is a proclamation of the ‘truth’,” he said.
Anglicanism “need not be unclear. We are seeking to say what God says,” Bishop Venables explained.
Archbishop Orombi told CEN “Gafcon is a movement of hope for the Anglican Communion members who love Jesus and live in obedience to his Word. We are full of passion for Gafcon’s future,” he said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to invite the American, Canadian and Central American bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson to Lambeth led to 214 bishops boycotting the conference, a study by The Church of England Newspaper has found.
A review of registration data and attendance figures gathered during the conference finds that 206 diocesan and 8 suffragan bishops declined to attend the July 16 to Aug 3 conference. While boycotts affected the 1998, 1868 and 1888 conferences—the 2008 boycott was the most serious challenge to the integrity of the meeting.
The Anglican Communion comprises 729 dioceses, missionary districts, and ecclesial entities divided into 38 provinces and six extra-provincial jurisdictions. Approximately 260 dioceses and jurisdictions within the Communion were not represented by their diocesan bishops at Lambeth. Not all absences were the result of a conscious decision not to accept Dr. Rowan Williams’ invitation to Lambeth.
A number of sees are vacant, while exigent circumstances prevented some bishops from attending. The Archbishop of Polynesia, the Most Rev. Jabez Bryce remained at home to lead the coronation services of the King of Tonga, while the Bishop of Salisbury was felled by a stroke. Pending legal proceedings prevented the Bishop of Pennsylvania from attending while bishops from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of North India have never attended the Lambeth Conference.
Zimbabwe’s uncertain political situation prevented the Bishop of Manicaland from coming while a handful of bishops were also blocked from attending Lambeth due to local circumstances.
Of those identified as absent by CEN, 214 bishops from 10 provinces made an affirmative decision not to accept Dr. Williams’ invitation due to reasons of conscience: Australia 7; Southern Cone 1; Episcopal Church 1; Church of England 3; Uganda 30; Nigeria 137; Kenya 25; Rwanda 8; South East Asia 1; and Jerusalem and the Middle East 1.
From Africa’s 324 dioceses, 200 diocesan bishops (61 percent) were identified as having refused Dr. Williams’ invitation.
At the first conference in 1867, 76 bishops accepted the invitation of Archbishop Charles Longley to Lambeth. However, the bishops of the Convocation of York declined to attend the conference in protest to the perceived usurpation of authority by Dr. Longley. In 1878, 100 bishops accepted the invitation of Archbishop AC Tait, and the misgivings felt by the northern convocation were overcome as the opening sermon was preached by the Archbishop of York.
In 1888 a handful of evangelicals, including the Bishop of Liverpool JC Ryle, stayed home citing concerns over what they saw as Anglo-Catholic pretensions to prelacy exhibited by some of the participants.
The question of women bishops attending Lambeth 1998 led a handful of traditionalists to boycott the conference. Two English missionary bishops in Madagascar declined to attend the gathering due to the presence of women bishops, while concerns by other traditionalists led Dr. George Carey to restructure the Eucharistic services to assuage their concerns.
Now Moscow issues warning to Lambeth: CEN 8.22.08 p 1. August 25, 2008Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Lambeth 2008, Russian Orthodox, Women Priests.
|GAYS and women bishops could wreck relations between the Church of England and the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church reports.
On July 28 Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to European institutions met with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and his secretary Canon Jonathan Goodall during the Lambeth Conference to discuss the state of Russian Orthodox–Anglican relations.
In a report printed last week, Moscow said that its representative told Dr Williams of its distress over the July decision by General Synod not to provide legal safeguards for traditionalists opposed to the consecration of women bishops. The consecration of women bishops would be an “additional obstacle” to Orthodox-Anglican dialogue, Bishop Hilarion told Dr Williams, adding that such a move would exclude “even the theoretical possibility of the Orthodox churches acknowledging the apostolic succession” of Anglican bishops.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.
|The President of Uganda has applauded the decision taken by that country’s Anglican Church not to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference, and urged the Church of Uganda to stand firm against the “decadent culture” of the West.
Speaking at the consecration of the Bishop of Mbale on Aug 17, President Yoweri Museveni praised the church’s moral clarity. He called homosexuality “mtumbavu” or “stupid” in Swahili.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.
The 14th Lambeth Conference was a triumph for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, in light of the criteria set forward for success by its organizers, but did not prevent the collapse of the Anglican Communion.
“The miracle hasn’t happened,” Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone said on Aug 2. “It was a good try,” he observed, but Lambeth had not worked, leaving division as the most likely option. “We have gotten this far without formally announcing our division, but we haven’t announced it,” he told the German Catholic New Agency.
“The division is over what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a church,” Bishop Venables said, and the conference did not bridge the gap.
For traditionalists, Lambeth 2008 let down the communion, leaving it millions in debt and with left and right further entrenched in their positions. The call for dialogue was not heeded, and the pleas for restraint on gay bishops and blessings, as well as cross-border episcopal incursions, were rejected out of hand before the close of the conference.
On its own terms, Lambeth 2008 was an institutional success. The oft foretold schism of the Anglican Communion did not appear to take place between July 16 and Aug 3 on the campus of the University of Kent in Canterbury, and the bishops were seen to be expressing mild statements of concern on global warming, poverty, disease, hunger, domestic violence and other generally bad things—while also affirming, in a non-controversial or provocative way, generally good things: peace, the brotherhood of mankind, and church unity.
The format of small group sessions were generally lauded in as much as bishops from across the communion were able to gather in small groups of eight to share experiences and make friends. Dr. Williams’ retreat lectures were universally praised, though at times not clearly comprehended, and the topics of several plenary sessions were of professional interest to a large number of bishops.
US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori exercised a strong whip hand over her bishops, rebuffing attempts by the progressive faction to bring up the issue of Bishop Gene Robinson’s exclusion, and avoiding any outright breach with Dr. Williams. Most American bishops kept to the script given them before the conference by a communications consulting firm, and during their daily briefings chanted the mantra of “unity” in “diversity.”
While the bishops at Lambeth knew Gene Robinson was in their midst, actually seeing him was a bit of a coup as the New Hampshire bishop was confined to a far corner of the campus and his public outings inconveniently scheduled.
By couching the single conference statement as a “reflection,” Lambeth 2008 found a way to avoid any one group or constituency amongst the bishops coming out the loser, with their views cast as the minority position. By asking the bishops whether they could hear their own voice amongst the chorus in the reflections document, the Lambeth Conference assured like the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland that “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”
No ecclesial missiles were fired, the Americans behaved, Gene Robinson was muted, and the more embarrassing bishops were far away—no impromptu exorcisms of gay activists as happened at the 98 conference before the cameras of the BBC this time.
For Dr. Williams, then, the conference was a success and his plan of staving off a confrontation until the completion of the Anglican Covenant, which would shift the onus of deciding whether one was “in or out” away from Canterbury onto the provinces, a sound one.
However, few of the bishops questioned by The Church of England Newspaper over the course of the conference and in the week after, saw themselves or the communion as “winners.” Liberals were aggrieved by Dr. Williams’ turn against them on the closing day, when he called for a moratorium on gay bishops and blessings—and singled out the Episcopal Church for opprobrium as the chief troublemaker in the communion.
Conservatives entered the conference discouraged by the absence of over 60 percent of the African diocesan bishops, and left frustrated that nothing substantive was accomplished. Fears Dr. Williams was “not on side” were not assuaged by his conservative-sounding closing presidential address on Aug 3, as a steady onslaught of progressive Bible studies, politically correct plenary sessions, and in the words of one American conservative bishop–”asinine” Indaba groups was a source of frustration and impatience.
The central failure of the conference, however, flowed from the decision not to confront the issues dividing the communion. During the 2003 primates meeting, Archbishop Peter Akinola and a small group of primates were persuaded by Dr. Williams to attend communion services with US Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, even though their scruples forbad them from doing so.
Over the succeeding five years, the inability of Anglican bishops to worship round a common altar has not been addressed, and even with a boycott of over 200 bishops the opening eucharist in Canterbury Cathedral saw three primates and a number of bishops refrain from receiving communion due to their theological difficulties with the American church. These positions were not softened during the three weeks at Lambeth, but hardened with some bishops convinced that dialogue in the terms proposed by Dr. Williams was now fruitless.
Up until now, the Anglican Communion has held together “by appealing to diversity,” Bishop Venables said.
However, he asked “Can we sacrifice what we believe for unity? I don’t think we can make that decision on the spur of the moment. It is unfair to ask people to sacrifice their convictions for the sake of a unity that is by no means certain.”
The attempts at conversation had not worked. “I hoped we would be able to talk about very serious things, we tried to but were unable to,” he said. The small group process helped “but there wasn’t enough trust. The level of conflict, fear, mistrust, frustration hasn’t allowed it.”
The problem of authority within Anglicanism was not being addressed, he argued. “Anglicanism has always said we were not a vertical church, but now it would help to have a council of cardinals to help us.”
“You have authority in the local church, authority in the diocese, authority in the province, why not have it in the whole church?” he asked. However, there are “no ground rules to define the Anglican Church. No ground rules outside the province. Now we have no way of avoiding the division,” Bishop Venables said.
“We talk but nothing is decided. People are frustrated,” and Lambeth 2008 did not address these needs, Bishop Venables said.
Western bishops dominated Lambeth: CEN 8.22.08 p 6. August 21, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
Bishops from the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England comprised almost 40 percent of the bishops present at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, an investigation by The Church of England Newspaper has determined.
On Aug 8, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council stated the 2008 Lambeth Conference “involved the participation of some 680 bishops and 3000 participants.” However, only 617 Anglican bishops registered for the conference and no more than 600 Anglican bishops appear in the Conference’s group photo.
The Anglican Communion comprises 729 dioceses, missionary districts, and ecclesial entities divided into 38 provinces and six extra-provincial jurisdictions. In May 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams extended invitations to all bishops exercising “episcopal pastoral ministry;” save for the bishops of New Hampshire, Harare and the African-consecrated American bishops of Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.
Some 469 diocesan bishops, 140 suffragan and assistant bishops, and 8 bishops without territorial sees, accepted Dr. Williams invitation. The largest block came from the Episcopal Church which sent 127 bishops followed by the Church of England with 113 bishops. Rounding out the top five in numbers of bishops present were Australia, 39; Canada, 37; and Southern Africa 27, with these five provinces sending over 55 percent of all bishops present.
The majority of African bishops boycotted the Lambeth Conference with with 209 of the continent’s 324 diocesan bishops absent. As many African as American bishops attended Lambeth with the continent sending 127 bishops: 115 diocesan and 12 suffragan.
Bishops from every Province but Uganda registered for the conference. Two Nigerians bishops took part. The Church of Nigeria had one registration: the Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha of Owerri. However, Bishop Okorocha pulled out of the meeting at the last minute after having faxed in a confirmation of his attendance on July 19. The second Nigerian bishop at Lambeth was a Roman Catholic archbishop, part of the 7 man team from the Vatican.
One Rwandan bishop was present, and Kenya had 17 bishops registered. However, only five of the Kenyan bishops were present for Lambeth and one left after the bishops’ retreat.
The Archbishop of Canterbury did not register for the conference and the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt. Rev. John Saxbee was shown as being absent according to the official tally. Bishop Saxbee’s registration was mislaid by conference organizers.
When he arrived at Canterbury on July 16, Bishop Saxbee was told he was not down on the list, but would be “sorted out” by the conference staff. However he was told that he did not have a room for the conference. Bishop Saxbee asked if the room held for the Bishop of Salisbury, who had registered for the conference but would not be attending due to a stroke, was available. By day’s end he was registered as Bishop of Lincoln but housed as Bishop of Salisbury.
While the registration total of 617 is not exact due to the last minute additions and cancellations, it does give an accurate approximation of the total number of bishops present, as the conference group photo taken on July 26 pictures 630 individuals; of whom no more than 602 are Anglican bishops.
Episcopal Church sent most bishops to Lambeth: TLC 8.19.08 August 20, 2008Posted by geoconger in Lambeth 2008, Living Church.
First published in The Living Church
The Episcopal Church provided the largest block of bishops at the Lambeth Conference, sending 104 of the 469 diocesan bishops present during the conference of Anglican bishops in Canterbury.
Details on who and how many of the Anglican Communion’s 880 active bishops attended the Lambeth Conference have not been made public. However, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council, reported the conference “involved the participation of some 680 bishops and 3,000 participants.”
There were 617 Anglican bishops registered for the conference, according to Lambeth Conference documentation obtained by The Living Church. Approximately 600 Anglican bishops were present for the group photo. Of the 617, 469 were diocesan bishops and the remaining 140 were suffragan, assisting and assistant bishops, as well as eight bishops without territorial sees.
The largest number of absentees was from Africa, with 209 of the continent’s 324 diocesan bishops missing. There were 115 diocesan and 12 suffragan bishops from African dioceses.
After The Episcopal Church’s 127 bishops, the second largest contingent came from the Church of England, which registered 113: 39 diocesan and 64 suffragan/assistant bishops.
Australia registered 39 bishops (20 diocesan and 19 suffragan); Canada 37 (29 diocesan and 8 suffragan); Southern Africa 27 (23 diocesan and 4 suffragan); North India 22; South India 21; Tanzania 20; the Sudan 17 and New Zealand 14.
The registration totals do not correspond exactly to the number of bishops actually present at Lambeth, however. At least 17 Anglican bishops who registered did not show, and a handful not registered did attend.
Bishops from every province but Uganda registered for the conference. Two Nigerian bishops registered. The Anglican Church of Nigeria had one registration: the Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha of Owerri, who left shortly after his arrival. The second Nigerian bishop at Lambeth was a Roman Catholic archbishop, part of the seven-man team from the Vatican.
The Anglican Communion comprises 729 dioceses, missionary districts, and ecclesial entities divided into 38 provinces and six extra-provincial jurisdictions. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams invited all sitting diocesan and suffragan bishops. Invitations were extended to all those exercising an “episcopal pastoral ministry” a conference spokesman said. Approximately 75 ecumenical guests attended Lambeth, acting as full participants in the small group sessions and plenary sessions.
The effect the bishops’ boycott played in the estimated $1.8 to $3.7 million conference shortfall is unclear. Canon Kearon said, “the projection of a deficit in the immediate period following the Conference was always recognized,” and that “the shortfall in funding is unclear as bills come in to be settled, but it is likely to be approaching £1 million.”
Conference spokesman Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of Australia told the media that a final accounting would not be available until after the conference closed its books in mid-August, but a member of the conference organizing team told TLC the deficit could rise to $3.7 million. In contrast, the 1998 conference ended with a budget surplus of more than $1.8 million.
“The shortfall is being addressed as agreed by the continuing fund raising program,” Canon Kearon said, and on Aug. 11 the governors of the Church Commissioners of the Church of England agreed to extend an interest free loan of $1.1 million to the Lambeth Conference Corporation.
According to an internal conference document distributed to the bishops who had registered, the budget for the Lambeth Conference was $8.2 million, and the Lambeth Spouses’ Conference was $2.2 million, excluding the costs of travel to the conference.
The conference shortfall will not affect finances for the forthcoming primates’ meeting, Archbishop Williams said. Funding for primates’ meetings is an expense item in the Anglican Consultative Council budget. However, the Lambeth Conference is a separate not-for-profit corporation whose finances are separate from the ACC budget.
The Church of England has given the Lambeth Conference an emergency loan of £600,000 to cover the estimated £1.2 million shortfall for the July 16 to Aug 3 conference.
On Aug 11, the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners met with the officers of the Lambeth Conference Company, a corporation set up by the Anglican Consultative Council and Lambeth Palace to manage the conference, to address the cash shortfall.
The Lambeth Conference Company’s officers, who include ACC Secretary General Kenneth Kearon and Lambeth Chief of Staff Chris Smith reported that they were unable to meet the conference’s financial obligations. The Board and the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, which met on Aug 7, agreed to extend a temporary interest free loan to the Lambeth Conference while it attempted to raise money to cover the shortfall.
According to a January 2008 internal conference document distributed to the bishops who had registered, the budget for the Lambeth Conference was £4.4 million and the Lambeth Spouses’ Conference was £1.2 million, excluding the costs of travel to the conference.
Conference spokesman Archbishop Phillip Aspinall told the media that a final accounting would not be available until after the conference closed its books in mid-August, but a member of the conference organizing team told The Church of England Newspaper the deficit could rise to £2 million. In contrast, the 1998 conference ended with a budget surplus of over £1 million.
Asked how the costs of the forthcoming primates meeting would be covered, on Aug 3 Dr. Williams said “we are looking at various routes to meet what looks like a shortfall at this stage. We knew this would be difficult. I don’t think I can go into details because I don’t have the direct management of that question.
Dr. Williams declined to answer further questions on this point, saying “it’s just that’s not my particular responsibility at the moment, although I’m rather concerned about it.”
In a statement released on Aug 8, Canon Kearon said “the projection of a deficit in the immediate period following the Conference was always recognized,” and that “the shortfall in funding is unclear as bills come in to be settled, but it is likely to be approaching £1 million.”
“The shortfall is being addressed as agreed by the continuing fund raising programme” he noted, adding that England remained the most economical location for hosting the conference which “involved the participation of some 680 bishops and 3000 participants.”
The total number of Anglican bishops attending the conference is unclear, but according to documents made available to the bishops at Lambeth, only 617 bishops had registered for the conference.
This registration data is also incomplete, as some participants such as the Archbishop of Canterbury were not registered for the conference but present for the conference, while others who had registered, such as the bishops of Pennsylvania, Salisbury and Western Kansas, were not present.
The Bishop of Lincoln, John Saxby’s registration was lost by the conference, and he was shown as not being present in the registration tally. Upon arrival on July 16, Bishop Saxby was registered and was given the lodgings set aside for the Bishop of Salisbury, who though registered, was absent from the gathering due to illness.
Among the 617 registered bishops, were 468 of the communion’s 699 diocesan bishops and 149 suffragan bishops, bishops co-adjutor, and bishops without territorial sees such as bishops for the armed forces, the US Presiding Bishop, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the National Evangelism Bishop of the Philippines, and the Bishop of the Office of Pastoral Development for the US House of Bishops.
Bishops from all provinces of the Communion save for Uganda, registered for the conference. However, the one bishop registered from the Church of Nigeria, Bishop Cyril Okorocha of Owerri did not attend the meeting, and of the 17 Kenyan bishops registered, only six came with one departing after the close of the retreat.
Not all absent bishops were boycotting bishops, as a number of sees across the communion are vacant. However, absences from Africa were most noticeable as 181 of the continent’s 296 diocesan bishops were not present.
The press at Lambeth: The Times August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: the Guardian on deadline August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: Guardian August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: Daily Telegraph August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: The Tablet August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: ENS and the Tablet August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
Matt Davies (right) of ENS and Victoria Combe (left) of The Tablet
The press at Lambeth: Church Times August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
Pat Ashworth of the Church Times (right) with Episcopal Church press officer Neva Rae Fox (left)
The press at Lambeth: Thinking Anglicans August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: The Church of England Newspaper August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
The press at Lambeth: The Living Church August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The Archbishop of Perth August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Church of Australia, Lambeth 2008.
The Most Rev Roger Hert, Archbishop of Perth addressing the media at the 2008 Lambeth Conference on July 28.
The Bishop of Quincy redux August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The Bishop of Quincy addressing the press at the 2008 Lambeth Conference on July 31.
The Bishop of Quincy August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008.
The Rt Rev Keith L Ackerman, SSC, Bishop of Quincy
The Archbishop of Canterbury August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008.
The Most Rev Rowan Williams addressing the press on Aug 3 at the Lambeth Conference.
The Archbishop of Canterbury August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth 2008.
The Most Rev Rowan Williams addressing the press on Aug 3 at the Lambeth Conference.
The Primate of Hong Kong August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Lambeth 2008.
The Most Rev Paul Kwong, Archbishop of Hong Kong addressing the press on Aug 2 at the 2008 Lambeth Conference
The Very Rev Alistair Macdonald-Radcliffe and the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis on Aug 2 at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The Bishop of California August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), California, Lambeth 2008.
The Rt Rev Marc Andrus at the Lambeth Conference on Aug 2, 2008.
The head of the Anglican desk at the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity August 17, 2008Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Lambeth 2008, Roman Catholic Church.
Msgr Donald Bolen at the Lambeth Conference. Photo taken July 26, 2008.
Concern as sex debate rules ‘change’: CEN 8.08.08 p 3. August 11, 2008Posted by geoconger in Biblical Interpretation, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Lambeth 2008.
The ground rules of the debate over homosexuality have been changed, organizers of the 2008 Lambeth Conference said last week, as those seeking to change the church’s teachings on the morality of homosexual behavior no longer have the burden of making their case, convincing those holding the traditional view that an evolution in doctrine is necessary.
“We are going back to first principles” Archbishop David Moxon of New Zealand—the chairman of the conference’s Bible studies programme, said. The conflicting views of the morality of homosexual behavior held by the bishops at Lambeth each contained a kernel of truth, and it was up to the church to engage now in a “hermeneutic” to come to a consensus on how the Bible can inform the debates on homosexuality.
The Bible studies at Lambeth sought to “honor and respect” the different ways the bishops used the Bible. We sought “not to preempt or to take a position” on divisive issues, but “to take the high common ground,” he said.
The “envelope” of understanding “is in the hands of God,” as the boundaries of Biblical interpretation were “an evolving process” under the authority of the “Holy Spirit,” said Archbishop Moxon.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams told the bishops that the 1998 resolution on human sexuality, resolution 1.10, would “not be revisited at this Lambeth Conference” and remained the common mind and teaching on human sexuality for the communion. However, the force of the 1998 resolution that said homosexual conduct was incompatible with the teaching of Scripture, has been undercut by the new terms of debate, neutering its importance, critics have charged.
In a discussion on how Scripture was being used to inform the bishops’ deliberations, Archbishop David Moxon and conference consultant Prof. Gerald West of the University of KwaZulu-Natal said the bishops were “seeking to build a consensus” on how to use Scripture to address the issue of homosexuality.
“The meaning of the Bible is not self-evident,” Prof. West said. The modern notion of homosexuality was foreign to the culture and mindset of the ancient Near East he argued, citing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The issue in this passage from Genesis was not homosexual conduct per se, but power couched in terms of “male rape” and dominance.
The “problem was inhospitality,” he argued.
Prof. West, who stated he did “not have a clear position on resolution 1.10, personally,” said the task of Scripture in shaping the church’s teaching on these issues was to “allow the historical and theological framework to be integrated” as part of the church’s “missionary project” to find a common Anglican hermeneutic.
The Academic Dean of Moore College in Sydney and one of the architects of Gafcon’s theological resource group, Dr. Mark Thompson told CEN the quest of a common Anglican hermeneutic “ignores the fact that the essential Anglican stance towards the nature and use of the Bible has already been provided by the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and expounded in the First Book of Homilies to which those Articles refer.”
He noted that the “appeal to ‘a scholarly use of the Bible’ is far too often a device for evading the plain teaching of the Scriptures. The words mean what they say.”
The Bishop of Quincy, the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman told CEN the attempt to use “Hegelian dialectics” to find a synthesis between the belief that homosexuality was a sin and that homosexuality was a blessing was inappropriate.
Changing the rules at this stage of the game was discouraging he said. “The burden of proof falls on those calling for change,” he argued. “Is there a terminal point for the listening project, or am I the terminal point?” When traditionalists “die the argument is over.”
The Anglican Covenant is the only game in town and is the Communion’s hope for hanging together, the Primate of the West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez told reporters at the 14th Lambeth Conference last week.
Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference spent two days discussing the history and ideals of the covenant, and offering a critique of its current draft. Archbishop Gomez, the chairman of the Covenant Design Group which was charged by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2006 with producing the document, told the conference the covenant seeks to define the “theology of [Anglicans] being in communion.”
It will also set the limits of Anglican autonomy, he added. The covenant will “not be a legalistic document nor a punitive document,” he said, but a “mechanism to redefine the basic tenets of Anglicanism.”
The “only thing used so far” that defines what it is to be Anglican are “holy meetings. We have no magisterium, no legal framework that can bring discussion to an end,” he said.
Whether enough time exists for the covenant process to unfold before the Anglican Communion implodes is unclear as it will take up to ten years for the process to come to a conclusion and offers no immediate relief for embattled conservatives in North America.
However Lambeth Conference spokesman Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of Australia said the Anglican Covenant was a “vehicle of grace,” one that called for “self-limitation” from the members of the Communion.
An Anglican Covenant was first proposed by the 2005 Windsor Report, published by the Lambeth Commission on Communion, a group appointed by Dr. Rowan Williams to respond to the splits over doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council Canon Gregory Cameron explained the term “covenant” was chosen to describe the process to reflect the theological antecedents of the project saying that in Scripture, a “covenant” was “used to describe the committed relationship between God and his people.”
The rationale behind an Anglican Covenant was to create a document that would “talk about the sort of committed relationship that holds the [Anglican] Communion together,” Canon Cameron said on Aug 1. It began with the assumption that Anglicans held a “common inheritance in faith,” and shared a common goal of “mission.” The Covenant would answer the question “what holds us together,” defining our “interdependence.”
The bishops were asked to “add their own comments to the process,” Canon Cameron said. However, they were “free to comment” but “not free to change the draft,” he added.
In their discussion groups, conservative bishops asked that dioceses be permitted to sign on to the covenant. However, Canon Cameron explained that the covenant was for provinces not dioceses. Dioceses could “express their sympathy” for the covenant, but as it was currently constituted a diocese or other ecclesial body was not able to “sign up” to the agreement.
“We will have to work this out if a province declines and a diocese says yes,” Canon Cameron—the secretary of the Covenant Design Group said.
The bishops’ comments will be forwarded to the September meeting of the Covenant Design Group, which meets in Singapore in September, he noted. The provinces have been asked to submit their critique of the current draft by March and a final draft will be compiled by the Covenant Design Group and presented to the Anglican Consultative Council for its May meeting in Jamaica.
Archbishop Aspinall said it was the bishops’ expectation that the final text of the document would be completed within the year, but it could take several years for the document to be ratified by the provinces. Concerns over “autonomy and self-rule” were voiced in the bishops’ discussions, he said, but “there’s a commitment to hanging together as a communion” he said.
Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana said that ideally, the covenant would “enhance the beauty of Anglicanism, which is its capacity to absorb different views.” The communion sought to produce an agreement that “creates something that gives life, not distress” he said.
Bishop Mwamba said the Communion was not rushing the project. “We’re not in a hurry. The devil is in a hurry,” he said.
Lambeth’s call for ‘gracious restraint’: CEN 8.08.08 p 1. August 11, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
The Lambeth Conference has urged a “season of gracious restraint” from the warring parties of the Anglican Communion, asking for a cessation of gay bishops and blessings from the left and incursions from the right into the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
The 42 page “Reflections” document released at the close of the conference on August 3 addresses a cross section of issues from human sexuality to the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, but is unlikely to have any meaningful impact as conservative archbishops have vowed not to pull back from their support for American and Canadian traditionalists, and American liberals have stated they will not honor the request to halt gay blessings.
Written as a “Reflections” paper, the conference statement was not subjected to vote or debate, but was produced through a committee process that sought to distill the issues and discussions raised over the course of the conference. Bishops were asked not whether they agreed with the document, but “whether they could see their voices” amidst the various reflections on offer.
Speaking to the media Dr. Rowan Williams said Lambeth had proven that the bishops could speak to each other respectfully and prayerfully, and they had a “strong commitment to remain unified.” Even its “its current rather wobbly state,” the Anglican Communion was capable of being a witness for change in the world, Dr. Williams said, citing the bishops’ July 24 London march in support of the Millennium Development Goals.
In his final presidential address, Dr. Williams promised to produce within two months a “clear and detailed” plan for a “Pastoral Forum” that would address the divisions within the church. He asked for more time for the communion to work through its divisions, and urged a moratorium on gay bishops and blessings, calling upon the US and Canadian churches to cease their innovations while the debates continue. “The theological ground for a plea for moratoria is the need to avoid this confusion so that discernment continues,” Dr. Williams said.
“The pieces are on the board” for the resolution of the Anglican crisis, he said. “And in the months ahead it will be important to invite those absent from Lambeth to be involved in these next stages.”
The request for a moratorium on gay blessings did not last the day however, as the bishops of Los Angeles and California announced they would not honour ban and not stop their clergy from performing gay blessing ceremonies. These practices, Dr. Williams told the press, “continue to put our relations as a Communion under strain and some problems won’t be resolved while those practices continue.”
“One complication in discussing all this is that assumption, readily made, that the blessing of a same-sex union and/or the ordination of someone in an active same-sex relationship is simply a matter of human rights,” he told the press. “That’s an assumption I can’t accept because I think the issues about what conditions the church lays down for the blessing of unions has to be shaped by its own thinking, its own praying.”
The Reflections document also spoke to concerns over the environment, war, disease and hunger. The environment was “the top priority for some provinces and must be a high priority for all of us.”
The bishops said they “should take a leading role by example, modeling a simpler lifestyle, using a carbon offset for meeting travel, or traveling less,” as “safeguarding creation is a day to day activity, not an intellectual exercise.”
The bishops endorsed the Millennium Development Goals and condemned war and “the violence meted out to women and children within the body of Christ is violence done to the body of Christ.”
They called upon Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe “to stop harassing the bishops and the faithful of our church” and urged continued support for the church in the Sudan and Southern Africa, and denounced the “persecution, torture, imprisonment and killing of people on account of their faith whatever their faith might be.”
Support for the reunification of Korea, a Japanese “Peace Constitution” and the “the apology made by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the stolen generations and acknowledge that the journey towards reconciliation has only just begun, particularly in relation to remote aboriginal communities in Australia,” and a number of local political agendas were made as well.
The bishops acknowledged the strained state of ecumenical relations, noting that some dialogue partners were “sometimes bewildered by apparent Anglican inconsistency, especially where issues of authority and ecclesiology are concerned,” but also reaffirmed the Anglican Communion’s commitment to “the full visible unity of the church.”
Gays and Women slows ecumenical progress: CEN 8.01.08 p 7. August 11, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Lambeth 2008, Roman Catholic Church, Women Priests.
The Anglican Communion must put its ecclesiological house in order before any further meaningful steps toward dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church can take place, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor told the Lambeth Conference on July 26.
Speaking to a self-select session of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Westminster reviewed the work of ARCIC, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Consultation over the past forty years, and expressed the Vatican’s desire for the work to unity between the two churches continue.
The Roman Catholic Church “takes no pleasure at all to see the current strains in your communion – we have committed ourselves to a journey towards unity, so new tensions only slow the progress,” he said.
Three Catholic Cardinals will address the Lambeth Conference. Cardinal Ivan Dias last week addressed a plenary session on evangelism, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor spoke to issues of Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue and on July 31 Cardinal Walter Kasper will speak to “Roman Catholic perspectives on Anglicanism.” All three cardinals have been critical of recent actions taken by members of the Anglican Communion, with Cardinal Dias diagnosing Anglicanism with spiritual Alzheimer’s.
In his address to Lambeth, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said the divisions over doctrine and discipline that had divided the Anglican Communion had harmed also its ecumenical dialogue. If the Roman Catholic Church “does not believe that it can ordain women, in what way is the issue of Anglican ordinations to be overcome? Or to put the matter another way, and this is not meant to be polemical, if Anglicans themselves disagree over this development, and find yourselves unable fully to recognise each other’s ministry, how could we?” he asked.
The Anglican divisions over homosexuality could also undo the progress of drawing the churches closer.. “It doesn’t need me to enlarge upon the divisiveness of some issues of morality. If anybody ever thought that such questions concerned only the individual conscience and had little ecclesial, let alone ecumenical, consequence, events have shown otherwise,” he said.
However, behind these issues, “hidden in these shadows,” was the issue of church order and ecclesiology, the cardinal said.
“How do we understand the Church? Where is the Church to be found? Is it a loose federation with a common history and family kinship? Is it a more closely-knit body with developed structures of authority? Moreover, with what instruments does the Spirit enable the Churches to reach binding decisions where necessary? – decisions which can provide clear and focused guidance about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and about the moral decisions church members face as they try to follow the Gospel,” the Cardinal asked.
Citing the discussions at Lambeth and at last month’s Gafcon conference in Jerusalem, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said the Anglican Communion was addressing these issues. However, it must settle its questions of authority, as there was little point of continuing ecumenical dialogue if the agreements reached held no significance for Anglicans.
“If we are to make progress through dialogue we must be able to reach a solemn and binding agreement with our dialogue partners. And we want to see a deepening not a lessening of communion in their own ecclesial life,” Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said.
Anglicans must decide who they are and what they believe before any meaningful dialogue can take place, he argued as “these discussions are about the degree of unity in faith necessary for Christians to be in communion, not least so that they may be able to offer the Gospel confidently to the world. Our future dialogue will not be easy until such fundamental matters are resolved, with greater clarity.”
Whether the Cardinal’s words will sway the bishops at Lambeth is unclear. Only 17 people attended his presentation, of whom seven were Roman Catholic ecumenical participants, while only one Church of England bishop was present.
Speaking to reporters on July 25, the Bishop David Alvarez of Puerto Rico charged that the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI had backed away from ecumenical dialogue. “They are the ones who are obstacles,” he said, arguing that Benedict placed too much emphasis on the issue of the ordination of women and homosexuality. “My concern is that they open themselves to dialogue instead of saying this is wrong.”
Dialogue with traditionalist Anglicans and the Vatican, however, appears to be coming to a conclusion. On July 5 Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), Archbishop William Hepworth stating the Vatican was giving “serious attention” to the “prospects of corporate unity” with TAC and other traditionalist Anglicans.
However, the Vatican would wait and see what happened to the Anglican Communion before it acted. “The situation within the Anglican Communion in general has become markedly more complex” in recent months, Cardinal Levada noted, and the Vatican would respond once it knew which way the Anglican Communion would turn.
Canon Law Reader Released: CEN 8.01.08 p 6. August 11, 2008Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Lambeth 2008.
A compendium of canon law principles compiled by the registrar of the Province of Canterbury, Canon John Rees and seven other lawyers has been distributed to bishops attending the 14th Lambeth Conference.
Entitled “The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion,” the 111 page booklet seeks to “stimulate reflection on what it is to be a Communion of ordered churches seeking to live out the Anglican tradition in a world of intensely rapid communication,” Canon Rees said.
Commissioned by the primates six years ago as a project of the Anglican Communion Legal Advisors Network, the book claims to enunciate Anglicanism’s common legal principles. However the booklet appears to have entered the minefield of inter-Anglican politics by assuming that all Anglicans propound a common understanding of fellowship—and will likely be resisted by the liberal and Gafcon wings of the Communion.
Canon Rees noted the booklet was not “any sort of quick fix,” it was “not the Covenant,”" and was not “a code of canon law,” but might serve as a “”fifth instrument of unity” for the Anglican Communion.
These “are principles which we have deduced” Canon Rees said. The book was not “prescriptive” and could not be used in court as a guide to controlling legal principles. “It’s not the last word.”
Divided into eight sections on: Church Order, the Anglican Communion, Ecclesiastical Government, Ministry, Doctrine and Liturgy, Ecclesiastical Rites, Church Property and Ecumenical Relations—the Anglo-Catholic presuppositions of the book will likely be met with resistance in some quarters.
Under the heading of church property, Principle 80 states that property is held in trust by local church leaders as stewards for the national church—a point currently under litigation in the United States. David Booth Beers, chancellor to US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the United States is credited as one of the authors of the code.
Principle 13 attacks the interventions of the Gafcon primates by stating that “no church, or any authority of person within it, shall intervene in the internal affairs of another church without the consent of that other church given in such a manner as may be prescribed by its own law,”
The right of the churches to pursue liturgical and doctrinal experiments is enshrined in Principle 12,, which states that “each autonomous province has the greatest possible liberty to order its life and affairs, appropriate to its people in their geographical, cultural and historical context, compatible with its belonging to and interdependence with the church universal.”
During the press conference following the booklet’s launch, Canon Rees was questioned as to whether Principle 52 might be considered offensive to those bishops and churches that have broken fellowship with the Episcopal Church, or who had not attended the Lambeth Conference, or to the three primates and other bishops who declined to receive the sacraments during the opening Conference eucharist?.
Principle 52 states that “ministers are called to work together and remain in fellowship so that visible communion is maintained even if theological or other disagreements occur.”
Canon Rees said fellowship did not mean Eucharistic fellowship, but conceded the booklet did not define the term. Asked what this meant, he responded it was “obvious,” but declined to elaborate.
Letters put fresh pressure on Archbishop: CEN 8.08.08 August 8, 2008Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Lambeth 2008.
|Correspondence between the Archbishop of Canterbury and a former member of the Church in Wales leaked to The Times this week threatens to derail Dr Rowan Williams’ hopes of keeping conservatives and liberals on board the Communion until an Anglican Covenant is signed.
While Dr Williams’ assertion that gay sexual relationships can “reflect the love of God,” made eight years ago does not come as a revelation to those following his writings, the timing of their release and his recent ambiguous statements on homosexuality bodes ill for the embattled archbishop.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.
Reporting Lambeth – Ruth Gledhill and George Conger: BBC Radio Ulster Sunday Sequence 8.03.08 August 5, 2008Posted by geoconger in Lambeth 2008, Radio Broadcasts.
A discussion of the Lambeth Conference broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme.
The Albert Mohler Radio Program
|Date:||Tuesday, August 05, 2008|
|Program Title:||What Happened (and What Didn’t) at Lambeth|
|Program Notes:||Guest: George Conger|
|Description:||With the conclusion of the Lambeth Conference, the state of global Anglicanism is once again at the center of conversation. On today’s program, Dr. Mohler welcomes George Conger, Chief Correspondent for the Church of England Newspaper for a discussion about what did (and didn’t) happen at Lambeth and what it means for the future of the Anglican Communion.
Listen to the broadcast at AlbertMohler.com
Read a transcript at Crosswalk.com
The discussion begins 11 minutes into the broadcast and comprises two segments.
Rowan Williams “has failed” says Uganda: CEN 8.03.08 August 3, 2008Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda, Lambeth 2008.
|Canterbury: The Archbishop of Canterbury has failed as leader of the Anglican Communion and is presiding over its dissolution, the Archbishop of Uganda has charged in a letter published in The Times on Aug 1.
While Archbishop Henry Orombi’s comments have so far been the sharpest words uttered in criticism of Dr. Rowan Williams, in the closing days of the Lambeth Conference a rising tide of voices has begun to speak out against his leadership and his judgment, putting pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead or stand aside.
Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.