Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fri. Feb 16th: Afternoon & Evening posts

From the New York Times: Anglican Prelates Snub Head of U.S. Church Over Gay Issues

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:20 pm

A draft covenant presented at the conclave on Friday could step up the pressure. Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, who was chairman of the drafting committee, said Friday that once approved, the covenant would provide a way to hold wayward churches in check.

He estimated that 9 of the 38 Anglican provinces worldwide had broken relations with the Episcopal Church because of its stance on homosexuality, including those who refused to take Communion with Bishop Jefferts Schori. Another half dozen, including his own church, have declared that relations were “impaired,” while a dozen or so more have taken no public stance, he said.

By Friday, conservative Anglicans said they were starting to despair that the meeting here would produce neither of their goals: a condemnation and marginalizing of the Episcopal Church, or a new church structure for American conservatives who want to leave the Episcopal Church but remain within the Anglican Communion.

“Conservatives are very disappointed,” said Timothy Shah, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in Washington. “They have the feeling that the policy of the archbishop of Canterbury and the leadership of the Episcopal Church is one of indefinite delay in the hopes that aging conservative primates will retire and eventually be replaced by people who are more open to a negotiated settlement.”

Read it all.

From the Los Angeles Times: Anglican Church rift widens over gay policies

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:17 pm

“We are unable to come to the Holy Table with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding,” the archbishops said in the Web posting. They said they would “continue to pray for a change of heart” by the Episcopal Church and its leaders.

Akinola declined to comment Friday, avoiding reporters who chased after him as he walked several times through the lobby of a Dar es Salaam hotel where the meeting is taking place.

Jefferts Schori, who is sequestered at the hotel along with other participants, also made no comment. But a spokeswoman at the New York headquarters of the Episcopal Church criticized the bishops for using the sacrament of Communion as a vehicle for their protest.

“There is an understanding that we come to the table of Christ to share in the body of Christ,” said the Rev. Jan Nunley, the church’s deputy for communication. “It’s a symbol of our corporate unity, and for them to absent themselves from that is really sad.”

Read it all.

Leander Harding–Ultimatum in a Velvet Glove: Comments on the Report of the Subgroup

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:11 pm

The significant paragraph of this section is paragraph 21. Speaking of the expression of regret offered by the GC, the subgroup, “was unsure how these words should be understood” and so the group has again defined the meaning of the words by accepting them “with the apparent promise not to repeat the offence” in other words in the same way that the group has defined B033, “we believe that the expression of regret is sufficient to meet the request of the primates.” Then there is this very strong sentence in paragraph 22, “The Group feels that the reality of the change of direction that some see in the resolutions of the General Convention can only be tested however by the way in which the Episcopal Church lives out these resolutions.” The subgroup is saying in so many words, we will put the most charitable and positive meaning on your response to Windsor but any further ordinations and any further moves toward developing or permitting same-sex blessings or rites will be a betrayal of what you have said in the resolutions of your convention and will exclude those bishops from full communion. Your house of bishops had better meet soon and get its house in order. Bishops and dioceses that don’t turn back and proceed down the revisionist path unilaterally will clearly have repudiated Windsor and thereby have cut themselves off from the life of the communion.

I don’t really see this report as in anyway a victory for the TEC. I see it as a carefully worded document of church diplomacy which when closely read has laid out the case for excluding particular American bishops and perhaps TEC as a whole, depending on forthcoming actions, from full status in the Anglican Communion. It is not the public and stern reprimand that the longsuffering orthodox in the TEC would have liked but it is in a very English fashion an ultimatum in a velvet glove.

Paragraph 23 is also important. It is an olive branch held out to the liberals in TEC who may be in favor of the revisionist agenda but who want to be Windsor compliant. It may help to understand the tone of the report to note its sense that “it is the duty of the wider Communion to nourish and encourage all those within the Episcopal Church who wish to embrace our common and interdependent life.”

It is also important to remember that this is but a report and that the Primates can accept it or reject it or put it to one side. The bottom line of this report is that Windsor is the way ahead for the communion and that any bishop or diocese that does not abide by Windsor will not be a constituent part of the Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Anglican Report Episode 20

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:08 pm

Read it all.

From The Living Church: Amid Lowered Tensions, Primates Review Draft Covenant

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 11:07 pm

Archbishop Peter Carnley, former Primate of Australia, then presented a report on the Panel of Reference. He noted that the panel had been subject to three sets of difficulties: the “sheer effort to establish the facts”; constraints provided by pending litigation in some instances; and “human problems.”

The conference spokesman noted the primates asked “very blunt” questions as to whether the “outcomes achieved were proportionate to the work of the panel.” Further constraints were imposed by human failings, he added. “There must be a will for reconciliation for the panel to be effective,” Archbishop Carnley noted.

The primates concluded their discussion of the panel and the covenant and received a presentation on the “listening process” by Canon Phil Groves. Canon Groves outlined preliminary proposals on the process for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, but noted that in some circumstances it would be necessary to “establish safe ground” in certain societies for “people to feel safe” to allow it to continue productively.

On the third day of the meeting, the primates are scheduled to discuss theological education across the Communion and to continue discussion of The Episcopal Church. No decision on its status has been made, Archbishop Aspinall noted, but one Global South primate noted the discussions appeared to him to be reaching a climax.

Read the whole piece.

Anglican Primates in Tanzania - plenty of cybernews

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:57 pm

What one blogger is doing to keep up.

From the Church Times–Tale of two hotels: archbishops assemble along with lobbyists near Dar es Salaam

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:53 pm

TENSION was high, speculation was rife, and security was tight, as the Primates’ Meeting started in Tanzania.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, arriving in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, acknowledged: “We have a difficult meeting ahead of us, with many challenges and many decisions to make. I hope that all the people of the Church will be praying for us as we meet together as the leaders of the Anglican Church worldwide, and that God’s will will be done.”

The Primates are gathering in a heavily guarded wing of the White Sands Hotel, in a coastal resort 15 miles north of Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania. Next door, in the Beachcomber Hotel, Primates from the Global South arrived four days before the meeting to plan their strategy — a meeting originally scheduled to have taken place in Kenya. One Primate, when challenged by The Daily Telegraph’s religious-affairs correspondent, is reported to have boasted: “This isn’t an alternative headquarters. It is the headquarters.”

The Global South Primates are accompanied by advisers and lobbyists from England and the United States, including Bishop Martyn Minns of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria, and Canon Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream.

The Global South coalition, led by the Archbishop of All Nigeria, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, is expected to press for the solution demanded in its Kigali communiqué of September 2006: a separate Anglican jurisdiction in the United States, in the shape of a new province, which would include both CANA and the conservative group the Anglican Mission in America (News, 29 September). Reports suggest that it would be run by a college of bishops and have its own Presiding Bishop.

Read it all.

An Anglican Journal Article on Today’s Tanzania Developments

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:52 pm

Seven Anglican leaders who call themselves “Global South Primates” have boycotted a eucharist with their fellow primates calling it a “deliberate action” to show the “brokenness” of the Anglican Communion and their provinces’ “broken or severely impaired” relationship with the U.S. Episcopal Church.

“We each take the celebration of the Holy Eucharist very seriously. This deliberate action is a poignant reminder of the brokenness of the Anglican Communion. It makes clear that the torn fabric of the church has been torn further. It is a consequence of the decision taken by our provinces to declare that our relationship with the Episcopal Church is either broken or severely impaired,” the primates said in a statement posted on the Web site of the Church of Nigeria. (

The statement was signed by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, Archbishop John Chew of Singapore, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Archbishop Justice Akrofi of West Africa, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda, Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone of the Americas, and Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda.

This is the second time that the primates, who believe homosexuality to be contrary to Scripture, have snubbed a eucharist during a primates’ meeting. The first was during a meeting held in 2005 in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.

Read it all.

Bill Caroll comments on the Sub-Group Report

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 4:40 pm

From here:

I agree that the report is flawed and does not accurately represent the mind of the Episcopal Church. This was the trouble with B033 and other gestures at appeasement. They send unclear signals. The Episcopal Church does not intend to comply with the proposed moratorium on same sex unions or the provisions of B033 which concern only consent to the election of bishops for long. Whatever usefulness Windsor had (I don’t think it ever had much), is gone because the realignment crowd insists on using it as a litmus test. I think this probably was the intention of some of the drafters. Others (Eames/Dyer/Morgan) have presented it as the beginning of a process.

Truth be told, compliance with either moratorium is not possible in the long term (As the Presiding Bishop seemed to indicate in her remarks to the Urban Caucus) and anything resembling a moratorium on blessings was rejected. About the most you’ll see us repent for is the unintended (but forseeable) effects of our actions in 2003 and following.

We should come right out and say that we are convinced that the NH consecration and C051 were not only permitted but required of us by God. If anyone doesn’t believe that, then it wasn’t worth it. If you do believe it, then the consequences of GC2003 are worth it, because we are moving forward in mission in obedience to our Lord. How can you apologize for making a careful discernment and then acting upon it? Marilyn McCord Adams has been particularly clear on that score.

The Episcopal Church will continue to welcome, uphold, and sanctify the lives and ministries of lgbt clergy and people and eventually another of them (and another, etc.), with a partner, will be elected and confirmed as a bishop. Also, eventually there will be a rite for same sex unions (perhaps the marriage rite, perhaps a parallel rite) within the BCP. What remains uncertain is the status of those who cannot or cannot yet accept these developments. I suspect this is a fight for the middle. It is also a fight over a brand: Anglican.

I admire Kendall’s call for clarity. We ought to be capable of frank speech with one another. One of the things I admire about the new Presiding Bishop is that she is much clearer and more forthright than her predecessor (I’m an admirer of his also but a tendency toward duplicity was a weakness, not an uncommon one among bishops). As Luther once said, the theology of the cross calls a thing what it is. Bishop Katharine has played by the rules of the old game in lending her support to B033, but she has sent very clear signals that it is a regrettable, temporary measure. I wish that she had never pushed for it. I have a feeling that it will be her last effort in this direction and that she felt she was going the extra mile. I also believe that she will come to regret her decision and that she already regrets the pain it caused.

Dave Walker: The Primates Meeting

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:47 pm

Wonderful stuff.

Michael Nai-Chiu Poon: A Confused Report: Initial comments on the Communion Sub-group Report

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:27 pm

Read it all.

Craig Uffman–In Defense of Rowan Williams: An Alternative Explanation for the Infamous Gang of Four Committee Report

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:02 pm

Emotions ranging from grief to nearly hysterical anger characterize the response of orthodox Anglicans to the report of the committee tasked with monitoring the response of The Episcopal Church (TEC) to the Windsor Report. The committee report concludes that TEC responded sufficiently to two out of the three demands of the Windsor Report. Archbishop Aspinall of Australia summarized the conclusion succinctly, “Two out of three requirements were met, but more work is needed.” But in the eyes of the orthodox and liberals alike, the report gives TEC a clean bill of health.

The most common target of orthodox outrage is Archbishop Rowan Williams, whose name is on the report. “He sold us out!” claim some. “His greatest moment of shame!” declare others.

However, those who know ++Rowan’s work and character find those claims difficult to accept. There must be some other explanation. I believe that explanation can be summarized in one word: “overaccepting.”

Overaccepting is a term popularized by Rev. Canon Dr. Sam Wells (dean of the Duke Chapel and Research Professor of Christian Ethics at Duke Divinity School) in his book, Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Brazos and London: SPCK, 2004). Wells looks to the genre of improvisation in the theatre to describe the kind of ethical behavior for which disciples should be trained. In improvisation, the most important goal of actors is to keep the play going. No matter what kind of outrageous behavior one improv actor “offers,” her colleagues must respond in such a way that continuity with her actions is maintained so that the drama continues. In other words, their response must not “block” the “offer” of the colleague or the drama stops.

Wells explains that a good improvisationist always “accepts” the offer of the colleague in order to keep the action going. Indeed, they “over-accept” it by receiving that which is offered and then re-direct the action in a way continuous with the offer but perhaps oriented in a different direction. Those familiar with the TV series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” are familiar with this pattern.

Wells shows that “overaccepting” is the way of Christ. I’ll refer those interested in that proof to the book. But Wells’ key point is that Christian actors improvise by overaccepting the offers of others in such a way that the action is reoriented in the Way of Christ. When offering pastoral care, a Christian actor overaccepts in order to help the lost re-locate themselves rightly in God’s drama.

I propose that the best way to understand Rowan Williams’ role in the committee report is through the lens of “overaccepting.” As the orthodox claim loudly, the “offer” made by TEC was plainly unsuitable in that it fell short of the requested language of repentance and promises to cease the behaviors that tore the bonds of affection. Rather than “blocking” that response by rejecting it and ending the conversation with TEC, ++Rowan continued the action by “overaccepting” the offer and redirecting the action in such a way that TEC must relocate themselves rightly in God’s drama. That is, ++Rowan accepts as satisfactory the feeble response of TEC, but reinterprets it in such a way that TEC commits itself to cessation of the offensive behavior. TEC is thus offered the opportunity to continue the story along a direction it did not expect, or to stop the drama.

I suggest that “overaccepting” more adequately explains ++Rowan’s role in the committee report than claims of perfidy. By overaccepting TEC’s offer, he continues the conversation so that TEC may remain in the Anglican drama at least until the covenant offers the opportunity for voluntary and peaceable re-structuring of the communion. Overaccepting thus redirects the drama, in spite of TEC’s communion-tearing actions, in the direction of unity. And focus on unity is consistent with ++Rowans’ theology, character, and the office entrusted to him. As Wells demonstrates, although it is often frustrating behavior to those of us who long for a martial conqueror, overaccepting is the way of Christ.

–Mr. Craig Uffman is an Anglican who resides in Raleigh, NC, and is a student at Duke Divinity School

Key Documentation from Tanzania: Notes from today’s Press Conference

February 16th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:22 pm

Read it all.


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