Monday, February 19, 2007

Sunday posts -- batch 2

Two BBC Radio Sunday Programme Reports on the Anglican Primates Meeting

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:48 pm

Click here to listen. The first one is right at the beginning (and lasts about 7 minutes) and the second one starts about 26 minutes in (and lasts about 6 minutes). Among those interviewed are Colin Coward of Changing Attitude U.K., Davis Mac-Iyalla of Changing Attitude Nigeria, Njongonkulu Ndungane, the Anglican Archbishop of South Africa, Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream, and Caroline Hall, Integrity’s Director of Anglican Communion Affairs.

What Happened to that Photo of all the Anglican Primates in Zanzibar?

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 2:07 pm

Peter Ould wants to know.

A Letter from the Episcopal Bishop of Maryland to the Anglican Archbishop of Ghana in response to the Latter’s Actions in Tanzania

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:57 pm

The Most Reverend Justice O. Akrofi
Archbishop of West Africa and Bishop of Accra
Bishopscourt, P.O. Box GP 8
Accra, Ghana

February 17, 2007

Dear +Justice,

It is with sadness that I need to rescind my invitation to you to be with us in late March into early April, 2007. Yesterday I learned you were one of seven primates who have boycotted the Eucharist at the Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, and +Peter Akinola’s statement on behalf of the seven of you is in all the newspapers. I have received a number of emails from clergy in this Diocese expressing their disapproval of your action. The Diocesan Council met today and agrees that you cannot be welcomed in Maryland under the circumstances. For my own part, I am disappointed you would use the Holy Sacrament of our Lord’s Body and Blood as a political tool—I had assumed you sacramental theology was more thoroughly Anglican. Mostly I am sorry after so many years to end our personal relationship on this note.

It is obvious to everyone here that it would now be completely inappropriate for you to celebrate the Eucharist at our Cathedral on Palm Sunday. Surely, many parishioners would protest you visit by not receiving Communion from you. Since I do not allow such behavior in this Diocese, I cannot encourage it by your presence. Clearly it would be inappropriate for you to preach Tuesday in Holy Week to a combined group of Lutheran and Episcopal clergy, since you do not even share Communion with other Anglicans. Finally, it is sadly clear to Nancy and me that your presence at my retirement celebration is out of order as well. I give thanks for the eight years we have been in relationship; we have many friends in Accra and in Ghana, and I am aware that there are a number of them who will be shocked and grieved by your behavior. I have always shared honestly with you (even though I have not felt in the past two years you have been so honest in your sharing) and want to say we have great affection for the +Justice we knew in those earlier years. Since becoming Archbishop, you have changed and I do not feel I know you anymore.

I am not at this time calling for an end of the Companion Diocese relationship, although this development puts that relationship at risk. I am content to let the Holy Spirit guide our Dioceses into appropriate discernment (a discernment which will take place after my retirement and without my input). As a Diocese, Maryland is committed, as am I, to the continuation of projects already begun in Accra and relationships in Accra which I and many others here cherish. Our special Lenten offerings will go to assist children in your Diocese, I continue to be very supportive of Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope spearheaded by Debbi Frock, and we celebrate our ongoing Cursillo commitments.

Let me assure you I am not angry as I write this but deeply disappointed. The Diocese of Accra and its parishes remain on our Diocesan Prayer list from week-to-week, and you will remain in my prayers and those of our Diocesan family. Please continue to pray for us. There was much I had hoped to show you and tell you in your upcoming visit, much we had hoped to plan together, especially as it relates to youth ministry, a high priority for both of our Dioceses. Perhaps some of that can continue in some different form; personally, I am sad that I will not be a part of it.

Your faithful brother in Christ,

–(The Right Reverend) Robert W. Ihloff is Bishop of Maryland

A Cameron Butland Letter to the Editor in the (London) Times on New Churches

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:54 pm

Sir, The 500-plus new Church of England churches that have opened since 1969 are only part of the picture (report, Feb 10).

Since 2000 more than 5,000 Church of England parishes have started a “Fresh Expression” initiative. These often involve congregations meeting in schools, community buildings or even cafés. Together they proclaim that Christian worship is alive and adapting to modern environments. These new initiatives, alongside traditional church worship, are for the most part aimed at occasional and nonchurchgoers and are in high streets and other places where people gather, rather than just expecting people to come to church.

But no one is ever outside a Church of England parish, and closing a church is often a response to population movements, nothing else. In 1969 the Church introduced specific legislation to deal with churches that were no longer required for regular worship and a considerable backlog was dealt with in the first decade or so. While 1,700 of our churches have closed since 1969, the rate has been much lower in the past two decades than at the start, about 25-30 churches a year.

Read it all.

From Religion and Ethics Weekly: Anglican Primates Meeting

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:49 pm

One of the top issues on the agenda is discussing divisions surrounding the U.S. Episcopal Church. The leaders here are assessing whether the Episcopal Church has done enough to address international Anglican concerns after the Americans ordained an openly gay bishop and moved forward blessing same-sex unions.

They are also debating what to do about local U.S. parishes splitting off from the Episcopal Church and aligning themselves with Anglican churches in other parts of the world.

The leaders here say they still hope to find a way to prevent their Communion from breaking apart. But many people on all sides of the debates say the time for that may be quickly running out.

Read it all.

Anglican head calls for humility in gay clergy row

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:39 pm

The spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans reminded his bishops of the need for humility on Sunday in a veiled rebuke to those whose wrangling over gay clergy threatens to tear the church apart.

“Very early in the history of the church there was a great saint who said God was evident when bishops were silent,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said to some laughter in a packed cathedral in the predominantly Muslim Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar.

“There is one thing a bishop should say to another bishop … that I’m a great sinner and Christ is a great saviour.”

Anglican Church leaders are meeting in Tanzania to try to resolve a long simmering row over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s consecration of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson in 2003, which has set a liberal minority against a conservative majority.

Absent from the service was the leader of the second-biggest Anglican province, Nigeria’s conservative Archbishop Peter Akinola, who an official said was ill.

Akinola, together with six other African, Asian and Latin American archbishops, refused to take Holy Communion — bread and wine symbolising the body and blood of Christ — on Friday with the head of the U.S. Episcopal Church.

The group snubbed Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first elected female leader of an Anglican province, in protest at her unwavering support for Robinson’s elevation and for same-sex unions.

Read it all.

Colin Coward–Report from the White Sands Hotel, Dar Es Salaam - Late night extra

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:37 pm

Read it all.

From the Anglican Church of Canada Press–Primates’ Meeting: Talks take a turn

February 18th, 2007 posted by kendall at 1:36 pm

The way that the Primates’ Meetings had been proceeding took a turn on Saturday. Archbishop Phillip Aspinall of Australia the spokesperson for the Primates was unable to attend the media briefing. He is part of the team producing the final statement and was needed for the meeting that had begun to work on the statement.

Canon James Rosenthal, communications director for the Anglican Communion, took the podium to report that the conversations about the Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report continued but had not reached a final conclusion.

The Primates had also moved on to other items on the agenda including a session on Theological Education. All Primates expressed a concern about this topic and appreciated that the Archbishop of Canterbury had named it a high priority.

The rest of the day was devoted to a focus on economic justice. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Southern Africa and Hellen Wangusa, Anglican Observer at the United Nations, were both present for the press briefing. They lead a lively session that had thoroughly engaged the Primates in one of the top priorities of the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Ndungane spoke passionately about our world and its needs:

“In our world there is global apartheid where the rich are getting stingingly rich and the poor are getting desperately poor. We know that there are more than 800 million people living in poverty in the world … this is not only immoral, it is a sin, it is evil.”

Read it all.


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