Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday Backup batch 2: 12:00 noon EST

Archbishop Rowan Williams’ comments at the final press conference in Tanzania

February 20th, 2007 posted by kendall at 10:02 am

May I echo the thanks for your patience which Philip has already shared with you – we’re very appreciative of the fact that it is late and we’re all tired.

Also before I start, I went from one session just to check the BBC news and heard more details about he appalling bombing on the train in India and I know that all the Primates will want to put on record their grief and shock about this and their prayers for all involved and their families.

What I’d like to do is touch briefly – very briefly – on the issues in the final communiqué of our meeting. As usual, you’ll see elements there of narrative – this is what we did, these are the activities we shared and these were the subjects we covered. You’ll notice the reference there to the commissioning of our new representative at the United Nations, and following on form that, some discussion of future work that can be done on the Millennium Development goals by the Communion, especially in the forthcoming conference in Johannesburg in a few week’s time at which I hope to be present.

We also received and welcomed the report on Theological Education and identified a new project on interpretation of the Bible.

The business of following through the recommendations of the Windsor report covers, as you see, a great deal of our business and it touches on what we’ve called the listening process, and we had an extremely good discussion and report from Canon Philip Groves and a great deal of information about the variety of responses and perspectives around the world on these questions around listening to the experience of homosexual people and the challenges of equitable and patient pastoral ministry to them.

There’s a reference to the report on the Panel of Reference, you’ve heard something already of the Anglican Covenant, but it’s probably the remainder of the document, from paragraph 17 onwards that contains the meat of our recommendations.

In short, the feeling of the meeting as a whole was that the response of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church to the recommendations of the Windsor report, a response made at General Convention last year, represented some steps in a very encouraging direction but did not yet represent a situation in which we could say ‘business as usual’. What that means in practice is spelled out in what follows.

We’re still as a communion in a place where our doctrinal position is that of Lambeth 1.10 and where that position has been reiterated in a number of Primates’ Meetings, ACC meetings and a number of other fora. That hasn’t changed. However there are two factors which we needed to take seriously and engage with….

Q What message is this sending to people in the pews who are tired of this … what would you say is the end goal?

The end goal is the Kingdom of God, isn’t it, and that takes a while. What would I say to people in the pews? I would say first of all that Gospel remains the Gospel –that is the love of God, the challenge of God the love of God promising absolution, the challenge of God requiring change. That doesn’t change and for people to go on in the baptised life, sharing Holy Communion, serving the world, there is no imperative bigger than that.

I said I went back from one session and put the news on and looking at the levels of human grief, terror and suffering around the world, it did seem to me that in many ways it’s quite difficult to persuade people that the Church – I don’t just mean the Anglican Church – has transforming good news when most of what people hear about us is our own internal divisions. There’s a lot in this communiqué about what else we’re doing, that is the other 97% of what the Church does in terms of the Millennium Development Goals and other matters. I do hope people will bear that in mind as the primary vision.

Read it all.

Bishop Epting on the Primates meeting

February 20th, 2007 posted by kendall at 9:54 am

Read it all.

From the Telegraph: Anglican Church leaders give ultimatum to liberals

February 20th, 2007 posted by kendall at 9:01 am

One of the leading conservatives, the Primate of the Southern Cone in South America, Archbishop Gregory Venables, said after the meeting:

“We came very close to separation over this.

“But Biblical doctrine and behaviour have been affirmed as the norms in the Anglican Church.”

The communiqué reaffirmed that the official policy of the worldwide Church remained the traditional teaching that sex should be confined to heterosexual marriage.

It said that the primates remained unable to recognize that the Episcopal Church had “mended its broken relationships.”

It added that there was an “urgent need” for the Episcopal Church to reassure those who had lost trust in it that it was prepared to agree to official Anglican policy on homosexuality.

It concluded: “We do not underestimate the difficulties and heart-searching that our proposals will cause, but we believe that commitment to the ways forward which we propose can bring healing and reconciliation across the Communion.”

Dr Williams said at the press conference that the new enclave for conservative Americans was “an experiment”, but the communique makes clear that it could be applied to other parts of the Church that suffer similar tensions, even the Church of England.

He said it represented a challenge to the Episcopal Church to “clarify its position” within a certain time frame.

He said that it would be “difficult” to accept a response from the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops that was not in the language of the communique.

Read it all and note at the top of the article there are links to other articles you should read as well.


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