Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday Feb. 13th -- morning backup

Here's a bunch of early Tuesday Morning posts. We'll try to keep updating this backup every few hours.

Timothy Fountain: From Our Tub to Tanzania
February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:20 am

So, from tub-side, I pray that the Anglican Primates in Tanzania will be “receptive” to Christ. He is the Head – the brain – of the church, and the Holy Spirit flashes about like the nervous system, powering life-giving functions, calling parts to action, releasing the right vital activity at the right moment, bringing life-giving integration and coordination.

May the Primates be receptive to the impulses of the Spirit, the directives firing from the mind of Christ. May they move as Christ would have them move. Consistent with Paul’s great exposition of the church as Christ’s body, may they work for the common good – the growth and vitality of the whole – rather than the mad, cancer-like excess of any one part.

And I pray, from tub-side, that the Primates in Tanzania may have expressive language. May they find the right words to express the mind of Christ and the real action of the Holy Spirit. May they speak with a clarity that brings the Gospel – not the church’s autistic bureaucratese – to the confused, groping world. May they arrive at a statement that gives faithful Christians direction toward the right path, and that guides the lost off of the road to destruction.

God bless you, Joey. You turn me inside out sometimes, little man. But your demands have brought me closer to heaven than I would come in my own selfish comforts. From your tub-side – our bit of sacred space – I pray that a group of church leaders in Tanzania will make the right demands and bring our church closer to the Lord who saves us. Amen.

Read it all.

Changing Attitiude: Report from Dar Es Salaam 01

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:17 am

Read it carefully.

From Ekklesia: Confusion ahead of Anglican Primates meeting

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:13 am

Amid confusion about who will play a role at the global Anglican Primates meeting in Tanzania this week – with reports that even the evangelical Dr John Sentamu is unacceptable to hardliners gathered around Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola – a UK-based broad church organization has declared “Enough is Enough”.

“We know we don’t have much time”, says Inclusive Church over the future of the 77 million strong Communion, threatened by deep rifts over different theological approaches to sexuality and the Bible. “The decision for everyone to go their separate ways could be taken at the Lambeth Conference in 2008. Meetings leading up to it start this week.”

Speaking at the launch of a fundraising initiative for “the Anglican centre”, the Bishop of Salisbury, Dr David Stancliffe, said: “I live by the catholic conviction that the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. I welcome this campaign to reinvigorate and encourage the broad centre of the Church of England.”

Dr Stancliffe particularly highlighted Sudan, which is linked with Salisbury. He said that such examples of practical friendship were more important than claims of pan-African homogeneity, and added that Sudan had not followed the lead of Archbishop Akinola in neighbouring Nigeria.

Meanwhile, an ‘open letter’ has been sent to the Archbishops of Canterbury, York, Wales and Armagh on behalf of a 500-strong Anglican clergy organization, the Society of Catholic Priests, calling on them to refrain from action against the Episcopal Church of the USA.

The letter warns the leaders of the Anglican Communion not to treat TEC/ECUSA as the source of all the problems in the church. Instead, the Rev Jonathan Clark, who heads up SCP, asks the Primates to recognise that “fractures within the Communion run not between but through provinces, dioceses and parishes.”

It is simply incorrect to say that the concern about Archbishop Sentamu is because he himself is unacceptable; the concern has to do with the process involved and the precedent it sets, not with the person or his theological perspective. Read it all–KSH

From the Christian Science Monitor: Anglican leaders under pressure to prevent schism

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:07 am

The Episcopal Church has “moved outside its own theological boundaries,” Duncan says. He charges that the church does not trust the authority of scripture, “which is clear about God’s purposes in creation of man and woman,” and is disregarding “the uniqueness of Jesus Christ … as the only way to the Father.”

Jefferts Schori has been criticized for supporting gay leadership and for statements saying Jesus is unique for Christians, but that God may also act in other ways.

“The theology espoused by the presiding bishop is absolutely consistent with the creeds,” says the Rev. Ian Douglas, of Episcopal Divinity School. “People are using scripture in a dangerous way – it is a living document and not something to be used as a proof text or a club.”

After African leaders said they wouldn’t sit with Jefferts Schori and requested other US bishops be invited, Dr. Williams asked Duncan and two others to come Tanzania to speak to primates in a session before their meeting.

Bishop Christopher Epting, head of the Episcopal Ecumenical and Interfaith office, will discuss how the crisis has affected ties with other religious groups.

“While the issues of homosexuality are of concern to our ecumenical partners, no one has broken off dialogues with us, and their real concern is that the Communion hang together,” he says. “They’re concerned that things not deconstruct before we have the opportunity to work through the new covenant.”

Read the whole article.

From the Independent–Why is the Anglican Church facing a schism, and can it be prevented?

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:04 am

Why the panic?

A meeting of the primates of the Anglican Church’s 38 self-governing provinces starts today in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. Top of the agenda is how to stop a schism developing following the decision of the Episcopal Church, the US branch of Anglicanism, to ordain an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in November 2003.

Surely that can’t be still causing ructions?

Yes it can, and some. The conservative churches, especially in Africa, believe homosexuality is a sin according to Scripture. They have formed themselves into a separate group, Global South, based in a different hotel in Dar Es Salaam, and are threatening to secede from the worldwide community unless the US either mends its ways or is expelled from the community.

The anger of the traditionalists has not been helped by the presence of the head of the American church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first ever elected female head of any Anglican province and a noted supporter of the ordination of Gene Robinson. Some traditionalists are even threatening to leave the chamber if Katharine Schori enters it.

Can’t our own dear Archbishop step in to mend fences?

He will try. As senior primate of the worldwide community, the “first among equals”, he has the status, and the obligation, to try and hold the institution together. He has also been tasked with coming up with various compromise ideas that might allow the churches to go their own ways but remain in communion before the deadline of the ten-yearly Lambeth conference of worldwide bishops due in 2008.

Read it all.

From Reuters: Anglican leader faces tough summit to avoid schism

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:02 am

The spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans invoked the power of prayer on Tuesday to help him save the church from schism over gay priests and same-sex marriages at a crucial meeting this week.

Some commentators say it will be a personal disaster for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams if he fails to reconcile a liberal minority and conservative majority spilt over the issues during a six-day summit that opens in Africa on Wednesday.

“We have a difficult meeting ahead of us with many challenges and many decisions to make,” he told reporters as he arrived in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam, which means “abode of peace” in Arabic.

“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 be done,” he said.

The Tanzania meeting is shaping up to be the biggest clash yet between Global South conservatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America — where the Anglican church is growing — and liberals in the more affluent West — where congregations are shrinking.

Read it all.

Archbishop Peter Jensen: Truth and Unity Collide in Dar es Salaam

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:59 am

In a few days, the Primates of the Anglican Communion will meet in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The largest churches are in the global south. There is a clear loss of patience with the Americans and their allies. Decisions may have been taken by some leading members of the group not to have fellowship with the Americans. Indeed, various parishes in America have already joined overseas dioceses, rather than remain in the American church, and the Nigerians have set up a branch of their numerically powerful church in US itself. Considerable pain is being experienced, and it may well get worse as Anglicans rearrange their relationships.

Bishop Katharine Schori, the new Presiding Bishop of the American Church will be present at the invitation of Dr Williams. There is doubt about the welcome she will receive from a number of the Primates. To them, she represents a church which has broken the boundaries needed to hold the communion together. Whether the American convictions prove to be prophetic and true, or wilful and badly mistaken, they have chosen to follow them to the end. They cannot be surprised that this will cause turbulence in the communion. They had more than sufficient warning over the years.

Already Anglicans are not as welcoming of each other we have been in the past. In a world where truth is often regarded as no more than opinion, this is a struggle over important matters of principle. The Americans have clearly voted for the truth of their convictions over unity, although they would like both. The same thing applies to those who are opposed to them. But this is actually not without hope. We are seeing not a mere power struggle, but the clash of deeply held convictions.

It is not unchristian to have serious disagreement over truth. But here is a biblical command for us all: speak the truth with love. Can Anglicans continue to witness to the truth and also love those with whom we differ so significantly? If so, perhaps one day we will see unity restored. The Dar es Salaam meetings may well clarify the way ahead for Anglicans.

Read it all.

Joel Connelly: Cohabitation, church style

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:55 am

Two signs can be found outside a modern church building in this Navy town: One announces “St. Stephen’s Anglican Church,” the other “St. Stephen Episcopal Church.”

A case of cross purposes?

Nope, the signs are a symbol of divisions that have split some parishes off from the Episcopal Church. And they signal a bid to avoid - albeit with major concessions - the kind of rancor seen elsewhere in the country.

On Sunday afternoon, the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton was installed as the rector (pastor) at St. Stephen. The parish is made up of those in the Oak Harbor area who stayed loyal to the Episcopal Church after fellow parisoners at St. Stephen’s decided to pull out of the church and place themselves under the “alternative oversight” of an Anglican bishop in Recife, Brazil.

About 250 people showed up, including 35 members of the clergy and two Episcopal bishops: It was a welcome display of support for the loyalists, who found themselves largely abandoned by the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia after their brethren decamped late in 2003.

“They’ve been a faithful band: I can tell you that,” said the Rt. Rev. Sandy Hampton, a retired assisting bishop in the Olympia Diocese, and retired Bishop of Minnesota. A resident of nearby Anacortes, Hampton is one who never gave up on those chose to remain loyal to the main church.

Diocesan Bishop Vincent Warner and St. Stephen’s negotiated a “covenant agreement” last year, under which the Anglican congregation will continue as the building’s dominant user until the year 2014. The Episcopal loyalists at St. Stephen were told to accept it or face withdrawal of financial support from the diocese.

Read it all.

Sarah Hey: Playgrounds of the Grown-Ups: Why Ruth Gledhill Has it Wrong

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:55 am

Read it all.

Todd Granger: Fast footwork and close collaboration

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:55 am

“[E]ncouragement to mission, intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving of guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to our Anglican tradition and formularies”, undergirded by “moral authority calling for ready acceptance throughout the Communion”, seem quite significant responsibilities and a strong check on assertions of the sort of provincial autonomy we American and (some) Canadians have been making.

I trust that the Primates of the Communion are prepared to take up this more robust authority and ministry in the common life of the Communion.

Read it all.

From The Living Church: Hero’s Sendoff for Presiding Bishop

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:55 am

The service and reception at St. Thomas afterward concluded a whirlwind week of travel and media interviews that began with the Presiding Bishop’s Feb. 2-4 visit to Cuba, included her participation in the annual meeting of the Episcopal Urban Caucus in Raleigh, N.C., an address to the convention of the Diocese of East Tennessee, and ended with her Feb. 10-11 visitation to St. Thomas’.

“It was a wonderful sendoff for her in preparation for the primates’ meeting,” Fr. Shaw said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori left from New York City early Monday morning and is scheduled to arrive Tuesday afternoon in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, shortly before the start of the special session involving three other bishops from The Episcopal Church. It is expected that seating arrangements will be finalized after the special session, said Canon Jim Rosenthal, director of communications for the Anglican Consultative Council. Local time in Tanzania is eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States.

In an interview with The Living Church several weeks ago, Bishop Jefferts Schori said she hoped the primates’ meeting would result in an enhanced commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. She also said she stood ready to assist Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria address the exploitation of indigenous people in oil rich regions of Nigeria. It is also expected that Bishop Jefferts Schori will seek an end to the increasingly frequent willingness of some other primates to accept oversight of dissident Episcopal parishes and priests, a practice which was discouraged in the Windsor Report.

Read it all.

From the Living Church: Elections and Politics Part of Tanzania Meeting

February 13th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:55 am

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, is scheduled to arrive early in the morning on Tuesday. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will not arrive until later in the afternoon on Feb. 13. In recent years, the proposed agenda for the primates’ meeting has been substantially altered by the primates soon after the first business session commences. The meeting is scheduled to begin with a morning orientation session Feb. 14 then goes into recess until the following day in order to hear an extra-curricular presentation in the afternoon by three American bishops on the state of The Episcopal Church.

A draft agenda prepared ahead of time by Archbishop Williams and his staff, which included among other items sessions on the future of the Church in China, theological education and a joint session between the primates and the joint standing committee of the primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) has already been declared unrealistic by some primates.

Representation on the primates’ standing committee has been seriously affected by retirements. At the February 2005 primates’ meeting in Northern Ireland, five regional caucuses elected the primates standing committee. Those elected were: the Most Rev. Orlando de Oliveira of Brazil for the Americas, the Most Rev. Bernard Malango of Central Africa for Africa, the Most Rev. Z. James Terom of North India for Central/South Asia, the Most Rev. Peter Kwong of Hong Kong for East Asia/Pacific and the Most Rev. Barry Morgan of Wales for Europe. The Archbishop of Canterbury serves as president of the ACC and primates’ meeting.

Read the whole thing.


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