Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wednesday Feb. 14th -- morning posts (5 - 8 a.m. Eastern)

From the Do Not Take Yourself Too Seriously Department: An Unintentionally Funny Headline

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 8:15 am


Building up in Maturity - from the Provincial Gathering of the Anglican Church in South East Asia

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:38 am

A wonderful read.

From the Toronto Globe and Mail: Anglicans face ‘a bit of pruning’ over gay rights

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:34 am

Perhaps not coincidentally, the leading Catholic news service Zenit just published an interview with three Catholic theologians who have written a book declaring the Bible to be unequivocally clear in its denunciation of homosexuality.

Primates from the southern hemisphere have been pushing the North American Anglican churches toward the exit door since the Episcopal Church, as Anglicanism is called in the United States, elected an openly gay bishop in 2003, while the bishop of New Westminster, B.C., approved the blessing of same-sex unions.

The Anglican Church of Canada will decide nationally on blessing same-sex unions at its general assembly, or synod, in June. A majority of its priests and bishops will likely approve.

The five-day Tanzanian meeting is formally an assembly of the communion’s primates, or senior archbishops of each province.

But Archbishop Williams also invited two conservative bishops of the Episcopal Church to attend — a move that elicited a scorching letter from the Canadian primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchinson — thus implying there are not one but two branches of Anglicanism in the United States, although only seven of the 100-plus Episcopal dioceses have indicated they want to pull away from the main church.

That’s two conservative bishops and one liberal bishop who Dr. Williams invited. I don’t understand why Bishop Epting keeps getting left out. Read it all.

From the BBC: Anglicans face difficult summit

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 7:32 am

“We have a difficult meeting ahead of us with many challenges and many decisions to make,” Dr Williams told reporters as he arrived in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

Conservative primates are angered that the recently-installed head of the American Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who has publicly backed Mr Robinson, is attending the meeting.

Supporters of the conservatives which include representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America - known as the Global South - have gathered in one hotel while liberal Anglican representatives have congregated in another, reports say.

In December, two of the oldest and largest parishes in the US broke from their bishop and become a mission of the Nigerian Church over the issue.

The head of the Anglican Church in Africa is Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who leads 37 million Anglicans and is increasingly influential.

The BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Piggott says some sort of split looks inevitable though one option for the meeting may be for them to create a system of full membership of the Anglican church for traditionalists, and a reduced, associate membership for liberals.

Read it all.

From the Associated Press: Anglican Conference Opens in Tanzania

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:19 am

The six-day conference has drawn the presiding bishops of 38 provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Some of the bishops, known as primates, have already broken their ties with the American church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the communion, has struggled to hold off one of the biggest meltdowns in Christianity in centuries, but he lacks any direct authority to force a compromise.

Supporters of ordaining gays believe the Bible’s social justice teachings take precedence over its view of sexuality. However, most Anglicans outside the United States believe gay relationships are sinful, and they are distancing themselves from the U.S. church.

Read it all.

Colin Coward: Report from the Primates meeting - Day 2

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:07 am

Davis Mac-Iyalla and I have both prayed and meditated for 1 hour this morning, beginning our day in the presence of God, open to his love and goodness, listening to his quiet voice in our hearts. We are here thanks to the generosity of Inclusive Church which is funding our presence in Tanzania, representing all who are working for a church inclusive of all.

I need to begin with an apology this morning, to my brothers David Anderson and Chris Sugden. Yesterday I wrote that I had detected a certain reticence on their part to meet and acknowledge Davis Mac-Iyalla‘s presence and wondered why conservatives are so discomfited by meeting a gay Anglican from Nigeria. I was wrong. David and Chris were not introduced to Davis yesterday, and my memory of reticence was totally wrong, and I am sorry for any embarrassment I have caused them in publishing this. Yesterday Bishop Martyn told Davis that he had read a lot about him and greeted him very positively.

This morning, Davis and I arrived for breakfast and found David and Chris having breakfast with Bishop Martyn Minns. David and Chris both rose to meet me and expressed their disappointment and I apologised to them. Davis was introduced to both of them. A fourth person was sitting at table with them, who didn’t rise and to whom neither Davis nor I were introduced. Later, we learnt that he was Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda.

Bishop Martyn, David and Chris were rightly angry and disappointed with me. They do not want to be misrepresented, especially as being reticent in meeting Davis. My own prejudice was at work, anticipating discomfort from some people here at being introduced to Davis Mac-Iyalla, who’s visible presence as a gay Nigerian Anglican has clearly angered other people.

I have subsequently reflected on the image of our relationships in the Communion that my error has mirrored and that is being acted out here in Tanzania. There is a high level of anxiety and real and proper concern when we misrepresent each other. I am still left with questions about trust and openness between us who are Christians and members of one Communion.

Read it all.

From the (London) Times: Archbishop faces boycott at gay summit

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 6:03 am

Dr Williams, meanwhile, has his own “nuclear option”, insiders said. In a recent document, The Road to Lambeth, the Global South Primates said that they will not attend the Lambeth Conference if the US Church’s gay bishop Gene Robinson and those who consecrated him are not disciplined and if they are invited to Lambeth.

The Lambeth Conference traditionally happens every ten years. But although the University of Kent has been booked, it is understood that Dr Williams is prepared to postpone the Lambeth Conference and hold a “covenantal assembly” instead.

Bishops, clergy and laity from around the communion would be invited to attend, to discuss whether they can continue to live together under the banner of the Anglican Covenant document to be revealed on Friday.

Hardliners from the orthodox camp want the Episcopal Church expelled. Others want a “two-province solution” with the conservatives in the US and the liberals in separate churches, with their own archbishops.

One difficulty the entire church is having to come to terms with, though, is that if the US is expelled, the whole edifice could crumble. It is cash from the Episcopal Church that keeps the show on the road.

Read the whole article.

Update: UPI has a short article there also.

From the Living Church: UN Anglican Observer May Brief Primates

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:58 am

The Archbishop of Canterbury is proposing that Mrs. Hellen Wangusa, the Anglican Observer to the United Nations, participate with the leaders of the Anglican Communion in a discussion on poverty and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during their Feb. 14-19 meeting in Tanzania.

Mrs. Wangusa was commissioned Feb. 4 as the sixth Anglican Observer to the United Nations during a service at the Parish of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. The Bishop of Auckland (New Zealand), the Rt. Rev. John Paterson, told the congregation Mrs. Wangusa will “represent the worldwide Anglican Communion at the United Nations.” In addition to advocating the interests of the Anglican Communion before the international body, she will provide “regular briefings and an accurate flow of information to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council,” Bishop Paterson said.

A draft agenda prepared for the primates’ meeting by the Most Rev. Rowan Williams proposes that Mrs. Wangusa and the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Capetown and Primate of the Province of Southern Africa, introduce the poverty and trade task team as part of a session on MDGs. She will be officially welcomed by Archbishop Williams during a Sunday Eucharist held in Zanzibar Cathedral.

Read the whole thing.

Also from the Guardian: The real Mr Big?

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:56 am

Mention the name of the Most Rev Peter Jasper Akinola, the primate of Nigeria, to Rowan Williams, our Archbishop of Canterbury, and you tend to get a twitch of his luxuriant eyebrows, a quizzical look and, maybe, just the hint of a rolling of the eyeballs. Dr Williams is, by virtue of his position, nominal head of the 78 million-strong Anglican Communion, the world’s third largest Christian denomination. But it’s an open question today, as the church’s archbishops from around the world meet in an agreeable hotel complex overlooking the shimmering Indian Ocean outside Dar es Salaam, whether the most important man in the church now - and therefore one of the most influential Christians on the planet - is actually the Archbishop of Abuja.

Affable, if slightly sinister looking thanks to his tinted glasses, the 63-year-old primate of Nigeria now heads what is almost certainly the largest national Anglican Church in the world - 18.5 million Nigerians at the last count. That’s fewer than the 27 million who officially belong to the Church of England, but, as we know, only 5% of them make it through the doors on any given Sunday.
Today it will be Akinola calling the shots among the bishops gathered in Tanzania, and he is enjoying his new-found eminence. After more than a century of being patronised, overlooked and ignored by their white proselytisers, the church’s black brethren are not going to take it any more. And none is more powerful than Akinola. “If the Church is not evangelising, it is like a dead fire,” he says. His voice booms out from the Nigerian capital; the bishops of the Church of England, the Episcopalians of the United States and the Anglicans of Canada can announce where they stand on civil partnerships, the election of a gay bishop or the ordination of homosexual people and within hours, sometimes within minutes, Akinola’s response comes hurtling back over the internet.

The archbishop speaks to his own flock about other things - including Nigerian government corruption - but it is his attacks on homosexuality that have got him noticed in the west. It seems almost an obsession with the archbishop, as well as a means of pointing out his moral superiority over equivocating, hesitant, intellectually fastidious westerners such as Rowan Williams. For Akinola has no doubts on the matter. “I cannot think how a man in his sense would be having a sexual relationship with another man,” he said in 2003. “Even in the world of animals - dogs, cows, lions - we don’t hear of such things.” Homosexuality, he says, is a flagrant disobedience to God.

Read it all.

From the Guardian: Williams faces fresh effort to stop Anglican split over noncelibate gay clergy

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:51 am

A letter signed by Archbishop Akinola on their behalf was presented to Dr Williams as he arrived, outlining their demands, thought to include an insistence that their new agenda be adopted, dealing with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, before anything else is agreed.

Dr Williams, who is coming under considerable pressure with veiled warnings that as Archbishop of Canterbury he may lose the nominal leadership of the worldwide church, said as he arrived: “We have a difficult meeting ahead of us, with many challenges and decisions to make.”

At today’s first session three American bishops with differing views will make presentations outlining three strands of opinion within the Episcopal church as to what should happen.

Some developing-world archbishops, who in the past have said they will not sit in the same room as Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, are indicating they would prefer the US church to divide into parallel administrations with a separate moderator to lead the conservative faction.

It is highly unlikely that the Episcopal church leadership would agree to a moderator scheme, which would also cause difficulties for other provinces, opening them up to splits in authority when there are disagreements.

Read it all.

From the Telegraph: Archbishop faces Church split

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:49 am

The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at a critical Anglican summit yesterday looking increasingly likely to back a “parallel” Church for conservatives, a move that will appal liberals.

Dr Rowan Williams called for divine guidance after he flew into Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania for the five-day primates’ meeting, that will be dominated by the bitter row over homosexuality that could split Anglicanism.

“We have a difficult meeting ahead of us with many challenges and many decisions to make,” he said.

“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.”

He will come under pressure from the conservative Global South leaders to discipline the liberal American Episcopal Church for consecrating Anglicanism’s first openly gay bishop in 2003, in breach of official policy. The conservatives have also drawn up a blueprint for a new parallel “ecclesial body” to accommodate conservative American Anglicans who reject the leadership of their liberal Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Seven conservative American bishops have so far indicated that they want to come under an alternative leader.

About another dozen or so are expected to follow suit if Dr Williams gives the plan his blessing.

Read the whole thing.

Ruth Gledhill: It is time for the Anglican Luthers to divorce

February 14th, 2007 posted by kendall at 5:48 am

Peter Akinola, of Nigeria, the leader of the orthodox and a likely primus inter pares for a new Global South Church, is not going to compromise. Nor is the pro-gay new US Primate, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, who could end up leading a new Episcopal Catholic Church. Dr Akinola would see himself as in Luther’s tradition: “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Dr Schori would see herself in exactly the same way. And so would the American bishop whose consecration in 2003 triggered the inevitable crisis, the openly gay Gene Robinson. No communion is big enough for these three Luthers, all nailing opposing theses to their church doors.

Historically, there are always critical moments — and for the Anglican Communion this is just such a moment. The Church of England was founded in the first place on the divorce of a king. It defies the reason that gave it birth, therefore, that it should now be resist its own internal divorce in the name of Church unity. The price for this notional unity, if pursued at all costs, will be continuous factionalism over an issue that is giving the Church a bad name and making it appear obsessed with sex.

An obsession with unity is blinding Anglican leaders from seeing the truth now facing them. It would be a better, braver and more realistic course of action to separate. It is time for the Anglican Communion to divide up the assets and divorce.

Read it all.


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