Comments: Primates gathering: Friday - more news and comment

"Condemnation of homophobia?!" Which *they* are responsible for! Beyond contemptible.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 5:28pm GMT

I don't suppose you kind folk in America would fancy lending us here in the old country your unspeakably wonderful presiding bishop for a while, would you....

Posted by John Swanson at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 5:30pm GMT

So, credit where due: I appreciate Archbishop Foley having the grace and sense not to vote. I don't think he should have been there, but he didn't invite himself, and the fault there lies elsewhere.

There is much to be said for McGowan's observation about the nature, and the (lack, really, of) structures of the Communion. I expect he right: that there will be some action at ACC to ask the Episcopal Church's representatives not to vote. It won't take us out of the room, and it won't take us away from the mic, as it were; and it is our presence and our voice, as much as specific votes, that those angry primates fear.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 5:47pm GMT

If you listen to +Michael's video, be sure to have a box of tissues around.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 5:49pm GMT

How cant Welby say that his 'sadness' when he does what he's just done and when the C-of-E treats its long and faithful clergy as it has done recently to Jeremy and Jeremy? It sounds to this Yank like hyper-blown hyporcrisy.....

Posted by Sara MacVane at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 6:35pm GMT

Most of us will hang in. We can use our positions to influence and pressure. Really sad about the African bishops. Their culture oppresses their theology - aided and abetted by funds from US ultra-conservatives. Why can't we get that the Gospel transcends sex - which is very much a second, third or fourth issue and really not theologically at all? Just look at the history of 'holy matrimony' in England which until quite recently was to do with dynastic relationships and property - very much anti-gospel values. Was there 'love' in these arranged church blessed marriages? Lots of evidence against. So why has it become the touchstone of Orthodoxy? I would much rather we united around the love of God in Christ and agree that in some secondary things, cultures interpret the Bible differently.Even evangelicals disagree on interpretation. All of us from the most woolly liberal to the ultra conservative should hold before us 1 Cor.9:16b because that is what we will be judged by - not by who related to whom and how in bed or otherwise!!!

Sorry for the rant - not my normal style but I do so get angry about the total obsession with sex.

John Wallace, churchwarden and Chair of House of Laity of St Albans Diocesan Synod

Posted by John Wallace at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 6:55pm GMT

The week began with the startling news of the death of cultural music genius David Bowie. It ends with a fade to the cacophony of Anglican Primates.

I find these few lines from a Pink Floyd song speak to me at several levels.

"Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say.
Far away
Across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell"

(Songwriters: David Gilmour, Nickolas Mason, Roger Waters,Rick Wright)

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 7:21pm GMT

Let's see, use (fear and loathing of) GLBT people as a unifying spirit to hold the Anglican Communion together, tell TEC "we don't want your vote, but please send money"-- and then apologize for homophobia.

Perhaps the ABC needs to learn the theological concept of "chutzpah".

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 8:05pm GMT

'So why has it become the touchstone of Orthodoxy?'

Maybe because Jesus has quite a bit to say about marriage in the Gospel.

Posted by William at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 11:31pm GMT

You fellows really need to get on-message about the money, because at this point your collective trumpet is giving off a most uncertain sound.

First you complained that the money was coming from TEC and America, and that TEC should withdraw all money from the ACC and ACO.

When your bluff was called on that count by the orthodox, you then said that the money was coming from conservatives funding the African Primates.

Which is it? You cannot have it both ways. And if you are a TEC loyalist, I would call your bluff. I'm a young American Anglican clergyman, and I cannot be bought, sold, or traded. I've never received a penny from an old, white, Episcopal Church trust fund. Your money means nothing to me. So go on, keep it. Stop burbling on about it. Take your money with you, wherever you are going with it.

Posted by wyclif at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 11:43pm GMT

"I don't suppose you kind folk in America would fancy lending us here in the old country your unspeakably wonderful presiding bishop for a while, would you...."

Nope, he's all ours. But the Jesus Work in the Jesus Movement is for everybody. And we can do some of that together.

+Michael said the Communion is about relationships, and that comes down to us, not the guys in the pointy hats.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 15 January 2016 at 11:50pm GMT

One aspect of all this that has received little attention is the effect of this decision on the many people who now find one more reason to shun religion in general and Christianity in particular - the very people, often enough, who need most what the church can - sometimes - offer. The sheer level of repugnance in the LGBT press is at a new level of rejection. In short, this decision, while it may have warmed the hearts of GAFCON and certain southern bishops, is very powerful anti-evangelism.

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 1:16am GMT

This Instrument of Unity has become a model Sanhedrin taking its cue as per John 11:49-50. As with the previous two predecessor ABCs, the C in ABC discloses "our name is Caiaphas".

But thanks and praise be for the gracious PB Michael and for The Episcopal Church and its calling. Brother Michael truly assures us we are part of the Jesus Movement which cannot be stopped and we keep the Lord's discipline. So we follow the One who taught that the Law/Sabbath was created for us and not us for the Law/Sabbath. Remain Anglican where still we can and should, as much as we can, but we remember the Anglican Communion (and its Instruments) was made for us and not us for it. The Gospel of Love over the order of the likes of High Priests P Jenson and S Ngatali and Sanhedrin consequences therefrom/therewith. Remember rather Bishop Ronald Hall of Hong Kong and the saintly Florence Li Tim Oi. And Desmond Tutu.

Posted by keithmcianwil at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 4:01am GMT

On a somewhat technical though tangential point, the General Synod is likely to want to scrutinise the CofE's funding of the ACC when it meets in July. Members might want to know whether it gets value for money, especially if the import of the 2016 Primates Communique is to constrain what the Church of England can or cannot do.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 5:20am GMT

"Dozens of gay rights activists, many of them refugees from African countries, descended on Canterbury Cathedral to chant “Shame on you” in the precincts where the 38 primates of the Anglican communion had been meeting to resolve deep divisions over gay rights."

With all due respect to our wonderful PB Michael, THIS is the best news I've heard out of this execrable meeting. The stones themselves cry out!

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 9:51am GMT

If Foley Beach was given a ballot paper, regardless of what he may or may not have done with it, it is a scandal.

Posted by Nicholas Henderson at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 9:55am GMT

Well, if it's God's will we suffer because of these people, God's Will be done. So Ahab and Jezebel did to Elijah! But, as Elijah went to the wilderness to protect his holy charge 'til God set things right, so may TEC have to do.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 10:34am GMT

Look at wycliff's response: "Get gone and take your demonic gays with you, old whites devils!" That's what they are, now, the ecclesial Trump campaign. There's your love, tolerance, and brotherhood! That's the Anglican Communion. We have God's work to do and they will fight it to a standstill. It's the first true statement to come from their hearts.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 1:00pm GMT

My personal place in this: ever since '98, every Primate's meeting, every statement of cantuar, ACNA, GAFCON leaves me in such a state of despair, feeling so stripped of my humanity that I consider suicide-no different this time. Worse. I truly believe they will rejoice to hear that. I'm sure I'm not the only one. There is no God in a structure or process that does that, is there?

Posted by MarkBrunson at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 3:59pm GMT

William said: "'So why has it become the touchstone of Orthodoxy?'

Maybe because Jesus has quite a bit to say about marriage in the Gospel."

I'm struggling - as I have done for 35 years of ordained ministry - to find all those things that Jesus is specifically alleged to have said about marriage. Even the marriage service itself can only quote tomorrow's Gospel (the wedding at Cana) as his personal affirmation of marriage - an occasion liturgically linked more with disclosure of the nature of Jesus than with any statement about the nature of marriage. Suggested scripture readings for weddings in Common Worship vary from OT poetry to Pauline (and pseudo-Pauline) explorations of the nature of our common life in the body of Christ. You can't read "wives, be obedient to your husbands..." etc without ruining the average wedding with an extended exegetical sermon. And Jesus didn't say any of that anyway...

No, William; I reckon Jesus had a whole lot to say about recognising and celebrating the love of God, about finding it in our fellow human beings, and sharing in it by being filled with the love of God that enables all our human loving.

Marriage? It just happens in every culture. Religious folk then take it and make it into a situation where we can expect God to be involved (as S/He will be anyway, because of the incarnation). The troubles arise when we try to assume that our religious spin on these very human institutions should somehow take precedence.

I'm a coward. I'm civilly-partnered. But we have decided that we daren't 'convert' our CP into a civilly-recognised marriage as we both hold licences from bishops for our different jobs. I wrestle with being a priest in my very bones and believing that I am responding to such a deep-seated vocation which needs to find its sacramental expression within the life of the Church; and with an institution that then invents arbitrary rules to make sure that the totality of who I am cannot be affirmed as part of my calling to the priesthood (which it has affirmed)...

God knows what this perverse and tortured non-theology has done to the development of my psyche over the years. In fact, I reckon I've come through it all with a reasonable degree of sanity - through grace alone.

Posted by Jonathan MacGillivray at Saturday, 16 January 2016 at 4:19pm GMT

Mark Brunson, hang in there. The meeting was dreadful, as they all are. But all will be well in all manner of things. After all, we have +Michael to remind us that "all are welcome in the house of God."

Go to your terrific parish, sing hymns, receive the Eucharist, and hang with your peeps. All will be well.

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 12:51am GMT

Yes, Cynthia, but not in the AC. We need to stay home and tend our own culture. We can do nothing abroad, everything at home. Tend our woefully-neglected home and work to enhance our political influence in the US.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 2:13pm GMT

Cynthia, absolutely. Mark, we are all valued. The primates don't get to decide that.

Posted by James Byron at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 2:55pm GMT

Mark, it is possible to engage abroad. Our parish has relationships in Haiti, Guatemala, South Sudan, and Malawi. This has come about via parishioners who are active in those places. But it's quite possible to engage in meaningful relationship and missional work (not toxic charity). This is the real work, the Jesus Work that +Michael talks about. Several of these relationships happen in full knowledge that the supporting parishes are gay friendly.

Of course, there's no shame in engaging locally with the problems we have. But there's plenty of engagement that can happen from the individual level to the national church level.

+Michael said that the Communion is about relationships more than polity and structure. I agree and there are lots of possibilities.

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 10:23pm GMT

The assertion by ABC and the primates that TEC. Must face"concequences" is nothing more than a power seeking attempt to impose a covenant on churches that have clearly rejected the propsed anglican covenant. Including of course his own church. Such a naked assertion that the primates can ignore the rejection of a covenant is the height of arrogance. I applaud all who refuse to abide by this. Gay Jennings is right to say she will continue to serve in her coomunion position

Posted by Greg at Sunday, 17 January 2016 at 11:39pm GMT

By all means make friends outside the US! I'm not saying write off humanity, but we really can do it ourselves. It isn't a party where we have to wait for an introduction! We can engage while realizing we don't own the problem and can't. I mean this gently to a gentle soul; your comment on home outreach underscores a potentially deadly problem-we tend to love the suffering far away and get embarrassed by those in our midst, perhaps because it's a reminder that we fail to really fix the problems. We don't get reports of a family fed, we *see* the family hungry after the food's run out, and the warm feeling is gone. People see how much we do abroad, but it looks like mere do-gooding and reality disconnect when there is so much suffering at home. America *is* suffering, as the GOP slashes all safety nets and removes health and safety laws across the board. We could help here rather than over-extending. People are more likely to join us if they see concrete acts of Christlike love in their daily lives and communities. More members gives more opportunity to shape the US. Stabilized and strong, we can be more effective and influential abroad.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 2:13pm GMT

Mark, I think our work is both/and, not either/or.

On this blog I am always keenly aware that the social safety net in the UK is much better than ours. So it's worth underscoring that when our LGBTQ people suffer workplace discrimination, they can lose their health insurance, with devastating consequences. Having the church support us is significant to our well being in every way.

In the US, mainline Protestant Church approval of equal marriage ranges from 65 to 90 percent approval. Quakers, Buddhists, and Jews are in the 90 percent range. This really helped bring about equal marriage and will help with discrimination issues.

In the UK, secular society brought about equality, and the Church of England is fighting it tooth and nail. In the US, powerful conservative forces artificially held back our equality, which is unsustainable, so when it gave way, it gave way quickly. I predict the same for CoE.

The Pink News reports that there's a petition to suspend the Lords Spiritual from Parliament because of their support for suspending TEC. I wonder what will come of that?

Justin bragged about the "cost" CoE was paying for it's anti-gay stance. It could be that another "cost" is coming.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 18 January 2016 at 6:01pm GMT


We need to do both/and, which I had tried to convey, but the both/and needs to be re-balanced; more here, less there. That doesn't necessarily mean money, but work as well. People need houses, Cynthia. People need food.

I've been shaped in this by the same parish I told you about - we've grown because we are a seen presence here. We've done work in Belize, but the more lasting work has been here, in West Virginia, building houses - not churches, but houses. We have a garden that has grown to a small farm which is used entirely to produce food for local hungry people. The TEC national could be re-directing funds right here. I promise you, we won't be getting aid from abroad!

I don't think you realize how desperate things really are. I invite you to please, tour the South, especially, go to Detroit, Wisconsin, our own cities, and see what the massive wealth imbalance has done to people. Most are not responsible for this - and even those who did vote for the legislators that did this were bamboozled and *have no large-scale presence* to show them the liberal side of things really does have their backs. Parishes do what they can, but it needs to be a TEC priority. We can give to relief organizations and let professionals take care of the suffering abroad, while still maintaining a friendly relation with those who wish to be friendly - my experience is that association with the AC doesn't overcome true relationship.

Our society is in desperate, desperate, desperate need of real guidance and shaping, and we, like CofE, have been too blind to our people. Gay marriage is a victory, but a tiny one. Surely social justice must also cover how lives and livelihood are supported, how the least of these - all these, including the poor, the mentally ill, the "resident alien" - are treated. One victory is a start, not an indication of real overall change. The real work is open to do, or we can minimize it, consider that our people are not people like other people are people. If we saw the level of dysfunction and suffering that is becoming the norm - and First World suffering is still suffering - we would descend on that nation with ERD, press statements, statements of the importance of alleviating suffering, smiling approbation as Welby and the ACC try to grab some of the reflected glory. But, it's our people, so we say, "Oh, well. After we save everybody else."

That, Cynthia, is how it looks out here. Please listen to what I'm saying. Please.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 6:43am GMT

I hear you Mark. I do volunteer work too. The domestic situation of great inequality is leaving a lot of people in dire straights. There's charity work to be done, there's also an incredible need to talk about the causes and solutions - that's the work that really needs to happen and it's harder in our polarized environment. Our liberal parish strongly supports the local food bank. But the minute you ask why people are hungry, the tension goes way up.

About work abroad, I would say that the US and much of the developed world are complicit in some of the misery in lots of places. The legacy of slavery in Haiti, etc. Colonialism. Corporate abuse all over the 2/3rds world. Political meddling. It seems to me that there's a need to be a healing presence there, in partnership with locals (no toxic charity, great white saviour work, that isn't effective).

The question for me is if our engagement, fiscally, with ACC helps support some of that work? Will engagement help LGBTQI sisters and brothers who are suffering oppression in the Anglican Communion?

The job of loving our neighbors in need is fundamental. We can't cover the entire fiscal cost of addressing all of the need. But much of the capital we have is human capital, i.e. relationship. Relationships and networks amplify the impact of this work. Staying in relationship has a fiscal component. So this is why I'm not going to call to withdraw funds.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 19 January 2016 at 7:04pm GMT

We can have relationships, though, without those relationships being *through* the ACC. There seems to be a sort of a weird vision problem in which we can *only* see ourselves relating to others through the Anglican Communion, as if, somehow, we didn't exist or had voices independently. Again, we can engage outside, but we need to focus here, and talking when we're afraid to talk, won't work.

TEC talks way too much. We need to do. Don't worry about *why* people are in dire straits, for the moment, just do. We need TEC to focus on this at a national level, not just parochially. Once you start doing for people, there comes the gentle revolution - it's how we came to accept LGBTI's as a national church. You get to know people, you'll see where the harm is coming from. We don't need more committees to talk. If I could suggest any moratorium for TEC it would be on our endless need to talk about helping people before doing it.

As for how we help LGBTI's abroad (sorry, I still find "queer" personally offensive, though I accept others find it liberating), I think it's obvious we don't. That requires two for that tango, and we're just not getting any partners on the Communion side. We'd accomplish more by having our PB develop personal relationships in Washington, than in Lambeth.

Of course the First World has been complicit. So, individuals living in the First World are getting what they deserve? Honestly, I can tell you, that that, too, is how it appears at street level here and the reason that the rational and visible good of the liberal approach is irrationally rejected.

What people see, on ground level, and in most of the U. S., Cynthia, is a group of well-fed, well-paid, comfortable people sending money to people elsewhere, while telling poor people here that they deserve their poverty because corporations and corrupt politicians caused suffering elsewhere.

This is what I'm trying to explain to you, from the level of those same people. I can understand it. If I simply looked at it from outside, I can tell you, it would look like well-off do-gooders letting me down. my priest and his predecessor make more in a year than I will be able to save with what life is left to me. I bring home, on a full-time wage, about $215/wk. and being in an economically-depressed place doesn't lower prices - it's corporate America and, except for certain commodities, the price will be the same in Atlanta, or San Francisco, as in good ol' All-binny. That's how it is in most of the U. S. - all these places you find yourself wondering how in hell they could support churches that are so clearly not good for them. Because those churches, and the politicians who come out of them, engage them, and tell them they're worthwhile, and promise them jam tomorrow, while TEC basically seems to say, "Look, we have to take care of these people halfway across the world, because *you* made them poor. So suck it up." I'm not just giving you my take, I'm telling you what's being said.

Actually, what I'm proposing takes my wonderful parish as a model - we have strong foreign ties, in Belize, especially, but we have strong *action* here, despite the fact I have heard people - in my parish - tell me how impressed they've been by Trump. *shudder* And I can love them, and they can love me, and, the only reason I'm not one of the bitter unchurched is they have helped me on occasion (I will be able to roof my house, now, and not live like an animal), and continually help the community around us. That's our primary engagement, and it has made a difference, both in the community, and in our survival. We had become static, stagnant really, and on the verge of losing parish status, before we began this; worrying less about out there and where a "good Episcopalian" should focus, and more about right here and now. We grew, so did our ability to expand, as a parish, our ability to aid elsewhere. I simply feel that our ability to help others starts at home, and we just haven't done that for so long, that we've lost real ability to help elsewhere.
Even should we stay in the AC, I really think we should redirect a significant part of our focus. Remember the foundation of sand - the culture and community of the nation is, for a national church, the material of the foundation, even as Christ is big "C" Church's foundation.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 20 January 2016 at 6:07am GMT
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