Comments: More preparations for ACC-16 in Lusaka

Only now--months later--does the Archbishop of Canterbury clarify what he meant: " vote unanimously, amongst those present...."

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 23 March 2016 at 5:00pm GMT

oh goodness what a mess. And, lest we forget, the families, households and friends of African bishops include just as many GLBT people as any other group.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Wednesday, 23 March 2016 at 7:28pm GMT

And who are these many Christians for whom the outcome of the Primates Meeting gave great rejoicing and thankfulness?

Posted by John Swanson at Wednesday, 23 March 2016 at 9:31pm GMT

This missive, from the Archbishop of Kenya, citing the Archbishop of Canterbury's call to repentance for homophobia in the Church', clearly refutes any personal need of repentance in this area of pastoral oversight. He obviously is not willing to subscribe to the eucharistic call to Unity in Christ on this important issue of difference in the Communion.

God have mercy on your Church - especially in Kenya.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 4:31am GMT

TEC has to cut out the cancer of the Anglican Communion from its faith. As long as we are tied to men like the ABoC and the African primates, we are yoking ourselves to worldly wickedness.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 4:43am GMT

“If you are religious at all in Sweden, many people tend to think that you are a bit daft. This will mean that children can be bullied at school if they are openly Christian; not only by their peers, but sometimes even by teachers."

This is a compression of issues I'm not at all comfortable with. No one has the right to NOT be thought "a bit daft" by others. But bullying is qualitatively different (and reprehensible): LGBTs bullied BY Christians could tell you that!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 6:36am GMT

Mark Brunson is right - but others like the air miles and dressing up with lots of other pointy hat wearers....even when they exclude ppl like gene Robinson as rowan Williams did in 08..... So, the primates will do what they like as TEC will do whatever it takes to stay in the club?

Posted by S Cooper at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 9:39am GMT

What "representation to bodies" has ABC changed as a result of the Primates Gathering?

Intellectually,though, +Justin clearly comes out ahead.It is apparent he is very much aware of the inconsistencies and contradictions in the African position, and for that he deserves credit. (Or his staff, depending on who drafted the letter.)

Where I think some criticism is due is his use of secular title (Rt Hon) in what is strictly a Christian communication. Personally I would favour a little humility in such situations.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 1:29pm GMT

The first observation to make about the two Archbishops’ letters is that Canterbury addresses his ‘brothers in Christ’ (sisters were notable by their absence) and Uganda refers to ‘issues of sexuality and gender’. The recognition that the debates about LGBT people in the Communion involve ‘gender’ as much as ‘sexuality’ is often missed.

The theological resources on persecution review feminist, black and liberation theologies, though LGBT theologies are notable by their absence. The Primate of Uganda argues that ‘two thousand years of teaching and tradition’ are undermined by progress towards LGBT equality. But the report demonstrates how teaching and tradition can be modified and enhanced by feminist black and liberation theologies. On feminism we have equal rights for women in marriage and ministry in the C of E and elsewhere; women are no longer required to obey their husbands despite teaching and tradition; women (at least non-LGBT ones) enjoy a near-equal status in the episcopate, despite teaching and tradition; black people have asserted themselves in the Civil Rights movements in USA, after the abolition of slavery and overthrow of apartheid in South Africa, despite teaching and tradition. All of these demonstrate the impact of reason on the mind of the Church.

The hurdles faced by LGBT people across the Communion are articulated by the Primate of Uganda: the rejection of LGBT relationships as incompatible with Scripture; the prevention of liturgical practice; the avoidance of LGBT people in ministry. The arena of civil rights is the one which most divides the Primates, but their commitment to walk together means that unity must be framed in terms of continued segregation in Church contexts, hence the Resolution: the threat of exclusion of liberal churches from the centres of power. Locally, the non-appointment of LGBT people, and vocally supportive people, to the Church of England episcopate, the removal of ministers who ‘cross the line’ by marrying their same-sex partners, and a preparedness to spend vast sums of money fighting them in the courts make the Church of England look increasingly out of touch in its own context. Many comparably large organisations in the private and public sectors have embraced equality legislation and diversity programmes in support of their LGBT staff, light years ahead of the Church. The bishops would do well to take a leaf out of the diversity book to inform pastoral practice.

Posted by Andrew at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 1:48pm GMT

"TEC has to cut out the cancer of the Anglican Communion from its faith."

No, no, and no.

The sisters have decided to walk together. See the statement by the Anglican Communion Women here at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The Episcopal delegation is going to write a statement that gratefully receives, affirms, and reciprocates that statement.

The sisters have decided that we are sticking together to work on the gospel imperatives to heal this hurting world, regardless of what the brothers do.

As far as I can tell, from the United Nations, the Anglican Communion is not split between the North and the South, the East or the West, but by the sisters and our sympathetic brothers, versus the brothers whose "doctrine" and egos are in the way of the actual Gospel call to love.

Bros, get over yourselves. Join the sisters.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 3:22pm GMT

“If you are religious at all in Sweden, many people tend to think that you are a bit daft."

Matthew 7:1-3

Posted by Interested Observer at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 5:38pm GMT

It really goes against not just the spirit of the agreement of the Primates of the Anglican Communion to "Walk together in the service of God in the world" but also the letter of their communique for any of the Primates to boycott the meeting of the ACC just because representatives of TEC will be present. The text of the communique accepted the ongoing participation of TEC in all the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion -
"TEC no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity." -
The dissenting Primates should send their delegates to participate in the ACC walking alongside their TEC brothers and sisters for the sake of God's mission in the world.

Posted by Paul Richardson at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 5:44pm GMT

I meant Kenya not Uganda, though I guess the letter would express the Gafcon position

Posted by Andrew at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 5:49pm GMT

"Even if a province is unable to be present..." Justin Welby

Is that "unable" as in "can't come due to illness" or "won't come due to having had a hissy fit about the outcome of the January meeting not being punitive enough and refusing to be in the same room."?

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 6:14pm GMT

Dear Cynthia. I love your response to those in TEC who are still bitter about the apparent lack of sympathy for TEC's innovative openness to the LGBTI community in its provincial area. However, I see Bishop Michael Curry's 'gracious restraint' about - and yet his forceful defence of - his province's move towards justice and equity for ALL in the Gospel; to be the sign of TEC's calming effect on the influence of would-be schismatics in the Anglican Communion on issues of 'purity',

Many of us in other provinces - including my own at ACANZP, in the South Pacific - are grateful to TEC for its eirenic pioneering movement to free us all from the deadly effects of institutional recism, sexism and homophobia.

Bishop Curry is pursuing his implemenation of the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel: that all humanity is precious in the eyes of God - reflective of the statement of Jesus: "And I, when I be lifted up, will draw ALL people to my self". As Bishop Desmond Tutu so beautifully reminded us some time ago; this meant, not just the pure and holy, but All, ALL; sinners and Saints alike. Deo gratias!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 24 March 2016 at 10:32pm GMT

The simple fact is, all TEC is doing by remaining in the Anglican Communion is enabling other provinces to remain uncommitted - neither hot nor cold - without actually making any difference where it is needed.

Oh, our progressive friends will cheer us on, but, as long as we take the risks for them, they will do. nothing. ever. Only by leaving them to themselves will we make it necessary for them to actually *do* something for all the great social justice issues they wish to see carried out - by someone else.

Benevolent imperialism of ideas is still imperialism. They must decide - and do - for themselves, like adults in the faith.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 25 March 2016 at 7:40am GMT

I'm sad, Mark Brunson, that you should see us 'progressives' as being content to let TEC do all the pushing for the inclusion of LGBTI people in the Churches of the A.C. I'm pretty sure that most of us are doing or very best to improve standards in our own provinces. It seems that the GAFCON Provinces have friends a 'Head Office' that, at the moment are able to throw their numerical weight around. It will not always be so. Don't lose heart. You have friends

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 25 March 2016 at 9:58am GMT

I very largely agree with you Father Ron. My one disagreement is that I think "head office" wishes to avoid an upstart competing for the allegiance of provinces. I don't think that makes GAFCON primates friends - quite the opposite in fact.

Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria clearly want a split but they are uncertain which other provinces would follow them. They too in fact have the problem Mark Branson says TEC has. In each case, most provinces would, on grounds of inertia and tradition, stay put. By offering something to both traditionalists (speaking against unilateral acceptance of same sex marriage) and liberals (speaking against homophobia in secular society) I think Cantuar is playing on that inertia to keep the middle ground provinces from allying too strongly with either wing. It is not pretty. In fact it has a bit of a whiff about it to those of us who see things in terms of principles rather than pragmatic politics.

+Justin's letter is interesting. I think I discern a strategy of doing just enough to stop either wing being confident of sufficient critical mass to risk a split. It might even work. But I don't like the price LGBT people have to pay.

Posted by Kate at Friday, 25 March 2016 at 5:00pm GMT

Kate - your optimism is resilient but nothing from Gene Robinson not being invited to Lambeth 08 (when a liberal was in Canterbury) to Welby acting like the covenant is in place justifies optimism.

It's all about numbers. The GS and HTB have numbers – it is impossible that Welby will change church positions to alienate them (& the Roman Catholic Church too - all Canterbury residents seem to like some papal affirmation during their tenures).

While TEC and liberals will out yo even with a bishop of tech being ostracised, why should Welby bother to do anything apart from continue in the direction he is in? English liberals won't do much in protest as long as one or two get some nice titles and hats.

Posted by S Cooper at Monday, 28 March 2016 at 9:01pm BST

S Cooper. It isn't just about numbers. If it were, this would all have ended long since. The ekklesiopolitik is much more complicated. ABCs since and including Rowan have to use the art of inflicting the amount of discipline on the West that the South will find sufficient and the West will bear. Finding the "sweet spot" (or should I call it a "bitter spot"?) has become impossible, as a segment of the South will no longer accept half-measures. But their mere numbers will not give them the victory; because the bonds uniting England with the West are stronger and deeper -- and the patience of TEC in putting up with discipline has indicated a real desire to function as a church, not as a Puritan society.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 30 March 2016 at 4:45pm BST

"....the bonds uniting England with the West are stronger and deeper -- and the patience of TEC in putting up with discipline has indicated a real desire to function as a church, not as a Puritan society."

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday.

Precisely, Tobias. I am of the opinion that even the ABC would not want to alienate the more liberated Churches of the Communion - aware, as he no doubt is - of the need for the Church to be seen to relevant in the modern world, on issues of gender and sexuality, as well as cogent theology.

Not long now before assenting Provinces meet to thrash out the 'more loving way' to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a needy world.

Prayers for an eirenic and satisfactory outcome!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 1 April 2016 at 12:18am BST
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