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Anglican fudge? More like pick’n'mix

March 22nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

By David Baker, Christian Today

Do you like fudge? According to the Archbishop of York, the Church of England has just ordered a truckload of the stuff.

Dr John Sentamu was commenting on the latest pastoral guidance from Anglican bishops regarding same-sex marriages. This states that those in such relationships cannot get ordained, nor can those already in ministry enter into them as this would "clearly be at variance with the teaching of the Church of England".

But by contrast, when it comes to lay people, "same-sex couples who choose to marry should be welcomed into the life of the worshipping community and not be subjected to questioning about their lifestyle. Neither they nor any children they care for should be denied access to the sacraments."

Dr John Sentamu said the Anglican view was therefore that clergy should follow the "expectation to live within the teaching of the Church, but for lay people and others they should be welcomed into the Church". This, he declared, was "Anglican fudge".

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Solidarity with the Anglican Church in Uganda and Nigeria

March 20th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Nigeria, Uganda Comments Off

By Chris Sugden, Evangelicals Now

Anglican churches in Nigeria and Uganda have through history stood for biblical truth and principle and been at the forefront of action for justice, peace and equality. They have transformed their societies especially the relationships of men and women. One African Anglican Archbishop told me recently: “Defenders of polygamous families have never lived in one.” The church was also at the forefront of developing democracy in African societies, often in opposition to the ruling colonial powers and their national successors. One only needs recall the late Archbishop David Gitari of Kenya.

Christian mission at its most authentic has not supported the status quo, or privileged injustice and oppressive social practices. In India Christians opposed widow burning. In Pakistan the church still leads the fight against child slavery.

The Ugandan church knows the price of opposing unjust and powerful people. Every year on June 3 the church recalls the martyrdom between 1885 and 1887 of young page boys at the court of the King of Buganda who refused to be sodomised by the king because of their Christian faith. In the 1970s Archbishop Janani Luwum paid the price for the church’s critique of Idi Amin with his life.

The recent laws concerning homosexual behaviour in Uganda and Nigeria have led to strident condemnation from some in the West. In the last week the World Bank has postponed a $90 million dollar loan to Uganda. Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have withdrawn government aid. Have they responded to Russia’s laws in a similar way? Are the poor of the world only to be helped if they agree with us?

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Statement from the Global South Primates Steering Committee, Cairo, Egypt 14-15 February 2014

February 20th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Global South Comments Off

All Saints Cathedral, CairoMake every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3).

1. The Global South Primates Steering Committee met at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt from 14-15 February 2014. We were delighted to have The Most Rev. & Rt. Hon. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA), and Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, as guests joining this important meeting in which we discussed the way ahead for the Anglican Communion and other matters. The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Primate of Kenya, and The Most Rev. Henri Isingoma, the Primate of Congo, apologized for not being able to attend.

2. We thank God for the times of fellowship, Bible study and prayer together. We also appreciated the frank discussion, open sharing, and spirit of unity among us. We are also encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s emphases on renewal, mission and evangelism within the Church of England and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

3. As we reviewed the current situation, we recognized that the fabric of the Communion was torn at its deepest level as a result of the actions taken by The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church in Canada since 2003. As a result, our Anglican Communion is currently suffering from broken relations, a lack of trust, and dysfunctional “instruments of unity.”

4. However, we trust in God’s promise that the “gates of hades will not overcome” the church. Holding unto this promise, we believe that we have to make every effort in order to restore our beloved Communion. Therefore we took the following decisions:

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MOMBASA: Anglican Bishop Says Anglican Church of Kenya may “Delink” from Church of England

February 3rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

by David Virtue, VOL

The Bishop of the Diocese of Mombasa, The Rt. Rev. Julius Robert Katoi Kalu says the Anglican Church of Kenya may "delink" itself from the mother church in England, according to a newspaper report in the The Daily Nation.

He adds that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have left Kenyan Anglicans feeling "ashamed and disappointed".

The Diocese of Mombasa is one of 31 dioceses in the Anglican Church Kenya under Archbishop Eliud Wabukala.

It was founded in 1898 as a sub-division of the former Diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa.

Tensions heightened this past week when The Church of England's House of Bishops met to discuss the findings of the Pilling Report into Human Sexuality.

The English bishops acknowledged in their communiqué, following their meeting, that they could not agree decisively to reject the report's recommendation that clergy be allowed to bless same-sex relationships.

This is further evidence that a growing number of bishops serving in the Church of England have chosen to reject the clear teaching of the Bible and of the Church of England's own Book of Common Prayer.

Some are already openly teaching that Christians can be in active sexual relationships outside of heterosexual marriage.

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Anglicanism Alive and Well

February 3rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

by Brian Miller, Juicy Ecumenism

Anglicans have never been very showy people. There was once that G.K. Chesterton fellow, but he eventually moved on. Not that Anglicans don’t talk about their faith or excel in their given fields. If it weren’t for Anglicans, Anglo-American culture as we know it simply would not exist. However, it remains a curious fact that most famous Anglicans are not necessarily famous for being Anglicans. Edmund Burke, and even the theologian Richard Hooker, are remembered as great political thinkers. John Donne, Samuel Johnson, W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, and countless others are remembered as poets. Even great Anglicans who are remembered primarily for their Christian works are hardly ever remembered as Anglicans per se. The Wesley brothers and George Whitfield are remembered as evangelicals. C.S. Lewis, depending on which circles you run in (and I run in both), is either a great evangelical or an almost Catholic. Similarly, it is often taken for granted that the works of men like John Henry Newman and G.K. Chesterton are all “Catholic Works” when the reality is decades of their writings were produced while they remained members of the Church of England.

It sometimes seems that Anglicans, at least in America, are like something out of a fairy-tale. We read about them occasionally, but when pressed we would have a hard time saying who they are and what exactly they have done for Christianity. It doesn’t help matters that much ink has been spilled, including by myself, about the demise of the Church and its never ending controversies. But this is really only half the picture. Conservative Anglicans are ever present, and influentially so, in our current public discourse.

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Archbishops recall commitment to pastoral care and friendship for all, regardless of sexual orientation

January 30th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

From Lambeth Palace

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today written to all Primates of the Anglican Communion, and to the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, recalling the commitment made by the Primates of the Anglican Communion to the pastoral support and care of everyone worldwide, regardless of sexual orientation.

In their letter, the Archbishops recalled the words of the communiqué issued in 2005 after a meeting of Primates from across the Communion in Dromantine.

The text of the joint letter is as follows:
“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
In recent days, questions have been asked about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction. In answer to these questions, we have recalled the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, as expressed in the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.
The Communiqué said;
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Archbishop Welby on Sexuality and the Anglican Communion

January 29th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

Partial transcript of the interview by Zanab Badawi from the American Anglican Council

ZB: Talking about Nigeria – 80 million Anglicans there – and a different issue, the issue of gay priests and same-sex marriage. The Church of Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi have said – look, we really are not happy about what’s happened on this matter ever since the Church of Canada allowed same-sex marriage in 2002 and the church in the United States ordained Gene Robinson as a bishop in 2003, there’s been what you can describe as the traditionalist wing of the Anglican church and the liberal wing. What are you doing to reconcile these two wings?
 
JW: Well first of all, news headline: People from 145 different countries from even more different cultures and traditions don’t all agree with each other on everything. I mean it’s not exactly startling that we have disagreements.
 
What I am trying to do is to – not to get everyone to agree, because I don’t think we are going to agree. It is to try and transform bad disagreement to good disagreement. There is some very good disagreement. There are headlines, and you could have added a number of other countries to the list.
 
ZB: of course, I was just giving you a couple, yes
 
JW: people like Uganda, who feel very, very strongly about this.
 
There are countries like this where, in the church here, we are struggling with the issue and we are not of one mind over it – and it’s going to take time.
What am I doing? I am trying to ensure that people meet, listen to each other, hear what each other are saying, understand each other properly, and learn afresh, where it’s not happening, to love one another as Christ commands us.
 
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Archbishop of Canterbury to visit South Sudan and Great Lakes Region

January 27th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will visit South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet Primates of the Anglican Communion, in a five-day visit to the region starting on Thursday this week.
 
During his first 18 months in office, Archbishop Justin plans to visit all of his fellow Archbishops around the Anglican Communion. His desire is to express solidarity, build personal and professional bonds, understand the Primates’ work in their local contexts, and lay foundations for good collaboration over the coming years.
 
Archbishop Justin spoke this week about the church’s role in promoting reconciliation in areas of conflict in this interview with BBC HARDTalk.
 
 
 
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The Late Archbishop S. Tilewa Johnson – Statement by the Archbishop of Kenya

January 23rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Gafcon Comments Off

It was with shock and great sadness that we heard about the sudden death of our brother Primate, Solomon Tilewa Johnson, earlier this week.

In October last year we shared fellowship at GAFCON 2013 here in Nairobi and we thank God for his commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ whom he served with a robust faith and cheerful energy throughout his ministry. He was a man of global vision and his death, so untimely from our human perspective, has deprived not only the Church of the Province of West Africa, but the whole Anglican Communion of a talented leader.

We assure Mama Priscilla, his family and the Church he served of our prayers in their loss, that they may know the presence of the Prince of Peace who has conquered death and from whose love nothing can separate us.

The Most Rev'd Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya and Bishop, All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi

 

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2014: Seizing the Moment. How Episcopalians and Anglicans Will Fare

January 8th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, TEC Comments Off

By David Virtue, Virtueonline

The year past ended with one of the worst and most litigious years in the history of the Episcopal Church. At a time when congregations are shrinking and closing, millions of dollars are being spent on lawyers to take back church buildings that will inevitably be sold off to other (evangelical) church groups, to Muslims…anybody except to orthodox Anglican churches that could keep them open as places of Anglican worship.

The Episcopal Church is now more dysfunctional than ever and more and more people, especially Millenials, are simply not interested in The Episcopal Church and its constant rants about the need to accept pansexuality as a prevailing cultural issue. Talk of inclusion and diversity has not stirred them to suddenly fill Episcopal churches. Pews are emptying and will continue to empty with no salvific message of redemption and hope being heard from pulpits.

Endless preoccupation with social and "justice" issues, whether it is about the Middle East or women's rights to abortion, or gay marriage, will not and is not, making churches grow. People are spiritually starving and hurting. There is more pain out there than ever before. Suicides are up, divorce is still rampant and perhaps the biggest single unaddressed issue in America today is loneliness. Millenials are not committing themselves to much of anything and, apart from occasionally "hooking up", they are not committed to life-long marriage. I recently heard a wedding vow in which both partners said "till love do us part" not death.

A whole generation has given up on the church. Millenials don't care. Once upon a time, they would have looked to the Church for aid and comfort. No more. Nowadays, people turn to therapists and psychologists of one stripe or another for help along with self-help gurus, professional advisors, and financial advisors. No one really believes a clergy person has the answers they need for the angst in their souls. Gnosticism, agnosticism, atheism, skepticism and naturalism rule the day.

In my own view, the main cause of spiritual dysfunction in the church is now the almost complete focus on the church as little more than a community for outreach on a variety of social issues. Secondly, there is a complete loss of nerve in proclaiming the exclusive claims of Christ to a nation in urgent need of hearing them. Furthermore, one rarely hears any talk of sin, except perhaps in corporate terms; hence there is no need for salvation. Inclusion and diversity is the hallmark of most churches with a nod to the creeds and sacraments. Today you are more likely to hear talk of Interfaith Alliances and going along to get along. No one is willing to stand up and say "this is the Word of the Lord" — it stands over all time, space and history.

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2014: The beginning of facilitated schism?

January 7th, 2014 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Schism Comments Off

By Andrew Symes

Happy New Year! As we look forward to the months ahead, we want to wish each other all the best, to recall God’s intention to bless and not to harm, to hope for prosperity and well-being. Surely we hope and pray the same for the Church of England – the message of the Gospel touching more and more people, spiritual growth among those who are already churchgoers, and above all unity, an end to the conflicts over sexuality. Wouldn’t it be Scrooge-like in the extreme to say the opposite: the best thing for the Church of England in 2014 might be a split? The beginning of a facilitated conversation… to negotiate an orderly separation?
 
I need to say that this is not a policy statement for Anglican Mainstream or any other grouping. It is thinking out loud in a personal capacity. In a recent piece I noted how some Bishops are thinking: keeping the church together is paramount, and unity is dependent on the idea that all views are valid as long as they are sincerely held and peacefully expressed. But there is evidence that another view is emerging. One Bishop, writing recently to a clergyman in response to concerns about the Pilling Report, speaks of:
wrestling with the question of what you do when you and your fellow Christians differ radically from each other on ethical questions.  Do you walk apart or do you work at how to stay together?
Might it be possible that a Happy New Year in the Church of England might see, as this Bishop sees, an honest recognition that the differences over sexuality and underlying doctrinal and philosophical systems are so great that we need to at least talk about separating? Could it be a good thing to walk apart, rather than perpetuating the fiction that we all really believe the same things? And in doing so, could this be done peacefully, with justice, fairness and mutual respect, recognizing that there are still many areas of common interest, such as good administration of buildings insurance and clergy pensions, care for the poor and vulnerable, and the need to preserve the proclamation of the Christian story in society even though we might interpret it differently?
 
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The Pilling Report and the Anglican Communion

December 6th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Pilling Report Comments Off

By Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll, AAC

[...]  The following analysis is restricted to those parts of the PR that most directly relate to the Anglican Communion in general and the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA) in particular. Although the Report does have chapter divisions, I shall refer to it by section (§).

The Anglican Communion

The PR devotes considerable space referencing the Anglican Communion. However, the references are lopsided in emphasis. In its Introduction (§§10-39), it focuses exclusively on a purported "Communion-wide shift of emphasis" to "the listening process," or "facilitated conversation" or, using an African word, "indaba."

An entire chapter (§§85-100) is devoted to "The Obligations of Belonging to the Anglican Communion." While noting the legal autonomy of the Church of England, the PR seems to affirm the "mutual interdependence" of Anglican provinces:

So, while the Church of England may be legally free to decide its own belief and practice in the area of human sexuality without having regard for the rest of the communion, it would be unwise for it to do so. It needs to engage in continuing consultation with the other Churches of the Communion through the various structures that exist for this purpose and to try to seek an agreed way forward based on Anglicans thinking together about human sexuality in the light of the classic Anglican sources of theological authority. (§97)

Having affirmed the principle, the PR (§92) quotes – ominously in my view – a section of the 2004 Windsor Report to the effect that

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NIGERIA: Can same-sex marriage split Anglican Church?

December 6th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Nigeria Comments Off

By Victor Oshisada, Nigeria Guardian (from Virtueonline)

THE GUARDIAN, November 10, 2013, is the pivot around which this opinion piece revolves. In it, it was asked if same-sex marriage could lead to the break-up of the Anglican Church. For centuries, the two religious faiths –Christianity and Islam – have separately had to contend with fundamental issues. First, in Christianity, there were issues that led to Reformation and the roles played by Martin Luther, a radical University lecturer in Germany. These were the causes of the schism in Christianity, leading to Protestantism today. There is no faith that is free from embarrassing situation.

In Islamic world, there were controversies about the prophethood of Gulam Ahmad. He had his followers as the Ahmadiyyas, as opposed to the mainstream Moslems who believe in the prophethood of Mohammed (Peace be on to Him). Gulam Ahmad of Pakistan was rejected as a prophet, and his followers were regarded as heretics challenging Muhammed's prophethood. Saudi Arabia Government banned the Ahmaddis from entering its country for Pilgrimage. In Nigeria, from the High Court to Appeal and the Supreme Courts, judgments were upheld against the Ahmaddis. No faith ever escapes from polemics. Now, Christianity encounters another embarrassing situation. Same-sex marriage is a bone of contention.

Same-sex marriage is an abomination in the Church doctrine. It is a seismic shift in religious beliefs, Christianity, Islam or even in traditional faith. This writer is from a long line of traditionalists through and through, like any Nigerian or African. No faith tolerates same-sex marriage; it does not even exist among the fetish deities of this world. Same-sex marriage means marriage that involves a couple of the same sex. That is, a marriage contracted between one man and another man or a woman and another woman. In Islam, I am yet to learn of a Nikkah ceremony between a couple of the same sex. In Yoruba conjugal culture, it is unheard of. What God ordained is marriage between a man and a woman.
 
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Sea Change in the Anglican Communion

November 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

By The Revd Professor Stephen Noll, Virtueonline

There has been a sea change in the Anglican Communion over the past two decades. The vestments may be the same, the assorted "reverend" titles untouched, the website still showing smiling Global South Anglican faces. The reality is far different. The foundation of Anglican identity has been shaken, and with the Psalmist, many rightly wonder: "if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3).

The presenting cause of this sea change, as is widely known, is the acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and the redefinition of marriage. For 350 years, Anglican weddings in England and abroad have begun with these words:

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church.

When this doctrine of Holy Matrimony was challenged in the 1990s by gay-rights advocates in two Anglican Provinces – The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) – the Lambeth Conference of bishops answered decisively that

This Conference, in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage. (Resolution I.10)

The Lambeth Resolution led to a decade of strife within the Communion as the North Americans flatly rejected its norm and now are on the brink of providing official same-sex marriage rites. In the UK, same-sex marriage has now been signed into law by the Queen, and the Prime Minister vows to export it to the Commonwealth partners. While the Church of England has not approved same-sex marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury argues that same-sex civil unions are a neglected moral obligation: "It is clearly essential that stable and faithful same sex relationships should, where those involved want it, be recognised and supported with as much dignity and the same legal effect as marriage" (Speech in House of Lords, 3 June 2013).

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Reflections on the future of orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion

October 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

by Canon Vinay Samuel

Introduction

The Global Anglican Future Conference meets in Nairobi Kenya this week (October 21-25, 2013) for its second gathering. One of the key motivations of the GAFCON movement is to ensure the integrity and growth of a biblically faithful Anglicanism in the Anglican Communion. Historic Anglicanism faithful to the Anglican Reformation is recognized as having biblical faithfulness at its centre. The creeds and formularies that Anglicans hold dear reflect that faithfulness to the revealed Word of God. The Articles, Canons and Liturgies flow out of biblical truth as recovered by the Reformers and preserved over the centuries.

It was never enough for some provinces and diocese to show a clear biblically faithful orthodox identity. The global communion must have that identity and must guard and promote it.
Biblically faithfulness for those in the GAFCON movement was not just a feature of the Anglican Communion but central to its identity.

Theological reflections in the GAFCON movement since 2008 attempted to develop the nature and content of that identity of biblically faithful Anglicanism. It is an agenda that must continue and not become peripheral.

It appears that the default position of the communion in the past decade was to assert that what we hold in common is an adequate basis for unity in the communion. What we hold in common tended to get reduced to our “historic bonds of affection”. Everything else was contested.

Such an attitude to unity ignored the centrality of the identity discussion of the communion. When it did deal with the identity issue it drove a wedge between the local and universal and between diversity and unity. It privileged the local and diversity over the universal and unity.

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GAFCON II: What has changed?

October 23rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, TEC Comments Off

by Mary Ann Mueller, Virtueonline

Much has changed since the original Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) met in Jerusalem in early summer of 2008. Yet much stays the same. In June 2008, when nearly 1200 Anglicans gathered in the Holy Land in the shadow and memory of Christ's earthly life, the Anglican Communion had been thrown into disarray as an opening and practicing homosexual, Vicky Gene Robinson had been elevated to the episcopate firmly clutching the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire's crozier. Katharine Jefferts Schori, too, had burst through the stained glass ceiling to become the first female primate in Anglicanism. Both events shook the Anglican Communion to its very core. The very fabric of Anglicanism had been torn – rent asunder – and the healing of Anglicanism continues to slip through fingers like water and sand.

Now as GAFCON II opens in Nairobi, Kenya, Bishop Robinson has retired as a sitting Episcopal bishop. He has moved to Washington, DC to become the Bishop-in-Residence at St. Thomas on DuPont Circle, apparently leaving his "partner" behind in New Hampshire. The outspoken bishop continues to globe trot with his LGBT message. On Oct. 17 he tweeted, "In London. Breakfast with new Archbishop of Canterbury this morning at Lambeth Palace, and Morning Prayer in 13th c. chapel." Lambeth Palace has refused to comment. "The meeting to which you refer was a private meeting and therefore we can't offer any comment," Jan McFarlane the Acting Press Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury replied to VOL's inquiry.

Three days later, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made an 8,000 mile flying trip to Africa – while on his way to a Porvoo Communion Primates' Meeting in Iceland – to schmooze with the gathering GAFCON bishops and provide for some photo ops while quickly preaching at All Saints Cathedral's 9:30 and 11:30 Sunday morning services. The new Archbishop of Canterbury was all smiles when he posed with American Archbishop Robert Duncan, who has been summarily marginalized by the Anglican powers that be in the western hemisphere.

Meanwhile Katharine Jefferts Schori's ecclesial reign of terror, which has seen Mitregate, Bishopsgate, UTOgate and the disposing of at least 700 Episcopal clergy, is drawing to a close. The Episcopal Church is slated to elect a new presiding bishop at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since the first GAFCON meeting many global south Anglican primates have refused to sit at table with her, break bread with her, or even communicate with her. Anglican bishops and primates alike have been no shows to major Anglican Communion events such as Lambeth Conference, the Primates' Meeting, or the Anglican Consultative Council confabs because the Episcopal Presiding Bishop was scheduled to participate.

Since the first GAFCON, gathering four more Episcopal dioceses have realigned and left The Episcopal Church for greener spiritual pastures including the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and South Carolina. The Diocese of San Joaquin realigned before GAFCON I took place – a foretaste of things to come.

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Bishop Mouneer Anis: The State of the Anglican Communion and The Way Forward

October 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

Unofficial transcript of Bishop Mouneer Anis's address to the recent Toronto Conference, from Titusonenine

[...]  Now the question is: Is it realistic now, is it realistic to call the Anglican Communion a communion? Is this realistic? It is a question that we need to ask, are we still a communion?

Many people spoke about this and used this term ‘the fabric of the Anglican Communion is torn to its deepest level.’ There was a lot of worrying about this before the consecration of Gene Robinson and there were signs even before this. And we are torn as a communion. We are torn as a family.

Now, again because of my medical background, I would say what are the signs and symptoms of this torn fabric of our Anglican Communion?

  • There are already provinces which have broken communion with other provinces.
  • There are other provinces that didn’t break communion; however they don’t have relations at all with others in the communion. So that is impaired communion.
  • There is broken Eucharistic communion when we gather as the Primates Meeting and a group of Primates cannot conscientiously receive communion – the bread and wine with their colleagues – so the broken Eucharistic communion.
  • And complete separation from the Anglican Communion we have some movements that separated itself completely from the Anglican Communion; and also new movements that work independently, so it walks its way and takes its action regardless of what is happening in the rest of the Anglican Communion.

And as a sign of this also, of the torn fabric of the Communion, our communion partners – the Catholics, the Oriental Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox – they said we are going to stop and freeze the ecumenical dialogue until the Anglicans sort out their own problems.

As a sign and symptom, 250 bishops did not attend the Lambeth Conference in 2008. 15 Primates did not attend the Primates Meeting in 2011 in Dublin. One bishop and 3 Primates, all orthodox, resigned from the Anglican Communion Standing Committee – this is the standing committee which works for the future of the whole Communion – and the orthodox voice was completely disregarded.

So what happened? Why did this happen? Is it all about sexuality? That’s an important question. People think that the consecration of Gene Robinson led to the crisis – that’s true – but actually it was the consecration of Gene Robinson that revealed the weakness that revealed the difficulties that were hidden within the Communion. The crisis tore the fabric of the Communion and revealed the real issues behind this.

What are the real issues?

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Welcome to the global parish: Why sentimentalising Anglican locality isn’t helping

October 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

By Christopher Brittain, ABC Religion & Ethics

On 2 November, it will be ten years since Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop of New Hampshire. The Anglican Communion continues to be rocked by the waves of discontent that this event has left in its wake. The ordination of a gay man to the episcopate was the spark that ignited fierce divisions within the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, but also among Anglicans across the globe.
 
This event, more than any other, is what has led to the second Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON II), which will gather in Nairobi later this month to discuss the future of the Anglican Communion. GAFCON is a gathering of conservative critics of the status quo in the Anglican Communion, many of whom were first mobilized by their opposition to the consecration of Robinson. In such a context, recent articles by Stanley Hauerwas and Michael Jensen celebrating the centrality of local particularity in the Anglican tradition strike me as rather ironic.
 
Stanley Hauerwas's article "Does Anglicanism have a future?" offers a spirited defence of the parish system of church organization. He argues that Anglicanism's emphasis on the local place serves as a contrast to the popular idea that one should choose the church one attends. The Anglican focus on place, he contends, not only represents a counter-cultural stance against the dominant voluntaristic individualism of modern culture, it also fosters a connection between diverse people in a local community. Drawing from the work of Bruce Kaye, Hauerwas argues that the Anglican expression of Christianity is one which emphasises that "each person must respond [to the gospel] by making the whole of their life subject to the everyday interactions of the community of the church." He admits that such a stance must accept the inevitability of diversity, as well as of conflict. Nevertheless, he suggests that the "universality of the cross" will unite churches as they engage with each other.
 
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The mission of God’s people: from theory to practice

October 15th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

by Andrew Symes, AAC Update

The newly appointed bishop of a rural diocese in Southern Africa knew his job was a tall order: there were 165 congregations and only 12 full-time clergy, and the finances to maintain even that number was under pressure.

"Well, of course, Bishop, I don't suppose we'll be seeing much of you over the next few years", said one of his Archdeacons. "You'll have to spend a lot of time over in Britain and America, raising money so we can have more priests in the parishes, doing the work of ministry".

"Actually, no, I don't think I'll be away much at all", replied the Bishop, and he took advantage of the Archdeacon's shocked expression to continue, "First of all, we have plenty of priests in our churches, because God says that his people, in other words the laity, are a kingdom of priests. Then again I think you'll find the Bible says that it's the people of God who do the work of ministry, although of course they need to be trained and encouraged to do that by the pastors and teachers. That's what you and I need to be involved in! And then, are you suggesting that we can only do God's work if we are forever dependent on resources from the rich countries? What about the gifts of the Spirit – are they not present in the congregation even in the poorest rural village?"

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A Response to Christopher Seitz’ “Why Encouragement for North American Parishes and Dioceses Matters?”

October 11th, 2013 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion Comments Off

By Robert S Munday

The Rev. Professor Christopher Seitz has posted a piece on the Anglican Communion Institute website entitled, "Why Encouragement for North American Parishes and Dioceses Matters?" In it he raises the possibility (or hope) that the established structures in those parts of the Anglican Communion that are following a new theological agenda might make some accommodation for traditional Anglicans.

The thing that mystifies me when I read Seitz' piece is that he seems not to take into account much of recent Anglican history. The American Anglican Council, Forward in Faith, and others asked the same questions for twenty years about accommodation of traditional Anglicans that Seitz is asking now—to no avail.

The Anglican Communion Network of Dioceses and Parishes was formed in 2004 with ten dioceses and twelve bishops and asked repeatedly for some accommodation for traditional Anglicans, or even that the TEC leadership would take the concerns of traditionalists seriously. No accommodation was forthcoming. TEC continued its wayward direction and Canterbury did nothing to rein them in—in fact, Canterbury aided or acquiesced in the demotion of the Primates' meeting, the elevation of the Anglican Consultative Council, and the creation of a Joint Standing Committee to make sure the orthodox voices among the "instruments of unity" were marginalized.

The Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON), which first met in Jerusalem in 2009 and will meet again this month in Nairobi, is precisely the result of this history. Orthodox Anglicans learned that they could not trust the existing Communion structures and set about creating their own.

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