Lambeth at a “Local” Level


August 6th, 2008 Posted in News |

By David Skinner

David Skinner of the Salisbury Diocese has written the following letter in response to same-sex issues raised by the recent visit of TEC’s Katharine Jefferts Schori to Salisbury Cathedral. The Presiding Bishop preached at the cathedral 13 July 2008. On the following Monday, a forum was given which was ‘touchy-feely’ in ambience and theologically light-weight in content. Also, and interestingly, the forum was tightly (though covertly) controlled, monitored and directed. Echoes of various people’s experience of Lambeth are heard loud and clear here!  David responds here to the aftermath of Jefferts Schori’s visit as written up by a local Anglican clergy.

Dear Reverend Shirley Smith,

I wish to take the opportunity of making a few comments about your article, printed on the front cover of The Hill, July 2008.

First, I must applaud you on your courage, in raising such sensitive issues connected with sexuality and gender. I suspect that the vast majority us hide deep vulnerabilities concerning sexuality and we may also have family, friends, people we know personally, who are directly effected by these issues. No wonder we close ranks when subjects such as these, that can become so emotive and divisive, are raised. Little wonder, in fact that the elephant in the room was ignored at the Lambeth Conference. Rowan Williams must be sighing with relief and congratulating himself on the fact that no crockery was smashed or tables overturned. But you have raised it and it deserves a response. In fact I would go as far to say that it is high time that these issues were properly aired at the local level, for it is at the local level, in our churches, schools, places of work where the challenge to truth, morality and what it means to be human are already being forcibly worked out for us by powerful lobby groups like Stonewall.

For people to say that what people do in the privacy of their homes is none of our business no longer holds true because, whether we like it or not, we are being forced to approve of what people might do behind closed doors. We are having our faces rubbed in it. What previously was considered shameful behaviour is now proudly celebrated from the roof tops. Not only are we being asked to be accepting and “inclusive,” of sexual perversion, but our children are being groomed by government sex education programmes to also conform to this behaviour.

When dissenters to the homosexual agenda are having their collars fingered by the police, jailed, fined, dismissed from their jobs, denied work, publicly humiliated and threatened with prison sentences, this concerns all of us.

A predictable idiosyncrasy of the cover article to The Hill, made by clergy in the Okeford Benefice, is the use of poetry as opposed to scripture. I was pleased to see that you had resisted this conceit.

However there are quotes that I believe are relevant to us. Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and Holocaust survivor who paid a heavy price for faith and freedom, said:

“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up”. Read the rest of this entry »

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