Archive for June, 2016

Anglican Church will with a ‘little divine intervention’ come to embrace same-sex marriages‚ Tutu-van Furth believes

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Tutu-van Furth says Pope Francis is edging the Catholic Church away from homophobia. File photo
Image by: NIC BOTHMA

Mpho Tutu-van Furth had to give up her priest’s licence last month when she married a woman. But she believes the Anglican Church of Southern Africa will — with a little divine intervention — come to embrace same-sex marriages.

But it’s not Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s duty to heal the rift in the church over the issue‚ she says. “It’s not his job – the way forward is God’s work‚ and his job is to hold the space open for God’s spirit to act. And he seems to me to be very thoughtfully and prayerfully holding the space open.”

In May in Franschhoek‚ Tutu married Professor Marcelina van Furth‚ a paediatrician who researches infectious diseases at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The union had the blessing of her parents‚ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Leah Tutu.

Her father fought successfully for the ordination of Anglican women priests in South Africa – and is just as committed to the rights of gay and lesbian clergy to marry. “Like me‚ he feels a sadness‚” says Tutu-van Furth. “And like me‚ he feels confident that in the fullness of time‚ things will change. The internal logic of exclusion doesn’t hold. You can’t sing: ‘In Christ there is no east or west‚ except insofar as homosexuality is concerned.’ That definitely doesn’t work.”

After falling in love with Van Furth — who works with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation on health projects in SA — she did not consider delaying marriage as a way of keeping her South African reverend’s collar (she is still a licensed priest in the US Episcopalian Church.).

“I think it’s far more important to be honest and to act with absolute integrity. And to say‚ no‚ no‚ no‚ no‚ NO!” She laughs‚ just as jubilantly as her father does. “Slightly emphatic!” Tutu-van Furth was previously married to the US journalist Joseph Burns‚ and the realisation that she was in love with a woman came as “a great big surprise”. “I was probably as surprised as anyone else.”

Van Furth is an atheist – but this has not posed a problem. “It seems to work quite well‚” says Tutu-Van Furth. “I respect her atheism‚ and she’s interested in Christianity. She comes to church with me‚ sits in a pew‚ listens to the teaching and asks me about it. She sinks into being a peaceful place and meditates while I pray‚ and that’s also fine.

“We don’t have arguments over theology – it’s not my job to convert her. That also‚ fortunately‚ is God’s job. My job is to live as godly a life as I can‚ and it’s God’s job to be God. So that works‚ too.”

Both of them have children‚ who are getting used to their respective stepmoms. “Sometimes we each get to be stepmonster — the evil stepmonster!”

For now‚ it’s a long-distance relationship between Cape Town and Amsterdam. “Living apart is as about as far from ideal for a married couple as anything is likely to be. But in the meantime‚ her work brings her here‚ my work takes me there. So we’re surviving separately for now.”

Tutu-van Furth says Pope Francis is edging the Catholic Church away from homophobia. “A little bit like Archbishop Thabo‚ he is opening a space for conversation – he hasn’t actually changed anything except the way of thinking. And maybe that’s the biggest change you ever need: the opportunity to change your mind.”

She also believes young South Africans are embracing feminism and LGBTI rights‚ but that the conservative ideas of one notable citizen‚ President Jacob Zuma‚ do not help. “His worldview seems very solidly to underline the role of fear‚ male dominance‚ patriarchy‚ the political power of the elite.

“His appeal to traditional leaders is based on this: if you want to retain your power as a man‚ you can’t let your uppity women decide on their own lives. I think I come from a household of uppity women.”

TMG Digital/Sunday Times

Tutu-van Furth says Pope Francis is edging the Catholic Church away from homophobia. File photo
Image by: NIC BOTHMA

Mpho Tutu-van Furth had to give up her priest’s licence last month when she married a woman. But she believes the Anglican Church of Southern Africa will — with a little divine intervention — come to embrace same-sex marriages.

But it’s not Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s duty to heal the rift in the church over the issue‚ she says. “It’s not his job – the way forward is God’s work‚ and his job is to hold the space open for God’s spirit to act. And he seems to me to be very thoughtfully and prayerfully holding the space open.”

In May in Franschhoek‚ Tutu married Professor Marcelina van Furth‚ a paediatrician who researches infectious diseases at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. The union had the blessing of her parents‚ Archbishop Emeritus Desmond and Leah Tutu.

Her father fought successfully for the ordination of Anglican women priests in South Africa – and is just as committed to the rights of gay and lesbian clergy to marry. “Like me‚ he feels a sadness‚” says Tutu-van Furth. “And like me‚ he feels confident that in the fullness of time‚ things will change. The internal logic of exclusion doesn’t hold. You can’t sing: ‘In Christ there is no east or west‚ except insofar as homosexuality is concerned.’ That definitely doesn’t work.”

After falling in love with Van Furth — who works with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation on health projects in SA — she did not consider delaying marriage as a way of keeping her South African reverend’s collar (she is still a licensed priest in the US Episcopalian Church.).

“I think it’s far more important to be honest and to act with absolute integrity. And to say‚ no‚ no‚ no‚ no‚ NO!” She laughs‚ just as jubilantly as her father does. “Slightly emphatic!” Tutu-van Furth was previously married to the US journalist Joseph Burns‚ and the realisation that she was in love with a woman came as “a great big surprise”. “I was probably as surprised as anyone else.”

Van Furth is an atheist – but this has not posed a problem. “It seems to work quite well‚” says Tutu-Van Furth. “I respect her atheism‚ and she’s interested in Christianity. She comes to church with me‚ sits in a pew‚ listens to the teaching and asks me about it. She sinks into being a peaceful place and meditates while I pray‚ and that’s also fine.

“We don’t have arguments over theology – it’s not my job to convert her. That also‚ fortunately‚ is God’s job. My job is to live as godly a life as I can‚ and it’s God’s job to be God. So that works‚ too.”

Both of them have children‚ who are getting used to their respective stepmoms. “Sometimes we each get to be stepmonster — the evil stepmonster!”

For now‚ it’s a long-distance relationship between Cape Town and Amsterdam. “Living apart is as about as far from ideal for a married couple as anything is likely to be. But in the meantime‚ her work brings her here‚ my work takes me there. So we’re surviving separately for now.”

Tutu-van Furth says Pope Francis is edging the Catholic Church away from homophobia. “A little bit like Archbishop Thabo‚ he is opening a space for conversation – he hasn’t actually changed anything except the way of thinking. And maybe that’s the biggest change you ever need: the opportunity to change your mind.”

She also believes young South Africans are embracing feminism and LGBTI rights‚ but that the conservative ideas of one notable citizen‚ President Jacob Zuma‚ do not help. “His worldview seems very solidly to underline the role of fear‚ male dominance‚ patriarchy‚ the political power of the elite.

“His appeal to traditional leaders is based on this: if you want to retain your power as a man‚ you can’t let your uppity women decide on their own lives. I think I come from a household of uppity women.”

TMG Digital/Sunday Times

GAFCON Chairman blasts Church of England over appointment of TEC Bishop as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

GAFCON Chairman blasts Church of England over appointment of TEC Bishop as Assisting Bishop of Liverpool
Nigerian Primate says GAFCON will now focus on actions of Church of England, now that ACNA is established in US
Okoh says false teaching of TEC now normalized in Church of England

By David W. Virtue DD
www.virtueonline.org

The new chairman of GAFCON, Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, took the gloves off in his first inaugural chairman’s letter and blasted the Church of England over its decision to appoint an American Episcopal Bishop as the Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.

The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh set his eyes on the Church of England and said a line had been crossed by the Church of England with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an assisting Bishop of Liverpool.

“The false teaching of the American Episcopal Church has been normalized in England and this divisive act has meant that the Church of Nigeria’s Akure Diocese has had no alternative but to end its partnership link with Liverpool Diocese,” he wrote.

The Province of Nigeria, the largest and staunchest evangelical branch of the Anglican Communion, has been at odds with TEC since it ordained an openly non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy in the person of Gene Robinson in March 2003.

The Anglican Church in Nigeria formally severed relations with the Episcopal Church at that time when its Primate Peter Akinola formally broke all relations with the North American Church.

“By this unfortunate incident, they have departed from the faith, order and unity of the Anglican Church. They have impaired the communion,” said Akinola.

In this June statement, Archbishop Okoh thanked God for raising up the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) “as a new wineskin on that continent. Now our concern is increasingly with the British Isles. A line has been crossed in the Church of England itself with the appointment of Bishop Susan Goff, of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, as an Assisting Bishop of Liverpool.”

In every age, the devil is at work to destroy the Church, but we stand firm in the confidence that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, he said.

“At our recent Primates Council meeting in Nairobi we reaffirmed our solidarity with the leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and the Anglican Mission in England at this testing time.”

This action further strains relations not only with the Liverpool Diocese but with the Archbishop of Canterbury who is viewed as less than supportive of GAFCON, and who recently turned up in Lusaka at ACC-16, a gathering that was boycotted by GAFCON primates and archbishops.

Okoh said he is convinced that this is a movement called into being and sustained by the Lord of the Church himself. “The Apostle Paul tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We therefore preach the gospel, make disciples and commit ourselves to prevailing prayer, knowing that the most dangerous attack on the Church today is not persecution from the outside, terrible though that can be, but a globalized secular ideology which has established itself inside the Church.”

Okoh said GAFCON must devote itself to the task of restoring the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion and this is the way to true unity. “The divisions which have been so destructive in recent years have come about because some have chosen to abandon biblical doctrine and it has become increasingly clear since the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka last month that those traditionally entrusted with leadership in the Communion will do nothing to call them to repentance.

“GAFCON is evidence that despite this deep failure, God has not given up on the Anglican Communion. Indeed, in his mercy and grace, he is renewing it and we look forward with great anticipation to GAFCON 2018 as a gathering of the nations for the nations as we magnify the one true God who has rescued us from futile ways and brought us into the Kingdom of his Son.”

GAFCON remains a rescue mission for the Anglican Communion, he said.

The full statement can be read here: http://gafcon.org/2016/06/04/chairmans-june-2016-pastoral-letter/