Archive for the ‘Current divisions’ Category

Historic week for Anglican Communion

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Historic week for Anglican Communion: From Chicago to London to Canterbury

Bishop Martyn Minns was at Truro yesterday and held a Bishop’s Forum between services. He reported on recent and upcoming events in the Anglican Communion as well as take questions during the forum that was held in the main church.

One of the highlights was his observations and thoughts on the remarkable coming together of the diverse membership of the Common Cause Partnership in the writing of the constitution for the new Anglican province in North America. A joint effort by the partnership, it included not only the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), but also the other Anglican organization that make up Common Cause. He described sitting next to Bishop Chuck Murphy of AMiA, while representatives of Forward in Faith and the Reformed Episcopal Church and others in the partnership gathered around the table to draft the new constitution.

In addition, Bishop Minns described the respectful attitude that was taken by the gathering over issues were there are differing opinions that do exist between Bible-believing Christians in the Anglican Communion, including on the issues surrounding the ordination of women to the priesthood. He indicated a model for them to follow has been set by the partnership between provinces such as Nigeria (where women may be ordained to the diaconate) and Uganda (where women may be ordained to the diaconate and the priesthood) and the respectful and prayerful attitude that is continually observed by them as they seek not to devalue but show respect to those who may hold a different view than one’s own – not an easy thing to do in these challenging times.

The unveiling of the new constitution is this Wednesday, Dec. 3 in Chicago. The Anglican Primates Council will then meet the next day, on Thursday, Dec. 4, in London, England, to receive the new constitution. On Friday, Dec. 5, the Anglican Primates Council are scheduled to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in Canterbury, England.

In addition, it is expected that other Anglican Primates who were not in Jerusalem for GAFCON (including the Southeast Asia primate and Bishop of Singapore, The Most Rev’d John Chew and the Middle East primate and bishop of Egypt, The Most Rev’d Mouneer Anis ) are among those also expected to endorse the new constitution.

The Global South primates will meet together with the Primates Standing Committee prior to the official gathering of the Anglican Primates on January 31-February 6 in Egypt.

A Constitutional Convention is expected to be called for next summer.

In addition, the final order regarding the property ownership of the Virginia Anglican churches should be handed down shortly by Judge Randy Bellows. Even though the ruling has not yet been announced, the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia issued a press release in October indicating his intention to appeal the order to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Lambeth Conference and its (non) follow up – George Conger

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

By George Conger,  Institute on Religion & Democracy

“The pieces are on the board” for the resolution of the Anglican conflict, Williams asserted. “And in the months ahead it will be important to invite those absent from Lambeth to be involved in these next stages.”

However, as of October 16, eight weeks after the close of the conference, Dr. Williams has yet to contact the boycotting bishops to take part in the “next stages.”


Dr. Williams acknowledged at the start of the conference, the communion was “in the middle of one of the most severe challenges,” but noted the “options before us are not irreparable schism or forced assimilation.” The way forward was through an Anglican Covenant – the pact proposed by the Windsor Report to help ensure unity in basic beliefs and mutual accountability among historically autonomous Anglican provinces.

A covenant would allow “an Anglicanism whose diversity is limited not by centralized control but by consent – consent based on a serious common assessment of the implications of local change.”


The first open clash in the conference came on July 22, when the Episcopal Church of the Sudan released a statement calling for the Episcopal Church to repent and immediately cease its advocacy of gay bishops and blessings. Three Roman Catholic cardinals attending the conference then rained on Dr. Williams’ parade, offering progressively harsher assessments of the state of Anglicanism and its relations with Rome.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor urged Anglicans to put their house in order, and decide what they believe. “If Anglicans themselves disagree” over contentious issues like women priests “and find yourselves unable fully to recognize each other’s ministry, how could we?”

Dialogue between Anglicans and Roman Catholics now appeared pointless due to the ecclesiological anarchy spreading across the communion. “If we are to make progress through dialogue, we must be able to reach a solemn and binding agreement with our dialogue partners. And we want to see a deepening, not a lessening, of communion in their own ecclesial life,” Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said.

The Russian Orthodox Church was blunt. Women or homosexual bishops would exclude “even the theoretical possibility of the Orthodox churches acknowledging the apostolic succession” of Anglican bishops, Bishop Hilarion of Vienna told Dr. Williams on July 28.

In its closing week, the conference turned to a discussion of the Anglican Covenant.  Liberal bishops objected to the creation of a mechanism that would impose constraints upon theological and liturgical experimentation, while conservatives expressed fears a covenant would be too little, too late.

A second committee called the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG), created by Dr. Williams earlier this year, briefed the bishops on recommendations for repairing the broken fellowship between the U.S. Church and a dozen churches from the developing world.

The WCG called for maintenance on the ban on gay bishops and blessings and for the creation of a “Pastoral Forum” tasked with responding to future conflicts within the communion. However, in the case of both the Covenant and the WCG, the bishops at Lambeth were only briefed on the work of the committees; they were not given the authority to develop the relevant documents.

On August 3, the conference released a closing statement that noted the broad desire for a “season of gracious restraint” marked by abstentions from the consecration and blessing of partnered homosexuals, and foreign incursions into the jurisdictions of the North American provinces.

Written as a “Reflections” paper, the 42-page statement was described as a “narrative” of the meeting, and attempted to summarize the bishops’ discussions. It was not a consensus document or a position paper. The bishops were asked not whether they agreed with the document, but “whether they could see their voices” amidst the various reflections it contains.

Looking Forward

In the closing press conference, Dr. Williams said Lambeth had proven that the bishops could speak to each other respectfully and prayerfully, and had a “strong commitment to remain unified.”

Read the full article here.

Anglican Mainstream endorses and supports the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

October 20th, 2008 Posted in News |

The Anglican Mainstream Steering Committee issued this statement following their October Steering Committee meeting:

“We have received the reports of GAFCON (The Global Anglican Future Conference – Jerusalem June 2008).  In the light of these reports and as an expression of our continuing commitment to the Anglican Communion, we endorse and support the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration.”

Is this your personal journey too?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

By Fr Gavin, secretary Anglican Mainstream SA.

I found this while trawling through some of my regular sites after a few days away from the office.  I feel it reflects, not perfectly, so much of what I feel the Lord has done in my life and I wonder how many of us Anglican clergy are not finding ourselves in the same boat.

I write this because this is exactly why we need to have this fellowship in place.  To be there for one another when God does His ‘crazy’ thing with us!!!!  Perhaps I should write at length about my ‘roller coaster ride’ with HIm too?

Please read here………       SURPRISED BY GRACE…….

Can’t we all just get along?

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Why “playing nice” by postmodernist standards is a losing proposition


The favorite buzzwords of the postmodern spirit all sound so warm and friendly, don’t they? Conversation, dialogue, openness, generosity, tolerance. Who wouldn’t want to participate in discourse with someone who truly prized human values such as those?

On the other hand, the very same Zeitgeist has demonized a host of other essential biblical values, such as authority, conviction, clarity, and even truth. In the milieu of the emerging discussion, this second category of words has been made to sound harsh, unreasonable, arrogant, and extreme—if not downright evil.

Moreover, postmodern human values are increasingly being defined in a way that expressly precludes eternal biblical values. For example, the prevailing opinion nowadays is that you cannot be “open” and certain at the same time. A person who speaks with too much conviction is ipso facto deemed an “intolerant” person. Above all, anyone who recognizes the full authority of Scripture and insists that God’s Word deserves our unconditional submission will inevitably be accused of deliberately trying to stymie the whole “conversation.”

This is not to suggest that disagreement per se is prohibited in the postmodern dialectic. Quite the contrary, “deconstruction” is all about disputes over words. Postmoderns thrive on dissent, debate, and contradiction.

And (giving credit where credit is due) it should be noted that postmodernists can sometimes be amazingly congenial in their verbal sparring with one another.

One thing the participants in the postmodern “conversation” simply will not tolerate, however, is someone who disagrees and thinks the point is really serious. Virtually no heresy is ever to be regarded as damnable. The notion that erroneous doctrine can actually be dangerous is deemed uncouth and naive. Every bizarre notion gets equal respect. Truth itself is only a matter of personal perspective, you see. Everything is ultimately negotiable.

Now, if you want to join the postmodern “conversation,” you are expected to acknowledge all this up front—at least tacitly. That’s the price of admission to the discussion. Once you’re in, you can throw any bizarre idea you want on the table, no matter how outlandish. You can use virtually any tone or language to make your point, no matter how outrageous. But you must bear in mind that all disputation at this table is purely for sport. At the end of the day, you mustn’t really be concerned about the truth or falsehood of any mere propositions.

Read more……..

Truthful Language and Orderly Separation

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

The Opening of an excellent piece lengthy but more than worth the read.

Written by: Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The Anglican Communion is currently pursuing a number of activities in response to the acrimonious struggle over sexual teaching and discipline within our churches. These activities have been encouraged by the Communion’s leadership, including at the recent Lambeth Conference. I have, to various degrees, been a supporter of these activities, not least because I have trusted those who have promoted these means towards ecclesial healing. I am increasingly skeptical, however, that the way these activities have been framed – descriptively and practically – represents the true nature of our disputes.

Categories like “moratoria” and “reception” and “listening”, for instance, are now prominent elements in our strategic ecclesial discussions. Unfortunately, they no longer appear to be useful categories, in large part because they do not accurately reflect the actual relationship of expectation and possibility that the disputing parties hold, one to another and with respect to their own commitments. When one party says, while responding to the request for a “moratorium” on specific actions, “yes we will consider it; but there is no going back on our underlying commitments”; and another party says at the same time, “yes we will consider it; but only on the condition that you others give up your practical commitments”, then the very category of “moratorium” functions in very different ways in each case. Similarly, when “reception” is a “process” that seeks to discern the Christian authenticity of an innovative practice, but also does so by the very means of rooting that practice within the life of the church in different areas, the notion that discernment has a possibly restraining role to play seems practically undercut. Or when “listening” presumes an ecclesial practice even as it refuses to evaluate that practice, one is not so much listening as receiving justification ex post facto.

Read more

Tearfund and Archbishop Tutu

Monday, September 8th, 2008

September 7th, 2008 Posted in From Lisa’s Lookout10 Homosexuality | No Comments »

Some of us may be wondering what exactly is happening here.  According to Tearfund’s site, AB Desmond Tutu (with Tearfund Director, Matthew Frost, left) gave a stirring speech which encouraged radical Christian commitment and care for the poor, the suffering, the dispossessed, those close to God’s heart.  Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?  That is not all the good bishop said, however. According to BBC’s account, Desmond Tutu reiterated what has become one of his classic lectures on the evils of homophobia in the church and how issues of human sexuality are not that important in the Big Picture.

Of course, all this really says is that along with other ‘progressive’ Christians in the Anglican Communion, Tutu has abandoned the biblical claim that certain moral behaviours actively embraced will cause one to forfeit one’s eternal salvation.  He no longer believes such is the case and admonishes others to join him. In matter of fact, the entire sexual realm would appear to be unimportant – certainly not a cause for concern! – and what people get up to sexually – and the soaring cost of these behaviours in terms of the individual, marriage and the family, the community and the nation – are matters which are downplayed or ignored entirely.

I have no doubt but that Tutu’s concern for the Have Nots is very close to the heart of God. However, I have huge doubt that he is correct in his sexual ethic and its impact on church and culture or in his evaluation of the present Anglican crisis.

But that is only the first part of the saga.  Given the fact that Tutu is one of the most vocal and popular advocates for gay rights now on the planet, why did the Tearfund organizers invite him to speak?  Did they not realise what they were letting themselves in for?  Or is Tearfund shifting, ever so slowly, ever so incrementally, from its mooring in a strong, compassionate evangelical heritage which embraces both grace and truth?  If not, then perhaps the organization might wish to distance itself from Tutu’s sexual ethic.

If you would care to contrast the BBC’s account with what is on Tearfund’s site, the addresses are here.  And if you wish to contact Tearfund directly, its details are here as well.

Email: Tel: 0845 355 8355