Archive for July, 2008

CANTERBURY: Archbishop of Canterbury Seeks Lambeth Compliant Partners from Global South

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

CANTERBURY: Archbishop of Canterbury Seeks Lambeth Compliant Partners from Global South

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

A rival Global South movement is being set up here in Canterbury in an attempt to divide and conquer the Global South movement. A Lambeth compliant “Communion Partners” movement is being encouraged in an effort to isolate mainstream evangelical and Anglo-Catholics who number 40 million of the 55 million church-going Anglicans throughout the world.

Between 150 and 200 bishops from 17 provinces of the Anglican Communion met, last Tuesday at the Kent University campus, with a number of North Americans.

Among the speakers were bishops Michael Scott-Joynt (Winchester), Tom Wright (Durham) and Bob Duncan (Pittsburgh) moderation of Common Cause Partnerships. The Rt. Rev. Ian Ernest, chair of CAPA spoke and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis addressed the gathering speaking about of the 2009 Global South Conference. They are to meet again, thought this is not certain, a source told VOL.

Senior members of the Global South Primates who are not here include Archbishops Peter Akinola, (Nigeria), Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda), Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya) and Henry Luke Orombi (Uganda), majority representatives of the Global South.

The design of this Lambeth Global South group of primates and bishops, which comes with the full support of Dr. Williams, is to blunt the Global South group of Primates who met in Jerusalem recently. That group includes Archbishops Peter Akinola, Peter Jensen, Gregory Venables, Emmanuel Kolini, Benjamin Nzimbi and Henry Luke Orombi and Valentine Mokiwa (Tanzania).

The list of 17 provinces of GAFCON includes Hong Kong, South Korea, North India, West Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, Myanmar (Burma) Papua New Guinea, Jerusalem/ Middle- East, South India, Burundi, the Southern Cone, West Indies, Central Africa and the Philippines.

Together they represent approximately 6 million Anglicans. Deeply involved in this group is said to be Archbishop John Chew of Singapore, Secretary of the Global South Group and Bishop Mouneer of Egypt who is treasurer and whose chairman is Archbishop Peter Akinola. Ironically the Assistant Bishop of Singapore, the Rt. Rev. Rennis Ponniah is not present at Lambeth.

The Rt. Rev. Albert Vun, Bishop of Sabah is also not present at Lambeth, although he was present at GAFCON and the ANiC ordinations in Vancouver. Archbishop John Chew did not attend GAFCON. John Chew is a member of the group who produced the St Andrews Draft Covenant, which has been critiqued by the Theological Resource Group of GAFCON. Archbishop Chew, as Bishop of Singapore, has the resources to make this happen.

Dr. Michael Nai Chiu Poon, a priest in the Diocese of Singapore who writes on the website “Global South Anglican”, supports this initiative.

He has been particularly critical of the emergence of GAFCON. “I am saddened and shocked by the Statement on ‘”The Global Anglican Future Conference, June 15-22, The Holy Land'”, he wrote at his blog. “On what basis was the Statement “announced by Orthodox Primates”? What is the basis of orthodoxy? Historically, the Communion takes Canon A5 “Doctrine of the Church of England” and C15 “On the Preface to the Declaration of Assent” of the Church of England as the basis of its belief.

“This underpins Section 2 (“The Faith we share”) of the proposed Anglican Covenant. On what basis did the Primates of Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Southern Cone, and Tanzania declare themselves as orthodox primates?” he asks. “For some, it may remain unclear what ‘”Global South'” and its cluster of related terms stand for, and which churches it represents. Is it a movement, a power-bloc, a lobby, or an ultra-conservative group that centres on certain personalities?”

The formation of a new Lambeth Global South movement in Canterbury would be designed to reinforce Williams’ leadership of the Anglican Communion giving support to his policy of non-action in the face of the actions of the U.S. Episcopal Church. Archbishop Williams’ underlying strategy is to produce an inclusive church that will sideline evangelicals of the Global South who reject the theological and moral relativism that has emerged in Global Anglicanism.

Chris Smith, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s aide de camp is reported to have met with Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of Jerusalem and the Middle East — leaders of center right Communion Partners group, and Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone – a member of the more traditionalist GAFCON primates’ council. The Bishop of Durham and other English bishops also met with the primates to formalize a way forward for conservatives amidst the chaos of the Anglican Communion and the unfolding train wreck of the Lambeth Conference.

The two conservative factions currently disagree on the best way of responding to the crisis of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. The GAFCON wing, led by seven primates and comprising over 60 percent of the Communion’s members, are seeking to reform the Anglican Communion and affirm that Anglican doctrine rather than recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury is the basis of Anglican identity.

The difference between the “Communion Partner” primates and the GAFCOIN primates can best be summed up in the words of Chew when he spoke to the Church Times, “Whether you like it or not, Canterbury has got to take the lead, and we pray for him and wish him well.” Archbishop Chew said that he expressed strong support for the recent Sudan statement.

Mrs. Katharine Jefferts Schori, TEC Presiding Bishop was recently overheard to say that TEC could not only stand for The Episcopal Church but also for The Episcopal Communion, a direct swipe at the Archbishop of Canterbury saying, in so many words, that if The Episcopal Church is any way disciplined or ostracized by the Lambeth Conference of bishops, she will simply announce her own communion with some 16 provinces, all of whose flags flew at the 2006 General Convention in Indianapolis.


Bishop of Aberdeen disassociates himself from visit of Gene Robinson to UK and Scotland

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Bishop of Aberdeen disassociates himself from visit of Gene Robinson to UK and Scotland

July 28th, 2008 Posted in Lambeth Conference, News |

This letter was sent to the Scottish Press,the Church Times and the Church of England Newspaper in light of the news that Gene Robinson will be preaching and presiding at Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday.


The Anglican Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, the Rt Revd Robert Gillies, has disassociated himself from the forthcoming visit to the UK and Scotland of the actively gay Bishop of New Hampshire, in the USA.

Dr Gillies says:

“Gene Robinson will be in the UK both before, and in Scotland during and after, the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. Both because of who he is, and what he stands for, his visits are likely to attract media attention. It will be sad if this detracts from much of the good work that Bishops of the Anglican Church from around the world will be seeking to achieve with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Lambeth Conference.”

Dr Gillies continues,

“One historic and continuing function of a Bishop is to maintain the unity of the Church. Sadly Gene’s consecration as a Bishop, and what has followed as a consequence of it, has proven to be deeply divisive.”

He adds,

“I am saddened Gene feels the need to have accepted invitations to come to the UK risking as he does so, further division in the Church. Because I fundamentally disagree with his position as a Bishop, I am left with little option other than to dissociate myself formally from his visit and to express my extreme sadness at the upset his visit will cause across all Christian traditions.”

Dr Gillies was unavailable for further comment.

Blame Africa? The Anglicans and their Troubles

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Blame Africa? The Anglicans and their Troubles

By Al Mohler

The Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops is meeting in Britain, even as the worldwide Anglican communion is about to tear itself asunder over issues of homosexuality, gender, and biblical authority. Over 200 conservative bishops are boycotting the conference, and the global media are trying to figure out how to report the meeting.

One of the most creative and revealing attempts at an explanation comes now from The Economist. The London-based periodical reports that the main threat to Anglican cohesion is a group of African bishops who refuse to go along with the flow when it comes to normalizing homosexuality, electing openly-homosexual bishops, and the like.

Here is how The Economist explains the dynamic:

The simplest way of describing the cracks running down the middle of the 80m-strong Anglican family is to say that the traditionalists, reflecting the conservative social mores of Africa, are at odds with liberals from the rich world, especially over the issue of homosexuality. To explain the Africans’ conservatism, many point out that they are on the front line of a contest with Islam; and that missionary work in Africa was carried out by evangelicals who reflect a rather fundamentalist strain of British Christianity.

The emergence of the “Global South” as a conservative force within Anglicanism is a genuine reality, and a big part of the picture of what is happening in Anglicanism as the debates over the shape of Christianity unfold. But to suggest that those within the communion who oppose the liberal agenda reflect “the conservative social mores of Africa” is ludicrous.

The conservatives are not found only in Africa. The Church of England is in turmoil over a significant number of priests who will not accept women as bishops or priests. The American church, the Episcopal Church U.S., faces unprecedented defections over many of the same issues — but homosexuality is front and center. The majority of churches (and the bishop) of one diocese in California announced that they are leaving the church. Churches in Virginia have left the Episcopal fold, and just won the first round in a legal battle over taking their church properties with them.

The American church is losing members by the thousands and churches by the dozens, and the church includes a fair number of bishops who do not support the ordination of active homosexuals as priests and bishops, or the blessing of same-sex unions. Conservatives, though outnumbered in far too many cases, exist within all the major North American and European churches of the Anglican Communion.

The African bishops leading the charge for orthodoxy are indeed fighting a courageous battle. They are fighting for the soul of the Anglican Communion and for the integrity of the church and the Gospel. They refuse to bend the knee to modern idolatries and they understand the transforming power of the Gospel and the bedrock of biblical authority far better than those who oppose them.

But when The Economist blames the African bishops for threatening “to break up the worldwide Anglican church” and goes on to root all opposition to the liberal trends of the American, Canadian, and British churches in “the conservative social mores of Africa,” all sense of proportion has been lost. This approach is an effort to sideline the opposition — to make the traditionalists look quaint, exotic, backward, and strange.

The Christianity of the revisionists in North America and Europe is the aberration — not the historic faith of the church wherever it is found. Thankfully, that historic faith does have a strong representation in Africa. But blaming Africa for the Anglican troubles is a stunning exercise in missing the point.

How many CHURCHGOING Anglicans does Lambeth represent?

Monday, July 28th, 2008

How many CHURCHGOING Anglicans does Lambeth represent?

A lot of things have been said over the last few months about just who represents whom in the Anglican world. GAFCON, for example, is pilloried by the media and the leadership at Lambeth as a “breakaway” movement.

But, is this right?

Already some journalists are beginning to realize that while the Lambeth Conference might have a large number of bishops in attendance, those bishops actually represent a SMALL MINORITY of the world’s Anglicans.

I have done some informed arithmetic, and the result is surprising.

When provinces such as Nigeria count “Anglicans” they mean those who actually go to church. In the First World the number of “Anglicans” includes those who are “C. of E.” but who never darken the door of a church, many of whom are plainly not even “believers” in any real sense of the term. Now, I’m not saying that they don’t matter, that we don’t love them, that we don’t have a ministry to them, or that they’re they’re not distantly related to us.

What I AM saying is that we should compare apples with apples, so as to avoid the figures being skewed (and perhaps grossly exaggerated) by the inclusion of “non-practising” or “nominal” Anglicans in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, increasingly in South Africa, and even, I’m told, Brazil.

In Australia, for example, there are just under 4 million Anglicans, according to the last census (2006). But we know that the National Life Church Survey puts attendees on any given Sunday at 180,000. (Even that figure is skewed in terms of the real picture when the disproportionate chunk of Sydney Diocese is taken into account!)

However, to get a true comparison, let’s subtract from 75 million the estimated number of “nominal” Anglicans:

24 million (Eng)

3.8 million (Aust)

3.2 million (others in New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, Brazil etc) and you get . . .

44 million Anglicans who actively identify with their church on Sundays.

Of those, 39 to 40 million are the “Global South”, AND WERE MOSTLY REPRESENTED AT GAFCON.

Only 4, maybe 5, million come from liberal “First World” Anglicanism.

So . . .

39 million (GAFCON) as against 5 million (Lambeth).

That should put the Lambeth Conference in its place!

So . . . WHO are the “breakaways”?

Lambeth voices: a panel of Anglican bishops share their views with Faith Online

Monday, July 28th, 2008

By Ruth Gledhill, TimesonLine

We have asked a selection of Anglican bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering of the Anglican episcopate, to share their views on the meeting as it progresses

The Lambeth Conference: July 21-22

Bishop Eugene Sutton of Maryland, USA:

“Before we delve into the big thorny issues, which won’t be easy, it’s been about increasing trust, establishing good relationships. The paws will show later.

I’ve compared this Lambeth Conference to the Anglican Communion on pilgrimage. We have to think of the Anglican Communion as a pilgrimage in which the participants are every bit as varied, diverse and cantankerous as Chaucer’s were.

The real question is will we walk this journey of faith together as pilgrims? This is a wonderful place to have a dialogue, but we will never find that perfect union – we can only ever be pilgrims.”

Bishop Hilary Garang of the Diocese of Malakal, the Upper Nile, Sudan:

(Read about the Archbishop of Sudan on Ruth Gledhill’s blog)

“To be honest, we are in a bad stage. We are sharing a deep concern about the faith of our communion which is taking our human energy, and time. There is a politically motivated agenda: it is as if the Church is not owned by all of us. It is a tragedy to see this before our eyes. We, as a generation, have an opportunity to witness for Christ, and it is hampered by this. We live in a multifaith society. The Anglican Church has had a big role in our country and has united the smaller churches for protection.For the last decade, we have looked towards the EU and the US as a source of light for the Gospel. Now they are telling us something which we do not understand. The Jerusalem Declaration made by Anglicans who attended GAFCON has wakened the concern of every region. It seems in deliberating we are doing something others have evaluated that it is not going to work

However, we love to come here as the Church of Sudan and we believe our fellowship as Christians to be guided by God’s work. We wait to see what God can do. I hope for unity, Anglican unity. If we are divided, we are weak. Our hope is that the Church of England is always choosing the middle way. Our unity will depend on the Church of England. I’m praying that God will lead the rest of our days ahead. We leave it to him.”

Bishop Alan Maigi of Papua New Guinea

“For me this is my first time at the Lambeth Conference. I’m not going to make a comment because I’m still observing and picking up some of the things. I think many of the issues we’ve heard of have still to come up.”

Bishop Peter Beckwith of Springfield, Illinois

“In my Bible study group I apologised for the behaviour of our province that has brought us to the brink of schism. Two hundred and seventy bishops are not here because they refuse to sit down with people who refuse to repent. Gene Robinson is a nice guy, but his lifestyle is not appropriate for a leader of the Church. Sure he’s a bishop, we ordained him. But that says something about our integrity. On the second day of our retreat, I had the feeling we were on the edge of a 10-storey building and the Archbishop of Canterbury was trying to talk us down without a safety net. He’s a wonderful guy, with a lot of integrity but he assumes everyone else has integrity too.

The Episcopal Church is not representing the scriptural authority of Christ. In the Episcopal Church, the biggest lie of all is that sexual morality doesn’t matter, or that it’s changing, that God is doing a new thing. Yet prophetic voices in our history have always taken us back to basics. It will be very interesting to see how things develop here. Will enough be done to preserve the integrity of the Communion? We won’t hold together if we continue like this. It will end with a lot of fragments if this conference isn’t able to give a strong confident way forward.

In the meeting with the Southern Cone, they were concerned to send a strong signal from this gathering that the Anglican Communion is going to stand for Orthodoxy. It was said in that meeting that the Western Church says things that are not Anglican and not Christian. But, as the Archbishop of Sudan has said, we can’t predict the future. We have to wait and see. The proof will be in the pudding. The time for procrastination and equivocation is over. ”