Archive for May, 2009

Gay ministers get backing of Tutu

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the Moderator Bill Hewitt

Archbishop Desmond Tutu with new moderator Bill Hewitt

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has voiced his support for including homosexuals in the church, in an address to the Kirk’s General Assembly in Edinburgh.

The South African archbishop insisted every kind of person, no matter what their race, class or sexuality was part of God’s family.

Earlier this week the Church of Scotland agreed a two-year moratorium on the ordination of gay ministers.

The decision came after the appointment of a gay minister in Aberdeen.

On Saturday, the General Assembly, the Kirk’s supreme court, said the Reverend Scott Rennie could become the minister at Queen’s Cross Church.

The minister said he was open about living with his male partner and his appointment was backed by a majority of the congregation.

Obscene amounts

The General Assembly’s decision to appoint Mr Rennie – in a 326-267 vote – raised fears among traditionalists of a possible split in the Kirk.

But on Monday, a two-year ban on the ordination of gay ministers was announced while a special commission considered the matter and reported back in 2011.

The Archbishop said he was aware of the debate over whether the body would agree to endorse the gay minister’s appointment, adding that “mercifully” this was done.

He said: “For my part, I was involved in the struggle against a system that penalised people for something about which they could do nothing – their race – and I could not stand by when people were being penalised again for something about which they could do nothing – their gender.

“For quite a while our church did not ordain women to the priesthood. I joined the struggle and this is a non-issue in our church now. We haven’t yet consecrated a woman bishop but we’ve called our first woman Dean and any number of women are Archdeacons.

“So, under this rubric, I would find it impossible to stand by when people are being persecuted for something about which they can do nothing – their sexual orientation.”

Archbishop Tutu added: “In this family there are no outsiders. All are insiders – lesbian, gay, so-called straight – we are family.”

As well as advocating the inclusion of all kinds of people in the church, Archbishop Tutu argued vociferously for an end to poverty.

He questioned how obscene amounts of money could be spent on weapons when only a tiny fraction of defence budgets would feed the hungry.

The archbishop received a standing ovation before departing for Edinburgh University where he was awarded an honorary degree.

A Tale of Two Communions

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

By The Rev. Phil Ashey, JD, COO and Chaplain, American Anglican Council

As many of you may know, I have just returned from Jamaica where I observed first-hand the confusion, lack of procedural rules, lack of prayer, arbitrary chairmanship, delay, and priority for property and non-revelatory religion that prevailed in the institutional politics of the 14th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

I have reached the same conclusion (again) that many here and in the Global South have reached:  namely, that there are now in fact two communions which call themselves Anglican.

In the one communion, a numerical and theological minority holds hostage the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Communion Covenant on the grounds that the language of section 4 is “not mature enough” and needs more work.  As usual, such work is subject to the timetables of an office that has set no firm date for the conclusion of that work before the whole Covenant can be released to every Province in the Anglican Communion.
In the other communion, Primates and Provinces are eager to sign the Ridley Cambridge Draft right now, including section 4, despite their misgivings that it is not strong enough and lacks enforceability. They recognize that a “false gospel” has paralyzed the Anglican Communion and that this crisis must be addressed. There is an urgent need to move from “autonomy with communion,” in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to a new paradigm of “communion with autonomy and accountability.” They see in the Ridley Cambridge Draft a positive step towards communion with accountability. Read the rest of this entry »