Archive for April, 2010

The bishop of Georgia consents and why

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Rt. Rev. Scott A. Benhase, Bishop of Georgia, wrote to his diocese concerning his decision to consent to the election of the The Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles. Here is what he said:

21 April 2010To the People of the Diocese of Georgia:

A few of our colleagues in the Diocese asked me if I gave my consent to the Reverend Canon Mary Glasspool’s election as Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles. I did. While it is not usual for bishops to report on individual consents, I realize that for some people this is different, so I will try to explain how I came to give my consent. I cannot do so in a sound bite or even in a few
sentences. Thus, you might wish to read this when you are not in a hurry.

1. Prior to my election as the 10th Bishop of Georgia, my theology and practice on the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the Church was well-known. I do not understand homosexuality to be a barrier to any of the four orders of ministry in the Church. I have been quite clear in that theology and practice. So, my consent to Canon Glasspool’s election was
consistent with what you had already known about me.

2. I would not have given my consent if I knew of any theology or practice of Canon Glasspool that was contrary to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Episcopal Church. Canon Glasspool has been a faithful priest of the Church for decades leading parishes to a renewed sense of their baptismal identity and purpose. More recently, she has served quite effectively as Canon to the
Ordinary in the Diocese of Maryland. From my perspective, we need more bishops like Canon Glasspool who have had extensive experience in the leadership of parishes so they are better able to be strategic partners with congregational leaders for the growth and mission of our parishes.

3. I am aware of some concern about the so-called moratorium. The House of Bishops did agree to a moratorium a number of years ago. That moratorium, however, was not one-sided. It was accepted in the context that certain of our Anglican brothers would refrain from crossing diocesan boundaries. While the House of Bishops exercised the restraint of the moratorium for seven years, others did not practice such restraint even for a year. So, in my judgment, the moratorium was no longing a compelling consideration.

4. I, of course, recognize that some in the Diocese of Georgia disagree with my consent. I welcome that. Disagreement in the Church is hardly new. In some ways, Anglicanism was forged out of an unresolved disagreement in the Elizabethean Settlement. After Queen Elizabeth, Protestants and Catholics within Anglicanism did not somehow see their differences go away, but they were committed to living with one another and serving Jesus together in the
church. They were willing to live with what they perceived as significant differences. In many ways, the challenge we face today is not new.

5. I believe that this current dilemma we face needs to be seen and understood in the larger context and truthfulness of Church history and tradition. The catholic faith has always lived with differences while holding fast to the Nicene faith. For example, the post-Constantinian Church
has lived with difference in how we interpret the Sixth Commandment. Some have insisted that all killing is wrong all the time. This is the so-called pacifist position. Others have insisted that there are times when violating the Sixth Commandment is the lesser of two evils. From this came the Just War constructs of St Augustine that provided ethical boundaries for the
violation of the Sixth Commandment. We have had both positions held faithfully in this Church (with many nuances in between) and neither has insisted that the other is not welcome or that the other is not orthodox.

6. More recently in my lifetime, we have had disagreement about violating Jesus’ teaching on divorce. Jesus is clear: If one marries after divorce one commits adultery. That seems to be the plain sense of Scripture. Yet, many have recognized that while divorce is never a “good,” sometimes it is the lesser of two evils for all parties. Others, however, still insist that Jesus’ words must be interpreted plainly. There are still others in our Church that hold even more nuanced understandings about this that fit somewhere in between the two extremes. Yet, in all these, we remain together in the same Church and receiving God’s gracious sacrament from the same altar.

7. I understand our current dilemma in a similar historical context.Faithful people will disagree about this. I do not understand such disagreement as a problem to be solved, but a dilemma God is asking us to live with for the time being. There are faithful people in the Diocese of
Georgia who are anxious for a definitive resolution. I do not believe that is possible right now and may not be in my lifetime on this earth. If that is true, how are we to live together with this dilemma? I think the answer to that question is this: We will live together just like the saints who have gone before us who heeded Blessed Paul’s admonitions. We will love and honor one another. We will bear one another’s burdens. We will not have a higher opinion of ourselves than we ought. We will not look only to our own concerns, but the concerns of others. We will forgive one another as we have been forgiven.

8. There is a prayer in the Marriage Rite that has always touched me deeply. When praying for the newly married couple, the Church hopes that “their life together” may be “a sign of Christ’s love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, that forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.” I see this as an image of our relationship together. I have been Bishop of this Diocese for three months now. In that sense, we are newlyweds together. Like in any relationship that is not worked at and nurtured, we can fall into patterns that lead to estrangement, guilt, and despair. You and I will work hard not to let that happen. We will seek
unity, forgiveness, and joy. We will seek to make our life together as bishop and people “a sign of Christ’s love for this sinful and broken world.” Of course, we will not always achieve such virtues, but I know we will constantly seek them and commit ourselves to practicing them.

As your Bishop, I am committed to leading this Diocese faithfully and effectively. I want those who have differences on the issue of human sexuality to know that I will not play favorites by rewarding those who agree with me or seeking to punish those who do not. All of us share in the mission of Jesus Christ together. All have an important role to play in that mission. I pray that we not allow whatever differences we have to distract us from taking the saving Gospel of Jesus to the world.


FCA General Secretary responds to the Global South to South Encounter

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

April 28, 2010   GAFCON website

The Global South to South Encounter

The Fourth Blast of the Trumpet

The image of the trumpet blast seems to be an over-dramatic description of the communiqué issued from the latest Global South Encounter. In fact, the response to it has been somewhat muted. But as a guest at the conference, I believe that it fully deserves the title ‘trumpet’ and will in time be regarded as an historic statement.

One reason why it fails to create a strong reaction is that it simply confirms the obvious. The crisis moment has now passed. Many of the Global South provinces have given up on the official North American Anglicans (TEC and the Canadian Church) and regard themselves as being out of communion with them. They renew the call for repentance but can see that, failing something like the Great Awakening, it will not occur. The positive side to this is that they are committed to achieving self-sufficiency so that they will cease to rely on the Western churches for aid. That is something the Global South has been working on for some time, with success.

In my judgment, the assembly was unresponsive to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s video greetings. I don’t think that what he said was obscure. It just seemed to be from another age, another world. His plea for patience misjudged the situation by several years and his talk of the Anglican covenant was not where the actual conference was at. He seemed to suggest that the consecration of a partnered lesbian Bishop will create a crisis. In fact the crisis itself has passed. We are now on the further side of the critical moment; the decisions have all been made; we are already living with the consequences. And it was in working out the consequences that the communiqué may eventually be seen to be historic.

The Global South Encounter could not in itself recognize the authenticity of churches. But the communiqué goes as far as is possible to recognizing the authenticity of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and declaring this body to be the true heirs of the Anglican tradition on that continent. This is precisely what the GAFCON/FCA Primates Council did in 2009, and it really means that the leadership of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion regards itself as being in communion with ACNA and out of fellowship with the other North Americans. This was symbolized by the part played by Archbishop Bob Duncan at the conference, especially when he presided at Holy Communion. Furthermore the welcome accorded to the two bishops from the Communion Partners demonstrated the Global South commitment to Biblical standards as a test of fellowship.

In the meantime, of course, there are those, notably in the West, who want to play by the old institutional rules. They would argue that ACNA cannot be part of the Anglican Communion because it has not passed the tests of admission via the Anglican Consultative Council. This is so artificial as to be risible. As the last paragraph of the communiqué observes, the unreformed ‘instruments of communion’ (who invented such an inelegant phrase?) are archaic remnants of a system which has failed. The Global South is vibrant with spiritual reality. It has taken a time for them to break the courteous habit of deference, but they have now chosen reality, not the artificial constructs dominated by the money and politics of western churches.

Which brings us to the covenant. The word ‘covenant’ was prominent in the lead up to the conference. Given that the Anglican covenant reached something like a final form in December it could reasonably be supposed that the Global South Encounter would regard this as its chief agenda and issue a statement urging all provinces to sign. In fact, the consideration of the covenant theme took a strictly biblical turn from Archbishops Akinola and Chew onwards, and it was scarcely if at all addressed from the platform during the Encounter. The paragraph on the covenant in the communiqué still endorses the idea of such a development, but it is also perfectly clear that work still needs to be done to produce a covenant which the Global South would be happy with. The two defects mentioned are that it lacks disciplinary teeth and that it gives monitoring power to the Standing Committee when it should belong to the Primates.

I suspect that a great deal more lies behind these criticisms. The very appearance of the body called ‘The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion’ was the cause of much private comment, for example. Even if it is a totally innocent development, it seems to fit with the frequent experience of the Global South that they are neither consulted nor listened to and that the deck is always stacked against them. The paragraph is consistent with the view that there is now a very considerable breakdown in trust and that new ways of being Anglican are being found. The praise for Archbishops Mouneer, Orombi and Ernest in their determination no longer to attend meetings with representatives of the North Americans is a further indication that the crisis point has been passed and that we are now in the era of consequences. It seems strange for anyone to be counseling delay and patience under such circumstances.

I am not attempting here to give a record of the Encounter itself, and these observations have no other status than that of an outside observer and one not privy to various of the key meetings between Primates and others. The conference contained a great deal else worthy of remark, including a high quality of presentations. I was especially impressed by the manifest desire to listen to scripture and to be obedient to scripture. But I conclude with a particular moment which had special significance for me and ties in with my comments on the communiqué.

It occurred in my small group meeting. In this group were representatives from Madagascar, Kenya, the Solomons, South Africa, India, Myanmar, and Burundi – a fair range representing the modern Anglican Communion and the very ones who value their membership of the Communion so highly. We were discussing covenants, and the issue of the Anglican covenant emerged. Very gently but firmly the group let me into a secret. It was all very well to have a covenant, but what if the people have different ideas as to what a covenant may mean? What if you were in covenanting with westerners, whose word could not be relied on? Of what use is a covenant then? Look at the state of marriage in the west. Consider the western capacity to use slippery words. What would a covenant be worth?

Right action demands that we understand our own times accurately. If I am correct, that we now belong to the post-crisis phase, we need to know what such a moment requires. Action in this phase is no less demanding. One thing is for sure: those who wait and do nothing will be playing into the hands of ideologues who have had such a triumph in the west. This is especially so for the orthodox in those churches in the west which have yet to come into their moment of truth. For them there can no longer be, ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest…’ (Proverbs 24:33). Instead they must wield, ‘The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:17), if they wish to survive. This is at the heart of what I observed in Singapore, and it is in this, as in the communiqué, that I believe that Global South, like GAFCON/FCA, is pointing to the Anglican future.

Peter Jensen
General Secretary, GAFCON/FCA

SINGAPORE: Global South Observers Reflect on Worldwide Anglicanism

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Western Anglicanism declines even as Global South rises
Do not copy Anglicanism from England, said Sydney Archbishop

By David W. Virtue in Singapore
April 25, 2010

Anglican Observers from New Zealand, Australia and the US to the Fourth Global South Encounter castigated Western liberal Anglicanism and urged Global South Anglican leaders to uphold the faith and maintain relationships, even as the Anglican Communion goes through its present upheavals.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Harris a theologian from New Zealand said that at the time of the New Testament, the “independent churches had a particular phrase to uphold themselves against the culture. Hominoya: to be of the same mind and that mind is the mind of Christ. This is premised on the renewal of the transformation of the mind into the mind of Christ. We have a choice before us in the Anglican Communion, those who pledge loyalty to the institution vs. those who cry out to go deeper: to be of the mind of Christ.”

Harris said the crisis in the Anglican Communion is partly the theological mess we find ourselves in. “It is not just what is preached from pulpit, but clergy, when ask what do you believe, their answers run the gamut.

“I hope the Global South will be a people who have the love and courage to preach the fullness of the mind of Christ, who know God’s word, not guessing what people of God might be doing, but people who know. They have a clarity about God’s purposes and meaning.”

Harris stated that this painful lesson is being learned in New Zealand. “How damaging it is when the theological education of men and women in ministry brings doubt and confusion especially when the word of Scripture is clear. I read the House of Bishops from TEC statements re scriptures that mention homosexuality in the Bible. Passages that are clear came out twisted, until they say the opposite of how they are written.

“The heritage of the future belongs to those who will be a light to the nations, a covenant grounded in God’s word and witness. We stand confident in what God has taught us by his grace, not councils and decisions which are grounded in loyalty to the city, culture and the institution, but the Word of God written.”

Bishop Richard Ellena from the Diocese of Nelson, (NZ) said the Aotearoa Province is at a crossroads. “The Polynesian Islands are electing a new Archbishop this Sunday. Some of their bishops have already taken the slide to oblivion that haunts the West. We are at a crossroads and it seems we may join the downward slide of The Episcopal Church (TEC). We’re the southernmost part of the world, except the very most southern part of South America. Some of our bishops have already moved in line with TEC. The Diocese of Nelson is the only one with an evangelical bishop in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is embracing rugged individualism and rampant consumerism. [It is all about] my needs, what I can get out of church, that’s what people are interested in today.” They say, “I want a sermon that doesn’t challenge me too much and music that is entertainment. They want a first class children’s program that doesn’t make them religious OR Christian. It’s all about my needs; no heart, no sacrificial need. That’s what we struggle with.

“This is the result of 40 years of rubbish taught at our one theological college in New Zealand. Pray for us. One phrase sticks with me and it is a judgment, ‘He saw, he wanted and he went down.’ Please pray for us.”

Bishop Jeffrey Driver of the Diocese of Adelaide said Australia is really two countries. It has contact with the ancient North which is England, but it is also conscious now that they are part of the Asian region. “We have a need to be sensitive to the countries around us and we share their future and destiny. Both north and south feel this way. There is a sense of our relationship with countries here that have also been peopled by immigration and refugees like we are. We have peoples of many colors and many languages, many aspirations, needs and dreams. We have that deep link, in the north and of the south as well.

“One suggestion I would make to you, the people of the Global South. However we think of the structures, the first instrument of Communion is not the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Primates meetings or the Anglican Consultative Council. It is relationship. I encourage each to treasure, nurture and grow the informal links between our provinces. That is where the cohesion of the Anglican Communion will grow. The Church in Australia has most of the tensions in it that the Communion has.”

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney commented that the Trumpet Sounds of the Global South have been one of the most significant elements in the Communion in the last 20 years.

The evangelical archbishop said he was in a group talking about Covenant (a significant and sacred thing), when a bishop rose up and said, that when dealing with people of the West, we are not sure that they mean what they say. “We are so infected by post-modernism that our word cannot be trusted. It is true and it creates a tension that lies between us that is usually unspoken. We who have been infected by this and we need to repent. The beating heart of the Global South is that you say exactly what you mean.”

Jensen was gratified that this conference was “unremorsefully Scriptural.”

“Every talk, every presentation, came straight out of scripture and we had the Scriptures expounded for us. The commitment of the Global South to Scripture is no platitude. That is a striking thing. You take it for granted. You keep saying to the West, ‘You have to live under the Scriptures.’ I’m not sure they even know what that means.”

Jensen blasted the secularism of the West, which he said is coming to you. “It has made mission in Australia very difficult. Why? At the heart of secularism is censorship. They do not want us to talk about Jesus. That is not true of you. When secularism comes your way, do not submit to censorship. We have to find out what Anglicanism is where we are. Copying Anglicanism from England is no longer an option.”

The challenges require us to dig deeper and higher and broader, said Archbishop John Chew by way of response.

Archbishop Bob Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) rose to say he also represented Canada. “We come to you as two groups in two structures (ACNA and Communion Partners). We are not two; we are one. We are in the same mind of Christ. We’re trying to reach out to our continent with the transforming mind of Christ. Our prayer for you is that grace and peace will be multiplied upon all of you in the Global South. I have four words to describe our reflection on this conference -Gratitude, Privilege, Renewing and Pain.”

Addressing the issue of pain, Duncan said, “We were reminded of the terrible division that is in the Communion. “There is a terrible tension and crisis. We are aware of that. The destructive work of some in our communion continues to challenge the structures and the order. The danger to the Global South is simply to build an association that is based only on geography or history. No one must build an association on anything less than the shared Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sound the Trumpet. It will be heard all over the world.”

The Rt. Rev. John Howe of the Diocese of Central Florida, speaking on behalf of the Communion Partner bishops stated, “The witness and ministry in the Global South and your sense of calling to be the faithful suffering servant in the Anglican Communion is remarkable. Communion Partners bishops are remaining faithful and orthodox in TEC. The majority of Provinces has declared themselves to be in broken or impaired communion by the decisions of TEC’s General Convention. The last time I met with him, I said to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that if he would say to us as a part of TEC that we are not in full communion with Canterbury, we can accept that. We too repudiate their actions.

“Archbishop Chew met with us and asked Bishop Mark Lawrence and I that if the Global South recognizes ACNA, would that harm Communion Partners? We said No. Archbishop Ian Earnest said two weeks ago that the Province of the Indian Ocean would cease communication with TEC, except those bishops who have remained faithful. The Communion Partners have a sincere desire to remain your partners in ministry for Jesus’ sake.”


DIOCESE OF RIO GRANDE: New Bishop is on Board with TEC’s Homosexual Agenda

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

With the election of the Rev. Dr. Michael L. Vono as the next bishop of The Diocese of the Rio Grande, this once theologically orthodox diocese now joins the ranks of dioceses that have succumbed to the siren call of pansexuality.

Vono, 60, was elected the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Rio Grande on the third ballot on Saturday morning in a specially held Election Convention.

From evangelical bishop Terry Kelshaw to Anglo-Catholic Bishop Jeffrey Steenson to the orthodox, but institutionalist Bishop William Frey, this orthodox diocese has elected a pro-gay bishop in the person of Michael Vono, an open and public supporter of Bishop Gene Robinson. Vono himself is divorced with no children. During the walk-abouts, he said he remained “heart-broken and crushed” because of the breakdown of his marriage.

His sentiments about homosexuality were expressed in a letter from the vestry of St. Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome, where he was the rector. He and he Vestry passed a resolution “supporting our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters”, before delegates went off to General Convention.

Delegates also believed the Church in New Hampshire had been “inspired and moved by God’s Holy Spirit” in calling Gene Robinson as Bishop and urged the Church at large to “respect the dignity of faithful gay and lesbian persons within our Episcopal Church.”

This signals to remnant orthodox Episcopalians that they have little or no future in the diocese or TEC. Many orthodox parishes will now weigh their options as they face an uncertain future.

The previously elected bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jeffery Steenson left The Episcopal Church to become a Roman Catholic under the Pastoral Provision process put into place by Pope John Paul II. He is now a Roman Catholic priest teaching Patristic Studies at the University of St. Thomas Center for Faith and Culture in Houston, Texas.

Following his departure, the See of Rio Grande was vacant. The Rt. Rev. William Frey, retired bishop of Colorado and former dean of Ambridge, PA-based Trinity School for Ministry, filled in as the assisting bishop.

Bishop-elect Vono hails from Providence, Rhode Island. He received his education in a variety of settings. He was originally a Roman Catholic, but was later ordained an Episcopal priest. Vono earned his Doctor of Ministry from Hartford Seminary. There is little doubt he will obtain consents.

The Diocese encompasses the entire state of New Mexico, which overlaps in the northwest corner by Navajoland and stretches into Texas as far as the Pecos River. The diocese has 53 parishes with 12,306 on the books. Average Sunday attendance is 4,572 on any given Sunday. The only cities with multiple Episcopal congregations are: Albuquerque, where the cathedral is situated; Santa Fe and Las Cruces in New Mexico; and El Paso in Texas.

He will also assume a budget deficit of $1.664 million.

To read the vestry letter view here:

SINGAPORE: Coptic Bishop Blasts Episcopal Church at Global South Encounter

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Homosexuality is an abomination. Purify the sanctuary of the Lord, says monk

By David W. Virtue in Singapore
April 25, 2010

A Coptic Orthodox Church observer to the Fourth Global South to South Encounter ripped into the Episcopal Church, stunning some 130 archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity, urging them to say “no to ordination of homosexuals, no to gay marriage, no to such immorality, and that it is time to purify the sanctuary of the Lord from this abomination that causes our God to suffer, bleed and be crucified again everyday.”

“You are martyrs without the shedding of blood because you are upholding the teaching of the Gospel handed down once and for all to the apostles,” Bishop Anba Suriel told the stunned delegates.

“An army of sheep led by a lion is more powerful than an army of lions led by a sheep. I really pray that you lions here, the primates of each of the provinces of the Global South will stand united with one accord against the heresies of The Episcopal Church.

“I want to share with you a saying of Saint Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism. This great Egyptian saint said, “There will come a day when the mad people will look at the normal people and say, ‘Look at these mad people because they are not like us.'” I think this prophecy has been fulfilled in our day and age. Abnormality has become the new normality. Certain factions of the Christian Church are becoming desensitized to the truth of the Gospel. I call it the frog in the kettle syndrome.

“If you place a frog in a kettle at room temperature the frog will be comfortable, if you raise the temperature slightly, the frog will quickly adapt. If you continue to raise the temperature very gradually the frog will continue to adapt to its new environment until finally the water is boiling and the frog is fried inside the kettle and loses its life. This is what today’s Post Modern society is doing; it is pushing the limit of immorality further and further till it tries to make some lose their spiritual life and die.”

The bishop blasted New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson. “He was a married man and had two daughters. He divorced his wife and left his daughters to live this unthinkable life of abomination. Is this the holiness and perfection and the image and likeness of God? How then can such a person be ordained to the highest level of authority in a Church, the episcopate? What example does he give to young people, what long term effects will such a decision by The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) have on the North American Episcopalians in generations to come?”

The bishop said homosexual radical activists are overrunning schools in America with their agenda.

“While homosexual activity is strong in Hollywood, the education system is being overrun by radical homosexual activists who want to begin indoctrination in the elementary school system, middle schools and high schools. In Massachusetts, where a Court recently found that the homosexuals have a constitutional right to get married, teachers and counselors receive special state-funded training for dealing with gay and lesbian students, and libraries are stocked with book and films on homosexual issues.

“In Framingham, Massachusetts, students were forced to answer a questionnaire that openly challenged the validity of their heterosexuality. Here are some questions:

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
2. When did you first decide you were heterosexual?
3. Is it possible heterosexuality is a phase you will grow out of? [Of course, the flip-side of the question is not asked: Is it possible that homosexuality is phase you will grow out of.]
4. Is it possible you are heterosexual because you fear the same sex?
5. If you have never slept with anyone of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?
6. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexuality? How did they react?
7. Why are heterosexuals so blatant, always making a spectacle of their heterosexuality? Why can’t they just be who they are, not flaunt their sexuality by kissing in public, wearing wedding rings, etc?

“Notice how heterosexuality is portrayed as the abnormal behavior? If you substituted the words ‘homosexuality’ and ‘opposite sex’ into many of the questions, there would be a howl of protests from radical homosexual activists and their allies.

“Today’s heresy often becomes tomorrow’s orthodoxy. Well, let me say the orthodoxy of God will never allow for these heresies.

“That is why TEC allows a heretic like Bishop Spong to promulgate his poison all over the world and publish books advocating a cocktail of heresies ranging from denying the divinity of Christ to a complete and shocking attack on the inspired Word of God. And yet at the same time they depose an orthodox Episcopal bishop for upholding the true faith of the Scriptures that marriage is between one man and one woman… I cannot even begin to get comprehend that.”

The bishop said he was personally vilified, hissed and booed when he attended the Anglican Synod of Australia in 2001 and spoke up about homosexual activity.

“I was not politically correct, and I will continue not to be politically correct till my last breath defending this Gospel of the Good News that our Lord was crucified for to bring us salvation. My brethren, I believe it is time for the Anglican Global South to make a strong stand; there is no room here for political correctness and niceties. Your young people and indeed many ecumenical partners are watching closely the outcome of this Encounter. Will a strong message go out to the rest of the Anglican Communion to repent and return to God and to return to His Holy commandments to be holy and perfect? How can anyone live a holy and perfect life whilst living an abominable lifestyle such as homosexuality and be ordained to serve God?”

TEC keeps spouting these evil doctrines because they want to corrupt the world, he stated.

The bishop urged the Encounter bishops to study not only covenant issues but conciliar issues as well.

“Perhaps if some studies can be made, historical studies on the conciliar nature of the church and to see it from the Orthodox perspective may be helpful to you in setting up a viable structure for the Anglican Global South. ”

The bishop urged greater engagement with media to get the word out. “I would like to suggest that multimedia and television/satellite channels should play an important role for the Anglican Global South. In the Coptic Orthodox Church we have found that our worldwide satellite TV channels have had a great impact on promulgating Orthodox Christian teachings. Through such channels you can teach the upcoming generations of children and youth about the proper understanding on marriage according to Biblical teachings.

“I pray that the Anglican Global South will continue to uphold this holiness of the Church. Please do not lose hope, be strong and be united together through prayer and faith. Let no one shake you or rattle you and know that your brothers and sisters in the Coptic Orthodox Church are praying for you and your provinces and we stand firmly beside you in this upward battle that you are fighting. Darkness cannot overcome the light of the Gospel, be of good cheer the Lord tells us because in the world we will find tribulation. He has overcome the world.”


Anglican Mainstream and Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (UK and Ireland) Response to Global South Communique

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

April 26th, 2010 Posted in Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA), Global South |

We are encouraged by and welcome the Communique from the Fourth Anglican Global South to South Encounter in Singapore, with its positive emphasis on mission. We particularly endorse:

1. Their positive response to the call to declare the next ten years a Decade of Mission and Networking, to expand mission sending capacity to enhance networking among Global South Provinces, together with the need to pay greater attention to the role of Christian professionals in the mission, ministry and witness of the Christian community. and the pastoral needs of the laity, especially women and young [10]

2. Their agreement that the future of the Communion lies in winning the next generation for Christ and therefore their call to each region to adopt initiatives to better understand the needs and characteristics of this new generation so that we might better communicate the Gospel and Christian values to them. [12]

3. Their statement of ‘the absolute necessity and priority for the Church to disciple her members under the authority of the inspired Scriptures so that they may transform their societies and reach the nations with the Gospel’. [13]

4. Their recognition that TEC and ACC’s ‘continued refusal to honor the many requests made of them by the various meetings of the Primates throughout the Windsor Process have brought discredit to our witness’; the urging of the Archbishop of Canterbury to implement the recommended actions’; and their encouragement to Provinces ‘to reconsider their communion relationships with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada until it becomes clear that there is genuine repentance’. [18 and 19]

5. Their acknowledgement that there are many within TEC who do not accept their church’s innovations, to whom we should offer loving and prayerful support. [19]

6. Their recognition that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism’; their welcome to ACNA churches as partners in the Gospel; and their hope that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners. [19]

7. Their view that ‘there is a need to review the entire Anglican Communion structure; especially the Instruments of Communion and the Anglican Communion office; in order to achieve an authentic expression of the current reality of our Anglican Communion’. [22]

Dr Philip Giddings (Convenor Anglican Mainstream)
Rev Paul Perkin (Chairman, Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (UK and Ireland))
Canon Dr Chris Sugden (Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream)

The Covenant, Canterbury and Persecution

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

by Chris Sugden, Evangelicals Now, May 2010

The Rev Mary Glasspool, who is living in a same-sex relationship, has received sufficient consents from other Bishops in The Episcopal Church for her to be consecrated as Suffragan Bishop in Los Angeles on May 15.

Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney, the secretary of the Primates Council of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, gave a statesmanlike response: “It is now absolutely clear to all that the national Church itself has formally committed itself to a pattern of life which is contrary to Scripture. … Some [responses] have been dramatic and decisive, such as the creation of the Anglican Church of North America, an ecclesiastical body recognized by the GAFCON Primates as genuinely Anglican.

The Counsels of Patience

For others, however, the counsels of patience have prevailed and they have sought a change of heart and waited patiently for it to occur.. To wait longer would not be patience – it would be obstinacy or even an unworthy anxiety. Two things need to be made clear. First, that they are unambiguously opposed to a development which sanctifies sin and which is an abrogation of the word of the living God. Second, that they will take sufficient action to distance themselves from those who have chosen to walk in the path of disobedience.”

The UK website group Fulcrum have now recognized that TEC was dishonest from the beginning. But they are still blinded by the belief that Canterbury remains the key to the unity of the Communion and the integrity of orthodox faith in the Communion.

The real issue is not the Covenant, but the Archbishop of Canterbury. His track record in protecting and including TEC is obvious – namely reneging on the agreements at Dromantine (so that TEC was present at the ACC in Nottingham), inviting the consecrators of Gene Robinson to Lambeth ( in advance of the conclusion of the Dar-es-Salaam timetable), and undermining the debate at the ACC in Jamaica which would have mandated a covenant with sanctions.

Covenant is not the solution

The belief that an improved version of the covenant will be adequate to deal with the challenges of TEC is misplaced. Improving an instrument while handing it to the same person and expecting him to use it for the goals you have is being naïve. He has unfailingly demonstrated that he will use whatever instruments there are for his purposes. These include the continuing inclusion of TEC and a rejection of any sanctions of those who flout communion resolutions.

The time has come to recognize that the solution is not the covenant.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh in his installation sermon as Primate of Nigeria on March 25th in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria said that if the Communion Covenant is to carry the spread of the homosexual lifestyle throughout the Anglican Communion, it will fail. “The Bishop of Liverpool (in his recent presidential address urging that diverse views on homosexual behaviour should be allowed for like competing views on war) had spoken at the wrong time”, Archbishop Okoh said. “The danger of his view is of establishing two authorities in the Church, one of the Bible and the other the canon of a deviant subculture. We refuse to accept it.”


Present at the installation was the Archbishop of Jos, Benjamin Kwashi. He had to return immediately to Jos before the curfew imposed after the recent massacres. He was most grateful for the publicity and concern around the world for the massacres, and hoped that the British Government would continue to press for proper investigation and punishment of the guilty. Archbishop Okoh in his sermon urged that those responsible for the slaughter in Jos should not be allowed to go free, otherwise society would descend to ‘dog eat dog’.

A well informed Nigerian bishop told me that behind the massacres in Jos was a plan by Muslim groups in the North of Nigeria to take over the north of the country. Jos is a target as the centre of many Christian churches, groups and organizations. In northern Nigeria, the electorate is organized not on the basis of tribal boundaries, as in the south, but on the basis of religious communities. This means that if one religious community can intimidate and expel members of another group in an area, its representation will increase at the national level.

In his Easter sermon the Archbishop of Canterbury struck a welcome note in speaking of the seriousness of the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and Iraq. But, calling for a sense of proportion to people who risk losing their job because of their public Christian witness in the UK by pointing out the sufferings of Christians elsewhere can be like telling those who live on benefit or the dole that 70 per cent of the population of Nigeria live on 2 dollars a day. Relative deprivation has long been recognised as a legitimate grievance.