Tuesday, June 05, 2007

As the Anglican World Turns

It doesn't seem to me that much worth noting has really happened since the announcement of the invitations to Lambeth. However, I recognize that some of you may disagree with that assessment. So here's a few items that you may find of interest.

Regarding the Lambeth invitations, I still hold to the minority opinion that only a boycott of such an exclusionary meeting will provide the appropriate message to the world that TEC will not participate in bigotry. However, there's been some discussion of note regarding that stance, specifically from Marshall Montgomery here and here. I continue to disagree with Marshall's conclusions, but do appreciate his willingness to really struggle with some of the issues involved, and for helping me think through them a little more.

I should also note that in regards to my response to what I perceived as an attack on the progressive position by Father Jones, I was most likely in error to come out with both barrels blazing, especially in light of one of his subsequent commentaries. I still come to the conclusion that Greg Jones' comments regarding the progressive position, and Susan Russell specifically, were inappropriate. But I must apologize for wading into the midst of that one with a bulldozer, when most likely a trowel would have worked just fine.

In other news regarding Lambeth, it appears that Uganda and Nigeria will not be present. No surprise there. Abp. Akinola is basing his decision on the premise "If Martyn doesn't go, nobody goes." Hmmm...that one sounds embarrassingly familiar, doesn't it? Abp. Orombi bases his decision on the Road to Lambeth statement, which Abp. Akinola also mentions, even though the authority of that statement is in question.

The Global Center has issued a statement:

In Panama, the bishops identified themselves as the "Global Center" and called for the Anglican Communion to regain "the participatory and tolerant character that Anglicanism has always offered as the middle way within Christianity"...

...In their recent declaration, the bishops said their concern had grown since the 2005 meeting, "because of the polarization regarding the biblical and theological positions manifested in the Anglican Communion, during the last years; positions known as Global North and Global South, non reconcilable in their character and putting the unity in the Communion at risk."

"In the midst of this painful controversy, we do not identify with either side, because they don't fully represent the spirit of our thoughts," they said. "As disciples of Jesus, called to live out the mandate of love (St. John 15:17), we declare our commitment to be together and with all our strength, struggle for unity, as an act of obedience to His will expressed in the Holy Scriptures"...
As one might expect, Fr. Jones is delighted with this statement. Although I fall short of delight, I find this to be an encouraging development, as it offers an alternative position that will be attractive to many within the Church.

Regarding things Network related, A "Common Cause Council of Bishops" is scheduled for late September. This gathering will bring together bishops from the American Anglican Council, Anglican Coalition in Canada, Anglican Communion Network, Anglican Essentials Canada, Anglican Mission in America, Anglican Network in Canada, Anglican Province of America, Convocation for Anglicans in North America, Forward in Faith North America and Reformed Episcopal Church. These "disaffected, breakaway bishops" are going to have some high hurdles to jump, if their intention is to set themselves up as an alternative Province in North America. Some are within the TEC, others, such as the REC, have been out for some time. Some entities are in communion with Canterbury, some are not. Some allow the ordination of women, others do not. Some insist on the 39 Articles, others consider them problematic. Some insist on the 1662 BCP, others prefer more options. Pulling this diverse group together will be a challenge that I'm not convinced can possibly be accomplished. If some form of unity is found, there is still the problem of Canterbury, who will most likely not recognize the group, as it contains too many elements that are not in Communion based on previous judgments by Canterbury.

Speaking of previous judgments by Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton has chosen to chime in on the question of the current Archbishop of Canterbury deciding that the AMiA bishops would not be invited to Lambeth, based on the previous decision of George Carey. It seems to me that former Archbishops are at their best when they learn to go fishing, write their memoirs, or anything other than constantly judging the decisions of the current Archbishop.

The House of Bishops have offered a study document to assit them in their response to the Primates' Communique:

...Theology Committee chair and Alabama Bishop Henry Parsley told Episcopal News Service that the report is meant for bishops to use in conversation with the people of their dioceses in the three and a half months between now and the mid-September meeting of the House of Bishops in New Orleans. Rather than call for responses from individual Episcopalians, Parsley said the committee will in late August and early September gather input from bishops on the result of their conversations in their dioceses...
Soulforce is calling for the Archbishop of Canterbury to stop segregating Bishop Gene Robinson. Here's the content of the petition:

I ____________ cannot accept that the way for faith leaders in the Anglican Communion to deal with the tension resulting from an oppressed group of people's struggle for justice is to exclude rightfully elected bishops who belong to the oppressed group from historic church gatherings.

I call upon the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to invite V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference in 2008.
You can sign it here.

No doubt there are other items of interest that I have skipped. Please feel free to point us to them in this thread.


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