March 23, 2017

March 12, 2011


A Letter from the Archbishop of Canturbury to the Primates

To Primates of the Anglican Communion
Moderators of the United Churches

11 March 2011

My dear friends,

As we begin our pilgrimage towards the celebration of Our Lord’s death and resurrection, I send my greetings to you all, and my prayers that this season will bring us closer to the reality of Christ’s love and self-giving for us, so that His Spirit will move more powerfully among us to enable us to share that love with the world.

In the forefront of all our concerns at this moment is the situation of our brothers and sisters who are living with the daily threat of violent persecution or in unstable environments. Our thoughts are specially with the leaders and people of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, faced with massive instability and uncertainty, and with many disturbing signs of what may come – and we remember also our Bishop in Jerusalem, still waiting for the clarification of his right of residence. We also think with anguish of the sufferings and anxieties of the Church in Pakistan, in the context of the brutal killings that have occurred in recent months and weeks. The continuing attacks on Christian communities in parts of Nigeria are a matter of deep concern, and I was grateful to be able to speak directly with the Primate recently about the need for Christians worldwide to keep this issue in the eyes of their own governments. In Zimbabwe, our Anglican Church is still subjected to constant attack because of its brave stand for justice. In Southern Sudan, after a referendum more peaceful than most people dared to hope, the Church faces the huge challenge of helping to shape a new nation while maintaining a united witness in Sudan as a whole. Current developments in the Abyei area make it clear that the risk of further conflict and displacement of populations is far from being a thing of the past. The same challenge of witnessing to a unity beyond political boundaries inspires the continuing courageous ministry of the Church in Korea.

It is as though we are all being reminded of the true cost of discipleship. Nothing could be more important for us to reflect on during Lent – particularly those of us who live in relatively comfortable circumstances. And in the midst of all this, we also give thanks for our brothers and sisters who continue to serve sacrificially when natural disaster strikes, showing how the love of God in Christ can inspire faithful and costly care for a whole community. Our prayers are particularly with our friends in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the wake of the earthquake that claimed so many lives and destroyed the beautiful Anglican cathedral along with many other churches. There, as in Haiti and Pakistan last year, the Church has demonstrated beyond any doubt that it is an effective, compassionate presence for the healing of a devastated community. As I write, news has just come of an appalling earthquake in Japan – our prayers go out for all those communities affected.

We look out at a landscape that is in many ways sombre. But what is as miraculous as ever is the fidelity of believers in the middle of it all. Christians in Pakistan or Egypt still obstinately go on loving their neighbours and their enemies and refusing to copy the ways of the world. There is no greater proof of the power and reality of Christ’s resurrection than this. The life of the One who was rejected and tortured to death is the same life that lives now in Christians; as St Paul says (Rom.6.9), Death has no more power over Christ – and we who share his life through baptism are delivered from the deathly power of hatred and revenge.

These events also remind us of the importance of our worldwide fellowship. Whatever the wounds in that fellowship – and they are still deep in many ways – there should be no doubt of the willingness of all in our Communion to stand together in prayer and solidarity when confronted by attacks on the gospel and its witnesses, or by human suffering and loss. The recent launch of the global Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy, enthusiastically supported through the entire Communion, under the inspiring leadership of Sally Keeble, has been a sign of that continuing readiness to stand together and work together for the most vulnerable, in the name of the Lord – and, very significantly, to support our local churches in holistic mission and to help them to continue as credible and effective partners for both governmental and non-governmental organisations – since in so many areas only the churches can be trustworthy agents of change. For all this we can rightly give thanks. And I hope and trust that our celebration of the resurrection this year will be also a celebration of the ways we share the new life of Christ through this solidarity and mutual love.

The recent Primates’ Meeting in Dublin did not set out to offer a solution to the ongoing challenges of mutual understanding and of the limits of our diversity in the Communion. But it is important to note carefully what it did set out to do and what it achieved. In recent years, many have appealed to the Primates to resolve the problems of the Communion by taking decisive action to enforce discipline on this or that Province. In approaching the Dublin Meeting, we believed that it was essential to clarify how the Primates themselves understood the nature of their office and authority. It has always been clear that not all have the same view – not because of different theological convictions alone, but also because of the different legal and canonical roles they occupy as Primates. Some have a good deal of individual authority; others have their powers very closely limited by their own canons. It would therefore be difficult if the Meeting collectively gave powers to Primates that were greater than their own canons allowed them individually, as was noted at the 2008 Lambeth Conference (Lambeth Indaba 2008 #151).

The unanimous judgement of those who were present was that the Meeting should not see itself as a ‘supreme court’, with canonical powers, but that it should nevertheless be profoundly and regularly concerned with looking for ways of securing unity and building relationships of trust. And one reason for the fact that it did not offer any new schemes for this was that those present were still committed to the Covenant process and had no desire to interrupt the significant discussions of this that are currently going on (as many of you will know, several Provinces have already adopted the Covenant and others are very close to finalising their decision).

The Primates were strongly focused on the situation of churches under threat, and this was reflected in the statements they issued. But it is also important to recognise that the Primates made no change to their existing commitments to both the Covenant process and the moratoria requests. The purpose of the Dublin meeting was, as I have said, not to offer fresh solutions but to clarify what we believed about our shared purpose and identity as a Primates’ Meeting. I think that this clarity was achieved, and achieved in an atmosphere of very demanding and searching conversation, which intensified our sense of commitment to each other and the Communion. We were painfully aware of those who did not feel able to be with us, and held them in prayer each day, seeking to remind ourselves of the concerns that they would have wanted to put on the table. We were all agreed that the Meeting inevitably represented ‘unfinished business’, and were all committed to pursuing the conversations needed to consolidate our fellowship. We shall continue to seek ways of meeting at every level that will prevent our being isolated from each other in suspicion and hostility.

Which brings me back to my starting point. The cost of discipleship is most dramatically manifest in the sufferings that our persecuted brothers and sisters are enduring. But it is also to be experienced in the ways in which we try to support each other in the Communion, despite all our differences. And I would dare to say too that it is part of what God calls us to in not only ‘bearing one another’s burdens’ but bearing with one another and continually seeking ways to be reconciled – which also means seeking to see ourselves more clearly and more penitently, and asking God to show us how we must change in order for there to be unity and united witness in the Church. Without praying together about this, we are less likely to discover what is possible and more likely to make scapegoats of each other. On a recent diocesan visit in England, I was told of the monthly prayer vigil that is held in the diocese to bring together those who are passionate supporters of the ordination of women as bishops and those who are wholeheartedly opposed. For much of the time when such matters are under discussion, people on both sides are going to be most aware of the pain, the possibility of ‘failure’, the hurt of those we love. But in the sheer fact of praying intently together, we are at the very least reminded of the utter transcendence of God, who brings new possibilities to birth out of the heart of death, fear and loss.

I wish you all every blessing in the renewed discovery of the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead. May His Spirit transform us day by day into the likeness of Christ.

+Rowan Cantuar:

cc Provincial Secretaries


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63 comments

This paragraph illumines the gulf between heterodoxy and orthodoxy:

“And I would dare to say too that it is part of what God calls us to in not only ‘bearing one another’s burdens’ but bearing with one another and continually seeking ways to be reconciled – which also means seeking to see ourselves more clearly and more penitently, and asking God to show us how we must change in order for there to be unity and united witness in the Church. Without praying together about this, we are less likely to discover what is possible and more likely to make scapegoats of each other.”

There is no need to “pray together” to “discover what is possible”. There is only one “way to be reconciled” and we do not “discern” that through prayer.

There is no need to “pray” in order to understand what needs to happen to false teachers. It’s like praying about whether or not you should rob a bank in order to “discern” what God is telling you to do.

Scripture is very clear on this matter.  Heretics should repent and recant or be expelled.

There. That’s it. No need for lots of floaty prayers and flighty rhetoric. Just obey the Word of God.

[1] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 3-12-2011 at 12:42 PM · [top]

and asking God to show us how we must change in order for there to be unity and united witness in the Church

And there it is for Lent: the Prime Directive.  Not confession, the seeking of new life in Christ, but unity in the church above all things.  How could the trajectory of Canturbury and its view of the Anglican Communion possibly be any clearer?

[2] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 3-12-2011 at 12:48 PM · [top]

He’s coming from a very Western, present day assumption that we (the church) are all just a group of autonomous equals.  He’s ignoring the Biblical idea of the church as a body, with different members exercising different gifts and ministries - and that some of this roles carry greater responsibility than others.  Those who teach <i> are <i> warned that they will be held to a higher standard.  Those who lead will be judged by different criteria in terms of their responsibility for the progress of the people toward God. Bishops are not just a couple of parishioners fighting about who gets to use the parish kitchen on Thursday night.

Also, he seems to have misdiagnosed the problem.  I can’t think of any of the Primates launching personal attacks upon others.  Nobody’s saying, “I don’t like Schori’s tone of voice” or “Okoh rubs me the wrong way.”  They are in genuine disagreement about the church teachings and practices with which they’ve been entrusted - that needs resolution.

But we’ve all said all this before.  Very, very sad.  And our Western bias continues to isolate and vilify the very leaders who have diagnosed and could confront the actual problem.

[3] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 3-12-2011 at 01:12 PM · [top]

Whatever the wounds in that fellowship – and they are still deep in many ways – there should be no doubt of the willingness of all in our Communion to stand together in prayer and solidarity when confronted by attacks on the gospel and its witnesses, or by human suffering and loss.

What are we to do when what is causing the wounds in the fellowship are attacks on the gospel and its witness coming from within the Communion itself?

[4] Posted by Another Pilgrim on 3-12-2011 at 01:13 PM · [top]

It’s all been said before.  The ABC and the AC will do absolutely nothing to enforce Lambeth 1.10.  There may be unity, but it will be the unity of closing eyes and ignoring what is going on.  It is the unity that comes from allowing a determined party to have their way.  It is the unity of saying yes to sin.

[5] Posted by Br. Michael on 3-12-2011 at 01:15 PM · [top]

This letter tastes as though it had been"peer reviewed”
by Mrs. Schori.

Intercessor

[6] Posted by Intercessor on 3-12-2011 at 03:30 PM · [top]

the Prime Directive.  Not confession, the seeking of new life in Christ, but unity in the church above all things.  How could the trajectory of Canterbury and its view of the Anglican Communion possibly be any clearer?

Cantuar’s fundamental error = unity paid for by acquiescence to the overt lie of cultural captivity.  Acquiescence instead of defending the faith.  Cantuar, thereby has declared himself apostate by default.

Continued deference to this wayward false leader is highly inadvisable.

[7] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 3-12-2011 at 05:04 PM · [top]

Who wants a Canterbury centered Communion?

[8] Posted by robroy on 3-12-2011 at 05:09 PM · [top]

And one reason for the fact that it did not offer any new schemes [for securing unity]...

...is that every scheme offered from 2003 onwards has been rendered utterly ineffective. Such actions have, sadly but inevitably, profoundly undermined the trust that we unanimously say we are committed to building up.”

I’m unsure in my own mind whether to commit oneselves to building up trust whilst having undermined trust, is best described as self deception or communicating that which one knows to be untrue.

[9] Posted by driver8 on 3-12-2011 at 05:44 PM · [top]

He will never change. Forever trying to hold two different gospels together not only in the Anglican communion but also in his own mind. I could never imagine him coming out with a conclusive statement on the “unfinished business.”

[10] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-12-2011 at 05:49 PM · [top]

Some thoughts on the letter:
If RW actually cared about the Christians living in sub-Saharan Africa he would stand firmly against SSB’s and Openly Gay clergy.  If you don’t think at least some of that persecution they are experiencing cannot be laid at the feet of this, you are not looking closely enough.

And of course I am sure that the primates that chose to show up in Dublin didn’t want anybody calling them back to the Truth or acting as a “Supreme Court” as RW put it since my understanding is that only the revisionists showed up.

And if BeerKat et. al are praying, as RW mentioned to seek out “how they could change” I’ll eat each of their prayerbooks page by page.  Was that too cynical?  I apologize if yes, but clearly RW is applying his normally smoothed icing over a very stale, cracked, maybe even fungus-ridden cake that nobody at this point is interested in eating.

KTF!...mrb

[11] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 3-12-2011 at 06:07 PM · [top]

Off topic- its time to pray for Japan, at this hour in particular.

[12] Posted by Going Home on 3-12-2011 at 06:08 PM · [top]

No longer a communion but a federation with a figurehead.

[13] Posted by Adam 12 on 3-12-2011 at 06:16 PM · [top]

I’d rather have Christ as the head of the confederation; the present head isn’t doing so hot.

[14] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-12-2011 at 06:33 PM · [top]

And He sure isn’t a figurehead!

[15] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-12-2011 at 06:34 PM · [top]

But it is also important to recognise that the Primates made no change to their existing commitments to both the Covenant process and the moratoria requests.

Really?

[16] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-12-2011 at 07:17 PM · [top]

10 Forever trying to hold two different gospels together not only in the Anglican communion but also in his own mind.

Which two gospel?

[17] Posted by cramner on 3-12-2011 at 07:23 PM · [top]

Sorry…...gospels

[18] Posted by cramner on 3-12-2011 at 07:24 PM · [top]

At this point, who cares?  Even if the Covenant were adopted, Schori and Company would find some way to circumvent it, and it would be ‘business as usual.’  So what’s the point of having such a covenant if they’re going to ignore it?

[19] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-12-2011 at 07:27 PM · [top]

By two gospels I meant the new thing being preached in TEc and elsewhere vs the Gospels themselves.

[20] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-12-2011 at 08:13 PM · [top]

Matt [1],

This reminds me of a story from one of my old ministry mentors who was counseling a man who was “struggling in prayer” to determine if it was God’s will for him to leave his wife and two children to marry a woman with whom he was having an affair. My old mentor told him, “You don’t have to pray about that. I can tell you what God’s will is, and that is for you to leave this other woman and go be a husband to your wife and a father to your children!”

[21] Posted by Jagged Edge on 3-12-2011 at 09:10 PM · [top]

Dr. Williams seems to think this is a matter of bad manners, a lack of collegiality or not being sufficiently nuanced and evolved in one’s theological development and understanding.  He also seems to believe a kindly pastoral letter such as this, a round of the promised visits and a bit of gentle encouragement is all it will take to soothe any hurt feelings and set things right, then all the Anglican Primates can join together in jolly Indaba forever.

Merely mending fences will not suffice, though in his years in office, he has betrayed friendships and word numerous times and apologies should be made.

However, the matter before the Anglican Communion is not simply a breach of friendship, but a breach of spiritual law and the commandments of God - which is matter of eternal spiritual consequence.

Such actions require breaking communion and it is remarkable that the Global South, ACNA or even the FCA/UK Bishops and Archbishops continue to commune with him, much less the heads of the Episcopal Church or the ACoC.

To fully restore communion, genuine repentance and ceasing to affirm sexual deviance (homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, polyamory, or any other disorientation) and ceasing to allow people who practise these behaviors, claim these identities and try to normalise them to lead the church.

That is what is required to heal the breach and to restore trust and unity in the communion.

Nothing more, nothing less.

[22] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-12-2011 at 09:14 PM · [top]

I wonder how many of the Primates actually wasted their time and read this drivel.  Unity at any cost is the new creedal statement of the AC.

Michael+

[23] Posted by Sacerdotal451 on 3-12-2011 at 10:16 PM · [top]

The smaller the organization gets, the more unity you have! The old druid will get his wish.

[24] Posted by robroy on 3-12-2011 at 10:42 PM · [top]

There’s much space devoted to commitment to unity but a complete absence of what will be done to effect this commitment. The nearest the ABC descends from abstract ends to practical virtue is to suggest further “conversations” and “prayer”. It seems the Communion has been re-envisaged as a kind of ecumenical dialogue.

[25] Posted by driver8 on 3-12-2011 at 11:45 PM · [top]

Whenever more unity is sought, it must be asked, “what kind of unity?”  Unity is never neutral - parts come together as a whole into a particular form; and it’s this coming together into a particular form that we call “unity.”  If the various parts of an automobile had difficulty functioning together, some of those parts functioning more in line with the workings of a submarine ... working even harder to come together as a submarine, for these parts, would not produce more unity.

In the first phase of this dispute, the Anglican Communion sought the type of unity which would be characteristic of churches in communion.  Certain necessities were presented for the maintenance of that type of unity.  Some members found that these necessities were impossible.  It was then declared at the Alexandria Primates’ Meeting that there was an “ecclesial defecit” in the Communion.  And this was the last Primates’ Meeting without the serious division problem we saw in Dublin; the last Primates’ Meeting in “wholeness.”  So it seems then that the unity that we seek will not be one of churches in Communion, since we are not really this - we are deficient and not reaching the mark of being churches together.

Another form of unity must therefore be sought, if we are to stay together.  It could be a unity of organizations, not churches, coming together for some purpose other than being in Communion.  It could be, for example, collective support of the MDG’s.  It could be come the Union of Organizations whose Leaders Support the Millenium Development Goals (UOLSMDG), or “The MDG Union,” for short.

However, this Union should desist from behavior which is destructive to unity.  E.g., calling members to prayer, employing religious language in its various documents and statements, is likely at times taking the Lord’s name in vain.  It’s most certain that many amongst us do not have in mind the same referent when using the word “God”; we are really speaking of radically different things at some moments.  It is inappropriate and destructive to ask us to pray; as an organization which has departed from the ways of being a church should not be called upon to pray - prayer as Anglicans who abide by the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral is to the Triune God.

We needn’t speak of Christian communities or Christians; we would do better to refer to “organizations whose leadership support the Millenium Development Goals” and “members of organizations whose leadership support the Millenium Development Goals” or MOWLSMDG.  Engaging in odd rituals should also be avoided, as to the likelihood of their confusion with the liturgy of the church.  The new Union’s language should be plain, secular, and direct.

Nonetheless, there is still the problem: with the terrible Christological problems in TEC, many will conclude that they can not meet, even for the purposes of discussing support of the MDG’s, with the leader of this entity.  And this could actually do more to hurt the world’s perception of the MDG’s and inhibit their implementation, than help.  Our unity problem remains.  The Union could therefore discuss whether TEC’s claim to be a Trinitarian Christian church is actually helpful for the implementation of the MDG’s.  Obviously, if TEC is unable to desist from making this claim and continues “bringing another gospel into the church,” the MDG Union will change - either it will lose those members which are Trinitarian Christian churches, or it will need to ask TEC to leave.

It could be argued that we musn’t do this, simply because it doesn’t solve the “unity” problem.  However, I would suggest that as long as TEC continues to claim to be a Trinitarian Christian church without reforming itself, that this problem will remain.  And this is perhaps the most direct and honest way of addressing the problem of what we continue to call the Communion.

[26] Posted by Wilf on 3-13-2011 at 03:57 AM · [top]

I agree with you all about the wrongness of the ABC’s argument.  Yet the suffering provinces (Egypt and the Middle East, for instance)do need all the Anglican Communion help they can get in such times as these.  I see that they face very difficult choices about accepting or refusing funds.  I hope we are remembering to contribute as much as possible to aid funds we trust:
http://www.anglicanaid.net/
(This is for Anglican Aid and Relief—not the Episcopal Church fund and not the new fund named above by the ABC, with a name almost exactly the same as the Anglican Aid and Relief Fund)
As for the MDGs, however, what about hidden agendas—for instance, in the meaning of “maternal health” (Goal 5), as greatly supported (I read)by Planned Parenthood? It seems to me that it has never before been so difficult to figure out the right ways of giving.  But the aid has never been more needed.

[27] Posted by KingDavid on 3-13-2011 at 04:27 AM · [top]

asking God to show us how we must change in order for there to be unity and united witness in the Church.

God has already spoken about the matter, but the liberal West keeps asking in hope of a different answer.

[28] Posted by AnglicanXn on 3-13-2011 at 05:39 AM · [top]

Some prayers for the Middle East and northern Africa may be found here.  Some prayer resources for Japan may be found here.

[29] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 3-13-2011 at 08:09 AM · [top]

Correction: “Merely mending fences will not suffice, though in his years in office, Archbishop Rowan Williams has betrayed friendships, *his own word AND God’s Word numerous times and apologies should be made.”

Again, this is not about congeniality, soothing egos, healing hurt feelings and misunderstandings, power and polity games, theological theorems and intellectual exercises. 
This is not a diplomatic chess game.

This is a matter of eternal consequences - a matter of distorting God’s Image and Design, breaking God’s Law, obscuring God’s Word, dishonoring God’s Name and defiling and destroying Christ’s Church. 

It’s time for repentance and nothing else will do.

[30] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-13-2011 at 12:18 PM · [top]

Every episcopal missive begins with “discerning what God calls us to,” and it inevitably means that I must change my ways to their ways.  God only calls one way in TEC.  Too bad for us.

[31] Posted by episcopal100 on 3-13-2011 at 02:35 PM · [top]

May the Lord continue to grant discernment to the primates, particularly those who went to Dublin but expressed misgivings about the trajectory of the “official” Anglican Communion, either before or since.

[32] Posted by MichaelA on 3-13-2011 at 10:46 PM · [top]

Rowan’s letter is subtle. Rowan is saying that the Primates collectively cannot have greater authority than those powers held by the “weakest” Primate individually.

There are two implications from this argument. First, if the GS Primates now act independently, Rowan and TEC will argue that their action is beyond the powers granted them by their individual offices. Second, Rowan’s argument sets up the Standing Committee of the Communion, controlled by the ABC and TEC of course, as the one and only body that is empowered to exercise authority over the whole Communion.

Of course, there is irony that Rowan, certainly with Schori’s consent, is making this particular argument. The Presiding Bishop’s canonical powers are actually very limited, at least until the new Title IV revisions take effect. Yet she has ruled TEC as a metropolitan. For her, of all people, to argue that other Primates are exceeding their canonical powers is preposterous.

[33] Posted by Publius on 3-14-2011 at 07:57 AM · [top]

The ABC is speaking as if the Primates meeting expressed the mind of the Primates. He is ignoring the fact that it did not.

There should be no doubt of the willingness of all in our Communion to stand together in prayer and solidarity when confronted by attacks on the gospel and its witnesses.

This is a statement that defies a rational explanation. It is attacks on the Gospel by those within the Communion that is creating the division. Saying the words “standing together” and “solidarity” does not make it so.

[34] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-14-2011 at 08:43 AM · [top]

The more I hear about the failures of the church in Great Brittain, and the evolving of a culture that is destructive and antagonistic to everything I believe, the less I respect the idea that the titular leader of the Anglican Communion is a product of that failed church and disreputable culture.  How can I follow anyone who is leading away from Christ?

[35] Posted by Goughdonna on 3-14-2011 at 10:15 AM · [top]

33.  Listening to that woman is also dangerous.

[36] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-14-2011 at 10:26 AM · [top]

Wake me up when he stops yammering….

[37] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 3-14-2011 at 12:27 PM · [top]

At the risk of being boring, may I again point out that the office of Archbishop of Canterbury is a political appointment of the government of Great Britain. His Grace’s mandate is to maintain the institution of the Church of England. And secondarily the Anglican Communion.

Apparently the prime source of funds for the associated bureaucracy is the Episcopal church. Under Mrs Schori’s leadership that “church” is committed to advancing the new thang gospel.

May God lead us all to repentance this Lent.

[38] Posted by off2 on 3-14-2011 at 01:35 PM · [top]

Off2, Like TEC and ACoC, the CoE is a sewer of practitioners of the new thang gospel, they are just kept from overtly declaring and practicing their proclivities, even though they have been granted benefits for same-sex partners.  Double-mindedness is a fine art in England and Rowan Williams calls it ‘nuance’.  Those running away from the CoE, Canada and TEC to the RC will find a similar situation.  There are ordained ‘gays’ aplenty, but operating covertly, except when their trespasses/transgressions are found out.

[39] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-14-2011 at 01:56 PM · [top]

off2 has an interesting point, that is, American parishoners, essentially helping to pay for an arm of the British government, that is, the COE.

I know it’s a longshot, but still sort of interesting when you think of it.

I hope someone comes along and points out the ignorance of what I just posted, and shows how the COE is not part of the British Gov’t, and that no American parishoner money could ever get mixed up in the CoE, throught the offices of the Anglican Communion.  I’m sure there are some firewalls there.

[40] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 3-14-2011 at 02:04 PM · [top]

Hm, #40 - you have a point. 

If the British comedy, ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ is correct, the British PM also appoints or approves all CoE Bishops as well as the ABC.  However, as Pageantmaster has pointed out, I am ‘pig ignorant’ about CoE polity and practise (and a large number of other topics.)

[41] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-14-2011 at 03:16 PM · [top]

St. Nikao, PM was a bit miffed with you yes; but let that go.  You both love Jesus and despise the sin that corrupts the CofE.  PM’s knowledge of the CofE is a good bit more extensive than mine, and no one else who contributes regularly here can provide the insights and information which he does.  I think the two of you will get along better with time.

[42] Posted by Wilf on 3-14-2011 at 04:37 PM · [top]

I hope the the Primates will respond to this unilateral revision of their role within the communion.  On the one hand, the ABC says:

In approaching the Dublin Meeting, we believed that it was essential to clarify how the Primates themselves understood the nature of their office and authority. It would therefore be difficult if the Meeting collectively gave powers to Primates that were greater than their own canons allowed them individually, as was noted at the 2008 Lambeth Conference (Lambeth Indaba 2008 #151).

I understand that the Indaba document was a narrative of reflections rather than resolutions carried by vote.

On the other hand, what of the former Lambeth resolutions giving the Primates much greater responsibility.  Archbishop Mouneer Anis, in his address at the Mere Anglicanism conference this past January, called on the Primates to recapture the Conciliar model of the early church:

Lambeth 1998 Res III.6.b “Primate’s meeting under presidency of Archbishop of Canterbury include among its responsibilities the limits of Anglican diversity in submission to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture and in loyalty to Anglicanism…”

I do pray that the Global South Primates can lead the way to restoring instruments of unity.

[43] Posted by Canadian Hobbit on 3-15-2011 at 03:17 PM · [top]

Well written, Canadian Hobbit.

Rowan Williams, Canon Kearon et al remember only those Lambeth Resolutions that suit them.

But then look at it from another angle - why is Rowan Williams bothering to write this? It probably indicates that he is concerned that de facto status and authority are shifting to the Primates, and he wants to persuade members of the Anglican Communion against that.

ABC has no legally-enforceable authority among the provinces that make up the Anglican Communion (nor do the primates): When the CAPA bishops (representing 14 of the provinces of the Anglican Communion) less than 6 months ago invited Rowan Williams to share the top table with ++Duncan of ACNA and left the TEC representatives sitting in the crowd, there was nothing he could do about it. He could have declined to sit, of course. That is what a Global South bishop might have done with a symbolic decision that he disagreed with. But Rowan would not take the risk of surrendering outward status in that way. So he sat, and swallowed the pill. But he is not happy about it - I doubt that he cares about sitting with ++Duncan, since he sits with leaders of all different churches on a regular basis. But I think that he cared very much about being invited to participate in the open snub to TEC.

So then he called Dublin, intending to use the same tactics that he used at Lambeth, to neuter debate. The aim was to have the primates as a body enter into such a waffly process, that Rowan Williams could declare afterwards that THEY had agreed that this was their (new) role.

This shows the wisdom of those primates who declined to attend the Dublin meeting. I believe that exactly the same encyclical would have issued from Rowan as this one - but because they did not attend, it is clear that they have rejected it. If they had attended, Rowan and Kearon would have spun things as though they had approved it.

[44] Posted by MichaelA on 3-15-2011 at 03:57 PM · [top]

Rowan Williams’ reign, as Jefferts-Shori’s, will be known as pushing agendas and idealogies from which many rightly fled.  Shori and Robinson have precipitated whole dioceses and hundreds of parishes leaving The Episcopal Church.  Now, looks like A chunk of Rowan’s cookie is also about to crumble away. If he and Shori push the CoE and Anglican Communion much harder, the FCA may form an alternate UK province.

Like Rowan Williams, the Obortio-homo-musli-marxi-bama administration is also pushing his homosex agenda as well as abortion abroad and like Williams, Obama has jumped on the Kato murder as an excuse to do so.  The fact that Kato lived a risky lifestyle and the murder was about a business dispute will not stop them from turning him into a martyr for their cause.  Mere facts never get in the way of a liberal agenda.

Homosex, contraception, sterlization, abortion, euthanasia and eugenics are part of the fashionable Greenie Global Warming religion package whose followers believe population control is the way to utopia and that the earth should ideally have only 500 million inhabitants.

[45] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-15-2011 at 04:27 PM · [top]

#44, Michael A, re: ABC has no legally-enforceable authority among the provinces…”

Are you SURE that the new AC Stealth Constitution and canons (forged by the ACC and various revisionist agendites, and not approved by the primates) hasn’t done for the ACC and Rowan Williams what Title IV will do for KJS?

[46] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-15-2011 at 04:38 PM · [top]

St Nikao,

Unless someone can come up with the ghost of an explanation as to how such documents can compel action by particular provinces, yes, I am quite sure. 100% in fact.

[47] Posted by MichaelA on 3-15-2011 at 04:48 PM · [top]

GOOD!!!  smile

(Hope you’re right)

[48] Posted by St. Nikao on 3-15-2011 at 05:17 PM · [top]

I sort of read this letter basically as follows:

1. Bad things happen in the world and the Anglican Communion provides some helpful networking advantages to Westerners when it comes to offering assistance, therefore, there should be no discipline in the Anglican Communion.
2. At the Dublin primates’ meeting, it was agreed that the primates really have no power.
3. But like I said in point 1, don’t get upset by that, because the Anglican Communion provides helpful networking advantages.

Michael A.:

I believe that exactly the same encyclical would have issued from Rowan as this one - but because they did not attend, it is clear that they have rejected it. If they had attended, Rowan and Kearon would have spun things as though they had approved it.

Exactly.  This is just the wrap-up memo (which was already pre-determined before the Dublin meeting) which confirms the emasculation of the Primates’ Meeting as an Instrument of Communion.

[49] Posted by jamesw on 3-15-2011 at 05:19 PM · [top]

#44
What was the CAPA event that you referred to?

When the CAPA bishops (representing 14 of the provinces of the Anglican Communion) less than 6 months ago invited Rowan Williams to share the top table with ++Duncan of ACNA and left the TEC representatives sitting in the crowd, there was nothing he could do about it. He could have declined to sit, of course. That is what a Global South bishop might have done with a symbolic decision that he disagreed with. But Rowan would not take the risk of surrendering outward status in that way. So he sat, and swallowed the pill.

I’m sure the CAPA members were including Archbishop Duncan in their meeting with a purpose, is there any more information on that cooperation?
A renewed vision of the Communion would be so helpful for those of us struggling under increasingly confused leadership

[50] Posted by Canadian Hobbit on 3-15-2011 at 05:32 PM · [top]

Jamesw,

Further on your points 1 and 3, last year the British Foreign Secretary visited Australia and gave a number of interviews and a lecture in which emphasised that the British government had recently become aware how important the Commonwealth would be, as a trade network for Britain in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.

I don’t know to what extent that change of attitude has influenced ABC, but its possible. If the British government now sees the Commonwealth as more important than it used to, then ABC won’t want to be seen as a person causing ructions within the Anglican Communion.

[51] Posted by MichaelA on 3-15-2011 at 06:14 PM · [top]

Canadian Hobbit,

The last meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa took place in August 2010. It is a meeting of bishops, not restricted to primates. At the beginning, the Eucharist was celebrated by several bishops, including ++Williams, but I believe ++Duncan presided.

At the final meeting, the head table was occupied by ++Ernest (chairman of CAPA), ++Orombi (previous chairman of CAPA), ++Williams (ABC) and ++Duncan (PB of ACNA).

Here is soem information about the conference from the web-site of the Global South: http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/blog/comments/the_conference_statement_of_the_2nd_all_africa_bishops_conference

[52] Posted by MichaelA on 3-15-2011 at 06:29 PM · [top]

#50, this was the meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) in Entebbe, Aug. 23-29, 2010, where the final Communique promised to “network with orthodox Anglicans around the world, including Communion Partners in the USA and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), in holistic mission and evangelism.”  Yes, Abp. Duncan was photographed with ABC Williams as servers at Communion.  And we should not forget that Abp. Duncan officiated at Communion on the third day of the Anglican Global South to South Encounter in Singapore in April 2010.
http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/blog/comments/light_for_the_nations_gse4_day_3_report_21st_april_2010
It is good to review the Communique from that all-GS conference, which had no representation from the Episcopal Church but had invited, instead, ACNA representatives and two Communion Partner Bishops.  Here is an excerpt:

Anglican Global South to South Encounter
St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore, 19th-23rd April 2010

1. The Fourth Anglican South to South Encounter took place in Singapore from April 19th
through April 23rd, 2010. . . .

2. Grateful for the gracious guidance of the Holy Spirit a total of 130 delegates
from 20 provinces in the Global South (comprising Africa, West Indies, Asia
and South America) gathered together. We represented the vast majority of
the active membership of the Anglican Communion. We were also joined by
a number of our partners in the Gospel from Australia, New Zealand, and the
USA [ACNA and Communion Partners]. The entire delegation from the Province
of West Africa and invited participants from the UK and Ireland were unable to
be present because of travel difficulties.
.............
16. . . . we continue to grieve over the life of The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and
the Anglican Church of Canada and all those churches that have rejected the Way of
the Lord as expressed in Holy Scripture. The recent action of TEC in the election and
intended consecration of Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop in Los
Angeles, has demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the
Communion. These churches continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a
course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so
fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved. Such actions violate
the integrity of the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the
world. In the face of this we dare not remain silent and must respond with appropriate
action.

17. We uphold the courageous actions taken by Archbishops Mouneer Anis (Jerusalem
and the Middle East), Henry Orombi (Uganda) and Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean) and are
encouraged by their decision not to participate in meetings of the various Instruments
of Communion at which representatives of The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican
Church of Canada are present. We understand their actions to be in protest of the
failure to correct the ongoing crisis situation.

18. Some of our Provinces are already in a state of broken and impaired Communion
with The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada. Their continued
refusal to honor the many requests made of them by the various meetings of the Primates
throughout the Windsor Process [an early attempt to resolve the situation] have brought
discredit to our witness and we urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to implement the
recommended actions. In light of the above, this Fourth South to South Encounter
encourages our various 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.

19. We were pleased to welcome two Communion Partner bishops from The Episcopal
Church USA (TEC) and acknowledge that with them there are many within TEC who
do not accept their church’s innovations. We assure them of our loving and prayerful
support. We are grateful that the recently formed Anglican Church in North America
(ACNA) is a faithful expression of Anglicanism. We welcomed them as partners in the
Gospel and our hope is that all provinces will be in full communion with the clergy
and people of the ACNA and the Communion Partners.
http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/blog/comments/fourth_trumpet_from_the_fourth_anglican_global_south_to_south_encounter

[53] Posted by KingDavid on 3-15-2011 at 06:31 PM · [top]

My apologies, King David is probably right - I would have been thinking of ++Duncan officiating at Holy Communion in Singapore in April 2010, not Entebbe in August 2010. There wouldn’t be any need for it to happen twice - the point had been made.

My other points are correct however, particularly that on the final day of the CAPA conference, ++Williams was invited to share the podium with ++Ernest, ++Orombi and ++Duncan.

King David also reminds us of the very important fact that the Global South in Singapore in April 2010 invited two orthodox bishops from TEC, and they shared communion with ++Duncan and the rest of the Global South. It was a strong statement that the Global South see both ACNA and orthodox members of TEC as representing the future for the Anglican church in USA.

[54] Posted by MichaelA on 3-15-2011 at 06:38 PM · [top]

MichaelA (#51):  I doubt that Rowan Williams rediscovered anything.  Rowan has a number of objectives including the emasculation of any Instrument of Communion outside of himself, no significant discipline for any Province, and the official, structural survival of the shell of the Communion.  Rowan Williams was simply using the bad things that happen in the world as a device to forestall conservative criticism of this letter outlining his destruction of the Primates’ Meeting as a working Instrument.

It would be like saying “this car is really useful for keeping dry out of the rain.  Don’t mind me as I take a sledgehammer to the engine compartment though.  Don’t be upset, because this car is really swell for keeping you dry in a rain storm.”

[55] Posted by jamesw on 3-15-2011 at 06:41 PM · [top]

Jamesw, you misunderstand me.

I wasn’t referring to RW “rediscovering” anything, but about the possibility that a change in attitude by the British government may have affected how RW phrased his comments and approached dialogue concerning the Anglican Communion.

I never suggested that his primary motivations have changed. I did suggest that RW may be keen to ensure that no blame attaches to himself for any ructions in the AC.

[56] Posted by MichaelA on 3-15-2011 at 07:05 PM · [top]

Two swallows don’t make a summer; however, the first CofE dioceses have returned the results of their votes by Clergy and Laity following consideration of the proposed General Synod legislation concerning, first, Women Bishops and, secondly, the Covenant.
1)Birmingham voted overwhelmingly in favour of women
  bishops in the CofE.
2)Wakefield voted decisively against the Covenant.

[57] Posted by gweilo on 3-17-2011 at 08:30 AM · [top]

Hi Gweilo—it was a foregone conclusion that the dioceses would vote for women bishops.

Of course—and as you know—the test will come with the next Synod vote that takes into account the recent Synod elections.

We’ll see.

[58] Posted by Sarah on 3-17-2011 at 08:58 AM · [top]

I agree.

A lot of things are still uncertain, and even the consequences that will flow after a General Synod vote (either way) are unclear.

My prediction for most likely outcome is still:
(a) Evangelicals and Anglo-Caths show strength before the GS vote;
(b) Liberals and toe-government-liners get worried that the measure might not pass;
(c) Rowan Williams then offers the same solution that he did before - i.e. women bishops with “special provision” for dissenters;
(d) a mass of votes swing from the liberal camp to RW at the last minute, so as to avoid the possibility of a No vote.

Its not my preferred position (I would prefer a No vote and then we move on to the next struggle) but its what I think will most likely happen - RW is in his element with CofE politics. I would put my money on him getting what he has always wanted.

[59] Posted by MichaelA on 3-17-2011 at 04:37 PM · [top]

MichaelA:

I did suggest that RW may be keen to ensure that no blame attaches to himself for any ructions in the AC.

I think that it is highly unlikely that there will be any “official” rupture in the Anglican Communion.  I don’t think that any Province will walk away.  And I think that Rowan Williams knows this, so he can go on and continue issuing inane letters like this one.  I think that Rowan’s bigger problem is how events in the wider Communion affect the internal politics of the Church of England, and whether a new organic authority structure emerges - within the current Communion - from the Global South and its conservative allies.

[60] Posted by jamesw on 3-17-2011 at 06:57 PM · [top]

Jamesw, I agree!

[61] Posted by MichaelA on 3-17-2011 at 07:35 PM · [top]

Jamesw; I don’t think he worries about influence on internal politics.  It is part and parcel of his reality.  The Anglican Communion is structured in provinces, but has for several years functioned in networks of affinity that sometimes but not necessarily align with the traditional structures.  Because this is true it is inevitable that the structures will change.  Just as the internet paved the way for change in Egypt it has paved the way for change in the communion.  The question is no longer if. it is when.

[62] Posted by Ed McNeill on 3-17-2011 at 07:59 PM · [top]

The fact is that it’s happening now, I believe.

[63] Posted by cennydd13 on 3-18-2011 at 07:52 PM · [top]

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