Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Watch this space for news of the Primates' Meeting - Daily Updates!!

No doubt there will be all sorts of bits and pieces of news (and speculation) emerging from the Primates' Meeting this week, and from assorted pundits and prophets gathering around it (vultures thinking there might be a carcass of the Communion to feed on?)

I will only post further here if I think there is something to report and comment on. Otherwise the space will be blank ... but feel free to comment on "whatever" and "whomever" in comments below.


This sentence is worth pondering for what it says about a walkout as a measure of success in the eyes of some conservatives for the meeting:

"From the conservative camp outside the meetings there has been some disquiet about the continued presence of the conservative Primates."

It comes from David Ould's blogpost at the beginning of Day Four (UK time).

I suggest the longer the primates continue talking to each other, the more we keep praying for them, the greater the chance that the conclusion of the meeting might be ... not quite what anyone predicted!

Frankly, conservative though I am, the cited sentence above shocks me. If our hope in Christ means anything at all as Bible-believing Christians then we should yearn  for the primates to find a way forward as one Communion, not be disquieted by the lack of a walkout! This isn't shop stewards meeting with the management about ways to avert a threatened strike! In God's church there might be a movement of the Spirit?


I do not put much store by news that x/38 (?40) primates haven't turned up to Evensong. The primates will be tired, many of us have been to conferences where skipping worship might be viewed dimly by others but, hey, we need a kip before the evening session, etc.

By contrast we can put quite a bit of store with the following news:

If all the primates were at Evensong then none have left the meeting. If (as noted on Peter Ould's Facebook page), ++Foley Beach is still present, then maybe, just maybe the discussion/negotiation/whatever is happening is, well, continuing to happen!

I am going to permit myself two speculations:

One thing I suspect is a "wedge" in proceedings is TEC's recent decision to canonically endorse same sex marriage. If for no other reason than that, conservatives and moderates are likely to find common accord that TEC has some explaining to do around how it sees that as "common" doctrine, shared or potentially able to be shared across the Anglican Common-union.

Two: (and recalling and seguing from a recent(ish) conversation with someone of note somewhere in the AC), I would be most surprised if (what I will call) moderate-ish-to-conservative primates offer any support to GAFCON primates walking out of the meeting. That is, I wouldn't be surprised if some 30 primates (excluding TEC and ACCan) are saying to the 8 or so GAFCON primates: if you walk, you walk apart without our support let alone blessing, we want to resolve this together with TEC and ACCan. If so, the GAFCON primates have paused on pushing the WALK button and remain in the meeting.

DAY TWO The good news is, they are still meeting in the same room. The depending-on-your-perspective-sad/glad/bad news is that maybe nothing much is changing by way of giving ground towards a classic/typical/hoped for Anglican "accommodation": David Ould is up with the play here.

An even bleaker report is here, from George Conger. (With superb comment from BabyBlueOnline on something that struck me as dodgy too about proceedings.)

Speculative though these reports may be, they do conform to certain expectations: that certain views would be steadfastly held, that compromise towards accommodation would be hard to find.


++Justin's address to the Primates on Day One (H/T BabyBlueOnline ... I cannot find it on Primates2016.org ...). BUT this is a non-attributed, non-authenticated version of what ++Justin may have actually said (or not): the official AngComm press officers are not confirming this is what ++Welby actually said!

[Nevertheless, there are ... ] Many pearls, including this:

"We so easily take our divisions as normal, but they are in fact an obscenity, a denial of Christ’s call and equipping of the church. If we exist to point people to Christ, as was done for me, our pointing is deeply damaged by division. Every Lambeth Conference of the 20th century spoke of the wounds in the body of Christ. Yet some say, it does not matter, God sees the truth of spiritual unity and the church globally still grows. Well, it does for the moment, but the world does not see the spiritual church but a divided and wounded body. Jesus said to his disciples, “as the Father sent me so send I you”. That sending is in perfect unity, which is why even at Corinth and at the Council of Jerusalem, we find that truth must be found together rather than show a divided Christ to the world."

We can rely on Stand Firm to supply a bleak view of proceedings, analysing the significance of division between stoles and suits from a photo found here!


Anonymous said...

A fascinating description of Christianity, Anglican and otherwise, in Africa by Joseph Galgalo of Kenya--


From the website of + Graham Kings, the Mission Theologian of the Anglican Communion.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

This is what Katherine Sonderegger says about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7--

This is Love. Now it seems to me that this passage lies so close to hand, remains so familiar from every wedding and so many burials, that we overlook one of its most striking features. The love praised here, the more excellent way, does not envision an object at all–how odd that we read it at weddings!–nor does it speak of mutuality, indeed of passibility, in any fashion. St. Paul’s love is supremely invulnerable, impervious to another we might dare say. Perfect love is invincibly objectless, immutual, perdurant. It never ends–it alone is eternal against all the gifts of the Spirit, prophecy, and tongues and knowledge. It is adamantine.

Paul picks out with two quick strokes the positive traits of love, patience and kindness. Surely a quiet evocation of hesed. God’s loving-kindness! Then the apostle turns to what we might think of as love’s negative predicates: it is not envious or proud or coarse; not ill-tempered, variable, stubborn; not immoral, sadistic, cruel, and petty; not weak. Love is recognized in its ready delight for the truth, the good; they are twins. In all its ways, love remains unflinching, undeterred. It is supremely confident, twinned with hope and trust. Love has been prised loose from all self-seeking, from the burdens, sometimes frightful, so often small and miserable, that infect our loving, from the anger and resentment that course through our most ardent loves, from the submission to what we call facts in this proudly “realistic” life of ours–ingratitude, unsuitability, meanness. Love, Paul tells us, simply withstands, endures, triumphs. It abides as the greatest, the uncontested, the supreme. Love is self-same, thoroughly itself, constant, unswerving, true.

Who cannot see, in all these things, that love, this perfect Love of the apostle Paul, is simply another Name for God? God alone is this Love, this more excellent way–we could hardly expect anything else. God’s passionate Love, Paul tells us, is invulnerable in just this particular way to us and to our loveless ways; supremely independent of us and our indifference; utterly triumphant over our blindness, instability, and infidelity; zealous for the right; eternal. This is Divine Nature, personal Passion, victorious Love. Wrath for the good. It is the One Love triumphant over every defilement, injustice, and cunning: it defends the orphan and the little one with fiery Mercy, raging Justice. This Divine Love waits on no one, needs nothing, bends to no condition or limit. Love that is God scorches through the infinite spheres, boundless, eternal Holiness. Love crowns the Divine Perfections; it abounds.

-—Katherine Sonderegger, Systematic Theology, Volume 1, The Doctrine of God, pp. 495-497. Dr Sonderegger teaches at the Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, USA. The Seminary prepares candidates for the ministry of The Episcopal Church.

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Thank you Bowman!

Stephen Jacobi said...

The world doesn't even notice that the church is divided and wounded - it just sees that it is hypocritical - particularly when held up to God's love vision so eloquently outlined by Prof Sondereggger (whom I have met and heard preach at VTS - inspirational).

Peter Carrell said...

All true, Stephen, but I disagree that it does not see us as divided: it sees Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Protestantism (and within that Anglican, Methodist etc) and wonders why Christianity has so many different and confusing forms. We do not need Anglicanism producing another form!

liturgy said...

Not wanting to claim divine inspiration of lectionary... but... at Evensong at the meeting of the Anglican Primates Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church:

1 Corinthians 1.1-17

"...Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power."

Adding my prayers


Anonymous said...

The scriptures are not against the diversity of witness that responds to the diversity of humankind, for the image and likeness of God is the mosaic of humanity gone forth into all the world. Indeed, the error of Babel was to try to achieve a stultified human unity that sacrificed the human vocation to venture out as stewards of the whole creation. The universalism of the later prophets, the Great Commission, and the Descent at Pentecost shows that the Holy Spirit arranges the tiles in the mosaic. St Paul is consistent with all of this when he warns against the consequences of those who do not discern the Body of Christ. It is not a coincidence that he does so in the context of a fellowship meal and the eucharist.

Bowman Walton

MarcA said...

I was present at the Evensong Bosco...and it certainly had impact. It was very sensitively read by the Dean.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Perry
A fellow Cantabrian tweeted that 10 primates were missing from the Evensong. Do you have any observation to make about who was and was not there?

Anonymous said...

For a sense of perspective, consider that the great schism between East and West began in 1054 when a papal legate sailed to Byzantium, docked on the right bank of the Golden Horn, rode up the hill to Hagia Sophia, stepped under the great dome of Justinian, strolled along the ambo under the stern visage of Christ, pushed through the imperial doors in the iconostasis, approached the altar of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and on it laid a papal bull of excommunication. If your mind is made up about leaving, there are ways of making this clear.

So far, cheery news from Canterbury Cathedral, as actual events deviate from the dreaded, threatened, demanded, predicted, lamented, prayed for Default Scenario. (1) did not occur, and credible commentators well connected to GAFCON Primates even contemplate the possibility of something that sounds like (6'). Very much to their credit, GAFCON Primates are having a more or less brief Rowan Williams moment.

More important is their dissensus about the status quo. One GAFCON Primate suggests that he cannot leave the Anglican Communion because his church has not belonged to it since 2003. Another one threatens to walk out of the meeting, but not out of the Communion itself. If these two were to leave in the morning to lead an alternate communion, what exactly would that mean?

Just 48 hours ago, the media and commentators were predicting a first-day walkout that would cripple the ABC and end the Communion, so now that there are signs of actual discussion among the Primates, these pundits are ofd course praising Justin Welby's bold and sagacious gamble for peace. No... wait... stop... That would be against the Editorial Policy that if this story is not about The Tragick (Yet Deserved) Death Of The Anglican Communion!, it is just not worth reporting. BBC camera crews are standing by for delicious schadenfreude, not glimpses of peaceful Anglicans thinking through their differences.

Rewrite: the ABC will be crippled and the Anglican Communion history, if Welby cannot get each and every Primate to dress properly, take communion, smile about it, and agree to let bygones be bygones. It is not enough that the brave prince kills the dragon who has been terrifying the realm; he must also marry the princess, inherit her father's kingdom, rule peaceably, and get along with the moody boyfriend of his teenaged daughter. If not, the heavens will fall, and it will all be his fault.

Bollocks. Or as the patriarch may have said to the papal legate, Diabole skata!* From the beginning of the Interim, polarised observers have projected their own tidy fury onto the more complex calculations of actors on both sides. But an inscrutable providence reliably breaks the hearts of purists, both in politics and in religion. Be ye innocent as doves, said the Lord, but also wily as serpents.

To be clear, my spies would not divulge whether the 10 missing Primates were protesting, bargaining, or playing cards during Evensong. But they do remind me that, while the Interim will probably continue, conversations are happening, bilateral relationships matter more, and Justin Welby has another eight years or so as ABC.

* http://goo.gl/cihDvs

Bowman Walton

Peter Carrell said...

Surely, Bowman, the 10 not at Evensong were protesting about there not being Communion and they had their own Communion service down in the crypt :)

MarcA said...

Who was there on Tuesday? Four were robed...that included Australia, Scotland TEC and I think Ireland Unrobed included York, Japan, Korea and at least 10 others...difficult to see where I was One Primate slipped in late opposite me.Tbh Congers assessment was v much his own view. Blue? What does that mean? The Abp always prays during the Anthem...he is v unmusical.Otherwise he behaved as usual and smiled at us all on the way out.Michael Curry was smiling and hugging a friend on the steps after.Yes numbers were down. I'm not sure whether there is any significance in who robes and who doesn't.
I was sitting with a group of young Chilian language students helping them through the service and practicing my Spanish....they thought the whole thing was wonderful and plan to come more during their 3 week course...no blue there! Perhaps people coming without baggage can sense something of the beauty of God which Anglican " political" bloggers don't.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Perry for all your insights into the Canterbury services!

liturgy said...

In the absence of news on the teasing "news" tab of the official http://www.primates2016.org and of even a teasing tweet from our own flown-to-the-meeting NZ church's official media officer, this, most helpfully, from Jim Naughton:

"The big news from the first day of the Anglican Primates meeting was which primates put on vestments for evensong. The big news on the second day was which ones attended evensong. I can't for the life of me understand why the world doesn't take us more seriously."




ps "And today the news is that all of the primates ARE BACK in evensong."

Father Ron Smith said...

So much for the oddly-named 'Stand -Firm' school of missiology! Standing firm in this situation really means stick-in-the-mud.. What the Communion needs at this time is real firmness from the ABC, letting GAFCON know that it has no lien on the Gospel franchise. By his current management dualism, the ABC is only managingto irritate both the trogladytes and the emancipationists. He needs to step more firmly on some African Expansionist toes!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
The lack of (official) news raises the question whether daily news from the event would be profitable for the Communion. I could imagine daily briefings to the media by those primates who disagree with the nuances in the daily statements ... And by the week's end would we have resolution or chaos in the Communion?!

But the good news is we are getting pictures!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
If only ++Justin would confirm that he regularly takes advice from ADU!

MarcA said...

Dear Peter...I have it on good authority that Geo Conger is in Florida not Canterbury...I imagine he's getting the mood music from Peter Ould......not a source much attuned to the mood of Cathedral Evensong...and with his own baggage..I suppose he also keeps his twin up to date..

Unknown said...

An official statement has been posted calling for:
"that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity."

Uganda's walkout notwithstanding, this seems like a good result. The need to walk together (still) is acknowledged, but TEC's witness has borne some consequence.

Undoubtedly, being a middling sort of agreement, many (most?) will not like it. But we hobble along for another bit without resolution perhaps, but still together (if not exactly united).

I'm disappointed that it didn't recognize all the ways that various communion partners have damaged our mutual relationships and singled out only TEC. I believe it is sufficient to sustain our hope for a better tomorrow, together.
As Paul says in Romands:
"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Perry for further insights!

Project Samizdat said...

It will be interesting to see how the media portrays this and especially the conservative Anglican leaders from the two thirds world:


Father Ron said...

Mr. Virtue's Interview with

MichaelA said...

"I'm not sure whether there is any significance in who robes and who doesn't."

You are thinking of the black cap. But it was once worn by British judges, not bishops.