Monday, December 7, 2009

Stand by your man

++Rowan Williams is getting stick via comments in response to reports of his published statement about Mary Douglas Glasspool's election to be a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Read them at the bottom of Ruth Gledhill's and Thinking Anglican's posts. Not much more positive in reception is to be found at Stand Firm. What did he say?

"Archbishop of Canterbury’s Statement on Los Angeles Episcopal Elections

Sunday 06 December 2009

The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.

The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold."

A common theme in the comments on the first two sites mentioned above is 'The Archbishop has said nothing publicly against Uganda's death-to-gays legislation, but now he has the gall to rush to print the moment a lesbian is elected bishop in the USA.'

In this instance I want to stand by and with the Archbishop. With respect to Uganda we are told that he is working behind the scenes. Uganda is, after all, not under the Archbishop's jurisdiction; a foreign country; and a place with its own nuances about the best and most effective way to influence its political processes. Who is to say that the way of the Archbishop here is wrong? With respect to the affairs of the Anglican Communion, and the effects on those affairs of actions by member provinces, well, last time I looked, that is within the Archbishop's jurisdiction, at least to make comment.

All that can be said without examining what he actually says, which is pretty much a statement of facts: the election does raise serious questions around the Communion (for some Anglicans and perhaps some parishes it will be a 'last straw' with respect to remaining within the Communion), its confirmation will have serious implications (since, to give but one example, it will nail to the mast the true and effective interpretation of those resolutions passed at the GC 2009), and, if the bonds of affection are to hold, restraint is required. Stand firm on this matter, ++Rowan, and be not swayed by your critics!

Incidentally, to all those critics of the Covenant 'on the left', do the bonds of affection matter or not? We are constantly told that we do not need a Covenant, should not have a Covenant, etc; all because 'the bonds of affection' are enough to hold us together. This is not obviously true!

Shalom. Must away to a plane to a biblical studies conference in the land of Kiwi Scottishness (i.e. Dunedin).


Daniel Weir said...

"Uganda is, after all, not under the Archbishop's jurisdiction."
Neither is the Episcopal Church.

Kurt said...

Right on, Father Dan!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Daniel
You are right. The Episcopal Church is not under ++Rowan's jurisdiction. That is why I carefully wrote, "With respect to the affairs of the Anglican Communion, and the effects on those affairs of actions by member provinces, well, last time I looked, that is within the Archbishop's jurisdiction, at least to make comment."

liturgy said...

We will have to agree to disagree about the ABC’s response. I personally am horrified to read of bishops in full communion with the See of Canterbury urging on the execution of homosexuals while he only and rapidly responds to the LA election. Is not the Church of the Province of Uganda defying Lambeth resolutions and the clear mind of the Communion? By overtly stating he’s working covertly, and in English rather than Rowanese, in his inimitable manner he is further alienating both ends of the “spectrum” from him as the only instrument of communion formally recognised by our church.

To your question on the covenant, I fear, in the language of the New Zealand Consumer Guarantees Act the proposed “covenant” is not “fit for the purpose” and will not “do what it is meant to do.” It just won’t do what your post suggests you think it will achieve.

Something in the understanding of “hold us together” has shifted relatively recently – and only amongst those for whom homosexuality is an issue rather than other, possibly more significant, issues.

We cannot “hold the communion together” in the sense you appear to desire because we have long now not been that sort of communion. To “hold the communion together” in this new sense is changing the nature of the communion. Now that may very well be appropriate and necessary – but if so, let’s be honest about what we are doing. Let’s be honest and say: “Anglican Communion 1.0 doesn’t work. We can either join any of the protestant confessional denominations, or the Roman Catholic magisterium denomination, or we can abandon Anglicanism as it was and create something new: Anglican Communion 2.0.”

Prior to the current homosexuality “crisis”, the communion “held together” in an Anglican platypus manner, and we could focus on far weightier issues.

Some in the communion do not accept divorce and remarriage (especially of priests, others, following scripture, of bishops), some do not accept women priests, others, including the Cof E, do not accept women bishops. Some do not accept male priests ordained by a woman bishop. Some do not accept it is Christian to wear a chasuble or add water to the wine at communion. Some do not accept that one needs to be a bishop or priest to preside at the eucharist. Some do not accept gays in church leadership even if celibate (the reason according to Ruth Gledhill for the foundation of Anglican Mainstream).

We have lived with this level of impaired communion for a long time as God’s platypus denomination. The proposed covenant will not deal with or solve ANY of this list of impaired communion! Under a covenant Diane Jardine Bruce (if confirmed), my own bishop, and any they ordain are still not accepted as valid clergy amongst a majority of Anglicans. The proposed “covenant” is not “fit for the purpose” and will not “do what it is meant to do.”

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
I do not demur from your point that Communion 1.0 is over, Communion 2.0 is required. We disagree on whether the Covenant is the best means to effect Communion 2.0.

I note that you do not propose an alternative means of 'holding us together'.

My support for the Covenant is support for a proposal which many Anglican leaders, including your (and soon to be my) bishop seem to think worth consideration. I suspect that they might drop consideration of the Covenant if a better idea sailed into view.

Pending that better idea I stand by the view that the Covenant is not only worth considering but also worth implementing.

You know me, I won't be complaining if chasubles are consigned to the back of the wardrobe as a result :).

Kurt said...

As it is presently structured and written, there is no way the American Church will sign on to any so-called “Covenant.” If that means the present Con-Evo “majority” pushes us out of the AC1, so be it.

It would then be likely that The Episcopal Church (which, as you know, comprises local churches in 16 countries) will join with like-minded organizations such as the Anglican Church of Canada, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Sweden, the Old Catholics (most of them, anyway), and others with whom we now have much more in common (e.g, a more Latidudinarian Liberal and Catholic ethos; a distaste for Calvinism and other Evangelical [and Anglo-Papalist] fundamentalisms; a willingness to respect the full personhood of gays and women in all aspects of Church life, etc., etc.)

The AC2 would then consist of those anti-gay, anti-women’s ordination, and conservative Evangelical organizations such as the Churches of Uganda and the Southern Cone. Bestaluck.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn USA