Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sydney, Hamilton, Dunedin: Anglicans Down Under!


Last Thursday I went to a fascinating and memorable meeting in Hamilton. Its genesis lay in the GS 2018 Motion 7 decisions, a response to that from the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, and a response to that response from our Archbishops by way of invitation to meet kanohi ke te kanohi (face to face). Around 20 of us gathered at Hemi Tapu, a Maori Anglican pastorate church and hall, to speak freely to Archbishop Glenn and then, at the end of our day together, for Glenn to speak to us. Those from our church included bishops, clergy, laity, drawn from Tikanga Pakeha and Tikanga Maori, most of whom self-identified in respect of our spectrum of theologies, of responses to GS 2018*, and sexualities.**

It was a fascinating and memorable meeting because of the mix of people and views present, because of the gracious and warm hospitality shown us, because of the warm fellowship in the place as we mixed and mingled over food and drink as well as engaged in discussion, and, last but not least, because of the careful and considerate contribution Archbishop Glenn himself made to our hui.

A report from Archbishop Glenn is here on the Sydney.net website.

I understand that Anglican Taonga may also soon have a report on its site. (It is working on another story at the moment - more on that in my next post, hopefully later today).

I encourage you to read the Davies report.It contains an attractive vision for a way forward for our church but also, and perhaps more helpfully, for the global Anglican movements. (I say "more helpfully" because a shift in tone and stance between global Anglican movements would be very encouraging for us locally as we work on the almost certain future in which we have two Anglican churches in these Blessed Isles.)

(*A leading figure re disaffiliation was there, three key leaders in the formation of the "AFFIRM Christian Community" contributed, I was specifically asked to be present as an evangelical who is comfortable staying in our church. **A gay priest commented that in his experience this  gathering of our church had the highest percentage of gay and lesbian Anglicans ever. Let the reader understand: the percentage was some 15-20%, but there have been gathering to talk about gay and lesbian Anglicans at which no such Anglicans have been present.)


Recently an Anglo-Catholic hui was held in Dunedin and a full report is now on Taonga, here. The event seems most worthwhile and there is the prospect of another such hui being held in the Diocese of Wellington next year. Christchurch in 2020?


James said...

This is a welcome addition to the conversation, which has been marred by ill-feeling unfortunately. (Though thankfully nothing like the TEC / ACNA divide).

I see that Vicar Helen Jacobi (St Matthews in the City, Auckland) has already expressed (on twitter): "Thanks but no thanks" to the Archbishop of Sydney regarding his proposition. Coming after her comments to the media on 20 May that the Christchurch churches disaffiliating are "pathetic" and that they have not been acting in good faith, do comments and attitudes such as hers not harden the hearts of those who have decided to or are looking to disaffiliate?

Aside from that, is this a potential option for the disaffiliating Christchurch parishes, and could they thus become part of the wider Anglican Communion in future when their structure is decided? I believe the current plan has them in communion with GAFCON provinces and dioceses, but not necessarily in communion with Canterbury.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear James
I will leave aside Helen Jacobi's comments - she can be directly engaged via her Twitter account!

Our general understanding in Chch is that the disaffiliating congregations will be forming a network of churches aligned to GAFCON.

I understand the Archbishop of Sydney's proposal to be a proposal for the whole of global Anglicanism, with local benefits for those places where two Anglican churches co-exist, with a chicken/egg element ... would a local working out of his vision inspire the remainder of the Anglican world or would a global response to his vision encourage us locally to work out his vision.

His remarks re property, incidentally, may be useful in the long-term and if we all buy into the big picture he paints, but in the short-term they do not deal with specifics of local situations such as we have in Chch.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, on briefly reading through your report on this meeting of our Church Leaders with the Archbishop of Sydney, this morning, I particularly noticed this paragraph from Archbishop Davis' speech:

“The dissenting churches from Christchurch and elsewhere cannot in good conscience remain in ACANZP, despite the gracious offer of alternative oversight from Polynesian bishops. The problem is that these brothers and sisters cannot continue to be a part of a Church which in their understanding has changed its Canons to allow the blessing of “The dissenting churches from Christchurch and elsewhere cannot in good conscience remain in ACANZP, despite the gracious offer of alternative oversight from Polynesian bishops. The problem is that these brothers and sisters cannot continue to be a part of a Church which in their understanding has changed its Canons to allow the blessing of same-sex couples living in sinful relationships. Yet these brothers and sisters are still Anglican, and recognised as such by most Anglicans around the world.”

The phrase "same-sex couples living in sinful relationships" in this context, begs the question of whether - by our opening up the possibility of the blessing of same-sex legally married couples - our Church in New Zealand is colluding with a category of 'sin' - that would separate us (ACANZP) from the love and mercy of God.

After reading, I went to church, as usual, to hear the testimony about today's Saint - Augustine of Hippo - whose battling in the fourth century Church was mainly against the 'Holiness Code' of the Donatists and Saint Pelagius, both of whose parties proposed that the holiness of the Church was more important than its ministry from sinners to fellow sinners.

For Archbishop Glenn Davies to categorise the Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand proposing to bless someone 'living in a sinful relationship' - obviously, for him, a contradiction of the orthodoxy of the Church - is he not setting himself up, like the Donatists and Pelagius, for the sin of presumption? One wonders what Augustine of Hippo might have had to say on this subject.

Glenn Davies, it must be recognised, is the successor of a notable former Archbishop of Sydney (Peter Jensen) whose energies have been consumed by his helping in the foundation of the separatist Anglican movement now known as GAFCON/FOCA - in whose behalf Davies is now advocating a particular mode of separatism dear to the heart of the GAFCON Primates but, in this case, masquerading as a friend(?) of the See of Canterbury.

What needs to be recognised in this instance, is that the parishes in ACANZP that have already signalled their separation from ACANZP have placed themselves beyond any alliance with and membership of our Church here in New Zealand. In this respect, they are no different from ACNA in North America, and AMiE in England. In neither of these countries has the local Anglican Church evidenced any inclination to hold on to a sector of its community that has deliberately - of its own volition - separated out from the local Anglican Church on matters of gender and sexuality.

If ACANZP decides to go along with Glenn Davies' proposition for a dubious 'alliance' at this stage, it will be tantamount to admitting that Archbishop Davies is right and that we are colluding with the process of Blessing that which cannot be blessed.

The real question is of course: Do we want to collude in the ethos of self-righteousness with which GAFCON/FOCA clothes itself on the interpretation of Scripture and its connection with the issue of same-sex relationships? Or will we proceed along the path of the true Gospel proclamation of 'a fallible Church showing other sinners where to find salvation'?

Father Ron Smith said...

Sincere Congratulations Peter on being Elected Bishop of Christchurch!

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Ron!

Re the Sydney proposal: it may be that in the fine print we would say we cannot have a relationship between two "opposed" Anglican globaql- local communions; but what I heard Archbishop Glenn say is that, in his proposal, each entity would recognise the other as a legitimate expression of historic Anglicanism. That is something worth pondering ...

Simon said...

Reading Archbishop Davies' proposal (quite a bit of 'would' and 'should' in it) leaves me wary. Who will the overlapping or co-existing Anglican neighbour be led by? ++Sydney, or ++ Foley Beach or +Julian Dobbs, or a local male priest consecrated as an 'alternative' AMiE type bishop for ACANZP?
Although Abp Davies lauds it and tells us how fast-growing it is, neither does ACNA cover itself in glory.
I recently visited a bishop in another province who was more than a little bemused that a senior ACNA bishop had stopped off in their diocese after Gafcon and ordained a man as a priest to serve at church affiliated to a Lutheran evangelical missionary society. It is quite bizarre and said bishop could not believe how disrespectful and underhand the visiting ACNA bishop was.
So please let's not kid ourselves too much about the games being played out there, and presumably around ACANZP as well.

Father Ron Smith said...

I am excited by the prospect of a follow up from the Anglo-Catholic Hui held in the Parish of All Saints, Dunedin recently. Having recently been on holiday in Australia, I was not able to actually attend the Hui, but I found it intriguing that the current Bishop of Dunedin's Anglo-Catholic experience was largely formed during his time as a priest/doctor in the U.K.:

'(Bishop Steven Benford) was part of the Church of England’s Anglo-Catholic charismatic renewal ministry, ‘On Fire Mission,’ called the hui in search of a similar community in Aotearoa.

“I wanted to connect with and encourage others who share my passion for Anglo-Catholic worship and spirituality,” he said. "In recent Anglo-Catholic church plants in the UK, we have seen that when communities worship in a way that suits them, that resonates with them, then that in itself has a missional quality. Others coming in can recognize the integrity of worship when it authentically helps us meet with the living God.”

Anglo-Catholics – or ‘High Anglicans’– form a movement within Anglicanism which holds a high view of the sacraments, liturgy and the apostolic order of the church.'

Bishop Steven's experience of Anglo-Catholic worship within the context of the Charismatic movement in England provided the impetus for spiritual rejuvenation that arose out of the R.C.Vatican II Council under Good Pope John XXIII's leadership in the early 1960s.

This beginning of a new understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit at work in the Roman Catholic Church was to encourage a renewal of worship and mission in many parts of the Universal Church.

My own (English-originated) Anglo-Catholicism was enhanced in very similar circumstances by the Charismatic Renewal occurring at the Anglican Church of Saint Paul's Symonds Street in Auckland, under the leadership of Fr. Ken Prebble, under whose nurture the St.Paul's Singers began a significant ministry in that city in the 1960s.

One of the Speakers at the Dunedin Hui, Fr. Mark Beale, was a fellow member of the congregation of Saint Paul's, who went on later as a priest to revitalise Ministry at the Anglican Church of St.Elizabeth in Clendon, South Auckland, from which the missionary outreach to the people of the surrounding area was significant.

The colourful nature of catholic worship and sacramental ministry centred around a daily Celebration of the Eucharist provides a powerful base from which to preach and practise the Gospel of a radical inclusiveness, in a world so needy of a sense of God's enabling and eternal presence in the midst of the local community.