The tracking has gotten better since 1998 when I first viewed it on the internet.
Archive for December, 2007
From Tom Waits, who has a voice that sounds like a gagging goat with a whole lot of style.
A great song from Neko Case.
Now that we’ve met
We can only laugh at these regrets
Common as a winter cold
They’re telephone poles
They follow each other
One, after another, after another
But now my heart is green as weeds
Grown to outlive their season
And nothing comforts me the same
As my brave friend who says,
“I don’t care if forever never comes
‘Cause I’m holding out for that teenage feeling
I’m holding out for that teenage feeling”
All the loves we had
All we ever knew
Did they fill me with so many secrets
That keep me from loving you
‘Cause it’s hard, hard
Speak softly and carry a big stick. That is what a battle hardened U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, said, based, not surprisingly, on an African proverb that adds the phrase “and you will go far.”
Our dear Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, would have done well to learn from this proverb. He indeed speaks softly, but has no big stick.
He did say some good things, though, in specifically mentioning Dioceses like Western Louisiana:
The matter is further complicated by the fact that several within The Episcopal Church, including a significant number of bishops and some diocesan conventions, have clearly distanced themselves from the prevailing view in their province as expressed in its public policies and declarations. This includes the bishops who have committed themselves to the proposals of the Windsor Report in their Camp Allen conference, as well as others who have looked for more radical solutions. Without elaborating on the practical implications of this or the complicated and diverse politics of the situation, it is obvious that such dioceses and bishops cannot be regarded as deficient in recognisable faithfulness to the common deposit and the common language and practice of the Communion. If their faith and practice are recognised by other churches in the Communion as representing the common mind of the Anglican Church, they are clearly in fellowship with the Communion. The practical challenge then becomes to find ways of working out a fruitful, sustainable and honest relation for them both with their own province and with the wider Communion.
The only problem is that this statement is not backed with even a promise of relief, because a fruitful, sustainable and honest relation for the Diocese of Western Louisiana and the Episcopal Church would require much more charity than TEC is willing to give. Western Louisiana will not be able to receive consents for another conservative bishop to sit as Bishop Diocesan, considering what has happened with South Carolina’s consents on Bishop elect Lawrence. Tolerance for dissent within the Episcopal Church has effectively ended.
But the declaration on same-sex blessings is in effect a reiteration of the position taken in previous statements from TEC, and has clearly not satisfied many in the Communion any more than these earlier statements. There is obviously a significant and serious gap between what TEC understands and what others assume as to what constitutes a liturgical provision in the name of the Church at large.
This is a very English way of noting that there are massive differences between what TEC says and what happens on the ground. Good for the Archbishop for picking up on this.
+Rowan then continues to stand on where he is on Lambeth invitations – no “border crossers” and no Bishop Robinson. If only he would exclude those who voted for Robinson’s consecration or maybe just those who participated in it, and have not recanted (aka Bishop Wolfe), then this might actually be balanced and mean something. Perhaps he could rescind the invitation of bishops who have permitted same sex blessings post Windsor, like our own Presiding Bishop and Bishop Bruno. As it stands, +Rowan’s handling the invitations punishes conservatives who have violated the Windsor Report far more than liberals. But, time may tell. If Bishop Schofield’s invitation is not rescinded, that might mean something.
Unlike most conservatives, I welcome the facilitated conversations of which +Rowan speaks. Why? Because I already know the result, as the liberals will finally be seen by Canterbury to be as unreasonable and unrelenting as they are. +Rowan is frankly looking for any solution, let alone a reasonable solution, to the problems that confront the Communion. What he has to come to finally realize is that the left will give him no chance of a reasonable solution. He has already stated (allegedly) that the Southern Cone programme is reasonable under the circumstances. When the TEC left rejects every single option for amicable settlement, he’ll know where he stands.
What I find disquieting is that we have to have yet another meeting to determine what is to be done with TEC. God so loved the world that He sent his Son, and not yet another committee. Clearly, the ABC should exclude the Episcopal Church, excepting faithful bishops, Dioceses, and parishes, from the Communion for the time being. This is the stuff of the Windsor Report and the Dar-es-Salaam Communique. I am sure a Primates Meeting would back him in this.
This is precisely where +Rowan lost his big stick, and it is precisely why he will not go far.
I’m not commenting on this yet; I need to digest it. It comes from here:
To: Primates of the Anglican Communion & Moderators of the United Churches
Greetings in the name of the One ‘who is and was and is to come, the Almighty’, as we prepare in this Advent season to celebrate once more his first coming and pray for the grace to greet him when he comes in glory.
You will by now, I hope, have received my earlier letter summarising the responses from Primates to the Joint Standing Committee’s analysis of the New Orleans statement from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. In that letter, I promised to write with some further reflections and proposals, and this is the purpose of the present communication. Although I am writing in the first instance to my fellow-primates, I hope you will share this letter widely with your bishops and people.
As I said in that earlier letter, the responses received from primates differed in their assessment of the situation. Slightly more than half of the replies received signalled a willingness to accept the Joint Standing Committee’s analysis of the New Orleans statement, but the rest regarded both the statement and the Standing Committee’s comments as an inadequate response to what had been requested by the primates in Dar-es-Salaam.
So we have no consensus about the New Orleans statement. It is also the case that some of the more negative assessments from primates were clearly influenced by the reported remarks of individual bishops in The Episcopal Church who either declared their unwillingness to abide by the terms of the statement or argued that it did not imply any change in current policies. It should be noted too that some of the positive responses reflected a deep desire to put the question decisively behind us as a Communion; some of these also expressed dissatisfaction with our present channels of discussion and communication.
Where does this leave us as a Communion? Because we have no single central executive authority, the answer to this is not a simple one. However, it is important to try and state what common ground there is before we attempt to move forward; and it is historically an aspect of the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury to ‘articulate the mind of the Communion’ in moments of tension and controversy, as the Windsor Report puts it (para. 109). I do so out of the profound conviction that the existence of our Communion is truly a gift of God to the wholeness of Christ’s Church and that all of us will be seriously wounded and diminished if our Communion fractures any further; but also out of the no less profound conviction that our identity as Anglicans is not something without boundaries. What I am writing here is an attempt to set out where some of those boundaries lie and why they matter for our witness to the world as well as for our own integrity and mutual respect.
The Communion is a voluntary association of provinces and dioceses; and so its unity depends not on a canon law that can be enforced but on the ability of each part of the family to recognise that other local churches have received the same faith from the apostles and are faithfully holding to it in loyalty to the One Lord incarnate who speaks in Scripture and bestows his grace in the sacraments. To put it in slightly different terms, local churches acknowledge the same ‘constitutive elements’ in one another. This means in turn that each local church receives from others and recognises in others the same good news and the same structure of ministry, and seeks to engage in mutual service for the sake of our common mission.
So a full relationship of communion will mean:
1. The common acknowledgment that we stand under the authority of Scripture as ‘the rule and ultimate standard of faith’, in the words of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral; as the gift shaped by the Holy Spirit which decisively interprets God to the community of believers and the community of believers to itself and opens our hearts to the living and eternal Word that is Christ. Our obedience to the call of Christ the Word Incarnate is drawn out first and foremost by our listening to the Bible and conforming our lives to what God both offers and requires of us through the words and narratives of the Bible. We recognise each other in one fellowship when we see one another ‘standing under’ the word of Scripture. Because of this recognition, we are able to consult and reflect together on the interpretation of Scripture and to learn in that process. Understanding the Bible is not a private process or something to be undertaken in isolation by one part of the family. Radical change in the way we read cannot be determined by one group or tradition alone.
2. The common acknowledgement of an authentic ministry of Word and Sacrament. We remain in communion because we trust that the Lord who has called us by his Word also calls men and women in other contexts and raises up for them as for us a ministry which can be recognised as performing the same tasks – of teaching and pastoral care and admonition, of assembling God’s people for worship, above all at the Holy Communion. The principle that one local church should not intervene in the life of another is simply a way of expressing this trust that the form of ministry is something we share and that God provides what is needed for each local community.
3. The common acknowledgement that the first and great priority of each local Christian community is to communicate the Good News. When we are able to recognise biblical faithfulness and authentic ministry in one another, the relation of communion pledges us to support each other’s efforts to win people for Christ and to serve the world in his Name. Communion thus means the sharing of resources and skills in order to enable one another to proclaim and serve in this way.
It is in this context that we must think about the present crisis, which is in significant part a crisis about whether we can fully, honestly and gratefully recognise these gifts in each other.
The debates about sexuality, significant as they may be, are symptoms of our confusion about these basic principles of recognition. It is too easy to make the debate a standoff between those who are ‘for’ and those who are ‘against’ the welcoming of homosexual people in the Church. The Instruments of Communion have consistently and very strongly repeated that it is part of our Christian and Anglican discipleship to condemn homophobic prejudice and violence, to defend the human rights and civil liberties of homosexual people and to offer them the same pastoral care and loving service that we owe to all in Christ’s name. But the deeper question is about what we believe we are free to do, if we seek to be recognisably faithful to Scripture and the moral tradition of the wider Church, with respect to blessing and sanctioning in the name of the Church certain personal decisions about what constitutes an acceptable Christian lifestyle. Insofar as there is currently any consensus in the Communion about this, it is not in favour of change in our discipline or our interpretation of the Bible.
This is why the episcopal ordination of a person in a same-sex union or a claim to the freedom to make liturgical declarations about the character of same-sex unions inevitably raises the question of whether a local church is still fully recognisable within the one family of practice and reflection. Where one part of the family makes a decisive move that plainly implies a new understanding of Scripture that has not been received and agreed by the wider Church, it is not surprising that others find a problem in knowing how far they are still speaking the same language. And because what one local church says is naturally taken as representative of what others might say, we have the painful situation of some communities being associated with views and actions which they deplore or which they simply have not considered.
Where such a situation arises, it becomes important to clarify that the Communion as a whole is not committed to receiving the new interpretation and that there must be ways in which others can appropriately distance themselves from decisions and policies which they have not agreed. This is important in our relations with our own local contexts and equally in our ecumenical (and interfaith) encounters, to avoid confusion and deep misunderstanding.
The desire to establish this distance has led some to conclude that, since the first condition of recognisability (a common reading and understanding of Scripture) is not met, the whole structure of mission and ministry has failed in a local church that commits itself to a new reading of the Bible. Hence the willingness of some to provide supplementary ministerial care through the adoption of parishes in distant provinces or the ordination of ministers for distant provinces.
Successive Lambeth Conferences and Primates’ Meetings have, however, cautioned very strongly against such provision. It creates a seriously anomalous position. It does not appeal to a clear or universal principle by which it may be decided that a local church’s ministry is completely defective. On the ground, it creates rivalry and confusion. It opens the door to complex and unedifying legal wrangles in civil courts. It creates a situation in which pastoral care and oversight have to be exercised at a great distance. The view that has been expressed by all the Instruments of Communion in recent years is that interventions are not to be sanctioned. It would seem reasonable to say that this principle should only be overridden when the Communion together had in some way concluded, not only that a province was behaving anomalously, but that this was so serious as to compromise the entire ministry and mission the province was undertaking. Without such a condition, the risk is magnified of smaller and smaller groups taking to themselves the authority to decide on the adequacy of a neighbour’s ministerial life or spiritual authenticity. The gospels and the epistles of Paul alike warn us against a hasty final judgement on the spiritual state of our neighbours.
While argument continues about exactly how much force is possessed by a Resolution of the Lambeth Conference such as the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution on sexuality, it is true, as I have repeatedly said, that the 1998 Resolution is the only point of reference clearly agreed by the overwhelming majority of the Communion. This is the point where our common reading of Scripture stands, along with the common reading of the majority within the Christian churches worldwide and through the centuries.
Thus it is not surprising if some have concluded that the official organs of The Episcopal Church, in confirming the election of Gene Robinson and in giving what many regard as implicit sanction to same-sex blessings of a public nature have put in question the degree to which it can be recognised as belonging to the same family by deciding to act against the strong, reiterated and consistent advice of the Instruments of Communion. The repeated requests for clarification to The Episcopal Church, difficult and frustrating as they have proved for that province, have been an attempt by the Communion at large to deal with the many anxieties expressed in this regard. The matter is further complicated by the fact that several within The Episcopal Church, including a significant number of bishops and some diocesan conventions, have clearly distanced themselves from the prevailing view in their province as expressed in its public policies and declarations. This includes the bishops who have committed themselves to the proposals of the Windsor Report in their Camp Allen conference, as well as others who have looked for more radical solutions. Without elaborating on the practical implications of this or the complicated and diverse politics of the situation, it is obvious that such dioceses and bishops cannot be regarded as deficient in recognisable faithfulness to the common deposit and the common language and practice of the Communion. If their faith and practice are recognised by other churches in the Communion as representing the common mind of the Anglican Church, they are clearly in fellowship with the Communion. The practical challenge then becomes to find ways of working out a fruitful, sustainable and honest relation for them both with their own province and with the wider Communion.
That challenge is not best addressed by a series of ad hoc arrangements with individual provinces elsewhere, as the Dar-es-Salaam communiqué made plain. The New Orleans statement, along with many individual statements by bishops in TEC, expresses the anger felt by many in the US – as also in Canada – about uncontrolled intervention, and it is evident that this is not doing anything to advance or assist local solutions that will have some theological and canonical solidity.
I believe that we as a Communion must recognise two things in respect of the current position in TEC. First: most if not all of the bishops present in New Orleans were seeking in all honesty to find a way of meeting the requests of the primates and to express a sense of responsibility towards the Communion and their concern for and loyalty to it. It is of enormous importance that the Communion overall does not forget its responsibility to and for that large body of prayerful opinion in The Episcopal Church which sincerely desires to work in full harmony with others, particularly those bishops who have clearly expressed their desire to work within the framework both of the Windsor Report and the Lambeth Resolutions, and that it does not give way to the temptation to view The Episcopal Church as a monochrome body. Second: it is practically impossible to imagine any further elucidation or elaboration coming from TEC after the successive statements and resolutions from last year’s General Convention onwards. A good deal of time and effort has gone into the responses they have already produced, and it is extremely unlikely that further meetings will produce any more substantial consensus than that which is now before us.
The exact interpretation of the New Orleans statements, as the responses from around the Communion indicate, is disputable. I do not see how the commitment not to confirm any election to the episcopate of a partnered gay or lesbian person can mean anything other than what it says. But the declaration on same-sex blessings is in effect a reiteration of the position taken in previous statements from TEC, and has clearly not satisfied many in the Communion any more than these earlier statements. There is obviously a significant and serious gap between what TEC understands and what others assume as to what constitutes a liturgical provision in the name of the Church at large.
A scheme has been outlined for the pastoral care of those who do not accept the majority view in TEC, but the detail of any consultation or involvement with other provinces as to how this might best work remains to be filled out and what has been proposed does not so far seem to have commanded the full confidence of those most affected. Furthermore, serious concerns remain about the risks of spiralling disputes before the secular courts, although the Dar-es-Salaam communiqué expressed profound disquiet on this matter, addressed to all parties.
A somewhat complicating factor in the New Orleans statement has been the provision that any kind of moratorium is in place until General Convention provides otherwise. Since the matters at issue are those in which the bishops have a decisive voice as a House of Bishops in General Convention, puzzlement has been expressed as to why the House should apparently bind itself to future direction from the Convention. If that is indeed what this means, it is in itself a decision of some significance. It raises a major ecclesiological issue, not about some sort of autocratic episcopal privilege but about the understanding in The Episcopal Church of the distinctive charism of bishops as an order and their responsibility for sustaining doctrinal standards. Once again, there seems to be a gap between what some in The Episcopal Church understand about the ministry of bishops and what is held elsewhere in the Communion, and this needs to be addressed.
The exchange between TEC and the wider Communion has now been continuing for some four years, and it would be unrealistic and ungrateful to expect more from TEC in terms of clarification. Whatever our individual perspectives, I think we need to honour the intentions and the hard work done by the bishops of TEC. For many of them, this has been a very costly and demanding experience, testing both heart and conscience. But now we need to determine a way forward.
The whole of this discussion is naturally affected by what people are thinking about the character and scope of the Lambeth Conference, and I need to say a word about this here. Thus far, invitations have been issued with two considerations in mind.
First: I have not felt able to invite those whose episcopal ordination was carried through against the counsel of the Instruments of Communion, and I have not seen any reason to revisit this (the reference in the New Orleans statement to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘expressed desire’ to invite the Bishop of New Hampshire misunderstands what was said earlier this year, when the question was left open as to whether the Bishop, as a non-participant, could conceivably be present as a guest at some point or at some optional event). And while (as I have said above) I understand and respect the good faith of those who have felt called to provide additional episcopal oversight in the USA, there can be no doubt that these ordinations have not been encouraged or legitimised by the Communion overall.
I acknowledge that this limitation on invitations will pose problems for some in its outworking. But I would strongly urge those whose strong commitments create such problems to ask what they are prepared to offer for the sake of a Conference that will have some general credibility in and for the Communion overall.
Second: I have underlined in my letter of invitation that acceptance of the invitation must be taken as implying willingness to work with those aspects of the Conference’s agenda that relate to implementing the recommendations of Windsor, including the development of a Covenant. The Conference needs of course to be a place where diversity of opinion can be expressed, and there is no intention to foreclose the discussion – for example – of what sort of Covenant document is needed. But I believe we need to be able to take for granted a certain level of willingness to follow through the question of how we avoid the present degree of damaging and draining tension arising again. I intend to be in direct contact with those who have expressed unease about this, so as to try and clarify how deep their difficulties go with accepting or adopting the Conference’s agenda.
How then should the Lambeth Conference be viewed? It is not a canonical tribunal, but neither is it merely a general consultation. It is a meeting of the chief pastors and teachers of the Communion, seeking an authoritative common voice. It is also a meeting designed to strengthen and deepen the sense of what the episcopal vocation is.
Some reactions to my original invitation have implied that meeting for prayer, mutual spiritual enrichment and development of ministry is somehow a way of avoiding difficult issues. On the contrary: I would insist that only in such a context can we usefully address divisive issues. If, as the opening section of this letter claimed, our difficulties have their root in whether or how far we can recognise the same gospel and ministry in diverse places and policies, we need to engage more not less directly with each other. This is why I have repeatedly said that an invitation to Lambeth does not constitute a certificate of orthodoxy but simply a challenge to pray seriously together and to seek a resolution that will be as widely owned as may be.
And this is also why I have said that the refusal to meet can be a refusal of the cross – and so of the resurrection. We are being asked to see our handling of conflict and potential division as part of our maturing both as pastors and as disciples. I do not think this is either an incidental matter or an evasion of more basic questions.
This means some hard reflective work in preparation for the Conference – including pursuing conversations with each other across the current divisions. There will also be a number of documents circulating which will feed into the Conference’s discussions, in particular the work of the Covenant Design Group, the resources available from the dialogues with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Report of the Doctrinal commission and the papers coming from IASCER. Also significant will be the papers on the core elements of Anglican ministerial education and formation prepared by the group advising the Primates on Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the paper on the theology of inter faith relations prepared by the Network for Inter Faith Concerns (NIFCON), Generous Love.
But direct contact and open exchange of convictions will be crucial. Whatever happens, we are bound to seek for fruitful ways of carrying forward liaison with provinces whose policies cause scandal or difficulty to others. Whatever happens, certain aspects of our ‘relational’ communion will continue independently of the debates and decisions at the level of canons and hierarchies.
Given the differences in response to The Episcopal Church revealed in the responses of the primates, we simply cannot pretend that there is now a ready-made consensus on the future of relationships between TEC and other provinces. Much work remains to be done. But – once again, I refer back to my introductory thoughts – that work is about some basic questions of fidelity to Scripture and identity in ministry and mission, not only about the one issue of sexuality. It is about what it means for the Anglican Communion to behave with a consistency that allows us to face, both honestly and charitably, the deeply painful question of who we can and cannot recognise as sharing the same calling and task.
Finally, what specific recommendations emerge from these thoughts?
I propose two different but related courses of action during the months ahead. I wish to pursue some professionally facilitated conversations between the leadership of The Episcopal Church and those with whom they are most in dispute, internally and externally, to see if we can generate any better level of mutual understanding. Such meetings will not seek any predetermined outcome but will attempt to ease tensions and clarify options. They may also clarify ideas about the future pattern of liaison between TEC and other parts of the Communion. I have already identified resources and people who will assist in this.
I also intend to convene a small group of primates and others, whose task will be, in close collaboration with the primates, the Joint Standing Committee, the Covenant Design Group and the Lambeth Conference Design Group, to work on the unanswered questions arising from the inconclusive evaluation of the primates to New Orleans and to take certain issues forward to Lambeth. This will feed in to the discussions at Lambeth about Anglican identity and the Covenant process; I suggest that it will also have to consider whether in the present circumstances it is possible for provinces or individual bishops at odds with the expressed mind of the Communion to participate fully in representative Communion agencies, including ecumenical bodies. Its responsibility will be to weigh current developments in the light of the clear recommendations of Windsor and of the subsequent statements from the ACC and the Primates’ Meeting; it will thus also be bound to consider the exact status of bishops ordained by one province for ministry in another. At the moment, the question of ‘who speaks for the Communion?’ is surrounded by much unclarity and urgently needs resolution; the people of the Communion need to be sure that they are not placed in unsustainable and damaging positions by any vagueness as to what the Communion as a whole believes and endorses, and so the issue of who represents the Communion cannot be evaded. The principles set out at the beginning of this letter will, I hope, assist in clarifying what needs to be said about this. Not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship. I continue to hope that the discussion of the Covenant before, during and beyond Lambeth will give us a positive rallying-point.
A great deal of the language that is around in the Communion at present seems to presuppose that any change from our current deadlock is impossible, that division is unavoidable and that any such division represents so radical a difference in fundamental faith that no recognition and future co-operation can be imagined. I cannot accept these assumptions, and I do not believe that as Christians we should see them as beyond challenge, least of all as we think and pray our way through Advent.
The coming of Christ in the flesh and the declaration of the good news of his saving purpose was not a matter of human planning and ingenuity, nor was it frustrated by human resistance and sin. It was a gift whose reception was made possible by the prayerful obedience of Mary and whose effect was to create a new community of God’s sons and daughters. As we look forward, what is there for us to do but pray, obey and be ready for God’s re-creating work through the eternal and unchanging Saviour, Jesus Christ?
‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come”… Amen. Come Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen’ (Rev.22.17, 20-21).
Teenagers Interview +Rowan Williams; “Family and God keep me going – even if they all think I’m an idiot”Published December 12, 2007 Uncategorized 1 Comment
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, stops work at 6pm so he can watch The Simpsons. He is more afraid of what his wife Jane thinks than he is of the Editor of the Daily Mail. And he believes that gay clergy should adhere to the Bible and not act upon their sexual preferences.
Dr Williams spoke of the insecurities and anxieties of high office in the Church of England in an interview with three teenage reporters from the youth magazine Oi!.
He told one of the interviewers, 17-year-old Georgie Gothard, who said that she was 12 weeks pregnant and did not know whether she should keep the baby, that he could never advise anyone to have an abortion and that the 24-week limit was too high.
“Personally, I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back, would you?” he said.
And he confessed that, although at £60,000 a year he earns less than a headteacher, he enjoys his job – “at least the nonpolitical side of things”.
This is because he is passionate about the environment and likes meeting people, he said.
Dr Williams was interviewed for the Kent-based magazine over tea and toast at the Old Palace next door to Canterbury Cathedral. The three teenagers reported that they found him relaxed and accessible. “I was expecting just words. What he gave me was meaning, an understanding of who I was and where I was at, cloaked in kindness,” one said.
Dr Williams told them how he found a dead person in his drive one day, how he made the Church install a decent kitchen in his house and how his two children hate him turning up to watch them in an event.
Holly Mounter, 15, described the teenage fear of not being good enough and asked Dr Williams if he ever felt the same. He replied: “Yes, often. It’s not an easy job. I have everyone judging me and many people thinking that the decisions I make are stupid. My teenage daughter thinks I’m every kind of idiot there is.
“There are two things that keep me going, though, and my family are one of them. Having support and love from those closest to me is hugely important. God is my other source of strength. He’s always there for me, even if He thinks I’m an idiot too.
“And that is why what the Editor of the Daily Mail thinks of me is pretty irrelevant. Ultimately, I’m answerable to God – and my wife!”
He said he thought that Britain could cope with the present rate of immigration but was concerned when he recently saw three families sharing a three-bedroomed house in Norwich.
Mylie Veitch, 18, asked him for his views on a gay friend of hers who is considering adopting with his partner.
Dr Williams said: “This is a big one. I have questions as to whether same-sex couples can provide the same stability as ‘normal parents’. I have no answers really, just questions.
“Many would argue that we need a balance of men and women to bring a child up. However, I have seen one fantastic example of same-sex parenting first hand and I suppose stability is another key consideration.”
Asked about his support for gay clergy, he replied: “I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about. Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible. Gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practising homo-sexual relationships don’t. This major question doesn’t have a quick-fix solution and I imagine will be debated for many years to come.”
He admitted that even though he stops work at 6pm to watch television and spend time with his family, he starts up again later, usually with an evening appointment.
The Archbishop’s remarks come as the Anglican Communion, which he leads, moves even closer to schism in the row over homosexuality. In the past few days a conservative diocese in the US formally left the Episcopal Church to realign with the traditionalist province of the Southern Cone.
Many insiders believe that the dispute will move across the Atlantic to Britain next year.
Read it all. A snippit:
EVANICK Robert Bruce Evanick (always known as Bruce to those who loved him – and those who employed him and exploited his work ethic) — died Tuesday afternoon, December 4th, 2007. A massive heart attack killed him – despite the heroic efforts of many physicians, surgeons and nurses – in a waiting area at Ochsner Hospital. He was not an inpatient there. He was there to provide company and comfort to Brenda, his wife, whom he loved and supported, in all ways, for 32 years. Her heart is broken. He died a horrendous death, on the floor of the waiting room, at Brenda’s feet. To her, he was the most kind, most gentle, and most generous person she has ever known. His death should be a warning to all those who believe that they are being used by insensitive employers. He deserved better, both in life and death. Bruce had been seduced into a sedentary and high stress life style after he moved to New Orleans by the promise of “big money” from a corporate defense law firm. Essentially, his succumbing to that seduction and his devotion to duty caused his death. Of the many shareholders in the firm for which he labored, only one took the personal initiative to call Brenda to offer her personal condolences. Several colleagues believe that Brenda and Bruce were divorced. This is not true. They lived apart for several years but were in friendly communication, especially enjoying Sunday breakfasts together. His devoted secretary rushed to the hospital, along with the office manager, to comfort and assist Brenda. Debbie R. has been kind and helpful and is greatly saddened by Bruce’s demise.
Bruce’s death leaves a huge void in the world. It is truly a sin and a shame that only one of his fellow shareholders were moved to personally console his widow. He loved her to his last breath and would have been deeply saddened by their cold attitude. Bruce is survived by two siblings from whom he was estranged. The firm will be holding a Memorial Service in their office sometime on Monday, December 10, 2007. It is not known if they would welcome people from outside the firm and the firms prestigious client list. Brenda will not attend. Bruce has been cremated and his remains will be placed in an exquisite wooden box which he loved and will remain with his grieving widow. From his birth on November 7, 1949 to his death on December 4, 2007 he was a most remarkable individual, unique and gifted in more ways than most humans. The world is diminished and made less interesting by his death. Bruce Evanick’s obituary was composed, written, and submitted by Brenda Evanick. All thoughts, opinions and declarations in it are ENTIRELY hers and do not reflect input from any other persons, LIVING OR DEAD, other than those presented as quotations. Donations may be made in his name to: Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA), 4441 North I-10 Service Road. Metairie LA 70006.
Fr. Fred preached an excellent sermon today. I was particularly taken aback at an analogy between John the Baptist’s message and what a mother eagle does with her children. These nests get really big and heavy, by the way, weighing sometimes in the tons. When it is time for the chicks to leave the nest, the mother takes apart, well, utterly destroys the nest as the chicks look on, wondering, I’m sure, “Mom, what are you doing?”
Made me think that we are in one of those times in the church of losing the comfort the nest so we will be forced to live up to our potential and soar. As has been often said by Kendall Harmon, we are a church under a judgment, and John the Baptist’s words could not be more timely than today – repent for the Kingdom of God has come near.
Deuteronomy 32:11: “…like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young…”
A hacker basically destroyed the server, and with the kind folks like Mike Daley who ran it being pulled in other directions than CaNNet, the old site hasn’t been restored. It has been down since the weekend of Thanksgiving, and I don’t know if it will ever be back up again. So, this is our new blog home, and I hope to have this site spiffed up with links and otherwise before the new year. Look for changes. Already folks have complimented the new look and cleaner interface.
The Diocese of San Joaquin has left the Episcopal Church, despite Katharine Jefferts Shori’s asseveration that only some people left, by an overwhelming majority vote.
This news is not unexpected, but certainly welcome.
My prediction on how this will all turn out? The Episcopal Church, as recognized in corporate documents on file with the state of New York, will be dead in 40 years, maybe less.
Yeah, that is a pretty tough prediction. I’ll be 76 when it happens, and I almost certainly won’t be in the Episcopal Church as we know it, even if my current parish and Diocese survives the changes in the future.
At GC2009, there will be blood on the floor over the leaving of whole Dioceses of the church, especially due to the fact that, even if suit were filed against San Joaquin tomorrow, nothing will be legally resolved within that time frame. General Convention will extract revenge on those conservatives who have remained within the Episcopal Church, and it will not be pretty. I’m not going to say anymore on this point, as I don’t want to give anyone ideas they may not have thought of (yet), but I am sure Mr. Beers will have all manor of things waiting for us at GC2009. That is the more or less immediate future. But, what of the real future?
Let’s look at the Episcopal Church, for a second. If TEC were a publicly traded company, is this a company in which you would buy stock? Your average Episcopal congregation has about 70 people in it. To me, this means your average Episcopal Church will likely close in 40 years. The number of churches declining in the Episcopal Church outnumbers those that are growing by more than a 2 to 1 margin. Moreover, as the church contracts, the remaining bureaucratic structure will fight to survive and force more resources from beleaguered congregations to support Diocesan offices and the national church. If you have a church with 70 people, you can hardly afford a regular full time pastor. Rather than being supported by your Diocese, your Diocese will have its hand out. That won’t last for long. I would further predict that, given the current state of affairs, as Dioceses leave the Episcopal Church, they will not be reconstituted. Rather, the liberals and property that is won through litigation will simply be attached to another Diocese. Look for the San Joaquin loyalists to be attached to either Northern California or El Camino Real (my bet is on ECR). Look for the Fort Worth Loyalists to be attached to the faltering (at least financially) Diocese of Northwest Texas. Look for Pittsburgh loyalists to be attached to Northwest Pennsylvania. And so on.
Moreover, we are churning out priests who have no Gospel with which to evangelize, but who are maintenance priests, created from the beginning to service the current constituency of the church. In forty years, that aging constituency will be pushing up the daisies. In bankruptcy parlance, this church is the equivalent of a buggy whip manufacturer in the religious sector.
On that note, given the current rates of decline, I would predict that Katherine Jefferts Shori will be the last Presiding Bishop to dwell in a swanky Manhattan penthouse and have a swanky office on Second Avenue for the entire duration of her tenure as Presiding Bishop. The 28th Presiding Bishop will continue to be a Diocesan Bishop with jurisdiction over a domestic Diocese rather than merely the convocation of American Churches in Europe. This will occur 16 years from now. At that point, the Episcopal Church will be about on the level with the Unitarians of today, numerically and, probably, theologically, only with vestments. The demand for buggy whips continues to decline. Duh.
What will come of those parishes and Dioceses that choose to realign or otherwise hold fast to the faith in a church bent on its own destruction because of some ill founded belief that the demand for buggy whips will come back?
Well, they will either fragment like the continuing church movement, or they will create a missional minded and vibrant denomination that carries forward the traditions and structure of the early Church that will some day receive into its ranks former Methodist, Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, non-denominational, what-have-you congregations that want to be a part of the Church Catholic. This is the crossroads at which we stand. Previous behavior being the best predictor of future behavior, I believe it will be the former which will happen. As Bishop Michael Marshall once wrote, so much of renewal heralds a time and season of reaction, not of a desire to get the right answer, but to get a different answer. So has most of the reformation of Christianity since it began.
To further paraphrase Marshall, if we are to create a household of faith like a castle where we have blown up the drawbridge, shut down the portcullis to separate those within and without it, we have missed the point of the Gospel. Rather, the new Anglicanism in North America must be like a family reunion, providing a home for Christians who know where they belong before their longings take them to new places; being truly free to explore new territory yet above all knowing where they can return and where they can be welcome even when they got it wrong. If Anglicanism does not preserve this aspect of its true self, then the experiment of the via media between Catholicism and Protestantism, the Church Catholic listening to and placing in positions of leadership rather than marginalization reformers and enthusiasts calling for a return to the Gospel and the basic teachings of Jesus Christ to bring the Church back into oneness for which Christ prayed before he died and of which a broken world is in dire need, will be lost. If that occurs, I will grieve my entire lifetime, while today, I grieve the loss of unity in the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America no more.
At a meeting today I heard from a prison chaplain who is building one Protestant Church behind the walls of a prison. Kairos, when it begins in this prison, will be a collaboration between this church (supported by a number of outside churches of various denominational stripes) and the Roman Catholic Church. Anglicanism could be this sort of thing. The future will be what we make it. Much of what I call for in this piece and pray for as regards Anglicanism requires humility that I am afraid we just don’t have. But, I remain hopeful.
The other main thing that I think is required is patience. It will take another 20 years for your average Episcopalian to even figure out what is really going on with the Episcopal Church, and that long for liberal Episcopalians who truly believe in Jesus to realize that belief will ultimately not be supported by their church; in fact, it may not even be tolerated. It will take 20 years before there are numerous Anglicans in North America that weren’t Episcopalian and carry with them all of the baggage from these times. Athanasius never lived to see the heresies that distressed the church of his time abate. So is the way of things. Is this a call to delay action? Hardly. It is a call to realize that we will feel lonely for a good long while, as Athanasius must have surely felt.
For me, all I can do is remain focused on Jesus. In the coming year, I will have a great deal to do with planting a new Kairos ministry in another prison, and this is what I am to be about. Lots of things have pointed me to this, not the least of which was a very Cursillo looking rainbow I saw on the way back from my meeting today. God is still so in charge of all things, and He will continue to be in charge of my life – if I let him, if I don’t let my own baggage get in the way, if I don’t let the Episcopal Church and its politics, its trappings, its needs get in the way of that. I still have work to do in my Diocese and in representing my Diocese at General Convention, but that isn’t the main thing.
As most of you have noticed, I haven’t been posting as much lately, and my old blogsite is still down with many gems I have written lost to me except through a tedious process of cutting and pasting from a database of sorts. I am still going to blog, but I can tell you that I won’t be commenting daily on the latest news from the Anglican/Episcopal world. I’ll probably comment on this topic more like weekly, unless some truly big news hits, like it did today. I’ll keep writing other stuff though, no doubt.
Looking at the past, this blog has been about a guy who was raised as a cradle Episcopalian who, after some interesting turns in life, got involved in prison ministry and saw church conflict when he was a kid and as a young adult, and then became a partisan in his own church and a litigator for others after GC2003 when he woke up one day and realized the values he had been taught and the experiences he had of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith no longer squared with where his own denomination was. The guy journeyed down the rabbit hole having no idea how far it would take him. Not being one to simply accept people and things the way they are and leave them there and believing he was an excellent jurisconsult and a faithful Christian naively, this man thought well, I’ll just head right down to this General Convention thingy and just give them a good what for, give them a hug, and all will be well. Wrong. He just didn’t see the buggy whips on the wall that would be used to beat people rather than drive horses as they used to.
Is this important? Maybe. What is truly funny is that all this is merely prelude. As to my remarks regarding grieving the loss of unity in the Episcopal Church no more, I’ve come to realize much of what I have written over the past three years was my grieving process with the church that raised me from my youth and educated me as an undergraduate and young adult. That institution, that feeling, that part of my life, well, is now gone and far better understood in knowing the history and what really happened before, during, and after that day during GC2003 when the revelation hit me that something major had gone terribly awry. The crazy part is that, in my blogging, I have a feeling that I never walked alone, that my rants and raves voiced the feeling of many people in a confused and terrible time in the Church Catholic, that, unfortunately, is still not over.
The only good part in all this is that the future is a bright as it could possibly be, lit by the light of Jesus Christ.
As a closing remark, I pray and hope that one certain Episcopal priest who has received offers to leave TEC for already realigned organizations but has stuck it out with his small yet growing parish in a revisionist Diocese in TEC because he will not abandon his parishioners, a genteel lay leader from upper South Carolina who like me is a Communion Conservative happily doing Cursillo before the poop was thrown at the fan in 2003 and who shares a strange affinity with me for church politics that draws us like gnats to a buglite, and my brother in Christ from Mississippi who was busy tending to the needs outlined by Christ in Matthew 25 yet making a living at it but who realized what was happening in the Episcopal Church was important and needed to be dealt with, and all of whom will be around with me, God willing, 40 years from now to chat about where all these things led, will comment on this piece, if only briefly.
Other comments, from those who have been reading my musings, are also most welcome. We’ve been walking a journey together. Sometimes, you just have to sit by the fire and talk about where you’ve been and what the hope for the future is, rather than just recounting what happened in the day immediately past, and what will happen in the day immediately approaching.