Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Not a lot of blogging time lately. It's been a VERY busy week in the parish AND my email box is bulging with queries about the lack of LGBT representation on the working group assigned to draft Executive Council's reponse to the Tanzania Communique. We continue to be in conversation with Council leadership regarding our concerns in that regard and are gratitifed by the response and by the efforts being applied toward rectifying that inequity.

But in the meantime I don't want this important piece from Cape Town to go unremarked.

Fr. Jake posted it earlier in the week so I'm just going to share his good work here and get back to my that aforementioned busy parish. But do file this away for future reference ... I assure you it will come up a time or two again between now and Lambeth 2008:

From Fr. Jake Stops the World:

Last week, the Most Rev. Njongonkulu Ndungane, Archbishop of Cape Town, offered his thoughts on a number of current topics in regards to the Anglican Communion. His description of how Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference came into being is quite enlightening. Keep in mind that this is the resolution that is often trotted out as "law" in regards to the Communion's teaching on human sexuality:

...So, finally we come to the 1998 Lambeth Conference. During the first two weeks of our three weeks together, Bishops spent considerable time working on particular questions. I chaired Section 1, which had the overarching theme of 'Called to Full Humanity'. Some 200 bishops opted for this Section, of whom 60 signed up to consider human sexuality. Let me tell you, these 60 spanned the broadest spectrum imaginable, from the hardest line conservatives to the most radical liberals!

Someone calculated that we devoted 800 bishop hours to this thorny subject. It was the most difficult group of the whole conference - there was huge pain and division as discussions began. But 800 bishop hours later, we had thrashed out a common position. The result was the 11 carefully crafted paragraphs of Theme 3 of the Section 1 Report. I am making these available to you, so you can see how we managed to be completely honest about the breadth of views on which we could not agree, and yet also find considerable agreement on wider issues, and on a way to go forward together.

We recommended that the Conference Resolution should not go into details, but merely accept and affirm our report, and refer it to the Provinces for discussion. The rest of the 200 Bishops of the Section agreed with this approach, recognising that it resulted from refining in a real crucible of fire. Now this is where clumsiness prevailed. The Archbishop of Canterbury found himself under considerable pressure for there to be a fuller resolution on homosexuality.

Contrary to all the usual normal procedures for handling resolutions, a draft was presented, and then debated and substantially amended in an hour-and-a-half plenary meeting, of over 600 bishops, spouses, observers, guests, and all in the full glare of the cameras. The result was Resolution 1:10. Though it does commend the report of the subsection, the points that follow did not arise out of the long hard wrestling that we had done, and did not reflect the way that, despite such differences, we had managed to enunciate our differences in ways that allowed us to keep working together.

It was as if our 800 bishop hours had never happened!

For all that resolutions are advisory and not binding, some of its clauses, those which 'reject homosexuality as incompatibly with Scripture' have taken on a life of their own. Other clauses, including those advocating continuing listening and also monitoring work in the area of human sexuality - alongside all the rest of the resolutions of the Conference - are given nothing like the same prominence!


I heartily concur with Fr. Jake's concluding comment on Archbishop Ndungane's walk down memory lane: "It sounds to me as if Lambeth 1.10 is not the mind of Lambeth, but the mind of George Carey."


Brian F said...

Has anyone read the other view of what happened in the process of writing and voting on Resolution 1:10 at Lambeth 1998? There is one presented by Bp Colin Bazley of the Southern Cone if anyone cares to read his comments posted here:

Obviously there is another point of view, so I wouldn't accept Abp Ndungane's recollection of events at face value, especially if he was not fully involved throughout the whole process. But it is interesting that Ndungane's perspective is being used here to render that resolution invalid in the minds of many, by discreditting the process through which it was arrived.

Brian F

michael thorne said...

The item below is from the boston glbt newspaper BAY WINDOWS. I haven't seen mention of it on any of the church related websites. !!!!!????????

Issue Date: 5/17/2007, Posted On: 5/17/2007

Rt. Rev. Gayle Harris becomes 1000th clergy to sign Religious Declaration for the Freedom to Marry
Laura Kiritsy
The Right Rev. Gayle Harris signs the Religious Declaration for the Freedom to Marry at the State House May 17. Photo: Marilyn Humphries

The Right Rev. Gayle Harris, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of the Massachusetts, on May 17 became the 1000th signer of the Religious Declaration for the Freedom to Marry at a signing ceremony at the State House.

The 10-year old declaration, authored by Rabbi Howard Berman, a founding member of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, states in part, “As religious people, clergy, and leaders, we are mandated to stand for justice in our common civic life. We oppose appeals to sacred texts and religious traditions for the purpose of denying legal equity to same-gender couples. As concerned citizens, we affirm the liberty of adults of the same gender to love and marry.”

The following is a transcript of Harris’s remarks to the crowd of about 200 who had gathered in Nurse’s Hall at the State House to mark the occasion:

“This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

“I brought my own pen today, which is purple. I think that’s appropriate. And it has purple ink in it, even more appropriate. It’s what I sign ordination and other documents with. And I wanted to use my own pen because this comes as a moment of faith for me, as for many of you who are gathered here. I signed this declaration as first a bishop, but also as a citizen of this great Commonwealth. And as a citizen of this great Commonwealth, I want to say that it is important for us to uphold justice for all. Our government is there to protect our lives and our rights, not to take them away. I grew up in the 1950s in Chicago, Illinios, and I know what it’s like to be discriminated against. After all I’m a black person in America. And I know that if it was put to the ballot, Brown versus the Board of Education would not have become the law of this land. Because that’s what the climate was. We do not vote on rights. We vote on those things that empower all of us as a society and as the people of America.

“But as a bishop, I also signed this because I understand that it is my responsibility, it is my mission and my ministry to promote justice; to seek to work for, as our baptismal covenant says, to strive for justice as well as to protect the dignity of every human being. Justice is not about where the political spectrum is as of this moment. Justice comes from God. Justice upholds love. God is love. As one of our hymns say, ‘God is love and where love is, God is there, too.’ So I’m here out of love, out of my call of ministry to love all of God’s people, to uphold that love wherever it is found. Where ever it is found. Where ever love is found.

“So as bishop and a citizen of this Commonwealth I am honored to sign. I am honored to stand with my brothers and sisters to protect families, to lift up children, to care for those who care for one another. I am here because of love and because … love is my greatest joy and God is the God of love for us all. Thank you.”

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I wouldn't accept Abp Ndungane's recollection of events at face value

I would certainly accept his view of things over most of those who hang out at VirtueOnline, that bastion of Christian charity (not!). The falsehoods that are accepted as gospel over there render everything else moot, I'm afraid. You are known by the company you keep, and all that....