Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Morning has broken ...

... and in the bright light of a quite lovely day in Canterbury (it rained like crazy last night and today it's blue and clear and breezy) here are a few observations about yesterday's Lambeth Happenings: .

The 3rd section of the report of observations and recommendations from the Windsor Continuation Group -- released at a 5:30 p.m. press briefing -- was the source of much consternation here in Kent.

Its "hard-line" on moratoria on blessings and consecrations is patently unacceptable to a significant percentage of the bishops present here at Lambeth Conference [ENS has a good survey of reactions here] ... and I particularly liked that Michael Ingham "called the paper "an old-world institutional response to a new-world reality in which people are being set free from hatred and violence."

Meanwhile, it does not go far enough in "disciplining" those who differ with the Gafconistas, at least according to blogger Sarah Hey, who Ruth Gledhill reports dismissed the document as 'purple-shirted flatulence.'

Ruth makes another interesting point in her reflection in yesterday's Times:

On the Windsor group there were no bishops who approve same-sex blessings or gay ordinations of priests or bishops.

Knowing that, why would we expect anything different than what was handed out yesterday? Jenny Te Paa, a member of the original Windsor Report group, had this to say:

Te Paa said that the Windsor Continuation Group is "a curious title to give a group" that has no members of the original commission. She and the other 15 members of the Lambeth Commission on Communion, the formal name of the group that produced the Windsor Report, share an important and "unique historical memory" of the process, she said, adding that none of the WCG members have talked to her or the people with whom she was most closely aligned on the commission.

"Relationality was at the heart of the success of the Windsor Report and one would hope that there might be some recognition of that in the on-going work that needs to be done," she said.

"The spirit of Windsor was very much, I believe, an encouragement towards a respect for mutuality," Te Paa said.

Important points to note -- coming from one who helped craft the report -- that the Windsor Report was indeed intended to be a bridge and has instead been hijacked and forged into a bludgeon.

Our Inclusive Communion collective response to yesterday's document is online here ... I commend it all to you and want to highlight this important point:

The Windsor Report and draft Covenants, while in some places acknowledging the value of the more open Anglican tradition, are in their main recommendations all too heavily influenced by an intolerant demand for uniformity. The implication is that because Lambeth 1998 described homosexuality as ‘contrary to Scripture’ all Anglicans ought to consider it immoral.

Such a naive notion is contrary to the Anglican tradition. Neither Lambeth 1998 nor the sparse remarks on the matter in the Bible establish an Anglican consensus on the ethics of homosexuality.

Instead of continuing to pretend that there is one, and generating one proposal after another for policing it, what is needed is to face the fact that Anglicans disagree about it.

Instead of threatening pro-gay provinces with expulsion we should insist that differences of opinion are normal.

Today our bishops discuss the Windsor Continuation issues in their Indaba groups and at provincial meetings. Keep them in your prayers as they go about their work and witness.

More later from Lambeth ...

1 comment:

Malcolm+ said...

In fairness to Victoria Matthews, formerly Bishop of Edmonton (Canada) and imminently Bishop of Christchurch (New Zealand, Aeoteoroa and Polynesia), her position on blessing same sex unions is more nuanced than many commentators imply.

She did lead the process which led to the Canadian Church's conclusion that the issue is a matter of doctrine, but not core doctrine.

Her public utterances to date suggest that she is not opposed to such blessings in principle, but feels that there is still theological work to be done.

She is certainly no uncritical liberal on the question, but neither is she an uncritical conservative.

Indeed, it was concerns about her position on this issue which led to widespread conservative and "conservative" opposition to her appointment to Christchurch.