Friday, June 03, 2011

Across the Pond

I've been pretty much sequestered with the C056 Task Force bunch working away on the check lists we have in front of us getting our work done to submit to the SCLM by the Blue Book deadline. (And if none of that makes any sense to you, don't worry. It's all church code that really doesn't bear decoding!)

Anyway, while working away this week in Baltimore I saw several good pieces from allies across the pond float by in my email inbox ... and waiting to board the plane home here at BWI seemed a good place to read them, excerpt and share. So here goes ... some reflections from some CofE folks on the state of the Communion in general and homophobia in their church in specific.

Homophobia has infected the Church of England
by Colin Coward

The Church of England has 13 bishops who are gay. None are publicly open about their sexuality and, as far as I know, none have been open about their sexuality in the process of being appointed bishop. Until last year, potential bishops were never interviewed so there was no opportunity to ask the question or volunteer the information.

The church has created an impossible dilemma for itself. No candidate who is gay or has been involved in a same-sex relationship in the past is going to willingly volunteer this information. It is rightly a personal matter and in secular society, irrelevant to someone's capacity to perform their work. Secular employment best practice sets an example that the Church of England would do well to adopt.

Read the rest here.

The bishops are seeking to enshrine gay exclusion
by Giles Fraser

The ... weasel construction that those who pick bishops have alighted on is that a bishop must be “a focus of unity”. No: first and fore­most, a bishop must be a man or woman of the gospel. Sometimes this means arguing for the right not to bring peace, but a sword.

To insist that bishops must be “a focus of unity” is a recipe for having bishops whose primary identity is that they are unobjectionable. In­deed, there is something almost heret­ical about this phrase; for it makes the quest for a quiet Church more of a priority than that of the preaching of the gospel.

The trouble is that, at the moment, a whole world of grammar is being invented with the express purpose of keeping gay people out of senior church positions. From the dreaded Anglican Covenant (whose purpose seems to be much the same) to this new advice, our Church is construct­ing its ground rules specifically to exclude homosexuals. And there is another phrase for that: institution­alised homophobia.

Read the rest here.

and finally ...

Moratorium Schmoratorium
by Lesley Fellows

When Bishop Mary Glasspool was consecrated all hell broke loose and TEC were accused of being rebellious and generally unfit to be Anglican, even Lambeth Palace said it was ‘regrettable’. English bishops and clergy said that the Anglican Covenant will give the Yanks the spanking they deserve. But when the Anglican Church of Canada breaks the moratorium … well nobody notices.

A couple of days ago the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island voted to allow the blessing of same-sex civil partnerships in church, they are the 8th Diocese in ACoC to pass this. Do I hear roars of outrage, announcements from Lambeth Palace and emergency meetings demanded from conservative Provinces? No.

On my post – “Should we spank the Canadian Yanks?” MadPriest wrote this: "It would be interesting to know how much support a Covenant would receive in England if Nigeria et al had concentrated all their efforts on ousting Canada rather than the US." This has haunted me.

Would we treat those nice cuddly Canadian Anglicans the same way we’ve treated those nasty brash arrogant Amerikan Anglicans? I fear MadPriest is right – the Covenant smells not only of prejudice against gay people but also against Americans.

Read the rest here.

Here endeth the report from "across the pond." Stay tuned for other late breaking news as the saga of "As the Anglican World Turns" continues.


UKViewer said...

Thank you for bringing together three key texts which define the completely unacceptable and unsustainable position in the CofE regarding sexual orientation.

The argument for me is about basic decency and the grace of God. If the church (or bishops in the main) had a conscience and any sense of decency, it would have overturned this situation, much as the Episcopal Church has done.

For me, the Holy Spirit is screaming at them, but they, blinded by prejudice are ignoring the HS.

It will take a complete change of the 'old guard' including the ABC with younger, more spiritual men or women to change things.

General Synod would, I believe, overturn the policy if asked, but the House of Bishops seems determined not to permit the question to be asked.

However, the selection criteria for Bishops needs urgent revision. An Electoral System on the Episcopal Church model would be better and serve us better then the current system for preferment based on secrecy and privilege.

IT said...

The idea that the Americans are uniquely to blame is unfortuantely common in a certain type of British Academic. Most Brits are fine and stallwart friends, but there is a streak of PC-ness in a part of the culture that says "Americans are always wrong."

It's the same sort of thing that leads them to ask you if you're Canadian, when they like you, and American, when they don't.

I wrote about it last year, here.

I love the UK and her people, but the ones with the knee-jerk "blame the Yanks" did rather get up my nose.