Blogroll: Anglican Ink
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to the leaders of the 40 autonomous Churches in the Anglican Communion to invite them to attend a Primates’ Meeting in January 2020. Primates’ Meetings are one of four “Instruments of Communion” within the Anglican Communion. The last one took place in Canterbury in October 2017. The 2020 meeting will be in the Jordanian capital Amman from 13 to 17 January.
Archbishop Justin announced the meeting in an Epiphany letter to his fellow-Primates last month. He gave further details in a subsequent letter this month.
In his Epiphany letter, Archbishop Justin spoke of the “long and agonising” list of difficulties facing Christians across the world, including violence, corruption, poverty, religious-based discrimination and climate-change related rises in water levels. But, he said, “it is our vocation to be bearers of joy . . . in the midst of the real troubles of our world.”
The Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting in October 2017 explained that a series of regional Primates’ Meetings would take place in the run-up to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in 2020; and said that the Archbishop of Canterbury would consider whether to call a full Primates’ Meeting in advance of it too. In his Epiphany letter, Archbishop Justin explained why he had now decided to call such a meeting.
“When we come together at the Lambeth Conference in 2020, we will speak of holiness seeking to ensure that we aim to be a holy church”, he said. “We will reflect on intentional discipleship and the proclamation in word and deed. We will pray together and find the refreshment of worship in many styles. We will gather in fellowship and mutual love.
“Yet to get there we must prepare. We must prepare in witness, so that we arrive in Canterbury like the 70 (Luke 10:17), full of joy and testimony. We must prepare in worship, so that we are able to worship with others.
“I have been privileged to spend time with some of you at three regional Primates’ Meetings in 2018 and I’m looking forward to three more this year. Following on from these regional meetings, it is my intention to call a meeting of all Primates in January 2020. It is my hope that you will all be able to attend and that together we will be able to take forward the richly diverse conversations that we have enjoyed at regional level.”
One of three regional Primates’ Meetings this year took place earlier this month in Amman for leaders from the Middle East and south Asia. The leaders of other Asian provinces will gather in Kuala Lumpur in October. European Anglican leaders will gather in Northern Ireland later this month.
In his latest letter, Archbishop Justin confirmed that he wanted the Primates to decide the agenda together, as had been the practice in recent Meetings. But he said that he wanted the Primates to discuss the 2020 Lambeth Conference; and also the work of the Archbishop’s Task Group, which was established following the 2016 Primates’ Meeting to explore ways to restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust and responsibility, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deeper relationships within the Anglican Communion.
“The Task Group is preparing a report and recommendations for the 2020 Primates’ Meeting”, Archbishop Justin said. “One of its recommendations, which has my strong support, is to have a short season of Prayer and Repentance across the Communion during the fifth week of Lent 2020.”
He said that he hoped that the Season would be formally launched and committed to at the Primates’ Meeting; but he wanted to give primates early notice so that they could plan for the Season in their provinces.
The 17th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, ACC-17, will take place in Hong Kong from Sunday 28 April to Sunday 5 May 2019. The ACC is one of four “Instruments” of Communion. Its role is to “facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion, exchange information between the provinces and churches, and help to co-ordinate common action. It advises on the organisation and structures of the Communion, and seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church, including ecumenical matters.”
At ACC-17 members will be presented with draft international safeguarding guidelines, prepared by the Anglican Communion’s Safe Church Commission, which was established at the last meeting of the ACC in Zambia in 2016. Members will also discuss a range of issues, including Intentional Discipleship; the Communion’s work at the United Nations; women in church and society and ecumenical matters. They will also discuss the Communion’s official Networks.
ACC-17 will open and close with special services in St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong. The rest of the conference takes place at the Gold Coast Hotel, 45 minutes from central Hong Kong.
Bona fide journalists seeking to cover ACC-17 are invited to apply for accreditation by completing this online form by 29 March 2019. Accredited journalists will receive access to ACC-17 sessions, two press conferences and daily media briefings as well as the services at St John’s Cathedral. (Please note: the ACC reserves the right to close any part of the meeting.)
In addition to the Cathedral services, the programme includes daily Bible studies, reports and briefings. There will be a Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Report to the Council by the ACC’s Secretary General, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon.
The two services at St John’s Cathedral will be live-streamed and it is anticipated that some ACC-17 business sessions will also be live-streamed, including the Presidential Address and Secretary General’s Report.
The ACC meets every three years. Dependent on their size, each of the 40 autonomous provinces (member Churches) of the Anglican Communion can send two or three members. Each is expected to send at least one ordained and one non-ordained person.
The Archbishop of Uganda has denounced as vulgar and inappropriate a government campaign to attract tourists to Uganda. The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali condemned the “Miss Curvy Uganda” project unveiled by tourism minister Godfrey Kiwanda that uses sex appeal to sell the country’s image abroad.
At the launch of the program earlier this month Mr. Kiwanda said: “We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?”
In June the Miss Curvy Uganda beauty pageant will be held featuring plus size women. Pageant organizers say over 150 women have signed up to compete in the government backed extravaganza.
The campaign elicited protests from women’s groups in the East African nation. “Women are not a tourist attraction,” said Winnie Kizza MP, leader of the Uganda WOmen Parliamentary Association said. “They are not an object for pleasure. They are not a money minting project.”
In 7 Feb 2019 Facebook post, Archbishop Ntagali wrote:
“As Archbishop and on behalf of the entire Church of Uganda, we condemn the proposed Miss Curvy Uganda beauty pageant and urge the sponsors and partners to cancel it. It undermines the dignity of women and all that we as a church have worked for to advance girl-child education and opportunities for women to take their part in contributing fully to our national and family development. It is a disgusting display of exploitation and brings shame upon our families and our country. The government is promoting trafficking to increase tourism. To present such a programme is to demonstrate how low we have fallen as a country. We cannot accept it and we insist that It be cancelled.”
The Professional Standards Board of the Diocese of Newcastle (Australia) has recommended retired assistant bishop the Rt. Rev. Richard Appleby be defrocked for having ignored credible allegations of clergy sexual abuse.
On 19 Feb 2019 the board released its findings, holding Bishop Appleby was “unfit permanently” to hold church office due to his inaction whilst service as assistant bishop of the diocese between 1983 and 1992.
“This board concludes, just as the royal commission did, that this respondent took no steps in relation to Father [George] Parker after being advised in 1984 of the allegations he had sexually abused a child many years earlier,” the board’s president Colin Elliott said.
“After this time, Father Parker remained licensed as a priest in the diocese until February, 1996.
“I am satisfied that, because of the conduct found, the respondent is unfit permanently to hold any office. I recommend therefore, that he be deposed from holy orders and that, other than as a parishioner, he have no office or licence as a church worker.”
The Rev. George Parker died in 2017 at age 79, three weeks after he was charged with 24 child sex offenses against two young boys in the 1970s.
The board further noted Bishop Appleby had denied any knowledge of sexual abuse committed by Fr. Stephen Hartley-Gray, even though he had been directed by the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt. Rev. Alfred Holland, to visit his parish and ask Hartley-Gray to resign in light of a “serious disturbance”.
“Given his then classification as Assistant Bishop, one might have expected that he would have been even slightly inquisitive as to the nature of the so-called ‘serious disturbance’,” Mr Elliott said.
“A reasonable and objective bystander … would be entitled to conclude that the respondent was, at best, willfully blind to the reasons why that resignation was sought … or, at worst, untruthful.
“This is the type of conduct that did nothing to prevent the cover-up culture that, sadly, prevailed in this diocese at that time.”
Under Australian canon law, Bishop Appleby has 28 days to appeal the finding. The 78 year old bishop’s attorney told the Australian media he was waiting for instructions from his client on an appeal.
Born on 17 November 1940, Bishop Appleby was educated at the University of Melbourne and ordained in 1967. He served curacies in Glenroy and North Balwyn (Melbourne), before being appointed chaplain to the archbishop of Perth and warden of Wollaston College. Appointed rector of Belmont (Newcastle) in 1975, he became Dean of Bathurst in 1980, and was consecrated Assistant Bishop of Newcastle in 1983. In 1992 he was elected Bishop of the Northern Territory and retired in 1999.
The post Board recommends bishop be defrocked for ignoring child abuse appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
Last week I wrote to Biblically faithful Anglican bishops who are considering attending the upcoming 2020 Lambeth Conference of Bishops. The upcoming Lambeth Conference of Bishops is one of the four existing “Instruments” or global structures of the Anglican Communion and is compromised and becoming dysfunctional, as the 2016 Communique from the Global South Conference observed:
“The prolonged failure to resolve disputes over faith and order in our Communion exposes the Communion’s ecclesial deficit, which was highlighted in the Windsor Continuation Group Report (2008).
28. This deficit is evident in the inability of existing Communion instruments to discern truth and error and take binding ecclesiastical action. The instruments have been found wanting in their ability to discipline those leaders who have abandoned the biblical and historic faith. To make matters worse, the instruments have failed to check the marginalization of Anglicans in heterodox Provinces who are faithful, and in some cases have even sanctioned or deposed them. The instruments have also sent conflicting signals on issues of discipline which confuse the whole Body and weaken our confidence in them.
“… for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
29. The instruments are therefore unable to sustain the common life and unity of the Anglican Churches worldwide, especially in an increasingly connected and globalising world, where different ideas and lifestyles are quickly disseminated through social media. This undermines the mission of the Church in today’s world.” (emphasis added)
Sadly, nothing has changed since 2016. In fact, the crisis of false teaching (the Gospel deficit) and the lack of discipline (the ecclesial deficit) has grown worse. As I noted last week, the very definition of the “Communion of Anglican Churches” has been diminished to a mere creature of history, sociology and secular values associated with alternative dispute resolution. Therefore, biblically faithful Bishops who choose to attend Lambeth 2020 will have no common ground to stand on with regards to the authority of the Holy Scriptures over the Church. In their faithfulness, their voice will be treated (somewhat) respectfully by established authorities who do not share their convictions. In the end, faithful Bishops can expect the Archbishop of Canterbury and those organizing the 2020 Lambeth Conference to appeal to the secular values of dispute resolution—“good disagreement” and “indaba”—that will continue to result in decisions that promote both the gospel deficit and the ecclesial deficit among the Communion of Anglican Churches.
The faithful bishops who attend Lambeth will probably be shepherded by Anglican Communion Office “minders” to various huddles and gatherings apart from their fellow Biblically faithful bishops. In past conferences, their comments have been mysteriously omitted from official reports leaving no opportunity for dissent. They were also shepherded to a “photo-op” with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other bishops. If you are a Biblically faithful bishop present at Lambeth 2020, your smiling presence in the conference photograph will be taken as your unconditional public approval of what is expected to be the reversal of Resolution 1.10 (1998), the Biblical standard among Anglicans on the clarity and authority of the Bible as it speaks to matters of human sexuality, marriage, Holy Orders and leadership standards within the Church.
Dear Bishops, what else can you expect on the agenda of the Lambeth 2020 Conference of Bishops?
The Anglican Communion Office Strategic Plan and the Redefinition of Anglican Identity
Last week, I pointed out that in the Anglican Communion Office Strategic Plan 2019-2025 (December 2018 Consultation Draft) the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) promises to serve the Communion—including its Bishops and dioceses—with the “Christ like values” of hospitality, humility, respect and openness “to all points of view”—including, presumably, such false teaching that contradicts the plain and grammatical reading of the Scriptures! The ACO selectively omits such Christ-like values as holiness of life, obedience and faithfulness to God’s word, speaking truth to sexual brokenness, and lovingly demonstrating the power of God to set people free from all manner of sin, sickness and brokenness.
In addition, the Strategic Plan 2019-2025 identifies as its third “Strategic Objective” the following definition of “Anglican identity”:
“The ACO will support the Instruments and Commissions of the Communion in defining and explaining Anglican Identity in the context of its long history of living as a community in unity and diversity…”
Please note that there is no reference or even acknowledgement of the Scriptures, the Creeds or the Anglican formularies (The Thirty-Nine Articles, The Book of Common Prayer 1662 and its Ordinal) as providing the authoritative limits within which such Anglican diversity is practiced.
In the next bullet point, The Strategic Plan further pledges,
“The ACO will support the development of an understanding of Communion that recognizes the place of diversity, and that finds ways to live with difference and acknowledge and respect different interpretations of Scripture and tradition.”
Again, this redefinition assumes (1) an abandonment of the Biblical confession of faith that we find in our Anglican formularies, (2) that the Bible cannot be read in a plain and grammatical sense that is authoritative for all, and therefore (3) that there are no limits to Anglican diversity. Dear Bishops, how do you square this program of redefinition of Anglican identity with the Fundamental Declarations in your own constitution and canons, both provincial and diocesan?
The Strategic Plan goes on to hint at what and whom may be driving the redefinition of Anglican identity when it concedes that, “Provincial Contributions [to the ACO] have been dominated by two Provinces providing 67% of the total [income]” and identified “Risk 403,” “Concentration of income from small number of provinces with vulnerability to loss of support from a significant Province.”
Does anyone want to hazard a guess who that “significant Province” is and the support they may be threatening to withdraw if things don’t go their way? (Hint: It’s not the Anglican Church in North America).
The Strategic Plan concedes that shared leadership and governance by the existing Instruments of Communion “has the potential to lead to confusion and ambiguity,”—an understatement of the last thirty years if ever there was one. But its proposed solution is even more likely to diminish Anglican conciliar governance by locating it in an ever-diminishing circle:
“This plan therefore invites consideration of whether the structure and governance arrangements of the Anglican Communion should be reviewed. It is suggested that, if desired, this could be undertaken following the Lambeth Conference 2020 by a Joint Meeting of Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council (which has not had a Joint Meeting since 1993).”
Please remember that it was the 2016 Anglican Consultative Council (Zambia) that challenged the authority of the 2016 Primates gathering to discipline The Episcopal Church USA and defiantly permitted TEC to participate in the legislative processes of ACC-16. This proposal, which will almost certainly be among the documents shaping the Lambeth 2020 Conference, further diminishes the unique and historic role of Bishops in guarding the faith, order, doctrine and discipline of the Church—a principle which is firmly recognized among the Communion of Anglican Churches.
Dear bishops, do you wish to be a party to the weakening of your own Biblical, historic role as guardians of the faith? What would the Apostle Paul say about this?
People have corrupted the Church with false teaching that has even invaded public worship (2 Tim. 3:2-5)
If we can imagine Paul as a “senior Bishop” writing to Timothy a “younger Bishop,” listen to his words:
“People will be lovers of themselves…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of Godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” (emphasis added)
In these three verses, Paul employs no fewer than 19 expressions to describe people—including leaders within the Church—who are leading people astray. As John Stott observes, “four of the 19 expressions are compounded with ‘love’ (phil- ) suggesting that what is fundamentally wrong with these people is that their love is misdirected.” This is a very timely and relevant description of those who promote teaching in the Anglican Communion that is contrary to the clarity and authority of the Bible– with misdirected love for justice and inclusion above the loving truth and power of God that suffuses the Gospel that we find in the Scriptures. This is the Gospel that Thomas Cranmer and other Anglican Reformers rediscovered in the Reformation—a gospel which promises new birth and freedom from self-centeredness by turning us from “self to unself,” says Stott in The Message of 2 Timothy, “a real reorientation of mind and conduct, and which makes us fundamentally God-centered instead of self-centered” (at p. 86).
Dear bishops, as you consider the assumptions underlying the Lambeth Conference 2020 and the Strategic Plan 2019-2025, are you facing a form of Godliness that denies its power?
No wonder the Apostle Paul says “have nothing to do with them.” Paul is not talking here about people outside the church who are caught up in sin and brokenness. Jesus himself was the friend of publicans and sinners! No, Paul is talking about people within the Church who promote a false gospel. As Stott observes:
“Paul means rather that within the church, for he has been giving a description of a kind of ‘heathen Christianity’. Timothy was to have nothing to do with what might be called ‘religious sinners.’ Indeed, one could go further. Anybody whom the Book of Common Prayer terms ‘an open and notorious evil liver’ should be disciplined, and, if he remains unrepentant, excommunicated (cf. I Cor. 5:5, 13).” (at p. 88)
And yet this is precisely what has failed in Anglican Communion leadership in the last 30 years. This is the heart of the “ecclesial deficit,” the inability of the Instruments, including the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, to confront “religious sinners,” to apply discipline, and to excommunicate them when they are defiant and unrepentant. When these Instruments, these “councils of the Church,” are incapable of saying “no” to false teaching, and only capable of saying “yes” as the Strategic Plan provides, all hope of discipline is lost.
Paul anticipates the very question that begs answering—“How did we come to this place?”
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
Since 2002, when the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) authorized rites for the blessing of same sex unions, and The Episcopal Church elected and consecrated a partnered homosexual as a bishop of the Church, a multitude of Anglican teachers have been permitted free rein to turn ears away from sound doctrine and truth to error. For almost 20 years Anglican bishops and other leaders, synods and whole provinces have promoted teaching that contradicts the plain reading of the Bible. Typically, this false teaching has been around issues of human sexuality, marriage and holy orders. But in the process, the clarity and authority of the Bible has been upended and cast into doubt. This teaching has been pervasive, relentless, unrepentant and “prophetically disobedient.” It is accelerating and being exported to your provinces and dioceses by money and organizations from the West.
If you are still unaware or unconvinced of these facts and what is at stake, you can find it documented in “Beyond the Breaking Point—The Loss of Conciliarism in Principle and Practice within Anglican Governance” in Anglican Conciliarism (Anglican House, 2017).
If you’re still not convinced that the crisis of false teaching and lack of discipline is accelerating, just consider what has happened in the last three weeks
- In January, Kevin Robertson, a bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada, married his same-sex partner. In February, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited him to Lambeth Palace, along with other new Anglican bishops.
- The Episcopal Church Diocese of Maine elected as Bishop a partnered homosexual. His consecration is expected to take place before Lambeth 2020 and no doubt he too will be invited
- In his most recent letter, the Bishop of Bangor (Wales) reveals he now believes that same-sex couples should be able to marry in the church.
- Three candidates have been announced for the new Bishop of Glasgow. One, Kelvin Holdsworth, is an LGBT campaigner and has allowed a reading from the Quran which said, “Jesus is not the son of God,” in the cathedral.
Of course, some say it’s really not that bad. Consider one of the planners of the Lambeth 2020 Conference, the Archbishop of Cape Town South Africa, who said in this interview with the Anglican New Service:
“As said in Sepedi [the language of Northern Sotho]: one bangle doesn’t ring, two bangles will make a beautiful noise. So we are never alone in this journey.
“Whether you agree with where the communion is, whether you don’t agree, come and express your difference in this beautiful space which is a gift from God. Don’t just stay at home and say ‘I’m not going’.
“We want to hear that voice. It’s not a conference of like-minded people; it is a conference of Anglicans. I mean, for God’s sake, Anglicans, from our inceptions, we’ve always had push and pull. So push and pull should not be a distraction, but it should be celebrated.”
Dear bishops, would the Apostle Paul have said to Timothy, “For God’s sake Timothy, have some push and pull with these false teachers. Celebrate your differences!”
Of course, there’s a deeper problem with the Archbishop’s statement. He minimizes the relentless, unrepentant and accelerated false teaching and lack of discipline over the last 20 years as mere “push and pull.”
Dear bishops, at what point does such obfuscation and minimization of the facts cross the line into deception?
This week, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to the primates suggesting a season of repentance and prayer across the Communion to coincide with Lent 2020, and in preparation for Lambeth 2020.
May I offer a suggestion? Why wait. Why not demonstrate genuine repentance now?
- By the Archbishop of Canterbury reaffirming Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) as a precondition for being invited to and participating in Lambeth 2020;
- By withdrawing invitations to bishops who have violated Lambeth I.10 (1998) until they have publicly repented of their actions; and
- By inviting the archbishops and bishops of ACNA and Brazil to participate on the basis of their affirmation of Lambeth Resolution I.10 (1998)
Until that happens, dear bishops, what should you do?
May I humbly suggest you follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul: Have nothing to do with them.
Last week, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Noll issued a “Challenge to Orthodox [Anglican] Bishops” who are contemplating attending the Lambeth Conference of Bishops:
“My brothers, are you planning to attend the Lambeth Conference next year? If so, what kind of council do you perceive it to be? If the Conference is claiming to be an “Instrument of the Anglican Communion,” what do you understand the word “communion” to mean? Do you agree with its claim that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Communion Office have the exclusive “branding rights” to declare who is Anglican and who is not, as was announced by the Primates in October 2017? Do you agree that Bishop Gene Robinson and Bishop Kevin Robertson and those who facilitated them are authentic Anglicans, whereas Archbishop Foley Beach and Archbishop Miguel Uchoa are heading up some other Christian denomination?
“Let me ask you a personal question – because true fellowship is personal and a church council, while it has a formal role, is a body of brothers (and sisters) united in “making the good confession” of our Lord Jesus Christ. For those of you who are members of the Gafcon and Global South movements, how can you sit in council in Jerusalem or Cairo and enjoy sweet fellowship with brothers who have been expelled from their churches, sued out of their properties, defrocked from their ministries, and then turn around and sit at table in Canterbury with bishops of the Episcopal Church, Anglican Church of Canada, and others who have disowned these brothers?”The Diocese of Toronto’s Bishop Kevin Robertson and Mr. Mohan Sharma were married by Bishop Susan Bell of the Diocese of Niagara on December 28, 2018.
Yesterday, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh (Nigeria), Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, cited the celebration of a “marriage” performed by a Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) of an assisting Bishop and his “partner,” in the cathedral (see above), and the virtual certainty that they will be welcomed “in good standing” by the Archbishop of Canterbury and others to the Lambeth 2020 Conference of Bishops, and added his “Warning” to Dr. Noll’s:
“I strongly commend Professor Stephen Noll’s article ‘Taking Sweet Council Together’ in which he shows how true Christian fellowship is not only a joy, but also a responsibility and must be based on true doctrine. Without that discipline, the Church is prey to the ‘fierce wolves’ St Paul warns the Ephesian elders to beware of, even those who arise from within the Church and speak ‘twisted things’ (Acts 20:29, 30).
“With great sadness we therefore have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages.”
I believe that there may yet be some Biblically faithful Bishops in the Anglican Communion who intend to go to the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in 2020 to object to false teaching and make a witness to the truth of the Gospel. I have listened to Bishops—especially those newly consecrated who have not attended these Communion wide meetings—who sincerely believe that they can make a difference by taking a stand at these gatherings which are organized and directed by Canterbury, with “minders” from the Anglican Communion Office already assigned to these faithful bishops who intend to come, and with generous funding by The Episcopal Church and others who promote the very teaching contrary to the Gospel that we see pictured above.
Based on what I have observed at such official Communion wide meetings, there’s more I could say. But instead, let me suggest what a senior “Bishop” (the Apostle Paul) would almost certainly say to a younger “Bishop” (Timothy) in this situation.“But mark this, there will be terrible times in the last days”. 2 Tim. 3:1
Anglicans are facing a terrible crisis—a choice which the Anglican “status quo” refuses to address.
Anglican followers of Jesus Christ are living in the last days. Christ brought the last days with him when he came, and those days will end when he comes again in glory. In the meantime, opposition to the truth of the Gospel remains a permanent characteristic of this age. As John Stott observes in his commentary om 2 Timothy, Paul uses the word “terrible” (chalepos) to describe these times we are in—a word in the classical Greek which was used of both wild animals and the raging sea. “Painful and perilous” are the times the Church must face “for men will be lovers of themselves…” (2 Tim. 3:2). As Stott observes,
“Paul goes on immediately to tell us why this is so: For men will be… It is important to grasp that it is men who are responsible for the menacing seasons which the church has to bear, fallen men, evil men, men whose nature is perverted, whose behavior is self-centered and godless, whose mind is hostile to God and his law (cf. Rom. 8:7), and who spread evil, heresy and dead religion in the church”
Dear Bishops, do these seem like overly harsh words for those who wish to take sweet counsel with you? Yet in this context, is not Paul addressing this emphatic warning to younger Timothy precisely because he is facing people who are leaders in the church who have spread and continue to spread false teaching?
One of the documents that is likely to shape the 2020 Lambeth Conference of Bishops is the Anglican Communion Office Strategic Plan to serve the Anglican Communion 2019-2025 (Consultation Draft December 2018). In this document, under the heading “What the Anglican Communion is,” the Anglican Communion is defined as a global “family of churches” whose very name “Anglican’ (from the Latin anglicana meaning ‘English’) is shaped by the history of the Church of England.
In the same vein, the Strategic Plan goes on to state that the Anglican Communion is “founded on friendship, respect and a common life,” with the Anglican Communion Office “responsive to all voices and opinions within the Communion, ensuring that they are heard, understood and valued (emphasis added).” Apparently, this “hearing, understanding and valuing” at the heart of the definition of the Communion includes teaching on human sexuality, marriage and holy orders that is blatantly contrary to the Bible.
But that’s not all, dear Bishops. In the last bullet point under “How the ACO [Anglican Communion Office] supports the Anglican Communion,” the ACO proclaims that it will serve “Filled with Christ-like values, specifically: Respect, Trust, Hospitality, Humility and Openness.”
Whatever happened to the Christ-like values that are omitted from this list—including holiness of life, obedience and faithfulness to God’s word, speaking truth to sexual brokenness, and lovingly demonstrating the power of God to set people free from all manner of sin, sickness and brokenness?
Please note that in this Strategic Plan the very definition of the Communion of Anglican Churches begins with history, sociology, “respect and openness” to ALL points of view (including false teaching and practice), rather than the Bible. The definition of “Communion” in this Strategic Plan is reinforced by stunning silence about the crisis of false teaching (the Gospel deficit) and an equally stunning omission of Christ’s character and holiness that does not fit with the narrative of “Respect and Openness.”
Dear Bishops, what ground do you have to make your stand for the truth of the Gospel with other Bishops when you will have no common ground on which to make your stand—no consensus from the Anglican authorities behind this document, and the 2020 Lambeth Conference, that the Communion of Anglican Churches is first and always subject to and a creature of the Scriptures, God’s authoritative word?
– People have corrupted the Church with false teaching that has even invaded public worship (2 Tim. 3:2-5)
– There is NO authority within these failed and diminished “councils” to say NO to false teaching, nor to take any discipline against those spreading it (2 Tim. 4:3-5)
– “Have nothing to do with them” (2 Tim. 3:6)
When the boundary markers of biblical and apostolic faith are set aside, confusion enters the Church.
The Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council has recently issued a statement about Lambeth 2020 to address what is described as:
‘a misunderstanding that has emerged in some online blogs’ and announces that that ‘it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference.’
However, to suggest there has been a ‘misunderstanding’ looks like an attempt to deflect attention from the facts. The Archbishop of Canterbury has changed the long-established convention that spouses are invited to Lambeth Conferences and contradicted the blanket statement he made in a recent video when he affirmed “of course, bishops’ spouses will be invited as well as bishops.”
The reason for this change in policy follows from another, which was to include for the first time at Lambeth 2020 same-sex partnered bishops in contrast to the policy of his predecessor, Archbishop Rowan Williams, who did not invite Bishop Gene Robinson and his same-sex partner to Lambeth 2008.
The depth of theological confusion is revealed by the fact that Dr Idowu-Fearon defends the decision to disinvite spouses in same-sex marriages on the grounds that such relationships are contrary to Lambeth Resolution I.10, while at the same time making it clear that the bishops who have contracted such unions will be invited.
On what possible moral or Scriptural grounds can such discrimination be practiced? The bishops who are being invited share the same lifestyle and the same beliefs about marriage as their spouses. And it is surely wrong to imply that their presence is somehow less of a problem than that of their spouses when, as supposed guardians of the faith, they are flouting the teaching of their Communion in one of the most personal ways possible.
Basic consistency clearly means that both partners should be invited or neither, and this is recognized on both sides of the argument. For example, Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a Church of England priest married to his same-sex partner, has commented “There is no sense to it. The basic problem is they don’t understand hospitality. The same-sex partners should be invited…it is not complicated.”
However, biblical consistency must go further. It does not focus simply on the lifestyle adopted, but is concerned with the bishops’ role as a guardian and a teacher of the faith. The only consistent way to uphold the teaching of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 is to go beyond questions about individuals’ behaviour to focus on teaching, which is the position set out in Gafcon’s ‘Letter to the Churches’ of June 2018.
The ones who should be disinvited are those who fail to uphold the biblical standard, in word or deed, while those who do uphold it, but have not been invited, should be included. Instead, we have a token acknowledgment of Lambeth I.10 which is shamelessly used to exclude a few same-sex spouses while bishops from five provinces which have formally recognized such same-sex marriages are welcomed.
As the boundary markers of apostolic faith are being progressively removed, the need for the godly order which Gafcon brings, based on the doctrinal standard of the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration, becomes ever more necessary if the Anglican Communion is to fulfil its great purpose of giving clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ.
Last week, Gusour Cultural Center and the Diocese of Egypt were honored to host Archbishop John Chew, who gave lectures and led some incredible dialogue. Archbishop John was the third Metropolitan Archbishop and Primate of the Province of South East Asia, as well as Bishop of Singapore. ++John remains a crucial voice and perspective on the growth of Christianity in the Global South, and the beauty and importance of Christians across the world listening to and learning from one another’s rich theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural traditions. It was truly a joy and a privilege to have ++John in our Diocese!
Gusour and the Diocese hosted two public lectures in the evenings. Tuesday evening, we thought through the Abrahamic tradition and the “mandate” for the children of Abraham (Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike) to be a blessing to the nations. He challenged us, asking how and if we are fulfilling our purpose to be a blessing to all nations. Especially in conversation with people from other (ancient) faiths, he has found it helpful to start with the ancient foundations of our faith and the beautiful history of the people of God. Thursday evening focused on the life of Joseph, who lived much of his life in Egypt! We looked at Psalms 77, 78, and 80, historical Psalms which recount God’s faithfulness to his people through their trials and struggles. Even when we are not faithful, God always is!
On Wednesday, our clergy and lay ministers had the opportunity to have a more intimate conversation with ++John. The Archbishop emphasized the need to “build bridges” with the Church in Asia not by dialoguing around Western theologians like Martin Luther or John Calvin, but by going back to our shared heritage as children of Abraham. He also suggested we pay more attention to biblical figures like Jeremiah, who lived just before the great Chinese philosopher, Confucius!
As always, Archbishop John brought a crucial perspective and greatly expanded our minds and our thoughts. We are so thankful for his willingness to come and to share with us!
Please pray for the ongoing ministry of ++John as he continues to teach from and about the Bible. Please also pray for the growing church in South East Asia! Pray that God would raise up indigenous leaders and local theological education for the this strong and important part of the body of Christ and the Anglican Communion.
The post Archbishop Chew headlines Cairo renewal conference appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
“Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” (Ezra 10:11)
So the same-sex spouses of Anglican bishops are not welcome to Lambeth 2020, according to an announcement by ACC General Secretary Josiah Idowu-Fearon on 15 February.
I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend. But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies.
This is shameful even as it is shameless.
It’s shameful that the Archbishop of Canterbury was content to send Bishop Fearon as his surrogate to announce the bad news. Fearon himself never reveals who decided that it would be “inappropriate” to invite the spouses, but ultimately it is his boss who is responsible. The “misunderstanding that has arisen” derives not from Fearon but from Justin Welby himself, who extended the invitation to all active bishops and spouses (see the video that follows the announcement at 3:51).
What caused the hiccup between the making of the video and the issue of the press release? I think it had something to do with another news release and photo from Toronto about a wedding there. (above)Here was my comment: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photo of the Toronto “marriage” says it all. Anyone who is not appalled at the idea of a bishop of the church of God being married to a same-sex partner, officiated by another bishop and with the Primate present in the congregation to congratulate him, is not walking in the light.
I am not the only person to notice this announcement. Archbishop Nicholas Okoh saw it and circulated it to the Gafcon bishops who are being wooed to come to Lambeth. I suppose the people at Lambeth Palace must have seen it too and decided that disinviting a few spouses was a lesser price to pay than alienating the bishops of the Global South.
A reasonable calculation, I suppose, but here is the problem: the Lambeth Establishment is all calculation and no spine. If, as some say, the Archbishop of Canterbury has the unique authority to invite or not invite to the Lambeth Conference, then he is the one who should announce his decision to the world. That’s the shameful partof this matter.
The shameless part is invoking Lambeth Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality to justify the decision. To begin with, Communion officials almost never utter the words “Lambeth I.10”; and when they do, it is always a belittled and adulterated versionof the Resolution. In truth, it is a problem for them.
I was present at Lambeth 1998 and have explained it on more than one occasion. The Resolution is a clear statement of Christian moral doctrine. In brief it states:
- that God has ordained and blesses sexual relations in two and only two forms: heterosexual, monogamous, and lifelong marriage and abstinent singleness;
- that many people experience same-sex attraction and the church is called to listen to them, counsel them, and welcome them into its fellowship so that they may by God’s grace live transformed lives, either by remaining abstinent or finding fulfillment in traditional marriage;
- that homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture, and therefore the church cannot legitimize the ordination of practicing homosexuals or the blessing of same-sex unions.
What is fatally absent in Bishop Fearon’s recital of the Lambeth Resolution is #3. God not only ordains and blesses what is good, He declares what is sinful, which He calls immorality (porneia). Homosexual practice is by its very character sinful, as is heterosexual promiscuity and cohabitation.
So the problem is not just the scandal of the non-episcopal spouses but of the episcopal spouses themselves. Indeed, as bishops their sin is the greater (1 Timothy 3:1-2). The accountability goes even deeper. These bishops were nominated by canon, elected by their synods, and consecrated by their fellow bishops. Since judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17), it is those churches and bishops who should be disinvited.
The shamelessness of invoking Lambeth I.10 is that they do not really believe it. They have already abandoned the prohibition on ordaining openly homosexual priests and bishops. They claim they are upholding the prohibition on same-sex marriage but only half-heartedly and until Lambeth 2020 is past. How likely is it that Justin Welby phoned the couples involved and explained: “I’m sorry, but you are in violation of Scripture and Resolution I.10, which as you know speaks of marriage as only between a man and a woman, and it will cause a scandal if you appear in Canterbury together”? And if he did say that privately, why will he not say it publicly?
It’s the same shameless pose which the Communion Establishment took toward the Episcopal Church in 2017: “Because of your violation of Communion norms, you may not attend Communion meetings for three years – until (surprise, surprise) 2020.” But what will have changed in 2020? Well, after 2020, it’s the norms.
Our Lord’s harshest condemnations were of hypocrisy: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Mark 7:6-7). As I see it, this latest move is hypocrisy squared: shameful and shameless.
Public word of Welby’s decision came in an Anglican Communion News Service blog post by Anglican Communion Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon. He wrote that “invitations have been sent to every active bishop” because “that is how it should be – we are recognizing that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend.” Those invitations traditionally come from the archbishop of Canterbury.
“But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman,” Idowu-Fearon wrote. “That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference.”
Idowu-Fearon said that the archbishop of Canterbury “has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies.”
Resolution 1.10 was passed by the conference in 1998 after heated debate.
The Episcopal Church currently has one actively serving bishop who has a same-sex spouse. The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected as bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2009 and consecrated May 2010. She has been bishop assistant in the Diocese of New York since April 2016. She is married to Becki Sander, her partner of more than 30 years.
Glasspool told Episcopal News Service Feb. 18 in a telephone interview that she received a letter from Welby on Dec. 4, 2018, in which he said that he was writing to her “directly as I feel I owe you an explanation of my decision not to invite your spouse to the Lambeth Conference, a decision that I am well aware will cause you pain, which I regret deeply.”
Welby met with Glasspool and Sander in September when he visited Trinity Wall Street. She called it a get-acquainted session, which did not touch on the Lambeth Conference.
Glasspool said she and Sander, New York Bishop Andy Dietsche and New York Bishop Suffragan Allen Shin “have been praying about this and talking about this” since receiving the letter. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry also met with Glasspool and Sander to discuss Welby’s letter. “One of my takeaways was how can we make a positive, creative, responsive witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord,” she said about how they and the church should respond to his decision.
Curry was in South Africa Feb. 18 and issued a short statement saying, “I have not yet had an opportunity to consult with appropriate leadership in the church but will do so.”
Both Glasspool and Sander replied to Welby in separate letters later in December. Glasspool said her two-page letter to Welby, parts of which she read to ENS, told him about her 30-year experience in The Episcopal Church “and where the church has come,” and evoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, especially his emphasis on just and unjust laws.
“When will the church accept to it the gift of the LGBTQ community?” she asked Welby. “Young people are watching us. If they haven’t written off all of Christianity for being homophobic, they do find The Episcopal Church inviting and inclusive.”
She told the archbishop, “The important thing I want to say is it’s about love. I am talking about people who love one another and look to the church to support them in their life-long marriage where the values of faithfulness, respect, dignity, truth-telling, monogamy and the love that is our loving God’s gift to all of us are upheld.
“After a lifetime of discussion, I am relatively confident that The Episcopal Church will never again turn its back on the LGBTQ community. Will the same be said of Lambeth 2020?”
Spouses who attended the 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops pose July 25 on the University of Kent campus in Canterbury. Photo: Anglican Archives
Glasspool told ENS that Sander noted in their conversation about Welby’s decision that it seems to be based in part on an apparent assumption that “spouses are simply an extension of the bishop to whom they are married, and that somehow there is a view of marriage that doesn’t quite sit well with an egalitarian or reciprocal or a mutual partnership” model.
The bishop said that she expects to attend Lambeth 2020, and she has asked Sander to come with her for support. “The issue is will she be included in the conversation,” Glasspool said.
Glasspool said she plans to “consult, as much as people are willing” at the House of Bishops previously scheduled meeting March 12-15, 2019, at Kanuga outside Hendersonville, North Carolina. “Not with the expectation that we are all of one mind, but because I do not wish to respond only as an individual, but rather with a sensitivity to the body as a whole,” she said.
Prior to the House of Bishops meeting in March, the church’s Executive Council, composed of bishops, clergy and laity, begins its winter meeting Feb. 21 in Midwest City, Oklahoma.
The Rev. Thomas Brown is due to be ordained and consecrated on June 22 as the next bishop of the Diocese of Maine. He is married to the Rev. Thomas Mousin. The diocese elected Brown on Feb. 9. His election is about to enter the consent process canonically required in all bishop elections. A majority of diocesan standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction must sign off on each election.
Brown told ENS that he would not comment about the Lambeth Conference decision because of his pending consent process.
Diocese of Toronto Bishop Suffragan Kevin Robertson married Mohan Sharma on Dec. 28, 2018. The diocese congratulated him on his marriage, which was attended by Toronto Archbishop Colin Johnson and Toronto Bishop Diocesan Andrew Asbil.
Robertson said in a telephone interview with ENS Feb. 18 that Welby told him in person that Sharma would not be invited. Robertson was at Lambeth Palace, Welby’s official London residence, on Feb. 7 as part of an annual 10-day new-bishop orientation run by Canterbury Cathedral when he was summoned to Welby’s office. The conversation occurred two days before Brown’s election in Maine.
“He said to me there are only two of you in the communion in this situation, you and Mary, and he said if I invite your spouses to the Lambeth Conference, there won’t be a Lambeth Conference,” Robertson said.
Welby, Robertson said, seemed to be “willing to move beyond what happened in 2008 when Gene Robinson was not invited. He was willing to invite me and Mary, but that it was too much of a step to invite our spouses as well.”
Their conversation came on the same day that Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and the chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON, issued a “warning” saying that he expected that Robertson “and his partner will be attending [Lambeth] and received in good standing.”
Okoh said, “With great sadness we therefore have to conclude that the Lambeth Conference of 2020 will itself be an obstacle to the gospel by embracing teaching and a pattern of life which are profoundly at odds with the biblical witness and the apostolic Christianity through the ages.”
Robertson said the refusal to invite his and Glasspool’s spouses is “hurtful.” He said he and Sharma, who have two children, have been together for 10 years.
“I actually find it quite offensive. I know that’s a strong word, but I’m aware the Anglican Communion is not of one mind around marriage,” he said. “However, the decision to invite all the other spouses without inviting ours, I think, sends a very clear message about the way that same-sex relationships are regarded in the communion. I think that’s a troubling sign.”
Robertson said his first instinct was not to go with Lambeth without his spouse. While he has not made a final decision, he said that, at the moment, he thinks it’s important for all of the bishops who will find themselves in this position to go so that their voices are at the table.
During his time with the 29 bishops who were part the orientation in Canterbury, Robertson said some of them discussed Okoh’s letter. While they all did not agree, those conversations “reminded me that it’s so important to be in conversation; it’s so important to being in the process of building relationships, that that is only way we are going to get through this,” Robertson said.
“Frankly, it’s why I am so disappointed about the spouses not being invited. If we’re going to get through this, it will be because people come to know bishops in same-sex relationships and realize that we’re people too. It’s not by keeping people away. I think that’s the worst thing to do.”
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is scheduled to vote in July 2019 on changing its marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage.
The Lambeth Conference is a periodic gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion, which the archbishop of Canterbury calls and issues invitations for. The last gathering was in 2008. The July 23-Aug 2, 2020, gathering will be held, as is tradition, in Canterbury, England, with most of the sessions at the University of Kent.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, are featured on the home page of the 2020 Lambeth Conference. Photo: 2020 Lambeth Conference
Spouses have typically participated in a parallel program. However, in 2020, there will be a joint program for the first time. Spouses of bishops will attend combined sessions “at key points in the overall program,” according to information here. There will also be separate sessions on the specific responsibilities of the ministry for bishops and spouses, according to the Lambeth website. The conference’s website features a photo of Welby and his wife, Caroline. The page was recently changed to add a link to Idowu-Fearon’s blog. It now reads, “The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is sending personal invitations to every eligible bishop and spouse (excluding same-sex spouses) and is looking forward immensely to hosting them.”
Idowu-Fearon’s statement that “all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend” the Lambeth gathering might be seen as a certain amount of movement beyond the most-recent previous Lambeth Conference. In 2008 then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams refused to invite Bishop Gene Robinson, who had become the first openly gay and partnered bishop in the Anglican Communion in 2003. He served as bishop of New Hampshire until his retirement in January 2013. He and his then-partner of 25 years, Mark Andrew, were joined in a civil union in 2008 and married in 2010. They divorced in 2014.
At the House of Bishops meeting in March 2008, three bishops whom then-Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori asked to discuss Robinson’s then-still-pending invitation reported that “a full invitation is not possible.”
Robinson urged his colleagues not to boycott the conference because of his exclusion. Instead, addressing the House of Bishops, he urged them to participate fully in it, and thanked all who were willing to “stay at the table.”
At the end of that meeting, the bishops said in part, “Even though we did not all support the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire, we acknowledge that he is a canonically elected and consecrated bishop in this church. We regret that he alone among bishops ministering within the territorial boundaries of their dioceses and provinces, did not receive an invitation to attend the Lambeth Conference.”
Some other bishops from across the more than 165 countries in which the Anglican Communion is present refused to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference due to theological disagreements with the main body of the church about the full inclusion of LGBTQ people and women in the life of the church.
Robinson went to the gathering in what he called an act of witness. Organizers permitted him to be in the Lambeth Marketplace, the conference’s display and sales area, an invitation he initially refused. He was also allowed to attend two receptions hosted by Episcopal Church bishops that were specifically intended to allow him to meet colleagues from around the world. He was invited to worship and speak at several other venues in the Canterbury area, including the University of Kent’s law school.
The post Gay bishops respond to dis-invitation to Lambeth 2020 for their spouses appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2019.
Yei residents torn between hope and despair as they endure fresh ordeals almost six months after new peace deal
Vivian Poni, a 38-year-old mother of three, says she has lost trust in anyone in military uniform because to her, it signals hard luck.
“I am considering moving to a refugee camp in Uganda because we are still a long way to realise peace,” says Ms. Poni, who had hoped that the signing of a revitalised peace agreement in September last year would bring an end to war and usher in durable peace.
“I was so delighted when the peace agreement was signed thinking that the war was over, and that I would live a new lifestyle of hope without the gun – far from it!” says a disenchanted Ms. Poni.
Now living in Yei town, the former resident of Longamere area of Mugo County is one of the people who have, once again, been fleeing their villages for their dear lives amid a new surge in fighting in South Sudan’s Yei River area in the past few weeks. The sporadic fighting has been occurring between government forces and armed opposition fighters still active in the area.
The war has been a source of great distress to the residents. Ms. Poni, for example, recounts an ordeal that befell her firstborn daughter and three other women weeks ago, when three armed men arrested them in Mugo County, approximately 35 kilometres south of Yei town.
Armed to the teeth with AK-47 rifles, Poni continued her horrific tale, the unknown assailants took the four women to a nearby village of Ondukuri where fresh fighting had just taken place, threatening them with machetes and batons.
Their salvation arrived shortly thereafter when four other armed men emerged from the nearby woods, triggering an argument as to whether to set victims free or to murder them, a thing that worked in their favour, she added.
“Thanking God for saving their dear lives,” she continued, “the four mothers trekked for hours to Yei town, arriving with swollen legs, withered throats and sunken eyes.”
Now living in fear, Ms. Poni and other displaced people continue to endure a life of destitution.
“Life is not easy here in Yei town, though,” narrated Poni. “We live from hand to mouth as we entirely depend on the market whose products used to come from the villages that have now become dangerous thereby hiking prices beyond reasonable measure,” she said.
“As a result, we eat once a day, and in an event that we have no more food, I prepare only a local dish of porridge for me and my three siblings,” said Poni, adding that fighting was the only thing she had known and seen, and that she was yet to see the dividends that the latest peace accord had to offer.
A long route to peace
Ondukuri, Goja, Morsak, Longamere and Mongo in the far south to Cinema, Kejiko, Umbaci, Menya and Mukaya to the far north, are among some of the worst conflict-affected villages.
Crimes being inflicted upon them range from torching of houses, looting of chickens and goats to raping and burning of farm products. Villagers tell tales of men in military fatigues storming villages, beating, harassing and chopping civilians with machetes and axes.
According to the UN Refugee Agency’s recent report, the new wave of displacement, which started in mid-January, has sent at least 5,000 South Sudanese refugees into Ingbokol town of north-east Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with approximately 8,000 internally displaced persons within Yei alone.
Conversely, Yei River County’s Coordinator for Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Nyalimo Joel Alfred, puts the current number of people displaced into Yei town at over 5,900 individuals from about 1,180 households. Most of them are women, children and the elderly, now sheltering under trees in the outskirts of the town with little or nothing to eat.
“The current level of displacement puts the implementation of the peace agreement in a very precarious situation, as it gives the fighting a new impetus which will only derail the entire peace process,” said Hilary Adeba, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Yei.
“Any clashes between the forces simply aggravate the already dire security and relief situations, and puts lives of civilians in harm’s way,” Mr. Adeba said, adding, “Before I go to join our great ancestors, I want to see a peaceful dwelling place I can proudly call my home. I want to encourage my people not to lose hope because of the ongoing hardship. Our God is watching and one day, he will say enough is enough.”
He blamed a lack of inclusivity in the peace process for the ongoing insecurity in his area. “True peace means ensuring that every South Sudanese is made a key player in the overall process leading to its achievement,” he said.
“I want to appeal to all stakeholders involved to take a bolder and more consistent decision to bring pressure to bear on both the government and the other responsible stakeholders to convene a broad-based round of negotiations, so that all grievances are addressed at once,” Bishop Hilary Adeba said.
His counterpart Bishop Arkolano Ladu Tombe of the Catholic Diocese of Yei agrees.
“There are other actors who are not part and parcel of the present peace deal, and worse yet the speed at which the current peace agreement is being implemented is very slow: cantonment of forces has not started yet, roads leading to and out of Yei are largely closed, and relief aid is unable to reach those in need due to insecurity,” Bishop Arkolano said.
He cautioned all the country’s leaders against a repeat of the past mistakes where peace agreements would remain an amount of ink on a piece of paper without genuine efforts being made to implement it in letter and spirit.
“And as it is no easy task ahead,” he said, “I am making an appeal to the guarantors and friends of South Sudan to support the implementation process by giving advice on deviations, raising funds to aid the process, and observing and reporting on any breaches to the pact.”
A 40-year-old displaced woman residing in Yei town, Aya Roseline, has a strong message to the South Sudanese leaders:
“You either win our trust back today or you will lose it all. So, act now before time for elections comes. We are taking stock of every stride you take.”
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan, which has had a permanent presence in the area for over a year, is conducting regular patrols twice a day covering a 5-km radius, with at least a weekly patrol to remote counties to help build confidence and deter further escalation of violence in the affected areas.
On 11 January 2019, the Congresso of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the conclusion of a penal process, issued a decree finding Theodore Edgar McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., guilty of the following delicts while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power. The Congresso imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state. On 13 February 2019, the Ordinary Session (Feria IV) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the recourse he presented against this decision. Having examined the arguments in the recourse, the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congresso. This decision was notified to Theodore McCarrick on 15 February 2019. The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (i.e., admitting of no further recourse).
Testo in lingua italiana
In data 11 gennaio 2019, il Congresso della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede ha emanato il decreto conclusivo del processo penale a carico di Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Arcivescovo emerito di Washington, D.C., con il quale l’accusato è stato dichiarato colpevole dei seguenti delitti perpetrati da chierico: sollecitazione in Confessione e violazioni del Sesto Comandamento del Decalogo con minori e adulti, con l’aggravante dell’abuso di potere, pertanto gli è stata imposta la pena della dimissione dallo stato clericale. Il 13 febbraio 2019 la Sessione Ordinaria (Feria IV) della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede ha esaminato gli argomenti presentati nel ricorso del ricorrente e ha deciso di confermare il decreto del Congresso. Questa decisione è stata notificata a Theodore McCarrick in data 15 febbraio 2019. Il Santo Padre ha riconosciuto la natura definitiva, a norma di legge, di questa decisione, la quale rende il caso res iudicata, cioè non soggetta ad ulteriore ricorso.[00272-IT.01] [Testo originale: Italiano]T [00272-EN.01] [Original text: Italian] [B0133-XX.01]
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It has been announced today (Sunday 17 February) that Peter Sanlon will be stepping down as vicar of St. Mark’s Church in Tunbridge Wells.
This is so that he can be received into the Free Church of England, as Rector of Emmanuel Church, Tunbridge Wells.
His last service at St. Mark’s will be on Easter Sunday.
The Free Church of England is a Christian church in the Anglican tradition, committed to the authority of the Bible as the inspired Word of God; it is a designated Church with which the Church of England has had formal ecumenical relations since 1992.
The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge says:
“My prayers and good wishes go with Peter and his family as they take this next step together.
“As a Diocese, our utmost concern is for the pastoral care for Peter and his family, as well as for the parish of St. Mark’s, which remains a parish within the Church of England. We have therefore worked with Peter to support this transition in as pastoral and supportive a way as possible.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Peter as we develop our ecumenical friendship in the Tunbridge Wells area.”
Peter’s move will allow him to take on full-time ministerial responsibility for Emmanuel Anglican Church.
Speaking about his reception into the Free Church of England the Reverend Dr Peter Sanlon says:
“This decision has been part of a process of prayerful discernment through which I believe I am called to continue ministry in Tunbridge Wells. Being asked to serve as the full-time minister of Emmanuel Anglican Church is an exciting invitation to build up a ministry that has already begun to bear fruit.
“I would like to thank Archdeacon Julie Conalty, Bishop James Langstaff and the Diocese of Rochester for their support and I look forward to the new opportunities this ministry will bring.”
The Rt Reverend James Langstaff, The Bishop of Rochester says:
“This move is a positive one for Peter in the context of his developing calling as a minister.”
“As he is received into the Free Church of England we look forward to our continued working with him in our shared commission to share with people the good news of Jesus Christ.”
“I thank God for his years of faithful ministry within the Church of England and pray that his continuing ministry will be fruitful.”
As is usual for any parish entering a period of vacancy, a process of consultation and discernment will now begin with the PCC and congregation of St. Mark’s Church as to their own future mission and ministry.
Kevin and Stephen Noll discuss a range of issues surrounding Lambeth 2020.
Kevin and Gavin have an interesting discussion about Brexit and Shamima Begum
(Bangkok) – The Myanmar authorities should immediately investigate the alleged excessive use of force by police against protesters in Karenni State and hold those responsible for abuses to account, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 12, 2019, police fired rubber bullets and water cannon at ethnic Karenni youth who attempted to move beyond police barricades, injuring more than 20 protesters.
Since February 1, police have arrested 55 people in the Karenni state capital for protesting against the installation of a statue of Gen. Aung San, the father of Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Gen. Aung San is considered the founder of modern-day Myanmar and of the Myanmar army, the Tatmadaw. On February 12, an agreement was reached between protest leaders and the Karenni state government to drop all charges in exchange for promises to suspend further protests for one month while the opposing sides discuss the fate of the statue.
“Myanmar police fired rubber bullets at youth activists who were exercising their rights to peaceful protest and free expression,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Dropping the criminal charges against the protesters doesn’t negate the need for a prompt investigation of the excessive use of force by the police and appropriate action against anyone who acted unlawfully.”
The statue has been a source of controversy since it was announced in February 2018. Ethnic Karenni youth have staged repeated protests calling for a halt to the installation of the statue until the rights of Myanmar’s ethnic minorities are better protected and the promises of the 1947 Panglong Agreement, which promised autonomy for the country’s ethnic regions, are fulfilled.
On July 3, police violently dispersed Karenni protesters, arresting 16, nine of whom were charged with incitement under penal code sections 505(b) and 505(c) for distributing pamphlets on the history of Karenni State, and at least 13 of whom were charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Processions Law. Under the February 12 agreement, these charges were all dropped.
Protests resumed in late January after the 17-foot-high statue arrived in Loikaw for placement in a local park. Since February 1, 2019, police have arrested more than 50 protesters on charges of violating the Peaceful Assembly Law. The law imposes criminal penalties for failing to provide notice for an assembly or complying with broadly worded restrictions on permissible speech and actions at an assembly. The restrictions are contrary to international human rights standards that prohibit holding anyone criminally liable for organizing or participating in a peaceful assembly.
The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officialsprovides that security forces “shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force.” Whenever the use of force is unavoidable, security forces shall “[e]xercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved.”
“The Myanmar government should end the practice of arresting peaceful protesters and fully investigate the use of force against them,” Robertson said. “The agreement reached between the state authorities and the protest leaders to drop the prosecutions also provides a good moment for the government to address the concerns being raised by the Karenni activists.”
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(Bangui) – “When the agreement reached in Khartoum was signed, it was already a dead letter the next day in Bangui”, said His Exc. Mgr. Juan José Aguirre Muños, Bishop of Bangassou, in commenting on the agreement between the Government of the Central African Republic and 14 rebel groups. The agreement was negotiated in Khartoum and then signed on 6 February in the Central African capital, Bangui.
The fact that the negotiations took place in the Sudanese capital and not in Addis Ababa the Ethiopian capital and the African Union’s headquarters, according to Mgr. Aguirre, is significant because the leaders of five rebel groups feared being arrested there because wanted by the Court International Criminal Court. Sudan, on the other hand, does not recognize the Court therefore Khartoum was a safe place for them.
“It is the eighth peace agreement signed in two years”, recalls Mgr. Aguirre in an interview with Vida Nueva. “Rebels control 80% of the Country and only the remaining 20% is in the hands of the government”.
So why was such an agreement signed? “The negotiation was imposed by the international community to save face” said Mgr. Aguirre. Those who gained an advantage are not the citizens of Central Africa but “the rebels, all the radicalized or criminals and almost all non-Central Africans” armed by some Arab countries that in turn buy arms in the United States, says Mgr. Aguirrre. “All this happens with the complicity of the African Union and France”.
“The rebels are calling for an immunity decree applicable to all (even if the International Criminal Court will not take it into account) and the office of Prime Minister, with the sole aim of dividing the Country in two. Even if they already control 80% of the mines of diamonds, gold, cobalt, mercury, they want more”, says the Bishop.
The poor inhabitants of Central Africa are paying the price. Mgr. Aguirre concludes by putting himself “in God’s hands to transform the hearts of the violent, no one must resume hostilities again and all must seek peace”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/2/2019)
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In this meeting His Beatitude was being escorted by the Most Reverend Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, Priest Issa Musleh, the legal adviser of the Patriarchate Mr. Rami Moghrabi and the Manager of the Patriarchate’s Office in Amman of Jordan Mrs. Wafaa Ksous.
In this meeting Archbishop Suheil Dawani underlined the cooperation of his Church with the Mother Church of Jerusalem, the cooperation of the Heads of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem for matters related to the Christians of the Holy Land and the sustaining of the Status Quo, for which, one year ago there was the decision of closing down the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In this meeting H.H.B. delivered the following address;
“Your Grace, dear Archbishop Justin,
Your Grace, dear Archbishop Suheil,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour for us to be with you for this important meeting of Regional Primates of the Anglican Communion, and we welcome you to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. As you know, His Majesty King Abdullah II is a stalwart defender of the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious character of the Middle East in general and the Holy Land in particular, and the Kingdom remains a model of religious freedom in this region.
As we welcome you, Your Grace, dear Archbishop Justin, we would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to you once again for your personal support and the support of your staff and colleagues in the ongoing work of ensuring the freedom and the rights of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land.
In particular, we are grateful to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for his public support, and to the Dean of Westminster for his role in opening Westminster Abbey last December for a service of witness to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Such a clear manifestation of solidarity with the Christian communities of the Middle East is a tremendous encouragement to all who labour every day to ensure that our indigenous Christian Communities in the Middle East, some of which go back to the earliest days of the life of the Church, remain alive and vital at a time when the threats against them are real and potentially devastating.
This last year was a particularly difficult one for us. There have been many challenges to the Christian community and to the well-being of our society and the Holy Places, many of which are the result of aspirations for political gain by politicians attempting to strengthen their positions at the expense of our Churches. There have also been further attempts to undermine the Christian presence in the region.
With the ready assistance of our international supporters, including Your Graces, as well as many other governmental and Church leaders, we have managed to keep these threats at bay. But the pressure remains, and some of these threats have not gone away. They are simply dormant for the moment, and they could rise to the surface again at any time. We must not relax our vigilance, nor our influence on those who have the power to protect the Churches from such threats.
In this regard, we see great hope in the in the work of the International Community of the Holy Sepulchre as an advocate on behalf of the Churches in the Holy Land. ICoHS has the firm support of the Heads of the Churches, and we are grateful to you dear Archbishop Justin, for your enthusiasm for this organization and for the help you have given to those who have established it.
We have experienced a significant blessing in the deeper spirit of unity among the Heads of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land in the course of the work we have done to protect the Church, and we rejoice in this mutual commitment to a common mission. Our unity of resolve and purpose is strong, and in this regard especially, we wish to express our gratitude to His Grace Archbishop Suheil, whose unwavering leadership has been an indispensable part of the success of this joint work so far. Not only have you, dear Archbishop Suheil, been an absolutely reliable colleague, in your own pastoral zeal for the Anglican Church in your diocese, especially in the rebuilding of your communities, but you have also helped to ensure the ongoing Christian presence here. For all this work, you are recognized beyond your own Communion.
As you meet here in Amman to take counsel for the most effective ways in which to oversee the Anglican Communion in this region, we know that you are all deeply aware of the situation in which we find ourselves. We also note the long-standing, close, and mutually beneficial relationship that has always existed between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Anglican Communion, and this relationship gives us both strength and encouragement both for the relationship between our two Churches, and for our common spiritual mission in this region.
May God bless you and guide you in all your deliberations, and may God bless all the peoples of our beloved Holy Land and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Most Reverend Archbishop of Canterbury said that it is a blessing for him to visit again the countries of the Middle East, he praised His Beatitude, who apart from His other qualities,is distinguished for His valor and within it the reconciliation, which was made obvious by the historic decision to close down the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and then open it again after the intervention of the Prime Minister of Israel Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, who ordered the suspension of the tax measures imposed by the Municipality of Jerusalem against the Churches.
Moreover, he said that the relationship between the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Anglican Church has become stronger during the Patriarchal Office of the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos.
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On 12 February, Dr. Ephraim Radner sought to “clean up the playing field” with “Six Resolutions” for Lambeth” in 2020.
As one who has written extensively on the state of the Anglican Communion – I commented recently on Andrew Goddard’s concerns for Lambeth – I wish now to give a few quick takes on Dr. Radner’s six resolutions.Preliminaries
Radner writes: “It behooves Lambeth 2020 at least to adopt some simple resolutions, including the following six.”
As I understand them, Goddard and Radner are proposing a radical redo of the current “design” for Lambeth. To begin with, there is no provision at present for any Resolutions at all, but rather for another “Lambeth Indaba” – “God’s Church for God’s World: Walking, Listening, and Working Together” – as in 2008. Even if there were a decision to return to the formats of earlier Conferences, these Resolutions would have to be agreed to and announced in advance by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a condition of invitation(invitations have been sent out but presumably could be withdrawn). If the Resolutions themselves were up for debate in 2020, we would simply see a futile replay of the last twenty years (see my book, especially chapters 4 and 8).
So let me grant the hypothesis that Dr. Radner’s six Resolutions were established beforehand as ground rules of the Conference. As he says: “There is a Holy Spirit.”The Six Resolutions #1. This Conference reaffirms the 1998 Resolution I.10.
This would be a huge step forward. Upholding Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality in word and deed has been the main point of contention between both the Global South Anglican and the Gafcon movements from 1998 to the present. However, paying mere lip service to Lambeth I.10 would be hypocritical and suicidal. The two specific contraventions of Lambeth I.10 over the past twenty years have been the ordination of practicing homosexuals and same-sex unions and marriage. Churches that continue to teach and practice these contraventions would ipso facto be asked to “stand outside” (#2). That would include the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) and also others like the Episcopal Church of Brazil, Scottish Episcopal Church and others currently in process.
#2. Those bishops and churches who contradict or contravene this affirmation (I.10), or who punish others on the basis of such an affirmation, stand outside the boundaries of Anglican teaching and witness as this Conference understands it.
Once again, this would be a huge step forward, and in a sense backward. As Archbishop Nicholas Okoh stated in the Gafcon “Letter to the Churches”: “We are merely doing what the Communion leadership should have done to uphold its own resolution in 1998.” It was also one of the two requests made by the Gafcon Assembly this past June of the Archbishop of Canterbury – “not to invite bishops of those Provinces which have endorsed by word or deed sexual practices which are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions” – requests that have gone unacknowledged and unheeded.
#3. We request that other Communion Instruments of Unity pursue their work on the basis of this teaching and witness.
Ditto above. Such a refining of Communion structures would involve a massive reordering, which is difficult to imagine (see Canon Phil Ashey’s analysis of the proposed Strategic Plan by the Communion Office).
#4. We recognize the missionary and pastoral integrity of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and its related member churches; and we urge serious deliberation, locally and at the international level, over how these churches can be integrated fully into the life of the Communion.
This needs some unpacking, but once again I’ll look at the positive. I’ll assume that this resolution tacitly affirms the intention of the ACNA to be Anglican and to be part of the Anglican Communion (denied by the October 2017 Primates’ Communique). By “missionary integrity” I take it to include ACNA’s wider call to “proclaim Christ faithfully to nations” and also to provide a haven for Anglicans in North America who have been forced by conscience or decree to separate from TEC and ACoC. Furthermore, if TEC and ACoC do “stand outside” the Communion structures, it would seem that the Communion should recognize the ACNA as an alternative jurisdiction, which if TEC and ACoC (and other jurisdictions, e.g., Brazil) decide to “walk apart” will become the legitimate province of the Communion. (Note: Resolutions #4 and #5 reflect the steps of “enhanced responsibility” outlined in the failed “To Mend the Net” proposal of 2001, in which Radner was a collaborator.)
#5. We commit ourselves as bishops to the work of formulating and pursuing extended, coordinated, and coherent formation and catechesis in the Christian faith within our churches and across the Communion.
Absolutely, and I would suggest that the Jerusalem Declaration be considered one piece of that catechesis.
#6. We commit ourselves to gathering again in 10 years, and in the interim to developing ways by which, despite the real differences that divide us, we can fruitfully and honestly engage one another and our service of Christ according to the levels of communion we actually share.
I agree on the need for a “strategy of time” to sort out the chaos in the Communion. This phrase was proposed in the “To Mend the Net,” which might become the working document to reconstitute an orthodox Communion of churches. This Resolution should be taken to mean that Lambeth I.10 will be upheld as the effective Communion norm during the decade – and beyond – and that those who “stand outside” will stay outside during that period, unless they rethink their stance. (I doubt they would wait outside at all but rather would move swiftly to form their own parallel communion of churches.)Conclusion: Is There Any Way Forward?
Can any good come out of this creative proposal? Frankly, it feels like a “lifeboats on the Titanic” idea, and I simply cannot imagine it will go anywhere with the Lambeth Establishment. It might, however, force the Establishment to show its hand (as if it hasn’t already). Since Dr. Radner is a close colleague of Bishop George Sumner of Dallas, who is a member of the Lambeth Design Team, I would urge George Sumner to bring these Resolutions to Archbishop Welby immediately and ask for a clear public response. If it is true that the Archbishop of Canterbury has a unique “inviting authority,” he alone can give legs to these resolutions. But they must be set in place prior to the Conference, or they will lack any shred of credibility.
When he was enthroned in 2013, Justin Welby preached on St. Peter stepping out of the boat at Jesus’ command, and he spoke of his vision for the Communion thus: “We are called to step out of the comfort of our own traditions and places, and go into the waves, reaching for the hand of Christ.” There is little reason to think Archbishop Welby had or has the same vision as Dr. Radner, but who knows, perhaps like his great predecessor Thomas Cranmer he might step up to the fire and say:
This shall be my first exhortation: That you set not overmuch by this false glosing world, but upon God and the world to come. And learn to know what this lesson meaneth, which St John teacheth that the love of this world is hatred against God.
As for North America, is it significant that this proposal is coming from one of the leading spokesmen of the “Communion Partners”? For more than a decade there has been a rift between the so-called “Communion Conservatives,” who stayed in TEC and ACoC, and the “Federal Conservatives,” who left or were expelled (for the terminology, see here). If there is any good to come out of this proposal, perhaps it may be to open the door to more honest discussion among those who hold to the faith once for all committed to the saints. For them indeed, “there is a Holy Spirit,” and we would invoke his guidance as we move forward.
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