An ex-Anglican Schismatic Pronounces on Lambeth

In an unprecedented situation in the complex world of Anglican Churches, we have here an ex-Anglican minister, once a member of the U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC) – now elevated to the status of ‘Archbishop of ACNA’ – a ‘Confessional Anglican‘ church planted by the separatist GAFCON conglomerate – pontificating on the outcome from the recent 650 bishop-strong Lambeth Conference in the U.K.

Not only is ‘Archbishop Foley Beach, the Head of a schismatic Anglican off-shoot in North America; GAFCON now rejoices in claiming him as its chief spokesman (Chairperson) throughout the world – even though provinces of the GAFCON still claim to represent the only ‘truly orthodox’ Anglicans in their membership of the worldwide Anglican Communion, whose bishops were gathered at the recent Lambeth Conference – but with many of the Gafcon bishops choosing not to attend. (Archbishop Beach was not invited to the Lambeth Conference!)

The non-attendance of some GAFCON Bishops, however, did not deter other like-minded conservative evangelical Bishops from the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSAF), who were obviously intent on trying to persuade the rest of the Communion’s Bishops (the vast majority present at Lambeth) to sign a declaration of support for an outdated and homophobic resolution: Lambeth 1:10 (dating from the contentious 1988 Lambeth Conference) – in order to dis-enfranchise the actions of Anglican Churches around the world that have – in response to the relaxation of criminal laws against homosexuality – allowed Same-Sex people to legally marry.

With the obvious failure of this ploy of the part of the G.S. Bishops to enforce their view of same-sex relationship on the rest of the gathered Bishops (some 125 of the 650 bishops were actually persuaded to sign their unofficial document of implicit agreement with Lambeth 1:10); it seems that the Chair of GAFCON, Archbishop Beach, is now declaring the Anglican Communion (of which he is not a part) to be what he is pleased to call – in the weblog ‘Virtue Online‘, GAFCON’s accredited ‘Orthodox Anglican‘ mouthpiece in North America – ‘Broken’.

Well, if Foley, and the GAFCON Primates, consider the Anglican Communion to be ‘Broken’ – they have only themselves to blame. Each has been a party to the culture of Intentional Schism, which, egged on by former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen (one of the Founders of the Global South and Gafcon movements), has already set up schismatic ‘Confessional Anglican‘ Churches in the U.S.A and Canada (ACNA of which Foley is Archbishop), in England, in New Zealand, and in process, shortly in Australia (Sydney Diocese is already a member of GAFCON).

To my mind – and perhaps the minds of many Anglicans outside of the Global South (where homosexuality is still a crime) who have helped to rid our churches of institutional homophobia, misogyny and blatant sexism – the exercise has been worth the trouble, bringing our Churches into the modern world, where young people are wondering what the fuss is all about, and choosing for themselves to live their lives under the law, and at peace with those whose gender or sexual identity may be different from their own – without prejudice and discrimination.

If our beloved Anglican Communion Churches that remain – after the dissidents have departed on their own initiative (not by any excommunication from the Lambeth/Canterbury hub, but because of their disdain for our Inclusive Church ethos) – can agree to work together in the Ministry of Christ to ALL people – without prejudice – then we might be a stronger and more cohesive witness to the world of the fact that Christ died for ALL – not just the ‘pure and holy’ among us.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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GAFCON CHAIRMAN’S AUGUST LETTER

  • Aug 9, 2022

August 9, 2022

CHAIRMAN’S LETTER

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Gafcon Family,

Grace and peace to you in the Name of Jesus our Savior and only Lord!  “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16a).

I am writing to you regarding last week’s Lambeth Conference as this is on the minds of many Anglicans around the world.  Over the last couple of decades, Lambeth Conference organizers and events like these have routinely mixed heresy and orthodoxy; treating both positions as equally valid. The clear teaching of Scripture is treated as one of many valid options with no accountability for those Provinces who depart from the Bible.  I wish I could be writing to you and sharing that the recent Lambeth Conference was different, but it was not. Before the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba (Nigeria), Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba (Uganda) and Archbishop Laurent Mbanda (Rwanda) wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury that they were not attending the Conference “because the Anglican Communion has failed to address with remorse and repentance the issues that necessitated their absence at the 2008 Lambeth Conference.”  Retired Archbishop Mouneer Anis eloquently named the problem, “The Anglican Communion cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken.”

Sadly, rather than being a source of healing and unity, the Lambeth Conference compounded the problems. The Lambeth Conference was filled with confusion, and what that means for global Anglicanism has just begun to be felt.  The Canterbury Communion is broken, not just metaphorically, but literally, as those in attendance could not in good conscience all share Holy Communion.  The Primates of Brazil, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North America, Rwanda, and Uganda, and many bishops from all over the Anglican Communion in the Gafcon movement did not attend the Lambeth Conference because to do so would violate their consciences. However, we respected the decision of our brother Primates whose consciences led them to go to Lambeth and contend for the Gospel and the Holy Scriptures.  The power of their presence magnified the power of our absence.

Archbishop Justin Badi (South Sudan) and Archbishop James Wong (Indian Ocean) of Gafcon and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans admirably led the orthodox cause for biblical theology and morality in the midst of a situation in which the balance of institutional power was stacked heavily against them.  I commend them for differentiating themselves from the false teaching of the Canterbury Communion and for not partaking of Holy Communion with unrepentant bishops living in immorality. It was also helpful that they reminded the Conference that we have not agreed to walk together no matter how many times the Archbishop of Canterbury says otherwise.  At the end of the conference, these orthodox leaders in attendance provided a communique of their experience at the meeting, and for all those who care about the future of global Anglicanism, I commend it for your reading. The Canterbury Communion has ceased to be a place where communion can be shared and has devolved into something more akin to a federation or association of Provinces with a common history and incompatible theologies and moral ethics.

While their colonial structures are imploding, the Anglican Establishment in England continues to ignore the valid concerns of those who hold to the teaching of the Bible and the historical teaching of the Church. Through the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) and the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, led by the power of the Holy Spirit, new courageous leaders are filling this gap with authentic community and communion, seeking to make up for the Gospel deficit and the Ecclesial deficit (Windsor Report). We are living in a unique moment in which, by the grace of God, global Anglicanism can be genuinely reformed by Biblical repentance and renewal.  This will be the focus of the Gafcon IV Conference next April when we gather in Kigali, Rwanda. The world needs the transformation that comes from hearing and responding to an unambiguous, saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Let us not hesitate in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around us, teaching them what he has taught so clearly in the Bible: that they are loved by God and how to be his disciples.  Please join me in praying and working for a faithful global Anglican future. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach

Chair, Gafcon Primates Council

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C.T. reports an ‘Anglican shift’ in the Global South

There are probably as many views of what went on at the Lambeth Conference as there were individuals present – either as Bishops of the Anglican Communion or as accredited (or casual) reporters from many different areas of the media. One of the more conservative evangelical opinions can be found in this report from journalist Timothy Morgan, in ‘Christianity Today‘. (The story below my baseline).

In line with threats already enunciated by the Primate Archbishop of South Sudan, Justin Badi (who is also the GSFA chair): after the Conference, he said this: “I give thanks to God for all the bishops who have reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10–in its entirety–as the official teaching of the Anglican Communion on Marriage and Sexuality. We have been greatly encouraged by the bishops worldwide at this conference who have expressed their support, in whatever form, for the Communion to be governed by biblical authority.” (This stance is known as ‘Sola Scriptura’, which in classical Anglicanism does not stand alone, but is balanced in the three distinct charisms of Scripture, Tradition and Reason).

Despite the actual business of the Conference (which was held at the Invitation by the Archbishop of Canterbury); ruling out any specific ‘Resolution’ declaring the continuing validity of Lambeth 1:10; the GSFA (Global South Fellowship of Anglicans) insisted on holding a private head-count of those who still affirm the Condemnation of Same-Sex Relationships contained in Lambeth 1:10 (tabled in 1988) – a process which (though not official to the conference) yielded a response by some 125 bishops – out of a total of 650 Bishops present at the conference. This totals less that one quarter of the Anglican bishops present from around the world – even though the global South contingent claims, correctly, that it has the greatest number of Anglicans under its influence.

What has been so sad about this proclamation from the Global South of its decision to ‘stand-alone’ in its moral support for a continuation of Homophobia, Sexism and Misogyny, is that they are now seemingly planning to more closely align themselves with the schismatic intentions of the more aggressive GAFCON Prelates – who absented themselves from this Lambeth gathering of Anglican Bishops from around the world, while yet setting up their own quasi-Anglican Churches in other jurisdictions under the confusing and assumed title of ‘Confessing Anglican’ – which Gafcon claims to be more ‘orthodox’ than the local Anglican Church in the areas where they have been establish by Gafcon.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Anglican Division over Scripture and Sexuality Heads South

After Lambeth conference steers bishops to agree to disagree on LGBT clergy and marriages, African conservatives chart a new course.

TIMOTHY C. MORGAN| – Christianity Today –

Anglican Division over Scripture and Sexuality Heads South

Image: Neil Turner / The Lambeth Conference

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers a keynote address to the 2022 Lambeth Conference in the United Kingdom.

At least 125 Anglican bishops gathered at the Lambeth conference in Canterbury, England, endorsed a decades-old resolution against “homosexual practice” along with a new provision that “renewed steps be taken to ensure all provinces abide by this doctrine in their faith, order, and practice.

The conservative Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) launched an effort last week to have Resolution 1.10, adopted at Lambeth 1998, reaffirmed as the official stance of the Anglican Communion after 2022 conference leaders scrapped an initial plan to affirm the resolution among an array of “calls” or statements on pressing issues.

With about 85 million adherents, the Anglican Communion is the third-largest body of Christians worldwide and exists in 165 countries. Some 650 bishops attended Lambeth, which concluded August 8 and was last held in 2008, meaning the GSFA campaign garnered votes from about one-fifth of clergy present.

“I give thanks to God for all the bishops who have reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10–in its entirety–as the official teaching of the Anglican Communion on Marriage and Sexuality,” said Archbishop Justin Badi, primate of South Sudan and GSFA chair. “We have been greatly encouraged by the bishops worldwide at this conference who have expressed their support, in whatever form, for the Communion to be governed by biblical authority.”

Badi has emerged as a leading voice for conservatives and has not minced words in his criticism of liberal theology. To demonstrate their resolve, he and other conservative bishops at Lambeth refused to receive communion at services in the historic 1,400-year-old Canterbury cathedral, where Augustine served as a missionary in the sixth century.

“We cannot break bread with bishops who betray the Bible,” he said in an interview with Church Times, a UK newspaper focused on Anglican affairs. “We cannot just deceive ourselves, saying: ‘Fine, we are together.’ We are not really together. This is hypocrisy.”

GSFA will continue to seek the endorsement of 1.10 from bishops who did not attend this month’s conference. Bishops from Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda boycotted because several Anglican provinces, including Canada, Wales, Scotland, and the US, allow priests or bishops to perform same-sex marriages or ordain LGBT clergy. LGBT bishops participated in all aspects of Lambeth.

The opening service at Canterbury Cathedral during the 2022 Lambeth Conference in the United Kingdom.

Image: Richard Washbrooke / The Lambeth Conference

The opening service at Canterbury Cathedral during the 2022 Lambeth Conference in the United Kingdom.

During the conference, Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury and the topmost Anglican leader, affirmed biblical teaching that homosexual practice is sinful and that 1.10 remained a valid resolution. But he also told The London Times, “I will not punish churches that conduct gay marriages.” The comments were widely seen as an attempt to mollify his critics on both sides.

For some attendees, the high-wire act successfully “lanced a boil” and enabled clergy to conclude Lambeth agreeing to disagree, reported the Religion Media Centre. Particularly after Welby announced his priority as archbishop of Canterbury was unity. “I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion,” he said. “I will not do so. I may comment in public on occasions, but that is all.”

In his pivotal speech, Welby also asserted that the stance of Western progressives and Global South conservatives was essential to their ministries:

For the large majority of the Anglican Communion the traditional understanding of marriage is something that is understood, accepted and without question, not only by Bishops but their entire Church, and the societies in which they live. For them, to question this teaching is unthinkable, and in many countries would make the church a victim of derision, contempt and even attack. For many churches to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.

For a minority, we can say almost the same. They have not arrived lightly at their ideas that traditional teaching needs to change. They are not careless about scripture. They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature. For them, to question this different teaching is unthinkable, and in many countries is making the church a victim of derision, contempt and even attack. For these churches not to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.

Welby’s reluctance to hold Anglican priests and bishops accountable for ignoring 1.10 has stirred up a hornet’s nest of ongoing criticism from conservative Anglicans. Liberals, meanwhile, criticize the archbishop for being tolerant of homophobia and unjust treatment of the LGBT community within the communion.

Twenty-four years ago, a supermajority of Anglican leaders agreed in resolution 1:10 that “homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture,” intending to ban same-sex marriages and LGBT ordinations. But since then, progressive church leaders have consecrated LGBT priests and bishops and have married same-sex couples in the US and Canada, among several other provinces.

Since assuming office in 2013, Welby’s attempts to mediate the controversy over homosexuality have drawn sharp rebukes and boycotts from conservatives. “To authorize the practice and teaching of same-sex unions as normative and not a violation of divine intentions for humankind,” said Badi, “is to undermine the clarity and authority of holy scripture, which is the bedrock of our common life as a communion.”

GSFA describes itself as a “holy remnant” within the Anglican Communion. Its leaders participated in Lambeth 2022, while leaders of the conservative GAFCON movement boycotted.

A few liberals have spoken with more moderate rhetoric toward conservatives. “We in the Anglican Communion live with a plurality of views on marriage,” stated Michael Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church in the US. “… [T]here is another view equally to be respected: a view that includes and embraces same-sex couples who seek the blessing of God on their loving relationships, their commitments, and their families.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gives the closing sermon of the 2022 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom.

Image: Richard Washbrooke / The Lambeth Conference

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gives the closing sermon of the 2022 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury Cathedral in the United Kingdom.

These disagreements over LGBT rights occur amid the demographic decline of Anglican/Episcopal churches in North America and the UK and the rapid rise of traditional churches in the so-called Global South. “There are more Anglicans in church on Sunday morning in Nigeria than in all the British Isles and North America combined,” according to Gerald McDermott, a scholar and author of The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism.

In the UK, the discordance between church and state complicates the Anglican Communion’s stance toward same-sex unions. The British Parliament approved same-sex civil marriages in 2013, and Queen Elizabeth II, the titular head of the Church of England, gave her “royal assent” to the new law.

Yet the Church of England has a policy to not allow priests to conduct such marriage services but supports celibate same-sex couples in civil legal partnerships. Changing Attitude England, a leading LGBT advocacy group, views opposition to same-sex marriage as homophobia.

The clash among Anglicans is unfolding as more nations have legalized same-sex marriages. As of 2022, 32 nations allow them worldwide. But Africa with its population of 1.2 billion, is the one region where homosexuality is often criminalized and same-sex marriage banned. South Africa is the only one of 54 African nations to legally recognize same-sex marriages.

Years ago, at the 1998 Lambeth, African bishops emerged as a key part of the conservative drive to maintain orthodox Anglicanism. Largely due to the growing number of African bishops in attendance, and with the support of then Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, Anglican leaders voted 526–70 (with 45 abstentions) for resolution 1.10, a supermajority of 82 percent. The resolution text counseled that “pastoral care” be the church’s core means of spiritual care for same-sex couples. There was no provision for punishment of clergy for marrying a same-sex couple.

Conservative Anglicans have created numerous organizations to steer Anglicans toward orthodox teaching.

The Global Anglican Futures group (GAFCON) is event-based and first met in Jerusalem in 2008 with 1,100 delegates from 29 countries. Ten years later, GAFCON convened 1,900 delegates from 53 countries. GSFA has its roots in high-level meetings that began in 1994 and currently has 24 member churches, including the breakaway Anglican Church in North America.

Conservative Anglicans will face another test of their resolve when they meet up in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2023 for the fourth GAFCON gathering. Many believe the future means to “decolonialize” the faith, moving Anglicanism away from its historic center at Canterbury and heterodox Western leaders. Or as Canon Chris Sugden, a leader at the Oxford Centre for Religion in Public Life, summarized their argument: “Africa is now the actual heart of Anglicanism.”

Badi pledged that his Global South colleagues would remain and pursue “repair of the tear” in the communion. “Let those with revisionist theology go or repent,” he told a press conference. “The West had the gospel and took it to us in Africa. We may have to bring it back.”

Additional reporting from David Virtue in Canterbury, UK

Anglicans Drop Proposal to Reaffirm Traditional Marriage Stance

NEWS

Anglicans Drop Proposal to Reaffirm Traditional Marriage Stance

Organizers of the Lambeth Conference revised a draft statement calling same-sex marriage “not permissible” after pushback.

KATE SHELLNUTT

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Former Sydney Prelate pontificates on Lambeth

One of the self-styled ‘Orthodox Anglican‘ prelates from the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia, Peter Jensen (retired), gets his chance to pontificate about his opinion of ‘what is wrong’ with the world-wide Anglican Communion, on a noted protestant web-site The Pastor’s Heart in Sydney’s Con/Evo heartland.

As one of the founding architects of the Global South entity – part of which became (and the rest of which will soon be joining) the already schismatically-inclined GAFCON conglomerate – Jensen has remained connected with the business of discrediting the non-G.S. Provinces of the Anglican Communion for what he and the Gafcon Leaders see as heterodox support for LGBTQI people in our Anglican Church family.

A product, himself, of the 39-Articular, Sola-Scriptura theology of Sydney’s Moore College (which trains the majority of Sydney’s male-only con/evo priests in the singularly-conservative evangelical strand of Anglican theology); Jensen has been engaged in encouraging conservative African bishops to join together in solidarity with his resources-rich Sydney archdiocese to push the evangelical ‘holiness’ vision into the outermost provinces of the Anglican Communion. (Sydney Diocese/Moore contributed AU$1,000,000 recently in a campaign to prevent legal S/S Marriage)

This evangelising activity first bore fruit in the missionizing invasion of the (Anglican) Episcopal Church in North America (T.E.C.) after that Church had ordained its first gay-partnered bishop. This action signalled – for Jensen, and other conservative evangelicals in the Anglican world (mostly in churches on the African continent and in Asia, which had been missionized by C.M.S. missionaries in the Victorian era) – a call to revolutionary action demanding the exclusion of TEC from full membership of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

There has never been an instrument of ecclesial authority that could legally take such action (the A.C.C. being a family of independent Churches gathering together under the maternal influence of the Church of England and the See of Canterbury). However, the action that was then taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury of that time was to dis-invite the gay-partnered Bishop Gene Robinson from a subsequent meeting of the Lambeth Conference held in 1988.

The Sydney Anglican Diocese – and its ancillary School of Theology at Moore College has always – from its inception (founded by conservative Evangelical partners from the U.K. in 1856) – been concerned to propagate a gospel of primitive evangelical provenance, based on a ‘sola-Scriptura’ model of pietistic scholarship. This has involved the exclusion of women from the ordained ministry – until recently, when Moore College decided to recruit women on training for the historic perpetual diaconate. It has also long advocated Lay Presidency at the celebration of the Last Supper (Holy Communion) – in contravention to the more catholic Eucharistic tradition maintained by most Anglican Churches in the West.

Mr. Jensen is obviously out to take advantage of the recent kerfuffle at the just-complete Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, where Bishops from the Global South were continuing to press for the ratification of the now outdated (and homophobic) Lambeth 1:10 resolution of 1998; which, however, was not ratified at Lambeth this time around – despite the recommendations of a petition circulated by some bishops from the Global South Anglican Fellowship

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Peter Jensen on Lambeth — Repentance is needed

Posted on August 9, 2022 
Filed under Anglican CommunionGAFCONGlobal SouthLambeth 2022

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“The Anglican Communion is broken and needs to repent.

Provinces of the Anglican Communion are now free to develop their own teaching on sexuality, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

There will be no contending for the faith (cf Jude 1:3) or withdrawing fellowship from the sexually immoral.

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby arranged the Lambeth Conference so that delegates didn’t get to vote on the most contentious issue of the day – sexuality.

Rather he wrote to delegates announcing that Lambeth 1:10 still applied, but there would be no consequences for ignoring it.

Former Archbishop of Sydney and former General Secretary of Gafcon Peter Jensen joins us to review the confusion in global Anglicanism in the wake of Lambeth22.”

– Watch or listen here. A fascinating and encouraging discussion. Do watch right to the end.

Peter Jensen on Lambeth — Repentance is needed

Posted on August 9, 2022 
Filed under Anglican CommunionGAFCONGlobal SouthLambeth 2022

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“The Anglican Communion is broken and needs to repent.

Provinces of the Anglican Communion are now free to develop their own teaching on sexuality, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

There will be no contending for the faith (cf Jude 1:3) or withdrawing fellowship from the sexually immoral.

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby arranged the Lambeth Conference so that delegates didn’t get to vote on the most contentious issue of the day – sexuality.

Rather he wrote to delegates announcing that Lambeth 1:10 still applied, but there would be no consequences for ignoring it.

Former Archbishop of Sydney and former General Secretary of Gafcon Peter Jensen joins us to review the confusion in global Anglicanism in the wake of Lambeth22.”

– Watch or listen here. A fascinating and encouraging discussion. Do watch right to the end.

Peter Jensen on Lambeth – Repentance is needed

Posted on August 9, 2022 
Filed under Anglican CommunionGAFCONGlobal SouthLambeth 2022

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“The Anglican Communion is broken and needs to repent.

Provinces of the Anglican Communion are now free to develop their own teaching on sexuality, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

There will be no contending for the faith (cf Jude 1:3) or withdrawing fellowship from the sexually immoral.

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby arranged the Lambeth Conference so that delegates didn’t get to vote on the most contentious issue of the day – sexuality.

Rather he wrote to delegates announcing that Lambeth 1:10 still applied, but there would be no consequences for ignoring it.

Former Archbishop of Sydney and former General Secretary of Gafcon Peter Jensen joins us to review the confusion in global Anglicanism in the wake of Lambeth22.”

– Watch or listen here. A fascinating and encouraging discussion. Do watch right to the end.

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‘ORTHODOX’ ANGLICAN bishops back Lambeth 1:10

In a very controversial Statement made by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (below), Archbishop Badi, of South Sudan, insists on using the provocative phrase ‘Orthodox Anglican‘ to describe the stance of people from his own provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion on matters of gender and sexuality. Just who gave this proud prelate (and his followers in the G.S. and GAFCON) authority to describe their particular Con/Evo version of Anglicanism as ‘orthodox’ one has to wonder? Contrarily, most of the provinces of the Anglican Communion have left behind the outdated and morally-suspect aspects of former sexism and homophobia contained in Lambeth 1:10 (1998), which, for instance, forbade any support for the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships.

Now that Same-sex Marriage has been made legal in many countries of the world (some, even, in countries located in the global South), such a negative non-pastoral view of same-sex relationships is no longer in step with what the outside world expects – or even deserves – from the Church. To continue to support a hermeneutic that overlooks the reality of a different social and scientific view from that existing when the Biblical passages on such matter were written, is to deny the facts on the ground – which demand a more just and compassionate treatment of the people involved, many of whom are devout Christians, just like their heterosexual friends.

However, in a determined effort to keep all provinces of the Anglican Communion together, while yet holding contrasting understanding of human gender and sexual variation from the binary ‘norm’; the Archbishop of Canterbury has, inadvertently, I believe, left the way open for Bishops in the Global South (notably, NOT South Africa which has a similar view to Churches in the West on LGBTQI+ membership in the Church) to make a stand on its own in support of the original Lambeth 1:10.

From the text below, it will be seen that the G.S. Bishops intend to meet together with the GAFCON Bishops at some point in the near future, to discuss their common purpose in upholding Lambeth 1:10, and in proclaiming an identity of ‘Orthodoxy‘ – presumably in contrast with what they see as the ‘unorthodoxy’ if the rest of us in the Anglican Communion. How that will help in the ABC’s hope for a continuation of the traditional Anglican ‘Unity in Diversity‘ ethos is yet to be seen.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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ORTHODOX BISHOPS AT THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE REAFFIRM LAMBETH I.10 AS ANGLICAN TEACHING ON MARRIAGE & SEXUALITY

pressrelease – GSFA – 7 Aug

Issued by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches

ORTHODOX BISHOPS AT THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE REAFFIRM LAMBETH 1.10 AS ANGLICAN TEACHING ON MARRIAGE & SEXUALITY

ORTHODOX BISHOPS attending the Lambeth Conference have reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 as the ‘official teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality’, and now a process will be initiated by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) to allow Primates and bishops who did not attend this Lambeth Conference to do so.

On Tuesday (AUG2), the GSFA launched a fresh opportunity for bishops at the University of Kent campus, Canterbury, to reaffirm the 1998 Resolution teaching. Doing so was consistent with GSFA’s priority of calling the whole Communion back to biblical faithfulness. It also restores the normative way the Communion should decide on its doctrine and the practices that follow – through ALL bishops or Primates meeting in council.

Re-affirming Lambeth 1.10 was a clarion call to base the Communion’s ethical teaching on Holy Scripture.

Bishops were provided a two-page summary of the issues, including a copy of the original 1998 Resolution, which was voted on by a majority vote of 526 to 70 bishops (45 abstentions). This week, bishops were invited to agree to one additional line: “that this conference (f) Urges that renewed steps be taken to ensure that all Provinces abide by this doctrine in their faith, order & practice.”

As of 1pm today (AUG7), 125 bishops from 21 provinces, representing 7,872,629 Anglicans at the Conference, had signed up to reaffirm. (Details by Province shown in the Appendix below). It is important to note that the provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda – whose primates and bishops did not attend the Conference – account for some 27 to 30-million Anglicans in the Communion.

The GSFA schedule for launching the Resolution and collating results was delayed due to deferred meetings during the Conference and reliance on Wi-Fi for delegates to sign up. The GSFA says it will therefore update the number of bishops signing up to reaffirm. It will also develop a process for those primates and bishops who, for a variety of reasons, did not attend the 2022 Conference to indicate their reaffirmation.

GSFA Primates believe the Lambeth 1.10 reaffirmation marks the start of a ‘resetting’ of the Anglican Communion back to its biblical roots.

After the Lambeth Conference draws to a close today, further announcements shall be made by the GSFA head office in Singapore. All bishops have been assured of the confidentiality of the voting process, and that their name will always remain anonymous. At lunchtime today, the process by which bishops voted (the taking a photo of their official Lambeth Conference Pass, and emailing it to a dedicated email address, with a note of the number of worshipers under their episcopal care) was Independently verified.

Debbie Buggs, who is a Chartered Accountant individually checked all email reaffirmations to ensure the information was accurately transferred from email to the official record, and that each affirmation recorded has been validated by a relevant Bishop’s Lambeth Conference Pass.

Miss Buggs said: “I can confirm that the numbers recorded correctly summarise the reaffirmations and the data provided. Each submission has been validated by a photograph of the relevant Bishop’s Conference Pass.”

Archbishop Justin Badi, Primate of South Sudan and Chairman of the GSFA said: “I give thanks to God for all the bishops who have reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 – in its entirety – as the official teaching of the Anglican Communion on Marriage and Sexuality. We have been greatly encouraged by the bishops throughout the world at this Conference who have expressed their support, in whatever form, for the Communion to be governed by Biblical authority.”

“Lambeth Resolution I.10 is rooted in Holy Scripture, to which Anglicans look for the basis of our common life and order.

“The GSFA bishops came to this Conference just over a week ago with four aims:

● to foster the Unity of the Orthodox,

● to sound a ‘Clarion Call’ to Biblical Faithfulness, including seeking the ‘re-affirmation of Lambeth 1.10’ as the ‘official teaching’ of the Anglican Church on marriage and sexuality,

● to stand by our principle of not being a ‘breakaway group’ from the Anglican Communion – but being a part of the ‘holy remnant’ that God has preserved in the Anglican Communion, and

● to spur on the faithful in the Communion to get the Gospel out into the world

“We gave thanks to God that by His grace, and in His strength, we return home having started to fulfil these priorities which shall remain our core priorities as a fellowship as we move forward.

“GSFA shall update member churches, and others in due course. We intend to keep up our continued participation in shaping the Communion for the future, and to step up our work of mission and ministry in a world of great need. We are looking forward to our first GSFA Global Assembly, under our new Covenantal Structure, in 2024.”

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In a U.S. Episcopal Church (T.E.C.) view of what actually happened at the just-concluded Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; this telling phrase, from a speech from one of the delegates, Bishop Craig Loya, of the Diocese of Minnesota, who ‘remained hopeful that divisions between provinces will not prevail’, helps to set the scene:

“The Anglican Communion has always been somewhat messy and complicated, and my sense is that’s not going to change anytime soon,” he said. “But what we’ve also learned and talked about here over and over is ultimately this is God’s church, and ultimately the mission of the church is driven by the power and love of God and does not depend on any of us getting it right together.”

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Bishops wrap Lambeth Conference with look ahead to unity, despite persistent divisions

BY DAVID PAULSEN – ENS – Posted Aug 6, 2022

Anglican bishops from 165 countries attending the Lambeth Conference gathered for a group photograph on July 29 during the 15th Lambeth Conference held July 26- Aug. 8 at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Photo: Neil Turner/For the Lambeth Conference

[Episcopal News Service – Canterbury, England] Bishops from across the Anglican Communion, meeting Aug. 6 for their last business day at the Lambeth Conference, looked to the future as they emphasized the conference’s theme of Anglicans engaging with the wider world.

Many Episcopal bishops arrived at the July 26-Aug. 8 conference expressing trepidation over conservative attempts to reaffirm past Anglican statements against same-sex marriage. Though stark divisions remain over issues of human sexuality across the communion, which covers 165 countries, Episcopal bishops said they are concluding their time in Canterbury on a more hopeful note.

“It feels to me like this conference has been a new beginning for the Anglican Communion,” Minnesota Bishop Craig Loya told Episcopal News Service during a break between morning sessions at the University of Kent. Despite their differences, the more than 650 participating bishops have come together throughout the conference to examine some of the most pressing issues in the world today, Loya said, including climate change, interfaith relations, care for refugees and the threat of anti-democratic movements.

As part of the day’s business, the bishops adopted 14 statements of support, each proposed by a sponsoring bishop, highlighting a range of issues that included peace in the Middle East, the war in Ukraine and gun violence in the United States.

Newark Bishop Carlye Hughes described the conference’s full schedule over nearly two weeks as “a bit like drinking from a firehose.” Like Loya, she too was encouraged by her conversations with other bishops. “I leave with a real sense of knowing there’s extraordinary differences,” she said, especially over the level of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church.

“But that is not what drives us together,” Hughes told ENS. “It really is this incredible love of Jesus, incredible love of all of God’s people and a desire to see all people live in some sense of safety and harmony.”

On Aug. 6, the final plenary session of the conference focused on “The Decade Ahead.” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who convened the typically once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, asked several conference participants to share their experiences and what they will bring back to their home provinces and dioceses.

“I have hope in the communion,” Western North Carolina Bishop José McLoughlin said from the main venue stage. “There’s a recognition that we are really here grounded in Jesus, that we really do have a desire to make Jesus’ love known to all people.”

An estimated 480 spouses also attended the conference, and some were invited during the plenary to share their thoughts as well. “What surprised me much in this conference is how much God can bring the whole wide world together, just to sit under his feet and learn from him and hear from him and listen to him,” said Phyllis Magina, whose husband is Bishop Robert Magina of Kenya’s Diocese of Nambale.

The theme of the conference has been “God’s Church for God’s World.” Welby will deliver his concluding keynote address on Aug. 7 in the morning, and the closing Eucharist will follow in the evening. Aug. 8 is marked as the bishops’ travel day.

Find full ENS coverage of the Lambeth Coverage here.

At the invitation of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Western North Carolina Bishop José McLoughlin offers his thoughts on the decade to come following the 15th Lambeth Conference in one of the last of the conference’s sessions. Photo: The Lambeth Conference

Expressions of unity in these concluding days, however, cannot erase the divisions that remain across the Anglican Communion’s 42 provinces over human sexuality. The conservative primates of three provinces, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda, refused to attend the conference, which welcomed married gay and lesbian bishops for the first time. Other conservative bishops from what is known as the Global South, where a majority of the world’s 85 million Anglicans live, particularly in Africa and Asia, said that one of their top priorities in attending the conference was to demonstrate official majority support for anti-LGBTQ+ stances on marriage and sexuality.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who is stepping down later this year as secretary general of the Anglican Communion, briefly addressed the bishops at the end of the day’s decade-ahead plenary after receiving an honorary degree from Welby. The challenge Anglicans face, he said, is not to forget each others’ differences but to understand them.“We are a family. We are very different,” Idowu-Fearon said. “Let us learn to understand our differences, and when there is that understanding we can work together.”

After Welby and conference planners blocked such a debate during the bishops’ Aug. 2 discussion of the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity, leaders of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches resorted to lobbying on the sidelines for something similar to a petition drive. Like-minded bishops were invited to sign on to a document reaffirming a 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution that had stated homosexuality is forbidden, marriage is only for heterosexual couples and unmarried people should practice abstinence. Results of the petition drive are expected after the conference.

Unlike in 2008, when then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams brought bishops together for “Indaba” discussions, at this Lambeth Conference, planners have issued drafts of what are known as Lambeth Calls focusing on 10 subject areas, to initiate discussion among the bishops and to offer action items for when they return to their provinces and dioceses after the conference. The Human Dignity Call references the need to address racism, exploitation, inequality, gender justice and climate change, but Welby, in remarks during the closed session on Aug. 2, acknowledged that human sexuality is part “of what we believe about human dignity.”

On that same day, while affirming that a majority of Anglican provinces and their bishops uphold conservative biblical interpretations on sexuality, Welby also made clear that he thinks inclusive provinces like The Episcopal Church are sincere in following their faith to the conclusion that traditional understanding of marriage needs to change.

“They are not careless about scripture,” Welby said, according to a transcript released by the Lambeth Conference. “They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature.”

Episcopal bishops were heartened by what they suggested is the first time the plurality of views on human sexuality has been recognized so prominently in the Anglican Communion. “This group of bishops today seem to be able to recognize and affirm our love and respect for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, in the body of Jesus Christ, and that we could find a way to honor and respect our differences if we love each other and love our lord.” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a video statement released Aug. 2 after the Human Dignity Call discussion.

But leaders of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches have interpreted Welby’s remarks differently. South Sudan Bishop Justin Badi, chairman of the Global South Fellowship, said during an Aug. 5 news conference that the Anglican provinces “cannot be a true communion if some provinces insist on their own autonomy and disregard the necessity of being an interdependent body.”

He also suggested the “degree of communion” between provinces may vary depending on how inclusive they are toward LGBTQ+ individuals. “We find that if there is no authentic repentance by the revisionist provinces, then we will sadly accept a state of ‘impaired community’ with them,” Badi said.

The Global South bishops’ insistence on their conservative views of human sexuality belies the nuance and apparent contradiction in those views’ real-world application and how individual bishops have addressed the issue here. Several Episcopal bishops said they were in Bible study and discussion groups with South Sudanese bishops whose top concerns in their home dioceses included from climate change to the threat of violence. Others had one-on-one discussions of a more personal nature.

After the opening Sunday Eucharist on July 31, Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton related an earlier conversation he’d had regarding differing views over human identity and sexuality with a Kenyan bishop.

“I told him a story of a member of my extended family, who is gay … and the struggle that he had all of his life, the struggle with his strong faith, and what some in the Christian community were saying about him, and the struggle against not wanting to be gay, but that he finally accepted who he was, and how that affected our family so much,” Sutton said.

The Kenyan bishop “immediately stopped talking about it as an issue in the abstract,” Sutton continued. “He asked about that young man, and he asked about our prayers for him, and he wanted the best for him. And he began to tell other stories in his own extended family, where some other person was gay and how they were shunned, and it brought some tears to his eyes.”

Sutton said he found the most hope in such conversations centering on “real stories about real human beings.”

That happened for the most part in the Lambeth Calls session, when bishops turned their attention to topics like “Safe Church” practices, discipleship, ecumenical and interfaith relations, the environment and sustainable development.

On Aug. 6, ENS spoke with Bishop Peter Yuol of the Diocese of Tonj, who said he was pleased this Lambeth Conference has addressed such a wide range of issues. His diocese struggles with poverty, illiteracy, violent crimes and government inaction, and the communities he serves also face devastating cycles of flooding and drought. “Last year it never rained, and now people are really suffering,” he said.

He signed the Global South Fellowship’s document reaffirming the 1998 resolution against same-sex marriage because he said it is an important issue for bishops attending the Lambeth Conference. But, he said, the topic is rarely raised by the people back in South Sudan, where same-sex sexual activity is prohibited by law.

Read ENS coverage of the state of same-sex marriage and the legality of same-sex attraction across countries represented in the Anglican Communion.

New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld got to know another bishop from South Sudan through their discussion group. The South Sudan bishop’s conservative view on human sexuality was not a pressing topic in their conversations, Hirschfeld told ENS.

“The world is on fire, and this issue just seems to be a nefarious distraction in the real work of Jesus, of bringing healing and reconciliation,” Hirschfeld said. “And that’s heartbreaking.”

In South Sudan, the church is actively engaged with worldly issues, according to Yuol, the bishop who spoke to ENS. He and other Anglicans in the Diocese of Tonj have joined public campaigns to raise awareness locally on issues like climate change and public health precautions during the pandemic. He also mentioned that the South Sudan Council of Churches has tried to launch a peace and conflict resolution initiative to deal with the high number of murders in the country. He is grateful for the support of fellow Anglican bishops around the world.

“If Anglicans can do something, I would be very much happy,” he said.

Loya, the Minnesota bishop, remained hopeful that divisions between provinces will not prevail.

“The Anglican Communion has always been somewhat messy and complicated, and my sense is that’s not going to change anytime soon,” he said. “But what we’ve also learned and talked about here over and over is ultimately this is God’s church, and ultimately the mission of the church is driven by the power and love of God and does not depend on any of us getting it right together.”

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.

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The Story of Lambeth’s separated S/S Spouses

Looking back on the arrangements for the accommodation of Bishops at the current Lambeth Conference 2022, at the campus of Jent University in Canterbury, U.K., there seems to have been no thought for the spouses of Same-Sex married bishops, who were excluded from most of the events laid on for spouses of the other bishops.

Apparently, this was at the express wish of the Archbishops of Canterbury who, at the last moment in the Conference planning, decided to invite S/S/ Partnered Bishops – but not their spouses. As far as his intention to do as little as possible to upset the G.S. opposition to S/S/ Marriage; this disregard for the family life of the S/S partnered bishops was, perhaps, an unfortunate decision.

Nevertheless, some of the neglected spouses who travelled to the Conference were happy to be there – inconvenient though their self-arranged accommodation was for some of them – and glad to be able to meet up with other spouses when this was made possible. It was good to hear the thoughts of T.E.C. Bishop Mary Glasspool and her partner of 34 years – Dr. Becki Sander, of their experiences at Lambeth:

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Q&A: Bishop Mary Glasspool and spouse Becki Sander share what it’s like as a same-sex couple at Lambeth


BY EGAN MILLARD – E,N.S

Bishop Mary Glasspool talks with her spouse, Becki Sander, during a break in the House of Bishops meeting in September 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service – Canterbury, England] The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool made history when she was elected suffragan bishop of Los Angeles in 2009, becoming the second openly gay – and first lesbian – bishop in the Anglican Communion.

At this year’s Lambeth Conference, now assistant bishop in the Diocese of New York, she is making history again, along with her spouse, Becki Sander. Glasspool is among the first few openly LGBTQ+ bishops to attend the conference, though their spouses were not invited. Glasspool and Sander, a professor of social work, have been together for 34 years.

Their relationship – along with those of several other bishops – has taken on added significance at this conference, where bishops opposed to same-sex marriage have said they will not receive Communion with them.

Glasspool and Sander talked to Episcopal News Service about the strange contradictions they’ve experienced here in Canterbury, from the politics of sleeping arrangements to the kinship Sander has experienced with the other “Mauve Spouses” – as they call themselves – of LGBTQ+ bishops. This interview has been edited for concision and clarity.

ENS: What does it feel like to be here?

Glasspool: It feels OK. I think I feel stable. I think I’d be inconsolable if Becki weren’t here with me. I asked her to come even though she wasn’t invited. So all along, we’ve known that I was going to Lambeth and Becki’s coming to England. And the housing thing was difficult because it brought out the true colors again.

It was very disconcerting the first 24 to 48 hours, in large part because we had to find a place for Becki to stay. And when we finally secured a room, it was a mile and a half across campus. The Lambeth Conference made, I think, a Faustian deal with somebody that the spouses of LGBTQ bishops who were explicitly not invited – we’re not going to be sleeping in the same room. It’s third-grade. It’s not a very mature outlook on things.

ENS: What did you make of the inclusion of language rejecting same-sex marriage in the first draft of the call on human dignity?

Glasspool: When the [draft] calls came out, eight days before the first day of the meeting, that was an upset. Part of the upset was when you had these working groups who did these drafts, how did this get in without the working group who drafted the thing on human dignity not know about it?

The Lambeth Conference was never a legislative conference. And we’ve been through the Windsor Report, we’ve tried on the Anglican Covenant, and those things … didn’t go anywhere. And there are elements in other calls that are trying to impose a structure that doesn’t exist. The Anglican Communion has never been anything but a loosely knit fellowship of churches identified either by their nation or their ethnicity. And that means that the language we speak is the language of human relationship. We make connections. We network. … The Lambeth Conference is about praying together, listening together, walking together, talking together.

And you know what? I pray for [Archbishop of Canterbury] Justin Welby every day. I mean, this is a huge thing. It’s a tough job.

ENS: Some of the conservative bishops have said that they will refuse to receive Communion with you. How does that feel?

Glasspool: That’s already happened. I noticed it [on July 28], before the press release ever came out. I just noticed [them sitting during the Eucharist].

ENS: Did you think it had something to do with your presence there?

Glasspool: I had my strong suspicions. When talking with friends later, I was kind of admonished – this is what many of us do. Don’t make any assumptions, because you’ll go and [tell] stories that aren’t true. So I tried to stay open. It feels so bad – when anyone for any reason is not receiving Communion, that feels bad! That’s not who we are as the church. We’re trying to express our oneness in Christ.

Sacramentally, they’re excluding themselves. I’m there! I’m receiving Communion! They’re casting themselves out, and that’s what’s sad.

ENS: Becki, what is it like to be here as a bishop’s spouse but be excluded from the official spouses’ events?

Sander: I’m not in pain over not being in a photo. What I am in pain about is the incredible opportunity [being missed]. I heard from straight spouses yesterday; their first small group experience in the morning blew them away, the depth, the realness with people they’ll never meet again. That made me sad because I would have loved to have that experience.

ENS: Have you been able to connect with the other spouses?

Sander: Yes! It’s fabulous. All of a sudden, all these [straight] spouses want to meet us, have tea with us, have lunch with us. I’m meeting with Tom [Bishop Thomas Brown’s husband] and Susan [Bishop Bonnie Perry’s wife] here, because we don’t know what to do, which is exactly the point. That’s what I would have done if I was here and invited!

You know what I would love the most? I would authentically love to talk to spouses who don’t feel I should be married to Mary, because I haven’t heard that. I mean, I’ve been segregated in my world. This is an opportunity.

Becki Sander’s Lambeth Conference badge. Photo: Egan Millard/Episcopal News Service

Somebody who disagrees … or believes in [1998 Lambeth Resolution] 1.10, that’s who I would love to connect with, because I need to hear that. I need to hear where it comes from.

ENS: Why does it say “None” above your name on your badge, where other people have titles?

Sander: Well, that’s a funny story. I didn’t know it said “None.” I have vision issues. [When I was registering,] it was just an online form and I’m whipping through to register as an observer and it said, “Title,” and I just put “none.” Did I think they were going to print it? No! I mean, the options were Ms., Mrs., and I am a doctor, so I could be Dr. Becki Sander, and I’m like, no.

ENS: Does it ever feel like you’re under the spotlight here?

Sander: No. I do feel a little naive. And I don’t want to miss an opportunity to bear witness. Should I have been more prepared? Should I have done more homework? And Mary is great at that with me. She says, “Be you. You just be you.”

I was hoping maybe it wouldn’t be [focused on sexuality]. [We need] to turn towards the larger, more critical issues. Where’s poverty, racism, climate change, war?

– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at emillard@episcopalchurch.org.

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Black, Gay and Queer – a Moving Testimony

In an environment (the Lambeth Conference) where Anglican Bishops from around the world are gathered to pray, listen, and discuss the future path of Anglicans in very different contexts of understanding about issues of human gender/sexuality – it is refreshing to hear the testimony of a black (Gay) Christian priest, who is not afraid (at least, in the U.K.) to enunciate his own experience of institutional homophobia and racism, both in society and in the Church which he serves as an agent of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; whose own ‘liberality’ led to his crucifixion, death and saving resurrection.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Embodying Lambeth: Homophobia, Hope and Honesty

Posted on August 2, 2022 by Helen King

by Fr Jarel Robinson-Brown, Co-Chair of OneBody OneFaith and Visiting Scholar at Sarum College, Salisbury

‘To encounter oneself is to encounter the other: and this is love. If I know that my soul trembles, I know that yours does, too: and if I can respect this, both of us can live. Neither of us, truly, can live without the other…’

– James Baldwin, The Devil Finds Work, 1975

It would be fair to say that I have been wrestling recently, quite deeply, with what place hope should have in my life. Not just as a Christian, but as a priest – I’ve wondered whether hope is all it is made out to be, and whether hope (real hope) is even possible as someone who exists in a body whose skin invites violence and micro-aggression and whose sexuality endures inequality, oppression and injustice. For years, as someone Black, Gay and Christian I have wrestled with what part of me really ‘came first’ in that list of identity that I carry not by choice, but because the world is a place where labels, compartments, boxes exist. And they exist, on the whole, to make those who do not carry them – feel safe.

One thing people often say in relation to my recent book is that a shorter title would have been better. But ‘Black, Gay, British, Christian, Queer’ defines those of us who live at the intersection of race, religion, sexuality and culture. As I wrote: ‘as Black Queer Christians  … we feel pressurized to choose at times between our Blackness and our Queerness, our Britishness and our African-ness, our religion and our desire, our life partner and our families, our bodies and our souls…To some we are no longer Black, to others we are no longer Christian. We live then faced with an impossible ultimatum between ‘life’ and life – to live as we are expected to live, to live in the freedom that is ours but will cost us nothing short of absolutely everything to inhabit’ (p.24).

So to return to hope, I still remain uncertain as to what place hope should have in my life – and I went to the Lambeth Conference fairly hopeless but left with more hope than I imagined possible. Getting on the train to Canterbury, I was already apprehensive – the 15 year-old child sat in tears around the family dining table defending his right to exist was back…, “this is just who I am” in the face of “you can’t be Gay and Christian, the Bible says it’s wrong”. Standing in the truth of who I am does and has cost me much, not least my relationship with my father and other family members – but when the only options before you are staying in the closet and death (and both are the same thing I think) the choice was clear.

By the time I arrived in Canterbury a statement had been released by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches which stated that they would table their own call to re-affirm Lambeth resolution I.10 as the “Anglican Communion’s ‘official teaching’ on marriage and sexuality” and to impose sanctions on Provinces which ordain bishops in same-sex relationships and conduct same-sex weddings. Rather than receive communion alongside such bishops, they announced that they would stay seated, as one of “a number of ‘visual differentials’”.

It was of course, like stepping into the lion’s den. Seeing those who had decided that receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist alongside people like me was impossible. My black body stood at an LGBT+ stall was clearly quite confusing to some of my brothers and sisters from other parts of the world. To embody an “issue” in the skin of those who are most vocal against it was an interesting experience.

At the forefront of my mind was the reality that I am one among many whose ancestors did not leave Africa willingly, but who were taken from their homes to far off lands. Whilst I am a citizen of the UK and Jamaica, I am also an African Gay man, and a Christian. Sometimes I wonder what my life would look like if we were never taken – what language would I speak, what clothes would I wear, what God would I know. This sense of unknowing is powerfully articulated by Cole Arthur Riley in her work ‘This Here Flesh’:

‘I do not know from where my ancestors were abducted. I cannot tell you what the air smells like there. I don’t know what sound the waves and soil speak. These things were stolen from me as they were from them. I think it is one of the deepest evils to become a thief of place, to make someone a stranger to their home, and then mark their relationship to the land by bondage instead of love.’ (p.22)

Although at times the space at the Lambeth Conference felt occasionally hostile rather than violent, I was surprised by the deep, warm and meaningful encounters I had with Bishops and those invited spouses who were willing to engage – even inviting me to their countries to engage in dialogue around LGBTQ+ lives. It would take more courage than I perhaps have to go to countries where homosexuality is still illegal, but then I already do so whenever I go to Jamaica.

It seems to me that not enough attention has been paid to cultural aspects of this dialogue. There is, for example, a huge issue with seeing Africa as one homogenous anti-gay continent. Southern Africa is not Nigeria, Ghana is not Swaziland and Brazil, also part of the ‘Global South’, is extremely LGBT+ affirming. It is claimed that homophobia in Africa is pervasive, indigenous, deep rooted and normative, when in fact it functions on many levels: Political, Cultural, Theological.

In his work ‘Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality’ Dr Rahul Rao notes:

‘As countless media reports purporting to analyse attitudes towards sexuality inform us, ‘homophobia is rife in Africa’. Contrasted with the queer freedoms of the West, such discursive constructions of Africa produce what Jasbir Puar has described as ‘homonationalism’ – an assemblage in which LGBT rights have come to be mobilised as new markers for an old divide between the civilised and the savage.’ (p.33)

What this construction of Africa does is locate homophobia in Africa in such a way that removes agency from Africans to define their attitudes themselves rather than having them instrumentalised and manipulated by outside factors. Rahul Rao also names ‘homoromanticism’, a view which sees African people as blameless pawns caught up in a white, western culture war into which Africa has been dragged. Like ‘homoromanticism’, ‘homonationalism’ removes African agency to tell the story of indigenous queer identities and anti-queer attitudes from within the African cultural context.

Rahul Rao also reminds us that postcolonial critique needs to go beyond simply reminding us of the enduring legacies of colonialism. Formerly colonised states have become colonial in their own right, and “the project of decoloniality might itself become a vehicle for the politicisation of ‘homophobia’”, as happened at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, when conservative evangelical American Anglicans capitalised on the demographic strength and financial weakness of the African Churches when weaponizing homophobia.

For me, the very notion of a distinctly ‘African’ homophobia is essentially an orientalist narrative setting up Africa as the antithesis of Europe. The positions taken by many African clergy at the Lambeth Conference are driven by anxieties from the global south related to the preservation of culture, of customs, the notion of the family against the perceived and real threat of Global North hegemony. Nor is the UK the haven of equality and justice which the binary narrative claims – as my experience in this black queer body within and without the Church in Great Britain shows.

What struck my black body most starkly whilst being present at the Lambeth Conference was that all, literally all, of our LGBTQ+ material and literature was in English. We understand ourselves as the centre of a universe which is so much more diverse than even we, who are wanting the Church to be more diverse, realise. Few know much about the cultures of Kenya or Sudan as well as other parts of the Global South, and so much of our queer theology and scholarship is shaped by our Eurocentric categories which neglect non-western epistemologies, conceptual and intellectual frameworks. When we commend LGBTQ+ justice and equality we do so not only across a theological divide but a cultural and linguistic divide. For a Bishop from along the Nile whose diocese is not even 10 years old, whose people suffer from floods and civil war, a conversation therapy booklet is baffling when his people have no access to good healthcare or the vaccine.

So am I hopeful? I don’t know. What I do know is that there is no hope that things will change so long we fail to encounter difference. The Lambeth Conference hasn’t met for 14 years: many of the Bishops who are there now were not Bishops when it last met: the world, in just the past two years, has totally changed. We need to hold our English bishops to serious account for their cowardice, whilst paying careful attention to the dialogue around other parts of the Communion. There is, at the heart of this, just so much fear – perhaps what drives this fear is the reality that a Church which becomes more inclusive is fundamentally one which is more honest…more honest about the world God has made, and the people that make up that world – and maybe the illusion that God’s world is straightforwardly heterosexual is finally crumbling. But without encounter of the ‘other’, each of our worlds become smaller, less real, less true – whatever the future holds if it is a future shaped by God, and of course it is – it will be made up of all of God’s people. And a Church which is honest about the world is a Church which can attractively proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ whose love knows no bounds.

‘…There is no promised land without a multitude. You think you can get there alone, and maybe, by some rare chance you do. But what will become of the promise when it is collapsed by loneliness? Who is going to drink all that milk and honey with you? Look down in the cool, running stream. You cannot see yourself.’

– Cole Arthur Riley, This Here Flesh, 2022

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HOPE for ‘Unity in Diversity’ at Lambeth Conference

This posting from the Lambeth Conference gives compelling evidence of the possibility of ‘Unity in Diversity’ on matters of marriage and human relationships that are still at issue within different parts of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Michael Curry the Primate of the U.S. Episcopal Church, gives his view of how the world’s Anglican Bishops were able to discuss these matters without rancour – a sign of their willingness to co-exist, despite different contextual circumstances, with different civil legal jurisdictions in place.

Message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Lambeth Call on human dignity

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Message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Lambeth Call on human dignity

Message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on Lambeth Call on human dignity

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Lambeth Bishops who affirm LGBTQI people

Below are listed the names of Archbishops and Bishops present at the Lambeth Conference who have jointly made a Statement to ‘Affirm and Celebrate LGBT+ people’. This may be understood in the light of the context of their various ecclesiastical jurisdictions, where national governments have, mostly, made provision for the legal celebration of Same-Sex Marriage, and no longer subject their LGBTQ+ citizens to criminal prosecution.

This statement was made at the conference after it was made clear that there could be no system of sanctions placed on any of the Communion Churches whose own contextual situation now differs from that of the earlier Lambeth ‘1:10 Resolution’; which cannot be considered as ‘binding’ on any province of the Communion where homosexuality is no longer considered to be a crime, and where pastoral provisions have been, or are being made for those whose gender/sexuality status is different from the binary ‘norm’.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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STATEMENT FROM ANGLICAN BISHOPS AND PRIMATES WHO ARE KEEN TO AFFIRM AND CELEBRATE LGBT+ PEOPLE

Embargoed till 1800 BST on August 2nd 2002

“So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and
also members of the household of God.” – Ephesians 2:19 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” –

John 13:34
God is Love! This love revealed by Jesus, described in the Scriptures and proclaimed by the
Church, is Good News for all – without exception. That is why we believe that LGBT+ people are a
precious part of God’s creation – for each of us is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14),
and all are equally loved.

We recognise that many LGBT+ people have historically been wounded by the Church and
particularly hurt by the events of the last few weeks. We wish to affirm the holiness of their love
wherever it is found in committed relationships. We therefore commit to working with our siblings across the Communion to listen to their stories and understand their contexts, which vary greatly.

However, we will never shy away from tackling discrimination and prejudice against those of differing sexualities and gender identities. Together, we will speak healing and hope to our broken world and look forward to the day when all may feel truly welcomed, valued and affirmed.

Signed by bishops from across the Anglican Communion including:

Most Revd Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Most Revd Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States
Most Revd Naudal Alves Gomes, Archbishop of Brazil
Most Revd Linda Nicholls, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada
Most Revd Andy Johns, Archbishop of Wales
The Most Rev’d Don Tamihere Bishop of Tairawhiti / Bishop of Aotearoa /
Archbishop and Primate of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia

The Most Rev Philip Richardson Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki Aotearoa, New Zealand
and Polynesia
The Rt Rev’d Ross Bay Auckland Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

The Most Reverend Kay Goldsworthy AO, Archbishop of Perth Australia
The Rt Revd Dr Peter Stuart Newcastle (Australia) Australia
The Rt Revd Jeremy Greaves Bishop for the Northern Region, diocese of Brisbane AustraliaThe Rt Revd John Roundhill Southern region, diocese of Brisbane Australia
The Rt Revd Charlie Murry Newcastle — Coastal episcopate Australia
The Rt Revd Denise Ferguson Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Adelaide SA Australia
The Rt Revd Dr Murray Harvey Grafton Australia
The Rt Revd Sonia Roulston Asst Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, (Australia)

The Rt Revd Eduardo Coelho Grillo, Diocese of Rio de Janeiro Brazil

The Rt Revd Francisco Cézar Fernandes Alves Diocese Anglicana de São Paulo-IEAB Brazil
The Rt Revd Francisco Silva Southwest Diocese, Brazil
The Rt Revd João Cancio Peixoto Filho, Diocese Anglicana do Recife Brazil

The Rt Revd Magda Guedes Pereira Igreja, Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil- Diocese
Anglicana do Paraná, Brazil

The Rt Revd Marinez Rosa dos Santos Bassotto, Diocese Anglicana da Amazônia Brazil
The Rt Revd Maurício Andrade Diocese of Brasília, Brazil
The Rt Revd Meriglei Borges Silva Simim, Diocese Anglicana de Pelotas Brazil

The Most Rev. Anne Germond The Diocese of Algoma; The Diocese of Moosonee, Canada

The Most Rev. Dr. Lynne McNaughton, British Columbia Yukon Canada
The Rt Revd Andrew Asbil Anglican Diocese of Toronto Canada
The Rt Revd Bruce Myers Quebec Canada
The Rt Revd John Stephens New Westminster Canada
The Rt Revd John Watton, Diocese of Central Newfoundland Canada
The Rt Revd Kevin Robertson Suffragan Bishop, Diocese of Toronto Canada

The Rt Revd Lesley Wheeler-Dame, Diocese of Yukon Canada
The Rt Revd Mary Irwin-Gibson Montreal Canada
The Rt Revd Michael Douglas Oulton, Ontario Canada
The Rt Revd Nigel Shaw Anglican Military Ordinariate of Canada, Canada
The Rt Revd Riscylla Shaw Suffragan, Diocese of Toronto Canada
The Rt Revd Sam Rose Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
The Rt Revd Sandra Fyfe Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Canada
The Rt Revd Shane Parker Bishop of the Diocese of Ottawa Canada
The Rt Revd Stephen London Edmonton Canada
The Rt Revd Susan J.A. Bell Diocese of Niagara Canada
The Rt Revd Todd Townshend Huron Canada
The Rt Revd William G. Cliff Diocese of Brandon Canada
The Rt Revd David Hamid Diocese in Europe England
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson Oxford (Buckingham) England
The Rt Revd Dr Paul Colton Cork, Cloyne and Rosd, Ireland
The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, Tuam, Limerick and Killaloe Ireland
The Rt Revd Julio Cesar Martin Southeast Mexico
The Rt Revd Ian Paton St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane Scotland

Bishop-Elect Jeffrey W. Mello Episcopal Church in Connecticut USA
The Rt Revd A. Robert Hirschfeld, New Hampshire USA
The Rt Revd Audrey C Scanlan Central Pennsylvania USA
The Rt Revd Betsey Monnot Iowa USA
The Rt Revd Brian L. Cole East Tennessee USA
The Rt Revd Craig Loya Minnesota USA
The Rt Revd Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez, Pennsylvania USA
The Rt Revd Deon K. Johnson Missouri, USA
The Rt Revd Diana Akiyama, Bishop of Oregon, Oregon, USA

The Rt Revd Dr Shannon MacVean-Brown, Diocese of Vermont USA

The Rt Revd Dr. Bonnie A. Perry, Diocese of Michigan, The Episcopal Church USA

The Rt Revd Dr. DeDe Duncan-Probe, Central New York USA

The Rt Revd Dr. Jonathan H. Folts, South Dakota USA

The Rt Revd Dr. Marc Handley Andrus, Diocese of California USA

The Rt Revd Eugene Taylor Sutton, Maryland USA
The Rt Revd Frank Logue Diocese of Georgia USA
The Rt Revd Gayle Elizabeth Harris, Massachusetts USA
The Rt Revd Glenda Curry Alabama USA
The Rt Revd Gretchen Rehberg Spokane USA
The Rt Revd J Scott Barker Nebraska USA
The Rt Revd J Scott Mayer Northwest Texas USA
The Rt Revd Jacob W. Owensby Western Louisiana USA
The Rt Revd Jennifer A. Reddall Arizona USA
The Rt Revd Jennifer Baskerville-Burrow, Indianapolis USA
The Rt Revd John Harvey Taylor Los Angeles USA
The Rt Revd José McLoughlin Western North Carolina USA
The Rt Revd Kathryn M Ryan, Bishop Suffragan, Texas USA
The Rt Revd Kevin D. Nichols Bethlehem USA
The Rt Revd Kym Lucas Colorado USA
The Rt Revd Lucinda Ashby El Camino Real USA
The Rt Revd Mariann Edgar Budde, Episcopal Diocese of Washington USA

The Rt Revd Mark D. W. Edington, The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in
Europe (USA)
The Rt Revd Marty Stebbins Montana USA
The Rt Revd Mary D. Glasspool New York USA
The Rt Revd Megan McClure Traquair, Episcopal Diocese of Northern California USA
The Rt Revd Patrick Bell Eastern Oregon USA
The Rt Revd Phoebe Roaf West Tennessee USA

The Rt Revd Poulson Reed Oklahoma USA
The Rt Revd Prince Grenville Singh Ph.D. Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western
Michigan, USA
The Rt Revd Rob Skirving East Carolina USA

The Rt Revd Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, Diocese of South Carolina USA
The Rt Revd Samuel Rodman North Carolina USA
The Rt Revd Sean Rowe Northwestern Pennsylvania & Western New York USA
The Rt Revd Susan B. Haynes Southern Virginia USA
The Rt Revd Susan Brown Snook, San Diego USA

The Rt Revd Thomas James Brown, Maine USA
The Rt Revd Cherry Vann Monmouth Wales
The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron St Asaph, Wales

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Lambeth signals desire for ‘Unity in Diversity’

With yesterday’s unspoken indication of the possibility of Anglican Communion Provincial Churches being able to live together in unity – despite their different understandings of the implication of marriage and Human sexuality – this report from the Episcopal News Service (T.E.C.) gives an overview of what has taken place in discussions about Human Dignity in the life of the Communion:

__________________________________________________________________


Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks on human dignity lift up traditional and progressive marriage beliefs
By David Paulsen
Bishops were moved by the words of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who sought to bring the bishops closer together by affirming the sincerity and theological rigor of Anglicans on both sides of the divide over human sexuality and the extent of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church.


With Lambeth Call on Reconciliation, bishops agree to foster restorative justice in their churches
By Egan Millard
The call specifically cites The Episcopal Church’s antiracism work as an example for other provinces to follow.


A snapshot of the first female bishop to preach at the opening service of the Lambeth Conference
By ENS Staff
The third woman to become a bishop in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Rt. Rev. Vicentia Refiloe Kgabe has had a long journey to the pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral.

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