Monday, October 13, 2008

Church Antics

October 13, 2008

Giles Fraser, our Kanuga speaker, has published a column in the Church Times reflecting on his experience with us and how The Episcopal Church is alive and well in parishes that are getting on with being the church and are not could up in what he calls the ‘ridiculous’ Pittsburgh secession. You can read it here:

I am wearied beyond belief by our church goings-on. We have a situation in which a bishop has been deposed by a significant majority of the house of bishops for clearly ‘abandoning the communion of this church’. Some have raised questions about the process and so the ‘legality’ of such deposition, while others have attempted to muddy the waters in other ways. Six bishops of the C of E have declared themselves ‘in communion’ with Bishop Duncan now a cross territorial bishop of the Southern Cone and the Archbishop of Canterbury has said nothing. He has been unwilling to support the Episcopal Church (especially after he forced Jeffrey John to withdraw nomination to be Bishop of Reading in 2003 following the advice of his conservative council (York, London, Winchester and Durham). And he has been unwilling to speak strongly against the kind of antics of Archbishop Venables and his ilk who are seeking to step into the vacuum created by Archbishop Williams’s silence. The Windsor Report tried to deal with ‘process’ without dealing with the underlying issue of homosexuality and so became (among other things) a kind of way for those of conservative instinct to hammer the Episcopal Church. Conservatives keep declaring that Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire is not the issue but the symptom of much deeper division in the church but can’t really say what those are. So the Anglican Communion as I have known and valued it is falling apart as rich Americans try and homosexual-hating Africans try and impose their will instead of figuring out how to live together.

I can live with the end of white Western hegemony but resist its being replaced buy some African or ‘global south’ alternative. I think it is time for the Episcopal Church –the one described by Giles Fraser in which people are bound by their fellowship in the gospel rather than by political allegiance or opinion against the affirmation of homosexuals-- to be about creating intentional international alliances within national churches and planting churches where such alliances cannot be found.

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