Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Anglican update

So what is going on with the Anglican Commuion? Amy Welborn asked, and got this answer:

The over-arching thing is the coming Lambeth Conference in 2008. Every ten years all Anglican bishops the world over gather in England for this; it lasts about five weeks, I think. Invitations from the Abp of Canterbury go out shortly. The "Global South" churches -- places like Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, the Southern Cone of South America -- are threatening to run a rump conference in Africa if the pro-gay USA and Canadian churches are not disciplined, and they're adamant that the gay bishop must not be invited. If that rump Lambeth Conference is held the Anglican Communion will be over.

Meanwhile, next month there is a meeting of Anglican primates which has been called months ago to discuss the issues raised by the "Windsor Report" (dealing with the gay issue, sexuality in general and how teachings on these subjects should be approached by the inter-related provinces of the Communion) and the USA and Canadian response to the Windsor Report.

The primates' meeting is the immediate crisis. The Global South Bishops are outraged at what they see as the inadequate North American response to Windsor. The North American bishops are offended that certain other provinces (Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda) are actually planting jurisdictions in North America, accepting oversight of formerly Episcopal congregations and even consecrating bishops for North America. And the powerful Archbishop of Nigeria (19 million Anglicans) and others are now saying that they will not sit down at the meeting with Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, if she comes -- not because she is a woman, but because of her heterodox views. These Global South folks are strongly Evangelical Anglicans, and Mrs Schori seems to find regarding Jesus as the one Way to the Father excessively limiting.

Then there's England. The Global South is enraged that the Church of England is permitting its gay clergy to enter into civil partnerships (officially it expects these to be celibate unions). The Anglo-Catholic "Forward in Faith," a powerful organization, is lobbying for its own English province with orthodox bishops; now Evengelicals have told the Archbishop that they want to be free to avoid dealing with heterodox bishops and are threatening to leave. The Archbp of Nigeria has said that he believes Canterbury and the CofE should be disciplined for tolerating heresy.

Meanwhile, parishes all over the United States have been announcing their withdrawal from the Episcopal Church. They then seek oversight from a foreign bishop or one of the new American bishops the foreign bodies consecrated. The Episcopal Church Center in NYC is therefore coordinating a concerted legal strategy with the various dioceses aimed at squelching the secessionists with litigation to prevent them from taking their property.

And the Archbp of Canterbury said publicly last week that he feared he was losing control of the Communion. A website with a wealth of info on this is Virtue Online,

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