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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Primates Communique

The Primates have issued their communique and it is stronger than I had expected due to the news trickling out of Tanzania. It only goes to show that we wait and let those who make the decisions speak before too much speculation. "Assume" does a number of things and one is not very glamourous!

There is a lot to hope for in the communique but as one phrase said in it, there will have to be good will exercised for it to be accomplished in the situation that is currently in the American church. A lot of mistrust will need to be overcome. The track record of the American church signing things and doing the exact opposite does not leave many there hopeful for a real solution in the near future. This point brings me to critique some of the American culture that demands immediacy in everything it does. The worldview that built the cathedrals of England--particularly my cathedral here in Durham England--is absent from many. Those who laboured on the cathedral knew that they would not see it completed or never experience a worship service within it. They did not labour for themselves but the future Church which would follow them. We have been enjoying the beauty of the building for nearly 1,000 years! It is this view that I would encourage all of us to consider when we put our hand to the plow in God's kingdom. We labour not knowing if we will ever see the final results or any at all. Yet, we go on working for the coming of God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. That means, things will not happen in our time but in God's. We are merely called to be faithful and God will work the details out for himself. When we place our heads on our pillows each night to rest, we might not feel we saw any fruit from our labours, but it is another day where another stone was placed on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ there as the cornerstone.

Now it is time for me to go work on the stone God has given for me to lay today for his kingdom. Before I do, I leave you with the highlights of the communique which are nicely pointed out by those at Anglican Mainstream. The entire Communique can be found here at ACNS. Read it very slowly and very carefully! God bless! Iwould love to hear any of your thoughts.

Communique key points
The Archbishop of Canterbury said at the press conference that ‘the meat of our recommendations is paragraph 17. This reads “At the heart of our tensions is the belief that The Episcopal Church has departed from the standard of teaching on human sexuality accepted by the Communion in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 by consenting to the episcopal election of a candidate living in a committed same-sex relationship, and by permitting Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions. The episcopal ministry of a person living in a same-sex relationship is not acceptable to the majority of the Communion.”

The report of the sub-group has effectively been over-ridden. Para 23 reads “Further, some of us believe that Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention does not in fact give the assurances requested in the Windsor Report.” And Para 24 says, “The response of The Episcopal Church to the requests made at Dromantine has not persuaded this meeting that we are yet in a position to recognise that The Episcopal Church has mended its broken relationships.”

Deadlines
The Primates request through the presiding bishop that the house of Bishops of TEC:

1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the Bishops will not authorise any rite of blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through general Convention - see Windsor 143, 144 - and,
2. confirm that the passing of resolution B033 of the seventy-fifth general convention - means that a candidate for Episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent - see Windsor 134;
unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the communion - see Windsor para 134.

The Deadline for the answer is September 30th 2007.

“If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.”

On AMia and CANA
“Although there are particular difficulties associated with AMiA and CANA, the Pastoral Council should negotiate with them and the Primates currently ministering to them to find a place for them within these provisions. We believe that with goodwill this may be possible.”

Property
The Primates urge TEC and those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation. Bishop Martin Minns of CANA has said “I am pleased that the Anglican Communion leadership has recognised the serious break in the Episcopal Church and that CANA and AMiA are valid expressions of Anglican life and need to be part of the solution. The Primates are saying that all legal action should stop. I hope so. The Presiding Bishop initiated the legal actions and she has signed on to a document that says she will.”

The Communique is unanimous.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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