Anglicans Lack Structures to Resolve Gay Row, says Prelate - Christianity Today

Christianity Today
A conservative prelate said that the 77-million member Anglican Communion does not have the structures needed to overcome the current split over homosexuality.

The Most Rev Greg Venables, Archbishop of the Southern Cone of America, is in Nairobi, Kenya, where he will join a controversial ceremony on Thursday to consecrate two conservative US clerics as bishops.

He told journalists, “There are no official structures to resolve things, so part of the major struggle we are going through is to work out how we actually resolve a conflict of this nature.”

Although the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is the acknowledged spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, he lacks the absolute power to command over the Communion’s 38 provinces, which each have their own authorities.

Dr Williams has struggled to find a peaceful common ground between conservatives and liberals who remain at war over homosexuality since the 2003 consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire by the US Episcopal Church.

A number of dioceses in the US Episcopal Church have accepted oversight from Anglican Churches in Africa because they no longer feel able to accept the US Church’s pro-homosexual stance.

The Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev Benjamin Nzimbi, will consecrate the Rev Canon Bill Atwood and the Rev Bill Murdoch as Suffragan Bishops of All Saints Cathedral Nairobi to take pastoral care of congregations and clergy in the US under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

The US Episcopal Church remains opposed to the consecration of Americans by Africans.

Murdoch, who is rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Massachusetts, told journalists, “This is a missionary action brought to this point by four years of frustration,” Murdoch told the news conference.

“When America and Great Britain send missionaries to Africa it is missionary work, but when Africans send missionaries to the United States, it is boundary crossing.”

Archbishop Nzimbi also defended the consecrations, telling Reuters news agency on Monday, “We are not invading other people’s territory as such but preaching the gospel, the way it was brought to us, the way it is written.”

He added that schism in the Communion could be averted if liberal churches repented. “The way we can have one understanding is through repentance, that is the key word.”

4 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Father Ron Smith Says:

    Yet another attempt to high-jack the world-wide Anglican Communion has been the preferment of Messrs: Atwood and Murdoch into the newly-emerging ‘Church of the Global South’. One would think that, as stated by the Archbhop of Kenya - each Province of the Anglican Church being an Island unto itself - it should be content to employ its newly-made ‘bishops’ in its own provinces without trespassing into the polity of other legally-constituted Anglican Provinces.

    To have ignored +++Canterbury’s plea (after all, Archbishop Rowan Williams is still considered to be ‘Primus inter pares’ by most orthodox Anglicans) not to ordain clergy/bishops for other provinces without the explicit request of the duly-constituted authorities of those provinces, and going ahead as ++ Nzimbi has done, is to have departed wilfully from the express wish of the Primates gathering in Tanzania.

    Surely it is then hypocritical of the Global South Primates to criticise the ECUSA Bishops of failing to respond to other directives issued by that same gathering?

    I hope that the Gospel imperative which drives the rest of Anglicanism to focus on other issues that human sexuality will prevail against this self-serving and ambitious move to change the face and constitutional authority of our Church.

    I hope also that the Global South revisionists will not try to high-jack the venerable term ‘Anglican’ for their new ‘Church’. To do so would be to betray the long history of charity which the Anglican Communion has fought for.

    Now that the political agenda has been revealed in all its sad and ignoble struggle for power, we can only pray that the Holy Spirit will bring some order into the impending chaos. May God have mercy on us all!

  2. Brother Nicholas Says:

    As the direct descendant of seven saints this writer prays that ignorance, hatred, discrimination, and bigotry will someday be finally conquered in all places by our Blessed Lord and Saviour.  Jesus would not hate those born of any sexual orientation. Jesus surrounded Himself with men and loved them.

    This writer is a member of four HI IQ societies, attended thirteen post-secondary institutions, holds four degrees & multiple certificates and a license, and has LONG been a student of MANY disciplines, not only one or a few as is true of haters. Over many years he also developed an expertise in human sexuality and theology, and much beyond. He has long known that same sex attraction is biologically-determined before birth and that homosexuality and bi-sexuality has always existed. 

    Jonathan did love David and David loved Jonathan, in all ways. At one point he “exceeded himself” (in its original meaning, and even those words have now been altered.)  A small tribe of Jews had to increase birth rates, thus pig consumption, circumcision, prohibition of normal sexual attractions, and “be fruitful and multiply”, were necessary injunctions so as to increase births.

      Narrow-minded and single-perspective fundamentalism will destroy the Church from within.  Young people will have none of it and they are making that quite clear. Without the gray heads in the pews where would the Church be financially?

    Jesus the Christ loved the lepers of his day as he would love the “lepers” as defined by haters today. 

    Woe to Mother Church…some would lead you into the abyss of hate!

    To those who spread hatred, look to your own ignorance, seek education, and REPENT of your GREAT sins of exclusion. 

    I ask it in the name of The Father, The Holy Spirit, and the Lamb of God…in the Blessed and Holy Name of our only Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ.  Amen! 

    -Brother Nicholas 2007 August 31

  3. Steve Griffin Says:

    The fundamental territorial boundary crossing is that of ‘progressives’ because revision of apostolic doctrine in one member church is effectively revision for all, based on the principle that the local church is not only PART of the universal church, it IS the universal church.  Hence the ‘liturgical space’ of an orthodox presbyter in Manila has been invaded by the sheer existence of rites for same-sex blessings in Vancouver or Seattle or wherever.

    The only way I can see beyond the territorial disputes is to note that once Humpty Dumpty is in pieces the answer is not to consolidate power in some ‘centre’, whether that’s London or Nairobi or Kampala.  Grand, to-down, schemes are only going to be opposed by other ones, so that in our cyber age we’ll be drawn, sadly, to whichever abstract center has the coolest website.

    In all the confusion about the proper foundations of Anglican doctrine, if the Anglican way is to survive I imagine it will have to be in grass-roots and unsensational ways, as 5 or 6 here and there dust off their Prayer Books and re-discover the truth that the church, fundamentally, is the local gathering in Jesus’ name.  If Episcopal polity is going to be useful (as I think it should) it will have to emerge once again ‘from below’, locally, where (as J.H. Yoder put it) unity hits hardest.  Who knows, we may even have to build bridges with Mennonites, Quakers, Baptists, and all those ‘congregationalists’ too for the sake of the Gospel in the real and concrete territories that we inhabit. And it may only make it into the local news.

  4. Steve Griffin Says:

    Correction: in my last paragraph I meant to say ‘where DISunity hits hardest’.