4/12/2006

Speaking of Regret...

It is time, in the spirit of the Windsor invitations to express regret, to ask if perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury, the President of the Anglican Consultative Council, and other ranking members of any of the instruments of communion in the Anglican Communion might express regret:

REGRET that the Archbishop of Nigeria has unilaterally, and without consultation with the Communion declared that the Church of Nigeria is no longer in communion with the Episcopal Church, and

REGRET that the Archbishop of Nigeria has initiated a plan, clearly contrary to the spirit of the Windsor Report ( par. 155) to provide an ecclesiastical structure in the United States for persons wishing to disassociate from the Episcopal Church but wishing to remain in a church related to the Anglican Communion, (the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA)), and

REGRET that the Archbishop of Nigeria has stated his clear support for the proposal of a national law in Nigeria that criminalizes homosexuality and any support of gay or lesbian persons, and

REGRET that no spokesperson for the Anglican Communion has publicly stated that it is the Church of Nigeria that has broken communion, initiated a new missionary ecclesiastical structure in an existing Province of the Anglican Communion and has supported new laws proposed in Nigeria and has made statements in the international community that denigrate and condemn gay and lesbian persons, their rights as persons and those who in any way speak in support of their rights, and

REGRET that no agent of the Anglican Communion has publicly criticized the Church of Nigeria for its actions.


Barring such statements of regret, perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the focus of unity, his spokespersons, and the spokespersons for the instruments of communion, might be invited to refrain from accusing the Episcopal Church of the desire to “walk apart.”

The Anglican Communion is already broken, a fact that seems to go mostly unstated. The issue is how to move forward from that fact to a future in which mutual forbearance and love might lead to renewed relations. Let it be noted that the Episcopal Church for all its failings, has not declared itself out of communion with any Province of the Anglican Communion, has not initiated new ecclesiastical structures in another Province, and has not spoken out publicly in support of law, custom or prejudice against gay and lesbian persons in the society and in the church and is trying to address the concerns of the Windsor Report in a responsible way.

12 comments:

  1. "the Archbishop of Nigeria has stated his clear support for the proposal of a national law in Nigeria that criminalizes homosexuality and any support of gay or lesbian persons"

    Homosexuality is already punishable in Nigeria by 14 years in jail.

    This new law, apparently instigated by the Anglican church in Nigeria, is about Freedom of Speech and Assembly, banning those for everybody who would advocate or support civil rights of any sort for homosexual persons in Nigeria.

    See this link for more information

    http://politicalspaghetti.blogspot.com/

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  2. Thank very much for this statement, Mark -- very much indeed!

    Could some bishop or someone who can get some attention from someone please echo these sentiments?

    It is getting rather tiresome constantly being the whipping boy for continually doing the right thing!

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  3. Beyond Reconciliation12/4/06 5:26 PM

    I want to second Prior Aelred's comment above. AMEN for speaing up and out. It's about time someone stepped up. The progressives in this church remind me of the Democrats in Congress today: Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil. Where are the Bishops of this Church and why aren't they raising hell about the way they are being treated???

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  4. Someone over at Jake's place (I forget who) commented basically that the more ++Williams is in office the bigger disappointment he becomes. Unfortunately, I'm tending to agree with that statment.

    Why is it TEC is having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt why we aren't evil, while the increasingly hateful speech and obvious disregard for other aspects of Windsor go with only the thinnest of glosses?

    Frustrating to be sure, but I have to believe that, in the end, honesty and compassion and inclusiveness will win out. As Paul said (sort of), "Kill 'em with kindness."

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  5. "Heap burning coals upon their heads..."

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  6. Mark, this is wonderful... The report that bears your name, however is making me face the question: Is this a church where I can stay. Only GC will tell. But I felt absolutely sucker-punched by this report and escpecially the resolutions attached.

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  7. MArk it amazed me immediately after general convention voted for gene robinson that the conservatives used grief as a weapon and the progressives were immobilized and unable to respond. since then, the word regret has become a sharp implement used against ecusa. I love the turning around of regret. somehow, grief is a weapon of curious power in the battle over the anglican communion. glad you have reclaimed it.

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  8. Excellent, Mark.

    I think you need to get this message out there somehow. It needs to be heard.

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  9. Neil said...

    "Mark, this is wonderful... The report that bears your name, however is making me face the question: Is this a church where I can stay. Only GC will tell. But I felt absolutely sucker-punched by this report and escpecially the resolutions attached."

    Neil...the report which came from a committee (first time I ever worked with a group of 12 to write someting) had the task of helping the General Convention think about the Windsor Report and about what needed response. It is NOT the answer to the requests, but a suggestion about a way forward.

    What it did not do is reject outright the Windsor Report or embrace fully its suggested way. Rather it promoted conversation where that was possible (for example with the Anglican Covenant idea), and suggested a response to the requests by the Episcopal Church that did not affirm moratoria or deny the hoped for caution.

    The issue before the commission was the possibility of an honest basis for communion while there were differences in the ways we lived out the Gospel. I think part of the requirements of honesty is that requests for regret involve us all in one way or another... the past, as Carl Sanburg suggested is a pile of S...

    At the same time, we live in a community in which many of our members are deeply hurt by being considered objects of discussion rather than companions in the Way. We desperately need to work at overcoming that false objectification.

    We are all companions in the Way and I hope you know that now, during and after General Convention, and always. Still...companions are not always able to be what we want and I hope you will in the charity that comes with Holy Week find that we are at least comapions at the foot of the Cross.

    I pray that we stay together there, if nowhere else.

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  10. Leonardo Ricardo14/4/06 6:22 PM

    I keep thinking (or intuitively knowing) that no matter what *they* do against TEC or what *they* say/do against LGBT people in Nigeria or anywhere else, it is *they* who are "walking" and "falling" apart.

    They seem to me to be "falling away" from everyday reality and drifting away from the basic and decent Christian value of love and hospitality for our neighbor as ourselves (for starters).

    I believe *they* know they can't keep a control/lid on the LGBT REALITY as it REALLY is (as opposed to what their denial or dirty minded scenarios make real for them...the one-way "ick" factor of theirs that doesn't allow them to see LGBT as we brothers and sisters and fellow human beings as we REALLY are).

    Nope, no "listening" is possible while *they* are screaming, shunning, shameing, denouncing and threatening the rest us with their selective Scriptural readings that "cover" the fidgiting sensibilities in a temporary way to keep them from flipping out entirely.

    Feardriven anger is pushing *them* over the "line" and away from emotional stability...and that is something that I see and regret even though I always knew *they" would have a hard time facing REAL and truth. I did too but I grew up and got over it...maybe some of *them* will too.

    I'm not certain our church "leadership" knows what to do with a mass departure from emotional stability/sanity as *they* are pushed from the safety of "pretend" into the real world where God demands personal responsibility/integrity and truth.

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  11. Akinola has nothing to do with the crisis the Anglican Communion is facing worldwide. He is a convenient target though, taking our attention from the real issue.

    It is views like yours which drives the Anglican Church to what she is today.

    Make no mistakes about that.

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  12. I do wonder, Mark, whether you really believe that it is in the best interests of the evangelicals and the conservative anglo-catholics to remain in the Episcopal Church, and not join up with other Anglican provinces such as Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Southern Cone, etc. (canons and claims of loyalty placed aside)? Do you really imagine that the Episcopal Church will make a good home for evangelical and other traditionalist churches as it continues to evolve into what it wishes to be? And if this institution cannot serve the needs and interests of these local churches, should these churches not be free to pursue other options, especially if they are willing to turn over their property?

    I find it odd to think that the claims and interests of The Episcopal Church outweigh the claims and interests of individual local churches. As far as I can tell, there is no church but the local church: this is where the sacraments are distributed and the gospel is proclaimed. It seems to me that The Episcopal Church should exist to serve the local church, and not the other way around. If they cannot or will not (and many of these churches have found DEPO, thrust upon them as a take-it-or-leave-it option, grossly insufficient), perhaps the effort of Akinola et al. should be welcomed rather than condemned.

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