9/14/2007

Nigeria writes Canterbury: Put Lambeth off.

The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria has a suggestion for the Archbishop of Canterbury: Put off the Lambeth Conference. In "An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria meeting in Osogbo, Osun State," the bishops, after a number of paragraphs winding up for the pitch, said this:

"Postpone current plans for the Lambeth Conference (as has been done before).
This will:
Allow the current tensions to subside and leave room for the hard work of reconciliation that is a prerequisite for the fellowship we all desire.
Confirm that those invited to the Lambeth Conference have already endorsed the Anglican Covenant and so are able to come together as witnesses to our common faith."

The wind up for the pitch involved several convoluted arguments, the most interesting of which was a long section on the dangers faced by traditionalist Anglicans in attending the Lambeth Conference. They cited the following:

"
We are also concerned about the abuse directed towards those who hold to traditional views on matters of Human Sexuality. The spate of hostility in the UK is alarming.

We are all witnesses to:

  • The presence of placard carrying and leaflets distributing campaigners at the last Lambeth Conference distracting Bishops who travelled thousands of miles for fellowship. These protesters effectively shifted the focus of the conference to human sexuality - as if that was all that mattered.

  • The physical assaults against clergymen with opposing view, such as your predecessor attacked in his own Cathedral pulpit, and a Kenyan bishop assaulted by two people dressed as clergymen.

  • The occasion when your own General Synod was disrupted by protestors angry over the handling of the Canon Jeffery John issue.

  • Recent attempts to mandate unbiblical views in the UK through force of law and the protests and attacks by activists determined to disrupt and intimidate any group that seeks to uphold biblical teaching.

In truth anyone who does not embrace revisionist views is a potential target. We know it is possible to provide some security to minimize such occurrences but is the additional cost justifiable? Would the resultant atmosphere of fear and uncertainty be conducive to the goals of such a large gathering of bishops?"


So the bishops feel Lambeth will be dangerous for them. Odd, since by all accounts they saw the last Lambeth Conference as a remarkable success for their position and some of them went to considerable lengths to confront and exorcise persons they felt needed the benefit of their wisdom and power.


Times change, however, and perhaps they are saying they do not feel they would be welcome in England these days. A the very least an odd argument.


The letter moves on, however, to the final stance prior to the pitch:
"...in our opinion there is a way forward. The proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is the one way for us to uphold our common heritage of faith while at the same time holding each other accountable to those teachings that have defined our life together and also guide us into the future. It has already received enthusiastic support from the majority of the Communion.


Therefore we propose the following action plan:


As a matter of utmost urgency, call a special session of the Primates Meeting

  • Receive the responses made by The Episcopal Church to the Dromantine and Dar es Salaam Communiqués and determine their adequacy.
  • Arrive at a consensus for the application of the Windsor Process especially in Provinces whose self-understanding is at odds with the predominant mind of the communion.
  • Set in motion an agreed process to finalize the Anglican Covenant Proposal and set a timetable for its ratification by individual provinces.


This cannot be done at the Lambeth Conference because it is simply too large and, we all know, the Anglican Covenant requires individual provincial endorsement and signature."


It is at this point that the bishops return to the pitch:


"Postpone current plans for the Lambeth Conference..."


Taken together the message is this:


It is dangerous for us to go to Lambeth, there is too much criticism of the truth in England, an unbiblical nest of meanness.


The Anglican Covenant (which most of us know is in draft form subject to considerable more work at Lambeth and beyond) is the new marker - Windsor having failed, and all those Primates Communiques not withstanding - and it becomes the benchmark for inclusion in the life of the Communion.


Lambeth should be postponed because they might have to talk to our enemies and those who hate them, and beside that there is a "a high level of distrust, dislike and disdain for one another" that would make conversation difficult.


Well, this should give the Archbishop something to think about as he prepares to meet with the Episcopal Church House of Bishops this next week.


It would seem that the bishops of Nigeria will not go where there is too much criticism, where there is distrust, etc, and where there are unclean persons.


In other words, if Lambeth is held next year in England, they are not going.


Times to let the chairs out to others, I suppose. Perhaps the Porvoo folk would like to come, or the ELCA? I think there is something biblical about invitations not taken.


Look it up. It's in the Book.

14 comments:

  1. Deacon Charlie Perrin14/9/07 5:00 PM

    So at last we have the much requested evidence of exactly how the self-proclaimed orthodox have sufferred.

    They have had to hear angry shouts and read angry placards.

    Oh dear!

    I had no idea it had gotten that bad. Those poor folk have had been forced to interact with those who disagree with them.

    Will the torture never cease?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you get the feel that they are positioning themselves to finally stomp off in a huff? Surely they realize that so blatant an ultimatum can cut no ice with Dr. Williams. They also have - at least they voice - an astonishing lack of understanding of - and a contempt for - the nature of Liberal Democracy.

    The preposterous statement that the "placard carrying and leaflets distributing campaigners at the last Lambeth Conference ........ effectively shifted the focus of the conference to human sexuality" is the finest laugh I've had in days.

    SF is reporting that Dorsey Henderson, our local diocesan, is Schori's pick for primatial vicar. Bishop Henderson's blog is at

    http://upperscvii.wordpress.com/

    The May 15th pastoral letter addresses the House of Bishops' March response to the Dar es Salaam communiqué.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bottom line?

    Dear Rowan,

    We don't like the guest list. Please cancel the party.

    All best,
    Nigeria

    ReplyDelete
  4. "The presence of placard carrying and leaflets distributing campaigners at the last Lambeth Conference distracting Bishops who travelled thousands of miles for fellowship. These protesters effectively shifted the focus of the conference to human sexuality - as if that was all that mattered."

    Excuse me?????????????????????????????????

    Estoy harta de todo eso.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Maybe they want to postpone Lambeth so that they can ordain 500 additional bishops!

    Things just get stranger and stranger.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Minor typos:

    1. Porvoo, not Provo

    2. ELCA, not ECLA

    ReplyDelete
  7. The request to postpone Lambeth is a wise one seeing that tensions are so high and everyone is anxious. No one reasons well or behaves well when anxiety-ridden.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ashes & Sackcloth14/9/07 8:58 PM

    Excuse me, but I think what has them ready to stomp off in a hurry is the consistent abandonment of biblical Truth. Blessing, and unashamedly promoting, sodomy on the part of ECUSA's shepherds abd congregants is THE Issue. Repent, for the Lord is laying waste your pastures.

    Jer 25:35-37 No refuge will remain for the shepherds, nor escape for the lords of the flock. A voice--the cry of the shepherds, and the wail of the lords of the flock! For the LORD is laying waste their pasture, and the peaceful folds are devastated because of the fierce anger of the LORD.

    I feel certain that this will not make it past moderation, itching ears and all.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Placards and leaflets?

    Are they afraid of paper cuts?

    ReplyDelete
  10. anonymous...minor typos fixed. Thanks
    ashes & sackcloth... if that is what has them ready to stomp off then let them say that. All this muttering about how London / Lambeth is not an easy place to be, what with placards and all...
    I trust you have determined that the prophet is speaking of the pastures of TEC, and that those are being laid waste. I believe, as Archdeacon Kago of Kenya said some twenty years ago, "you will be pruned." As you know, that is mostly good for the tree and great for the fruit. But the tree lives.

    Perhaps the branches that are pruned can be put in water and will start new roots and can be planted elsewhere.

    alice c. linsley... postponing Lambeth may or may not be a good idea. Postponing it until there is a sieve to strain out all us "revisionists" is a bad one. It assumes that Lambeth is a gathering of the clean and pure.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I tried much earlier in the day to mention the growing of the amount of Bishops as a possible reason for the postponement, but Padre Mickey says it so much more bettah!

    ReplyDelete
  12. revLois Keen15/9/07 7:16 AM

    Mark Harris wrote, "alice c. linsley... postponing Lambeth may or may not be a good idea. Postponing it until there is a sieve to strain out all us "revisionists" is a bad one. It assumes that Lambeth is a gathering of the clean and pure."

    revlois writes, "...and we all know the only gathering of the clean and pure happens at the end of time, at the last trumpet, and it is Jesus himself who makes the "clean and pure" clean and pure, not we ourselves. So the effort to create a Lambeth of the clean and pure is doomed."

    ReplyDelete
  13. Now let me get this straight.

    First they weren't going to come to Lambeth if certain people were invited.

    Then they weren't going because certain people WEREN'T invited.

    Now they're not going because there might be people there who instead of being decently thrown in jail because of who they are would POSSIBLY be picketing a meeting at which they were the main topic of conversation?

    What of all the little behind-the-scenes machinations they themselves have done in previous meetings like Dromantine and Dar es Salaam? It's better to do things in the back room than to openly confront the problem face-to-face?

    The Anglican Communion proposed by Nigeria and others is not one I really want to be a part of. We don't need a College of Cardinals or a pope, but that seems to be what is wanted by at least some. The question becomes "If Jesus appointed Peter I, who will the Anglican Communion get to play Peter II?"

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, one thing the Nigerians have learned is the big lie process. Gays with placards caused the last Lambeth to focus on them? Give me a break. Someone should tell them about record keeping software. The FACT that they were demanding and indeed forced action on the anti-gay ressolutions long before the conference can be easily researched and documented.

    It is an interesting commentary on the Nigerian selection process that they produce the arch-heretic and a house full of liars.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete

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