10/30/2009

The Church of England is in several uproars... as should we all be.

Thinking Anglicans keeps watch night and day for all of us concerning life in the Church of England. From the entries of the past few days there seems to be several storms brewing, storms which we too in Episcopal-land should note. Where there is outrage in the CofE there must also be outrage in TEC. Sharing the burden is a worthy task.

The convoluted process of deciding if and when there will be women bishops in England, already a confusing mess but the Revision Committee has recommended an insulting option that makes matters even worse. WATCH, has issued a statement on the work of that Committee,

"WATCH has a message for the Revision Committee as it meets on Tuesday to continue its task of preparing draft legislation to bring to General Synod in February: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

WATCH has received an unprecedented number of emails from normally quiet and patient members of the Church of England. They have expressed their disbelief at the Revision Committee’s announcement earlier this month that it has decided to prepare legislation for an option the General Synod has already rejected!

Instead of doing what General Synod asked of them, namely drafting simple legislation for women to be allowed to be bishops, with arrangements for those who remain opposed to women’s ordinations to be contained in a statutory Code of Practice, the Revision Committee decided to “provide for certain functions to be vested in Bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice”.

This would result in a two-tier Episcopate, with every female bishop, and potentially all male bishops who ordain or consecrate women, having their authority diverted on request to another male bishop acceptable to those opposed to women bishops. A senior clergywoman and General Synod member has written of her dismay at the proposals, making the point that for those who want to stay in the Church of England, in spite of their difficulty with women’s ordination, it is precisely this Church they love, not the damaged and divided one that would result from the proposed arrangements. She says, “We can and will make it possible for them to stay…not through rules but through Christian care.”

We across the big waters need to stand with WATCH on this one. How, except to say we are with them, I do not know. But we need to be with them.

On another front Colin Coward of Inclusive Church has challenged the Church of England, and all bodies near and far - including The Episcopal Church - to openly speak out and oppose the impending legislation in Uganda that would make a variety of actions by homosexuals criminal and punishable by death. The Church of Uganda seems to be supporting the legislation but not the death penalty. No matter its political expediency this is a terrible place for the Church to be. Apparently the author of this legislation is out to clean out Uganda of all gay and lesbian people by a combination of fear, harassment and capital punishment, the old three fold punch - make them sweat, make them cower, make them dead. Read the whole article HERE.

Colin writes, "You would have expected the Anglican Church in Uganda, those responsible for implementing Anglican Communion policy and those with supportive links to Uganda to have issued strong statements condemning the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Lesbian and gay Ugandans now face the very real danger of being subjected to draconian legislation and more intense public vilification. Changing Attitude is in contact with a number of lesbian and gay Ugandan Anglicans who are terrified by the prospect.

On behalf of Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude, Giles Goddard joined me in writing to the Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Uganda and the bishops of Bristol, Sodor and Man and Winchester, the three English dioceses linked to Uganda. The letters have just been posted so no replies have yet been received."

He then rightly stings us all by writing,

"Anglican niceness and cowardice is at its worst when it remains silent when confronted with legislation which is in contravention of Anglican policy and will criminalise and dehumanize a group of people recognized as requiring equality in western society. When will Anglican leaders find the courage to denounce the Ugandan legislation?"

Again, we in The Episcopal Church ought also to denounce the legislation, at every level, and call on our government to do so as well.

The uproar in the CofE needs to be reflected by Anglicans the whole world over.



1 comment:

  1. I have a button or T-shirt or coffee mug (or baby bib, boxer shorts, or thong) that I want to sell at Cafe Press. It has "Nice Guys/Gals in the HOB" in a red circle with a red line through it.

    The silence from Lambeth Palace and 915 about the proposed Ugandan law is absolutely, positively OUTRAGEOUS.

    What would Jesus do, indeed!!

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