Pittsburgh Bishops to attend Lambeth Conference

May 7, 2008 by

From  Pittsburgh Diocese Document Actions Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven confirmed today that they will be attending both the Global Anglican Future Conference in June and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops this July and August.    Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven confirmed today that they will be attending both the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jordan and Jerusalem in June and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in Kent, England, this July and August. "After consulting with the people of Pittsburgh and our friends around the globe, we have come to the conclusion that it is necessary for us to be present at both gatherings," said Bishop Robert Duncan. The Global Anglican Future Conference is focused on moving forward with the work and witness of the church even as the crisis in the Anglican Communion over discipline and biblical authority continues. It brings together hundreds of bishops who have, as a matter of conscience, decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference, as well as other bishops who believe that global partnerships and the current conflicts necessitate their presence at both meetings. Among those going to Jerusalem and Jordan are many of the strongest supporters of orthodox Anglicans in North America. "We will be among friends, focused squarely on the Gospel, and dealing openly with how we build the missionary relationships, covenantal boundaries and responsible structures for the future of Anglicanism," said Bishop Duncan. Bishops Duncan and Scriven will then join some six-hundred bishops and archbishops (about two-thirds of all Anglican bishops) who will be attending the Anglican Communion’s once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of Bishops. "Given the expense and the stated-intent of the Archbishop of Canterbury that Lambeth can no longer be considered a decision making council of the church, choosing to be present was not easy," said Bishop Duncan. In an effort to limit costs connected to the meeting, an estimated $12,000 per attending bishop and spouse for the entire two-and-a-half week Lambeth Conference, Bishop Duncan will attend July 16-25 and Bishop Scriven will attend July 26 – August 3. Both bishops believe it is important that the diocese be represented throughout the Lambeth Conference, if for no other reason than to provide an alternative perspective on the situation in The Episcopal Church. "Those who accuse us of abandoning the Anglican Communion will certainly be present and vocal. It is important for us to be able to respond directly to their claims about the situation in The Episcopal Church and our place in the Communion," added Bishop Duncan. As with the Global Anglican Future Conference, both Pittsburgh bishops will also work to strengthen missionary partnerships with bishops from every corner of the world. Bishop Scriven asked that Pittsburgh Episcopalians pray for both meetings. "We hope that many join us in praying for God’s clear presence and guidance in the Holy Land and Canterbury. With God, all things are possible," he said....

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Archbishop Drexel Gomez's Retirement Address

May 2, 2008 by

From Global South Anglican IN HIS FINAL address before retirement to the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church of the Province of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez urged the Church to reawaken to the power of God’s love. The dry and distant Anglicanism of many parts of the West Indies, must make way for a “more caring and compassionate” church, he told the West Indian bishops and the congregation of St Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown, Barbados on April 17. “We must face up to the challenge to see where we stand in love,” Archbishop Gomez said, and “must devise more strategies to assist members in their engagement with God and to foster a deeper commitment” that would transform the believer and society. The rampant individualism and selfishness of Western culture was the greatest single threat to the faith. Believers must surrender their lives to God and be faithful to him, rather than pursue their own moral, political or social agendas. The Church faces “the challenge of discernment and commitment” as it entered the 21st century, he said, urging the bishops to hold fast to the faith once delivered, and not succumb to the siren song of culture. The senior serving Primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Gomez was elected Bishop of Barbados in 1972 and was translated to the Diocese of Nassau and the Bahamas in 1995, and  elected Archbishop and Primate of the West Indies in 1999. He will retire at the end of this year. The Bishop of Barbados, the Rt Rev John Holder praised Archbishop Gomez for his constancy and faithfulness. He had been at the “heart of the fight” in the Anglican Communion’s battles over doctrine and discipline and had offered “outstanding leadership as the church wrestled and searched for a way forward.”Archbishop Gomez’s labours amidst a “difficult, contentious and painful” fight to hold the church together had ensured that future generations “could call themselves Anglicans.”  ...

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Bishop Iker to attend 2008 Lambeth Conference

May 2, 2008 by

Bishop Jack Iker of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth confirmed today that he has accepted the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, which is to meet July 16 thru August 3 at the University of Kent in England. Given the strained relations in the Anglican Communion and the role of the Lambeth Conference as one of the Four Instruments of Communion, Bishop Iker believes it is important for him to attend this gathering of Anglican Bishops from around the world that takes place once every 10 years. "I stand in solidarity with all those Bishops who have decided, as a matter of conscience, that they are unable to be at Lambeth," said Bishop Iker. "However, given the situation the Diocese of Fort Worth finds itself in with the unfolding realignment that is taking place in Anglicanism, I think it is important for me to be there to make our case and to face our detractors." In addition to demonstrating a willingness to work with the Instruments of Communion for the unity of the Church, Bishop Iker believes it is important for him to be present to defend orthodox believers who are being accused of abandonment of communion by the TEC leadership, including the Presiding Bishop. "We need to refute the claims that the leadership of this Church is trying to accommodate us and provide a secure place for us, and we need to testify to the fact that TEC is not in compliance with the Windsor Report or the requests made of TEC by the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam," he said. Bishop Iker had previously announced his plans to participate in GAFCON in mid-June to consult and pray with many of the Bishops who have decided against participation in the Lambeth Conference.    ...

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Anglican covenant conference draws international group, elicits varied viewpoints

Apr 17, 2008 by

From Episcopal News Service Participants at the recent "An Anglican Covenant: Divisive or Reconciling?" conference, held at the Desmond Tutu Center in New York City, gathered to discuss whether or not the Anglican Communion should adopt an official covenant. Sponsored by the General Theological Seminary (GTS) and the seminaries of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada, the April 10-12 conference welcomed more than 100 participants and provided them an opportunity to ponder questions such as: Would an Anglican covenant clarify Anglican identity and strengthen mutual interdependence? Would it be a tool of exclusion and dominance? Is a covenant a biblical way forward, or would it impose a uniformity that is foreign to Anglicanism? Would a covenant assist or impede reconciliation among Anglicans? The Rev. Dr. Titus L. Presler, professor of mission and world Christianity and sub-dean at GTS, said the gathering’s purpose was not to advocate for a particular stance toward a covenant, but to encourage an open and informed discussion in which all views are welcome. "We encourage all present to feel free to ask the questions and express the views to which they are moved," Presler said. "We also encourage respectful listening and caring responses." The conference opened with the Most Rev. Drexel W. Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In delivering the first of three keynote addresses Gomez, chairman of the Covenant Design Group, presented a decidedly, pro-Anglican covenant message, saying that this is a "time of great tension" within the Anglican Communion and that "the ‘bonds of affection’ which once held our fellowship together are strained; indeed some would say broken." The idea for an Anglican covenant came from the Windsor Report (paragraphs 113-120), which was published in October 2004 after a year’s deliberations by the Lambeth Commission on Communion, a group appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to explore ways the Communion could maintain unity amid differing viewpoints. The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and of the Anglican Consultative Council commissioned a study paper on the idea of a covenant in March 2005, Towards an Anglican Covenant. At its meeting in May 2006, the Joint Standing Committee asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to establish a Covenant Design Group to further the project. This group gave a preliminary report to the Primates Meeting at Dar es Salaam in February 2007. The report included the Nassau Draft — a draft for the covenant on which initial consultation was taken in the course of 2007. That draft is accompanied by a number of supporting documents, including the introduction, a commentary and a draft appendix. The Covenant Design Group met again at the end of January 2008, and produced a second report and draft — the St. Andrew’s Draft — taking into account many of the submissions to the group. This draft is being offered for further reflection, especially at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Referencing Anglican polity and the Windsor Report,...

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Gospel Grip and Fulcrum Fantasy – a response to Tom Wright's Fulcrum Conference Lecture 'Conflict and Covenant in the Bible'

Apr 15, 2008 by

 By Charles Raven, Virtue Online   http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=297 12 April 2008 Fulcrum seems to take pride in being the voice of balanced orthodoxy, but Tom Wright’s recent lecture is evidence that the real function of Fulcrum – whatever the intentions of its members – is to try and hold the balance between post modern religiosity and the historic biblical Anglicanism which it mimics. Such a position is of course fundamentally unstable and the strained exegesis of this latest lecture shows the extent to which reality, not least in the form of GAFCON, is overtaking the Fulcrum fantasy. We are invited, in a manner reminiscent of Rowan Williams, to consider a middle way which avoids both the ‘shrill functional pragmatism of today’s muddled left’ and ‘the equally shrill and functional pragmatism of today’s muddled right’, those on the left preoccupied with breaking the old rules and those on the right with keeping them. These polarities, we are encouraged to believe, are transcended by an eschatological ecclesiology expressed in covenant community. Wright then quotes at length (in the online version of the lecture) from the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission Communiqué of September 2006 to establish the biblical credentials of this approach, although one looks in vain for any clear statement of the authority of Scripture in its plain sense or any reference to the classic Anglican formularies. Instead, the focus is on the emergence of covenantal beliefs through the development of ‘bonds of affection’ and it is this covenantal perspective which underlies the Windsor Process and the proposal for an Anglican Communion Covenant. So far we have been walking along a fairly well worn path, but things become more interesting when Tom Wright tries to interpret the acute stresses in contemporary Anglicanism in terms of the turbulent relationship between Paul and the Corinthian church. In fact he refers to this as ‘the heart of the matter, the re-enactment today of 2 Corinthians’. This has bizarre and provocative consequences. Firstly, Rowan Williams’ Advent pastoral letter encouraging attendance at Lambeth and the further letters which we are told are ‘in the post’, discouraging attendance on the part of those bishops deemed unsympathetic to the Windsor process, represent Paul’s personal and deeply painful appeal to the Corinthians as he seeks to re-establish his apostolic authority on the basis of an appeal to their shared participation in the New Covenant. It may be that the Archbishop is not quite so committed to this Pauline agenda as Tom Wright thinks because Ruth Gledhill http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2008/04/our-absenting-m.html reports that Lambeth Palace have denied sending such letters. But whatever the case, the parallel is perverse; Rowan Williams’ apostolic authority has ebbed away because he himself has failed to uphold the basis of that authority, the authority of Scripture. He has never repented of his teaching and support for the gay/lesbian movement sustained over many years and it was his willingness to invite the consecrators and supporters of Gene Robinson to Lambeth 2008, a direct affront to the clear mind of the...

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