267 bishops say they will attend Gafcon conference

May 8, 2008 by

By George Conger for CEN Organizers of the June Gafcon meeting in Jerusalem report that as of April 25, 267 bishops have registered for the June meeting in Jerusalem. Denounced as a rival gathering to the July Lambeth conference, a detailed agenda has yet to be released. Like Lambeth much of the conference will be devoted to worship and spiritual reflection. However, Gafcon will play host to bishops, clergy and lay leaders, and will also seek to formulate a common approach to the divisions of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. Approximately 150 bishops and conferees from Muslim majority countries unable to travel freely to Israel along with the Gafcon leadership team will meet at a resort on the Dead Sea in Jordan from June 18-22, while a further 600 are expected to join the self-styled “pilgrimage” in Jerusalem from June 22-29. Organizers note that many of the bishops attending Gafcon will also be among the 625 bishops attending the Lambeth Conference. While the Archbishops of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda and their bishops have said that as it is currently organized, they will not attend Lambeth, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone Gregory Venables announced last week that he will go to Lambeth. Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh announced on May 6 that he would attend Lambeth and Gafcon, joining Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and the other conservative American bishops in attending both meetings.   Read the whole story...

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Bishop Venables: Communion “Breaking Up Because Nobody is Leading”

May 7, 2008 by

From The Living Church Foundation The work of amending the Constitution and Canons of the Southern Cone in order to regularize the admission of parishes and dioceses beyond South America is about to begin, according to Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables. The Primate of the Southern Cone made a visit to the Diocese of Fort Worth for a series of meetings with clergy and lay leaders May 2-4. “The Anglican Communion in the United States has been hijacked,” Bishop Venables said, by an Episcopal Church leadership that doesn’t “mind what happens as long as they control it. “I am astounded that in America, the land of the free, so many people have been robbed of their freedom,” he said. Bishop Venables’ visit began with a private meeting of diocesan clergy at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Fort Worth on May 2. The following day, Bishop Venables met with a convocation of elected clergy and lay delegates to the diocesan convention. The convocation also included about 130 visitors who were granted seat, but not voice. There was no voting. On Sunday morning, Bishop Venables preached at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, and again later during Evensong at St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth. At each stop on Sunday he answered questions from those present. Bishop Venables visited the Diocese of Fort Worth at the invitation of its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker. In late April, Bishop Venables also visited with Anglicans who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and with the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin in California. Prior to his arrival in Fort Worth, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote a public letter to Bishop Venables. She asked him to cancel his visit in part because it was “an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this province,” and because it would prevent “needed reconciliation from proceeding” within The Episcopal Church. “This is not about schism,” Bishop Venables said. “Schism is separation on secondary issues. This is [a question of] essentials. “You [in the Diocese of Fort Worth] must decide whether or not you can stand with a group of people who have denied that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Bible is the Word of God.” Should clergy and lay delegates to the annual convention in Fort Worth next November vote a second time to amend the diocesan articles of incorporation and leave The Episcopal Church, the Province of the Southern Cone has invited the diocese to affiliate on an “emergency and pastoral basis” despite the fact that the Southern Cone’s constitution currently limits member dioceses to those geographically located in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Last December, the Province of the Southern Cone welcomed the Diocese of San Joaquin after its convention voted a second time to amend its bylaws and disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church. Despite articles of incorporation which seem to prohibit welcoming overseas dioceses and licensing deposed clergy and bishops for...

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Pastoral Letter: The Rt Revd David Anderson

May 3, 2008 by

Beloved in Christ In North America, there is a continuing battle between the revisionist Primates and Bishops and those who are orthodox Christian Anglicans. We note with approval the visit of the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, to both Canada and the United States. In Fort Worth, ++Gregory met with clergy from that diocese and apparently discussed options available in view of the accelerating conflict with the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. A Chinese military strategist from the 6th Century B.C., Sun Tzu, wrote that the most expensive information that you can acquire is outdated information. It is always prudent, when faced with a conflict, to have current and correct information about options. Jesus himself counseled his followers to be meek as doves, but wise as serpents. Obtaining accurate, current information is the wise course. TEC Primate Schori was, of course, not pleased with Venables’ visit, and complained vigorously to the Southern Cone Primate in a letter. She urged him "not to bring further discord into the Episcopal Church." She did not, however, explain how she herself is working to diminish the discord, since she is one of the primary causes of it, with her DSH approach (Dewey, Suem & Howe). Bishop Iker of Forth Worth responded to her open letter with some great Texas straight talk: "You should know that under the canons this does not require either your approval or your support. You have no say in this matter. A diocesan bishop is free to invite other bishops to visit and speak in his diocese…. Once again, you are the one meddling in the internal affairs of this diocese, and I ask you to stop your unwelcome intrusions." Schori may have gotten away with telling Bishop Lee of Virginia that there is a new sheriff in town, but clearly in Fort Worth, Jack Iker is still in charge. An imagined conclusion to the exchange: "Dear Katharine, here’s your pointy hat, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out." Journalist George Conger reports that there is a legal memorandum circulating in the American House of Bishops which concludes that sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Could anything come of this? I don’t think so. Remember the Bishop Walter Righter trial? Accused of knowingly ordaining a practicing homosexual, he went before a panel of judges (some of whom had already themselves done exactly the same thing – for example, Bishop Fred Borsch of Los Angeles), and as a panel of peers who shared his viewpoints, the judges decided that neither the doctrine nor the discipline of the Episcopal Church at that time prohibited the ordination of a non-celibate homosexual person living in a committed relationship. Trial over, Righter acquitted. There is no justice when the judges are as guilty as the defendant. This brings us to the advisability of pushing for...

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Packer Receives Licence from Venables

May 2, 2008 by

An historic moment as James Packer, the grandfather of Anglican Evangelical theology, receives his licence from Bishop Venables confirming him as a priest in good standing in the Province of the Southern Cone and the wider Anglican...

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Dr Packer's Licensing Raises Stakes in Canada row

May 2, 2008 by

By Toby Cohen  CEN, 2nd May 2008 THE Rev Dr James Packer has been licenced to preach under the jurisdiction of the Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev Greg Venables, to a standing ovation at a conference in Vancouver. Dr Packer, named by Time magazine as one of the 10 most influential theologians of the 20th century, left the Anglican Church of Canada after breaking with the Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt Rev Michael Ingham, following his blessing of same-sex unions. Dr Packer prayed that God would purge the old west of its “poisonous liberalism”. He said: “God’s way of purging is letting a thing grow to its full stature so that its real nature can be seen so that finally it is squeezed out. Dr Packer is part of the Anglican Network in Canada, which has attracted 15 churches so far. Two of their bishops were commission by Archbishop Venables despite protests by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Rev Fred Hiltz. He said: “Stop interfering in the life of this province,” to the undeterred Archbishop  Venables. Dr Packer was one of nine clergy to write to Bishop Ingham on April 21 in answer to his Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of Ministry. The priests said: “With deep reluctance and regret we have concluded that we cannot continue the Anglican ministry to which we were ordained under your jurisdiction. The Diocese, under your leadership, has departed from historic, orthodox Anglican teaching and...

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Canada: Athabasca synod supports breakaway churches

May 2, 2008 by

Solange De Santis, Anglican Journal May 1, 2008   Archbishop assures his diocese’s commitment to Anglican Communion The archbishop of Athabasca has issued a letter confirming his diocese’s commitment to the Canadian church and the Anglican Communion after its synod passed motions supporting churches that have left the Anglican Church of Canada and criticizing bishops who have gone to court over property issues. The letter was released after the leader of the Anglican Church of Canada asked the archbishop to explain his synod’s motions. According to one resolution, the synod, meeting in High Prairie, Alta. April 24 to 27, voted to “inform the parishes and the bishops who have joined the Anglican Network in Canada and the Province of the Southern Cone that we are in full communion with them.” Fifteen churches, including 10 former Anglican Church of Canada parishes, have joined the network, which is opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions, among other issues. Since they have left the Canadian church, they have allied themselves with the Southern Cone, an Anglican province that includes southern South America, and its primate, Archbishop Gregory Venables. None of the 33 congregations in the diocese of Athabasca, which encompasses the northern half of Alberta, are members of the network and none have voted to leave the Canadian church. A second resolution expressed synod’s “dismay” that bishops “have resorted to secular courts when parishes … have found it necessary to align themselves with the (network) and the … Southern Cone.” In a background information note, the mover and seconder said the issues “should be settled with prayerful negotiation.” Archbishop John Clarke, the area archbishop and diocesan bishop, did not return calls from the Anglican Journal seeking comment. Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the primate (national archbishop), Fred Hiltz, said in an interview that Archbishop Hiltz “sought clarification” of the synod’s intentions. (Archbishop Hiltz is out of the country and did not speak directly with Archbishop Clarke.) In an open letter written after the synod ended, Archbishop Clarke wrote that “there seems to be some confusion over certain resolutions passed at our recent synod. I am also aware that there are those who for their own particular motives have attempted to ‘spin’ our decisions in directions very different than we intended.” The members of the diocese “are committed to being ‘in communion’ with as wide a range of our brothers and sisters in Christ as is possible,” he wrote. “We are also concerned that the term ‘in communion’ is being increasingly interpreted in a legalist sense. Our understanding of ‘in communion’ is more relational. We recognize that some feel we must be in agreement with each other before we can come to the Lord’s Table together. We believe, however, that it is by coming to the Lord’s Table together that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to find the wisdom, courage, and grace to overcome our differences,” he said. As members of the Anglican Communion, both the Canadian church and the Southern Cone...

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