19 February 2007

Primates' Meeting -- what does it all mean?

What does it all mean? Indeed. That will take some time to figure out, as all of us parse the released documents and speak with others. Here are some preliminary thoughts on the Communique and Covenant.

No one can say this means victory. Progressives will need to find a way to accept the clear requirement to refrain from consecrating as bishops those who live in same-sex unions. (Though it says nothing about LGBT bishops otherwise.) We need to agree that no Rites of Blessing will be authorized.

For their part, American conservatives, especially ECUSA dissidents, will need to agree that Bishop Katharine is their primate, though they'll have a primatial vicar. They have to deal with the fact that Bishop Katharine is now a member of what was until recently the primatial old boys' club, and they even have to reckon with her on the Primates' Standing Committee. Looks like +Peter Akinola won't be having any communion at Lambeth or the Primates' Meetings any time soon.

The sacrifice of LGBT Anglicans is high. But for the first time, conservatives are being held to account as well. Their jurisdictional incursions must cease. Instead of seeing +Katharine pushed off to the side, she's been elected to their standing committee.

So far, my reaction is guarded, but optimistic. ECUSA continues, and there will be no parallel province for conservatives. The Communion is intact, and even +Peter Akinola signed this statement. While LGBT Anglicans are giving up an extraordinary amount, our ability to witness justice and love to the wider communion continues. Had ECUSA been marginalized, our program of global mission might have been compromised. Now we can model reconciliation and love to people in the whole Anglican Communion.

I hasten to add that +Katharine cannot enforce this within ECUSA on her own. She'll need to get the House of Bishops to agree with her, and for some things, the Executive Council. I can imagine the bishops going right along, but I think some of this will be tough for the Executive Council to sign off on. Particularly challenging will be th notion that the primatial vicar reports to an external Pastoral Council, but is somehow under the jurisdiction of the Primate. It's very late here, but I can't grok this now. Will the Executive Council permit a bishop to operate in our church who leapfrogs over the Primate? I doubt it, but we'll see. This is unexplored polity territory, but I think Executive Council will need to approve this, not just the bishops -- and there are some strong-minded people on Council.

As I parse all of this further, I may change my mind. But for now, this seems like the best we could have hoped for. The fact that the conservatives were very unhappy about all this suggests that they've parsed it the same way I have.


Merseymike said...

This probably was as good as could be expected

But its not good enough. I don't wish to be part of an instutionally homophobic body and that is why I left the Church of England.

If TEC sign up to this, they will just prove themselves to lack principle, and to place the 'Communion', a group of homophobes and bigots, above the needs of gay and lesbian people.

If that's the case - then the Church really does have nothing to offer. I think TEC have to make some hard decisions. Do they really have integrity?

Craig Nelson said...

Very many thanks for the early posting of some reflections about the recently produced documents.

It is probably too early to be too definitive about what it all means and probably indicates that a middle line has been taken, which is after all what you do when opinions are sharply divided.

The progress to a fully inclusive communion (or even "Province" for most of us) will be long and slow and will take time - it won't and never was going to be an overnight thing.

The Dar es Salaam meetings have gone very differently than was posted up by certain loud elements who were involved in heavy 'spinning' of all the terrible things that were going to happen - they didn't. So we shall see.

Rodney said...

I'm with merseymike on this. This "recommendation" fails in almost every way. If we have the courage of our convictions then we have no choice but to veto just about all of it. Accepting it would create a kind of church that is the antithesis of the very reason I chose to become an Anglican.

Caminante said...

"I think some of this will be tough for the Executive Council to sign off on. " Well, next week's EC meeting will be interesting, to say the least.

And, once again LGBT Anglican Christians are giving up a lot, without ever being asked or invited into the conversation. What else is new?

drdanfee said...

Yes although this business offers an abstract appearance of a middle mixed way forward, in actual real fact of daily life it represents nothing that any honest LGBTQ believer can live positively.

So let TEC get on with things the best it can, but that is hardly the meat and potatoes of following Jesus of Nazareth, parenting ones' children the best one knows how (without official help from the TEC parish that must officially tell you: Alas, my sinful dear parent, come back to the Anglican Communion fold), and/or using every available legal civil means to protect and care for ones' partner.

Getting on with daily life then is mainly an invisible, silenced local task so far as this communique and its schedule are concerned. Should we have dared to expect anything else?

Vote it all up, pro forma, then.

All of us will still know, if we care to know, who is not straight, who is busy coming out into mature young adulthood and just starting to date, who is in love and committed, and which two daddies or which two mommies are raising children in the parish.

What ways can TEC find - outside the condemned official conservative Anglican views and structures and straights are superior pledging - to offer real sustenance at the parish level where it counts, to all of the real people who might still be among us, albeit rendered invisible and silent by just this return to closet life and backwards thinking?

We gotta lotta very bright minds and very caring hearts in TEC - no matter what the realignment people say about us. Surely we can come up with something?

john scholasticus said...


It's not always about you. You know perfectly well that within the C of E there are many churches which have no problem at all with your homosexuality. By no means all of these churches are 'liberal'. Instead of posturing from the sidelines, why don't you get stuck in in some worthy parish (there are hundreds) and fight from the inside for your values?

Jason said...

This is not an acceptable outcome in any sense of the word. It demands surrender to the forces of intolerance, hate, and evil within the conservative movement of the Anglican Communion on TEC. I hope and pray our bishops and EC will NOT sign off on this. LGBT americans are not just being asked to sacrifice, we are being thrown under the bus for the sake of a false unity. I was driven from the Church once when I came out and faced the kind of ugliness, hate, and lies that +Peter Akinola and his kind are trying to force on TEC now. Finding TEC saved my spiritual life, and brought back into the Christian fold to fully experience the love of Christ that they now want to deny me. TEC should say 'no' and take its money and go home, seize the property of conservative bishops and parishes who wish to leave, and go about our business. This is no 'middle way'. This is complete anniliation of the right of LGBT people to live with dignity in the fellowship of Christ.