24 May 2007

Changing Attitude and InclusiveChurch

In light of the two statements from InclusiveChurch regarding the Lambeth Conference invitations, there has been much furore. Some people have asked Changing Attitude to distance intself from InclusiveChurch, based on the perception that InclusiveChurch has been too slow to criticize +Rowan Williams.

I encourage you to read the entire statement from Changing Attitude, but here is an excerpt:

Changing Attitude England is a founder-member of InclusiveChurch and is committed to the goals and vision of InclusiveChurch. We have been asked by some groups and individuals to withdraw our support and publicly dissociate ourselves from InclusiveChurch.

Changing Attitude England is committed to a totally inclusive Anglican Communion. We take very seriously the challenges that have been extended to InclusiveChurch by the selective invitations to Lambeth 2008. How inclusive is Inclusive? We are working for a fully inclusive church, for LGBT people, our friends and families, for conservative evangelicals and everyone who has attacked and vilified us because of our sexuality. We do not believe there is any alternative to this radical challenge to the church, a challenge which took our Lord Jesus Christ to the cross. The resurrection of Jesus Christ, his ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit challenges, inspires and resources us to be radically inclusive. Jesus invites us to be radically loving and truthful.

On the subject of engagement, Changing Attitude says this:

Changing Attitude England believes in positive engagement, especially with those who are fundamentally opposed to what we are working for. The Listening Process presents us with a serious challenge. We cannot hope to be listened to in depth unless we are prepared to meet across difference and listen with equal seriousness and respect. Listening will cease if any one group, CANA or The Episcopal Church, Changing Attitude England or Anglican Mainstream, decides to withdraw from the structures of the Anglican Communion. This means compromise. Some believe the time for compromise over the place of LGBT people in our church is over.

The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, has just returned from Togo, West Africa, where he met 30 lesbian and gay leaders from the diocesan groups of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) and West African Christian LGBT groups. They are committed Christians. The members of CAN are fully committed to their Anglican congregations. They are also deeply distressed by the failure to invite Bishop Gene Robinson to the Lambeth Conference.

They represent over 2,000 LGBT Anglican members of CAN. They represent the tip of an iceberg. There are tens of thousands of lesbian and gay Anglicans in every African Anglican Province. Were The Episcopal Church to pursue a strategy of disengagement from the Communion, and withdraw from the Lambeth Conference in 2008, these African gay Christians would be among those feeling abandoned. They would be left to the abusive, homophobic attacks of their Primates and bishops. They are people of great courage and faith. They need us, our solidarity with them as they work to achieve recognition and a safe space within church and society.

Changing Attitude England prays that the partner organisations of InclusiveChurch and our friends in The Episcopal Church will continue to engage with the Communion with graciousness and generosity, even when you are deeply distressed and unhappy with the events of this week. We do not believe that to threaten schism is ever a right response when decisions have been made which are not in accord with our most deeply held principles. The Anglican Communion needs the witness of The Episcopal Church now more than ever, and LGBT Anglicans in every Province need the holy passion and anger that inspires the call to justice and truth that is such a powerful part of the vision of our American brothers and sisters.

1 comment:

Raspberry Rabbit said...

Let's hear it for the purge within the inclusive camp! Strange how things start making sense that would have had everybody sitting around like the HMV dog with their heads cocked to one side not long ago!