Skip to comments.Break-away bishops could undermine truce on gays
Posted on 03/07/2005 5:57:09 PM PST by sionnsar
A week of work to limit damage caused by same-sex blessings in the Anglican Church is threatened
A GROUP of senior Church of England bishops have put the fragile truce over gays under pressure by announcing their determined support of the liberal Anglicans in North America responsible for bringing the Church to the brink of schism.
Headed by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Rev David Stancliffe, the six bishops say they do not believe that the ordination of an openly gay bishop in the US or the authorisation of same-sex blessings in Canada are of such significance that they should cause a schism.
The six state their "continuing solidarity" with the global south evangelical provinces of Africa and Asia but they indicate that more needs to be done "to engage in dialogue" with lesbian and gay people.
The letter comes after the week-long meeting of 35 of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion in a retreat centre near Newry, Northern Ireland, which led to a fragile truce. In the resulting communiqué, Canada and the US were asked to withdraw voluntarily from the Anglican Consultative Council, one of four "instruments of unity" and the central management body of the worldwide Church, until the 2008 Lambeth Conference, when it is hoped that the warring provinces might have found a means of remaining in communion with each other.
Their letter was attacked by evangelicals who said that their stance could further imperil an already fragile truce.
The clear statement of support for the liberals could also dent the prospects of at least two of the bishops being considered as successor to the Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope. The York Diocese has said that it does not want a liberal in the post, which could rule out the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Rev John Gladwin, and the Bishop of Leicester, the Right Rev Timothy Stephens.
Bishop Stephens was among nine bishops who signed a letter supporting the openly homosexual Dr Jeffrey John before he had to stand down as Bishop of Reading in 2003.
One of the signatories, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Right Rev John Packer, said: "This is a strong statement of support for listening to the experience of lesbian and gay Christians.
"Many lesbian and gay Christians, rightly or wrongly, feel that the primates' statement did not emphasise the need to emphasise them in the same way that the bishops of the Church of England did at our recent General Synod. We wanted to make it clear that we had in no way reneged on that promise. Sometimes I feel that people are saying they want to listen, when in fact they have already made their minds up."
Bishop Gregory Venables, Primate of the Southern Cone and a leading conservative evangelical, said: "This is a letter written from an English rectory, not from the trenches. It is not written at the sharp end. I am not saying there is not acrimony on both sides, but it does not reflect what is happening and the real pressure that some people are under."
Dr Philip Giddings, a founder of Anglican Mainstream, the leading evangelical pressure group, said: "It raises the question of on what principles would the fellowship of the Anglican Communion continue."
I get so tired of the endless rhetoric that we need to "listen" to gays and lesbians-- when have they ever SHUT UP? A more strident and obnoxious bunch I've never seen.
"Many lesbian and gay Christians, rightly or wrongly, feel that the primates' statement did not emphasise the need to emphasise them in the same way that the bishops of the Church of England did at our recent General Synod."
Why should they be emphasised? The emphasis should be on CHRIST!
"Neither do I condemn you. Go, and do not sin again."
There will be a day, not far in the future, when we will "have to listen to pedophiles, rapists, serial killers" and the like. It's coming soon to a church near you.
God help us.
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