INTEGRATOR, the newsletter of Integrity in Canada
copyright 2006 Integrity/Toronto.
The hard-copy version of this newsletter carries the ISSN 0843-574X
Integrity/Toronto Box 873 Stn F Toronto ON Canada M4Y 2N9
SEISMIC SHOCK FOR ANGLICANS Communion dividing along conservative-liberal fault lines
by Chris Ambidge
BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT
Sermon preached by the Most Rev Andrew Hutchison, Primate of Canada,
at Southwark Cathedral, London, England , 25 June 2006
A NEW WAY TO SILENCE PROPHECY?
by Giles Fraser
WHAT COST BELONGING?
by Joanne Davies
PROUD ANGLICANS IN LONDON
a report from this year's Pride festivities
by Greg Smith
Seismic Shock for Anglicans
Communion dividing along conservative-liberal fault lines
by Chris Ambidge
Much has happened on the international Anglican stage since the last issue of Integrator, most notably the triennial General Convention of the American Episcopal Church.
The last General Convention, in 2003, had approved the election of Gene Robinson, a partnered gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire. This caused outrage in some quarters of the international communion, with some provinces declaring that the Episcopal Church had chosen to "walk apart" from the rest of the communion, and some American Episcopalians seeking to distance themselves from their wayward national church. The Archbishop of Canterbury's response to the "crisis" caused by the consecration of Bishop Robinson was to ask for a report on how the Anglican Communion governs itself internationally, and how it deals with disagreements (the "Windsor Report"). The Primates' Meeting requested that the Episcopal Church not ordain any more gay/lesbian bishops for the time being.
This year's GC passed several resolutions arising from the Windsor Report, including commitments to the Communion as a whole, and to exploring a future Covenant relationship with other provinces in the Communion.
On the last day of GC, another motion (B033) was brought forward urgently by the current presiding bishop, Frank Griswold. This resolution urged dioceses not to ordain any bishops "whose manner of life would present a challenge to the wider church". This motion was essentially a repeat of an earlier resolution which had been defeated.
The motion was very difficult for Integrity supporters at GC to hear, since they thought that Convention had already dealt with and dismissed the question. However, it was urged upon both houses as necessary to demonstrate to the wider Communion that the concerns of the Global South were being taken seriously, and was passed.
In the middle of all this, a new presiding bishop had to be elected, Bishop Griswold having come to the end of his nine-year term. In the Episcopal Church, the House of Bishops elects the new presiding bishop, and on 18 June they elected the bishop of Nevada, the Rt Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori. Her election came as a great surprise to many, but was confirmed by huge majorities of the clergy and lay delegates. The only woman candidate on the ballot, she will be the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion when she is installed at the beginning of November.
Less than a day after her election, the diocese of Fort Worth appealed to Lambeth for the previously unheard-of "alternative primatial oversight", not wanting Bp Jefferts Schori. They have been joined by six more dioceses looking to avoid the first woman presiding bishop. Conservatives are taking her election as further evidence that ECUSA is "walking apart" from the rest of the Communion. Not only is she a woman, but she permitted priests in Nevada to bless same-sex couples, and she consented to the ordination of Gene Robinson. Likewise, even with the passage of B033, GC didn't do enough to satisfy the conservatives, both in the US and abroad.
Less than a week after the close of General Convention, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury released a paper on possible future forms of the Communion. In that, he proposes a communion built around a Covenant, which national churches could opt into, becoming "constituent" churches, and the others not prepared to do so as "associate" members. Clearly this proposed arrangement of inner and outer circles would put the conservative provinces as real "in" members of the Anglican communion, and put those provinces - such as the two in North America - not prepared to walk in lockstep with others, "out".
Shortly after this, the Church of Nigeria weighed in. Archbishop Akinola rejected the two-tier arrangement suggested by Abp Williams - "either we are together in communion, or we are not." And apparently the list of churches Nigeria is not in communion with now includes, not only the American and Canadian churches, but the Church of England as well: claiming that "the moral justification for the Lambeth Conference 2008 is questionable" since bishops from North America and England will be there, Akinola has called for world-wide conference of Anglican bishops to meet in Africa in lieu of the Lambeth conference in England. World-wide "orthodox," "biblical," "pure" Anglican bishops, of course. It appears that Nigeria (or at least Peter Akinola) is committed to leaving the current Anglican Communion, and leading the theologically pure remnant of the "Global South" --- which of course also includes the "orthodox" remnant of the Episcopal Church, such as those dioceses that have asked for "alternative primatial oversight".
Those Americans already have alternative episcopal oversight provided for them by the archbishops of South East Asia and Rwanda. And now Archbishop Akinola has added to the number of "missionary bishops" working in the United States by announcing that the Rev Martyn Minns, rector of Truro church in Fairfax, Virginia, has been selected to be a bishop in the Church of Nigeria for the missionary initiative of Nigeria in North America.
In the meantime, Archbishop Njonkonkulu Ndungane, primate of South Africa, has raised his voice on the other side of this debate, appealing to the other primates to uphold the "broad rich heartlands of our Anglican heritage", as opposed to conservatism or liberalism. And our own Primate, Andrew Hutchison, in a sermon preached in Southwark Cathedral immediately after he left the American General Convention, has created a fine "apologia" for the role of the Anglican Church of Canada in all this controversy
With positions crystallised, it seems that the Anglican Communion as it currently exists will burst soon, probably with various groups claiming that others have walked away, and that they are the remnant of the true church. The prognosis is not good.
Being Led by the Spirit
A sermon preached by the Most Rev Andrew Hutchison
The Gospel for today speaks of the disciples of Jesus caught in a storm that threatened to capsize the boat they were travelling in, and of their turning to Jesus in fear and desperation. Jesus responded by calming the waters, and then challenged the disciples:Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?
This is a metaphor we might well apply to our present situation. The Church is sometimes referred to as the ship of faith. In fact, the part of the Cathedral in which you are sitting at the moment is called the nave - from the Latin word navus, meaning ship, or the French navire. We are moving across the waters of creation towards a promised destination, not always remembering that Jesus is in the ship with us. Sometimes the voyage is like sailing on a pleasant afternoon, with the wind of the Spirit blowing gently in the sails to move us onward. Sometimes the weather is less favourable, and stormy enough to make us fearful that the ship will be swamped by the raging storm. Do we forget at such times that the Lord of all life is always present in the Church? "I am with you always, to the end of the age", he said. And of his Church he says, "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it". The ship of faith will not go down but will move on towards its promised destination - God's kingdom of justice and peace - through all the perceived crises that impinge upon us.
Well if that be true, and I most certainly believe it is, then why are we afraid of the storm that we find ourselves involved in just now?
First, I suspect, because we have forgotten our history. Particularly, we as Anglicans were born in controversy, and that has been our constant companion through the centuries. In earlier times, our conflicts were brutal and bloody, and we have come through them all. That is because always we have had someone to remind us who it is who set us upon this journey and who travels with us in the ship. And at such times, the waters have been calmed sufficiently to allow us to correct our course and trim the sails, that we might receive the wind of the Spirit again to move us onward. The Elizabethan Settlement, of course, is surely the best example of that, allowing room for Puritan and Episcopalian alike. We are the Church of Richard Hooker that makes accommodation for everybody - an accommodation, to use his words, not of compromise, but of inclusion. Among the churches of the world, we are an inclusive church that welcomes diversity and theological debate.
Second, the Communion of which we are a part has changed radically in its brief history of less than 150 years. Once culturally homogeneous, even as small colonial churches for British expatriates grew with the expansion of empire, we now comprise nearly 80 million Anglicans in 164 countries organized into 38 independent provinces. When we meet, it is necessary to have translation in no less than five languages, which does not even begin to cover the countless languages, histories and cultures that are the Anglican Communion. If there were such a thing as an "average Anglican", she would be black, and would not speak English as a first language. And with the remarkable growth of developing countries, the balance of numbers, of course, has shifted from North and West to the South.
Third, whereas once Anglicans were generally known to be literate Christians, with a long tradition of lay theologians and scholarship, as well as scholar-clerics, the level of biblical and theological scholarship has not kept pace with the growth of our geography and of our numbers. One can only be thankful that the present Archbishop of Canterbury puts theological education for the Communion at the top of his list. On the one hand, we have too many Anglicans who know very little of what is in the Scriptures; on the other hand, we have too many Anglicans who regard the Bible as an operator's manual and accept the whole canon uncritically on face value. The Scriptures are not in and of themselves the "sovereign word of God"; that is a title reserved for the one to whom the scriptures point - the eternal and incarnate Word who is with us and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
We have recently celebrated the feast of Pentecost. The Gospel for that day (at least in our lectionary in Canada), tells of Jesus speaking to the disciples and saying:'I have so much more to teach you, but you cannot bear it now. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will lead you into all the truth, and show you things that are to come'
So since the earliest days of the Church, the Spirit has continued to teach the Church, and to empower it for witness to the Gospel in a changing world. Once, we accepted slavery, concluding from the Old Testament that people of colour were clearly the sons and daughters of Ham, destined to be hewers of wood and carriers of water. And does not scripture say: "Slaves, obey your masters"? But the Spirit had more to teach us, and that which we once justified from Scripture, we now repudiate. I well remember my grandmother being distressed over the fact that women were not permitted to attend Church meetings, and most certainly not to hold office and their exclusion was justified on the basis of biblical teaching that the man was to be head of the woman as Christ is head of the Church, and that women are to be silent in church. And for centuries the Church required in marriage that wives obey their husbands. But the Spirit had more to teach us. Similar justification was later used for the exclusion of women from Holy Orders. But the Spirit had more to teach us. And today we welcome women to all three orders of the Church, and I have just returned from the election of the first woman Primate of the Anglican Communion in the United States.
My father was a life-long Anglican and churchwarden. Ten years after my mother died, he met a wonderful woman who years before that had been deserted by her husband and because she was divorced, the Church refused to marry them. After all, did not Jesus himself speak very clearly about divorce? But the Spirit had more to teach us, and today re-marriage after divorce under certain conditions is accepted widely within the Anglican Communion. In the present crisis of relationships, we again have words in Scripture about homosexuality. But perhaps the Spirit has yet more to teach us again.
The Bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 1978 undertook to study the subject of human sexuality. The Bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 1988 undertook to listen to the voice of homosexuals, and affirmed their entitlement to full membership in the Church. The Bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in the famous resolution 1:10 undertook to listen to the voice of homosexuals, again assuring them of the Bishops' concern for their pastoral care and their full inclusion in the life of the Church. Obviously, some Provinces have not heard either of those three commitments. Canada is among those that took the Lambeth Conference of 1978 seriously and we have been engaged in this difficult conversation for nearly 30 years, and we have yet to come to a conclusion as a national body. One diocese has moved ahead of us with due process, and under strict conditions, blesses same gender exclusive, life-long relationships. That is after three successive synods in which the members of Synod called upon their bishop for such permission. In that Diocese, only eight parishes have been authorized to do blessings and the total count of blessings since 2002 is about twelve - this in a land in which same-gender marriage is now legal in every civil jurisdiction from coast to coast, and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in any circumstance is against the law -- except, of course, in the Church. A cynical colleague of mine in Canada said at one point: "If you wish to be a bigot, you must now join a church, because it is illegal anywhere else!".
The waters over which this ship of faith is moving are churning, and there are those aboard who are fearful, and wondering why Jesus seems to be sleeping through it all. We continue to try to discern what the Spirit is saying to the Church in our context and in our time. Because we are a global family of churches, we must think globally, but we must act locally for the benefit of those entrusted to our pastoral care, with deep sensitivity to the specific context of our actions. The question before us in the Church in Canada, and indeed in our relations with the rest of the Communion, is whether our traditional commitment to diversity will allow space at the table for those who agree, and for those who disagree, with the full acceptance of committed, loving relationships between same-gender partners as being worthy of God's blessing. Do we accept the Scriptural texts as being both relevant and binding, or does the Spirit have yet more to teach us through modern science and the cries of yet another minority longing for full inclusion in the body of Christ? We ask for your prayers as we move towards our General Synod at this time next year.
We need the Spirit to remind us of our history - of the trials and struggles that brought into being that part of the Church we have come to know and love. We need the Spirit to teach us that we are now a multi-cultural family of independent Churches, and that that calls for respect for a variety of responses to the Gospel in different contexts. We need the Spirit to help us understand how the love of God in Jesus Christ is revealed for our time through the record of Scripture. And above all, in every generation we must be open to the Spirit leading us to faith in the one Lord who called us to travel with him, and who is with us throughout the journey.
I offer you these words in the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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this is the sermon preached by the Most Rev Andrew Hutchison, Primate of Canada,
at Southwark Cathedral in London, England 25 June 2006
A new way to silence prophecy?
By Giles Fraser"A prophet is meant to be a nuisance, asking such questions precisely when we think we have so ordered our Church, community, society or relationships as not to exclude."
So wrote Rowan Williams, eight years ago.
In contrast, the Archbishop of Canterbury has just revealed his master plan for the unity of the Anglican Communion, which - on a worst-case-scenario read - looks to be designed to exclude nuisances from the Church.
The fear that many have goes something like this: sick and tired of the conflict generated by those who recognise gay relationships as having the potential to reflect the glory of God, he is proposing a Church where all controversial theology would have to be cleared with everybody else. This would be a Church where prophecy was impossible. It wouldn't be a biblical Church: it would be a stagnant pond.
As Dr Williams once said, biblical prophecy focuses on the prophet's ability to see things that others don't. The prophet points to an injustice that the community doesn't recognise, or won't admit to itself. And, as the prophet speaks of a community's blindness, it sees him or her as a heretic and a troublemaker.
As the early Dr Williams put it: "The prophet is encountering an alien God. [He or she] speaks in the name of a strange God to people who have become used to God, familiar with God." That's why some will argue till they're blue in the face that the prophet is pointing to a different God, and a separate religion.
The Archbishop's new plan looks to involve a covenant between Churches, which would bind us together in such a way that no unilateral decisions were possible. It would be an international Anglican whip - to use a parliamentary image. Those who refuse to take the whip would forfeit voting rights, and be relegated to being a second-class Church with associate status.
The worry is that this would become a sanctioned mechanism for dismissing the unpopular prophetic voice. If so, it would silence the sort of radical speech that, again and again, the Bible uses to describe the new and shocking reality of God. On this model, Isaiah could have associate status.
Perhaps all new truth has to originate on the fringes, as from one crying in the wilderness. But the danger is that the associate Churches would become a theological laboratory, and the covenanted Churches a risk-free environment for contented Christians who have found a way to silence the troublemakers. That doesn't sound much like Anglicanism to me.
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The Revd Dr Giles Fraser is Team Rector of Putney, in London,
and is lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford.
This article is reprinted by permission from Church Times of England, which can be found online at www.churchtimes.co.uk
What Cost Belonging?
by Joanne Davies
When James died, I was asked to do his funeral.
Ian, his partner, invited me to their Toronto apartment so he could show me photographs and to tell me his ideas about music and the shape of the service. He and James had been together for more than 30 years, and had a wonderful collection of art. Ian walked me around the apartment explaining where every piece had been purchased, and the stories behind them. There were two bedrooms, and suddenly I registered that Ian had called one room James' and the other his room.
Then I remembered the photographs I had seen in James' room in the hospital. They were photos of James and Ian together on holiday and at the homes they shared - the Toronto apartment and their home up north. Their favourite holiday was a cruise, and there were many pictures of them smiling together from the deck of a ship. But in none of the pictures were they touching.
James had thought he was healthy until he had been immobilized by gastro-intestinal problems. The diagnosis was cancer. James had maybe three months to live. I went to visit James because his social worker had talked about his high anxiety and fear, and his dependence on his friend. I introduced myself as the chaplain. When patients and their loved ones first meet the chaplain, they often tell their "church" story. Ian immediately told me about a childhood full of singing in church choirs while his father played the organ in a variety of Protestant churches. I got the impression that he had put the fundamentalist understanding of church teachings he had gained as a child safely away in a compartment of childhood memories.
When Ian finished, I looked at James. He told me quickly that he hadn't gone to church for a long time. Ian jumped in to say that James had studied theology in university. After a lengthy pause, James said that the studies had been in an Anglican seminary. As James was being wheeled away for tests, I told them I was Anglican too. Ian asked me to please come back, and James nodded in agreement.
I came to know both of them quite well through daily visits over the next few weeks. They did not like being away from each other. Ian felt anxious and helpless, and James depended on Ian's presence to find calm. James wanted to go home, to their home up north, and the hospital care team made it work. James died at home two months after his discharge, with Ian by his side.
Before he left the hospital I had two poignant, heart-splitting moments with James. One day he was alone when I visited. He was very quiet, talking intermittently about the unknown, and his frustration with having to go through so many medical tests when all he wanted was to go home. I asked him if he would like prayer together, and to be anointed. He asked me to come back in the afternoon when Ian would be there so he could share the prayers with us. When the time came Ian wanted them both to hold hands with me as we prayed. Then I turned to anoint James. Suddenly he crumpled forward, leaning his head into my shoulder, saying he never thought he'd feel part of the church again. He started to cry.
The next day he wanted to talk more. He told me about his amazement that the neighbourhood in the north accepted two gay men in their midst. This was the first time I'd heard him verbally identify himself as "gay". I recalled to him how heartbreaking I had found his words when I had anointed him. James told me his story. He had been about to be ordained. James felt at home in the church. But he believed his sexual orientation had no home in the Church. He felt guilty and sinful. In order to stay "home" he vowed to be celibate. Spiritual advisors in the seminary spoke of people who suspected he was homosexual, and advised him to get married. So did his bishop - but not before making his own sexual advances. The betrayal, the hypocrisy, and the hurt, pushed James out of the Church, out of his home. Now, years later, he was filled with confusion by the talk of the Church changing its attitudes; he wasn't sure if the changes were right, and if he should belong. I told him he did belong.
When Ian and I were finished the tour of the apartment, I asked about the two bedrooms. Was it said for family members who had not wanted to know about the true nature of their relationship? Ian looked at me sadly, and said no, he really meant it. They had separate bedrooms. They always had, for 30 years. James could not bring himself to have a sexual relationship with Ian because he could not break that personal vow of celibacy he had made years ago.
What does it mean to belong? That day in the hospital, when James and I had talked about "belonging," neither of us defined what we meant by the word. For James belonging was tremendously important. He had made a vow to the Church and to God - so he could belong. And that vow to a perfidious and defiled church crippled his relationship, body and soul, with Ian, in whom his true belonging lay.
At the funeral, every person felt the need to speak of the wonderful love James had for Ian. Once James' mother had been very angry at his decision to "leave the Church"; and now members of his family actually used the word "couple" as they said they grieved that they had never told James how glad they were that he had found a place he could belong.
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This is a true story, although the names have been changed.
JOANNE DAVIES is an Anglican Chaplain
at Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network in Toronto.
She is a parishioner of the Church of the Redeemer where she is also Chair of Redeemer Rainbow.
Proud Anglicans in London
by the Rev Greg Smith
Another step has been taken along the pathway for Integrity London. On Sunday 9 July we participated for the first time as "Proud Anglicans" in the London Pride parade. London ON, of course, has been known as a conservative city where there has been a struggle for the GLBT community to find its visibility and place. The annual parade has not had a popular following and has had a history of receiving a lot of opposition and even threats. It was a big step for many of us to quite publicly be a presence in the parade this year, although some had participated individually in past years.
On Sunday a group of 20 people from Integrity London entered the parade. Some needed to ride in one of two vehicles we had with us, "gay-ly" decorated with rainbows and balloons and posters. The group included four clergy from two city parishes. The "Proud Anglicans" banner spanned the roadway in the lead. Integrity London is very grateful to the folks in Toronto for the support both in spirit and by lending us the banner and sashes from the Toronto event. As we walked the route it was quite obvious from the reaction of many onlookers that they were delighted to see the "Anglican" presence.
London Proud Anglicans
prepare to march in the Pride parade
across the street from St Paul's Cathedral
The positive response far outweighed the occasional presence along the route of some very dour individuals. They walked along with yellowed signs sporting the expected hate and the usual unfortunate assumptions like: "Thank you for not pro-creating" (little did they know to whom they were speaking) and "Leave Our Children Alone" (to which some of our younger members replied "We are your children"). Stationed along the boulevard in front of the cathedral of St Paul was a group of neo-fascists. The London Police, who were terrific, formed a comfortable barrier around them to keep the peace. It was quite an image to think about however, with the unsuspecting cathedral providing the backdrop. What face of the Church do we want to present to the world? Perhaps next year the folks of the cathedral might want to fill up the boulevard outside their property so as not to afford the space to such hate. The fun and the celebration of the parade was what remained with us, at any rate. Already we are planning what we need to do for next year.
Integrity London hosted a post-parade BBQ on the ground of Christ Church, London, with folks from five London Anglican churches and friends from London MCC. We were delighted when two men came over from five doors down the street and introduced themselves. They were drawn by our display of balloons on their way home from Pride festivities. "So," said one of them , "Talk me in to coming to your church." Here is testimony to the front line evangelism that Pride can be. Who knows where it may lead?
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The Rev Greg Smith is rector of Christ Church,
where the monthly meetings of Integrity London are held.
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