Saturday, July 05, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Published: 6/30/08, 5:06 PM EDT By MEERA SELVA
LONDON (AP) - The spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans raised questions Monday about the legitimacy of plans to create a global network of conservative Anglicans that would challenge his authority and the teachings of liberal North American churches.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the proposal to form a separate global council of conservative bishops who will train priests and interpret Scripture would create more problems than it solves.
A council "which consists of only a self-selected group ... will not pass the test of legitimacy for all in the Communion," he said.
The plan emerged from a weeklong meeting in Jerusalem of conservative Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people from Africa and some north American and British churches. In a declaration Sunday, they announced plans for the fellowship as a "church within a church," stopping short of a complete break with the communion.
Conference participants expressed outrage at what they consider a "false gospel" that has led churches in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere to accept gay relationships. Long-standing divisions over how Anglicans should interpret the Bible erupted in 2003 when the U.S. Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the U.S., consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
On Monday, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, said that "much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission" from the Jerusalem conference.
"Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable," she said. "This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers."
In recent years, overseas conservatives have taken leadership of the more than 60 Episcopal parishes that have split from the denomination. The Episcopal Church includes more than 7,000 parishes.
As part of their new fellowship, the conservatives said they would continue to take in breakaway churches.
Williams warned that the conservatives' plans to intervene when congregations or priests around the world complain about the teachings of their local bishops would lead to the church being used to settle personal scores.
"How is a bishop or primate in another continent able to discriminate effectively between a genuine crisis of pastoral relationship and theological integrity, and a situation where are underlying non-theological motivations at work?" he said.
In their official statement from the conference, the conservative groups said they "do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the archbishop of Canterbury." They also called the current setup for the communion, with the archbishop of Canterbury at its center, "a colonial structure."
The Anglican Communion is a 77 million-member family of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. It is the third-largest grouping of churches in the world, behind Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, and has always held together different views.
The Jerusalem meeting was held just ahead of a once-a-decade gathering of all Anglican bishops, called the Lambeth Conference. Some of the more than 200 bishops in Jerusalem plan to boycott Lambeth, which begins July 16 in England.
AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll in New York contributed to this report.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE PRINCE OF PEACE?
If I asked you to describe the personality of Jesus what would you say? What adjectives would you use to describe his temperament? Most people would say that he’s gentle, loving, kind, and compassionate. Then what do we do with Jesus as he appears in tonight’s lesson? The Jesus who says:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
Whatever happened to The Prince of Peace? What in the world is Jesus getting at?
Some Christians believe that Jesus was approving the use of violence. For them the sword is literally a weapon and a justification for violence, war, and capital punishment.
Other Christians see the sword as a symbol of conflict. I personally don’t think that Jesus was advocating violence – but he was warning us that we might encounter violence or conflict when we follow his teaching.
Standing up for our beliefs is sometimes painful. When I first came to
But guess what. It wasn’t all wonderful. There were some in the congregation who felt that Integrity had no place here. Felt it so strongly that they left the church. I was new here at the time, so I didn’t know all the people involved, but I did know one: a man that I became acquainted with in my short time at St. Andrew’s – someone who truly loved the Episcopal Church and truly loved St. Andrew’s. But under the circumstances he felt that he couldn’t stay. He believed that the mission of Integrity was wrong. Now this was not some ultra conservative crank just making noise. He was a thoughtful man who served St. Andrew’s in many ways. He was valuable to the church for any number of reasons. I couldn’t understand his position but that was how he felt. So he left. And it really was a loss. I suppose some of the others who couldn’t agree with the concept of Integrity left a terrible void as well.
Just as Jesus told us in tonight’s lesson:
“One’s foes will be members of one’s own household.”
But as time went by things got better. Many of those who remained came to embrace the new ministry. Because of Integrity, we began to attract new members – and I don’t just mean the gay community – I mean all kinds of people who are simply attracted to the idea of a radically inclusive church. One of the new people who came to St. Andrew’s told me that she’d seen a flyer about Integrity in an ice cream parlor and as she put it – “ I decided that that was the kind of church I really wanted to belong to.”
It can’t have been easy for Fr. Bill in those difficult days, and it can’t have been easy for those who were on the vestry at the time. But following this moral struggle St. Andrew’s has come to embrace Integrity and there’s now a tremendous inner peace that we feel with this unique ministry. It was the right thing to do! Because the
But just because we’re home to Integrity doesn’t mean that we’re the perfect church. We have far to go in some ways. We need to think about the millennium goals of the Episcopal Church and what we can do about them. We need to look for new ways to be in relationship with our home, planet Earth, and with other children of God. We need to find ways to welcome in the
Whatever happened to the Prince of Peace? He’s still here, and he’s still loving and compassionate. But sometimes he asks us to take up the sword of conflict. As we’ve seen right here at St. Andrew’s, conflict can lead to tolerance, tolerance can lead to transformation,
and transformation can lead to peace.
for the Core Ensemble