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February 22, 2008


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Yeah, I saw the article, realised just how rubbish it was and decided not to post it.

But, more importantly, you don't have a membership card in Essentials? How can this oversight have gone unnoticed? We will have to print you up the official 5th columnist 'disurber of the peace' sinister black card at once.


Powerful? um....

Scott Gilbreath

Great post, Joe. You were much kinder to that doofus than I would have been.

Dr Acres alleges that evangelical African Anglicans have infiltrated and "foisted something on" the North American churches. It wasn't so long ago we were hearing claims that wealthy evangelical North American Anglicans had bought the support of Africans with chicken dinners and so forth.


We have membership cards? How come I didn't get one?


I have to agree with the really lame reportage there is concerning church activities, both from the "religious press" [like the Anglican Journal] and the "secular press." An example would be the debates last summer at General Synod. I would have liked to have know who were the movers and shakers on both sides, whether they were forming coalitions, who were the leaders and where the different factions were moving. Mostly drivel from the Journal. I can understand the MSM, who are just looking for interesting stories. The AJ reporting sounds like it is edited by someone who wants us all to be happy!

Mike S

Chalk it up to money and the ethnic vote


You probably haven't been nearly sinister enough yet Kate :-) Try practising the evil schismatic cackle.


Most reporting is lame. Frankly, the current state of news rooms is such that virtually no journalist in the country is writing on a subject where they have even the most rudimentary knowledge.

One famous (and non-ecclesiastical) example. When HMC Submarine CHICOUTIMI caught fire a couple of years ago, the press went wild a couple of days later with the story that the fire control mechanism had not been installed prior to the submarine departing Scotland for Canada. Clearly, the media argued, this had contributed to the problems, and to the death of Lt(N) Chris Saunders.

Of course, having the fire control mechanism installed would have been of no help at all. The fire control system controls the firing of weapons.

Most of this I'd write off to bad reporting by a (probably wet behind the ears) journalist whose knowledge of the Anglican Church is on par with my knowledge of quantum mechanics.

The Anglican Journal reads like a house organ. It always has.

All that said, the number of Canadian parishes (or American parishes for that matter) that have departed for some sort of affiliation with the so-called Global South is remarkably small. Most conservatives are prepared to engage the issues. It is only a small handful of "conservative" absolutists who are decamping for some mythical purer church.

This issue isn't going away, however much people on both sides wish it would. Faithful people on both sides will do their best to have honest engagement. Some have chosen otherwise. Sad, but their choice. And based on the GaffeProne conduct of a handful of primates, I think thei Canadian decampers will find themselves on the outside looking in when next international Anglicanism gathers. The "conservative" leadership seems determined to attack conservatives who question his tactics with much the same vigour as they attack liberals. Dr. Poon is basically told to sit down and shut up. Bp Wright is called a racist. Bp Dawani practically accused of prostituting himself. Having driven away their conservative potential allies, the "conservatives" shall be very lonely at their meeting in Jerusalem (where they are not welcome).

The financial link between the much of the GaffeProne crowd and wealthy right wing extremists in the US is well established. See:

Finally, have you heard? Apparently your former bishop has been elected by the diocesan electoral synod to be the new Bishop of Christchurch NZ.


One other thing I meant to observe. Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference is not a "teaching." It is a majority opinion of those present and voting. It is the equivalent of a "mind of the house" resolution as done in the American House of Bishops.

Like many controversial resolutions on controversial issues passed in highly politicized assemblies, it represented a such a series of compromises and vacillations that it would almost certainly be true to say that the vast majority of the bishops that voted for it oppose at least some parts of it.

It is also worth noting that, despite the overheated rhetoric of many "conservatives," there is more to 1.10 that their favourite prooftexting clause that concludes homosexuality is incompatible with scripture.

And it has the same binding moral authority as the random thoughts you or I post on our blogs.


The number of parishes that have joined ANiC is small so far, yes. As I recall, the Christian church started pretty small, too. We have been trying for honest engagement since the first Essentials conference in (I think?) 1994. 13 years of basically fruitless talk. That doesn't seem like precipitous action to me.

Dr. Poon is basically told to sit down and shut up. Bp Wright is called a racist. Bp Dawani practically accused of prostituting himself.

Sources, please?


Well, let's open up the mail bag and see what's in it today...

Peter/kate - I only join clubs that have smoking sections and snooker tables..

Scott - I agree. Undoubtedly a good part of all this is driven by the knowledge that in "media age", the scoring of rhetorical points becomes important for some people. i too recall a time when it seemed the line was: these Africans are acting this way because US$$ has had influence on them. The important point then, as it is now, is that the traditional teachings of Anglicanism have their roots in Anglicanism. As long as a conservative/reasserter/traditional position is seen as "foreign", it doesn't matter how that is accomplished. And BTW - a gentle reminder to use, err, respectful terms when referring to people,,, :^)

Andrew - I concur. Between the secular press and the in-house publications, how does one piece together what is actually happening? Kester Brewin, in a book featured on the sidebar of this blog, has a wonderful analysis of what he calls "distributed knowledge" - access to timely and accurate information. Churches have not always been the best at this, although the age of the internet has changed the way the game is played.

Malcolm - I think we have both seen the number of "subdivisions" within our church and our communion continue to grow. Reporting like that in the Calgary Herald, reinforced by Dr Acres' analysis and commentary, I think serves only to alienate those conservatives who believe they are called to remain and contribute to the renewed growth and vigour of the Anglican Church of Canada. I'm off to the Vital Church Planting conference (Diocese of Toronto/Wycliffe) next week precisely because I am convinced that there is a future for the ACofC, and that God is calling me to be a part of it. I suppose I would also have to say God is calling you as well:^)

The intrigue and politicizing of issues has always been there. That being said, my views on this issue have not come about because of those intrigues and politics. They are the result of reflection on Scripture, tradition and experience, prayer and conversation. I suppose I could just as well wish for the moon to be made of cheese as wish that there was a more visible portrayal of ordinary, traditional Anglicans who do pot lucks, mow the churchyard, visit the sick, pray for their friends and neighbours - in short: faithful Christians of the Anglican way who hold to the traditional teachings on human sexuality because that is where their Lord has led them. Not because of money, power, Swahili, or global moving and shaking. I know they exist because I am one of them,

As to whether or not the gathering of Bishops has any stature, I would have to disagree with you. In our own Canadian Church, the Diocese of Fredericton sent a memorial to GS 2007, in which the diocese affirmed the "teaching of Lambeth 1.10". At least in some quarters it is being seen and received as such. Granted, that is one interpretation of what Lambeth accomplishes. I would say that the bishops of the Communion, gathering at the invitation of Canterbury, must have in their capacity and office, some greater degree of persuasion and public influence than you and I having a pint. Mind you, having a pint might accomplish more. My point is this: the office of bishop includes teaching, a council of bishops has to recognize that its declarations and proceedings will give direction and influence to the faithful. I think you are right in that Lambeth does not in and of itself set doctrine in stone for the Anglican Church, but surely the mere fact of the office of bishop indicates that they are teaching. Whether that can be considered binding on anyone is another matter. The phrase "the teaching of Lambeth" has been used by various parties, with differing interpretation as to the weight of its "authority". Some would like to claim it as authoritative for the whole communion, and others give it the same weight as a private expressed opinion. As a side note, I think this is where the idea of a covenant might, just might, give us clearer direction.

And yes, I heard about the election in NZ, but thought I would leave off posting that news so that folks here would focus more on the task ahead in our own election!


Bishop Poon's account of his dressing down by an unnamed primate was originally posted to the Global South website, but was swiftly removed. Thinking Anglicans has it as the first item on this page:

The various accusations about Wright of Durham and Dawani of Jerusalem appeared on a number of "conservative" sites in the Anglican blogosphere. Here are links to a few examples:
(see especially the comments of Alice Linsley who continues to make the same accusation, all the while denying that she's making it.)
(see John's comment where he specifically links Dawani's position to a $22M contribution from the Episcopal Church. Note also the account that the Primate of the Middle East actually sent back a large donation from the Episcopal Church, yet he too is frequently accused of being in thrall to TEC dollars.)

I was not able, in a quick search, to find a specific example of the hateful rhetoric directed at Bp Wright. I'll look some more later.


Joe, your first comments in response to my earlier post show why I would count you as one of the conservatives rather than one of the "conservatives."

The intrigues have not been about the supposedly substantive issue. Ahmonson's financial support was about undermining the Episcopal Church as an institution. Sexuality is not the substantive issue, but rather a wedge issue. Ahmonson and others have been using this issue as a pretext to fund organizations to destabilize not only the Episcopal Church, but also several other mainline denominations in the US.

There are lots of honest conservatives who have taken a conservative position because they believe it to be more faithful to scripture and tradition. That does not negate the fact that the institutional shenanigans are about institutional politics, and not about approving or preventing gay unions.

Lambeth has consistently and unequivocally denied that it has the kind of authority that the "conservatives" (for the moment) want to attribute to it. It has likewise repeatedly rejected the sort of "supreme court of Anglicanism" approach of juridical authority, despite several attempts in the initial Lambeths to establish binding courts and tribunals.

The resolutions of Lambeth Conferences should be taken seriously. The faithful should read them and prayerfully consider them.

And more, they should consider all the resolutions and all the clauses - not just the bits they like. Dr. Akinola's support for draconian anti-gay legislation in Nigeria offends against 1998 1.10 every bit as much as the consecration of Gene Robinson. (Homosexual acts are already criminal offenses in Nigeria. The fascist legislation proposed would have made it illegal even to propose publicly that perhaps gays shouldn't be jailed.)

But, having considered the resolutions, the provinces, the dioceses and the individual believers must test all against conscience. The consecration of Gene Robinson may well have been imprudent. It may well have been insensitive. It may even have been wrong. But to argue (as some "conservatives" have done) that it violates an obligation under 1998 1.10 is simply false.

Finally, I think that a Covenant per se may not be a completely horrible idea. However, hard cases make bad law, and a Covenant conceived in the present circumstance can only be a disaster.

If we can meet, no Covenant is necessary.

If we cannot meet, no Covenant is sufficient.


Lambeth 1:10 rejects homosexual practise as incompatible with scripture. How can one accept that, and at the same time accept same sex blessings, or the consecration of Gene Robinson?

Fr. Joe:

I suppose I could just as well wish for the moon to be made of cheese as wish that there was a more visible portrayal of ordinary, traditional Anglicans who do pot lucks, mow the churchyard, visit the sick, pray for their friends and neighbours - in short, faithful Christians of the Anglican way who hold to the traditional teachings on human sexuality because that is where their Lord has led them. Not because of money, power, Swahili, or global moving and shaking. I know they exist because I am one of them,

That is exactly what we at St. Alban's are - but it is impossible for us to contiue to hold to those traditional teachings in Ottawa under our current bishop. We did not take the decision we did last week lightly.


Hello Joseph - interesting comments indeed. Not too often we get your personal standpoint expressed.

With that in mind, can I ask you a question, one Kate alluded to? Do you think that you are able to more easily hold your opinion because of the diocese you are in?

Personally, you will not be surprised to learn, I do not beleive that there is a future for the ACofC; that it is institutionally 'ichabod'. Malcolm would probably regard me as a "conservative".

Anyway, I wish you well at the Vital Church Planting conference!


Kate - I fully appreciate your position, and although I wouldn't see myself doing the same, I think that what you and your fellowship are doing is faithfully following your Lord as you have discerned his call.

I think that certain synods have erred in their judgment, and I think certain bishops have erred in their judgment. I try to uphold all in prayer.

Peter - I don't think that my holding of an opinion is based on the kind of diocese I am in. Perhaps you mean something like: are you more able to carry on your ministry because of the diocese you are in? That might be the case, but I hope that I would hold to the convictions of classical Anglicanism regardless of my circumstances.

I know that there are some who hold that the ACofC is kaput, and what can one really say? At a certain point our spiritual forebears considered their call to mean that they would break communion with Rome. I find it rather odd that today's bishops don't grasp that same principle in operation: some people believe they need to break fellowship with their local bishop in order to remain faithful to their Lord and to remain in communion with the world wide Anglican Communion. Perhaps the local bishops could institute the Gamaliel principle which I've heard them invoke on other occasions. Wish the parishes well, bless them, and understand that the Kingdom is bigger than the ACofC.

Read enough church history and one realizes that anything is possible.

Personally, I won't "give up" on the Anglican Church, because Christ never gave up on me.


Ah, perhaps not well phrased on my part, sorry. Been a long week!

I was thinking about (say) St Johns Shaugnessey and how David Short has described himself as a 'reluctant pioneer' in leaving the ACoC, and I was considering that remaining within the ACoC and working positively as a 'conservative' may depend somewhat on your diocese and bishop.

If you were David, for instance, what would you do? This isn't a passive-aggressive question by the way, I'm genuinely curious. Would that change anything for you? Would you be a loyal opposition in the diocese? If the latter, how would you address the issue of your replacement, knowing that the bishop concerned is likely to put pressure for the new priest to be of a different theological stripe? What, in such circumastances, does being faithful look like? I know it's complex, so I'm not looking for a simple answers, just some further thoughts if you have time. :-)


Lambeth resolutions have done a number of things over the years, Kate. They've rejected artificial means of birth control as incompatible with scripture, for example. They've advocated for the forgiveness of third world debt.

Lambeth 1.10 did reject homosexual unions as "incompatible with scripture. But it also called on the churches of the Communion to enter into deliberate processes of listening to the witness and experience of homosexual persons. The reports on the listening process are available at the Anglican Communion website. The Nigerian report is an intere3sting read, and clearly indicates that their listening process didn't involve a single gay person.

Therefore, Dr. Akinola (for one) has offended against the plain words of Lambeth 1998 1.10 every bit as much as the Americans have done in consecrating Gene Robinson. There is a word to describe those who demand the Americans be disciplined while saying nothing about the Nigerians' failure to listen. The word is "hypocrite."

But at the end of the day, Lambeth 1998 1.10 is a resolution passes in a divided house, including a range of compromises and having exactly no authority. Despite all the wild demands that everyone submit, Lambeth itself has explicitly and deliberately rejected, again and again, the idea that the Conference should have canonical, doctrinal, disciplinary or juridical authority.

Therefore, the Nigerians are free to ignore gay people (and to jail anyone who chooses to be nice to gay people), and the Americans are free to ordain gay people (and to bless their unions).

It may be imprudent. It may be insensitive. It may even be wrong.

But the fat that it goes against Lambeth 1998 1.10 is, at the end of the day, utterly and completely irrelevant.


I think you are being too hard on Akinola. What if the choice he had to make was between the law he supported and Sharia? What if the choice he had to make was between the law he supported and the death penalty for homosexuality? He has to be mindful that his decisions can put Nigerian Christians in danger for their lives. I certainly don't know enough of what is going on on the ground in Nigera to pass judgement (although, I wasn't all that happy with his decision either, to tell you the truth).

If Lambeth is irrelevant, then what indeed holds the Anglican Communion together?


In legislation, the choice is always between the proposal and the status quo. Sharia is not the status quo, nor is the death penalty. Indeed, there seems to be broadbased call for this gay "crisis" to be confronted at all.

Look, the bill was so over the top that even the US State Department condemned it.

On your other point, I have never claimed that Lambeth is irrelevant. Lambeth is what it is, and it's resolutions should be considered prayerfully.

But it does not, has never had and (IMNSHO) should never have canonical or juridical authority in the Anglican Communion.

Power is not necessary to relevance. MLK, for example, had great relevance without power.


The choice is always between the proposal and the status quo in western democracies. That doesn't necessarily hold true in Nigeria. My point was not to defend his decision, I am troubled by it as well. My point was that I don't think that we have all the information needed to condemn him, either, as we are not Christians in a predominantly conservative Muslim country.


Actually, the story is pretty much out in the open - and the pressure for the proposed law was coming from Akinola et al and not from the Muslim community.

Akinola is a divisive figure - even for those who agree with him an particular issues. His treatment of Dawani, as simply one example, is very illustrative of this man's arrogant attitude.

Let us be clear, the proposed legislation was not abou homosexual acts. Homosexual acts are already criminal offenses in Nigeria.

His proposed legislation would have made it illegal for you or I to say "perhaps throwing homosexuals in jail isn't quite the best thing." It would be a crime openly to advocate a position different than his on this issue.

And this is part of the reason that he was soundly thrashed in his attempt to seek re-election as the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria - despite a series of political maneuvers that would make Karl Rove blush.

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blank stare...

  • Copyright Rev. Joseph Walker, St Timothy's Anglican Church

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