From Mr Bob Cranmore
Sir, — The current efforts by various leaders to split the
Anglican Communion over homosexuality go on without any apparent input or
discussion at parish level. We wouldn’t know anything about it if it weren’t
reported in the secular media and the Church Times.
We are not asked to pray about it, and perhaps it is really so unimportant
that we won’t even notice if the dissolution goes ahead. Any of us British who
visit Africa are unlikely to be thrown out of any church we visit, but perhaps
we would be questioned, which would be disconcerting. At a minimum, it is
resulting in the pillorying of our Archbishop, who has many more important
things to worry about.
It is a matter of concern that Christians can behave in the way in which
Anglican leaders in Africa are behaving. But perhaps this should be expected. A
number of African politicians have had notoriously little self-discipline over
their quest for and retention of personal power and wealth, and have been
prepared to destroy institutions and infrastructure laboriously built up — and
to hell with the people they should be looking after.
I cannot find where Jesus even mentioned homosexuality in the New Testament.
BOB CRANMORE, 1 Lakeside, Brighton Road, Lancing BN15 8LN
From Mr Stephen Johnston
Sir, — As I was leaving the public gallery in Church House at the
end of the recent sessions of General Synod, a security officer whom I had
spoken to previously came up to me and said: "He’s such a lovely man . . . such
a lovely man."
I asked her whom she was referring to, and she said: "I don’t know his name:
I am a Roman Catholic. But I think you call him Rowan."
At that same time, a letter criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury was
being publicised. How many of the signatories to that letter would have been
described by an impartial observer as "a lovely man"?
STEPHEN H. JOHNSTON
56 Fairlawn Grove, London W4 5EH
From Mr Derek Lancaster
Sir, — See how these Christians love one another! Where is the listening,
the openness, the humility or the obedience? In the recent furore over
sexuality and episcopacy, we have had the unedifying spectacle of bishops and
archbishops abusing each other’s positions in the media.
Surely, if we are to move forward and grow as a Church, we must pause and
listen carefully for God’s will in all this tension. Perhaps all Anglican
Churches worldwide should observe a day of prayer in penitence for the damage
being done to the gospel by leaders who should know better.
Perhaps in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?
3 Ellsworth Road, High Wycombe, Bucks HP11 2TU
From Canon Colin Craston
Sir, — The issue of
the report of the Anglican Global South Conference causes me alarm. In addition
to much valuable material, its message on the divisions is: We are right; if
you don’t agree, you are wrong. The "you" now seems to include the Church of
England, as well as the American and Canadian Churches.
It is claimed that "far too many Western theological education institutions
have become compromised and are no longer suitable for training leaders for our
provinces." Developments in America and some Western provinces are said to be
undermining "the basic message of redemption and the power of the gospel to
This all leads me to plead the urgent need for a commission of top-rank
theologians from all traditions to explore how we use scripture in defining the
historic Christian faith today. At the heart of our divisions is the nature of
biblical authority and its application in the light of tradition, reason, and
faithful, honest, and humble study.
In one of the excellent reports of the past 50 years,
Belonging Together (1992), we read: "The centrality of scripture in
liturgy is a sign of its centrality in Anglican thinking, but the meaning of
scripture for the Church’s life has not always proved easy to formulate." The
Global South report reveals with clearer light the need for patient,
charitable, prayerful dialogue.
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