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Undisciplined leaders in world Anglicanism

02 November 2006


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"?

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 change lives".

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.

12 Lever Park Avenue, Horwich, Bolton BL6 7LE

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