Standing Committee blocks move to expel US

by
28 July 2010

by Ed Beavan

A PROPOSAL to separate the Episcopal Church in the United States from the Anglican Communion was rejected by the Communion’s Standing Committee (SCAC) when it met in London over last weekend.

The suggestion, from Dato’ Stanley Isaacs (Church of the Province of South East Asia), led to a discussion, and acknowledgement by committee members of “anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues”, the ACNS reported. But “the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues”, and would therefore be “unhelpful”.

The Committee also heard the rationale behind the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pente­cost letter, which proposed excluding from certain ecumenical dialogues provinces that had breached moratoria. Dr Williams and the Communion’s secretary general, Canon Kenneth Kearon, said that the Archbishop “had not acted unilaterally but with the support of the secretary general”, and that they had acted within their powers. The action “had not been punitive in intention”, but had followed “the breaking of the agreed moratoria — in response to the needs of the Communion in respect to ecumenical dialogues and faith and order bodies”.

In his report, Canon Kearon said that the credibility of the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) “was being openly questioned by some and this criticism was increasingly focused on the Standing Committee itself”.

Responding, the Bishop of Southern Malawi, Dr James Tengatenga, emphasised that ACC members were elected and sent by their own provinces and synods, and represented a very wide spectrum of views.

Dr Williams questioned whether the ACC’s committee structure was still appropriate, and asked whether revised Instrument structures were required to improve the relationship-building parts of the Communion’s life.

It was the SCAC’s first meeting since several high-profile resignations this year. The Arch­bishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi; the Archbishop of West Africa, Dr Justice Ofei Akrofi; the Bishop in Iran, the Rt Revd Azad Marshall; and the President-Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, Dr Mouneer Anis, have all stood down.

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The committee noted these resignations with regret, and said that its work “would be diminished when it lacked a range of opinion”. Bishop Marshall’s replacement was elected, and the name will be announced if the person agrees to serve.

The committee noted a request from the Primates’ Meeting for the number of Primates on the SCAC to be increased from five to eight, and confirmed that the ACC’s next meeting would take place in 2012 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland, New Zealand.

Dignity for all, says US Primate

THE Presiding Bishop of the Epis­copal Church in the United States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, preached on Sunday at St Paul’s Cathedral, where she urged the congregation to take action against injustice in the world, writes Ed Beavan.

Dr Jefferts Schori, who was in London to attend a meeting of the Anglican Communion Standing Com­mittee, called on churchpeople to be “ready, willing, and able” to help those who are suffering injustice or in­dignity.

Prophetic work, she said, was “about more abundant life for the whole world, and it is about a home everywhere, a home for all. Prophetic work is about challeng­ing human systems that ignore or deny the innate dignity of all of God’s creation. We lose our dignity when we tolerate in­dignity for some. The work of the cross is the most life-giving journey we know.”

There was a tendency “to insist that some are not worthy of re­spect, that dignity doesn’t apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people”.

She also praised the ministry of the Revd Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor at St Paul’s, whose ministry, she said, had “had an impact far beyond this place”.

Dr Jefferts Schori spent time in Wales visiting the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, before the Standing Committee’s meeting.

In an interview with the Western Mail, she said that women should be able to serve at all levels of church leadership, and that many early church communities had been “sheltered and led and supported by women. The Church has elected to forget that in many instances. We’ve ignored a very significant part of our history.”

THE Presiding Bishop of the Epis­copal Church in the United States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, preached on Sunday at St Paul’s Cathedral, where she urged the congregation to take action against injustice in the world, writes Ed Beavan.

Dr Jefferts Schori, who was in London to attend a meeting of the Anglican Communion Standing Com­mittee, called on churchpeople to be “ready, willing, and able” to help those who are suffering injustice or in­dignity.

Prophetic work, she said, was “about more abundant life for the whole world, and it is about a home everywhere, a home for all. Prophetic work is about challeng­ing human systems that ignore or deny the innate dignity of all of God’s creation. We lose our dignity when we tolerate in­dignity for some. The work of the cross is the most life-giving journey we know.”

There was a tendency “to insist that some are not worthy of re­spect, that dignity doesn’t apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people”.

She also praised the ministry of the Revd Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor at St Paul’s, whose ministry, she said, had “had an impact far beyond this place”.

Dr Jefferts Schori spent time in Wales visiting the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, before the Standing Committee’s meeting.

In an interview with the Western Mail, she said that women should be able to serve at all levels of church leadership, and that many early church communities had been “sheltered and led and supported by women. The Church has elected to forget that in many instances. We’ve ignored a very significant part of our history.”

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