The Rev. Ann Fontaine, a deputy to General Convention, 2006, from the Diocese of Wyoming has written a thoughtful reflection on the Primates’ communique and Bishop Jefferts Schori’s “Word to the Church.” To read it click the “continue reading”
It includes this message to the Communion: “If you do not want us at Lambeth 2008 – we accept that and will use all the funds we would have spent on that meeting for the relief of suffering around the world … This will be our communal fast.”
And speaking of Ann Fontaine, visit her new blog, Green Lent.
I think that the Communique does describe where we are, as do Katharine’s follow up remarks. She is asking us to think seriously about what has been asked, all of us wherever we are on the continuum. It does sound to me like more is once again being asked of those who are gay and lesbian – I hope that is not her meaning. She does not say we must have one answer or another.
Lambeth 1.10 does describe where most in the world are to date. As you may recall many of our bishops voted for it or abstained with only a few speaking out against it (like Bp Roskam) so it is safe to assume that others attending believed that “we” agreed with it.
Since the last Lambeth conference, TEC has declared through resolutions on same sex marriage, consecration of bishops in same sex relationships, and ordination of priests and deacons in same sex relationships that we no longer agree with that teaching. Although we have not made a repudiation of that teaching per se – our other resolutions show where we are.
We could call another Convention, but I think it is unnecessary, the bishops know (or we should write and tell them if not) where we stand from GC 2000, 2003 and 2006. It is within their power to agree to the conditions of the request from Tanzania but I think it would be a mess to have to go through all of this again. We made our “yes” to gays and lesbians — let it stand.
As to what will happen in the future – the Primates did commit to the listening process with a reporting system, they did affirm our Presiding Bishop and TEC as the only Anglican expression in the US, she was elected to the Standing Committee, she sat at the table for the whole meeting. So all those dire predictions about how we were going to be disciplined did not come true. Some did not take the Eucharist – most did. What will happen next – we shall see.
I think we can say to the Primates –
1. We do not have official rites for same sex blessings
2. Consents are made according to our Constitution and Canons
3. We know our stance on the role of gays and lesbians (and women for most provinces) offends you, but we do not ask you to take our stance for your own.
4. We deeply appreciate your willingness to engage in the listening process and to take all this time about TEC in an era of global disaster.
5. We want to work with you to address the pressing needs of poverty, global warming, HIV/AIDS, malaria (more people dying every day than died in the tsunami btw)
6. If you do not want us at Lambeth 2008 – we accept that and will use all the funds we would have spent on that meeting for the relief of suffering around the world (including all that the dioceses will spend to send our bishops and our contribution to the ACC for this, as well as encouraging Compass Rose to donate their funds to relief and development too).
This will be our communal fast.
7. If you decide that we are no longer a part of the Anglican Communion we will continue to work with churches around the world who wish to be companions on the Way with us. The bonds of our affection are rooted in Baptism and gathering at the Eucharist. We are brothers and sisters in Christ not through our own doing but because Christ has made it so.
I will support our Presiding Bishop but will not refrain from my commitment to full inclusion and doing what I can to make that happen.
Blessings of Lent
The Rev. Ann Fontaine