Thabo Makgoba and Katharine Jefferts Schori address the USPG conference

Thinking Anglicans pointed us to two important pieces from the USPG conference. Thabo Makgoba addressed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and also offered criticism for the “cross border visitations” that others have been engaged in since the Windsor Report was issued:

Thabo Makgoba Addressing Anglican Differences – Spirit and Culture at the Foot of the Cross

From Thinking Anglicans

‘Jesus Christ is the standard for discerning the path between authentic cultural expression and flawed syncretism, between ensuring we do not quench the Spirit and yet properly testing what we believe may be the Spirit’s leading’ said Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. He was addressing the USPG Annual Conference in Swanwick, England, on ‘Mission Realities for Southern African Anglicans – and their Wider Implications’.

Speaking directly to the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, he said:

There are times when it seems that your Province, or some within it, despite voicing concern for the rest of us, can nonetheless act in ways that communicate a measure of uncaring at the consequent difficulties for us. And such apparent lack of care for us increases the distress we feel. Much as we understand that you are in all sincerity attempting to discern the best way forward within your own mission context, we ask you to be sensitive to the rest of us.

Let me immediately add that, if there were certain others here, I would speak to them equally frankly. Cross border visitations and other moratoria violations have undermined not only your polity, but wider attempts to handle disagreements in a godly way before the face of the watching world. I will also add that, outside the scope of the moratoria, there are too many other shameful and painful ways that ‘gracious restraint’ has not been exercised by various different individuals and groups from all manner of perspectives. These too destructively exacerbate our attempts to live truly as a Communion, and contribute to the way that disagreements over human sexuality and its handling have come to dominate the life of the Anglican Communion to a disproportionate and debilitating extent. When I am interviewed, when I participate in radio phone-ins, no matter what the ostensible topic, again and again I find myself derailed by questions on this. I have to say this undermines our witness; dissipates energies that ought to be spent on the true priorities of mission; and distorts the focus and agenda of the Communion’s common life to an increasingly detrimental degree.

Bishop Katharine calls on Anglicans to ‘speak truth to power’

From Thinking Anglicans and Anglicans in World Mission

The presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church in the US has called on Anglicans to help defeat injustice and human suffering.

Speaking at the USPG Annual Conference yesterday, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said ‘missional partnerships, whether Anglican, Christian or inter faith’ were essential for building a worldwide ‘community of peace and justice’.

ENS also has a report, “Presiding bishop, Southern Africa primate address USPG conference”. One paragraph:

When Anglicans in Southern Africa meet “we feel sharp pain and great distress” concerning sexuality issues, “yet none of us feels called to turn to another and say ‘I no longer consider you a Christian, a member of the body of Christ – I am no longer in communion with you,” [Makogoba] said. Rather “sharing our pain has left us feeling more closely bound to one another – it is as if we see the marks of the living Christ, the suffering Christ, in one another, in our common life, as we await together the power of the resurrection within our painful circumstances.”

Previous stories in The Lead on Southern Africa and sexual orientation and the church here and here.

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