The Times Lambeth Round-up

The Times has a very interesting round-up of thoughts by Bishops and about their “hopes and fears for the future of the Anglican Communion.

Here are some highlights:

Daniel Deng Bul, Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan:

My expectation of Lambeth is that we have to unite the Anglican Communion. The Lord wants all the children in the Anglican Communion under His wing. If it doesn’t happen it will be a weakness for the Anglican world. I pray that the Anglican Communion will be mature enough so that we are able to iron out our differences.

John Bryson Chane, Bishop of Washington, DC :

Lambeth is an unique opportunity to clear the air in the Anglican Communion. For too long we have let our divisions impede our efforts on behalf of God’s Church and God’s poor. My greatest hope is that out of the earshot of the media, liberated from the temptation to play for political advantage, we may speak frankly, express grievances, explore our disagreements and seek reconciliation. Sixty of us began this difficult process at a meeting of North American and African bishops last summer in Spain. There we confronted the legacy of colonialism, age-old misunderstandings and significant theological differences. The conversations were sometimes wrenching, but always fruitful. Archbishop Williams has modelled Lambeth on Spain, and I find that profoundly encouraging. Our Communion will not be saved by legislation, nor by a covenant, but by affection, forbearance and mutual support.

Ronnie Bowlby, former Bishop of Southwark:

At the 1978 Lambeth conference an American bishop was heard to say: “What keeps the Anglican Communion together? Wippells” — an ecclesiastical outfitter which has supplied robes to many bishops over the years. A few years later I was at a meeting of MPs and bishops in London, among them Enoch Powell. His answer to the question, “What holds the Church of England together?” was succinct: “The Establishment”.

Those two comments have stuck in my mind, not because I think either is right but because there is enough truth in both to make one uneasy. Thirty years later the cracks are more evident, the glue less strong.

The key question then, as now, is how to enable change and evaluate it in the absence of an overarching authority and while staying together. I do not believe that the movement towards the full recognition of women’s ministry can be delayed indefinitely, even by Rome or the Orthodox churches, and change rarely comes all at once. Nor do I believe that we can continue to confuse promiscuity (which Scripture condemns) with responsible same-sex relationships. So my hope for the forthcoming conference participants is that they will dig deep into the foundational strengths of Anglicanism, especially through their prayer and study. These go much further back than the Reformation, and it will help all of us if there then emerges some kind of new covenant which gives weight to all our history and yet points firmly to the future. This in turn could help us to be patient with each other and to trust God to lead us into fuller truth.

Read them all here.

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