Tuesday, February 20, 2007


PRIMATES WIELD THE SWORD BUT DON'T USE IT...NOT YET ANYWAY.

PRIMATES GIVE THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH UP TO SEPTEMBER 2007 TO RENOUNCE SERVICES OF SAME SEX UNIONS AND CONSECRATION OF GAYS IN EPISCOPAL ORDERS (Abp Rowan Williams seen here participating in special service at Zanzibar, Tanzania)


CONFUSION IN SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA 2003

I still remember the shock, embarrasment, anger and confusion written over people's faces when news of Gene Robinson's election as bishop in the US hit Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He was a practising homosexual who had left his wife to live with a male partner; his consecration service was transmitted, live, into the homes of everyone in Santa Cruz, including our church members, courtesy of CNN.

The congregation was distracted because of all the publicity given to the consecration; they did not understand how an entire province could have gone astray. And how was it possible for a gay person to be ordained deacon and priest in the first place? Those were challenging times for us in Santa Cruz. I had to sit with leaders, work through the Biblical issues and dig into church history to show how apostasy was not uncommon in the highest councils of of the ecclesiastical hierachy; the diocese of Bolivia took out advertisements in the local newspapers to disassociate ourselves from the American church. This helped to clarify the situation amongst the local populace and improved our relationships with folk from other Christian churches.

Time flies. Its hard to believe that this took place 4 years ago. Since then various attempts have been made to convince the American church to renounce same sex blessings and the consecration of gay bishops. Their responses to the worldwide communion were slow, feeble and ambiguous. A clear deadline however is now in place; the sword of discipline hangs over the american church.

PRIMATES WIELD THE SWORD IN TANZANIA

The Primates met in Tanzania at the end of last week under this dark cloud. After several days of meetngs the communique was released. The key statement was for the American church to renounce both same sex blessings and the consecration of gay bishops before the end of September 2007. The consequence of not doing so, would indicate a decision on the part of the American church to walk away from the worldwide anglican communion.

An interesting plan has also been put forward to try and help bible believing parishes and dioceses to work under the covering of a council headed by a separate primate called a primatial vicar; this council of 5 bishops will function within the present episcopal structure in the States. Will this really work? Probably not but it might be worth a try. The Archbishop of Canterbury called it an experiment. It will only work if liberal bishops have a change of heart; its difficult to envisage such a scenario.

I was expecting a stronger response from Tanzania but maybe this patient approach by the Primates will yield more fruit.

1 comment:

blogpastor said...

Four years is certainly a lot of forbearance and time enough for the outstretched hand. Maybe its time for the rod, but both options are avoided because of the pain and costs involved. It is encouraging to note that the South's voice is being given the weight appropriate to its size.