Sunday, February 01, 2009

Leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church greets Anglican leaders in Egypt

From the Times of London:
Pope Shenouda III, the Coptic Pope, received the Primates at the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Alexandria on Saturday evening.

In thanking Pope Shenouda for his welcome, Dr Williams noted the significance of the meeting taking place in the city where many of the core doctrines of the Christian faith were formed and where the seeds of the Christian monastic movement were sown in the third century.

Pope Shenouda, whose church is experiencing a resurgence of monks with more than 20 communities and at least 100 monks in each, told the Primates that bishops had a special responsibility to guide their people in the path of holiness and that engaging with the young was particularly important.

You can read more about the Coptic Orthodox Church here. In addition, Ruth Gledhill does a preliminary report on the Primates Meeting underway in Alexandria, Egypt:

Archbishops of the 38 provinces worldwide are beginning a week-long meeting in Alexandria, Egypt where they will discuss a proposal to allow Anglican churches to remain "in communion" with other provinces that refuse to sign up to a new "covenant" or unity document.

Discussions to draft the new covenant, which sets out sanctions for provinces that breach accepted Anglican norms on issues such as gay consecrations, are expected to be complete by the summer with the covenant signed up to by provinces and ready for implementation within five years.

The proposal, set out in a document of responses after discussions at the Lambeth Conference last summer on an early draft of the covenant, would enable a split to be avoided with provinces such as Canada, where one diocese, New Westminster, has already authorised same-sex blessings and at least one more wishes to follow suit.

Although it would create a "two-tier communion" of provinces that were and were not signed up to the covenant, it would allow those such as the Church of England to remain in communion with both, thus enabling the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to achieve one of the main the goals of his archiepiscopacy, which is to preserve the unity of the 77 million strong communion.

The London Times also reports that:

Before debating the covenant, the Archbishops will hear a presentation from five Primates from across the theological spectrum on the impact on their provinces of the dispute over sexuality.

According to the response document being debated by the Primates, the covenant is designed to prevent “breakdown”, by expressing expectations of relationships in communion. It makes clear that behaviour has "consequences" but also that the churches of the Communion should remain able to order their own life, polity and discipline according to the demands of their own mission context.

Although not on the official agenda, the Primates are also expected to discuss among themselves proposals by conservatives in the US for a new province to run parallel with the existing Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan has condemned these plans as "nonsense", warning it would splinter the church. He has warned that he would oppose such a plan “with every fibre of my being.”

Doesn't sound like the Archbishop of Wales Dr. Morgan is no longer interested in the Windsor "listening process." Of course, he did admit to the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia two weeks ago that "if it's possible for that to happen to The Episcopal Church, it's possible for any of us." And why is that, Dr. Morgan?

UPDATE: Paul Feheley, who is acolyting for Fred Hiltz of Canada during the Primates Meeting, writes today that "The staff of the Anglican Communion Office here quite outnumbers the accredited press and the lobby groups from both the right and left are nowhere to be seen. Have we reached a point in the life of the Communion where weariness and frustration over sexuality issues has run its course? Have people simply stopped coming because they know that nothing will change and that opinions are locked in no matter or how many more studies are mandated?"

Answer: Nope. They're there, if you have eyes to see them. Check those iPhones, good buddy. We're living in the Age of Aquarius. Rock on.

1 comment:

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