Read it all here. More here.
The Listening Process, also known as the "Continuing Indaba Project," was announced last month at the Kingston, Jamaica meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council after a briefing by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Anglican Communion Office (ACO). The staff of the ACO, under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, announced that a $1.5 million gift was given to fund this project-a gift 2-3 times the size of any previous gift received by the Anglican Communion Office for its work, and at a time when financial reports concede diminishing giving and reserves for the troubled Communion. The delegates to the Anglican Consultative Council were told that the money was coming from a grant through the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
After subsequent questioning at press conferences, it turns out that the Satcher Institute is not the source of the $1.5 million dollars.
So where did the money come from? The Rev. Marta Weeks, a retired Episcopal priest from the diocese of Southeast Florida, has donated $1.5 million to fund the entire project through 2011. Weeks and her late husband have supported a wide variety of causes and educational institutions. As noteworthy as her gifts are, her beliefs on the issues the Anglican Communion is dealing with are even more significant. In January of 2000, she signed the Religious Declaration on Sexuality, Morality, Justice, and Healing which calls for a "sexual ethic focused on personal relationships and social justice rather than particular sexual acts. All persons have the right and responsibility to lead sexual lives that express love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent, and pleasure." This sexual ethic:
"applies to all persons, without regard to sex, gender, color, age, bodily condition, marital status, or sexual orientation." It calls for "full inclusion of women and sexual minorities in congregational life, including their ordination and the blessing of same sex unions" as well as "a faith-based commitment to sexual and reproductive rights, including access to voluntary contraception, abortion, and HIV/STD prevention and treatment." [emphasis added]
After questions arose about the source of the funding, the ACO admitted the gift came from Weeks and issued a disclaimer from her that the funds were given without any strings attached. But subsequent contradictory and confusing statements by the ACO, Weeks and the Satcher Institute raise serious questions about the influence associated with this gift and the institution administering it.
Monday, June 15, 2009