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A voice in the wilderness

Ladies, gentlemen, children. If you be a praying person, please pray for the Most Rev’d and Rt. Hon. Jon Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, Archbishop of York. As the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) gets their tri-annual General Convention underway in Columbus, the attention of the Anglican Communion and much of the wider world is upon them.

Through my work, I have had opportunity to get to know several of these wonderful ECUSA types and I’m taking a keen interest in what transpires there over the next week or so.

Of course, everyone is talking about the Windsor Report and homosexuality but they are also electing a new Presiding Bishop and that person’s appointment will be key as these things rumble on in the years to come.

Two useful links:

Dave Walker has given us his usual humourous take on the whole Windsor Report thing here. However, in the midst of all the news articles, all the reports, all the blogs, I read a post today that really struck me and to which I think we all need to pay attention.

The Archbishop of York is at the General Convention, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury and carrying a message to ECUSA. He delivered it yesterday to some considerable response.

The article that really got to me was this one from Andrew Gerns. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read the record of this conversation that Andrew had with the Archbishop.

I cannot begin to imagine the level of sensitivity and discernment required to sit in the position that the Archbishop of York finds himself and try to help us all in the Anglican Communion lift our eyes, seek Jesus and tread a path together that is truly God’s path for us. What can possibly prepare you for such a role?

However, in reading Sentamu’s conversation with Andrew, I truly felt humbled, challenged and convinced that he is God’s man in that situation. I believe he truly carries a prophetic message to ECUSA and I truly hope they can both listen and hear what he says.

Pray for him, pray for ECUSA, pray for us all.

Comments

Tiffer
Reply

All very nerve wracking. Any news yet?

John is indeed the right man for the job.

TheWesternSeminarian
Reply

I found his comments dark and unhelpful, like much of what we in the US hear from Europe and Africa.

It was disturbing that he doesn’t see a connection between Windsor, and the status of gays in the church, or have a problem with the lack of input from gay people to the report, and that he thinks that it makes sense to add a new level of what many see as Romish central control to our ‘Anglican Communion’ that never existed before, just to appease those who haven’t given over their discomfort with gayness, or who insist on the validity of certain archaic bits of Leviticus and Paul.

It was also disturbing that he wanted us to parrot exactly what was written in the distinctly anti-gay biased, southern-church-dominated Windsor report, like punished and repentant children, when the fact is we are moving in a faith-filled, spirit-led direction. …If England had even made the step to female priests and bishops yet, its church might have more of an ability to advise us as we follow the spirit in this new direction, but then in that case, the BPofY might be speaking other words than the cloistered and ignorant ones that I read today.

So, sorry, not a prophetic voice to me, or many like me in the States, more a dark voice calling us back into ages of repression from which we are just, gladly emerging.

Peace,
TWS

Wannabe
Reply

Thanks for posting TWS and sorry to hear you disagree but then that seems to be the way of things at present for us all.

I am on holiday in Northumberland, enjoying the solitude and the scenery of Holy Island and so much besides… with the church of ages past around me, all such discussions seem a million miles away.

I find myself like a cuckoo in the nest. On the one hand, I have much sympathy for you and my brothers and sisters in the USA but then I read your comments and find myself peturbed by the attitude and feel that I don’t sit there however much I feel you have a point and I see God at work in you.

On the other hand, I have much sympathy for my traditional roots and see God at work in them too, but then I read their comments and feel like that is not me either.

If I take anything from the Archbishop’s words, it is a commitment to seek a better way, to sit somewhere in the middle; dare I say to embrace a way that allows us a way to continue as One Church – but will inevitably involve pain and suffering because we disagree. That is why I think we need to listen to +Sentamu and, for that matter, +Williams.

I wish I had time right now for more reflection and to give your post more thought but I need to unplug and get back to the scenery… but thanks for posting.

Tiffer
Reply

TWS as you probably know we do have female priests. Sorry to be pedantic but many of the American delegates didn’t know the Archbishop of York was from Uganda and what I don’t know about the American wing of the church would fit on something very big.

I only wish I understood the situation better so my prayers could be better focused. When I hear Gene Robinson speak he always sounds so full of love and understanding, and I completely understand his predicament. And yet I am proud of my fellow Anglicans for caring about what they see as correct values.

I can’t help but feel that more debate about the theological issues might have been helpful, for the gay and lesbian lobby mostly, so that they could have tried to convince everyone that their values were of God. Perhaps this did go on, but I do get confused about what is what.

Hope you are having a super time Wannabe.

Wannabe
Reply

Just to reinforce Tiffer a little… we do indeed have women priests. Have done for over ten years and while we don’t have any actual women bishops yet, we are well on the way with Synod ratifying ‘no objection to’ or whatever the wording was.

To pick up on Tiffer’s point about theological debate. As I understand it, and TWS no doubt knows plenty about this, the American Anglican church has been talking, thinking and praying about this issue for over fifty years so they are way ahead in their deliberations compared to everyone else. Time spent in deliberation doesn’t necessarily make it right or wrong but they’ve put plenty of thought and prayer into it and that has to be recognized and respected.

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