A Queer-Eye View of the Goings-On at Lambeth Palace

From the inbox comes this report from Integrity, the Episcopalian GLBT organization, which has members in London keeping watch on activities at the closed-door summit of Anglican primates on the issue of gay equality within the global denomination:

Wednesday Report from the Primates Special Meeting

Last night we were at St. James’ Church, Piccadilly for a Service sponsored by Changing Attitude, a UK organization that is working to change the Anglican Church’s attitude in the British Isles. It was a fine Service, attended by 250 or so, including many clergy. Colin Coward, CA’s Executive Director, was the primary preacher. In the middle of his sermon, two individuals told their stories, one a lesbian who counts herself as part of the evangelical wing of the Church of England and the other a gay man from Nigeria now living in England. They were both very good and effective, as was Colin. Brenda Harrison, the aforementioned lesbian, had the two best lines of the night (the following are not exact quotes). “When I read the Levitical prohibition against sleeping with a man as with a woman, I am sure that God made me who I am.” “I have nothing against fundamentalists as long as they are not practicing.”

This morning, a relatively new movement here called “inclusivechurch.net” sponsored three simultaneous Services to pray for the meeting of the primates. We attended the one held at St. Matthew’s Church, Westminster, a beautiful little gem not far from Westminster Abbey. The Most Rev. Khotso Makhulu, retired Archbishop of Central Africa was the presider and preacher. It was an excellent Service. As Louie Crew said afterwards, “If we didn’t have a word in English for ‘lovely’ we’d have to invent one after that.” Makhulu was phenomenal. I know others are working on transcribing his sermon from audio, and someone from the BBC said they were going to get the portions of it they recorded on their website. Here are the notes I took.

“I was in South Africa when the Population Registry Act was promulgated that fixed identity. . . . we were summoned before a three-man board . . . [who decided] who those who would not merit the dignity of humanity. . . . the notion of an exclusive church is utterly abhorrent to me. . . . the notion of exclusivity is a heresy . . . inclusiveness is about fullness . . . it is an expression of the mercy of God . . . we are replaying the drama of Lambeth [1998] . . . the Taliban of our church are willing to determine who is orthodox or not . . . the voices of the enforcers who wish to be the Church’s bouncers . . . I have resisted tyranny all my life . . . the life-giving cross may never be used as a whip against sinners and outcasts. . . . whatever happens when we go to our homes we must remain strong witnesses.”

Sorry I couldn’t get more.

We spent the rest of the afternoon outside Lambeth Palace talking to reporters and waiting to hear any word from inside. At 4 pm there was a brief statement by Archbishop of Ireland Robin Eames. He said the primates thus far had participated in worship, prayer, bible study, and discussion. In particular, each primate was being given time to tell the story of how the recent decisions were being experienced in their own province. He said that the conversations had been frank and honest at a level he had never experienced (he is the senior primate among them). He suggested that there was already great anxiety to hold the Communion together and said he was confident that the Communion would end this time together stronger. He believed they were working toward consensus.

The hopefulness in his statement was that throwing the Episcopal Church out of the Communion is clearly not on the table. One conservative remarked to me afterwards that it “sounds like things are going your way.” I wish I could be so certain of that. I’m pleased they are telling stories in there and telling each other the truth, but, of course, there is no one in there to tell directly the stories of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons, much less Gene Robinson’s and the Diocese of New Hampshire’s. It was clear from Archbishop Eames that they are primarily hearing stories of “concerns.”

One does wonder how consensus is possible in this situation and, if achieved, whether it will hold for more than a week. The last consensus statement from these guys when they met in Brazil last spring held for no more than 24 hours. I think they continue to make the mistake of thinking that they are the Anglican Communion. Any consensus they come up with is a consensus among only themselves (and they have never been truthful to one another even in those “agreements”).

Tomorrow they meet all day and have tentatively scheduled a press briefing for 6 pm London time. [US Episcopal Church] Presiding Bishop [Frank] Griswold may make a statement immediately following.

Continue your prayers.

Absolutely, without fail, we are praying.

Meanwhile, the BBC offers a head-to-head debate on the controversy.

Yes, we are praying.

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One thought on “A Queer-Eye View of the Goings-On at Lambeth Palace

  1. I used to be an Anglican Priest. One of the many reasons I left the Priesthood was the realisation that so many of my fellow Priests were very much into the power that the collar gave them.
    I met many men (always men) who could be considered failures in other areas of life who found themselves drifting church-ward, towards an institution that enabled their thirst for power without asking too many questions. Far from preaching the love that they should be towards their fellow man and woman, they are free to hone the fine art of bullying to the nth degree. I firmly believe that their disagreement with their homosexual brothers and sisters rather than being biblical, is just another manifestation of their need for power.

    Lawn Greengrass.

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