July 30, 2008
We have asked a selection of Anglican bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade gathering of the Anglican episcopate, to share their views on the meeting as it progresses
Bess Twiston Davies
Bishop Mouneer Anis of Eygpt, Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East:
"I found the presidential address of Archbishop Rowan very clear. He clearly described what is happening and the thinking of people on both sides. I found his address helpful and very honest in expressing both sides of the conflict. While some very positive things are happening at the conference, some unresolved issues are still dividing the Communion. Those issues are still very much unresolved and untackled. I wonder if during the next few days we will do something about these unresolved issues. I have some doubts. The positives are that we are sitting down together, we are studying the Bible together, we are talking to each other and we are listening to each other.
Yet I see that a big wall still divides us. It is big because it involves the essentials, the foundation of our faith. We are not divided by mere trivialities, or issues on the periphery of faith. We are finding it very hard to come together in the essentials. This diversity of opinion is about the heart of our faith, the faith which we received from the saints. I speak the mind of many of my colleagues in the Global South, especially in the Diocese of Eygpt. I am aware that not all of us in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East have the same mind. I respect and love them.
I find that many of our North American friends blame us and criticise us for bringing in the issues of sexuality and homosexuality but in fact they are the ones who are bringing these issues in. Here at Lambeth, you come across many advertisements for events organised by gay and Lesbian activists which are sponsored by the North American Church. If you visit the marketplace at the conference, you will notice that almost half the events promoted on the noticeboard promote homosexuality and are sponsored by the North Americans. And in the end, we, the people who remain loyal to the original teaching of the Anglican Communion, which we received from the Apostles, are blamed. They say that we talk a lot about sexuality and that we need to talk more about poverty, about AIDs, and injustice. They are the ones who are bringing sexuality into this conference. It’s not us. We want to talk about the heart of the issues which divide us, not only sexuality. That is just a symptom of a deeper problem.
They talk about the slavery and say that 200 years ago Christians were opposed to the freedom of slaves and they compare us to those Christians for our attitude to gay and lesbian practises. To be honest, I think this is inviting us to another kind of slavery, slavery of the flesh, to go and do whatever our lusts dictate. Sometimes, I think that maybe because of the pressure in Western culture to push the practise of homosexuality, our friends in the West are pushing these issues. But, on the other hand, I see many who live in the West and still want to preserve the faith and the tradition of the Church. Should we allow culture to pressure the Church or should the Church be distinctive, light and salt to the world? Cardinal Ivan Dias said that we didn’t bring the Gospel to the culture we could end up suffering from spiritual Alzheimers." the rest
Catharine Roskam, Suffragan bishop of New York
Kirk Smith, bishop of Arizona
Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
Ian Ernest, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, Bishop of Mauritius
Todd Mcgregor, Bishop of Madagascar