Bishop's name removed from disputed letter to Archbishop of Canterbury - news from ekklesia

By staff writers
November 21, 2005

Bishop's name removed from disputed letter to Archbishop of Canterbury

-21/11/05

The signature of the Most Rev Clive Handford, Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, has this morning been removed from a controversial letter from developing world Primates ñ one which has been widely interpreted as attacking the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Bishop Handford issued a press statement last week criticising the way the document had been compiled, authorised and released. He also distanced himself from its contents and said that he wanted his name removed.

The Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables, a leading conservative, was also upset that what he saw as a private letter had been made public through the Global South Anglican website.

Handfordís signatory has been quietly taken off the letter without any immediate public statement from Global South Anglican, although there has been a flurry of behind the scenes activity.

The Rt Rev John Chew, Bishop of Singapore, who is general secretary of the South-South Encounter meeting ñ which Dr Williams addressed in October ñ has been in urgent correspondence with Handford after Nigerian Primate Archbishop Peter Akinola denied that anyone had objected originally.

Bishop Chew and the GSA administration had said that they could not remove his signature on press reports alone and needed to hear from him directly ñ a position described to Ekklesia by one critic as ìpetty and unconscionableî.

But those associated with the Global South Anglican initiative say that they are seeking to behave honourably. They dispute the interpretation of the letter as attacking Dr Williams, though they admit that there is confusion and dispute over the process of its release.

Lambeth Palace is known to be annoyed by the saga and by what some see as a careless procedure which further deepens mistrust and acrimony in the worldwide Anglican Communion over whether lesbian and gay people can be fully accepted within the Church.

The majority, galvanised by Nigerian Primate Dr Peter Akinola and his supporters, are accused of wanting to ìdrive outî those who disagree with them.

Yesterday Archbishop Venables said that he ìwould not use that phraseî, but that there are ìdeep theological differences which mean it is unlikely that there will be reconciliation in the near future.î

Speaking at the General Synod of the Church of England in London last week, Dr Williams, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is spiritual head of the worldís 77 million Anglicans, called for a process of active listening based on the Gospel.

He called on all Synod members to contact an Anglican in another Province who they knew held a different view to them on homosexuality or women bishops, so that a respectful conversation could result.

The Windsor Report on the gay row, as well as criticising pre-emptive action by ECUSA and the Canadian Anglican Church, called for the voices of lesbian and gay Christians to be listened to. This has mostly been ignored by their opponents.

Regarding the South-South Encounter, the widely respected Thinking Anglicans website notes that both the Anglican Communion Network (including two ECUSA diocesan bishops) and the Anglican Network in Canada had delegations. Also present were representatives from both New Zealand and Australia (Archbishop Peter Jensen in the latter case) and Chris Smith from Lambeth Palace. Archbishop Rowan Williams does not appear on this list. The Episcopal Church of Brazil was not represented at all.

The Primatesí letter and responses to it can be read here.

[Also on Ekklesia: Global Anglican leaders query C of E church-state link; Read Stephen Bates of The Guardian in conversation about his book, A Church At War; buy Gays and the Future of Anglicanism; Nigerian gay and lesbian Christians challenge Archbishop Akinola; Episcopal bishop rejects Nigerian criticism on gays; Tutu calls on Anglicans to accept gay bishop; understanding St Paul and homosexuality, by Oxford New Testament Professor Christopher Rowland]

The Windsor Report: Williams rebukes conservatives over approach to gay issues;
Windsor report does not call for apology; Church society calls for rejection of Windsor report;
Archbishop dismayed at misinterpretation over Windsor report; African bishops say Windsor report is offensive; Archbishop of Nigeria launches salvo at Windsor report; Williams warns of 'rush to judgement' over Windsor report; Leader of Episcopal Church expresses 'regret' following Windsor.

Bishop's name removed from disputed letter to Archbishop of Canterbury

-21/11/05

The signature of the Most Rev Clive Handford, Presiding Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, has this morning been removed from a controversial letter from developing world Primates - one which has been widely interpreted as attacking the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

Bishop Handford issued a press statement last week criticising the way the document had been compiled, authorised and released. He also distanced himself from its contents and said that he wanted his name removed.

The Primate of the Southern Cone, Archbishop Gregory Venables, a leading conservative, was also upset that what he saw as a private letter had been made public through the Global South Anglican website.

Handford's signatory has been quietly taken off the letter without any immediate public statement from Global South Anglican, although there has been a flurry of behind the scenes activity.

The Rt Rev John Chew, Bishop of Singapore, who is general secretary of the South-South Encounter meeting - which Dr Williams addressed in October - has been in urgent correspondence with Handford after Nigerian Primate Archbishop Peter Akinola denied that anyone had objected originally.

Bishop Chew and the GSA administration had said that they could not remove his signature on press reports alone and needed to hear from him directly - a position described to Ekklesia by one critic as 'petty and unconscionable'.

But those associated with the Global South Anglican initiative say that they are seeking to behave honourably. They dispute the interpretation of the letter as attacking Dr Williams, though they admit that there is confusion and dispute over the process of its release.

Lambeth Palace is known to be annoyed by the saga and by what some see as a careless procedure which further deepens mistrust and acrimony in the worldwide Anglican Communion over whether lesbian and gay people can be fully accepted within the Church.

The majority, galvanised by Nigerian Primate Dr Peter Akinola and his supporters, are accused of wanting to 'drive out' those who disagree with them.

Yesterday Archbishop Venables said that he 'would not use that phrase', but that there are 'deep theological differences which mean it is unlikely that there will be reconciliation in the near future.'

Speaking at the General Synod of the Church of England in London last week, Dr Williams, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is spiritual head of the world's 77 million Anglicans, called for a process of active listening based on the Gospel.

He called on all Synod members to contact an Anglican in another Province who they knew held a different view to them on homosexuality or women bishops, so that a respectful conversation could result.

The Windsor Report on the gay row, as well as criticising pre-emptive action by ECUSA and the Canadian Anglican Church, called for the voices of lesbian and gay Christians to be listened to. This has mostly been ignored by their opponents.

Regarding the South-South Encounter, the widely respected Thinking Anglicans website notes that both the Anglican Communion Network (including two ECUSA diocesan bishops) and the Anglican Network in Canada had delegations. Also present were representatives from both New Zealand and Australia (Archbishop Peter Jensen in the latter case) and Chris Smith from Lambeth Palace. Archbishop Rowan Williams does not appear on this list. The Episcopal Church of Brazil was not represented at all.

The Primates' letter and responses to it can be read here.

[Also on Ekklesia: Global Anglican leaders query C of E church-state link; Read Stephen Bates of The Guardian in conversation about his book, A Church At War; buy Gays and the Future of Anglicanism; Nigerian gay and lesbian Christians challenge Archbishop Akinola; Episcopal bishop rejects Nigerian criticism on gays; Tutu calls on Anglicans to accept gay bishop; understanding St Paul and homosexuality, by Oxford New Testament Professor Christopher Rowland]

The Windsor Report: Williams rebukes conservatives over approach to gay issues;
Windsor report does not call for apology; Church society calls for rejection of Windsor report;
Archbishop dismayed at misinterpretation over Windsor report; African bishops say Windsor report is offensive; Archbishop of Nigeria launches salvo at Windsor report; Williams warns of 'rush to judgement' over Windsor report; Leader of Episcopal Church expresses 'regret' following Windsor.

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