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Losing spirit in a land divided

June 29, 2008

Although I am not an Anglican but count many Anglicans as friends and colleagues, it was with deep regret that I read the heading "The sun sets on the Church of England" (22/6), as declared by Dr Peter Jensen in a statement before the opening of a conference on homosexuality and the church last weekend.

Apart from other troubling aspects of this conference, it seems to me that the venue for this meeting, Jerusalem, was ill-conceived, especially in light of the comment by the Bishop of Jerusalem (who was not even consulted prior to this arrangement): "This could have serious consequences for our ongoing ministry of reconciliation in this divided land. We who minister here know only too well what happens when two sides cease talking to each other."

Jensen's comment that the conference was being held in Jerusalem so that Anglican leaders could discover "what God's mind is on certain matters" (23/6 ) is nothing short of blatant theological arrogance. As far as I understand it, sexual orientation did not have a high priority in Jesus' ministry, while issues of justice and peace for all did, and Jensen's comment shows how out of touch he is.

Perhaps the most troubling feature of this conference is that it does nothing to support the beleaguered Bishop of Harare, who said, in the face of death threats, arrests and torture at the hands of a ruthless dictator obsessed with the issue of homosexuality: "I believe in a church that is inclusive, accepting of people regardless of sex or orientation … I believe in a church that sees everybody as one that needs to be saved."

May God give the Bishop and his congregation the courage and strength to hold fast in the face of such overwhelming odds.


Anglicans in Australia have much to rejoice for. What joy for us tolerant Anglicans: the sooner he and his intolerant evangelical fundamentalists leave, the better for the rest of us. Let's hope he takes the Melbourne evangelicals with him. When they do, we will have a loving church and follow the teachings of Jesus in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance of all.

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