21.7.08

Dr Rowan's presidential address to the Lambeth Conference


It can be read in full here
They're going to be busy:

We also have to draw upon the hard work of the two groups we have met this afternoon, those who have worked on the draft of a possible Covenant for our life together and those who have made up the ‘Windsor Continuation Group’. (Clive Handford is the chairman of the Windsor Continuation Group) They have had one of the toughest jobs of anyone connected with this Conference because they have had to think through what needs to happen for the insights and proposals of the Windsor Report to go on steering our common life in the Communion in ways that will prevent further strain and division.

And there's honesty
We need to get beyond the reciprocal impatience that shows itself in the ways in which both liberals and traditionalists are ready – almost eager at times, it appears – to assume that the other is not actually listening to Jesus.

And a call to action because there is quite properly a sense of being at a deeply significant turning point. In what shape is this action to be formed?
an Anglican Covenant is essentially about what we need in order to give this vision some clearer definition...a Covenant should not be thought of as a means for excluding the difficult or rebellious but as an intensification – for those who so choose – of relations that already exist. And those who in conscience could not make those intensified commitments are not thereby shut off from all fellowship; it is just that they have chosen not to seek that kind of unity, for reasons that may be utterly serious and prayerful.

And there's an encouragement to be honest, own your viewpoint and ask tough questions:

If you have not had the chance to hear directly of the experience of gay and lesbian people in the Communion, the opportunity is there. If you do not grasp why many traditionalist believers in various provinces feel harassed and marginalised, go and listen. If you need some time and space to think through the Covenant proposals outside the opportunities in the main timetable, including hearing strong arguments for and against, the doors are open. No-one’s interests are best served by avoiding the hard encounters and the fresh insights. Bear in mind that in this Conference we are committed to common prayer and mutual care so that the hard encounters can be endured and made fruitful.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.