+Wayne Smith, Missouri, whose diocese has a close relationship with the Sudan, offers his thoughts on the statement from Archbishop Deng as well as his hope that the Communion will find its way.
The more I encounter the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, the more I am made aware of differences-- and aware of what appears to be God's great delight in diversity. We so easily misunderstand one another, from the vastly worlds we inhabit, though I must admit that I am still recoiling from the shock of yesterday's events. I am beginning to understand that they came from the fact of those different worlds we inhabit. Jim Naughton has had the advantage of being out and about, not cooped up in meetings (in rooms with all the air circulation of Apollo XIII), and you will find his good summary of the Sudanese matter here. There is still much work to do, in conversation with our Sudanese colleagues, but now twenty-four hours after the news release and news conference, having productive conversation at least seems possible.
I will admit to some emotional exhaustion, over the past day. Worry about Sudan, worry about Episcopalians back in Missouri, but no real worry at this point about the broader issues of communion. Or perhaps I should say that I am not anxious about these issues, remaining cautiously hopeful about finding a way, some way, any way forward. Somehow the larger Anglican world can by the grace of God find a means, perhaps some brand new, yet unthought-of means, to remain connected to one another. I could be wrong, but I think that can prove the case. Enough about this, until more becomes clear, in due time.
+Pierre Whalon, Churches in Europe (TEC), gives a forthright report of the discussions in his Bible study group and Indaba group.
In my Bible study group, we studied John 7:53–8, specifically, the woman caught in adultery, and Jesus’ saying, “I am the light of the world.” The question we were asked to address was how judgment in the Anglican Communion could bring light, rather than darkness. The background material had contrasted Jesus’ type of judgment with the Pharisees’ (8:15-16).
This got us deeply into the issue of the Sudanese statement concerning The Episcopal Church. As a lot of TEC dioceses have strongly supported the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, there were hurt feelings among the bishops and spouses. There is a Sudanese bishop in my Bible study, as well as three Tanzanians and three Barundis. I pointed out that while the Sudanese bishops have every right to tell us what they believe, it was done in such a way that we could not hear it, namely because they had not addressed us directly, but through releases and a press conference.
+Neff Powell, Southwest Virginia, blogging on the official TEC blog discusses the Sudan statement and Gene's exclusion:
We had a Provincial gathering of our bishops. Gene Robinson, as you know, was not invited to the Lambeth Conference, but nevertheless is in Canterbury leading "fringe events." He was barred from attending our meeting by our hosts on the grounds that the Provincial gatherings are official events of the Conference and being held within the bounds of the the Conference. This announcement was not well received. We were discussing holding our next meeting outside the bounds of the Conference when it was announced that Gene would not be in Canterbury that day. So the story continues.
You may have heard by now that the Sudanese bishops have issued a strong statement stating their condemnation of homosexuals and the Episcopal Church's stands on gay and lesbian issues. Among other things the Archbishop of Sudan asked for Gene Robinson's resignation. I had been given an advanced copy of the statement and, frankly, have been reflecting on the most appropriate way to respond. I consulted with some of our experts on Sudan and other bishops in partnership with Sudan and sought the opportunity to speak with the Archbishop of Sudan this morning over coffee after breakfast. I am somewhat dismayed that the bishops chose not to speak to us before they wrote their statement. I remain committed to our work in the Sudan. There is a meeting on Saturday for the Episcopal Church bishops to meet with the bishops of three African Provinces, including Sudan. This story is to be continued.
+Leo Frade, Southeast Florida, speaks for all the bishops from warmer parts of the world, "Warm at last!" He also describes the meeting of the TEC bishops.
Great news for all of us that come from the warm places of this planet. The temperature got all the way to the mid 70s and it was sunny and relatively warm. I even dared to take off my Macy’s jacket that I got at the 4th of July sale.
One of the topics of the (TEC bishops) meeting was the absence of the bishop of New Hampshire from our gathering. I must say that we were very upset because due to security, Gene Robinson could not even meet with the rest of the bishops. Regardless of what position you may hold on this issue, as Americans we are used to more equality, and to have one of our duly elected bishops forbidden to meet with us is a travesty. This was a meeting of the bishops of The Episcopal Church, and it is sad that in the 21 Century we are still acting as if we were in the Middle Ages.
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