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[COMMENT: Archbishop Venables notes the betrayal of the Dar es Salaam meeting by the Episcopal Presiding Bishop (see underlined print below in the text). These people cannot be trusted. Their word is meaningless. They will play the "dialogue to consensus" game so long as they are allowed to get away with it.
Pray that she will be called to strict account for her
behavior. She is guaranteeing that the axe will fall come September when
the Episcopal General Convention has been asked to tell the Anglican Communion
whether it will call a halt to homosexual ordinations. E. Fox]
The Most Revd Gregory Venables
Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone
Pastoral Letter Addressing the Primates Meeting
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ in the Southern Cone:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the One Lord and Saviour
I am enroute back to Buenos Aires having, as you are well aware, been
meeting in Dar es Salaam with the other Primates of the Anglican Communion.
The meeting has resulted in a great deal of attention. I thought it might be
helpful to share some of my thoughts with you.
The meeting was a remarkable one in that we were able, through much painful
honesty and clear speech, to come to a common agreement. Frankly, I was
surprised at that. Given the great polarization in the Anglican Communion, I
held out little hope for a way forward. The willingness of many of our
colleagues from the two-thirds world to speak plainly about the changes to
the faith that The Episcopal Church (now called TEC) has introduced to the
"faith once delivered to the saints" was a clear sign of the work of the
Holy Spirit. While these changes centre around their pursuit of what might
be called a "same-sex agenda," departures from Christian practice and
teaching extend well beyond that. Their view and interpretation of Scripture
is vastly different from Anglican teaching and two millennia of Christian
understanding and interpretation. This, of course, tragically leads away
from the essential and central truth of the unique role of Jesus Christ in
the atonement and in the power of His resurrection. In other words the very
basis of the Gospel which is our one hope and glory.
A number of press reports have asked why human sexuality was even discussed
given the importance of the Millennium Goals for the elimination of poverty.
Of course, a church with the compassionate heart of Christ will work to
address-even eradicate-poverty. Contrary to popular understanding, however,
behaviour of all types has theological implications. The Bible is completely
clear that sexual behaviour has deep spiritual significance. It is concern
for people's souls that causes us to address this issue, not fear or
revulsion. The heart and soul of the Church is the proclamation of the
Gospel. The core of the Gospel is repentance, forgiveness, and new life in
We must now see if the Episcopal Church is going to be willing to fulfill
the spirit and the specifics of our agreement. From the first indications, I
am most ´concerned. We gave much time to producing a Communiqué which was
unambiguous and straightforward. Tragically, in the Presiding Bishop's
remarks to the Church Center community just two days after the close of the
meeting she misguidingly argues that there was agreement and understanding
among the Primates that blessings of same-sex couples could continue as
"pastoral care" as long as there was no official published liturgy for it.
That assertion quite scandalously demonstrates the very concern that the
Communiqué addresses in identifying this situation.
There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General
Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General
Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined
to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development
and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral
provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous
stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.
It is alarmingly disingenuous to suggest that the Primates could adopt such
an ambiguity after explicitly expressing such deep concern for the harm that
this sort of action has caused.
At the close of the meeting, I said that what we had decided was "a way
forward," but not "the answer." The answer for the communion is found in the
Word of God and in the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. It is a
sufficiently robust message. It does not have to be replaced by another one.
Indeed to attempt to do so would be to miss the whole point. In fact, there
is no other message that can bring real hope to the souls of men and women.
There is no other message that can bring salvation. It is to that
proclamation that we remain committed together with many others.
May God richly bless you and grant you peace. And may God richly bless this
Your brother and servant in Christ,
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