A little bit of bread and whining…
Before I begin, greetings from Utah. Gayle and I are out here for a week or so with friends so I’m just catching up on news in the UK and the wider Anglican blogosphere. Interesting…
I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the story released by the Church Society and run by Ruth Gledhill. For those who have missed it, here’s a snippet:
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is to celebrate a “secret” communion service for gay clergy and their partners in London.
Dr Williams will celebrate the eucharist at St Peter’s, Eaton Square, the Church of England parish known as a home to the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite. Dr Williams will also give an address titled: “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”
The event has been organised under the “Chatham House Rule” which prevents any disclosure of the discussions there or even when and where it is taking place. It takes place at 10am on 29 November.
Dr Williams has asked to know who will be present. Names will be on a list which will be shown to the Archbishop only and the list will be shredded once seen by Dr Williams. Among those attending will be convenor Chris Newlands, chaplain to the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Rev John Gladwin.
Also present will be the Vicar of St Peter’s, the Rev Nicholas Papadopulos, former chaplain to the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Rev David Stancliffe. Dr Williams’ mission to maintain the unity of the Anglican Communion, rent with schism since the 2003 ordination of the openly-gay Bishop Gene Robinson, has never appeared less likely to succeed.
Now let’s be clear about this. The Church of England’s clear guidelines are that clergy should not be engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage, so that includes have a gay partner who you are active with. Does Rowan’s celebrating of Communion with such people (if indeed any on the secret list are disobeying the 1990 Issues in Human Sexuality Statement) mean that he is tearing that document up? The whole thing brings up the issue of whether the sacraments should be knowingly given and shared with active sinners who reject the moral compass of scripture? That’s a question to answer and I think it would be interesting if the commenting on Ruth’s Blog and Stand Firm might start to address these issues.
Of course, one of the commenters at Ruth’s blog thinks thatÂ Rowan might be preaching repentance to those assembled that day. If that’s true then perhaps it marks Rowan both being as gracious as possible and yet confirming the change in moral direction that he’s been taking since writing The Body’s Grace, a change that seems to be indicated by his 2005 AAC address and other instances.
Finally, I wonder if we did a private Eucharist for ex-gays / post-gays whether Rowan would come and preach at that?
Sorry if I don’t reply to comments – being a few thousand miles away from home makes it kinda tricky.