Thursday 10 June 2010

Thabo Makgoba and Katharine Jefferts Schori model the possibility of creative dialogue at the USPG Conference

The USPG Conference has provided a remarkable opportunity to hear Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba deliver the two keynote addresses and to hear them interact as members of the discussion panel on Wednesday evening.

Bishop Katherine used her address to outline an ethos for mission and then to describe the history and polity of the Episcopal Church in some detail. In response to a question from me, she outlined how the church’s response to slavery 200 years ago laid the foundations of a commitment to justice and equality in the church which has led to the development over 50 years of a radically inclusive policy towards LGBT people.

Archbishop Thabo used his address to talk in detail about the Church of Southeran Africa, the Anglican Communion and the effect of the Episcopal Church’s polity. Andrew commented on Thinking Anglicans, Archbishop Thabo is being what Archbishop Rowan is trying (and failing) to be - an honest broker dedicated to maintaining the unity of the Communion as far as possible and wasn’t afraid to talk directly to Presiding Bishop Katharine in his address.

The Primate of Brazil, the Most Revd Mauricio Andrade and the Rt Revd Dr Jo Seoka are also here together with participants from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

If there are Global South Primates ruthlessly determined to split the Communion over the issue of human sexuality, then nothing is going to divert them from their chosen path. But despite their continued aggressive rhetoric and the poison spewed by Stand Firm and VirtueOnline in the USA, the split still hasn’t occurred. Having listened to Archbishop Thabo in a 90 minute interest group this morning and asked him detailed questions, I have no doubt that he has the capacity to engage with other Global South Primates and remind them that they are not the sole representatives of Global South attitudes.

The Province of Southern Africa continues to be divided in its attitude to LGBT people, but Archbishop Thabo described how the church is engaging with difference in a creative and constructive way. The Province is setting a model example not only for the rest of Africa but for the whole Communion. There is clearly more openness and honesty and respect for difference in South Africa than in the Church of England.

Primate Katherine and Archbishop Thabo have restored my confidence in the possibility of the Communion weathering the current storm and emerging with changing attitudes inspired with a more radical commitment to the Christian gospel.


  1. Archbishop Thabo described how the church is engaging with difference in a creative and constructive way.

    And what are some examples of that creativity. Because none of that has come out. The Orthodites are just all crowing that he took Her to task and put her in her place.

  2. We wish to express our concern over the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), Katherine Jefferts Schori, preaching and presiding at Holy Communion in our cathedral at Southwark tomorrow.

    Bishop Schori is well known for her doctrinal statements and practice that are contrary to the teaching of the Bible. She is also well known for initiating many litigations against orthodox congregations within the Episcopal Church and defrocking doctrinally orthodox bishops and clergy, so exacerbating disunity in the Anglican communion. Only recently she defied the instruments of the Anglican communion by reneging on the agreement made by the Episcopal Church to abide by the moratorium regarding the consecration of actively gay and lesbian bishops.

    We, the undersigned clergy of Southwark diocese, distance ourselves from Bishop Schori's teaching and presiding in our cathedral. We seriously question the judgment of those who have not withdrawn their invitation to her after her recent consecration of Mary Glasspool.

    Father Francis Gardom
    St Stephens, Lewisham

    The Rev Stephen Kuhrt
    Christ Church, New Malden

    The Rev Ray Skinner
    St Lawrence, Morden

    The Rev Sandy Christie
    St Michaels, Blackheath

    The Rev Christopher (CJ) Davis
    St Nicholas, Tooting

    The Rev Ian Gilmour
    Holy Redeemer, Streatham Vale

    The Rev John Goddard
    Morden parish

    The Rev Martin Hislop
    St Lukes, Kingston-on-Thames

    The Rev David Larlee
    St Marks, Battersea Rise

    The Rev James Paice
    St Luke's Wimbledon Park

    The Rev Paul Perkin
    St Marks, Battersea Rise

    The Rev Dan McGowan
    St Martins, Morden

    The Rev Precious
    Omuku Morden parish

    The Rev Les Wells
    Morden parish

    The Rev Bill Wilson
    St Stephen's, South Lambeth

  3. I usually delete the comments posted by anonymous (who maye be one person or several persons). Anonymous shares the obessesions of the dissident clergy in Southwark and posts tedious comments. I've chosen to post the letter above which he or she has forwarded. Those who have signed represent a tiny minority in the diocese of Southwark and the Church of England in general.

    I'm willing to publish their opinion to reveal how unrepresentaive they are, how narrow their Christianity is and how obsessive is their prejudice against Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and LGBT people.

    I hope people will go to hear her on Sunday morning and celebrate our faith in God of love and justice who extends a welcome to ALL.

  4. Very right not to tolerate prejudice regarding Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (and LGBT people), though we also shouldn't simply write off concerns about her doctrine as "prejudice" either, unless we are singularly unliberal in mindset.

    Better to examine the issue from as many angles as possible: What do people mean when they say Katherine Jefferts Schori has denied the divinity of Christ or the resurrection?

    I hope that Changing Attitude is able to forge a third way forward which does not encourage LGBT people to deny the identity of Christ, as is, I think, abundantly clear in the case of Katherine Jefferts Schori.