Monday, November 24, 2008

Two Dioceses, Missouri and Sydney

I have been reading on the blogs that the Diocese of Missouri has passed resolutions to affirm same-sex-blessings, and to re-open the door to LBGT candidates to the episcopate. Apparently this is very unexpected for a Diocese like Missouri. However I note they have women priests and at least one is openly Lesbian.

They sound rather liberal to someone who must live in Sydney. I have just received the latest newsletter from Anglicans Together which is a very small organisation promoting inclusive Anglicanism within the Diocese of Sydney. Some of its members were at the recent Sydney Synod and have reported.
On the humorous side one Rector recommends appropriate preparation with intensive therapy, including grief counselling plus a balanced diet and lots of exercise. Meal breaks are terribly important: good food with a little wine for the stomach's sake, consumed in the company of friends is a wonderful remedy to the well known syndrome of post synod depression.

The whole Anglican world has heard that Synod found there were no legal barriers to Lay and Diaconal Administration and encouraged the Archbishop to include in the licences of deacons and suitable lay persons authorisation to assist the presbyter in administering the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. However the Archbishop is not minded to follow this request at this time. (He is not stupid and knows how it will be accepted by many of his GAFCON mates).

However the rest of the world would not be so aware of other motions and motions lost.
Rev Chris Albany presented a motion calling on the Archbishop to explore ways in which the different views on the ministry of women "could be creatively lived out in the life and practice of the diocese" The motion was well supported by a number of speakers and there was vigorous debate but sadly creative resolution of difference of opinion is not something the Sydney diocese is famous for and the motion was defeated. Despite the number of new members in the synod this year the mind of synod remains closed on the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood.

There was a report from the Doctine Commission on the Theology of Christian Assembly. This arose due to the number of prayer book-less services now being held in many parishes. The report was remarkable in that it managed to avoid all traditional liturgical language: words such as church, worship, sacrament, Holy Communion, Baptism, etc. are obviously no longer in favour.
Even 'praise and thanksgiving' had to wait for paragraph 53 in a document of 71 paragraphs before rating a mention. Paragraph 48 did make reference to 'the Lord's meal' but gave no recommendation as to how often or in what manner this was to be observed today.
The motion was to welcome the report. Bishop Glenn Davies rather courageously moved an amendment that it not be welcomed but received and pointed out its deficiencies particularly its failure to discuss the importance and place of sacraments in worship. The majority of synod voted in favour of the report.

The motion 'that Synod congratulates our Archbishop and Assistant Bishops on their attendance at Gafcon and their move to coninue our development as a truly Bible based Anglican Church' was passed. Not surprisingly Fr Gwilym Henry-Edwards amendment 'Notes with sadness their inability to attend the Lambeth Conference and encourages them in their support of the unity and diversity of the Anglican Communion' was resoundingly rejected.

From what I read the Diocese of Missouri is in a conservative part of the USA so the resolutions passed are surprising.

The city of Sydney is very progressive socially but its Anglican Diocese is hardly representative of the city.


June Butler said...

Brian, I'm puzzled that the Diocese of Sydney calls itself Anglican at all. No prayer books? No clergy presiding at the Eucharist? I'm left wondering why the diocese needs bishops, as the other orders don't seem to count for much.

I'm sorry that the Synod didn't produce better results, my friend.

Brian R said...

Yes, Grandmere, I have often wished it were possible to sue them for false advertising by having the name 'Anglican' out the front. Thankfully there are a few beacons of light scattered throughout the diocese maintaining Anglican traditions. Most are well attended and people, including me, are willing to travel long distances to worship there.

Doorman-Priest said...

Well, I know which one I'd rather worship in.

Brian R said...

Just looked up a map and found I have been to Missouri. Changed planes in St Louis when flying from Birmingham, Alabama to Detroit in 1999. Guess that does not really count.

Davis said...

Odd, isn't it that the most conservative dioceses are often in progressive places?