Benediction Online

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jesus Loves Me, This I know
Dar es Salaam (Tuesday)

It’s been a quiet day in Dar es Salaam, my (temporary) home town. Apparently Canterbury had breakfast with Archbishop Akinola and the Primate of South East Asia, John Chu at which they discussed a letter from Akinola whose contents have not been revealed but can safely be assumed to continue in the established trajectory – to change the agenda in order to contest the presence of Bishop Katharine, and of John Sentamu, Archbishop of York and Primate of England (Canterbury is Primate of All-England).

Bishop Katharine is reputed to be in good spirits. She met today with local missionaries from the Episcopal Church, including Henry and Priscilla Zeigler from the Seattle area who are setting up a medical center here in Dar es Salaam. She spent the afternoon with the other new Primates (fourteen in all) reviewing a paper from the Anglican Communion office on the role of a Primate, and introducing herself and the concerns of her province o her new colleagues.

Tomorrow the meeting starts in earnest. After adoption of the agenda (which might take most of the day) the Primates expect to spend the rest of the day considering The Episcopal Church’s response to the Windsor Report, and the reaction of the Primates’ ‘monitoring committee’. It is likely that the presentation/discussion including Bishops Duncan, Epting and MacPherson will take place during this larger debate.

Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion shared the history of this discussion with journalists. Once again, he mentioned the Communion’s ‘teaching’ about sexuality as expressed in Lambeth 98 Resolution 1.10 (that homosexual practice is in compatible with scripture) without questioning the ability of Lambeth Resolutions to delineate the ‘teaching’ of the Communion. But more interestingly he said that at their Dromantine meeting, the Primates had recognized that some of the episcopal boundary crossings were ‘too sensitive’ to cease immediately, despite the clear recommendations of the Windsor Report, and that this had created the need for the Panel of Reference.

Some boundaries were established and crossed today. The Archbishop of Canterbury declared that Bishop Katharine has an ‘absolute’ right to be here as a duly elected Primate. Archbishop Akinola shook hands with three gay and lesbian persons, including Davis Mac-Iyalla whom the Nigerian church has declared to be non-existent. No longer can Akinola claim that there are no Nigerian gays or that he has never met one. Archbishop Ndungane of South Africa went the extra mile and took the opportunity to sit down for a real conversation with Davis and Colin Coward of Changing Attitudes UK

But the last word goes to Mrs. Minns, wife of new CANA bishop Martyn Minns, who went out of her way to assure me that ‘Jesus Loves You’. I am so glad, but fortunately I hadn’t been wondering about it, because the Bible tells me so.


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