Archbishop Makgoba Urges GAFCON Bishops to Attend Lambeth

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In an article published by the Church Times June 28 (note it’s behind a paywall), Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town urges everyone, including the GAFCON-aligned bishops who have previously said they will not attend next year’s Lambeth Conference, to attend.

“I’m urging everyone to say really, really that boycotts have never helped any of our nations to attain freedom. Boycotts never helped us to agree on the creeds in the Anglican tradition. Boycotts fuel breakages.

“But, if we all come around the table at Lambeth, and African Christians have a say, all other Christians have a say. Let’s all come and sit around the table, acknowledge our pain, try to remedy our brokenness, try to remove the tensions. But we can’t just say, ‘Let’s vote: are you in or are you out?’ That’s not how the Church works.”

… “It is really my prayer that if those who are in GAFCON are not on board, we have not started the debate fully,” he said. “We need those in GAFCON to be around the table, we need those who are in the Anglican Church in North America [ACNA] to be around the table. We need those who have just quietly left, or those who don’t understand what we are talking about, around the table, so we can hear every possible voice; and what is our obligation to God in such a time like this.”

In a book published last week, Faith and Courage: Praying with Mandela (SPCK), Dr Makgoba writes: “The Anglican Communion is not at present setting a good example to the world of how to achieve reconciliation.”

He argues that same-sex unions should not be treated “as a church-dividing matter but as one of Pastoral accommodation to the needs of each individual Province: we can do this by adopting a new Anglican via media, a middle way that bridges the divide.”

He said on Monday: “We have to acknowledge that most Provinces still agree that the canon of marriage is between man and woman, and most Provinces do not have a particular design to change that particular canon. But all Provinces realise that we need to minister in a context in which same-sex unions are not accepted in other countries by law… I’m not saying, ‘Change the canon of marriage.’ I’m saying, ‘What is our pastoral obligation? What is our mission? What is the faith and the heart of the reconciliation?’”

 

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

"Boycotts never helped us to agree on the creeds in the Anglican tradition." Strictly speaking I wonder how obvious this is, if he is speaking of analogies with Nicaea, e.g.

The debate over "of one substance" had been brewing for sometime, and it reached a fever pitch. At that point a council was called. There had not been a series of councils at which decisions were reached and then ignored, as with Anglicanism. So when the emperor called for the Council people with stakes in the game all showed up, not least because civilly mandated. And in consequence of agreements then hammered out, there were losers alongside winners. The semi-Arians were tolerated, but not the arians full-stop. There was no 'good disagreement' but serious repercussions on the ground.

If he is referring to "creeds in the Anglican tradition" and means the historic creeds, his particular scenario lacks an obvious historical analogy.

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

I suspect there is a degree of confusion built into the comments, at least as quoted, strategically speaking.

Get everyone around a table, including Gafcon and ACNA -- one table ---- something the ABC has not said is in the works.

Hope for ssm not being province or communion dividing, and press for that ----- something the provinces in question do not believe, and that certain provinces would have great difficulty accomplishing without some form of division (real, or "congenial" arrangements that will time out; see TEC).

These "well meaning" exhortations are just that. Obviously Gafcon is not going to show up without acknowledgment of ACNA, if then; and the provincial non-attendance extends into the GS more generally -- a GS in communion with ACNA.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

I have no problem with "everyone around the table" either. But this must include Table Fellowship. Continuing Anglican denominations such as ACNA or REC (or, liberal schisms that might occur in GAFCON Churches) should be welcomed to participate as Associate Members, but not Full Membership such as TEC or ACofC enjoys.

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C.R. Russell
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Laying aside the imminent matter of Lambeth attendance, Bp Makgoba proposes that in general the same-sex matters be treated as Provincial differences in local cultures (as I see the Communion has been ready to grant the presence of historically polygamous cultures). A sensible approach, as we will not have a worldwide consensus on this; not in our lifetimes at any rate.

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

"We have to acknowledge that most Provinces still agree that the canon of marriage is between man and woman, and most Provinces do not have a particular design to change that particular canon. But all Provinces realise that we need to minister in a context in which same-sex unions are not accepted in other countries by law… I’m not saying, ‘Change the canon of marriage.’

Actually, the phrasing here is does not seem to say that, though the wording is a bit confusing.

"...all Provinces realise that we need to minister in a context in which same-sex unions are not accepted in other countries by law."

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

C.R. -- what happens when inside provinces there are strong divisions, not least in the province of Canterbury?

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

"...we need those who are in the Anglican Church in North America [ACNA] to be around the table."

Is this "alongside" on the same terms as the Gafcon Bishops? That would be Makgoba arguing for something the ABC has said is not on the table. I wonder how he intended that?

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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It reads to me that he believes everyone should be at the table, he didn't get into particulars about standing. If the primates could turn the page on SSM, as he suggests, I'd be fine with everyone at the table. It's not a table that makes real policy, so standing doesn't matter, but fellowship does. That was my take on it. Sounds nice.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

We should use this as an opportunity to bring all the Continuing Anglican Churches (who are willing) back into some sort of organized fellowship. We should also provide for the participation of potential liberal Anglican splits from the GAFCON Churches. I think that agreeing to participate in Table Fellowship is an reasonable bottom line requirement for Associate Member status in the Anglican Communion.

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

"If the primates could turn the page on SSM, ...I'd be fine with everyone at the table."

But his statement is not predicated on that.

… “It is really my prayer that if those who are in GAFCON are not on board, we have not started the debate fully,” he said. “We need those in GAFCON to be around the table, we need those who are in the Anglican Church in North America [ACNA] to be around the table. We need those who have just quietly left, or those who don’t understand what we are talking about, around the table, so we can hear every possible voice; and what is our obligation to God in such a time like this.”

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Cynthia Katsarelis
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He says: "He argues that same-sex unions should not be treated “as a church-dividing matter but as one of Pastoral accommodation to the needs of each individual Province: we can do this by adopting a new Anglican via media, a middle way that bridges the divide.” and " I’m not saying, ‘Change the canon of marriage.’ I’m saying, ‘What is our pastoral obligation? What is our mission? What is the faith and the heart of the reconciliation?’”

If SSM isn't church-dividing, then that would be a new era for the communion. He describes a new via media, i.e move forward without coercion one way or the other. I guess it's also possible that he's open to different divisions. Suppose gay-friendly Nigerian churches wanted to align with TEC? Or churches yearning for SSM aligning with TEC or Scotland? It certainly sounds like SSM shouldn't be a divider or dealbreaker, and it doesn't sound like he wants primates to come to outvote the liberal view... People at the table sounds Christ-like to me.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

If we really want the Anglican Communion to mean something as a fellowship of Churches we should strive to include all Anglicans in it in some manner. The historic Anglican Churches (such as The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the current majorities of the GSAFCON Churches) should continue as the Full Member Churches of the AC with Voice and Decisive Vote. The Continuing Anglican Churches, such as ACNA, REC and the potential liberal Anglican schisms in the Global South provinces should be brought into the conversation as Associate Members with Voice and Consultative Vote on issues. Of course, there is little that we can do if some GAFCON provinces want to wander off into Continuing Anglicanism...That's their decision...

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