News for Week Ending 2/3/2014
Norway clergy union asks for gay marriage riteThe executive council of the clergy union of the Church of Norway has voted unanimously to call for a liturgy for same-sex marriage. (The Church of Norway, a Lutheran church, is a state church.) Same-sex marriage is legal in Norway, but the Church of Norway has not created a new marriage rite. Details can be found here.
Church of Nigeria will not change courseWriting on his Web site VirtueOnline, David Virtue reported January 28, 2014, that Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) House of Bishops have warned Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby that their church will continue to maintain fellowship with “Bible-based” churches such as Robert Duncan’s Anglican Church of North Armerica (ACNA) “not necessarily on the basis of history.” The bishops reaffirmed their support for the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and for the Jerusalem Declaration.
ACNA issues catechismThe Anglican Church in North America has announced the availability of a new catechism. The new document contains 345 questions and answers. Associated introductory and explanatory matter have also been made available. The Catechism and associated material in various forms are available here.
Li Tim-Oi honored in TorontoAnglican Journal reported January 25, 2014, that a choral Eucharist was held in the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto celebrating the ordination of women on the 70th anniversary of the ordination of the first woman Anglican priest, Li Tim-Oi. On January 31, Anglican Journal published a story about the challenges, past and present, faced by ordained women in the Anglican Church of Canada.
Anglican leaders speak out against anti-gay legislationThe Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote a letter January 29, 2014, addressed to all Anglican primates and to the presidents of Uganda and Nigeria regarding the rights of LGBT persons. The letter declares that it is in response “to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction.” Curiously, the letter does not criticize the behavior of anyone or, for that matter, offer any moral judgment on the part of the letter writers. Instead, it cites the Dromantine Communiqué of 2005 as expressing “the common mind of the Primates of the Anglican Communion” with regard to the treatment “of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex.” (The excerpt of the communiqué quoted in the letter is from the same section—section 6—that criticizes The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada for their actions.) It is not known if the Internet petition asking the archbishops to speak out against human rights abuses in Nigeria influenced the writing of the letter. (PEP also asked for a statement—see story below.)
Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, answered the archbishops’ letter and criticized the facilitated conversations called for in the Pilling Report.
Two days earlier (January 27), Gay Clark Jennings, president of the General Convention’s House of Deputies and a member of the Anglican Consultative Council, published a strong denunciation of anti-gay actions, including those of the primates of the Anglican churches in Uganda and Nigeria. The criticisms were in the form of a commentary written for Religion News Service and posted on the RNS Web site.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued a “statement on LGBT rights” on January 30. Without naming any guilty parties, she decried “current attempts to criminalize LGBT persons and their supporters.” She declared that the Episcopal Church’s “advocacy for oppressed minorities has been vocal and sustained.” Her statement can be read here.
here—the likely fate of the notorious legislation in Uganda has been unclear. Some press reports have suggested that President Yoweri Museveni has decided not to sign the bill. In a story written for Political Research Associates, however, the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia in a Boston University doctoral program, suggests that it is likely that the president will eventually sign the bill. His piece includes a scanned copy of a letter written by Museveni that reveals a negative attitude toward sexual minorities.
On January 30, the primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali commented on the anti-gay bill, on the Pilling Report, and on the letter from the Church of England archbishops. (See previous story.) Ntagali praised the Uganda Parliament for reducing sentences in the bill and for removing reporting requirements, thereby allowing clergy to counsel homosexuals seeking “help and healing.” Ntagali goes on to attack The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. He also threatens to break communion with the Church of England if it does not change its current path.