The meeting of Anglican leaders from around the world is huge religion news, whether you're an Anglican or not. What's at stake is no less than the unity of the third-largest Christian body in the world, and whether one of America's largest mainline denominations will be disciplined by colleagues from the Global South.
Officially, we're told, there won't be any news from the meeting until Thursday afternoon. That may be so, but there's still much reporting and analysis going on. By now, you should have checked out our run-up article by Andrew Carey. But if you don't want to wait until tomorrow's dispatch and weblog to read the next 24 hours' worth of news and comment, there are several places to visit.
As Weblog has noted many times earlier, one of the best sites is Classical Anglican Net News, which has its own site for the primates' meeting. The orthodox blog, based in Canada, appraises everything from a conservative point of view (and often a biting one at that) and continually searches the net for any Anglican tidbits. Weblog will mainly be linking to articles in the mainstream press. But if you're looking for a comprehensive collection compiling everything from bloggers to denominational publications, check out CANN.
Speaking of bloggers, there are several orthodox and conservative Anglicans busy commenting this week. The two must-reads to start at are those of Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina, and Christopher S. Johnson, who has one foot and nine toes out the door of the Episcopal Church USA. Another must-read online writer, who functions kind of like a blogger without links (though he engages in much more original reporting than most bloggers) is David Virtue.
Orthodox bloggers, along with CANN, are pretty irritated with coverage coming from official church organs, such as Episcopal News Service and the Anglican Communion News Service. When they're not silent, the conservatives lament, these news services are biased. Of particular note was Monday's article, "Anglicans call for inclusive church and a new call to mission." Still, when the primates issue their official comments, you'll probably want to get it from an official source.
Meanwhile, for mainstream news sources that will be continually updated today, check out the Associated Press and BBC. British newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian are likely to post dispatches before tomorrow morning, too.
Meanwhile, the articles below will keep you busy until we compile and post another big batch Thursday, at noon EST.
Major run-up articles:
- The schism of 2003 | Will the global Anglican church split in two over gay bishops? A meeting this week may decide (Time Europe)
- Anglicans in angry split over homosexuality issue | Conservative Anglicans are saying that the era of collegial coexistence is over (The New York Times)
- Anglican leader pressured on gay movement | The closed meeting began with prayers and Bible study, then each primate was given up to five minutes to make a statement (Associated Press)
- Church leaders debate gay issue | News of the meeting's outcome was not expected until late on Thursday, but Anglican leaders, known as primates, from both sides of the debate have been meeting in London all week to lobby for support (BBC, video)
- World Anglicans debate gay priests | Five-points are reported to be on the Lambeth agenda, including asking the U.S. church to retreat, or be suspended from the communion (CNN)
- Leaders of the global Anglican Communion | Who they are and how many they represent (Associated Press)
- Anglicans start landmark summit on gay priests | The clerics were whisked into London's Lambeth Palace through a back door without speaking to the media (Reuters)
- Church in need of a savior | Williams has played his cards close to his chest but hopes that a rebuke to the US and Canadian churches will be enough to mollify critics, possibly with a study group to examine an issue over which the Anglican communion has agonised for years. But that may not be enough any more (The Guardian, London)
- Anglicans gather to confront historic rift | Leaders meet Wednesday to address church direction on gay issues (The Christian Science Monitor)
- Anglicans working to avert church split | U.S. stance on gay issues spurs dispute (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Gay schism threatens Lambeth summit | More than half those at today's summit are thought to believe the appointment of Canon Robinson was wrong and should be revoked before his consecration next month (Financial Times)
What Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams might do:
- Williams gambles to heal division over gays | To placate the conservatives, who are threatening a mass walkout, he will uphold the Church's traditional ban on gay marriages and the ordination of active homosexuals, despite his more liberal private views on the issue. But Dr Williams will resist pressure to expel the liberal American Episcopal Church over its decision to appoint Anglicanism's first openly active homosexual bishop (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Archbishop of Canterbury to take hard line on gay clergy at summit | He is prepared to reiterate the church's official view reached five years ago that homosexuality is "incompatible with scripture" (The Independent, London)
- Williams reignites row over gay bishop | Williams is expected to tell Church leaders that the impending consecration of Canon Gene Robinson is in breach of the Church's position on homosexuality (The Observer, London)
Divisions among the Anglican leaders:
- Hardline archbishops gather on eve of summit | More than half of the worldwide Church's 38 primates and a large group of traditionalist American bishops are planning to gather at All Souls, Langham Place, an evangelical church in London (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Gay issue splits world bishops | Leaders from the worldwide Anglican communion have clashed over the ordination of gay bishops ahead of this week's Church summit (BBC)
- Archbishop calls for commission to probe gay clergy crisis | Archbishop of Capetown said he "hoped and prayed" the Church would adopt a more liberal attitude as it had towards women clergy and slavery (PA, U.K.)
- 'Time for study on gay clergy' | Former Bishop of Edinburgh Richard Holloway today urged Anglican Church leaders to set up a royal commission-style study into the issue of gay clergy (Edinburgh Evening News)
- US millionaire bankrolls crusade against gay Anglican priests | America's religious right draws a line in the sand as Anglican primates meet in London (The Observer, London)
- Conservative Episcopalians ready showdown | Conservatives say that two months of lobbying has amassed the support of 23 of the 38 primates for their plans to sanction the Episcopal Church in the United States (The Washington Times)
- Episcopal conservatives threaten to split church (Religion News Service)
- Homosexual debate reaching crisis levels | It has become what Episcopal Diocese of Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman calls the "presenting issue" of whether the ECUSA has "exceeded its authority" by putting a noncelibate homosexual man into a bishop's office (Peoria Journal Star, Ill.)
- Christianity in peril, says Jensen | Parts of Western Christianity were locked in a struggle to survive, and the issues of homosexual ministers and same-sex unions would prove the turning point, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, said yesterday (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Nigeria leads anti-gay protest | Members of Nigeria's Anglican Church fasted and prayed to protest against the confirmation of homosexual priests and bishops in the United States and Britain (News24, South Africa)
- Gay priests are 'forces of evil' in the church | "We Anglicans are against the ordination of gay priests and I am vehemently against it," Archbishop Peter Akinola said. "We need prayers to be able to surmount all the problems that tend to divide us, and all the forces of evil in the church." (Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, South Africa)
- Same-sex unions divide Anglican diocese | A so-called "flying bishop" — one from Yukon Territory — now ministers the dissidents amid disputes with the local New Westminster bishop over who has authority (Associated Press)
- Canadian Anglican leaders fed up over objections to gay unions | In a letter sent Monday from five Canadian Anglican archbishops including the Primate of Canada to the American Episcopal church, the message was clear: stay out of our affairs (Gay Financial Network)
Gay Anglican leaders:
- Gay Anglican priests fear for careers | In the past, church leaders have chosen to ignore the issue (Associated Press)
- Over half of Church of England worshipers back actively gay vicars | More than two thirds support the ordination of celibate homosexuals (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Cleric slams church on gay 'apartheid' | Former Archbishop of Central Africa said his experiences under apartheid had led him to oppose an "exclusive church" (The Mirror, U.K.)
- Anti-gay archbishop Jensen likened to Hitler | Gay British priest Martin Reynolds also said anti-homosexuality was the last vestige of evil in modern society (AAP, Australia)
- Anglicans' undoing | On Aug. 5 the faction's tenuous unity was shattered when one doctrine too many flew out the window. (George F. Will, The Washington Post)
- Battle for the soul of Anglicanism | This week's church summit on homosexuality is make or break (Giles Fraser, The Guardian, U.K.)
- An imposed unity could see church's communion falter | If Williams confronts that dilemma this week by doing what strong-minded dioceses like Sydney demand—bringing New Westminster and New Hampshire to heel - he will have averted a split in the church on theological grounds only to invite one down the track on constitutional ones (Chris McGillion, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Good v homosexuality … last stand of the Bible quoters | The evidence that being gay is not a choice undermines the arguments of homophobes (John Shelby Spong, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- A church divided | Archbishop Williams faces a crisis. His enemies are well-funded, well-organized and ill-intentioned. His friends are disheartened and almost as disloyal as his enemies (Editorial, The Guardian, London)
- Crucial gay question facing church | Let's hope and pray that the archbishops hold the church together—so we can get on with the task for the Church and Cathedral in Manchester of having a proper care for everyone, whoever they are and whatever their sexuality. (Nigel McCulloch, Manchester Online, U.K.)
- Is the Anglican meeting fixed? | Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement says anti-gay bishops have attempted to ensure that the final decision is made before the meeting even began (Gay.com, U.K.)
- Fla. House Speaker leaves Episcopal Church | Senate candidate Johnnie Byrd turns away after church made gay man a bishop (Associated Press)
- Church summit debates gay clergy crisis | "It is so far so good," says Williams spokesman (PA, U.K.)
- Bid to censure Jensen fails | Anglican Dean of Sydney survived a censure motion yesterday, brought by a supporter of women's ordination who felt demeaned by comments he had made on women's ministry (The Sydney Morning Herald)
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