Thursday, 24 July 2008

Venables' Feet Get Cold

Sounds like he's having a rethink, or that he is going native while he inhabits Lambeth 2008. In the Church Times blog, the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, is saying more than just he differs from others at GAFCON in going to Lambeth as well, but he is questioning whether GAFCON and its developments - particularly the Primates' Council - are in right relation to the rest of the Communion.

On GAFCON and its lack of inner communication, including over its mess contrasting a document that was not the Nassau Draft with the St Andrew's Draft of the Covenant and the dismissal of the St Andrew's Draft. He said that they at GAFCON are:

"...going to have to be consulting together, agreed not just on what we believe but prepared to be tolerant and considerate and loving on secondary issues and also committed to talking together and doing things together."

"[The Jerusalem Statement and Declaration] was fully agreed on and worked out together - but obviously other things haven't been followed through in the same consultative, collegial way, which is a great pity."

His position seems very different from others at GAFCON; he didn't go just to be able to make GAFCON's case:

"I wouldn't be here at Lambeth if I didn't think that God had always got the door open, and if we move towards him then hopefully we would be moving towards each other if we were all sincerely seeking the same thing."

The others at GAFCON had made up their minds:

"...they think it's already gone too far, that we're beyond dialogue and there's a very large area of distrust. I think if we give up on dialogue then we've given up completely... I think it's extremely sad. I think [not coming] was a mistake."

His difference with others at GAFCON goes further: recognising that bishops and others see GAFCON as having removed itself and standing outside Anglicanism, even though that was not his experience, he adds:

"I'm going to have to do a lot of thinking about how that looks over the next few weeks before the first meeting of this primates council, as we're calling it, so that I can take my thoughts to that."

He obviously hasn't read too well the GAFCON past tense uses of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his role:

"I don't believe it was a moving away either from the Communion or the Archbishop of Canterbury."

Then of course is his own pivotal role, of the clash between him and The Episcopal Church by assuming he can take whole dioceses into the Southern Cone, beyond its borders (and not constitution regarding his own Church at that time). Everything has been '"temporary and emergency"' until something '"more official and practical"':

"If I see that isn't happening, that causes me enormous concern because my whole aim was to do something short-term."

[All quotes drawn from the particular page of the Church Times Blog]

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