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Saturday, 16 January 2016

All are welcome in the Diocese in Europe

Primates at Evensong in Canterbury. Photo: Canterbury Cathedral
The communiqué and reports from the Primates’ Meeting held in Canterbury last week have been received across the Anglican world in different ways. Some are relieved that there has been no “fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage”. Others are deeply disappointed and many, including members of the LGBT community in the Church, are deeply hurt that the Episcopal Church USA has been required by the Primates to remove itself from decision making and representative roles in the Communion for three years, as a consequence of its recent change to permit same-sex marriage.

It was my chaplain Deacon Frances Hiller who first remarked “the Diocese in Europe is like the Anglican Communion in miniature”; our 300 congregations are scattered over 1/6 of the earth’s land surface, in 44 of the 165 countries of the Anglican Communion. Our people are not just “Brits abroad” for globalisation has brought peoples from every part of the Anglican world to Europe. Some congregations are almost entirely English/British. Others are almost entirely Tamil or Nigerian, or Sudanese, or Malgaches, or Iranian… Many of our clergy come from the Anglican Churches in Britain and Ireland, but we also are blessed with the presence of priests and deacons from the Anglican / Episcopal Churches of Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Burundi, Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt and India. Thanks to the Porvoo Communion we are also served by Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Estonian, Danish and Icelandic priests. As individuals from so many backgrounds we may not all be of one mind on matters of human sexuality, but we are committed to live in charity with each other, respecting the dignity of all as beloved children of God. We are experts in living with diversity within the life of one family.

7  clergy from just one deanery - from 7 different countries
Following from the Primates’ Meeting and their communiqué, my office has already received enquiries from clergy and members of the Episcopal Church about whether they are welcome in our Diocese in Europe. So we need to reaffirm in a strong way our commitment to live and serve the Lord together in this relationship we have developed of loving communion within the Church. The strategy document of the Diocese in Europe is called “Walking Together in Faith”. A key part of the strategy is valuing and sustaining a culture of welcome, invitation and hospitality.

Anglicans in Europe are a small minority. But we are part of something greater, that diverse and beautiful community we call the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We need each other for our mission and ministry, to be a visible sign in a divided world of the unity God wills for humanity, together to be salt and light in a world being transformed by Christ.

In the Diocese in Europe, all are welcome!

Ordinands of the Diocese from every corner of the globe
The communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting is here.

15 comments:

  1. Another ambiguous statement. It would be better if you just take a clear stance on whether you accept the traditional Christian ethic or choose the path of conformity and adopting to the modern world.
    I'm a Roman Catholic living in Poland and I took Primates' ruling with extreme joy bearing in mind it would have been possible hadn't it been for African conservative bishops. We witness a massive shift in global Christianity. Then neglected Black Continent will now lead us towards God's epiphany. Even though I'm not Anglican, I sat today in the church and glorified God for the Holy Spirit has spoken through the minds of Abp. Welby. Rejoice!

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  2. Another ambiguous statement. It would be better if you just take a clear stance on whether you accept the traditional Christian ethic or choose the path of conformity and adopting to the modern world.
    I'm a Roman Catholic living in Poland and I took Primates' ruling with extreme joy bearing in mind it would have been possible hadn't it been for African conservative bishops. We witness a massive shift in global Christianity. Then neglected Black Continent will now lead us towards God's epiphany. Even though I'm not Anglican, I sat today in the church and glorified God for the Holy Spirit has spoken through the minds of Abp. Welby. Rejoice!

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  3. Well. This is an exquisitely carefully worded piece. Not entirely sure how to read between the lines, but feeling hopeful. LGBT brothers and sisters need and deserve our love and support, in the spirit of the living God, as does the Episcoplan church. Thank you Bishop David, from here in The Hague

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  4. Fine words, David. Thank you for your wonderful open heart and your compassionate episcopal ministry.

    Dan Graves+

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  5. Poor . You do not say if you stand in the biblical doctrine of marriage. Your prioritu rather is to keep things sweet with tec. Moral abdication.

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  6. Those who stand on 2000 years old interpretation of doctrine and believe on no evolutionary change in society and the need of religion to adapt to the times, remind me of IS in their aspiration to go back to the good old days of the Caliphate.

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  7. "All are welcome." How is that ambiguous? What the critics are saying is "please exclude gays and lesbians from full participation." But also say it in a way that doesn't sound so discriminatory, so we can be completely at peace with our confidence in speaking for God. The Anglican communion, spirituality and heritage has always resisted dogmatism. It makes some folks squirm. This too will pass.

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  8. Thank you Bishop David.

    For those who would use Religion to demonise and hate others, may I suggest further study of our Lord Jesus Christ's teachings as summed up in John 13:34 & 35

    Jesus points out how simple it is for ALL to recognise a Christian.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Bishoo David. You are (as ever) a warm, welcoming, and inclusive voice. You make me happy tobe part of the Diocese in Europe, so again, thank you. Sara MacVane

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  9. "All are welcome in the Diocese", but all are not welcome to enjoy the sacraments of marriage and ordination.

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  10. It's a half truth just to say 'God loves all'. He does but Jesus calls people to repent of their sin and change (the woman caught in adultery, John 8). Jesus spoke of sex outside marriage as sin - he used the word porneia, which included homosexual activity. How on earth can you think Jesus, an orthodox Jew, who said such a thing, would be pro homosexual marriage ? You have made a Jesus of your own making, recast to suit 21st secular mores. That's a breaking of the second commandment.

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  11. Yes, not all are welcome. Any more than a blind man would be welcome to receive a driver's licence. The summary above is simplistic. There is unjust discrimation and unjust discrimation. Not permitting same sex marriage is just discrimation because the purpose of marriage is the facilitating of family life and the continuance of society by offspring. Just because not all are fertile does not negate that purpose.

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  12. Of course all are welcome to the church. But if is a different matter that all are welcome to lead the church. The church stands for something, doctrine and ethics. If it does not stand for either, it declines and ceases to exist. Exhibit A: The Ch of England.

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