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US verdict on Lambeth: "just more talk"

US verdict on Lambeth: "just more talk"

By Jenny Taylor, Lapido Media
August 7, 2008

American Anglicans at the centre of the row over gay marriage spoke last night of their 'skepticism' at the outcome of the Lambeth Conference.

Briane Turley, 51, twice a Fulbright Scholar, and former Professor at the University of West Virginia, has accused Dr Rowan Williams of being 'elastic' with the Gospel, and of replacing the demands of love with 'tolerance of anything'.

'What you are left with is endless conversation' he said, speaking from his parish, the Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulsa, Oklahoma, last night.

Turley wrote in an article published on the website VirtueOnLine that Dr Williams had done his best within the constraints of 'his culture' - but he was attempting the impossible.

It would not destroy the Communion. 'Anglicanism is going to survive but differently.

'There's good in that but problems as well. It would be better if the moderates would align with the orthodox conservative wing of the church, but Anglicanism is by definition a broad church.

'I don't think a formal split is occurring. I do think the global South is going to continue on its way and the rest of the church will have to show it is ready to align with it.'

Turley's views are interesting, partly because his congregation has had to raise nearly $1million for a new building (to open officially at Christmas) after the Presiding Bishop of ECUSA, Katharine Jefferts Schori, deposed their bishop, Bill Cox, and closed down those churches remaining loyal to him.

Former civil rights activist Cox, 87, allegedly the oldest man in the history of the American House of Bishops, was one of two bishops ceremonially 'deposed' - or stripped of office - three months ago, despite his age and the fact that his wife has Alzheimers.

His faithful congregations were thrown out of their churches, and he suffered financially.

Worse, according to Turley, is that Jefferts Schori in her deposition speech to the House of Bishops, asked the bishops assembled 'to continue to reach out' in pastoral care to both Rt Revd John-David Schofield and Cox.

'Abandoning the Communion of this Church does not mean we abandon a person as a member of the Body of Christ, Jefferts Schori said.

Cox told Lapido Media last night that there has been no single contact, or even telephone call, to confirm his welfare.

'As a matter of fact I haven't heard anything from her or any of her friends. Nonetheless, I have not had any kind of disparaging conversation about her with anybody. I have not even spoken ill against the two bishops who brought charges against me. I have just let it go because I know where my faith is and I have stated that.'

Cox was 'deposed' on 12 March this year for crossing diocesan lines in ordaining two priests and a deacon in Kansas at the request of the Bishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi.

Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori The Church of Uganda dates its founding from the martyrdoms in 1886 of 32 young men, including ten Anglicans, who because of their faith, refused to submit to the sexual demands of the Kabaka, or tribal ruler - and were burnt to death as a result. It welcomes those 'outcasts' elsewhere in the Anglican Communion who refuse to accept gay marriage but still wish to be ordained.

Said Cox: 'I crossed over diocesan boundary lines. My point is these people were being denied ministry because of their difference of opinion. My understanding of what Jesus did was always, Go to the outcasts.'

He has been consistent over the years in that. In 1965 as an idealistic young parish priest in Maryland, he swam against the dangerous cultural tide by merging two congregations, one black, one white, during the civil rights uprisings, without losing a single family.

Describing his deposition as 'the low point' of his life, he is now 'covered' by the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Greg Venables, and designated honorary bishop of the diocese of Argentina.


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