As the Anglican women delegates to the 2007 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) conclude their work this week in New York City, they are pledging to take their commitment "to remaining always in 'communion' with and for one another" to the wider Anglican Communion, and especially the 38 Primates, as a model for reconciliation.It looks like Anglican "communion" is now trade unionism with fancy dress. There's not one single mention of Jesus in this entire report - "communion" is now just something that people decide to have with each other. Notice how the Primates can still use the traditional understanding of the Church when dealing with this mess; the relationship is damaged by the actions of the errant party, just as in the Catholic Church, an unrepentant sinner excommunicates himself, and the statement of the Church just puts an official stamp on and informs the rest of the faithful of what is already a fact. But these women are so corrupted by their "power politics" view of the world that they can only comprehend the situation in the crudest of terms. In their view, an "issue of difference or contention" can CAUSE people to wantonly break off unity with others, and SEVER the bonds of affection. As if people would just naturally continue in tranquil union if only those Primates wouldn't be busybodies and go about smashing and severing things.
The Anglican delegation of more than 80 women, representing 34 countries in the worldwide Anglican Communion, issued a statement March 3 vowing "to remain resolute in our solidarity with one another and in our commitment, above all else, to pursue and fulfill God's mission in all we say and do."
In the view of the Anglican women, the Primates' warning is inconsistent with the Christian mission of reconciliation and compassionate ministry, and a decidedly male approach to struggling with difference. All of the Primates are men of power, they note, except for Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.That's why TEC has become The Peaceable Kingdom, now that that testosterone-addled Frank Griswold is gone and Her Serenity has ascended the throne.
"The women of the Communion have, I believe, moved from bewilderment to outrage at the ways in which a small cabal of leaders have continued to insist that the issues exercising them alone over human sexuality are inevitably to preoccupy us as well," said Jenny Te Paa, an Anglican UNCSW delegate and ahorangi, or dean, of Te Rau Kahikatea, the College of St. John the Evangelist in Auckland, New Zealand.Griswold, eh? Haven't I heard that name somewhere before?
"The arguments are all a male ancient power play for territory and ownership of space, be it physical or theological," agreed Phoebe Griswold, a UNCSW delegate from the United States. "The women's ways forward have to do with working for the welfare of creation and the full flourishing of humankind."
Griswold is a founding member of Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE), an international grassroots movement founded in 2003 to promote gender equality and to use the power of women to promote a humane agenda worldwide.Nope, must be some other Phoebe Griswold.
What the Primates have failed to realize, Te Paa said, is that "the priority focus for Anglican women always has been the pressing issues of life and death, which are daily facing too many of the women and children of God's world. How can we compare the needless horrific suffering of women and girls being brutally raped when collecting firewood or water with the endless hysteria of male leaders wanting to debate whether gay men have full humanity or not?"I'm glad I'm not the first one to use the word "hysteria" here.
Olajumoke Florence Akinkoye is a lawyer and a UNCSW delegate from Nigeria, whose Primate, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, has been a leader of theological conservatives...."Everybody is aware of the Nigerian position," Akinkoye said. "My understanding of the Bible is God made man and woman. The Bible also says to be compassionate to others around us.""Look, I have to work with these people, OK?"
The women's statement came after a "sacred space listening process," according to Nomfundo Walaza, a UNCSW delegate from South Africa and a member of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council.Don't tell me - it involved drums, right?
From this "sacred space listening process" evolved the women's commitment to remain in communion. According to Walaza, the statement was "passionately received" by all of the Anglican UNCSW delegates at a working session on March 3.That means 3 entire floors of the UN building were stripped of every single kleenex and scrap of toilet paper.
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