Resignation letter

This is the text of the letter of resignation from Bishop Azad Marshall of the Diocese of Iran to Archbishop Rowan Williams.

After much prayerful consideration I hereby submit my resignation from the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council for the following reasons.

Both my first ACC meeting in Kingston and the last meetings in London of the executive committee left me with a tremendous sense of sadness to realise that, while a large part of the Anglican Communion was no longer a part of the Communion and had left in order to uphold the integrity and fidelity of the Scriptures and their application, there was hardly any concern being shown to bring them back to the fold. Indeed it became abundantly clear to me that the Anglican Communion had ceased to be a representative body of non-Western churches.

Its main concern was how to maintain a relationship with TEC and other churches in the Western world who are going in the same direction, who have repeatedly defied the communion’s stand on human sexuality. In consecrating the Revd Mary Glasspool as Bishop of Los Angeles, TEC have completely demonstrated that they have no intention of moving from their stand on this issue.

I’ve felt lonely and voiceless among those who put little or no value on the orthodox view of integrity and fidelity of the interpretation of the Scriptures and their application.

I represent a diocese where our people have paid a great price for upholding the truth of the Scriptures. When I see how they have stood by their Lord I feel that I cannot participate in another ACC, when I have no confidence that my presence will make any difference. And neither does it honour those who have died to uphold Scripture.

I remain prayerfully faithful to the one communion where God’s word and its authority are recognised as supreme for our correction and instruction. Be assured of my continued prayerful support for you, that you may be enabled to bring a uniting and a healing in the torn communion as you lead us.

+ Azad Marshall


Pilgrimage blocked

The town of Marondera was described as chaotic on Friday 25 June, when armed police blocked thousands of Anglican parishioners from reaching a shrine near the town for the annual Bernard Mizeki pilgrimage. According to the Catholic Information Service for Africa, police mounted a roadblock at the turn-off to the shrine and told parishioners they would not be allowed to conduct their annual commemorations.

Those who arrived early, before the roadblocks, reported that they had been assaulted by thugs who support the expelled Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who had been stationed at the shrine. Nicknamed Mugabe’s Bishop due to his strong support of the ZANU-PF leader, Kunonga formed his own Anglican diocese after refusing church orders to vacate his post.

Police blocked supporters of Bishop Chad Gandiya, who is legitimately recognized by the Geneva-based Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network (EZN). In a statement by email Bishop Gandiya said: ‘The custodians of the law are the ones denying us access, threatening to arrest us or use teargas, to force us out. There are church wardens who have been arrested and some who bear marks of beatings.’

Fr Farai Mutamiri told SW Radio Africa that this had been just one of many incidents that have taken place since Bishop Kunonga split from the diocese. He said, ‘Right now the issue is still before the courts and this is just one event among many where the legitimate Anglicans are being blocked from attending their church services in their own church buildings.’

This time they had received assurances from the Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi that the pilgrimage would not be blocked. Parishioners had been advised to attend the event in large numbers and chaos broke out in Marondera after police installed the roadblock.

Fr Mutamiri said they are wondering who gave different instructions than those given by the minister. He added that neither Minister Mohadi nor the permanent secretary were able to give a satisfactory answer.

Bernard Mizeki, who was born in Mozambique, is important to the Anglican church in Central Africa. A devoted catechist, he was killed in violence in 1896 and is considered a martyr by the Anglican community.

A statement from the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network said, ‘Since January 2008 the crisis in the Anglican church has turned into clear and unacceptable violations of the freedom to worship and freedom of association for thousands of worshippers across Zimbabwe.’

Tererai Karimalcwenda

New Zealand

KJS visit

isagreement with The Episcopal Church about gay bishops is

one thing: but why have those two ordinations provoked such intense antagonism? Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told a Q&A session at Te Hepara Pai that she figures that’s about loss of power. ‘I think it represents the pain and discomfort of people who used to be at the centre, and who are now finding themselves being moved to the margins. In my context, 200 years ago, the landed white gentry were in control of a monoculture. Now all of these people have come along and messed with that: how dare they?’

She told the Tikanga Maori-hosted forum that wide swathes of US society were living in anxiety. People who’d once held down jobs for life had seen their employment being exported to China and India; they were enduring economic meltdown, and now the focus of their anxiety was shifting to immigrants from Central America.

Bishop Katherine said that she hoped that ‘somewhere down the road’ TEC and its most hostile critics ‘will discover the Gospel in a new way’ that allows them all to find common cause. ‘But for that kind of resurrection to happen, death has to take place first. We are seen as ‘that church which causes trouble.’ Yet we cannot be who we are not.’

TEC is, and always has been, a missionary society, claimed the bishop, and the mission is far greater and broader than the same-sex issue. ‘For example,’ she said, ‘we are much more concerned with the Millennium Development Goals, with the elimination of poverty and sickness, with overturning lack of education and lack of access to the blessings of life.’

Doing ‘the hard work of building bridges’ is the only solution to easing the strains of the Communion, she claimed. That bridge-building can take people to ‘a very lonely place, and so was the Garden of Gethsemane.’

Lloyd Ashton


KJS visit

From an interview with David Williamson of the Western Mail

atharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has been a personal guest of Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan.

Many Anglican churches in both the United States and Wales have seen a decline in membership in recent decades, but Bp Schori said she believed this could be addressed by returning to the reformation principle of communicating in the language of the surrounding society.

‘We have failed to do that for new generations. I think that’s the biggest difficulty. We’ve ignored new idioms, new images, new musical styles, shifts in language. When we pay attention to those, we discover that the supposedly irreligious around us are deeply interested in questions of spirituality, of ultimate meaning in life, and the church does have something to say.’

And in an era of globalisation, she said she was convinced that the Anglican family of churches could offer something to world communities which multinational companies cannot. ‘We’re the third largest distribution network in the world after the Romans and the Orthodox. We have an ability to serve people that is unmatched by the market. ‘We have an ability to transform communities … and that’s the power of the gospel.’

She has witnessed conservatives leaving her own denomination to form the Anglican Church in North America, which claims to have 100,000 members. She said she hoped that the Anglican tradition of accommodating different standpoints in one church would not be lost.

‘The gift of Anglicanism has always been to hold in tension, to hold in the same house, people with radically different understandings, because there is value in that whole spectrum. There is something good and blessed about that range of positions that we miss, that we lack, when some range of the tradition departs.’

David Williamson

Continuers positive

he Eighth Provincial Synod of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada took place 12–16 July, and much of its business concerned the Ordinariate. Following a day and a half of discussions, a vote was taken in each of the two Houses as to their support (or not) for unity and the establishment of a Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate.

The result of this vote was unanimous support from the House of Clergy, and an overwhelming vote of support from the House of Laity (with only two opposed and three abstentions out of thirty lay delegates).

With clear support for the petition of the Canadian House of Bishops for full communion and visible union with the See of Peter, the Synod proceeded to pass a resolution enabling the Metropolitan (Bishop Peter Wilkinson), by and with the advice and consent of the Provincial Council, to enact the necessary canonical ordinances and rules for the establishment of the Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate. ND