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Trinity Wall Street Reassures African Partners

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  • umcornet
    Trinity Wall Street Reassures African Partners [ACNS source: Trinity Church Wall Street] The head of the grants program of Trinity Church Wall Street has told
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2003
      Trinity Wall Street Reassures African Partners

      [ACNS source: Trinity Church Wall Street] The head of the grants
      program of Trinity Church Wall Street has told partner churches in
      Africa that they will not be penalized for expressing views opposed
      to the policies of the Episcopal Church on the issue of human
      sexuality.

      "You don't have to agree with us to be eligible for a Trinity grant,"
      said the Revd James G. Callaway, Jr, deputy for Grants and Outreach.
      "This has been our policy in the past, it is our policy now, and it
      will remain our policy."

      Father Callaway was speaking at the recent meeting in Nairobi, Kenya,
      of the ninth session of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa.
      CAPA is a continental body that brings together all 12 of Africa's
      Anglican churches, as well as the Diocese of Egypt.

      Bringing greetings to the meeting, Father Callaway referred to "a few
      instances" in which there had been accusations from within the
      Episcopal Church that Trinity was making grants conditional upon
      agreement with ECUSA theology.

      "In fact, in these cases, the issue has not been whether or not there
      is agreement on theology; but rather on how we relate to one another
      in Communion," he said.

      He said Trinity believed partners should feel free to express views as
      strongly as they wished, within the bounds of Christian charity, "but
      that we [partners] should do so within a framework of respect for one
      another's autonomy as Provinces."

      He added that Trinity avoided giving grants to parishes or individuals
      in other provinces of the Communion who set themselves against
      official structures of those provinces, because it did not want to
      promote divisions within other provinces.

      "On a wider level, we feel that unless the Communion decides on
      another way of operating, it would be inappropriate for us in the
      United States to take your dissenting parishes and dioceses within
      our jurisdiction, or to be consecrating bishops in your provinces who
      wish to set themselves up in opposition to you."

      The full text of Father Callaway's greeting follows:

      "In the current climate of contention over the debate on human
      sexuality, it may be helpful to you if I reiterate our policy at
      Trinity when it comes to making grants to partners with whom we do
      not have full agreement on theological issues.

      "Our policy is this: We make grants to you, our partners, regardless
      of whether we are in agreement with you on points of theology. We do
      not believe we have to see eye to eye with you on every issue to work
      with you around common mission concerns. This means that you should
      not fear that your province or diocese will be penalized in our
      partnership for your views on the current sexuality debate. More
      concisely stated: You don't have to agree with us to be eligible for
      a Trinity grant. This has been our policy in the past, it is our
      policy now, and it will remain our policy.

      "There have been a few instances in the last two years in which
      Trinity has been accused from within ECUSA of making our grants
      conditional upon agreement with our theology. In fact, in these
      cases, the issue has not been whether or not there is agreement on
      theology; but rather on how we relate to one another in Communion.

      "Within Trinity Parish, among both the members of the congregation and
      the clergy, there are differing views on the sexuality debate. Some
      support the General Convention's decision, some are strongly against,
      and I may say that parishioners in that group have not hesitated to
      voice their dissent. This disagreement extends through our diocese and
      the whole Episcopal Church as well.

      "I suspect that you too have your disagreements, over other issues, in
      your parishes, your dioceses and your provinces. You may have parishes
      which dissent in some ways from their bishops. You may even have
      bishops or dioceses who disagree with their archbishops on some
      issues.

      "How should all of us, as partners from different provinces, respond
      to the internal differences within one another's dioceses and
      provinces? Our view at Trinity is that in a healthy partnership, we
      should feel free to debate the issues between ourselves, to express
      our views as strongly as we wish within the bounds of Christian
      charity, but that we should do so within a framework of respect for
      one another's autonomy as Provinces.

      "At Trinity, we don't give grants to dissenting parishes or
      individuals in other Provinces because we do not feel it is
      appropriate for us to be promoting division in those Provinces. On
      the contrary, our policy is to form partnerships with you, the
      official leaders of your dioceses and provinces. On a wider level, we
      feel that unless the Communion decides on another way of operating,
      it would be inappropriate for us in the United States to take your
      dissenting parishes and dioceses within our jurisdiction, or to be
      consecrating bishops in your provinces who wish to set themselves up
      in opposition to you.

      "Fortunately, if we review the overall picture of our partnerships,
      we're talking about an issue which has barely appeared on the radar
      screen. We declined one grant two years ago on the basis that we felt
      our autonomy as a province had not been respected. In contrast, in the
      last five years we have given 84 grants throughout Africa, in every
      province.

      "Since the last CAPA council meeting the Trinity Grants Program has
      marked its thirtieth anniversary. We are proud that the founding
      vision of our global work came from the late Bishop Stephen Fielding
      Bayne, who was Associate Rector at the time. Bishop Bayne was truly a
      son of Trinity: his father was a Church Warden; he was baptized at
      our Chapel of the Intercession; Trinity sponsored him for ordination;
      he not only served on the staff as I have indicated, but was buried
      from Trinity and rests in the Trinity Church Cemetery in New York.

      "When he went to establish the Office of the Executive of the Anglican
      Communion, the Vestry supported his work by providing the furnishings
      for his London office. As Anglicans I believe we are indebted to his
      vision of 'Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence' which has set a
      very solid foundation for our life together. I want to quote Bishop
      Bayne briefly to keep our work together in perspective. He wrote, 'The
      point is that the church is the one body in the world that is bigger
      than human differences; the point is that we have a duty to placard
      before the world the reconciliation God has worked in us through Jesus
      Christ.'"


      ___________________________________________________________________
      Anglican Communion News Service, London
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