Trinity Wall Street Reassures African Partners
- 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
"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
"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
"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
Anglican Communion News Service, London