Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Top 50 Anglicans

Last week we posted a Telegraph article about the 50 most influential figures in the Anglican Communion. At the time, only 31 thru 50 had been released. The remaining 30 were published on Saturday. LGBT allies on the list included...

2. Katherine Jefferts Schori - Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the US

A former oceanographer and pilot, Katharine Jefferts Schori came from nowhere to become Presiding Bishop in 2006. Despite being bishop of one of the smallest dioceses, Nevada, she was projected to the primacy on a wave of pushing the frontiers of American Anglicanism, rather than through a long, demonstrable record as a bishop. She doesn't believe that Jesus is the only way to God - that would be to "put God in an awfully small box" and also said: "To believe there is only one way of reading the Bible is hubris.” She is influential because she represents an Episcopal Church which has increasingly hardened its stance towards the Anglican Communion. As the leader of the American Church, she has used very precise language to walk a thin line between flouting the requests of the Anglican Communion and doing just enough to garner the support of other parts of the liberal Church. Schori has concentrated on relationships with Canada, the central American dioceses, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa and, Europe which some say points towards an Episcopalian Communion in future, if the Anglican Communion falls apart. Has pursued a strategy of litigation in the US in cases where conservative congregations and dioceses are keen to pursue a negotiated settlement on property questions. Believes that parish property is held in trust for The Episcopal Church and is happy to spend millions in the courts to pursue that policy.

4. Gene Robinson - Bishop of New Hampshire

He is the most divisive figure in the Anglican world, whose appointment as bishop five years ago engulfed the Anglican communion in a bitter conflict that shows no signs of abating. The openly gay cleric is controversially being given a platform at St Mary’s Putney where revolutionaries plotted to change the English constitution during the civil war. His sermon marks the launch of a radical agenda that the liberals hope will help to rewrite Anglican policy over the coming weeks as hundreds of bishops prepare to head to Canterbury to discuss resolving the current crisis. Bishop Robinson, who "married" Mark Andrew, his partner of nearly 20 years, believes that the gay clergy in the Church of England are unable to lead fulfilled lives because they are being forced to lie about their sexuality.

6. Desmond Tutu - Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

The Nobel Peace prize winner is widely regarded as the greatest Anglican of the 20th century, and still commandss enormous influence, affection and respect today. His courageous stand against apartheid gained him unprecedented support for the better part of three decades. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that the infrastructure and closer links within the Anglican Communion grew precisely to support him as he personally risked life and limb in the struggle. He later earned even greater kudos when he headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which became the litmus test for effective mediation work between divided factions. In retirement he became a champion of the cause of gays and lesbians comparing their liberation to the struggle against apartheid.

18. Bonnie Anderson - Chair, the Episcopal Church House of Deputies

A determined defender of the American agenda in the Anglican Communion, Bonnie Anderson is effectively the second most senior figure in the Episcopal Church of USA. She chairs its House of Deputies including clergy and laity, which considers itself"senior" to the House of Bishops in the Church’s General Convention. Originally from the Diocese of Michigan she has served in just about every capacity in the church structures open to a laywoman rather than a member of the clergy. She champions the ultra-democratic stance of The Episcopal Church, criticising the Archbishop of Canterbury's pressure to get American bishops to pronounce moratoria on same sex blessings and ordinations.

19. Marc Andrus - Bishop of California

Bishop Andrus was one of those determined not to attend the Lambeth Conference if Bishop Gene Robinson was not invited, but was persuaded by Robinson to be a 'voice at the table'. He has been in the eye of the storm following the Californian Supreme Court decision to open up marriage to gay couples. He welcomed the decision and urged churchgoers to oppose conservative moves to overturn the verdict. His pastoral guidelines to his clergy call on them to put gay and straight relationships on a par by encouraging all couples to get married first in a secular service and then being blessed in church services.

21 Michael Ingham - Bishop of New Westminster

Bishop Ingham of the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster is one of the trailblazers of the pro-gay agenda in the Anglican Communion and has been a chief protagonist in the current crisis. In 2003 - the same year the Anglican communion consecrated its first gay bishop, he agreed to allow churches in his diocese to bless same sex relationships, which led to a major split in the diocese and widened the divide in the Anglican Communion. Recent moves to inhibit the freedom of conservative priests, including the internationally-renowned evangelical theologian, Dr Jim Packer, have been met with worldwide outrage, but has demonstrated his determination to plough ahead with a highly provocative agenda.

23. Giles Fraser - vicar of Putney

A ubiquitous media commentator, Giles Fraser may be only a parish priest, but his words have an international audience through his newspaper columns - mostly in the Guardian and Church Times - and also his Radio 4 Thought for the Day contributions. Loved and loathed in equal measure, his cheeky chappy, everyman person belies an extremely able mind - he used to lecture in philosophy at Wadham college, Oxford - that enables him to make the liberal argument accessible and mainstream. He is the chair of the campaigning group, Inclusive Church, and is a canny operator in pushing the liberal agenda, most recently inviting Gene Robinson - the openly gay bishop - to preach at his church on the eve of the Lambeth Conference.

28. John Chane - Bishop of Washington

The 64-year-old was consecrated as the eighth bishop of Washington in 2002 and is one of the pivotal figures on the majority liberal wing of the US Church. He is known for his interest in interfaith dialogue and has close links to Iran and former President Khatami, who he invited to speak at Washington’s National Cathedral. He has attacked the Nigerian Archbishop, Peter Akinola, who he accused of intolerance and bigotry for supporting draconian anti-gay laws. Recentlly, he criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for failing to put gay marriage on the agenda of the Lambeth Conference, arguing that after a gay 'wedding' in a prominent London Church, the Anglican Communion must face the issue eventually.

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