Saturday, 19 August 2017

Opinion - 19 August 2017

Mark Woods Christian Today Does your church need a mission statement? Why you’re better off without one

Julian Francis Church Times Facing uncomfortable truths about race

Ruth Harley … because God is love “Jesus isn’t white” – 5 ways to make your children’s and youth ministry less racist

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of faith, speaking of inclusion

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 August 2017 at 11:00am BST
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Categorised as: Opinion

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Los Angeles: coadjutor bishop says property sale to proceed

Earlier reports here and then here.

Bishop John Taylor, the Coadjutor Bishop of Los Angeles, has published this: A Letter to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Episcopal News Service explains: Los Angeles bishop coadjutor says disputed St. James property sale contract is legally binding.

This is reported in the local newspapers:

Los Angeles Times L.A. Episcopal diocese is going ahead with sale of Newport’s St. James church site

Orange County Register St. James Church will be sold after all, disappointing the Newport Beach congregation

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 15 August 2017 at 10:21am BST
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Categorised as: ECUSA

Saturday, 12 August 2017

New Zealand marriage blessing proposals

The Church Times this week carries a report on New Zealand: Priests could be authorised to offer same-sex blessings in New Zealand

Here are some links from New Zealand that contain more information:

AnglicanTaonga New way forward? Report out now

Full text of the report here.

Peter Carrell
Beautiful Anglican Accommodation - Down Under’s Way Forward

Bosco Peters
Blessing Same-Gender Couples

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 August 2017 at 12:04pm BST
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | New Zealand

Opinion - 12 August 2017

Paul Bayes Huffington Post UK The Life And Death Divide Which Shames Our Nation

This refers to this research report North-South disparities in English mortality1965–2015: longitudinal population study by Iain E Buchan, Evangelos Kontopantelis, Matthew Sperrin, Tarani Chandola, Tim Doran.
Nicola Davis writes about the report for The Guardian ‘Alarming’ rise in early deaths of young adults in the north of England – study

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The growing conflict between Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 August 2017 at 11:00am BST
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Categorised as: Opinion

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

CEEC committee writes about sexuality issues

The committee of the Church of England Evangelical Council has issued a letter to its constituency. The full text of the letter is reproduced below the fold.

There are references in it to some earlier documents. Here are links to those:

See also the coverage of this letter in Christian Today Evangelical bishop warns split may be necessary as he spearheads resistance to liberalising CofE

Continue reading "CEEC committee writes about sexuality issues"
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 5:40pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England

Opinion - 9 August 2017

Francis Young Negotiating the ‘A’ word in historical writing about the Church of England

Tiffer Robinson Psephizo Is Philip North right about the Church and the poor?

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of wealth and poverty; in praise of Philip North

Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley If Clergy Ads Told the Full Story

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 9 August 2017 at 10:03am BST
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Categorised as: Opinion

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Anglican Church of Kenya must reinstate clergy unlawfully suspended

An appeal court in Kenya has confirmed a lower court ruling that three priests who were suspended because of allegations that they were homosexuals, must be reinstated, because there was no evidence to support the allegations. Previously the Employment Court had so ruled, but the Anglican Church of Kenya had appealed against this.

Daily Nation ACK to reinstate priests in gay case after losing appeal

The Anglican Church will still have to reinstate three priests sacked over alleged homosexuality and pay them Sh6.8 million after the Court of Appeal dismissed its application to stop the execution of the orders by a lower court.

Justice Philip Waki, Justice Roselyne Nambuye and Justice Patrick Kiage threw out an application by the Registered Trustees of the Anglican Church of Kenya that sought an order to halt the enforcement of a judgment by the Employment Court in Nyeri.

Judge Byram Ongaya of the Employment Court had, on September 2016, directed the church to reinstate Archdeacon John Njogu Gachau, Rev James Maina Maigua and Rev Paul Mwangi Warui so that they could perform their pastoral duties.

The court found that it was unlawful for the church to suspend the three priests from pastoral work without evidence that they were homosexuals.

Justice Ongaya also ordered the church to pay the priests all their accrued salaries from August 2015, when they were sacked.

Archdeacon Gachau was awarded Sh2,437,780, Rev Maigua Sh2,224,996 and Rev Warui Sh2,219,814.

However, the church applied to have the execution of the judgment suspended pending the determination of an appeal seeking to overturn the court orders…

Also, Anglican Church to pay clerics suspended over homosexuality

There is also a report in Christian Today Anglican priests sacked for being gay must be reinstated, Kenya court rules.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 4:26pm BST
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Opinion - 5 August 2017

Kelvin Holdsworth thurible Should straight people be allowed to get married – a sermon preached on 30 July 2017

Stanley Hauerwas ABC Religion and Ethics Why Bonhoeffer Matters: The Challenge for Christian Ministry at the End of Christendom

Paul Bayes The Bishop of Liverpool’s speech to marchers at Liverpool Pride last Saturday [four minute video]

Philip North Hope for the Poor - the Bishop of Burnley’s talk to the New Wine ‘United’ Conference 2017
Reports of the talk include:
Madeleine Davies Church Times There’s a future for the Church if Evangelicals put the poor first, Bishop North tells New Wine
Anglican Communion News Service Bishop says that the Church has forgotten the poor.
Olivia Rudgard The Telegraph Bishop: Church ‘abandons’ the poor because clergy won’t leave middle-class areas with trendy coffee shops.

Rachel Marszalek Church Times Don’t jump off the mother ship — there’s work to do

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at 11:00am BST
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Categorised as: Opinion

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Archbishop of Uganda to boycott next Primates Meeting


The BBC reports: Unity and division as Justin Welby visits Africa

…Throughout his visit, Mr Welby has been accompanied by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Stanley Ntagali. On the issue of refugees, the suffering of displaced persons and the desperate plight of South Sudan, there is complete unanimity. But there are other issues that are troubling their relationship.

Mr Ntagali is a leading conservative evangelical, whose province in Uganda is continuing to grow in Christian converts.

But he was angered by the American Episcopal Church’s decision to endorse same-sex relationships and walked out of a global gathering of archbishops in Canterbury last year.

He issued a statement saying that he would not be returning until “godly order” had been restored and the Bible returned to what he said is its rightful place “as the authority for our faith and morals”.

Since then, the Canadian and Scottish Episcopal Churches have formally voted to endorse same-sex marriage.

Mr Ntagali says the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman - and that the growing Ugandan church will not remain in fellowship with those who support same-sex unions.

“This is the basis of our faith and it is founded in the Scriptures,” he explains.
It is a theological tussle that has the potential to pull the Anglican Communion apart - a communion that numbers no less than 80 million Christians in 166 countries.

The next gathering of archbishops will again take place in Canterbury, this coming October. But Mr Ntagali has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury explaining that he will not be attending.

Another detail is contained in this report: Anglican splits over sexuality as Uganda’s archbishop boycotts October’s Primates meeting.

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, has said that he will not attend the next gathering of Anglican Primates in October because of divisions over sexuality issues.

Archbishop Ntagali was asked by the BBC’s Martin Bashir, who is traveling with the Archbishop of Canterbury to South Sudan and Uganda, whether he would attend the next Primates conference. ‘No…I made it clear I am not attending,’ replied the archbishop, before attempting to stop the interview, which he said was supposed to be about the refugee crisis in the region…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 10:20pm BST
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Los Angeles bishop Jon Bruno: recommendation to suspend confirmed

We reported earlier on the draft recommendations of the disciplinary panel.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the recommendations have now been confirmed, see Panel’s final ruling maintains 3-year suspension for bishop who tried to sell Newport church.

The final version of the panel’s document is available here.

This is still subject to an appeal process. We have not yet seen any public statements from church sources about it.

Earlier, a further interim order was made by the Presiding Bishop, which took immediate effect, and inhibits any further actions being taken by Bishop Bruno in respect of the disputed property and parish of St James, during what could be a further protracted period. See Presiding Bishop removes disputed Newport Beach congregation from Bruno’s authority.

The action was welcomed by the congregation, which published this letter.

The diocese issued this: Bishop Coadjutor responds to Presiding Bishop’s transfer of jurisdiction in Newport Beach matters

The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor, bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, today responded to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s transfer to the diocesan Standing Committee and him jurisdiction over matters related to church property in Newport Beach and the congregation of St. James’ the Great. Bishop Taylor’s statement follows:

“The Presiding Bishop’s action enables the Rev. Dr. Rachel Anne Nyback, president of the Standing Committee, her fellow committee members, and me to move ahead prayerfully to promote truth, open dialogue, and reconciliation in matters that have distracted our diocese for many months and to do so without awaiting a final resolution of the charges against our Bishop, J. Jon Bruno. We pledge to do all we can to use this opportunity to achieve a just outcome for the sake of our entire diocesan community.”

The full text of the restriction is reproduced at the link above.

The Living Church has this: Coadjutor Spans Conflicts

The Rt. Rev. John Taylor, Bishop Coadjutor of Los Angeles, praised the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno on Aug. 2 as “a courageous, visionary leader” who would “acknowledge that there are things he would have done differently.”

…Here is the complete text of Taylor’s statement in response to the final order:

Bishop Bruno’s 40 years of ordained ministry and 15 years as sixth bishop of Los Angeles are not summed up by this order or the events that precipitated it. He is a courageous, visionary leader. Like every successful executive inside and outside the church, he would be the first to acknowledge that there are things he would have done differently. I look forward to continuing to learn from him and consult with him about the life of the diocesan community he has served and loves so well.

Regarding the property on Lido Island, the Standing Committee and I, at the request of the Presiding Bishop, will do everything we can to promote a just solution that takes into account the interests of all in our community (including the faithful members of the Newport Beach church) and gives us the opportunity to move forward together.

In a dispute such as this one, truth-telling, open communication, and reconciliation can be difficult for everyone involved. As this work gets underway, let us all remember St. Paul’s words (Rom. 8:28): “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 10:02am BST
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Categorised as: ECUSA

South Carolina Supreme Court rules on church dispute

Updated Thursday evening

ENS has this report by Mary Frances Schjonberg South Carolina Supreme Court issues ruling in church property case.

In a complex ruling Aug. 2 the South Carolina Supreme Court said that most but not all the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina congregations whose leaders left the Episcopal Church could not continue to hold on to the church property.

The justices said 29 of the congregations specifically agreed to abide by the “Dennis Canon” (Canon 1.7.4), which states that a parish holds its property in trust for the diocese and the Episcopal Church. That agreement means they cannot retain church property. However, they said that eight congregations had not agreed to the canon and thus could keep those properties…

The full text of the ruling is here.

The ACNA-affiliated diocese reported the decision this way: South Carolina Supreme Court Releases Divided Opinion on Diocese of South Carolina and its Historic Property

…In a complicated ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court today ruled that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church’s ‘Dennis canon’ are subject to a trust interest on their property by the denomination. Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property.

The dissenting justices expressed concern regarding the long term implications of this decision. Former Chief Justice Jean Toal stated that the court should have relied on “over three hundred years of settled trust and property law… I believe the effect of the majority’s decision is to strip a title owner of its property…” on the basis of actions that do not create a trust interest under South Carolina law. In concurring with Justice Toal, Justice Kittredge observed of other church properties where there is affiliation with a national organization, based on this ruling, “if you think your property ownership is secure, think again.”

This current litigation became necessary when TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence, and the Diocese, in response, elected to disassociate from TEC. At that time a small group, of TEC loyalists who had been preparing for this attempted removal began an intentional campaign of using the Diocesan Seal and other service marks of the Diocese. They began to function as if they were the Diocese of South Carolina. To maintain its identity required that the Diocese defend that identity…

The bishop of the TEC-affiliated Diocese of South Carolina issued this pastoral letter:

Dear Friends in The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,

Please join me in giving thanks to God for the gift of grace given to us through the August 2 ruling of the State Supreme Court that was generally in our favor. I acknowledge the difficult work of the court justices in coming to this decision.

Many of you have worked faithfully and diligently in preparation for this day and have remained steadfast as disciples of Jesus through your many sacrifices. For every one of you I give thanks, as well as to many throughout the wider Episcopal Church who have remained in solidarity with us.

We will continue to study the decision as we prepare for the journey awaiting us, and we enter it knowing that God’s Spirit is with us and in us as the Body of Christ. I am aware that coming to this day has been painful for many, and some you of lost much along the way. In that same vein, please be aware that this decision is painful in a different way for others. I ask that you be measured in your response without undue celebration in the midst of your own gratefulness.

I call upon all of you to be in prayer for all the people of this diocese, including those in congregations who chose to align with the breakaway group. Many conversations will need to occur for which we have not yet had the opportunity, yet our God is a God of reconciliation and hope as shown forth in the living Christ. Healing is our desire, and we renew our commitment to the hard work of reconciliation in whatever form it can come. May we focus on the healing of division and the seeking of common ground for the good of all Episcopalians, but even more importantly, for the sake of the Good News of Jesus.

The TEC-affiliated diocese has published this: Diocesan leaders to review Supreme Court decision

Episcopal Church leaders from across eastern South Carolina will gather on Friday at Grace Church Cathedral to review the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling on church property and assets and consider the next steps toward resolving the division and confusion resulting from a breakaway group’s lawsuit against The Episcopal Church.

Bishop Skip Adams called the meeting on August 2, hours after the court issued the ruling. Friday’s meetings will include a joint gathering of the Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, and Trustees, three bodies of clergy and non-ordained elected leaders. Bishop Adams also has called a meeting for the leaders of nine congregations that organized as mission churches since the 2012 breakup left them without buildings where they could worship as Episcopalians.

Both gatherings will give local Episcopalians an opportunity to discuss the complex, 79-page court decision, which includes separate opinions written by all five Supreme Court justices who heard the case. The decision cannot be viewed as final until all possible steps toward an appeal have been resolved…

The ACNA-affiliated Bishop of Fort Worth, Texas has issued this letter.

The Anglican Curmudgeon blog carries this: Massive Conflict of Interest Taints South Carolina Ruling. Earlier it had this analysis: BREAKING - So. Carolina Decision Is Out.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 7:38am BST
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Categorised as: ACNA | ECUSA

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

National Church Institutions Gender Pay Gap Data

The Church of England has published this document: National Church Institutions Gender Pay Gap Data.

Some press coverage of this:

The Times (behind a paywall) Church of England reveals 40% gender pay gap

Telegraph Church of England reveals 41 per cent gender pay gap in central office

Christian Today Church of England HQ has worse gender pay gap than BBC

The Sun NEED A PRAY RISE Top Church of England offices reveal whopping 40 per cent pay gap – double the national average and FOUR TIMES the BBC

We haven’t seen any press release about this, but the daily emailed media report from Church House Westminster had this comment:

Figures show that the pay difference between men and women for nearly three-quarters of staff is less than one per cent, and for half of staff there is no gap in pay. However there are significant differences in the mean and median salaries overall.

A spokesperson is quoted saying: “The data shows where we have more work to do in reducing the difference in pay between men and women in more highly paid roles, and improving the ratio of men to women in the most senior and most junior roles.”

According to the Telegraph report, the spokesperson also said:

“We are taking steps to address these issues including reviewing our job evaluation and pay methodology and making changes to our recruitment strategy to attract a greater diversity of candidates.”

The key to understanding the “gap” lies in this table:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 2 August 2017 at 1:51pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Opinion - 29 July 2017

Charles Clapham pneuma Summer reading
“twelve of my favourite novels on or about religion, from the sublime to the ridiculous”

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau The Parable of the Mustard Shrub

Some responses to the Archbishops’ statement
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of sin
Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England After the Act - 50 Years On
George Reeves Faithful Sceptic 50 years legal: what the Archbishops should have said
Ian Paul Christian Today A lot of people are upset by the Archbishops’ latest on gays: Here’s why

Robin Ward Reaction The Church and gay marriage: a complicated relationship

Henry Ratter Church Times Wanted: clergy who can lead collaboratively

This isn’t new, but I’ve only just seen it.
James Alexander Cameron Stained Glass Attitudes Top 10 wrongs about parish churches

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 29 July 2017 at 11:00am BST
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Friday, 28 July 2017

A time to Celebrate and Lament

The Anglican Peace and Justice Network has published this:

Fifty years ago today the British Parliament took the first steps on a long journey to end the victimisation and diminishment of LGBT people by decriminalising consenting ‘homosexual’ acts in private.

We celebrate this step and lament that more progress has not been made.


Anglicans can celebrate that in 1967 Archbishop Michael Ramsey strongly supported the change in law; a change that enabled gay men and women to live private lives without fear.

A change in law is not a change in heart and mind. The first step was tolerance and from there acceptance. Over recent years there has been a move to celebration and the road continues for the full celebration of LGBT people in society and church.

The recent commitment of the Archbishops of Canterbury to a ‘radical inclusion’ signifies a new path for the Church of England confirmed by the General Synod of the Church of England rejecting ‘conversion therapies’ and making a commitment to the welcome of transgender people.

None of this would be possible if the first step of decriminalisation had not been taken.

We celebrate the first step on a long road.


However, ‘homosexuality’ in some form or other remains criminalised in 72 countries around the world. LGBT people continue to face diminishment and victimisation and where one suffers we all suffer. Our humanity is diminished when sisters and brothers are victimised.

In many countries the laws are rarely used, but their existence breeds a culture of fear and legitimises violence, intimidation, and bullying. People are not free to be who they are and it is impossible for their voice to be heard.

All the instruments of the Anglican Communion have made clear their commitment to the end of criminalisation in every nation, most recently the 2016 Primates Meeting – where the Archbishop of Canterbury was explicit in its commitment to decriminalisation.

The good news is that some are speaking out. The Archbishop of the West Indies and the Bishop of Jamaica have both spoken out publicly and courageously for decriminalisation in cultures where homophobia is rife. Anglican lay people are also acting. Human Rights lawyer Alice Mogwe was one of the leaders of a successful campaign for the rights of LGBT people to organise in Botswana.

Now is the time for more action

APJN calls upon every Anglican to support Anglicans for Decriminalisation. Please read this article from Maurice Tomlinson and support the campaign Anglicans for Decriminalisation by signing the petition.

We also lament that transgender people have this week come under attack from the President of the USA. The direct target of his words may be a small group of people in the US military, but the result is the legitimisation of prejudice against transgender people everywhere.

* Today we celebrate a monumental first step, let it give hope.
* In celebrating this step let us not be content until there is an end to the criminalisation of LGBT people around the globe.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 July 2017 at 3:10pm BST
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Thursday, 27 July 2017

CNC elections

Updated Friday

The counts for the elections of the central members of the Crown Nominations Commission took place today. Those elected were:

House of Laity

Mr Anthony Archer (St Albans)
Ms Christina Baron (Bath and Wells)
Ms Jane Patterson (Sheffield)

House of Clergy

The Revd John Dunnett (Chelmsford)
The Very Revd David Ison (Deans)
The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs)

These elected members of the CNC will serve from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2022.

The next appointment to be considered by the CNC is the Bishop of London, with meetings on 27 Sept, 7 Nov and 28/29 Nov 2017.

These results have so far only publicly appeared on social media, but I am confident that they are correct. I have seen a copy of the result sheet for the House of Laity election. The official results, with links to the results sheets, should appear here in due course.


The result sheets for these elections have now been posted here; they confirm the names of those elected as listed above.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 2:04pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod