Thinking Anglicans

CAPAC

The CEN reports in New alliance of traditionalists threatens truce that a meeting was held in Nassau at which a body called Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean (CAPAC) was formed.

This body, despite its name, includes only two provinces of the Anglican Communion (West Indies, Southern Cone) but also includes the Diocese of Recife (in Brazil), The Anglican Communion Network (ACN) and The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).

It does not include Anglican provinces in Canada, the US, Mexico, Central America, any of the dioceses in the northern part of South America which are part of the Episcopal Church, or the Episcopal Church of Brazil.

The press releases about this event originate from Ekklesia:
A Statement from the Anglican Pan American Conference (scroll down for a Resolution on Recife)
Press Release from the Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean
and the same website carries an article from the Christian Challenge:
Conservative Anglicans Envision Western Hemisphere Alliance

The NACDAP website carries Network joins Western Hemisphere Alliance which includes (scroll down) A Covenant of Understanding.

Other news reports about this:
TLC Nassau Covenant Signed and earlier Nassau Meeting Concludes
As TLC notes, this Nassau meeting was first mentioned by the Guardian in connection with the revelation of the Anglican Global Initiative, see here.

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Merseymike
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Merseymike

Excellent news!

Looks as if the split is beginning ; we can only hope.

I think conservatives in the CofE are going to find this hard, though – being part of a church whose epicentre will be so very far from Canterbury.

Anna
Guest

This is so very far from excellent news– I don’t understand how anyone could rejoice in it.

Martin Hambrook
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Martin Hambrook

Mike – you Brits are SOOOO provincial! Don’t you know you’ve lost your empire? Anyway, my dictionary defines epicenter as ‘1. the point on the earth’s surface directly above the focus of an earthquake; 2. the central point of a difficulty’. I imagine ‘conservatives in the CofE would be happy to be away from such a calamity.

Martin Hambrook
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Martin Hambrook

By the way, Mike, my contacts in the UK tell me that the biggest churches in the CofE are these evangelical or evangelical-charismatic parishes: 1. Holy Trinity Brompton (3200) 2. All Souls, Langham Place (2500) 3. Christ Church, Fulwood, Sheffield (1000?) 4. Trinity, Cheltenham (1000?) 5. St Mary’s, Bryanston Sq, London (1000?) 6. Christ Church, Clifton, Bristol (800?) 7. St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London (600?) 8. St Mark’s, Battersea, London (600?) 9. Holy Trinity, Leicester (500) 10. Bramcote, Nottingham (500) Further: that the biggest Anglican churches in any city are almost invariably evangelical: St Thomas’s Lancaster, Holy Trinity Platt (Manchester); Holy… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

I empathize w/ MM’s sense of optimism (that the AC conflict be over and done with) . . .

. . . but I don’t share it (I go, rather, with “That Blessed Hope”)

Even if conservatives succeed in breaking up the Anglican Communion, that will only increase the imperative on North American (Scottish, et al) Anglicans to share with them—with ALL—the *embracing love of Jesus Christ*.

“Hound of Heaven”: there’s NOWHERE +Akinola or +Gomez or +Duncan (majority Primates, and/or self-styled Primates!) can go to escape the Gospel. Jesus’s Love gonna getcha! 😀

Prior Aelred
Guest

Mr. Hambrook makes an interesting point — I believe exactly the same point was made about how the churches in the developing world & the Anglican Consultative Counsel would never expel the North American churches who pay for most of the ministry in the Third World & pay for about two-thirds of the ACC budget.

Perhaps sometimes people might act out of motives other than the purely financial.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Martin Hambrook: Yes, we know: Size matters to evangelicals. We assume that someone has audited your figures, of course. Magazines are required to audit their circulation figures; they aren’t allowed to solicit advertising otherwise. But that isn’t what I wanted to post about. Can anyone point me to specific information (dates and documents) regarding the following matter: Some years ago, ECUSA became concerned that donations earmarked for legitimate charitable purposes in overseas dioceses were being diverted by corrupt officials, including corrupt clergy. Uganda is a name I have heard mentioned in this context. ECUSA’s response was to impose tighter financial… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

Charlotte’s sarcasm is misplaced. Martin was only saying that these are the churches that are growing, which was a perfectly fair point. “Even if conservatives succeed in breaking up the Anglican Communion” Again, a loaded comment. I doubt whether anyone wants to break up anything. But it is difficult to know what to do when the CofE has become hijacked by people to whom the Bible, it would appear, is deemed to be obsolete, and where the Christian faith is watered down so much as to being little more than a club where anything goes. Liberalism, some would argue, has… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

But, Martin, its you conservatives who are making all the moves towards a split. This is just the latest. The unease of CofE conservatives will be whether they choose to go with the conservative majority outside England, or not. I think they probably will go, and I would be very happy for them to take their unwieldy bureaucracy and unsuitable, costly buildings with them, if they are that bothered about Mammon. I can’t see those planning the split will have very much use for much of the CofE, bar some of the conservative ‘super-churches’ you mentioned. Having once been an… Read more »

Simeon
Guest

I’m with Charlotte – it’s a bit silly to play the numbers game. But since Martin seems to value this…

In just my diocese (Dallas, TX), we have Transfiguration, which tops your #6-10 right off, and St. Michael & All Angels which is always exchanging the #1 & 2 spot in the entire *country* for most parisioners enrolled (with a church in Atlanta, which is also *not* an AAC parish).

This business that “only the (so-called) orthodox churches are growing and thriving” is just sheer nonsense. At best a poor attempt at “spin.”

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Simeon: 1. I wasn’t playing a ‘numbers game’, simply pointing out that, AFAIK, the largest churches in the CofE are overwhelmingly evangelical, and this is accepted by everyone. This isn’t a controversial claim. Similarly, I’m told that over 50% of Anglican seminarians in England are at evangelical seminaries. As you and I know, this isn’t the case in Ecusa, although TESM is easily the largest and youngest seminary and it would be twice the size it is if bishops didn’t prevent people from going there. That is a very well documented fact, Simeon, which I’m sure you will accept. 2.… Read more »

ian
Guest
ian

“its you conservatives who are making all the moves towards a split” And it’s you liberals who are so determined to redefine the Christian faith that we awful conservatives feel out of place. It’s not that we wish to leave the church; it’s that much of the church is leaving us. And Merseymike, you keep on banging on about your having been in evangalical churches and by implication have grown out of them. Yet when asked, you don’t define what you seem to be the essentials in Christianity. You deride the Bible, and seem to replace it by some confused… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think that liberal Christianity also needs to look at itself, yes – and I am sure there will be changes. But I am sure that evangelicalism will not grow more than its current number – and lets remewmber, many of the super-churches are simply gaining members from other evangelical churches, and the increase in numbers is largely down to immigrants. The 93% of people who wouldn’t touch evangelical Christianity with a bargepole are far more important to me that the certainties of the few who cling to their premodern religion, and I too think realignment is inevitable. However, unlike… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

FWIW, the largest parish in my CofE diocese is around 1300, and the second largest is about 900 on the electoral roll. Neither of these could remotely be described as “evangelical”. The largest parish that could be so described is about 500.

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Simon, are these actual Sunday attendance figures or names on a roll? Aren’t there scores (or even hundreds) of names on these rolls of people who never attend – or maybe even died years ago? I know the average attendance in Ecusa is about 70 per church, I guess it’s similar in the C of E. The important indicators are the age of the attenders and the number of children an young people regularly attending. Do liberal churches in England have many young people in them? In Ecusa the average age of many ocngregatiosn is over 60. I’ve also heard… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Martin Hambrook: No, actually, the Uganda scandal had something to do with archbishops and limousines kept for their exclusive use in the US. I remember it very imperfectly, however.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Since this thread seems to be taken up w/ numbers, and church-growth (as defined by numbers): I take a paradoxical view. No Christian can be willfully oblivious to the “people in the pews” question: at some point, one can drop below the “when 2 or 3 are gathered in my name”, and then where are we? At the same time, the Biblical witness is clear, again, and again, and again: people (being sinners) *love to flock to religion that is NOT of YHWH* (especially if it doesn’t make any costly *ethical demands* on them). Ergo, the raw *numbers* of faith-adherents—whether… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Those are electoral roll figures: in the CofE these figures require the individual to apply on a written form, and are now renewed from scratch every six years. They are therefore not subject to the problems you mention.

Categorising churches as either “evangelical” or “liberal” is to misunderstand the CofE.

Rodney
Guest
Rodney

Again, FWIW, in my local church (Melbourne, Austrlaia) the biggest congregations seem to be the pentecostal evangelical churches of the Sydney sort. But the concern of those with oversight is, as I understand it, that the average length of stay in the congregation is about 2 years. This kind of religious faith has its place for those who find it meets an emotional need at a given time. But once that need is replaced by a deeper quest people move on, and often it’s to what many who post here would call a ‘liberal’ group.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I am grateful that my local diocese and parish have generally avoided the obsessions sewing conflict throughout the Communion. Our large ECUSA parish continues to thrive. On Sunday mornings, our pews are full.

If my parish were to participate in the petty squabbles plaguing much of the Church, I would choose instant disengagement and immediately cut all financial support. My 34 year participation in the Church would end peacefully. That would be a sane response, no?

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Thanks for the clarification, Simon. Do you know what the average Sunday attendance is in these two churches you mentioned? Or the average Sunday attendance in CofE churches? Is it much different from the Ecusa average of about 70? Thanks for any info you can provide.

Michael Baker
Guest
Michael Baker

Our usual Sunday attendance at our ‘liberal catholic’ Parish Church is 150+ at 10.00 a.m. Parish Communion, plus about 30 at 8.00 a.m. BCP. and a faithful handful at 6.00 Evening Prayer. We try to be an open and thinking church.Our teaching is Bible-based without being fundamentalist. A significant minority of those attending are ‘refugees’ from local evangelical and ‘happy-clappy’ churches, and virtually all our membership would cease to attend were we to become like them.

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

While there are a good many evangelical mega-churches, they are few and far between, and their numbers may not add up to the total at all the smaller middle-of-the-road or liberal churches. My own diocese is on the sidelines in the current debates (and two of our most evangelically oriented rectors are also theologically liberal). In my prior diocese, Massachusetts, the second largest parish is an evangelical, Network parish (Christ Church Hamilton-Wenham), but the rest of the top 10 are all very liberal. The largest parish, Trinity Copley Square (1000+ Sunday attendance) has an evening service that used to have… Read more »

Simeon
Guest

Martin wrote: “although TESM is easily the largest and youngest seminary and it would be twice the size it is if bishops didn’t prevent people from going there.” TESM ? (/me stops, looks puzzled, scratches head). Ah yes! that big Southern Baptist seminary in Pennsylvania ! (oh, come now, it’s a *JOKE* 🙂 But if you wanna talk about “if bishops didn’t prevent people from going there,” then let’s talk about how my Bishop and his Network buddies basically try to prevent anyone from going anywhere *else* BUT TESM… Martin then said, “It’s a bit like the claim sometimes made… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

The numbers game is getting out of hand. Our American friends dont seem to realise how the sociological dynamics of english religion works.We have (still)an Established church and although this has, since the Toleration Act(or perhaps 1829), become more and more a voluntary society in an increasingly pluralistic context it still functions very differently from a membership church in the American “free market of religion” manner.Very large churches here tend to be eclectic, whatever their churchmanship–but most parishes which operate on a parish/geographical model has a “membership”(the word itself is rarely used here )that resembles an onion, many different layers… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

I don’t follow your comments, Simeon – TESM is an Episcopalian seminary, not Baptist, and it isn’t anything as big as the Baptist schools I know about, like South-east and others. The faculty are very highly qualified – British PhDs etc. I’ve done a comparison of faculty resumes etc, and TESM faculty on the whole are better qualified and have a better publication record than most other schools. It also has more young men under 30 in its student body, the kind of people who will be able to give many years service in ministry. For myself, I can’t understand… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

“my beliefs have very little in common with yours” Merseymike, you’ve never told us what your beliefs are, despite several requests! You’ve said that the Bible is anti-gay, and continually refer to “pre-modern” or similar when you fled the evangelical church. What, then, to you, is a Christian? If you answer that, I’d know how much I can draw nearer to your argument. Simon is right. there are more than just “evangelical” and “liberal” and if I gave that impression, I apologise. With regard to the issue of homosexuality, and women bishops, it is not only the evangelicals who are… Read more »

michael cadaret
Guest

Martin, Regarding your comments about TESM, Simeon’s comments, and a bishop’s discretion as to where they are willing to send Postulants for Holy Orders: 1) In reviewing the resumes of TESM’s 10 full-time faculty, I found that eight hold doctorates. BUT only 5 are academic (PhD/ThD), and these degrees are from Harvard, Westminster Theological Seminary, Wycliffe, and Tubigen. The 3 remaining doctoral degrees are DMin’s from Trinty Evangelical Divinity School, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and TESM. So really there is only 1 of 10 who qualifies for the “British PhD” label. All 10 are ordained, though 2 are Presbyterians. Of the… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Michael, Thank you for your post. I note that TESM has appointed 4 new faculty, incl. a PhD from England and 2 others with doctorates. You are correct of course that VTS has the largest faculty, but I don’t know how big its student body is – do you? VTS is an old and well-endowed institution whereas TESM is only about 25 years old and virtually bereft of endowments. Still, its growth is remarkable, and it’s really focused on turning out preachers and missionaries – for home and abroad. I have read it has the highest enrollment but I’ll check… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

in about 30 seconds, I obtained the following from the VTS website:

Student Enrollment
Total enrolled: 272
Master in Divinity: 150
Master in Theological Studies: 21
Master of Arts in Christian Education: 19
Doctor of Ministry: 50
Theology & Anglican Studies: 17
Special Students: 15
Lay School of Theology: 180

Demographics
Median MDiv Student Age:34
(40% in their 20’s)
Average Age: 38
Married: 55%
Men/Women: 53/47
International Students: 9
Fulltime Faculty: 26
Adjunct Faculty: 28
Field Education Associates: 94
Staff: 57 Campus 88 Acres

michael cadaret
Guest

Martin, Three points: 1)I do think that TESM does an excellent job with some things, and you are right to point out that in its 30 years or so it has succeeded in growing beyond expectations. You are also right to point out that VTS has deep pockets, and that its resources enable much. Thus, some of the comparisons are apples and oranges. However, to say to say that TESM focuses on turning out preachers and missionaries for the Church without qualification probably should be avoided. From its very beginning, TESM has sought to enroll and then graduate people of… Read more »

Anna
Guest

To build on Michael’s aside, both Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Spong graduated from VTS. It’s a remarkable community that manages to encompass and cherish a wide range of people. I get to take a class there this fall, and I’m really excited.

And for what it’s worth, Martin, I’m 24.

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Thank you for your remarks, Michael. I am sure every school has its merits, it’s a matter of what you’re looking for. VTS, I think, is a place in transition, from being historically quite a conservative school, and now in the past few years facing some of the tensions that have come upon Ecusa in the past generation. I remember ABC Carey criticizing its change of policy on unmarried students cohabiting. I doubt if any African (other than S. African) students woud go there now, but I may be wrong. Is TESM ‘very conservative’ in its student body? In Ecusa… Read more »

Simeon
Guest

Fr. Michael wrote: “Simeon was being uncharitable and sarcastic, but his comment does reflect the doubts that many have TESM. He well knows the TESM is an Episcopal seminary. And though I don’t want to put words in his mouth…” I’m being “uncharitable and sarcastic” but you “don’t want to put words in (my) mouth”,” eh ? So which is it ? (grin) Actually, I was attempting humorous exaggeration, which seems to have fallen flat amongst some of the company here. Yes, I’m well aware that TESM is (at least nominally) an Episcopal seminary. I simply find its character both… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Simeon: thank you for your elucidation. I wasn’t aware that being evangelical or ‘socially /theologically conservative’ disqualified a place from being Episcopalian or Anglican, since the majority of practicing Anglicans in the world (thinking here of England, W. and E. Africa, SE Asia, Australia etc) are in fact evangelical or ‘socially/theologically conservative’. It’s Ecusa – or large parts of it – which is in fact theologically extreme or eccentric, even sectarian. I’ve looked at the theological basis of TESM, its liturgical practice and the historical theology they teach there and it’s pure classical Anglicanism as far as I can tell… Read more »

Anna
Guest

Martin, VTS has recently graduated students from Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia, among other countries.

Let’s all of us refrain from painting people and places with such a broad brush.

michael cadaret
Guest

Martin, VTS is a place in transition certainly. But, its long history of academic excellence in Bible, ethics, preaching, and missiology is a history of rigorous and broad intellectual expression. (Ray Glover, Charlie Price, Ted Mollegen, David Scott, Jim Ross, Reginald Fuller, Marianne Mix – these of the past 10-40 years) While VTS was conservative in the expected lifestyle 20 years ago, the broad academic commitments maintained by these professors was remarkable. While VTS has certainly changed in recent years on some issues, I think the same commitment to broad academic exposure remains. Some of the most liberal AND some… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Michael, thank you for your thoughtful and respectful posts. I echo entirely your desire to know Christ better and to serve him especially in the needy and outcast. I have raised this question of TESM and the hostility it arouses from many quarters in Ecusa because I believe it uncovers – in its witness to the gospel – large segments of unbelief over central creedal affirmations. TESM is stigmatized as ‘extreme’ by some here, but I counter that in fact it stand for nothing less than central historic Anglican orthodoxy – and what’s more, I am told by acquaintances that… Read more »

Michael B.
Guest
Michael B.

Is this a private fight or can anybody join in? The ‘numbers game’ is like nothing so much as one little boy saying to another ‘My willy is bigger than yours’. Does it matter? More to the point, does anyone think it really matters to God, whether he is worshipped in one way rather than another? The important thing is that he should be worshipped.We have it on good authority that he values the service of sinners (and aren’t we all, in our different ways?) just as much as ‘righteous folk who need no repentance’. And yes, of course, I… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

Michael, I appreciate your posting, and yes, there is much common sense in what you say. It’s some time since the debate on number started, but my recollection is that it all started because one side was being declared as a spent force with few in numbers, and this resulted in an opposing point of view! Good to have a posting that draws us back to the fundamentals – that of following the Master, and seeking to obey what God reveals in the scriptures. Homosexuality has dominated the thinking on this and other similar forums (fora?) and I doubt that… Read more »

Martin Hambrook
Guest
Martin Hambrook

Michael B: welcome to this conversation (not a fight). You’re right in one sense: numbers prove nothing where truth is concerned, and true Christians have always been a minority in the world, and shall be until the Parousia, I believe. But does it matter how God is worshiped? Well, Jesus does tell us in John 4 that the Father desires those who will worship Him ‘in spirit and in truth’. There is plenty of “religion” in the world, but we should remember Yeats’ words; ‘The best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with a passionate intensity.’ Since the… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Above in this thread, I repeated a rumor concerning corruption in the Ugandan Church. That rumor has proven false. There is no evidence that such was the case. I heard the rumor from someone I generally take to be a reliable source, and perhaps they are, but in this case not. My great apologies to all involved, certainly to the Ugandan Church.

Marion
Guest
Marion

The struggle between liberal and conservative Episcopalians appears that the liberals will win. The liberals want to change the church, they do not want to break from the church. The liberals have aligned certain high officials in the church and official stand is liberal. That means the conservatives either must change the minds of the higher ups or break from the ECUSA. As long as Bishop Griswold supports the liberal actions, that is the direction the ECUSA will go. And as long as Bishop Griswold takes a position his subordinates must do the same.