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Southwark irregular ordinations: more documents

The Diocese of Southwark website now has:
original press release
full text of Bp Tom’s letter to clergy
full text of Bp Tom’s presidential address to diocesan synod

Christ Church Sanderstead has
letter of support to Bp Tom from Evangelical clergy in Southwark

Fulcrum has a background note about CESA by Colin Craston

And also, an article by Stephen Kuhrt about Why I as an Evangelical Anglican in the Diocese of Southwark support Bishop Tom Butler

Anglican Mainstream has
Irregular Ordinations at Southwark A Comment by Anglican Mainstream UK

The statement of support for the ordinations has (at the time of this posting) 290 names.

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John Foxe
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John Foxe

Thanks for these informative links. Any chance of getting the text of the “Diocesan guidelines for church planting” mentioned by Tom Butler?

dancingphil
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dancingphil

The Bishop of Southwark and those clergy who agree with him in protesting about the ordinations in Surbiton all seem to be pointing to one issue– that church plants have happened out of line with Diocesan guidelines. Can anyone explain these guidelines? I haven’t seen any in the coverage so far.

I’m also curious as to why an established church might not want a church plant in their parish. It seems to be a distinctly territorial and outdated attitude, but feel free to correct me.

Hannah
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Hannah

Thanks for posting Stephen Kuhrt’s article. That’s a really interesting perspective on the issue, and I would highly recommend that everyone reads it.

Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

Seems that the group that calls itself ‘Anglican Mainstream’ (but ‘Anglican Jihad’ might be a better description) sings a different tune depending on who it’s talking to. Their spokesman told Reuters at the Southwark ordinations that “It is a chasm: there are two religions. But we will not leave. We will do everything we can to ensure that the traditionalist teachings of the Anglican church are passed on.” That’s a very different tune from their statement which talks of praying for “the Co-mission Churches, neighbouring parishes in the diocese, the Bishop of Southwark and the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Two questions:… Read more »

dancingphil
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dancingphil

Rob, I am a journalist, and am familiar with reporting conventions. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Reuters reporter met someone who was affiliated somehow with Anglican Mainstream, asked them for their opinion, and then quoted them as a spokesperson. In issues such as these, it’s very difficult to divide personal opinion from opinions and decisions reached by a group such as the board of AM. As a result, I wouldn’t take that Reuters quote so seriously. If an official statement from AM says or confirms such an opinion, then we need to ask such questions and expect a response.… Read more »

RPM
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RPM

On a tangent…

The list of clergy supporting Bishop Tom Butler includes the Rev’d Holy and the Rev’d Tina Turner. Must be an interesting bunch in Southwark!

Simon Sarmiento
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It seems to me that the conflict more likely lies within AM: reading their own press release, the message seems very confused. Perhaps their two official spokespersons were having trouble agreeing what to say?

dancingphil
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dancingphil

Simon,

I see what you mean– AM do say in the release itself that it’s a complex issue, and AM members may disagree on the issue. I guess that explains any ambiguity in the release. I wouldn’t go so far to project on that evidence that there are two individuals, both official spokespeople, who offered differing opinions.

Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

Reuters quoted AM’s ‘Executive Secretary’ on “two religions”, so I think Simon has identified one of AM’s problems. If AM don’t agree with his extremist views, they should publicly unequivocally dispute his comment.

If AM doesn’t do this, the rest of us can draw our own conclusions about AM. It certainly looks as if interested journalists should closely question AM’s ‘Executive Secretary’ about who within Anglicanism he and AM think is within Christianity and who isn’t.

Stephen Smith
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Stephen Smith

I fully support the ordinations that took place in Southwark. As a member of a Co-Mission Initiative congregation that meets in Central London, I have had the opportunity of seeing first hand the valuable ministry the churches undertake. It is not true to say that congregations “poach” members from other churches. The growth we have is from people converting to Christianity, returning to the faith, moving to the city. Yes, there will be people who cease to attend other churches in favour of a Co-Mission congregation, but certainly no more so than is normally the case in a large city… Read more »

Simon Cawdell
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Simon Cawdell

In response to dancingphil, I have to say I think the question should be asked the other way around. Why should a church of a similar tradition wish to plant in the parish of another that is aleady ministering successfully. It only serves to duplicate mission, when resources could be much better applied elsewhere. it also often leads to tensions within an existing congregation as to which church to support. The gist of Stephen Kuhrt’s article is that not only is this unhelpful, it does real damage to the gospel.

dancingphil
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dancingphil

Thanks for that, Stephen. I agree with your points. Those in the Co-Mission– including Richard Coekin– are sincere, and I think the accusations of him ‘systematically undermining’ other churches’ ministries are wholly unfair, for the reasons you outline. On a side point, I’m inclined to think that Anglican structures as a whole are outdated in their focus on geographical divisions–which will often result in controversy when the possibility of a church plant is mooted. Out of curiosity, when was the last time parish boundaries were revised? I’m sure a lot of areas have expanded hugely in population, and could do… Read more »

dancingphil
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dancingphil

Simon,

I suppose my response would be to begin by pointing out the sheer numbers within an average parish. How many people live in a London parish? Probably far more than any single church can minister to. Anglican churches don’t seem to mind free churches being in the same parish, even if they have similar convictions. So why not an Anglican church plant with similar convictions?

I understand the principle behind Stephen Kuhrt’s complaints. But I think that in practice the damage is done by the debate and disagreements over church plants than by their actual existence.

dancingphil
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dancingphil

Rob,

I confess, I didn’t read the Reuters story. If AM’s executive secretary said that, then that is worth looking into.

Bob Marsden
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Bob Marsden

Dear Simon, This ‘does real damage to the Gospel’. How can anyone say such a thing. Let’s get real, please. I lead a proprietary chapel in Buxton, Derbyshire and am licensed by the Bishop of Derby. So we are an Anglican evangelical congregation without a parish. We meet in the parish of Buxton and have done so for 135 years. There are 6 other Anglican churches in the town. My optimistic estimate is that there are about 500 people in Buxton and district churches on a Sunday. Population 25,000. So 2% of the population are in church. I doubt if… Read more »

Alastair Cutting
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Alastair Cutting

dancingphil asked: “Out of curiosity, when was the last time parish boundaries were revised?” Individual parishes, or neighbouring parishes within a deanery can make mutually agreed adjustments to boundaries in a fairly straightforward manner under current legislation. Across deaneries, it is more complex; and across diocesan boundaries it is very protracted process. There is a very significant piece of legislation making its way through General Synod at the moment, the Draft Dioceses, Pastoral & Mission Measure (GS1597) partly following the ‘Toyne’ Report, ‘A Measure for Measures’ (GS 1528). This may well allow for very radical rethinking, of how parishes as… Read more »

Alan Harrison
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Alan Harrison

Following on from Alastair’s answer… Parish boundaries are not infrequently redrawn. I have served on four parochial church councils, three of which were involved in boundary changes while I was a member, while the fourth had undergone boundary changes a few years previously. There may also be changes in diocesan boundaries. For example, the Himley deanery, historically in the Diocese of Lichfield, was transferred relatively recently to Worcester. (The deanery lies within the metropolitan borough of Dudley, titular see of a suffragan bishop in Worcester.) The issue here is not of boundary changes done “decently and in good order” but… Read more »

Thomas Renz
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Thomas Renz

A trader speaks of his patch – should a minister of the Gospel and the sacraments use this language? I think there is a great deal that is valuable about the geographical principle but it is clearly not without problems and revising existing boundaries between existing parishes does little to address the real challenges. There is an argument for having a parish system which provides people with a first port of call for contacting the church and which defines the primary mission responsibility of a church. But, as has been pointed out here, few churches seem to be getting even… Read more »

dancingphil
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dancingphil

Alastair and Alan,

That’s very helpful, thanks for those points.

Alan, I know this is not the salient issue with the ordinations in Southwark– but I think it is relevant to how the church of England deals with growth in the long term.

Still, the phrase that you use– “freelancers setting up churches in another priest’s patch”– does suggest to me an outdated territorial system that puts the emphasis in the wrong place. My opinion on that front is what led me to ask the parish boundaries question. (But this is off-topic, perhaps–sorry for taking this discussion off on a tangent).

Jeff
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Jeff

Interesting Guardian Diary piece today (bringing together the General Synod and Irregular Ordination threads) at http://www.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,3604,1645153,00.html To quote: “The Church of England’s most senior civil servant, William Fittall, may soon be out of communion with his own church. Fittall, secretary general of the C of E’s general synod, which has been meeting this week in London, is a lay reader with a church in Battersea whose vicar has fallen out with his bishop. The vicar in question, Paul Perkin, is a hard-line, evangelical, anti-gay supporter of a rebellious Wimbledon cleric who has had his licence removed by Tom Butler, the… Read more »

Jenny
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Jenny

I am not sure that I support these ordinations. However, it is clear that there are many Anglican christians in Southwark / London, and indeed in the Church of England as a whole, who are unhappy with the aggressive liberal ascendancy in the Church of England.

I would encourage such christians to use synodical process – pass motions in parishes, deaneries and diocesan synods to encourage debate and to help people of various views to nail their colours to the mast.

Simon Cawdell
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Simon Cawdell

Dancingphil, and Bob, Please don’t misunderstand. I am not opposed to churchplanting, quite the opposite, but it should always be undertaken collaboratively with the churches in an area. You are right in saying that there are plenty of people to be gained for the gospel, and we need to work together in doing that. The issue in Southwark was that proper collaboration was not going on, and unfortunately there is evidence of the church plants in question having a negative effect on existing congregations, which I am sure you would agree is unfortunate.

stephen bates
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stephen bates

I think that the confusion may arise because the executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream these days is the Rev. Chris Sugden, who appears to have moved on from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. He was one of those in attendance at the unauthorised ordinations a fortnight ago and signed up to supporting them, alongside Reform clergy members. However he also seems to be one of the authors of the Anglican Mainstream statement on the Wimbledon issue, alongside Philip Giddings, which may account for its strange swerves of position. It is certainly a bit confusing, not to say dizzying. The… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Stephen – As I understand it, Reform doesn’t have a membership as such. One question at the recent conference was whether there should be a formal membership system. All those attending seem to be allowed to vote on the motions presented, which might explain why Chris Sugden is not a member of Reform, yet was able to vote.

Alan Harrison
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Alan Harrison

Sorry if I’ve rattled some cages with my reference to a priest’s patch. However, the fact is that the C of E has geographical parishes, and since we’re established the parish priest has the cure of souls for that parish, including heretics, schismatics, Jews, Turks, infidels and even any Anglicans in his/her parish who choose to worship elsewhere. I am one of many Anglicans who for various reasons choose to worship in a parish in which I do not reside. If the Vicar of Yiewsley learned that the Rector of Hayes had visited me in a pastoral capacity, I doubt… Read more »

Marshall
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Marshall

Reflecting on Stephen Smith’s description of the Co-Mission effort (and from an American perspective): The explication of why Co-Mission churches are not bound by diocesan regulations – even morally – speaks to a truly congregational polity. The emphasis on Word-centered ministry (as opposed to a ministry incorporating both Word and Sacrament) places Co-Mission churches in good parallel with such American congregational traditions as Baptists, Churches of Christ, etc. It seems to me that connectional, episcopal polity and incorporating both Word and Sacrament are central to Anglican tradition. Since it appears from afar that Co-Mission churches also don’t participate in benefits… Read more »

stephen bates
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stephen bates

Following Dave’s comment in response to mine: does that mean anyone could be a member of Reform? Does Inclusive Church know – perhaps its members could go along and swamp next year’s meeting? Perhaps that’s why Reform sometimes claims to be the largest evangelical group in the CofE. But in that case, why does it claim the number of clergy it does in membership?

Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

Stephen,

When you next get to talk to AM’s executive secretary, I hope you’ll be able to get some clarification on who he personally and AM generally think is in which religion – to say nothing of what religions these are and which one the General Synod he’s a member of is in… Or maybe he thinks it’s not a synod but an inter-faith council?

stephen bates
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stephen bates

Well, I hope he thinks that members of the Church of England’s general synod are at least all Christians, otherwise the witch hunt might be quite interesting. Those of us who are not Evangelicals, or indeed Anglicans, do get a mite aggravated occasionally to be asked when, or indeed whether, we are Christians. My answer to Wally Benn when he asked me was, “Yes, but not your sort…”

David Huff
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David Huff

stephen bates wrote: “Well, I hope he thinks that members of the Church of England’s general synod are at least all Christians”

Well, it hasn’t worked out that way with *our* conservatives over here in the States. According to the Network’s recent videos, reported on here at TA:

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001416.html

those who disagree with the AAC/Network are, “counterfeit, non-Christians who have hijacked the Christian religion, embracing a non Christian religion, voting to go insane, who have consciously, deliberately repudiated Scripture and tradition and embraced a pagan religion.”

Not much hope of reconciliation with *that* sort of viewpoint, is there ?

MartinLuther
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MartinLuther

Dear Stephen et al – Reform very much does have formal membership. That’s why it can claim about 10% of the CoE clergy. However, it’s influence extends much wider. Many of the leadership of larger Evangelical churches are members. In one deanery I am aware of, for example, there are about a dozen paid up members lay and ordained of Reform but the members concerned represent churches which constitute about 25-30% of the Anglican membership in the Deanery. Unfortunately for those wanting to hijack Reform, there is a statement of belief to affirm and a membership fee to pay. What… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

Actually it requires one-third of the votes of any House of General Synod, + one vote, to block any doctrinal or constitutional change. After this week’s meeting, however, I do think that there are actually more than that in the new House of Laity.

We shall see what the first round of internal elections brings – elections for Chair, deputy chairs, and for the Archbishops’ Council. My own feeling is that we shall see almost 50% of the House in the conservative lobby.