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InclusiveChurch responds to Reform threat

InclusiveChurch PRESS RELEASE: Advent 2: 10th Dec 2006

Rebel churches want to destroy the traditional breadth of the Church of England

Today’s Sunday Telegraph reports that a small group of conservative evangelical parishes are intending to set up an alternative jurisdiction within the Church of England using retired bishops to provide their own, separate ministry. What they are objecting to is in fact the agreed position of the House of Bishops.

The Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser, President of InclusiveChurch, said “These rebel churches want to destroy the traditional breadth of the Church of England and turn it into a puritan sect. They must not be allowed to succeed.”

Britain is aware of the dangers of religious extremism. Now, more than ever, the message of a broad and inclusive Christianity needs to be heard. The Civil Partnership legislation has clearly offered new opportunities for people in this country to express a profound and committed love for one another. InclusiveChurch welcomes that.

These parishes are attacking their Bishops for upholding the agreed position on the Civil Partnership legislation. We urge the House of Bishops to resist this attempt further to divide the Church of England. The threats of financial penalties sound very like an attempt to bully the church into a particular position. Rather than engage with the world, these parishes seem to wish to separate themselves from it.

These proposals represent part of a wider pattern which will, if allowed to continue, distort and ultimately destroy the Anglican Communion. Across the Communion, we see attempts to replace the breadth and openness of Anglican theology with a confessional, protestant theology and practice. The recent irregular ordinations in the Diocese of Southwark, the statements of the Primates of the Global South at Kigali in July, the moves by the diocese of San Joaquin and parishes in the Diocese of Virginia to remove themselves from the Episcopal Church, and the appointment by the Church of Nigeria of Martyn Minns as a Bishop in the United States are all part of this strategy.

Alternative Episcopal Oversight, when it was created, set a dangerous precedent for Anglican Christianity. It implied that a “mix and match” church was possible, with people and parishes being able to choose their bishops according to their views on specific issues. The request for Alternative Primatial Oversight in America is partly a result of this precedent. This proposal to bring bishops out of retirement in order to promote a view of the church which appears increasingly single-issue and dominated by homosexuality is another.

We repeat, as we have said before; the Anglican Communion is a gift. In all its complexity and untidiness it has a great deal to offer the world. For that reason we have welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s proposals for working out a Covenant between us.

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Una Kroll
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Una Kroll

Thank you Thinking Anglicans. It’s high time these attempts to hijack the Anglican Church and turn it into something it is not were resisted in love.

We need to find a way of witnessing to our Christian faith in a more integrated way and the C of E used to be well known and understood for its breadth of view and its inclusivity. How can we do that, please.

Neil Barber
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Neil Barber

“These parishes are attacking their Bishops for upholding the agreed position on the Civil Partnership legislation.”

Now let’s think WHO has “agreed” the position?
General Synod? Nope.
Anyone other than the House of Bishops? Nope.
The House of Bishops themselves? NOPE! (At least one of their own number has openly rejected their position. And many others have qualified it or promised their Dioceses and their parishes that it will be reviewed because no-one is happy with it.)

Not exactly very agreed then…..

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

“…this attempt further to divide…” Dear God, I do love to see correct grammar in use, as in the non-split infinitive above. I know it’s silly, but it gave me a little thrill. But seriously, this press release gives me pause, to wonder what the C of E would be like today if women’s ordinations went ahead without “flying bishops” or other accomodations regarding women’s ordination hadn’t been created, or my own TEC’s accomodations hadn’t been granted to at least three dioceses on the same issue, even before the C of E authorized the ordination of women. It would have… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

This was inevitable. The puritanical element either had control over the communion or it would separate from the balance of the communion. There are those who value diversity and hospitality and those that value perfection. What we are now playing is a numbers game, how many will end up where. As a diversity, inclusive player, it doesn’t matter as they are all part of the body of Christ, which is part of God’s greater plan. So all will be well no matter where they end up. For the puritans, they will be arguing that everyone who is not in their… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Why not let them do it? It is probably going to come anyway, when a Covenant is introduced as a process. They’ll design their own, not one like InclusiveChurch – not is it clear that one the Archbishop would draw up to preserve the Anglican Communion would be acceptable to InclusiveChurch. Anyway, there are going to be many evangelicals who would prefer contact with those of a more liberal view, those of a catholic view and so on. There are Open Evangelicals, people pretty fed up that despite their evangelicalism church members run off to big media churches and the… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Bravo to Inclusive Church, and what a shame that the poor Bishop of Southwark (one of the targets of the extremist evangelicals) is going through a another mire. His opponents must be gleeful, especially since he seems to have been less than truthful about recent events. That is a pity…but I hope he rises to take on this disturbing development.

dave williams
Guest

Neil,

I don’t understand your comments about Tom Butler. All I know is he was recently mugged. Mugging is a horrible thing to happen to anyone and whilst I disagree with him -a lot -I was certainly not gleeful to hear this news as I’m sure is the case with all his opponents

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Evangelical puritanism is an aberration of Christianity. Typically, evangelical Christians, misquoting Holy Scripture, view their calling as sitting on the right hand of God, judging the “quick and the dead.” Psychologically so hung up on justifying themselves and their actions, they have departed from a “justification by faith” Reformation righteousness to one of “salvation by works.” They overlook a long-standing biblical tradition, that God calls the “unwashed”, not those who see Scripture as a “law book”, i.e., the scribes and the Pharisees in the NT. Who were the ancestors of Jesus according to Matthew and Luke? Tamar, posing as a… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Let us never forget that the community of the Kingdom, the community of Jesus in the Gospels, is an inclusive community. He was not a puritan. The Anglican Communion is an oasis of Christian freedom amid the cacophony of hate-filled ideologists that have hijacked Christian discourse. Its lessons are for all Christians, and that is why it is targeted with special zeal by puritans and exclusivists.

Nadine Kwong
Guest
Nadine Kwong

“His [i.e., the Bishop of Southwark’s] opponents must be gleeful, especially since he seems to have been less than truthful about recent events.”

Not sure what the backstory is on this… I’m aware of the flap resulting from the CESA diaconal ordinations, and the subsequent reinstatement of the participating vicar, but does “recent events” refer to something else (and more recent)?

Dave
Guest
Dave

A bit of calm might be in order. A lot of we non-Liberals are quite happy with some mess; and I can’t find *any* official announcements on this.. Should Inclusive Church have over-reacted to a press report – before the alleged protagonists have even confirmed, denied or clarified their position?

Knee-jerk reaction anyone ?!

NP
Guest
NP

Glad to see “Pluralist” lives up to his name – not all inclusive people are as inclusive as Plurist is above.

Surely it is fair to hold bishops to account and reject wrong ideas? The NT clearly sets high standards for all who would dare to be teachers and leaders, which includes their teaching and the examples they set in their lives…..so that they do not disgrace the gospel in eyes of the world – even more important in our media age.

NP
Guest
NP
laurence
Guest
laurence

Thank you John Henry and Joseph O’Leary for inspiring posts.

Perhaps we are being called to a spirituality of the everyday. Perhaps to the radical simplicity of Jesus’ message.

Worshipping on neither this mountain(temple) nor the Jerusalem mountain (temple), but anywhere and everywhre in spirit and in truth. Giving up our ‘first world’ wealth and power. Giving up the preparations for war. Making a difference in the Markets, on the ground.

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘…We need to find a way of witnessing to our Christian faith in a more integrated way and the C of E used to be well known and understood for its breadth of view and its inclusivity. How can we do that, please.’ Una Kroll, above.

Thanks Una, for these wise words, which also encourage.

best wishes if you see this,
laurie

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

John Henry commented:
I haven’t heard of fundi-evangelicals rejecting the Psalter, often ascribed to King David, because David was morally tainted through his “love” relationship with Jonathan!

According to a local ConsEv church, all this Jonathan and David stuff is wicked rumour mongering by us tainted sorts, because (to quote from a sermon) “homosexuality was virtually unknown in the OT”. (Yes, I do see where that leaves them theologically, but joined-up thinking isn’t necessarily their strong point.)

Mike S.
Guest
Mike S.
Graham
Guest
Graham

I too have struggled without any joy to see who this “small group of evangelical parishes” are – I can’t find anything beyond this report in the Telegraph. I would certainly like to know more.

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

As a member of a Reform church, I have a horse in this race. I have to admit: *some* episcopal oversight would be better than the none we have had for the past nine years, since the vicar declared we were in ‘impared communion’ with the diocesan. As it is, we are de facto independent whilst still using the parish church and name – but the vicar doesn’t answer to anyone, and that can’t be healthy. I would very much like to see us brought back within the fold, but I’m not delusional. If alternative oversight can be negotiated with… Read more »

Graham
Guest
Graham

For those who haven’t been following the +Tom Butler story, which broke on the front page of the Mirror on Saturday, a Google News search for “Tom Butler” will get you up to speed. There is just so much that doesn’t add up here. Overindulging in red wine at the Irish Embassy’s Christmas bash is one thing; ending up throwing children’s toys out of the back seat of a strangers Mercedes, and stating “I’m the Bishop of Southwark. It’s what I do” (which, in isolation, is a mindboggling quote) is another. Thankfully, with the exception of a Christian People’s Alliance… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Nothing could be less Christian than ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Some people are writing as though this is a Christian attitude, when what they mean is that they themselves grew up in a christian culture where it had seeped in. It is anti-biblical.
Blind-eye turning of this nature was also (among other things) responsible for a lot of the reported catholic child sex abuse.
The evangelical parishes in question know the reality of transformed lives, and know that one of the things that gets transformed is this secrecy tendency.

dave williams
Guest

John Henry,

Please will you stop telling lies about what Evangelicals beleive. You and your friends have been answered before on this point. Evangelicals do not claim to sit on God’s right hand judging. It is the Evangelical position that emphasises that God rescues messed up sinners not perfect people. Your analysis isn’t just mistaken. You know our position but are misrepresenting it.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

As an American Episcopalian, I’m not surprised by this development. In fact, it is right in line with what I have been trying to explain to NP on another thread. International fracturing will not only affect the Canadian and American Churches, the UK and the Church of England itself, is not immune from this process. It will be a world-wide fracturing.

Neil Barber
Guest
Neil Barber

“These parishes are attacking their Bishops for upholding the agreed position on the Civil Partnership legislation.”

The position “agreed” by whom?

The General Synod? NOPE.
The House of Bishops? NOPE. One Bishop has completely distanced himself from “the agreed position” and won’t enforce it. Others have qualified “the agreed position” or promised their Dioceses or Parishes a review since no-one is happy with it.

Not exactly very “agreed” then.

DGus
Guest
DGus

I love it when innovators invoke “tradition.”

Chris McMullen
Guest
Chris McMullen

If the liberals would put their money where their mouth is, such threats would be meaninglerss. They would also be meaningless if the liberals could actually attract someone to church!

dave williams
Guest

Simon,

The alternative is plurarilty of elders, local church accountability and relationship with elders at other local churches, rather than a hierarchy! :o)

dave williams
Guest

Graham,

Thanks for the additional information. It still sounds like a sad story -not one for gleefulness.

NP
Guest
NP

Kurt – I agree with you there is going to be a split – and I welcome it because it is fruitless being “united” with people when there is no real unity – Anglican fudge is poisonous for everyone and presents a pathetic witness to the world. I am a fan of KJS’ straight talking – looks like she agrees that fudge is no good and is willing to pay the price of honesty in terms of realignment (even if she threatens legal actions over property) We should split and each have bishops we respect for their teaching and lives….but… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Nadine Kwong on Monday, 11 December 2006 at 4:28am GMT —

Re: Bishop Butler — see here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,1969258,00.html
“the incident is sure to dismay church liberals and may induce glee among some evangelicals,”

As to retired bishops setting up a right-wing C of E, this could actually be a good thing, since it would presumably reduce support for those firmly in the Establishment who want significantly to reduce the diversity in the C of E & the WWAC (viz., N. T. Wright).

Pluralist
Guest

I cannot tell if NP is being straight or ironic in his praise of my pluralism and its inevitable limits. Rowan Williams himself tells us of a “gap” in historical and cultural understanding of the creeds, which is why he thinks there should be a Covenant. Which suggests that the creeds as liturgical documents, taken out of the glass cabinet to be read and put back again, do not have the regulative power some think they have. Well they do not, as in any theology department – they are as open to criticism and variety as other ancient documents. I… Read more »

Deborah
Guest
Deborah

Thank you to Thinking Anglican online for keeping the debate vital and balanced. I remain Episcopalian because we as a church have always exercised our freedom to express our personal views of God in concert. As a lay leader I have little power in policy structure of AC though as a disciple of Jesus I accept my personal responsiblity to understand through prayer and Spirit, what is presented as “Godly” policy in church. Therefore I applaud this current struggle as essential for individual Episcopalians to get up and state their view. We never have been a church of followers. I… Read more »

Giles Goddard
Guest

One of the reasons we at IC don’t like the idea of people choosing their own bishops is that it institutionalises disagreement. Since the ordination of women to the priesthood, there’s been an increasing lack of communication between different parties resulting in something like a silo mentality. The risk is that we’ll get that same silo mentality over sexuality. It seems increasingly clear to us (IC) that there are some pretty profound misunderstandings about the various positions. The fact that the “Listening Process” has been so comprehensively ignored in this country doesn’t help. we’re beginning to think that people in… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I believe Kurt is correct; there is now nothing that can stop the realignment of the Anglican Communion. What is in question is just how the realignment will pan out. So far, it seems that Rowan has managed to keep the majority of threats as – just that – threats. Almost all are holding back, save Akinola, from further “realities on the ground”. His long term strategy appears to be holding and those groups for whom haste is an ally have been thwarted. For me the question is: Can Rowan hold things together until Lambeth? If he can, then the… Read more »

Giles Goddard
Guest

to clarify my comments about “silo mentality” – I mean that those parishes which have passed resolutions A B and C have in many cases (though not all!) closed themselves off from other views and therefore from the possibility of change…..and the list of possible organisations should of course include WATCH and GRAS as well as many others.

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – my comments were genuine – I try to avoid sarcasm etc

Giles – it is such a waste of time and energy keeping such very different groups together under one roof just so they can fight – anglicans are not one family with normal squabbles but very different groups with little or no respect for each other – everyone would be better off with a split…..I am glad TEC is showing confidence to go it alone and no longer pretending it can please everyone all the time….even if wrong, at least more honest with KJS

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Dave Williams wrote: “The alternative is plurarilty of elders, local church accountability and relationship with elders at other local churches, rather than a hierarchy!” Yes but. Firstly, it’s not Anglican. Secondly, it’s not historically Christian (deacons, priests, bishops). Thirdly, it’s not even how Reform want it. The realities of the Reform movement – as far as I experience it from the inside – are the singularity of (male) leadership, no accountability within the church, no accountability to other local churches, and no relationship with local churches unless there is an agreed theological criteria, set by the Reform church. They love… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think the split/realignment is both inevitable and should happen. Unity has to be based on something genuine. When it comes down to it, we just believe different things – that’s the way it is

There is far too much bureaucracy and unnecessary spending in the church in any case. Slimmed down versions should give the opportunity for a re-think

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“We should split and each have bishops we respect for their teaching and lives….but liberals have so far been afraid to go it alone as they will have a small denomination and no more cash from evos.”— NP I personally believe a split in the Communion is coming. (Probably a 60/40 –your favor, NP, and you are welcome to them). However, in terms of cash, my understanding is that, in Australia for example, it is Sydney which is refusing to contribute their fair share to the Anglican Church there. Here in America “cash from evos” is practically non-existent. (We Episcopalians… Read more »

Robert Christian
Guest
Robert Christian

Kurt: I whole-heartedly agree with you above statement that fracturing will occur not only in TEC and the ACofC but the CofE and most first world counties. In places where civil liberties are only a dream the promise of a new world order/The Kingdom and literal understanding of the Bible (IMHO) will dominate. As for the Bishop of Southwark, it’s a known fact that alcohol is/has been a form of self medication by the many in the clergy. When Gene Robinson sought counselling even his oppenents were sympathetic. But let me say, considering the tensions and the infighting found in… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Having leaders you agree with doesn’t have to preclude working together on those things people agree on -although I’m not sure what exactly we do agree on now? It seems that the liberal wing of the church are more united with secular society on the key issues affecting Britain today against the Evangelicals and Catholics.

Pluralist
Guest

Who is it that would agree to local covenants: PCCs, other denominations’ committees? What if significant groups of individuals didn’t when a PCC did? Tell more about Australia (Giles Goddard). All I can see is statements like those held by university Christian Unions and other statements.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

There has been a regrettable development in Tanzania which effectively inaugurates the split in the Anglican Communion. The Tanzanian House of Bishops has declared: “that henceforth we are not in communion, namely, communio in sacris, with: Bishops who consecrate homosexuals to the episcopate and those Bishops who ordain such persons to the priesthood and the deaconate or license them to minister in their dioceses; Bishops who permit the blessing of same sex unions in their dioceses; Gay priests and deacons; Priests who bless same sex unions” The next Primates’ meeting will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. However, it… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Wrote Dave Williams: “Please will you stop telling lies about what Evangelicals believe. You and your friends have been answered before on this point. Evangelicals do not claim to sit on God’s right hand judging.” How come, then, that Evangelicals are so fixated on other people’s sins, while blissfully ignoring their own? How come the Tanzanian bishops put out the unwelcome mat for PB Katharine Schori, whom they have never met, and about whose orthodoxy, or lack thereof, they have heard unsubstantiated rumors? How come they always have to make windows into other people’s souls, judging their very motivations? Can’t… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Oh so it’s wrong to say that something is wrong or that you don’t think someone is a Christian but quite okay to go around calling people bigots and now alright to accuse Evangelicals of having a psychological problem (see Robert Christian’s comments above). We really are getting down to what “Thinking Anglicans” is about aren’t we!

dave williams
Guest

Simon,

Wish that I could! Maybe you can do a better job from the inside!

Dave

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I certainly hope you are right, Dave. I don’t wish to ally myself with the forces of reaction. I think there is very little we agree on.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

‘Evangelical’ righteousness makes the Tanzanian bishops turn down U.S. financial aid to help the poor and underprivileged because that money has been ‘tainted’ by American homosexual bishops, priest, deacons and lay ministers, who have collected those donations. Reports ENS: “Further to the consequent state of the severely impaired communion, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Tanzania declares that henceforth the Anglican Church of Tanzania shall not knowingly accept financial and material aid from Dioceses, parishes, Bishops, priests, individuals and institutions in the Episcopal Church (USA) that condone homosexual practice or bless same sex unions.” Are the Bible-invoking,… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

“I love it when innovators invoke ‘tradition.'”

And yet, DGus, the innovative reactionaries (inaccurately termed “conservative”) continue to do so… :-/

Prayers for +Tom Southwark, WHATEVER happened.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

dave williams, please calm down. Mr Christian’s comments are not a personal attack upon any individual.