Thinking Anglicans

letter supporting Bishop Iker

Updated Friday evening

TA readers will recall the recent letter from the UK supporting Bishop Duncan.

Pat Ashworth in the Church Times reports that The Catholic Group on the General Synod has initiated a letter of support for the Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Revd Jack Iker.

Read Catholics write to back Iker.

The full list of names is not yet available but the report says that 34 of the 51 names are common to the earlier letter.
Update
Thr full text and list of signatures is now available on the Fort Worth site here.

And is reproduced below the fold.

Church of England leaders send letter of support to Bishop Iker

signers are members of the Church of England General Synod and leaders of Forward in Faith/United Kingdom

The letter was issued on Nov. 20, 2007

Dear Bishop Jack,

We write to assure you of our support and prayers in the face of the letter you have received recently from Presiding Bishop Schori.

We fully applaud the stand you have taken for scriptural and traditional Faith and Order, the departure from which of The Episcopal Church (TEC) has been deeply damaging and divisive within the Anglican Communion, and in our relationships with major ecumenical partners. The leadership of TEC’s use of litigation against faithful congregations and clergy is nothing short of a scandal, recalling St. Paul’s strictures about the letter of the law which kills, in contrast to the Spirit of God which gives life and freedom. Bishop Peter Forster of Chester was quite right when he said last week that the use of legal procedures was not an appropriate way to address this kind of situation.

We are delighted by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement in response to Bishop John Howe of Central Florida that any diocese compliant with Windsor remained in communion with the See of Canterbury and the mainstream of the Anglican Communion, and trust that you and your diocese will be encouraged thereby.

We hope and pray that you, your clergy and people will find an appropriate way to remain true to the faith and order of the universal Church within the fellowship of the Anglican Communion. We look to the Church of England to give a lead in modelling better ways of handling disagreement to TEC and the rest of the Communion.

Signed by the following members of General Synod (dioceses in brackets)

Simon Killwick (Manchester)
Eric Armitstead (Bath & Wells)
Jonathan Baker (Oxford)
Barry Barnes (Southwark)
Anneliese Barrell (Exeter)
Paul Benfield (Blackburn)
Tom Benyon (Oxford)
Paul Boyd-Lee (Salisbury)
Mike Burbeck (Salisbury)
Graeme Buttery (Durham)
Graham Campbell (Chester)
Nigel Chetwood (Gloucester)
John Cook (London)
Martin Dales (York)
Ian Dobbie (Rochester)
Paul Farthing (Lichfield)
Sarah Finch (London)
Emma Forward (Exeter)
Vivienne Goddard (Blackburn)
Ian Gooding (Derby)
John Hanks (Oxford)
Jamie Houghton (Chichester)
David Houlding (London)
Peter LeRoy (Bath & Wells)
Angus MacLeay (Rochester)
Joanna Monkton (Lichfield)
Gill Morrison (Peterborough)
Rob Munro (Chester)
Mary Nagel (Chichester)
Gerald O’Brien (Rochester)
Ian O’Hara (Coventry)
David Mills (Carlisle)
Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield)
Paul Perkin (Southwark)
Sam Philpott (Exeter)
John Pope (Chichester)
Andrew Presland (Peterborough)
Colin Randall (Carlisle)
Jonathan Redden (Sheffield)
Clive Scowen (London)
Penny Stranack (Truro)
Chik Kaw Tan (Lichfield)
Fr. Thomas Seville, CR (Religious Communities)
Mark Sowerby (Ripon & Leeds)
Mike Streeter (Chichester)
Chris Sugden (Oxford)
Carol Ticehurst (Lincoln)
David Waller (Chelmsford)
Glyn Webster (York)
Anne Williams (Durham)
Ruth Whitworth (Ripon & Leeds)

and Bishops
Bishop of Richborough
Bishop of Ebbsfleet

and leading members of Forward in Faith
Stephen Parkinson (Director)
Geoffrey Kirk (National Secretary)
Anne Williams (Vice-Chair; also on General Synod as above)
Nicholas Turner (Editor, New Directions)
Len Black (Forward in Faith, Scotland)

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Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

RE the signing;

Does this mean that the General Convention Catholic group has 51, 34 or any other number of members?

NP
Guest
NP

Is the AC really supposed to exclude Iker (if he is not part of TECUSA but another province) but accept VGR because he is part of TECUSA?

Does that make sense when Iker has not torn the fabric of the communion and is acceptable to nearly all Anglicans in the AC?

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

How can this be described as coming from the “Catholic Group” when 31 of its 54 signatories also signed the recent “Conservative Evangelical” letter supporting Duncan? More accurate to describe it as the work of a group determined to bring grief to TEC under any guise opportunity presents. “Threatening secular legislation, as far as we are concerned in the Church of England, is an unthinkable way of going about things.” As an established church, the Church of England is probably more subject to “secular legislation” than any existing religious body, is it not? Do these folks read what they sign?

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

What in the world do they mean by saying TEC’s leadership is “coercively utopian in social practice?” Is that supporting the MDGs? Would that be akin to feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison? Shame on us! I guess the “unitarian universalist” in theology is because of our 30+ years of working towards inclusion of glbt people? Or is that still reaction to Jesus our mother, as articulated by that proto-unitarian, Julian of Norwich, as well as by ++KJS? What a bunch of narrowminded, coldhearted bigots … bless their… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“”coercively utopian in social practice?””

I would have thought the Gospel represented a utopian stance, actually, and for a bunch of conservatives who are threatening schism if everybody else doesn’t comply with their ideas to condemn others for “coercive” practice beggars belief! Talk about your doublespeak!

John-Julian, OJN
Guest
John-Julian, OJN

Cynthia, I love it! Your comment: “I guess the “unitarian universalist” in theology is because of our 30+ years of working towards inclusion of glbt people? Or is that still reaction to Jesus our mother, as articulated by that proto-unitarian, Julian of Norwich, as well as by ++KJS?” As founder of the Order of Julian of Norwich some 26 years ago and translator of her work, I have tremendously enjoyed the hullaballoo over the comment about “Jesus our Mother” made by ++KJS in her inaugural sermon! It demonstrated only one thing: the sheer ignorance and real spiritual poverty of those… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

I hate to disappoint the bigots in the AC who think +Iker, +Duncan, +Schofield, etc. are going to win this argument but they aren’t, hopefully by March or April of ’08 all three will have been deposed. They are an embarrassment to the Episcopal Church, if they had one ounce of class they would renounce their orders.

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Cynthia Gillett writes: “What a bunch of narrowminded, coldhearted bigots … bless their hearts [as we say in the south].” Really? What part of the south would that be? Sussex? Hampshire? Since the article doesn’t name the signatories, how does Ms Gillett know that they are “narrowminded” or “coldhearted”? I could take an educated guess at who they might be – I suspect that David Houlding is one of them – and I would expect that I know some of them. Certainly, Prebendary Houlding, whom I knew when I was a member of London diocesan synod, is not by the… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

I’m with Cynthia. Calling TEC “coercively utopian in social practice” is probably the biggest compliment anyone (friend of foe) could have given them. What a wonderful reminder as we come into this Christmas season. God and Creation with their coercively utopian message of hope, greeting Jesus with a supernova and the rejoicing of all the heavenly realms, including sending angels to lowly shepherds in the fields looking after their flocks. Jesus who was affirmed at life and for whom at death the cherubim of the ark tore apart the veil in order to reach and rescue his soul at the… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

The names can be seen here – http://www.fwepiscopal.org/news/cofe112007.html
Interesting that Elizabeth Paver, a Joint Standing Committee member who approved it’s report on the TEC HoB statement, is among them.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“As founder of the Order of Julian of Norwich…. the sheer ignorance and real spiritual poverty of those critics who seem all unknowing about major English mystical (and biblical) theology.” On first encountering Mother Julian, I Googled her name and found your order’s site. What a blessing! I was studying for nerve wracking exams at the time, and from then till I passed, “All will be well” was my motto, and at times it kept me from cracking up. I love the Julain jottings, especially the one that talks of our current obsession with the “worship experience” as though worship… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

“coercively utopian”

What a meaningless phrase.

Rather like when some acquaintances of mine on the hard left call the recently defeated NDP government in Saskatchewan “neoliberal.”

It’s useful to have a few nasty sounding but fundamentally empty insults to toss about.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

I know coldhearted narrowmindedness when I see it, thank you very much. I don’t need to know these folks’ names … by their fruits ye shall know them. It’s in the southern United States that one adds “bless his/her heart” after saying something negative about someone. It’s a kind of false apology for being critical. As in, “She’s put on quite a bit of weight, hasn’t she? … bless her heart.” You put the emphasis and linger a little on ‘heart.’ As a Yankee living in the south, I had subliminally tuned in on this, but a year or so… Read more »

John-Julian, OJN
Guest
John-Julian, OJN

Ford Elms:

Please so drop me a note off line. Use any address on our website.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Having read something in an other place (unmentionable) I wonder:

Do we KNO that this letter was actually signed by those claimed?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I was studying for nerve wracking exams at the time, and from then till I passed, “All will be well” was my motto, and at times it kept me from cracking up”

I first heard that in our Julian group many years ago and it has since become almost a daily family prayer. Like with you, it has saved us from cracking up these last few years.

Royston
Guest

Is Emma Forward still the youngest member of GS? Anyone know?

Lister Tonge
Guest
Lister Tonge

Bishop Iker and co would be horrified if they knew of the ‘attitude’ of some of signatorties of these letters to gay clergy. Interesting also to note that some of the signatories of the pro-Iker letter were not – as far as I can detect – also signatories of the pro-Duncam letter. Could this have anything to do with the desire to be ‘anti-women priest/bishop’ but not ‘anti-gay p/b’? Of course, this may have nothing to do with the difference. And look how many of the Church of England’s bishops and other General Synod members have NOT written to support… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

Elizabeth Paver, member of the Joint Standing Committee member who presumably agreed with the JSC report on the TEC HoB statement, compromises her integrity. So does the signatory to both this letter and the previous letter from evangelicals, who is a partnered gay man. Members of General Synod betray their membership of Synod and their fidelity to the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is integrity in the position of conservatives who believe in a different reading of scripture from me. There is no integrity in people who betray their own sexual identity and personal relationship nor… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Though this Epistle to the Texans may have had its origin in a catholic grouping in Synod, rather a lot of the names on the list are the “usual suspects” from the conservative evangelical wing. The single signatory from my own diocese is certainly one such, and a number of other names are familiar Reform/CEEC groupies. No love for Bishop Jack’s lacy albs there, I fear.

stephen bates
Guest
stephen bates

Observant readers will have noticed that one of the signatories, Edward Armitstead, a former army officer who became chairman of the council of Oak Hill, was the author of an interesting article as long ago as four years ago, in the Church Society’s autumn 2003 journal, entitled “Surviving as an Evangelical in a non-Evangelical Church” which advocates Militant Tendency style entryism to undermine or convert parishes whose religious style is uncongenial. I referred to it in my book A Church at War (page 150, paperback edition). I would have thought such non-evangelical parishes in normal circumstances might include those of… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“Bless his/her heart” is common to the NW of England, where I grew up, and to the SE United States, where I live, Cynthia. In the UK, I only ever recall it’s being used in a charitable sense, never ironic. Jonathan Williams, the North Carolina poet, was so delighted by the closing comment of a fellow Southerner that he included it as a couplet in a volume of verse. Though I own the book, I do not have it to hand, so the quote, though near accurate, may not be completely so: “Bless her sweet heart, Just kindling-wood for Hell.”… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I think the standard TEC idea has been that Iker and Fort Worth was included, and so was VGR and New Hampshire. What pitches this into warfare is Iker’s claim, lodged he says on behalf of God and of all real believers in Fort Worth (and indeed, all Anglican believers around the planet?), that at minimum he should never have to ordain any woman to ministry in TEC, nor suffer an ordained woman to despoil his own diocesan church life, nor – well it’s obvious – ordain or suffer any Out (yuck), Partnered (gasp), and/or Parenting (gasp-yuck) gay or lesbian… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I am starting to think that its about time that these gay people working against gay equality whilst in gay relationships should be outed.

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Stephen Bates writes: “If he really does not recognise the South to which you were so obviously referring, it’s no wonder he lost his job in academe a couple of years ago.” Of course I recognise the “south” to which Ms Gillett was referring. The “little joke” of faux ignorance was, I hope obviously, drawing attention to the fact that she was commenting on a matter in a province with which she is perhaps not entirely familiar, and attacking people unknown to her. In fact, one constant of TA is the ease with which those representing a “liberal” viewpoint launch… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Alan Harrison: I think what Colin means is that large proportion of FiF clergy in England are gay, many of them sexually active gay men. This is well known to those of us on the Anglo-Catholic “scene.” I find it odd that the bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough could sign this, as (i) they exercise episcopal oversight within a context where there is lot of co-operation and good-will between them and diocesan bishops (Ebbsfleet, I believe, is officially an assistant bishop of Oxford Diocese, for example); and (ii) so many of their clergy are practising homosexuals. I have been to… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Lapinbizarre: Didn’t know ‘bless his/her heart’ was English as well – and of course it’s by no means always used ironically over here. I’m wondering if folks from NW of England came to the upper south in large numbers? Lots of Scots and Irish came to these parts, especially the mountains. That’s how lots of the ballads collected by Childe [sp?] got collected in the beginning of the last century over here. Great movie about that – called ‘The Song Catcher” – it was a small independent film – but if you can find it on DVD, well worth watching.… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

Dear Alan Harrison, please do me the courtesy of not using Fr as my title. I do not use it myself and do not identify myself as a priest on TA though I am indeed ordained. Stating that both letters were signed by a partnered gay man is a statement of fact. I am not intending to out anyone. What I mean by ‘subscribes’, Alan, is that members of Forward in Faith, and all those who signed both letters, claim that they are orthodox people who adhere to the teaching of the church. ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ is claimed to… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Colin is quite right: it is a pretty disgusting church culture that has created the current situation of so many gay priests being penned into stunted lives of perpetual hypocrisy. We should be working to break that vile culture in the Church, and gently encourage those men to come out and inhabit a safe space. I admire Colin for trying to do something about that: it is a noble task.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Obviously the gay issue is the pretext for anti-womens ordination. How can Iker et al conform to the Protestant canons, rituals of Southern Cone?
How can Southern Cone admit a diocese that prays for the dead, uses crucifixes, candles ,holy water and incense and prays to Mary!

Are Chasuables legal in Souhern Cone?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

It is surely not reflective of any sort of integrity to sign an anti-gay letter when you yourself are gay. Its a bit like being a union rep whose policies are to work for equality when in other areas of your life, you actively campaign against it. Alan will understand what I mean.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I had the delight of a few years back of being invited to sing with the choir of the parish of the composer/choirmaster George Oldroyd (“The Mass of the Quiet Hour”,-the “Third Communion Service” of the American 1940 Hymnal). Without being specific to the location of the church, let’s say it’s minutes north of Gatwick on the local all-stops rail line. (London, Brighton and South Coast? London and Southwestern?-anybody here a railroad buff???_ Surprisingly I discovered that the parish was high-church; and also active in the FIF movement. My close friend touring the UK with me was under the impression… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

I think it’s probably pretty widespread in the UK, Cynthia, not just the NW.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

I find it rather fun to know that a gay is participating in an anti-gay lobby. It takes Jewish self-loathing to a new level. Merseymike is correct to comment on their dubious integrity, it also raises questions of the integrity of the others that allowed them to participate and sign.

So, they are anti-gays, but gays are okay as long as they participate in bashing other gays? I think the biblical term that Jesus would apply is “hypocrisy”.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

I don’t think the FiF people signing these letters are doing so because they are trying to take an anti-gay stand, though. Their worry is the imminent arrival of women bishops in England, and they are frantically looking for a way out of having anything to do with them, in any sort of alternative jurisdictional system.

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

My apologies to Colin Coward for my error over his churchmanship. I knew that he is a priest and had assumed from his evident knowledge of the Anglo-Catholic scene that he would wish to be known as “Father”. The point that I was making, perhaps not very well, to Mr Coward is that “subscribe” may have a particular meaning to some of us. Not wishing to put words in his mouth, I phrased my point as an open question. I would expect “subscribe” to be used of formal ascent to a doctrine or set of doctrines, especially in a confessional… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

As long as they are not being hypocritical and leading a double life, surely a person with homosexual orientation can still believe that it is a sin and sincerely oppose its acceptance.

I agree wholeheartedly with Fr Mark. though as to FiF motives.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Dear Robert Ian Williams, I am not sure whether there are provincial canons for the Southern Cone as such, but it is not a monochrome province despite its tiny size.Some dioceses have a SAMS background-I think this is true of Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia.N Argentina is SAMS but it is very Indian and quite sui generis. Argentina itself ( mostly Bs As and about 5 congregations in big cities elsewhere) are originally a USPG diocese I think;they use the spanish version of the ECUSA prayerbook ( prayers for the dead! ) and the chasuble is worn in the cathedral in… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Alan “What of gay priests (including perhaps the one who signed the letters) who accept the teaching of the Church but acknowledge that they fail to conform to it? Should similar demands be made in other areas of morality? (For instance, years ago a (now FiF) parish in the Diocese of Exeter had a vicar who set himself up in a Bonnie and Clyde team with his housekeeper, burgling vestments from other parishes. Should he have demanded that we drop that “thou shalt not steal” stuff?)” You are advocating that we just keep our sins quiet. What we are saying… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

Alan Harrison, I’d appreciate an explanation from you of the relationship between being gay and stealing. Thou shalt not steal is one of the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not be gay is not in the Bible. I’m not a moral theologian, but I believe there is a moral and ethical difference between the act of a person who steals and the nature of being born gay. I am not asking the Church to accommodate itself to me. I am asking the Church, which ordained me knowingly as a gay man, to cease being prejudiced about the hundreds of lesbian and… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Alan Harrison, my shock came at discovering that Dr. Lloyd’s parish was high-church, as my home parish in the states (quite low church, communion once a month) would use his setting for the important feasts of Christmas and Easter, so my surprise was centered in seeing the atmosphere for which his beloved music was used. A pleasant surprise, but a surprise no less. Discovering what and that it was a FIF parish was a whole different matter altogether. I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to denounce something that is a part of you. Whether it is indeed a sin, or… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“As long as they are not being hypocritical and leading a double life, surely a person with homosexual orientation can still believe that it is a sin and sincerely oppose its acceptance.” Yes, it’s amazing what you can brainwash people to believe. But the point made in this thread is that at least one signatory IS leading a double life, and not just occasionally but that he is someone with a long term partner. The reason this is important is not because a poor lost soul is so confused about himself that he publicly speaks out against what he does… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Thank you Perry…that was very helpful…but you can bet your bottom dollar that Venables and co are conservative Evangelicals.

Is the lay presidency movement still strong in Southern Cone?

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Erika Baker writes: “What we are saying is that homosexuality is not a sin, should not be linked to burgling etc., and that we have no reason to stay hidden.” Thanks to Ms Baker for putting the point so honestly, robustly and concisely. Colin Coward writes: “Thou shalt not steal is one of the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not be gay is not in the Bible.” I don’t think that anyone claims that “Thou shalt not be gay” is in the Bible. There are, however, some pretty harsh references to homosexual +activity+. I have been around the Anglo-Catholic scene since… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

You mean Neo Platonism, for sure?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I’m just a little bit puzzled that people should choose to adhere to a religion where something so central to their identity is a taboo.” Speaking personally: Because, despite the fact that I angrily refused to go to a Church that was, to me, too liberal and wishy washy in it’s understanding of Scripture, God was with me, and was right there when I needed to go back to Him. Because His hand is evident in my life. Because the Creation transforming Gospel that is the heart of the Catholic Tradition presents such a beautiful vision of redeemed humanity, redeemed… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I’m just a little bit puzzled that people should choose to adhere to a religion where something so central to their identity is a taboo.” That is the crux of it all, isn’t it. WHY are there so many gay Christians? Why are there so many gay priests? They can’t all be subscribing to the strange idea that it’s ok to sin as long as it’s done in private and people don’t have to acknowledge it officially. Of course, we who live this life know that we are called to service by the same loving God who calls straight people.… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Hi Alan There is some interesting history that there were attempts to remove the taboos early last century, but the great depression, two world wars and the cold war put to rest those attempts along with a lot of other attempts at reform. It has taken a long time to shake of the shackles of McCarthyism-like culture, but we are still unbinding the shackling of theological teachings into State justifications (no matter how cruel or sociopathic their manifestations). The really amusing thing is that some of those who have been the most deprived and abused are at the forefront of… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
thank you for that beautiful post.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl, I’m not claiming to be an evangelical and I would never bible mine. But you do both. Yet, you come to completely different conclusions to the likes of NP on this forum. Could you possibly explain to me how one can reply to people who keep throwing the same biblical quotes at us? I admire Ford for not wanting to avoid them, although I don’t agree with him at all and am very happy to interpret them differently and simply “put them to bed”. You don’t do that, you quote the bible in a much more direct way than… Read more »