Thinking Anglicans

Reform conference

Updated again Wednesday afternoon

Reform has been holding its annual conference in Central London.

The programme for the conference is here (PDF).

Reports are coming in.

Ruth Gledhill has written on her blog England’s ‘Pittsburgh’ unfolds as parishes seek new bishop and for The Times she has written Church of England schism over gays.

Martin Beckford has written for the Telegraph that 3,000 Church of England worshippers may defect to overseas provinces, Reform warns.

A large part of Mr Thomas’ speech is reproduced on Ruth’s blog entry.

Updates

Riazat Butt has written for the Guardian Evangelical leader urges Anglicans to break away.

The complete text of the speech by Rod Thomas is now available here.

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BillyD
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BillyD

Wow, the Telegraph’s religious correspondent is something else. He describes ECUSA as “the ultra-liberal Episcopal Church, which is run by a woman…” I suppose “ultra-liberal” is in the eye of the beholder (though if we’re “ultra-liberal,” what are the UUA and the Friends?) but “run by a woman”?

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Welcome to my world…

Robert Ian williams
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Robert Ian williams

One wouldn’t mind so much..if they were actually going to leave…but they intend to stay in the Church with their alternative provision. When I was up in Newcastle upon Tyne in the Summer I discovered that Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle Diocese have a Church plant in Durham! As for picking Nazir Ali ..he was the first bishop in the Church of England to pick a female Archdeacon. Please note that Bishop Benn is a patron of the Third Province Movement. Note how they do not want to be under the PEV Anglo-Catholics. Anglo-Catholics are good enough to bolster the… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

For our English readers, some Yank poetry:

“Listen my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…”

[etc, etc, then to paraphrase]

“The Schismatics are coming! The Schismatics are coming!”

Don’t say you weren’t warned…

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

May I remind people (again) that alternative provision was a state of affairs unknown to the Church until it was dreamed up by John Habgood. We have him to thank for this whole mess.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Poppy

That probably gives one man too much credit.

This whole mess comes down to scribes of ilk disposition determined to be “above” the law. Their methods and strategies might vary, but their hearts are set on self-congratulations, irregardless of the repression and suffering they cause within their own communion and beyond.

Recall that significant leaders’ dioceses in “civilized” societies have had to make court settlements vis a vis aiding and abetting child abuse or bishops grooming parishioners to harm others.

David Keen
Guest

As an evangelical, I’m bemused by some of this rhetoric. In the 1960’s bishops were denying the existence of God (Honest to God), and in the 80’s they were denying the resurrection of Jesus. Now we’re going to walk away over women bishops and sex? Where is the sense of perspective? For the first time in living memory, the CofE is pumping millions of pounds per year into mission and church planting, the new HTB theology centre has been blessed by London Diocese, and 2 of the top 4 bishops are evangelicals (Wright & Sentamu). I really am stunned that… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Rod Thomas, as quoted in the Guardian:

“As THE TWO RELIGIONS develop, our leadership will become increasingly schizophrenic. General Synod has already become dysfunctional.”

Huh?! So, basically, Thomas regards anyone who doesn’t hop on board the GAFCONite train as a completely different religion?!!! The sheer gall and hubris of the man.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Rod Thomas, chair of the conservative evangelical group Reform, warned that orthodox figures such as Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester, were increasingly sidelined in favour of liberals and called on congregations to support the development of a UK wing in Gafcon, an international network for Anglicans that disagrees with progressive agendas.” – Riazat Butt – The Guardian. Of all the religious correspondents in the UK commenting on Anglican affairs, I think I respect Riazat Butt’s contributions the most. Perhaps because, as a Muslim, Riazat is not a partisan in Anglican politics, and is therefore in a better position to… Read more »

penwatch
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penwatch

Looks like Rod Thomas fancies himself as a bishop in the Martyn Minns fashion.

Anecdotally it is said that when Rowan Williams met Minns at Lambeth Palace on one occasion he said to him “Martyn Minns isn’t it? Sorry for the hesitation, I had recognised your face but not your shirt.”

badman
Guest
badman

Perhaps the Rev Rod Thomas the only clergyman in the Church of England who somehow avoided taking the Oath of Canonical Obedience which states:-

“I, Rod Thomas, do swear by Almighty God that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the Lord Bishop of Newcastle and his successors in all things lawful and honest: So help me God.”

Not much room for a blanket derogation from his episcopal overight there.

Mark Osborne
Guest
Mark Osborne

Bemusement betrays a lack of history; Puritanism demands persecution in order to turn it’s repressive and regulative norms into ‘the way’. JAT Robinson didn’t deny the existence of God – just a controlling metaphor for God (in effect it was very orthodox teaching on apophasis) and David Jenkins didn’t deny the Resurrection itself (see his fantastically incarnational theology of the workplace in the 70’s) but did attack ‘a conjuring trick with bones’. Evangelicalism, after John Stott’s appeal in ’76, turned outwards to remain within the CofE and is, in my judgement, now experiencing some of the joys and travails of… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

May I remind Poppy that without the ‘flying bishops’ idea (the plans for which incidentally involved ++Sentamu heavily behind the scenes then)there would have been huge no-go areas for women. The Diocese of London…and also Blackburn, Newcastle, Chichester, Winchester, Exeter etc.?

Kurt
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Kurt

Make a complete sentence with the words “chicken” “home” and “roost.”

Neil
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Neil

JCF – the whole thing about schismatics will only be determined by history. Some claim the ‘heresy’ of ECUSA is schismatic – others call it prophetic. We will probably know in about 50 years time whether the progressives or cons are the orthodox ones.

Prior Aelred
Guest

OK — does N. T. Wright get it yet? Coddling people determined to separate from existing church structures simply encourages them!

Re:”schismatics” being determined by history — that seems odd — I think the “Monophysites” (or “Miaphysites”) make some excellent points & that the Tome of Leo has some serious problems (& makes our Lord sound Nestorian, if not downright schizophrenic) — then there is the Great Schism (with points on both sides) & the Reformation (& all the subsequent splits) — I have no idea who is in schism from whom these days!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Where is the sense of perspective?” Can there be any greater deviation from the “faith once and for all delivered to the saints” than allowing two people of the same sex to have a monogamous, commited long term relationship? You can, and Evangelical Protestants have, change whole swaths of that faith, and it doesn’t really matter, but be nice to a couple of queers and you have nailed Christ up all over again. “I really am stunned that we’re portraying ourselves as exiles and victims, and it’s not helping.” But it’s incredibly attractive. There’s a big section of society that… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“We will probably know in about 50 years time whether the progressives or cons are the orthodox ones.” Well, no. We know now that the cons are not “orthodox”. If by “orthodox” you mean “were right in hypocritically opposing this one particular change while defending changes in doctrine and praxis from which they stand to benefit or have convinced themselves against all evidence to the contrary are “traditional”, well, you already have their “orthodoxy” proven to you now. But that has never been what “orthodox” means. Judging by the criterion we have always used to define “orthodoxy”, they have issued… Read more »

MrsBarlow
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MrsBarlow

3000 people leaving the Church of England? 25 parishes? That’ll put the fear of God into the House of Bishops. What will Greg Venables do if he ends up with 30000 people scattered across the western hemisphere rather than 20000 scattered across South America?

When will Anglicans get serious and deal with the real crises facing our church and world: rampant capitalism and environmental catastrophe?

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Quote. But the Gospel both unites and divides. To some it has the fragrance of life and to others it is a stench of death. So as we focus on the Gospel, we can expect a reaction both of growing godly unity and evidence too of division. Unquote. Decode on… Start Decode. But our special new conservative gospel both unites and divides. To us it has the fragrance of our special strict conformity which is life. To all the rest who are not us, intentionally according to all the other forms of alternative believer conscience so odd and so strange… Read more »

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

Neil makes a completely false assumption in his description of whole dioceses as no-go areas for women. The actual outcome would have been far more like the situation that has come about in the Church in Wales. Does he believe for a moment that what he suggests could ever have come about? The Church of England would have become a laughing stock and a pariah if such a thing happened. Not least because of the idea and language of ‘no-go areas for women’. The fact that he can even imagine such a thing is itself comment enough on his failures… Read more »

orfanum
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orfanum

I could not agree more with MrsBarlow. I don’t want to tread on anyone’s (historical) sensibilities but all this bickering…it reminds me of the very clever parody of Christians (not in my view a point about politics) in The Life of Brian – isn’t this all just a case of The Judean People’s Front vs The Peoples’ Front of Judea vs the Judean Popular People’s Front vs the Popular Front of Judea? Meanwhile John and Jane Doe are out there trying to get on, despite the rigours of the World, the Flesh and the Devil. I am a newbie, so… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Poppy makes a completely false assumption in thinking that the CofE and Parliament would have accepted the ordination of women measure (which was permissive ie allowed the go-ahead Bishops like Bristol and Southwark to proceed rather than require all to ordain women) without provision for those who could not accept it as the will of God. Part of the deal, which she now forgets and needs another reminder about, was that there were and are ‘2 integrities’. Which is why the House of Bishops are now working on trying to honour this in the light of the unfortunate vote recently… Read more »

David Keen
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David Keen

Mark O: ‘Honest to God’ denied the existence of a God located outside human experience: using Barth’s language it was talking about God by talking about people in a very loud voice. Did I mention David Jenkins? I was thinking about Richard Holloway. (and possibly David Jenkins!!)

Ford Elms: I’m actually struggling to think of a wing of the church that isn’t portraying itself as exile/victim at the moment: Anglo-Catholics over women bishops, Reform over sexuality, liberals over sexuality – hey at least we all agree over something.

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

Ok, so now Neil, having lost his first point, is making another. No one knows whether the Measure would have been passed without suggestions of alternative provision, but there were at the time, and still are, many people in favour of women’s ordination who would have preferred that it was NOT passed at that time with such provision and would have waited until there was a majority for the Measure without provision. And no, I don’t forget that there were ‘2 integrities’ it’s just that, as an English speaker, I know that the term ‘two integrities’ is an oxymoron. As… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I’m actually struggling to think of a wing of the church that isn’t portraying itself as exile/victim at the moment: Anglo-Catholics over women bishops, Reform over sexuality, liberals over sexuality – hey at least we all agree over something.” This Anglo-catholic, like many others, has no problem with women as bishops. Conservative ACs think otherwise, but we aren’t all conservatives. Using Anglo-catholic in this way is like the way I use the term “Evangelical”, it paints everybody the same, and we’re not all the same, ACs, EVos, whatever. It is difficult to remain mindful of this, believe me, I know.… Read more »

Frozenchristian
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Frozenchristian

Neil: you are wrong. Members of parliament now tell us the legislation would have got through without the Act of Synod and that any new legislation (for bishops) that discriminates will not get through the ecclesiastical committee.

Plus, the legislation etc. does not speak of 2 integrities (as if they were equal) but of the integrity of those opposed to women clergy.

Joan of Quark
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Joan of Quark

The quote which really sums it up for me is:
I am ashamed to say that my answer was “I haven’t a clue [about the four ecumenical councils], but I am sure I agree with them!”

Power politics, hierarchies of ignorance…

drdanfee
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drdanfee

If … maybe a big IF … there are two integrities, one for OOW and one against, then surely the passing discernment of any self-proclaimed Anglican traditionalistic integrity is to see how it behaves in our modern plural communities, not just to hear what it preaches mainly to its own No Change Traditionalistic believers. The AOOW integrity has mainly tended its own woman-free gardens. Its main business has been about being strict and careful in order to be pure when it comes to traditional males-first, males-only commitments and beliefs about ordained vocations. Oddly, while a high altitude traditional idealization of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Ford, You are so right asbout the tendency – in all of us – to put all of the members of whatever category we care to call them: evos, cons, a.c.’s, etc., into the same narrow basket. It would be better to categorise each one of us – if we have to at all, by our partticular sensisitivities towards the rest of the world. This, to me, is what authentic faith communities are really about. I wonder if it strikes the more strident categorisers amongst us that God may have designed us all differently, so that we have to make… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Frozen and Poppy – I was there, and I suspect from Poppy’s ignorance of what transpired…she wasn’t…and I further suspect Frozen is talking to current MPs and not the class of 1993! I say again – if you want to know what transpired have a word with John Sentamu who was fully involved behind the scenes. And yes, without the Act of Synod (please listen this THIRD time Poppy) several Dioceses would have been no-go areas. Led by David Hope who was then Bishop of London. I take Poppy’s point that many women would have preferred that situation though rather… Read more »

Blah
Guest
Blah

Reform doesn’t take long to get on with it! They’ve released some kind of statement about “fractured fellowship” in the City of London, over the “gay weddings” thing. Have a look at http://www.reformlondon.org.uk.

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

I’ve been to many liberal Anglo-Catholic parishes in the USA. I think too often we lump all AC’s as conservatives. This simply isn’t true. Google Affirming Catholics. The same, I’m sure can be said for Evangelicals.

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

Sorry, Neil, it won’t wash. I was there, too, and I know about the smoke-filled rooms and the plots and the schemes. But that’s all they ever were, and the people in the Church, and the people of the country at large would never have tolerated for a moment the existence of no-go areas for women – whole dioceses where women were officially designated as untouchable. Three strikes, Neil, and you’re out.

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

PS. Thank you for confirming, from inside that magic circle, the role played by David Hope, who has tried to portray himself as a moderate, eirenic influence in all this. As he sat in Bishopthorpe, chairing Archbishop’s Staff Meetings, I wonder what he thought of the women priests who surrounded him there? It’s been a sad time, and it’s well past the time it was over. Alternative Provision is well-past its sell-by date.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Mark Osborne- There is a large overlap between redefining something and denying it. JAT Robinson was indeed denying God as God is widely understood to be – which amounts to all intents and purposes to denying it while affirming something else altogether. There is one part of his apologetic which I always find funny: namely ‘depth good, height bad’. I have struggled for years to see why one is necessarily any better or worse than the other. But in the neophiliac spirit of the ’60s it was obvious: height is traditional so must be wrong; depth is not traditional… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The reason that spiritual resurrection as such has mileage is that Paul is forced to use the available language of resurrection but is talking about spiritual experience. The physical issue comes down to lack of tomb worship and all that, probably a later tradition to have the stories of physicality and certainly that suited anti-Gnostic rhetoric and power games. In any case, Jenkins was also referring to living the resurrection life, which is a theological concept about your own outlook under his very strong revelatory belief in God. I don’t myself go with all of this. I think it is… Read more »

orfanum
Guest
orfanum

At the risk of me, a 9 stone theological weakling, getting into the ring with Christopher Shell, who appears to be a bit of a heavyweight in this regard, ahem: Just happened to be reading the Acts yesterday evening, and for me 15:10-11 are apposite – 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, that ye should put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in like manner as they. So, some time ago… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“There is a danger of self-contradiction/circularity in the apophatic tradition. If it is all about being unsure, then how do you know either that there is a God at all, or that he is precisely not how we understand him to be? Given the vast universe we inhabit there ought to be some revelation of the creator somewhere.” Orthodox theology is based in the apophatic tradition. I don’t think they have any doubts about the existence of God, whatever the risk you see of that. And, as to the second point, what would you recognize as revelation of a Creator?… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“indeed denying God as God is widely understood to be”

Oh brother. Whenever I read a phrase like “as God is widely understood”, I mentally replace it with “God as understood by [the writer: e.g., Christopher Shell].”

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Some believers find non-literal speech apt because in our witness we point to signs of God present without more literal sounding proofs, relying on little else but acts of faith, a daily life lived in risk of that faith. Others sour, saying phew that witness stinks because it has lost touch with being a literal revelation of God, proved, somehow more reliable or trustworthy because some believers claim – little evidence yet to date – that a literal revelation is pristine, self-contained, untouched by human selfhood or society. Yet how sad, how small are so many of our current realigned,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The Report in the Church Times of the Reform Conference stated that they were prepared to play legal games to promote the Gospel……one almost feels that the Lawyers Christian fellowship must be singing ” what a Friend we have in Jesus. ” I hope that does not sound trite or blasphemous.

legal games… I ask you can any one honestly believe that the General Synod did the wrong thing in rejecting a third province for such persons.

Imagine them self destructing alongside Forward in faith..

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

*What dismays me is the vehemence – and at bottom the insecurity – of those who feel that the Faith can only be defended by branding, as enemies within the camp, those who do not* – JAT Robinson “I am afraid that it’s in the vehemence stakes that this is decided, for me at any rate, and you might want to give that some thought.” – Orfanum Dear Orfanum. I applaud your sentiments about the fact that we too often to vehemently defend our own particular theological stance – on the grounds that those who are not securely in our… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Good grief!

Fussing about Bp Robinson’s book – written in the 1950s? In which he says that the metaphors about the creation in the Bible are premised on a flat earth, geocentric universe, and are therefore not to be taken literally?

Fuh cryin’ out loud!

It must be the Brit equivalent to Americans taking on poor old Bp Pike.

Let’s slay the Imaginary Dragon that is already dead anyhow!

Aren’t we brave!

Neil
Guest
Neil

Plus, the legislation etc. does not speak of 2 integrities (as if they were equal) but of the integrity of those opposed to women clergy. But this is wrong Frozen. Please check your facts. I quote the record…’all concerned should endeavour to ensure that (i) discernment of the rightness or otherwise of the decision to ordain women to the priesthood should be as open a process as possible; (ii) the highest possible degree of communion should be maintained within each diocese; and (iii) the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be… Read more »

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

Neil,

All you are saying is that in Alternative Provision you got what you wanted, and that there would have been progress with out it. The first is obviously true, and ignores all those who are terribly hurt and demeaned by the Act. You still fail to advance any evidence of the second, and ignore all arguments that you are wrong.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Re metaphors of depth vs metaphors of height. The only passing preference for depth comes from modern shifts, which may yet shift again. In the Ptolemaic three-tier cosmos, height was as far as thinking could go. Now space modules and cosmic astronomy reach into far, far, far galaxies to listen and watch and measure. Heights, then, have possibly been domesticated by hypothesis testing methods in ways that depth has yet to be. One may readily conclude that origins, as in the creationism vs evolutionary controversies, is another of these vexed yet inevitably changing lexicons into which theology delves, seeking metaphorical… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Why has no one commented that a Reform Parish…Jesmond ( Newcastle upon Tyne ) has planted and built a 200 member church in Durham Diocese…where Bishop Wright is pro-women but holds the line on homosexuality.

Surely the rebellion is already started and the bench of bishops are pretending it is not there.

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

Am I right in thinking that Jesmond is a slightly peculiar (from a legal point of view) establishment? Some sort of quasi-independent entity?

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

No it is a parish church of the Diocese of Newcstle upon Tyne….with a curate not licensed by the bishop, and refusing to pay its quota.
Bishops of the Church of England in South africa have performed confirmations.

With a congregation of 800 plus…(they throw away the leftover communion elements). It was the Church that nurtured me as an Anglican, and there are some lovely Christian people who attend there.

Why leave the Church of England and lose your building , when you can continue on like this…..all the pretence of still belonging but going your own way.