THINKING ANGLICANS

some Southwark evangelicals rebel on finance

Updated Tuesday afternoon

Last week’s Church Times carried a report by Ed Thornton Evangelicals warned on cash. (This earlier report gives the background.)

…Some Evangelicals in the diocese are setting up an alternative parish-share scheme, which will be a registered charity (News, 20 April). It is understood that a presentation about the plans will be made to members of the South­wark Diocesan Evangelical Union in the next couple of months, and that briefing papers will be available for PCCs to discuss.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Kuhrt, Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church, New Malden, in Southwark diocese, criticised the plans for an alternative fund. He said that he did not want “further schism and separation” in the diocese. “Creating separate structures is tempting, but is virtually always unhelpful because it creates confusion. We don’t need Evangelical ghettos being created, and we mustn’t use money as a means of blackmail… Anyone who’s really concerned about the mission of the diocese will not be wanting to go down this track.”

One source of information used in this report was this statement at evangelicals.org, which is run by Church Society:

Ministry Trust to be established in Southwark Diocese

Due to widespread concerns in the Diocese of Southwark, a Trust is being established to support the ministry cost of parish clergy.

There will be a presentation for members of the Diocese of Southwark Evangelical Union and other interested bodies within the next couple of months, which will include a question and answer session, and briefing papers to take away for Parochial Church Councils to discuss, should they want them.

There has already been an expression of interest from clergy in the Diocese of Salisbury, because of their own local concerns.

However, a letter in this week’s Church Times from the chairman of the Southwark Diocesan Evangelical Union says:

…it is under­stood that a presentation about an alternative parish-share system in Southwark is to be presented to members of the DEU next month. The Executive Committee of the DEU has no plans to organise such a meeting.

Details were then published of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust in this article: Southwark Ministry Trust releases FAQs

The Southwark Good Stewards Company Limited report that because there has been, in the last few days, much misrepresentation of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust, the Directors have issued the below Frequently Asked Questions, ahead of the official Trust launch and reception. The Directors hope that the FAQ’s may be of interest to members of churches of other Dioceses where there is also widespread concern about revisionism…

Update

Fulcrum has published an article by Stephen Kuhrt titled Why the ‘Southwark Ministry Trust’ is not the solution.

…Within Southwark Diocese, most of us describing ourselves as evangelicals are agreed that we are facing a major problem. A diocese of considerable diversity that has for several years maintained a balance between its different traditions has very suddenly appeared to lurch in one direction. This has come about through seven successive senior posts within the diocese all being given to liberal-Catholics. Hopefully for evangelicals in Southwark, this imbalance is temporary rather than indicating something more permanent. But it is definitely serious and has created a good deal of damage to the perception of how evangelicals are viewed and valued. At an extremely delicate time, these appointments have also created a very specific anxiety about so many of the leadership positions within the diocese now being held by those committed to a revisionist position on homosexuality. It is for these reasons that I have been among those who have criticised the imbalance within the Southwark appointments and strongly communicated this upset and dissatisfaction to our Bishop, Christopher Chessun.

At the basis of this response has been a commitment to what I see as the ‘principled comprehensiveness’ of being part of the Church of England. Part of what the ‘principled’ aspect of this involves is being prepared to make strong protest when decisions are taken that are seen as wrong or misguided and being committed to patient and ongoing pressure to reverse them. Part of what the ‘comprehensiveness’ side of this involves, however, is an equal commitment to remaining fully embedded within a diverse church partly because of the conviction that evangelicals equally need those of other traditions to tell us (just as strongly) when we go wrong as well…

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Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Same old story.

When LGCM celebrated its 20th anniversary in Southwark Cathedral in 1996 there were threats of the same sort then hoping to pressure the diocese to withdraw permission for the service.

I suspect that the day is getting closer when some form of schism will take place.

Mr Kuhrt, again.
He wrote that rather mean and nasty essay on the Covenant over at Fulcrum.

John Bowles
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John Bowles

Surely this has been on the cards for years? Knowing the Evangelicals’ concern for scriptural orthodoxy I suggest that it is inevitable.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Hey, chickens!

See that roost?

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

It makes sense that as the Evangelicals have all the truth, all the integrity and alone know the will of God for Southwark and every where else, that they should have, keep, and control their own money. And of course, command the rest of us. They are after-all public school by background and expectation and expect to be obeyed, or else we know what we can expect don’t we ? Such arrogance and conceit is amazing. The new bishop of Southwark is being kicked while new, before he finds his feet. Is this really kind let alone godly ? And… Read more »

Simon Butler
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Simon Butler

It’s worth noting that only about 10 actual parishes are even considering this step, which is a small minority of even Evangelical parishes in Southwark.The vast majority of Southwark Evangelicals want nothing to do with this divisive and separatist step, most of whom have been sounding off about this for years.

David Rowett
Guest

Hmmm, I just wish these folk would be honest – I mean, underneath the code words of the Jerusalem Declaration is the standard ConsEv underpinning, and for all the bleating about being open to all those who consider themselves ‘orthodox’ in that rather narrrow sense in which it’s employed in this partisan/polemical stuff, we know that there aren’t many folk who worship at Our Lady & St Ignatius’ who can join in the game.

Why not say, ‘We’re a bunch of wealthy ConsEvs who are using that wealth to throw our weight around.’ I could respect that, in a funny way.

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

And so it begins…

david rowett
Guest

I’d be more impressed with ‘Evangelicals’ concern for scriptural orthodoxy’ if it wasn’t so darn’ selective. All the warnings in the Gospels about wealth seem not to appear on the radar: and I have to admit that too many of the Evangelical churches I’ve had dealings with have rather large car-parks with rather ‘nice’ cars…. It worries me does this flagrant ignoring of the plain meaning of Scripture. Rowan once observed that when Church Leaders are asked to speak out on morality, what’s actually being asked for is for the Church to support the POV of the person who’s asking.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

It all sounds very much like Congregationalism to me, an observer from afar. It seems to reek of: “We know what best to do with OUR money” – an overt protestation of a claimed ‘orthodoxy’ quite similar to the GAFCON/FCA conglomerate.

JCF
Guest
JCF

And right after the FOCAs were here: imagine that!

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Laurence – I’m English by birth (tho now in Canada) and evangelical by conviction. I was born into a working class family on a cobbled street in inner-city Leicester. Public school? You must be joking. We were dirt poor. My grandfather was a mechanic and my grandmother worked in a shoe factory.

These caricatures are very unhelpful. Evangelicals – the real ones, not the demonized stereotypes – are as diverse as Anglo-Catholics and liberals and everyone else.

Father David
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Father David

If, as Lawrence suggests the revolting Evangelicals of Southwark are “public school by background” then I would further suggest that they will not be unfamiliar with “gay folk and gayness”.

Kevin Scott
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Kevin Scott

I am deeply saddened by this development – and by some of the comments about Evangelicals. As a liberal Anglican here in Kingston Deanery (Southwark Diocese and, yes, Stephen’s Deanery)I have always been greeted with respect and affection by evangelical colleagues. In this Deanery at least (which ranges from Reform to Res C) we have lived with difference and even come to value it. Amongst those colleagues, Stephen Kuhrt has been an example of how to hold conviction with integrity while living generously with those who hold different convictions. It is sad that Bp Christopher was not perhaps better advised… Read more »

Chris H.
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Chris H.

David, do none of the liberals you know drive nice cars or wish they had large churches with large parking lots? Does all the money given to the diocese charities go to food banks, women’s shelters or other things that conservatives and liberals agree on? Here in America several tests and studies have shown conservatives give more than liberals to charity. My local church doesn’t want the conservatives to go because they give more to the church than the liberals. Without the conservatives, the money won’t be around to keep things up. Neither do the local liberals give all they… Read more »

Jonathan Jennings
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Jonathan Jennings

Thanks for the reminder about the 1996 Southwark event; it’s often forgotten that it prompted a Thought for the Day broadcast which was unprecedented in that the speaker used the platform to launch an attack on the diocese of Southwark, the cathedral authorities and that part of the church of England campaigning on the issue. The Church of England communications unit made a formal complaint to the BBC, mostly on the basis that TFD was an inappropriate place for this kind of comment, not least because there was no right of reply and no guarantee of balance across the range… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

It’s helpful to hear from Kevin Scott that Mr Kuhrt is nice to liberals and he might bear it in mind that some of those commenting adversely above are themselves evangelical. We are all sorry this is happening in Southwark diocese, but it has been on the cards for nearly 20 years. It would seem from this and an earlier thread that both Southwark and Chichester enjoy leadership teams that leave some feeling sidelined – but it is from Southwark we consistently hear of schismatic acts and illicit ordinations. We already know that some of the usual suspects in South… Read more »

david rowett
Guest

Chris H seems to have missed my point: if a church is to campaign on the grounds that it alone is Scriptural, then it cannot but be asked why it privileges certain Scriptural passages above others – a Week 1 part of any course on hermeneutics, surely? I don’t know a great deal about the US situation, but I do know that ‘charitable giving’ in the UK can include both a water project in Africa and the funding of an exclusive school for the well-heeled. There’s reason to query the oft-repeated mantra that COnsEv parishes ‘give more’ as well. And… Read more »

Kevin Scott
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Kevin Scott

Hmmm… you have a point Martin.

I only know Stephen from working with him as a neighbour and a colleague for some years.

He and I disagree profoundly on a number of issues. But if all the structures of the Church fell apart tomorrow, and all the ecclesiologies turned into so much sand, it would be the nice guys I trusted and knew that I would seek out.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

“……. it would be the nice guys I trusted and knew that I would seek out”
Amen!

David Keen
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David Keen

Stephen Kuhrt “I regard the recently established ‘Southwark Trust Fund’ as a mistake and urge my fellow evangelicals within the diocese not to join it.” http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=721

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Perhaps this recent Southwark appointment will help:
http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/5990

Although perhaps the fact she is female and a liturgist will not endear her to the type of evangelicals who set up so-called trust funds!

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

This is an unfortunate but not unexpected development in this diocese. I don’t know how Southwark organises its parish share machinery, but presumably these parishes will declare UDI, pay their own clergy and only thereby deprive the diocese of the balance of the parish share, which is termed the ministry support contribution in St Albans. I have some sympathy with the churches concerned, but do not believe it will achieve anything. The global concern has always been that the acute fractures in The Episcopal Church will spill over to the Church of England. The Southwark CNC might have done better… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Conservatives give more *money* – but not much else. Love of money is the root of evil, so, if churches don’t wish to lose money if the conservatives go . . . well, that says a lot about the churches, and very little about actual *caritas*. I’m rather tired of this “it’s been shown” meme — it’s the same statistical analysis that conservatives deride when not to their favor. A further thought, a study would mean that christian conservatives are very vocal about their giving (often the case, in my experience), yet, I think Jesus said something about left and… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest

No one ever got rich by moving left.

I rent my home. I take the subway and I don’t own a car.

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

To be fair, it’s not just the conservatives that might hold back their money if they don’t agree with something.

The LBGT community is, I’d venture an opinion, even better and more organized at economic boycotts. I have LGBT friends in the Anglican Church in Canada who have said that they won’t give a dime towards funds going to Africa, as the African churches will just use their money against them.

So, hard to fault the conservatives for doing the same. In Canada btw, I’d venture to say it’s the evangelicals that are “poorer.”

commentator
Guest
commentator

St Albans got its present bishop because the loud evangelicals wanted a man who would be received in every parish, which translates as those who turned their backs on the previous bishop when he accepted Dr John as Dean. So, actually, the tail wagged the dog in St Albans – it was just more subtle than the actions in Southwark. When are the less evangelical parishes going to acquire the wisdom that gets you the bishop you’d like? They respect the ‘office’, live out unity in diversity, and get no credit for it. But the House of Bishops acquires another… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest

They are after-all public school by background and expectation and expect to be obeyed

Maybe in England. Believe me, it makes little difference when none of them are public school educated…

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Firstly, the studies I was looking at used IRS data and/or excluded money given to churches. Secondly, now that most conservatives have been chased off, TEC is still a WASP church. Unless you’re pointing to specific churches on reservations, etc. It’s still the country club church. A parish with an ASA of 50 can’t afford a priest and the buildings and support the food bank,etc. unless they have some money. Thirdly, Randall’s observation is correct here as well. LGBT activists are perfectly willing to refuse to give to the local women’s shelter, children’s shelter, main food bank, etc. because they… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Still doesn’t change anything. Firstly, still about money, nothing else. Nor does it take into account the reasons for the giving, nor the expectations, nor what else might be given – for instance, what is the savings for a food bank in volunteer work, rather than cash paid to an employee in a non-profit corporation? IRS deals only with money, not people. Secondly, non sequitir – takes up another popular meme of the ASA of 50. Still statistics, not real life. Defeats original proposition by saying that, somehow, these liberals who give less are giving so much. Confusing, confused and… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest

“Also, the local liberals who aren’t country club members are often part of the unions, who like to think of themselves as just regular working folk, but who make much more than the other working folk. They aren’t poor; they just won’t admit it.”

Tell that to my creditors.

Bill Dilworth
Guest

“As someone put it, “Liberals want the government to take care of the poor so they don’t have to.””

That would make sense, if liberals didn’t pay the taxes that the government uses to take care of the poor. In fact, liberals want the government to take care of the poor because when it was left to the private sector as a voluntary action the poor did not get cared for very well.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Well said, Bill. Liberals also want to the government to take care of the poor because they believe that having a minimum standard of living and healthcare and education free at the point of use are a basic right in a civilised society and not something that should be left to unreliable and fickle individual charity that the “poor” then have to be grateful for. It’s why many of us are very happy to pay taxes and really really dislike tax evasion, even exploiting legitimate loopholes. It would also be much better if the donors didn’t think they were good… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

What always gets me is that the same conservatives who believe individuals aren’t morally mature or trustworthy enough to make decisions in their own lives and have to be “protected” from their vocations and loves are quite trusting of the moral maturity of individuals – especially if they are wealthy, conservative – to provide for the needy and disadvantaged with no coercion! Rather backwards, I think.