Thinking Anglicans

William Nye's letter: a development

Olivia Rudgard at the Telegraph has now reported on reactions to the letter from William Nye, and her report contains an important new revelation. The article Church of England split over US plan to remove ‘husband and wife’ from marriage service concludes with this information:

…A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “The request was addressed to the Secretary General, as Provincial Secretary of the Church of England, who then consulted both Archbishops.

“It was concluded that as there was not time for full consultation of the House of Bishops – which meets only twice a year – a reply should be sent at staff level.

“Church House staff therefore produced a reply, in consultation with the Archbishops and the Bishop of Coventry, the chairman of the Faith and Order Commission.

“Mr Nye replied as Provincial Secretary.”

That’s rather different from the original letter which simply said:

…This response, therefore, reflects discussions among staff of the Archbishops’ Council only.

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Kate
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Kate

So there we have it. This is what the Archbishops meant by “radical new Christian inclusion”. It doesn’t include LGBTI people, nor any church which intends to stop discriminating against LGBTI people. Worse, it seems they believe that the difference between “radical inclusion” and “radical Christian inclusion” is that Christian means discrimination against LGBTI people is not just OK but required by God.

Truly disgusting.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

No surprise there.

On the other thread, on Saturday, I posted that we could consider Mr. Nye’s letter “as an expression of the Archbishop of Canterbury, wearing his Communion-must-be-preserved-no-matter-the-cost-to-English-LGBTQ-people mitre.”

Was the Bishop of Coventry (chair of the Orwellian Commission) consulted in case the Archbishop of York was wobbly?

Malcolm French
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Malcolm French

Will any Church of England / Anglican Communion bureaucrat ever be held accountable for exceeding their authority – or more accurately, for usurping authority?

My favourite series of “Yes, Minister” was the last one (“Yes, Prime Minister”), where Haccker actually begins to turn the tables on that pompous hack Sir Humphrey.

John Wallace
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John Wallace

How much better would it have been to send a reply which says that the C of E is still engaged in working out its position? Might seem fence-sitting (our supreme skill) but would also be more honest towards those who hold divergent views. Something about prayer would not have been amiss, rather than a ‘civil service’ type of response which might suit government reponses but does not fit easily with the body of Christ and its mission to proclaim the love of God to all.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

For clarification, the Bishop of Coventry is chairing the new Teaching Document on Marriage. And he is the only bishop who voted against Jayne Ozanne’s Private Member Motion on Conversion Therapy.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

So Justin & John have decided, without consultation, to sign the whole Church up to Humanae Vitae?

crs
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crs

I continue to believe the CofE needs to think through what it wants. Does it believe the ABC and the CofE have some senior/organizing role wider than itself, and if so, on what basis (history, ‘catholic’ claims, necessity/admin)? There is an ongoing strain of complaint and distress when the ABC does this or that, not in the context of the CofE alone, but more broadly. Many Provinces no longer understand what his role is, and this lack of understanding is distributed across conservative and liberal members. This confusing dance will in theory continue until the CofE clarifies just what the… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“Something about prayer would not have been amiss, rather than a ‘civil service’ type of response which might suit government reponses but does not fit easily with the body of Christ and its mission to proclaim the love of God to all. “ Is the institutional part of the Church of England part of the body of Christ? Just because it claims to be, probably thinks it is, doesn’t mean that it is. To me, the primary purpose of the institutions of the Church of England appears to be an attempt to preserve / recapture a way of life, and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Having been raised in the Coventry Diocese – and now a retired priest in ACANZP – I would like to register my profound dissatisfaction with the involvement of the current Bishop of Coventry in the C. of E.’s continuing disrespect for legally married S.S Couples.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Malcolm French – Nye wasn’t exceeding, still less usurping authority. He was, as I speculated on another much earlier thread, just doing his master’s will, as, being an employee, he was duty bound to do.

The Telegraph report makes clear that both Archbishops were consulted, both before deciding to make a response and whilst formulating the response.

crs
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crs

“to sign the whole Church up to Humanae Vitae” — why would he need to do that when there is a perfectly good exemplar in the present liturgical and theological resources of the CofE?

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“I continue to believe the CofE needs to think through what it wants.” Christopher I think we all agree with that sentiment. How do you propose it does so? By vote in General Synod? By asking the electoral roll members of the whole C of E? By having some kind of vote? Thinking through what the C of E wants has presented problems for the entire history of this peculiar organisation. Hence why there was an Elizabethan Settlement. The same kind of thing will have to happen on this question as happened with the ordination of women as bishops. That… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

So York and Canterbury have decided it’s more important that it remains 1968 inside the church, in order to keep Gafcon happy, than it is to notice that it’s 2018 outside the church, in order to look decent to the general population of the UK.

It’s a strategy, of sorts. Essentially, it’s abandoning the mainstream of the UK population in favour of a small claque of noisy, generally elderly, die-hards. In twenty years’ time, I wonder who’ll be left?

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Malcolm Dix,
so when William Nye did not state in his letter that it was written in consultation with the Archbishops, but instead wrote it on the Archbishops’ Council letterhead, stating that he wrote it after consultation with the Council, when in fact, the Council was never even told about this – was he still obeying his masters’ will?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Malcolm French, “The Telegraph report makes clear that both Archbishops were consulted…” You are probably correct about The Telegraph. However one might take note of the tail end of the article, “A spokesperson for the Church of England said…” No indication of who the “spokesperson” is or in what way authorized. In any event, not a surprise. Popular or not, Archbishop Welby clearly is cognizant of his role as of the occupant of the office of ABC from which the other ‘instruments of Communion’ historically and logically flow. He is also cognizant that The Communion remains grounded in his… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

In Jeremy Pemberton’s case against the Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the phrase in the Bishop’s letter “after consultation with the Archbishop of York…” was held in Court to mean ‘the Archbishop of York had absolutely nothing to do with it. Honest.’ Perhaps it carries the same meaning here?

Jeremy
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Jeremy

I think we can infer that some questions were asked within the Council, regarding on whose authority Mr. Nye was pontificating. And that these questions have caused Mr. Nye’s (apparent) misstatement in the letter itself to be corrected.

Perhaps Canterbury and York initially preferred to try to keep their hands clean. If so, that obviously didn’t work.

It is now clear that Mr. Nye was speaking for two archbishops and a bishop only.

What does the rest of the Archbishops’ Council think? What does General Synod think?

Perhaps Synod should dissociate itself from Mr. Nye’s letter.

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

At the very least the original letter should have made clear that the staff were acting as agents of the Archbishops and the Head of the Faith and Order Commission (+Coventry). Why the nature of William Nye’s agency wasn’t disclosed we will never know. What interests me is how the statements made in the letter can possibly be equated to the promise of a radical (yes radical not just incremental or insubstantial) new (therefore not just a rehashing of the old, in slightly less stringent or hectoring tone of voice).

crs
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crs

AG: work it out. It cannot just fester forever. Let the CofE tell the ABC you want him to stay out of Anglican Communion affairs and only manage his own province. Take away this business of ‘I determine membership with my own hand.’ No wonder he feels he has some responsibility to levy these decisions. If it isn’t surrendered it will soon not be worth much. Affecting a comparison with the Elizabethan Settlement is dramatic but not convincing. This is a far simpler set of issues. I wonder if you speak for everyone, moreover, when you say “I think we… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

ooops! Malcolm Dixon replying to Malcolm French. A Malcolm too far ( : My bad. Otherwise, my comment stands.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

” “to sign the whole Church up to Humanae Vitae” — why would he need to do that when there is a perfectly good exemplar in the present liturgical and theological resources of the CofE?” As I recall, Nye argues that procreation is an essential part of marriage and that is one reason SSMs aren’t valid. But the C of E, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, does not hold or teach that procreation is essential to marriage. This was debated at General Synod in 1999-2000 when the Common Worship Marriage Service was being discussed and approved. Bp. Nazir-Ali had argued… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Christopher: “Let the CofE tell the ABC you want him to stay out of Anglican Communion affairs and only manage his own province” A grand statement if ever there was one. Please tell us what exactly you mean by it? Who/What do you mean when you say C of E in this context? How are they going to tell the ABC? Please enlighten us. “Affecting a comparison with the Elizabethan Settlement is dramatic but not convincing. This is a far simpler set of issues” Really? If it’s so simple why has it been dragging on unsolved for at least 30… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“Affecting a comparison with the Elizabethan Settlement is dramatic but not convincing. This is a far simpler set of issues”

Christopher: you might actually want to re-read my comment. I was affecting a comparison with the matter of women bishops. The citing of the Elizabethan Settlement simply illustrates that the C of E has, historically, always found it hard to work out what it thinks.

Bill Broadhead
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Bill Broadhead

As someone else said on an earlier thread (in relation to Matthew 23.34), when the Pharisees were stumped, they sent in a lawyer to do their dirty work. There’s nothing new under the sun.
Yes, Jeremy and others, this is a matter for the General Synod, and Nye (plus those pulling his strings) should be required to apologise for exceeding their authority and presuming to speak for people like me. What a disgrace.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: CRS, “Let the CofE tell the ABC you want him to stay out of Anglican Communion affairs and only manage his own province. Take away this business of ‘I determine membership with my own hand.’ “ Sounds like the beat of the realignment fife and drum. Since 1867 Communion membership has always been, and remains, a mutual not a unilateral affair. Communion with the see of Canterbury is something people in my part of the world value. They support Communion partnerships, the instruments of Communion (all of them), The Mother’s Union, The Anglican Women’s Network, Communion wide indigenous relationships,… Read more »

crs
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crs

Dear Ms Fife

Mr Nye’s text opposed ‘gift of children’ as a substitute for the procreation language of the present TEC BCP, as one of the traditional goods of the estate of marriage… an Anglican position found also in the churches of the Reformation.

Introducing an alleged Nazi-Ali position on ‘defective in intent’ as the position of Nye and the Archbishops’ Council is simply inaccurate. The TEC BCP text has been cited in previous posts, and the changes to that are what Nye addressed in response to requests to do so.

Humanae Vita is not the TEC BCP.

Kate
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Kate

“The Nye correspondence, while another lightning rod for hurt and resentment, does it really say anything new? Is there anything any of us on this thread have said that has not been said many times over already?”

Yes.

1) The bishops were not consulted. The fact that the House of Bishops only meets formally is an excuse: it would have been easy to send a group email inviting comment.

2) Two bishops signed Jayne’s letter disassociating the signatories from Nye’s letter.

crs
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crs

“Yes. Really. Who do you think doesn’t agree with it?”

AG: take that up with RG.

RG: It doesn’t take a realignment drum to point out the thin ice the ABC now manifestly occupies. Take it up with AG!

I have no interest in realigning anything but rather in noting the real mess this present polity exposes. I know you have your conspiracy concerns, as well as a certain affection for the Canterbury role when it might suit you. Fine.

I note a wave of umbrage and simply wonder why labour under it. Why not address it.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Christopher: you don’t seem to be able to answer very straight forward questions. Let me ask again:
What do you mean by the C of E in the context of your comment? Who is going to take the decision to tell the ABC what you want to tell him? Who is going to be the spokesperson?
Why, if it’s simple, hasn’t this issue been resolved?

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“The Nye correspondence, while another lightning rod for hurt and resentment, does it really say anything new? Is there anything any of us on this thread have said that has not been said many times over already?” I think after the not taking note vote and the Archbishops’ response that gay people are people and not problems to be resolved, and after Justin Welby’s statement about radical inclusion – yes, this is new. This is a throw-back to a way of doing things we had hoped we had left behind us by now. At the very least it would have… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“(The Jerusalem Declaration lays down a competing religious based narrative should one be required to rationalize a future break). “The Anglican realignment movement has its own strategy i.e. a ‘work around’ the ABC and favoring some instruments of Communion over others i.e. The Primatial Curia is in and the ACC is out. The ABC has ‘no jurisdiction’ but Lambeth apparently is binding when convenient.” – Rod Gillis – Rod’s assessment here is nearer to the truth – about the Anglican Rift – that some people seem to realise. GAFCON has already declared its intentional split from the rest of the… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Kate, I was thinking more globally. Notwithstanding the trickling out of details the Nye Correspondence has not generated any substantially new conversation, as far as I can see. Just more salt in the wound, no? Re: CRS, “… the real mess this present polity exposes…” It’s a relational polity Chris, it’s based on relationships. “..affection for the Canterbury role when it might suit you.” I have a particular practiced approach when it comes to contending with authority figures & structures; but, maverick or not, I strive to conduct myself from the loyal opposition side of the aisle. “you have… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

Funny how right-wingers think globally on such a small and exclusive scale!

Kate
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Kate

“Re: Kate, I was thinking more globally. Notwithstanding the trickling out of details the Nye Correspondence has not generated any substantially new conversation, as far as I can see. Just more salt in the wound, no?” Globally, no. Domestically, I think it has. As I say, two bishops signed Jayne’s letter. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, had a recent piece in the Daily Mail which was sharply.critical of the white, Southern, public-school “priestly caste”. The bishops were shut out of the Nye response and are starting to voice independent criticisms. I think that is a massive development. Change can only… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“I note a wave of umbrage and simply wonder why labour under it. Why not address it”

Umbrage? Is this a new theological discipline that has been developed and has passed us by? I rather thought we were dealing with gospel issues – I don’t know – like justice, equity, mercy, freedom, grace and love? Concepts that might address the issue? If conservatives simply think it’s umbrage, then I am not quite sure what their point is.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

CRS, do call me Janet. I apologise for not making myself clear. I did not mean to imply that Nye was arguing specifically that a marriage where children are not intended or possible is ‘defective in intent’ – though he does come rather near to that. I was pointing out that when Nazir-Ali had argued this theological position in Synod, it was vigorously rejected. A number of people cited cases of marriages where children were not desirable. I remember one particularly moving speech where a member told of being a carrier for a severe genetic abnormality; she and her husband… Read more »

crs
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crs

AG, as they say, take a chill pill! Look, the simple point is that amidst all this grousing and umbrage re: the ABC, the truth of the matter is the CofE needs to attend to its own knitting. If it does not want the ABC to be involved in some special way vis-à-vis the provinces of the Communion, let it make its will known. Let it interrogate the reasons why such a single Province of the AC believes it has a role vis-à-vis the others. You appear to prefer being ‘stuck’ and looking for others to find solutions. The Province… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Fr. Ron, I think your explication of GAFCON is right on. Let’s add to that, from within a larger horizon, the attempt to establish the ill fated Anglican Covenant and the very concerning Section 4 which would have impacted the relational nature of The Communion by undermining the role of the ABC and strengthening some sort of ‘supreme soviet’ style standing committee. Re: Erika, I take your point. The Nye letter may well represent an escalation/regression and set back for Communion diplomacy that is now more acute. But again, my point about ‘nothing new” in the conversation was really aimed… Read more »

crs
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crs

“That may cause some to recoil in horror at a supposed corruption of doctrine, but it is pastorally sensitive.”

This kind of exaggerated rhetoric — “recoiling in horror” — to my mind gives the store away.

No one I know is recoiling in any horror.

And the older couples I know aren’t confused by the difference between appropriate language for their own marriage and the elimination of such language tout court. This isn’t ‘pastoral sensitivity’ but just common sense. Older couples usually get that.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“…the truth of the matter is the CofE needs to attend to its own knitting. If it does not want the ABC to be involved in some special way vis-à-vis the provinces of the Communion, let it make its will known…”

Ah yes Christopher. So let me ask you once again. How? By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this? Please enlighten us! I’m not actually stuck at all but you do seem to be on this one.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this?” Why can’t Synod pass a resolution encouraging the ABC always to give regard, first and foremost, to the interests of the Church of England and its members, and to put second his own interests as an “Instrument” of the Anglican Communion, much less the interests of the Communion broadly speaking? Seems to me that such an resolution would make very clear where the ABC’s loyalties must lie. (It boggles the mind that this needs to be made explicit, but here we… Read more »

crs
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crs

“By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this?” If I may, this is a pitiful, and a bit sad, response. You are asking me, not a member of the Church of England, how I am supposed to guide you in a problem that bothers *you*, a member of the CofE, about a ABC role “I think we all agree with being problematic,” to quote you. “Just do it,” to quote Nike. Or quit complaining. Is there a problem with sorting out issues in the CofE that members judge to… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

To answer Erika’s question from yesterday, Nye did not say that his letter was the result of consultation with the Archbishop’s Council, but rather with the Council’s staff. That is what he had agreed with the Archbishops, so he did as agreed, and gave the source. For the avoidance of doubt, I am wholly opposed to the poisonous theology expressed in the letter, but that comes from the Archbishops, not from Nye, who is just the messenger. And I agree with others that this is a blatant betrayal of the promise of a radical new inclusivity made in GS after… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“Why can’t Synod pass a resolution encouraging the ABC always to give regard, first and foremost, to the interests of the Church of England and its members, and to put second his own interests as an “Instrument” of the Anglican Communion, much less the interests of the Communion broadly speaking?”

Thank you Jeremy for responding to AG in a very sensible way.

For the life of me I do not understand why he persists as he does. Your note is required reading. You answer his importuning.

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

“Why can’t Synod pass a resolution etc…..” Jeremy that’s a nice idea but how would such a resolution ever get to the floor of synod. Private Members Motion? Diocesan Synod motion? Would the business committee give it time? I doubt it as it isn’t a motion that directly affects the Church of England. The ABC’s position vis a vis the Communion is an historic one. It would need other member churches to decide they wanted a different spiritual head than the ABC. Christopher’s idea is simply not realistic, and he knows it otherwise he would have an idea how it… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Just for the record, the present BCP in use in the Episcopal Church (1979) includes the following text: In the opening exhortation, as one of the divine “intentions” for the institution of marriage (p 423): “and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.” In the Prayers for the Couple, a text which can (like the prayer for progeny in the 1549 and following English rites) be omitted (p. 429): “Bestow on them, if it is your will, the gift and heritage of children, and the grace… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

For the record Christopher: the ABC being spiritual head of the Anglican Communion doesn’t bother me at all, and I don’t think that is what bothers most members of the CofE – but it does seem to bother you rather a lot as you keep coming back to it. What I was suggesting we all agree needs resolution is the presenting issue that William NYE was asked to address – which was not the question of the ABC’s relationship to the Anglican Communion. You invented that one.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Either way would work–private member’s motion or diocesan Synod motion. Other such motions have made it to the floor at recent Synods.

As to whether it touches the CofE, of course it would. This would be the CofE telling one of its officers where his duty of loyalty chiefly lies.

It would then be for the ABC to determine what repercussions, if any, this degree of clarity would have for his Communion role.

So I fail to understand your objections.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this?” – If I may, this is a pitiful, and a bit sad, response. You are asking me, not a member of the Church of England, how I am supposed to guide you in a problem that bothers *you*, a member of the CofE, about a ABC role “I think we all agree with being problematic,” to quote you.” – crs – Granted, Christopher, that you are not a member of the CofE. BUT, what part of the Anglican Communion DO you… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

As a priest (retired but active) in the ACANZP (The Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Polynesia), I am grateful for our filial relations with Lambeth, the ABC and the Church of England. However, for a long time now our Church has acted independently of ‘Mother Church’ in some of our innovative canonical structures. We were early promoters of 3-house synodical government, as well as early ordainers of women clergy and bishops – well before the Church of England aspired to these ‘modern’ innovations. Likewise, it is also likely that we might yet make an allowance for the Blessing of… Read more »