Saturday, 5 November 2005

weekend articles

Several this weekend are about the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot. In the Guardian Catherine Pepinster (who is editor of The Tablet) wrote about this and in The Times Geoffrey Rowell wrote Remember, remember the legacy of suspicion, intolerance and hostility.
Christopher Howse however, wrote about The vision of Magnus Martyr.

In The Tablet *Michael Barnes continues the gunpowder theme with Terror, treason and plot and there are also book reviews. related to this.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times asks Is Sandy Millar a Trojan horse?

The gunpowder theme even extends to Peter Steinfels in the New York Times with A Day to Think About a Case of Faith-Based Terrorism. (hat tip KH)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 November 2005 at 11:39pm GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion
Comments

Kudos to Giles Fraser for smelling something amiss w/ this "Sandy Millar: Bishop of London, Uganda" (?) affair.

If agreeing to this scheme was supposed to hold off "episcopal interventions", didn't the irregular ordinations of a few days ago give lie to this anyway? But even before that, is the CofE *not supposed to notice* that Millar would be consecrated by the *same* +Henry Orombi mucking around, *most irregularly, most unilaterally*, in the Diocese of Los Angeles? If +Orombi doesn't recognize decency and good order on *our* side of the pond, why would he on yours?

Fraser says it all:

"Well, there’s a right way and a wrong way. One is for Uganda to have given us a fantastic new Archbishop of York. The other way is to turn the retired Vicar of Harrods into an absentee landlord from Kampala."

Amen!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 6 November 2005 at 5:01am GMT

Really, really not JCF. Note that this has come at the instigation and wish of the Bp of London and with the full backing of ++RW simply because it is not possible to consecrate honorary bishops in the CofE. There was apparently talk of making him the Bp of Islington (an old and disused bishopric I am told) but this was allegedly shot down by the HoB since he would not have actually been looking after a specific area.

Personally I don't think it's a brilliant idea simply because it will annoy quite a few people and confuse a lot more (as it has you) for no particularly good gain, but to portray it as equivalent to an extra-provincial interference is just not accurate. Much as I normally like Giles Fraser's column, I think this one is unnecessarily provocative and irresponsible.

Posted by: Sean Doherty on Sunday, 6 November 2005 at 5:01pm GMT

Dear JCF You have been somewhat misinformed. Before railing against Uganda and joining with Giles Fraser in insulting Sandy Millar, you should know that it was ++Canterbury and +London who asked Sandy to accept this role!!

Maybe Rev Fraser would like to explain why he omitted this rather key fact from his critique... is he suffering from excessive liberal panic?!

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 6 November 2005 at 6:27pm GMT

Why not a Peerage, then?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 6 November 2005 at 9:11pm GMT

Goran maybe you can resubmit that idea when the CofE has the power to dish out peerages.

Posted by: Sean Doherty on Monday, 7 November 2005 at 10:21am GMT

You mean Sandy Millar wouldn't qualify?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 7 November 2005 at 10:55am GMT

Meaning that the CofE *can't* just make retired clergy peers any more than it can make them non-territorial bishops!

Posted by: Sean Doherty on Monday, 7 November 2005 at 2:11pm GMT

And just as a matter of interest here is the LGCM Press Release prepared for Sandy Millar's happy event when it was first "announced" last year!

An official announcement is expected later this week confirming Prebendary John Alexander Kirkpatrick (Sandy) Millar, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in the diocese of London (UK) is to be made a bishop in the Anglican Church of Uganda.

Prebendary Millar who is 65 this year, has recently announced his retirement as Vicar of Holy Trinity where he is to be succeeded by his curate Nicky Gumbel the co-founder of the Alpha Course.

While the original Alpha Course was criticised for the homophobic message it contained, many Christian communities adapted its material and method to embrace LGBT people and this has enabled a large number of them to come to faith.

LGCM has a considerable number of members who have been touched by the ministry and work of Sandy Millar, some would never have known the love of God had it not been for his work

While it remains a constant source of regret and sadness to LGCM that this powerful form of front line evangelism is still used by some in a way that can dismay and confuse homosexual people and enforce homophobic attitudes in others, it would be churlish not to acknowledge the many good things that have resulted from Sandy Millar’s ministry and work as a priest.

It has been known for some time that the Bishop of London has been looking for a way to mark Sandy Millar’s unique contribution to the life of the Church. The way that the Church of England is constituted makes it almost impossible to appoint someone a bishop by way of recognition for exemplary service. Provinces, such as Uganda, not encumbered by Establishment have no such difficulties.

However, this appointment comes at a difficult time for the Anglican Communion and particularly for the Province of Uganda. Only last week, in a highly controversial move, three parishes in Los Angles in the US have tried to leave the American Episcopal Church and join themselves to the Ugandan Province.

It is obvious that those in England planning to acknowledge Sandy Millar had no knowledge of this impending complication. It is to be regretted that the closeness of these two announcements will cast a shadow over what should have been a matter of celebration for all.

The Revd Richard Kirker, general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement had this to say when he heard the news of Sandy Millar’s forthcoming consecration:

“There is no doubt that Sandy Millar and the work of HTB has brought a living faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ to many who would otherwise have remained untouched by the Church. As with so many Christians here, and throughout the world, we have infinitely more that unites us than that which separates us.”

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 7 November 2005 at 6:07pm GMT

The more you tell me about this, the less I understand.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 7 November 2005 at 7:37pm GMT

Revd Richard Kirker, general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement had this to say when he heard the news of Sandy Millar’s forthcoming consecration: "There is no doubt that Sandy Millar and the work of HTB has brought a living faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ to many who would otherwise have remained untouched by the Church."

It's great that LGCM folk have felt blessed through Alpha (modified version).. I've also seen it used in many Catholic churches in France and Belgium.. and protestant ones all over. Sandy's project has had VERY broad appeal even across the lib/con divide !

Maybe he would do a better job at pulling the Communion together than the current ABofC ?!!

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 12:23am GMT

These arguments make it clear that Millar is *worthy of honor*.

What they do *not* make clear is

1) Why *consecration to the episcopate* is the appropriate honor, or if it is

2) Why the Church in Uganda (and particularly +Orombi) is the means by which to bestow it.

"It is obvious that those in England planning to acknowledge Sandy Millar had no knowledge of this impending complication."

But it *did* complicate it---fatally, IMO. In the year following, there's been plenty of time to re-think this.

It's a pity that this re-thinking apparently has not happened. :-/

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 1:02am GMT

Would explain some of the things they say on their site, though...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 6:44am GMT

Dear Göran, Maybe you need to learn to "think outside the box"? For instance there is nothing fundamental about Bishop's having a geographical territory (it's neither first order theology or morality). I think that it arose out of convenience (transport being slow) and was consolidated by the Roman Church to fit with the way civilised society worked.

Both communications and the way society works have changed rapidly in the last 100 years, so why shouldn't the definition of a Bishop's "diocese" change too ? Or are you saying that morals and beliefs are flexible, but power structures are sacred ?

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 8 November 2005 at 8:12pm GMT

Dear Dave,

I don't follow. In the Church of Sweden Bishops are God's good order, not fundamental, but neither can they (or their Dioceses) be discarded. Only denominations do that.

How you want Dioceses to change because of railroads I don't know... Where's the connection? Clapham?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 6:40am GMT

Dear Dave, thank you for being spot on in your criticism of the "liberal panic" expressed by Giles Fraser and our Nordic revisionist Goran. As long as it suits them the power structures are sacred and everything else is flexible. If they had been members of the Roman Church the structures would hardly be this attractive to uphold. This tells us all about what kind of "catholics" they are!

Posted by: Peter on Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 9:09am GMT

Dear Göran, to explain: Until recent centuries nearly everyone used to live in small local communities, most rarely left the locality where they were born, and all their friends and family were within a few kilometers of them.
Nowadays people move around a lot for work, leisure etc, communities are spread much further apart and are mixed together, and overlap geographically. This has been happening for a few generations in the UK. Now we also have much better communications, so that we can travel faster, further - to keep in contact with a distributed community, and we also have telephone and email that help us "feel close". I recently had an online meeting with old friends from a UK church that involved people in three countries (two continents)!

All this has been increasingly reflected in the growth of national and international networks of like-minded Christians and churches in organisations such as "Inclusive Church" and "Reform"; and I suspect that many CofE people would give much greater weight to the pronouncements of the leaders of the networks that they are in than to their local diocesan!

That's one reason I think that geography is no longer the best way to define "diocese". I suppose that national boudaries must still come into play though - if only because a foreign Bishop would probably have no legal standing.

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 10:09pm GMT

Oh! Couldn't have guessed.

But this seems stark innovation to me ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 11:25am GMT

Dear Göran, Echt stark! :=)

Dear Reader, Stark means "strong" in German and "Echt Stark" would mean "really cool idea" or something similar..

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 8:56pm GMT
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