Friday, 11 November 2005

Reform on civil partnerships

The latest Reform press release is titled ‘OUTRAGEOUS BISHOPSSTATEMENT ON CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS MUST NOW PROVOKE ACTIONSAYS REFORM. If you scroll down, you will also find the resolution on this topic from the recently concluded 2005 conference of this organisation. I reproduce both the press release and the resolution text below the fold.

There is also another document, also available from either Church Society or Anglican Mainstream, written by John Richardson and in PDF format. It is titled The Church of England, Civil Partnerships and the House of Bishops.

And a further document from Reform is Key Issues Arising for from the Civil Partnerships Act September 2005 by Charles Raven (remember him?)

PRESS RELEASE FROM REFORM

‘OUTRAGEOUS BISHOPSSTATEMENT ON CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS MUST NOW PROVOKE ACTIONSAYS REFORM

The Pastoral Statement issued by the House of Bishops on the implications for the church of the Civil Partnership Act (25th July) is an outrage, Reform members heard at their National Conference, meeting this week (31st October – 2nd November 2005). The language of outrage had been used by Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria in condemning the ‘Pastoral Statement’ and his views were endorsed in a conference resolution.

Members heard that during the Parliamentary debates on the Civil Partnerships Bill, it had become clear that the Government believed that the provisions of the Bill were designed for sexually active homosexual couples. It was outrageous therefore that the Bishops had not said that such partnerships would be incompatible with Holy Orders as had the Roman Catholic church. It was also outrageous that the Bishops had advised clergy not to seek assurances about their relationship from couples seeking baptism, confirmation or admission to communion. To overlook actions that the Bible describes as sinful, would render such services (where participants explicitly acknowledge and repent of their sins) meaningless. Such advice dishonoured God and no Bible-believing clergyman could possibly follow it.

The advice on Civil Partnerships brought to a head a series of developments within the Church of England which demonstrated that the current crisis over human sexuality was every bit as serious here as in the churches of the USA and Canada. The conference voted to endorse resolutions which were designed not simply to support, but also to promote ‘principled irregular action’ where diocesan bishops pursue or allow unbiblical doctrinal innovations, particularly in the area of sexuality. One of these resolutions commits the Reform network to re-shape its regional organisation to enable it better to promote ‘irregular action’. A further series of resolutions also commits Reform to setting up an additional method for encouraging and selecting new ordinands for ordained ministry.

The main speaker at the conference was Bishop Martin Morrison from the Church of England in South Africa who highlighted the seriousness of the crisis facing the Church of England and the growing threat to Christian ways of thinking more generally.

Other resolutions from this year’s conference express full support for the Co-mission Initiative churches in their attempts to secure ordained ministry in the Anglican tradition; promise support for the Diocese of Recife in Brazil which has been victimised for opposing Gene Robinson’s consecration; request clarification of what alternative routes to ordination exist for those ordinands who are in impaired communion with their bishops; and emphasize the need to make alternative provision for those who cannot in conscience accept women bishops.

The full texts of the conference resolutions are attached.

For Further Information
Contact:
David Banting (chairman): 01708 342080
Rod Thomas (press officer): 01752 402771(office) or 07906 331110 (mobile)

RESOLUTIONS FROM 2005 REFORM CONFERENCE
Civil Partnerships And The House Of Bishops’ Pastoral Statement

This conference agrees
a) with the response by Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, to the statement on Civil Partnerships issued by the House of Bishops of the Church of England and his claim that “for the Church of England to promote such a departure from historic teaching is outrageous”; [1] and

b) with the new confessional criterion for full communion in the Anglican Communion decided by the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria on 14 September 2005, when it deleted from its constitution all references to “communion with the See of Canterbury” and added the following words:
“This Church shall be in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic faith, Doctrine, Sacraments and discipline of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as our Lord has commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.” [2] and

c) with the commitment of the Third Anglican Global South to South Encounter of 25-30 October 2005 in Egypt with 103 delegates from 20 provinces in the Global South and representing two-thirds of the Anglican Communion and expressed as follows:
“to uphold the supreme authority of the Word of God and the doctrinal formularies that have undergirded the Anglican Communion for over four and a half centuries. Communion requires alignment with the will of God first and foremost, which establishes our commonality with one another. Such expressions of the will of God which Anglicans should hold in common are: one Lord, one faith, one baptism; Holy Scripture; apostolic teaching and practice; the historic Creeds of the Christian Church; the Articles of Religion and the doctrinal tenets as contained in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Holding truth and grace together by the power of the Holy Spirit, we go forward as those entrusted “with the faith once delivered” (Jude 3).”

It also urges
a) the Council to take appropriate action that is in accordance with the Archbishop’s response and the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria’s decision; and
b) Reform clergy and laity to distance themselves from any members of the House of Bishops who will not, in the words of the Archbishop, “renounce their statement and declare their unqualified commitment to the historic faith, teaching and practice of the Church”. [1]

FOOTNOTES
links to follow later

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 November 2005 at 3:42pm GMT
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

"...by Charles Raven (remember him?)"

... Sorry? In what context?

Posted by: Alastair Cutting on Friday, 11 November 2005 at 4:28pm GMT

For example, this:
http://www.acl.asn.au/kidderminster2.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 November 2005 at 4:35pm GMT

For a more balanced anglican evangelical response to the Bishops Pastoral Letter On Civil Partnerships see the website http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk Click on the header NEWS then the subheader PRESS RELEASES.

Also have a look around this site for much of interest.

Posted by: Ruth on Friday, 11 November 2005 at 6:53pm GMT
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