Saturday, 7 January 2006

InclusiveChurch newsletter

The most recent newsletter for supporters of InclusiveChurch can be found on its website. A copy is also below the fold here.

Some dates to note:
Seminar with Bishop of Worcester: Sunday 22 January (application form here, scroll down)
St Albans Pilgrimage: Saturday 24 June, more details here
Day Conference Saturday 14th October

InclusiveChurch Christmas letter

Dear I C Supporter

I am writing to wish all our supporters a happy Christmas and to bring you up to date with InclusiveChurch’s news.

This seems like a good moment to restate what InclusiveChurch is for.

InclusiveChurch exists to ensure that the Anglican tradition of inclusion and diversity is celebrated and encouraged. On one level that means, in accordance with our Statement, working so that people are fully included at all levels of the church regardless of their gender, partnership status or ethnicity.

Civil partnerships

In that context, a brief comment on the arrangements for Civil Partnerships (detailed comment is for our partner organisations).

As couples prepare to formalise their relationships in this way, we welcome the new legal framework and wish all that’s good to those who are entering into partnerships. And we hope that, sooner rather than later, the Church of England will be able to be unequivocal in its welcome. One of those occasions when the church can learn from the world!


But InclusiveChurch goes well beyond that. We spring from the rich and generous Anglican tradition – the tradition which includes Lancelot Andrewes, Richard Hooker, the Oxford Movement, the Evangelical Revival and the innovations of the twentieth century. Which includes both outreach and justice, both evangelism and a passionate commitment to the poor. We celebrate this tradition, which, at its best, enables all people to be welcomed at Christ’s table, and which tries to make the Incarnation a living and dynamic reality.

We try to include people from all parts of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. One of the most exciting things to have happened, for us, in the past year was the way in which different organisations worked together through the post of National Coordinator towards the General Synod elections. A tangible working out of our dream – that ecclesiastical boundaries can be broken down and the divisions often found between traditions can be destroyed.

Breadth and depth

Some have said we are intolerant. We know we fail at times to be properly inclusive and we are trying to do better. We are actively seeking discussions with those whose opinions we do not share – discussions which are difficult to have because feelings at times run so high. But we reject intolerance wherever it is found, and we are seriously concerned by some of the un-Anglican behaviour we have seen in recent months – especially around the illegal ordinations in Southwark, the letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from some of the Primates of the Global South, and the withdrawal of the appointment of the Bishop of Lake Malawi.

We also recognise that there is still some explanation needed about decisions taken by some parts of the Communion which others find hard to understand, and for that reason we welcome the “listening process” instituted by the Windsor Report

It’s complicated, being Anglican. The threats to our traditions of breadth and depth are many. So InclusiveChurch hopes to provide resources and opportunities for the church at large to remind ourselves who we are. Our proposed activities for 2006 all group loosely under the heading “The Implications of Inclusion.” Because, at heart, the questions raised by inclusion are many – but a fundamental one is, how do we live in love with those with whom we profoundly disagree?


We start with the seminar on Sunday, January 22nd led by the Bishop of Worcester – there are still places available at a cost of 15 pounds and the application form is (scroll down).

A prototype Lent Course will delve into scripture to illuminate the scriptural roots for an inclusive faith.

St Alban’s Pilgrimage
We urge as many of you as possible to go to the St Alban’s Day pilgrimage at St Alban’s Abbey on 24th June – organised by the Abbey with the Archbishop of Canterbury as lead president - further details in our “diary events” section online - It will be a joyous and wonderful celebration of all that we hope for.

Conferences and joint working
A seminar with our partner organisations will be held in the summer, and a day conference for everyone – and IC Service - will be held on Saturday 14th October. We will continue to work with our partners through the Synodical structure to try to bring about the full equality of women within the Church and the full recognition of gay and lesbian partnerships.

We are also intending to develop parish links. Many PCC’s have signed up to the Petition and we are conscious we have done little to enable those congregations either to communicate with one another or to follow up their resolutions. We hope to change this.

Baptismal Covenant
Underlying all this, we are starting to do some work on the Baptismal Covenant. This key concept from the United States has increasing relevance for the UK; the idea that we are all covenanted to one another by virtue of our baptisms. In that context, we will be building connections across the Anglican Communion.

We don’t yet have enough money to employ a National Coordinator – thank you to those who have given; your money is safely deposited until we can use it for its designated purpose – but in the meantime we will try to ensure that InclusiveChurch is both inclusive and prophetic.

I would be grateful for your thoughts and comments on any of this, especially on our proposed programme for the year –

We are hoping that the debate can now - at last - move on. With two wonderful Archbishops and a real sense of excitement, it seems to us that this is a good time for the Church of England.

We are grateful for your support; and we wish you a happy Christmas.

Giles Goddard

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 7 January 2006 at 9:43am GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: InclusiveChurch

Giles Goddard wrote: "InclusiveChurch exists to ensure that the Anglican tradition of inclusion and diversity is celebrated and encouraged. On one level that means, in accordance with our Statement, working so that people are fully included at all levels of the church regardless of their gender, partnership status or ethnicity."

I do wish that IC would start saying what they mean in terms that differentiates their views from the rest of us. Every statement they make is so bland that everyone can agree on face value, but what they mean is more than what they say!

Most groups that IC "includes" are already included by most Anglican groups (though some Anglo-Catholics and conservative Evangelicals believe in "complementarity", rather than sameness of roles). And no Anglican group I know excludes people because they have a homosexual "orientation". Similarly IC 'excludes' people for most of the same reasons that the rest of us would (unrepentant: thieves, violent, adulterers, promiscuous, abusers, etc etc). The novelty is really just that IC wants to include people who are in active homosexual relationships - and see exclusion of Anglicans who disagree with them as tolerable or maybe even desirable.

My prayer for IC in 2006 ? That they would return to real Christian inclusion - on the same basis for all: Repentant sinners forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ, loving God and seeking to become like Him!

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 8 January 2006 at 1:04am GMT

It would seem that even the liberal camp has swallowed whole Nigerian Archbishop lead propaganda. By using phrases such as 'the Primates of the Global South' you are perpetuating the myth that they represent southern hemisphere Anglicans (which they do not). Perhaps English post-colonial guilt is partly to blame, but organisations should be referred to correctly. The phrase ' Primates who are members of the 'Global South' organisation' would be less misleading to your readers.

Posted by: James on Sunday, 8 January 2006 at 3:29am GMT

The North-South Coalition of anti-modern Hierarchs?

(or Angry Old Men In Funny Hats ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 8 January 2006 at 2:36pm GMT

Dear James, I agree. It seems to be a comfortable position for liberals to take - that the opposition to their moral/religious innovations is from "pre-modern" (read "backward" ?) Africans and Asians. Completely failing to acknowledge that the orthodox view is also supported by most of the large growing Anglican churches in the UK!

If I were being cynical I would expect that the find "Southern" leaders who would support their position and say "see, even the GS are now beginning to understand". Maybe that is part of the reason why there is so much heat over the Nigerian and Malawi incidents.

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 8 January 2006 at 4:49pm GMT

I think I can fully suggest, Dave, that your prayer will not be answered. Some of us might suggest its because you are praying to your image and vision of God for what you want.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 8 January 2006 at 9:45pm GMT

That's very impressive, Dave: together with Mr Shell, in just two threads (thematically unrelated to these three societal ills) you have liberal Christian homosexuals associated with disease, paedophilia AND racism.

What's next? Earthquakes? Floods? The depletion of the ozone layer and global deforestation? All flat tyres? Stale bread? Mildew between the bathroom tiles? Inflation? What?

Posted by: Augustus Meriwether on Monday, 9 January 2006 at 12:25pm GMT

Dear AM, I'm sorry that you feel that way.. It is not my belief that any particular group are intrinsically more or less virtuous than any other. We are all imperfect. We are all sinners! You may even find something good in "conservatives" ;-) If, when discussing what you see as conservative "intolerance" and said that an extreme form of "intolerance" lead the nazis to try to exterminate the Jewish race, I would not think that you were saying that I was a nazi - or that I was anti-semitic - just that "intolerance" is something to be avoided. And if you suggest that my scriptural interpretation on the issue of acceptable sexual practices may be driven by "homophobia" then I take it as a suggestion that I should examine my motivations.

Merseymike wrote: "I think I can fully suggest, Dave, that your prayer will not be answered. Some of us might suggest its because you are praying to your image and vision of God for what you want."

Dear Merseymike, it is liberals who base their image and vision of God heavily on current human understanding. That is, by definition, much more "your own image" that that of a "conservative - who does his best to base his image and vision of God on the God who revealed Himself through the Christian Scriptures and Tradition.

I'm looking forward to seeing what God does in 2006! Every blessing..

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 11 January 2006 at 11:29pm GMT

And you base yours on the human understanding of 2000 years ago, Dave. The humans who wrote the Bible.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 12 January 2006 at 12:01am GMT

Dear Merseymike, Yes, I give supremacy to the understandings of some people 2000 years ago - Jesus Christ, His Apostles and others who were inspired to write things that were found authenitic by the early church and chosen for inclusion in the canon of Scripture !

This gives me a significant claim to not be just making it up as I go along - whereas I think that you have no protection from the accusattion that your beliefs and morals are purely the result of your own enculturalisation.

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 14 January 2006 at 12:13pm GMT

"... all other things equal", dear Dave - that is providing you are right, not wrong ,=)

"Pre-modern" by the way, does not mean "backwards", but pre modern.

And then there is of course anti-modern, which is a different thing alltogether...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 16 January 2006 at 11:40am GMT
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