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.
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 http://inclusivechurch.net/newsletter/index.html (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 - http://www.inclusivechurch.net/diary/index.html. 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.
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.