Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Reform proposes a "covenant"

Updated again Thursday morning

The meeting mentioned in a newspaper report last Sunday took place today at Lambeth Palace. The report had forecast that:

Leading evangelicals will meet the Most Rev Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on Tuesday to deliver papers laying out the plans for a restructuring of the Church.

However, according to the Anglican Mainstream website what happened was:

A small group met with the Archbishop of Canterbury on Tuesday December 12 and presented A Covenant for the Church of England on behalf of a wide group of Evangelical and Charismatic members of the Church of England with the support of a number of Anglo-Catholic leaders.

The Covenant is the fruit of an ongoing process reacting not to a few local or immediate difficulties but responding to widespread concerns in the national and global church.

The group were listened to carefully and as a result of the meeting it was agreed that there would be further discussion of the issues raised in the Covenant to find a way to maintain the unity of the Church of England.

The document that this group presented is published on the Reform website, and can be read in its entirety at A Covenant for the Church of England.

The press release is described as follows:

It is not a Reform press release as such but a press release by a wide group of Evangelical and Charismatic members of the Church of England with the support of a number of Anglo-Catholic leaders.

Update Wednesday evening
It is now revealed that:

The Covenant was drafted by a group under the following leadership:

Rev David Banting, Chair of Reform
Rev John Coles, Director of New Wine Networks
Rev Paul Perkin, Member of General Synod
Rev David Phillips, Director of Church Society
Rev Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbes’ Oxford
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream
Rev William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate
Rev Dr Richard Turnbull, Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council
Rev Dr Simon Vibert, Chair of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit

This list can also be found at the website of the Church of England Evangelical Council where it is claimed that:

“CEEC President and Chairman sign new Covenant on behalf of CEEC

Update Thursday morning

Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph has this report: Williams warned of Church anarchy:

The Church of England was plunged into a fresh crisis yesterday after evangelical leaders representing 2,000 churches told the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow them to bypass liberal bishops or face widespread anarchy.

The group, whose supporters include the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, warned Dr Rowan Williams that the crisis over issues such as gay clerics was escalating fast and could descend into schism.

At a confidential meeting at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday, they urged Dr Williams to create a parallel structure to free them from the interference of liberal bishops or risk a revolt against his authority…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 11:20pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

A classic compendium of Separatist arguments. No bishops, no boundaries, no associating with the unregenerate. Except for the overemphasis on gender and sexuality issues, it might have been written in 1615. (In those days, it was clerical vestments and Arminianism that had everyone tied up in knots.)

Posted by: Charlotte on Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 11:41pm GMT

Charlotte --
You forget the sign of the cross at Baptism & the ring at the wedding service. :)
Someone suggested that "Arminianism" was always a misnomer for the English clergy. They were actually firmly Calvinist in their theology -- the word was code for those who liked beautiful music and art and who "never married" (viz., all of the Archbishops of Canterbury between Parker & Tillotson -- well over a century).

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 12:11am GMT

Shorter Anglican Mainstream announcement - "'Reform' plays the money card".

Also noteworthy is the use of the word 'unreasonably' - church planting outside the parish will receive support "if official permission is unreasonably withheld"; ordaining of new ministers will take place outside the current structures if the local bishop "unreasonably" withholds authorisation and so on.

Who defines what is reasonable or unreasonable in these circumstances? Or is it Reform's default position that any opposition or even objection to its activities is, by definition, 'unreasonable'?

And who guards the guards? In the rush to get episcopal oversight from bishops thousands of miles away about whom congregations (and probably their ministers) know next to nothing, is anyone investigating the backgrounds, lives and attitudes of these men? Or does nothing else matter to Reform other than orthodoxy on personal sexual morality? Is Akinola really embodying the teaching and example of Jesus when he supports the criminalisation of homosexual acts?

Posted by: Fern on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 1:40am GMT

It is not written like a Covenant. It has some terrible phrases, for example:

>to making disciples who make disciples of Christwill respect and support those who cannot in good conscience maintain Christian fellowship with neighbouring Anglicans who do not uphold the authority of Scripture.We are aware of those who justifiably consider that their communion with their bishops is impaired, and will support and help them to find alternative oversight.<

Who is "we" - the only we should be the Church of England, or Church of England (Reform).

Once again I point to my little imaginary effort: but this time as a suggestion of how to draft a covenant.

http://www.change.freeuk.com/learning/relthink/fschurches.html#covenant

I just don't think a Covenant will create unity, and Reform's approach somewhat proves it. If Rowan Williams were ever to introduce anything like this (increasingly possible after that bizarre THES article), so many would just write their own, and if he did not introduce this, Reform might write their own, if they can manage it.

Covenants also work by what they do not say as by what they do say, the problem being from Reform and UCCF etc. is that they say too much for so many even if it leaves out imposing, say, one bloody version of the atonement that many of them would probably like to insist upon (etc.).

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 2:32am GMT

Another bid for greater influence from the Evangelical wing -- why cannot they be content to give their witness and let it be appreciated on its own merits? And of course the presenting issue, hidden in small print, is again the panic about homosexuality:

"two churches: the one submitting to God’s revelation, Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered; the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures."

An outrageous and schismatic judgment.

"We reaffirm the Church of England as a confessing church, built supremely not on administrative or human structures but on biblical authority, belief and behaviour."

Which being translated means biblical fundamentalism, and puritanism.

"This means that we can no longer associate with teaching that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Scriptures either doctrinally (for example, on the supremacy and uniqueness of Christ)"

actually low Christology has been entertained in the Anglican Church at many times (remember "The Myth of God Incarnate") and has so far not proved to be a Church-busting issue, so the present posturing must be about what follows:

" or morally (for example, on issues of gender, sex and marriage), or church leadership which advocates such teaching."

Yup, homosexuality homosexuality homosexuality, the buzzing bugbear of those whose heads are stuck deep in the sand (and whose record for consistency is not very high -- to judge from US Evangelicals at least)

"We will therefore encourage new informal networks of fellowship, augmenting where necessary the institutional geographical groupings, and will respect and support those who cannot in good conscience maintain Christian fellowship with neighbouring Anglicans who do not uphold the authority of Scripture."

Was ever a schismatic intention so gently announced?

Whatever happened to biblical rhetoric: "I shake the dust from my feet" would have been nice, or the OT might have provided bloodier language.

A document for the dustbin.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 3:56am GMT

At least they're honest: members of the Church of England, but not trying to speak for the Church of England. They are, of course, proclaiming how they think the Church of England ought to be: essentially congregationalist, with dependent bishops; ambitiously competitive for souls, rather than cooperative; and fundamentally Biblical to the point of being Biblicist.

This statement is quite interesting: "The group were listened to carefully and as a result of the meeting it was agreed that there would be further discussion of the issues raised in the Covenant to find a way to maintain the unity of the Church of England." So, they were politely heard, but received no commitment.

My impression over the years has been that debates within the Church of England were more strident than in TEC. It will be quite interesting to see what reactions this stimulates.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 4:27am GMT

Is it just me, or is their idea for REFORMing the CofE, to make it *congregationalist*? ("Biblically orthodox" congregations, of course: no others need apply!)

With a fearful wonder
We see her sore-oppressed:
By schisms rent asunder [as attempted by REFORM],
By heresies distressed [as proposed by REFORM].

Yet [Truly Anglican!] saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Will be the morn of song!

[The song's already started across The Pond, with TEC. Hallelujah! :-D]

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 5:32am GMT

The document did not define the theological boundaries.

For example: what is unacceptable interpretation of revelation? Jesus, who in Luke 24 foreshadowed there would be more prophets, or modern "propositional whatevers" who say that Jesus was the final revelation.

It reminds me of a torturer or sadist, promising not to hurt his/her victims if they stay within boundaries. But the boundaries are undefined and changed by whim - usually whenever you've worked out the system and they can no longer find excuses to hurt you with the current rules.

Better to be in the wilderness than in bondage to such as these.

I'd rather be forsaken Leah with the afflicted, than coveted perfect Rachel, who they don't really respect anyway. And neither Leah or Rachel's descendants are safe - they use the "perfect" as hostages to intimidate the unworthies...

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 9:42am GMT

They should have called me first :) In fact, they should have called someone, anyone, outside their ideological camp to ask them to read it for comprehension. As it is, the proposed Covenant suffers terribly from a severe attack of GroupThink.

Fun as it might be to shred it line by line, I'll pick out a couple of passages.

The opening rubric: "At this time in the life of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, faced with a faulty view of revelation, false teaching and indiscipline, we believe that it is necessary to set out where we as orthodox Anglicans stand, and to invite others to join us."

I'm an orthodox Anglican. I'm pretty certain that most of us here, liberal, anglo-Catholic, open or conservative Evangelical - whatever label we feel most comfortable with - would call themselves orthodox. As it stands, Reform are claiming orthodoxy, and excluding those who disagree with them. Good start.

Secondly, indiscipline. This will be the group who withhold parish share, carry out extra-parish church plants, irregularly ordain ministers, declare impaired communion with their bishops, actively organise to defrock other priests... I could go on. Reform only want discipline if they carry the stick. They are themselves, indisciplined and scream blue murder when lawful action is taken against them.

"This means that we can no longer associate with teaching that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Scriptures either doctrinally (for example, on the supremacy and uniqueness of Christ) or morally (for example, on issues of gender, sex and marriage)"

Dave Williams, please take note. What is it that these evangelicals are most worried about?

All in all - poor. High on rhetoric, low on reason. The use of evangelical dog whistles is strong ('clear teaching of scripture', 'biblically orthodox', 'biblical truth', 'biblical authority', 'authority of Scripture') without acknowledging that their opponents, even within evangelical anglicans, may assent to these ideas whilst rejecting Reform completely.

In the end, it's just a (pretend) fancy way of saying: "Regularise everything we're already doing, or we'll do it anyway."

Posted by: Simon Morden on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 9:46am GMT

Simon, your comments are on the money:-

"Reform only want discipline if they carry the stick.........in the end, it's just a (pretend) fancy way of saying: "Regularise everything we're already doing, or we'll do it anyway."

It is a misnomer to describe Reform's agenda as "biblically fundamentalist" as some posters here have done for it is only in certain, very narrowly prescribed areas that Reform are keen for biblical writ to run. We are to be as a first century church as far as the subjugation of women and the exclusion of homosexuals are concerned but in no other area.

Posted by: Fern on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 11:00am GMT

'the Church of England is increasingly polarizing into two churches: the one submitting to God’s revelation, Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered; the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures.'
That sounds pretty accurate to me. We need to acknowledge reality before we can decide how we respond to it.

Posted by: Erasmus on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 12:29pm GMT

I always thought this creed of liberal protestantism terse and to the point.

'God is dead and Jesus is his Son.'

I warmly commend to to the consideration of 'Reform'.

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 12:53pm GMT

Reform are suddenly in conversation with Rowan Williams. Quite a development! Perhaps his approach bears fruit ?

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 12:54pm GMT

'the Church of England is increasingly polarizing into two churches: the one submitting to God’s revelation, Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered; the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures.'
That sounds pretty accurate to me. We need to acknowledge reality before we can decide how we respond to it.

Posted by: Erasmus on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 12:29pm GMT '

If only you people could see yourselves ! Most of the British public ignore your unethical antics, and those who take notice are disgusted.

These fine words cannot be annexed by one condescending minority. God, gospel, Christ, cross are dishonoured. Better to shut up for a year or two- and see where you are led.

As for Spirit-empowered ? What impact for good are you having upon the people and body politic of Britain ? You don't even listen to the message of Jesus -- which is so redundant in your eyes. But then you don't take much notice of non-Christians generally, do you ? So why should Jesus be treated any differently by you ?

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 1:04pm GMT

What is the primary language of the writer? If English, I'd like to suggest remedial sentence diagraming classes -- if not, English as a second language.I'm glad ++Rowan is adept at many languages as he may have understood when I did not.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by: Columba Gilliss on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 1:30pm GMT

The beginnimg of the formal split in the CoifE. It can't come fast enough for me - a church without conservatives would be infinitely better.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 3:11pm GMT

What a bazaar proposal for a covenant. They want to establish a covenant that they will disobey their bishops if they disagree with him? That’s not a covenant.

Posted by: Wade on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 3:48pm GMT

Please conform. (we're sorta tellin', sorta askin') We all must think alike, be alike and live the same way. The unclean will wind up living on the outskirts of town (demoniacs and lepers). The only thing is that the more they push this agenda the more people get turned off by Christ.

This is a harsh assessment on my part but that's my take on it. My understanding is the CofE is about 50% evangelical and the rest liberal and Anglo-Catholics (Affirming and FIFNA). I guess you have to listen more with those odds.

Posted by: Robert Christian on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 4:01pm GMT

The best thing about this piece of the amazing British rush to realign is that it is being done in the open. We can all watch the mitosis in which the right defines away everybody else on the actual believer spectrums. Anglican institutions will no longer give offense, owing to all their unconformed broken widgits, and so far as all the penalising goes, everybody knows you need a Hoover when you are dealing with dirt like comprehensiveness. A fine bit of categorical, black vs white thinking; probably would get a failing grade in intro philosophy class, depending; but nevertheless exemplary of what rightwing believers say, often, they believe.

Must all of us soon think just this way? Apparently, in the new rightwing Anglican Communion.

Who is next to be targeted in our realignment process after the queer folks? Strong women in leadership roles? People with degrees or certificates from the wrong sorts of schools?

Thanks for the phrase about believer dog whistles, itsa fine image. I take it to heart for my own pledges of allegiance. One needs keen tools of self-scrutiny. I guess one of the awful things about aging is that you lose the ability to hear your own dog whistle?

If you boil down all the penal pledging that seems needed to make any sense at all of this draft, then surely Anglican theology is more Southern Baptist than not. Could these two groups on the right merge at some future point in the USA at least? Fascinating how a high Christology is the prelude to penal substitution atonement - you need to kill the best of the best, or else God is not vindicated as righteous?

If this sort of thing ends up as the new Anglican Covenant with Rowan Williams floating precariously atop the free for all, then progressive believers and other believers defined as out of the new bounds will just have to institutionalize whatever they need through other channels which are not yet closed to them.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 4:04pm GMT

No, Mike, that's the tragedy. The C of E is infinitely worse without the conservatives. The call to the church, if it is anything, is to try and make sense of the gospel together. To disagree, yes: to debate and wrestle and think - to try, somehow, to touch the edge of the mystery in all its confusing and bewildering wonder. We can't do that if we all think the same way. Whether Reform and the rest take their ball home or whether they chase liberals like me off the pitch, the result is the same: a church replaced by a pair of sects. Which quickly subdivide again and again.

Posted by: JBE on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 6:45pm GMT

Yeah, it reads like a Southern Baptist tract. Or, maybe something thought up in Sydney.

Posted by: Kurt on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 6:58pm GMT

Mersey mike,

it will for sure be you and other liberal extremists that will have to form something new. Canterbury seems to become more and more "orthodox". By the way, I thought you had returned to quakerism?

Posted by: Palamas on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 7:18pm GMT

From my experience the majority of Evangelicals would have none of the majority of this "Covenant".

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 7:37pm GMT

Overnight contemplations. I wonder if they are planning to institionalise authority vis a vis the Roman Catholic church? Maybe in the hope of full reconciliation?

Then what are they going to do about Mother Mary - who I noticed in one diocese's forum they despise. Also what about the idea of saints and intercessionary prayers?

I now relish watching them go back to the one true "Catholic" communion. Let's call their bluff and demand that they go all the way.

Otherwise, they are picking and choosing scripture to justify their protestant diversion away from catholicism...

And if they do not fully repent and go back all the way then who are they to throw stones on those who are looking to bring in scripture to mitigate problems of genocide (physical or cultural), human rights violations, corruption, war and power mongering?

And on the topic of cultural genocide. They are infuriated that we propose that homophobia is in the continuum of justifications that lead to genocide. But the world is now witnessing their attempts to commit cultural genocide to the liberal and broad tent traditions of Anglicanism. So they are actually playing out the continuum of repression, thus proving that the model is robust and works when tested in the field.

I just love when God plays ball. Play the game one way, God wins. Play it the other, God wins again. Snicker.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 8:01pm GMT

Siblings in England: what would such a disruption (division is entirely too mild a word, I think) do to establishment? And, considering discussions I've watched here regarding what law (civil and church) requires in an established church (Southwark, anyone?), how would such massive disobedience, however civil, affect those on each side of the chasm?

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 8:15pm GMT

What are "remedial sentence diagraming classes"?

What strange dialects of English one encounters across the Anglican Communion!

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 8:27pm GMT

FOLK MIGHT LIKE TO ACTUALLY READ THE LIST OF SIGNATURES FROM THE DRAFTING GROUP, BEFORE ASSUMING IT WAS JUST FROM REFORM. It's here: http://www.ceec.info/ but, being a helpful sort, I pasted it below too: Rev David Banting, Chair of Reform, Rev John Coles, Director of New Wine Networks, Rev Paul Perkin, Member of General Synod, Rev David Phillips, Director of Church Society, Rev Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbes’ Oxford, Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream, Rev William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate, Rev Dr Richard Turnbull, Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council, Rev Dr Simon Vibert, Chair of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 8:33pm GMT

My friends on the other side of the pond...help me, a mere seminarian in the U.S.A./T.E.C., to understand. This division is not new; it must have existed before the surfacing of buried homophobia or the mysogyny that came out with the advent of women's ordination. What is the seed of this controversy? Why did heads turn away from the initial notion of schism to create this environment in which our communion finds itself now?

Posted by: Shawn+ on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 8:41pm GMT

A problem with Covenants: the spirit gives life and the letter kills. Christ unites, but doctrines divide. The genius of Anglicanism was to have "as few doctrines as possible while yet insisting on those doctrines." (W. R. Huntington).

The effort to enshrine as doctrine a traditional teaching on sexual morality, now no longer the consensus, is a bit late; the arguments against this teaching have proven too persuasive to too many to pretend that there is universal consensus. So the only options are division over this issue, or patient continued dialogue in mutual admission that one side or the other is mistaken until a new consensus emerges.

To argue that no action can be taken in the absence of a new consensus is to ask for the ahistorical. The Jerusalem Council didn't settle the issue of Gentile inclusion -- there were those who opposed it and they bedeviled Paul's ministry for years. Later, some die-in-the-ditch issues of the continental reformation (access to the Cup, and vernacular liturgy) were eventually adopted by Rome, after a considerable delay. This is how change works in the church, here and there rather than all at once.

Change in the church (and it has changed) comes about at various paces in various places. The internet has short-circuited the process, literally, and the insulation space once afforded (along with a clear sense of geographical autonomy) is disappearing.

The question is, how do we handle disagreement, since it is clear we disagree. If the issues at hand are do-or-die, then some will choose not to reason why, and tear the fabric further. Others of us, South Africa, for example, are content to disagree on the sexual morality issue, but say it is not one over which we need divide. Whoever has the better right to the name "Anglican" is, ultimately, of little import. What is important to me is the rending of the mission that division will produce, and in this Reform suggests a course I cannot commend.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 8:50pm GMT

Dear Kurt, it certainly wasn't thought up by 815 - or by Bishops Swing and Spong!

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 9:01pm GMT

That's where we disagree, JBE. I don't think that conservative and liberal Christians have anything much in common except the title

And there have always been subdivisions - if that is what is most important to you, actual mechanical unity,then there's a simple answer, and its called returning to Rome!

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 9:33pm GMT

Count your blessings. 1) at least they crawled our from under their rock and one knows what they want. 2) the American Church is probably headed for a breach of communion (thanks be to God)..if one wanted a chuch covenanted like that one could become an American Southern Baptist

Posted by: rebel on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 11:02pm GMT

Those percentages are all wrong. I would put it nationally (actual dioceses vary wildly) at about 15% Anglo-Catholic, 25% Evangelical (in its many flavours) 10% Aff Cath, 10% neo-Baptist, and the rest as undifferentiated Anglicans, mostly accustomed to the Parish Communion as their standard Sunday fare.

That reveals Evangelicals as the largest party, but well short of anything like the driving seat, since there are so many varieties within the category: "quot homines, tot sententiae".

Enough to have influence, not least because of the disproportionately massive contribution they make to diocesan funds through the Quota system, but not so many that they can force a division within the Church of England. There is a distinct lack of bishops there, apart from anything else.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Wednesday, 13 December 2006 at 11:43pm GMT

As an outsider, I hesitate to comment much on this. But in the Roman Catholic Church we have similar groups who loudly proclaim that anyone perceived as more liberal than they are is not Catholic at all. They have been a huge headache, blocking and obstructing pastoral progress. Moreover, such groups are allied with disgusting social policies, as seen in their tolerance of Nigerian homophobic legislation. So a mere outsider may be permitted to comment, I hope, on this document which shows the mentality of these people in the raw.

Erasmus wrote:

"'the Church of England is increasingly polarizing into two churches: the one submitting to God’s revelation, Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered; the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures.'

"That sounds pretty accurate to me. We need to acknowledge reality before we can decide how we respond to it."

But what is the reality here?

"the one submitting to God’s revelation" -- surely a church submitting to the law of love is true to God's revelation than one that makes much of texts about stoning gays?

"Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered" -- that corresponds to the faith of ALL the Anglicans I have known -- and they are all of the kind marked for excommunication by the document cited.

"the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures." This again does not correspond to anything in my (admittedly limited) experience of Anglicanism. Revelation is of course progressive -- the Bible tells us so! -- but to recognize this is not to deny revelation but rather to espouse the dynamism of the Holy Spirit (see John 16). I think Anglicanism like Roman Catholicism admirably gives its due place to human reason within the thinking of faith; it is fideism that is the unchristian distortion. Christ, his cross and his Spirit are indeed to be met in mainstream Anglicanism, and to deny it as presumptuously as the document does is immature and arrogant.

Well, the strengths and limits of Evangelicism are well known to British Christians. The Evangelicals have not more persuaded the majority to follow their narrow understanding any more than have their counterparts in the United States. Their effort to use present difficulties to advance their cause is opportunistic and actually counter-productive, as it shows them in a petty, negative light.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 12:43am GMT

I think the Covenant idea must now be a dead duck as an instrument of unity; it can still obviously take place as an instrument of division.

As a triad (three parties) doing minimal things, shouters used to shout but get nowhere. Now with the Anglo-Catholic traditionalists somewhat off on their own, the dyad (two parties) doing big changes end playing tug of war.

The old inclusive liberalism that went well beyond its own borders seems to have lost all those beyond as they all grab the rope, but the rope is heavy and there are some people who are stood on it. In other words they don't want to tug with them and they don't want to tug with the others either, but they have nowhere to tug themselves in particular. So they do neither. Which means that the people who want the purity will have to arrange if for themselves: as ever, the most distinctive and specialist are the ones who move outward. They pull on the rope a while and then say, "Why bother pulling it?" They end up going off with their own rope.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 1:47am GMT

"two churches: the one submitting to God’s revelation, Gospel-focused, Christ-centred, cross-shaped and Spirit-empowered; the other holding a progressive view of revelation, giving priority to human reason over Scripture, shaped primarily by western secular culture, and focused on church structures."

"Thank you, God, that I am not like that sinner over there."

I'm amused that reason is set up in opposition to Scripture. Reason enhances Scripture. It enables our understanding. It allows us to take the examples from Scripture and apply them to our own situations. It is this false opposition which is presented as a demand to choose one over the other.

I say, keep both. Do not sacrifice reality to a dusty old book, no matter how inspired.

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 2:05am GMT

"I'm an orthodox Anglican. I'm pretty certain that most of us here, liberal, anglo-Catholic, open or conservative Evangelical - whatever label we feel most comfortable with - would call themselves orthodox."

Why?

"As it stands, Reform are claiming orthodoxy, and excluding those who disagree with them. Good start."

Bad start. It's not Gospel-like behavior.

Posted by: ruidh on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 2:12am GMT

Palamas: "it will for sure be you and other liberal extremists that will have to form something new"

Or, as Laurie Anderson sang, "when justice is gone, there's always FORCE"

:-(

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 2:37am GMT

Bah Humbuggers!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 2:42am GMT

Alan, Thank you. I had read something that was a bit dated and not quite so specific on the divisions. In TEC I would be considered an Anglo-Catholic in worship and a liberal/progressive in Theology so, I guess even the general catagories and then there are subcatagories.

Personally I wish we could still worship together and talk and work on saving the church. There has to be somewhere that we start working toward peace. If we can't do it with Christ as our Lord and the Example then I find there is little chance we will do it in society or world. We're doomed to continue with divisions and violence. Just imagine, churches could look like the streets of Bagdad (and in some places they already do).

Gratia vobis et pax a Deo Patre

Posted by: Robert Christian on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 4:13am GMT

And what, pray, is Dave's point with howling?

Names dropping? "Obedience"?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 5:55am GMT

Mike, I don't think conservative & liberal Christians have a whole lot in common either. Nor do I believe in 'simple mechanical unity' - certainly not at the price Reform and their fellow-travellers are asking. If it came to a choice, I'd have to leave rather than sign either that Covenant or any other. But I still think that for the *Anglican church to divide along this faultline is a tragedy. Turning one broad church into two (or more) narrow sects doesn't strike me as doing anything other than making us even more irrelevant in the eyes of, well, everyone.

Posted by: JBE on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 6:53am GMT

Cheryl - these nast bible-believers all over the AC ain't going anywhere, least of all Rome - but they will be relegating TEC to associate status (at best)

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 8:38am GMT

Martin Reynolds has made a rather important point, that no-one should lose sight of, when he noted that "the majority of Evangelicals would have none of the majority of this 'Covenant'."

I happened to meet someone the other day who knows the situation in Oxford - where at least one of the signatories is based - well. They commented that, during the appalling Jeffrey John saga, they knew many people in Oxford evangelical churches who disagreed with the self-appointed "evangelical leaders" opposing Jeffrey John's appointment.

What was needed to enable these people to speak out against the bigots - and which wasn't on offer - was principled leadership from evangelicals to firmly reject bullying. In other words, leadership which empowered evangelicals to challenge the prejudices of self-appointed evangelical leaders.

No-one should assume - as too many do about the so-called "Global South" - that everyone in the churches these people relate to agrees with the so-called "Covenant". All that such false assumptions do is play into the hands of the self-appointed.

This kind of evangelical leadership and empowering questioning might just be beginning to happen around the Fulcrum group: http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/forum/thread.cfm?thread=2015

Posted by: Rob Hall on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 8:38am GMT

It is amazing how different people can read and quote scripture, but apparently only one is "divinely" inspired.

Oh for the days of the Sanhedrin where majority and minority opinions were acknowledged, because often the minority turned out to be right or to contain an element of truth.

Shades of the spies coming back to report to Moses on the promised Holy Land here...

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 9:32am GMT

I've been predicting all week that if any bishop were supporting Anglican Mainstream's attempt to restructure Anglicanism, it would be Michael Nazir-Ali. At General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, he was keeping company with the Martyn Minns and the secessionists from the Episcopal Church, breakfasting with them, preaching to them. I found his constant presence with them an extraordinary alliance for a senior Church of England Bishop to be making. But if I know which group Bishop Michael was hanging around with at General Convention, then so do those in senior positions above him, one of whom also attended GC.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 9:46am GMT

Dave kindly lists the signatories of the recent manifesto to demonstrate that "it wasn't just Reform". Maybe not, but all the signatories look on Anglicanism through the same window. Does he think that *any* conservative Anglo Catholic would have signed such a neo-Calvinist document?
But of course that's the point, isn't it? WE are the chosen few: all others will be damned...

Posted by: cryptogram on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 10:17am GMT

Colin,

I understand that +Michael Nazir-Ali was invited by the AAC to be with them at Gen Con. It would have been mighty strange for him not to associate with them. Then there's your use of the word 'secessionist'. The Windsor Report is pretty clear about who is doing the 'walking apart'. I guess we have different ideas about who are the real secessionists.

Finally, I don't get the impression that Bishop Michael was secretive about his visit to Gen Con and under whose auspices he was invited. I would guess the Archbishop of Canterbury was well aware - after all he has met with leaders from the AAC and Network himself.

Posted by: Andrew Carey on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 10:34am GMT

Ruidh - "Good start" was ironic! And claims of orthodoxy are ten-a-penny. We all individually and corporately believe we are following the teachings of Jesus as best we understand them, to the best of our abilities (well, sometimes). The conservative evangelicals believe they are orthodox? Good. But is the orthodoxy they claim inclusive or exclusive? Just because they are, no one else is - which is an entirely human reaction, but I don't think it's God's.

Rob Hall wishes for a new evangelical alignment to counter the perceived authority of Reform/Anglican Mainstream. To quote Jim Wallis: "We are the change we have been waiting for." If we are in evangelical churches, we have to tell our leaders - in humility, in love, in acknowledgement that these men have been put over us - that on these matters, they do not speak for us, they do not have our support, that they should maintain unity with the church.

Who's up for that?

Posted by: Simon Morden on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 10:41am GMT

Simon and Rob both look for an emerging open evangelicalism, and if there are any signs of hope in all this mess, this is one of the few. But they should not underestimate the magnitude of the task — there were enough cries of 'traitor' going round in the Catholic wing back in '94 when some of us felt bound to support the priesting of women, and those who were shouting had little money to back them up.

Would-be open evangelical leaders are going to have to take on the might of US conservative cash and the entire Sydney/Abuja axis. They will have a very lonely time of it, and deserve our prayerful support.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 1:19pm GMT

Of course there is nothing new in any of these demands from Reform and their friends.
The only novelty is pasting them together under the name of a Covenant, and the only matter of real interest is the timing – or perhaps timescale.

Reform has been carefully testing the resistance to its agenda over the past few years and has met with little real opposition. They have been well prepared and have not been acting alone.

Now the question is how their demands can be met, put up for discussion or refused.

Not being a member of the Church of England I would not know how these demands could be met there, here in Wales we would have to rewrite our Constitution to accommodate them.

If there was the will I would imagine that would take at least three years and probably a great deal longer.

If they were put up for discussion – I believe these demands would not get very far here and would fail to convince the majority there was a need for such a radical shift.

If these demands are reflected upon and then refused then I imagine those advocating them would somehow struggle to implement them regardless and wait to see the reaction.

All of these involve a considerable amount of time and open debate, but there does not seem to be a great deal of room for this in the paper as delivered, hence it might be that there are (as some have suspected and mentioned) other plans afoot here.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 9:17pm GMT

I also want to know the answer to the question Shawn+ raises. How did this thing get started, and why has it been allowed to become so powerful?

My own thought is that the rise of the radical right-wing Evangelicals has been enabled by the same combination of cultural factors that produced their political counterparts -- Fox News and the Swift-Boat Veterans for Truth on this side of the pond, and the Murdoch media and the tabloids on the other.

But some of the blame has to be laid at the door of complacent and pusillanimous liberal and Broad Church leadership, including ++Rowan himself.

++Rowan did nothing to restrain the radical rightists for three long years while they attacked and sought to destroy the American Church. Now they have turned on the Church of England. They gave plenty of warning that this would be their next move.

Let us hope that ++Rowan has not permitted this faction to grow strong enough to take down his Church and mine, too.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 14 December 2006 at 10:20pm GMT

Charlotte, you ask "how did this thing get started and why has it been allowed to become so powerful?"

The power that Reform is now trying to exercise comes from its financial clout; many affluent churches have incumbents who are either members of Reform or share the mindset. David Holloway's church up in Jesmond, for example, contributes something like 25% of the income for that diocese; clearly, withholding all or part of that money would have a very serious impact on diocesan finances. So a strategy of developing financial muscle has allowed Reform to punch above its weight.

Its other strategy has been to major on homosexuality and so harness a considerable degree of sympathy and support from conservatives who are concerned that the church's traditional teaching on sexual morality is being undermined but who are often unaware of Reform's full agenda. Anyone who has watched Reform in action will know that its members and sympathisers are remarkably selective about which bits of the Bible are taken literally; they are, for example, much more pastorally sensitive towards divorcees than, say, gays. Of course, pointing out to many happy couples in second mariages that, according to the letter of scripture, they are not married at all but in adulterous relationships, is likely to cause huge offence so Reform steer clear. Much shrewder to focus on gays who are a very much smaller part of the population.

Ultimately, it's about what it's always about - power and who's got it.

Posted by: Fern on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 1:22am GMT

I call on RW to condemn forcibly the persecution of gay people in Nigeria. I also call on him to address more forcibly the sinfulness of the US/UK invasion of Iraq and its consequences, as well as the practice of torture.

His is an influential voice, and people fighting those evils should have a clear and easily accessible statement from him about them. When they repeatedly ask for such a statement and meet only silence, it is natural that they draw the unflattering conclusions exhibited above.

I have not a doubt that Rowan's heart is in the right place on all these issues. But an aversion to vulgar screeching can go to far.

Again that good old evangelical question: What Would Jesus Do?

Jesus did a lot of screeching, it seems to me.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 2:36am GMT

Rowan Williams, Christmas Day, 2002:

"Even on their way to Christ, the wise men create the typical havoc that complicated people create; telling Herod about the Christ child, they provoke the massacre of the children in Bethlehem. It’s as if... the wise, the devious and resourceful, can’t help making the most immense mistakes of all. The strategists who know all the possible ramifications of politics, miss the huge and obvious things and create yet more havoc and suffering... Here we still are, tangled in the same net, knowing more and more, stepping deeper and deeper into tragedy. Communications are more effective than ever in human history; analysis of national and international situations becomes ever more subtle; intelligence and surveillance provide more and more material. We have endless theoretical perspectives on human behaviour, individual and collective. And still the innocent are killed."

And still a nation must repent as Israel did when it has grievously sinned. That goes for every nation that colluded in the Iraq War and the US torture flights.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 2:50am GMT

Charlotte - unfortunately for you, it is not a small, extreme "right-wing" group objecting to TEC innovations which the ABC faces - it is very much bigger, broader and more important than that - even in England but certainly in the global AC

The ABC cannot sacrifice the whole AC for TEC innovations

Posted by: NP on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 7:44am GMT

The last four years have inflicted terrible agony on the peoples of Iraq and terrible guilt on all the nations involved in the US/UK led misadventure. The voice of Christian leadership has been muted. I think it is time for the leaders of all churches to lead their people in mourning and repentance, as in ancient Israel.

After the dust of this horrible affair has settled all will need the balm of forgiveness -- Iraqis for Iraqis, Iraqis for their Western false friends, Palestinians for Israelis and vice versa. We need now to accept the posture of suppliants for forgiveness -- forgiveness from those we have injured, and forgiveness from the Lord. That would be an infinitely more valuable sign of Christian witness and leadership than all this wrangling about sexual ethics.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 8:45am GMT

Fern writes "So a strategy of developing financial muscle has allowed Reform to punch above its weight."

So would this be the strategy of strong bible teaching which has led to chuches growing from small numbers to hundreds and even thousands in the last few decades with resulting increased giving which has been shared with dioceses as you say....

..what a sneaky strategy??!And how dare they want any say over how their own money is spent!

Posted by: NP on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 2:20pm GMT

Fern is correct about financial clout. Although conservative Evangelicals are still a modest minority within the whole CofE, they are now contributing up to half of the diocesan income in places.

This is because the big churches concerned take tithing seriously, they are mission minded and bring in many new members, and up to now have been able to identify with the diocesan leadership.

But when the money they provide is being spent to prop up clergy and parishes which do nothing for mission, to pay for the stipends of priests whose lifestyle is a challenge to the high standards set by the gospel, and to enable bishops who are actively promoting views, doctrinal or moral, which are frankly untenable in any Christian leader, then the mind of the donor starts to revolve around questions like, "Would the money be better spent elsewhere to support the mission the CofE so urgently needs?"

What has prompted the current crisis is the complete failure of the House of Bishops to act with any integrity, having issued a statement on Civil Partnerships upon which not one of them has acted or apparently will act.

It seems entirely appropriate to many of us (and I am not a member of any of these Evangelical bodies) to pay the cost of maintaining the parish and its ministers, and to use the rest for mission and growth where there are people who are working for the gospel, and not for some other agenda.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 2:22pm GMT

Fern: "David Holloway's church up in Jesmond, for example, contributes something like 25% of the income for that diocese."

Jesmond has not contributed to the parish share for many years, above those costs calculated sufficient for two clergy plus ten percent. Giving is diverted into a trust: last year income was roughly £800,000.

Posted by: Simon Morden on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 3:02pm GMT

Fr Joseph, I loved your prayers. Thank you for being one soul who is looking at the "big picture".

Jesus did not stand with the established church with its tithes and infrastructure. He stood with the outcastes and afflicted.

He came not for those who could look after themselves, but for those who could not.

By their own admission: the conservatives who brag of their church structure, congregation sizes and tithing levels have no need for Jesus.

They can call on his name, but that does not give them the right to misuse his name.

Fr Joseph's prayers highlight one despicable war that was started on deceit and misused God's name. Jesus would be with the people of Iraq, not the sychophantic churches that sponsored endorsement of war based on greed and deceit. They are no better than the synagogues who were in the pocket of the Roman empire. Fr Joseph postings has pointed out another parallel of unnecessary bloodshed through "chosen" peoples' bragging mouths with the unnecessary slaughter of baby boys at Jesus time and now the unnecessary slaughter of Iraqis.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 6:06pm GMT

So, what's to lose -let them relate to who they want, and then when the big split happens, you won't see them for dust anyway!

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 6:13pm GMT

To be honest, not a list of rabid foaming bigots -but some good people who happen to be responding to some very provocative action over a number of years.

Continue the mud slinging but you guys look less and less warm, friendly and liberal the more you rage because anyone can just walk into St Helens or St Ebbes and sample for themselves, clear but gentle preaching. People do every week as it happens -lots of them! With St Helens you don't have to wait until Sunday they are open midweek too!

Posted by: dave williams on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 11:04pm GMT

Simon Morden, yes, you're correct. I was told that Jesmond did contribute around 25% of the income for the diocese but I didn't check it out. This, from the horse's mouth (the Rev Holloway) is what my informant must have been thinking of:-

"It has been reckoned that one quarter of all mission giving in the entire diocese of Newcastle (of 132 benefices) comes from Jesmond Parish Church - one out of 132 giving one quarter of the whole. Last year it might have been one third." (written in 2004)


Posted by: Fern on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 11:40pm GMT

'clear, but gentle' - there is nothing about the evangelical message of blood sacrifice and eternal torment to all who do not comply which is in the least gentle.

Its an utterly repulsive set of ideas.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 10:05am GMT

Following on from Fern's post about Jesmond - so basically Jesmond, one of the wealthiest parts of the city of Newcastle, never mind the diocese, 'hires' a couple of clergy at (say) 36 grand each pa. Whether its figures represent the true cost is a different matter.

It then sends the balance of its wealth elsewhere - but, of course NOT to the struggling, faithful UPA's on its doorstep via the parish share, but to its own cronies. This is like someone feeding best steak to their pet cat while ignoring the hungry neighbour and is a lousy advert for the faith.

I could, of course, be wrong - but unfortunately I doubt it. If this is (as that well known radical liberal anti-evangelical David Shepherd once said) bias to the poor, then I'm a SOuthern Baptist.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 10:14am GMT

In view of such an apocalyptic allegation, perhaps Cheryl might be so good as to tell us exactly which churches have endorsed the war in Iraq?

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 10:31am GMT

Just read Titusonline, Alan.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 11:20pm GMT

Dave Williams said, "you guys look less and less warm, friendly and liberal the more you rage because anyone can just walk into St Helens or St Ebbes and sample for themselves, clear but gentle preaching. People do every week as it happens -lots of them! "

I have been to St Helen's (Bishopsgate, or should it be Stepford? - I was handed a leaflet containing all sorts of odd jargon like "headship" and "sitting under Scripture" on the way out) and can confirm that it indeed has lots of people in it. As for the rest of the description, not likely - a long Biblical exegesis, majoring on odd interpretations yet somehow thumpingly banal, and peppered with nasty political asides (e.g. "It's hard to tell if the Archbishop of Canterbury is a Christian.") No discussion, the only way to "ask questions" is to submit them on a piece of paper. Oh, and they do sandwiches.

Posted by: Sarah on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:02am GMT

Alan

Is there are War in Iraq?

If there is a war, it did not happen in a vacuum. Where should we point the finger? At the implementers of this generation? Yes. But where did they learn? From their father's footsteps and previous wars? Where did war start?

War has been going on for centuries. Sometimes they have been genocidal wars.

If we want to stop wars, we must stop the thinking that justifies wars. That is not a battle for a particular parish of a particular denomination.

It is a battle over the underpinning philosophical and theological paradigms. Not just Protestant, or Catholic, or Muslim, or secular...

That is why scribes and angels who demand scholarly precedent are discredited. When one looks outside the books and libraries one sees the evidence of failed paradigms.

If the paradigms have failed, then the paradigms need shoring up or revision. A precedent that leads to war and repression is a failed precedent.

That is why governments and appeal courts exist. When the Law has become inadequate the Law must be redefined. Judaism has a history of doing this. Christianity needs to rediscover this element of its ancestry. Similarly, the idea of majority and minority reports and the possibility that both have merits, and it is a case of which one is appropriate for which situation.

Thinking has become oversimplistic. We have made theology and souls cardboard cutouts and work on scenarios as if one solution fits all. A good parent knows that the strategy that works for one child often fails on the next. A good parent develops strategies that work for each child, according to that child's gifts, needs and temperament. A good parent also raises a responsible child who understands they are part of a society and must contribute to that society and cooperate with that society.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 8:00pm GMT

"Jesus would be with the people of Iraq, not the sychophantic churches that sponsored endorsement of war based on greed and deceit." Your words, Cheryl.

Which churches, exactly? The Iraq war has not been welcomed by any of the churches I know.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:54pm GMT

Did some internet searching.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_14_41/ai_n9772186
http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/43576/
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/251384_tony09.html
http://atheism.about.com/od/waronterrorism/War_on_Terrorism.htm
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3818/is_200210/ai_n9137411
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3664/is_200301/ai_n9199683
The latter review noted "Said differently, although Christian theologians did not develop all of these criteria, they have used some form of theological justification to support them all, including those that they did not develop."


Alan, I must say that I was heartened by doing this research. There is evidence that there are churches and religions across all denominations denouncing the war. That is fantastic and I thank God for this repentance.

However, recognising the errors of one particular war is not the same as recognising the error of war. Similarly, recognising the errors of the Pharisees is not the same as recognising the parallel errors in this generation.

To be honest, one of my contempts for some churches right now is they are doing a big song and dance about recognising and confessing the errors of their sins in aiding and abetting pedophilic and other predatory priests. But they have not gained my trust, because I know that when God turns his back and the churches think they are once again above pubic accountabilty - they will be back to aiding and abetting abusive behaviours.

That is why I support the secular state as a monitor for all the faiths, and multiple faiths watching each others' backs for the same reason.

Similarly, I will not throw stones at homosexuals who choose monogamous relationships, because if pedophilic priests are to be forgiven then why not "the least" of these. If they are to be abandoned and sent into exile, then I will go into exile with them. I would rather comfort the parents who can not abandon their children than be with priests who deny citizenship, preach hate and violence, or practice shunning.

I have no illusion of perfection, or that any human or church or state can achieve perfection. We are all dependent on God's grace, some more so than others. I would rather be stoned than be one who casts stones or engineers for others to do it on my behalf.

That makes me an optimist. I trust that God is compassionate.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 11:12am GMT

Sarah,

Sorry you didn't like it but I know plenty of people who do -one friend of mine had his whole office attending at one point!

I'd be interested to know what you considered to be the banal or odd interpretations.

But more violent insults against a church only serve to highlight the differences!

Once again I invite peopel -judge for yourselves. If there are readers beyond the half dozen people wo comment here, you've seen the aggressive descriptions of conservative evangelicals here. Now go and compare for yourselves!

Posted by: dave williams on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 12:52pm GMT

The organist back home (whose father was a priest, and 2 brothers and 1 sister, and who's son now is a priest) once said:

Priests often complain that people are not coming, but the truth is they have been there - and they are not coming back...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 5:35pm GMT

"Priests often complain that people are not coming, but the truth is they have been there - and they are not coming back..."

That certainly seems to be true of attendance figures for ECUSA.

Posted by: Alan Marsh on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 11:41pm GMT

Goran,

Sorry to hear of your organists experience. But maybe it would be worth having a look at the Churches where people do come back (and bring a friend)

Here's a helping hand

HTB
All Souls
St Helens
Christ church Fulwood, Sheffield
St Ebbes
St Thomas, Sheffield
Kensington Temple
The Co-Mission Partnership...

Posted by: Dave williams on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 12:51pm GMT

You are presuming quite a lot now, the both of you, aren't you?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 25 December 2006 at 8:00pm GMT
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