Thursday, 26 April 2007

American news roundup

Updated Friday

An open letter to Rowan Williams was issued by a distinguished group of Episcopal rectors and cathedral deans who had been staying at the Canterbury Cathedral.

You can read the full text of it at the Episcopal Café Letter to Lambeth:

We salute your stated desires to “keep everyone at the table.” Your recent call for a renewed reading and hearing of scripture, rooted in eucharistic fellowship and the Holy Spirit, is one that we eagerly accept. We note that such a call is what holds our own parishes and cathedrals together. Our local communities are full of people who have disagreements, but who yet share eucharist, scripture, and truly holy communion together. Thus, in our commitment to the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit has continuing occasion to renew us. Thus, too, we celebrate Jesus Christ together in our Anglican heritage.

Toward that end, we urge you to continue our Anglican precedent of inviting all jurisdictional bishops of The Episcopal Church in the United States and of the Anglican Church of Canada to the upcoming Lambeth Conference. We certainly respect the fact such an invitation is yours to give; but we pray that your invitation will be as broad and graceful as the invitation Jesus offers all Christians to gather at table together.

From Jim Naughton, we learn news not published by Lambeth Palace: Rowan Williams to take sabbatical at Georgetown
Update The Telegraph has more about this: A glutton for Punishment. See also this Prospect magazine article (hat tip Episcopal Café)

The Presiding Bishop visited Boston and her remarks there were reported in the Boston Globe as Episcopal leader holds firm on gay rights:

Saying “I don’t believe that there is any will in this church to move backward,” the top official of the Episcopal Church USA said yesterday that the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire has been “a great blessing” despite triggering intense controversy and talk of possible schism.

In an interview during a visit to Boston, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori compared the gay rights struggle to battles over slavery and women’s rights, and said she believes that it has become a vocation for the Episcopal Church “to keep questions of human sexuality in conversation, and before not just the rest of our own church, but the rest of the world.”

…The Anglican Communion has been embroiled in a debate about whether and how to punish the American church for its consent to Robinson’s election, which some Anglican primates view as a violation of biblical teachings about sexuality.

“This is an issue for some clergy and a handful of bishops in our own church, and for a handful of primates across the communion, who believe that this issue is of sufficient importance to chuck us out, but the vast majority of people and clergy in this church, and I would believe across the communion, think that our common mission is of far higher importance,” Jefferts Schori said. “If we focus on the mission we share, we’re going to figure out how to get along together, even if we disagree about some things that generate a good deal more heat than light.”

And there is much more of this interview on video here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 3:52pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

The ABC can follow this advice and see the AC split and reduced to a few million people around the world.........or he can do as he has in TWR and Tanzania and call the small rebel elements in the AC to heel. Guess which he will do.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 5:11pm BST

I pray that all the US bishops are not invited (eg Gene Robinson), that none of them will go. of course, Rowan has given no indications that he's considering anything like this.

Posted by: Weiwen Ng on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 5:31pm BST

"Our local communities are full of people who have disagreements, but who yet share eucharist, scripture, and truly holy communion together."

Describes our little cot to a T!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 6:05pm BST

And so His Grace, Dr. Rowan Williams, doesn't 'grace' Episcopal parishes with his presence when visiting the U.S.? Does he attend RC parishes or just 'take a holiday' from attending church?

Posted by: John Henry on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 9:12pm BST

The Lambeth Conference Design Group has issued this:

http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/articles/42/75/acns4281.cfm

I note that the The Listening Process is on the agenda. If they're truly serious about it, then they cannot exclude Gene Robinson.

Jane Williams is to host bishops' spouses in a parallel conference. Presumably Gene Robinson's partner will be invited. The wives will then benefit from their own Listening Process and learn what it's like to be one half of the most scrutinised partnership in the history of the Anglican Church since Henry VIII.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 9:33pm BST

Schori's comments reminded me of Adams "Leaven in the Lump" paper.

Specifically his paragraph starting with "The Church is human as well as Divine, and the human side has always shown an interest in confusing the two."

As Adams correctly points out "God is the only one good enough and smart enough and resourceful enough to organize utopia, to integrate the good of individual creatures with the good of the whole."

One of things that happens when humans try to be "good" or "pure" enough, is that they start falling over their inability to meet the standards. We then end up in a scene of finger accusations where each player has their fingers pointed at others reciting why the others' inadequacies should be dealt with, but not their own...

What is forgotten is that God understands human fallability. God exhorts us to try and live our lives as best as possible, but God also understands that we simply can not be perfect. God also knows that those who are often the most capable of appearing "perfect" are often the more sinister as their sins are hidden from public view (with sometimes disastrous results).

That is why Jesus preferred the ashamed tax collector over the self-righteous parishioner.

This is also why God frequently makes promises and greetings to the oppressed and afflicted in the bible. God is trying to remind us that we are all God's children, and that shunning others does not remove our own sins and is actually a sin of rejection. It is also why God asked for the "perfect" to be sacrified, God was asking us to give up the illusion that we could ever be "perfect" enough and to be comfortable living with the flawed and inadquate.

Utopia is what we all share in heaven, this earth is about living within limits and learning consequences. Things are slowed down so that we can see what happens if we continue down a particular path. E.g. if we only use military solutions, we find ourselves living with violence; if we only reward the powerful, we end up with deprivation; if we exercise reverence we see sustainability; if we exercise justice with compassion we find dignity and peace.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 10:20pm BST

Begin quote:

Schori's comments reminded me of Adams "Leaven in the Lump" paper.

Specifically his paragraph starting with "The Church is human as well as Divine, and the human side has always shown an interest in confusing the two.

End quote.

Er, um, for the record, the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University and author of "Leaven in the lump of Lambeth," is of course a she, not a he.

As she is walking proof of the authenticity of God's call of women to the priesthood, it's good not to inadvertently transition her gender toward the male end of the spectrum.

And perhaps she may one day likewise be further proof of God's call of women to the episcopate!

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:50am BST

Please let Rowan have his break - he really deserves it after all the stress TEC's unilateral actions have caused him.

Secondly, please do remember his record in the last 4 years - it is very unlikely that he is going to invite VGR to Lambeth and see 70m+ Anglicans got to Alexandria 2008 instead!

The ABC is not going to split the AC for the sake of a tiny minority who have not convinced many people of their new scripture-light "theology" and who have been arrogant in taking unilateral actions, expecting everyone else to accept their behaviour because the alternative is shcism (maybe they are arrogant because they have inherited some cash!)

Anyway, this ABC clearly cares most for the unity of the church and does not care for unilateral actions by people who have not persuaded many of their case. He clearly does not want to see the AC reduced to a few million liberals dotted around the world

Posted by: NP on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 7:27am BST

May I point out to NP that Dr Williams is the Metropolitan of a Province where women are ordained to the orders of Deacon and Priest. He is a Diocesan Bishop who licenses ordained women to function in his diocese. This is action where many across the Provinces of the Anglican Communion are not persuaded of the case, hence in England we have the Act of Synod. It is by no means certain that Dr. Williams will always subvert his own opinions and/or principles to the mantra of 'Unity at all costs'. By the way, I am still uncertain as to your opinion on the admission of women to Holy Orders in the context of another thread on this site.

Posted by: Anglicanus on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 8:30am BST

Anglicanus - I have responded on another thread to your raising of the issue of women's ministry.

As I said there, I think women as being done a great disservice by the LG lobby trying to link the two issues.....it is a good political move by the LG lobby but damaging to those, like me, who value the ministry of faithful women pastors and teachers

Posted by: NP on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 8:37am BST

I don’t think for one moment that Rowan Williams will have any concern for his own survival when deciding who to invite to Lambeth but it may be interesting to consider the consequences if he doesn’t invite everybody.

The AofC is the second most important person in Britain after the Queen and is very much part of the British Establishment. Now the latter couldn’t care less what he gets up to out and about the Anglican Communion; whether he upsets a few Africans or a few Americans is of no consequence. However, if he doesn’t invite the Americans and Canadians then we might suppose that a number of other bishops will stay away in protest. Williams’ future will depend on how many British bishops boycott Lambeth. If as many as, say, a third of bishops from England, Scotland and Wales were to indicate their open support for the Americans then Rowan Williams’ position would become quite untenable. The Establishment would turn against him and it would be suggested to him over brandy and cigars at the Athenaeum that he really ought to be spending more time with his family “old chap”.

Posted by: Terence Dear on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:20am BST

NP.
Paul wouldn't agree with you on that. How is this so easily explained away, but what he said about gay people isn't? The plain word of scripture is quite plain on women's role in the Church. My Lord of Sydney, about whose fidelity to the Gospel you have spoken most glowingly, sides with Pual against you as well.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:21am BST

How about we wait and see? Doubt he's going to fly to Pittsburgh or Charleston for communion every Sunday, nor do I think he'll be a regular attendee at mass at Georgetown. There's method behind this.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:30am BST

In other words, you are selective in your bigotry - and indeed, in your fundamentalism, as anyone with half a brain can see that a conservative reading of the Bible opposes women's ministry. At least try and be consistent - but then, that's not what I expect from conservatives, who are every bit as selective as the liberals they disdain. Only without the recognition of the importance of reason.

As for Williams, who cares? An irrelevant, obscure, inadequate cleric at best, leading a terminally dysfunctional international religious body near the end of its natural life. The split cannot come too soon.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 11:43am BST

Ford - you are clearly ignorant of what actually happens in Sydney....I have been and seen and (sorry to disappoint you!) your caricature is wrong - they have lots of women teaching and studying at Moore College

Merseymike - you are clearly ignorant of what ST Paul actually wrote on the subject of women's ministry (and other subjects) - suggest you read and find out.

Posted by: NP on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 12:29pm BST

NP: "Please let Rowan have his break - he really deserves it after all the stress TEC's unilateral actions have caused him"

Oh that's right, blame TEC for all the AC's ill's. Nothing about the New Zealand Church's decision back to ordain female clerics, predating TEC by at least four years, or the Diocese of New Westminster (Anglican Church in Canada) same-sex blessings before +VGR ever came up upon the radar.

Get real. You've made me laugh so hard, that with my mouth full of my mornington crescent I've manage to spill bits of it on my laptop.

And Merseymike, I agree with you on most points, but you've got to get to an Evensong located near you and experience how dying and irrelevant we Anglicans aren't.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 12:44pm BST

"Doubt he's going to fly to Pittsburgh or Charleston for communion every Sunday, nor do I think he'll be a regular attendee at mass at Georgetown."

Maybe he'll just bring along a sufficient supply of Reserved Sacrament from home ... from what's been said about how he has acted in the past, it looks like he'll be depriving himself of the rich variety of Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Washington. Too bad. He could learn something about diversity in that place.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:07pm BST

NP,
Are you saying that Sydney ordains women? When did they start doing that? They make some pretty strong arguments against women's headship, which they use to argue against women's ordination. And get back to Paul. How does your position agree with his?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 1:23pm BST

ok, choirboy - so, you seriously want to argue that TEC's unilateral actions re VGR were not the start of the AC having to make decisions on what it really thinks is right and wrong re Lambeth 1.10 and ...the bible's teaching? (I said "seriously", please note)

Ford - you will find women pastors and teachers leading in Sydney but under male headship. They do a lot of work with a lot of people so and are integral, respected gospel co-workers (not necessarily ordained)

Posted by: NP on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 2:31pm BST

Reading P+ Schori's comments on the day that +Robinson has announced his intention to enter a Civil Union just as soon as the legilation is passed by the Governer of New Hampshire, I can close my eyes and believe that maybe the Anglican church will be the inclusive church so many of us want it to be. On a sunny day I can suspend my disbelief for minutes at a time...

Posted by: Graham Ward on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 3:39pm BST

Graham - I think you are dreaming of TEC Global - the AC has woken up to what has been happening for years and is (finally) dealing with the false teaching and practice so your dream ain't going to happen in the AC.

I read somewhere that the average TEC member is 66 yrs old and the average congregation has no more than 77 members - great work, TEC!

Posted by: NP on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 4:25pm BST

So, to clarify, you do not believe in women's ordination, NP, as that ordination comes with an expectation of being a priest with a living, in charge of a church.

Not that hard really , is it?

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 4:49pm BST

Umm, is it time to start the 'late arrivals at the Primate's Ball' round?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 5:47pm BST

NP: Seriously yes on the fact that New Westminster predated +VGR. That's a fact in time. And the aborted promotion of the [now] Dean of St. Albans. But I'll really take you seriously when I see some gracious credibility from the opposition, that comes from a country that is committing crimes against humanity, with the Anglican metropolitan's implicit blessing.

But no, I guess I just can't take you seriously when you (mis)use your interpretation of scripture to condemn a group of people (and I dare you to prove otherwise - through scientific facts and not your "beliefs") that seem to be born the way they are.

Perhaps merseymike is only slightly misguided; it is the far right wing of any Christian denomination that is alienating itself into irrelevance and/or outright delusion. It seems to have happened already to Islam, and the results we all know too well.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 5:48pm BST

Rowan Williams has stated most recently his aim is to keep everyone around the table, that if not the Covenant etc. then what, and he wants to keep everyone talking. NP seems to enjoy the mind of Rowan Williams; I just go on what he says.

I also read such as his interview about Russian understanding of individual and community, because it is yet another insight into his understanding of unity.

Also his sympathy for Roman Catholicism is shown in his coming trip to the USA, at least through personal connections but also I assume a view of unity and sacramentalism that seems denied to him otherwise.

I don't think he is effective, but I wonder who could be. He seems to want to chair meetings to keep things going, and find a road to unity which involves "patience" - something else that is part of his collection of guideposts. I think he shows signs of realising that the international top-down approach will not work, and indeed it won't.

He will invite, others will exclude themselves after an enquiry whether they cannot come and deal with it at hand.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 6:20pm BST

>>>I read somewhere that the average TEC member is 66 yrs old and the average congregation has no more than 77 members - great work, TEC!

Are you an accountant, NP? Or maybe a realtor?

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 7:37pm BST

"I read somewhere that the average TEC member is 66 yrs old and the average congregation has no more than 77 members - great work, TEC!"

Posted by: NP

And I read somewhere that "seeing is believing" and I don't believe much you have to say NP as you rush about trying to destroy the ACTUAL moral reputations of other human beings (without knowing zilch about them or their behavior)!
What do they call that kind of maliciousness in your neck of the deep dark woods of smearing and slander?

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 8:23pm BST

"I read somewhere..." cite your reference, please NP! This doesn't square with my personal observation about the Episcopal Church, even in the tiny Diocese of Southwest Virginia. What pray tell is the "average" AC member's age and the average congretation? 85 and 16?

Posted by: SHP on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 9:03pm BST

Just a note: it is transparently false to speak of TEC's unilateral actions at GC2003 with regard to the rest of the Anglican Communion.

First -- consider Canada's movement to bless gay unions. Second, consider the CoE's own movement on civil unions for gay couples, and even clergy. Third, consider that there are sympathetic leaders in the hierarchies of other Anglican provinces who disagree with the "GS" stand.

The idea of TEC moving out into the unknown utterly alone is sheer fiction -- even if convenient for some.

Posted by: The Anglican Scotist (Todd) on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 10:09pm BST

"I read somewhere that the average TEC member is 66 yrs old and the average congregation has no more than 77 members - great work, TEC!"

Maybe you should quit reading all the ConsEv propaganda and actually go visit an Episcopal parish some Sunday.
Our small 300 member parish recently inducted 15 new members; 10 of whom were under 30. A much larger neighboring parish of about a thousand members recently confirmed about 30 new member under the age of 25, all students at a local university.

I'm with Weiwen, if the dreaded +Gene Robinson of that cesspool of perverted iniquity known as New Hampshire is not invited, then none of the bishops should go. Let ++Abuja have his Alexandrine papacy. I don't care. I'm sure NP could find work as Pope Peter's grand inquisitor testing everyone's blood for orthodoxy.

Posted by: counterlight on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 1:19am BST

Doesn't Paul say something about women not teaching men? So in Sydney women can teach men but not be headship? I think NP would be better of at virtue on line or stand firm. Sorry, NP, I agree with Mersey and Ford, you select what you believe. All scripture isn't inerrant. We can pick and choose the ones the Holy Spirit truly spake to the scribes.

Either you follow the all the laws and instructions in the bible as the word of God or you admit that your as flawed as the liberals.

Posted by: Bob in SWpa on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 6:25am BST

Actually, Sydney is a bit of a paradox at present when it comes to the whole question of women's ministry. There have been some comments on this thread that have mentioned Sydney, and I think the following is worth sharing.

Over the last couple of years there have been some very large ordinations to the diaconate in Sydney, and while the majority of the candidates have been men, there has been a significant number of women among those ordained. One would suppose that this would come with a wider reassessment of the role of the diaconate in the life of the Church. Given the attitudes afoot in the diocese regarding women's ministry this would be a healthy and constructive step if it were a way of giving some measure of pastoral freedom to ordained women. The view from outside Sydney is that they're trying to gain critical mass to increase their representation at General Synod. The diocese claims that the ordinations are in line with the growth strategy that was put in place at the beginning of the term of the current Archbishop. If nothing else, these ordinations have deepened the mutual suspicion (Sydney vs The Rest) that has been a feature of Anglican life in Australia for the better part of a century.

It is far from certain that the overwhelming majority of the men who have been ordained will proceed to priestly orders - it is quite clear that the women won't, so long as they remain in Sydney. It would be nice to claim that the diaconate was being seriously considered as a prototype of stand-alone ministry rather than a type of incomplete priesthood, but given the past form of the current Archbishop on matters of church polity this seems rather unlikely. What a pity...

Posted by: k1eranc on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 10:43am BST

>>>I read somewhere that the average TEC member is 66 yrs old and the average congregation has no more than 77 members - great work, TEC!

Are you an accountant, NP? Or maybe a realtor?

Posted by: JPM on Friday, 27 April 2007 at 7:37pm BST

The Mold Quaker Meeting has ten members all well over 70, a good 6 or more mange to get thre each week, thru sickness and a full life. It is one of the most spiritually deep meetings I have ever attended.

In fact, they have recently gone from meeting fortnightly, to meeting weekly.

And yes, having no meeting house, they meet in the Mold Derby and Joan Club !

What price ageism ?!

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 12:33pm BST

More news from the states - according to a NYTimes article that I was told about, ++Akinola will be formally installing Martyn as a CANA bishop next week - May 5th. The article did not say where, but I suppose at Truro, where Martyn was once a priest, now accupied by a CANA congregation of squatters. Perhaps someone can access the article for this list.

Glad the good archbishop has abundant cash to swan about like this. Too bad so many in his country have no assurance of their next meal or drink of water or a roof over their heads. I'm sure the after-installation reception will provide all present with abundant food and drink.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 6:19pm BST

I suspect that His Grace ++Abuja will not be flying tourist class to America.

Posted by: counterlight on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 7:21pm BST

Viriato

Blush. Thanks for pointing that out. And you're right, the proof of a capable woman is the proof that it can be done.

Sydney is not straight forward. There are some great women in the diocese. There are also some great women who have left the diocese for other states or denominations as they were unable to actualize their potential.

My personal experience is that there is an intense dislike of women taking on any kind of teaching of men role - so it is okay to teach little ones, other women, non-Christians; but it is not okay to be teaching the "leaders" of the pack.

There is a lot of information available on the internet if you want to look at what roles they have or have not been allowed to take on, when they were or were not given those consents, and one what grounds. You will find a lot of too'ing and fro'ing.

What would be erroneous is to claim that everyone is happy with how the diocese leadership has treated them or that diversity of Christian expression is actively encouraged. If you are into diversity and against bullying, then both of these tendencies are an anathema.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 28 April 2007 at 11:30pm BST

What price ageism ?!

Exactly. There is a need for some respect of people of different ages.

I went through several viewpoints about this when I was frustrated about levels of conservatism in the Unitarian denomination and some congregations. But in the end there are a death of places for older people to go and be recognised by one another for what they are doing, and churches are one of these places. So much of contemporary culture is aimed elsewhere, when it might be a good idea to listen to what some older people have to say.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 29 April 2007 at 12:19am BST

NP's statistics are spurious and unconvincing. And even if they were reliable, what would the conclusion be? That a church with an average age of n or higher is therefore out of favor with God?

Posted by: Anthony W on Sunday, 29 April 2007 at 3:48am BST

Sydney is moving to have a permanent diaconate in this diocese. This will include both men and women. As to whether this is some plot to stack general synod it should be noted that there are perhaps several hundred lay workers in the diocese that are possible deacons but there seems to be no rush to ordain them. If this is stacking, it is a poor attempt.

Posted by: obadiahslope on Sunday, 29 April 2007 at 11:59am BST

>>>NP's statistics are spurious and unconvincing. And even if they were reliable, what would the conclusion be?

According to NP's reasoning, China's population of app. 1,300,000,000 clearly indicates the superiority of communism.

As for all the comments regarding Sydney, it would seem to me that their proposal to allow people to wander in off the streets and celebrate Holy Eucharist represents a greater departure from Anglican order and doctrine that anything that has happened in New Hampshire.

Posted by: JPM on Sunday, 29 April 2007 at 4:25pm BST

Keep on missing the point if you like people - the point is that the "inclusive" gospel fails even in the West to attract many people.

You know its true - that's why some here hate to see the strong growth in evangelical churches - even in England!

But you comfort yourselves with whatever smokescreens you like and thank God that your organisations have inherited enough money to keep on paying for decades of failed ministry and ideology.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 7:05am BST

I think the days of large scale church attendance in the UK are basically over. We have to look for new ways of engaging those who have an interest in spirituality but would run a mile from the sort of beliefs and practices promoted by NP and his colleagues.

After all, there are plenty of conservative churches around if people were convinced by that approach. I think what progressives need to do is firstly, forget about the traditional model of 'going to church'. That is largely yesterday's activity.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 10:30am BST

NP wrote: "...decades of failed ministry and ideology."

I for one, pray to God that my church will never mire it self in "ideology", failed or otherwise.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 11:31am BST

Come to think of it... "successful" ideology would be even worse.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 11:32am BST

Merseymike,
The church is a convenient place for meeting people who are interested in the same questions and who are searching for answers within similar parameters. It's not so easy to find those who want more liberal ways of meeting "outside".

But Chris Sunderland's Agora Space is a very good starting point:
http://www.agoraspace.org/cgi-bin/page.cgi?16

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 11:47am BST

Merseymike - the Alpha and Reform churches all over England are packed and still growing so they are not going to listen to your advice (especially as you don't seem to believe much at all that might lead to you being described as an Anglican, even a liberal one!)

.....maybe it is the "progressive" non-message you like which turns people off and leaves you with your experience of decline?

Posted by: NP on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 12:44pm BST

Yeah NP, a hundred and forty-two last late afternoon for Evensong. That on a perfectly clear and warm spring day in which we in the choir (incorrectly) guessed that everybody would rather be playing golf and drinking beer than worshipping with us.

And the "hand waving" (Pick Me Jesus, I've got all the answers!!!) break-away (Southern Cone) church up the road was closed.

Preaching (and singing) the gospel and pandering/playing with people's fears is not the same thing. These days, do we know the difference? Would we know a 'Good Shepherd' if we saw one?

Stanford in B flat Major Canticles. Nice, easy and sweet.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 12:50pm BST

NP, given your faith in numbers, can you tell us what the rate of church attendance is in the UK?

I seem to recall that it is something like 5% and would be even lower if not for immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 3:31pm BST

Merseymike said:
"After all, there are plenty of conservative churches around if people were convinced by that approach. I think what progressives need to do is firstly, forget about the traditional model of 'going to church'. That is largely yesterday's activity. "

This is an intriguing statement. Why do we think that forms of worship that have roots going back thousands of years to ancient Jewish worship are no longer adequate for post-modern society? Corporate worship seems to be a fundamental element of a Chirstian community (OT and NT) and to say that is dead implies our relationship with God has been altered in some way.

Of course innovation in worhsip adds value, but denying worship has value is a very bold statement.

Posted by: Chris on Monday, 30 April 2007 at 5:20pm BST

Please, focus your comments more strictly on the American news reports and not on what is happening, or not happening, in the UK. We have plenty of other threads for the latter, from time to time.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 8:05am BST

NP, I wouldn't be surprised if those numbers are accurate, but the numbers for the average TEC congregation are probably more damaged by dioceses generally not closing parishes that are failing for a wide variety of causes, especially population movements, than it is by any wide spread failed ideology. If what I hear about the shrinkage of denominations like the Southern Baptists is accurate, then I suspect the trouble is that most of what Christians are doing appears totally disconnected from modern life.

Jon

Posted by: Jon on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 at 9:35pm BST

Inconveniently for NP, surveys of TEC congregations show that the most conservative AND most progressive churches have the strongest growth. The most Progressive churches leading all.

FACTS on Episcopal Church Growth

See pages 5-6

And the average age of the TEC is about 48, not in the 60s.

Posted by: toujoursdan on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 1:55am BST

Toujoursdan,
This is more than mere inconvenience for NP. It challenges everything about his worldview, summarized as:
The Liberal Churches long ago sought out the approval of the world, compromising their doctrine accordingly. The world is not impressed, but is far more approving of the Evangelical message. Hence, Evo Churches are full, this popularity with the world, scorned when "liberals" seek it, proves the Evos are right, nyah, nyah, ne, nyah, nyah! Liberals in response to this are conspiring to take over the Church and force their politically correct agenda down everybody's throats.

Crucial to this is the fact that, in NP's Gospel, God will roast you forever with no hope of death if you, in your human weakness, make the mistake of believing the wrong thing, so right belief is crucial, and any doubt cast on what one believes is inutterably frightening. One can't afford to make a mistake in what one believes. Thus it is very comforting on one level to believe the Bible to be God's ultimate authority, as written. To debate what it means is to run the very real risk of making an eternally damning mistake. Having hung the truth of the message on the fullness of the congregation, he can't afford to think "liberal" churches might actually show growth.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 at 2:57pm BST

No Ford - my simple understanding is that when God says "do not...." he means "do not...." and not "do....". There is lots of evidence for this.


If you want to try and split the God of the OT and JC, you will have to ignore his many words on judgment based on faith and actions - you can get Goran to make up some theses about how I or one of my friends made up those verses last week, if you like, but I would ask you to write out all the sayings of JC that we have and see what he actuallly said (and did) rather than projecting on to him and his father what you would have them do.....he calls every single one of us to painful, sacrifical repentance in various ways and never says "don't worry, your sin is ok"

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 7:25am BST

"my simple understanding is that when God says "do not...." he means "do not...." and not "do....". "

I have repeatedly pointed out how this is

A) slanderous, since none of those you fear so much actually say that sin is a good thing. That you are unable to see this is, I feel, evidence of your buying into the paranoia of the right wing persecution complex. You would rather fight a non-existent enemy and thus make yourself out a martyr than actually show respect for your fellow Christians.

B) hypocritical, since you accept and defend instances where the Church has actually done this. Of course, you do not feel that any of these things are wrong. I have further pointed out that there are two competing understandings as to authority in the Church. It is sad that those you oppose can respect your understanding of authority while at the same time feeling it gravely flawed, yet you cannot return the same respect.

"".....he calls every single one of us to painful, sacrifical repentance ""

No-one says otherwise, except perhaps to qualify that His call to painful, sacrificial love of one's neighbour is actually paramount, and indeed is seen by many as evidence of the "painful, sacrificial repentance" you talk about. For you it's all about living a pure life so you can get into Heaven. Funny that the Summary of the Law says nothing about that, but tells us to love God and love our neighbour. Also 1 John 4:7-9

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 11:23am BST

Ford- stop putting words in my mouth!

Anyway - if you are right, why is the whole AC asking TEC to stop its "innovations" with regard to VGR etc etc........even including liberals like Rowan Williams?

Like I have said many times reading "do not do x" as "do x" is not an interpretation is plain disobedience and false teaching - and if I am so extreme, I wonder why TEC is geting such a strong reaction from so many of its own people (115,000 leaving since 2003), the AC Primates - even the liberal ABC?

YOu don't, I am sure, buy the "prosperity gospel" which ignores clear "greed is idolatry" teaching, and turns it on its head to allow those who are greedy to justfify their sins. That would not make sense to you, would it?

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 2:55pm BST

1) What words have I put in your mouth?
2) "if you are right" If I am right in what? That this is not the first time the Church has compromised the Gospel for the sake of social acceptability? It isn't! If it is plain disobedience in this instance, it was the same in the past, yet this seems to be the only issue you get fussed up over. Well, this and Joel Osteen, who makes Evos look bad. Now you know how I feel! That you have no respect for your fellow Christians who disagree with you? Your statement today about a "faithful" Anglican presence in the US would seem, among many other instances, to support my contention. Your insistence that those who disagree with you are simply ignoring the bits of Scripture they don't agree with? Or that you are buying into a persecution myth that is causing you to behave badly towards your fellow Christians? What precisely is it you think I am arguing? I do not support gay marriage, I DO accept that the election of Gene Robinson was lawful, which it was, though perhaps regrettable, given the furore. I believe your understanding of Biblical authority to be in error. Well, so do the majority of Christians around the world. Other than my disagreement with you on Biblical authority, and I suspect other things like sacraments, I don't see that there is much I have said that is contentious. So, what?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 3 May 2007 at 5:43pm BST

Ford - you ask for an example of words you have falsely put in my mouth: "in NP's Gospel, God will roast you forever with no hope of death if you, in your human weakness, make the mistake of believing the wrong thing,"

And, yes, I have no respect for people who teach other to directly disbobey the scriptures - they are not faithful teachers or Anglicans unless one adopts a silly postmodern view that directly opposing views can both be right. It is not "anglican" to tolerate contradictory views, it is just dishonest.

There are various examples of false teaching but the ordination of VGR et al is the issue that has caused the broken communion in the AC since TEC's unilateral actions in 2003 - sorry, but this is true

Posted by: NP on Friday, 4 May 2007 at 9:55am BST

"There are various examples of false teaching but the ordination of VGR et al is the issue that has caused the broken communion in the AC since TEC's unilateral actions in 2003 - sorry, but this is true"

Well then crucify Him!, CRUCIFY HIM!! (+VGR) Your (false, as I pointed out in prior thread, but you don't listen) statement certainly gives much power to the Bishop of New Hampshire, doesn't it NP? That one man could bring down the AC is breathtaking to say the least.

And of course, don't take ANY responsibility for such "unilateral" actions as witholding tithes-diocesan assessments (which has been going
on in my diocese way before +VGR), actively ignoring the rubrics of the BCP to accommodate liturgical changes in "charismatic" parishes that makes the Anglio-Catholics of a hundred years ago seem nonsensical, fanning the flames for the "AB Lefebvrests" of Virginia and your sterling hallmark, taking certain and highly specific passages from scripture to castigate, accuse, defame and ultimately judge when it is not your place to do so.

Your obsession with +VGR and the LGBT community leads me to conclude serious psychological problems with sexuality in general, and to use the good book to openly attack fellow Christians and tear apart the church confirms that schism is indeed a far greater wicked act than heresy. The former may be ultimately a serious error in theology, but the latter is definately a deliberate act to divide God's children.

Move on. Get over it.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 4 May 2007 at 12:24pm BST

"And, yes, I have no respect for people who teach other to directly disbobey the scriptures - they are not faithful teachers or Anglicans unless one adopts a silly postmodern view that directly opposing views can both be right."

NP,
I took this to mean that you feel there is some kind of consequence for false belief. This is pretty clear in the utterances of most every other Evangelical I have communicated with. If you do not believe this, I apologize for the misrepresentation. If not, though, why are you so upset that people may be teaching the wrong thing? I know why I am, why are you? Also, there have been Evangelicals and Anglocatholics for a very long time in the Anglican Church, so it IS quite Anglican to accept contradictory views. This is why I fear Evangelicals so much. We ACs have tolerated your "error" for along time, I fear you would have no tolerance for ours, indeed, this statement suggests that you even deny the historical fact of our toleration of you! As to the "silly postmodern view "that two contradictory views can be right, the only one who believes that other people even think like this is you,and perhaps the preachers who are manipulating your paranoia. You can't seem to understand the difference between agreement and respect, it appears. Furthermore, you have great respect for those who tell others to directly disrespect the Scriptures. I have pointed this out many times to you. Not only that, but you well know that Scripture is not the final authority in traditional Christianity, despite what you may want to believe.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 4 May 2007 at 12:45pm BST

YOu're right, Ford, I am not into the "traditional" but the authentic variety - and that authentic message is filling Anglican churches in London and across England....so I am sticking to it and not put off by the complaints of those here who have endured years of decline......I think this is a big part of why they do not like evo Anglicans: it was easier to blame society for their failure before certain CofE churches began growing strongly since the 1960s (making it obvious that maybe it was not society's fault but their own non-message and "traditions" which put people off)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 10:15am BST

NP,
For the last time, Reformation era sola scriptura is NOT the "authentic variety"! It may well be true, but is is most decidedly NOT the faith transmitted to us from time immemorial. That was the whole point of the Reformation, for God's sake! People lost faith in a politically and socially corrupt power structure within the Church. Then they were able to see that the Church taught things that weren't in Scripture. Since the Church was corrupt, who could they trust? The only answer lay in giving the Scritpures authority, despite the fact they had never been meant to have that degree of authority. No doubt,a good many of them had not gotten over their adolescent rebelliousness either, and when they could convince themselves that God Himself endorsed their rebelliousness, so much the better.

As to it filling churches in London, I could claim that I see no joy in people being led astray by false doctrine, or point out yet again that a large percentage of an ever decreasing absolute number does NOT constitute success, but you seem impervious to this. And some of us do not like Evangelicalism because we think it to be misguided and self delusory, not because we are envious of it's popularity with the world and its ability to manipulate the broken.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 1:06pm BST

One more thing, NP, given that Roman Catholicism is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa, while Evangelical Churches in the US are experiencing a drop in numbers, am I to assume you believe this to be a sign of God's favour towards Rome and His rejection of the Evangelical message?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 3:58pm BST

Ford - "for the last time" (as you say) - the Reformation ideas were taking the corrupt tradition, rejecting it and going back to the truths taught in scripture - including the solas.....it is authentic in the sense that its bases would have been much more acceptable and recognisable to St Paul and St Peter in the NT church than either Rome or TEC.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 9:52am BST

"it is authentic in the sense that its bases would have been much more acceptable and recognisable to St Paul and St Peter in the NT church than either Rome or TEC."

Sorry, NP, but I promise if you respond to this, I'll let you have the last word. I'm sure the above is the line you have been fed, but it's just a line. Consider the first council of the Church that Acts tells us about. Their decision was not based on Scripture alone, but on the guidance of the Spirit, they even said "It seemed right to the Holy Spirit and to us" when the Spirit led them in direct disobedience to the Scriptures they knew. No doubt you will point to their edict against sexual immorality. I'm not saying we should disobey that or ignore it. My point is that their decision making process included reference to Scripture, but understood by what "seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us". I can't help but think that you'd have accused them of the same kind of faithlessness you accuse us of today when we follow in their tradition.

I'm still looking for Stott, BTW, but all I can find so far is a few quotes on the Internet. If that's anything to go on, you're right, we do have two different religions. He argues for the ordination of women against arguments I can't even conceive of, but ignores the things that for me are key. Now, as I said, my sample size is quite small, so I am reserving judgement.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 6:56pm BST

Reformation Sola scriptura is "nothing beyond scripture is to be required of anybody".

Cf Drs Hooker and Luther. And Paul(1 Cor 4:6).

Dr Calvinus' version of sola scriptura is The Pastor always knows right.

Not the same thing.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 at 7:22pm BST

Goran,
It seems now to be very closely allied to Scriptural literalism. "nothing beyond scripture is to be required of anybody" is something Anglicans accept: "Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation." I tend to a more Orthodox understanding, all the same, but then I think I have an Eastern soul! It just seems, as I said, that many modern Evangelicals pretty much equate it with a literal understanding of scripture, and what's more, a literal understanding of individual verses with only passing regard to context. Overlain on this seems to be the equation between "scripture contains all things necessary to salvation" and "all things contained in Scripture are necessary to salvation". Not the same thing, and given that pretty much anything can be "proven" from the "plain word" of Scripture if it is read in a particular way, I find this chilling.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 12:56pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.