Friday, 22 February 2008

New Zealand elects Victoria Matthews

Updated again Monday evening

According to Stephen Bates in the Guardian’s People column:

Interesting times beckon in Antipodean Anglicanism, where the former Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews - narrowly beaten to become Canada’s primate last summer - has been elected Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, a place she has never visited. She is a theological conservative who nevertheless voted that gay partnerships do not violate core church doctrines, which should bring her into interesting relations with the arch-conservative Archbishop of Sydney across the Tasman Sea, Peter Jensen, who does not believe that women should be put in charge of anything, least of all a church. The defeated candidate for Christchurch was the combative dean of Southwark cathedral, Colin Slee, who will thus remain a thorn in the flesh of C-of-E conservatives.

Updates Sunday evening

Two further reports, from New Zealand:

Gay-supporting bishop could split Anglicans from stuff.co.nz

Canadian woman tipped to be bishop from the New Zealand Herald

Update Monday evening
Anglican Journal reports from Canada that New Zealand diocese chooses Matthews as bishop:

Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews has reportedly been chosen bishop of the diocese of Christchurch in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, according to church sources and published reports.

The news was communicated to the Anglican Journal by church sources and also reported in the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain. Bishop Matthews, who served as bishop of the diocese of Edmonton for 10 years until she stepped down last year, declined to confirm news of her selection until the New Zealand church made an official announcement.

Lloyd Ashton, the Auckland-based media officer for the province, also declined to confirm the report. “What has happened is there has been a leak to a U.K. newspaper and it is quite regrettable that confidentiality has been breached. The election is still in process.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 2:54pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

That's about right, Simon (Sarmiento), describing the tangled web we weave back and forth.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 4:33pm GMT

Sorry, too harrassed today - I realise now the picture is Stephen Bates's and you have just posted it Simon. It is still surely right though.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 4:34pm GMT

According to the Christchurch website any election has to be ratified first by the NZ bishops and then by the General Synod, with a formal announcement mid March.

http://www.chch.anglican.org.nz/main/Electionofbishop/

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 4:39pm GMT

Odd. I wonder what the thinking is. She was already diocesean of Edmonton. It's a lateral transfer (albeit to a more charming place.)

Posted by: toujoursdan on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 7:36pm GMT

Congratulations to her -- glad her health is improved.

Glad we shall continue to enjoy the ministry of Dean Slee.

Posted by: L Roberts on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 7:37pm GMT

It seems strange to me that the candidates were from Canada and the UK. You would think that they would want someone local.

Posted by: Richard Lyon on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 7:43pm GMT

It is interesting that the Diocesan profile states that they were looking for:

• Orthodoxy
- “theologically orthodox”
- “believes Bible is the Word of God”
- “orthodox in belief and practice”

I wonder what Colin Slee made of that.

Posted by: Margaret on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 8:33pm GMT

Hmmm. First a Welsh ABC, and now a Canadian bishop for Kiwis.

[I can think of one Brit who *desperately* wanted to be a bishop of Yanks---so much so that he went out and found a (Nigerian) primate who would make him so! (But only in their deluded, unAnglican minds...)]

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 9:56pm GMT

Good for Victoria.

They wanted an orthodox bishop, and they got one.

She obviously believes in the ordination of women.

She rejects the false primacy that has been given to "the issue."

She has specifically condemned those who accuse all liberals of "not taking the Bible seriously. (She has likewise specifically condemned those who accuse all conservatives of being homophobic.)

She has also had no truck nor trade with "conservative," faux-orthodox schismatics.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 10:35pm GMT

+Victoria has a reputation as a moderate theological conservative (though her remarks on the floor of GS'07 re: same-sex blessings were hardly censorious) and was the Anglo-Catholic doyenne of the Canadian House of Bishops. She also sent her ordinands exclusively to Wycliffe College, Toronto (except for the whiz kids, who went to Yale). I suspect thence the reputation for "orthodoxy."

Posted by: Geoff McLarney on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 10:36pm GMT

Theres a colony of pro-Sydney evangelicals, led by a dynamic powerful British born preacher (ex-Royal navy man), Wally Behan. Wally stood up and objected the ordination of an openly gay deacon in Dunedin Cathedral.

The Ch Ch evangelicals are close to the evangelical bishop of Nelson ( who has recently set up his own theological college)...so this election could well be blocked.....they will not tolerate the headship of a woman, let alone one who is pro-gay.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Friday, 22 February 2008 at 11:00pm GMT

BTW, Victoria was not a diocesan. She resigned as +Edmonton effective the new year. So far as I know, she is actually more or less unemployed at the moment.

The diocesan website (edmonton.anglican.org) has a page on the episcopal election.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 6:05am GMT

It's a wonderful appointment, and gives real meaning to the Anglican Communion. I wish there was more trafficking across the oceans that separate us! +Victoria resigned from Edmonton late last year, and it's terrific that she's found a new calling in her episcopal ministry. It's also a great outcome for both Christchurch diocese and the Church in Aotearoa / New Zealand, as it's been 18 years since they last elected a woman as bishop. Perhaps this will help put an end to Sydney's incursions into New Zealand too.

Posted by: MrsBarlow on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 7:47am GMT

Mrs Barlow:Perhaps this will put an end to Sydney incursions! You 'aint seen nothing yet.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 11:23am GMT

Can Margaret, who presumably does not know him - or clearly anything about him - cite on what grounds she believes Dean Slee not to be orthodox?
As he said in an address at the launch of Inclusive Church at St Mary's, Putney in August 2003: "We need to relearn the vocabulary. I give you an example: I insist the cathedral clergy wear black shirts, because it is a statement of history and origin, a uniform deeply rooted in tradition and monastic antecedents; none of those sky-coloured shades indicative of a deep Mariological tendency which would shock their habitual wearers; nor the floral extravaganzas more symptomatic of a photo-collage of the Chelsea flower show than the hard work of saving souls - and black shoes and socks; and be at the daily offices.
"Until General Synod said we could, we didn't conduct second marriages; we don't do same sex blessings, or admit children to communion before confirmation. All that makes me a 'liberal', a 'moderniser'. Then there are those who, like the Archbishop of Sydney, don't wear clerical dress, so you don't know who they are or what they represent, have liturgies which pay scant attention to canon law if at all, seek lay presidency of the Eucharist, re-baptize, are unaware that, after alpha, the Greek alphabet continues with beta and gamma all the way to omega. All that makes them 'conservative.'"
Quoted in my book Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality, 2004.
Perhaps Margaret's orthodoxy is of the more flowery sort. Or perhaps she does not know what she is talking about and speaks out of ignorance.

Posted by: stephen bates on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 11:47am GMT

I am none too keen on someone who imagines it is acceptable to 'insist' on what grown adults wear, as if he were head of a prep school, rather than dean of a cathedral.

Or who thinks it is godly to impose his own preferences by fiat because, he beleives he has the power. How would this differ from coercion ? If at all.

Posted by: L Roberts on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 1:44pm GMT

A page speaking of 'the missing months' of +Victoria

http://www.wycliffecollege.ca/news_details.php?nid=143

Posted by: WShep on Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 11:43pm GMT

I'm thrilled to hear about this. I think the Kiwis have sent a message to the Canadians that they made a huge mistake in electing someone who, unlike Matthews, would bless an act of civil law that, in the light of history and the need to ensure the survival of our species, is clearly wrong.

Not to mention, of course, that she's a woman, which would as some have said sent messages across the Tasman Sea.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 12:13am GMT

If this report is correct, then Bishop Matthews' first task as Bishop of Christchurch may be to talk firmly to her synod members about confidentiality. In the New Zealand system we are asked to respect the confidentiality of our Electoral College until the process of endorsement by the Bishops and General Snod has been completed. Three possibilities exist:
a) This result may be overturned. This is not common, but it has happened before.
b) It may not be true.- certainly I have not heard it from any official source in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
c) If it is true, some members of the Christchurch synod cannot hold their tongues.

Correct and official announcements about elections in Waiapu and Christchurch are expected in early/mid March.

As further guidance to northern hemisphere readers: there is over 1000 miles of sea between the diocese of Christchurch and the Diocese of Sydney. The Archbishop of Sydney is a figure of profound irrelevance to most of the ACANZP.

Rev Edward Prebble
Diocese of Waiapu

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 12:57am GMT

I'm writing from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which has been Bishop Matthews Diocesan home. At the risk of creating impossible-to-achieve expectations, she’s simply wonderful, and would have made a great primate. She has tremendous dignity, grace and a quiet, wonderful humour. Our loss is definitely your gain. A further note: there can be a huge gap between being "pro-gay" and believing the issue isn't part of core doctrine.

Posted by: B, Ault on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 1:59am GMT

Stephen Bates, in seeking to establish proof of Dean Slee's orthodoxy, cites a speech given by Slee 4 1/2 years ago which deals with clerical shirt colours/patterns, more than anything else.

If indeed this is the best evidence which can be brought to justify Slee's orthodoxy, then I would concur with Margaret that her concerns are well founded.

Ron Ashford - Auckland, New Zealand

Posted by: Ron Ashford on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 4:53am GMT

"The Ch Ch evangelicals are close to the evangelical bishop of Nelson ( who has recently set up his own theological college)...so this election could well be blocked.....they will not tolerate the headship of a woman, let alone one who is pro-gay."
I was surprised when I visited Nelson Cathedral to find the preacher,(one of the Assistant Priests) was a woman. I have just checked the website and find at least one parish has a woman as Vicar. I was pleasantly surprised by the service as I knew there had been historical contacts with Sydney. It in no way resembled the travesty found in many Sydney Diocesan churches including the cathedral

Posted by: Brian R on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 6:05am GMT

Women are ordained in Nelson, but the diocese is still concerned with the theological liberalism of the wider province. In fact Nelson was the last diocese to ordain women, and the last bishop is now serving in the ultra-evangelical diocese of Egypt. Bishop Ella hss made no secret where he stands on Windsor. That is one of the reasons that the Bishopdale Theological College is being revived.

A previous Bishop of Nelson vetoed the appointment of Oestreicher as Bishop of Wellington.

Meanwhile the last "liberal" bishop of Christchurch allowed the importation of a curate from Sydney, and conservative evangelicals from England.

It is a fact that liberals tend to be inclusive of anyone, and in the end it turns on them!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 7:39am GMT

In response to Ron Ashford who clealy suspects that Dean Slee is not orthodox on the basis of Stephen Bates' quote from the launch of Inclusive Church contained in his book; I think you are missing some of the substance of the quote. Yes there is fair mention of clerical dress, but there is also the rather significant mention - in contrasting Sydney's orthodoxy - of the desire for lay presidency, scant regard to canon law on liturgy, re-baptism etc on the part of Sydney. These are fairly significant divergences from Anglican orthodoxy which could never be levelled at Dean Slee. Looking at scripture, tradition and reason, the quote may be largely focussed on tradition but I can assure you as one of Dean Slee's parishioners that he is orthodox in other areas too. He has an intelligent rather than dogmatic literalist approach to scripture, which to this mind is an orthodox approach to scripture; could probably be describe as having reasonably anglo-catholic ecclesiology - a strong Anglican tradition; is very aware of the heritage and developed tradition generally of Anglicanism but isn't afraid to use reason and is thus refreshingly openly inclusive for one as senior in the Church of England and is very highly regarded by his growing congregation.

It sounds like he is better off with us in Southwark.

Posted by: Gareth Morgan on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 8:36am GMT

I hope this will not become focused on the losing candidate Slee. It is obvious that the nomination of Bishop Victoria has been deliberately leaked and there is now a concerted campaign to scupper her appointment.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 1:15pm GMT

Here is a link to the story from a (not terribly reputable!) New Zealand news website:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4414143a11.html

Puzzlingly, this site trumpets VM as "pro-gay". On Anglican websites she is referred to as "conservative". I'm confused... Surely there isn't that much difference between the internal politics of the Church in Canada and the ACANZP?
I'd like to reaffirm Edward Prebble's point that the Diocese of Sydney is as far away from New Zealand as Moscow is from London. They have much less influence than S. Bates seems to think.

Posted by: MRG on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 6:43pm GMT

But there is a colony of Sydney in Christchurch, courtesy of the last bishop, who even allowed Jensen to preach in his Diocese and the congregation headed by Wally Behan to import a curate from Sydney.

You can get a good flavour of this Church within a church by visiting the St John's website (st Johns evangelical Anglican website) and listening to the sermons.

There is also the latimer Society , head quartered in Christchurch...they are split on all the usual evangelical topics ( womens ordination , divorce etc), but opposition to homosexuality unites them. Their director was the other clergyman in the Dunedin ordination protest.

If the nomination is given the go ahead, you can expect this grouping to make trouble. It is make or break for them.

Whilst New Zealand is very like Canada, it is slightly more conservative and the Bishop of Nelson ( who opened his own theolgical college this weekend) has pledged to fly the flag of orthodox evangelicalism.

Bishop Victoria will no doubt be asked to clarify her position.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 24 February 2008 at 9:48pm GMT

I don't know how many people constitute the electoral body of the Diocese of Christchurch, but if it is more than about five, it is pretty naive to expect them all to maintain a dignified silence for several weeks.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 1:33am GMT

Shocking really that this CONFIDENTIAL info has been released.

Posted by: Anonymous on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 5:04am GMT

Parts of New Zealand are more conservative than parts of Canada. Then there's the three pronged strategy.

Sure, there will be politics, but New Zealand is far from homogenous. In fact, one of the things you might be able to guarantee is that if someone tries to decree a one flavour fits all they will choose the diversity advocate.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 6:50am GMT

I attended a service at the Cathedral in Christchurch in November 2006
At the beginning of the service a new altar cloth was dedicated. It was bright red and had many languages embroidered in gold. There was a comment about the dedication being delayed due to controversy. On returning to the Cathedral later I asked the guide about this controversy. He said it had been opposed by evangelicals because it included writing from the language Sanskrit which is pre-Christian ?????? He asked "Do you know the sort of people who run the Sydney Diocese? I groaned and said "Only too well."

Posted by: Brian R on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 8:09am GMT

Thanks Ron -- I couldn't have put it better myself.

When someone defends orthodoxy (which I understand comes from the words meaning "right belief") with a quote about clothing, I suspect that we will be forever talking past each other. I don't care what he wears -- I care what he believes.

Posted by: MargaretG on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 9:04am GMT

" I don't care what he wears -- I care what he believes"

That is where we truly differ. I don't care what he believes as long as he walks faithfully with God.
I know that I am not the judge of his faith, nor he the judge of mine.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 11:58am GMT

"He said it had been opposed by evangelicals because it included writing from the language Sanskrit which is pre-Christian ?????? "

I am unaware of any language--except perhaps Esperanto--which is not, at its roots, pre-Christian...including Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, the languages of the Bible.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 12:59pm GMT

If Margaret and Ron are up to it, perhaps they could - as Gareth Morgan suggests - read as far as the second paragraph of Dean Slee's address, which I quoted earlier, and tell me what is unorthodox about it. That's not about clothing at all.
If Margaret really cares what Dean Slee believes (which I somehow doubt) perhaps she would care to enlighten the rest of us as to how he is "unorthodox" - citing chapter and verse please Margaret, if you can.

Posted by: stephen bates on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 2:47pm GMT

In all fairness to the Evangelicals and the issue of the ChCh Cathedral communion table cloth, it was the fact that the Sanskrit was from the Hindu Scriptres. There were also koranic verses in Arabic.

Apart from offending other religions, I'm with the Evangelicals on this for the God of the Christian revelation is an extremely jealous God and brooks no syncreticism.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 5:57pm GMT

@"the God of the Christian revelation is an extremely jealous God and brooks no syncreticism."

Leaving aside for a moment, RIW, your extraordinary insight into the attitude of God towards non-Christian religions (which sounds more like that of a tribal Canaanite deity than of an omnipotent Christian God) the Sanskrit passage on the Christchurch altar-cloth reads:
"From the unreal, lead me to the real. From darkness lead me to the light. From death lead me to immortality."

Just what is unChristian about that? Indeed, the only possible offence that I can see in including this passage would be from Hindus, who might well object to their ancient scriptures being appropriated by Christians. It seems to me to be just part of a long-standing Western tradition of reading Vedic literature in the light of Christian revelation, which is arguably a form of theological imperialism. Nevertheless, as the Diocese of Christchurch stated, the inclusion of the Vedic passage on the cathedral altar-cloth "attests to the saving power of Christ for all humanity." What's unorthodox about that?

Posted by: MRG on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 6:41pm GMT

Let's just get the facts straight about the Christchurch cathedral altar cloth.
The many languages included a sanscrit version of a prayer in the NZ Prayer Book (p.164)
Please Robert Ian Williams cite where you got "koranic verses in Arabic" as this is the first mention of them I know of!
Furthermore your jealous god must struggle with Christmas, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 8:32pm GMT

"it was the fact that the Sanskrit was from the Hindu Scriptres. There were also koranic verses in Arabic."

But surely, that doesn't NECESSARILY make it false, does it?

"There is no God but God": regardless of whether it's in English or Arabic (ala the Koran), from a *Christian* point-of-view, it's still true! [And NOT a syncretism: Arabic-speaking *Christians* pray to God as "Allah", too]

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 25 February 2008 at 10:41pm GMT

"...the Sanskrit passage on the Christchurch altar-cloth reads:
"From the unreal, lead me to the real. From darkness lead me to the light. From death lead me to immortality."

Oh,my; St. Francis of Assisi wouldn't have had a problem with that, nor do I.

Sometimes I wonder about the "purists," and what their motivations may really be. It almost seems a sickness.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 at 4:39am GMT

I would like to withdraw the inaccurate statement that verses from the Koran were included. Apologies. However the Latimer Fellowship of New Zealand( not society ) as I also inaccurately wrote have an excellent article on the issue.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 at 6:34am GMT

Definition of syncretism courtesy of http://www.answers.com/topic/syncretism

"Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, especially when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous.
Linguistics. The merging of two or more originally different inflectional forms."

The God of the Christian revelation is an extremely jealous God and brooks no syncreticism.

That might be true of their God. But Jesus and the God of gods never had a problem with syncreticism. Otherwise why does the bible refer to the God of gods (thus acknowledging lesser gods)?

Then there's the whole appropriation of pagan concepts into Christianity - celebrating Christmas on the winter solistice, monogamy between one male and one female.

Gee, even Paul would be in trouble with such Christians. If Paul's attempt to bring to the local community by ascribing their local statue to an unknown god (see Acts 17) isn't an attempt a syncretism, then I don't know what is.

Then there's all that talk of reaching out to unknown people and acknowledging them and allowing them to call God their God e.g. Hosea 2:23. There's God's promises to the gentiles (i.e. those not named in the holy books) e.g. Isaiah 42 or 49

Cheva as the mother of all acknowlegdes what Jesus was ordained to do. She vouches and takes responsibility for all her children. Thus all children come through Jesus, thus fulfilling John 14:6. The souls assigned to contain and control dangerous souls are called to return to their ordained roles.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 at 7:41am GMT

Is it so unreasonable to expect Synod members, after unanimously agreeing to confidentiality, to keep their word for a couple of weeks? Yet after the Dunedin Electoral Synod of 1989, which finished at about 10.00pm, Radio NZ was on the phone the next morning trying to confirm the leaked name of the nominee. It it Evangelicals opposed to woman bishops who do this, perhaps? I notice that Mike Hawke, who must have been a member of the Electoral College, seems happy, whatever he agreed to in the College, to talk openly [and hopefully] about the possibility of the nomination not being sanctioned by the General Synod/te Hinota Whanui. Perhaps the leak is indeed an attempt to stir up controversy in order to scupper the sanctioning process.

Posted by: Tony Fitchett on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 at 3:43pm GMT

I still think its wrong to put Vedic verses next to inspired Scriptural texts...surely one is entiled to their view on this. Although if it is just a sanskrit translation of an Anglican Prayer Book text I would have no objection.

Not everything evangelicals do is wrong. When I was an evangelical, I received many blessings and I loved the sense of community and purpose, along with the worship and praise and the eagerness to hear the Word of God.

For I confess they are a people zealous for God, but not according to Knowledge.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 at 4:32pm GMT

Here is the prayer that Robert Ian Williams finds unacceptable:
http://www.liturgy.co.nz/reflection/peace.html

Here is the cathedral altar cloth with images:
http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/news/media_releases.html

Posted by: Anonymous on Tuesday, 26 February 2008 at 8:05pm GMT

"I still think its wrong to put Vedic verses next to inspired Scriptural texts..."

And by what omniscience do you declare (or at least assume) that the Vedic is not similarly inspired...? Or, in your view, does the Spirit only descend upon Christians...or before the last two millenia, Jews?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 3:39am GMT

Tony Fitchett is spot on. Conservative forces of various hues are at this moment working FLAT OUT TO SCUPPER THIS APPOINTMENT...it s life and death to them. Up to now New Zealand has ( apart from ethnic divisions) been spared alternative episccopal oversight....lets hope if the nomination goes through, Bishop Matthews does not not entrench that " principle " in the Southern hemisphere.

It solves nothing....and the " conservatives " keep returning back for more.

So forget the communion table cloth-frontal and get back on topic!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 6:18am GMT

Knowledge does not equal truth.

Especially when knowledge is applied selfishly and opportunistically.

It leads to a kind of myopic blindness and deafness that can lead to a theology that thinks that God intends to assign the vast majority of souls of all nations and all times to hell.

Sorry, but God created humanity with sentience and free will.

How could a just God create such a thing and then tell the overwhelming majority they are condemned?

I know of one soul who would do that, but then I don't call that soul the Prince of Peace or Comforter or Counsellor and have no desire for him.

The liturgy prayers is beautiful. It only interferes with ambitious priests who use fear mongering to gain converts on false pretensions.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 8:04am GMT

Tony Fitchett, when do synod members "unanimously agree to confidentiality"?
There is no mention of it in the canons.

Posted by: Anonymous on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 8:37am GMT

I don't usually reply to Anonymous, but as only information is requested I will do so in this case.

Oddly, the Canons do not aim to "contain everything necessary for salvation". They do not presume to dictate to the Electoral College the processes they use to secure a nomination [see Title A Canon I Clause 2.8] apart from the requirements that a name be proposed and seconded by a cleric and lay person or vice versa, that the ballot be secret and that a decision requires assent by each order.

I cannot speak authoritatively of what happened in the recent Electoral College, as I wasn't a member, but the usual tradition, certainly followed in the two Electoral Colleges that I have been part of, is to agree at the start of the Synod to keep its proceedings secret until the nomination has been announced by the Primate. That would not normally be until it has been sanctioned by the General Synod/te Hinota Whanui, accepted by the person concerned [not always a formality - think of the first Wellington nomination in 1985], and the requisite Declarations signed by that person.

Interesting that it has been when women have been nominated that breaches of this promise have been particularly immediate, and, presumably, deliberate.

Posted by: Tony Fitchett on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 4:51pm GMT

Tony Fitchett wrote: "Interesting that it has been when women have been nominated that breaches of this promise have been particularly immediate, and, presumably, deliberate."

Good heavens, women.

It must be that chatty female problem, or perhaps it was the wrong five days of the month, so what can you expect?

I hope that the people of New Zealand feel blessed by the apparent selection of Bishop Matthews, regardless of whether the revelation was accidental or deliberate, and regardless of whether the Electoral College had clearly agreed to hold the selection in confidence, or had not.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 7:57pm GMT

I think Jerry misunderstands...Tony was not being
insulting to women,. He was defending them, and is concerned that there is a plot to de-rail this appointment.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 at 10:25pm GMT

If this appointment goes ahead, then New Zealand will have gained and Canada lost a great Bishop! Anyone with any eye for how God's hand was surely on our two most recent elections for Primate in Canada would have been extremely distressed to hear first of her breast cancer diagnosis before the election a few years back, then relieved to hear that the Primate elected while she was being treated only held the office for about 3 years, then again relieved that Bishop Matthews had recovered and had been nominated for Primate again. She then did extemely well in the early rounds of voting only finally being defeated, I believe, by the pro-blessing of same-sex marriages lobby. Surely a clear cut example of how the Church flouts the moving of the Holy Spirit in the Anglican Communion! Can it surprise any reasonable observer that the AC of Canada is in very bad shape having sustained an ongoing downward spiral in numbers for decades now! Unfortunately it may be that on this occasion too her appointment may be scuttled, but not by the liberals as in Canada but by the evangelicals who should be backing her obvious concern for orthodoxy and true Christian spirituality. But do we really want people filled with the fruits of the Spirit as our leaders in the Anglican Communion? Just refelect on how the ABC has been treated recently for an example of what I mean!

Posted by: David Paton on Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 1:59am GMT

Yes and the evangelicals will be pretending that their objection is based on her views on sexuality and not her sex....when in fact the latter is as disturbing to most of them.

In fact her view of "waiting" cost her the Canadian primacy.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 6:33pm GMT

Robert wrote: "Tony was not being insulting to women,. He was defending them, and is concerned that there is a plot to de-rail this appointment."

If that is the case, then I did miss that nuance, and therefore apologize to Tony.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 7:15pm GMT

Mr Paton writes that +Victoria was "defeated, I believe, by the pro-blessing of same-sex marriages lobby". I am not entirely sure how true that is. I am not the only gay Anglican I know who supported her bid for the primacy. She may have a conservative, gradualist approach to revising Tradition (as we all should), but her remarks on the floor of General Synod were hardly censorious of same-sex unions. It's interesting to note that she was portrayed as a conservative here and is now being depicted as a liberal in New Zealand. Personally, I think she defies categorization.

I also do not seriously think the Anglican Church of Canada is in danger. Sure there is a lot of mushy liberalism at the moment; that's the way the pendulum has swung under the governance of the Baby Boomers. When Anglicans my age (in the 18-25 range) assume positions of leadership in the Church, it will swing back.

My Anglican age-peers may tend to be "liberal" on women clergy and same-sex unions, but we are also often credally orthodox Christians with a high view of the sacraments, liturgy, and priesthood. Watch for a relaxation in attitudes towards sex combined with a resurgence of interest in traditional catholic worship and spirituality, especially as enunciated in the Book of Common Prayer.

For those of us in that demographic, +Victoria is a hero.

Posted by: Geoff McLarney on Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 9:52pm GMT

Geoff: "It's interesting to note that she was portrayed as a conservative here and is now being depicted as a liberal in New Zealand. Personally, I think she defies categorization."

Malcolm+: Perhaps "Moderate."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 29 February 2008 at 3:52pm GMT

Simon, There is an interesting 80 minute video on the Canadian schism on You tube, which I entered via the Australian Church League. Packer is speaking . he calls SSU a salavation issue, but ignores divorce and re-marriage. Infant baptism diasgreement amongst evangelicals is consigned to a secondary issue...a commandment of Christ!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 1 March 2008 at 7:13am GMT

Hi Robert Ian Williams-

It is baptism itself that is a commandment of Christ. It is not a discernible commandment of Christ to fall on one side or the other of the paedobaptist line.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 1 March 2008 at 2:05pm GMT

What is revealing is the brazen cherry-picking involved in deciding that THIS issue, on which Jesus was silent, is "a salvation issue," while other issues - divorce and remarriage for example, on which Jesus had some specific and explicit things to say - is adiaphora.

It is the hypocrisy of the "conservative" position that renders it so incredible.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Saturday, 1 March 2008 at 5:27pm GMT

So Chris,you believe Holy Scripture is not clear on who should be baptized!

It seems to me that if Evangelicals cannot establish what the basic commands of Christ are ( considering he commanded that you obey all his commandments as a sign of your love), that is not the kind of religion the Divine mind would set up.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 1 March 2008 at 8:03pm GMT

An update
Bishops in NZ have okayed nominee and general synods votes are bing counted as i spk, so to speak
announcement expected embargoed till sunday noon, expected sat am :)

as a memeber of the electoral synod, i was encouraged by the strong sense of the holy spirit there, and as with you all, i hope and pray that new bish will be the one to lead us into proclaiming more that the main thing is to make sure that the main thing remains the main thing
Jesus, him crucified for our sins, risen again [though Friday is nearly here, Sundays' acoming, and now reigning in heaven, expecting us to do our bit to bring about his kingdom on earth: peace and justice.
yours in his grip
Jim

Posted by: jim dingle on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 at 7:49am GMT

I believe the Evangelicals would object to Bishop Matthews on the grounds that she is a woman. This is because of their newly developed belief on headship. In many evangelical strongholds woman Deacons are no longer able to preach to men only to women. Therefore, women leave the church and go to the hall to receive a sermon from a woman. Taken to its rightful conclusion women and men will next be separated in church with men on one side and women on the other with the women wearing hats. This is where the evangelicals are taking the Anglican Church.

Posted by: John Wilson on Sunday, 16 March 2008 at 11:48pm GMT

This appointment is now confirmed on the Christchurch website

http://www.chch.anglican.org.nz/main/newbishop/

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 17 March 2008 at 8:30am GMT

john wilson with respect u r talking such codswallop
im evangelical, i have freinds who are EVANGELICAL harder liners than me, my son is a new sydney diocese evangelical! [im kiwi] and your report is both mischievious and rot.
im also an anglo catholic and liberal on quite a few issues so i actually see myself as anglican par excellence
[except for the ability to put up with rot :) ]

in his grip
jim

Posted by: jim dingle on Wednesday, 19 March 2008 at 11:54pm GMT
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