Wednesday, 2 July 2008

England and GAFCON

A meeting was held at All Souls Church, Langham Place, in London yesterday evening on Global Anglicanism & English Orthodoxy?. Speakers included three of the (arch)bishops who had attended GAFCON last week: Henry Orombi (Archbishop of Uganda), Greg Venables (Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone) and Peter Jensen (Archbishop of Sydney).

Riazat Butt at The Guradian Church of England crisis: Mass defections loom as rebel faction appeals to English clergy

Hundreds of English clergy appear poised to defect from the Church of England to join a new conservative movement after a conference led by rebel archbishops was swamped with delegates in London yesterday.

George Pitcher at the Telegraph Anglican Church crisis: Phoney war becomes an invasion

The phoney war declared on the The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in the Holy Lands last week has turned into an invasion.

Ruth Gledhill at the Times Evangelical Christians sign up to a ‘Church within a Church’

Nearly 800 clergy and lay leaders from the Church of England took the first steps yesterday towards forming a “Church within a Church” to be an evangelical stronghold against the ordination of gay people.

Andy McSmith at The Independent Anglican rebels ‘punched gay rights activists’

Three gay rights protesters say they were punched while being forcibly removed yesterday from a conference at which rebel bishops were trying to attract recruits to a network for Anglicans who believe all same-sex relationships should be condemned.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 10:17am BST | TrackBack
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There is also a good opinion piece in The Independent by Deborah Orr - "A man of God we should all be supporting", which is calling for the non-religious to come out against GAFCON.
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/deborah-orr/deborah-orr-a-man-of-god-we-should-all-be-supporting-858285.html

Posted by: MJ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 10:43am BST

God, that word "progressive" makes me gag. It is full of all the self righteousness and judgementalism of "orthodox" and serves much the same purpose.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 12:27pm BST

Following the All Souls meeting a petition has gone up for English Anglicans who support GAFCON: http://www.gopetition.co.uk/online/20243.html

It quite explicitly says:

"Please only sign this petition if you are a member of the Church of England in England itself."

So far, there are 110 signatures and these include ones from Australia, Ireland, Italy and Israel. I think basic reading skills need to be provided by GAFCON before moving on to anything as tricky as biblical interpretation!

Posted by: MJ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 1:28pm BST

Re. the petition.

Hey, Hong Kong and Singapore are there too!

Maybe it's not reading lessons that are needed, but geography ones.

Posted by: MJ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 1:31pm BST

After doing my blog last night, I came to the view that Anglicanism is in meltdown; and continuing to read here, I have the same view. Pete Broadbent, who went to All souls has some perceptive comments but those who would leave would have to leave entirely. Law and promises bind a clergyperson to the bishop in England, and leaving that means independence.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 3:46pm BST

Many have long entertained intuitions that sooner or later the conservative realignment must surface in a campaign - or two or three or four? - on the very local home shores of CoE - so now it has overtly begun, or so it appears.

The ambitions of realignment believers are indeed running quite high. Their realignment now aims at bringing down two birds with one holy stone, casting out non-straight believers and uppity women with one bold stroke - as always, spin doctored as the only real flat earth biblical option we have available to us as thinking believers.

Outside observers, maybe a tad jaded by endlessly heavy realignment preachments by now, or not as the cases may be - may be tempted to pray about it and move on from this predicted realignment spectacle? Who are these zealous true believing small tent Anglican folks who run so fast and so hard from such dire danger as they still believe queer folks and/or uppity women offer them?

Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 3:47pm BST

Is Tom Dunelm finally recognizing the consequences of his earlier words? (Hope springs eternal -- it's not that I expect him to admit it ...)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 4:10pm BST

Given that the GAFFEPRONE believe Fresno, California is in Argentina and Faifax County, Virginia is in Nigeria, it is more than apparent that geographical illiteracy is a prerequisite for membership.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 4:56pm BST

How cocky these evangelicals are ( not seeing their own inconsistencies and revisonist divisions , especially on divorce and womens ordiantion) and I do not think they will accept being placed in a diocese overseen by FIF.>

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 5:45pm BST

I could have *sworn* we "apostate" Yanks warned you English this was coming. [The "Martin Niemoller analogy" never, sadly, goes out of style: "First they came for..."]

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 6:17pm BST

From the Guardian:

"The archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen...added that Gafcon had to take care of Christians caught in dioceses, parishes and churches who were faithful to orthodox biblical teaching but found themselves under liberal leadership. 'If we do not care for them, who will?' he asked."

Ah, so dissenting clergy are ostensibly under "assault" and are so very, very persecuted in England, too, eh? Heterodox bishops before, behind and all around us, eh?

It's true: This attempt at usurpation could be seen coming a mile away. Why the GAFCON gang think this means staying in the communion is baffling, though. They might not have declared a formal schism, but they are getting very close to doing so by virtue of their actions, which, of course, speak louder than words.

Posted by: christopher+ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 7:43pm BST

From the Times:

Archbishop Peter Jensen, of the Sydney Diocese in Australia, told the meeting that sex was at the heart of the debate. He said: “Sexual immorality leads you outside the kingdom of God, just as does greed. It is not a second-order issue.” He added: “What we are dealing with here is not a split, but a movement possibly as significant as the evangelical revival [of the 19th century], and it may bring evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics together.”

At least they are finally admitting that this is all about sex. (How interesting that the group's spokesperson would also reference greed.)

Taking a step back, what we see is the idea of a grand, new "movement" dedicated to driving gay people out of God's church - or at least forcing them to be celibate. If Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics actually come together over this, that will indeed be something to report in the papers.

Posted by: christopher+ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 7:50pm BST

I am surprised that no-one has picked up on this from The Guardian piece:

The event was clearly intended as a rallying point, with theologian Jim Packer saying there was something "dispensable about the archbishop of Canterbury.

"It is not of the essence of Anglicanism to be in communion with him when he becomes part of the doctrinal problem.

"Pray for the next archbishop and that he may be with us sooner than we might have thought."

Posted by: Bristolian on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 9:48pm BST

Question for you all:

Pluralist writes: "I came to the view that Anglicanism is in meltdown..."

and drdanfee writes of people being "maybe a tad jaded by endlessly heavy realignment preachments by now"

We've had breakaways before in TEC and the Anglican Communion. Remember TEC ordaining women? TEC back in the 70s giving money to the Black Panthers' milk/lunch programs?

Back then, people said the breakaways would just die off, but with GAFCON and Foca (or whatever the real name of this breakaway group is) - and with the power of the Internet, will that happen?

Lord have mercy, indeed!

Posted by: Jay Vos on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 10:30pm BST

We are weak as a Church, as no one seems to have picked up the inherent contradiction between clauses 4 and 13 of the Jerusalem Declaration. Article 26 is quite clear, and rules out the kind of summary rejection declared in clause 13. Therefore it is difficult to see how anyone can endorse the Declaration and the Thirty Nine Articles at the same time.

That needs to be heard, because it's a real technical issue at stake; not just a matter of opinion, and it's failure to pay attention to that kind of detail which is landing us in this mess in the first place.

Posted by: Ken Petrie on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 10:58pm BST

Anglican Christians who are gay are punched and shoved out of "All Souls" parish before they can even take seats. What more needs to be said about the FOCA prelates and their movement? They have had some time to issue a public apology, to go personally to these three men and offer their sincere repentance, and to officially repudiate what was done to them at "All Souls" parish. They have not done so. I expect that they will not do so. So we have the biblical "orthodoxy" of violence against gays (you recall stoning, or the situation in Zaire where the Prime Minister advocates beheading for gays, to the thunderous silence of the bishops of Zaire); and the subjugation of women (who thinks there will be any women bishops in FOCA?) These people utterly discredit themselves. I imagine that the delegates to the C of E Synod realize that if they vote for a special diocese or province for the anti-female traditionalists, they will give FOCA a home from which to continue their attempt to remake the C of E in their image. If they are successful in this venture, someday, I think that most Episcopalians will want to take a century or so break from communion with them. It becomes more clear, every day, that we will not subscribe to a Covenant that would give these folks any chance of further propagating their prejudice and violence in our Church. I know that these are not irenic words. But I did wait to see what the FOCA prelates would do about the violence against gay people at their event in London. And I waited. For nothing.

Posted by: karen macqueen+ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 10:59pm BST

Yes I noticed that bristolian. I think many conservative evangelicals haven't got over Rowan's appointment-thay felt sure it wd be an evangelical-and indeed it would seem by all acounts that Nazir-Ali has found it difficult to come to terms with the fact he is still in Rochester....I do hope Rowan will stick it out through Lambeth and beyond. It must be a bed of nails but any renewal of an Anglicanism that has anything distinctive to offer the Una Sancta in the future will come from the catholic centre drawing on the ecumenical theology achieved in the last 40 years.My old history professor Gwyn Williams (his period was the French Revolution) when trying to make sense of Thatcherism spoke of a "Thermidor of the Spirit"--its a phrase i have come to treasure in our present bleak age.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 11:31pm BST

They claim no schism because, after they have walked out the door, they don't shut the door behind them. Usually it is the institution that shuts the door behind them that seals the schism.

So when the diocesan bishop is declared unorthodox, and they sign up to international oversight and ignore the diocesan, when the bishop then removes them from the parish and forces them to be the independents of their behaviour, then the schism is called.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 1:32am BST

I trust that the clerics who addressed the meeting at All Souls were properly authorized by the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury, pursuant to the Overseas Clergy Measure. And, of course, if they were not there should be appropriate sanction for the Incumbent.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 1:41am BST

If Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics actually come together over this, that will indeed be something to report in the papers.

Posted by: christopher+ on Wednesday, 2 July 2008 at 7:50pm

Surely they will be able to, given a considerate approach to the others' needs, attention to timing, and practice.

I'm sure it would do the papers heart good to know of such special moments.

Posted by: Treebeard on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 2:32am BST


I'm behind Peter Jensen too.

Posted by: Treebeard on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 2:34am BST

Given that--a question. (I've been asking a lot of that this morning.) Would a change of government in the UK make it possible to appoint an Archbishop of Canterbury more acceptable to FOCA's members? I think it is a valid point to raise.

I have a feeling that there will be efforts to ensure that the relevant political mechanisms are in place to allow for this to happen. While PM Brown's efforts to ensure independence for the CofE on this matter are ongoing, I don't know how UK politics will be like in a year or so.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 2:52am BST

How kind of Dr Packer. Not.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 6:46am BST

I think that the extent of influence of government on the AofC is exaggerated.

However, as David Cameron is himself a liberal Anglican who attends a gay friendly church...

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 5:08pm BST

I don't believe there is any particular way for the government to appoint a new ABC barring Rowan's resignation or death. Removing him - barring some sort of charge - would be highly damaging to both church and state. And the sort of charge the "conservatives" would bring would go over like a fart at a garden party with the wider UK society.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 5:49pm BST

karen macqueen+

you may be interested to know that the panel at All Souls was asked whether they "unequivocally condemn violence against lesbian and gay people" to which Henry Orombi replied: "Violence against homosexuals is wrong."

As for the specific incident in question, see now the letter from the Rector of All Souls Church to the Editor of The Independent.

Posted by: Thomas Renz on Thursday, 3 July 2008 at 8:58pm BST

The Rector of All Souls, Canon Hugh Palmer, stated in his letter to the editor of the Independent that, having investigated the allegation, he found no evidence of a punch being thrown. He said an All Souls' staff member pushed protesters back from the fire door and closed it, which any right-thinking person would consider absolutely the right and responsible thing to do at a public meeting. The politically-correct establishment is now almost without shame in printing allegations against Evangelicals without evidence to back them.

Posted by: Julian Mann on Friday, 4 July 2008 at 7:49am BST

"The politically-correct establishment is now almost without shame in printing allegations against Evangelicals without evidence to back them."

You know, I'm sure I could find an Imperial altar somewhere on which you could very pointedly refuse to burn a pinch of incense.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 1:18pm BST

I am British and live in Costa Rica. I heard Bishop Venables speak on BBC World, on Hard Talk. He did not express any anti gay sentiments, despite provocation by the interviewer. He stated and re stated the Biblical positon that homosexuality is wrong. That doesn not mean that Christians hate homosexuals, true Christians don't "hate" anyone. "Love the sinner, hate the sin". We all have instincts to do wrong, to sin, and we suppress them. If we didn't we would be back in anarchy qwith every man for himself.
I want to have sex with someone who isn't my husband, I suppress it.
I want to hit someone who makes me angry, hit them hard, maybe even kill them.
I want to stone someone to death who rapes a child.
I don't want to forgive some people who have caused me pain.
But all these things are taught by the Bible, to control us and to make us behave ourselves, for the grace of God and the good of the community.
Yes, it's difficult if you have homosexual feelings to suppress them. We have been made to think that suppression of "feelings" is wrong.
But, I think when homosexuality was against the law, there were not nearly so many homosexuals.
My cousin is gay, I love my cousin, I wish he wasn't gay, it doesn't make him happy.
I know of what I speak.....my beloved son at 16 years old died in an accident. I looked down at my dead son's body, and I said "Thy Will be done". I suppressed my anger, I controlled my grief, I trusted in Jesus to hold me, and I subjugated my will to His.
I wish I could tell Bishop Venables how happy I was to hear him speak of following the Bible without deviation, how his words comforted me.
The Church that is the Bride of Christ has gone so far away from it's Founder. I am glad there is a group who want to bring back honour and obediance to the Church. May God Bless them all

Posted by: rosalind freed on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 9:58pm BST

"I think when homosexuality was against the law, there were not nearly so many homosexuals"

And you base that on what? The fact that most weren't open about it and hid in marriages for fear of their lives? Do you really think that making a biological fact illegal reduces the incidence of it? The only way you can think this makes any sense is if you think we all wake up some morning and decide that we will be gay, and we wouldn't do that if it was illegal. How much of "listening process" did your parish carry out in obedience to the reccomendations of several Lambeth conferences? If you honestly believe this, then I'd say the answer is no listening at all. Making uninformed statements like this just shuts the ears of gay people. Why would they want to listen to anything said by someone who so obviously doesn't understand the basic facts of our lives. Please, learn more. If you can look at me and honestly say that you know we are born gay, you know that refusing us marriage is refusing us the kind of support that straight people expect from marriage, you understand the hostility that we still experience from large swaths of Christians, and you understand the fear and anger that this kind of ill informed hostility produces, then I will have far more respect for your belief that we should not be married. Many gay people might even be more inclined to listen to the conservative message of celebacy. You drive us away making statements like this, and I'm sure that you do not want to drive anyone away from the Gospel.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 5:48pm BST
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