Monday, 17 May 2010

Bishop of Gloucester and the Anglican Communion

Updated again Saturday

Michael Perham, the bishop of Gloucester, gave an address about the Anglican Communion to his clergy on 6 May 2010. Here is an extract.

I think there are some things here we need to explore sensitively together. In doing so I want to acknowledge the honesty and courage of my friend, James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool, who has publicly told his own story of moving his position on the issue of homosexuality over recent years and urged the Church not to allow this issue to divide us in a way that breaks communion. And I also need to acknowledge that I have long been in a different place and so have not had to travel as difficult a path as he has to be in the place where I now am. My own understanding has long been that the Church of England’s current stance is not tenable long term, but that, while we engage, struggle, with these issues, it must be task of the bishop to uphold our agreed policy, with all its weaknesses, and to try to hold the Church together while we tackle the things that divide us. I don’t believe I can move away from that position, though I need to share with you some of my discomfort.

It is difficult to know where to begin, but I think the best place is with the categorising of first and second order issues. I am quite clear that the issues on which the creeds make a firm statement - God as trinity, the divinity of Christ, the death and the resurrection of the Lord, the role of the Spirit and more - are first order issues on which there can be no change in what the Church teaches. They are fundamental to the Christian faith. I am equally clear that there are second order issues, which are important, and where interpretation of the tradition needs to be careful and prayerful, but where nevertheless individual churches and provinces need to be free to define doctrine in the way that seems to them to be in accordance with the mind of Christ.

The full address is a 40kB Word document and can be downloaded here: Bishop Michael’s address on the Anglican Communion. Read the whole address for Bishop Michael’s views on first and second order issues, the Episcopal Church, his own diocesan triangular partnership with Western Tanganyika and El Camino Real, the Anglican covenant, and the status in England of clergy ordained abroad by a woman bishop.


An html copy of this address can now be found here on this website, and over at this website.

For Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves’ comments on this, see below the fold.

Email comments of Mary Gray-Reeves Bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real, on Bishop Michael Perham’s comments regarding Mary Glasspool’s ordination to the episcopate. Reproduced with her permission.

By way of background, The Diocese of El Camino Real of which I am bishop began a triad partnership with Gloucester and the Diocese of Western Tanganyika in Advent, 2008. We, bishops, Michael, Gerard and I, met at Lambeth and began to consider what it would be like to see if a partnership could form across huge differences of opinion on human sexuality and other matters before the Anglican Communion. We, who might ordinarily remain on opposite sides of the room, not connecting, have managed a lot of diversity and conversation around the issues that divide the Anglican Communion. There are, for example, no ordained women in Western Tanganyika, and of course no women bishops in Gloucester. My presence has been welcomed in the conversation that is ongoing in the Communion and has contributed to increased understanding of the presence of women in all orders of ministry. On team visits to each of our three dioceses we have listened and spoken about the issues before us. We have listened to the strains our decisions cause in everyday life in Africa for Anglicans. They have listened to the stories of gay and lesbian couples. While +Gerard represents conservative Anglicism, and depending on who is ticking the boxes, I represent liberal Anglicanism, +Michael is devoted to the holding together of the Anglican Communion. Nonetheless, he is one of the leading proponents of the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England. We have had many honest, difficult and yet graceful exchanges that have been exemplary of Anglican breadth, diversity and patience.

Our partnership is significant in each of our dioceses. In El Camino Real this relationship has taught us so much about reconciliation and been of great value to our healing as a diocese. It has encouraged us in our own efforts towards rebirth. The people of El Camino Real, a diocese that has been described in years past as “failed” and “broken” knows first-hand something of the work of reconciliation. It is one thing to talk about it, it is another to do it. This diocese began gut-wrenching work of reaching across divides before I arrived in 2007 and we continue living into our call as the reconciling body of Christ sharing the good news of God’s kingdom.

While Bishop Michael’s comments refer to the partnership directly, it is important to remember that decisions about matters as deep as human sexuality will naturally be systemic. One thing affects another. Bishops, charged with oversight and care of large systems, must not think only of their personal opinion, but must consider the greater good of the people and context they serve. In the case of our diocese, respectful listening and acting, building trust, and giving voice to everyone have been crucial components of our healing. I have consistently said that God has set a broad and gracious table in El Camino Real for all people - including the ones that do not agree with me.

I am aware that historically in El Camino Real GLBT folks have not always felt heard; and that our conservative members have also felt silenced and pushed back from the feast. Layer this on a diocese that has struggled with being reconciled one to another for all sorts of other reasons, and a trend appears. And I am quite sure it is not unique to El Camino Real. It happens everywhere: that before we know it, our appropriation of grace, that unlimited commodity of God, starts fissuring with all sorts of boundaries and limits as to who is in and who is out - and then we are stuck not talking about how far from God’s grace we have actually gotten ourselves. The successful ministry of El Camino Real depends on us talking, remaining in a graceful conversation that is transformational. The future of the Communion relies on that same dynamic. An emergent church leader in Seattle I met recently, Eliacin Rosario said in a conversation I had with him in February, “Reconciliation requires something of you.” That it does. And the big picture of the work may require different things of different people.

For myself personally, I rejoiced at Mary and Diane’s election. I would have been happy to get just one more woman bishop in California - but two! It was like Christmas! I knew though that many did not share this joy, and that included people in our partnership and in my diocese. After weeks of prayer and conversation I realized I had an opportunity to make no one particularly happy, but importantly to act in a way where the integrity of everyone’s deeply held beliefs - and their very beings - could be honored so we might remain at the table. In our system, it is consents that allow a bishop to be ordained. I consented to Mary’s election without hesitation. The laying on of hands makes a bishop, and in other provinces where there is no consent process like ours, this is a very key symbol. It took awhile, and as +Michael said, I did not come easily to the decision of not attending on Saturday. But the truth is, Mary and Diane had plenty of bishops to get the job done, and my hands were not needed there on May 15th. They were needed to reach other places and so I did.

As people have emailed me or blogged their anger and concern it seems that people think I was pressured by my partner bishops. Indeed, they made a request - as did many in the Anglican Communion of our entire church - for us not to consent or consecrate Mary. While listening is an important part of our partnership, we respect one another’s autonomy. Hopefully we the body of Christ all make prayerful decisions with one another in mind. You may not like the decision I made, but let me be clear, it was mine to make, not +Michael’s or +Gerard’s.

My gesture of not attending on Saturday was received graciously by both partner bishops, and we will just have to see what the future holds for our unusual and extraordinary relationship. We give thanks for every day we are blessed with this fellowship and agree to forgive one another when we fail, including if that means we can’t walk together. Likewise, my diocese understands my decision well because of our context. El Camino Real has lived through and beyond brokenness to reconciliation. There has been support for my decision across the diversity of opinion around human sexuality and Mary’s ordination, liberal to conservative and vice versa. We are functioning like a graceful body should, forgiving each other when we let each other down.

Mary Glasspool and I are friends, having now enjoyed one another’s presence immensely at the last House of Bishops meeting. What a beautiful human being she is! She knows all about my decision making process. She is my sister bishop - as is Diane - with whom I also shared what I planned to do (their elections and consecrations go hand in hand as a matter of circumstance and my not being at one meant I couldn’t be at the other). Mary and Diane are graceful women, and we look forward to years of serving together as bishops, crossing our border at least occasionally for lunch!

I do want to say that while the temptation to run with the anxiety in the Anglican Communion right now is high, please resist that. Take care not to impose +Michael’s words on our context and ours on his. In his context, his speech represents much prayerful consideration and a stepping out from the traditional “holding the line” of their House of Bishops. We do not have this same expectation in our system and don’t understand it very well. Furthermore, the people of Gloucester are not, of course, uniform in their opinions on GLBT and women in all orders of ministry. In fact +Michael is giving voice to a broad center in this speech that may facilitate some movement on issues of inclusion in that system. As one who believes all orders of ministry should be open to all people regardless of gender or orientation I encourage and support that voice - in that context.

Finally, I pray and hope the Anglican Communion ultimately makes it. I am not always very confident about that. Michael, Gerard and I, and our dioceses, concur that our partnership provides an excellent model for the development of valuable relationships across the Anglican Communion, but we are realistic that for some the division will just be too great to remain. The sooner we acknowledge that, the sooner we can recognize our deep need for the redemptive work of Christ, and own our call as the church to do the work of reconciliation. It is a very big mission field out there.

+Mary Gray-Reeves
El Camino Real

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 11:57am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Bishop Perham is particularly illuminating on "the status in England of clergy ordained abroad by a woman bishop." It seems any such clergy cannot be licensed to serve in the Church of England unless they are re-ordained!

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 1:22pm BST

Michael Perham's talk reads like a piece of traditional Anglican bishopspeak - mild, inoffensive, wet, hand-wringing: "I feel your pain but couldn't possibly stir up any trouble in order to alleviate it."

I suppose one should be grateful that it is not the hate-speech that some church leaders come out with, but still, is it intellectually or ethically good enough nowadays to say "I agree that our current position is untenable, yet I will do nothing to change it so that it actually becomes tenable?"

We understand from this that the Bishop of Gloucester went so far as to exert a light pressure of the wrist behind the scenes to discourage the Bishop of El Camino Real from attending Bishop Glasspool's consecration. This is why the Church should not be run as a bishops' club.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 2:02pm BST

A second comment, if you will forgive, on what was to me the most interesting part of Bishop Perham's address. He says:

"the Episcopal Church is so thoroughly Anglican that to describe it as something less than Anglican seems to be sheer foolishness and immensely hurtful." (There's more there worth reading.)

Yes, he's right: it has been "immensely hurtful." I don't think for a moment, however, that "sheer foolishness" was to blame. Slanders and outright lies regarding TEC have been circulated by evangelicals for years in the Church of England. There were "economies of the truth" (as they say) that justified them, and devious political reasons. They went uncontradicted because so many in Britain were happy to hear yet another scandalous story about "those awful Americans."

So it's nice that Bishop Perham has now discovered these often-told stories are false, but I am afraid they have already done their work, on both sides of the Atlantic.

I for my part find it very difficult even to want to be in Communion with a Church so willing for so many years to slander, punish, and sideline us. What's the point?

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 3:33pm BST

How appalling that +Michael Perham would take it upon himself to ask +Mary Gray-Reeves not to attend the Bruce/Glasspool consecration -- and how much more appalling, and deeply disappointing, if, as Bishop Michael states is the case, Bishop Mary complied.

Does Bishop Mary (Gray-Reeves) simply not appreciate the irony that her very own consecration is not recognized in the very corners of the Communion that cry out over now-Bishop Mary (Glasspool)??? That as a heterosexual she may be less "tainted" in their eyes than +Glasspool, but she is not even a bishop in many/most of those same eyes?

Posted by: David da Silva Cornell on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 4:57pm BST

It is interesting to note that observers to our General Conventions from the C of E (including bishops) have remarked on how "thoroughly Anglican" TEC is.

Posted by: Old Father William on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 4:59pm BST

Yes, I believe the hierarchies of the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches are too full of themselves with power and the unwillingness to grow and change their thinking on a number of issues, including women's ordination to the priesthood and episcopate and homosexuality. Although it appears that the Bishop of Gloucester is trying to understand more fully these two issues, I am afraid he is just not showing the courage and backbone that is needed to bring movement to this important discussion. We can all be pleased that he is taking the first of many baby steps to open up communication but like his Roman and Orthodox counterparts, it is much too little and really requires so much more in the area of generosity in listening to women and gay people in the Church. The pain and hurt that have been placed on women and gay persons within each of these three branches of Christianity is so great and has gone on for so long, that much greater action and love must be present in order to move this discussion forward. In Rome, it seems to be only going backwards in time, primarily because of Benedict (Joe Ratzinger) and the elements in the Vatican that do not want this discussion to take place. Bishop Perham is at least trying, however small the steps.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 5:34pm BST

He seems to have no awareness that the indispensable doctrines (as he seems to see it), exist in a cultural context of meaning(s) and language. Does he not understand that the question for most parishoners /citizens in England say, is

What on earth does it all mean ?

What difference does it / can it make to my life, to society and to the pursuit of meaning and living a good (enough) life ?

The Ascension is so vital that I searched in vain in the Hollywell and Ysceifiog areas last
Wednesday for a service the following day (also anniversary of mother's death), and had to settle for a kind of
Quaker-style-HA Williams- informed reflection on that sunny morning, what life and death mean to me a son, of both Church and Mother.

The Church piles these expectations and duties upon us but then leaves with-out the means to meet them.

I've solved this kind of dilemma in the past by attending an RC outlet, but somehow that possibility did not see right for me that day - but they may well have transferredit to the following Sunday and I was fed-up after visitng half a dozen churches / villages.

So the good bishop says the Doctrine is indispensable in way that gay love / sex isn't, but it's just words again-- the former was impossible to come by.

Posted by: RevL Roberts on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 8:26pm BST

I find Michael Perham's words vacuous and pathetic. I've listened to spineless nonesense like this for decades. If he has nothing better to say and DO -- better to shut up.

As for interfering in the attendance at the Glasspool ordination -- who does he think he is ?

Come back John Yates ! Has Perham even read the Yates report ? We shoul have moved on by now.

Posted by: RevL Roberts on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 8:30pm BST

Fr. Mark said: Michael Perham's talk reads like a piece of traditional Anglican bishopspeak - mild, inoffensive, wet, hand-wringing: "I feel your pain but couldn't possibly stir up any trouble in order to alleviate it."

In fairness, there is a difference, I think, between "I feel your pain but couldn't possibly stir up any trouble in order to alleviate it" on the one hand and "For the sake of unity, I intend to move in concert with the rest of my province while wishing we could move faster." Seems to me that the bishop's comments are more the latter.

In dealing with these issues - even though we may be agreed on the substantive - there are certain to be disagreements about each tactical choice. Although I believe that my Church should be prepared to solemnize marriages between two men or two women (since they are legal here), I have stated that I do not intend to do so until I am authorized to do so by the Church. I know that many of my colleagues intend to choose otherwise when the prospect presents itself.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 10:00pm BST

"Although I believe that my Church should be prepared to solemnize marriages between two men or two women (since they are legal here), I have stated that I do not intend to do so until I am authorized to do so by the Church. I know that many of my colleagues intend to choose otherwise when the prospect presents itself."
- Malcolm+ on Monday -

Malcolm+ is right when he declares his need to comply with the rules within his own Church community (C.of E.). However, Malcolm is being honest about his dis-ease with the C.of E's current officially observed stance on same-sex Blessings. This is quite a good and catholic position - that seeks change from within, but balks at disobedience to the official policy.

The Bishop of Gloucester, on the other hand, talks about his changing views - while yet disinclined to take any action, as a Bishop of the C.of E., to actually encourage change from his position as a bishop. He still tries (and has obviously been successful in this) to dissuade a Bishop in TEC from attending the legal process of episcopal ordination of a Bishop in that Church! It is not his business to interfere!

The premise of this interference? - that he feels TEC should not ordain a woman he feels to be unworthy of the office and dignity of the Anglican Episcopate! - Despite the fact that he has 'some sympathy' with gays, he feels that TEC - a Church with its own ethos and culture and independence from the C.of E. - should have to exemplify his own reluctance to go ahead with what TEC sees as a legitimate Gospel imperative!

I'm glad +Gloucester has the grace to admit his own mistakes on the issue of same-sex Blessings, but does he not realize that other parts of the Church - like TEC - are less willing to tolerate the status quo - on gays and women bishops - than he is. Someone has to declare their loyalty to the Call of the Gospel and the fact that he is unable to use his own position in the Church of england to do this should not prevent TEC, or any other Province in the Anglican Communion, from making the leap of faith that is required to dispel the ethos of misogyny and homophobia that is still a problem for certain bishops and clergy of the Church of England. After all, TEC is not breaking its own canonical rule of obedience.

Merely 'going-along' with the status quo, when acknowledging the injustice of doing so, does not excuse a Bishop in the Church from doing all he/she can to alter the endemic culture.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 11:50pm BST

"For you cannot, in a worldwide Communion, move at the speed of the fastest."

Justice-loving people (among them, many Christians---among them, the FIRST Christians!) have EVER had this preached AT them.

The alternative, is to move "at the speed of" NEVER.

The great folksinger Malvina Reynolds was thinking of someone like +Gloucester when she wrote:

"'It's not nice' to block the doorway.
'It's not nice' to go to jail.
Well, we've tried all the nice ways,
But the nice ways always fail!

'It's not nice'
'It's not nice':
You've told us once,
You've told us twice.
But if that's freedom's price
I don't mind!"

TBTG for TEC's newest bishop, +Mary Glasspool!

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 12:31am BST

Oh dear - another tortured hand wringing liberal without the courage of his convictions. No institution will move at the speed of the fastest, but without the fastest forging ahead there is no incentive or encouragement for the rest to move at all. So +Michael effectively wants gay people to remain dispendable until the slowest decide that such a situation is no reflection of the Gospel even if others (himself included) have already come to such a realisation. It is never the wrong time to the right thing, and it can never be the right time to do the wrong thing.

Posted by: Jonathan+ on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 12:46am BST

Michael Perham, like many other bishops in the Anglican, Roman and Orthodox Communions, thinks of himself as almost "imperial" because of his position of rank in the Church. Many bishops are this way. Hell, in Roman Catholic diocese the big complaint from lay people is that they think their own bishops live like "kings or princes" and this does not reflect the shepherd model of a bishop that Christ would desire. It's a huge problem for many bishops once they put on that cope and jeweled mitre. The mitre becomes a sort of "crown" to many of them. Are they all little imperial princes? Thank God, they are not all this way. A few truly humble servants squeak through (especially in the Anglican Communion), but the Latin Rite ones will never earn a "red hat" from Rome because they do not fit the imperial model. It's a shame that Michael Perham does not see the pain and the hateful language that has been used by bishops and archbishops from his own Anglican Communion against women and glbt people. All of this he seems to accept because he values UNITY so much more than the women and glbt members of his own Church. Sad.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 3:07am BST

Whilst we might have wished +Michael to go further, I think we need to recognise that the publication of this statement, just prior to the English House of Bishops meeting, is a clear signal from a Diocesan that there are significant differences of opinion within our own house about this matter. And so publication is a brave move and one that we need to say thank you for.

Posted by: Canon Andrew Godsall on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 9:58am BST

I can see no difference, and nor do I see 'fairness' to lgbt people.

'In fairness, there is a difference, I think, between "I feel your pain but couldn't possibly stir up any trouble in order to alleviate it" on the one hand and "For the sake of unity, I intend to move in concert with the rest of my province while wishing we could move faster" -- 'unity' with whom ? 'Unity' means what ? With whom should you / we be in solidarity ? What might Jesus (so ignored by The Church) have done ?

'I do not intend to do so until I am authorized to do so by the Church.' - But who is / are the Church ? Take your own authority in both hands man for Christ's sake.

Jesus didn't hang around to be 'authorized' by the 'Church' of his day !

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 10:39am BST

Sometimes I think the time has come to abolish bishops as we have them at present. I'm sure some other kind of over-sight could be set-up - possibly one that actually works on the ground.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 10:42am BST

"However the Anglican Communion has not resolved to give that freedom to the Episcopal Church."

Er, no.

For over 200 years, the Episcopal Church has exercised its freedom to ordain bishops. That freedom is neither the Anglican Communion's to give, nor the Anglican Communion's to take away.

The Bishop's patronizing attitude is breathtaking. As is his ignorance of history.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 11:56am BST

I too would like to observe my grand-mother's (and mother's) inclination to say "thank you" to Bishop Perham, but my deepest friend's (who has been with his partner for close to thirty years) exhortation would be "no guts, no glory".

How unfortunate it may appear, this is how change comes at the higher echelons of organizations.

Posted by: evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh) on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 12:47pm BST

The answer, Rev. Roberts, has already been suggested:

Just go back to the model of the early Church.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 1:45pm BST

"Behold, NOW is the accepted time."

Posted by: Counterlight on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 2:24pm BST

" No institution will move at the speed of the fastest, but without the fastest forging ahead there is no incentive or encouragement for the rest to move at all."


If we in the states had followed the good bishop's lead in the 1950s there would have been no Brown v. Board and we would likely all still have separate schools and drinking fountains, among other things far more sinful.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 4:33pm BST

No I do not need to thank him, nor do I see it as appropriate. But then I'm gay and been waiting for nigh on 60 years.

And what is said in England is not unrelated to breath-taking cruelty and injustice in Malawi.

Britain must take its share of responsibility and the the Church of England.

So, not thanks, but get up off your complacent seat, and DO something for justice and do it NOW.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 5:30pm BST

"For you cannot, in a worldwide Communion, move at the speed of the fastest."

But you can have the grace to understand that different societies and different provinces may move at different speeds.

It is the desire to insist and dominate church life in distant provinces, instead of putting the emphasis on our own ministry and service where we are, that in my view risks more.

If this was slavery at stake: would we say "Let's take our time and let others catch up or block our action on the subject"?

When it comes to issues of justice, delay and prevarication (or plain hostility to change) bring with them consequences - the diminution of people's lives, the continuing marginalising of people who are different, the message (through inaction) that the Church seeks to perpetuate some kind of marginalising of minorities.

I give thanks for TEC that they have said, "No, we won't be party to this, we believe it is unjust."

If it had been slavery at stake, or racism, would anyone dare (these days) to say: "Let's delay"?

So, at the very least, let there be grace for those who wish to speak out, to speak out, and let's stop trying to dominate each other, or institute new church authoritarianism.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 at 3:55pm BST

Moderation and restraint are marvelous qualities when practiced by thoughtful and compassionate parties in a contentious situation. In the present circumstances, they more frequently resemble the appeasement of tyrants. This has only delayed the inevitable confrontation while giving aid and comfort to those who demand uncompromising obedience to a flawed hermaneutic.

Posted by: Mike on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 at 9:17pm BST

Surely the most important thing about Bishop Perham's address is that he made it. Coming after the Bishop of Liverpool, it is now clear that some bishops are prepared to voice their anxieties about the status quo re gay and women's ordination issues and so make more public the real divisions within the House of Bishops. We have had a number of new bishops lately and more to come..Ely, Rochester, Southwark. Durham, Bradford ..with Salisbury and Lincoln soon and within a year or two Winchester, Newcastle, Chichester, Bath and Wells and no doubt others...As we have seen in the political sphere recently, generational shifts inevitably bring change and fresh possibilities.....we can only hope so!

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 21 May 2010 at 12:23pm BST

Perry Butler: "it is now clear that some bishops are prepared to voice their anxieties about the status quo re gay and women's ordination issues"

Yes, this true, and represents an advance, certainly. But should it always be the case that there has to be a generation's time-lag before bishops can dare to state the blindingly obvious? No-one's ethical argument is compelling if its basis is merely the confluence of gerontocracy and expediency, surely?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 21 May 2010 at 10:23pm BST

Sadly it isn't "blindingly obvious" Fr Mark. I recognise the hurt delay can cause but in a situation where these things are contested, polarisation occurs and deepset polarisation usually creates an impasse and so ultimately slows things down. Given what seemed to me a disorientating shift to the right in the Church of England from the 1980's, I'm relieved things have moved as far as they have. After all few really expected the ordination of women to go through in 1993. In fact the lack of a Plan B by the House of Bishops was the reason for the Act of Synod which opened the way to a "choose your own bishop mentality" in some quarters that has done considerable harm. I simply suspect a generational shift will be a significant factor in change. Disappointing perhaps...

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 22 May 2010 at 1:50pm BST

My prayer on this Feast of Pentecost is that the will of God in Christ Jesus be done in our Church - in our time, and by us - not waiting for some future generation to put an end to manifest injustice.

Come, Holy Spirit, re-kindle within us the FIRE of your LOVE; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, so that we may become your instruments of joyous freedom for all we who are imprisoned by others' view of our gender or sexual differences - so that we may learn to respect, love, and rejoice in one another; through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 23 May 2010 at 12:31pm BST

I do not know +Gloucester.

But I do remember my schoolmaster, Michael Perham.

"Spineless" is possibly the least appropriate word in the English Language to describe him.

His personal sympathies are strongly with the more Liberal side of the Church. As one of the Lords Spiritual, he must carefully attempt to keep the strong, and strengthening, reactionary forces mainly in Africa within the Church, trusting that they will be eventually pursuaded by Christian Charity to reform.

I'm not sure this is possible. I'm glad I'm not in his position. "Blessed are the Peacemakers", but in the meantime, they get reviled as cowards by those whose views they share.

Posted by: Zoe Brain on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 at 7:06am BST
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