Monday, 5 July 2010

press reports on Southwark

Updated Tuesday morning

Riazat Butt reported in the Guardian on the conservative opposition in Southwark, see Gay bishop for Southwark ‘will split Church of England’. Dr Jeffrey John nominated for Anglican diocese but parishes could seek leadership abroad, conservative clerics warn.

Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief Sex and the archbishop. Installing the openly gay Jeffrey John as bishop would be a decisive victory for Rowan Williams. But if he’s beaten, he’s finished.

Tuesday’s Guardian Diary column has this:

The issue of gay bishops has them marching as to war within the church and no mistake. How can we have Jeffrey John, an openly gay man, as bishop of Southwark, thundered traditionalist canon Chris Sugden on the Today programme yesterday? Yes, it’s muskets at dawn, and when the hostilities begin, look out for the Rev Paul Perkin, a member of the Church of England General Synod and vicar of the deeply evangelical St Mark’s in Battersea, part of the Southwark diocese in south London. He strongly opposes the proposed candidature of John, and the cut of his jib is such that his parish website programme page is decorated with cartoon graphics of military tanks. “Faith Under Fire,” reads the caption. Those who feel threatened will inevitably fire back.

Martin Beckford at the Telegraph has Traditionalist Church of England groups warn of defections if gay bishop is ordained

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 10:24pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Ah yes, Border-crossing...

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 12:22am BST

I was somewhat surprised to discover in a recent article in Economist that:
http://www.economist.com/node/16488830?story_id=16488830&fsrc=rss

'Support for the anti-homosexuality bill in the Ugandan parliament has fallen away after Mr Ssempa and other preachers accused a rival Pentecostal, Robert Kayanja, of sodomy. Mr Kayanja, coincidentally a half-brother of the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has himself been criticised in Uganda for milking the poor to live a luxury life'

Perhaps the realisation that the Archbishop's half-brother might be due for a long prison term, of the sort so often applauded by some factions in the Church, might have finally persuaded Rowan Williams that his own approach has failed utterly, and that he needs a new one...

Posted by: chenier1 on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 12:53am BST

"A Reform spokesman said: "Dr John's teaching regarding homosexual practice is contrary to both the Bible and to the current doctrine of the Church of England."

Come now, it's not John's "teaching" that has them up in arms!

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 1:37am BST

The premise of Andrew Brown's column -- that the appointment of Dr John, on current doctrinal terms, would leave the Church of England in a coherent place -- is laughable.

From the right, the distinction between non-celibate and open but celibate is no distinction at all. Does anyone think that this distinction will matter one whit to the Global South? It's reminiscent of Clinton's "I didn't inhale." From the right, it's too clever by half.

From the left, the distinction between celibate and non-celibate is so consequential -- so dehumanizing, so discriminatory -- as to be tragic.

Why Andrew Brown thinks the appointment of Dr John would be a stable outcome, and a victory for Rowan Williams, is a puzzle.

It would be a victory for liberals, certainly, at least on the half-a-loaf view.

But I will be curious to see Canterbury's answer when he is asked in public -- as he surely will be someday -- whether he voted for Dr John or not. If he says no, then he admits that he was outvoted and overruled. If he says yes, then he adds fuel to the Global South anti-Anglican fire, and ruins his own make-nice-with-Rome project.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 1:46am BST

"As in North America, with its shrinking liberal Episcopal Church, and growing orthodox Anglican Church, there will be a formal divide. Maybe not immediately, we tend not to rush things. There are two new groups already within the Church of England, one called Inclusive Church, the other the fellowship of Confessing Anglicans linking with other Anglican Provinces"

- Revd. Ray Skinner, in the C. of E. Newspaper -

This article, by a desperate evangelical anti-gay English cleric, is here comparing chalk and cheese: FOCA and ACNA. Of the two sodalities, only FOCA is still within the parent Church (C.of E.) ACNA has already departed its parent (TEC) and is no longer part of the Anglican Communion. The question as to whether Jeffrey John's appointment to +Southwark is a reality, ought to be seen in its proper context - that of the limited number of anti-gay Anglicans in the broader Church of England, as opposed to the larger group which continues to wonder what all the fuss is about.

Messrs. Skinner and Sugden and their fellow fundamentalists will need to do a lot of quick-fire canvassing to secure any meaningful support for the anti-gay agenda in the C.of E., which has had quite enough of its posturing blackmail and idle threats. The liberty of the Gospel begins to stir the hearts and minds of Anglicans throughout the world. God is not mocked! I Pray for J.J.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 2:48am BST

Jeremy - Canterbury's answer will of course be that what goes on in a committee stays there.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 9:04am BST

Rev. Skinner's comments on a shrinking liberal TEC and growing "orthodox" church really should be taken with an entire box full of salt. When you start with zero, the only way to go is up.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 11:06am BST

The usual jeer that liberal churches "shrink" while conservative churches "grow" also shouldn't pass.

The Southwark Diocesan Statement of Needs notes that "The Cathedral congregation has trebled in the past dozen years; attendance, notably at Christmas and Easter, has quadrupled."

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 12:41pm BST

Why do the media pay such court to Sugden ? Why does he need his own Court around him ?

Do they imagine his opinions repeated ad nauseam over the years carry particular weight ?

I expect that, should he live long enough, he may like Rev Ian Paisley, come round and embrace the other, maybe as jovially !

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 5:13pm BST

Time to try out the latest version of "my theory which is mine" on the assembled worthies. My reconstruction of the sequence of events may be entirely incorrect, but this is the way the failed novelist who lives inside me thinks it must have happened.

Southwark indicates they'd like Dr. John for bishop. Oh noase! Impossible!

A bit of a scramble ensues while another candidate is located. Problem: the only other acceptable (=heterosexual) candidate turns out to be divorced and remarried. ++Rowan changes the rules to enable his candidacy.

At this point, having got wind of things, the new Prime Minister steps in. David Cameron has said he wishes the Church of England would move in a more inclusive direction. He must be aware of the political damage the hardliners in the C of E have done to its image in the nation at large. Sentiment for disestablishment has been building. Since a Tory disestablishmentarian is something of a contradiction in terms:

Cameron lets it be known that this is an ideal opportunity for the C of E to begin its "conversation."

Oh noase! Impossible! Dithering.

Cameron then says he wishes two names to be submitted to him by the appointments committee, rather than the single name Gordon Brown had asked for. In other words, he will take it upon himself to make the appointment, if Dr. John's name is submitted to him on the shortlist. ++Rowan, relieved, agrees not to block the appointment, and that is all.

Thus ++Rowan has had little to nothing to do with the candidacy of Jeffrey John+ for Southwark, apart from saying he would not block it. Speculation about his motives is therefore beside the point.

How close am I? (Just out of curiosity.)

Posted by: Charlotte on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 8:35pm BST

Charlotte: no. I don't think Nick Holtam is divorced and remarried, merely that his wife is, which was sufficient, in the weird parallel moral universe that is the contemporary C of E, to disqualify him

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 10:02pm BST

Fr. Mark, you're right about Nick Holtam. Thanks for the emendation.

But -- does anyone beside me see the hand of the Prime Minister in this?

Posted by: Charlotte on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 2:20am BST

Charlotte -- Very much so. But I rather doubt that David Cameron particularly wanted to take the Archbishop of Canterbury off the hook. Rather, the PM has asked for two names so that he can make a political and policy point by approving that of Dr John. It is hard to imagine a more abrupt, stinging, and necessary message from the World to the Church.

Andrew Brown -- This particular Crown Nominations Commission leaks like a sieve. The world will find out eventually what Canterbury did (or didn't do). Then he will be asked about it.

If he wants to hide behind the confidentiality of personnel matters, he'll lose even more credibility than he has already. At that point he would have little moral authority left.

No one -- left, right, ACNA, Pope Benedict -- will find a "committee proceedings are secret" answer remotely convincing. And other than you, perhaps, the press will have a field day.

We'll see how quickly the result of the committee's deliberations becomes public.... Then the questions begin.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 10:37am BST

Result already reported. That was fast.

Colin Coward reports a "unilateral veto" by the Archbishop of Canterbury. True? If yes, how?

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 10:59pm BST
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