Sunday, 22 May 2011

Gazette interviews Philip Giddings

The Church of Ireland Gazette reports: Anglican Communion ‘quite close to being dysfunctional’, senior English layman tells the Gazette.

In an interview reported in the current issue of The Church of Ireland Gazette, the Chair of the Church of England General Synod’s House of Laity, Dr Philip Giddings, speaks to the Gazette editor, Canon Ian Ellis, about the Anglican Covenant and the issue of women bishops in the Church of England.

The text of the interview report can be found at the link above.

A 23-minute audio of the whole interview can be found here.

(In the audio, the subject of the Covenant runs from 03:00-13:45 and the women bishops issue, including comment on the Ordinariate, runs from 13:45 to the end)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 4:21pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | Church of Ireland

Why is it, I wonder, that the C-of-E pretends that the only gay partnered bishops are in TEC? Is it because they are the only honest ones? What about those in C-of-E, and, I would guess, in other Anglican churches?

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 6:30pm BST

"Dr Giddings said that some of the things TEC's Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, and others had been doing to those who were in their terms “dissidents” suggested to him that the outlook was “very bleak”."

"Doing it"? That's bunk.

I can only conclude Giddings gets all his information about TEC from the same sources -- Duncan, Minns, et al. -- and therefore is quite out of touch, or is well informed but biased. Either he's out of touch or, well, lying.

He did he come to be chair of the House of Laity? Is he in any way representative? Is he an opinion maker for those in that house who don't have the time to be well informed?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 7:09pm BST

One can only presume that Dr. Giddings' doctorate is in the discipline of medicine and not theology. Not that one really needs a DTh. to figure out that what he is saying is rather silly. His contention that TEC is determined to go it's own way regardless of the rest of the Communion begs the question of whether the 'rest of the Communion' thinks the same as Dr. Giddings - about the issues which presently divide us.

If Dr. Giddings is truly representative of the opinion of the bulk of membership in the House of Laity in the Church of England I would be most surprised. I think most Lay people - in the C.of E. and elsewhere in the Communion (apart, perhaps, from the Global South) - just want the Church to get on with the job of helping to reconcile the world to God - regardless of the gender and sexuality issues that seem to so bother the administration.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 12:06am BST

The Chair of the CofE's House of Laity in General Synod understands TEC about as well as the ABC does. That is to say, not very well.

Both Giddings and +RW evidence the same moral bankruptcy in this matter of the Covenant. Unity is the primary matter of concern to the leadership of the CofE. In an atmosphere where LGBT young people are three times as likely to attempt suicide, where most LGBT persons live in the underdeveloped world, where they fear for their lives, hold jobs by hiding, fear imprisonment and beatings, and fear "rape cures", these concerns are not primary issues for Giddings or +RW.

The fact is that the Churches, mosques and synagogues are primarily responsible for teaching and preaching this hatred and contempt for others, who bear the image of God within them, equally with every other person. Many of the Churches in Africa and Asia, especially the Anglican Churches, tutored by fanatic American fundamentalists, are primary sponsors of this hatred.

TEC will not turn back from our position to provide equal participation in the life and ministries of the Church to all baptized persons. We will work towards the liberation of LGBT persons around the world.

The Covenant is, factually, a document which attempts to punish any national Church which opposes the hatred of those provinces, and their leaders, who have elevated contempt for other human beings into some sort of religious litmus test for participation in the Anglican Communion. Let's not pretend that the Covenant has any other origin or purpose, except to consolidate the power of a select group of primates, who cannot remain in Communion with other Churches where LGBT persons are accorded the dignity and respect due them as children of God.

We in TEC are not walking away or "apart". We have not boycotted any meetings of the Instruments of Communion. But we are not going to give up our brothers and sisters, our children and family members, our spouses and our clergy, including Bishop Mary Glasspool for the "mess of pottage" that is the Covenant.

Posted by: karen macqueen+ on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:18am BST

Giddings is of course right on the Ordinariate. Very few Anglo Catholics have joined and at present those who have represent less than 0.1 per cent of Anglican in the Church of England, Scottish Episcopal Church and Church in Wales. There are currently no members in Wales, although the web site maintains a discussion group is about to emerge! yet more spin.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 7:12am BST

Dr Giddings is a political scientist. Here is some more information about him:

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 8:33am BST

I wonder if Dr Giddings sees a problem in the desire of the diocese of Sydney and several African Provinces " to go their own way"?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 8:46am BST

and one should always remember that a prominent and vociferous 'Reform' member is perhaps not the best place to go for an even handed assessment of things CofE...

Posted by: david rowett on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 8:56am BST

I see from the Reading Uni website that his responsibilites are, in how own words, 'too numerous to mention'! It's great to know that the Chairman of the House of Laity in Synod and member of the Archbishops' Council is so endowed with the gift of humility that he manages to spare the CofE so much of his precious time! And finds time too to maintain his relationship with his partner Canon Chris Sugden. (His partner in crime that is, in hounding the Cof E over the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John and doing their damndest to hold the CofE and Anglican Communion to ransom by raising time and time again the issue of human sexuality)

Posted by: John C on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 9:43am BST

What should we make of the fact that this man holds one of the highest positions in the CoE?

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 2:40pm BST

On their website, Reform have posted their covenant. On marriage they state...

"The vital importance of monogamous life-long marriage for the care and nurture of children, and the well being of human society.
The rightness of sexual intercourse in heterosexual marriage, and the wrongness of such activity both outside it and in all its homosexual forms."

However notice how they have carefully worded it and left out the issue of divorce and re-marriage.the reason being is that can't agree what the Bible teaches!They therefore can't agree as to what is heterosexual sin i.e. adultery.

There's Giddings theology in a nutshell!

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 4:47pm BST

As far as I can tell from the comments, the only reason his statement is newsworthy is that he is chair of the House of Laity. (And even then, given his attachments, the views expressed are entirely predictable.) Which brings me back to the question -- does that house select its own chair? If so, what explains why it chose Geddings?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 5:47pm BST

Way back last year when the elections took place we were provided with the details of the voting

Posted by: John Roch on Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:56pm BST

Whilst Robert Williams might have a point when he highlights the growing hypocrisy within Evangelicalism that has gone soft on divorce but remains hard on homosexuality his attack is unfair. Surely the line...

The vital importance of monogamous life-long marriage

...does not ignore the issue of divorce?

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 7:50am BST

"...The rightness of sexual intercourse in heterosexual marriage"

Oh no! ANOTHER demand on my time and energy. Does that have to go in my ministerial review as well?


Posted by: david rowett on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 12:13pm BST

People who accept divorce would say that they believe in life long marriage as an ideal. The covenant is thus carefully worded to cover both those who accept that as an ideal and others who accept that indissolubility is a Divine command.

Reform also affirm within the Covenant that the Bible is sufficient to establish doctrine. If they appear to disagree on this..their whole system collapses and their "moral" authority.

As their Covenant explanatory document explains. "Matters of sexual morality are a case in point. If we are unwilling to spell out what the Bible teaches in this area then our attempts to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ will become increasingly irrelevant. If we cannot indicate to our generation where we rebel against God's rule then we will be unable to convince our generation that we need a Saviour. That is why Reform has a covenant."

Hence their subterfuge. It's not what they say, but what they don't.

Glad to see an ordinariate member reading the blog..note how they've never challenged my statistics or inside information on the TAC..

Posted by: Robert ian williams on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 7:05am BST

No, both pro and anti re-marriage elements in reform agreed the formula so their premise that the Bible can establish true doctrine in and of its self would not be undermined. As their explanation to the Covenant reads..

"Matters of sexual morality are a case in point. If we are unwilling to spell out what the Bible teaches in this area then our attempts to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ will become increasingly irrelevant. If we cannot indicate to our generation where we rebel against God's rule then we will be unable to convince our generation that we need a Saviour. That is why Reform has a covenant."

Hence they approached a gate they could not jump over together they lowered the bar and then quickly raised it,on seeing the homosexuals approaching!

They could teach liberals a few things about craft and deceit.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 7:10am BST

Is Philip Giddings representative of the House of Laity on the General Synod? Yes, at least to some extent. For one thing, although his views are extreme on matters of sexuality, they are more moderate elsewhere. Secondly, as you can see from the voting figures quoted above, he is acceptable to around half of the laity on Synod who expressed a preference as to who should be their Chair. The more intersting question is to what extent the House of Laity on Synod is representative of the laity in the Church of England. I suspect - and I'm a member of the House of Laity - that it actually has almost nothing in common with the normal Sunday congregation of the vast majority of churches in England.

Posted by: Justin Brett on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 9:32am BST

Evangelicals might *say* that divorce is a bad thing, but in practice they treat it as a mere faux pas.

It is shocking to see how many of the leaders of the so-called "Orthodox" are with their second or third spouses.

One of the leaders of the antigay movement in TEC, arguably a founder, is a bishop who dumped his wife to marry his secretary. The head of one breakaway church in Texas, appointed by Bob Duncan to be his point man on "protecting the sanctity of marriage," has been married twice and often tells his congregation that his current marriage amounts to God giving him a second chance at happiness!

Lest anyone try to argue that the Roman Catholics are much more consistent on the issue, here in the U.S. we have a thrice-married Catholic politician, Newt Gingrich, who cheated on Wife #1 with Wife #2 (while Wife #1 had cancer) and then cheated on Wife #2 with his current wife, Wife #3, with whom he was having an affair while presiding over the impeachment of Bill Clinton for...having an affair.

Since Gingrich's former mistress and current wife is a Roman Catholic, he was able to purchase two annulments. Thus, in the eyes of the church, he is a good Catholic married to his first wife. His decades of serial adultery simply do not exist anymore, thanks to what amounts to, in practice, Catholic Divorce.

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 1:14pm BST

I do not approve Newt's promiscuity but his first two marriages could have been invalid. For instance his first spouse may have not been baptized and his second wife, may have been a divorced woman. There are many possibilities. Annulments are not bought, but involve a strict legal inquiry and tribunal.

Yes annulments have been abused in the USA ( 60 per cent of worlds annulments, 6 percent of world's catholics), but that is not the fault of the Catholic Church, but unfaithful members.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 8:15am BST

Thank you, JPM for the information on Roman Catholic Newt Gringrich, and his track record on divorce. Does Robert I. Williams (who is quick to correct other faith communities on their 'irregularities') have any comment to make on Mr Gringrich's record?
I await his reply - with bated breath

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 12:07pm BST

Since the Synod meets mid week there is only a certain sort of lay person who will have the time to be a member.Matters may come to a head I suppose if the legislation for women bishops is passed overwhelmingly by diocesan synods but fails by a few votes in the House of Laity. then some questions might be asked about its unrepresentative nature.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 6:17pm BST

I am aware that annulments are not, strictly speaking, sold, but it generally happens that the rich and influential (like Kennedys) have no problem at all getting them.

Posted by: JPM on Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 10:42pm BST

See how these Christians love one another. I'm off for a cup of tea. Sometimes I can't stand to read another bit of news about our Anglican family.

Posted by: Christopher Arnold on Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 11:56pm BST

"His publications include Marketing Boards and Ministers; Parliamentary Accountability: A Study of Parliament and Executive Agencies; Westminster and Europe: the Impact of the European Union on the Westminster Parliament; Righting Wrongs:

- Dr. Giddings profile, Reading Uni. website -

"Righting Wrongs" - that's a laugh, given his potential for wronging rights - the rights of the LGBT community in the Church of England. By the way, is 'Doctor' Sugden a Reading alumnus?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 27 May 2011 at 6:53am BST
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