Monday, 18 February 2013

Overseas ordination for a church in Sheffield

Updated Tuesday

Anglican Mainstream has published the following press release: Ordination in Kenya of Minister in Anglican Church Plant in Sheffield

In Sheffield, South Yorkshire, statistics show that only 3% of the population regularly attend church. Back in 2002 the leadership team at Christ Church Fulwood were invited by senior diocesan staff to investigate the possibility of church planting, with the aim of sharing the Gospel with people who had moved into the new residential developments in the city centre. Despite extensive discussions, diocesan support for this initiative was withdrawn, but with mission our priority Christ Church Central was “born” in October 2003 as “a church for people who don’t go to church” outside the formal structures of the Church of England.

Nearly 10 years later both parent and daughter churches have continued to grow numerically and partnered one another in mission to the city. An expression of this partnership was the planting of Christ Church Walkley last year, with the initial members drawn from both congregations living in the area. Pete Jackson, who has been one of the associate ministers at Christ Church Central, is the founding minister.

Although recommended by the Reform Panel of Reference and trained at Oakhill Theological College, Pete had not been ordained since Christ Church Central was not part of Sheffield Diocese. Concern that his ministry and that of the new church should be appropriately recognised led us to consult the leadership of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), who subsequently wrote to the GAFCON Primates’ Council with a request that they should facilitate Pete’s ordination.

We are immensely grateful for the leadership of the Archbishop of Kenya, Eliud Wabukala, as chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, and to the Bishop of Kitui, Josephat Mule, who ordained Pete as a deacon in the Anglican Church of Kenya on Saturday 9th February. We see this event as the latest expression of Gospel partnership between the churches in Sheffield and Kenya. Tim Davies’ father was Provost of Nairobi cathedral in the 1970s, Tim was born in Kenya and is himself an honorary canon of All Saints Cathedral Nairobi. Christ Church Central already supports mission partners in Nairobi…

The statement is signed by:

Tim Davies, Senior Minister, and Jane Patterson, Trustee, Christ Church Central

Jane Patterson is a General Synod member from the Diocese of Sheffield and a member of the Crown Nominations Commission.

Update

The Diocese of Sheffield has issued this:

ORDINATION IN KENYA

Reports are now circulating in the public domain of an ordination in Kenya in recent days. The Communications Office was inundated with calls wanting clarification and comment.

+Peter has issued the following statement today:

“The Diocese of Sheffield was made aware last week that Pete Jackson from Christ Church Walkley had been ordained in Kenya on Saturday 9 February 2013. This came as a total surprise as we had no prior knowledge or communication regarding this. We continue to seek further clarification and dialogue with those involved in the ordination at various levels and are taking advice so that we have a comprehensive picture of what took place. This will enable us to reflect further on the developments and their implications.”

(+Peter is the Bishop of Doncaster)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 11:35am GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

"diocesan support for this initiative was withdrawn"
"outside the formal structures of the Church of England"
"Pete had not been ordained since Christ Church Central was not part of Sheffield Diocese"
"Anglican Mission in England (AMiE)"

What exactly is supposed to be “mainstream” about this?

Posted by: Will Douglas Barton on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 1:00pm GMT

This is the fissiparous end of protestantism that is the hallmark of American religion and unique to that region. It won't work in England.

I feel slightly sorry for the Kenyans who are being led by the nose into a Babylonian captivity which is really that of the ACNA more than GAFCON.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 1:17pm GMT

This faith community lists its 8 o'clock service as Holy Communion. Do I presume then that their Minister, Tim Davies - and indeed his colleagues - holds a bishop's license or Permission to Officiate? All of which would be quite odd, when this community is not part of the Church of England diocese in which it stands

Posted by: Commentator on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 1:39pm GMT

And so it begins!

Posted by: Paul David on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 1:43pm GMT

Hang on a minute! Aren't we are supposed to be desperately short of full-time priests.

Here is a guy who it appears has been part of running two churches- both of which seem to be thriving. He has a training from an Anglican college.

Why not ordain the guy?

Moreover we are a church in numerical decline which has always had a poor record in urban areas.

I have googled Walkley- urban, mainly small victorian terraces, 75% of houses under £200,000, no great student population- isn't this just the sort of area which the Church needs to get into? Here is a guy who wants to do it and he is being stopped?!?!

It seems to me the questions need to be asked more of those who want stop (as they claim in the release) growing churches taking their "success" to new areas. I rather thought that was what the "Great Commission" required.

What sort of orgainsation seeks to thwart such a guy and such a project? Perhaps one that is accepting decline?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 2:15pm GMT

Possibly this is one of those nice young men from Oakhill the Lorna Ashworth was talking about at the recent General Synod debate !

Posted by: Paul David on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 2:24pm GMT

Is there any indication that Tim Davies has sought ordination in the C of E and been refused? I can't see any myself.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 3:06pm GMT

Jonny May wrote:

"Here is a guy who it appears has been part of running two churches- both of which seem to be thriving. He has a training from an Anglican college.

"Why not ordain the guy?"

I don't know. But one might presume that there is more to the story than will be revealed by Anglican Mainstream. One can hardly argue that the Church of England should endorse any form of ministry, no matter what it looks like. Diocesan support was withdrawn deliberately: I don't know why this happened, but that reason is surely pertinent to the current discussion.

Posted by: Sam on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 3:33pm GMT

Oh, an opportunity to return to an old theme in my blogging - religious trotskyism. The smaller body, superficially more successful than the larger body, invades it, uses the host's 'reach', but keeps its own control and acquires foreign management under GAFCON.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/entryism-active-in-church-of-england.html

One wonders what the new Archbishop thinks of this?

The situation only becomes another ACNA - or ACNE (Anglican Church of Northern Europe) - if actions are taken to remove the entryists. If the entryists are not removed, they become the decision making centres instead of the dioceses. They build for themselves the 'Third Province' that has been denied by proper authority.

After all, when are some Anglican liberal-leaning, say retired bishops, going to get together and consecrate some women as bishops? Why not everyone do their own thing?

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 3:52pm GMT

@johnny,
If it means accepting more conservatives into the church, for some, the answer is probably that they would prefer decline.

Is Oak Hill an accepted Seminary in England? And would the new archbishop be willing or able to bring the church into the fold? I'm a little confused by Commentator's post; are Anglican priests the only ones in Britain who can give holy communion? What of the Methodists, Catholics,etc.? Does the CoE have to approve every congregation in the country? If the project was begun with CoE support and then they changed their minds, should the church have closed its doors when they high backed out?

Posted by: Chris H. on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 4:17pm GMT

Looks as if the Archbishop's New Director of Reconciliation has his first job on his hands

Posted by: Iain McLean on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 4:17pm GMT

Hard, with this degree of diversity and indeed diversification, to see the 'Church of England' authorities wish to use the marriage equality legislation (Bill undergoing the Committee Stage now, to prvent clergy and parishes from marrying ALL their parishoners, as they would wish.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 5:01pm GMT

i don;t know how old you are, pluralist, but if your memory stretches back to the seventies you will recall that the first women priests were ordained in america by Anglican liberal-leaning retired bishops ' doing their own thing' as you put it.

Posted by: ian on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 5:21pm GMT

While it may seem to be a disturbing development, ultimately there is freedom of religion in the UK, right? The claim "Anglican," yet alone "Anglican Mainstream" is distasteful. But ultimately CoE decides for itself who they are, what they believe, and who they serve. CoE might want to just treat them like Methodists or Presbyterians, whatever that may be.

After all the schism and whatnot in TEC, it is the liberal churches that are growing. Actually, outside TEC, even the conservative Evangelical Churches that were once so powerful are in decline. Their young adults aren't accepting the Gospel of Homophobia, despite having been raised with it.

I'm intrigued by the Director of Reconciliation. Our world is deeply fragmented. I think the question is indeed "how do we get along in the midst of deep disagreement" It is not a matter of compromising one's sense of the Gospel or asking progressive churches to throw their people (women and LGBT) under a bus after decades of acceptance. That's not going to happen and it can only increase discord and make the ABC and CoE irrelevant in the first world.

Indaba seems to be a positive movement within the Anglican communion. If some splinter off because they can neither let go of old culturally based prejudices nor stay in communion with those who have moved towards liberation, isn't that ultimately free will? They have the freedom to do that. What I don't think they have is the right to tyrannize the CoE (or the TEC) when they are in such a clear minority.

Perhaps that's a decidedly American view. I joined TEC as an adult, most of us are not cradle Episcopalians (my mother was, however). There is something about choice, free will, that invites an examination of conscience.

I have a feeling that the CoE will thrive if they can get past the tension of trying to make nice with everyone and move on to liberation and spreading the Gospel. Make nice with them, just don't let them run things, and perhaps that'll mean ecumenical relations with them.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 5:48pm GMT

Chris H - My point is that having chosen to operate outside the indigenous Anglican Church it seems disingenuous to use language on their website that would suggests 'normal Anglican usage'. For a priest ordained within the Church of England to exercise a sacramental ministry he/she is required to hold a license or a permission to officiate from the Diocesan Bishop. This faith community is operating outside the Diocese of Sheffield, so Mr Tim Davies (& his ordained colleagues) are not sharing in the Bishop of Sheffield's sacramental ministry. Advertising "8 o'clock Holy Communion" is destinctly misleading. They appear to want to use the brand name but not the product.
And what does a Reform Selection Panel have to do with a bishop's right and responsibility to select & approve candidates who are to be ordained and share in his episcopal ministry? The Archbishop of the Province in question needs to act in support of his episcopal colleague.

Posted by: Commentator on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 6:16pm GMT

So it turns out that all those people who told me the schismatic tactics of the far right would never happen in England were lying?

I'm shocked. Shocked I tell you.

As shocked as Captain Renault.

http://youtu.be/SjbPi00k_ME

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 6:27pm GMT

Tim Davies has an entry in Crockford

DAVIES, Canon Timothy Robert. b 64. Bradf Univ BSc87. Wycliffe Hall Ox BTh93. d 93 p 94. C Eynsham and Cassington Ox 93-97; C Fulwood Sheff 97-03; Crosslinks Assoc Ch Ch Cen from 03; Hon Can Nairobi Cathl from 08

This does not tell us whether or not he has a PTO from the Bp of Sheffield. But it appears he has not held a license from him since 2003.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 7:01pm GMT

Interesting that Crosslinks crops up in Tim Davies' CV.

IIRC The Plant church in Manchester was set up 2004 by two ministers who had been ordained and served title in the C of E. They were then authorised by Crosslinks as Anglican missionaries to the student population of Manchester and set up The Plant, which therefore had a much less clear relationship to the C of E than this church does.

The Plant nowadays seems also to be known as Grace Church and their website doesn't seem to mention any organisational or historic relationship with the C of E.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 7:29pm GMT

You are giving me ideas! I have an entry in Crockfords but when writing to a certain Archdeacon for PTO it doesn't help to have a name like Rosie, Elizabeth Jennie etc. Tom, Dick, Harry or Tim might be acceptable in Diocese of Europe in order to get the grace of a reply. They can't even let their Yes be Yes and their No be No. Communion Services are now advertised locally and then cancelled - poor souls are short staffed.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 7:44pm GMT

Schism. We TEC Yanks know what you're going through, CofE.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 7:50pm GMT

The alternative structures that were promised take another small step forward. The birth of a new denomination is nothing to be concerned about.

Jonny May asks why ......

I think the honest answer is that this is all by design and this new priest would not find himself comfortable as a CofE cleric.

I am sure we all wish this man success and joy in his ministry for The Lord.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 8:01pm GMT

I have been doing further research- Christ Church in Fulwood, Sheffield is a hugely successful church that is "planting" (or whatever its called) in whatcan only be described as urban areas and in at least one case in a decidedly under-privileged.

As far as I can work out this is their fourth church.

In a chruch in numerical decline it baffles me that anyone would want to do anything other the pray for, encourage, fund, facilitate and enthuse about such a work.

I'm afraid debates about schism, "liberation" or the relative success of churches 3,000 miles away, or whether someone who had a licence for 10 years no longer has one when he continues to work under the auspicis of the last church where he was licenced, or who can use the term "Anglican" etc leave me absolutely cold.

Yes, for sure they look jolly conservative but people obviously want to go to their churches and I would rather that than they had no church at all.

Chris H's comment seems pertinent- is it really the case that people would see work such as this not taking place at all or taking place outside "mainstream" structures? Clearly this Sheffield crowd have not found a place in the latter and have gone for the former. It cannot be said that they don't desire the latter- the main church is in the structures. Everything suggests that their desire to expand the work has been failed by the diocese and they have had no choice but to "go it alone". I say good luck to them.

Come on everyone- can't we bring ourselves to rejoice and be thrilled about growing churches in England rather than endlessly debating structural niceties? In a rational world the Cof E would adopt this lot with open arms as a great success story.

Sam- I'm with you, let's hear from the chruch authorities why on earth they would do anything to impede this guy and this work? They need some jolly good reasons don't they? Let's hear them before we criticise these Sheffield folk.

Cynthia - "make nice with them, just don't let them run things" would that make them "second class" Christians when I note here that any suggestion of women as "second class" bishops is unacceptable? Why the judgement? Their work is successful- so just the people run things aren't they?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 8:03pm GMT

He is not listed among those with PTO in the 2011/2012 Diocesan Directory

Posted by: John Roch on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 8:11pm GMT

Given the information in Crockfords, why did he need to be ordained again in Kenya? I didn't think you could be ordained again in the same 'church'. Or am I missing something here?

Posted by: peter kettle on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 8:24pm GMT

Commentator, since when did the CofE have a monopoly on using the words "Anglican" and "Holy Communion"?

I don't support conservative schismatics, but your point is ridiculous. Welcome to religious pluralism.

They say it's a service of Holy Communion. Who are you to say it's not?

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 8:51pm GMT

Cynthia,
I am certain you are right that many Liberal churches are growing in TEC. But "After all the schism and whatnot in TEC, it is the liberal churches that are growing." would imply that all, or nearly all liberal churches are growing.
Has someone done a survey? TEC has good stats, but I have never seen one that shows this.

Posted by: John dsandeman on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 9:15pm GMT

Commentator I cant see an 8 o'clock Holy Communion on the website..they seem to have !meetings" ( a la Sydney) at 10 30am and 5 30pm.Perhaps the young man in question wasnt recommended for ordination training in the C of E and trained at Oak Hill as an independent student ( there are a good number of students at Oak Hill not training for C of E ministry altho it is a recognised college.)No doubt we will hear more in due course...

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 9:27pm GMT

Anybody have an idea why the diocese pulled out? Should the whole thing have collapsed when they did?

Posted by: Chris H. on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 10:15pm GMT

Peter Kettle - I was puzzled till I realised we're talking about two different people here.

Pete Jackson is the man who has just been ordained in Kenya, who trained at Oak Hill but may or may not have been sponsored by a C of E Diocese to train.

Tim Davies, the signatory of the letter above, is the senior minister of the church, and was ordained in the C of E and according to Crockford's has held two curacies in the C of E before going to Sheffield.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Monday, 18 February 2013 at 10:35pm GMT

Martin Reynolds-

"I think the honest answer is that this is all by design and this new priest would not find himself comfortable as a CofE cleric."

I think you might need to explain, to someone like me what "by design" means- it sound exciting is there a conspiracy? Are there fifth columnists? Do tell.

If the issue is why he is not "comfortable as a CofE cleric" when he is trying to establish a new church in an urban area of 3% church-going isn't the more important question to ask why he is not "comfortable" when he seems just like the type of guy we need?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 1:24am GMT

Christ Church Central was a non-parochial church plant in the parish of another church. The other church objected to this intrusion on its territory. That's why no support was forthcoming. So they went outside the CoE and did it anyways.

This board mystifies me at times, and not just because of the whistling past the graveyard about 'growing liberal churches.' I read the threads on WO and gay marriage and it's evident you can't wait to be rid of churches like this. "No room for bigotry!" as the pontification goes. But when they do leave, you accuse them of being schismatics. You should really make up your minds.

carl

Posted by: carl jacobs on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 2:18am GMT

The point is this church could be 'successful' within the diocese, with its churches coming under the bishop as usual. Fresh Expressions places act like that. It could also be 'successful' as a separate denomination. As in separate denominations, there are already, for example, women bishops and even a woman archbishop in England, Scotland and Wales. But no one has done this consecrating and also claimed to be Church of England. What it is doing, this 'Christ Church' franchise, is using its 'success' to undermine one form of authority and substitute another.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 2:39am GMT

Well well! The Church of England was warned what would be happening after the arrival of faux-bishop Minns & Co. in Blighty. By encouraging the likes of the GAFCON primates to pursue their own fundamentalist trajectory, through the emergence of AMiE, you have begun to reap the whirlwind!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 3:33am GMT

As of now, the parent church of Christ Church Central, Christ Church Fulwood, also appears to be an independent church.

So as things stand, a man who was trained and ordained by the C of E now leads a group of independent churches, and someone in leadership in that group has apparently been selected for training for ordination by Reform and ordained by someone outside the C of E to operate in England.

To all intents and purposes, Reform has therefore started to operate as a separate church with its own selection procedures and ordinations. It seems to me that this is embryonically more of a problem for Reform members who wish to stay within the C of E than it is for the C of E.

It also makes Reform's dismay at not being represented at continuing talks about the way forward re the admission of women in the C of E seem somewhat disingenuous, if, as it appears, they are already waiting at the door of the plane with their parachutes on.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 9:05am GMT

Two observations, neither of which is for or against this development.

As a matter of fact, in the C of E it is not lawful for anyone to be ordained unless they have a "title", usually a parochial appointment, to go to. If Christ Church Central is not part of the diocese then the bishop cannot ordain someone to minister there. Kenyan rules may be different.

Is this development different in kind from the Southwark case of some years ago, or just another isolated example?

Posted by: David Walker on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 9:45am GMT

Why do you say that about Fulwood, Pam?
The parish is listed in A Church Near You as a CofE parish. And its weekly notice sheet (on the website) has details of electoral roll procedures...

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 9:46am GMT

Now Johnny, I am personally delighted that a Christian community is flourishing, I am not so sure that I would be quite so delighted if I was the local Vicar and congregation who might easily feel ill at ease.

As others point out above, Johnny, there are many similar and equally successful projects like this going forward under the labels of "fresh expressions" etc. within the CofE. Some of these are also in difficult to reach areas for our faith.

But, in this case, we are dealing with a group, or collection of groups that have already spiritually broken away from the rest of the CofE and who have something to prove. Having lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the Church they have decided to create alternative structures to support their own way of doing Church. Outside of England they have aligned with foreign churches where the leadership can be persuaded to give them succour. Here, they use ancient divisions and new concerns (women and gays) to garner support.

There are a few parallels with the foundation of Welsh Presbyterianism some 200 years ago, we have recently brought to memory the ordinations that eventually led to formalisation of that split.

While every division has a painful side, there are also good things to come out. The CofE had become complacent and organised around managing decline. There are now real signs that this malaise is being shrugged off and new life is being sought - though you still hear frightful stories of the "dead hand" mentality that has so plagued the Church right accross the UK.

What astonishes many people is the high office many of those leading this breakaway movement still hold within the CofE.......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 10:45am GMT

Martin, I think that's a very fair comment - and I'm glad you seemed to come down so positively by the end, as all the way through I was thinking "Methodism" (not in terms of overseas support obviously). I'm not of the Reform party AT ALL, but I can't help thinking that having "something to prove" might be a very good spur to small e evangelism.

However, I do know, from the history of my own AC wing of the church, that the idea of foreign diocesans coming over to ordain survived until relatively recently, and whatever else is going on, this still sounds more healthy than a 1950s Anglo Catholic parish being under a diocesan ban.

There really is nothing new under the sun.

Posted by: primroseleague on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 11:09am GMT

Simon - apart from the mention of an electoral roll - which I missed - I spent some time looking at the website to find out if it was part of the Church of England and couldn't find any mention of it.

I know that it's questionable to argue from a negative but I honestly thought I was looking at the website of a completely independent church.

I assumed there had been an understanding with the Diocese that Fullwood could plant a new church within a current parish but the Diocese later withdrew its co-operation.

Maybe the fact that the letter starts off by citing something the Diocese did wrong 12 years ago should have been a bit of a giveaway!

http://fulwoodchurch.co.uk/

ED: this comment delayed in publication due to being caught in spam trap.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 12:45pm GMT

I'm calling them schismatics because that's what they appear to be.

Having said that, I'm not deeply opposed to schism if people decide they cannot stay in one church, and leave by striking out on their own, without taking any property of the church they are leaving.

As I said above, that's called religious pluralism.

I might disagree with whatever issues on which they are posting their theses. And I probably do in this case.

But church unity for the sake of church unity is vastly overrated.

So yes, I will call these people schismatics. But from what I've read so far, unlike some schismatics, these people are not thieves.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 12:49pm GMT

Perhaps one issue overlooked by the enthusiastic applauders of the CCC initiative is that it lacks what, for want of a better expression, I'll call 'humility' (see RB chapter 7!).

On Sunday I was invited to preach at the local New Life ("the usual address is thirty-five to forty-five minutes, David", so I had to cut down a bit from my usual). So a black-clad trad catholic was able to join a charismatic evangelical service in complete comfort and mutual respect.

It is the insistence of the CCC set-up that the Church of England is not a tradition to be respected that gets to me. Once the spirit of respect has gone - and to set up uninvited in another's parish seems to say, 'You're not doing it right, so I'm going to cut in on you', which seems a long way from respectful - we are into competition, not co-operation. Is that a Gospel model? I wonder....

Posted by: david rowett on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 1:04pm GMT

It has made my day that some people can rejoice in this initiative but I am again baffled by a few things-

Jeremy- "I'm not deeply opposed to schism if people decide they cannot stay in one church..." it is a frankly bizarre organisation that desires its growing part to leave. Why not do all that we can to get them in the fold? As people here are objecting to- they want to be Anglicans!

Martin -"I am not so sure that I would be quite so delighted if I was the local Vicar and congregation", in an area of 3% churchgoing who on earth would be bothered? Surely 97% of the population is sufficient for any TWO churches to try and attract. To refuse co-operation might sound like fear of someone else doing it better/different.

You say "have already spiritually...lost the battle etc" but I can't find any evidence of any of that- what is it?

As DR said-what vicar wouldn't want to co-operate with something like this? Don't you just welcome it with open arms and say "the more the merrier".

I keep seeing criticism on here of the idea of a "church within a church" but surely a local vicar who puts up the barriers and says "your not coming into my parish" is far more open to that accustation than anyone else.

Martin- As to Fresh Expressions-doesn't it seem clear that the "CCC" tried to do things within the structures but were thwarted by the parish vicar of whoever? Nonetheless I'm thrilled to hear that there are many "similar and equally successful projects" might I ask you to point me to a few? I like reading success stories they lift the heart from all the depressing stuff. I have been on the "Fresh Expressions" website but the "stories" are "cafe churches" etc. I can't see anyone doing the Sheffield thing of actually getting new community churches going.

Pam- "It also makes Reform's dismay at not being represented at continuing talks about the way forward re the admission of women in the C of E seem somewhat disingenuous, if, as it appears, they are already waiting at the door of the plane with their parachutes on." What evidence is there for this- as I asked before- what is the big design/conspiracy that I don't know about and can't find any information on?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 3:37pm GMT

After all the huffing and puffing about Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10 of 1998, the Primate of Kenya might like to remind himself of Lambeth Conference Resolution 72 of 1988 which:

"reaffirms its unity in the historical position of respect for diocesan boundaries and the authority of bishops within these boundaries; and in light of the above affirms that it is deemed inappropriate behaviour for any bishop or priest of this Communion to exercise episcopal or pastoral ministry within another diocese without first obtaining the permission and invitation of the ecclesial authority thereof."

This was not new. It goes back, indeed, to the Council of Nicea. Even in the Anglican Communion, the same point was made in Resolution 1 of 1878 (the second Lambeth Conference) which said:

"...when a diocese, or territorial sphere of administration, has been constituted by the authority of any Church or province of this Communion within its own limits, no bishop or other clergyman of any other Church should exercise his functions within that diocese without the consent of the bishop thereof.”

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 7:59pm GMT

Pam wrote,

"As of now, the parent church of Christ Church Central, Christ Church Fulwood, also appears to be an independent church."

This is completely untrue. Christ Church Fulwood is a parish church within the Diocese of Sheffield.

Posted by: Peter Ould on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 at 9:52pm GMT

Lets see if I've got this right. CoE parishes are geographical areas where only 1 CoE church can be. The diocese asked Christ Church Fulham to plant new churches. They did so, but the parish church already there got huffy about the new kids on the block, so the diocese backed out. Now the leaders of the new church can't be ordained in the CoE because of the rules. After a decade of not being accepted into the CoE, the new church wants ordained priests,but since the CoE won't do it they asked a foreign church in the Anglican Communion to ordain one for them. And now the New Church is considered a bunch of schismatic poachers because they actually found a way to have an ordained priest? Sounds like it's the Diocese and/or CoE rules creating this mess, not the members of the new church. Who can blame them for wanting an ordained priest? Time to change a few of the rules maybe?

Posted by: Chris H on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 1:32am GMT

Badman- indulge my ignorance but what "episcopal or pastoral ministry" is the Primate of Kenya exercising in the Diocese of Sheffield? The press release is clear that the ordination took place in Nairobi (or perhaps Kitui?) so I take that the diocese in which authority was exercised is therefore in Kenya. I presume that in his own diocese a Kenyan bishop can do as he pleases- can't he?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 2:25am GMT

John,
A recent statistic showed growth in 33 of TEC's 100+ dioceses, including mine. As far as I can tell, anecdotally, liberal ones are thriving. We tend to be in urban locations. And that news shows the sea change that we feel.

Johnny called me out on: Cynthia - "make nice with them, just don't let them run things" would that make them "second class" Christians when I note here that any suggestion of women as "second class" bishops is unacceptable? Why the judgement? Their work is successful- so just the people run things aren't they?

Johnny - It doesn't make them second class at all. In this case in Sheffield, it makes them another denomination, one in which CoE should have a perfectly nice ecumenical relationship. For "traditionalists" within CoE, it is a small minority within the CoE, and that position offends the enormous secular majority whose taxes support CoE (do I have that right?). Further, the UK is part of a European structure that sees womens equality and LGBT issues as fundamental human rights. So no, I really don't think the "traditionalists" should be running ANYTHING in the CoE. Bishops should be pastoral at the local level. But I'm sorry, time is up on discrimination. Theology, science (much of that bigotry is based on medieval misunderstandings of human reproduction), and social justice in the 21st Century has completely overwhelmed any "reason" for these culturally based prejudices. If people have a need to cling to them for personal reasons, fine. But institutionalizing bigotry is un-Christian and a formula for accelerating the secularization of the UK.

Folks keep ignoring the fact that "traditionalist" bigotry is hurtful. It is not victimless. I feel for all the girls being raised in settings of traditional bigotry. The harm religion has foisted on them! Awful.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 5:39am GMT

Peter Ould has a careful blogpost on this, it may deepen Johnny's understanding. Just click on his name above.

Johnny, we would all rejoice to see the gospel of Christ flourish. There may be some concerns about church plants from Westboro Baptist or Rock House Holiness Church and others, but in general we would value and applaud genuine mission, successful or not.

All we want to know is: Is this Marks & Spencer's or Marx and Sponsors? And it's increasingly looking like a branch of the second variety.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 8:09am GMT

The permanent URL for the article mentioned above is
http://www.peter-ould.net/2013/02/19/a-little-spat-in-sheffield/

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 8:48am GMT

No Cynthia ..there is no Church Tax in England so the C of E operates as a voluntary body ( while endeavouring to be a geographically organised national church), with help from historic resources esp the Church Commissioners...though that is now largely a pension fund.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 9:07am GMT

Cynthia:

"enormous secular majority whose taxes support the CofE (do I have that right?)"

No - no money for the CofE from the goverment other than through the usual charitable tax relief and the usual listed building grants. The English public gets to have its cake and eat it through an Established church it doesn't pay for....

Posted by: primroseleague on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 9:11am GMT

jonny may, the press release is very clear about the “episcopal or pastoral ministry” being provided in Sheffield, without consulting the Bishop, by the Archsbishop of Kenya and the Bishop of Kitui.

“Concern that his ministry and that of the new church should be appropriately recognised led us to consult the leadership of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), who subsequently wrote to the GAFCON Primates’ Council with a request that they should facilitate Pete’s ordination. We are immensely grateful for the leadership of the Archbishop of Kenya, Eliud Wabukala, as chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, and to the Bishop of Kitui, Josephat Mule, who ordained Pete as a deacon....”

The Archbishop has made one of his own bishops available to ordain a clergyman for another bishop’s diocese, precisely because the bishop of the diocese was not supporting the ordination. They have therefore provided episcopal ministry (by ordaining) and pastoral ministry (by sending a shepherd into another man’s flock).

Posted by: badman on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 9:23am GMT

What surprises me is that we're surprised by this, every single time it happens.

Jesmond Parish Church has had irregularly-ordained clergy, as has its non-diocese approved plant in Gateshead, for the better part of a decade.

Then there's Co-Mission, and if we went back through the archives, we could dig out more examples. It's time to stop being surprised, and make some decisions about what to do about it.

Posted by: Simon Morden on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 10:11am GMT

The original post has given only half the story here. This is not only a story of a 'church plant' by Christ Church Fulwood. The new congregation 'Christ Church Endcliff' meets in an existing CofE Parish Church - St Augustine's Endcliff, and is listed as their new 4pm Sunday Service on their website.

http://staugustinessheffield.org/SundayServices.php

This appears to be just as much a story of how an existing Sheffield CofE parish, that appears to be moderate-to-high-church, was seeking to reach to a broader cross section of the local people, and saw the value of having a service from a different part of the anglican spectrum in their church. Surely this is the kind of seeking for comprehensive mission that we can all applaud. There is no seeking to minister on someones elses patch here, the someone else invited them in. There is no entryism, everything has been done in plain sight.

Posted by: Bernard on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 10:23am GMT

badman wrote.

"The Archbishop has made one of his own bishops available to ordain a clergyman for another bishop’s diocese, precisely because the bishop of the diocese was not supporting the ordination."

Au contraire. There never was a proper approach to the Bishop of Sheffield Diocese. There never was an opportunity for Bishop Stephen to support this ordination because he didn't know about it.

Posted by: Peter Ould on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 10:44am GMT

Co-Mission is a slightly different kettle of fish because the history in Southwark Diocese was extraordinary intransigence by the Diocesan authorities to any attempt at Church Planting (at the same time when north of the Thames London Diocese was actively working with HTB and others to bring dead parishes back to life).

Posted by: Peter Ould on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 10:52am GMT

And Peter has further information, here:
http://www.peter-ould.net/2013/02/20/more-on-the-sheffield-spat/

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 11:32am GMT

Johnny said, "it is a frankly bizarre organisation that desires its growing part to leave."

If the "growing part" seeks to discriminate, then perhaps a separation is best.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 11:53am GMT

@ Peter Ould - Simon Sarmiento had already pointed out that Christchurch Fullwood is in fact part of the C of E, but my reply to him was caught in the spam trap.

Without being too nitpicking, it isn't 'totally untrue' that it appeared to be an independent church from what I saw on its website - apart from the I mention of the electoral roll, which I missed, I couldn't see any mention of the Diocese or the C of E in their info, hence my wrong impression that they aren't part of it.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 12:33pm GMT

Cynthia,
yes I saw that stat about TEC dioceses growing, and I wondered if it was what led you to say, baldly, that the Liberal churches in TEC are growing. A diocese may have overall growth but that does not mean all the churches in it are growing, let alone whether the conservative or liberal churches are growing. Life is messier than that, surely.

Posted by: John Sandeman on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 1:06pm GMT

Badman- I'm afraid I still can't see it: the bishop was working in his own diocese. I don't see he has any control over where this man ministers now or in the future thus he has done nothing in any English diocese. In any event as I understand it the Diocese of Sheffield neither recognises this church not licenses this man. The whole point oh this thread is that people are saying that this plant is not CofE- the bishop can't have it both ways by saying that the church is nothing to do with him when it comes to mission but everything to do with him when it comes to church order. It is one or the other isn't it?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 2:44pm GMT

It is probably fair to note that comparing the CoE to TEC is not always useful, given the very different contexts. As a case in point, English Evangelicalism within the CoE is rather different from that within TEC. (That's a generalization, but I think broadly true.) The point is that TEC is a small church -- and always has been -- in the US, though it has exercised a disproportionate influence due to its inherited position of prominence in several of the more prosperous colonies (NY, Virginia, the Carolinas).

My point is that there have always been larger and broader-based Evangelical options in America, from the colonial era on, that is to say, practically from the beginning of any Evangelical movement. Given the lack of establishment, when England was quashing Methodism and other free churches, in the US such churches were free to grow and flourish, and they did. This tended to keep the Episcopal option as more main-stream Protestant, with High and Low flavors, as well as Broad.

And now a question of information: is it not the case that any church (congregation) other than within the CoE must identify itself as such? That is, if a church just calls itself "Christ Church" it must be CoE? I recall on a visit to London some years back stumbling across All Souls, Langham Place, and being intrigued by the "witches-hat" building, stepping in. (No service was on at the time). I was very hard pressed to find any reference to the CoE, and eventually found a brief note on the back of a glossy brochure to the effect of "Yes, we're C of E, but we don't make too much of that..."

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 3:10pm GMT

Cynthia- if we start doing theology according to the whims of European secular governments we are in trouble.

If we start doing theology according to societies' mores your arguments are in trouble if society starts to disagree with you.

We really must stop the idea that prevailing culture and government are somehow the arbiters of theology or church order. Jesus says the opposite.

As to your stats: according to your stat- I see that- 2/3rds of TEC dioceses are in decline or not growing, there is no evidence of liberal church growth and I assume that you are talking about growth in the 1/3rd from a tiny base. I'm afraid your stats about England are also rather wide of the mark.

The stats from a church statistician called Peter Brierley who seems to be the most respected person in the field projected figures from three English Churches Censuses to estimate that 40% of CofE attenders currently go to evangelical churches – up from 26% in 1989. He says that 83% of 175 churches with a Sunday attendance of over 350 are evangelical.If evangelicals are growing (as in Sheffield) and the church is in numerical decline then it is Liberals or Catholics who are shrinking.

Brierly cannot say how many are conservative evangelicals but most evangelicals in this country even if they disagree about gender issues seem to broadly agree on ones of sexuality-for example the recent Steve Chalke pronouncements pretty much garnered only criticism from that constituency.

The 40% does not, of course include traditional-Catholics.

Likewise in the vote on Women Bishops in the dioceses: 25% of all clergy and laity opposed (or in small numbers abstained) even on a Measure with the promise of future proper provision that did not materialise.I think that the opposition on sexuality issues is even higher.

Simply relying on who has or hasn’t passed “Resolutions A,B,C” is not a reliable guide because many evangelical churches do not pass them and in any event the issue only tends to come up during a vacancy ie rarely.

So please, no more of this "tiny minority of traditionalists" thing- there is no evidence for it and even less for liberal growth.

As to "discrimination" if you return to the 5 Feb "Watch" thread you will see that Erika and I have been trying to get behind the mere words.

johnny

ED NOTE: this got caught in the spam filter.

Posted by: johnny may on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 3:17pm GMT

jeremy "said" (see I'm learning to do this commenting lark) - "If the "growing part" seeks to discriminate, then perhaps a separation is best."

Or of course there are possibilities:

A. the younger generation in these growing churches have a rather different and more nuanced understanding of "discrimination" that the one bandied about on here, (I think from an older generation??). They are after all the most modern generation and therefore (according to most people on here) best placed to show all previous generations the best way forward in a modern world.

B. And/or your definition of "discrimination" is in fact now the minority one in a church which in the pews is incresingly evangelical (see my post to Cynthia).

The question therefore, in your language might be who "separates"- the young, growing and orthodox or the older, shrinking and non-orthodox? Put in that way the answer would be obvious wouldn't it- why go with the older and shrinking whose ideas are not embraced by the new generation of Christians?

Personally I don't want anyone to separate and I find it bizarre that anyone should suggest that. Aren't these people you call discriminatory all Christians with whom we are therfore all equal and with whom we should seek to fellowship even if we disagree? Or is it the case that the secular definition of "discrimination" is now also the definition of whether someone can be counted a Christian person?

It also seems to me that all this is rather "King Canute"- like- as in Sheffield all the evidence I can find (ie where full-time young ordinands are training and which churches are expanding) is that the tide is running with those who have rejected liberalism. For Cynthia to say that they can't lead or for Jeremy to try and get rid of them seems to be an attempt to deny the inevitable. Why not embrace them rather than lose them and all move forward together?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 3:57pm GMT

"I wondered if it [the fact that 33 percent of dioceses are growing] was what led you to say, baldly, that the Liberal churches in TEC are growing"

John, I have to admit that my statements about the liberal churches growing are anecdotal. In my diocese, there is significant growth at a bunch of parishes. All liberal now. One was terribly homophobic only 5 years ago. They actually asked their gay members to leave! There was a leadership change, and now they thrive. The traditional liberal churches are growing. New suburban churches are growing. The tiny and stagnant ones do seem to come in several stripes. As I've been communicating broadly, I keep coming across Episcopalians with similar stories. Their liberal parishes, and their neighbors, are thriving.

Amongst our growing neighbors we are all very different in liturgical style - Anglo-Catholic, Broad Church, guitars and drums. The commonalities are liberal, robust outreach, spirited worship of whichever stripe, and strong sense of community. AND no hang ups about who to exclude!!!

I'm hearing the same story from liberal compatriots across the country. I'm hearing families say they don't want to raise their children in bigoted environments. We, and another large parish, continued to grow during our long rector searches. I hear that's unusual, but it happened at 2 parishes.

Liberation feels like we crossed the river Jordan and entered the Promised Land. And the Promised Land has black/white, gay/straight, male/female, young/old, rich/poor, etc. The energy released from this liberation is going directly into ministry to care for the marginalized and spread the love of the Gospel. When you've been to the Promised Land, all you want to do is help others across.

When I baldly state anything, it is because I want ALL people to get to the Promised Land. From my vantage point (5280), I can see that you can't get there by placing obstacles against others. There may be many paths, but hate isn't one of them.

The growth stats are "real," scientifically. The liberal growth is anecdotal. Is it related to the fact that Blue States are economically more healthy than most Red States? Maybe.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 5:48pm GMT

Johnny, I think you are missing the facts.

So, we now understand that this new Christian venture is a couple of steps removed from the CofE, that they sought no recognition from the CofE and the CofE did not consider or reject this guy.

If the information is correct, this has nothing directly to do with a "church within a church" ( where did you see that?) or liberals saying they " can't wait to get rid of churches like this".

It's just someone doing their own thing and rather strangely getting a foreign bishop involved.
That Reform is involved and the likes of Anglican Mainstream are promoting it, as others have said, should be no surprise.
Sadly, it is intended to be a two fingered gesture, and most of the reactionary forces, will not welcome the sign!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 6:38pm GMT

I tried to post this morning.

In answer to some posts above, this is not a case of one wing of the Church of England trying to start a new congregation against the wishes of the local Church of England Parish. The local parish, St Augustine's Endcliffe have welcomed the new congregation into their church building, and advertise its Sunday Service alongside theirs on their website.

St Augustine's Endcliffe look like a moderate, broad style congregation, they appear to have no problem having a different part of the Anglican spectrum sharing their Parish Church, so why should anybody else?

Posted by: Bernard on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 7:40pm GMT

Cynthia,
which diocese are you in? I am sure liberal churches can grow - its not the experience in my country, Australia AFAIK... As you imply these things may happen in waves, as it seems from your stories of a rising tide. And Tobias Haller's observations about the differences between TEC, CofE (and the rest of us I guess) are well-made.

Posted by: John Sandeman on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 at 10:27pm GMT

johnny may thinks young people are falling all over themselves to join anti-woman, anti-gay churches.

They are not. Not where I live, and where I live is the "buckle on the Bible Belt." But even where I live, young people walk away from these churches as soon as they turn 18 and get a choice in the matter, and they don't come back. Barna Group is very concerned about it. So is the mainstream Republican Party, which is running away from the Religious Right as fast as it knows how to run, because it knows its embrace of the Religious Right has cost it the youth vote.

Now you are in the UK, of course. Still, I'd love to see the proof that young people in the UK are falling all over themselves to show others how anti-gay they are and how much they believe women should be subordinated to men. I don't believe it.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 1:12am GMT

Cynthia- I love your comments but I find them beyond my modest comprehension.

Something less "inclusive" and tolerant than the conquest of the Promised Land is hard to imagine.

Of course the conquest is real history but how, even by analogy it might apply to issues on a "liberal" blog I can't begin to imagine. What am I missing?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 1:38am GMT

John,

I'm in Colorado, one of the 33 growing. I'm sure that there are major differences between us all, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, despite our common roots, but the message of the Gospel is the same. It cries for justice for all of God's children, each and everyone created in God's own image.

We are on a rising tide, but it wasn't easy. Some of those American ultra conservative "think tanks" are in Colorado Springs and there were wealthy, conservative Episcopal churches there. Our bishop tried really hard to find compromise - and he actually received death threats for compromise (!!!) from conservatives. Finally, things on the conservative end fell off the rails.

So our diocese is thriving. It's recently liberal on LGBT, but for a long time we have had an astonishing number of amazing women clergy. Probably more than half.

We are Witness to the fact that the sky doesn't fall when the church goes the way of the radical love of Jesus Christ. 33 dioceses posted growth in the last 2 years while mainstream Protestantism is in decline, and while TEC has been absolutely hammered for our liberalism.

I've never been to Australia. I do wish all best for you and the church there!

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 1:44am GMT

Reading 'Mainstream's' account of the debacle, and even further - on AMiE's web-site, one finds this little fiction:

"Those who support AMIE are determined to remain within the Church of England...."

one cannot but wonder at the obvious and sad underhandedness that GAFCON's Eliud Wabukala (Archbishop of Kenya); the leadership of the Anglican Mission in England; and the personnel of Christchurch Central, are up to in this venture.

When Primates of the GAFCON Provinces first began their acts of piracy in the United States and Canada - invading the territory of the local Anglican Churches there - it was probably thought that the Church of England would be safe from such debilitating actions. However, this latest travesty would seem to prove otherwise. One only hopes the new ABC will have the intestinal fortitude to deal with the interlopers, who - despite their expressed intention of 'remaining in the C. of E.', so obviously have other plans!

And who would have thought the ex-Bishop of Rochester would be allied with the AMiE crowd? Just click in on their web-site and look him up.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 4:30am GMT

Peter Ould's further piece is very informative. We seem to have small groups of people in a few places ( Sheffield /Gateshead / South London), of a conservative evangelical persuasion who want to be Anglican but not Church of England. I wonder why that is? What is "Anglican" in what they want to be? Do they advertise themselves as such? The unchurched in England know what C of E is... in my experience they dont know what Anglican is, so it's not much of a selling / mission point. In Canterbury we have an "Anglican Catholic Church" planted ( I think from the US) in a former shop and providing a somewhat eccentric Tridentine "Anglicanism"... though its a very small number who seem to worship there.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 9:52am GMT

Of course the conquest is real history but how, even by analogy it might apply to issues on a "liberal" blog I can't begin to imagine. What am I missing?

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 1:38am GMT

The Exodus is central to all theologies of Liberation - cf 'Negro' Spirituals, etc.


Where have you been ?

And also, the Biblical acounts are known to be of dubious historicity, but have been 'analogically' and symbollically powerful for years.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 11:54am GMT

Laurence- thank you. You will have noticed that I prefaced my comments with an acknowledgement of my "modest comprehension". I'm sorry if you sometimes have to indulge those less knowledgeable than yourself but there is only one way for us to learn. I fear that "where I may i been" is growing-up in a different world to you!!!

I have to confess to still being ignorant because I can see how the exoddus is liberating and the entry into the promised land is fulfilling but the conquest to which Cynthia refers is liberation at the expense of intolerance expressed in war and ethnic cleansing. Perhaps you can see why I think the "liberation" analogy breaks down somewhat which leads me to conclude that it might be pretty hopeless to reat it as an analogy and we'd better get back to thinking about what the history might actually be about?!?

Of course you may just ignore my ignorant comments if you wish.

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 3:30pm GMT

Father Ron- I keep asking this and Laurence will again be amused by my ignorance but you refer to "the obvious and sad underhandedness that GAFCON's Eliud Wabukala (Archbishop of Kenya); the leadership of the Anglican Mission in England; and the personnel of Christchurch Central, are up to in this".

Paul David says "and so it begins". What is the "it"?

Martin says "it is all by design". What is the design?

Pluralist thinks it is like an invasion of the CofE by a cabal of religious trotskyites who desire to take it over.

You guys clearly know about some grand strategy by a conspiracy of the shadowy and untrustworthy GAFCON/Amie/Reform/Comission/CCC/Gateshead-types who are leading poor Kenyans by the nose. All I keep asking is can you tell the rest of us what it is going on?!? If there are others like me we are not all "insiders" who know everything about these things.

You will all be delighted to know that I'm going to stop commenting until I have tried to research all these organisations and churches mentioned. In so doing I intend to attempt to find out for myself what the grand plan is but it would be helpful if I could be told what I'm looking for and how it fits together.Just a kind of who, what, why, when, where before I start would be brilliant.

Many thanks,

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 4:13pm GMT

Johnny, I'm not sure what you are asking.

When I referred to the Promised Land, I was using Martin Luther King's metaphor. That the Promised Land is that place of justice and love. The place where each person is treated with dignity, becoming of each and every child of God.

You don't conquer the Promised Land!

My journey as a girl in the Greek Orthodox Church to a woman in TEC felt like a journey of liberation and arrival at said PL. And leaving the gates open to others is part of it.

One does not arrive at the Promised Land by putting obstacles before other people. Discrimination against women, LGBT persons, and probably any group, results in depression and a host of mental and physical illness. I don't know about the UK, but in the US the suicide rate amongst LGBT teens is horrible. And a lot of it happens in communities where they are told God hates them. It is cruel and has nothing to do with Jesus. When the burden of hate is lifted from both the victims and the accusers, they will have their share of the PL.

There aren't differing definitions of discrimination that are generational, as you suggested. It is age old, people just wrap it in different excuses.

When I write passionately, it is with those victims in mind. The US has an awful history of using religion to oppress slaves, native Americans, women, LGBT persons and pretty much everyone in the way of Manifest Destiny. But we had a prophet show us the way.

I know that England is an island, but it doesn't have to work out its problems in isolation of wisdom that has come before. But many in CoE must know that, because MLK is one of the statues over the West Doors of Westminster Abbey.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 5:49pm GMT

Still, we have to thank those lad and lasses at Reform and AM, they gave us a diversion, just a little flurry of interest that wasn't about gay marriage!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 6:04pm GMT

Cynthia,
here in Australia, the rising tide is with the conservative evangelical churches. Especially Anglican ones. It just goes to show that the pattern of tides varies around the World doesn't it?
I wonder if I would fit in the Diocese of Colorado? Is there a thriving evangelical church in the diocese? Equally you might well wonder whether my diocese of Sydney would suit you.


Posted by: John Sandeman on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 8:32pm GMT

Cynthia,
I should share similar diocesan stats with you. Of the approx 300 churches in the Sydney diocese about a third are growing, a third are steady state and a third are in decline. We have an ASA of about 65,000 (although that figure is five years old, it would be closer to 70,000 now.) There would be about 5 non-evangelical churches in the diocese.

Posted by: John Sandeman on Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 8:39pm GMT

Cynthia, thank you for your help I think I am now beginning to get it.

However, it is surprising when you say "When I referred to the Promised Land, I was using Martin Luther King's metaphor. That the Promised Land is that place of justice and love. The place where each person is treated with dignity, becoming of each and every child of God"

Well, I guess that is true unless you are an Canaanite/Hittite etc in which case the "Promised Land" came at the expense of the elimination of the residents ie the status quo- who presumably to man/woman weren't a "child of God" or had any human dignity. Or do we just ignore that for the sake of the "metaphor"?

Likewise, I think your suggestion that "you don't conquer the Promised Land!" might come as news to the historic residents- who presumably failed to see how unenlightened as to "liberation" they were!

But I think I'm getting the point- "liberation" only truly arrives if those who think they are "liberated" can eliminate the status quo in residence- hence your expressed desire to eliminate traditional anglicans from leadership in the church. I have to say I had never appreciated before that after the "liberation" comes the inevitable conquest of the status quo in residence by whatever means is necessary but as I say I think I get it now.

johnny

Posted by: johnny may on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 4:02am GMT

Johnny,
when "traditional" Anglicans truly realise that their tradition is bought by causing deep and harmful pain to others, to the point that these others are made outcasts in society, that they are bullied, that they kill themselves - would you not say they would want to re-shape their "traditionalism" to ensure it reflects the Promised Land a little more?

I can understand tradition as being a value in its own right while we are unaware of the genuine harm we are causing.
Once we are being made aware of it, can we genuinely remain firm in our views and still believe that we are anywhere near the Promised Land?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:27am GMT

Indeed Martin! Interesting this post has garnered over 80 comments...perhaps we need a sense of proportion. After all nothing much seems to be happening over at the Ordinariate to arouse our interest or amusement.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 8:35am GMT

There's a Church Times report on this today
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2013/22-february/news/uk/sheffield-diocese%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98total-surprise%E2%80%99-at-kenyan-ordination
but no additional information.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 8:53am GMT

Johnny, in response to your query about the 'goings-on' being underhandedly conducted by the 'Anglican Mission in England', you have to understand that those involved in this movement are in cahoots with overseas Anglican or ex-Anglican sodalities who do not approve of any openness to Gay or Lesbian people being part of, or ministering in, their Churches.

The faux-Anglican AMiE - headed by an ex-Episcopal clergy-person who was ordained 'bishop' in one of the Anglican Churches in Africa that opposes the ordination of Gays, on principle - has been set up in opposition to the Church of England on its own territory. This was the sort of intervention from the outside which has so plagued the Anglican Provinces of the Communion in the US and Canada.

I hope that clarifies some of your lack of understanding of the situation at the moment.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 10:40am GMT

Perry,
What sort of interesting or amusing things were you expecting from the Ordinariate? As I observe it, as a non ordinariate, ex anglican Roman Catholic, they seem to be getting on with life, quite happily, without the grief of being an unwanted part of the C of E anymore!

Posted by: ian on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 10:49am GMT

Another disappointing rehash of a press release and statement.

You wonder if the CT knows what a telephone is.
Where are the interviews with the new Deacon or ordaining bishop. Or the Archbishop of Canterbury on the actions of a member of the appointments committee or chair of the house of laity?

Peter Ould does a much better job here.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 3:37pm GMT

Father Ron wrote,

"The faux-Anglican AMiE - headed by an ex-Episcopal clergy-person who was ordained 'bishop' in one of the Anglican Churches in Africa that opposes the ordination of Gays, on principle - has been set up in opposition to the Church of England on its own territory. This was the sort of intervention from the outside which has so plagued the Anglican Provinces of the Communion in the US and Canada."

The two are not the same. In TEC, the perception was of a Church that had apostatised (whether you agree or not) and was in some places deliberately hindering the ministry of orthodox clergy. At that point "border-crossing" becomes a real, godly catholic action (see St John Chrysostom for eg).

In the Church of England these two things (rampant apostasy in leadership and hindering of orthodox clergy) have not happened, so there cannot be any excuse for border-crossing. But worse than that, border-crossing implies that the local hierarchy is corrupt theologically because otherwise why the need to border-cross under Anglican/Nicene polity?

Posted by: Peter Ould on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:45pm GMT

The 'strategy' was nicely told by the (now) former Principal of Wycliffe College - first get the liberal-evangelicals out of the way to make the target of the liberals clearer.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/28120070/pluralist/learning/relthink/turnbull.html

and a link to https://dl.dropbox.com/u/28120070/pluralist/learning/relthink/tecaeo.html

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 9:41pm GMT

If we thought we had problems, spare a thought for the Tibetans.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/21/going-undercover-christian-evangelists-tibet

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 10:27pm GMT

Mr Pluralist--presumably you mean 'Wycliffe Hall, Oxford'. Not Wycliffe College(Toronto).

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 12:42am GMT

"I wonder if I would fit in the Diocese of Colorado? Is there a thriving evangelical church in the diocese? Equally you might well wonder whether my diocese of Sydney would suit you."

I've never been to Sydney, but I imagine that I would probably love the place.
However, the Jensen Family Firm there would probably drive me into the arms of the secularists.

Posted by: Counterlight on Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 12:51am GMT

"border-crossing implies that the local hierarchy is corrupt theologically because otherwise why the need to border-cross under Anglican/Nicene polity?"

- Peter Ould -

Maybe only you (and the AMiE leadership) can answer that question, Peter.

The fact is that AMiE is in the UK under the direct support of GAFCON, and is a clone of other intrusive faux-churhes like AMiA in North America.

I'm sure that Bishops Minns didn't need any excuse to set up his rival church in the U.K. - other than the overt encouragement of GAFCON - which is a set of Anglican Church provinces hell-bent on the exclusion of the LGBT community in the Anglican Communion.

The Church of England would be well advised by those in TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who have experience of such 'benign' Cuckoos in the Nest. They have ambitions beyond their theological credibility.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 11:18am GMT

Pluralist, I found the piece by the Wycliffe principal concerning. For all i hear conservative evangelical and Catholic commenters on this blog remark on the self centred domineering views of us liberals they would do well to read that article.

Posted by: Alastair on Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 11:32am GMT

Peter,apostasy in TEC that hindered orthodox clergy? This is the first I've heard of that. I guess if the diocese got a woman bishop and the "orthodox clergy" didn't approve? There are 2 openly gay bishops, one only consecrated recently, so that can't really be "apostasy that hindered orthodox clergy" on any major scale. We ELECT our bishops, so if "orthodox clergy" are feeling anything, it may be that their culturally based prejudices are time limited.

As far as I can tell, nothing about LGBT inclusion as a national policy is forced on anyone at the diocesan or parish level. In our diocese, each parish discerns whether or not to do Same Sex Blessings, for example.

So please give evidence of this "hindering" that justifies this AMIE movement across borders in the US and Canada, but not CoE (who favor WB's).

I can't help but feel that this AMIE/GAFCON movement, at least in the US, is more about power than Jesus.

Somehow it makes me think of Milton. Satan can't stand that God elevated humankind. And some humankind can't stand that God created women and LGBT persons in God's image, equally loved.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 6:46pm GMT

This may be interesting, in light of Sheffield.
http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/2007/07/story-time.html

It shows how efforts were made in LA to talk and keep a place at the table for everyone, including the "traditionalists."

The problem is how to include everyone when one group insists on excluding some.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 23 February 2013 at 7:36pm GMT

Cynthia,

http://www.americananglican.org/assets/Publications/Primates-Report-Final.pdf

Posted by: Peter Ould on Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 9:00am GMT

Peter, you are not seriously presenting this document as evidence?

Apart from one or two, these are well within the nuanced position of acceptable Anglican theology.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 1:21pm GMT

Thanks Peter for the AAC stuff. It certainly proves what a narrow, fundamentalist, rule-driven, uncharitable, negative, unimaginative , life denying lot the AAC are. They clearly
haven't a clue what KJS etc are saying. Faced with such abysmal depths of misunderstanding, where could you start? In contrast how refreshing it is to hear bishops explore the life giving message of the gospels with clarity and grace.

Posted by: Helen on Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 5:04pm GMT

I have to agree with Martin. That document seems fine. I admit that I stopped reading at this point:
"The question is how can we get beyond our own narrow self-interests and see that our salvation lies in attending to the needs of other people." PB Schori

That's heresy? Than give me more such heresy. As that greatest of heretics, Jesus, went around healing the sick and proclaiming the Good News to the poor and generally attending to the needs of other people.

From hardness of heart. Good Lord, Deliver us!

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 6:06pm GMT

I agree that there are genuine concerns about some of the theology and processes in the TEC but this document raises concerns of its own in return. It has the feel of a hatchet job at times - quotes without any context. Quotes offered as if they are all heretical when in fact they are plainly not - and are even expressing convictions over which evangelicals themselves honourably differ. It inspires no confidence and is no help at all in enabling the evangelical voice to be heard and taken seriously. If Peter is (rightly) critical of conservatives going to Kenya why is he not more critical of the quality, content and spirit of this document?

Posted by: David on Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 6:52pm GMT

I challenge you to show that any of those quotes are taken out of context

Posted by: Peter Ould on Sunday, 24 February 2013 at 10:07pm GMT

Just so I know, what kind of statement would be considered heretical to liberal Anglicans? How does a liberal Anglican tell the difference between oh,say, a Christian, a Universalist, or an agnostic? What, besides being a priest of another faith, like the Anglican/Hindu priest or the Episcopalian/Pagan or Episcopalian/Muslim priests is unacceptable(or are they)? Where do you draw the line?

Having watched and/or read entire interviews/transcripts between Schori and various news agencies, including most of those listed,even General Convention speeches, I'd say those quotes are within context. Don't forget her saying a few weeks ago that the South Carolina conservatives who left are equal to terrorists, mass murderers and school shooters. Does any "context" excuse that? If I said that to you and then at the end said, "Just kidding, God wants me to love everybody" would you believe I was kidding? Sometimes I think she does it deliberately to drive conservatives out. No leader on either side should be blind as to how their words will be perceived, especially in a church with such deep divisions.

Posted by: Chris H. on Monday, 25 February 2013 at 2:35am GMT

I challenge you, Peter, to explain how the vast majority of the quotes are heretical.

Jesus taught and healed on the Sabbath. He hung out with the unclean and the outcasts. He interacted with women in ways that were taboo at the time.

This document is just bizarre as evidence of heresy. Just more proof that the "traditionalists" are a pretty narrow and judgmental lot, convinced of the righteousness of excluding others while blissfully ignoring the evidence of the life of Christ.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 25 February 2013 at 3:08am GMT

Good grief Cynthia, are you so naive that you cannot see what KJS teaches? At least I have the integrity to criticise those on my side who do the wrong things and say the wrong things, but this blind refusal to recognise the rampant revisionism in the Presiding Bishop's teaching is just astounding. Just take the July 2009 sermon where she denied the notion of personal salvation - that there right in one sentence should be enough for you to take stock.
She continually refuses to affirm the divinity of Christ in a classic orthodox sense, she has a highly Pelagian view of anthropology, this Lent's Ash Wednesday message was a hodge-podge of works soteriology and avoiding true repentance. What more would it take for you to see?
But wait, she's inclusive, so that's OK.

Posted by: Peter Ould on Monday, 25 February 2013 at 9:02am GMT

I'm not too sure that context is the key issue here, nor was I the one raising it, but if we take the fourth quote in the first section:
This interview was not with the Presiding Bishop, she was "elect" but was actually bishop of Nevada at the time. That's context.
What she says in this response follows on significantly from previous questions of scientific rejection of faith and her personal journey of coming back to faith as an adult.

It reads quite differently when seen in this context.
Though even on its own it does not do what is claimed for it.
I have heard Popes saying more daring things at Assisi in recent decades.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 25 February 2013 at 11:15am GMT

Peter is quite correct when he says she often offers a hodgepodge of material and I have winced at some of her stuff. But he also knows that in some areas she would readily agree that she does not offer a "classic orthodox" interpretation but that her views fit comfortably within the ambit of Anglican diverse opinion.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 25 February 2013 at 2:39pm GMT

And what I want to know is what is the limit on Anglican diversity. TEC has non-theists, humanists, non-trinitarieans and all kinds of other non-orthodox who consider themselves all perfectly Episcopalian. What does it take for a liberal to say someone has gone too far? I'm really beginning to think there's no such thing on the liberal side of the scale.

Posted by: Chris H. on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 12:16am GMT

I, personally, find the use of this word 'orthodox' to be somewhat indisriminately used - especially by those who profess to be either ultra-montane or calvinistic in their theology.

I find it rather annoying when ultra-conservatives arrogate to themselves such a loaded epithet. From the proliferation of its use by both evangelical reformers and anti-women High Church people would seem to indicate that 'Orthodox' can mean anything one chooses - except to the Eastern Churches.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 12:51am GMT

Peter, I'm not shocked by much of it, even if I disagree. I believe in the divinity of Christ, for example. I'm not shocked because the beliefs in that document seem to be wide spread. Also KJS isn't the Pope, she's a PB who has a set term and leaves. One doesn't have to subscribe to her every utterance.

I was at Delphi, Greece a couple of years ago. I found some shade and just sat there near the Sybil Rock taking it all in, including the amphitheatre where musical offerings were made. I had an attack of the "dubs" as many American teenagers would say. God was there. God has been there. People have been worshipping our God long before Jesus, even though our theology comes from the Judeo Christian history. I can't believe that those people had no salvation, so I can't believe that salvation comes only through Christ. Similarly, I can't believe that Buddhists, Muslims, etc., have no salvation.

I am grateful that for me, it has been encounters with the Living Christ that has moved me along in faith. I just can't feel exclusionary about it, regardless of John. Somehow my encounters were about love, compassion, and healing, and never about judgement on others. Call me a heretic, but I do believe in the divinity of Christ and the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know plenty of Anglicans who don't.

John Phillip Newell says that Pelagius got a bad rap from the RC's. One of his heresies was that he apparently believed women were created equally in the image of God and he got into trouble for teaching women. There really is nothing new under the sun. Except liberation from time-to-time.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 3:31am GMT

I addressed this and was probably too edgy.

Johnny wrote: But I think I'm getting the point- "liberation" only truly arrives if those who think they are "liberated" can eliminate the status quo in residence- hence your expressed desire to eliminate traditional anglicans from leadership in the church. I have to say I had never appreciated before that after the "liberation" comes the inevitable conquest of the status quo in residence by whatever means is necessary but as I say I think I get it now.

Johnny, Jesus really upended the "status quo." You need to take it to him. Be ready to tell Jesus exactly why you think women and LGBT persons are underserving of the dignity of men. How every single woman called to ministry is delusional in your view. How LGBT persons deserve the hate and everything that happens to them as fruit of that hate.

To me the traditional bigotries against women and LGBT persons is no different from the anti-semitism, colonialism, and racism the church has sadly supported.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 4:51am GMT

Where is the boundary of Anglican diverse opinion?

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 6:27am GMT

Peter I did not say the quotes in the document you directed us to were out of context. I said they were 'without context'. That is self evidently true. I have no way of knowing where and why and in what context these words were said. Nor am I in any position to check it all through. I think that responsibility in the context of this TA is yours actually - and I have always been grateful for the the carefulness of your own contributions. But this document makes me uneasy. Someone so minded could easily trawl your blog and sermons or mine and string together a list of quotes and sentences that would make us sound like narrow, mindless fundamentalists.

It is compiled from one side of a long, very acrimonious and painful split in the Episcopal church. It is not impartial. That is its most immediate context. It is plainly conservative in its theology and acknowledges no legitimate range of theological opinion in its choice of quotes. Its purpose is to establish that the church it attacks and its leaders are apostate. I'm afraid it will only convince and further entrench the converted.

Posted by: David on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 8:43am GMT

I guess that one of the characteristics of Rowan's time at Canterbury was his trying to find some sort of answer to the question ChrisH and Adrian pose. It is not just a question posed within our family of churches, it became an increasingly pressing question from ecumenical partners too.

In the face of Primates who saw gay people as lower than animals or who turned away when they were murdered while others were happy to see them as partnered bishops, Rowan's response was to impose the Dromantine Anathema and to push ahead with Rule by Primates.

Without any magisterium to define acceptable boundaries the next attempt at answering this question has been IASCUFO http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/ecumenical/commissions/iascufo/indesx.cfm and the Covenant. Without the Covenant to give some force to its deliberations IASCUFO will have a difficult time trying to lay out boundaries.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 9:36am GMT

Peter, the theological views which you appear to think are somehow fixed have themselves evolved over time through the mediation of human beings. Diversion from them is not "apostasy", rampant or otherwise. For KJS's views on salvation check out Matthew 25 v31ff. There is a great deal of interesting theological work being done in the US on the Jesus of the Gospels as distinct from the Jesus of Paul, and this is evident in the progress of the Episcopal Church. I am not sure why some people find this so threatening.

Posted by: Helen on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 10:35am GMT

Just took a little time last evening to read through some of her thinking on salvation and it seems to be along the Orthodox lines of "theosis" ...........

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 11:15am GMT

Pace Peter I found KJS's Lent message inspiring. In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus showed us that when we share, there is enough for all. In encouraging us to share the deprivation of others, KJS took us back to that. It could be the case, Peter, that your reliance on particular doctrines is in some contexts a stumbling block.

Posted by: Helen on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 2:08pm GMT

The Bishop of Sheffield has just released a statement

http://www.sheffield.anglican.org/index.php/home/latest-naews/29-latest-news/4455-a-statement-from-the-bishop-of-sheffield-on-the-ordination-in-kenya-of-pete-jackson

Posted by: John Roch on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 2:25pm GMT

It would be good if Sheffield could put some real energy into this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2013/feb/26/sheffield-asylum-seeker-odette-sefuko-democratic-republic-of-congo-uganda

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 at 5:12pm GMT

"I am not sure why some people find this so threatening." A most interesting comment, Helen, because all I was using in a thread near here was available biblical criticism/ theologies - but once classed as 'adverserial' they are surely put beyond the boundary.

I'm not adverserial but I'll answer the above with a general point. If you can uphold a belief in incarnation (definitiveness of Jesus that relates to the purpose of the world) and resurrection (some sense in which Jesus 'returned' or instituted a future to be) then you might be saying enough to be within Anglican dialogue. If you can't, as I can't, you are not, and that is why I am Unitarian.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 1:54am GMT

Pluralist,
I dare say that your narrow definition of what one has to uphold would excommunicate a lot of Anglicans including many priests who have a far less narrow interpretation of what incarnation and resurrection might mean.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 8:12am GMT

I really do want to stop commenting (!) but surely my definition was as light touch as it gets: I'd hardly describe it as narrow. Perhaps Erika could give her own definitions of Anglican diversity or boundaries. It is, after all, a credal Church and must stand for something doctrinal somewhere.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 1 March 2013 at 1:27am GMT

Pluralist,
I see the dividing line somewhere else.
It's not between "is it historically true or isn't it", but it's between "how can we interpret what is written in a way that speaks to us deeply about God" or "it cannot be interpreted to say anything useful about a possible God".

One possible way of interpreting the incarnation that I have come across more than once is to say that "somehow, this Jesus was so open to God that we can be sure that what he says of God is absolutely true and dependable, and that to that extent God did speak through him as if they were one".
You don't need the concept of purpose at all for this, although it doesn't preclude it.

And the resurrection can be interpreted as a coming back to life, as still being active and meaningful and leading people to that same living God today in a very definite way.
You don't need a physical return nor do you need the institution of any kind of future for that interpretation to be possible and deeply meaningful, although again, it doesn't preclude it.

You can incorporate both those interpretations in the Nicene creed and in the Baptismal creed, you are not "denying" anything other than literalism.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 1 March 2013 at 9:41am GMT
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